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.
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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