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[Guide] The Garen of Today

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Contents: (Crl+F to skip)
1a: Intro
2b: Skills Descriptions
3c: Runes
4d: Items
5e: Masteries and SS
6f: Skill Build
7g: General Tips

1a Introduction:
When I first picked up Garen I went to the guide forums and couldn't find any up to date builds. Everyone remembers sunfire spam ect. ect. but after Garen's changes and the removal of the stacking sunfire capes, things have changed for our spinning hero. This guide is my somewhat flexible build for the current Garen. I'm not the best LoL player but since nobody has stepped forward to write one I will. Something to work off of is better than nothing.

2b Skills:
Passive: Perseverance. A .5% regen per second that kicks in if you're not damaged for 7 seconds.

Some things to note with Garen's passive:
You can still attack with this effect, only receiving damage removes it. Also keep in mind that it doesn't scale in the same way, say, as the way Lux's passive scales with leveling. However some quick math shows that it scales quite well with life items. At the start of the game you'll have ~600 life, this means out of combat you're gaining 3 regen per second when out of combat. Keep in mind this is per second, not the normal "regen/per5". Keep in mind a Regrowth pendant only gives 15/per5, that means at the start of the game Garen almost has a free item. At the end of the game his passive isn't quite as useful, but still nice to have. ~3000 life on a conservative build gives you 15 regen per second. 75/per5 is nothing you should ignore.

"Q": Decisive Strike. Using this grants a 15 to 35% movement speed bonus (+5%/Lvl) for 3 seconds, as well as a giving your next attack +30 to +90 damage (+15/Lvl) plus an additional number based on your current total damage. All levels silence the target for 2.5 seconds.
Cool down: 12 seconds (-1/Lvl)

Some notes:
The bonus move-speed is wonderful, the silence is even better. The damage hits like a truck early game but sadly putting more than one level in this ability is a waste. There are better ways to spend your points, but this skill is a must have, put one point in it always.

"W": Courage. A passive/active ability that passively increases your armor and resistance by 5 to 25 (+5/Lvl) and when used grants you a shield that reduces incoming damage by 10% to 30% (+5%/Lvl) for 3 seconds.
Cool down: 30 seconds (-3/Lvl)

Some notes:
The passive is a pleasant bonus but you have to kill creeps to gain your 5 to 25 armor and resistance. Each kill grants .5 of each resistance. The active is where this gets good. 30% damage reduction is incredible, this turns Garen into a mini Alistar for 3 seconds, making him a very tough nut to crack.

“E”: Judgment. Using this turns Garen into a tornado for 3 seconds, dealing 60 to 220 damage (+40/Lvl) every second plus an additional number based on your total bonus damage. Using this removes slows and reduces the duration of new ones by 50%. Damage is reduced by 50% to minions.
Cooldown: 14 seconds (-1/Lvl)

Some notes:
This is the trademark Garen move. It scales on both +damage and +crit. This is because Judgment can crit for 150% damage and for an AOE attack this is wonderful. This ability lasts 3 seconds as well, making the synergy between it and Courage’s active wonderful. You charge into a group with Q, hit W, then hit E.

“R”: Demacian Justice. Garen’s Ultimate is an execution style move. It deals magic damage as opposed to physical and it deals a flat 175/350/525 magic damage, plus 1 damage for every 3.5/3/2.5 life your target is missing.

Some notes:
This ability has a large-ish range and is devastating to most every hero. However using it at the right time is the hardest part. There are three ways to use this ultimate effectively:

1) When an enemy hero with a lot of health (tank or tanky-dps) hits 50% pop this. It won’t kill them but it’ll bring them low enough that they’re going to die to general AOE or a smart pure dps on your team.
2) When an enemy hero is running from your team use this to finish them. Don’t take chances, if they hit 25% and have even a slim chance of escaping kill ‘em. It might seem like a killsteal but you never know if they have a team coming to save them just in the nick of time. You have an ult for a reason.
3) The last use of this ult is on a soft dps you can kill yourself. Garen is a great one for chasing down dangerous dps heroes on the other team and silencing them then killing them in seconds.

3c Runes:
Everyone has a bias towards the runes they use. Personally I find I have an inordinate love for ArPen runes. But enough said:

Quints: ArPen or Movespeed. Honestly I can count the number of champions that have escaped me by running away on one hand. Speed is nice but overall it’s a personal call.
Red: ArPen
Yellow: Life/Lvl. Anything that increases your Hp pool is useful. I avoid armor in yellow since garen already gets a lot of armor from his best items.
Blue: Flat Resistance. My cool-downs are rarely a hindrance, and I feel like cool-down reduction runes are something of a waste since they cost so much. But if you have them I’d use them!

4d Items:
A very important part of playing a hero is knowing what works best for him/her. For Garen you want to keep an eye on Critical hit chance, Life, Damage, and Movement Speed. With this in mind we choose his items.

Boots of Swiftness
Sunfire Cape
Atma’s Impaler
Youmuu’s Ghostblade
Aegis of the Legion (or) Guardian Angel
Leviathan* (or) Warmog’s Armor

*These are listed in order of importance except for Leviathan. If you’re doing good early game purchase this as soon as possible. It is cheaper than Warmogs and if you get stacks early it turns you into an unstoppable force much, much faster.

5e Masteries and SS:
For alot of people I know Masteries are like Runes, everyone has the best build for themselves. For me I favor a 9/21/0 or 8/21/1 build to help Garen in the middle of 5v5 team fights. Crit in the red tree and CD reduc are useful as is IMP Exaust. In the blue tree I snag 6 resist/armr and ignore dodge for the most part. I played around with a dodge build for more speed but in the end it wasn't worth the time. Green tree is dipped into for IMP Sprint.

For summoner spells I prefer Exhaust and Sprint. Exhaust is amazing and every team needs more of it. Sprint is to help chase down everything, or to help run away from everything. Not much room IMO for other choices but flash is nice occasionally.

6f Skill Build:
1. E (1)
2. Q (1)
3. E (2)
4. W (1)
5. E (3)
6. R (1)
7. E (4)
8. W (2)
9. E (5 Maxed)
10. W (3)
11. R (2)
12. W (4)
13. W (5 Maxed)
14. Q (2)
15. Q (3)
16. R (3 Maxed)
17. Q (4)
18. Q (5 Maxed)

Focus on early harassment. Use your E to hit multiple champions in a duo lane or to keep your opponent from farming creeps in a solo lane. Q is wonderful pre-6 for getting kills. When you hit 6 make sure you start roaming if your lane is pushed and your solo/duo lane opponents are hugging/scared.

6f General Tips to Being a Good Garen:
Garen is primarily a Tanky-Dps. His W lets him play the part of a real tank when you want to initiate, while atma’s and the crit you get from your items turn you into a heavy AOE damage monster. You’re more of a tank than say Renekon, and in exchange you lose some 1v1 viability but instead you gain heavy AOE control and better incoming damage mitigation.

Always keep in mind you can hit E to turn your spin off. You can’t cast your ult while spinning so if someone needs to be dealt some justice tap out of your spin and serve it up Demacian style.

Playing Garen is fun, at the moment I’m tempted to say he’s in a good place, but I wouldn’t mind a bit of a numbers buff across the board. As it is if you fall behind as Garen it’s very hard to force your way back up to where you should be. I think this is a problem, as many of Garen’s brawler counterparts are so deadly because they can make a comeback despite being dominated early game.

Keep this in mind, playing Garen is like surfing a wave. You’ll look great and have tons of fun until you fall, then you’ll have to wait and hope another chance comes. And in LoL second chances are about as rare as an understanding team.

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Senior Member


aegis of legion/guardians seems like a waste

with atmas + sunfire

FoN and Last Whisper are also really good on him

If your gonna get levithian or warmogs get it early not late

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Junior Member


Hello =),

First off great guide! It really helped me to up my game as a beginner =). Just one question: In the response to the post Tokinatoor mentions "FoN" would be a possible better choice for the items Vitan picked out. What does FoN stand for?

Thanks for the help!


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Senior Member


frock of nature

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Senior Member


Force of Nature has several nice synergies with Garen.

First, Garen might start with a regrowth pendant and 1 pot. Its a pretty solid start. This regrowth can build into a FON, and in fact you can get a SECOND one to really have massive laning regen since FON uses 2 pendants.

Second, FON adds an 8% movespeed bonus. Clearly this is win for garen.

Third, FoN adds massive regen, based on his total health plus a ton of flat regen. This works well with his Damage Soak role.

Fourth, a big chunk of magic resist is quite valuable, especially early on when garen is susceptable to burst damage. This is particuarly valuable if you dont take MR blue runes.

So a different order might be:

Regrowth pendant.
boots and another regrowth
Rush Sunfire Cape for big farm boost and melee damage.
Get Negatron Cloak to plug MR hole and upgrade to Boots of Speed.
Upgrade to Force of Nature to reclaim some space.
(then take Atmas, Brutalizer/Ghostblade, whatever)

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Senior Member


11.5k view, 4 replies (5 with this one). Wow.

I'm not 30 yet, nor have I ever done ranked games, but at least in normal where Garen is a good early-game champ, I enjoy getting the snowball item [Sword of the Occult]. It's cheap, gives great AD, and if played smart can easily achieve the 20 stacks quickly to make ganking and escaping much easier (esp combined with Q). I highly recommend it, if you can get some early kills with Garen. He needs snowball items to maintain composure late-game where he falls off rather quickly. [Leviathan] is also another great, and cheap, snowball item.

If you can get both stacks, you'll have 110 AD, 820 HP, 15% movement speed, and 15% reduced damage taken, all for a total of 2544 gold. Not bad.

Assists work just as well to gain stacks, as long as you can survive fights, and stack them up. While spinning you'll manage to get an assist for every enemy champ in teamfights, so don't risk losing stacks by chasing just for the kill for 2, then die to turret losing much more.

I use these on Udyr too, sometimes, for that tanky DPS combo, which Garen and Udyr both excel at.

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Senior Member


Another variation is a more-DPS Garen:

Start with boots + pot
Berserker Boots
Frozen Mallet
Sunfire Cape/Situational item

I find when I build this way I can solo most any champ, I tend to get fed, and I can tank just enough to initiate and E out when I get low health in team fights/turret dives.

RE: pewpymcpewppants, the issue with snowball items at 30/ranked is the smart people look to focus/gank champs with snowballs first.

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Senior Member


I'm all about the hp stacking on garen, so I dig the atma's + warmog + sunfire cape thing you've got going there.

I just see two alterations:

First, any carry that sees you are stacking hps is going to buy a madred's. Which means you need MR. Which means a fon.

Second, you need some way of slowing down runners, which is why I actually dig a frozen mallet on garen. You speed up with Q, you slow down with your autoattack. You gain extra hps that stack with atmas. (I ditch youmuu's since you already have a move speed skill, and you don't need attack speed when you're spinning.)

A final garen build to me might look like:

merc treads
sunfire cape
frozen mallet

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Senior Member


Merc treads has always seemed like a waste on Garen with the anti-CC his E has. Consider either Swiftness or Berserker boots.

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Senior Member


Garen's E only reduces slows. These are the CC that Tenacity reduces:

Slows, Snares, Blinds, Silences, Stuns, Taunts, Fears

So you are trading -35% on every other CC AND 25 MR

for 25% attack speed (which is arguably worthless on Garen)
or 20 move speed (which has diminishing returns with Q and a force of nature.)

Personally, I'm still a fan of merc treads on Garen, especially since I want to use E when I want to blow people up, not to escape slows.

The only reason why I'd get any other type of boots is in the edge case that the other team has entirely no stuns, silences, fears, taunts, or snares. Then I'd get boots of lucidity.