Author: MMOsite Writer Alexander Hinkley
Garen, the pride of the Demacian military and long-standing fan favorite, is another League of Legends champion who received the rework treatment as part of the recently released 5.16 Juggernaut patch. At first I was fairly skeptical of these changes since Garen is one of my favorite champions to play but unlike the Darius rework which I think made him feel clunky and unfun, Garen’s rework is actually pretty decent. Despite several of his key abilities being straight up nerfed, reworked Garen feels stronger now.
Garen’s passive was left untouched. It still works in the same way and with the same scaling levels. Good.
Moving right along to Decisive Strike, this ability got nerfed in everything but damage. First of all, it now only silences the target for 1.5 seconds at all levels instead of starting at 1.5 seconds and increasing per ability level up to 2.5 seconds. The duration of the movement speed portion was also decreased by one full second at max level and you can definitely feel the difference. Decisive Strike feels more like an initiator now but retains its usefulness as an escape since Garen sh-sh-shakes off all slow effects when it’s activated. Nevertheless, the new Decisive Strike is obviously worse than the old version. With the reduced sprint time from Decisive Strike, Garen pretty much needs Boots of Swiftness now in every game for that extra movement speed and slow resist. Not a big deal since they were a recommended item for him anyway. The shortened silence time is the key nerf to this ability.
Garen’s W, Courage, was on the receiving end of a nerf as well. Riot stripped the two most powerful aspects of Courage from the ability – it no longer reduces the effects of crowd control when activated and it no longer passively increases bonus armor and magic resistant by +20%.
Instead, Garen will now gain +0.2 armor and magic resistance every time he kills a unit. This bonus is increased to a full +1 for killing an enemy champion or large/epic monsters. The bonus is capped at +30 each, however, so Garen no longer is as tanky as he once was. Although you can reach the full +30 cap on long Summoner’s Rift games by properly timing your last hits, this really hurts Garen early game and on alternative game modes like ARAM or Dominion which are fast-paced and not about farming. In the long run it does lead to Garen receiving less of a bonus than he used to. If you were to build Garen on the tanky side, it wouldn’t have been out of the question to have +200 armor and/or magic resist. 20% of that would have been +40, instead of +30, AND you didn’t have to work at earning the bonus by killing units. Garen will typically only have time to work up to a bonus of +10 or +15 on Dominion so it’s a lot worse there.
The big change to Courage was the loss of the tenacity effect, though. That specifically is what makes Courage worse than it used to be.
So based on the first two detrimental changes you might be wondering why I think the new Garen is any good. The positive reworks begin with his E, Judgment. Judgment is Garen’s bread and butter technique. It is so important to him in fact that many players describe him as a “spin to win” champion. That description has never been more accurate than after this rework. The new Judgment is improved upon the old version in several ways. First of all, the cooldown times for the ability were reduced, allowing you to spin more often. Additionally, if you cancel Judgment in mid-spin, you get some of the cooldown shaved off as well. Spin to win indeed.
The way Judgment works is that it deals damage in “ticks.” When the ability is activated, Garen spins for three seconds and will deal five “ticks” of damage during that time. This was reduced from six ticks prior to the rework, but we’ll get back to that in just a moment. The base damage per tick and damage ratios per tick was also slightly reduced but the ability actually does more damage overall because now the number of ticks Garen inflicts upon nearby enemies increases based on his champion level. Every three levels he gains another tick of damage onto Judgment, up to a maximum of 10 ticks. Nice! Furthermore, if Garen is hitting just a single enemy with Judgment, the damage to that enemy will be increased by another +33%. This gives some much-needed extra damage to those 1v1 duel situations. The increased tick frequency also works really well with The Black Cleaver at quickly shredding enemy’s armor.
Garen’s ultimate, Demacian Justice, got a really cool buff too. Garen has a new mechanic attached to his ultimate which will designate an enemy champion a “villain.” The villain changes throughout the game and is simply the enemy who has the most recent kill. As we all know, Garen is a knight who stands for justice so he obliterates accursed villains whenever possible. That’s why every damage tick from Judgment as well as basic attacks deal bonus true damage to the villain equal to 1% of their maximum health. That may not sound like a lot on paper but it adds up quickly once Judgment builds up its ticks. It also transforms the damage of Demacian Justice against the villain from boring old magic damage to skull-splitting true damage. Considering at max level it deals 525 + 40% of the target’s missing health in damage that could easily work out to over 1,000 true damage to the villain. Garen always knows who the villain is since there will be an icon above that enemy champion and the villain’s champion portrait is constantly displayed next to Garen’s health bar.
The new Garen seems just as strong, if not maybe even a little better than the old version. The villain mechanic is a lot of fun and the bonus true damage against villains really helps to increase Garen’s damage output. Now that Courage no longer scales with bonus armor and magic resist, Garen players aren’t forced into building items with those stats anymore and can make more offensive items when the game calls for it. Garen’s basic attack range and attack damage growth stat were also increased during this rework. Overall, the new Garen may not be as tanky as he once was, but he seems to deal more damage and I’m okay with that trade-off. Now he can dole out even more justice, by law, or by sword.