Playing Tanks in League of Legends
Mon 27th Jan 2020 - 8:31pm
Not every player in League of Legends is looking for a champion that can instantly eliminate their opponents while constantly being worried about being blown up themselves. We might not be in the "tank meta" of the past, but tanks have found themselves in the game coming into Season 10 in Top, Jungle, Mid and Support alike. You might struggle to run a tank ADC successfully in all of your games, but hey, maybe you'll be the pioneer of something new! Regardless, we're going to break down what it is to play a tank in League right now with a guide outlining pre-match strats all the way through to securing a Victory!
Identifying When a Tank Is Needed
The first stage in playing a tank in League of Legends… is picking a tank in League of Legends. This isn’t as trivial as it sounds, as identifying when you should pick a tankier champion is essential in providing a balanced team composition and maximising the efficiency of the tank in your team. Let’s look at the below example:
Of course, this is an example in customs, but if you’re the last pick in Top Lane and you can see the rest of your team taking already tanky champs, you might want to take someone that can pack a bigger punch instead. Tanks are great fun to play, but only when you have carries on your team to bring the pain in teamfights while you're preoccupied with getting smacked around by your enemies. In each of your games you should aim to have at least 1 Champion that can soak up some damage, as without them then you leave your team open to getting instantly deleted in any encounter you find yourselves in.
Staying Tilt-Proof at All Times
There are plenty of different types of player types in League, and not all are suited to playing a tank effectively. You need to maintain a tilt-proof attitude at all times so that you can be cool and composed when running into your enemies head-on for your team. If not, you’ll become incapable of focusing on your goal of peeling for your carries and keeping the enemies at a comfortable distance for the rest of your team to start popping off. Dying for your allies after bearing the brunt of the enemy team’s damage is a necessary sacrifice if it means you can win the game in the end, so ensure that you’re ready to get thrown around a little bit.
Understanding Your Complex Build Path
When you’re playing a tank, one of the harder decisions you’ll have to make on a game-to-game basis is exactly how you’re going to build and what items you’ll buy. Your itemisation should be based on a number of factors, including the champions in your game, the performances of players in the match, and of course their builds too.
The other players in the game are, of course, the first consideration you should make before anything else. In regards to your team, you need to make sure you’re not double-stacking items with other tanks on your team, such as Abyssal Mask, as well as ensuring that you have enough tankiness before you consider building offensively. The itemisation paths of your enemies should also be closely tracked as you attempt to cut them off at every turn- if kept unchecked, an already fed enemy can run rings around even the biggest of tanks.
As an example, Miss Fortune is one of the strongest ADCs during early Season 10 and has 2 main build paths: the conventional ADC path and the one-shot lethality path. Say you’re playing Dr. Mundo in the Jungle and not following a strong MF’s build order, you could completely miss how much Critical Strike Chance she’s gaining over time and fall victim to a nasty string of crits. On the other hand, if you catch on early enough, you can build right into a Randuin’s Omen to reduce the impact of her crits and put her swiftly on the back foot.
Here are some of the best tank items in League of Legends at the moment, so you can try and incorporate them into your builds in the future:
Sunfire Cape: A relatively cheap item that provides a good foundational amount of both health and armor, as well as dealing a fair amount of damage from the passive in the early game for those longer trades.
Spirit Visage: Any tanky champion with self-healing will benefit considerably from Spirit Visage, thanks to a good chunk of health and base health regeneration especially when combined with Warmog’s Armor. The magic resist also makes it a great item against magic damage-dealing enemies.
Gargoyle Stoneplate: A great mix of armor and MR combined with the beefiest passive in the game and a monolithic active ability, Stoneplate makes for the ultimate tank item even at the expense of damage output. This item, when used on an aggressive frontline tank like Ornn or Dr. Mundo, allows them to turn into an unkillable monster that their entire team hides behind.
Realising Your Synergies and Champion Choices
The best tanks in the game at the moment are champions that can bridge a gap with ease to initiate a fight for the rest of their team; Ornn, Warwick, Leona and Nautilus are perfect examples of this. The difficulty with a long-range, god-tier Dredge Line is that your team might not be capable of following it up from as far back as you could throw it, leaving you far too exposed to capitalise on the pick. Consequently, these champions are best paired with teammates that have the ability to follow up from a fair distance, such as Ahri and Kai’Sa, so that the enemy team can be locked down as soon as possible.
Taking all of this information on board will give you a great idea for how to bring out one of these huge threats onto Summoner's Rift in the near future. Remember that tanks can be both great fun and highly effective in the hands of a skilled user, so dedicate some time and practice to learning their craft. GLHF!
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