This is a tentative rework for Garen, the Might of Demacia. Like a lot of older fighters, Garen suffers from a fair bit of short-sighted gameplay: he's a good lane bully, but otherwise contributes very little to his team that is unique, and struggles to make an impact after the laning phase. His playstyle also doesn't really allow for a high level of mastery, and as such locks him out of higher elo levels where he gets constantly outplayed by other champions. His rework during the Juggernaut Update also did little to address this: he still doesn't have much room for mastery, doesn't really have outplay potential for or against his enemies, and despite the addition of his Villain mechanic, he still doesn't really make a unique and valuable contribution, since the effect is unreliable at best. In fact, more so than any other Juggernaut, Garen has particular trouble contributing anything at all, as his extremely short effective range means there is literally nothing he can do against an opponent out of his reach.
Despite this, there are many aspects to Garen that are fun and could give him an awesome niche, were he allowed to function properly. His silence makes him great at dealing with casters, if he ever gets to them, and his ult is the game's most iconic execution ability. The idea behind these changes is to extend Garen's reach in certain specific repects: while he is ultimately meant to be as short-ranged as any other Juggernaut, Garen should have a means to contribute reliably to his team, and never turn completely into dead weight even against a very kite-heavy comp.
Garen's next basic attack initiates Judgment for 5 seconds, causing him to no longer use basic attacks but instead spin his sword at a rate of 「 1 spin per 1 - 0.5 (based on level) seconds 」「 1 - 2 (based on level) spins per second 」, dealing 100% AD physical damage to all nearby enemies with each spin.
Judgment ends once Garen's Fury depletes completely, going on cooldown. Each of Garen's basic attacks reduces Judgment's cooldown by 1 second.
Judgment is Garen's most iconic ability, and is both tremendously fun to use, yet also not all that fun to play against: since Garen can start punishing enemies heavily just for standing near him on demand, melee opponents have no real recourse against him, and while he obviously deals more damage if he sticks to his targets, there's no real cost if he misses or activates his ability at the wrong moment. There's effectively no real choice to the ability, and no real gameplay against it.
Because of this, I think it might be more interesting if the ability were moved to Garen's passive: with the above model, there would be real counterplay to the ability, because Judgment would run out faster while Garen isn't hitting a worthy opponent, and the lessened control over it means he would have windows of vulnerability for his opponents to attack him, especially if they're melee. As this would be his only common form of damage outside of his basic attacks, Garen would want to make the most out of every Judgment. On the flipside, I also gave the ability more damage overall, and at later levels, Garen can keep Judgment up possibly indefinitely if he keeps sticking to the right targets.
Active:Garen breaks free from all crowd control and gains bonus movement speed for 1.5 seconds, during which he is also immune to crowd control.
Garen's ability set in general suffers from old-style design in that his bonuses increase in duration and not in strength. While that does give him some overall consistency, it also means Garen ends up in the late game with bonuses mostly tuned towards the early game. It also means his power gets stretched out instead of being more pronounced, which I think is a big overall problem with him (he lacks the tools to make quick plays later in the game). A tighter movement speed boost would allow Garen to quickly enter and exit fights, as well as reposition in combat, without giving him more raw mobility.
One significant buff here is the crowd control cleanse and immunity: right now, Garen's slow cleanse often doesn't feel great when slows are cheap and frequent, and harder crowd control can impede him immensely when his short range already renders him vulnerable to kiting. Shortening the duration of his speed boost could give him access to powerful, short-duration immunity, which should be simple enough to use effectively, but could scale well with mastery as Garen players learn to pre-emptively render themselves immune to incoming effects, as well as save the ability for more powerful instances of crowd control.
On the other hand, I also added a nerf here by removing the empowered autoattack: the main reason behind this is because I'm moving Garen's silence to his E, and the other is that the remaining damage may as well be moved to Judgment. Garen wouldn't initiate trades as well on demand, but his last-hitting wouldn't be as badly affected as it would normally be when removing an autoattack reset, because the short wind-up often causes Garen to miss at crucial moments.
STATIC COOLDOWN: 5
Passive:Garen stores a portion of the damage he takes as Grey Health.
Damage into Grey Health: 30 / 35 / 40 / 45 / 50%
Landing four spins of Judgment against enemy champions instantly heals Garen for all of his Grey Health, consuming it in the process.
Garen's out-of-combat healing has always been an important part of his laning, but in practice it does a lot of things wrong: it rewards Garen for passive play when he's meant to be aggressive, gives him far too much staying power for a manaless champion, yet doesn't actually protect him all that well against harass. It's also intended to make him good at recovering quickly in-between fights, but for someone as short-ranged as Garen, he can only either go all-in or not fight at all, and can't really retreat for a tactical recovery.
By contrast, a mechanic like the Grey Health system fixes that: since it works only off of a portion of damage taken, instead of offering potentially unlimited regen, Garen eventually gets forced out of lane if he takes too much damage, even if he can recover better, and the limited healing means he can regenerate extremely quickly. I gave Garen the option to heal in-combat mainly because I think it would be both healthy and thematic to encourage Garen to charge towards his enemies when at risky health levels, instead of just running away all the time. A Demacian does not retreat, and neither should Garen; rather, his healing should give him more leeway against enemies trying to whittle him down from a distance.
Active:Garen casts an image of his sword along the target direction which detonates after 1 second, silencing all enemies hit.
In its current form, Garen's silence sits awkwardly with the rest of his kit: because he can apply it reliably to enemies close to him and immediately follow up with Judgment, it mainly serves to reduce counterplay against him, which isn't great when melee champions can already have a hard time escaping his spinning damage. Whenever his silence or his damage become too great, one makes the other seriously unhealthy. On the flipside, the effect could make Garen excellent at countering casters, but he usually operate way too far from them to be able to use it consistently, if at all.
To resolve this, I think it might be worth moving Garen's silence to its own ability, and give it both a delay and a ton of range. With this, he could silence the enemy back line, while offering everyone plenty more opportunities to dodge his crowd control. Ultimately, this wouldn't really reduce his weakness to kiting or range that drastically, since this deals no damage and doesn't really let him catch up faster to enemies, other than by disabling their dashes, it could smooth out his overall contribution to his team by letting him do something useful even when outranged.
COOLDOWN: 150 / 125 / 100
Active:Garen calls down the might of Demacia upon the target enemy, dealing physical damage increased by 4% per 1% of target's missing health.
Of all the changes that happened to Garen, the Villain mechanic was by far the least successful: it was supposed to give Garen an edge against enemies on killing sprees, but his complete lack of reach means he has no control over whether or not he gets to hunt down the Villain. Add the fact that the Villain often ends up being either the enemy mage or marksman, i.e. an enemy that's especially good at kiting him, and the effect becomes a non-mechanic.
Because of this, I decided to scrap the mechanic. Perhaps there's still room for a high-bounty hunter passive elsewhere, but not on Garen. Instead, I increased the range of Demacian Justice, perhaps by a bit too much, and added a kill indicator. The intent here is to make Garen's execution potential much more consistent, allowing him to pick off wounded targets the moment they become available.
What are your thoughts? What do you think of Garen: how good a spot do you think he is in-game, and what do you think his unique contributions are (or should be)? Do the above changes appeal to the role you think Garen fits into?