Garen has risen to high popularity in season 12 of League of Legends. The introduction of mythic items pawed the way for his stellar success and made him one of the hardest champions to beat this year. In the lower elos, Garen maintains a higher win rate than any other top lane pick. But this is also true for high elos as well. His obnoxious spin-to-win playstyle is way too powerful at the moment, and you need to learn how to stop it.
So why is Garen so strong? And how do I beat him?
The truth is this: Garen is an extremely simple champion. No matter how good you are in LoL, a Garen player can still defeat you with ease as long as he plays well. The champion has no skill shots and no hidden mechanics. His cooldowns are pretty low, and he can bully most champions in the lane. Because of this, it’s much harder to fail and lose as Garen. And even if he ends up making a few mistakes early on, he can still go for 1v1 battles or one-shot the enemy carries in a team fight.
But this doesn’t mean that Garen has no weak spots and that you can’t counter him! In this guide, we’ll dive deep and show you how you can defeat Garen. We’ll be discussing champions, runes, and items that work well against him. But we will also tell you how to play against Garen during the laning phase. And by the end of this guide, you’ll know how to take the wins away from this champion!
First, let’s take a look at Garen’s abilities and better understand how this champion works and how we can beat him!
Garen’s Abilities in LoL Explained – What Does Garen Use?
- Passive – Perseverance – This ability is a basic health regeneration effect that can only be activated when Garen doesn’t fight another champion. Perseverance heals Garen for 0.15-1,01% HP every 0.5 seconds, based on his level. It also stacks with other passive health regenerations, such as the bonus effect from Warmog’s Armor.
- Q – Decisive Strike – When Garen activates his Q, he gets a burst of movement speed (30%). His next auto-attack deals bonus damage and silences the target for 1.5 seconds. After that, Garen gets another burst of movement speed.
- W – Courage – Courage is a shield that Garen can use to quickly reduce the incoming damage by 30%. It’s only up for a second, and it has a 23-second cooldown at the start. However, Courage has a passive that grants Garen up to 30 armor and magic resist through kill minions and champions.
- E – Judgement – This is the main damaging ability that Garen has. Once activated, Garen begins to spin rapidly. He cannot be slowed nor stunned during this time, and he also ignores unit collision. He can also recast this ability if he wants to stop the effect. Judgment deals a lot of damage and breaks the armor of the enemies it hits by 25%. The number of spins Garen does during Judgement can be increased with attack speed items.
- R –Demacian Justice – This ability deals 150 / 300 / 450 true damage to a targeted enemy champion. Since Demacian Justice is a true damage effect, it ignores all resistances. However, it can be blocked with tools like Zhonya’s Hourglass or Kayle’s R.
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Best Champions That Counter Garen in Season 12
Kayle is one of the most useful champions to pick against Garen. She has many advantages in the late game, but she is also strong during the laning phase. Her E gives her significant range over Garen, and she can bully him every time he goes for CS. Kayle also has a steady self-healing and enough CC (slows) to keep Garen away.
But the most important part here is her ultimate – Divine Judgment. Kayle can use this ability at the beginning of the fight to block Garen’s initial burst damage. Or she can save it for later and activate it to soak his ultimate instead.
Quinn is another fantastic pick that counters Garen in season 12. Generally, all enemy champions can beat Garen as long as they keep him away. But Quinn simply excels at this job! She has long-range auto-attacks that occasionally deal critical damage. Quinn can also reveal Garen with her W, so he can never really sneak up on her.
Blinding Assault, Quinn’s Q, has two effects – blind and disarm. This is very useful when playing against champions like Garen or Darius when they come in melee range. And lastly, Quinn can easily escape Garen by bouncing off of him with her E. This ability lets her gain distance or slow her target.
And the second marksman that heavily counters Garen in the top lane is Vayne. Vayne is even better at punishing and bullying Garen in the laning phase, but she does require some skill. If you don’t have much experience and still pick her against Garen, you must be very careful. She doesn’t have the same range as Quinn and relies more on kiting to keep Garen away.
Thanks to her E, Vayne deals true damage with every third auto-attack. She can abuse this effect to force Garen out of the lane. This way, she can gain CS, experience, and gold leads early on.
Even though Singed isn’t a ranged champion, he is still one of the best picks that counter Garen in season 12. The reason for this is that Singed doesn’t necessarily fight head-to-head. His kit allows him to
manipulate Garen by tossing him around and slowly draining his health. Whenever Garen attacks him, Singed can simply run away. And when Garen’s abilities are on cooldown, Singed can swoop in again and continue to torment him.
The “Proxy Singed” playstyle is also recommended for dealing with Garen.
And Camille is the last counter we have against Garen. She is extremely good at dealing with his abilities. And she has enough damage and defensiveness to trade favorably during the laning phase.
Camille’s E is simply fantastic in this matchup and should be abused all the time. Whenever Garen rushes to hit her, Camille can bounce off of a wall and retreat. If done successfully, Camille can escape Garen’s entire combo. Experienced Camille players know how to hold onto this ability and only use it in this situation.
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How to Lane Against Garen?
The first rule of laning against Garen is to know what the champion is all about. As we covered earlier, Garen has only one combo – Q > E > W. Whenever he rushes towards, he has only one goal – to silence you and spin on top of you. And if you manage to avoid this idea, you’ll always end up winning the trades.
So how do you stop Garen from doing this?
Well, you need a champion that can either absorb the damage (Ornn, Malphite) or escape it (Quinn, Camille). The counters above all have a tool that’s helpful in this situation. Vayne can tumble and push Garen back while Kayle can slow him down. Garen isn’t exactly a tank, and the key to winning the laning phase against him is to negate his damage.
Once Garen unlocks his ultimate, his potential to all-in you doubles. If you aren’t careful enough and get silenced, he can easily one-shot you. The true damage is scary, even if you play a tank. So make sure you fight only when you’re 100% sure that you can kill Garen before he can kill you.
And the last key element to beating Garen in a lane in season 12 is to stop his passive healing. As we mentioned above, Perseverance only works when Garen doesn’t fight an enemy champion. So even if you can’t all-in him, it’s always recommended to hit him at least once. This will put his passive on 8 seconds cooldown and reduce his health regeneration. If you’re playing a ranged champion, you can do this all the time.
Keep these ideas in mind when you go against Garen in the top lane!
How to Beat Garen? Best Counter Tips:
- Avoid Garen’s combo. Garen’s damage is very predictable. Whenever she charges towards you, simply steer away and wait. Once his Q is on cooldown, you can look to trade.
- Look for a trade when his W is on cooldown. Garen’s W is very efficient at blocking powerful spells if timed correctly. And you should be cautious when he has it ready. Make sure to provoke Garen to use this ability first, then to fight him.
- Don’t fight Garen when you’re near 50% HP. Garen’s R does a lot of damage. Unless you play Kayle and have your ultimate ready, Garen can easily kill you when you’re in low health. So it’s better to recall and regenerate than to rush and give a free kill.
- Poke him in the laning phase with long-range auto-attacks. The best champions for this task are marksmen, but mages like Veigar can also be effective. Punishing Garen when he goes for CS is an excellent counter-strategy.
- Attack him once in a while to stop his passive. Perseverance heals a lot. People in higher elo watch the cooldown of this ability and time their attacks to counter it. You should always try to poke Garen when his passive is up, no matter if you aren’t looking to all-in.
- Save your Flash. It goes without saying, but Flash can be the best counter tool against Garen. It teleports you away from him and lets you run away. However, keep in mind that the silence from Garen’s Q also impacts Summoner’s Spells. And it’s better to Flash away before he comes in a range to avoid it.
The Best Items to Counter Garen in Season 12
- Executioner’s Calling – Any item with a Grevious Wounds effect on it counters Garen. Grievous Wounds reduces healing which is one of the keys to beating Garen. AP champions can purchase Morellonomicon.
- Duskblade of Draktharr – All lethality items also counter Garen. Garen usually builds one or two armor items, so you need penetration to take him down.
- Edge of Night/Banshee’s Veil – These items can block Garen’s Q or R. Without the silence or the damage from his ultimate, Garen falls behind.
- Zhonya’s Hourglass – It’s only an AP option, but it can be timed to soak Demacian Justice.
- Guardian Angel – This item is a wise investment for all stages of the game. It allows you to make a mistake and still be able to win a fight.
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Garen is not an easy champion to counter in season 12 of LoL. His simple tool is highly effective in the current meta. And unless you know exactly what you’re doing, he can easily topple you. Don’t forget that his damage is pretty serious if he lands the entire combo on you.
Things like the Conqueror rune can really ramp up his potential, so don’t underestimate him. But you can gain the upper hand whenever his abilities are on cooldown, or he misses his Q. And if you’re playing the champions, we listed above, you’re going to have a way easier time against Garen in the top lane!