How to Tank: A Brief Guide to Effective Tanking

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KTM90

Senior Member

11-11-2012

Rammus: Even though I am tanky I am still a threat.
Caitlyn: And that's why we're going to lose.

Right?
Absolutely WRONG!
Capital, Underline, Bold, Italic, Exclamation Point!

Any of you who do know me know that I like playing tanky champions. You'll also know that you'll read a lot of what I say in my guide in other guides because it is important. The truth of the matter is that it is not all about defensive stats; it's mostly about defensive stats. One might ask "doesn't that mean it's exactly the same?" No it's not. Yes, you should focus on having good defense, but you don't want your defense to be too good. The fact of the matter is that if you do nothing but stack health, armor, and magic resist you are virtually no threat to the enemy team. Since that is the case the enemies will always target you last (if they are smart). Why's that bad? It's because they'll attack your other teammates first, and that defeats the purpose of being a tank.

Let's summarize why being a super tanker is bad:
-Smart enemies will ignore you because you cause no significant damage
-Since you are being ignored they will go around you and attack your teammates instead
-Your teammates will die, and then you will be easy with all of them focused on you
-The purpose of being a tank is defeated

In other words too much of a good thing can be bad.

That's some good common sense. For example let us examine a Talon from the same game: He had one Shadow Dancer, a pair of Berserker Boots, and four Blood Thirsters. Early on this is pretty deadly in 1v1 situations, but later on he couldn't even stand up to one enemy. He had no defense and no armor penetration, so he was easy prey.

Meanwhile they still run away from me because:

A. I can take a beating because I have Ninja Tabi, Frozen Heart, and Force of Nature on top of my Defensive Curl
B. I can dish out damage to all of them with my AOE (Tremors) and I am hard to stop because of my tenacity bonus, I am also constantly regenerating health at a fairly high rate, so giving me a break just gives me an advantage
C. The said AOE also does decent damage and comes with a slow from Rylai's and Moonflair Spellblade adding to the base damage
D. Being near me is painful in general because I have the basic attack slow aura and Sunfire Cape as well as short cool downs on Power Ball and my Defensive Curl, which makes it hurt to even hit me (Rammus actually has a pretty nice AP ratio on his abilities)


That's a very scary Rammus if you ask me. He can charge into the middle of a fight with Power Ball and start channeling Tremors just as he gets near, applying some damage and an AOE slow, then use defensive curl to tank through their damage (probably their burst too) while still channeling Tremors, slowing all of them down and continuing to deal damage to them. Defensive curl will also give him a damage boost as well since his AD scales off of his armor value. After they see that and his team coming up behind him they will probably try to flee, which will be hard because Rammus is slowing them and can also taunt for up to three seconds to keep a priority target from leaving.

Fun Fact: When Tremors is maxed the maximum damage dealt is 1560 (+ 240% AP) over eight seconds. With this load out that brings the total damage done to all of the enemies, if they stand near you for the full duration, to 936 with 50% magic resist mitigation (this math was done with the simple numbers. I do not know if there are any other values I should be including). The chances are that the more damaging champs do not have that much damage mitigation and it will be well over a thousand. This ability's cool down is also so short that there's almost no drawback to spamming it whenever a team fight starts.

To sum up this guide so far:
You should be intimidating. Leaving you alone would be a bad idea and the other team knows it. That is why they pay attention to you instead of ignoring you.

That leaves us with the question of how to do such a thing. Tanks don't have that much offensive ability, but there are many ways that you can increase your damage output enough that you are more than just a nuisance. Let's take Shen for an example: He needs high health for his bonus damage and sustain to begin with, but that doesn't mean you should get Warmog's Armor. If you use Rylai's instead you can slow enemies down with your Vorpal Blade, and it will also deal some decent damage. Your Shadow Dash will also do more damage and your Feint and Stand United shields will absorb more damage. To make a long story short the benefits of more AP and a slowing effect offered from having Rylai's Crystal Scepter outweigh the benefits that Warmog's Armor's extra health offers. It's not difficult to get over three thousand health without Warmog's Armor and it will last longer because of your shield spamming being so effective at soaking up damage. If we look at Rylai's by itself in this load with Feint maxed that's about 300 damage that you don't have to take. Feint is also very cheap, you can use it every five seconds (default cooldown), and it makes Ki Strike activate more often, which will restore more than half of the cost of casting Feint (30). If you suck up three hundred damage every five seconds then the gap starts getting pretty wide, but Shen is also somewhat bad at dealing damage. How can we make him better? The answer is more attack speed. Attacking the enemy more will cause Ki Strike to trigger more often, which restores your energy and deals extra magic damage. It can also benefit to play Shen with one or two hybrid items. A Hextech Gunblade gives him great sustain and makes his auto attacks even more of a pain, not to mention the ability power making his Vorpal Blade and Feint spamming more effective. Guinsoo's Rageblade also helps him take advantage of the Ki Strike because of the increased attack speed and his ability power can be ramped up further if you fight a little before hand. Suddenly Shen is slapping you around with his swords for both melee and magic damage and it is starting to hurt. The worst part of it is that when you try to run away he uses Shadow Dash to catch you and taunt you. Since Shen is still tanky there's not much that you can do about it unless you can make it painful enough for him to leave by yourself.

TLDR, in sum, and for those of you who are not fond of Shen:
Do some research on your character's abilities and find out how to best utilize that character as if he was going to have an offensive focus, then strike a balance between offense and defense. This guide was brief, and you can find more information on effective ways to play your characters by looking them up on the Wiki or looking up guides for them around the internet.

Important Links, Characters, and Items:
League of Legends Wiki
Mobafire Strategy Guides
Rammus, the Armordillo
Talon, the Blade's Shadow
Shen, Eye of Twilight
Rylai's Crystal Scepter
Warmog's Armor
Ninja Tabi
Frozen Heart
Force of Nature
Sunfire Cape
Moonflair Spellblade
Hextech Gunblade
Guinsoo's Rageblade


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CowMeat

Senior Member

11-11-2012

Tanks are often underestimated. Every team needs a tough front line.


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Barbarossa 13

Member

11-11-2012

Give me some thoughts on what i should be doing with Nautlius, Maybe not just stacking defence, maybe a couple of aoe items?


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KTM90

Senior Member

11-11-2012

Quote:
Originally Posted by Barbarossa 13 View Post
Give me some thoughts on what i should be doing with Nautlius, Maybe not just stacking defence, maybe a couple of aoe items?
Early on I seem to be successful using Riptide to farm minions, and it also makes approaching Nautilus risky because the effect spreads over the area rather than instantly affecting it. Rylai's Crystal Scepter is a good way to add to the shielding value of Titan's Wrath as well as supply the champion with a fair amount of ability power. The slow added to your abilities will also make you quite a pain to get away from. It's very effective to drag yourself in with Dredge Line and then use Riptide to slow and heavily damage retreating enemies. Your boots will depend on what you're up against, but I find that Ninja Tabi or Mercury's Treads are what you'll want to go with for tanking. If you buy Ninja Tabi and you still want the tenacity bonus then you can buy Moonflair Spellblade for another 50 AP and 35 tenacity. Nautilus is better at doing damage using his abilities rather than his auto attacks, so it's better to emphasize reduced cool down rates and more AP if you want to play offensively. Frozen Heart will help you greatly because it offers the twenty percent cool down reduction as well as the area slow, high armor, and more mana. If you can afford to trade off some of your tankiness against AP then Abyssal Scepter will help you deal a substantially larger amount of damage without sacrificing too much magic resist. If you really want to be an all around pain then you could take advantage of the benefits that Trinity Force offers, since it will help you deal more damage with your abilities and so on (slow, sheen proc, more refresh procs of Titan's Wrath DoT on top of the health and mana bonuses).


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KTM90

Senior Member

11-11-2012

I should note that it is important to build based off of the situation and that you may have to adjust how tanky you are midgame. If your build is a little too tanky then you can always sell a tanky item to buy a more offense-oriented one (ie trade Force of Nature for Abyssal Rod) and vice versa (however if you do sell a Force of Nature you should make sure that you still have a way to sustain yourself in the field, most likely with a life steal or spell vamp effect).


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TwistWrist

Senior Member

11-11-2012

This guide is all sorts of nonsense.

Tank champs by design work by being a threat even when building purely defensive.

Yeah, every tank champ has a tanky DPS or tanky AP build. There are situations where these builds are useful.

And yes, some tanks have a tanky DPS or tanky AP build as their optimal build.

But to say Rammus, Amumu, or Alistar's defense can be so good that they aren't a threat is ridiculous.

Rammus' three second taunt will always be a threat, Alistar's peels and ability to control the teamfight will always be a threat. Amumu's ult and stun with always be a threat.

Always be wary of anyone claiming that they can tell you the one true way of doing anything.

Especially if they start telling you that your tanks need to always build more damage to be useful as a tank. Tanks (and support) are literally the champs that are supposed to be useful regardless of damage.


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Fs Son0fSilas

Senior Member

11-12-2012

TL;DR do some research on your champs

The reason Rammus is not a threat is because a) in jungle he is slow and doesn't clear quickly, b) in other lanes he will just be poked down, and c) CC will keep him from powerball+taunt combo.

By the time the enemy is level 10 he will still be level 6 unless he has perfect ganks and perfect jungle clears. I honestly cannot remember a time, when by level 4 I didn't go gank him at red from mid, followed by first blood and a free blue buff. Both Rammus and Malphite are anti-AD tanks, countering them with AP is fairly easy pre late game. Sure if they manage to get assists and kills they will be a problem. However Rammus is sub-par IMO.

Building Rylai's *facepalm.jpeg*


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KTM90

Senior Member

11-12-2012

Quote:
Originally Posted by TwistWrist View Post
This guide is all sorts of nonsense.

Tank champs by design work by being a threat even when building purely defensive.

Yeah, every tank champ has a tanky DPS or tanky AP build. There are situations where these builds are useful.

And yes, some tanks have a tanky DPS or tanky AP build as their optimal build.

But to say Rammus, Amumu, or Alistar's defense can be so good that they aren't a threat is ridiculous.

Rammus' three second taunt will always be a threat, Alistar's peels and ability to control the teamfight will always be a threat. Amumu's ult and stun with always be a threat.

Always be wary of anyone claiming that they can tell you the one true way of doing anything.

Especially if they start telling you that your tanks need to always build more damage to be useful as a tank. Tanks (and support) are literally the champs that are supposed to be useful regardless of damage.
Amumu:
Bandage Toss: (+ 70% AP)
Despair: (+ 1% per 100 AP)
Tantrum: (+ 50% AP)
Curse of the Sad Mummy: (+ 80% AP)

Alistar:
Trample Passive: 6 (+ 1 x level) (+10% AP)
Pulverize: (+50% AP)
Headbutt: (+70% AP)
Triumphant Roar: (+20% AP)/(+10% AP)

Rammus:
Powerball: (+ 100% AP)
Tremors: (Max + 240% AP)

A. All of the tanks you mentioned have abilities that scale off of AP.
B. Alistar has long cool downs that can benefit from reduction.
C. Amumu can have AoE slows with Despair and Tantrum and that can help your team get kills.
D. Not taking advantage of what you can do with Tremors is a crime in itself.
E. All ultimates have fairly long cool downs and if they are relied upon too heavily for your tanky business then it's more likely that you'll find yourself not having one when you need it (Amumu's area root and Alistar's damage reduction are fine examples).
F. After the said ultimates and "dangerous" moves have been traded where are you now if the enemy team managed to negate most of it (or you failed to use it effectively)? You're just a walking piece of meat with his abilities on cool down.


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KTM90

Senior Member

11-12-2012

Quote:
Originally Posted by KingSilas View Post
TL;DR do some research on your champs

The reason Rammus is not a threat is because a) in jungle he is slow and doesn't clear quickly, b) in other lanes he will just be poked down, and c) CC will keep him from powerball+taunt combo.

By the time the enemy is level 10 he will still be level 6 unless he has perfect ganks and perfect jungle clears. I honestly cannot remember a time, when by level 4 I didn't go gank him at red from mid, followed by first blood and a free blue buff. Both Rammus and Malphite are anti-AD tanks, countering them with AP is fairly easy pre late game. Sure if they manage to get assists and kills they will be a problem. However Rammus is sub-par IMO.

Building Rylai's *facepalm.jpeg*
I don't mean to brag, but I've gotten a first blood with Rammus multiple times playing normally in top or bot. Mercury's Treads and Defensive Curl are wonderful things. Post level six Rammus can easily farm a whole minion wave or two with his Tremors and as I said the cool down is very short (around fifty seconds with Glacial Shroud finished). While it is on cool down Rammus can last hit with his Power Ball or use Defensive Curl to tank minion waves and bring them all down from returned damage. I have never jungled with Rammus and I am probably not going to start. I also shouldn't need to explain the implications of an AoE slow: enemies are slower running away or towards your allies. Yes Rammus can also slow with Power Ball and prevent a single target from leaving with Piercing Taunt, but in a group fight isn't it better to snatch everyone up in it? The channeling time is eight seconds. That's a lot time to be slowed even if it is not that much.


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Fs Son0fSilas

Senior Member

11-12-2012

Miss Fortune
Impure shots (+20% AP max)
Make it Rain (+80% AP max)
Bullet Time (+160% AP max)

Ezreal
Mystic Shot (+20% AP)
Essense Flux (+80% AP)
Arcane Shift (+75% AP)
Trueshot Barrage (+90% AP)

Just because they have AP ratio's doesn't mean they should be built AP. Those you've listed are tanks and should be built as such. Why no Abyssal? Why no Aegis? Where is your Shurelia's (situational as your support will most likely have it)? Banshies Veil....

And great if you've had success with him, what you've suggested works for YOU. Have fun fighting a skilled AP top. Have fun against ANY gold rank Sona, Soraka, Alistar, Taric, Leona, or Fiddlesticks bot. You are doing great on HP and armor, you are still not defending your team against AP at all though.


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