So this is super late.

Since I already analyze the game in my commentary for the video, this week I’ll be “reviewing” a champion. This week it’ll be Garen, The Might of Demacia. Garen is who I normally pick when I want a “tanky-dps” character, because he fairly good all around. He’s not the best in terms of damage nor is he the best tank (in fact, he’s hardly a tank at all despite all his armor) but he gives a team a lot of pushing power to work with.

Garen is best described as a Attack Damage Melee Range Fighter with a low skill requirement. It’s not to say you don’t need to be good at League of Legends to be good with him, it’s just it takes a lot less effort to be decent with Garen compared to other champions like Nidalee. As a bonus, he is one of the few purely cooldown based champions, meaning the only thing preventing you from using your skills is a timer, meaning he’s not restricted by a secondary resource. Anyway, let’s take a look at a his toolkit:

Passive: Perseverance(Innate): Garen will regenerate 0.5% of his maximum health per second after not receiving damage for 7 seconds. The regenerative state will stop if Garen receives damage.

With Perseverance, Garen has a form of “sustain” during the laning phase. For those who don’t know, “sustain” is any method a champion can use to increase his or her time in the lane without having to go back to recover health or mana. Because Garen is a pure cooldown base champion, the only reason he ever has to go back to base is to either purchase new items or to recover health. With this passive, he’s able to reduce how often he can go back to base as well as shrug off harassment from the enemy team.

Decisive Strike: Garen gains bonus movement speed (15 / 20 / 25 / 30 / 35 %) for 4 seconds, in addition his next melee attack within 6 seconds will deal physical damage  (30 / 45 / 60 / 75 / 90 (+1.4 per attack damage)) and silence its target for 2.5 seconds.

Decisive Strike is a nifty tool Garen has in his arsenal. Early game, it lets him perform a “melee range nuke” and in the late game Decisive Strike serves as both a gap closer and a way to shut down casters. This skill gives Garen a ton of early game presence, to the point where I laugh at any Garen who does not take this skill first. You can easily deal 140 damage if you select the correct items (Doran’s Blade) and if you follow up with auto attacks, first blood is easy to get on squishy early game AP casters.

Courage: (Passive): Garen’s armor and magic resistance are permanently increased by 0.5 every time he kills an enemy unit. Garen can gain a maximum of 25 armor and magic resistance.

(Active): Garen places a defensive shield on himself, decreasing all damage taken by (20 / 24 / 28 / 32 / 36 %) for 3 seconds.

What Courage allows Garen to do is focus on buying items that increase his damage output without having to worry too much about reinforcing his defense. Too many summoners build Garen tanky right off, leaving them to deal pitiful damage when Courage can cover their defenses. It’s annoying that Riot would give him this ability and players not take advantage of it.

Judgement: Garen rapidly spins his sword around his body for 3 seconds, removing all existing slows and reducing the duration of new slows by 50%, plus dealing (50 / 90 / 130 / 170 / 210 (+1.4 per bonus attack damage)) to nearby enemies every half second. Minions only take half damage from this ability. Garen can deactivate Judgement early by activating the ability again after 0.5 seconds. Garen cannot use Decisive Strike or Demacian Justice while Judgement is in effect.

Judgement, or more commonly known as “Spin to Win”, is what Garen is famous for. It’s an physical area of effect ability that deals tons of damage, removes slow, and can’t be stopped once it starts. Even if Garen is immobilized, stunned, channeled, suppressed, none of that will stop the furry that is Judgement. The only downside of this skill is it ties Garen’s escape to his primary damage skill. It’s better off being used for engagement, spinning through the slows of the enemy to wreck their face instead of fleeing like a little girl.

Demacian Justice: Garen brings down Demacian Justice on his opponent, dealing (175 / 350 / 525) magic damage, plus additional magic damage per 1 per (3.5 / 3 / 2.5 health missing) on his opponent.

Garen’s ultimate ability is how he “secures kills” or “kill steals” depending on who you ask. The real strength of this ability comes from how it deals damage: it scales on how much life the opponent is missing. It’s an amazing finisher because even if they run out of the targeting range of his ultimate, it will still “land” so long as you maintain sight of your opponent. It’s best saved for those squishy carries and AP casters and best never used on tanks or anyone with spell shields. Really, don’t bother using your ultimate on Sivir or Nocturne. They’ll just laugh and laugh and laugh.

Like I said before, I play Garen as a fighter. Some people consider him a tank (all that armor is distracting) but because he lacks crowd control and stuns, he’s at best an off-tank. His strength as a fighter is having great damage output over time and being able to have incredible presence in a lane. When he participates in battle, you can see his effect immediately. Furthermore, his toolkit is extremely forgiving. If you use a skill at the wrong time, you don’t have to wait too long for it to be back up. His ultimate is the only skill that requires some forethought and it’s just checking to make sure your opponent is missing ~75% of their health.

Garen’s weaknesses is he lacks a good gap closer (his Decisive Strike gives him a weak gap closer but it’s not something to brag about) and when compared to other fighters his burst potential is kind of lacking. Against other fighters, he won’t win the “right click” fight because he has  a slow attack speed and his “sustain” comes from not taking any damage for 7 seconds.

All in all, Garen is a good overall champion having enough power to make a difference in battle and having the same weaknesses other melee champions have. For a beginning summoner, he’s perfect for learning the ins and outs of the Fighter role.