How To Play Garen In League Of Legends

Garen is probably the easiest champion to play in League of Legends. Despite being easy, he can actually solo carry games even if his team is doing bad. Here’s how you can play the Might of Demacia. 


Garen is one of those beginner champions that looks deceptively simple to play against. While it’s true that Garen has a rather simplistic kit, make no mistake; this champion can take you out if you underestimate him.He’s best played in the top lane where he can match up really well against some of the meta bruisers being used right now like Camille and Fiora. He also has no mana so the only resource you’ll be working around with is his Health and the cooldown on his abilities. 

Champion Abilities

Garen’s kit is very easy to use. So easy that anyone with basic macro knowledge of the game can find themselves being put in a situation to succeed just by picking Garen. He does suffer from a lack of crowd control so he might not be the most reliable initiator during team fights.

Passive – Perseverance

If Garen has not been struck by damage or enemy abilities recently, he regenerates Health every half-second. Minion damage does not stop Perseverance.

Garen’s passive is essentially a free Warmog’s Armor. It’s definitely one of the best passives in the game especially if you’re a beginner. It gives you a lot of room to make mistakes and lets you out sustain most champions you’ll face in the top lane. 

Q –  Decisive Strike

Garen breaks free from all slows affecting him, and gains 35% Movement Speed. His next basic attack within 4.5 seconds deals physical damage and silences his target for 1.5 seconds. Decisive Strike resets Garen’s basic attack timer.

This is Garen’s only form of crowd control as well as his only form of mobility. It does decent damage, silences the enemy, resets your auto attack, and most importantly, gives you a movement speed buff. Without this, Garen would be very vulnerable to ganks so use this ability wisely. It’s better to use it when initiating whenever a teammate comes to gank or to just use it defensively whenever you enemies try to all in you.

W –  Courage

Passive: Killing units permanently grants 0.2 Armor and Magic Resist, up to a maximum of 30. After reaching max stacks, he gains (+10% bonus Armor) and (+10% bonus Magic Resist).

Active: Garen steels his courage. For the first 0.75 seconds, he shields himself and gains 60% Tenacity. For the remaining duration, he takes 30% less damage.

This is a great defensive ability that allows Garen to be tankier. It’s best used in trades or diving an opponent. The shield and tenacity from the active is amazing and can save you from a lot of situations. The passive, on the other hand, makes you a little more tankier and allows you to spare an item slot that you can use for a damage item.

E – Judgement

Garen rapidly spins his sword around his body for 3 seconds, dealing physical damage to nearby enemies over the duration (deals 150% damage against non-epic monsters).

Enemy champions hit by 6 spins lose 25% of their Armor for 6 seconds. Deals 25% bonus damage per spin to the nearest enemy. Hits after the 6th refresh the debuff. Cancelling Judgment returns cooldown equal to the remaining duration. Judgment can critically strike for 33% bonus damage.

Apart from his ultimate, this is Garen’s signature ability and what he is best known for. This is your primary source of damage in teamfights, trades, or when just pushing minion waves. It does a lot of DPS and can even critically strike. Spin to win indeed.

R – Demacian Justice

Garen calls upon the might of Demacia to attempt to execute an enemy champion, granting True Sight of them for 1 second and dealing true damage.

Garen’s ultimate is the biggest reason why he is such a strong champion that can carry games. He’s innately tanky so he can be hard to kill plus his abilities give him some pretty insane damage output. When you throw Demacian Justice in the mix, it increases Garen’s kill pressure through the roof. Any enemy with health below 30% would be instantly killed in the most cathartic way possible: a giant sword stabs them from the sky.

Runes and Item Builds

When it comes to Item builds, your primary focus is to build a bit of damage and increase Garen’s overall survivability. Most items that give both health and damage can be super useful on a champion like Garen. You can also go for a glass cannon build where you build full on damage but this does make you incredibly easy to kill. For this guide, we’ll focus more on building Garen as a bruiser instead of a straight up AD champion.

Starting Items

For starting items, you’ll want to go with Doran’s Shield and a Health Potion everytime. This is the best start as Doran’s Shield gives Garen all the stats he needs to make it out of the early game. It also syncs well with Garen’s passive, Perseverance, as this item restores health every few seconds.

Mythic Items

For Mythic Items, Garen theoretically has a lot of choices. He can make great use of the Tank Mythics like Sunfire Aegis or Frostfire Gauntlet. He can also be viable with Assassin Mythic items like Prowler’s Claw or Duskblade of Draktharr. But Garen’s sweet spot is if he gets both health and damage plus a little something in between. The best Mythic for Garen is Stridebreaker. Not only does it give Garen all the stats he needs to succeed, it has an active that allows him to slow enemies around him by 40% for 3 seconds. Since Garen virtually has no crowd control, this item is great for helping him stick to his targets. Another great Mythic is Goredrinker. This item gives him health and damage as well but its active restores a portion of Garen’s health depending on how many champions he hits with it.

Full Build

Ideally, the first item you should build on Garen would be tier 2 boots. While you can go for the standard Plated Steelcaps, you would be better off with Berserker’s Greaves since it will increase your overall DPS. After purchasing your desired Mythic, go for a Mortal Reminder next. Since most Top Laners will have a lot of healing and sustain, this item will help you shut them down. Next, go for Dead Man’s Plate since it gives you both armor, health, and a bit of damage. Sterak’s Gage is up next. This item increases both your survivability and your damage. Finish off your build with Force of Nature for the magic resistance, health, and bonus move speed.

Other Viable Items

Most items that give health, resistances, or damage can be viable on Garen. It’s up to you to figure out which ones would work depending on your situation or playstyle. Black Cleaver is a great item that can help you shred tanks in the top lane. Gargoyle’s Stoneplate is also a fantastic tank item that essentially gives you a second lifebar in the form of it’s shield. Thornmail is pretty handy when against duelists that deal Physical damage, and Spirit Visage will help you deal with mages plus it increases your health regeneration.


For runes, go with the Precision tree and take Conqueror as your keystone. This rune rewards players for extended fights which Garen excels at. Next take Triumph for some bonus sustain, Legend: Tenacity to help you resist crowd control, and Last Stand to give you that extra boost in damage that’ll help you take out your opponent during all ins. For secondaries, take Conditioning for bonus resistances and Overgrowth for bonus health. For rune shards, take double Adaptive Force and Armor.

Useful Tips

  1. Garen can be easily kited since he has no mobility in his kit apart from the slight movement speed buff from Decisive Strike. Be careful when laning against ranged champions or slippery champions that can effectively kite you. 
  2. Garen does well against most tanks in the top lane like Malphite or Shen. He’s also a great counter for AD assassins like Yone or Yasuo. While he generally does well against any champion up top, he can be countered by strong juggernauts like Darius or Tahm Kench. Make sure to ban these champions so that you’ll have an easier time.
  3. For summoner spells, take Flash and Teleport. This gives you a global presence across the map and allows you to easily join team fights or split push different lanes. Ignite can be a good alternative for Teleport if you plan on playing aggressively. Ghost is pretty good too, especially if you’re against a very mobile champion.

So there you have it! That’s all you need to know about playing Garen in League of Legends. Be sure to check back with us again for more awesome guides on your favorite games. Have fun and we’ll see you on the Rift!