[Guide] Garen, what you did not know about his spell mechanics.
Written: May 02, 2010
Last Edited: Sept. 24, 2011, for one has responsibilities to maintain the guides they write to help others. Garen has changed much over 1 year.
This guides is to help clarify Garen's abilities as well as to give advice how to use and set up the hero performance.
First, understand a hero's' role is defined by his/her abilities. Garen is hybrid tank/dps, but neither excels fully in either role. Garen's lacks crowd controls necessary to pressure enemies and save allies on the level of true tanks. Garen's damage cannot compete as true damage carries. His role is somewhere in between tank and damage. After I explain his abilities and set up, I will go more into a build that reflects his.
-This is a mostly serious guide about issues with Garen's spell mechanics, game play advice, with some attempt of humor added.
-Some information is intentionally useless.
This link is Garen's official web page. It contains basic information about his spells.
Perseverance - The tool top reads: "Garen will regenerate .5% of his maximum health per second after not receiving damage for 7 seconds."
Maybe you did not know:
a. This ability only activates if:
-Garen did not harm an enemy target in the last 7 seconds (this is not mentioned in the tool tip) AND
-Garen was not hurt in the last 7 seconds
-Garen is below 100% hp
b. This ability is ONLY deactivated if Garen is damaged.
c. Garen damaging to other enemies will NOT remove this effect.
d. Perseverance is spelled with the letter P.
Game Play Tips
-This passive allows Garen to bypass the need of early game regeneration items
-Hide outside enemy damage range until your health is back up if you are hurt
-This ability will not cure cancer
Decisive Strike - The tool tip reads:
"Garen gains a 15/20/25/30/35% speed boost for 2 seconds. His next attack deals 30/45/60/75/90 bonus damage and silences his target for 2.5 seconds."
Maybe you did not know:
a. 30/45/60/75/90 bonus damage AFFECTS towers.
b. 30/45/60/75/90 bonus damage CANNOT critically hit.
c. Only MOVESPEED is increased, not attack speed.
e. The movespeed buff is NOT consumed after Decisive Strike's damage/silence is used.
d. Activating this spell RESETS Garen's auto attack timer, but there is a .5 second delay before the next swing hits.
f. The on hit effect is "stored" as a buff charge for 10 seconds if you do not attack an enemy.
g. The cooldown ONLY begins after the on hit strike effect is used or wears off.
h. You cannot activate this spell while spinning.
I. Decisive Strike is effective with a heavy club as well.
-To maximize damage, activate this spell right after a auto attack swing.
-Silence heroes intelligently during team fights. Shut spell caster up, not the tank
-The speed bonus is useful for chasing and fleeing enemy heroes.
-Have at least 1 point in this spell for 2.5 second silence and the sprint.
-This ability does not work on talkative females.
Courage - The tool top reads:
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%.
Maybe you did not know:
a. The active 35% damage reduction is subjected to diminishing returns when combined with other % damage reduction effects, such as armor and resistance.
Example: Garen has 100 armor. Garen reduces attack damage taken by 50%. Garen activates Courage. Garen reduces attack damage taken by a total of 67.5%, not 85%.
Formula: (1- Current damage reduction %) x New damage reduction % = Actual increase in damage reduction %
Math: (1 - .5) x .35 = .175
.5 is the 50% current damage reduction from armor
.35 is the new damage reduction from Courage
.175 is the actual increase in damage reduction not .35
b. Garen is not afraid of anything when this ability active.
-It is easy this ability too early or too late when under pressured. The right time is when hurt is about to start, push this.
-Have at least 1 point in this spell at level 4.
-This ability can be activate during a spin.
-This ability is not as effective as Red Bull and does not give you wings.
Judgement - The tool tip reads:
"Garen performs a dance of death with his sword, dealing damage around him for 3 seconds, and reducing the duration of slows by 50%. Garen removes any slow effects on him at the start of the dance.
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 second. Garen removes any slow effects on him when casting Judgment."
Maybe you did not know:
a. Garen has a very small collision body, you generally will not get stuck
b. The base damage CANNOT critically hit. Only the bonus attack damage portion (from items) can.
c. Attack damage/critical strike %/critical strike damage bonus stats directly improve this spell's damage, but it ONLY affects 33% attack damage portion, not the bonus damage.
d. Each "tick" damage critical hits are calculated INDEPENDENTLY for each target hit.
e. This spell's damage is REDUCED by enemy armor.
f. ACTIVATING this ability REMOVES slows (Nunu's snowball), but NOT immobilization (Ammu's ultimate)
g. Do not use while intoxicated.
Note - in regards to "c", a sword animation appears over a target when Garen critically hits with Judgement.
-This spell's slow immunity is useful for escaping slow effects, such Mundo's cleavers and Nunu's ult
-Focus on attack damage and critical strike to improve your Judgement's damage. Attack speed is not as helpful.
-Combine this spell with Decisive strike's moves speed bonus for extra fast spinning Garen
-Infinity Edge is the best item to improve this spell's damage, number wise.
-Courage can be activated during this spell.
-Chuck Norris taught Garen this move.
Demacian Justicee - The tool tip reads:
"Garen calls upon the might of Demacia to attempt to execute an enemy champion, dealing 175/350/525 magic damage plus 1 damage for every 3.5/3/2.5 health they are missing."
Maybe you did not know:
a. This use to say the ultimate does magic damage before it was clarified. Thank you Riot.
-Do not worry about being accused of kill steals, do not give enemies a chance. Kill him, it is your job.
-The magic sword animation is not as cool as Frostmourne or Cloud's Buster sword. Where do these huge swords keep coming from...
Spell Leveling Priority
1st - Demacian Justice
2nd - Judgement
3rd - Courage, only upgrade this when armor and resistance passive is max out for that particular rank
4th - Decisive strike
-Basically this means, level the ultimate whenever its available, level Judgement as your main non ultimate ability, and alternate between Courage and Decisive strike.
-Remember to have at least 1 point in Courage, usually when Garen is level 3 or 4.
-Pick up summoner ability enhancement that you use, health regeneration to compliment passive, movespeed and all CD reduction effects
-Pick up exhaust if you use it, 2% critical strike for your spin, CD reduction, and 15% spell penetration for your ultimate
Red: Armor Penetration
Yellow: Health Regeneration per Level
Blue: Magic Defense per level reduction
Quintessence: Movement speed
-Math wise, Armor Penetration improves Garen's damage more than any other rune can, it affect all his not ultimate damage abilties.
-Extra health regeneration combos well with Garen's regeneration passive
-Garen tends to attract enemy spells, MD runes will give you much milage
-Move speed is ESSENTIAL. A slow Garen is useless when he spins outside enemy range.
Extra - This is a good guide on armor penetration:
These two gets you the most kills:
Ignite - Compliments Garen's role to finish heroes and get kills. Highly recommended
Ghost - Combos well Garen's abilities. Highly recommended.
These perform decently, but I consider them situational replacements for the top.
Flash - Flash is good, but the mobility from Ghost is far superior in most situations. Ignite tends to land more kills, but flash does allows Garen to escape easier.
Exhaust - Keeps enemies in range, but sometimes redundant if they cannot escape anyways. The disable makes this situationally better against certain enemy compositions, like heavy physical teams.
Cleanse - Very crowd control heavy enemy teams can make this ability useful.
Omnislash - Summons Strife to unleash his limit break on to enemies.
Generally all heroes follow this loose template.
1. Starter Item
2. Boots of Choice
3. Core Item
4. Core Item
5. Core Item
6. Situational Item
Starter Items is something cheap and meant for early game, such as potions, Doran gear, and Heart of Gold.
Core Items usually are expensive items that greatly enhance your character's role, such as Warmog for a tank or Death Cap for a caster.
Situational Items are item dependent on the flow of game, such as Banshee Veil against caster heavy team.
Garen's items must allow him to survive in the front lines as well as do moderate damage. Pure tank Garen add little to team fights, pure damage Garen die quickly when focused. Garen is both.
Starter Item (2 best choice)
Start with Boots and 3 health potion is the best aggressive opening. Opponents without boots cannot escape silence and spin and 600 hp of potion are the best assets for aggressive Garen play. Once you learn Garen's limits, this build is the best in exploiting enemy weaknesses and getting early kills.
Doran's shield is the best defensive opening and necessary for lanes which opponents control. Don't expect too many early game kills, especially if your opponent bought boots first, your spin will never keep up.
Boots (3 best choices)
Aggressive - 15% CD reduction (more spins, silence and shields during team fights) or +3 speed (great for chasing, recommended if you do not have a grasp feel of Garen's abilities)
Defensive - 35% time reduction of enemy disables (you know you need this when you are rooted over and over)
1. Sunfire Cape
2. Frozen Mallet
3. Force of Nature
This core emphasis on enhancing Garen's utility.
Sunfire Cape allows Garen to open with damage, health, and armor, all at once. It fits with Garen's role to been in the midst of team fights and allows Garen to push and farm lanes better than any other item choice in the game.
Frozen Mallet following the cape gives a very large spike in Garen's hp, but the consistent 40% movespeed slow allows you to put pressure in team fights. It will allow you to soft peel enemies off friends and slow down focused targets. The +20 damage is an extra.
Force of Nature grants a very large spike in Garen's health regeneration, speed and magic defense, which rounds off Garen's defense and utility.
Situational (you have 2 item choices left and if you reach this far in the game, you know what you need)
Note: The second item of each category is much more expensive than the first.
Guardian Angel - Auto self revive and bonus armor and magic defense.
Warmog - You have so many HP bars that it is more of a HP line.
Thorn Mail - Punishes physical carries who shoot you and highest armor bonus in the game. May serious harm a carry.
Raduin's Omen - Smart carries do not shoot you till your whole team is dead. The active effect reduces their damage and movespeed regardless of who they attack. May disable a whole team.
Sash - Controllable defense against disable with magic damage reduction. May bail you out of jail.
Banshee Veil - Uncontrollable defense against spells, with slight hp and magic defense boost. Generally blocks trivial spells.
Screw That I Need Damage
Atma's Impaler - Much cheaper than the below, gives armor, but less damage
Infinity Edge - Most damage increase to Garen.
Last edit: Removed unnecessary and updated details due to patch changes and revised item build.
Totally agree, very nice guide man. You really made me think about that armor pen, and the critical strike.
I'm curious about some of you "facts" and where you obtained this information.
-Armor Pen does not improve Judgment, you say. I don't believe this. Other abilities that deal physical damage (Parrrley, Mystic Shot, etc) are affected by Armor and thus Armor Pen. A good way to test this is against neutral creeps in a practice game, particularly the lizard due to its high HP. Buy a Pickaxe, calculate the damage the skill should do, use it on the Lizard, mark the damage actually dealt. Sell the Pickaxe for a Brutalizer (same damage, only with added Armor Pen) and do it again, see if the damage changes (make sure to account for any leveling of your damage or skill rank here)
-Demacian Justice is not affected by Armor/MR? Again, I'm not sure what to think about this. The description does not specify whether it is magic or physical damage, but when in doubt abilities are Magical unless they involve attack damage somehow. If it was meant to ignore defenses, it'd specify True damage.
-Reductions "diminishing". Not so much a disagreement but just a clarification. All damage reduction stacks multiplicatively, so nothing new here.
-Regarding Judgment, do you know the formula by which Crit Chance and Damage improve the ability's damage? Is every attacked increased by a percentage based on your crit chance? Or does each individual hit have a chance to critically hit for extra damage? (Is this why there are sometimes swords displayed over targets' heads?)
I'm curious as to the items. Usually I stack a little more survivability earlier, and end up going Inf. Edge etc.. later on. Your damage on Garen is exceptional regardless of items lower level, but higher up, the items are very much required. Something such as follows:
1. Ninja Tabi/Mercury Treads
4. Infinity Edge
5. [Upgrade Phage]--> Frozen Mallet
6. Phantom Dancer
It will probably die out when the heat on Garen goes away, but your constantly focused down. I have over 75 games with Garen, very much mostly wins, and I've tried just about everthing. :]
Also I believe Judgment dmg is affected by arp and his ult dmg is diminished by magic resist. I'll test it later when am not at work >.>
For summoner spells I prefere to pick Ghost + Flash/Exhaust
Ghost + Judgment at lvl 1 is almost certain 1st blood for me.
2. Demacian Justice is affected by armor, but not magic resistance. It does physical damage.
3. Only the 33% damage portion is taken in to account. Each individual tick can critically hit directly proportional to your critical hit chance, independantly but only the 33% portion is doubled, not the bonus damage listed.
Ult dmg is diminished by armor though. Test this again, it is unclear from the tool tip!
I am so tired of everyone rushing Ghostblade in all my games.
Yes it is a nice item for carries. No it is not the new IE for carries.
I used to rush the ghostblade but now I have went back to getting IE befoer the ghostblade and have been doing much better.
Personally i don't find anything beats Spirit visage > Merc treads > Randuins Omen > Frozen mallet > Atma's Impaler > Insert last item you find useful but will never attain in any normal game here
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