Role Discussion: Tank

Comment below rating threshold, click here to show it.

JunkRamen

Senior Member

01-24-2010

I just wanted to start a series of threads aimed to give players a better understanding of each of the basic primary roles in the team (carry, mage, tank). This goes behind "a tank is a high hp guy who goes in first," I wanted to explore more in depth what the tanks bring to the table and how the different champions go about doing their role. I decided to start with tanks first because they seem to be the most misunderstood of all of the character roles.

The goal of this post isn't to teach players how to tank, but educate them on the philosophy behind tanking so that we can have better informed dicussions about what makes some tanks better than others, what tanks should do in a fight, etc.

This is my view and I'm very much up for feedback because I'm sure I've missed something.

Primary roles of the tank:
-Leading a push
-Tanking towers later game
-Tanking champions (duh)
-Granting your team a positional advantage
-Aura*****
-Set up champion kills

Tanks don't tank stuff in LoL like someone does in say, World of Warcraft. You can't just go in first and expect computer-minded things to attack you, though you'll often be a target. Tanks always "build threat" by making themselves a worthy target, but it is rare that anybody but the glass-cannon carry is a better target in a team battle. Yet, the role of the tank is to keep focus fire away from his teammates. So how do many tanks do this? A variety of different ways. Let's take a look how tanks tank:


1) A tank can tank by being a scary target.

Okay, this is a bit contradictory to what I just said, but some tanks do tank well by making themselves a high priority target. They generally do this by having scary damage usually involves them being very close to the other team. The other team is then compelled to target you because they can remove the threat of your damage by killing you. Ideally, all of this scariness is making them ignore your carries...

An example of this is Nasus. With a proper initiator, he can position himself into his ideal situation: ult popped, and in the middle of the enemy team. From here, they can either run (and most likely 1 or 2 will die to snares) or sit and fight in your scary AoE damage.

Examples of champions that tank this way: Nunu, Nasus, Mundo, Sion, Cho'gath, Amumu(kinda)


2) A tank can tank by being the only target: forcing repositioning.

Let me explain this one. Some tanks just aren't worth targeting when you can hit their friends. Alistar is a big example of this. Why would anybody want to hit this guy? There's a lot reasons not to. But what if he's the only target? Then you're kinda forced to attack him.

Alistar tanks by giving his team a major positional advantage. When he wants to move in, everybody on the other side wants to move out because they don't want to eat a 2.5s stun into a punt. If they want to target Alistar's friends, they have to move past Alistar, which is difficult because getting too close to Alistar means you eat that stun/punt. This lets Alistar's squishies stay behind him and do their squishy stuff.

Examples of champions that tank this way: Alistar, Rammus, Singed, Sion (kinda), Blitz (kinda)
, Cho'gath (kinda)


3) A tank can tank by initiating.

This one is very much related to the above, except a bit more forceful. Now you're the only target because you forced your way in and messed things up for them. You've stirred up their **** and now you're up in their face, with them stunned or otherwise put into bad positioning. Now it is up to your team to (hopefully) back you up kill them.

Malphite is the big example here. There's very little reason to attack Malphite unless he goes DPS (and in that case he'll be pretty squish). He is generally ignorable until he has his ult. His ult allows him to, with almost no warning, quickly stun and deal moderate damage in an AoE and a snare to some poor sucker (ideally the carry). With the targets injured, one snared, the rest of Malphites team can follow up on his attack.

Examples of champions that tank this way: Malphite, Alistar, Amumu, Rammus, Singed, Blitz
Examples of NON-TANK initiators: Fiddlesticks, Tryndamere, Jax (kinda), anybody with Zilean/Kayle ult, Katarina with Black Shield, Annie


So in summary to this section, tanks aren't just about soaking hits. They help your team position better and force the other team to reposition. Positioning is one of the most important factors of a team fight, so this is key.

Remember: tanking in teamfights is not the only job of the tank. Most tanks pick up aura items to make themselves a higher priority target and to ensure that the aura is active for most of the fight. Tanking creepwaves/towers and killing them is a very important aspect of pushing. Having high sustainability and decent harassment abilities are two of the strong factors which lead to small-scale tower pushes early on (others being AoE damage and stuff like Taric aura/Sivir ult). Then of course there's the whole "setting up the kill" thing that Blitz, Alistar, Singed, etc do very well.


I'm not sure what else to add here so I'll just do a very brief rundown of the tanking champs and their advantages/disadvantages:


Alistar: Generally accepted as the best overall tank.
+ Forces repositioning, very scary to get close to. Leads pushes well with heal. CC break/Shield Wall ult lets him initiate comfortably. Strong laning phase.
- Poor at farming

Malphite: Best initiator.
+ Best initiator. Can jungle pretty well. Pretty good at laning too.
- Largely ignorable once his ult has been used. Only mediocre mitigation for a tank.

Rammus: Anti-carry/mage.
+ Strong initiator that also helps him move around the map easily. Uncounterable Taunt is one of the scariest abilities to deal with as a squishy. "Shield Wall" cooldown makes him good at tanking big hits.
- Poor farmer. Requires levels to be any good.

Amumu: A very scary ult.
+ Short cooldown initiator. Decent AoE damage that hurts tanks a lot. Ult is extremely powerful - roots around him in a huge AoE. Can jungle.
- Requires some farm to be a good tank. Largely ignorable when his ult is down. Weak at laning.

Blitzcrank: Death Grip!
+ Death Grip makes him a nightmare to deal with all game. Melee stun is pretty good too with a short CD. Mana Shield is crazy good early-mid game and still a lifesaver later on.
- Generally not built to be very tanky. Rocket Grip forces a lot of positioning, but when that positioning is good he becomes a lot weaker.

Cho'gath: Big n' scary
+ Good laning phase, can go solomid. A highly damaging, disruptive force that's cheap to build as a tank thanks to ult.
- Longish CD's make him ignorable once they know Feast is on CD. A disruptive force, but part of it is dodgable. Dying hurts his tanking ability a lot.

Dr. Mundo: Maybe not a tank?
+ Cleavers and Masochism make him one of the most dangerous characters early game. Ult gives him good sustainability until...
- Executioner's Calling destroys him. Generally ignorable past mid game if built as a tank.

Nasus:
+ One of the best farmers in the game, very scary damage for a tank. Wither is one of the best snares in the game.
- Needs to farm or else he's not very tanky. Needs someone to initiate for him.

Nunu: More of an offtank
+ Extremely strong early game, excellent harasser and babysitter. Can jungle. Ult is very threatening.
- Not very tanky base stats, ult can easily be countered. Mostly ignorable once it's down.

Singed:
+ Another great farmer. Very good, but perhaps difficult to target AoE slow. Fling is extremely scary.
- If he can't get into melee range, he's ****. Needs to keep up in items to be any good, or else he falls behind hard in tanking.

Sion:
+ Lots of "free health" if he farms well early on with his passive. Like Nasus, a high damage tank that people don't like to be close to.
- Requires significant farming to be truly tanky.

Okay... time to study. Discuss away


Comment below rating threshold, click here to show it.

XaXa

This user has referred a friend to League of Legends, click for more information

Senior Member

01-24-2010

what about warwick?


Comment below rating threshold, click here to show it.

JunkRamen

Senior Member

01-24-2010

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dolphin Trainer View Post
what about warwick?
He's not really a tank but if he were he'd be an initiator for sure.


Comment below rating threshold, click here to show it.

Hyfe

Senior Member

01-24-2010

Nice post man. Covered a lot of stuff.

Maybe a discussion of tanking items and what items are good for each tank and in what situation. IE armor stacking on malphite, HP stacking on cho.

Good thread.


Comment below rating threshold, click here to show it.

Hyfe

Senior Member

01-24-2010

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dolphin Trainer View Post
what about warwick?
Warwicks not really a viable tank, he's more sturdy DPS but not a very good one. Just use someone like trynd or poppy if you want hard to kill DPS.


Comment below rating threshold, click here to show it.

JunkRamen

Senior Member

01-24-2010

Why stack HP on Cho? He already gets high health thanks to ult. You can pick up some Negatrons/Thorn or Warden Mail and double his eHP for much cheaper than trying to double his eHP through health items.


Comment below rating threshold, click here to show it.

Hyfe

Senior Member

01-24-2010

Really just for the entertainment value of having > 5k hp. I don't really stack hp I just follow condons cho guide.

You get the point though. A discussion of tanking items and what's good on which tanks is essential for playing each tanks role properly. Even recommendations of summoner spells for each tank could be interesting. I really only play nasus as far as tanks go so I've got a wealth of knowledge about what works on him but don't know much about the others.


Comment below rating threshold, click here to show it.

Lumaca

Senior Member

01-24-2010

I think you should add on Singed's section: Gets health by stacking Mana.

Also, what about Sion? He's probably as tanky as Nasus.
+ Targetable stun, damage-absorbing shield, has a mini Warmog skill. One of the best AP Scaling on the game.
- Worst damage mitigation passive in the game.


Comment below rating threshold, click here to show it.

Hyfe

Senior Member

01-24-2010

True... Sion can be VERY tanky and is just as viable as Nasus or Blitz as a tank. Not as much if you build him AP. Taric can be a tank also.


Comment below rating threshold, click here to show it.

KirbyHero

This user has referred a friend to League of Legends, click for more information

Senior Member

01-24-2010

You know, I can always charge in with my malphite and draw all the fire, but I'm not sure I always should. Against a melee character, yeah, I'm in your face now you have to deal with me because you don't want to walk 60 units to upgrade to most of the ranged carries. But if it's a bunch of ranged characters, after I pop the ult and use seismic assault (name?) why not go ahead and start shooting my teammate ashe or twitch if you're a range 60 character? ? At that point, post ult, I'm the lowest dps, highest hp character on the field. Both ashe and I are equally in range.

It might be a common misplay to attack an initiator like Malphite. Unless attacking the initiator stops the pain, *looks at Nunu* he's missing incentive.

Then again, if they have a few melee characters without some epic speed buffs, or the relative positioning is oo la la perfect, Malphite can still compel characters to attack him.

I think half the time people hit him because they're mad though :X