LOL Counters

How to Counter Garen with Darius

Who does this Demacian think he is? You’re the one who gets to dunk around here. Garen is a popular champion often considered to be a touch on the broken side. He’s a typical bruiser – high damage combined with painful tankiness. If he’s against a Darius who has read this article though, he ain’t got no chance.

If played right, Darius can be an amazing counter for Garen.

Darius’s bleed is the perfect counter to Garen’s passive. Garen doesn’t have nearly as much damage as Darius in the early game. Taking advantage of the first 11 levels and spreading the lead is what a true God King will do in this match up.

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Have a good look at Garen’s abilities before we get started with the dunking.

Darius vs Garen: Laning

Let’s run over how you are going to work against each of Garen’s abilities as Darius


Garen’s passive means that when he hasn’t been hit by an enemy champion for a while he will begin to heal. Keeping your bleed on Garen for as long as possible and as often as possible is the best way to prevent him from healing up. Whenever he goes in for a minion you should be looking to either land a Q or a basic attack. Don’t abuse your Q too much because you will run out of mana. Only use your Q when you know you can land it on the axe. You may want to buy an early pair of boots to secure this. Extended trades which last as long as possible are what you want to aim for.


Garen’s Q causes his next basic attack to silence and gives him movement speed for a short duration. You know when his Q is activated when you see his sword light up and he gains movement speed. Garen’s Q will be the thing that helps him most in trades. Look out for a Garen who is running Grasp of the Undying and maxing Q. It means he’s playing the lane right. Try to punish Garen as much as possible when
he Qs you. If he tries to engage with a Q, walk backwards to make him waste space with increased movement speed. Then, once he has hit you and the movement speed is gone, deal out your damage.

Garen’s Q will also remove slows, so in a way it counters your W. However if he is forced to use it to cancel that slow it means he will be using it to run away. That means he won’t have the extra damage and silence he needs at the beginning of the trade, and the trade will be even more in your favor.


Garen’s W gives him a shield, tenacity and increased MR and armor. It has the same cooldown as your E, which is looong. Just like you, it will be the last ability he maxes. Play around its long cooldown. When it’s down, engage. He will have to Q out to avoid a trade without his W. Garen’s W also grants him bonus armor and MR for every unit he kills, up to 120 units. This means denying farm from Garen in the early game will keep him squishy, maintaining your damage presence.


Garen’s E is his spin. It scales off attack speed. Garen will usually only go for attack speed heavy items like Phantom or Tri Force in lanes where he can get an early lead. This is not one of those lanes. A good Garen will also max Q instead of E when going into Darius to prevent extended fights. This means Garen’s E isn’t going to be doing a lot of damage. Instead of running away when he activates it, just carry on popping stacks on to that boi. Garen’s E also does more 25% more damage to the closest enemy unit. Stand next to your minions and make sure they take that extra damage when Garen Es.


Garen’s ult deals true damage and scales off % missing health. The only way Garen should be able to kill you is from a level 6 ignite ult cheese. Be careful when you are low health in lane past level 6. You will normally win trades but you will die if you are both low HP and Garen has his ult up. It has a 2 minute cooldown at rank 1 so when it’s down you can still abuse the lane.

Long trades

Garen will always try to keep trades short, and you must always try to keep them long. Once you have 5 stacks your damage is just too high to handle. To get your damage out as quickly as possible though, you should be using Darius’s animation cancel technique. This video shows you how to cancel your Ws animation and speed up your combo.

Use your early high damage presence to deny as much farm from Garen as possible. Once ahead, use your lead to help out across the map through objectives and ganks. After level 11 your advantage will begin to thin out so make the best of it when you can.

Runes and itemization

Conqueror or Phase Rush

There are two valid options rune wise in this lane. You can take the go-to Darius rune, Conqueror, and secure the high damage and healing it gives you. You can also opt for Phase Rush, which will help you chase down Garen after he had the audacity to try and Q you. Both are good options.

Tri Force, Phantom if you’re feeling cheeky

This is definitely one of those games where you can buy Trinity Force instead of Black Cleaver. You should be ahead in this lane and high damage items will help you secure that lead and spread it through ganks. If their team is very tanky, a BORK could work well. The active will help you extend trades. A Phantom Dancer is also an option if you’re far ahead, the extra movement speed helping you keep up with Garen. Remember not to stack phage items (Tri Force and Black Cleaver) or lifeline (Phantom, Sterak’s, Hexdrinker) items.

For more info on building Darius, have a look at this Mobafire guide.

Countering Garen with Darius: Late game

By the late game you will have suffered the tragic fate of bruiser top laners – most of the time they fall off. You are still valuable in team fights because of your passive and executing ult. Get 5 stacks off as soon as possible in every teamfight, and ult the people you have 5 stacks on. You can pull Garen away from your carries if he tries to get too close to them and execute them.

Final thoughts

This is Darius’s lane. Extend fights. Watch out for his ult. Play around his W. Deny Cs. Share the love. It’s time to dunk.

You can find more of our match up based articles here.

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