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.
Pros / Cons
Tanky enough to stand with most other champs
Does enough damage to be a threat
Has several built in steroids
Not a lot of distractions from main objective
Currently low ban rate
High pressure to make smart, game changing plays
Enemies tend to focus you
You will be underestimated in champ selection
Your build will be highly questioned
Hello there, and welcome to my guide on Taric. Hopefully this guide helps polish your skills and crafts you into the shimmering gem that any team would love to have. I am typing this guide because as a support main I've personally noticed that so many bot lanes have been plagued by "off tank" supports that just fall short of whats expected of them leading to a outlandish and constant battle of inner team flame over questionable plays. I finished season 5 (regrettably) as silver 4 mostly due to a lack of play time coupled with the nightmare of not finding a suitable partner (anyone who knows how/when to initiate on an opening) in solo que. I will post some picture proof of my play as I get the chance to, but for now I will simply list a few outcomes as support taric.
ALWAYS take flash or you can and most likely will be caught out of position at some point.
I prefer to take exhaust as it can be a good peel if you should find an enemy rushing past you to try diving your adc when your stun is down. It also makes for a good engage or buys time to back off if caught off guard by the enemy jng (again assuming your dazzle is on cooldown)
Heal, teleport, and barrier are all viable choices for your second spell tho heal and barrier loose effectiveness late game and teleport is not as useful if your not roaming much. Tho why roam and leave your adc open to 2v1 situations?!
Pretty self explanatory.
Magic resistance, armor, a bit of hp. All things to make you tanky.
Ad, armor pen, and lifesteal help you stay around longer and all in better for those late game moments when you want to burst someone away from a team mate while getting the much needed heal.
Okay so here's the fun part...
Recovery vs unyielding
I put full points in unyielding as the extra armor comes in handy at all points in the game, as opposed to recovery which is redundant once you get the passive of Warmogs Armor working.
Tough skin vs Explorer
Explorer allows you to move to/from your warding locations/lane from one another faster. This is infinitely more valuable than taking 2 less damage from autos, especially when you will be building frozen heart wich gives better reduction with some added perks, and allows you a bit more mobility to self lane gank at key points in the game.
Runic armor vs Veteran Scars
Both are completely viable! It's my preference to take veterans scars to help you reach the 3k hp needed to proc warmogs passive quicker, however if you find yourself needing to use your heal often it may be valuable to take runic armor.
Insight vs Perseverance
Again both viable choices. Early game Perseverance helps you stay in lane longer, and once you can proc warmogs passive its a nice thing to have to help extend your trades if you find yourself tanking some hard hits to allow your team to move in. Insight helps you flash away from danger when your low so you can proc warmogs passive more often or slow your opponents. Comes down to personal choice.
Legendary guardian vs Swiftness
Legendary guardian gives you more armor depending on the number of enemies near you, always a good thing to be tankier where as swiftness helps you get rid of enemy cc quicker. Tankiness is more important for a taric, so if you find yourself getting cc'd to death (should be a VERY rare thing for someone this tanky) grab yourself an item to help out here, or learn to dodge.
Grasp of the undying vs Strength of the ages vs Bond of the stone
Simply put tankiness vs tankiness vs tankiness. how could you go wrong with any of these you ask? Well allow me to explain.
Grasp of the undying gives you a percent of your hp back on your next attack every four seconds. Drawlback: early game it wont heal for much, late game it still will heal for circa 90 hp. (figured at having 3k hp, tho you will have slightly more) however late game will be mostly team fights meaning you will get to attack less often. this is better suited for a top lane tanks early game.
Strength of the ages provides a scaling health factor that once it caps gives you hp based on minion deaths near you. AKA you will build stacks for your adc farming then later heal for your adc farming. a completely hands off skill that makes you more valuable in fights. Also helps you meet the 3k hp requirement to proc warmogs faster! downside: requires an PLAYER to kill siege minions or large monsters near you. (not really much of a downside to be honest as siege minions provide most gold for your adc so they should be focused when farming.
Bond of stone gives 2% damage reduction meaning that a hit that would deal 1000 damage to you really deals 980 damage, a reduction of 20. also it makes you take 8% of damage your near by team mates would take. this damage to you is then reduced by 8% so if any near by team mate would take 1000 damage they take 920 damage (80 damage reduction) and you take 73.6 damage. (6.4 damage reduction to you) downside: late game team fights if all 4 of your team mates would take 1000 damage they each would take 980 and you would take 294.4 damage. while this would seem like nominal damage, but remember thats per hit (assuming the enemy team can do a constant 1k damage) figure in their attack speed and it can add up rather quickly, effectively lowering your tankiness. this damage reduction ONLY procs off of damage taken from enemy champions and cannot reduce you below 15% hp (approximately 450 hp based on 3k hp again it will be slightly higher in actual combat)
After looking at all the upsides, downsides, and theoretical maths its clear that strength of the ages is more valuable considering that it's your job in teamfights to make yourself get focused while providing opportunities for your team to swoop in and do damage relatively unscathed.
There are a few perks that would come in nice with this tree, however I don't take any points in it because their are more viable options in the ferocity tree. To support this statement assuming you took ancient coin as your start item you wont really be attacking minions. Sure the movement speed would be nice, but once you engage you tend not to move too often until after the exchange is won or lost. You arent in jng so buffs are a rare perk. Warmogs passive virtually eliminates potions/biscuits from your inventory once you can proc it. Ancient coin provides you with 3 gold, and 5 health for near by minion death, and 25% base mana regen. Once you get warmogs passive rolling your mana consumption decreases exponentially, making dangerous games boost seem less useful. You're not going for the kill so armor and magic pen dont do you much good. 5% cdr and 5% cdr cap raise is nice, however warmogs reduces how often youll be using your heal and your stun, while being your main initiate and flee, are used sparingly (aka only when you have to/when its safe to). Windspeakers would be the only viable keystone here, but again warmogs decreases its true value as you will be tanking most of the damage that would otherwise be on your adc/team.
Fury vs Sorcery
Fury helps you proc your lifesteals more often making it invaluable to your sustain game. Sorcery gives your abilities a bite. Over all fury is more viable than sorcery as not having built any ap your abilities are mostly there for providing you with engauge/peel. I do however take two points in sorcery as it does help with your ult, wich deals 350 + 50$ap damage. It's a minimal buff, however has made the difference in the enemy dying and getting away several times.
Double edged sword vs feast
Double edged sword provides you with an extra 3% damage (on your autos only I believe. Can someone please verify or disprove?) wich is great for your sustain game, but remember youll be able to swing less if your trying to feed the kill to your team, and that you will be taking 1.5% increased damage, which can add up rather quickly! Personally I point feast. I've mentioned earlier that killing minions is a bad thing, and during laneing so is not feeding your adc, but lets note one of our items here. Namely the hydra, as it cones out our damage providing us with some gained lifesteal for each other unit hit. Since our attacks will be focused on knocking the enemy champs down a peg for our adc to last hit its perfectly acceptable, and actually expected with this item, that you kill a creep or two so why not use this to our advantage and up our lifesteal without compromising our defenses?
Natural talent vs vamprisim
Natural talents increased ap is wasted as we arent building ap. What we got from sorcery is more than enough help in that department despite its nominal bonuses. Vamprisim offers up a natural lifesteal & spellvamp equal to two percent of damage delt. Early game this helps us prolong trades, and affords us to trade off our movement speed for tankiness as we will be able to take a bit of damage to set up a good stun and engage both of which will grant us hp back. Mid to late game when combined with our other sources of lifesteal it will allow us even more risky plays with greater reward.
Bounty hunter vs Oppressor
Bounty hunter seems nice at first for our late game antics, but remember that even if you delete all 5 of the enemys multiple times the bonus caps at 5% extra damage. Oppressors 2.5% increased damage only applies to impaired enemies, and requires no stacking. This would be quite the toss up if it werent for two things. Firs and foremost is that early game we will not be trying to get kills, but instead to try to feed them to the adc. Secondly we will have a built in impair (stun) avaliable at level one, not to mention a slow from summoner spells (exhaust), and eventually a slow from items (blade of ruined kings active). This all means that early game we can be doing more damage, getting more life back, and still not be worrying about having to do anything beyond giving our adc kills meaning oppressor carries over to late game better for us.
Piercing thoughts vs Battering blows
While I dont take points in anything from here down on ferocity tree (for lack of available points) I thought it would still be worth covering for the sake of arguments...
Piercing thoughts magic pen is wasted, for the same reason we don't need more ap.
Battering blows would be a welcomed addition to our perks for late game if we had more points, however since we don't I wouldn't bother pointing it as we aren't focusing kills.
Warlords bloodlust vs Fervor of battle vs Deathfire touch
Warlords bloodlust heal wouldn't activate often enough to do us much good with our 20 or 40 percent crit rate.
Fervor of battle would be welcomed if we had the extra points to invest, as it gives us more damage therefore more lifesteal. However again we arent focusing on getting kills so not our most viable option.
Deathfire touch would be another good addition if we had the points, but once more i find myself saying WE ARE NOT KILL ORIENTED.
Start with your stun and prioritize it highly. The only time you should max it second is if your adc likes to play dangerously in which case you should focus your heal first. Your shatter is useful, but only if you can lock an enemy down and keep your team healthy enough to engage, otherwise its useless, max it last. As always put a point in your ult when you can.
Through the guide I've mentioned a few items, namely frozen heart and warmongs as they are core to your defenses, so here I'd like to shift the focus away from them and onto the offensive items.
As you know tarics passive scales off of armor, however the scaling is so minimal that chunking off the enemy with bork will almost out always damage (and out heal you) than building pure tank. The attack speed is a nice added boost as well, plus the active makes it almost impossible for an enemy to ignore/peel you in battle. You'll have 3 forms of cc with this item and exhaust, plus you'll slow their aa's with frozen heart!
A hydra is a nice addition in mid to late game as it spreads your damage allowing you to heal for more in team fights. I would not exchange for the titanic as you're not stacking health so you'd be loosing ad and therefore healing for less.
Infinity edge provides some additional ad therefore heal, and comes with a 20% crit chance. can be exchanged for another item of your choice, but when added to trinity force it gives you 40% crit chance that can turn the tides of any battle especially since a crit can be splashed with your hydra.
Trinity force provides a lot of useful bonuses, namely 200% base ad after using an ability (like your stun, if you catch where im going with this...) the movement speed, movement speed on hit, crit, ad, aspd, cdr, hp, and mana are all things taric needs to get anywhere in life.
Note that this build has 7 items in total, meaning that you will be selling one (eye of oasis) in late game to make room for your final item.
Why focus ad over ap?
Sure you could go ap and throw in a will of the ancients or a gunblade for sustain to max your ability scaling, however your stun is a tool for creating opportunities for your team, and only lasts so long. Upping its damage is counter productive if you have a low hp'd enemy running and a stun is all you have to keep them from getting away. You'll end up ksing a lot that way and denying your team mates of the feed they need to keep up or get ahead.
You'll also be using your heal more often on yourself as you wont be healing from autos so you'll have less mana to peel with, or heal your team mates even after you get warmogs passive working since you will not have as good of sustain.
Your shatter scales off armor more so than ap, so again it's wasted cash.
Lastly your ult ups your ad and with you missing out on anything to do with ad in an ap build becomes next to useless for anything other than the initial damage.
How about pure tank or even ap/ad hybrid builds?
Just no! As I've mentioned already if your building pure tank you'll be largely ignored once laning phase is done a the only way you'll have to do any real amounts of damage is your passive which does 20% of your armor as ad after using an ability. In a armor damage build you'll typically find thornmail (100 armor) frozen heart (90 armor) deadmans plate (50 armor) iceborn gauntlet (65 armor) and a sunfire (50 armor) and his native of 88 at lvl 18 giving 443 armor or 88.6 bonus damage after using an ability. Add this to his native attack of 117 for total damage of 205. once you figure in item abilities assuming deadmans is discharged from full figures out to 451.25 after using an ability plus sunfires 43 damage per second and thornmails (88.75 + 15% incoming damage)on being hit for 540 + 43/sec + 15% incoming. assuming the trade lasts 3 seconds and you are hit twice for 1000 damage (and attacked twice) equals 1709 damage before reductions while taking circa 1782 damage after reductions aka a lost trade (not accounting for runes or armor giving masteries or any healing which may skew this in your favor if only slightly). meaning for this build to work your team must either be in position or your cooldowns must be timed exactly right to all in and walk out with a kill.
As for hybrid builds instead of going into all this complicated theoretical maths I'll simply say you would be trading away ad (therefore non mana heals) for ap which i've already ranted about not being gold efficiant for a support taric.
During the laneing phase your job is simple, walk in, stun whomever you catch out of position, make them pay while keeping the other from getting at your adc, wash/rinse/repeat.
Once you start hitting teamfights your roll can switch instantly. Depending on the situation you may find yourself being a meatshield on the front line holding back the aggressive enemy who could easily melt a high profile team mate who can easily kite them down from afar, or you may have to run in and cause a distraction allowing your team to get close enough to engauge. The later is best done by placing yourself in the center of the enemy team, stunning and then grinding the enemy adc (or other squishy damage dealer) into diamond dust. This will cause the enemy team to insta-focus you. As long as you can remove the damage component from the fight (regardless of if you get a kill or not) you now move into phase two of the plan. using your stun, bork active, and exhaust you can lock down enemies at will remember to always stun the biggest threat (if two tanks a support and an adc (assuming you meltted the enemy kat before she could ult) are left it would default to the adc as they generally have the most damage output) and zone the rest so your team can pick off high value targets. As soon as your team has the upper hand thanks to you causing panic feel free to shatter and ult the next highest threat remembering to continue zoning the enemy and healing your team. This should buy your team more than enough time to rip the enemies apart before the primary target can re-engage.
note once you gain the upper hand in the teamfight you're no longer looking to gain a kill, but are going back to the position of save and whittle tactics of a support, tho getting more than an initial kill isn't a bad thing.
Be sure to always have some form of peel up regardless of if your stalling out their tank while your team cleans up squishys or if you catch a squishy out of position and decide to put your banhammer to use on their hp bar. In either case it's your job to prioritize on creating openings for your team while shielding as many as you can. You are Taric after all, which means your radiant beauty blinds all no matter what you're doing, simply because you control the battlefield.
You may be the flesh-shield of the team, but being a rock hard teddy bear rarely pans out. The best way to shine as a tank is to pose a serious threat, one that can distract an entire team. If your damage and tankyness are both a threat and you have godly cc you cant be ignored, use it to your advantage and surprise the enemy team with powerful and disruptive plays, but be sure you have the back up to make them work to your teams advantage. Always remember your presence can be felt in multiple places regardless of if your deadlocked with their tank or in the backlines deleting squishys. To be short it's your job to blind the enemy to the true dangers that are hiding just behind your radiant backside while making your hammer crack skulls.
Thank you for taking the time to read my guide. Please leave feedback, as the more I improve the more I can help others improve.
Jan 21, 2016
Edits: Expanded on Playstyle, Items (text block summary pane), corrected some grammar and spelling.
Nov 28th, 2015
Edits: Created changelog, fixed some spelling, corrected division in intro, and went more in depth on masteries.
Nov 25th, 2015