General Guide by Rudmed
Not Updated For Current Season
This guide has not yet been updated for the current season. Please keep this in mind while reading. You can see the most recently updated guides on the browse guides page.
Not Updated For Current Season
The masteries shown here are not yet updated for the current season, the guide author needs to set up the new masteries. As such, they will be different than the masteries you see in-game.
Welcome, fellow tank players, to my guide.
I will teach you all the true way of tanking by the end of this guide. I will not go into how to build each champion that is for other guides that you can find on this site.
Rather, my goal is to teach you the general idea of tanking, and how to do it successfully.
At the end of this guide you will have learned a valuable lesson, and you will be able to do your job as a tank to the best of your ability.
Being the honest and ethnical person that I am, I would like to inform you all the builds you saw above for each of these champions (except Leona and Maokai) are not mine. I have asked the owners' for permission, and they have given me it.
Instead, please follow the links to the builds for tips, tricks, and other things.
Also thanks to jhoijhoi, and Wayne3100 for being an awesome editors, and helping me with this guide!
What is tanking?
I'm glad you asked. It’s very simple you see. Tanking is the ability to soak up massive amounts of damage, and defend your comrades in the heat of battle. Tanks are the first ones in, and last the ones out. Their strength comes from their ability to outlast their foe, and distract them.
Tanking also includes seeming like a bigger threat than what you actually are. Now I know you see the words 'bigger threat' and think:
DAMAGE! If I do damage, then they will focus me!
Now while this is true, there are better ways to do it.
One such way is using your CC abilities like, Rammus' Puncturing Taunt, Shen's Shadow Dash, or Amumu's Curse of the Sad Mummy. In my opinion these are good ways to screw over a foe's plan. We will get into more detail about this later though.
The COMMANDMENTS OF TANKING
Burn these commandments into your mind brothers and sisters! They will guide you throughout your honorable days of tanking, and remind you of the proper path of tanking.
I. Thou Shalt follow these commandments to the best of thy abilities.
II. Thou shalt protect thy comrades.
III. Thou shalt not abandon thy comrades for a kill.
IV. Thou shalt do thy best not to killsteal thy carries.
V. Thou shalt not only build straight health, but resistances as well.
VI. Thou shalt not fear death as long as thy comrades gain victory
VII. Thou shalt realize that thou are not judged by thy KDR, but rather thy assists and the kills/deaths of thy comrades.
VIII. Thou shalt be the first one into the battle, and the last one out.
IX. Thou shalt understand that thou can only do thy best.
II. Thou Shalt Protect Thy Comrades
Overall, you will deal mediocre damage, and the enemy will be focusing your carries or anti-carries. Now your job is to change their focus to you and absorb damage like a sponge absorbs water. Remember: you are a tank, and not an assassin. You will be in the middle of the fray, protect your comrades with your life if it is demanded, and disrupt the plans of your foes.
Crowd Control Skills.
Shen's Shadow Dash, for example, is a very good way to get multiple foes to focus you at once. You will disable their ability to use their skills on your comrades, and force them to attack you.
Another example of this is using Amumu's Bandage Toss and Curse of the Sad Mummy combo, or just flash in and use your ult. This itself can protect your comrades from one person for at least 3 seconds, and the entire team for 2.
Shield Thy Allies
This is another powerful way to protect your important carries, and letting them escape or fight on. Shen's Ultimate Stand United is a very good example of shielding comrades.
Lead The Charge!
Now most tanks can initiate a fight well, and this is why you need to be the first one in. So you can start the fight! Now why is this important? Psychology dictates that one is more afraid of the immediate danger rather than the underlying danger. Ex: You would be more afraid of the person charging at you with a war axe than the person 15 feet behind him with a sword and shield. In other words, they will probably be more likely to attack the first one in.
AKA: YOUIf you decide to tower dive a group of people, you lead the charge!
Exception to the rule:
You should only save him if you know his summoner skills are on cooldown, or if you can get both of you out alive. This is because if you both go in there, and the Master Yi dies....well you're an extra bonus with even more gold on your head.
Now if an ally has overextended and you can assist, please by all means. Though you have to take into account if it will become a lost cause. If you show up a little too late desperately trying to save that carry, then as I said before You are an extra bonus So long story short, while it is reasonable to offer assistance, if it appears to be a lost cause...don't bother.
III. Thou Shalt Not Abandon Thy Comrades For A Kill.
Now from time to time I see a tank leave a teamfight to kill this one person, who has run off. Nine times out of ten, this allows the enemy team to finish off the unprotected carries. Even if that tank does get that kill, chances are he is going to die anyways for he has overextended.
THIS IS A MISTAKE YOU CANNOT MAKE!I have seen countless tanks do this, and their team loses the teamfight. You don't want to be the person who causes your team to lose that fight now do you? So to sum this up: you are a tank, you are a team player not a lone wolf, so stay with the pack.
Important note: Keep an eye out if there is a possible teamfight because you must stick with your team.
IV. Thou Shalt Do Thy Best Not To Killsteal Thy Carries.
As a tank, your job is to protect your carries, not deal damage. It is important to let the carries, who are doing the most damage, get kills so they get even further built, allowing them to do their job that much faster.
It is very tempting it is to finish off that wounded foe, but don't do it especially if a carry is about to get the kill. Now you wonder how do I get built then?
That is from something called assists, which you will earn alot of as you stay in the fray, take damage, and dish damage out. Assists give you gold based on how much damage you do, and I know standing in the middle of a group of enemies with a Sunfire Cape can do a lot of damage overtime. So overall this is a slightly slow process, but when you win teamfights thanks to that 12/0 Akali (and your ability to protect her throughout the teamfight) I'm pretty sure you won't mind letting her have even more kills.
V. Thou Shalt Not Only Build Straight Health, But Resistances As Well.
Tanks need health, and lots of it right? While this thinking is technically correct, consider this: A tank with no resistances, and 3.5k health will be destroyed by the enemy carries, and mages. Why? Well while the tank's health increased, so did the power of the enemy team.
If a tank only reduces say 21% of incoming magic damage then they take the remaining 79% damage. Same with a tank that reduces only 21% physical damage. They don't absorb the brunt of the blows like a tank with resistances would. Without these crucial resistances you will be dead, and a dead tank cannot help the team.
Thus is the reason why you get both magic resist and armor in order to reduce the damage you take. Yes they are necessary, and you will have to adapt to the enemy team composition. If they are mostly AP, then you don't get a Thornmail first (unless their AD carry is doing really well) ,instead get a Banshee's Veil. Once you are pretty well off resistance wise (And most likely health wise since alot of resistance items give health, or at least the ones you want to try and get) you will go into teamfights, and shrug off most of their damage.
This however does not mean forsake health, when you look below at the math, you will see that items with health and resist tend to come out on top of those without!
The Advanced stuff
This is a section dedicated to those of you that want to know the advanced information about your resistance and health. In order to determine effective health an item gives you, use the following formulas.
EHP= HP*(1+Magic Resist/100)
Now here are some examples for the math. Note that we are going to use Shen's base health at 18.
Yeah it is really that easy my friends. So its not really that advanced huh?
VI. Thou Shalt Not Fear Death As Long As Thy Comrades Gain Victory
I know you don't really ever want to die, but as long as your team wins or gets away, it's okay if you do. I often find myself sacrificing myself to let my team get away (try to avoid this, but rather you than 4 others). So remember: if you die, and your team comes out on top in pretty good condition, consider that a victory. It means you did your job well.
VII.Thou shalt realize that thou are not judged by thy KDR, but rather thy
Now I know what happens when you look at your KDR, and think "Oh my god I am 2/8/12". Your focus is on the part that you're negative, but before you jump to your conclusions stop for a moment. You have 12 assists, and you’re a tank so this is pretty good sign your doing something right.
Now then, look at your carries if you see them with positive scores, and not many deaths, you're doing your job. Very well I might add. So just remember a good tank is not judged on his KDR, but his carries' KDR.
IX. Thou shalt understand that thou can only do thy best
Finally, remember you can only do your best, and some days it may not be enough. Stay positive, and just keep trying. You will be surprised of what you can do. I have seen a Katarina disconnect twice for 6-10 minutes each time catch up and do her share of the work. So even if you have a rough start, you gotta believe in your teammates, and just do what you can.
Farming in Lane
If you are laning as the tank, and you are with say an Ashe, or an AP Twisted Fate there is a very simple way to split up the farm. You take 1/2 or 1/3 (Use your own discretion with this rule.)and give the rest to your laning partner (unless they are a support, and are trying not to farm).
(Items like Heart of Gold will help you make up for the lost farm) Also when your partner goes back, or somewhere else go ahead, and free farm.
Here is a list of what minions you should get, and which ones your partner should get.
Siege minions= partner
Melee= Preferably partner
Caster= you, or partner.
^That list gives you some freedom, but try to use the 1/2 or 1/3rd as a rule of thumb.
The three tanks listed are very good junglers, but there are guides on this site to help you with jungling them. So just some rules of thumb that you need to follow.
Give buffs to those who need them
Do not be a buff hoarder! You are the tank, and should rarely have red, or blue buff unless it is for early game (I mean early early) You are the tank, not an AP carry Malzahar, or a nuker LeBlanc, Nor are you a melee carry Master Yi, or a ranged carry Ashe
Shen, Amumu, and Rammus are all very good at ganking. Remember the solo lane will take priority over the other lanes; they are having a rough time with two (Unless top is also a solo lane) people trying to kill them. So if they are overextended and you are ready to gank go ahead, and gank. Try to ping who you need to eliminate right off the bat.
Also, here is a tip if your allies are getting ready to push your foe off the tower: go ahead, try to make it to the brush behind them. I'm talking about the one where you have to cross where the minions go. Try to time it, and if you make it unnoticed then you are in the perfect position to gank.
These are just some very brief, and short rules of thumb for jungling. If you want routes, I suggest looking for some jungling guides of these champions.
Here are some places where you can put wards in order to give you map awareness, and save your teammates' lives. Orange spots are musts, while yellow/green (it is such an odd color!) spots are highly recommended. You can help your jungler by warding these places, and it helps you as well!
A general jungling route
Make sure to use health pots at your own discretion!
After you are done with this route recall , and then go out to gank the overextended lanes or jungle if there are no lanes that are gankable!
Solo Lane v.s. Duo Lane.
Your job as a tank in a duo lane is of course, to draw the fires of those who are going after your teammate. Also it is always a good idea to try and get your teammate fed, by using your cc abilities to stop those who are trying to kill your teammate.
For example: Ashe uses her ultimate Enchanted Crystal Arrow, and if you are Shen you follow up after the stun wears off with an immediate Shadow Dash. Congrats, you have probably secured a kill or two to your CC, and the fact you protected Ashe from damage. 2 assists for you! Because you will let Ashe have the kills.
Another thing, buying wards to know if they are preparing a surprise attack, or a jungler gank is ALWAYS A GOOD IDEA. Placing them at neutral monsters such as Baron, or Dragon will often let you know if mid or a jungler is coming to gank. If they don't pass dragon or baron on their way to your lane you can always put a ward in the bush that is on the river.
Now in a solo lane as a tank you cannot do enough damage by yourself to force the other two out of the lane. (Once again this is if the enemy team does not have a jungler, but we will assume that they don't in this case.) You want to try and keep the minions close enough to your tower that you can easily escape to safety if things get hairy. You don't want them in tower range, simply because you can get most (if not all) the farm from last hitting just a few steps from safety. If the minions start to hurt you too much you can take a few steps back and let them beat on the tower.
Once your jungler is in position to gank, its time to get aggressive, and bait them. So I would charge them, and when one gets into range use your CC abilities to stun one, and the jungler ought to come in a little bit before this point. As usual you want to give the jungler the kills while you get fed off assists.
Solo lane vs. Solo lane
Now first of all it is important to last hit, and maybe harass your foe if possible. This way you can keep the creeps closer to your towers. Also be sure to ward the nearby neutral monster, and the river bush to keep an eye out for any ganks, or save your jungler from surprise. This will help your jungler, and you be a more effective duo.
The final chapter.
You have done well young one, and now you are capable of wearing the title of tank proudly. Just keep in mind the commandments of tanking, and perform to the best of your abilities. Never give up, and always believe if you do your job right victory will be yours.
Now go out there and show them how a true tank does it!