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When to pick DPS Garen? DPS Garen is an off-tank. You'll want to make sure you have another tank, or at least another off-tank. Yes, you won't be squishy, but you may not be the most ideal tank. However, there are times where I'm doing so well that my off-tank build ends up being more tanky than our main tank's build.
Runes: Armor Pen. Don't even bother with the rest of this guide unless you can purchase yourself a full set of Armor Pen Reds and Quints. Armor Pen is a must have. Yellow/Blues can be whatever. They were Attack Speed for me, but not really necessary.
21/0/9 Standard AD Build.
Exhaust/Flash Summoner's. Nothing says "fuck you" like a Q/R combo on a guy who is at 40% hp and is sticking around to keep their distance. Flash in, kill, get out.
Max E (spin to win). One rank of Q (silence), One rank of W (defense). Max Q after E/R. W gets done last.
E, Q, E, W, E, R, E, Q - You get the idea.
(Note: This build is pretty much the same, no matter who you're up against. AP, AD, whatever.)
#1. Doran's Blade x3. Yes, not shield. The HP is great, but you're looking for the extra +damage early on. With this blade and armor pen runes, your spin to win will tick 3 times and do approximately half a player's health early on. Follow that E up with an auto-attack and you have people running for their lives at level 1. With this setup, you are the #1 champ in the game at the Level-1-Bush-Facecheck-Skirmish. In a Level 1 2v2 bush skirmish, no one else can dish out over 500 damage between two individuals in less than 3 seconds.
#2. +3 Boots. You need the speed and you have built in abilities that remove and reduce slowing effects on you. Don't get MR boots. Don't get AS boots. Get the +3 boots.
#3. Sunfire Cape. Yes, obvious choice here. If you're low and need to recall, pick up what you can from this and come back and finish the Cape when you're done. If you have 1100 gold and can't decide between HP or Armor, decide against who you're laning against. Armor for AD champs, HP for AP champs.
#4. Warmogs. You may be wondering why Warmogs? It doesn't do damage. Not yet. It will later. You want Warmogs to give you that survivability so you can do your spin-to-win + sunfire procs. More HP means more time for you to last in fights. The regen is excellent. You'll see a pattern here later on. Your HP bar will intimidate the hell out of people, especially into the late game.
#5. Atma's Impaler. This item is the key to your entire build. Once you finish Warmog's, you're at a wimpy 120~ AD. Not really doing much. You're still a threat, but you've gone from overpowered, to on-par. Atma's Impaler at this stage will get you up to about 200 AD. A percentage of your HP is added to you as attack damage. The Impaler is fantastic for that. Also, your E can crit. Did you know that? The crit chance amplifies the damage done by your spin-to-win.
#6. Frozen Mallet. More HP means more damage by your Atma's. It has damage itself and when you land a Q or auto attack on a player, now they can't run away when you spin-to-win and shred their faces off.
#7. Warmogs #2 Baby. Sell that Doran's Blade and get yourself a second Warmog. If you can get this far in the end-game and you're buying potions, your end-game stats will have you breaking the 6k HP barrier, having a good chunk of armor, over 30% damage reduction (with W) and THREE HUNDRED ATTACK DAMAGE.
That's right. That's why this shit is OP. Garen can slow, chase, silence, AoE damage, tank, soak, initiate, harass, execute and do massive damage. How do you stop that? You don't.
This is so ridiculously powerful. During team fights, I will spin through the enemy team and then silence a silencing hit on their carry. This does great to shut down their carry early on, harassing their team. Their carry will either retreat or just simply get owned. Your ult scales to the end-game. It doesn't need AP or AD to benefit. It's all based upon a percentage of health. Ult means more kills for you and the big shiny blade is a giant middle finger of death to the team. Auto attacks between cool-downs means you slow people down to a crawl, letting your cooldowns come back up or letting your team beat the shit out of players who run away. All the while, sunfire is ticking away.
People can blow their cooldowns on you, but if they aren't running in fear, they have to chew through 6k HP, close to 200 armor and 30% damage reduction (W) on top of that. For AD champs, that's over 10k effective health. Not bad for a guy who does massive damage.