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

by MarineRevenge (last updated 1 week ago)

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9
Greater Mark of Attack Damage(8.55 attack damage)
9
Greater Seal of Scaling Armor(27 armor at champion level 18)
9
Greater Glyph of Scaling Magic Resist(27 Magic resistance 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 1/1
mastery 1 0/1
mastery 2 3/3
mastery 3 0/3
mastery 3 1/1
mastery 1 1/1
mastery 2 1/1
mastery 3 0/1
mastery 3 3/3
mastery 1 1/1
mastery 2 0/3
mastery 3 0/3
mastery 4 1/1
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 good AoE damage, 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 D1+ and I have been rated the best Garen Player in North America at multiple points, as seen here :







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

Flat Attack Damage Marks(9): I used to prefer ArPen here, because you Generally ran around with more AD and Less ArPen, but with the changes to Cleaver you're losing out on some AD and ArPen is more plentiful, due to the itemization changes i've decided swapping out the ArPen marks for flat AD gives you a better net total damage output, especially considering how much emphasis there is on HP in the cinderhulk meta meaning too much arpen loses its value, so i've rebalanced the rune choices around the evolving state of the game.

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 you're 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 1/1
mastery 1 0/1
mastery 2 3/3
mastery 3 0/3
mastery 3 1/1
mastery 1 1/1
mastery 2 1/1
mastery 3 0/1
mastery 3 3/3
mastery 1 1/1
mastery 2 0/3
mastery 3 0/3
mastery 4 1/1
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 emphasizes Garens strong potential to all in and kill single targets, you also benefit greatly from things like Dangerous Game which will heal you for a sizable amount upon receiving a kill/assist which matters a lot in top lane brawls. You also enjoy things like Hybrid Pen and Execute bonuses which work well with your kit, but especially your ultimate. 9 Points in defense secures you nice flat bonuses and two bonuses for you to scale into (%HP and %Ar/Mr bonus) quite well because of Garens general kit and base stats. Please remember to ALWAYS take legendary armor over the recovery mastery under the defense tree on Garen. It scales off your W bonus, and vice versa making it the obvious choice.

For lesser experienced Garen players, 9/21 is a good way to go while you are still learning how to play him.

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 my GO TO secondary summoner spell even in the teleport meta because of how much raw kill potential you have with this spell. Not only does the ignite damage help significantly, but every point of damage ignite deals boosts your ult damage at the end of the rotation due to the missing flat health scaling on your ultimate. I don't think Garen is good without ignite since you want to snowball and have kill pressure on your opponent.



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. Let me make it known however that I dont think outside of competitive play, taking TP isn't really necessary. Garen is a snowball oriented melee top laner so taking ignite is generally the better choice unless you really need the lane recovery or split pressure.

Item Builds

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

First Back
health-potion5sight-ward





There are lots of different Garen builds possible because of how many different stats he can scale with effectively, i will list some common core setups and then multiple end-game setups and you can choose how you want to build into Garen based on playstyle and how the game is going.

Core Items

Cleaver Into Tank Core
ninja-tabi OR mercurys-treads +

Crit Core
ninja-tabi OR mercurys-treads +

High ArPen Core
ninja-tabi OR mercurys-treads +

Hexdrinker Core
ninja-tabi OR mercurys-treads +

Sunfire Core
ninja-tabi OR mercurys-treads +



Example Final Builds :

Balanced DPS/Tank Garen
ninja-tabi OR mercurys-treads +

Black Cleaver Tank Garen
ninja-tabi OR mercurys-treads +

Crit Garen
ninja-tabi OR mercurys-treads + + ( OR )

Triforce Garen
ninja-tabi OR mercurys-treads +

Vs Heavy AD Garen
ninja-tabi

Vs Heavy AP Garen
mercurys-treads



Situational Items to Consider
Almost all items in this build are situational based on how the game is going and how you want to spend your gold.
Final Build(s)
Standard Final Items
This is just a general all-purpose build that can be used with great success in most games, but you'll find more success as you tailor the build specifically to your playstyle and based on the pace of the game. Some example end game builds that I use are shown for points of reference at what viable 6 item slot builds can look like.

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. Courage also scales off your 21 defense masteries, so you get more out of courage early than you do Judgement.

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.

Late game this passive turns into a monster regen allowing you to tank turrets, poke damage or other types of damage and then retreat to heal the damage off. Garen's an excellent front line siege hero when utilizing this passive in the late game.


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. Ignite is mandatory if you want any potential to snowball. Try to blow his passive with Q+E+Ignite and then ult him after he revives.
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. He goes oom quickly too.
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. Be careful of not taking too much damage early especially from his E poke however, you cant win if you get low pre-6.
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. Try opening trades up with E+W and use Q to silence and disengage, committing with Q will leave you open to an all in if you start losing the trade.
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 kill him. If hes patient you wont get much kill pressure on him though but you outscale him defensively if you choose to build tanky.
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. Mind his orange healing mid-combo so you dont ult too early.
Gnar
Difficulty
Favors Enemy
Gnar is a pretty difficult matchup in general, you really can't do anything to him in lane phase while he's in ranged mode. The best thing I can suggest is starting boots, playing passive, and at level 6 right when he starts to come out of mega-gnar (switching from melee back to ranged) you can run up to him while he's still melee and right when he switches back you can do your full combo on him with ignite and can probably kill him with your ultimate. This will probably only work once if he's smart and there aren't many other opportunities for you to kill him. Get jungler help and play back.
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. You can start trades using E+W rather than opening with Q because Q is so telegraphed most Riven players can react with E quickly enough but they cant E the full damage of spin and will usually only mitigate 1 or 2 ticks, you can end spin when ready to use Q and disengage or simply use the whole spin duration and then Q and disengage after. If you think you can kill her, AA->Q->Ignite->Ult at the end of your spin, she will take some extra burst from AA+Q combo and ignite + ult should finish her off while shes silenced if you got her low enough properly before hand. If she ever hits 6 before you PLAY CAREFULLY until you hit 6 yourself. Dont waste Q into her shield. Ninja tabi helps a lot early in this matchup, i tend to get 1 or 2 longswords and pair it with tabi after.
Rumble
Difficulty
Favors Enemy
Not unwinnable 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 early at least. You lose pre-6 but if you rush hexdrinker and merc treads you can start man fighting him over and over and solo kill him easily.
Ryze
Difficulty
Favors Enemy
Immune to you if he's good and will zone you out. Go farm oriented and get MR early. Items like hexdrinker and mercs work well here.
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. He wins levels 2-4 though so be careful for taking too much free damage here. I like to take W in this matchup at level 2 and wait for level 5 to fight.
Shyvana
Difficulty
Favors You
You can trade against shyvanna fairly well at level 1, but at level 2 and 3 you're kind of at a disadvantage if she lands her E on you. Once you're level 4 and 5 you should be able to win straight up trades pretty easy but dont stick around after your abilities are on cooldown. Try to kill her 6 if you brought ignite and she didnt.
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.
Sion
Difficulty
Favors Enemy
Sion can be a tough cookie to crack, i don't think you should die to him unless you play really carelessly. If he lands his E on you he will probably try to follow up with a Q, so you need to use decisive strike (your q) to remove the slow from E and either silence him before he knocks you up, or get out of the Q aoe. If you do that you can avoid most of his damage output.

When you try to trade with Sion, abuse your ignore unit collision granted from your E, this will allow you to move "underneath" sion and behind him while he charges his Q. You can also use your silence to stop him from popping his W and then burn through his shield with your spin and then just run around him in unpredictable ways so he cant line up his Q. If he lands an E on you and your Q is on cooldown, be ready to use W if he lines a knockup on you to reduce the amount of burst you will take (his Q hurts alot if he lands a charged one).

The later this matchup goes the harder it is to win because of how raw-tanky he gets so consider Armor Pen items against him.
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. This is one matchup where going 14-16 for crit reduction can help a lot early on.
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 where 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.
5/28/2013 - Guide is now featured so this is the first official release.
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.
9/26/2014 - updated itemization choices based on the garen passive buff.
1/26/2015 - Small Update for Season 5.
3/12/2015 - Updated for general matchup tweaks and some general improvements to the guides look and readability.
4/13/2015 - edited out some non-relevant info and added a little bit of explanation to various sections.
4/27/2015 - updated matchups and title
5/15/2015 - update to reflect the cleaver addition to the game and the changes it brings to the table

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 just flat out bad on Garen, he doesnt utilize the lifesteal and cloth 5 or longsword 3-4 pots both give him way more sustain and trading potential overall. Please dont buy these.

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


You want to still make brutalizer if you want to win your lane, the early AD, armor pen and CDR for the price gives you a substantial boost to your early game as Garen and its far more efficient damage-wise than an early phage. Skip brutalizer if you think you cant win your lane (bad matchup) or if you dont want a ghostblade in your build later on. Be sure to grab this and upgrade it into ghostblade when you plan to get an Infinity Edge, need on-demand burst movement speed, or want some extra flat arpen/ad/crit to boost your dps.

Last whisper still has a place on Garen, but i think in general Black Cleaver should come before Last Whisper, but if you already have cleaver and brutalizer and you still need more ArPen then you can throw in Last Whisper and stack triple sources of arpen when necessary, otherwise i'd skip LW for another option like Infinity Edge, Maw, Triforce.

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. I would mostly build Shiv if you're getting Infinity Edge since those two work well together, but skip over it if you're stacking penetration instead. Also works well with Trinity Force for double on-hit procs, maxing out your upfront burst damage and provides lots of anti kite but that build falls off late game if you dont snowball fast.

Infinity edge works well on Garen in general, allowing his Q to half-health carries if it crits and works really well with other crit items like Ghostblade or Shiv. Very expensive and the ultimate snowball item but provides no tankyness, utility or other non-damage stats so you really have to be winning to make this.

This is actually a good choice on garen but its really expensive. Can be a late game item vs AP Comps with 1 or 2 core CC's you want to circumvent. Counter champs like Lissandra etc with this choice.

If you get Black Cleaver which now provides 400 Hp, you can get Maw instead of Spirit Visage if you need damage since Maw will provide the MR you need, Cleaver covers your Health and CDR allowing you to opt for more flat AD through maw, plus you still get the spell shield. In general I think spirit visage is outclassed now by Maw if you already have Cleaver, but there may be some instances where you still want SV like against a particularly troublesome AP assassin or heavy AP comps or similar.

Defensive Items


Easily the best armor item in the game in my opinion. Get this as your core armor item. Get 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!

Generally Not worth rushing unless you're vs really heavy AD comps or looking to go full tank, 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 + other tank stats early and delay your damage build till later.

Warmogs has a place on Garen now after the passive buff, but its not a good late game item usually because its flat out slot-inefficient. Its cheap though and provides good mid game power so you can rush this after brutalizer + sunfire cape or something for a really bulky mid-game focused tank build, but the later the game goes on the less useful this item becomes. Seeing as it adds no Armor or MR it also is outclassed by similar HP focused items like Righteous Glory. Best reserved vs teams too heavy in one damage type so you can let boots and one other defensive item provide the resistances you need shoring up this items core weakness.

Spirit visage is really good on Garen as a general item if you need magic resist, CDR or health. It's also got good synergy with his passive and boosts its power from level 16 on relatively decently. However I think with the changes to Black Cleaver you can get your CDR/HP from that item, and swap in Maw for Spirit Visage's space instead, allowing you to keep your MR, but boost your AD even higher, and then you also get the maw shield to fall back on - an overall boost of power in my opinion.

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). If you have cleaver and want a dedicated MR item, this might be the better option over visage now so you don't waste stats like CDR.

Works well as your core MR item against teams with lots of AOE magic damage, might be worth making if your team cant get it early enough. Locket provides cooldown and okay stats in general so you can swap out spirit visage for this.

Works well if you need a little magic resistance, but also need more armor, can replace the slot used for spirit visage.






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

BEFORE READING ON, IT'S WORTH NOTING THAT THIS INFORMATION IS ONLY RELEVANT IF YOU INTEND TO MAKE BRUTALIZER AND GO FOR A LANE-WINNING STRATEGY. PASSIVE LANERS OR CLEAVER RUSHERS SHOULD DEFAULT TO PERSONAL PREFERENCE FOR EARLY ITEMIZATION

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. Alternatively you can start with a and potions against lanes who you think are easy to fight.

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 2 first core 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 you didnt already make in order of necessity based on if you're ahead even or behind using the methodology above. After you have your core items you have to decide if you want to go more damage oriented or tank, and this is based on the pace of the game and what the enemys composition is made up of.

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 and potions or doran shield + pot instead since cloth armor doesn't offer much against AP laners.

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 with and turn it into items like for damage and the shield or for the safety via mobility and 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 really behind or against a really hard lane like rumble, its good to get mercs AND hexdrinker.


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

40 minutes ago #1

@monkthemad1 I would say if you are so far ahead that you are getting a double-kill every time their jungler is trying to save top lane, go right into shiv/ie

12 hours ago #2

Hi MarineRevenge, I'm curious about when you would choose the crit build.
I assume vs a squishy team, but:
- You give up 60 AD (more when lower health), and a bunch of armor shred (plus movespeed on hit) in exchange for some constant movespeed, attack speed, a decent bit of crit, and some burst (assuming you build shiv).

When do you generally do this?

23 hours ago #3

Ok I will experiment, I was going off your advice here in Randuins Omen: "Get wardens mail vs auto-attack lanes and upgrade to randuins after you have your core damage items."

I thought that meant get wardens mail first item lol.

yesterday #4

I guess the endgame builds aren't necessarily bad, but i don't know that itemizing a wardens mail as your first back is really worth it since your losing bot lane is on the other side of the map.. maybe hold off on those early resistance items until you're actually going to get some use out of it. I also think GA is highly situational, making it a core item isn't smart. GA costs almost 3k and you can have a much stronger dedicated defense item to the largest threats on the enemy team by investing into something like SV/Banshees/Thornmail/Randuins/etc. GA would be better on a garen build that only uses 1 slot for defense, 4 for offense (or hybrid off/def items like maw/cleaver) and 1 for boots.

3 days ago #5

So I put together this build order that helps me be sufficiently prepared mid-game for an overfed enemy bot or midlane.

Vs. AD lane: Wardens mail - > boots -> brutalizer -> Black cleaver -> guardian angel - > randuins -> youmuus -> hex drinker

Vs AP lane: hex drinker -> boots - > black cleaver - > guardian angel - > randuins - > Maw -> optional

What do you think?

6 days ago #6

Yeah I guess it doesn't stack, the idiots in Diamond 5 still think it does apparently. Now I realize that the elo hell just doesn't stop.

7 days ago #7

Not sure where you heard it stacks with sunfire, they absolutely do not stack. Also if you're going to give up ignite for a spell you should be taking a utility spell like TP/Exh/Ghost. Garen isn't really a great smite user in general and why would you want to give up lane pressure for a summoner that does absolutely nothing early? Garen needs early power through ignite, or you should at the very least be playing team oriented with tp. Smite is a selfish summoner, but its a worse selfish summoner than ignite. Ignite will literally always be Garens ideal selfish summoner because of how useful ignite is during your combo. Smite aint got shit on nobody for garen man.

7 days ago #8

Hey what do you think about ditching ignite and taking smite for cinderhulk? I hear it stacks with sunfire which sounds pretty nifty.

May 19, 2015 - 04:02 AM #9

Ok I'll try giving up the ghostblade late game. I was feeling like I couldn't damage their tanks at all even with 4 weapons, and their ad/ap could kill me just as fast as I could them, and at disadvantage since they get the initial volley, so I was just using the ghostblade proc to get at the right place in the final battle.

May 18, 2015 - 11:25 PM #10

I genuinely think giving up boots is never an option for Garen. That said, if you didnt make infinity edge then ghostblade will be the least important damage item you have and you can opt to sell that for a defensive options. If you have IE, then you should probably consider selling something else based on how much armor they have.

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