In League of Legends, there’s nothing more important than knowing how to play your role. And one of the major parts of playing your role is knowing how to counter the various Champions you might come across. If you’ve ever played top lane, you’ll know that there’s one Champion who always seems to be around: Garen. He’s a strong tank that’s easy to play, so it’s no surprise that he’s a popular choice. In this article, I’ll talk about how to counter Garen in top lane, as well as the 5 best Champions for doing so!
How to Counter Garen in Top Lane
Garen is known as one of the more annoying top laners to play against, and for good reason. Despite being an easy-to-play Champion, there’s a lot more to Garen than some people give him credit for. His ability to win lane with minimal effort makes him one of the strongest top laners for new and experienced players alike, so it pays off to know how to counter him.
When it comes down to it, Garen has just about every type of ability you could ever want for a tank. His passive ability allows him to regenerate health much quicker than normal, allowing him to stay in lane for however long he wants. Then you also have to deal with his W-ability, which gives him damage resistance and shielding (along with tenacity). These two abilities make up the majority of Garen’s tankiness, making him nearly unkillable.
But where Garen shines the most is his ability to also run down opponents and execute them. Garen’s Q-ability makes him super fast, his E allows him to do consistent damage while still moving, and his ultimate ability is a point-and-click shot of true damage which executes low-health enemies. Garen is a monster, but he’s not impossible to counter.
There are two consistent ways to counter Garen. The first is to out-range him by using either a ranged Champion or one with lots of ranged abilities. Since Garen can make it very hard to farm, this allows you to stay caught up in gold and also pressure him if he plays badly. The second way to counter Garen is to play a brawler who can cut through his massive health pool without getting squashed by his combo. Range is the easier way, but brawlers are arguably better overall in top lane and contribute more to the average team comp.
5 Best Champions to Counter Garen in Top Lane, Ranked Good to Best
As I mentioned, Garen can be a menace to lane against. If you allow him to, he’ll push you under your tower the whole game. Garen loves nothing more than to deny farm and kill you when you get desperate for a cannon minion. Luckily, though, there are tons of great ways to counter him. Let’s get started with #5, Kayle!
Kayle is strong against Garen because she’s able to nullify his ultimate ability. And, in addition to doing that, she’s also one of the better ranged top laners. Any ranged Champion will perform well against tanks like Garen, as long as you make sure not to let him get too close. Kayle’s Q-ability is the best when it comes to fighting Garen, since it reduces armor/magic resist and slows. Garen can stack huge amounts of armor and magic resist, and everyone knows how fast he can be. Debuffing Garen is one of the best things you can do, and Kayle can do it constantly.
Of all Kayle’s abilities, though, the ultimate is definitely the most important for fighting Garen. Kayle’s ultimate makes her (or allies) invulnerable for a short time, which works best against Champions with single-shot abilities. For example, Kayle’s ultimate perfectly counters Garen’s. The only hard part is timing it correctly, as if you mess up you might end up back at base.
When playing Kayle, just make sure not to try fighting Garen until at least level 6. Since you don’t start out with ranged attacks on Kayle, you have to play very safe until then. Once you get your ranged and empowered attacks, you can play much more aggressively though.
It hurts me to recommend Teemo for anything, but it’s hard not to this time around. Whether you hate him or love him, Teemo is undeniably one of the best counters for Garen. Since Garen wants to spend a lot of time farming and trying to push his opponent away from their farm, Teemo is perfect for shutting this down. Teemo’s Q-ability blinds enemies hit, which makes it impossible for them to auto-attack. While this doesn’t completely disable Garen, it definitely does enough to prevent him from being able to push the lane much (if at all).
When it comes to winning lane, there aren’t many better picks against Garen. Teemo’s ability to push lane, do poke damage, and escape almost any situation thanks to his speed and mushrooms makes him an absolute menace. Teemo’s annoying abilities are also efficient at shutting down other problems in-game, such as junglers or other melee-based carries. Since Teemo throws his ultimate-ability mushrooms everywhere, it makes ganking his lane basically impossible for the jungler. This further isolates top lane and makes it even harder for a potentially-behind Garen to catch up.
Teemo is not a Champion I personally like, as he’s the most annoying one to play against. But he’s very, very good at countering Garen, so I’m willing to overlook his other flaws (for now).
Camille is a less obvious counter for Garen. Instead of out-ranging him or just fighting through him, Camille benefits from being a brawler who also gets excellent crowd control and mobility. While Camille is absolutely capable of beating Garen thanks to her damage, being able to stun so easily makes it a breeze. Between the damage of her Q- and W- abilities, you’ll be able to create a deadly combo that even Garen will struggle to survive. Then, her E-ability allows you to escape any situation and/or stun enemies at will.
Another major benefit to using Camille is her ultimate. It locks a Champion down into an area they’re not allowed to leave for a short time, which allows her to showcase her 1v1 potential. Just bounce off a wall with the E-ability and do as much damage as possible and Garen should be obliterated in seconds. She’s also able to use these abilities to escape ganks, shut down other laners who might be ahead, and move around the map faster. All in all, Camille is one of the strongest top laners for fighting any big tank in a 1v1 fight.
Quinn is another ranged Champion, but she’s better overall than Teemo. Her strength lies in her ability to mark targets as “vulnerable” to do extra damage, and also in her excellent movement speed bonuses. Quinn is able to do consistent damage to Garen, both thanks to her ranged abilities and auto-attacks. While she can’t do much other than poke him off lane early on, by late game Quinn’s explosive damage is high enough to take out any Champion.
The reason Quinn works so well in top lane is her movement speed. Through her W-ability and ultimate, Quinn gains both significant (over 100% by late game) speed bonuses paired with her damaging abilities. She’s able to run down anyone in the game, even Garen when he’s sprinting with his Q-ability active for more speed. She’s one of very few Champions who are able to cut Garen down at any stage of the game, and she makes it incredibly hard for him to do anything other than hide under tower and beg for the jungler’s help.
Tryndamere is the best Champion for countering Garen in top lane. Without a doubt, there’s no stronger way to do it than to go with Tryndamere. What makes him so strong against Garen is a combination of being a strong fighter and his abilities. Tryndamere is one of the best Champions for 1v1 fights, which is what Garen seeks to do most of the time. Since all you have to do is use your ultimate to not die, you’re able to counter Garen’s ultimate directly and also everything else he does. If Garen can’t execute you, he’s useless.
To succeed in-lane against Garen with Tryndamere, just focus on applying pressure, healing yourself when possible, and avoiding ganks. Before level 6, you shouldn’t really try to fight him at all unless you get a great opportunity. Tryndamere’s power is heavily reliant on his ultimate, as once he activates it he should (in theory) have time to heal a lot of health and probably kill at least one enemy Champion.
Tryndamere is also one of the best Champions on this list in terms of scaling into late game, especially when compared to some of the ranged top laners. While they can be great, they are at severe risk of falling behind. It’s much harder for ranged top laners to get caught back up after a bad fight or gank, so keep that in mind no matter which kind you’re playing.