Garen Build Guide

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Garen, The Unstoppable Executioner

written by JustNatural

Garen Build



Table of Contents

  • Introduction

    Hello everyone, and welcome to my first champion guide, featuring Garen : The Might of Demacia !
    This is my favourite champion and I'd like to share some of what I've learnt so far with the community.
    Please give feedback as I will be considering all of your comments.
    I WILL UPDATE THIS SOON !

    P.S. : I strongly advise people to use the runes and masteries below for best results on this type of Garen ! ALSO, you need to have a basic game knowledge and skill in order to make good use of the information presented below !

  • Guide updates

    Last updated :
    Thursday, 16 June, 2011 :
    - added more info in the end of the build examample topic (new build aproach)

    Saturday, 28 May 2011 :
    -added a comment in the summoner spells section

    Tuesday, 3 May , 2011 :
    - added explanations on the usage and choice of runes
    - fixed some spelling issues
    - improved the looks a bit

  • Pros / Cons

    Pros :
    - One of the best solo-laners in the game - He will own almost every enemy he's up against
    - If paired with a capable summoner with stuns/snares/taunts/slows he will always win that lane
    - Very high amounts of AD early game
    - Can instantly execute a half HP low-MR champion
    - High resistance to damage
    - He is an OFFENSIVE-TANK that can be built to deal damage or sustain more damage depending on the needs of the team
    - Great farmer
    - Fun to play
    - Awsome-looking

    Cons :

    - THE BIGGEST PROBLEM WITH GAREN IN GENERAL IS THAT, IF YOU ARE A SKILLED PLAYER, YOU WILL END UP HAVING SCORES LIKE 18 - 7 - 19 AND STILL LOSE THE GAME BECAUSE YOUR TEAM IS MADE OF RETARDED PLAYERS/WEAK CHARACTERS THAT DIE AND YOU CAN'T DO ANYTING TO STOP THE ENEMIES, EXCEPT TAKE ONE OF THEM OUT. HOWEVER HIGHER ENEMY SKILL AND CC WILL LOSE YOU THE GAME ! (YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED) . THIS IS AVAILABLE FOR ANY CHAMPION BUT ESPECIALY FOR GAREN AS HE CANT HELP HIS TEAM THROUGH SPELLS BUT ONLT BY HURTING THE ENEMIES !
    - Not as powerfull as other champions late-game
    - He can be countered by Crowd-control effects and kiteing
    - Can't jungle

  • Masteries + Runes

    Masteries and Runes go together and they both are going to help you raise Garen to his true awsome form as an unstopable killing machine. Remember that Garen needs to hit hard in order to be important to the team. Nature (aka RIOT Team) hasn't been too kind with Garen in the terms of team utility. His lack of disables and crowd control abilities make him almost useless to the team if he isnt able to move fast arround the battlefield and deal hard damage.
    Garen is a DPS - TANK hybrid, but he's more of a damage dealer than a tank because 3 of his skills deal damage. The only thing that makes Garen a tank is his Courage spell which reduces 36% of the damage he recieves(for 3 seconds) combined with large amounts of health and health regen.
    Experience + the principle of trial and error has thaught me that Garen is best played as an offensive character, thats's why the best masteries build for Garen is 21-9-0.
    For the record I've tried Garen as a tank with 9-21-0 or 8-22-0 and other variations with the utility tree too but I've found that the defensive masteries really diminish his damage output and because of that enemies will just ignore you and focus on your teammates as you watch helplesly how they get slaughtered (because u have no stuns, slows, fears, taunts, NOTHING except a single target silence).

    MASTERIES :

    Offensive masteries:

    [mastery_icon=deadliness] - 3 points (max)
    [mastery_icon=cripple] - 1 point (max)
    [mastery_icon=sorcery] - 4 points (max)
    [mastery_icon=alacrity] - 2 points
    [mastery_icon=archaic knowledge]- 1 point (max) - this is only for your ultimate, the only spell that deals magic, but it's very usefull vs enemies that stack MR, as well as for the ones that don't.
    [mastery_icon=sunder] - 3 points (max)
    [mastery_icon=brute force] - 3 points (max)
    [mastery_icon=lethality] - 3 points (max)
    [mastery_icon=havoc] - 1 point (max)

    Defensive masteries :

    [mastery_icon=resistance] - 3 points (max)
    [mastery_icon=hardiness] - 1 point
    [mastery_icon=evasion] - 4 points (max)
    [mastery_icon=nimbleness] - 1 point (max)

    RUNES :

    As mentioned before, the runes that i've picked for this build will give Garen alot of damage, especialy in early-game beacause of the high amounts of armor penetration ! You will end up having 31 armor pen, which means, you can deal full damage or almost full damage to most of the champions in the first 1-10 levels aproximately. ( That is full damage with 2 spells and normal atacks )

    Marks (Red) - Greater Mark of Desolation
    Seals (Yellow) - Greater Seal of Evasion - These will help you gain the [mastery=nimbleness] buff faster as well as tanking ability vs normal atacks
    Glyphs (Blue) - Greater Glyph of Shielding - These will help you tank vs magical nukes
    Quintessences (Violet) - Greater Quintessence of Desolation


    The dodge seals are needed for a total of 8% dodge chance (with masteries too), which doesn't seem like much, but it will trigger the nimbleness effect pretty often because you will atract focus from enemy minions when you charge an enemy champion. Because minions are many and have verry low damage, you will be hit many times with minor negative effect and those hitts will trigger the much needed 10% speed boost of nimbleness.

    The MR/lvl glyphs are verry usefull for tanking vs AP damage and they will provide you with enough MR ultill at least lvl 11-13, when you probably have already completed your 4 core items and can build towards countering AP damage , but do this only if their AP nukes really represent a threat to you. Otherwise, remember that the courage ability reduces both AD and AP damage so you shouldnt worry so much if they have... let's say only one pro AP nuker...(in theory)

  • Summoner Abilities

    1. The most important summoner spell on Garen is because he needs it most of the times combined with his Ultimate for a guaranteed kill.
    2. I use because I usually need to slow enemies down and lower their resists when I engage them.

    This two Summoner spells combined with the runes and masteries that i've picked will guarantee you a kill 90% of the time when you engage (if you use them right).

    However you can experiment with something else instead of exhaust but I don't advise it.

    The spell would be a good substitute for exhaust but in my opinion, ghost isn't so good if you don't upgrade it with [mastery_icon=haste]. The problem is... that in order to put a skill point in "haste" and make full use of this summoner spell, you need to sacrifice a skill point from either offenssive masteries or defensive masteries, meaning that you would have to sacrifice either "Havoc" or "Nimbleness". And that is a trade that I'm not willing to make.

  • Skilling Order

    LVL1 :Judgment
    LVL2 :Decisive Strike
    LVL3 :Judgment
    LVL4 :Courage and let just 1 skill point in it (20% damage reduction is enough)
    Now continue with :
    LVL5 :Judgment
    LVL6 :Demacian Justice
    LVL7 :Judgment
    LVL8 :Decisive Strike
    LVL9 :Judgment (MAXED OUT)
    LVL10:Decisive Strike
    LVL11:Demacian Justice
    LVL12:Decisive Strike
    LVL13:Courage
    LVL14:Decisive Strike
    LVL15:Courage
    LVL16:Demacian Justice
    LVL17:Courage
    LVL18:Courage

    Also, remember that Garen should be played offensively , that means that if you are laned against melee champions you should be the one who gets the creeps, you should HARRASS them as many times as you can and don't let them near the creeps! THIS IS VERRY IMPORTANT FOR YOU TO BE SUCCESSFULL with this build!
    Last but not least REMEMBER TO ONLY LAST HIT CREEPS, AND TRY NOT TO SPIN IN THEIR CREEPS UNLESS YOU ARE GOING FOR THE HARRASS OR KILL AS THAT WILL PUSH THE LANE and keep your enemies in the safe heaven of their tower and you will watch as they farm helplessly!

    Note that playing offensive doesn't mean beeing stupid, this aspect of the game is preety much up to you and dependable on your skill as a player, so dont blame this guide if you fail!

  • Build Example

    Start with Doran's Shield
    You should strive to return to base with enough money for Boots of Speed and [item=heart of gold]

    Now depending on their team composition you should get either Mercury's Treads or Ninja Tabi but you will almost always find that mercury's treads are the best choice because of the 35% duration of stuns, slows, taunts, snares etc; Many champions have enough of those and you'll find they can really be a pain in the ass unless you have cleanse.

    Next you're going to get your Sunfire Cape as soon as possible.

    Your build should look like this now :

    Doran's Shield Mercury's Treads[item=heart of gold] Sunfire Cape
    OR
    Doran's Shield Ninja Tabi[item=heart of gold] Sunfire Cape

    At this point you have a main ballanced build.
    From now on if the game is going well for you you should get Leviathan and Last Whisper in this order. If the game isn't going that well you can :

    A. Change the order of these 2 items.
    B. Get only Last Whisper and [item=force of nature] - if u need to tank vs mages
    will be adding more info when i feel in a better mood


    By now you are already in the Late-game and you should analize your team's and enemies builds and composition.
    YOU WILL FIND YOURSELF IN 3 MAIN SITUATONS :

    1. If you have to play the role of an AD TANK, upgrade the [item=heart of gold] to Randuin's Omen and don't forget to USE the activable effect. Then you can sell your Doran's Shield and get Thornmail or Guardian Angel

    EXAMPLE OF A BALLANCED ARMOR-BASED BUILD :


    *if you don't get focused down by normal atacks you should replace Thornmail with Guardian Angel

    2. If you have to be an AP TANK, build [item=force of nature](IF you need a slot for this you can sell the Doran's shield if you haven't already and if you have, get Guardian Angel
    (Btw, the HoG pays for it's entire cost in about 30 mins aproximately so you dont lose any money if you want to sell this too and get something else - IF you sell it, you will get a bonus of more than half it's total price actually)

    EXAMPLE OF A BALLANCED MR-BASED BUILD :

    [item_icon=force of nature]

    3. IF have to be an AD damage-dealer sell the Doran's shield and get a Trinity Force 1st and an Atma's Impaler

    EXAMPLE OF A BALLANCED AD-BASED BUILD :


    *the Leviathan is replaceable with Force of Nature or Randuin's Omen




    HERE, I WILL BE UPLOADING BUILDS FROM ACTUAL GAMES IN WHICH YOU CAN SEE HOW I BUILT THE CHAMPION AND WHY:

    http://img96.imageshack.us/i/opgaren.jpg/ - Here I had 20 stacks of leviathan, I carried the game for my team, I owned solo top vs akali.

    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    UPDATE :

    I've played a few more games with Garen now and I've come across a great improvement if you need to be your team's damage dealer AND you have enough tanks that can keep the enemies from damaging you (like taunts, stuns, slows, snares, etc):

    Instead of HoG, you can build an Avarice Blade that you can transform info Youmuu's GhostBlade once you get you sunfire cape ! (this will significantly improve your damage output, give you much-needed CD reduction and make you faster) It really is a good build but you need to be carefull cause you are likely to get focused by enemyes and you need your teammates to diminish the damage that you take.

    Thus, your main build should look like this :

    ---> and at the nexy buy

    Then you can go ahead and build and probably [item_icon=Force of nature] (because they are likely to have enough magic damage by now even if they are not natural casters !)
    Last you can take

    Guaranteed RAPE ! ;)

    PS : this seems to work better in a 3v3 match ! but it isn't a must... just that in 3v3 there is less damage left to focus you, and Garen is not as squishy as other AD champions.

  • Farming

    Garen is one of the best farmers in the game, but it is verry important in early game not to push the lane by using skills on creeps ! YOU HAVE TO PRACTISE AND SUCCESSFULLY LAND LAST HITS ! This is needed so you can keep the enemy as stressed up and away form creeps as possible! If he doesn't stay away then you will hrass him hard and come back to last hitting creeps.

    If the enemy is ranged you'll be the one that's kept away form creeps, so you'll have to play just a bit more defensive : last hit when circumstances allow it and sometimes, use Q to get in kill a creed and back out before you lose lots of HP.

  • Working in the team

    For now, all I can say here is :

    -Whenever you go to base to recharge or you die, remember to buy at least 1 ward and maximum 2. This is something that every chmapion in your team should do at all times! however this does not happen and because you farm better than most, you can aford to. MAP AWARENESS IS CRUCIAL AND YOU WON'T GET TOO FAR WITH THIS BUILD IF YOU DO NOT WATCH THE MAP AND MOVE TO BATTLES FAST ENOUGH!

    -Be prepared for when an ally stuns someone, activate Decisive Strike and nuke him, start Judgment, keep near him and land the killing blow with Demacian Justice or (somethimes both)
    -In mid-lategame, in massive teamfights do your best to reach the enemy main AP damage dealer and try to keep him out of the team fight with silence/chase for as long as possible and for good if possible ; THIS IS GAREN'S MAIN PURPOSE IN A TEAMFIGHT! TO STICK LIKE GLUE TO THE ENEMY'S MAIN DAMAGE-DEALER! - IF YOU CAN'T FOCUS THE AP DAMAGE DEALER OR THEY DON'T HAVE ONE, CHANGE TARGET TO THE AD DAMAGE-DEALER!
    -Garen is a very powerful tower-diver, he can take alot of hits thanks to his Courage ability so you should be the first to take the tower agro instead of your team mates. You will also regenerate fast thanks to Perseverance.

  • Unique Skills

    Now, here's something that only advanced Garen users will know :
    When you spin near an enemy champion with Judgment, while you are still in the spin and near them, you can cast your ultimate (Demacian Justice) on the enemy and IF YOU DONT PRESS ANYTHING ELSE OR CLICK, when the animation of Judgment ends, Garen will automaticly cast Demacian Justice REGARDLESS OF WHAT THE ENEMY DOES AND THE DISTANCE BETWEEN YOU 2(flash, cast ghost, etc.)! This is something really really awsome, anoying for the enemy and fun to do because people will just say WTF?!!?! and start flaming on ALL chat.
    Note that this will only work if the enemy flashes in an area where you still have map vision. IF the enemy jumps over a wall or in a brush and you have no vision there, he wont cast the ultimate.
    This "special move" requires a bit of practice until you can pull it off right, but once you get the hang of it, you'll be killing people from 800 distance away while tower-diving after they've used their flash beyond the tower .
    I don't know if this is a bug or "as designed by riot",(it's probably somewhere in between) but it sure as hell IS EXTREMLY HILARIOUS ! :)

  • Summary

    Garen is a fun character to play, I hope you all learn something from this guide , and if you have any suggestions or comments, I would love to hear them out, I always appreciate feedback!
    Thank you for reading this!

    Leave a vote if you think this is a good guide, and remember that this might not be the best way for everyone to play Garen, but from my perspective and for me ,so far, IT IS !
    I would also like that people who downvote this have the decency of commenting as to why they did that without even trying this build !
    THANK YOU !



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