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Lost and Forgotten: Garen, the Might of Demacia

By Scott 'aBhorsen' Parkin
Feb 23, 2012 12:11

ImageIn the first of a new series, Garen is given a detailed breakdown and comparison to Riven. Find out why he is no longer played competitively.

Welcome to Lost and Forgotten; covering champions that have either fallen out of the grace of the meta, or have been replaced by new champions that have an updated version of their kit. This week’s feature is Garen, the Might of Demacia. Garen has vanished from play ever since Riven’s introduction. This article will cover the differences in kits and the reasons why Riven has replaced Garen completely.


(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.

Q (Active): Garen gains bonus movement speed for 4 seconds, in addition his next melee attack within 6 seconds will deal physical damage and silence its target for 2.5 seconds.

W (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 from this ability.
(Active): Garen places a defensive shield on himself, decreasing all damage taken by a percentage for 3 seconds.

E (Active): 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 physical damage to nearby enemies every half seconds. Minions and neutral monsters 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 Judgment is in effect. Judgment’s Damage can critically strike, in which case, only the bonus damage will be multiplied.

R Garen brings down Demacian Justice on his opponent, dealing magic damage, plus additional magic damage based on how much health his opponent is missing.


(Innate): Riven’s Abilities charge her blade, causing her to do 5/7/9/11/13/15(+0.5 per bonus AD) bonus physical damage on her next auto attack. Riven can store up to 3 charges, and will only expend one at a time.

Q (Active): Riven steps forward and lashes out in a series of powerful sword slashes that will damage all enemies nearby. This ability can be activated a second time within 4 seconds of that and a third time within 4 seconds of that. ON the third activation she will also knock nearby enemies back and have a larger radius of damage. All three strikes will deal the same damage.

W (Active): Riven deals physical damage and stuns nearby enemies for 0.75 seconds.

E (Active): Riven dashes towards the cursor and gains a shield for up to 2.5 seconds.
R (Active): Riven’s sword reforms, gaining 20% bonus attack damage, extended range on her damaging abilities and auto attacks for 15 seconds. She is also granted the ability to use wind slash once for the duration.
Riven can activate the ability to emit a shockwave in a long cone in front of her that deals physical damage to all units hit based on their missing health.

When Riven was revealed people called her “Noxia’s Garen.” It became apparent that this would soon go farther than most people thought. Riven has essentially replaced Garen in top lane, and why not? Any reason Garen has to pick him Riven has as well, if not better. The only real difference is their passive, and with the more aggressive play-style Riot is aiming for in League of legends, Riven’s passive wins out over Garen’s.


In comparison, the two champions’ abilities compare as follows: Garen’s Decisive Strike is a mixture of Riven’s Broken Wings and Ki Burst, however Ki Burst is a stun and an AoE ability, which will shut down right clickers, and it offers better chasing, while Broken Wings is a total of 3 short dashes and a knock-back. Garen’s Judgment is Riven’s Valor; however Valor blocks damage and gives Riven another dash, while garen making it the stronger ability. Both ultimates are similar, but Riven’s comes with Range, AoE and a 15 second buff, while Garen’s only brings extra damage.

The only two abilities that cannot be compared between Garen and Riven are their passive abilities. Riven’s Passive, Runic blade, grants her a large boost to damage on her auto-attacks whenever she uses her abilities. Garen’s passive Perseverance, grants him passive health regeneration when he’s avoided taking damage for 7 seconds. Perseverance was an amazing passive back when top lane was only supposed to sit there and passively hit minions, only having to watch out for ganks from the junglers or the mid-lane champions, however, in today’s more active meta, Riven’s damage-boosting passive grants her a major advantage when compared to Garen’s, which rewards passive play.

In more detail, Decisive Strike has a base damage and a 1.4 AD ratio. Each hit of Riven’s Broken Wings hits for a higher base, with a 0.7 AD ratio. Broken Wings hits three times, which brings the total scaling up to 2.1 damage per AD, and comes with a knock-back instead of a silence. The duration of Decisive Strike’s Silence is much longer, given that it is a 2.5 second disruption in using any abilities, however, Broken Wings has a knock up, which cannot be mitigated due to tenacity, and it knocks back all targets within 300 units, along with being immune to slows. This can be used to get on the far side of a target and push them towards Riven’s team, or tower, it also disrupts abilities and movement, and can be chained into her Ki Burst for a full-on stun.

Comparing Decisive strike to Ki Burst is also accurate, as both Ki Burst and Broken wings overlap what Decisive Strike does. Ki Burst has the ability to just outshine Decisive strike when just looking at the crowd control aspects of the two abilities. Ki burst, if it hits three targets will have a total duration of 2.25 seconds of crowd control, which is .25 seconds less than the total duration of Garen’s silence, however stuns are much more valuable than silences, as they also prevent Right-click based champions from dealing damage, and keep the champions in the same spot, making skill shots easier to land, and keeping that champion from reaching a more advantageous position during the duration of the Crowd Control.


Garen’s defensive ability is Courage. Riven’s is Valor. Courage is the stronger of the two abilities, so far as pure defense goes, it grants passive, permanent 25 armor rating and magic resistance. This builds at a rate of 0.5 per kill, so it only takes 50 Minion kills to build to full. Activating it gives a 20-36% reduction in damage taken. That might not seem like much, but when something comes in for 500 damage, shaving 180 damage off of the attack is a massive reduction, and that 180 damage doesn’t break his shield. Riven’s Valor is a shield that scales with attack damage at a 1 to 1 ratio, which is a strong shield, the big bonus of Valor is that it also is a dash, which can be used to dodge skill shots and give chase to enemies that are fleeing. The big bonus for Valor is it has an incredibly short cool down at six seconds. Max rank Courage has an eighteen second cool down, so riven can use her dash and shield three times as often Garen can cast his Courage.

Garen’s Judgment, his ‘Spin to Win’ can once again be compared to both Riven’s Ki burst and her Broken Wings. Judgment’s deals damage every half second for three second, so in total it hits six times. It does a lot of damage, with an overall AD scaling of 4.1; however, it is easy to flash out of or run away from if the enemy has any movement speed buffs. Riven’s Broken wings has almost the same radius of AoE, does not limit her damage capabilities and keeps her chasing whomever she wishes to deal damage to. It does a little more than half the damage of Garen’s spin, but comes with its own chasing mechanic, and empowers her auto-attacks to nearly double damage, making up for the difference in damage. Ki Burst also brings the AoE damage for Riven, and it comes with a stun. Keeping her opponent in range for an auto attack and positioning the opponent to get knocked back with Broken Wings’ third hit.

While some can argue that Garen’s Judgment spin is stronger because it breaks slows and reduces the cd on them, Riven’s Broken Wings and Valor hops are immune to slows, so her gap closing is similar. Riven is better than Garen at chasing because she has two movement stopping Crowd Control abilities, the third hit of her Broken Wings is a knock back and her Ki Burst is a stun. This allows other team members to catch up to the fleeing champion as well.

Garen’s Demacian Justice and Riven’s Blade of the Exiled (Wind Slash) have the same execute mechanic, dealing more damage the less health an opponent hit with it has. They are calculated in two different ways. Demacian Justice gives 1 extra damage per 3.5/3/2.5 health the enemy is missing, while Riven’s works off of a percentage of the target’s missing health. This allows Demacian Justice to actually hit harder on tanks than it would on an AD carry with less health. Unfortunately for Garen Demacian Justice only scales with health missing, and while Wind Slash does very little damage to a full health target, it gets significantly stronger based on Riven’s own strength, not her enemy’s. Wind Slash can hit multiple targets, while Demacian justice is limited to one target. Wind Slash is also ranged. If that wasn’t enough of a blow to Garen’s ego, Wind Slash isn’t the only thing Riven’s ultimate brings, Blade of the exiled is a 20% damage buff, and a range buff for everything Riven does for fifteen seconds. That can be the entire duration of a team fight.

All in all, Riven is the shiny, new Garen with ability overlap and more options in her build than the old model. It will take much more than damage and scaling tweaks to bring Garen back into play without making him so overpowered he is just banned from every game. Adding some slows to his Judgment, making it a stun-break as well as a slow break may get him some competitive play. The biggest problem is his passive: rewarding hiding and passively hitting minions is not what riot wants to see, and it really makes Garen an unattractive choice as a top lane bruiser, and leaves him Lost and Forgotten.

This article was written by Hilliard Culbertson currently an SK Gaming LoL Editor on trial.



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