There has been a lot of discussion about Garen as a champion, and he was my first main (I can now play lots of champs well, Jax is my second best). I've seen a lot of different builds and they all have their merits. I do a build I call "invinci-Garen." I'm reluctant to share it, because I don't want to face it! So if you ever see me against you, do me a favor and don't use my build against me =o). I'll include an item build, general tips for playing as Garen and how to balance the build depending on the team you're against.
- Jacen Bourne -
Table of Contents
II. Complete Item Build
III. General Tips For Garen
V. Summoner Powers
VI. Balancing The Build
Complete Item Build
The item build is this, in no particular order (I actually start working on several of them at once, it helps balance Garen out and give him longevity).
Force of Nature (Magic Resist + Regen)
Thornmail (Attack Resist)
Warmogs (Health + Regen)
Boots (Merc's Treads or Swiftness)
Sunfire (Damage + Armour + Health)
Infinity Edge (Damage + Critical Damage)
General Tips For Garen
Most well-balanced teams have a carry (such as Jax, Warwick, Xin or Yi) a tank (such as Mundo, Chogath or Garen) and a caster (such as Fiddlesticks, Ryze, Veigar or Malzahar). I'm talking about 3 v 3 matches here. The build I have gives you defense against all 3, the Thornmail will stop the carry and hurt the tank, the Force of Nature will stop the caster, the Sunfire will help you last and the Infinity will help you take them down.
Garen's really an ult-killing champion. Meaning, he's almost useless without his ult. His ult is unique in that it does a starting amount of damage, then an additional amount of damage for missing health of the enemy champion. It starts off at 1 damage per 3.5 health they are missing, but then it'll go up to, if memory serves correctly, 1 damage per 1 health missing.
This gives Garen the defensive power. All he has to do is last to get their health low (I generally say 1/5 to 1/6) and then ult them and they'll die. This build, with me, almost always allows me to do that.
To start off, if you play Garen right, he does great solo. He's hard to take down, so if they try to gank him, if you don't overextend, he'll almost always make it to the turret. If you're on the other side, well then that's a different story. The best thing to do, is as my first item, I get the Regrowth Pendant and a health potion. Garen's passive + the regrowth pendant allows him to regen pretty quickly in the beginning of the game.
Key thing: Don't overextend! Use last-striking to get gold and don't engage the enemy champ one on one, maybe do some damage here and there, but try to stick behind your minions, remember, he's really only good with his ult up. If your health gets low, don't try to stick it out to get more gold, go to the turret and wait for the Regeneration to kick in, it'll regen quickly and you'll still be alive!
Once you have his ult up, I normally engage the champion 1 v 1, depending on who it is. All I have to do is get their health low, then I can ult them. I normally win when I do this.
Use his Q move to your advantage, it'll give you speed if you need to run away. Your E move will allow you to get rid of slows and reduce one's on you to 50%, so use it if you get in a bind! Combine these two and it makes Garen a good runner if he has to run.
I normally get his E move (Judgment) first, because it helps when hurting everything around you. Second, I get his W move (Courage). This move helps, everytime you kill an enemy minion, you get +0.5 magic resist and armour. It maxes out at Level 5 at 25 magic resist and 25 armour. It's very helpful early game! I balance it with his Q move (Decisive Strike) and it helps make Garen even harder to take down.
Warmog's has a passive health + regen charge. Kill minions or monsters in your spare time to charge this, it will help! The end result of the item build is 4000 health.
This varies depending on how you play. You can go straight Health Regen, Health and Dodge (dodge is very nice on a Garen) which will work awesomely, or you can try something else, such as Critical Chance/Damage, Armour, Health. Both of those work fairly decently for Garen.
I prefer getting Ignite and Exhaust. Ignite is useful for getting the enemy champion down to that "ult zone" that you want them in for Garen's ult to kill them in one hit. Exhaust helps to slow them so you can get close enough to ult them, as they're running away. However, you can also do Ghost to run to get close enough, or something different.
Balancing The Build
All teams are different. This build is a general build for Garen, but say you're facing 3 magic-damage focused units. I would pass on the Thornmail, and if they're hurting you a lot, get a second Force of Nature. If they aren't, get another Warmogs.
Say there aren't any magic-damage dealing units. Get Thornmail first! Force of Nature is still lovely to have because of it's health regen properties, but you can dump it for a second Warmogs which is just as good.
I generally get the Regrowth Pendant first (part of the Force of Nature build), then the Mercury Treads second, then I get a Giant's Belt (the health keeps Garen going) and then I get more for the Force of Nature and the basic Cloth Armour, et cetera. I balance the build so I make Garen evenly tough, not just one-sided. As always, check the death recaps when you die to see what kind of damage they're doing to you.
If you're playing against someone like Morde, who can ult you, if you're not fed enough, carry a health pot with you at all times. It, plus your regen will counter his ult.
I normally get Infinity Edge last, because I prefer the almost invincible Garen to the damaging one. I base the build-item I get first off of who I'm facing. If I'm soloing against a caster, I'll get Force of Nature first. If I'm soloing against a carry, I'll get Thornmail first.
Balance the build out depending on who you're facing and who your team is.
So there, I've shared it! That's my Garen build. I've seen other builds that work great as well, this is just the one I prefer and it works for me. The main downfall of it is feeding, Garen has to get gold because the items are expensive. Fortunately, if you get Giant's Belt right after the Merc Tread's, that really gives him endurance to get more gold.
If you think another Garen build is better, by all means, stick with it! This is just mine. Hope you enjoyed it!
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