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GAREN BUILD GUIDE: A Guide to Solo Top Garen by MarineRevenge

by MarineRevenge (last updated 2 weeks ago)

Featured6,120,286 Views 97 Comments
9
Greater Mark of Armor Penetration(+11.52 armor penetration)
9
Greater Seal of Scaling Armor(+27 armor at champion level 18)
9
Greater Glyph of Scaling Magic Resist(+27 at champion level 18)
3
Greater Quintessence of Attack Damage(+6.75 attack damage)
View Rune Details
Summoner Spells
View Summoner Details

Starting

3

Full Item Build

View Item Details
21
9
0
mastery 1 1/1
mastery 2 0/4
mastery 3 4/4
mastery 4 0/1
mastery 1 0/1
mastery 2 3/3
mastery 3 0/3
mastery 3 0/1
mastery 1 1/1
mastery 2 1/1
mastery 3 0/1
mastery 3 3/3
mastery 1 1/1
mastery 2 3/3
mastery 3 0/3
mastery 4 0/1
mastery 1 0/1
mastery 2 3/3
mastery 3 0/1
mastery 2 1/1
21 Offense
mastery 1 2/2
mastery 2 0/2
mastery 3 2/2
mastery 4 0/2
mastery 1 1/1
mastery 2 3/3
mastery 4 0/1
mastery 1 0/1
mastery 2 1/1
mastery 3 0/3
mastery 4 0/3
mastery 1 0/3
mastery 2 0/1
mastery 3 0/1
mastery 4 0/1
mastery 1 0/1
mastery 2 0/4
mastery 3 0/1
mastery 2 0/1
9 Defense
mastery 1 0/1
mastery 2 0/3
mastery 3 0/3
mastery 4 0/1
mastery 2 0/3
mastery 3 0/1
mastery 4 0/1
mastery 1 0/3
mastery 2 0/1
mastery 3 0/3
mastery 4 0/1
mastery 1 0/1
mastery 2 0/1
mastery 3 0/3
mastery 4 0/2
mastery 1 0/1
mastery 2 0/3
mastery 2 0/1
0 Utility
View Mastery Details
Player Level 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18
Perseverance
QDecisive Strike
WCourage
EJudgment
RDemacian Justice
View Skill Order Details

Introduction

Sup guys, MarineRevenge (twitch.tv/marinerevenge) here with another solo top guide. This time it's for Garen. Garen is a super snowbally physical damage dealer, with an AoE a super powerful silence, an executioner ultimate and mediocre mobility in exchange for being nearly unkillable. Why should you follow my guide? I play Garen quite frequently in Diamond 1 and I am the best Garen Player in North America as seen here :






And my Garen Stats.

[http://i.imgur.com/OzdkKtK.png]



After you've read through the guide, if you're interested in learning more or watching some specific gameplay examples, you can find my stream located at www.twitch.tv/marinerevenge - I have started streaming quite regularly so you can feel free to tune in, follow or watch my VoDs on both that site and some highlight clips on my 'MarineRevenge' youtube channel. Cheers!

Runes

Armor Pen Marks(9): Flat Armor Pen runes work really well with Black Cleaver and Garens kit in general, his base damages are relatively high and he's largely countered by armor stacking. Flat AD is perfectly fine too, but if you want to use my exact playstyle these tend to be a bit more optimal.

Armor Per Level Seals(9): The new armor per level seals are a HUGE BUFF to Garen, seeing as Garen gets more armor/MR based on how much bonus Armor/MR he has, the new seals giving more armor than the old flat seals starting at level 7 and increasing to 3x the benefit of current flat seals means you get a HUGE amount of extra armor compared to the old rune page! USE THESE!

Magic Resistance Per Level Glyphs(9): Magic resist per level if youre against low magic damage lanes, if youre against high magic damage lanes you can use flat MR/level, otherwise these are much much better to have mid/late game on Garen!

Attack Damage Quintessences(3): These make garens last hitting easy, due to his naturally low base attack damage a few of these are necessary to farm reliably. Also both of his skills have total ad ratios of 1.4 and 1.1, making each point of ad worth slightly more naturally due to his scalings. You can bully most people easily with these.


Alternate rune pages can include more ArPen, more ad, You can also run movequints or flat/regen quints though they are more specialized and not recommended overall.

Masteries

mastery 1 1/1
mastery 2 0/4
mastery 3 4/4
mastery 4 0/1
mastery 1 0/1
mastery 2 3/3
mastery 3 0/3
mastery 3 0/1
mastery 1 1/1
mastery 2 1/1
mastery 3 0/1
mastery 3 3/3
mastery 1 1/1
mastery 2 3/3
mastery 3 0/3
mastery 4 0/1
mastery 1 0/1
mastery 2 3/3
mastery 3 0/1
mastery 2 1/1
21 Offense
mastery 1 2/2
mastery 2 0/2
mastery 3 2/2
mastery 4 0/2
mastery 1 1/1
mastery 2 3/3
mastery 4 0/1
mastery 1 0/1
mastery 2 1/1
mastery 3 0/3
mastery 4 0/3
mastery 1 0/3
mastery 2 0/1
mastery 3 0/1
mastery 4 0/1
mastery 1 0/1
mastery 2 0/4
mastery 3 0/1
mastery 2 0/1
9 Defense
mastery 1 0/1
mastery 2 0/3
mastery 3 0/3
mastery 4 0/1
mastery 2 0/3
mastery 3 0/1
mastery 4 0/1
mastery 1 0/3
mastery 2 0/1
mastery 3 0/3
mastery 4 0/1
mastery 1 0/1
mastery 2 0/1
mastery 3 0/3
mastery 4 0/2
mastery 1 0/1
mastery 2 0/3
mastery 2 0/1
0 Utility
21 Points in offense and 9 points in defense works really well in decently favorable or even lanes/matchups. Masteries like spell/blade weaving, executioner and dual-pen all work incredibly well with Garen's kit. You can crush most lanes with a 21/9 setup, where as 9/21 is noticeably weaker for actually winning lanes.

That said, if you get countered in lane, are just learning Garen, or simply want to be more of a front line tank than a bruiser-carry, 9/21 will work better for you.

Summoner Sets

Primary Set


Explanation:



Flash is a good general summoner spell, despite it having the longest cooldown of any summoner in the game it's quite useful. I think Flash is better if you're new to Garen, and its better for his lane phase in general. Flash -> Silencing someone can allow you to pick people off with bad positioning really easily, since they cant flash away after you've jumped onto them and silenced them. That said, the Ghost summoner spell is better on Garen outside of the lane phase in most respects and gives your team fight mobility a much needed boost. You can go with either option, and i'm setting flash as the default for general player friendlyness, but give ghost a chance when you feel like experimenting.



Ignite is a pretty straightforward spell. Damage over time, synergizes with Judgement, Ignite + Judgement at the same time will leave most enemy laners super low on hp allowing you to execute them with Demacian Justice quite easily. Garen wants to snowball lanes so this is a solid solid option.



Possible Substitutes





Ghost is really powerful on garen, seeing how you have to stay in range for his judgement to deal any damage, ghost gives you the ignore unit collision and movespeed to be mobile in team fights. Although ghost is slightly weaker in lane compared to flash, the overall advantages ghost gives is superior. Having 2 huge movespeed boosts makes you near impossible to catch and gives you pressure around the map. It's excellent for diving and although slightly less of a play maker, a lower cooldown and longer duration give more consistent results.



Exhaust is better for team fighting on garen, mostly since it helps you shut down people. It's pretty weak overall though for garen since it doesn't help him out directly and is more a team tool.



If you get counter picked really hard you can run this, also good for team plays. Garen can split push effectively too so feel free to grab this if you feel its warranted.

Item Builds

Starting Build(s)
Default Starting Build
3
Starting Items
health-potion3 OR cloth-armorhealth-potion5

First Back
health-potion5sight-ward


Core Items

Black Cleaver Core ninja-tabi OR mercurys-treads + giants-belt

Ghostblade Core ninja-tabi OR mercurys-treads + giants-belt




Standard Late Game

Black Cleaver Late Game ninja-tabi OR mercurys-treads +

Ghostblade Late Game ninja-tabi OR mercurys-treads + + ( OR OR OR OR )

Max Damage Garen
ninja-tabi OR mercurys-treads +





Situational Items to Consider
statikk-shivspirit-visagethornmailguardian-angellocket-of-the-iron-solaribanshees-veil
Final Build(s)
Standard Final Items

Skill Order

Player Level 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18
Perseverance
QDecisive Strike
WCourage
EJudgment
RDemacian Justice
Level 1.
Level 4.
Level 2-3 and 5
Level 6.

After that >>>.

Using 21/9 Garen it's advised to get judgement at level 2 and 3 so you can start trading with rank 2 judgement as soon as possible. If you're 9/21 Garen it's better to go courage (w) at level 2, and wait for level 4 to get rank 2 judgement and start trading then as you wont have enough damage with a 9/21 mastery setup to get as much out of judgement at level 3 and you'll lose trades without a point in courage.

Skills

Perseverance
Passive: Perseverance

If Garen has not taken damage from any source except minions in the last 9 seconds or affected by an enemy champion's abilities, he will start regenerating 0.4% of his maximum health per second.

Explanation:

Garen's passive is his lane sustain. It cancels the health regen if you take damage from the enemy but minions can hit you and you won't lose the regen. This makes freezing lanes at your tower super easy where as most other laners dont want to take the minion damage, you can eat it up without breaking a sweat. It also makes your trades better vs the enemy laner if they dont attack you when you jump on them, the minions will but you'll out-regen them regardless.


Decisive Strike
Q: Decisive Strike

Cooldown: 8
Cost: No cost

Active: Garen breaks free from all slows affecting him and gains 35% movement speed for a few seconds. Additionally, his next basic attack within 4.5 seconds will deal additional physical damage and will silence his target.

Total Physical Damage: 30 / 55 / 80 / 105 / 130 (+ 140% AD)
Movement Speed Duration: 1.5 / 2.25 / 3 / 3.75 / 4.5 seconds
Silence Duration: 1.5 / 1.75 / 2 / 2.25 / 2.5 seconds


Explanation:

Garens Q is his silence. Fantastic spell for shutting down casters or heavy ability users. Try to use this in lane as an initiator into your combo and in team fights use this on high priority targets to keep them from casting.

Alternatively you can use this to remove slows from jungler ganks or enemy lanes like Nasus. If a jungler comes at you with red buff, let them hit you to apply the slow then immediately hit Q to run away free of the slow and watch them scratch their heads.
Courage
W: Courage

Cooldown: 24 / 23 / 22 / 21 / 20
Cost: No cost
Duration: 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6

Passive: Garen's bonus armor and magic resistance are increased by 20%.

Active: Garen gains a defensive shield for a few seconds, reducing incoming damage by 30% and granting 30% crowd control reduction for the duration.



Explanation:

This is what makes garen so tanky. He gets free defensive stats for building defensive stats. It's a great great ability and timing it's use mid-fights can make or break winning trades. This ability has a decently high skill cap and will set good garens apart. Try to use it preemptively in fights to anticipate crowd control or burst damage, or use it when your silence runs out in lane so when the enemy laner retaliates they hit you with null damage.

Judgment
E: Judgment
Cooldown: 13 / 12 / 11 / 10 / 9
Cost: No cost

Physical Damage per Second: 20 / 45 / 70 / 95 / 120 (+ 70% / 80% / 90% / 100% / 110% AD)
Maximum Physical Damage (w/o crits): 60 / 135 / 210 / 285 / 360 (+ 210% / 240% / 270% / 300% / 330% AD)
Physical Damage per Second to Minions: 15 / 33.75 / 52.5 / 70.5 / 90 (+ 52.5% / 60% / 67.5% / 75% / 82.5% AD)

Active: Garen rapidly spins his sword around his body for 3 seconds, dealing physical damage to enemies within 165 range each second (minions and monsters take 75% damage). Judgment can critically strike dealing bonus damage.

Garen ignores unit collision while spinning, but moves 20% slower when traveling directly through minions. Garen can deactivate Judgment early by activating the ability again after 0.5 seconds.


Explanation:

Spin to Win. This skill needs no introduction. Just be careful when using it in the middle of creep waves as it clears waves really easily AND you lose movespeed when going through waves. Scales well with AD and Crit and ArPen so look to those stats if you want more damage.


Demacian Justice
R: Demacian Justice
Range: 400
Cooldown: 160 / 120 / 80
Cost: No cost

Base Magic Damage: 175 / 350 / 525
Additional Damage: 29% / 33% / 40% of target's missing health (deals 1 additional damage for every 3.5 / 3 / 2.5 health missing)

Active: Garen calls upon the might of Demacia to attempt to execute an enemy champion, dealing magic damage plus additional damage based on his target's missing health.


Explanation:

Garens signature execution. The main thing to note here is it does more damage the more health the enemy is missing, this makes it particularly powerful against the health meta as youll be doing more damage compared to season 2. It also deals magic damage so people who stack armor against you still have to fear this ability if they get low. Use this to pressure carries in fights OR finish off someone diving your carries to allow them to breathe and fight back effectively.

Champion Matchups

Aatrox
Difficulty
Favors Enemy
Aatrox can out sustain you if he's good, you dont have to die to him but I doubt you'll kill him either.
Akali
Difficulty
Favors You
Akali can keep your passive down but you can destroy her straight up. Try to bait her stealth and then go all in when it's down. When she hits level 6 she can be a little scary but only if she also has her stealth to compensate. Either way your spin still hurts her while stealthed so go to town if you think she's in range.
Alistar
Difficulty
Favors You
Just bully him out early, if he takes Teleport he's not even remotely a threat.
Chogath
Difficulty
Favors You
our silence and superior mobility forces him to take all your damage. You also can pop courage in response to his knock up which makes his counter-intiate ability near useless. He also gets lots of free health so your ult counters his free stat quite significantly.
Darius
Difficulty
Favors Enemy
Darius's bleed counters your regen and his disengage is stronger and he can punish you for your mistakes better than you can punish him. You do more later but early you have to be passive. If you can bait his decimate you can go in for a trade, otherwise just stay back.
Drmundo
Difficulty
Favors You
You can kill mundo if he screws up. When he pops his ult he cuts off some of his own HP, so use your ultimate right when he uses his (if he's below 40% hp when he pops it) and you''ll instantly justice his face off.
Fiora
Difficulty
Favors You
Bait her parry and Q -> E her. If you're unsure if you can bait it, use E + W into her face and if she pops parry during spin and wastes it out of panic Q her after and then disengage. Wait for level 4-5 to trade tho her level 1-3 is way better than yours.
Gangplank
Difficulty
Favors You
When he shoots you with parrley, just remove the slow with Q, and kill him. He can't stop you. Wait till level 4 of course but then its GG for GP.
Gragas
Difficulty
Favors You
Against gragas you can be aggressive level 1 if he takes his barrel. If he takes Drunken Rage level 1 then you dont want to trade against that, you'll lose. The main trick here is zone gragas out by contesting farm, when he casts Drunken Rage back up until the buff wears out (it only lasts like 3 seconds) after that he loses all his pressure against you since he can't win any trades without Drunken Rage, but on the flip side he can win them easily with it. Avoid that skill and you win this lane.
Irelia
Difficulty
Favors You
You can play really aggressive against irelia until she's level 4 or 5. At this point you'll need to bait her true damage steroid (makes a very noticeable ping/clang sound) and then back off until its out. When it's out you can go all in and kill her or hurt her a lot.
Jarvaniv
Difficulty
Favors Enemy
His early trades are a lot better than yours, honestly J4 can be quite hard. Wait for level 4-5 to start actively trading.
Jax
Difficulty
Favors You
He has no sustain and his dodge doesn't work on Decisive Strike or Judgement, you also can keep him from escaping with silence. You'll want to pop courage right before his stun goes off so that you don't stay stunned for long with the extra tenacity and also so the stun damage hurts you very little along with whatever retaliation Jax might attempt. After his base HP nerfs he's ez pz. Free win.
Jayce
Difficulty
Favors Enemy
You don't really have to die to jayce, pretty much ever. But for the same token he can harass you down and you more or less can't do anything to him. He doesn't have the same edge over you like some other ranged tops since his main damage is a skillshot that you can dodge, but he still has the 'lol im ranged xD' safety net which basically means all you can do here is farm.
Kayle
Difficulty
Favors Enemy
Can out maneuver. Ranged poke, GG.
Kennen
Difficulty
Favors Enemy
Hard CC, better mobility, ranged poke.
Khazix
Difficulty
Favors Enemy
KhaZix can out poke your passive if hes good and his bush camping might be stronger than yours due to his passive refresh. But you win straight up trades if he ever tries to get too close.
Leesin
Difficulty
Favors You
Don't catch his Q's repeatedly and this matchup is easy peasy. Silence and murder.
Lissandra
Difficulty
Favors Enemy
Ranged poke, multiple CC's, lots of safety. Go farm oriented here.
Lulu
Difficulty
Favors Enemy
Ranged poke can kite you, etc etc. Go farm oriented.
Malphite
Difficulty
Favors You
Surprisingly garen crushes malphite early. When he slows you pop your Q after to cancel the slow but ONLY IF you're going to be able to close to gap to kill him. Play really really aggressive and he's a sure kill at level 6. You're passives have about the same timer before taking affect so whoever can keep who's passive down while getting their's up wins the lane. This should be easy for you though since malphite goes OOM really fast.
Maokai
Difficulty
Favors You
Against maokai you can bully him level 1 but you'll need 2-3 ranks in spin to start zoning him out so wait for level 4-5 to start going ham. When you get level 6 be mindful of his ultimates damage reduction, you'll need to get maokai lower health than you might expect to be able to successfully execute him.
Nasus
Difficulty
Favors You
You counter nasus' only crowd control and your ultimate scales off his bonus health. Good matchup for garen overall, but be careful about wasting your decisive strike if the enemy jungle is near or Wither will rear its ugly head. If he rushes a ton of armor you need to rush a ton of armor pen or you will lose this matchup. Get a armor piece if his stacks are getting high.
Nidalee
Difficulty
Favors Enemy
Nidalee is OP wow who would've thought i hate this champion and ranged champs in general REMOVE GHOSTCRAWLER.
Olaf
Difficulty
Favors You
Olaf's true damage counters your free stats, but your straight up trade can be better depending how you play it. Just be mindful olaf's auto attacks do hurt and his refreshed axe can keep you close if hes winning, but if you hard engage after he misses an Axe you can win really easy.
Pantheon
Difficulty
Favors Enemy
Pantheon is a difficult lane, I haven't played it too many times but I know his passive will block decisive strikes damage, panth has the poke to keep your passive down and overall I'm just not sure how garen takes the lead without a jungle interference. I'm 100% positive if you get ahead you'll stay ahead but early stages can be rough. You'll outscale pantheon at least.
Poppy
Difficulty
Favors You
Poppy gets a lot of armor off her W skill and her passive makes her especially hard to kill, the main thing to keep in mind in this lane is poppy can take much more abuse than you might expect. Don't ult poppy until it 'feels' like your ult would be overkill, or combine it with ignite. Otherwise you'll blow the ult and get nothing. Don't towerdive her either unless shes out of mana or below 20% hp.
Renekton
Difficulty
Favors Enemy
Skill matchup. He who starts the trade first usually wins, but you can have a slight edge if you pop courage at the right time. Try to counter his stun with it as much as possible and you can spin even while stunned so if you think he will engage first pop spin preemptively. ALSO MAKE SURE TO E + W -> and Q AT THE END OF YOUR SPIN AND USE THE SILENCE + SPEED BOOST TO DISENGAGE. IF YOU Q -> E AND YOU CANT KILL HIM OUTRIGHT HE WILL CHASE YOU DOWN AND OUT TRADE YOU!
Rengar
Difficulty
Favors You
Rengar cant fight you straight up and if he jumps at you from the bushes just silence him and go all in. You win level 1-2, play passive at 3. Then at 4-5 you can be aggressive and all in him at level 6.
Riven
Difficulty
Favors You
Skill matchup, mostly requires you to get your silence off on her without her dashing away during the animation. If you do you kill her. If you don't you need to back up and wait for the silence again. At 6 your all in is better than hers.
Rumble
Difficulty
Favors Enemy
Not unwinable but he can keep your passive down super easy. You have to go all-in to beat rumble. If you get hit by his harpoon just back out cause he'll kite you. Hard lane but you can farm easily at least.
Ryze
Difficulty
Favors Enemy
Immune to you if he's good and will zone you out. Go farm oriented and get MR early.
Shen
Difficulty
Favors You
Shen's trades are weaker, he stacks health and he has no scaling MR/level, which means your ult deals full damage to him when you want it to. Shen does more for his team the later the game goes on but you can win 1v1 and out push him the whole game.
Shyvana
Difficulty
Favors You
Level 1 you win. Level 2-3 you lose. At level 4-5 your trades are just flat out better. Kill this wanna be top lane hoe with extreme prejudice.
Singed
Difficulty
Favors You
Wow proxy all day annoying no skill champ omg wtf i hate this character you cant win but you cant lose ultimate stalemate.
Swain
Difficulty
Favors Enemy
Ranged, poke, sustain, immune to you just farm or avoid.
Teemo
Difficulty
Favors Enemy
Same as all the other ranged champs immune to you but at least hes squishy so get a gank early and demaciate his ass.
Trundle
Difficulty
Favors You
Boring but you win.
Tryndamere
Difficulty
Favors Enemy
AD reduction and your silence doesn't really stop him from beating you up. You can win early if he makes a mistake but be weary of his early crit. Use your ultimate early since Trynds base HP is high so you will have more damage behind it than you might expect you can also catch him off guard or force a panic ult with an early cast of demacian justice.
Vladimir
Difficulty
Favors Enemy
Vlads a little bit easier to handle than most of the other ranged tops largely because he lacks mobility and CC which the other ranged champs tend to have one or the other. Still you have to be pretty careful. It's worth getting an extra point in Q early if you plan to be aggressive here.
Volibear
Difficulty
Favors You
Execute or be executed. Wait for level 4-5 to get crazy. Bring ignite for this matchup.
Wukong
Difficulty
Favors You
You can beat wukong if you silence him but he can out poke you. Skill matchup but slightly in garens favor.
Xinzhao
Difficulty
Favors You
Xin Zhao's level 1 is scarier but he has no disengage. Chill until level 4-5 then get aggressive. You can go all in and destroy him at level 6, especially if you push the lane a little and get 6 before he does so that he has no way to peel you off himself.
Yasuo
Difficulty
Favors You
The infinite dash samurai. He's easy to smash in lane but you need level 4-5 to do it. Silence him then murder him. Dive him at 6 if you want ez kills.
Yorick
Difficulty
Favors Enemy
Scary OP ghoul poke master.
Zed
Difficulty
Favors You
He's slippery when he gets his clone shadow thing, but you win straight up fights so hard it isn't even funny. Abuse his long cooldown and go in when his shadow thing is down, or zone him from creeps. When you're level 6 if you've poked him down some you can go all in for the kill. Save courage until he uses his ultimate and pop courage about 1 second after he presses his ult. This will reduce the ult damage by 30% letting your execute do the job and denying his.

Change Log

5/25/2013 - Guide content completed, releasing shortly.
5/27/2013 - Added some content before the guide goes featured to bring it up to par.
5/28/2013 - Guide is now featured so this is the first official release.
5/28/2013 - Added a garen game from High Elo to showcase exactly how well the things in this guide works.
5/30/2013 - added panth matchup and explanation for IE.
7/9/2013 - added section detailing livestream, etc
8/3/2013 - Updated builds to reflect a more current preference as well as updating item selections to reflect changes made to items such as bulwark, etc. Also added some matchups.
8/9/2013 - added another VOD
9/26/2013 - added a 'max realistic damage' build for people who want as much damage as is viable on Garen at one time.
10/1/2013 - some small changes to core builds
10/27/2013 - changes to some core items and initial backs, starting items and made 'core items' much more clear.
1/19/2014 - Updated to reflect season 4 changes and general build advances.
4/4/2014 - updated for season 4 rune balances and small tweaks to build/etc
6/11/2014 - Guide updated to be more accessible to the wider part of the player base. Standard runes/masteries/items have shifted in favor of the guide being more approachable and understandable for players of all skill levels. Garen Veterans or people seeking to push the boundaries and find new Garen build/playstyles will still find the same info as before, but it's simply no longer listed as the 'default' values for the sake of make the guide accessible to all skill levels.
7/12/2014 - Minor spelling/grammar/etc cleanup. VoD Section removed as I never maintained it and the video formatting was clunky. May revisit this in this future.
7/20/2014 - Added poppy and gragas to the matchups by request.
9/2/2014 - THE UPDATE IS HERE
9/26/2014 - updated itemization choices based on the garen passive buff.

Why Should I Pick Garen?

A Review of Garen and His Pro's and Con's

[http://i.imgur.com/UNDEP10.png]

Pro's

  • Super powerful snowball potential.
  • Crushes most melee top laners.
  • Resourceless, aka cooldowns only.
  • Shuts down casters quite well with silence, meaning he beats alot of ability based tops which are the strongest ones right now.
  • Tons of free stats for survivability. Built in tenacity and a mini-alistar ultimate.
  • Scales decently, about as well as most other early-game top lanes like Renekton or Darius.
  • Slow removal on demand.
  • Can 100-0 a lot of champions with a small lead.

Con's

  • Relatively predictable due to mostly Cut and paste combo.
  • Skill cap isn't super high, though not quite as low as people think. Mostly the skill floor is high so differentiating between okay Garens and great Garens leaves a little to be desired.
  • Really bad lane phase against ranged tops, meaning he cant really be first picked due to this glaring weakness.
  • Scales down offensively so having too much of the teams gold (aka taking too many kills in fights) can be bad the later the game goes on.
  • No hard gap closer and kind of meh on mobility.


Whats the main Incentive in Picking Garen?

Mostly his fun factor and snowball power. He has a really crushing power curve if he gets ahead even a little. He's super hard to kill while being a great AoE team fighter and provides enough utility from his silence to outshine other popular top lanes with a similar role (ala-darius,renek, etc). He's absolutely dominant against melee AP carries as well. You make fed dianas, katarinas and even cho gath types cry painful tears. He's fantastic against facecheckers so if your team clears enemy vision his power goes up immensely. Overall hes a fantastic pick in his niche, which actually is pretty wide but he's underplayed which leads to the perception he's weak.

Item Builds

Starting Items


Amazing start vs AD based top laners. Reduce incoming damage and regen for days.

Dorans blade is insanely risky on Garen since he can't sustain well with it due to not auto attacking much in trades and having a generally slow clunky auto that you cant use to keep up as well with other champs who auto-attack more effectively for dorans sustain. That said the 80 hp and 8 flat AD can work quite well in trying to all-in people early. This is a good pickup if you expect the enemy champ to be a low-sustain lane who would be susceptible to Garen's level 3-4 all-in.

This is a good pickup against a select few lanes, mostly auto-attackers who deal magic damage and just not physical. Champions that come to mind are things such as Jax and Teemo.

You can Take this set if you get counted picked by a range champion, to let you move in and out of range of CS quicker and have a few potions to sustain with.

Boot Options


You want the Magic Resist and Tenacity vs Double AP comps or an AP laner. The MR helps reduce their damage and most casters have some CC so the tenacity never goes to waste. Usually you want these late game no matter what unless you're against a 4-5 man full AD team.

Armor and auto attack reduction vs standard AD tops or fed AD Carries. Armor reduces incoming physical damage so it's pretty easy to see why this is so good. These are generally good in lane and are good against heavy AD comps. If the enemy has fed melee ad carries such as Tryndamere, Yasuo, or Master Yi these are good to have.

These don't provide that much compared to the other two options. You run a little faster and are harder to shut down with slows, but the magic resist/armor and the other passives the boots give are worth a lot of gold and are hard to give up.

Damage Options


Brutalizer is super ideal for an early damage item. Combined with flat ArPen runes and the Penetration masteries in 21 offense, it's a pretty good damage item on Garen in general and does work in team fights.

You can rush Ghostblade if really fed and combine it with Infinity Edge for insane early and mid game damage. You can also pair this with Black Cleaver for awesome combined flat penetration results. You can sub out statikk shiv for this instead against tankier teams (armor stacking).

Get last whisper if every one the enemy team is stacking armor or ultra late game when you need more damage.

Shiv is really good on garen since it makes your burst higher with the shiv proc, the movespeed is solid anti-kite power, the crit chance works with your abilities and if you're running 21 in offense masteries you'll have extra magic pen to keep the proc relevant. The main downside of this item is its build path leaves a bit to be desired for Garen but the completed item is great. Combined with Infinity Edge or other crit items and it becomes insane.

Infinity edge works well on Garen if you have arpen runes + 21 offense + and finished black cleaver. It's really insanely expensive though and the damage is amazing but you have to be really far ahead to make it.

This is actually a good choice on garen but its really expensive. Can be a late game item vs AP Comps.

Get this if you need Magic resist beyond merc treads as its the ideal MR item on garen, tanky damage, great shield, etc.

Defensive Items


Easily the best armor item in the game in my opinion. Get this as your core armor item. Rush wardens mail vs auto-attack lanes and upgrade to randuins after you have your core damage items. Use the active in team fights for anti-kite! Never skip this!

Not worth rushing anymore but you can still add this on late game if you need more armor and health, since the passive is technically better late game than it was before and it's still a cheap buy. If you're really behind you can get this + randuins early and delay your damage build till later.

Amazing armor item. Gives AD, Crit, and Armor. Garen's damage scales with AD and Crit, and he has high base health to make this give a lot of stats. Garen also makes the armor even more effective meaning atma's impaler is the go-to tank + damage in one item when you need more armor after randuins and also want damage.

Warmogs has a place on garen now after the passive buff, it's not necessarily the best general defensive item but more raw HP and the regen passive of its own basically makes your late game regen very high, its worth considering this item against teams with a lot of flat true damage, or if you think the game will go really late where you will be able to take advantage of garens new late game regen quite to good effect. You can tank poke for your team and heal it off incredibly fast with this and garens buffed passive after level 16.

Spirit visage is really good now on garen also because of his regen passive, it's more of a late game item than an early game item since the regen doesn't become truly relevant until level 16 but it does become very strong then. If you make a magic resist item late game, this is probably better than banshee's veil now against teams that aren't directly countered by spellshields.

This is the better magic resist item in the early/mid game if you rush an MR item to completion, its the better late game Magic resist item in the late game if a spell shield is unusually strong against the enemy team (think huge initiation CC's or 1 rotation burst combo reliant champions).

Fantastic Item on Garen, super powerful and makes his passive crazy efficient. Get this early against double AP comps.

Super powerful on garen, the resistances are even more efficient and the passive makes the unkillable monster a god.




DO NOT BUY

Pretty much useless. Low AD, health only for defense. You cant proc the passive during spin. super expensive. basically useless.

A Guide to Early Buying

Here's a quick guide to buying, in terms of what you should be looking at for each lane phase and mid game of most of your matches based on a few opening factors. Theirs two quick sets i'll cover, one for AP/Magic based damage teams/lanes and one for physical/AD based teams and lanes.


Physical Damage Top Laner/Physical Damage Comps

When you go against a physical damage top, usually the best opening choice is . This is because cloth armor is a cheap item that builds into many useful things that will give you extra staying power in lane. Garen also gets free armor from having armor so it boosts your W passive. The potions is for lane sustain so that you can lane longer and farm more creeps.

When looking at your first back, things are pretty standard. Winning buy : or losing buy : these are almost always the safest and most efficient first backs you can ask for. It takes about 1050-1150~ gold for that purchase, less if you dont need all 5 health pots such as having a few left over from when you went back or you're just so ahead in lane you think you dont need the sustain.

Over the course of the lane, you're going to be working towards nearly the same 3 first items every time. If you're winning the lane REALLY hard you should be rushing to continue to win the lane with increased damage and CDR. If you're going even then working towards the early buy of gives you a quick boost to armor, the ninja tabi passive and you get the extra mobility to be a little safer against jungler ganks so that you continue to either stay even or have a chance to pull ahead without someone else winning the lane for the enemy. If you're really behind or falling behind it may be ideal to rush towards your . This will give you the most survivability due to having more armor/hp than any other early buys. After you've finished one item you'll want to finish which ever two you didnt already make in order of necessity based on if you're ahead even or behind using the methodology above, fitting a last whisper in as soon as possible. You want boots 2 + brut/Shiv/randuins as your core items.

Just be aware that making an early is a good idea if you aren't sure what to build and in general its a good item to have early on garen since he has no hard gap closer. Just fit it in when you can.

Magic Based Damage Lane/Magic Based Damage Comps

Against AP laners you'll want a little different of a start. You'll need to go for boots + pots or doran shield + pot instead since cloth armor doesn't offer much against AP laners. The extra regen on the rejuv bead will count for a lot more and it also opens you up to having a ward early.

You're first buys stay the same.

For your first item completions you'll either want to make to soak up damage and make you harder to burst down and increase your passives power, or you'll want to open for the safety mobility and extra magic resist/tenacity to make you safer to being all-in'd by an enemy laner if you can't kill them or are staying even. If you're behind work finish both before tryign to complete your brutalizer -> randuins.


However I would recommend, as before, at least making the before working towards a second item (and in some cases before finishing your first) if you need the mobility from basic boots which you usually do as garen.

Early Game

Early game is all about getting aggressive at level 1 where possible, your decisive strike silence + damage makes it really easy to engage on someone and back out. When they go for a CS auto-attack them and hit Q immediately, it'll refresh the AA. You'll land a strike, they're silence and you got the movespeed, back out and you're up 150+ damage easily.

Play passive from 2-3 unless they make a really derpy move, you don't want to use level 1 judgement at all though since it does almost zero damage and pushes the lane really hard. You can get aggressive at 4 and try to force all the engages you can.

At level 5 you want to be hyper aggressive and even pushing the lane a little, if you do it right you can kill most people under tower by trading with them, winning the trade, push to tower right before 6, hit level 6 before them, ghost+Q+ignite+spin+ult = first blood every time if you do it just right. If you have to die 1 for 1, it's worth if theres 2-3 creep waves at their tower. Even if you didnt get FB you'd have such a huge XP advantage it wouldn't matter.

After level 7 just repeat the early lane phase aggression as you get an opening. Push and force them to be scared when you get the around 50-60%. You can full combo anyone at that health level super easily, and with ignite you can go all in if they're 65-75%. Just remember to ignite the same time you judgement to make sure their HP is as low as possible before you ult. Ult-> ignite is way less efficient because it scale off missing HP.

Mid Game

Garen excells at bullying people 1 on 1 and clears waves really well. You don't have to split push per say, but you should be pushing down towers as hard as possible. Your damage scales down the longer the game goes on so you want to make as much happen and give your team a lead as early on as possible. Farm, push towers, take dragon, ward up and be aggressive. Do whatever you can to keep the lead and continue to build on it.

As for items, try to build what your team needs. Get aura items if you nee daura items. Build damage if you're carrying the team. Don't be afraid to shell out for some wards. You should have plenty of gold to spend from pushing down all the lanes. Judgement creep farm is OP.

Late Game

Late game you become the front man. Your role in the lategame here is usually just pressure, be at the front line, try to scare the enemy from engaging favorable engages. You want to just be a wall, on one side is your team and the other side is a team who is going to lose the game. Make them claustrophobic, move the wall closer and closer to them. Don't give them any room to breath and show no cracks in the surface.

You lose some of the objective pressure here as you push slower than other champs at this stage, and your damage has fallen off as well. Your main usefulness here is how you set team up to make plays, due to Garens low mobility this can be hard but your Silence makes any catch a great catch, try to keep wards out and abuse the enemys lack of vision to win the game. Position yourself strategically to make anyone think twice about contesting your team.

Team Fights

In team fights you can have 3 major roles. These are Peeler, Front Man and Diver. I'll break these down below.

Peeler

This is what garen excells at most the later the game goes on. The idea here is you're a huge threat to squishy or solo targets, and you have great utility for peeling with your silence. Most people who dive your team will be ability-based ap carries or assassin types. You can use your silence to prevent their casting and position yourself between the assailant and your carry to stop them from doing anything. This is the best way to play Garen if the enemy has a fed assassin type or if its super late game.


Front Man

The main idea when being a 'front man' is being a damage sponge and throwing out abilities on close ideal targets. The main thing to do here is use courage properly to prevent taking too much burst, try to silence important enemy front men so they cant drop all their CC or engage combos and use your ultimate to finish off key targets near the front of the fight. Tearing down their wall before yours drops is a great way to win a team fight really hard if they aren't a huge diving team and you have no way to access their back line. This is the least efficient way to play garen overall but luckily its the least common of the 3 types.


Diver

When being a diver, you're essentially trying to 100-0 someone important. Garen 100% has the damage to do so, his only challange is getting into range. Without a hard gap closer this isn't always the most viable strategy. Generally this only works if you have your ghost/flash up OR if the enemy carries are slow or immobile, or your team has a way to help you get where you need to be. This is the most fun way to play garen and generally the best way to end the game if you're ahead as Garen but due to the obvious difficulty of having to 'walk into melee range' makes this significantly harder but very rewarding when you manage.

Final Comments

Thanks for checking out my Garen guide. It's been heavily requested for a long time and i've finally gotten around to finishing it. Leave feedback below if you're interested and i'll be adding content and updating this guide over time just like my other guides. I'll answer any questions as best I can. You can add me in-game at MarineRevenge or watch me on twitch.tv/marinerevenge.

Cheers!

Comments

yesterday #1

Hey man, the issue with 9/21 and flat armor seals is it just takes away from Garens late game and the offensive power style I prefer to play him in. I wouldn't recommend using that combination of stuff to anyone who wasn't a beginner garen player, since I think it really takes away from the impact you can have on the game.

2 days ago #2

Hey I found Pantheon to be manageable with flat armor seals/quints and 9/21 mastery. His level 1-4 poke doesn't even dent the health bar which is his medium for zoning you out.

With that kit I just go aggressive spinning on him and he can't stop it.

December 6, 2014 - 04:47 PM #3

I take back that last post, it is better to buy boots early but sell em late game.

I wanted to present a case for hybrid pen runes. You can see in these screenshots that my magic damage was actually higher than physical with slight modification of your preferred build, and carried the team to victory.

http://imgur.com/rCU2OHH
http://imgur.com/HDBIwyd


December 1, 2014 - 06:12 AM #4

So I finally made it to diamond on the Philippine Server playing garen only (dodge when banned) and have some suggestions you might find fun to try on the latest patch.

It seems that getting ahead in lane now doesn't secure your team's dominance due to bulkier base defenses and the dragon buff variable, so most games are going into late game.

I think the best way to approach this is to skip buying boots in order to opt for tankier items long-run.

So I take speed quints, and on my first back get zeal (if neutral), avarice blade (if winning), chain mail (if losing). Ultimately getting static shiv as the first item completion, followed by brutalizer, and then 4 heavy tank items.

I think this gives just the right amount of movement speed to strut like a pimp into battle, absorb hella damage and still destroy anything that gets close enough.

November 25, 2014 - 04:47 AM #5

The latest patch feels pretty awkward. Do you think it is better to get thornmail now before or instead of Randuin's due to the chainmail path, which is more key in obtaining early than 2 cloth armors?

November 23, 2014 - 09:35 PM #6

Hey guys, i'll update the guide soon.. thanks for the continued feedback and support. It'll be a few more days at least before i'm comfortable giving a set path on some of these things.

November 22, 2014 - 11:00 PM #7

Thx for the guide bro, i haven't enjoyed Garen that much before.

http://matchhistory.euw.leagueoflegends.com/fr/#match-details/EUW1/1835866447/23575217?tab=overview

Before this match, my brother was tellin me, why Garen top, he's not dealin much dmg take rengar or whatever ...

November 22, 2014 - 02:26 PM #8

Thx for the guide bro, i haven't enjoyed Garen that much before.

http://matchhistory.euw.leagueoflegends.com/fr/#match-details/EUW1/1835866447/23575217?tab=overview

Before this match, my brother was tellin me, why Garen top, he's not dealin much dmg take rengar or whatever ...

November 22, 2014 - 09:04 AM #9

Hey soon when you can and are acquainted with the new pre season, could you update your item builds, and your thoughts on the changes. Currently I'm excelling at lanning and for the most part wining my lane, but when i enter mid to late, i am not sure how to go about it with the new items. I loved atmas, but now thats gone, what would be a good replacement for that. I tend to lose games, even when i go 8 an 0 early because i am not sure how to optimize for the enemy and help my team carry.

November 18, 2014 - 10:23 AM #10

Hey bro thought I should share with you, I actually found Yorick and Teemo to be pretty easy matchups.

Yorick's ghouls stop chasing if you enter the bushes, which forces him to enter the bush with you (exposing himself to full combo), or ward the bushes (exposing him to early gank).

I'm consistently able to beat Teemo by getting boots of swiftness first item and going after him right when he pushes me to turret.
If Teemo tries to counter with boots of swiftness as well, I get alacrity, then zeal if needed.

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