Garen has undergone a few changes and I have played him religiously since. He has improved much for the better, while he isn't as dangerous as he once was early game he has become an overall better laner mainly because of how well he can simply outfarm his opponents if he can't bully them. Previously Garen could simply be outlaned by avoiding a full confrontation with him since he would fall off hard late game, this no longer works since he scales far better now.
- Naturally Tanky
- Good Damage
- High Tenacity with abilities
- Make some Champions useless for up to 2.5
- Fairly Kiteable
- No CC
- No Real Gap Closer
- Hard Peels shut him down
- Falls off Deep Late Game
- Troubled By Multi-Threat Teams
Why Pick Garen?People constantly argue that Champions such as and completely outclass Garen and there is no reason to pick him because of them. This is pretty false however one could say Garen is just a tanky alternative but in reality he performs a completely different role then the both of them. Those two excel at being offensive butchers slicing up all in their paths, however they are both easy to aim down especially in the case of Riven or even more kitable then Garen like Darius is.
Garen's natural tankiness on top of the few defensive items he builds makes him obnoxiously tanky with his . He is also far less dependent on his team, bruisers like Riven and Darius dont want to be the first ones into the fight while Garen personally doesn't mind and while he can deal an excellent amount of AoE damage in a teamfight his role is that of an assassin, only one that can't simply be aimed down. will kill any carry.
At the end of the game my damage is equivalent to that of other bruisers if not greater yet I will have taken the most damage in the game while having the least amount of deaths.
I like optimizing Garen's tenacity. Unyielding and Block should work great in combination with the new . Relentless is worth looking at more. Garen can Q out of slows but permaslows are a serious pain. Reducing a slow which normally ranges from 30%-40% along with your movement speed bonus and even perhaps can make them nearly irrelevant. If you decide to take it take one point out of Hardiness, Resistance or Juggernaut. I think Garen's naturally tankiness easily compensates for his losing 1.5 armor or some health.
- Reds: I personally don't like ArP Marks on Garen after the rework since his scales better with AD, I'm sure they still work however. With the Season 3 change to how ArP works calculating % Penetration now applies before Flat Penetration they might be the new staples all burst bruisers, especially if you know your lane opponent will stack armor since ArP is always better late game. I would go Flat AD is laning against ranged and ArP if against melee (last hitting becomes a pain early on though).
- Yellows: Flat Armor for obvious reasons. Your in top lane.
- Blues: Go full flat MR if laning against an AP. Otherwise I prefer 3 flat and 6 scaling to give him 20 at max level.
- Quints: I go movement speed because Garen needs the movement speed and you need the mobility if your not starting with Boots. ArP or AD quints should work if you plan to start with boots however. I also run flat health quints if I know I'm going to take a battering early on, they an buy you some more time to scale into being stronger and tankier.
Summoner SpellsYou need this to secure kills with your if your trying to take someone out 1 on 1 most of the time. You can grab if your team needs one but your going to be frustrated when you come up short on kills when they use an escape ability. At the end of this your role is pretty much that of an assassin and you need ignite for your combo to be most effective.
Most Garen players pick Flash for obvious reasons, its what gives Garen that assassin's edge, he can easily Decisive Strike > Flash and combo kill any carry that moves.
However I personally normally run with Ghost for various reasons. Normally I'm dominating top lane and therefore attract the attention of the enemy jungler or mid. Ghost and it's smaller CD tends to come in handy for escaping more frequently in this case and when combined with your Q you will out run just about anyone. I also like it better if I'm split pushing once again for it's shorter CD and can bait enemies into traps. As for teamfights you wont get to your target as quickly you would with Flash but at the same time Flash is a one way trip. Ghost and the speed from Decisive Strike always gets me there fasts enough and it last 8 seconds so I am able to get in there and pursue if need be or escape after I've done all I can. Also the speed boost lets you continue giving chase after you've been CC'd for a split second while it can completely screw you over at times if you already blew your flash.
Most people will tell you to go Flash but I personally only take it when I'm laning against a ranged opponent in order to close the gap and combo them to death.
Garen will regenerate 0.5% of his maximum health per second after not receiving damage for 9 seconds.
Extended by a painful two seconds but no longer knocked off by minions which is awesome. Not the best sustain for a top laner but still effective.
Q: Decisive Strike
Garen removes all slows affecting 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
The early game power of this spell dropped off considerably but it's still strong enough to put your laning opponents on the defensive and make casters cry. In teamfights it is important to try to use this ASAP on casters like to delay their counter initiate or possibly kill them before they can. He can also make fed assassins like worth nothing, remember assasins are squishy by nature and need to be in melee range, there sitting ducks when silenced though. People knock Garen for having no Crowd Control but he can literally make a caster champion completely irrelevant for 2.5 seconds, no stun or knockup can do that.
This ability is also tied to his slow removal now making him easily able to put offensive pressure out on champions top laners like
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
Garen might be known for Spin to Win, but this is Garen's true power. This is easily the best defensive steriod of all bruisers and its even better then most tanks. I think only Galio's and Alistar's surpass it. Other bruisers are tanky due to their sustain such as Warwick which can be shut down by a simple Ignite. Pretty much you become extremely tanky with only a few defensive items and the active turns you into a paragon of defense with tenacity like Irelia. At max rank is last 6 second and by the time you have points in it teamfights start to erupt. One of the best parts about this ability is it prevents you from getting utterly melted by the AD carry like most other bruisers or tanks will by late game due to Last Whisper ignoring 40% armor. Timing this ability properly is essential for effective Garen play. Try to align it when the heavy damage or CC starts rolling in.
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 collition but his movement speed is slowed by 20% if moving directly through units. Cooldown 13/12/11/10/9 seconds
It is much weaker early game but the fact that it's gone from 50% damage to minions to 75% is honestly what makes Garen a far better laner. When matched up with the likes of that simply abuse you whenever you try to last hit you can simply just run up to a minion wave when you have your Brutalizer or even a few Dorian's Blades and simply pop your W and wave clear and they can no longer deny you and your too tanky for them to seriously hurt you. After which you can just simply run back and heal with his passive and maybe a pot. Note that at max rank this now does more damage than Wukong's but last a second shorter, yet its not on the CD of an ultimate.
Be careful using it early on, the 20% movement speed debuff when running through minions can get you killed if you dont use it with your Q properly, also be careful not to push the lane with it early game. It's not always necessary to use it after your silence and your opponent starts to fall back, a few auto attacks will be fine.
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 /
The one change I detested. Its cooldown is close to that of global ultimates. However it's still one of my favorite spells in the game. You drop a giant Sword of Ownership from Heaven! Its very powerful in conjunction with Ignite but can be tough to land kills on bulkier targets without it. In lane however your opponent is as good as dead when he's around 50% and both spells are up.
Be wary with this ability however items like will make it bounce right off if you use it too early. It does more damage when they have less health so proc it then blast through it with your ultimate, not before.
Always take Decisive Strike at level 1 for the speed and silence. Many people like to wait until level 4 to pick up Courage. I personally always take it at level 3 since top lane always has a target on it's back for the jungler and I want the defense and tenacity to help avoid ganks.
Item BuildsItemizing for this Season will no longer be as clear cut as Riot did a good job increasing itemization options, you'll have to adapt to your current situation, I also think there might be a preference in whether you wanna focus more on having ArP or a lot of Crit. From what I'm seeing so far the ArP route may not be better but its cheaper and convenient.
There is no reason to not grab a fourth health potion unless your invading or in danger of being invaded. allow you to be aggressive and flee ganks.
Dorian's Shield isn't a popular item but its great for Garen the extra health and armor go well with his W and the early regen synergies with his passive. It should be even better in S3. I take this when I'm dealing with ranged opponents in order to survive their early harass when I"m trying to last hit until I can start wave clearing. Because of the health it gives you I normally dont go for any Dorian's Blade and can go straight for Brutalizer
I overall it's an alternative to on Garen since it helps him take all forms of damage better without having to worry about running out of health potions. You need to to be smart and know when your opponent starts to outscale it though.
You can also go Potion Master and stock on potions and maybe a ward or two. Excessive potions allow you to stay in lane for a very long time racking up on items on your first go, but if you die for whatever reason it defeats the purpose and sets you behind to a degree. Dorian's Shield offers extra bulkiness against ranged harassers and sustain, but if their very aggressive you can forced back easier. It's kind of a toss up on which is best. Starting with a is good against opponents that you know will wanna start playing hard ball early such as and you can use it to bait them into a death.
Early Game Items
or or +
If you can go straight for Brutalizer and you will normally win every trade. If your laning against AP damage go for Hexdrinker losing the CDR will hurt but your overall more tanky. One of the blueprints to defeating Garen is to simply not be afraid of him though against top laners that have the guts to go toe to toe with you grab 2x , there great for increasing your bullying power and when don't need to rush resistances for. Normally I build Phage for the additional tankiness, damage and potential slow however an early Giants Belt will make you tankier and can be built into either Sunfire's Cloak, Frozen Mallet or Warmogs.
Just rushing Warmogs is great against champions that can force you out of lane since you can sustain yourself like crazy, it's also good if your the prime damage soaker on your team. Sunfire's is better if your dealing with someone that deals mostly physical damage and provides additional damage, grab this if your team has another soaker.
Mid Game Core Builds
This one is my personal favorite, as I said you upgrade your Chain Vest into an Atmas/Sunfire or turn your Brutalizer into a , but I only do this if I see armor levels start to rise, the crit is great mid game and helps your farm better I feel.
This route is when your the main damage soaker and the other melee on your team aren't very durable. You rush Warmogs and Black Cleaver before you even upgrade your boots. Your damage is lower but your still strong enough to drop any squishy and even turret dive them on a whim. After which build Sunfire Cloak if your the prime damage soaker on your team, if you have a tank initiator grab Atmas for better mid/late game damage.
Once again this is just a testament to how flexible our builds can be in Season 3. You simply just have to adapt to the current situation. It's then a matter of how tank or damage orientated you want to become. If your other lanes have done well mainly your carries, I find it best to go tanky, your Sunfire Cloak and Black Cleaver provide all the damage you need while being nearly unkillable. If your carries did poorly it means an enemy carry is very dangerous so you need some more damage to take him out ASAP.
I normally dont upgrade by boots until I get at least my Phage and Brutalizer unless I'm having trouble sticking to my laning opponent, otherwise your Q is enough.
I almost always grab these, normally I'm short on MR early game and naturally as a melee the tenacity is great especially with your W.
Get these if your opponent is giving you trouble with physical damage. I rarely buy these since if I am worried about physical pressure I would have started Dorian's Shield or gotten a Chain Vest to deal with it. I just find Mercury Treads better for Garen.
These are much better now giving Garen extra speed and resistance to slows remember they stack multiplicatively with Relentless not adding so it reduces slow effectiviness by 36.25%. Take these if your not worried about enemy crowd control or do not need the MR.
Its worth nothing that w/o having the 35 tenacity (35%) from Merc Treads your CC reduction nearly drops by 20% with your W up.
35 Tenacity from boots then Tenacious for 15% which stacks multiplicatively with Courage 30%.
That's without Merc Treads. It's all preference I suppose, but I like shaking off CC like it's nothing.
While I like it because his Judgement is an AoE the buff doesn't remain on him for as long as I'd like
Flat movement speed always great on Garen.
Two inhibs down? Enemy pressing for your nexus? LIVE AND LET DIE!! The "You Lose" sign awaits you, well I say you make it wait a little longer :D.
Though nerfed still a great item for Garen since crit is important for him and gives him a good amount of defense. I will normally upgrade my Chain Vest before Phage since it's cheaper and boost my damage more. I think this item is even better for Garen now that it builds off Avarice Blade and Runic Bulwark is a potential core item.
I've started taking this over Atmas lately due to the extra bulk it gives in exchange for damage. If your going to get it get it relatively early because that's when it is most effective. Sunfire is better early > mid but Atmas is better when late game is coming around. Also better if you need to be bulkier.
Wheres your god now Malphite!? Its a give that Garen will be taking this now. It takes four attacks to get this thing to stack, Garen's spin ticks 6 times. This will help you deal with laners like Cho'gath and Shen who naturally will stack armor and since they have good sustain in both health and resources outlasting them isn't an option. You dont have to rush this if your lane opponent isn't stacking armor or the carries haven't started their Zhonya's or GA.
If you can rush this on Garen as a first item you can probably win the lane off of your sheer base numbers and the your passive along with the item's passive. After nerfs and the new BoTRK I find myself building this less.
Because Garen's W reduces a flat percentage, health is still great on Garen and the slow is very important since Garen lacks CC. I honestly hate building this item, Garen is a pain to itemize because he needs resistances, AD, ArP and Crit, yet he still needs to stick to his opponents so I still find this a great item. Any champion that actually survives your combo wont get away from you.
With Garen's passive resistance nerf seeking more resistance stats are worth looking into. You also shield your entire team and get some regen and CDR to boot. Oh and its only 2000 gold.
Your ultimate damage source. You will literally start to butcher the enemy team with this item, the sooner the better. If you can rush it early game you'll probably carry your team to a win. This item will be cheaper but its still expensive as hell, you might wanna consider putting this off as a final item now unless fed. I still find this item superior to Black Cleaver. Black Cleaver makes Garen more versatile and able to go toe to toe with any tank or bruiser. But what is your job? Destroying carries, since carries don't tend to have much armor and when they do its really not much, IE literally destroys them especially if your Q crits. I've noticed Black Cleaver gets the job done to carries a bit slower, regardless it's still far more efficient to build. But keep in mind IE is still your Giant Sword of Ownership.
The irony of the item is by the time you get it the enemy will just realize that your actually a serious threat but they wont be able to kill you and if they do it would have taken way too long and your carries will have aced them.
Always nice for when they start getting armor. For S3 I might only take this if I really need the upfront damage to take out a fully built carry especially one like Graves and dont have time to wait for the Black Cleaver to tick, could possibly use both though.
If magic damage is truly an issue or you just wanna be tanky take this otherwise I would sell the Hexdrinker I bought for a Last Whisper as I would have with Brutalizer. For S3 I might only take this if I really need the upfront damage to take out a fully built carry especially one like Graves and dont have time to wait for the Black Cleaver to tick, could possibly use both though.
This item out shines Maw of Malmortius heavily in my opinion, more damage and more MR and the proc is just amazing especially on someone as kitable as Garen. I think I'd only rather Maw if my role is more of a damage soaker then an anti-carry where I'm required by the nature of the match to just be tankier which Maw does allow. Problem is Maw is way more convenient to build since it includes Hexdrinker, this item also cost nearly 4k gold!
This item is awesome on Garen, build it if your support doesn't instead of Warmogs. Double stacking this is insane, build it after your Atmas and Mallet and you'll have nearly 4k health giving your Atmas 60 AD. Add on top that Garen gains 20% additional resistances. It also builds from which gives some armor and sustain to combine with your Dorian's Shield and Passive. I'd take this over Warmog if the enemy is AP heavy and no one on your team is building it. With Garen's nerfed W it helps and your support will thank you for it.
This item is more cost effective on Garen then it is for other bruisers because of how he scales with crit. Upgrading your Brutalizer early will give you a nice 15% critical strike which is easily noticeable. You can also split push like crazy with this because it makes you virtually ungankable combined with the speed on your Q. This gets you 30 ArP with Black Cleaver, so if you have runes and masteries you'll probably be dealing near true damage to squishies. Lets not forget the CDR. I think it's a good touch to your kit even more so then IE due to it being cheaper and more versatile. You can engage your target with Q + Ghost/Flash if they'll survive your combo pop this item and Randuins if you have it to keep chasing them after they used an escape ability to stay with them.
I haven't tried this out yet and while I dont like such pure defensive items on Garen it might be worth picking up dealing with heavy AP with large poke, especially if your laning against Teemo or Nidalee you could pick this up for the sustain. Also a good way to reach full CDR which is nice but I find it overrated since Garen's prime goal is to one round a carry with one use of each ability.
This item looks way better for Garen now, much more health and the active slow on it is now an instant 20% instead of a 35% chance when hit. With how AD casters are trying to dominate mid lane the enemy might lack an AP damage dealer since AD can shred nearly all of your armor now....not Garen's however. Take this to reduce damage and slow attack speed in combination with your W and your going to be nearly impossible to kill since you shouldn't be building much MR and only armor. Even if you lack damage you'll make for great cannon fodder to buy your team time while you occupy the carry. If the enemy has BoTRK take this instead of Warmogs.
Heart of Gold will be going while Avarice Blade still builds into Ghostblade and Atmas.
Worth a mention, while a lot of stats are wasted this item is pretty much a Ghostblade combined with Frozen Mallet but only takes up one item slot. Only consider this if you are INSANELY, ABURDLY, OMFG I CAN'T BELIEVE I'M SO FED! If you can get both Infinity Edge and T-Force your Decisive Strike is going to destroy people. Then I'd grab Sunfire Cloak as my armor source as opposed to Atma's Impaler to make up the health difference.
Standard Demacian Issue (Health Stacking OP)
Takes full advantage of the health stacking meta while the Atmas at the end will give you crit and 70 AD as much as IE. Swap Warmogs for Bulwark if you see a BoTRK in the works on the enemy, it also relieves your support to build something else.
Your slightly squishier, but with everyone building Warmogs instead of armor these days simple having over 50% crit over armor penatration will allow you to plow through their excess health. Remember sometimes the ADC is expecting you to build a cleaver though.
Both builds can be customized to your liking, just remember it varies on the state of the game, if your the soaker, the assassin, etc.
This build heavily uses CDR which I normally find unnessecary for Garen. However when facing a team with more then two carries such as a Kayle or Akali top, you need your CDs up as fast as possible in order to keep up the damage and disruption. Overall Garen isn't ideal in these situations period but your facing a team with high damage but rather squishy, therefore this build makes you super tanky to survive that damage while abusing your base damage and CDR to take them out.
Season Three's new itemization options can give you some trouble which is my primary concern at the moment. Yes makes care awesome now but there seems to be more ways then before to stop him now.
Your new best friend is potentially your worst enemy. It was designed for AD casters but now just about anyone that does physical damage is using it because its kind of OP atm. I mean its one thing that you'll no longer be able to stack armor in lane against Pantheon, but could you imagine what Jayce might do to you now?
AD carries wont get this till late game, but them popping out of your silence will make it hard for you to finish them cause they'll just use their escape. Hopefully they blow it on your initiation and you follow up quickly with your silence.
I have a feeling that this item spell might make me wanna punch a baby. I haven't had it used against me yet but once again it knocks them out of your Silence and heals them!
I already mentioned how you need to cautious of the shield that Hexdrinker or Maw can provide to stop your ultimate. You need to proc it first, then do a little more damage and then use your if deemed necessary. It does more damage the less health they have so it can blast right through their shield.
Banshees Veil on the other hand...could possible make Garen unviable (lol). We were happy when this thing was out of style because it would make your ultimate bounce right off. It refreshes at 25 seconds now if you haven't been hit so have fun auto attacking carries to death.
Early GameYour not as strong as you once were you can't just try to level 3 somebody. You need to wait for your damage to ramp up normally when your is at about level 3 or 4. Your silence is still enough to hold most opponents at bay however. Make sure you are smart with your Judgement and don't push the lane cause they'll either freeze it or you'll simply get ganked. Freeze the lane when you can, deny if you can and abuse the brush cause your Garen!
Make sure your also wary of the enemy jungler your dealing with. You don't have wards early on so if your dealing with junglers like be careful cause there coming for that level 2 gank which will probably cause you to lose your lane. Junglers like you can probably be able to be more aggressive, there pre-6 ganks will only make you laugh. Remember you are quite a pain to gank between your Q and W.
Remember there is no reason to be glued to top lane, Garen is the bane to mages remember? You can always push your lane and roam to mid. If you can land a combo with the help of your mid and that sucker will die before he can react. Make sure you time your Courage properly to soak damage and CC or even turret hits (you dive turrets like a champ)
Also keep an eye on your map, if your jungler is getting invaded or trying to steal a buff push your lane and assist him. Just make sure you can kill the jungler if he's invading and keep an eye on the enemy mid.
Mid GameWhere Garen shines brightest. Garen is a pretty good split pusher now with his AoE but dont be glued to your lane. Make sure your aware of whats going on or potential teamfights that could erupt. If Dragon is soon to spawn make sure your there. Remember objectives > kills don't get carried away. Make sure you assist with buying wards, you should keep at leasts two of them with you at all times post laning phase its not just your supports job. If your doing really well don't be shy to buy an and clear wards and force them to their side of the map and steal buffs when you know there not around.
Once again keep an eye on what lanes you could possibly gank (most likely mid) at this point if you've done well turrets are pretty much just an irritant to you. If your lane is clearly won you should secure a lane for someone else.
Important: Remember before came along you were the king of kill stealing. With how hard your Decisive Strike hits and the consistent high damage of Judgement combined with Ignite your going to get a lot of kills in teamfights. So if you had a good laning phases try to throw the kills to your carries for late game and dont get selfish with Demacian Justice and stop your spin if you have to. Secure kills if you must however.
Late GameGaren's late game isn't awful anymore! But your still not Jax or Wukong, your kit isn't built for late game. When the carries start getting you wont be able to assassinate them as easily especially if your forced to pop their GA with your ultimate. Garen's killing potential drops significantly without his Demacian Justice. You normally want the game won before it reaches this point.
However you can still be a serious nuisance especially if you have your own Guardian Angel. Your not the best initiator but as long as the enemy team doesn't have strong counter initiate and an enemy carry is out of position you can + and since you should have your Frozen Mallet at this point your team should be able to follow up.
Ward control is more important then ever as is staying near your team and baron control, never go bot lane unless you have to and make sure only one person clears bot when baron is up. When attempting baron make sure you have the enemy entrances warded and get ready to attempt to zone them so they dont get a straight shot at your carries.
Team FightsUsing your Decisive Strike to counter the counter initiate against champions like can win teamfights remember they can't while silenced. It also makes assassins like who leap into melee range completely useless and vulnerable, since their squishy and will melt since there in range of the carries. If the assassin is a serious threat you should have an Oracles to counter their stealth since your probably there biggest counter on your team anyway. Try to save your Demacian Justice for as long as you can since your kill potential drops without it. If a kill is clearly secured dont burn it cause you might need it later in the fight. Dont leave things to chance either though make sure you know they wont escape, you dont want that AD carry disengaging then lifestealing himself back into the fight.
Dont think of taking on a near fully built AD carry alone unless you have your Ignite up to counter their otherwise they'll probably just blast through you. Hopefully your carries are ahead or theirs and you can just peel for them. While I dont find Garen as kiteable as people say he is in teamfights a knockback from the likes of in the middle of your combo can ruin you since you probably blew your Ghost/Flash and Decisive Strike to get in and you have no real gap closer. Any other form of CC you'll shrug off however with a properly timed W.
Picking GarenGaren actually has pretty good matchups able to beat many opponents and has methods to deal with tougher ones. I'm fully comfortable picking him before I see who the enemy picked for top first, I grin when I see that Teemo counter. Overall he's a safe pick in my opinion. (But there are better ones out there)
As Garen your worst enemy comes from your own team and I feel there are just some champions that should raise a red flag if you plan on picking him.
These junglers aren't the most ideal for you. They all lack hard CC and with your early game damage lower their ganks wont be as effective. Also top lane and jungler normally forms the front line of a teamfight, even if you have a backline initiator like Ashe or Gragas if you dont instagib carries like Ezreal or Tristana will run circles around you. Lee Sin isn't all that bad with you but you might wanna consider rushing a Frozen Mallet if you get stuck with Shyvana
Both you and Mordekaiser possess no crowd control and you both tend to fight in the front just from experience I wouldn't pick Garen if he's up. As for Leblanc, I'm not sure about now but pre-rework it just wasn't a good collaboration, you were both early game champions so if you got set back or the game dragged on you were screwed. Garen scales far better now but he's still not a late game champion, and you really dont need double silence. Overall you really dont wan't to be teamed up with a mid laner with no real utility cause you don't really have any yourself, so most assassins aren't good teammates for you.
Those You Want to Lead the Charge With!
Yes, Yes, Yes and Yes! These guys compliment Garen perfectly, not only will their jungle ganks in conjunction with you go amazing but in teamfights when they pin down that carry even for a second your Silence will keep them from escaping for 2.5 seconds more which is all the time you and your team should need. Garen wants initiators and CC they provide both, there also naturally tanky like yourself making your frontline very difficult for carries to plow through.
Pretty much as Garen you want initiation and CC to compliment your lack of it.
Examples of other bruisers that work...
Ugh hate to admit it but you and your evil twin brother work surprisingly well together. If you have someone elses that can initiate between his Pull your Silence, and both your AoE your going to slice things into ribbons, problem is this Noxian will probably be a tool and stroke his Epeen about having more kills since his execute refreshes while yours does not.
Once again you'll need an initiator but despite having no hard CC you work well with this guy. Pretty much you got one guy totally immune to CC and another almost immune to CC bee-lining straight for the carry and between your burst combo and his consistent burst they'll die in no time.
Your evil axe totting Noxian counterpart. Post rework Garen doesn't dominate Darius as easily as before since he can't match his early game damage at the start of the laning phase like before.
I like starting Dorian's Shield to to soak his magic and true damage as well as mitigate his physical damage but starting with boots will work also. Pretty much early game you need to avoid and bait his . Not only will he push the lane but you'll deplete some mana which could save you later. You want him use cause you can easily just Q out of his and then spin to win on him. As long as you pop Courage you'll win the trade.
Once you get your Brutalizer you can take the fight to him. Make sure his Decimate is on CD and your Courage is up. You'll win the trade even if he pulls you after. Get a Phage instead if your having a hard time.
Just be careful of his you can silence him mid cast but normally you never wanna be low enough for him to use it, you have sustain and he doesn't. Keep in mind his does delay your and he'll try to nip it off with his Decimate.
Hate to admit it but a good Darius beats a good Garen 1v1, at the beginning he wont be dumb enough to pull you while your Q is up and simply nip you with his Decimate even while you try to last hit at your turret. And sure you can scale up to match his damage later but by then he'll have a big CS advantage over you. However...while I hate relying on junglers to win my lane yours would have to be retarded to ignore the most gankable top laner in the meta harassing you at your turret. Darius can't run for jack so his best play is to fight his way out, your Silence wont allow that though, hell even a red buffed Warwick gank will work.
She is kind of a pain to deal with. Most Irelia's know they can't match you early game and will try to farm safely and have their jungler assist them. If you can't kill her, deny or send her back early she will get to the point where she will just sustain herself with so it will justs become a farm lane.
Lee Sin is similar to Irelia only he scales like utter crap so you dont have to worry as much. If he hits you with just prepare to Decisive Strike him so he can't dash away since he's silenced and you can simply spin on him. If you don't get ahead on him though he'll eventually just be able to out sustain you with his so just try to wave clear and start roaming.
When he uses his on you, uses your Silence so he cant which reduces the damage of your Spin since it's an AoE. Any smart Jax will catch on to this however and just play defensively after that it will be hard to out trade him cause he'll just Counter Strike before you Decisive Strike him. I don't find this an ideal matchup, yes you can beat him, but it's hard to shut down a good one without jungle assistance and since he scales into a god you kind of need to. He does use mana though while you don't so abuse this.
I like to start Dorian's Shield and maybe grab a Dorian's Blade or Ruby Crystal to build towards Phage later to be on the safe side since it helps soak his and try to Silence him before he hits you with it and spin on him. Dodge his as well. If he tries to duel you with his laugh at him and use Demacian Justice. Remember your Courage doesn't mitigate true damage.
Another resourceless AD caster bruiser like yourself. Nothing says "screw you Renekton!" like a Chain Vest since all his damage is physical. But even though you'll win trades he'll be a pain to finish off because his counters your Demacian Justice and can get you killed for trying. Try to bait it out with Ignite then wilt him down some more until you can finish him.
Your sword totting Noxian counterpart. She's resourcless like you and Renekton but her is on an absurdly low cooldown remember that. Make sure you land your Decisive Strike whenever she tries to She squishier then you so she wont win trades against your W unless she levels up her . If she does this you pretty much lowered her chances of snowballing even more.
I have an easier time with Rumble now that Decisive Strike breaks you out of Rumble's and you can continue to silence him just remember he can use it twice. Pummel the crap out him early game and deny him as much as you can. Try not to engage him while his is active. Be careful with this guy, one misstep and he can catch you with your Q on CD so you cant break his slows and catch you in. Also try your best to not get ganked, this guy snowballs like crazy Build Hexdrinker and your going to want Flash over Ghost to catch him off guard so he can't shield.
This might be the one guy I'll build and he's probably the bruiser whose given me the most trouble. The guy does as much damage as Darius early on, has a gap closer and your Decisive Strike wont stop the knock up on his . You might want to start Dorian's Shield and play it safe early on. Once you get some items and hit level 6 you'll be able to duel him, remember he'll try to knock you away with when you try to finish him with Demacian Justice.
Ok this guy is gonna beat the tar out of you early on. His blocks your Decisive Strike so you'll need to auto attack it off first. Meanwhile he can pepper you with . This Greek Myth Hero has a fatal "Achilles Heel" however. He's very mana inefficient. Pretty much you wanna try to survive early on using your Dorian's Shield and later start stacking armor normally a Chain Vest will do the trick. Then he'll be knocking on a piece of iron until his mana gets low which is when you can go on the offensive.
Normally you'll have the advantage of this sucker thinking he countered you. He really doesn't. Early on Malphite's armor isn't that excessive, but still takes less damage then most. However with your naturally bulkiness you'll brush off his low damage dealing attacks. Malphite is also mana inefficent early on. So pretty much what you wanna do is go super aggressive early on keep his off and keep putting on the pressure. It can take some time but he'll run oom and has no sustain then finally you burst him dead with your magic dealing ultimate. You can rush a Last Whisper for giggles. If he gets ahead of you though for whatever reason you might have a problem.
If he's smart he'll level up his first in which case you have a set period of time to get the better of him with your stronger early game before he stomps all over you, and I promise you it's going to hurt. A good Cho won't be afraid of you trying to match you with just his enhanced auto's and abilities taking advantage of his superior sustain (he can smack your's off unintentionally just trying to sustain himself). So you need to make him afraid, I tend to grab two Dorian's Blades against this lug and probably a Giant's Belt later, you need to press him hard as you would Malphite, getting him to burn way more mana then he wants to while not regening as much as he'd like from minions, zone him from them if possible, then you'll have him when he's low on mana. If you can't drop him early and pull ahead your gonna need to turn that Giant's Belt into a Warmogs just to stay in lane.
Oh noes team no ban Shen! Ok this guy is a serious pain. He's pretty much like Cho'gath, only he doesn't use mana, so he can consistently chuck knives at you then shield the brunt of your damage when he goes into last hit. He needs to mess up big time for you to kill him. I find that rushing a Warmogs will allow you to out sustain him in a duel then while he's lower then you zone him from minions so he can't sustain from them. Overall your main concern should be to make sure this damn ninja doesn't snowball the game with a single early be on your toes and get ready to Flash + Q it. That trick will normally only work once though next time he wont do it while you have vision of him.
A good Singed will just Fling you the minute you try to Q him. This makes pressuring him early game a serious pain. Then he'll match your sustain with his . Soon he'll just start pushing the lane and the best thing you can do is push it right back. I find that an early Warmogs helps you stay in lane to deal with his poison. This lane will become a farm fest, therefore it is not an ideal match up for you at all. Singed is the stronger late game champion overall. You'll have to roam or something to snowball an edge.
The blueprint for Trynd to beat Garen is to not be afraid of him, when you Q him he should simple turn around and just start fighting with you because guess what...there is no damage for you to Silence. Worse off is he can lower your AD with to win trades. Get a early and maybe a couple Dorian's if you need the damage. Then go for Sunfire Cape and he won't be able to hurt you. You need to zone him from minions so he can't stack his Fury for sustain. If he gets sloppy remember he has you can time ignite properly however if he burns all his Fury during it. Much like with Jax he scales into a hyper carry and unless he's bad you won't be able to shut him down alone, only stall him. Pick Malphite or something....
All bruisers hate them but Garen having that assassin quality and able to farm so well can deal with them pretty well. For all of the following match ups your going to want to start for the regen and durability so you can survive the harass until you can wave clear. Then it's all a matter of having that assassin like patience to Flash Combo them. Remember unlike bruisers ranged laner aren't naturally durable and have no form of defensive steroids so you can combo then earlier then you would a bruiser.
The new undisputed king of top lane. I have yet to lose to a Jayce however. He's very vulnerable at level 1 if he starts with so you can abuse him until he hits level 2. Last hit what you can early on without taking too much harass. If he's an aggressive Jayce you might not even need to wave clear cause he will be maxing . Buy a Hexdrinker since it does magic damage. When he comes in to > use Decisive Strike + Courage. If you silence him before his knockback goes off spin on him, if it does go off his jaw will literally drop at how much your health didn't drop and you'll come out on top since he has no sustain and uses mana. If he maxes his Q first he'll probably go oom before he does any significant damage.
Finally he'll have to switch back to ranged form, this is what you've been waiting for once he uses he can't swap back to melee form for a few seconds to disengage and he'll be squishier. Flash Combo!! If that doesn't kill him he'll be forced back at least.
Keep in mind the one thing that tips this matchup slightly in Jayce's favor is he synergizes much better with ganks. While your both quite slippery he has his knockback which can be the end of you.
With a Hexdrinker and your Dorian's Shield ( he might build AD early on) this little rodent will merely tickle you. Camp the brush if he thinks your MIA and combo him after he gets careless and uses to farm. Time Courage to shake off his stun from his desperate and finish him.
You wanna stay away when she has her up and then go on the offensive you can Q out of her and easily close the distance. The problem is her counters your Demacian Justice. Once again don't get carried away and try to bait it out with Ignite. You can turret dive her if need be if you have the health for it and time when her Shield is going down. You can go Boots for this match up to help close the distance and you shouldn't be near her anyway when her range is extended.
Over time I find this is a bad matchup for Garen, not because you can't beat her but because she pretty much destroys what Garen is there for. Kayle top lane is a carry in her own right and can meanwhile shield whatever other carry you mean to gib. She drags the teamfights and with your lack of a gap closer its pretty annoying. Garen normally wants to decide the victor or at least the momentum of the teamfight within the time of one combo when he effortlessly takes out the enemy carry.
Her early harass wont bother you that much if you have your Dorian's Shield. Her damage out put can be pretty scary though in cat form so be careful. Either wait for her to go oom which she will since you have some sustain and she's squishier in trades or simply wave clear and roam. Her teamfight presence is awful anyway so if she doesn't snowball she's useless. You can consider going Ghost + since she tends to engage you in cat form and if you ever come out on top of a trade you'll be fast enough to pursue her and finish her off. It will make you a tad squisher though. Chances are you wont beat a good one the goal though is not let her bend you over, her teamfight presence pales in comparison to yours.
Your notorious hard counter and most despised champion in LoL. I feel AD Teemo is doable. Most Teemo's are confident enough to only up the river to avoid ganks and not to give you hell in lane. If he uses in a lane brush pop it as long as he not near. After your first back you should be able to easily wave clear while soaking up his harass. Then its all just a matter of waiting for the right time to combo him. You might not kill the fast little tyke but you'll at least get him out of lane. If he gets a during the laning phases then your screwed its all about delaying it for as long as you can. Try to get a gank on him pre-6 since he'll be pushing the lane and you wont catch him post-6. Build Hexdrinker for more tankiness.
Also keep team composition in mind, Teemo tends to throw a wrench in team compositions since he's a squishy ranged top with no CC and his teammates only thinking about laning match ups wont pick up a tanky support or mid to make up for it so you'll win teamfights since they have four squishes.
Like Kennen only easier. He's weak early game so you can easily bully him when he tries to harass you. And unlike Kennen he can't run away from you before you connect your Q. Just force or bait out his which is on a long cooldown then combo him.
The undisputed queen of top lane. This girl's a nightmare. I haven't lost to one yet but the few I faced I don't think were very good. You play this similar to the Jayce matchup only far less aggressive. Either start with a shield or a ton of potions. You wanna last hit safely until you can buy some MR. You'll want Merc Treads and Hexdrinker then get some health building towards what ever the game calls for. Her harass shouldn't hurt you much then and you can just waveclear. Hopefully she'll oom herself trying to push you out of lane. Much like Jayce you ideally wanna combo her when she shifts from melee form to range, but unless your low she has no reason to go into melee form. If you combo her while she's already in human form you might force her out of lane but you probably wont kill her because Rappel is lame.
I haven't fought him much but with Ryze becoming a thing now top lane due to meta sheep your gonna want to learn how to deal with him. On paper he shouldn't be too hard. He has mana problems early on so start or to survive early on. Rush and time your for when you think he'll , you can literally walk out of it and use your speed boost from to punish him. Continue building health and MR and he'll be afraid of you. Avoid his though, it will gut all the resistance you built.
Just run into the brush when he uses his ghouls and pray he doesn't ward it. He's not an actual ranged champion so you can't just combo him down as easily. You can wait for his mana to start depleting however to go on the offensive. Otherwise just wave clear and try to pressure mid.
As you can see Garen has become a much stronger laner and thus a stronger champion. I hope you enjoyed this guide and would appreciate constructive critic and feedback.