Garen is a powerful anti AP bruiser with the recent rework and large amount of ap tops being played in the current meta. I thought it was a good time to write a guide on how to play this juggernaut of a top lane. I've played Garen for a long time and I believe my insight could be very useful. My hopes is that this guides improves your gameplay.
Every intro's better with a pro and cons list right? OF COURSE IT IS.
- Tanky (Durable with decent damage)
- Strong vs AP
- Gets free armor and magic resist
- Strong vs cc (Crowd control aka stuns, silences and slows)
- Deals a good amount of damage
- Easily kitable if one isn't careful
- Lacks a gap closer to jump champions
- Ult deals magic damage instead of physical
- Slightly longer cool downs than you would want
- Loses hard to ranged ad champions
Why pick Garen?
is insanely strong for shutting AP bruisers:
And passive lanes:
Down to the ground without changing ones team comp too much.
However is far from perfect he's weak to a lot of ranged lanes:
But I find that his strength's outweigh his weakness's. I find that if used as a counterpick or is uncountered one can faceroll with top.
What the rework did for Garen?The rework was aimed at changing 's late game at the cost of his early game power. What this did to was turn him into a hyper bruiser on par with . Basically the rework took out the problems with 's late game scaling and made it so he scales off of level far better then before. This translates into being powerful during lane, roaming and team fights with enough items. To give you a simple idea on how the rework buffed him, You can now use him late game without worrying about snowballing as long as you properly farm. If you want a bit more detail....
- Has more reliable answers to kiting (can just use instead of wasting )
- Much better vs crowd heavy teams ( gives tenacity)
- Can deal a lot more damage
- Great critical damage now ( explained in skills section)
- Can reliably lane ranged/kite heavy champs now i.e
- Can tank a lot of damage for a longer period of time.
This essentially means 's a much stronger bruiser then he was pre rework.
MasteriesI choose 9/21/0 because defense is the best choice one can make for a bruiser as of season 3. The combination of resistances, tenacity, bonus HP armor and magic resistance and the % damage reduction easily makes defense the best choice for bruisers and junglers. As of now I don't see a stronger mastery page.
RunesBasically there's 2 sets of runes you'll want to run in the current meta.
VS triple AD or tank top
- X9 Armor Pen Marks
- X9 Armor Seals
- X9 Magic Resist per lvl
- X3 Armor Pen Quints
VS dual AP or AP top
- X9 AD marks
- X9 Armor seals
- X9 flat Magic Resist
- X3 Movement Speed Quints
Explanation for Rune Pages:Basically armor pen lets you do the most damage ALL GAME to most tops since 15 ad doesn't really help past laning phase. You don't auto attack nearly enough to justify getting attack speed marks. Armor lets you take less damage from minions and auto attack's which is nice. Magic resistance per level helps you deal with the AP carry slightly better.
For dual AP you basically want to come out of trades on top and keep up with them. Which is why I go for the ad marks as you wont be stacking armor pen. Still want flat armor for less damage from minions and auto attacks. Flat magic resistance for coming out of trades better. Finally, movement speed quints for keeping up with them or to chase them down and kill them.
Basically the only 2 summoner spells you'll ever need because you absolutely need to be able to flash combo people to kill them.
- You have
- 's better on over
- No mana. Bad idea
- You're not
- Viable but provides kill lane potential
- Eh, maybe but most tops run
- You're not a support.
- If one was jungling, but I don't recommend it
Garen will regenerate 0.5% of his maximum health per second after not receiving damage for 9 seconds.
Great passive as long as you're not damaged. This is the reason why you can start if you want to go for kill lane. This is basically a hp pot as long as you keep it up. Important note is that it no longer cancels from minion damage. (still cancels from jungle minons, towers, dragon and baron)
Q: Decisive Strike
Garen removes all slows effecting him and gains 35% bonus movement speed for 1.5 / 2.25 / 3 / 3.75 / 4.5 seconds, in addition his next melee attack within 4.5 seconds will deal 30 / 55 / 80 / 105 / 130 (+1.4 per attack damage) and silence the target for 1.5 / 1.75 / 2 / 2.25 / 2.5 seconds.
Cooldown 8 seconds
After buffs this now wrecks anything you come into contact with. While the silence at lower ranks is reduced it still provides 2.5s of silence late game which is excellent vs hyper AP's. Idea behind using this skill is run at things and click q when near.
things to note:
- Now removes slows
- Now has a flat movement speed buff per level(duration is weaker at earlier ranks)
- Has the ability to crit(pending tests on viability for full AD )
- AD ratio is unchanged
- Resets auto attack timer(Can go from an auto attack into )
- Procs on hit effects.
Passive: Garen's armor and magic resistance are increased by 20%
Active: Garen places a defensive shield on himself, decreasing all damage taken and reducing crowd control by 30% for 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6 seconds.
Cooldown 24 / 23 / 22 / 21 / 20 seconds
Over powered, no seriously this got buffed way too high. Twice the timer at rank 5 plus a flat rate all ranks. (10% increase at rank 1 for only losing a second in duration an unfair trade) Plus its tenacity and free armor and magic resist bonuses has made this skill worth thousands of gold in defensive items.(The main reason you go bruiser for sure now)
Things to Note:
- Twice the duration at rank 5(3 to 6 seconds)
- Reduces all non true damage sources on top of damage mitigation(applies resistances 1st)
- Bonus armor and magic resistance works with all sources(aegis, base stats, items and auras)
- Crowd Control reduction stacks with . (You're basically when is on)
To give you an idea of how the passive works...
You get 20% more armor/magic resist from everything. to give you an idea of what that means for how it stacks up to old . You need 125 armor and magic resist to get the same amount as the old passive. To give you an idea of what extra armor magic resist you get from items:
- = 3.6 armor
- = 9 armor
- = 15 armor
- for armor: 6
- for magic resist:7.8
- armor: 13.6
- magic resist: 7.6
- = 4.8 magic resist
- = 9.6 magic resist
- = 10
These are just the bonuses you get from the items along with its' base stats.
Garen rapidly spins his sword around his body for 2.5 seconds, dealing 20 / 45 / 70 / 95 / 120 (+0.7 / 0.8 / 0.9 / 1.0 / 1.1 per attack damage) physical damage to nearby enemies every half second. Minions and neutral monsters take 75% damage from this ability. Garen can deactivate Judgment early by activating the ability again after 0.5 seconds. Judgment's damage can critically strike. Garen ignores unit collision but his movement speed is slowed by 20% if moving directly through units.
Cooldown 13/12/11/10/9 seconds
The buff to minion damage and total ad ratio more then makes up for the massive base scaling and AD ratio nerfs. Using this at rank 4 with core allows you to clear the wave instantly. While your pre ult laning presence is weaker it is by no means weaker after level 7, In fact, I'd go as far to say unless you're going AD Garen its' actually stronger all game.
Things to Note:
- More damage vs minions
- Can still crit (Only the bonus ad and not the base)
- Can still go through units but takes a -20% movement speed slow (Negated with if you have to get in closer)
- Scales off total ad
- Procs to everything it hits (area of effect armor shred)
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 160 / 120 / 80 / seconds
Post rework this has a longer cooldown at rank 1 and a shorter cooldown at rank 3. Otherwise, its' the same game. Use this when enemy's are at the kill threshold:
- Rank 1 1/5-1/6 (depends on tankiness)
- Rank 2 1/4-1/5
- Rank 3 1/3-1/4
To give you an idea of how much damage per 100 HP you get out of this ult:
- Rank 1= 28.5 damage per 100 HP
- Rank 2= 33.3 damage per 100 HP
- Rank 3= 40 damage per 100 HP
If you need further help on skills refer to flowchart below.
Ok in all seriousness:
- Use to silence people/escape
- Use to reduce damage and crowd control
- Use to deal damage
- Use to kill things at low HP
- You want for maximum damage and lane control (via clearing the wave) so max it right away
- gives you insane utility but not enough damage so max that 2nd
- at lvl 1 is pretty good on its' own so max it last(Don't neglect using this as its' easily forgotten)
- Take whenever you can
Item BuildsStarting items: or
and for sustain and movement speed
if its' a passive/weak lane for example:
These choices provide capitalisation on stats you need.
- The movement speed and sustain helps you deal with ranged and or kiting better.
- Or the lets you win early. (for snowballing purposes)
Core items: or or or
Boots 2 for defensive stats and movement speed
- For damage + cooldownreduction + armor pen stacking
- For magic resist + regen buff + HP
- For early if your committing to chasing
Boots 2 for resistances and movement speed.
for good damage, 10% cooldownreduction, (Helps a ton on cooldowns) and 15 armor pen. This stacks for up to 40-46 armor pen. (Depends mastery page) To give you an idea, 40 armor pen is enough to negate and a full set of flat Armor Seals.
synergies well with your passive and along with giving you magic resistance and health vs AP. In short, really overpowered compared to everything else on the table right now.
Is an ok item but its a big investment to commit to so early as you may or may not need the crowd control as opposed to the armor pen/cooldown reduction from or the stats from .
Vs triple ad: into or
For HP and for building into what you need. ( For crowd control 's For tankiness For spilt pushing)
- For hp scaled AD and crit
- For damage, crit and crit % bonus ( gets 88 AD while gets 112)
- For area of effect armor shred and to upgrade bruta
- For anti focus
Into an early or HP item of choice.
Build into one of the following:
- Pick for more armor and a bit of aoe magic damage for spiltpushing.
- Pick for hp regen in long drawn out fights where you're getting poked non stop.
- Pick up if you need to make sure they cant get away.
After you bought your HP item pick up . Atma's gives you AD from You're maximum HP. Making this a very cost effective item. I cannot tell you a scenario I wouldn't get this if I was getting a big HP item. (side note that the ratio for is 15 attack damage per 1000 HP )
Get over as you don't need the life steal for the auto attack's you shouldn't be doing. Along with the critical procs with q and e.
As of the preseason 3 overview is currently insanely strong on ad casters. the fact of it is that you can hit multiple people with this and reduce their armor by 30%. this instantly outclasses and on bruisers now as it also gives you stats you need, armor pen, and utility to your AD carry. In general, a really good item for .
Finally gives you great anti focus plus revive which is insanely good for an bruiser late game.(it also gives you a slight edge in durability due to the armor and magic resist boost)
VS dual ap: into
Get over because of the cleanse because usually dual AP try's to take advantage of game making cc for example:
Upgrade into as it pretty much gives you the damage that would while letting you keep .
Other viable items
- For Armor HP and HP regen
- for extra movement speed
- For cool down reduction.(helps on spells a ton)
- A great hybrid defense item. (For hybrid damage for example: ) (Not recommend unless you want to stack it. Don't have more then 2 on the team.)
- The classical answer to triple AD made even better as of season 3. if you want to slow down an AD carry there's no better option this this right now.
Why bruiser Garen over AD Garen or tank garen?One should bruiser due to his skillset naturally making him tanky. Unlike or your skill set isn't built for dealing nothing but damage as you lack a gap closer or strong auto attacks to stack 's.
Also unlike you lack the hard crowd control to be that pure tank.
With that in mind building somewhat tanky with having the for crit procs is better then just going pure AD or pure tank. You can be a better use to your team if you can be in the front with the tank but can also deal the damage.
==Early Game==Early game you basically want to deny your enemy's farming.
By doing one of the following:
1.Freezing lane(Holding minions outside of your tower by tanking them until the next wave of minions arrive then last hitting to keep the wave pushing towards you)
2.Killing the enemy so they cant farm.
3.Or roaming mid to help your AP carry.
Your basic combo of
> > > can kill almost anything if the enemy isn't stacking tons of armor. allows you to win almost all trades so don't be afraid.
Your basic combo works so well for the following reasons:
- Silences the enemy.(and chunks them)
- Does high damage.
- Can execute low hp enemies.
This means that given enough trades you'll eventually out damage the enemy or bully them out of lane. They can't risk dying to you or you'll snowball. Remember to properly and you should be fine.
How to farm:
Turn on , click in the middle of the minion wave, this will clear the entire wave at rank 4.
How to last hit:
Wait for the absolute lowest hp the minion can have before auto attacking it.
NOTE: Be sure to always use your minimap.
MatchupsHow does vs the typical lane matchup's or the most common ones you'll see in solo queue and what to build for the scenario.(Numbers by name = the difficulty of set champs. 1/10 = free win 10/10 = gg your screw'ed)
Quick note do not pick into these champs.
These champs just poop on you all day due to their ranged auto attacks, chipping you away into nothing.
As someone has suggested one might want to know a way to farm vs these champions in case they're counter picked.
Building 2 into while using level 4 then backing away and letting heal you back up should give you the advantage as it'll instantly clear the wave while giving you enough regen to stay in lane.
rapes these champions.(info will be added accordingly based on need.)
Due to massive advantages in 's favor. (Either by forcefully being in melee range to cs at all times, having a weak early game or being very weak to silence) These champions are just flat out useless vs as he can just use standard combo on them and faceroll. If one needs help reasoning feel free to ask.
- VS Jax: Jax is by far your most diffcult lane if you don't play it right. Basically you want to force him to either blow all his mana then unload on him or silence him as he on you so he cant away. Otherwise, its a matter of not letting him bully you and using your to beat his auto attack's. For fighting Jax one would typically build for triple ad.
- VS Vladimir: Vlad is an easier lane than Jax but don't get complacent. Stand in the brushes and try to zone him out when he goes for last hitting. Either he 's away or he gets silenced and spun on for over half his health. If he's at or around half health on top of him and go for the kill . Otherwise, don't take damage for free if you can help it and you should be fine. Build for dual AP.
- VS Rumble: Don't let him bully you and you should be fine. Stand in the brushes and avoid 's and he can't win trades with you due to . If he runs away with back off and let him deny himself. Otherwise, just ward accordingly and don't stand in if you try to duel him. Build for dual AP.
- VS Jayce: This guy's AD on steroids. Unless he's retarded he will sit there and auto attack you to death in cannon stance. As such you're going to have to play passively until you can win a fight with him. He cant 1v1 you in hammer stance so abuse that! Wait for him to blow his mana and you should be able to win a fight. Build for triple AD.
- VS Gangplank: GP's pretty easy to deal with. Wait for him to run out of mana from using his skill set and you will win a 1v1. Stand in the brushes to zone him out and you'll do just fine. Don't let him you to death and you're fine. Note that if he goes for max his doesn't do any damage so don't be afraid. Build for triple AD.
- VS Maplhite: Malph's a farm lane and as such is no threat to you. Basically you can zone him out all day and have no fear of his as attack speed is useless on . Just don't let him free farm or he will rape your team lategame. You can either roam vs him or try to kill him if you feel that's possible. Build for the primary type of damage on their team.
- VS Darius: PULL ME PLEASE! PULL ME! That's what you'll be saying the entire time you're up VS as the second he does without a jungler to help him you'll faceroll him for free. Just make sure you don't get dunked and this lane is a breeze to go through. Cancel his with , and bait his by running towards him then running away.Then show him what a real bruiser is all about. Build for triple AD.
- VS Olaf: If doesn't you before you unload on him he's a pretty easy lane. He can't Rambo mode you as you can just him every single time without any hassle. Stand in the brushes to zone him out LIKE A BOSS! Build for triple AD.
7/10 (Can't stop his ult if played right. One can still his ult however.)
- VS Shen: 's a pain to play VS if he's doing it right as he can just and ignore a good chunk of everyone's damage. (basically free farming) Try to roam vs him as best as you can and once again stand in the brushes and zone him out. Don't let him taunt you and you win most trades! Build for the primary damage on their team.
- VS Pika- I mean Kennen: Don't let bully you and your golden. Avoid and force him to away from minions instead of into them. He wont be able to hyper push as much as he would want. Don't try to roam vs him you'll just be wasting your time. Build for dual AP.
- VS Kayle: 's a pain in almost all melee's backside but she is kill able. Wait for her to go on cooldown then run at her to force to blow all her mana or she gets facerolled on.(if she 's you use to force her to use and she'll run out of mana in no time) Build for triple AD despite the hybrid damage unless its mostly magic damage then build dual AP.
- VS Teemo: Screw this champion. Pushes all day and gets free ward's in the brushes. Basically try to kill him or turn on then the wave after you get , Then go back and heal up. (he cant deny you after the rework but he can still kill you're if your not careful) Otherwise, you bring much more to team fights then so survive laning phase and your good. Build for primary damage.
- VS Rengar: Rengar isn't that diffcult to handle of a top lane. Just stand in the brushes and unless he burns a ton of money on 's he cant go anywhere near you. (Your standard combo once again facerolls) Just don't let him jump on you for free and you should be just fine. him if he tries to double Build for the primary type of damage.
Why should I camp the brush?
One of two things happen when you run at someone from the brush.
1. They get hit and combo'd.
2. They run away and lose cs.
Basically as long as you don't take poke damage for free you zone them out without blowing.
What if they play passively/I cant kill them?
Start roaming or take dragon. It's that simple, basically if you have lane control you should be able to your other lanes. It is more effective then the stagnant farming of waiting top to do nothing but push a wave back. You could always try to bait the jungler to come top then have your jungler counter gank but that's a lot riskier.
If one is losing:
Have your jungler gank and up, try to passively farm.Don't let the enemy top snowball.
Comment if one needs help with a certain top.
How to deal with getting kited.Yes this gets it own chapter because its hard to deal with getting kited if you don't know what to do! Normally when being kited you would just use while being crowd controlled but that might not always work. In some cases of overbearing crowd control even if its triple AD get .
Now if that isn't enough to keep you in range also use to reduce cc further. At that point you have about 55%~ or so tenacity. (let me know if the math is wrong) On top of your damage reduction and tankiness you should have no problem diving the carry as you please.
Note:Tenacity doesn't stop suppression's, knockback's or knockup's. I.E
To give you an idea of how tenacity works:
A 1.5 second stun used on you while you have and on, will last about .7 seconds.
Mid GameMidgame you should have your core (read builds above) and working towards your hp item with . You should be dealing the big damage. Group up with your team and take map objectives and teamfight.
If you didn't do well in the laning phase: Try to farm up and not die. Losing 1 to 2 minion waves is not worth dying for.
If you have to farm non stop mid game: push to a tower and up so you don't get ganked.
You should be able to communicate with your team in order to decide a course of action and who to focus. How to teamfight and how to take map objectives are explained below.
Map objectivesMap objectives are anything important on the map you can/need to contest. (I.E wards, towers, buffs and or dragon/baron) A beginner might ask why they should care to go for these.
They are critical to winning the game. Obtaining these objectives can make all the difference, if you want to know more about each specific one check below.
- Clearing ward's/placing ward's: You want to get rid of as much of the enemy's vision by using or 's as you can. Vision is one of the most important things in this game. Having one major area unwarded can cost you the game if you're not careful, so if you can keep them in the dark all the better.
Picture for what areas to ward:
- Tower's: Gives each member on your team 150g, some exp and map control.
- Buff's: Denying blue for an AP carry keep's them in check in fights.Denying red is good for reducing the jungler's/AD carry's crowd control and damage. having these things over your enemy can lead to better team fights and higher damage.
- Dragon: 190g for each team member and a good chunk of exp. This is an important map objective and shouldn't go uncontested if you can help it. Never let the enemy team get something for free if you can contest.
- Baron: Baron can decide games because of the 1000's of gold in items you get from its aura. Always try to contest this because it is the most important map objective.
- Contesting objective's: Basically contesting for objectives is waiting around for the perfect time to go in and start a fight. otherwise, just poke/avoid poke and crowd control as best as you can. Don't get caught if you can help it and you should be fine. Follow standard team fight procedure if a fight is started. Otherwise, just don't let towers die from minions over contesting.
Late GameThis is the part of the game anything can happen. Basically build accordingly, you should have at least , your HP item and . Anything you come into contact with late game should be dead.
This is the part you should be contesting for barons and team fighting to end the game.
So don't go to farm.
Also, avoid as much poke and game breaking crowd control as one can. Go for the carry's in team fight's or peel for your carry. Press advantages as hard as you can.
Team FightsFor teamfights you're doing one of two things......
1.Peeling for you're carry
2.Going for the enemy carry
A basic example:
Let's say your carry is getting dove by the tank, now you have to make the choice of defending your carry or going for the enemy carry. You should react accordingly to who's the bigger threat/more important.
If its your carry:
If its their carry:
Go for their carry!
Really this is all bruisers have to do. Otherwise, its all about positioning which isn't something you can't explain.
If you've never played the game before and have no idea why you should want to protect your carry or kill their carry, carry's deal tons of damage and are important targets to protect/destroy. Use your combo on whatever target you go for .
How to deal with the AP carry.
Your standard combo facerolls about every AP that isn't and it should kill anything that isn't a tank.
If they have kiting abilities/escapes you may have to use or wait for the fight to start but the point is, you should be forcing them out of the fight or killing them. Murder that ap carry, FOR DEMACIA!
Final CommentsThis has been bruisers in a nutshell. is basically a powerhouse with a ton of damage and should make every AP poop their pants. If you have any questions or want to argue over why something isn't in the guide feel free to comment and I'll see to it that is replied to asap. Thank you for your time, I hope you learned something new.