A Brief Introduction...
This is a simple guide to a simple way to play support Taric. This guide is more so intended for lower ELO play, and variations are encouraged. This will cover both the essentials of playing a simple support Taric, as well as some tips and tricks to improve performance. So, without further ado, here is A Simple Support Taric!
I equip Taric with a 0/9/21 setup, focusing on health and commodity generation (gold and EXP). The health is to beef him up, which is almost a necessity for him to scale well into his role during the later stages of the game. The gold and experience are also a must, as a good support needs every alternative he can muster to compensate his minimal CS.
The rest of the points are assigned to mana regeneration. As mentioned in the pros / cons, Taric can often find himself short on mana early in the game, as alot of his power as a support lies in spitting out as many abilities as he can. That being said, he needs to regenerate his mana fast enough to meet his demand. This little bit in his masteries combined with suggested runes and a Philosopher's Stone can usually suffice.
My favorite part.
This build attempts to arm Taric with superb defensive statistics, along with a whole pile of auras to support his allies. He is expected to soak up damage and keep his teammates standing, and this build attempts to do just that.
Start / Early Game
I always start Taric with Faerie Charm and three Sight Wards, spending the excess gold on potions. Although he can function without the potions, i find that the boost from even a single mana potion can keep him in lane long enough to justify maxing
in the utility mastery tree.
Perhaps the most beneficial part of this starting loadout is the fact that you are now equipped to stay in lane until you can afford to upgrade into a Philosopher's Stone. That being said, it is imperative that you use these wards wisely! A support without wards is like a PC without a monitor; useless. I generally set up an early ward in one of the two bushes in lane (especially in the case of an enemy Blitzcrank) to keep tabs on the enemy support, and save the other two for warding the river. When warding the river, make sure that you dont get over zealous. The ward isn't necessary until about 2:30 to 3:00 into the game, sometimes even later if the enemy pushes early on. The big key is simply to milk your starting wards for every single second you can, because trust me, you're really going to want that philostone on your first recall.
Once you acquire anywhere in excess of 700 gold, you can think about recalling. Ideally, you should be purchasing your Philosopher's Stone and 2 more wards. However, if you've gained an additional chunk of gold from a couple of assists, by all means add Boots of Speed into your roster. However, it is ill advised to take the boots instead of the wards. In fact, the philostone is the only item that would take precident over wards; they're that important. Good warding almost always means a winning lane and, as a the late game arrives, a winning match.
The last thing worth mentioning in the early game is wards. I might sound like a broken record, but it's imperative that this message is received; buy wards. Throughout the game from here on in, always try to have a full stack of wards in your inventory. Keep them on dragon, baron, red buff, blue buff, bushes, absolutely everywhere you can. When two teams of equal skill meet, map awareness will be the deciding factor as to the outcome. Never underestimate it!
As the towers begin to fall around the map, a good Taric will have already started building up his Aegis of the Legion. The items can really be built in any order, but the final product is a must. The aegis is perhaps the most effective aura available to him, granting health, armor and attack damage to his allies, as well as an attractive chunk of health to himself as well. At some point between the components of the aegis, he should also upgrade to his Mercury's Treads.
At this point in the build, Taric's statistics allow him to perform sufficiently for a good portion of the midgame. That being said, you shouldn't be in any hurry to finish your build. Just sit back and ward, maybe even pick up an Oracle's Elixir, while your trusty Gp5 setup prepares a small fortune for you!
Although a Banshee's Veil isn't a necessary purchase until later on in the game, picking up a Catalyst the Protector early on is a good idea. This allows it's passive to provide a significant impact on gameplay without it wasting a slot in the lat game. After that, a Glacial Shroud should be the priority. It provides a plethora of stats that help Taric at a very reasonable cost. On top of that, the Chain Vest component provides a solid armor boost if you're unable to buy the whole thing at once. As always, wards take priority over all of these.
By this point, Taric should already have the outlines of his build; Mercs, a philostone, an aegis, a catalyst, and a glacial shroud. Two of those are already finalized, and this phase of the game is where the other three do the same. First to go should be the Frozen Heart, as it's aura will have a massive effect on the teamfights that should be inevitably happening by this point. Next, you can finally leave behind that philostone in favor of a Shurelya's Reverie. Remember to use it's unique active wisely!
Finally, the build comes to a close with the purchase of a Banshee's Veil. This doesn't support the team so much as it supports Taric himself, but the magic resist is useful to a point of virtually necessity. This is the item that allows him to fully convert himself into a viable late game tank, balancing out his defensive stats at last.
Hold on, isn't that only 5 items? Isn't there room for one more? Well, if i hear that come out of your mouth, i may have to physically shove this guide down your throat (metaphorically, of course). If you see a sixth item slot, you've failed to receive the message; WARDS! WARDS, WARDS, AND MORE WARDS! It is never worth replacing your wards with a sixth item. Their impact on the outcome of the game is so massively massive that i cannot say it too many times; WARDS!!!
This section wont get into excessive detail on every item, but will outline some of the arguments for taking certain items and what they can be switched out for.
Perhaps the most viable item to substitute, Randuin's Omen fits very nicely into the schematics of this build. Taric benefits from literally every statistic it gives, most importantly the Gp5 on the Heart of Gold. As far as placement goes, this is best substituted with the Frozen Heart, as both are his main source of armor. Each item had a good argument; while the FH provides amazing stats in armor, mana, and CDR, the RO gives both it's unique passive and active as well as a gold per five boost on it's core component. In conclusion, i opted for a frozen heart for the core build simply because the stats it offered were too good to ignore, but Randuins Omen is just as powerful of an item, and i encourage you to try both and find your preference!
While it fits with the theme of providing as many auras as possible, i find that the Soul Shroud is lackluster in certain regards. The biggest example of this is that while it provides a good chunk of health, that's all it has to offer defensively. The obvious choice for a substitution would be the Banshee's veil, but that would cause Taric's magic resist to suffer greatly. While a supports primary goal is to support his team, his build still needs to compliment his own strengths and weaknesses as well. So in that regards, i'd advise that you look into other options instead of taking this item.
This is great item on most tanks. That being said, keep in mind that Taric isn't a traditional tank; he also carries the burden of having to support his teammates in brawls. In respect to that, he benefits far more from the auras of a Frozen Heart or an Aegis of the Legion, as a pure damage aura can rarely help teammates outside of an occasional killsteal (which most people seem opposed to). In short, there are better options for Taric.
Perhaps a little obscure for a support, Nashor's Tooth can actually be one of the strongest items available to Taric. It allows him to strike enemies faster, which restores mana thanks to Gemcraft. In addition to that, it also reduces the cooldown on his heal both by means of CDR and the abilities passive reduction per basic attack, allowing him to conceivably possess infinite sustain in a fistfight. Granted, Taric isn't really meant to be getting in fistfights in most cases. So this item is probably best reserved for a game where you happen to get fed, at which point you can substitute this for either a Shurelya's Reverie or a Banshee's Veil (preferably the former, IMHO).
This is strong choice for Taric, especially considering the theme of auras in the build. However, this again hits a bit of a tough spot when the question of balancing defensive stats is raised. Sure, the cooldown reduction is nice, and nobody's going to complain about 250 health, but that's the extent of its benefits. It would mean sacrificing an item that really adds to his nature as a tank. And while that seems selfish, choosing items based on your own champ as opposed to helping others, a percentage of the build has to cater to your own character as opposed to your allies. I feel that this item is only fair to classify as situational; if you get a few kills, a good chunk of assists, or if 2-3 of you allies can benefit from the lifesteal / AS, then the zeke's herald is a great item to consider buying!
Tips & Tricks
* This is one of the best passives a support could ask for; unlimited mana regeneration!
* Ideally, the ability should be directed at champions so as not to interrupt your carries farm; however, i find that aiming for the larger cannon minions is usually an acceptable way to take advantage of this awesome passive.
* The potentcy of the heal is increased to 140% when self cast.
* The cooldown is reduced with every basic attack, which synergizes well with Gemcraft.
* Early on, try to use this sparingly; Taric can find himself in a mana drought very quickly should he overuse this ability.
* Much like Sona, this can allow Taric to literally stand in place and still be a decent support in lane.
* Casting the ability forfeits it's passive for the duration of the cooldown.
* However, the targets also lose a portion of their armor as well.
* Try to avoid casting this unless you can hit a decent amount of enemies with it, as the passive is generally more useful than the damage it provides.
* Next to Zilean and Sion, i would argue that this is one of the strongest single target CC abilities in the early game.
* This can be used to easily set up kills in lane, especially to initiate ganks.
* Like Imbue, a smart Taric will be careful not to overuse this ability, as it too can eat up a lot of mana.
* Although the damage scales depending on distance from the target, i wouldn't worry about positioning yourself for max damage. Your only job is to provide the stun; your team can do the rest of the damage, especially in the late game.
* Don't obsess over striking an enemy with it, as the aura it provides will often result in more damage being done by empowered allies than by the blow itself.
* Thanks to it's awesome cooldown, you don't need to be stingy with this; feel free to pop it when attacking a tower to drop it to the ground in seconds!
* When you think about it, Taric is a deceptively good brawler early game; Gemcraft allows frequent use of Imbue, Shatter blocks considerable damage with a small burst ready to go, Dazzle holds an enemy in place, and the attack damage and ability power bonus on Radiance is the icing on the cake. When played well, Taric can actually walk away from most early game fist fights with a kill!
In short, that's my take on support Taric. He provides a wicked early game support while maintaining the fundamental qualities of a tank as the game drags on. Feel free to tinker with the build and comment with any suggestions, although do so with respect. I don't waste time with trolls in games, and i certainly wont be making any exceptions here; say it politely, or don't say it. This site is a wonderful way for people to both learn and teach through publishing builds. So to conclude, i hope that this guide can point a few players in the right direction, as well as bring in some constructive criticism as to how to improve it. Good luck on the fields of justice, and enjoy playing A Simple Support Taric!