Tank Guide. Not the Gospel Truth

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Scyrner

Senior Member

05-17-2011

What I am about to post is really really really really long. Its also not set in stone. You can critique it or do whatever you want because it is really just meant as a basic guide. If I get enough response to this I will begin posting in depth analysis on the Tank Characters of League.

To tank, or Not to tank, for if you don't you won't get one.

How to Tank in League of Legends

Tanking in League of Legends is, while not incredibly enjoyable or difficult is often shunned because it does not cater to having a good K/D. This means that that which many people use to determine if a person is good or not can be used against you by arrogant and ignorant people generally playing the carry that you just saved.

However, there are the golden moments where you get thanked for saving someone and then manage to escape with your life intact that just make the whole experience palatable.

TANK TYPES

There are four different ways to “tank” in league of legend. Most of the champions that people play as tanks in league of legends fulfil either the role of Defensive tank or Offensive tank. The other two main classes are Initiators and Soaks.

A Defensive tank is someone like Shen or Alistar. Very capable at saving his team with his Ultimate and initiating the fight with Shadow dash, Shen works best in two situations. One: when your team has another champion that can initiate so that Shadow Dash can be saved to take the carries of your AP nukes/machines. Two: When you are playing with a premade team, or a team consisting of you and one other friends, preferably playing as a carry. This means that you have someone who you can reliably Ultimate to in order to save and know is competent in the class that they are playing.

An Offensive tank is a tank such as Amumu and Rammus. These tanks are eager to initiate and can put out a considerable amount of damage with their skills, however, they are not as capable at saving their team as Shen is. Let me explain: Rammus Powerballs to initiate, then uses Defensive ball curl, taunts their carry, and uses his ult to do AOE damage to the entire enemy team. He will probably die if the fight goes poorly because he lacks a good escaping tool because of the cool down on powerball and its interruption when it hits anything. Similarly Amumu initiates and begins doing fairly obscene AOE Damage. If the fight goes poorly he is unlikely to escape. These tanks work better in Solo ques because you are more capable of doing damage yourself and are generally slightly tougher than a Defensive tank is.

An Initiator is not always a tank, but can ofter be built as such. Two main examples of Initiators are Malphite and Jarvan. These two carry large amounts of CC on their ultimate's and generally blow them when they enter the fight. They continue to do good damage and are quite tough. However, they can't take damage nearly as well as the Tanks (offensive or defensive) and do a small amount more damage. Also, outside of their ultimate's, these champions generally don't carry much CC outside of their Ultimate's. They therefore cannot save people as well as the full tanks but can intimidate their opponents because they do more damage than one would expect.

The last class barely classifies as a tank. This class is that of the Soak. They don't carry CC on average but do a rather large amount of Damage, this enables them to tank because they are up in your face essentially playing against the player not the champion. They often carry a burst ability in order to “scare” their opponents away from the kill on their friendly. Two great examples of Soaks are Mundo and Cho'gath. Not much CC, good damage, lost of health. They don't tank by attracting “aggro” they tank by being in your face doing damage all the time.
VARIOUS TANK PLAYSTYLES

So, How to go about tanking. Each tank group (I'm only going to talk about Defensive, Offensive, and Initiators) requires a different play style and a different set of Summoner Skills. ''

Defensive tanks, like Shen, often want to carry skills such as Teleport, Flash, Ghost, and Exhaust. Their mere presence often will be enough to prevent a tower push because of taunts or sheer “scare factor” the presence of a Defensive tank at a tower often suggests to the opponent that they are likely to be ganked. This is reinforced due to the amount of CC most tanks carry. They often will wait for their lane opponents to make mistakes rather than starting offensives themselves and will prefer to hit and run rather than get stuck in. I will give a quick review of the Summoner skills that i would suggest

Teleport: Mobility is key on many tanks, especially with Shen, and teleport allows you to be where you need to be when you need to be.
Flash: With the long cool downs prevalent in Defensive tanks you often don't want to use a move to target ability to enter the fight. As Alistar for example. If you headbutt into a team fight you won't be able to push people away afterwards.
Ghost: Same as teleport
Exhaust: Should your taunt/stun/cc be on cool down this can be used to save your friends, similarly it can allow you to finish a tower with your carry in order to kill the single defender (exhaust the opponent, kill turret, CC opponent)

Offensive Tanks: Rammus for example should carry similar skills to the Defensive tanks, however may want to swap Flash for cleanse or, if your feeling daring, Exhaust for Fortify. You want to lane with someone with a long range harass because as an offensive you will want to wait for them to get low then attack them quickly. Camp the bush if you have to and don't be afraid to use Mana on harassment. You don't generally have a escaping ability on your own so you should look to your summoner skills in order to provide these things.

Ghost: to get away from fights after they are over, or if a team fight is going poorly
Cleanse: CC hurts you as it prevents you from doing damage to the enemy and from escaping well Cleanse helps with this. Also, if CC is used on you it will prevent you from using your Abilities.
Fortify: Not quite as mobile as the Defensive tanks generally if you aren't their you will need a way to help. Fortify helps this especially if you Mastery it. Alternatively, if you can taunt/stun an opponent after he hits you in turret range fortify will help you secure the kill.
Teleport: see Defensive tanks

Initiators, such as Malphite or Jarvan IV blow their ultimate's to enter the fight and cause as much disruption and CC as possible. I would suggest laning with someone with good mobility and decent damage. You do decent to good damage yourself and therefore don't need a carry in your lane with you. Personally I prefer to lane with a Tanky DPS or a Support character like Janna or Taric. For summoner skills you can take whatever you really want but I would suggest the following:

Exhaust: save yourself, get a kill, save a friend. The uses are many, I'm sure you can find them yourself. Also you lack hard CC so every little bit helps.
Flash: get out of gank situations or out of the team fight once you have initiated and your tank has entered in.
Clarity: Mana helps you as you need your abilities to do damage or to mitigate it. Also, your lane partner will love you and therefore might listen to you if you say go B.

INSERTED ON REQUEST

Maokai, The Twisted Treant:

Maokai fulfills a very interesting role in the compendium of Tanks in lol because of his interesting almost dual-personality style of play. Unlike most other tanks in lol Maokai can work as either and Offensive or Defensive tank depending entirely on how you use his skills and how you level them up.

Q: Arcane Smash: (DEFENSIVE TANK) Arcane smash works better with a defensive mode in mind due to its (IMO) absolutely pitiful range and damage. When in the process of saving one of your teammates the twisted advance (more on that l8r) into smash combo works quite well. I would not suggest this however on and Offensive tank build because it does not have the range to work as a disable/aggro taking mechanism.

W: Twisted advance: BOTH Absolutely Maokai best skill a move to taget snare that should be leveled up whenever possible (I LOVE THIS SKILL) and is excellent for both Offense and Defense. An interesting point that should be noted is that Maokai is completely invulnerable during the execution of this skill so a well timed Twisted can dodge things such as Requiem, and the tick dmg of Hemoplague.

E: Sapling toss: OFFENSIVE. No CC, Decent Dmg, This skill would make me a touch sad if it weren't for its unique abilities in the laning phase. Wanna push a tower? Chuck a few past it and you've got until the next minion wave champion free. Wanna ward a bush when you enter? SAPLING. 1 point early is all you really need for a Defensive build but if your offense you want this more than Arcane smash. That being said, even a touch of ap (dorans ring) makes this fairly damaging early game and will be really annoying.

R: Vengeful maelstrom: Ah the application possibilities. Both and Offensive and Defensive skill Maelstrom is full of win and i mean it. Chuck it somewhere then TA in for the initiation, place it somewhere to prevent a TD. Drop it on your team to survive Karthus ult. The Applications for Maokai's Ult are numerous. That being said, the cooldown is decently long at early levels so be wary of using it prematurely. While plenty of guides will suggest leaving this at lvl 1 I advocate strongly against this. Its WIN, learn it well and your team will LOVE you.

Sap Magic: Situationally either awesome or kinda fail Sap magic is made of win if you can get a lane with or against a manalless char. you love anyone that spams. Vlad is your friend. So is Garen and Vayne. Nothing you can do to itemize for this besides getting some health.

Skilling order: at lvl 1 get E unless on premade and going for bushes gank FB
Offensive: E=W>Q, R>QWE
Defensive W=Q>E, R>QWE

Summoner Skills:
Flash
Teleport
Clarity
Not necessarily in that order.

How to build Maokai (Keep in mind that this is just in my opinion and should not be taken as the word of god (or hotshotgg ))
Doran's Ring to start
Mercury Treads next
Spirit Visage
Randuins or Banshees (depending on the team, if Randuins buy Fon if not Banshees)
Force of Nature
A tanky item (opposition dependant)

TIPS AND TRICKS FOR TANKS OR NOT.

For the Tanks:
Establish yourself early as the leader of your team. If you don't your teammates won't listen when you tell him or her not to enter. You can also provide advice that will get listened two. If you lead, lead by example. Show them that staying in the fight is better than running like a coward and dying as you flee.
Don't be a ****, as much as you would like to tell someone that they are stupid instead provide helpful information. This cements your role in the team and means you won't have to jump in in a bad situation to save one of your teammates.
Do your best to save people when possible. This gives you a better position which you need in order to tell people to stop.


For everybody Else:

If your tank says go B you should probably do so because if he is insisting that you go B is because he does not thing that he can save you if you get tower dived.
Don't steal all of a tanks farm
Don't always rely on the tank to keep you alive in lane. They do their bests but it isn't always enough.
If he does not save you its because he either thinks you won't get out with his help or both of you wont or something like that.


This is also on my blog demaciaaa.blogspot.com


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Nyli

Junior Member

05-17-2011

I like the guide, some good tips, tricks, and advice.

I would only suggest that you proofread it for spelling errors, if you want to establish it as a basic tanking guide for many to see. Otherwise +1!


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Scyrner

Senior Member

05-17-2011

proofread, probably failed hard......I can't spell to save my life.


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YcKat

Senior Member

05-17-2011

A very nice guide that is well organized

+1

A question though, Singed I believe is considered somewhat an off-tank, but to be more specific would he fall into the category of Soak and Intiator? I would think so, but having an expert opinion always helps.


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Scyrner

Senior Member

05-17-2011

I would call him a Soak. His initaition is Decent but he does not really have any CC besides fling once he does initiate. Allistar works for initiation because he gives his team 2 seconds to kill whoever he punts back into the team whereas singed can only slow the team after he runs in. Also, Singed's basic play style means run away which is a touch counter productive as an initiator. CC is really important on an initator, Especially hard cc.


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Zeikei

Senior Member

05-17-2011

I like the guide, having played the tank a fair amount of my games, I wouldn't disagree with anything in particular, really the bad thing about tanks is that if **** hits the fan, your the first to get blamed by people who auto lock carries and don't know anything about tanking... oh well, nice to see tank guides out there.


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xMURKY

Senior Member

05-17-2011

where does morde fits in? or does he even fits in at all?


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Dane Dread

Senior Member

05-17-2011

Morde would be a soak.

I would put Chogath as a defensive tank. He has two forms of cc and his big daemon butt soaks up skill shots aimed at other people.


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Al Stump

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Senior Member

05-17-2011

I like the term off-tank. I guess it is the same as a soak. To me its anybody who could almost be a tank but not quite. Singed is pretty beefy, and has nice CC. He also does some good damage if you hang around him for too long. He is the perfect example of an off tank, when he gets in there he messes with people, distracting and messing with their position. He isn't the best full on tank, but compliments a tank very well. Galio is in my opinion usually going to be an off tank. He provides some support, and can put out some good damage if built right. He is only a really good tank against lots of magic but even then. He just has a shield and an ult.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Scyrner View Post
I would call him a Soak. His initaition is Decent but he does not really have any CC besides fling once he does initiate. Allistar works for initiation because he gives his team 2 seconds to kill whoever he punts back into the team whereas singed can only slow the team after he runs in. Also, Singed's basic play style means run away which is a touch counter productive as an initiator. CC is really important on an initator, Especially hard cc.
His goop slows for an ungodly amount when it is ranked up. And his playstyle is more to run around, not necessarily away. Especially now that his ult is more for tanking. There are some really good defensive AP items(rylai's and abyssal), that can supplement you building defensive items. Both those items also support your team in various ways. Singed is beefy enough to not be bursted down, and annoying enough to not be ignored(fling is almost more useful when it isn't used scaring carries back). But he is in my opinion an off tank, and Off-tanks are meant to go with a tank.


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sthorwall

Senior Member

05-17-2011

@xMURKY: I'd say Morde is a soak for sure.
Pretty nice guide, +1. Couple points of disagreement.
(1) I know it's not a Jarvan guide, but there are a lot of complex decisions to make regarding his CC kit, and popping your ult to engage or even very early is sometimes wrong. Jarvan has too many options not to improvise. (Also, taking exhaust on Jarvan is hilarious. Like watching a swarm of ants bite at your heels when you initiate.)
(2) As some tanks, let carries steal your farm. You just don't need the gold like they do. I cry when I see an Alistar take minions a carry could have had. He just doesn't need it to do his job on the team. My ultimate Alistar build is 7.5k gold -- any extra gold is wards up the wazoo.


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