Best Overall Runes
Best Overall Build
Laning phase is one of the most important thing that you need to learn not only on Garen, but on every champion you play. Having a good laning phase is equivalent to having a good foundation and with a good foundation, you can snowball your way to a victory. On the other hand, if you have a bad laning phase, get ready to type ff 15 before your team reports you for inting.
Against Melee Top Laners
For Garen, playing against most melee top laners is a breeze except for a select few. In most cases a fight comes down either landing your most important ability or dodging the enemies most important ability, and while this is a tough to learn on the spot, it's easy to start with just Garen's important abilities for dealing damage or surviving damage. Garen's E, Judgment is the one ability that makes your opponents die faster than they can type "No skill beyblade garbage champ" Why? Because Garen E reduces armor by 25% after just 6 hits, and it lasts 6 whole seconds. That's enough time for Yasou players to finish... um... their 10 death power spike...
You can deal damage, but how do you survive it? That's where Garen's W, Courage comes in. It's a versatile shield, damage reduction, and tenacity boost that lasts just long enough to make your opponent rethink playing league after a long stressful day. This is the most important ability for blocking any crowd control, burst damage, or damage over time abilities. Even at level 1, Garen's W lasts 2 seconds, giving 30% damage reduction for the entire duration, and 60% tenacity for .75 seconds. Add on the shield, and your enemy can't help but question why they deal less damage than yuumi.
Against Ranged Top Laners
Give up. On a series and honest note, Garen is just bad against ranged top laners. It's easy to get kited during laning phase, and poked out under tower, but it's not hopeless, at least not completely. Wave management is very important. If you don't know how to freeze, go learn. Did you learn how to freeze? Well first you freeze or ask for junger for help. The most important part about laning against ranged is being able to siphon experience until laning phase ends. On the off chance that your opponent is either missing flash or just wasted their mobility, you can attempt to run them down lane with your own flash; this would be Teemo's W, Vayne's E, or Quinn's E.
Runes is always a tricky thing to deal with. Some games are lost just because you had the wrong runes, and some games are just lost because you're bad, but you still end up saying it's your runes that caused you to abruptly fight a Darius level 1 all-out under his tower. Whatever the reason, having the correct runes is better than having a Yasou on your team or having bad runes. There is 3 sets of runes below. See the differences? The only difference is the secondaries. General includes Demolish, a great rune for getting platings after giving your opponent the grey screen of death. Hard Melee includes Conditioning and Overgrowth for scaling tankiness. And Ranged includes Second Wind for extra sustain agaist poke.
- Hard Melee
What Summoner Spells should you use? Flash is a go-to, good for most situations including securing kills to surviving ganks. A flexible summoner spell for a champion without any dashes. Ignite or Teleport? Depends on you. Do you like getting solo kills in lane or feel like ignite can help you secure kills and snowball out of control? Bring Ignite. Do you feel like being at objectives and helping your team secure them and scale to late game? Bring Teleport. If you bring anything else, either you're confident in securing a dub, or you're just Inting Sion spelled wrong.
- Main Summoners
Everything after level 3 is quite linear, max E, max Q, then max W, and of course maxing R whenever possible. Level 1-3 is depends on you. E is for the early all-outs, Q for easy cs and mobility, and W against early poke.
- Skill Path
For most melee match-ups, Trinity Force is a good item that stacks ad and allows you to win long fights. Against ranged and mobile champion, going for Stridebreaker allows you to catch up and slow them long enough for you to kill them.
- Kiting Comps
Learn them, or find a match-up sheet. The general rule of thumb for most match-ups is to understand which ability is the win-condition ability. This would be Illaoi E, Urgot E, or Pantheon W. Typically this is the high damage ability or crowd control that wins the fight. Either block it with your W or dodge it to nearly guarantee the fight. This isn't completely that simple as for some champs there win-condition is their passive ability. Camille passive lets her win short trades while Darius passive lets him win long trades, and Pantheon passive is luny. Even if I wrote down all the match-ups it would be pointless because nobody would read it, much less memorize it. So get out there and play more.
Either before the game starts or while walking to lane, search up the abilities of your lane opponent. Try to understand and imagine how those abilities will interact with your own abilities, and then incorporate them into the game in the best way possible. It won't help every game, but it's better than typing random insults in chat and getting tilted before the game even starts
Final Thoughts: Garen is not hard mechanically or in terms of Micro which means fast hands and fingers don't help as much as for Qiyana for example, but Garen is a good champ to learn Macro, or the big picture of the game. To learn and understand the game as a whole, allowing you to play more more mechanically challenging champions in the future is what Garen, the 450 BE, spin to win beyblade, easy no skill, mage hating Demacian helps you achieve. ♥