Thursday, June 30, 2011

Garen: The Might of Demacia

Throughout Valoran, the resolve of Demacia's military is alternately celebrated or despised, but always respected. Their ''zero tolerance'' moral code is strictly upheld by civilians and soldiers alike. In combat, this means Demacian troops may not make excuses, flee, or surrender under any circumstance. These principles are espoused to their forces by unrivaled demagogues who lead by example. Garen, the valiant warrior who bears the title ''the Might of Demacia'', is the paradigm to which these leaders are compared. Thousands of great heroes have risen and fallen on the bloody battlefields between Demacia and its preeminent rival, Noxus. It was beneath their mighty banners of war that Garen first met steel with Katarina, the Sinister Blade. The infantrymen who beheld this event (and survived) commented that it seemed as though the two were locked in a mortal waltz against a symphony of clashing blades.

Garen, the pride of the Demacian military and leader of the Dauntless Vanguard, returned from this battle breathless for the first time in his career, though some speculate that this was due to reasons other than exhaustion. The plausibility of these rumors was bolstered when, in every instance thereafter, Garen seized the opportunity to encounter the Sinister Blade again. A paragon of Demacian ethic, Garen never entertained such allegations, for he knew others couldn't understand. Even simply the pursuit of a worthy opponent on the battlefield is, to a true warrior, the reason to rise each morning. The promise of one, particularly so beautifully and diametrically opposed, is the validation of his existence. 

''The most effective way to kill an opponent is to slice through the man next to him.'' - Garen, on front line strategy

Garen is by far one of my favorite champions in LoL.  I main Garen, and usually tank with him, but he makes a fantastic DPS as well.  He is not the best option for tank as has no hard taunt, no slow, no stun, and sub-par initiation.  But his damage mitigation is HUGE with Courage, and he is very fast with Decisive Strike.  Garen has what is called a soft taunt; even while tanking, Garen does enough damage and has enough CC (when built right) that the enemy team can’t really ignore him.  Tanking towers is a breeze, Judgment and Decisive Strike makes it so you can safely escape if need be, and Demacian Justice is great at just ripping through injured champions.

DPS-ing with Garen is also a lot of fun.  Even after the nerf to his early game, Garen can output very high damage at low levels if paired with someone with a slow/stun/snare.  The biggest drawback with DPS Garen is that most On-Hit effects (Frozen Mallet, Madred’s Bloodrazor, The Black Cleaver, lifesteal) do not apply to Judgment; which is Garen’s main source of damage.  Auto-attacking except in lane is not a high priority for Garen.  Because of this, there are a lot of great damage items that do not do quite as much good on Garen as they would on say, Ashe.  Pretty much any crit item is good though.  IE, Atma’s Impaler, and Youmuu’s Ghostblade are all good choices.  Judgment may not apply On-Hit effects, but it DOES crit.  Judgment AOE with high crit chance, means lots of crits.  And throw a Sunfire Cape on top of that and Garen will output a TON of AOE damage.

As a melee champion, even when DPSing he has to be on the front line.  Courage will do a little to protect Garen from damage, but he still needs to be built a little tanky.  I almost always get Mercury Treads and Sunfire Cape no matter what I am doing with Garen.  This really is a very core build for him.  The synergy of these two items with Judgment is just too great to ignore, and gives very decent Magic Resist and Armor.

Overall, Garen is a fairly easy champion to play, and is easy to learn.  He is a great character to start off with, but can still hold his own in higher level play as well.  The best part about Garen, in my opinion, is that he is not a really popular pick.  When queing up a normal game, you don’t have to be too worried about someone else taking Garen.

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