IntroductionGaren is lane dominant especially bottom lane when you have a strong support with you. He is extremely strong early game with strong supports like Taric, Janna, Blitz, etc. While you should be dominating your lane with Garen and being able to deny the opposing side, that makes easy dragon control for the future.
Garen isn't always a viable pick, because he could be easily kited and he won't do much to heavy tanky teams, just mostly against squishies and especially mages (explained later).
I like to build Garen to his fullest potential for the early game because thats where he usually shines most. I go 21 into offense and 9 into defensive for nimbleness. With these masteries combined with everything else, you should be able to destroy bottom lane early (as early as level 2 with ignite/flash!).
Skip the ignite mastery because Garen benefits nothing from ability power but does benefit from Magic Penetration (his Ultimate does magic damage, but does no scaling from AP).
Pretty basic. x9 MR/lvl glyphs for resistance in late game (after level 6~). Flat armor seals for more beef in early game laning, ex.: you can tank creeps without taking too much damage when you use judgement bottom lane. Flat armor pen marks and quints for just massive damage from Q and E. This runeset is built for strong early game as well as resistance to magic late game.
Get ignite because it can almost always guarantee you a kill combined with your combo abilities.
Flash is almost a must on Garen, especially for guaranteed surprise kills bottom lane in the early game phase. Just sit in a brush, flash onto the target and unleash everything on them (combine with ex.: Taric stun for more effectiveness).
You don't need Ghost because Garen's Q provides well enough movement speed. Also in later game, you'll most likely get Force of Nature and that provides speed as well to cope as well as Youmouu's Ghostblade.
Garen will regenerate 0.5% of his maximum health per second after not receiving damage for 7 seconds.
This passive is a great for lane sustainability. Once you get poked too much or take too much damage in lane, you can just sit in the brush or wait at the tower (while getting XP) until you become healthy again. It cancels upon taking damage, so much sure you're away from the enemy and minions when trying to heal from this passive.
Q: Decisive Strike
Garen gains a 15 / 20 / 25 / 30 / 35% speed boost for 3 seconds. His next attack deals 150% of his base damage plus 30 / 45 / 60 / 75 / 90 bonus damage and silences his target for 2.5 seconds.
Cooldown 12 / 11 / 10 / 9 / 8seconds
This ability is very strong at level 1, especially with all of that armor penetration and damage from runes and masteries. Get this move first, because it is a lot more helpful than E at level one by far. This ability silences, so if you want to catch a squishy mage (ex.: Malzahar) make sure you pull off a Q on him before you E so then he cannot run away for stun you.
-You can use this abilitiy to run back to lane faster.
-Use this ability to escape a gank.
-Use this move before flashing onto an enemy for an instant silence.
-Don't make the mistake of using E before Q because they can flash away.
Passive: Garen's armor and magic resist are permanently increased by 0.5 every time he kills an enemy unit. This bonus is maxed at 5 / 10 / 15 / 20 / 25.
Active: Garen places a defensive shield on himself for the next 3 seconds, decreasing all damage taken by 20 / 24 / 28 / 32 / 36%.
Cooldown 30 / 27 / 24 / 21 / 18 seconds
I consider this move a little something extra for Garen's toughness. When diving the enemy team or clearing a huge creep wave, use W to decrease damage for a certain percentage. The active on this ability isn't based off armor or magic resistance, so ALL damage is decreased by 20/24/28/32/36.
-Use this ability when a turret is about to hit you for a decent amount of damage reduction.
-Long cooldown, so don't spam it too much.
-Tanking the enemy team with this ability active will make a big difference to your survivability.
Garen rapidly spins his sword around his body for 3 seconds, reducing the duration of slows by 50% and dealing 60 / 100 / 140 / 180 / 220 (+) physical damage to nearby enemies every 1 seconds. Garen removes any slow effects on him at the start of the dance.
The bonus damage is further increased by Garen's critical strike chance. Damage to minions is reduced by 50%.
Cooldown 14 / 13 / 12 / 11 / 10 seconds
This ability is what Garen is most known for. "Spin to win" which is correct. This ability does a decent amount of damage overtime and is further increased with AD, Armor penetration, and Critical strike chance. This Ability is strong early game starting at level 2 Judgement. This move creates so much terror when combined jumping onto the enemy team.
-Use Judgement right after silencing them with your Q so they can't flash away.
-This ability can be used defensively like lowering CC time when used (great for running away from immobilizes or slows).
-Great for farming creeps.
-Get some critical strike items (like Youmouu's Ghostblade and Atma's Impaler) to strengthen this ability.
-Can be cancelled after the global cooldown (ex.: To use Garen's Ultimate on the enemy faster).
R: Demacian Justice
Garen calls upon the might of Demacia to attempt to execute an enemy champion, dealing 175 / 350 / 525 damage plus 1 damage for every 3.5 / 3 / 2.5 health they are missing.
Cooldown 140 / 120 / 100 / 0seconds
After Garen's full combo, it is topped off with Garen's Ultimate if they are low enough. It is hard to tell when the perfect time to use this is, because it isn't based off flat amounts like Cho'gath's R. You just have to guess if they are low enough (usually 20%~) because it is affected by the enemy's magic resistance. It's hard to tell sometimes unless they are extremely low. Get Archaic Knowledge in the offensive tree because it helps with this.
-Not an instant ability (1~ second) but should usually ensure a kill.
-Try not using this ability too early as you will lose a lot of its potential damage by doing so.
-Magic penetration and magic resistance is affected.
Decisive Strike does massive damage at level 1 because of its base damage and the extra armor pen and damage, so definitely get this move first. Prioritize Judgement as it is Garen's main source of damage (people will run from you). Stack Decisive strike next for more damage, or stack Courage for more survivability. And obviously get R whenever it is up.
Get Doran's Blade generally for bottom lane or solo lane depending on who you go against. For solo lane, get Doran's Shield if you're going against a high damage AD solo lane for sustainability. But for the most part, get Doran's Blade because it adds onto his early level damage significantly.
Get a few more Doran's Blades (2 at least, or 3 if thats all you can afford at the time) mainly for the extra HP for sustaining the lane. Then when you're ready do some real damage, get The Brutalizer when you can afford (try to get as early as possible). Atma's Impaler is a great item for almost any bruiser, especially Garen because of the critical strike, armor, and extra damage based of HP.
Good Items vs AD:
Good Items vs AP:
Other Viable Items:
Kind of self explanatory. If they have heavier AD, work into more armor items. If they have heavier AP, work into more MR items (Force of Nature comes to mind).