I realise it's been quite some time since my League of Legends Blog, but there's a reason for that. I've been out of the country for a bit, but I was also struggling to find an interesting topic to talk about.
Initially, I thought about doing a blog post on Cho'Gath and I played him for about a week. He was entertaining and I did pretty well when playing as him, but he becomes so boring late-game that the monotony drove me insane. Amumu then cropped up again, as did another blog post about Janna, but both of those have been covered far too often.
As a result, Garen popped up in my mind. He's quite a cheap champion to buy and I've always heard about people having silly amounts of fun with him, especially if you have a laning partner who can either stun or snare.
When I first started playing Garen, I wasn't sure what to expect. He's an off-tank, but also has the capacity to do quite a lot of damage and in many ways it's dangerously empowering. Knowing that he can take a bit of a beating, but also has the ability to speed out if things get dicey gives you a confidence boost that doesn't always end well. Plus, he shouts such positive things while he's charging in to maim people, it's so inspiring.
Instead of playing smart, there's a want and need to just charge in, throwing caution to the wind, because there's a strong chance they'll get intimidated and put themselves on the back foot. As I played more and more with Garen, I learnt to target this kind of action and it's a very powerful tool. Nobody quite expects Garen to do as much damage as he does early game and quite often, it's already too late by the time they've realised.
Due to my days playing Pantheon, I already had a full rune set which was perfectly suited to Garen. Maximum armour penetration Marks and Quintessences, flat armour Seals and magic resist per level Glyphs. It really does give you a boost up in the early levels. Garen's passive also helps immensely with sustainability. They can beat the crap out of you, but if they can't finish you off, it's for absolutely nothing.
My typical build started off with a Doran's Blade. Often I'd rather go with more sustain, as opposed to risking an increased amount of damage output. But with Garen's passive, it's not an issue at all. In a couple of games, I did opt to go for a Doran's Shield due to being a solo lane against two, but it didn't make much difference either way.
Depending on how the laning is going, I then plumped to go for basic boots and another 1 or 2 Doran's Blades for my first shopping spree. If I had enough for Boots of Swiftness I'd grab them, but otherwise my next big item was a B.F. Sword.
I did experiment with what to build from here, sometimes going for maximum damage. However, I always felt this made me rather squishy, so I went for health-based damage output instead. This meant of course, the acquisition of Warmogs and Atma's Impaler. At this point, you're looking at around 300 attack damage, with some critical strike too and you can always turn the B.F. Sword into an Infinity Edge if the game goes that long.
I managed to get twenty-five games in as Garen throughout the week and it showcases a strong transformation in fortunes.
In my first eight games, I ended up with 85 kills and 63 deaths. This works out at a k/d ratio of 1.35, with a k/da of 2.5. Not the best, but things did improve quite a lot.
In my next eight games, my kill output decreased to 60, but this was for only 40 deaths. This put my k/d ratio at 1.5, with a k/da of 3.1. It also included a rather lame game where my team surrendered at 20. In fact, what surprised me most about Garen was that I didn't have any nightmare games. My worse performance throughout the two weeks was a 5/11, with pretty much every match working out to a positive k/d ratio.
In my final nine games, after I'd had quite a lot of experience with Garen, this really started to shine through. I managed to snag 107 kills, for only 53 deaths. This put my k/d at 2.02 and my k/da at 4.28. Practice really does seem to help in some instances.
As I played with Garen more and more, I felt much more confident that I could positively affect the outcome of games. Sometimes, even in defeat, I managed to secure massive scores. But the longer a game goes on, the less one champion can do against the opposition team.
My main problem when playing Garen was throwing myself in harm's way. He's a strong champion, but he's not "that" strong. And far too often I would just die way too often. After twenty-five games, I died an average of 7 times a game, which is way too many. Sure, I managed an average of 10 kills a game, but it doesn't mask the fact that the opposition team profited a lot from my deaths.
I'm not sure who I'll crank out for my next League of Legends Blog, but it's great to know that Garen is another champion I can add to my repertoire. If you haven't had a chance to experience him yet, be sure to grab him.
If anyone's got any suggestions, I'm all ears!