Garen Build Guide

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Fear not, I'm coming! I Garen-Tee it. Guide for Garen Crownguard

written by Dirgehammer

Garen Build

Table of Contents

  • Intro

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    Welcome to Loiri's Garen guide, feat. Linnala!

    First of all, english isn't my first language, so my spelling and grammar may look weird sometimes, im sorry. Also, this is my first guide. :)

    I play Garen as a "CDR Off-tank". I have never seen any Garen with this build, thats why i am showing you my personal Garen playstyle, because, atleast for me, it's working perfectly. This is going to be a short and simply guide (mostly because of my weak english writing skills) that contains all basic information with some tips and video clips.

    !!! This guide Is based on 5v5 map Summoner's Rift. Don't try this on other maps, it won't work !!!

  • Let's end this quickly!

    You need to use the little soldier's room? Don't worry, here's the shortened guide that contains all you need to know in simple way!

    Skilling Order:

    Summoner Spells:


    3x or 3x


    1. &
    4. &


    Check the whole guide for optional builds and tips!

  • Abilities

    Good passive, especially early laning phase. Synergies good with [item=Force of Nature] mid-late game. Fits Garen very well and makes even better laner!

    Scales from: Health.

    Decisive Strike
    Garen's best skill imo. Crazy damage and silence (2.5s) at lvl 1, awesome scale, speed boost and short cooldown. Also good for chasing and escaping.

    Decisive strike resets your basic attack timer, so it's wise to use it immediately after basic attack. That way you can hit 3 attacks in row. This method really hurts at lvl 1! Deceive Strike is also good for last hitting since it's free to cast and doesn't have long cooldown, even at early levels.

    Note: Decisive Strike procs Red buff, Frozen Mallet and Trinity Force

    Scales from: Attack Damage, Armor Penetration.

    Courage is very nice skill, escpecially with it's recent buffs. Good for reducing damage you take in fights or to reduce incoming burst damage (video coming!). One-point-wonder.

    Your main damage ability. The slow remove thing is often ignored, but for real, it's damn useful! It often makes your escaping easier and makes you one step harder to kite. Simply example:
    1. You are casing Teemo. Teemo places shroom behind him. You step on the shroom and immediately after you use Judgment to remove the slow and continue the chase!
    2. Enemies are chasing you. You step on a shroom and get slowed and immediately after you use Judgment (and Courage to reduce it's damage if needed) and continue your escape with full speed!

    Scales from: Bonus Attack Damage, Armor Penetration, Crit Chance, Crit Damage.

    Demacian Justice
    Finisher of your killer-combo and a fihishing move in general. Damage of this skill is often underestimated and that allow you to surprise your enemy, like killing them from half health under their own tower (video coming!). Awesome combined with Ignite/ Flash (video coming!) or just finish escaping enemies in fights.

    Note: It deals magic damage.

    Scales from: Magic penetration

  • Laning

    Garen is a very bad jungler, so you have to lane with him. Don't worry, because Garen is very good on every lane! Solotop (recommended), bot with support or any other champion or even solomid.

    Agressive laneplaying is often very good strategy for Garen, because there is not many champions that can beat you in fair 1v1 at early game (especially when you get your The Brutalizer. Still, some tanky champions that can heal or absorb big amount of damage (example: Warwick) can be very problematic.

    Garen's 2v2 lane damage output is also godlike. Other melee fighter are normally very good lanepartner for aggressive playing. Heres some examples:

    Xin Zhao, very durable melee fighter and deals tons of damage on early game and also has some CC, exactly like you.

    Yorick, same as Xin Zhao. (see above)

    Renekton (see above)

    Jarvan 4 (see above)

    Garen + Ranged AD is also pain in the ass for your opponent.
    (more info coming!)

  • Skilling Order

    Pretty basic skilling order for any Garen. Some Garen players still start with Judgment, but Decisive Strike is just superior. Decisive Strike does more damage at lvl 1, it has silence, speed boost and it resets your basic attack timer, which allow you to do some burst. Slow remove on Judgment is rarely needed at lvl 1, because not many champions pick their slows first and even if they would, Decisive Strike is still overall better choice.

  • Summoner Spells

    Personally i always use Ignite & Flash on Garen. The reason i take Ignite over Exhaust is because you can kill squishies from half health with your Ignite/ulti combo (video coming!). Also i take Flash over Ghost for epic jukes and Flash+Q, E or Ulti can surprise anyone!
    It's just what you like to take. Exhaust and Ghost are very good choises for Garen too. One "offensive" and one "defencive" is good for alsmot every champion and Garen isn't deviant!

    Let's make it simply:
    Ignite/ Exhaust+ Flash/ Ghost

  • Masteries

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    I like those masteries alot on Garen! 21/9 & 9/21 are very viable for Garen too, as well as Utility+Defense/Offense hybrid too. I have tried many mastery setups on Garen, but 12/16+2 fits my playstyle best. Give it a try!

    If you are not using Ghost, replace [mastery=Haste] wiht something else. Viable choices would be: [mastery=Defensive Mastery],[mastery=Offensive Mastery] or Brute Force. You can also take one point away from Resistance if you want to put an additional point to one of those masteries. [mastery=Cripple] is just a filler, even if u don't use Exhaust, because you don't get any benefit from [mastery=Archmage's Savvy].

    [mastery=Archaic Knowledge] is for Demacian Justice & Sunfire Cape if someone is wondering.

    I'll put other viable mastery setup examples here:


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    Standard Offense/Defense:

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    Standard Defense/Offense:

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  • Runes

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    9x Greater Mark of Desolation
    9x Greater Seal of Resilience or 9x Greater Seal of Evasion or 9x Greater Seal of Fortitude or 9x Greater Seal of Vitality
    9x Greater Glyph of Celerity (Recommended] or 9x Greater Glyph of Focus or 9x Greater Glyph of Warding or 9x Greater Glyph of Shielding
    3x Greater Quintessence of Desolation (Recommended) or 3x Greater Quintessence of Swiftness or 3x always popular Greater Quintessence of Fortitude

    With [mastery=Sunder], armor penetration marks and quints and The Brutalizer you have 46 armor penetration. That allows you to deal true damage to most champions early game especially to the shuishy ones!

    (More info coming!)

  • Items

    As i said before, i build Garen as "CDR Off-tank" and here's my build:

    I always start with Boots of Speed and 3x Health Potion. Why? Because Garen HAVE to outrun his target at every point of game. With my runes and masteries i still have 599 health, 40 armor and 35 magic resist at lvl 1. 3 Health Potions you can afford by buying Boots first are also very good for aggressive laneplaying.

    Optimal starting item: Doran's Blade. Personally i never use this on Garen, but it still can be very effective, especially if you are using movement speed quints.

    Why not Doran's Shield? I see many Garen players start with Doran's Shield. Imo it's just not good item for him. You don't need early health regen because of your passive and with my mastery and rune setup i have very good defense early without Shield. Health is OK, but you get almost same amount from Blade.

    Aim to get 1337 gold before going back, so you can build The Brutalizer as early as possible. The Brutalizer increaser your damage output ALOT and it's your first CDR item too.

    If you can't get those 1337 gold before going back and your lane is terrible, you can get Doran's Blade or two. I normally trying to avoid this option, but sometimes it's MUST, because Garen's mid game depents on his lane dominace, and his late game depents on his mid game. So if you are not winning your lane or even get good amount of last hits you are going to be, well, can't say useless, but just "not that good" at the rest of the game.

    After The Brutalizer there is many ways, depents on what everyone likes:


    This is what i use almost every time on Garen. Aim for Ionian Boots of Lucidity. Why not Mercury's Treads? Well, they are other viable choice, but i like to rush as much CDR as possible early on and there is no other really good CRD items for Garen. And imo Garen doesn't really "need" those, because in teamfights enemy shouldn't focus their CC's on Garen, but if they do, well, good job off-tank Garen! For smaller fights where is more kiting etc. you have your Judgment, which removes/reduces duration of slows. If you are getting stunned while chasing someone, the enemy most likey getting away with or without Mercury's Treads.

    I don't really recommend this one, but if you still want to build CDR Off-tank Garen with Mercury's Treads, this is the build for you:


    103 Magic resist(!)
    67 Armor
    28% CDR

    Why Spirit Visage? It may look dump item for Garen, but it's a good item overall for him. It gives good amount of CDR and some defensive stats and it isn't very expensive. Even the healing bonus isn't useless, since it improves your passive and [item=Force of Nature]'s healing.

    Next item depents on enemy team and specially who you are laning against if laning phase seems to last forever:

    (With Mercury build it's normally better to get Chain Vest first to keep your defensive stats in balance)

    Negatron Cloak & Chain Vest. Get both, depents on enemy team what you should get first. Also if you are laning against some crazy burst caster Hexdrinker is great item somewhere between The Brutalizer & Chain Vest/ Negatron Cloak. It may slow your core build, but sometimes its worth it.

    Optimal Hexdrinker Build:


    Next item will be Youmuu's Ghostblade. If im doing VERY good at lane i'll buy Youmuu's Ghostblade even before Negatron Cloak & Chain Vest. It's not recommended on every match, but can be very effective sometimes.

    When you have finished your Chain Vest, Negatron Cloak, and Youmuu's Ghostblade your core build is ready!

    Core Build:


    With Ionian Boots of Lucidity & The Brutalizer at lvl 11:
    46 Armor penetration
    116 Attack damage
    1559 Health
    137 Armor
    121 Magic resist
    33.27% CDR what means:
    Decisive strike CD: 6.67s (rank 3)
    Courage CD: 20s (rank 1)
    Judgement CD: 6s (rank 5)
    Demacian Justice CD: 80s (rank 2)
    (37.95% CDR with Ghostblade at lvl 11)

    After your core build is ready, there is several choices:

    Sunfire Build:

    [item=Force of Nature], Sunfire Cape, Atma's Impaler and Infinity Edge or Frozen Mallet. Normally in that order. Why those items and that building order?
    [item=Force of Nature] is overall awesome item for Garen. It offers you tons of magic resist and health regen (even more if you are using Mercury build) and movement speed what is VERY important for Garen. The main reason im building this first after the core build is the movement speed bonus on it. Im not normally running with movement speed quints on Garen, so movement speed from items are important to get as soon as possible. [item=Force of Nature] makes your movement speed 420 with tier 2 boots. Of course if you are facing heavy AD team you should get Sunfire Cape first.

    After [item=Force of Nature] i always build Sunfire Cape to balance my defesive stats. Magic damage aura synergies very well with your Judgment and health and armor on it is just awesome. Very cost effective item imo.

    Atma's Impaler synergies good with your +2.5k health and it makes you better tower diver/tank. Crit on it is also very good for Garen since Judgment can crit. You can start to build it with Chain Vest or Cloak of Agility, whatever you need more, endurance or damage.
    With Youmuu's Ghostblade, Atma's Impaler and Sunfire Cape you have 195 damage at lvl 18.

    Games rarely last this long, but if game is still running on you should aim for Infinity Edge or Frozen Mallet
    If you think you have enough damage at this point, you should build Frozen Mallet to get even more tanky and for it's slow. Almost every time i build Infinity Edge instead, the damage increase is just that big. Crit, crit damage and attack damage are awesome on it. Best damage item for Garen.

    Final Build:


    "more detals" thing seems to be bugged or something, it doesn't show real stats. Click "more detals" buttom second time and it takes you to builder site where is the correct stats. Im trying to fix this.

    Mallet Build:

    Rush Frozen Mallet after your core build. You can start with Phage or Giant's Belt, whatever you need. Normally i take Phage first. Then build your Chain Vest into Atma's Impaler and Negatron Cloak into [item=Force of Nature]. I lake to take [item=Force of Nature] first, because of it's movement speed boost and it will balance your defensive stats. It's about what you like. Last item is Infinity Edge. As i said before, it's best damage item for Garen, and if game will last this long, damage is exactly what you need!



    Atmogs is abbreviation for build that uses Warmog's Armor combined with Atma's Impaler.

    Personally i don't like atmogs on any champion, but in certain situations it's very effective build. If you can easily farm to get Warmog's Armor and the extra bonuses for it early and if team fights are not starting before you got it, then it's safe to build atmongs.

    I start by buing Boots of Speed and Health Potions continued by The Brutalizer, then Ionian Boots of Lucidity, like in my usual build.

    Next Start building Warmog's Armor by buying Giant's Belt. If you can't afford Giant's Belt buy Ruby Crystal first.

    When your Warmog's Armor is ready start building Atma's Impaler. Again, you can start with Chain Vest or Cloak of Agility, whatever you need. I normally take Chain Vest first, because this build lacks all defesive stats except health.

    Core Build for Atmogs-Garen:


    After the core, i highly recommend to build [item=Force of Nature], because this build lacks magic resistance.

    Build your The Brutalizer into Youmuu's Ghostblade at some point. After your [item=Force of Nature] is good time for it.

    Last item going to be Infinity Edge if you need pure damage or Frozen Mallet if you think you STILL need some extra health, and of course for it's epic slow. Personally i take Infinity Edge almost every time.

    Final Build for Atmogs-Garen:


  • Updates

    Published: 27.8.11

    - 27.8.11 Fixed some pics and typos.

    - 31.8/1.9.11 Added Atmogs build and fixed some mistakes (Thanks Faladir for tips).

    - 3.9.11 Added new section + added some colors.

    My LoLReplay Won't let me watch some of my replies. Trying to fix it!

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Submitted by Dirgehammer

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