Anti-Guides: Garen

You're Gonna Like Him When He's Dead: I Garentee it

A pain to catch. Spins way too much. Can go kill all your teammates even if you beat him in the lane. Hard to gank. Gets a free slow-break/movespeed buff/silence that is spammable. Yells Demacia way too much, and gets free armor and mr just for getting the first level of a skill (nerfed, fortunately), and has a great finishing ult. Can build exactly one damage item and then deal tons of it to multiple people in AOE fashion.

He is Garen, that 450-IP champ from Demacia. Or for many of us, from HELL.

Where you'll see him/her: usually in top lane, destroying his lane opponent, farming well under tower, pushing easily, heavily denting towers with his 1-2 Q combo, killing your jungler, ganking your mid, doing predictable yet successful combos to your teammates.

Worst Case Scenario: is so big he literally cannot be killed or stopped from pushing, can solo anyone on your team, and 1v2 or even 1v3 about anyone on your team.

Annoyance rating: 8

Solo Queue Rating: 9

High-Level rating: 4

Things that are generally good vs. this champion: Liandry’s, Blade of the Ruined King (usually), Iceborn Gauntlet, Health, Rylai’s (on the right champions), Randuin’s, attack speed, poke (but only non-stop poke, not occasional), Fed and skilled AD carries, Sword of the Divine, Spirit of the Elder Lizard, sustained damage,  DoTs, having a superior movement speed, spammable escape, knockbacks, killing his teammates (more on this later).

Things this champion couldn’t care less about: Mordekaiser, Akali, Thornmail, small numbers of slows, close-ranged burst, small numbers of pokes, ability-dependent melees, ccless champs without sustained damage, underfarmed AD Carries, squishy junglers, underfarmed tanks, most assassins (AP or AD).

Items this champion often buys: Warmog’s, Black Cleaver, Doran’s Shield, Guardian Angel, Sunfire Cape, Locket.

Watch out for:  sneaky ults, cooldown builds, early Mog’s domination, early Cleaver domination.

Lane choices: against Garen, you can go constant poke and harass by going ranged and staying on top of him. This is stressful, because you’re generally dead meat at ganks if you get successfully silenced by him before you can escape from the gank cc, or you can get cc’d by the gank, then silenced.  However, you can keep him away from your team later doing this, or even better, own him hard in the lane to minimize his post lane presence. Elise, Teemo, Yorick, Nidalee, Pantheon, Kayle, Jayce, Pantheon, and even GP or Lee Sin can serve to do this. Outfarming in this situation will ensure survival, but not that you can keep him from destroying your team.

The other approach is to stalemate him or outfarm him and then just hope to peel, outdive, or have bigger presence in team fights late game. Cho’Gath, Olaf, Singed, Xin, Lee Sin, Darius, Irelia, Jarvan IV, Shen, Udyr, Tryndamere, or Warwick can do this with varying levels of difficulty

Team choices: teams that Garen destroys are the ones that can’t put out a huge amount of burst and/or (more importantly) sustained damage to make it so that his presence is minimal. If there is a Garen on the other team, it’s important that the AD carry get fed, the AP not be burst or one-trick, or the jungler be a basic attack or cc machine jungler. It also important you have cc that isn’t just slows. Or, if you have slows, that you have so many that his Q won’t get him away. Continous damage is the most important. If you have continuous cc but poor followup, he’ll walk away and heal, or worse, he’ll be cc’d, then charge in and kill all of you or take the objective.

Garen is a charging bull. He must be kited or gored.

What to do in lane vs. this champion: see champion picks. Most people cannot go all-in vs. Garen in lane, especially once he hits 6. You need ganks. If you don’t get them, it’s very very hard to kill him, but it’s not as impossible to outcs him. A good Garen can push fast, and clear fast under the tower, meaning he is resilient to where the minion wave is located, so trying to position the wave is only relevant for ganks. What is more important is keeping him off the CS. His basic-attacks aren’t the best. If he’s lazy and uses his abilities to farm, that is a good time to poke or trade. If he doesn’t, then be annoying while he tries to cs, then avoid his charge, then just be annoying again, almost like you would at bottom lane.

If you’re ranged/spam, be very aggressive with your poke and be ready to bait, poke, and escape. If he gets in, you’ll be hurt. If he tries to get in and fails, he will lose the lane for a set time and will have to pot or let his passive charge up, or risk your maintaining a losing lead.

If you went the huge dude stalemate route, try to roam when you’re pushed, but not too far, and make plays on his teammates. Garen’s only way of saving his teammates is to be so threatening you have to run from him. If he isn’t farmed enough, you can ignore him and leave all his teammates weak, meaning you can all just later focus him until he dies or leaves. With farming save your moves for when he goes in—if you’re Cho, for example, save Q or E so he can’t follow up on his charge, even if he hits it. If you’re Olaf, slow him beforehand so he can’t get his silence off. Use your E to trade with his spin.

What to do in teamfights vs. this champion (what the champion tends to do and should do, what you should do in response):

This depends on what role you are or what champion abilities you have. Shield and protect the sustained damage champs on your team. Kite him. Don’t use slows when he has his Q up. Don’t blow your burst on him like a maniac and let it get wasted. If you’re  champion that can stick to him like glue, do so. Bait his ult or counter with a heal or buff of your own like Kayle Ult.

Mids should get sustained kite and/or damage. Orianna, Zilean, Swain, Lux and Kayle are effective examples. Try not to go mids that don’t use Liandry’s. Super frequent poke is possible but not a given—if you go this route you have to hit hard to stop him, or you have to pick off a teammate of his so as not to get backup (Ziggs, Nidalee). Meaty stalwarts like Anivia and Ryze are solid but not necessarily sufficient. Try not to go Mordekaiser, Akali, or Diana (though in the latter if you get humongous you can actually take him).

AD Carries need a decent escape and an early Zeal.

Supports need to have good peel or protection, in and out baiting. Lulu, Alistar, Janna, Leona, and Taric can help your team get away from him or ignore him.

Junglers need to do consistent damage like Xin, Nocturne, or Lee, or cc, like Nautilus, Rammus, Sejuani or Maokai. Those that do neither (such as Vi, Malph, or an ultless Jarv) will only have the choice to outdive him. If he has bigger presence in that case, you can do nothing about him.

Carin’ for Garen

Garen is a huge pain but there are, thankfully, numerous ways of dealing with him. Fortunately, every role has a way to do something about him, but you just have to hope at least one other person on your team built an anti-Garen champion. Here’s hoping you did. 


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  • #51 Ayrebalja

    Oh i don't know, playing top is just way to easy as lee sin vs garen... he is some pain in late game no matter what but i have never had problems *as lee sin* with him.

  • #42 AAmras

    I actually beat Garen with Fiora.
    It's kinda hard and you need help from jungler at early level to get him down but at level 4-5 you can deal with him without jungler, but you need to go back to base and get early Vamp scepter.

    I'm maxing parry, because each time he goes to Q me, I parry that massive ammount of damage and deal him damage. I back up until silence breaks, then he usually goes to farm cs with his spin, so I engage with Q, land some basics with E as + ms and another Q, then I disengage. If I see he wants to silence me, my parry is up again. You regenerate all the damage he did to you due to Vamp + passive and he's probably 60% or less HP, because you have enormous base AD.
    If you get red buff from their jungler, you basically murder him.

    As a Fiora, you can always bait under turret and dodge his ult, the worst thing you can get away with is a 1v1 trade, but you always need that ignite to finish him off.

  • #44 NicknameMy

    If a Garen Q's onto your parry, he sucks. A good Garen will run up to you, you activate parry, he starts to spin and triggers his Q after his spin is over.

  • #52 CovertGhoul

    Zed/Fiora can both ulti during Garen's ultimate animation and make him recast the ultimate.  That is a lotta times the best thing to do as far as dealing with Garen's R.  But yea, you gotta be really smart with when you parry in this match-up, and armor/vamp scepter is pretty important.


  • #38 SteppenKat

    What? You're obviously a Bronze Garen player, dude. Also you lack basic reading skills - read up, I said only raising 2 early ranks on W, not maxing it (who on earth would max W, lol). Also, you don't need to actually use the skill: the passive bonus is already enough to kite Garen if you keep abusing the safety zone that your range gives you. Only a very bad Teemo player would need to actually activate W in order to reposition himself against Garen. He's one of the most easy to read champions of the game and you can notice what he's going to do miles away. His animations are very sloppy.

    Also, Teemo's source of harass comes mainly from his AAs and DoTs from his E which doesn't require any mana to spend. So your argument is kind of... baseless? It's like you've never played the matchup at all or you play it at a very low level (probably normals, where no one knows how to play the game anyways, so counters don't exist there).

    I won't even argue the "lategame Garen" part since Garen doesn't actually have a lategame if he doesn't dominate lane and farms. A 0/4 Garen that's underfarmed (which is the most likely outcome vs a Teemo) poses absolutely no threat to the enemy team. The only Armor item Teemo needs is probably Ninja Tabis and he can gain HP from a Rylais or a Frozen Mallet (good luck trying to engage him if he picks either of those).

    Pre 6 Teemo brutally outdamages Garen due to dots and kite and post 6 it's impossible to force a duel against the Swift Scout since he'll keep kiting you + slowing you with carefully placed shrooms.

    This isn't a "I think that" kind of argument: it's proven fact. If a Teemo loses against a Garen it will mean one of two things: Garen got babysat by his jungler or the Teemo player is Bronze V.

    Last edited by SteppenKat: 2/22/2013 7:46:37 PM
  • #46 Basinator

    I won't even argue the "lategame Garen" part since Garen doesn't actually have a lategame if he doesn't dominate lane and farms. A 0/4 Garen that's underfarmed (which is the most likely outcome vs a Teemo) poses absolutely no threat to the enemy team.

    Definitivly disagree here. I came back games wtih Garen where i started like 1/5 - due to your base tankyness and high/decent base damage.


    I know I suck at Teemo, but I can recall where i got something like a neutral score or worse vs Garen. TBH, it was mostly because I was too greedy. I thought all day; "ok, i am at 200 HP but he won't reach me anyways, trolololo!" - Well, it became some sorf of massacre as I was doing this half of my laning phase, but this fucking stupid ult range for a melee bruiser messed me up so often - bet I did die half of my deaths back there due this.


  • #47 Kantuti

    Sorry, i see your post but all i read LALALALLALALALALA BRONZE 5. You sound like a bitter tosser who fed Teemo and doesn't understand it was his fault. And i died a little inside when you implied Teemo actually takes skill to play. You harras with AA then you run back. At 6 you place shrooms. That's it. That's your entire gameplay for first 20 minutes.

  • #37 Basinator

    What to do if you are melee wtihout poke in a lane vs Garry?


    Also, Vi has decent DPS imho - or can at least built to this wtih Zephyr/Wits instead of TF.


    I would ASSUME that Frozen Fist and maybre also Reverie might be strong items vs him.


    Now to the author; it might be just me, but as your explanations are detailed, they are also hard to remember because of this. Maybe you could make a better summary of the most important points, either at the end or/and for each section?

  • #39 SteppenKat

    Depends on the champ... Singed has no poke but he pretty much beats Garen by rushing a Chain Vest + some early HP. Garen can't stop Singed from farming and his damage output will be low unless he rushes tons of ArPen - something that will benefit Singed since he'll keep winning all trades due to Garen's lack of resistances in the matchup.

    Jax outdamages Garen post 6 but earlygame you must be really careful since you're vulnerable to trades.

    But basically, poke is a very strong counterplay against Garen. If you can land free damage on him while preventing him to get on your face, you'll win since his kit favors long-term melee fights.

  • #45 NicknameMy

    A good thing that a good Garen rushes the black cleaver.


  • #53 CovertGhoul

    Armor/Lifesteal is generally the way to go on people like udyr/fiora/olaf, etc.


  • #33 TheAegine

    YOUR TEARS ARE DELICIOUS (totally not a Garen player from way back in the day or anything)

    Now, I haven't seen anyone mention Hexdrinker yet. Serious, nothing cock-blocks Garen's ult quite like the magic shield on this item

  • #29 Ariathor

    I think both Vi and J4 are pretty good against Garen. They have decent peeling (Vi especially works really well with frozen mallet) and both have armor shreds and a ultimate that can be used to isolate Garen and focus fire him if he tries to overextend diving the carries.

  • #24 Rozbojnik2

    i playing Garen before its cool.
    I remember 2 years ago when he's cost ist 3150 and he's not op, and not easy to play. Hes Courage get flat amor and magic resist for killing minions (max 25armor&mres) Hes Decisive Strike only do short silience and not delete slows, but his Judgment delete slows unlike have only 30dmg per tick and 0.5AD scale ratio And his Perseverance can be stop from every dmg (like Boots of Mobility).

    Then they do Mordekaiser Nerf And in the same patch Garen OP buff (some patches from V1.0.0.107 to decide patch V1.0.0.125) And then NEXT Most OP Buff for him (V1.0.0.145) -.-

    Last edited by Rozbojnik2: 2/22/2013 4:24:01 AM
  • #25 MarcoFoxRoberto

    I also played him a lot when I bought it at 3150 ip 2 years ago, and learned a lot of the game with him.

    Saying he is not easy to play is just wrong though.

  • #21 Sonbeem

    Uhm... pretty sure Vi and Jarvan have pretty decent CC and consistent damage.

  • #18 fiveninths

    Gotta admit that this guide caught me by surprise. Compared to top lane bruisers like Renekton, Lee Sin, or Olaf, Garen doesn't seem as overly threatening.

  • #32 Yusodus

    I would rather blame the Olaf players that can't hit Q's and E's (I bet Bronze V can't hit that for real). Garen is in comparision easier to play, but win ratios don't say anything anyways.

  • #40 SteppenKat

    Olaf's winratio is due to the fact that he's an average bruiser that needs to be a bit farmed up in order to work and he has no special utility to help his team, hence he doesn't contribute that much to win easily.


  • #41 nothingxs

    Olaf's win ratio is due to the fact that win ratios are inflated at lower tiers of skill by the fact that Garen is easier to be effective with than Olaf is. The win rate for higher level Olaf is play is MUCH higher.

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