Mentality of a Tank (S3)

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Prometheius

Senior Member

12-06-2012

I'm a student majoring in game design. My final paper this quarter was an analysis on LoL and what M/D/As made it stand out. I chose to focus on the tanks and how tanking was fundamentally different, since I see a lot of players not understanding that aspect in LoL.

Since I still see many players struggling, especially in S3, I thought I'd share this part to try and help people understand how to tank better.





The tank in League cannot only be a damage sponge. Unlike monsters, players do not have a threat algorithm that can be managed with aggression skills and be permanently held by a sole person. Because the tank cannot pull agro, they must rely on other methods of reducing damage to the team and change their mentality of what a tank needs to do. The main focus of a tank is not the “soak massive damage and survive” that it is in other games.

In the more traditional games, if a tank dies, there are extreme consequences, usually involving the player being unable to further participate in a dungeon. These consequences exist on a much smaller scale in League and aren’t as lasting because the game is designed to have the revival aspect be integrated. Also, with how the items and formulas are designed, no tank can ever stand up to the raw power of a properly built ranged DPS for long and none should ever try to meet that power. Because the tank does not need to fear death nor do they have the ability to withstand extreme sustained assault, the focus shifts from self-survivability and agro to how the tank can help the team while he is alive and how he can persist to render aid after death given that he builds durability oriented items.

The tank exists to crowd control and peel. Instead of absorbing the damage, he either draws it upon himself by going into the fray first, decreasing it by crowd controlling the enemy, or preventing it from being applied by forcing the enemy into vulnerable positions if they do. Going in first is an unreliable way to draw attention, but stunning the enemy DPS is a sure-fire way to lower damage. Zoning, the act of keeping an enemy out of combat via pre-established threat, prevents any damage from being applied because the enemy is too scared to get into combat. Because outright soaking damage in place of your squishy allies is impossible, tanks rely on strong crowd control and the threat of crowd control to prevent the enemy from engaging. Items the tanks can acquire will augment their durability, but, for the most part, the items are upgraded because they aid in increasing the team’s durability more than single survival.

Tank items are rather different in League and are not limited to being purely stat sticks that increase durability. As far as raw stats go, combining the components into a final form does not provide a huge stat increase. The main draws in combination are the unique actives and passives acquired upon merger. In terms of raw statistics, defenses scales at a lower rate off of health and armor increases compared to physical damage scaling off four stats. To equalize this disparity, defensive items have passives and actives that further mitigate enemy damage.

The Frozen Heart and Randuin’s Omen reduce enemy attack speed, thus lowering the average damage per second while not reducing damage per hit. Items such as Iceborn Gauntlet focus on removing the enemy’s ability to maneuver, because a carry that cannot reach its target does less damage. Zeke’s, instead of making it harder for enemies to apply damage, makes it easier for some of your allies to shrug it off by healing from their attacks. All of these items, when applied together, drastically lower enemy damage per second without making the wielder that much more statistically durable against a built enemy DPS.

The overall fundamental change to the mindset of a tank is overwhelming. In any other game, where the tank is just a damage sponge, the player is disconnected from the team. As long as he does his own thing, the team should do the rest and, after a certain gear breakpoint, that largely holds true. There is the illusion of teamwork, when it really is just separate individuals that happen to be going in the same direction. Under that game type, there is no player interaction or desire to communicate outside of getting the group together and assigning roles.

In League, that changes. A tank must be constantly interacting with the team, calling their targets, figuring out who is breaching the defensive line, identifying immediate dangers, and leading the group. The tank is the effective playmaker of the group and must be aware of what his allies are capable of. When the tank loses focus and cannot perform or fails to evaluate correctly, then his team suffers drastically from it.


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Voidgolem

Senior Member

12-06-2012

Mentality of the Tank:

"I am going to **** this enemy team so hard"

and S3 finally gives them the items to do it. 'Course, the enemy team can do it back.


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Prometheius

Senior Member

12-06-2012

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SaveTheMaids

Senior Member

12-06-2012

I just fail to see the point in using a tank when I can just go with a bruiser with hard CC.
More damage, more mobility, and I'm not dying in a second like I'm a squishy carry.

A Garen with just BC for damage shouldn't be able to melt Nautilus with HP, randuin's, etc in under 3 seconds.
He's just as tanky as me, yet has more damage because his itemization is better.

Think I'm just going to put LoL on hiatus for a while.
Between the complete overhaul to Twisted Treeline, nerfing every single item I used to tank with, removal of HoG, ragers and afks, etc... I think I'm just gonna move on to something else.

Just not having fun anymore.


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Prometheius

Senior Member

12-06-2012

Quote:
Originally Posted by SaveTheMaids View Post
A Garen with just BC for damage shouldn't be able to melt Nautilus with HP, randuin's, etc in under 3 seconds.
He's just as tanky as me, yet has more damage because his itemization is better.
If he only had BC for items and melted you, a Garen with only LW for damage pre-patch would have destroyed you at the same rate. Possibly even faster since more % ArPen.

The only thing they've nerfed on tank items were hard stats. They have buffed every tank item's active and passives so that tanks need to think about how to tank. That's the entire point.

Anyone could brain-dead tank before. Now, it's impossible as people will melt you if you can't use item abilities correctly.


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Prometheius

Senior Member

12-06-2012

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Vuther

Senior Member

12-06-2012

Quote:
Originally Posted by Prometheius View Post
They have buffed every tank item's active and passives so that tanks need to think about how to tank.
Not Randuin's, though.

I'm going to miss that AoE attack speed slow.


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Prometheius

Senior Member

12-06-2012

Quote:
Originally Posted by Vuther View Post
Not Randuin's, though.

I'm going to miss that AoE attack speed slow.
Active duration went up. Enemy self-application rate went up 200% in exchange for nerfs to the debuff. HP went up.

Instead of protecting one guy's ass when he gets jumped by auto-attackers, it's used to AOE debuff so team can kite better for longer periods of time.


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Voidgolem

Senior Member

12-06-2012

I'll take a 100% chance to slow and Frozen Fist over the old version, gotta say >.>

Oh, and I'm still fairly convinced that Liandry's is actually a tank item. We've got all the CC for that double-burn after all.


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Prometheius

Senior Member

12-06-2012

Quote:
Originally Posted by Voidgolem View Post
I'll take a 100% chance to slow and Frozen Fist over the old version, gotta say >.>

Oh, and I'm still fairly convinced that Liandry's is actually a tank item. We've got all the CC for that double-burn after all.
That was basically the point. Tank items are now not meant to only be stat sticks. Players need to buy tank items based on how the auras and actives will help the team the best. Fist for boosted group kiting. Randuin's for on-demand speed reduction.

Tanks shouldn't be thinking "What defense stats will make me tankier." They should be thinking "What actives, passives, and auras will make my team survive longer." If they focus on the actives and passives, they'll naturally gravitate towards tanky items that fight the situation.

Liandry's is a... bruiser mage item, really. That thing's stupid on mages with combined CC and DPS mechanics, such as Amumu, Mundo, Singed, Swain, and Zyra. It's not meant to help bursters because bursters aren't going to stand around chaining skills for longer burn duration.