General Guide by Lethadind

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League of Legends Build Guide Author Lethadind

Lethadind's "Stop being stupid" Tank Guide

Lethadind Last updated on April 9, 2012
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Good Tank Possibilities


Bad Tank Possibilities

Ability Sequence

Ability Key Q
Ability Key W
Ability Key E
Ability Key R

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.



Offense: 9

Honor Guard

Defense: 21

Strength of Spirit

Utility: 0

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So somehow my old introduction got deleted and replaced with another section (almost like the section was copied and then pasted again here). I have no idea how it happened, but this introduction will be significantly shorter. Sorry.

Starting at about "Summoner Level" 15, I started to notice that tanking was beneficial to the team. I had only done bot games (as I had no experience with DotA or other similar games) up until level 12 or so, and you don't really need a tank for bot games. However, for PvP games I noticed how much advantage having a tank gave my team.

I started experimenting with a few tanks, finding my own way through while reading a few champion specific guides to help me learn the itemization and skill order, and I noticed very quickly how stupid other people are. I've played World of Warcraft extensively, so the idea of a tank wasn't new to me, nor was the way it was handled. What irritated me was that there are so many stupid ways to tank, and invariably 4 out of 5 people will choose one or more of these ways and end up losing the match.

I decided that it was time to spread my knowledge (I'm level 30 now, and have extensive experience with most of the tank and offtank classes) so that you fools will stop killing me.

The purpose of this guide, then, is not champion specific at all. It's to teach you the simple skills, and tell you about the not-so-simple skills, so that you can start implementing both into your gameplay.

What you will find in this guide:

  • The definition of a tank

  • What a tank does in the early, mid, and late games

  • What a tank does NOT do

  • Help in understanding health and resistances - what they do and how to maximize your effectiveness

  • A few styles of tanking that you possibly do or do not do (both good and bad)

  • Different possible (good and bad) item compositions that you will often see and should (or should not) emulate

  • General itemization and item tricks that you can use.

  • A small mastery section that contains a rant or two on stupidity.

  • Lots of kid swears (as Mobafire censors everything that even resembles something that could be taken offensively, including if it's in the middle of another word like assassin (see?)). These will be in orange and you are required to laugh at them, as I spent a great deal of time making them as horribly specific, descriptive, or ridiculous as possible.
You will NOT find
  • Specific anything related to champions, itemization, skill order, masteries, etc.

  • Pity - I tell it how it is, I've noticed many stupid things in my time playing League of Legends, and my goal is to get it to stop. It's my job to tell you bluntly how stupid you are if you do these things, it's your job to stop doing them.

  • An exhaustive list of all things related to tanking - there's no way I can teach you everything you need to know, most of it comes with experience. These are just the things that I've noticed that either most people aren't aware of, or they aren't doing.
Once again, my goal is education and training. It is not to inform you on things like items or specific champions. It is therefore my intention to point out the things you are doing wrong, and make you feel stupid about them, so you will change them. If that is not what you were expecting when you clicked on this guide, then please feel free to keep browsing, I'm sorry to have wasted your time. If, however, like me of a long time ago, you are looking for a guide that teaches you the skills you need to play this game, rather than endless lists of items (which is about 10% or less of this game), then please continue reading. I've got some pretty interesting stuff in here, if it's not too prideful to say.

Thanks for stopping by regardless of your expectations. If you like what you read, then please let me know. I'm a direct guy and therefore I can take direct advice. If you see something you disagree with, or something you'd like me to include, please let me know, and I'll make any necessary changes. Enjoy!

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General Guidelines for Any Class

A few notes on some general things that you should be aware of. Other guides cover these more extensively, but I still want to touch on them as they are vital to playing League of Legends in general.


My general rule with warding is this: Every Single Time you use Recall, you buy a ward. Every. Single. Time. They cost 75 and 125 gold. They're not expensive, and I guarantee that you have enough gold between when you went out and when you came back. The only exception to this is if you barely have enough to grab an important item for your build. Otherwise buy a ward and place it in a strategic spot. I'm not going to provide a map because almost every other guide has one, pick a random guide on Mobafire, chances are it'll be there.
  • There is a lot that goes into the psychology of this. People don't buy wards because they don't want to be the only one sacrificing precious gold for the team. In a premade team it's not hard to coordinate ward purchasing - but if you are running solo or in a duo, you will run into the problem of everyone being stingy with wards (or simply not thinking about buying them). Asking people to buy wards (and buying them yourself) usually solves this problem. Trolls will be trolls, of course, but overall, just remember to buy them. Against a well-coordinated team, wards will save each teammate more than once each match. Be that awesome guy that wards for your teammates, you've seen him before, and you've always loved him. Why not follow his example?

Last Hitting

Once again, if you are auto-attacking their minions, you are pushing your lane, which, in the early phase, is a very bad thing to do. Once you start pushing the lane, (Pushing the Lane means overpowering their minions to the point that your minions reach their tower) the little minion battle happens at their tower, which is a prime spot for the enemy to gank you. You lose out on money and sometimes even experience once your minions reach their tower.

If you notice your laning partner doing this, tell him nicely not to. I've never had a problem with anyone getting mad at me for telling them "Don't push the lane, please. Last hit the minions only").

Also, if you notice the enemy auto-attacking YOUR minions, make them stop by harassing them. You don't want them pushing the minions to your tower either, as the tower steals tons of last-hits in the early game. It requires perfect timing and knowledge of when to hit the minion in conjunction with when the tower hits it.
  • HINT: For caster minions, it's two hits by you and one by the tower - hit it once, let the tower hit it, and then hit it again - for melee minions, it's one hit by you and two by the tower - let the tower hit it twice and then hit it. This is incredibly hard to do and is impossible to get all 6 last hits on a wave, as far as I've seen, between the levels of 1-5.

  • FARMING AT YOUR TOWER CONTINUED: If one of your minions hits the minion that the tower targets, it's over, move on to the next one and try to "pre-empt" as many last hits as you can. This means that if the melee minions have all been hit, hit each of the caster minions once, then wait for the tower to hit it and BAM, grab three last hits. This is still hard to do, and is the reason I don't suggest doing it where other guides will. If you are in a ranked match, where your opponent is last hitting better than you, then let him push the lane to your tower if you can, you will lose some gold, but at least you keep him out of the loop.

Map Awareness

I usually measure someone's skill by how aware of the map they are at all times. When the basics become second nature (last hitting, itemization, etc.), you can start focusing on being more aware of what's going on around the map.
  • Watch for your jungler and set up ganks - Nothing is more irritating to a jungler than to walk all the way from blue buff on the purple side to top, only for you to not realize he's there and he's wasted his time trying to help you gank. If instead you bait them to him (for instance, the bushes in the river), or stun them while he's in reach, or something else that lets him know that you know he's there, you will get far more kills.

  • MIA - Seriously, call MIA (MIA is the term used when the other team's champion(s) has/have left your lane. Even if you have two in your lane and only one leaves, let people know). I see the excuse "I was in base" or "I was up against the tower, I didn't know he left, I just thought he backed off" all the time. These are exactly what I said they were - excuses. It may not be your fault that your mid got ganked, but you sure as hell could have helped prevent it, so who cares who's fault it is? Isn't the point of the game to increase every chance of winning as possible? Then do it. Pay attention to when champions leave your lane, especially if they are strong roamers/gankers.

  • Last hitting - Yes this deserves a section in map awareness. Why? Because you idiots need to stop last hitting when the other team's champion(s) have left your lane! You need to do one of two things at this point:
    • PUSH their lane - they're gone, free hits on the tower! Even if you only get a few, it can sometimes spell the difference between winning your lane and losing it. Kill all the minions as fast as you can (screw the 40 or so gold you could get by calculating last hits, you need to get to that tower with as much minion health on your side as possible!).

    • ROAM yourself! Likely their champions are trying to get a gank, or grabbing a buff, use this opportunity as a free chance for a kill or a buff yourself! They aren't in lane so you don't need to worry about your tower, grab a kill! Also, you run the chance of meeting them unawares in the river or in bushes (buying a ward and using it to scout the bushes on either side of the mid-lane is a safe way to both help your mid avoid future ganks and to pre-empt a possible gank-in-waiting against your mid and gank the "ganker" yourself. Often when people see you approaching them while they are hidden, they will wait til you reach them and then unload on you, by dropping a ward ahead of time you can actually get the jump on them instead - this tactic is not well known as far as I've seen and has worked for me countless times. You never know if they are there, but the chance that they are (plus it just provides peace of mind to your mid - they will love you - makes it worth it anyway) makes the 75 gold a worthwhile investment).

    • Whatever you do, DO NOT keep last hitting - Broaden your overall game vision beyond making 20 gold at a time, and realize the end goal is destroying their nexus - you want the fastest and most effective way to this, and it's not by slowly killing minions when their champs aren't there!
There are countless other minor details I could go over, but you get the gist of the idea. The more aware of the map you are (WARDS!!!!!!), the better you can do. You already know this, but once again, you aren't doing it. Instead of not doing it. . .wait for it. . .do it! It really is that simple. Stay aware of your surroundings, keep a reminder close by if you need to. Your teammates will love you, and you will actually enjoy the game more because people will stop pwning you. OK? OK.


This goes with last-hitting, but in general as well. You need money. You need it more than you need experience! Have you ever seen a match where one of the champions is destroying everyone, even though he's lower level than most? This is because he has the cash to improve his gear. Level-by-level makes little difference! If you find yourself overwhelmed by an enemy in your lane, ask to switch. Because of the fast jungle respawn times, ask your jungler if he minds if you grab the closest monsters to you from time to time for an economy boost - likely he won't mind because it'll usually respawn by the time he gets to them anyway. You have to figure out a way to get cash - don't wander aimlessly between lanes hoping to get a gank at a lane if the enemy looks like they're playing defensively. I could go on and on, but you get the picture.


Most games you'll start out assuming you need one build, and then find out that you need to adapt. For some reason some people get really stubborn and set on what they were originally going for. Don't do this. Be willing to adapt to your situations - whether it's assuming the role of tank because yours is horrible, or switching to magic resistance because Malzahar is destroying your team - whatever it is, be flexible and willing to change your routine up.

Being Awesome

No I'm not talking about pwning everyone. What I'm talking about is being the kind of player that people add you as a friend immediately after the match is over (Whether or not you accept is up to you). If you are pwning and berating your teammates the whole time about how much they suck, they ain't gonna add you, and, to be honest, a lot of the reason they are doing horribly is because they're being treated horribly.
  • Don't believe me? Try it. Try doing really well one game and call your team a bunch of nubs and see how they do, then try the opposite. See in which one your team does better. So much of this game is psychological, so don't be a meany face!

The Summoner's Code explains what I'm talking about perfectly. Give it a gander.

Please, respect yourself and respect others. In other words, stop being a poop head!

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Your Role and You

A tank is a champion that fulfills most of these requirements:

  • High Base HP, Armor, and Magic Resistance

  • Melee Champion

  • Should not rely on melee attack to do most of their damage
    • Think about it. You have to move around as the tank, meaning you can't sit there and attack them, but you still want to maximize your damage output as much as possible, this is why Sejuani makes such a great tank (with Northern Winds), as opposed to Gangplank, who only has Parrrley as a spammable ability that does damage. Gangplank is what we call "Tanky DPS," he can take a hit, but he can't really tank - if the tank is down, Gangplank can function as an offtank, but he should never be geared as the main tank for your group)

  • Some sort of ability that allows them to get into or out of a fight quickly (examples include Sejuani's Arctic Assault, and Rammus' Powerball)

  • Some sort of Crowd Control, whether Hard CC (Stun, Suppress), or Softer (Slow, Root)

Alright, now that you know what a tank IS (I know most of you knew that, but I thought I'd put it up just in case some of you are a little confused), it's time to learn what a tank DOES:
  • Usually initiates a teamfight, the exception to this is if you are undergeared and need an initiation from a carry who has a hard CC (A great example of this is Ashe's Enchanted Crystal Arrow)

  • Protects the carries by getting in the enemy's face and drawing as much damage as they can

  • Attempts to either interrupt or intercept skill shots aimed at their team's carries or support

  • Leads the team by calling out possible ganks, initiating fights, and generally has the most responsibility as to map awareness.
    • Don't argue with me on this, the tank has the most responsibility, and by mid to late game, if your carries are getting ganked because you aren't calling out possible threats while, say, they're pushing a tower, it's your fault son.

A tank does NOT:
  • Tank at low health

  • Chase after carries who run from the fight - this is the off-carry's (second carry, the carry who does the least damage or is the least skilled) duty

  • Stand still while tanking

  • Take orders from the carries

  • Suck. Yep, you have to be good to be the tank. Anyone can charge a fight and take damage, but it truly takes skill and experience to predict and pre-empt a skill shot at your carry, to have great map awareness while still doing your job as a tank, and to lead your team into who to focus (tap "G" and click, it's not that hard) during a teamfight.

  • Do stupid things to get a risky kill. You keep your team alive, so stay alive until their team is almost dead.

  • Lose the respect of their team. That means no trolling, no flaming someone doing poorly, and, once again, don't suck. They need to know they can trust and follow you. Being a tank requires both skill and humility, at least if you want to do it right.
    • Okay, I feel I actually need to comment on this further. Seriously. I see this in so many guides out there, and it seems like none of you fools pay attention to it. If you do not respect your team, they will not respect you, and you will lose. Wanna know the fastest way to ELO Hell? Trolling and making excuses for your poor playing ability. LISTEN to the thousands of people out there telling you to stop acting like a poophead. I can't tell you enough how, if you learn this concept, it will help you - both in League of Legends (immensely, trust me, I used to do it too), and in life in general. I mean to get philosophical on you too. Stop being a hole where poop comes out and start respecting yourself.

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Why Tanks are Important (and a little math lesson! Yay!)

In this section I make the argument as to why tanks are important. If it's something you've wondered, or if you think you don't need a tank (HINT: You're wrong.) then keep reading. Otherwise, it's kind of wordy, and if you already understand the importance, it will seem a bit redundant.

You may know tanks are important because everyone uses them (so you just assume that they know what they're doing), but do you know why? Some of this may seem obvious, but once again I’ve played countless games where no one grabs a tank, or when they do, they gear him completely wrong. It got so frustrating that I simply decided that I had to tank every game unless I was playing with people I knew.

I want you to understand why tanks are important. Then, armed with this knowledge, my goal for you is not only to understand that tanks are important, but to apply it as well. If you see your idiot team stack a whole bunch of carries and lock in, you better as hell get a tank so you don't lose.

Okay, so, why have a tank? Here comes the math (Don't worry, I make learning FUN!)

Effective Health

Effective health refers to how durable you are. You may have 4000 health, but with only 100 armor, you are as effective (it takes just as many hits from an AD champion) as someone with 2000 health and 300 armor. In both cases you have 8000 effective health. I go over how the armor and magic resist stats work in the section. . .get this. . ."An Explanation of How Armor and Magic Resistance Work", but what you need to understand is this:

Armor and Magic Resistance give you linear effective health. Anyone who says that armor and magic resist give diminishing returns is wrong. They are thinking about it incorrectly. Trust me on this, because it seems like it's not true, but it is. The short way to think of it is that every 100 armor will give you a boost in your effective health by your actual health amount (2000 HP + 100 armor = 4000 EaHP (Effective armor Hit Points (adding armor is my own term, it refers to the fact that this doesn't change your EHP in reference to magic attacks)), 2000 HP and 200 armor = 6000 EaHP, and 2000 HP and 300 armor = 8000 EaHP). Having 3000 HP, 200 armor, and 150 magic resistance = 9000 EaHP and 7500 ErHP (Effective resistance HP)

I promise you the math is correct.

Applying Effective Health to the Importance of Tanks

Let's run a quick scenario. Say your team has a total of 20,000 effective health. If you have actual HP of 3,000, about 7,000ish of that health pool is yours, because not only do you have the most health, you also should have the highest multiplier to your effective health.
  • If you want to think of it another way, then think of it in percentages. Roughly 20% of your team (the tank, 1/5), has 35% of your team's total effective health, the other 65% is usually spread fairly even among the other four players - 65/4 = 16.25%. So you are effectively two people as the tank (35%/2 = 17.5%)

However, you are not doing the most damage! This is a good (NOTE: great!) thing! Why? Well think about it. Say their team at five champions is doing about 1500ish average effective DPS to your team, that means the fight ends in roughly 20 seconds (as teammates die the DPS goes down). If their team and your team are evenly matched, then the two last support characters will end up killing each other with both of their final swings, right? Wrong. Why, you ask? Math, my dear Watson. Math.

Using Math to Destroy Their Team

If they are focusing on you, and of that 1500 DPS you are doing about 250 of it, then it takes them 4.7 seconds to kill you, and your team's DPS goes to 1250. If your team, on the other hand, focuses their main carry, whose DPS will be around 450, it takes your team about 1.7 seconds to kill them, and their DPS now shoots all the way down to 1050 (and now it's no longer 4.7 seconds you're alive but closer to 6.5!).

You can continue this example, but by the time you are dead, your team is well on their way to killing the second carry (~350 DPS), if he's not dead already, and the DPS ratio will be (at that point) 1250:700, with the health ratio being 13,000:13,500! They have 500 health on you, and you have 550 DPS on them, it's now 4v3, and you get maybe one kill and 4 assists (or 5 assists) to accompany your 40-60 second wait time, while three teammates are left to push their aced team (for an equal 40-60 seconds). By the time they're back up to start hurting your teammates, so are you, and it begins again.

This is why you lose many of your games. People are stupid. They either don't have a tank, they don't rally behind him, or the tank tries to DPS and the carry ends up dying first. After losing your second teamfight, your carry is no longer a carry compared to theirs (likely their carry got the kills), and the item ratio is now completely imbalanced.

The moral of the lesson? If you don't have a tank, you're screwed. If you don't want to get screwed ("Castrate yourself" instantly came to mind), then learn how to tank, because it's likely none of your teammates will know how - especially in ELO Hell (If you don't know what that is look it up, it's all over Mobafire and Google in general).


To sum everything up:

Stack HP, Armor, and Magic Resistance (MR).

DO NOT stack damage unless your team is ridiculously horrible.
  • As a tank in training, you should never try to carry, ever. If your team sucks, you will lose anyway, use it as a free opportunity to learn how to tank without worrying about making mistakes.
By mitigating the DPS to one part of your team, and the EHP to another part of the team, you allow your team to be more effective, especially if their team is targeting the tank.
  • Let me expound on this a little more. I didn't mention not having a tank at all in the example above. So say you had 5 carries instead, this would give you EHP of 16250, and DPS of 1700 (trade 3750 EHP for 200 DPS). They'd kill your first carry in 1.7 seconds, you'd kill their tank in 5 seconds, by which time your second carry is dead. Best case scenario you are down 800 DPS, and 6500 EHP. They're down 7000 EHP and 250 DPS. Ratio is now HP-9250:13000, DPS-900:1250. You are now down in both categories by the time their tank is dead. I realize it's not quite this cut-and-dry when it comes to actually playing, but the math shows a very clear and very powerful fact: You need a tank. The ratios are so far off of each other that there is very little room for deviation of the outcome.

Sidenote: If you've played World of Warcraft, you understand that tanks are important, and probably why. You may think that League of Legends is different though because these are human players with more control than WoW. Not true. While it is true humans don't have an "Aggro" meter, they are trigger happy. When they see a tank dive in, they can't help but attack it, especially if the other options are risky.

Other Sidenote: I realize that some of you are looking at the term "Effective Health" and you've heard arguments as to how useful it actually is. I understand that it's not perfect, but that's why I've created the terms Effective armor Health, and Effective resistance Health. Other than true damage, the math truly works out that way. I'm not getting deep into it, some people try to factor in tenacity or other skills as well (such as Banshee's Veil), I don't agree with making it complicated. Effective health is simply a model that gives you a 90% accurate view of your survivability. I DO, however, want you to understand how the math works, which it does absolutely work like this, anyone that tells you differently is either incredibly stubborn or just wrong.

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A Brief Overview of All the Actions Related to Tanking

Every action you will be taking related to tanking that I could think of is listed here. Evaluate yourself on how well you think you can do these things right now.

Block Skill Shots

Here are two videos demonstrating how to do this. The hardest part is remembering to watch out for it. Be ready at all times to block these.

While I wouldn't necessarily suggest blocking it when you're already as close to dead as Lee Sin is in this video ( Sona, honestly, should have been the one to do it), it demonstrates perfectly how teamwork and paying attention to what's going on saves your team and can often be the deciding factor between victory and defeat.

This Ashe is almost just showing off, and the other character gets incredibly lucky that Ashe didn't do it a split second later, as the bullet hits her right as she flashes in.

It is crucial that you become adept at paying attention to this and always be ready to intercept skill shots. Protect your squishes, because they're YOUR squishes, and stay away from or destroy the other squishes. Below is a video that demonstrates this.

Notice how one of them gets distracted, and the other has to come to the rescue. This will happen all the time as the tank, so just follow what he does in the video, and you'll be fine:

Remember, squishes hurt, just like squishy jellyfish. :) All it takes is a good SWAT though, and they go bye-bye - keep in mind that this is true for both your squishes and theirs.


Not tower diving, but "Chase Down" diving. This means being comfortable with diving in to a group of three or more champions chasing your team, slowing them down, and getting out before they have a chance to react.

Check out this video to see how it's done. The first engage by Gragas doesn't look like it helps much, however Gangplank was about to get double teamed, with Xin Zhao showing later that his combos hurt immensely, so he actually saved Gangplank both times. He gets very lucky the second time, but only because Gragas was paying attention to his teammate.

Use Crowd Control

Not only during a chase but during a teamfight as well. Don't just fire it willy-nilly either! Remember you're moving around! Move to a spot that allows you to throw a strategic stun, taunt, or suppress. One mark of a great tank is seen when, the moment he dies, all of his crowd control abilities are on cooldown.


Stop acting like a female reproductive organ that consequently is also the name of a cat (Dammit! This is so hard!) and dive in there! The more you show your enemy you're afraid of them, the more they own you. However, when you get inside your enemy's head, the battle is already over.


Start doing things with the expectation that you are going to be followed. If people give you doo-doo, simply state "I'm the tank, I keep you alive. You follow me." (throw a "please" in there if you really feel like they're gonna rage on you, the point is not to urinate (seriously, they censor this word?) them off or make them feel stupid, it's to get them to actually follow you). Obviously if you're acting like an idiot and doing stupid things, then you deserve the messy pants doo-doo they're giving you - if this is the case they won't follow you regardless of what you say.
  • Part of leading is delegation. Often when things need to be done, you have more people than necessary doing them. For instance, if you've killed 3 of their teammates but Yi is backdooring one of your towers, you should have one teammate focus on defending the tower ("Ashe, defend the tower..."), and the rest of your team should push their towers ("...the rest of you help me push mid"), ping both locations. Often people won't look at chat, especially when their heart is racing from a recent battle, so pinging brings their attention to things to be done, and they will instinctively look at chat.


My absolute number one pet peeve is when you've destroyed three or more players on their team and you still have four or five on yours, and then everyone goes to a lane to farm. When they are dead is the time to PUSH their towers. Destroying towers is what wins you the game.
  • The Reason? - you ever notice how at some random time during the mid to late game, one of the lanes will suddenly become congested with one of the teams minions? You know why? It's not because you're not laning any more (though this is part of it), it's mainly because towers have been destroyed! Think about it, at the beginning, there's a small space between your tower and theirs that the waves of minions have to overlap each other. If one of those minion waves gets pushed slightly, it gets pushed right to a tower that promptly kills all of them. The more space between your tower and theirs, the more chance minion waves have to overlap, giving you more opportunities to push towers behind your minions. When it happens next time, pay attention to whose minions are overlapping - 90% of the time it will be the winning lane's minions who are overpowering the losing lane - this is because your minions now have to travel further than theirs to reach a tower.

  • This shows the effects of destroying a tower. This cluster of minions appeared about two minutes after the tower was destroyed, if that - notice how it's my minions that cluster. I'm off to the left on the minimap (I'm playing Ashe), Soraka is running away because I had just entered the lane from destroying the tower, that's how fast the effect can be - They did not cluster because I pushed the lane, the wave that pushed the tower when I destroyed it was wiped out when I left.

Call Retreats

This requires you paying attention to your teammate's health every few seconds during the fight. It's minimal micromanagement, but it's important and easy to forget in the heat of the battle. If you can see your team clearly losing, call a strategic retreat ("V" and click) quickly, and take off. If your team is smart and you've been doing a decent job, they'll follow you out - they should know you keep them alive, and therefore won't stay if you leave.
  • DO NOT call a retreat OR LEAVE THE FIGHT if YOU are the only one who is about to die.

Bully their team

You R teh Big Dawg. Show them this. Strut (it's super easy to do and horribly satisfying to watch their team move around frustratingly as you simply patrol back and forth in front of them, essentially taunting them to come at you). Nothing gets in an enemy's head more than knowing that you know that they know that you know that you can eat them at any time you choose.

Write this list down (just the headings) and put it somewhere you can see it while you are tanking. It serves as a great reminder to do things that you may not remember to do all the time. Rate yourself afterward on how you did, compared to how you thought you would do. I think the results will surprise you.

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An Explanation of How Armor and Magic Resistance Work

I’ve done a lot of research on this topic and I don’t think anyone is quite certain what the optimal ratio of HP:Resistance is. You can calculate it assuming the cost of 1 HP and 1 Armor/MR, but how to define that number is kind of sketchy as well - also, the point is not to be a cheap tank, but an effective one, therefore cost should matter little except the beginnings of your tanking (early to mid game) anyway. In the end, and to simplify what was a ridiculously long and wordy section, what you need to remember is this:

  • Resistance is more effective if you are only stacking one type of it (i.e. their team is mostly or completely AD or AP)

  • HP, therefore, becomes more useful when defending against both – What this means is that Warmog's Armor should only really be used (unless you have other utility in your skills by stacking HP such as Sejuani or Volibear) if you are defending fairly equally against physical and magic-using champions. If, on the other hand, you are up against a team that is primarily one type of damage, you should get enough health from the resistance items (like Banshee's Veil and Randuin's Omen)
    • Keep in mind that some champions appear to be of one type of damage but are actually hybrid. Miss Fortune for instance, usually stacks physical damage items, but she deals a respectable amount of magic damage from her abilities as well. Also, Fizz is a good example of a champion that deals more physical damage than he first lets on.

    • THIS IS IMPORTANT: Take a look if you die (especially in a teamfight, as you’ll get a good overall idea of their damage composition) at what killed you. It gives you percentage of damage done and everything. Adjust your resistances accordingly – you want it as close to consistently 50/50 as possible.

A More Detailed Explanation

Resistances work like this (armor or magic resistance, the math is the same):

% Damage Reduced = (Resistance Amount)

Or, you can alternatively think of it as the amount of damage received (which actually allows the math of linear returns to make more sense):

% of Damage Taken = SPACEY 100 SPACEY
So in other words, having armor or magic resistance of 300 means you have 300/400 = 75% reduced, or alternatively 100/400 = 25% taken.

This, once again, appears to have diminishing returns, and while it is true the reduction has diminishing returns, what that means is it gives you linear returns to your health. Think of it this way - every addition of 100 resistance increases the denominator by exactly 1. At 0 resistance we have 0/100, at 100 we have 100/200, or 1/2, at 200 we have 200/300, or 2/3, at 300 we have 300/400 or 3/4. Alternatively looking at the % taken instead, we have 100/100 = 100%, 100/200 = 1/2, 1/3, 1/4, 1/5, etc. Or what was killing us before will take twice as long at 1/2, three times as long at 1/3, four times at 1/4, etc. Thus it gives us EXACTLY a 100% increase in EFFECTIVE health of our BASE health for every 100 resistance.
  • If you didn't really follow that, let me expound further. For simplicity's sake, let's say you only have 100 health and 0 armor to begin with. Your opponent does exactly 100 damage. If you do not have any armor, they kill you in exactly one hit. If you have 100 armor, then they do 50 damage to you (50% damage reduction), and it takes them exactly two hits. 300 armor gives 66.7% reduction, making their hits do 33.3 damage, and it takes exactly 3 hits, and so on.

  • So 100 more armor, in this case, is the equal of 100 more health. It would be the same to have 100 armor and 100 health, or 200 health. Your opponent needs exactly two hits to kill you either way.

Applying This to Itemization

Well, at level 18, if you've done your runes and your mastery points, most champions will be very close to 2000 health, and 100 armor (obviously you can have more or less, it doesn't matter). What's important to note is that no matter how much health you have, 100 more armor will always increase your effective health by your base health amount. Adding more health will increase your effective health contingent upon how much armor you have.

Let me show you this. At 2000 health and 100 armor, you have 4000 effective health. At 2000 health and 200 armor, you have 6000 effective health, AAAANND at 3000 health and 100 armor, you have 6000 effective health, BUT at 3000 health and 200 armor, you have 9000 effective health.

In other words, adding 1000 health at 100 armor gave your 2000 more effective health, but adding 1000 health at 200 armor gave you 3000 more effective health. Adding 100 armor at 2000 health gave you an increase of 2000 effective health, and adding 100 armor at 3000 health gave you 3000 more effective health.

The way they’ve set this up it makes it super-confusing to think about. I even made a few mistakes in the making of this guide. Think of it like this:
  • +100 Armor = +(Base HP) EHP

  • +1000 HP = +(Armor/100 + 1)*1000 EHP. So at 300 armor, you have a multiple of 4 (300/100 + 1 = 4) on any HP you add, so an addition of 1000 HP is actually an addition of 4000 EHP. At 400 armor this would be 5000 EHP, etc.

  • Total EHP = (Base HP)*(Armor/100 + 1)
What this means is that both need to increase together, not only because it's cheaper to do so, but it's more effective (in fact it's cheaper BECAUSE it's more effective) - see the example (in yellow) near the bottom of this section for proof on how. By doubling both (in this case +100 armor and +2000 health), you triple your effective health (from 4000 to 12000), while you would have to increase one or the other by a larger amount to get the same effect (+400 armor or +4000 health (for a total of 500 armor or 6000 health)). It is cheaper and more effective to increase them together.

Let's prove it. Remember your base stats at level 18 are around 2,000 HP, 100 Armor and 80 MR. The average cost of 1 armor is about 15.9 gold, and the average cost of 1 health is 2.6 gold, or so I've heard at least, and it seems reasonable enough. So, every 100 armor costs 1,590 (Adding 2,000 EHP from base), while every 1,000 health (adding 2,000 EHP from base) costs 2,600 gold. It seems like armor is the clear choice right? Well, for now, it is (+300 armor is cheaper than +3,000 health by a long shot (actually +300 armor is cheaper than +2,000 health)). So, now we're at 2,000 health and 400 armor. What now? Well, before, an increase in 1,000 health equated to an effective increase of 2000 health. Now an increase of 1,000 health is effectively an increase of 5000 health (if you don't believe me go back to the math we did before, and you'll see it), while an increase of 100 armor is merely an increase of 2000 health. To match the increase, we now need a total armor increase of 250 armor! 1,000*2.6 = 2,600 gold, 250*15.9 = 3,975 gold!

From this you can see that both need to stack together, as the effect of one depends on the other. This is also affected by their penetrations, and their relative skill. You want to defend heavily against their main carry, who will either be AD or AP, and then lightly defend against their other carry.

So, to conclude, what this means is that what you should be gearing is horribly dependent on where the other team's power lies.
  • You want to maximize your effective health, and the best way to do this is by stacking both health and resistances – the more need you have to hybridize your resistances, the more health you should stack instead – because it defends against both magic and physical attacks, thus it becomes comparatively cheaper and more effective (using up one item slot to defend against both instead of two).

  • The most approximate health you can have is around 9500 (stacking 6 Warmog’s Armor). This equates to 19000 EaHP, and 17100 ErHP (because you will have around 100 base armor and 80 base MR). However by removing two of them and adding 100 armor ( Thornmail), and 76 MR ( Force of Nature), you give yourself 7080 Health, but it equates to 21240 EaHP, and 18124.8 ErHP. You’ve increased both sides of your defense by dropping your health and adding resistance. Keep in mind you’ll want boots as well so this drops another overall 1270 health – I was just showing you the extremes so you don’t stack a bunch of health like an idiot.
    • Another reason stacking health is stupid – Madred's Bloodrazor. This little beast eats through your health like no one’s business. Counter it with magic resistance. A lot of carries get this in almost every build, simply because they’ve noticed the huge DPS output this can have (4% of 2000 health is still 80 magic damage, added to an additional 40 physical damage that it gives you, plus 40% attack speed bonus, it’s an evil item all around). However, with you having around 200 magic resistance and armor, it cuts the bonuses to about 27 magic damage and 13 physical damage!

Essentially, just use your head. I also never gear myself based on what’s cheaper – there are people who have run a cost effective guide to gearing your tank, but I think that that is stupid – you want to defend against the other team effectively, not cheaply. Therefore, max out your EHP (both armor and resistance according to how much damage you are receiving) using your head and intuition. There are only a few staple tanking items ( Frozen Heart, Force of Nature, Warmog's Armor, Banshee's Veil, Thornmail, and Randuin's Omen – I probably missed a few but these are usually the big 6 for me), so the choices aren’t too hard.

Also keep in mind that there are far more armor items than magic resistance items, and the stats for armor are usually higher as well. If they are stacking a lot of magic, you’re going to have to get creative in defending against them – tenacity helps in this as well, as most AP casters also usually have crowd control, and the less time you spend stunned or slowed, the less they can potentially hit you.

Guide Top

Different Compositions

Let's analyze the teams of tanks shown at the top of this guide. One is a set of tanks that have been itemized correctly, the other is the same tanks itemized incorrectly for one or more reasons. I do not believe in teaching with dramatization, so the bad combinations are not dramatically bad - they are subtly bad, a choice that an inexperienced tank (but someone familiar enough with the game and the items) might make. For instance, I don't give Volibear AP items as a bad choice, because it's not a bad choice, it's a ridiculously mentally handicapped choice, and no one is going to be that stupid.

  • I am not going to get specific on any of these compositions, the purpose, again, is not a comprehensive guide. The purpose is for you to see that different tanks have different play styles - not to mention that every game is different, and you need to itemize accordingly - and thus different itemizations to maximize their effectiveness.

Amumu - Magic Resistance vs. AP


Greater Glyph of Magic Resist

Greater Mark of Health

Greater Quintessence of Health

Greater Seal of Armor
Health Per 5 Sec
Magic Resist
Cool Down Reduction
SPACER 4163 / 3184
87 / 22
334 / 90
100 / 100
0 / 0
33% / 15%

Okay we can clearly see here in the good example that Amumu is facing AD champions, mostly. Ninja Tabi (with recent changes) is an incredible tanking item. 10% flat damage reduction (turning to somewhere between 5-8% all things considered) is absolutely incredible! That means that our little undead yordle friend has close to 86% basic attack reduction instead of 76%! I see so many people look passed this item for Mercury's Treads, thinking that tenacity is teh pwnage, and don't realize what these shoes actually do. To add that 10% reduction in terms of armor, it would be another 276 armor (A total of 610 armor)! I have a feeling these shoes are going to be nerfed soon, as I don't think Riot realized how different damage reduction is from dodge.

Ahem, sorry, I got caught in a rant. Anyway, against an AD heavy team, this Amumu is nearly invincible. I've gone with similar builds (sometimes if they're really stupid I substitute Thornmail for Randiun's Omen, and I can solo four of their team and still get a quadra - I'm not kidding, I've done it several times.

Why is this build so good? Amumu is a tank killer. His Despair does %-of-max-health damage, thus against tanks he really, really hurts. Abyssal Scepter is the perfect late-game item on Amumu, because it gives him more magic survivability (there is always magic damage floating around, the only champion I know of that does NO magic damage is Talon, though there are probably others), it gives him AP, making his Despair and Tantrum hurt all that much more (not to mention Bandage Toss, which can become a nuke as it has 100% scaling with AP), and it gives a mass MR Reduction on top of his MR reducing passive, helping your team eat them even more with magic attacks.

Amumu should always be jungling, end of discussion. His presence out of the jungle is horribly evil against their team, with a stun, an AoE-DoT while chasing, and a mass-snare, he's the ultimate jungler, and his late-game usefulness doesn't diminish (except that smite becomes useless), as the items you use to jungle can be turned to tanking easily (both Philosopher's Stone and Heart of Gold are later-game tanking items). If you see an Amumu that isn't jungling, laugh at him, because nine times out of ten, he will suck.


Greater Mark of Magic Penetration

Greater Seal of Armor

Greater Glyph of Magic Resist

Greater Quintessence of Mana Regeneration

The Bad Amumu - Amumu is ONLY a tank. If you build Amumu as AP, you are doing it wrong. Although his Bandage Toss does scale 1:1 with AP, it's on a long cool-down, and is single target. You can't get your AP high enough to make the % bonus to Despair useful unless in an extended fight (which you will be dead soon anyway because you aren't built as a tank, and you have to be RIGHT NEXT to their team to AoE them). And here's the thing - Tantrum is your highest damaging ability - the more health you have, the more hits you can take, and the more hits you take, the faster Tantrum gets off cooldown, thus the more you can spam it, and the more damage you end up doing anyway. Health/survivability therefore add more damage to Amumu than AP ever could. No, the only option for Amumu is tanking. Some tanks can carry, Amumu isn't one of them. Know your champion, and the roles they can fulfill. (I once saw a Kat that tried to jungle, he failed miserably and we basically lost because of that)

Sejuani - Good/Bad Hybrid Defense


Greater Mark of Health

Greater Seal of Armor

Greater Glyph of Scaling Magic Resist

Greater Quintessence of Health
Health Per 5 Sec
Magic Resist
Cool Down Reduction
SPACER 4004 / 2999
172 / 140
222 / 293
267 / 249
35 / 35
28% / 13%

So here we have fairly even amounts of resistance against both magic and physical attacks. What makes this so powerful? High HP and high HP5, coupled with an early resistance aura. Health is a great for hybrid defensive builds, because it protects against both, but also Sejuani's Northern Winds scales on her health, thus it is beneficial to stack health on her.

HP5 does a lot more than you might think, especially on a tank. With this build (after doing my own calculations because Mobafire doesn't include everything), Sejuani has regenerates health at rate of about 172 H/5s. Or about 34/second. In a ten second fight where they are focusing you, that's an extra 340 health - which equates to 1095 EaHP and 1247 ErHP given her resistances. Please note that you should not pick an item for it's HP5, it's just an added bonus that makes life that much better.

Aegis of the Legion is an item that is only really effective early game. It's one of those items that I usually get when teamfights start happening a little earlier than I had planned. It's cheap, so it's a nice boost to your teams effective health, and the extra damage is great for early game as well. However, it's one of those items that, after your build is done, you should sell and buy something more useful.

Greater Mark of Armor

Greater Seal of Magic Resist

Greater Glyph of Health

Greater Quintessence of Gold

Bad Sejuani - First off if you do calculations you'll notice that Sejuani's effective armor and magic resistance health are both lower on Bad Sejuani than Good Sejuani (12880a/14672r compared to 11790a/10475r).

Second, if we are assuming purchase order, then Thornmail as your first defensive item is just plain stupid. Why? Think about it. What does Thornmail do? It hurts them as they attack you! What is this going to make them want to not do? ATTACK YOU! Thornmail isusually not an item for a tank, unless their team is incredibly stupid. It's God's gift to carries when the other team is smart and doesn't target the tank. Putting this on yourself, especially as your first item, is a one-way ticket to being not targeted. As a last item, though, most often teams will be in a routine of how they attack, and therefore it becomes a safer option for your 6th slot. Also assuming purchase order, Aegis of the Legion usually should not be purchased if it isn't your first tanking item.

Rammus - Custom Synergy Build


Greater Seal of Armor

Greater Mark of Health

Greater Glyph of Magic Resist

Greater Quintessence of Armor
Health Per 5 Sec
Magic Resist
Cool Down Reduction
SPACER 3994 / 4471
69 / 84
563 / 365
243 / 315
0 / 35
33% / 23%

Nautilus - Godlike Synergy Build


Greater Mark of Health

Greater Seal of Armor

Greater Quintessence of Armor

Greater Glyph of Scaling Magic Resist
Health Per 5 Sec
Magic Resist
Cool Down Reduction
SPACER 3594 / 5609
160 / 97
164 / 145
323 / 116.5
35 / 35
8% / 8%

Volibear - Standard AD Defense Build


Greater Mark of Armor

Greater Seal of Health

Greater Glyph of Scaling Magic Resist

Greater Quintessence of Health
Health Per 5 Sec
Magic Resist
Cool Down Reduction
SPACER 4809 / 2958
207 / 110
187 / 290
203 / 254
0 / 35
13% / 8%

Guide Top

Okay, So, Have You Told Me How to Tank Yet?

Nope. That's what the rest of the guide is for.

You needed to understand some core things about tanking before you actually learned how first. Now, you do. Yay.

First of all, remember your role:

You are a Human Meat Shield.

You are there to die, or almost die. Don't argue with me on this. That is your purpose, and that's it. You are not a carry. You will grab plenty of money from assists, trust me. When I tank I get around 8 kills and 20 assists in the average long game, by the time I'm at 18 or so assists, my build is complete and I'm just using money to buy elixirs. Some games when the carry is horrible I switch my build slightly and end up being a tank carry, but those games are usually lost anyway - or barely won. People may flame you for dying, but they don't understand you kept two or sometimes all of them alive. If they do complain about you dying, they clearly don't understand your role. Educate them, but don't make it sound like you're making excuses.

  • I have to stress this again. YOU ARE NOT THERE TO GET KILLS, KILL STEALS, OR TO CHASE PEOPLE DOWN! All three of these will happen, probably more than once per game each, but unless you are the only one who can chase down that Jax with 10% health, don't. Likely you've hit him already, you'll get the assist. I can't stress enough how much you CAN'T be greedy as a tank.

  • Another reason that this becomes so beautiful? The more you die without getting a kill, the less you are worth to their team. You can literally become worth less than a siege minion if you are killed enough (it's something like 16 deaths without a kill). So by letting your carries get the kills, and letting you die, first you're worth 300, then I think 273, then 250 or so, and so on until after awhile you'll be worth 150 gold or less - this means you have twice as much health as everyone else, and you are worth half as much when they kill you - getting assists does not reset this, but getting a kill resets it all the way to back to 300! Don't try to carry, you only hurt your team when you die.

Okay, role understood. Now on to the harder stuff.

Guide Top

Okay, Great, But Seriously, WHAT THE HELL DO I DO!?

Great question, I'm glad you asked it! And here is where I finally tell you.

WARNING: This section is very long, and divided into subsections. It is the meat of this guide. Feel free to skip to the subsection you want to know most about.

In this section we cover:

  • Early Game Tanking (Yep, you should tank starting at level 1)

  • Mid Game Tanking - The Transition From the Laning to Ganking Phase and YOU!

  • Late Game Tanking - How to Win Your Match
    • Teamfights - 3v3 or More

    • The Chase - Your Role Both Offensively and Defensively
  • The Push - How NOT to Lose Your Game with a Winning KDR
    • The Reason - What Pushing Does
      • Zone Control - How Pushing Towers Helps You Control the Map

      • The Snowball Effect - Destroying Towers Leads to More Destruction

    • How to Push Their Towers - Effective Ways to Tick Down that Tower's Health.

Early Game Tanking

Some Important Things to Consider as a Tank in the Early Game:
  • Last Hit Your Minions Only - check the section "General Guidelines for Any Class" for details on why. This is probably the single most important thing you can be doing as any class, including a tank. It saves mana, it nets you gold, and it doesn't push your lane to their tower, causing you to miss out on experience and gold.
    • Do not steal last hits from your carry, they need the gold far more than you do, especially early game. Late game you are able to farm much more safely than the carries, due to your survivability and ease of escape (rush abilities or mass CC).

  • Initiate Any Attempts to Kill an Enemy Champion - Start all encounters by rushing in quickly. Your carry will be there to back you up. Even at level 1 it's important to do this, as you usually still have more health and resistance than your partner, and you need to let both your team and theirs know that you are the tank, and you should be feared and respected. If they know that you are out to kill them, they will hesitate before running in for a last hit on minions, which is exactly what you want them to do.

  • Lane on Bottom So You Have a Ganking Partner - While tanks can usually solo top pretty well, they usually also lack the burst damage to help the jungler gank top lane. On the off chance (at least in ranked) that the enemy team does not have a jungler, tanks can also defend 2v1 top fairly well, but once again lack any real damage output to do anything but tower hug. You need a partner.

  • Communicate With Your Partner - Let him know who you're targeting and when you're charging in. Keep an eye on overall health and be ready to call a tower-hug retreat if they outburst you. Make sure he lets you know when long cooldowns are ready.
    • Not getting a kill is nothing to cry about, even if they're close to dead. They still miss out on gold and experience if they teleport back - or they miss out on gold if they stay, with an opportunity to still gank them if they overextend in the future.

    • Work with your partner to maintain control of the lane - Bully them, keep them away from the minions.

  • Be Assertive, Not Aggressive - So you've heard this before, but likely it was in conjunction with making RL friends or diarrhea down your leg doo-doo like that. I'm talking about in-game actions here.
    • Being aggressive gets you killed because the jungler will see you taking chances and will just gank you when you overextend at the other two champs on bottom baiting you out.

    • Being assertive means watching for an opportunity for a free hit. It means recognizing when you have lane advantage (by health, usually), and using that to bully them.

    • Make sure your lane partner is close, in case they try to push you back, but likely he'll need the gold more than you anyway, so let him last hit for the most part - you only need one buffer to maintain it unless the jungler comes (ward the bushes if it becomes a problem).
  • Otherwise early game tanking is pretty straight-forward - lead the charge on harass/gank, take the first hit in the charge (especially as your health and armor grow), and don't die.
    • It sounds simple but it's far from easy if you play stupid. If you die, figure out what you did wrong, likely you overextended or you weren't paying attention to a possible jungle gank.

Mid-Game Tanking - Handling the Transition

Okay, so, you've laned effectively, maybe died once and have a few kills and assists. You've got your core build up, working on countering what the team is focused on, and all of a sudden you find yourself in a confusion of activity. A gank on top, a struggle in the middle lane, a failed jungle gank on bottom. Two towers destroyed each. Three champions are dead on each team and all of a sudden you all instinctively decide sticking together is the best option.

You see them all gathering mid lane, your excited carry is pinging like a madman, your team respawns, sweat glistens on your palms as your fingers glide over the keys and mouse. You know. Deep in your heart, you know.

Mid game has arrived.

Okay, so maybe it's not that dramatic, but here's the deal. Mid-game is the most confusing part of the match, and many players will not know whether to continue laning or to help gank. The jungler is obviously now going to be wherever the action's at, but what you about you?
  • Note: Because mid-game can get confusing for both sides, the transition is probably the most important part of the game. Simply by calling out "We're in mid-game now folks, stop laning, let's get some ganks rolling." will do wonders for you and your team. Even if, by not saying anything, the transition to mid-game would have dragged on for another two to three minutes, you've now basically given your team direction and made the decision for the entire match as to when mid-game arrives. If your team organizes before theirs does, it can net you two or three really easy kills as you move around ganking their teammates that are still laning like idiots.


At the beginning you should be moving as a team to hunt down anyone that is alone. These are free kills, so take them. (If someone offered you $300 on the stipulation that you had to bring 4 friends to take it, would you do it?). For these free kills all that matters is that you establish you are the leader. Tell them where to go, but also listen to their advice. Don't be a male reproductive organ and also a nickname for Richard about leading, either. You don't really need to "tank" when they're hopelessly outnumbered.

So I probably laughed for a half an hour after I saw this the first time. No joke. (Get it? No joke!? Not joking about laughing at a funny comic/joke? Nevermind...)


It's likely that your teammates will run off by themselves quite often - whether it's to farm a minion wave close by or grab a buff or whatever - let them do it, but keep an eye on them. If you've been warding like you should (see "General Guidelines for Any Class" for my rules on warding), you'll be able to see an organized gank toward them. Ping it, tell your carry to bait them to you, and haul donkey butt with the rest of your team to get there. See "Late Game" for advice on actually tanking skirmishes and teamfights.

Important Note: So no one actually knows what "Mid Game" really is. I've read a few guides and people keep trying to define it. I've heard it's the 20 minute mark, the point when the first tower falls, and a few others. These people aren't necessarily wrong, but they aren't right either. There is no hard-and-fast sign for when it begins, it simply does. It happens automatically (and it's weird that it does, in my opinion), but it's essentially the point where your team starts doing most things together.
  • We do know it doesn't last long. It's essentially the transition from last hit farming to coordinated ganks, teamfights, and tower pushing. It's the confusion between these two stages. Stick to the basics above, and you'll transition in to late game smoothly.

Late Game Tanking - Keeping the Train Moving

The meat of why you are probably looking at this guide, yes I know. What is it that a tank is actually expected to do?

Teamfights - Eating their team and saving your own

So a teamfight, 3v3 or more. What do you do?

By now both teams should be moving around more or less together. It's important that you keep your momentum from mid-game going at this point. You should essentially know your chances of winning by now. Hopefully nothing bad is set in stone, but you've been given enough time to see who is skilled, who isn't, and which team seems to be the favored one to win. Assuming your chances are somewhere between 25%-75%, these tips should help give your team a much larger edge.

First, what is your purpose again? That's right! A Human Meat Shield (I knew you were paying attention!). Exactly how you perform your duties as tank depends on both your own team composition and theirs, but there are a few key things that you need to be doing during these confrontations. Your job is probably the most high-maintenance.


We've gone over this before, but I want to repeat it here, because this is the point that your ability to intercept them will really shine.
  • A skill shot is an ability that has to be aimed. It doesn't auto-target the enemy, it targets wherever you point and (usually) continues in a straight line until it runs out of range (Nidalee's Javelin Toss ), or runs off the map (Ashe's Enchanted Crystal Arrow)

  • Skill shots also usually stop going when they hit something, as do certain other abilities like Ashe's Volley, you're job is to position yourself in front of your team, so you can take these shots - in Ashe's case, the best place to be is right in her face, you block her Volley, and Enchanted Crystal Arrow's stun duration is severely gimped - at point blank range it's something like 0.5 seconds.

Likely, if they know what they're doing, they'll try to aim their shots at the carries or the support, depending on who's hurting them more (which means they're paying attention to what's going on, like you should be), likely you won't be able to really see your champion anyway (what with the massive death happening centered on him/her), so don't watch him/her.
  • You need to get used to having great map awareness. Being able to process where everyone is located while you are tanking is essential to being a good tank. If you see Fizz creep off to the side, you can bet he's getting ready to set up his combo by using Chum the Waters on a carry. Get in the way.
    • This will do one of two things. Either they won't release their skillshot, because they don't want to waste it on the tank, or they WILL release their skillshot . . . wait for it . . . wasting it on the tank. These are both very good things, of equal value to you. Why equal value? If they don't waste it on you, they may have an opportunity later to turn the tide if you die, or whatever. Therefore either option is good, and about equally so. What isn't good is if you don't get in the way and he sexually forces himself on your carry.


DO NOT (DO NOT!) STAND STILL! Not only does this make you prime meat for easy nukes ( Veigar's Dark Matter, for instance), but it puts you in a state of laziness, dropping your focus for when you need to either intercept a skill shot or get the hell out. Pause enough to grab a few melee attacks, but most of your damage output should be from your abilities.
  • Also chase the champions who are trying to escape - NOT once they've escaped, if they do (as, once again, chasing people down is the off-carry's job). But if you see them pulling away throw a slow on them, a stun, get in front of them, keep them from getting out - you are already there in their face, and have the best ability to keep them where they are, so do so.

  • This goes for any part of the game too. Always be moving around. It makes it harder for enemies to land skill shots, it keeps you on your toes and focused on your champion, and it shows the enemy that you aren't nubsauce. They will note this, even if it's subconsciously.

"But, but, but, Lethadind! That's so much to do and keep track of!" You might say.

With a sly grin, I'll look you in the eye, possibly sigh a little, and respond, "Yup. Better start practicing huh?"

The Chase - Offensive and Defensive Sides of the

Yeah we see it every game. Three people on one team with higher health chasing down three people on the other team. The other team is drastically trying to get to a tower or a bush for safety. Let's analyze both teams and your role as tank in each of them:


So, you may (and hopefully do) have a speed or rush ability ( Sejuani's Arctic Assault comes to mind), if this is the case, by all means chase them down, especially if your team is lagging a little. If you don't, things can get dicey, and we're going to talk about that on the defensive side of things as well. If your carries get ahead of you (especially if they are melee carries), they may find themselves getting rocked when it becomes a 3v2 (because you're lagging behind), and by the time you get there, they're already targeting the carries, why would they switch to you? It's your carry's responsibility to GTFO! You can't control that, but you can do everything to get them to attack you.
  • Here is where you get aggressive, especially if you still have a reasonable amount of health. Keep pushing them back, give your carries distance before following them if things turn against you. You are still responsible, unfortunately, for keeping them alive, even if they're stupid.

  • If you came late, keep in mind that it's likely the other team has blown cooldowns on stuns and the like, so you're safe to harass for a few seconds. Keep an eye on their mana, and pay attention to what spells they've cast if you can. Realize when you need to leave as well, and make sure you have a way to escape.
Should you know this? Yes. Do you know this already? Most likely. Do you actually do this? Most likely not, based on my experience.

Sidenote: If your carries overextend and there's no hope, don't go rushing in like a blind fool just to do it. Two deaths are better than three, especially when one is the tank. A tank has a much better time defending towers because he can let the tower do the killing while he laughs in his opponents' faces as they tick away slowly at his armor (I'm talking uneven matches, not 1v1, obviously ranged carry has the advantage there).


"Oh ****!" You see in chat, right before you see Teemo's face light up in red to the right of Swain's ugly head. Then you see Gangplank's light up in red likewise. Hope lights a candle when you see Swain's head light up in green, but sadly it still leaves you with a 4v3 ambush. What to do? Run like hell is what you do. Don't be an idiot and rush in thinking you'll save the day, because right now they're composed, they had planned it, they know what they're doing, and they're still hungry for more blood. That's when they are their most dangerous.

You want to catch them with their pants down and their tinkle hanging out.

So, you run. You play the scared rabbit. Hopefully you've established yourself as the leader, if you have (trust me on this, teammates will usually pick a leader, and if you think back on many of your games, you'll realize you have too), your teammates will naturally follow you wherever you go and whatever you decide. They're waiting on you, which is exactly what they need to do. Run. Keep running. Wait for Master Yi to overextend. He's the murderous wretch who killed Gangplank in the first place, and he's still hungry, even at half-health, he wants more.



I've done this so many times I can't count. People will overextend to get a kill they feel robbed of 75% of the time or more. Bait them. As the tank, run, and before they know what happened, charge at them, throw a stun, do whatever. If you've established leadership, and you're team is half-decent, your teammates will be there to back you up. They will honestly be expecting it to happen, they're just waiting on your timing.
  • Most important for you to realize is that you only picked one of them off, it's still 3v3, and they have the advantage in health. Keep running, they likely won't overextend twice after seeing you eat Yi (which, in Cho'Gath's case, he actually does).

  • This works on so many levels it's disgusting. First of all, pride and boasting turns to shame, both for the team, and for their teammate who was destroyed. It can infect them, turning happiness into anger, which causes either trolling (urinating their whole team off), or general mistakes because they can't think straight, especially if you pull it off multiple times to the same person. Make them feel stupid, get in their head (but not with words, just actions), own them. You'll know if you affected them psychologically if they turn tail and run. Don't chase them unless you have a clear advantage.

  • Just know when NOT to do this as well, if you have 10% health and your teammates do too, it's never a good idea to engage Yi (or whoever) at 50% health, even if it's 3v1 he will likely get at least 2 kills, which is not a good tradeoff.

The Push - Don't Lose Your Game by Letting Them Catch Up!

The absolute stupidest thing you can do in late game when all five teammates are up is farm. I never want to see you farm if everyone's alive. Ever. Pressure a tower always! ALWAYS!



You understand yet? I'm so sick of carries thinking they're skilled because they have a high creep score (cs), when they've been lone-wolfing the entire match, and, to be honest, are often the reason we end up losing.

Here's a concept that I hope shakes you to your foundation:

Your KDR and your CS mean absolutely nothing if you lose the match.

You don't get prestige, you don't get a buffer against that loss, it isn't a half-loss. It's a straight up loss. You. Lost.


So, point made, now on to the logic behind this. Why pressure towers? Well, if you do, they have two options that can divert tragedy:
  • They can defend their tower.

  • They can pressure your towers.
Those are their only two options! You've cut them away from farming, from dragon, from baron, from jungling/buffs - and sometimes even from recalling!

Push their towers, it's what wins games. It's what causes them to surrender early. It's what pushes the game ever more in your favor.

Why? Two reasons - zone control and the snowball effect.

Zone Control:

Have you ever noticed that the opposing team's jungle is essentially their jungle until towers start falling? You usually don't dare enter the jungle in the early to mid game unless it's to quickly get in and get out (and even that's a risk), the longest you would be in would be to steal a buff, though this ends up with you getting ganked probably one if five times, unless you have a visual on their entire team.

But once towers start falling, have you noticed how their jungle suddenly becomes a strategic location to attack from? It's designed this way! When you destroy towers, you open up part of their jungle to use for your advantage, not to mention the creep pileups I talked about in the "Push" section of "A Brief Overview of All the Actions Related to Tanking." The more you push and destroy their towers, the more of the map you can potentially control and use. Rarely will you ever come back from losing all your outside towers when they have not lost more than one or two - even if you are ahead of them in the team KDR! It has nothing to do with gearing at this point, and everything to do with map control and siege advantage. Keep. Pushing. Towers. Always!

Snowball Effect:

This will be relatively short as it's fairly obvious. The snowball effect refers to actions leading to a consequence that leads to the same action that leads to the same additive consequence.

In other words, destroying towers helps you destroy more towers, but you can't stop pushing the towers. Keep the pressure there, always! Once that massive snowball stops, it's hard to get it moving again, because it's a lot heavier now! The comparison holds with pushing towers as well, the longer you wait to push, the harder it seems to become to pull it off.


So everyone's done the standoff at towers. It's frustratingly annoying when you are attacking them to be hindered by that pesky tower, that, consequently, you also want to destroy.

Here are a few options that can help you get that tower down:
  • Bait - Have two champions who aren't good pushers pressure, say, the top tower. The rest of your team is hiding in the jungle near bottom. As they go to defend their towers, burst out of hiding with your damage dealers/pushers and destroy the tower on bottom.
    PROS: Relatively safe way to destroy a tower (one of the champions up top may die but it's worth it).

    CONS: It'll only work once, if it works at all. Usually people don't send all five of their team to defend a tower unless the other team looks easy to gank. This is also harder to coordinate in a non-premade, you-know-everyone-personally team, as people don't like dying, and it just requires a lot of communication and forethought.

  • Dive - If you find yourself outnumbering them at the tower (3v1, 4v2, 5v3 preferably), have everyone dive in (you first to soak up tower damage), and have your carry with the most physical DPS target the tower instead of them, when you get close to low health, "v" and retreat.

    PROS: There's nothing they can do to stop you. You get free hits on their tower.
    CONS: You may end up dead, it is a slow process to tick away at a tower.

  • Guerrilla Warfare - Hit and run. This means popping out of the jungle, hitting the tower a few times, and running away before they can react. If everyone on your team is doing this (or three of them are), it leaves the enemy frustrated as to where to be at all times.

    PROS: Enemy confusion, easiest to execute.
    CONS: If they get smart and ward the jungle, you're in for a nasty surprise. Also it's a very slow way to destroy towers.

  • Surprise Attack - Or the "Super Backdoor" approach. This is the most common one I've seen, and it's still very effective. It's something you can do, for instance, while they are wasting time at baron. I guarantee you can take out a tower or two with all five of you attacking before they kill baron, and if you lack the burst to kill them at baron, this is a great option. Essentially all five of you pop out of hiding and backdoor a tower or two quickly, then go back to defend against a possible counter-attack.

    PROS: Very fast, effective way to destroy a tower. Great way to counter baron, or counter a won teamfight.

    CONS: Situational. You have to wait until you have a prime opportunity to do this, usually.
So I understand that there are other more common methods. I'm not mentioning them because, well, they're more common, and it would take someone braindead to not understand how to execute them (backdooring with Yi or Sivir, for example)

One other thing I should mention is that all of these require incredible teamwork to pull off. Remember also that it is your duty as tank to organize this stuff, because you're the leader. In a solo queue match, it's likely none of these will work unless you are playing with at least two other smart players (which, at least with me, happens about once in every ten matches or less - not exaggerating).

So, your role in all of this? Well, you have two: Tanking the towers, and organizing the pushes. With no leadership I guarantee your team will wander aimlessly and farm - even the smart ones, as they have no other option (they can't push by themselves, usually). Reign in your team and PUSH their towers, always!

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Styles of Tanking (The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly)

Alright, as promised, here are the different styles one can do as a tank (some are good, some are situational, some are never to be done)

The "Charge in and Soak Up All the Cooldowns" approach. This is perfect for a team with someone like Katerina, who is notoriously interrupted every time she uses her ultimate ( Death Lotus). Here's the beauty of it - if Katerina (or whoever) is smart, they won't blow their ultimate until the cooldowns have been released, which means if they don't release them at all, you've just locked down up to 5 cooldowns in your team fight. Granted if they get smart and delegate a specific person to Kat, then that just sucks for her. This is still a great approach overall because you have control of when the teamfight occurs, you soak up the cooldowns (at your reduced damage rate), plus you'll have engaged them in a way that keeps their tank out of the limelight, allowing your team to focus on carries, while theirs is focused on you. This is my personal favorite, even if it is a bit crude.

Pros: Ball's in your court, Focuses all attention on you and catches their tank off-guard.
Cons: Crude, If your survivability isn't up to snuff, you're gonna get eaten and your team will be aced.

The "Wait for My Carry to Initiate Then Blow Everything to Hell" Approach. If you have someone like Ashe, you can have her initiate (make sure she's targets someone for everyone to see: "G" as a default hotkey) with Enchanted Crystal Arrow (or whatever the champion has), and then rush in right after. This locks down DPS from the beginning and can take some of the heat off of you.

Pros: Locks out initial damage, great for tank survivability problems
Cons: If your carry can't aim their skill shot, you're screwed. Also it can leave the carry vulnerable later if they need to use it to either escape or get that last hit in before they reach their tower.

The "Save My One Ally When There Are Four People Chasing Them" approach. This guy. Oh man this guy. This is the guy that ends up feeding their team. Whether he's the tank or just an idiot carry, he sees an outmatched battle and thinks "I must save them! There is killing to be done!" Then gets his face mopped as they break him in half. We've all done this, I have for sure, on occasion and when not thinking. I'm not sure what causes us to do this, but I'd like to think it has something to do with the de-evolution of our species. There are those that just can't seem to stop diving in to outmatched fights, try as we might to tell them not to. If this is you, stop. Please. Or uninstall the game, because you are a huge pain in my bum-bum.

A classic example of this is Kat. She jumps into a crowd of three to ult (sometimes when they're at full health!?), one of them stuns her, and then Mordekaiser laughs as her head explodes from his mace, while the rest finish mopping up whoever was caught between them in the first place. But tanks will often do this too, thinking that they need to save them.

Pros: If they aren't hard CCers, sure, go for it if you're at full health and you have a way of slowing them down (Sejuani's Arctic Assault again, coupled with Flash or Ghost) and getting the hell out with your teammate, saving teammates is always good, especially for morale. But, otherwise, just let them die, it's better than you dying with them.

Cons: See almost everything above.

The "Carry Tank" approach. Ok, so, sometimes I guess this is needed, but only if your team sucks a fat nut. By stacking DPS you are taking away from survivability, which is your primary concern as a tank. There are two reasons someone will do this:
1. They enjoy having higher KDR. Even at the expense of losing. If this is you, well, grow some balls (or boobs or whatever) and don't base your ego on whether or not you're top of the kills score. You're there to beat the other team, not your own teammates.
2. The carries aren't doing their job right, or the other team is horrible. For the second case, stack DPS all you want. As a tank class and with a tank mastery set, you should have enough survivability to still mop the floor with a bad team, and get some kills in to bolster your ego. If, on the other hand, your carries suck, then all I can say is you better know your character better than you know yourself, because you're in for a long, annoying, frustrating game (but you really have no other choice). Atmog's is a good choice for this: Atma's Impaler Warmog's Armor, as it gives you both spectacular health and a decent amount of armor and attack damage.

The "High KDR Tank" approach. This style is dangerous. Not in the way you are thinking though. These are the tanks that complain that their team is horrible because the carries are always dying, but they are up on their own Kill-Death Ratio. I hate these tanks, because they think they're doing a great job. They think that they're the ones carrying their horrible team, when, in fact they are crippling it. They don't tank, they just go in and start killing things without regard for their teammates, and then back out because they don't want to die, leaving the teammates committed in a teamfight, while the tank runs away with one kill and still 30-50% of their health intact. I've said it earlier but I want to drive this home: If your carries are dying before you in a 3v3 or more teamfight, you are doing it wrong. No exceptions unless they are rushing from behind their team or going in before you. You are there to die, end of discussion.

The "Hang Back and Wait for a Good Opportunity Tank" approach. Oh jeez, these are the nub tanks. When you see this happening on their team, you need to smile. Their tank is inexperienced, their team is nervous because no one else has the survivability to dive into a teamfight and live very long. Take advantage of this by ganking them from all sides continuously. Don't let them even stick their toe in the pool, just shove them headfirst and dunk their head in over and over again. If, on the other hand, you find yourself doing this, then you have some issues to sort out. Here's a few reasons why you could be doing this:

You don't want to die
You're insecure about your tanking ability
You don't want to look bad and have a bad KDR
You had a bad start and you're undergeared
They have one or more champions who scare you, either because they're fed, or you've fought that champion before, and they mopped the floor with you in the past

You have to get over this. There are very few if any exceptions for reasons not to dive in when all five of your teammates are standing there next to you (aside from towers, obviously). If you are undergeared or they are fed, then use the Carry Cooldown approach, otherwise get over your insecurity and just dive in there. The game will be over in the next 30 minutes anyway, likely you'll never see these fools again, take a loss to learn to get over your insecurity so you can be more confident about diving in in the future.

Remember this phrase: "Practice does not make perfect, it makes permanent." Analyze what you did wrong, don't just keep doing the same things over and over again. Get a feel for the best time to lead a charge, and also a feel for when you need to let the carry initiate. These things come with practice.

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Once again, this is champion dependent as well as style dependent. The point of this guide is not to make endless lists of things you can buy - that's about 5% of this game - it's to get you thinking about how not to be stupid.

So, think. Which items benefit your tanking style most? Which items from your style would be worthless on that character? What is the other team's composition (mostly AP, mostly AD?)? You don't need me to tell you this, and yet... you do, because I keep seeing you fools make the same idiot mistakes with items over and over again. Use your brain, that's why God (or Darwin, if that's your thing, haha) gave it to you!
  • I've seen countless tanks who itemize themselves based on the "Suggested Items" list like dumb heads, and didn't stack, say, Magic Resistance when four of the enemy's champions are AP heavy. This is both negligent and a clear sign of your nubness. Don't do it.

  • Oh, and don't forget to sell your Doran's Shield when you've completed your core build! Seriously, add an extra item in there - more health, more armor, more MR, a ward - SOMETHING!

There are a few tricks with items that I've discovered while tanking that, perhaps others have discovered as well, but they are horribly useful, and I will post them here:
  • Banshee's Veil is obviously a favorite for any class as far as defense against abilities. However, because it's used so often, people will blow a minor ability on your Veil's protective barrier, followed by a hard CC. This is quite easy to do and many people do it. However, when you couple it with Quicksilver Sash, they blow their minor ability on you, then stun or suppress you. Surprise! You undo their suppress and bash their skull in. Keep in mind that you are using two item slots up to do this, so it should only be done when their main carry is AP, and they have several hard CC's that eat you - this is particularly effective against champions that have suppress abilities, like Warwick and Malzahar.

  • Guardian Angel is usually an item that I scoff at; however, if you find that the team is targeting you like you want them to, buy one of these. Because they'll kill you in the teamfight and then start targeting your carries, if you've done it right they'll be on the disadvantage, so by the time you resurrect, they're running away and they didn't get a kill on you. Just teleport back, regain your health, and start pushing their base.

  • Warmog's Armor is a powerful item; however, when you get it, it's likely their AD carry is going to get Madred's Bloodrazor to counter it. If you check the costs of each, Madred's Bloodrazor is 800 gold more expensive than Warmog's Armor. Counter their Razor by selling your Warmog's and buying more magic resistance. Not only does this not really decrease your effective health very much comparatively, but the "%-of-their-health-as-magic-damage" proc on Bloodrazor is now doing less damage comparitively, which is on their AD CARRY, so you've just defended better against both the AD Carry, and the AP Carry! It hurts them more than it hurts you by far, and I guarantee (Guarantee!) they won't sell their expensive, pretty Razor to counter it. Just suck it up as a 1500 gold loss for the team.

  • Any auras or counter-auras that affect you in some great way ( Frozen Heart's -Enemy Attack Speed, for example), should be on you, not on the carries. You are taking most of the damage, so let your carries know that if they're getting ganked to not get Frozen Heart (Or whatever it is, because the auras don't stack), as it's a major waste of gold. Obviously something that benefits them more than you (+Attack Speed like Zeke's Harbinger), should be on the carries or the support, not you.

Sidenote: Don't feel like you can't start building two items at once. If, on a first look of their team's
composition, they have two AD Carries and only one AP Carry, you should start building your Frozen Heart, however if a few minutes into the game it becomes clear that the AP Carry is dominating, start building Banshee's Veil or some other magic-resistance item, then go back to your Frozen Heart. Play smart, and learn to adapt.

Essentially what it all comes down to is managing your item synergies intelligently, and using your head when gearing up. Don't forget to counter your enemy's items, and then counter their counters as well.

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Let me tell you why I've chosen what I've chosen (and why I haven't chosen what I haven't):

Offense - You're a tank. You don't do damage, that's the carry's job. Your job is to draw initial damage and keep it there. Feel free to spend "free points" in here that can benefit your champion - especially for the early game. But, don't try to use the Offense Tree as a way to increase your tank's sustained damage - that's not your role.

Defense - Okay, obviously you're going to be pulling your main mastery points from here, but why did I choose what I chose? Let's take a look at what some of you might find controversial:
  • "No Evasion no Indomitable and no Honor Guard !? What are you thinking? You're a tank, and tanks are supposed to take less damage!"

    • Let's take a look. Say they have Veigar, who, among being the cutest, evilest little Yordle there ever was, also hurts when he actually hits. You, the idiot tank, are thinking "Well, I'll just sit here and take his AoE damage ( Dark Matter if you want the link), because I have reduced damage in my mastery tree!"

      Okay. You sound smart, at least to yourself. But let's crunch a few numbers. Mid game, it's likely Veigar has his Rabadon's Deathcap by now. If he's good he's been last hitting with Baleful Strike, granting him additional AP. I've hit 3-400 AP easily with Veigar mid-game. Late game he can get upwards of 1000 AP.

      Check that link again. 320 + 1000 x 1.0 AP = 1320 damage before mitigation by MR and your mastery points. 1320 x .045 = 59.4 + 2 = 61.4 damage reduced, then comes magic resistance, at 1320 - 61.4 = 1258 damage. 1258 x .4 = (hopefully after his mag pen and your magic resistance it's somewhere still hiking around 40% or more) 503 damage reduced from magic resistance. So 1320 is reduced to 755, however, very little of that actually came from your mastery points. Without the points spent in these masteries, you will receive 1320*.6 = 792 damage, a difference of 37 damage. The reason for the difference (37 as opposed to 61) is because both reductions (MR and Mastery % reduction) are calculated separate from each other. While the argument can be made (and I make it below, actually) that you sometimes escape with barely enough health to survive, in a teamfight - where you'd actually see any sort of benefit from this - you're usually going until you're dead anyway, the difference between 30 hits to kill you and 31 is literally about 0.2 seconds, and therefore makes the EIGHT (or six if you don't use Indomitable) mastery points you spent to get the damage reduction completely worthless. Capiche?

  • Siege Commander No. You are not usually pushing towers by yourself, and when you do 10 armor makes little difference.

  • Initiator - No. Initiator (and consequently Swiftness as well) are complete garbage. I laugh at all the guides telling people to put points in these.
    • Let me prove it to you. Ashe's and Master Yi's base movement speeds are 300, and 330, respectively. A difference of 30, or 10%. I performed a "race" of sorts between Ashe and Master Yi at the beginning of a match, from the base to the river on bottom. Here's the result:

    • Click here and here for blown up pictures. As you can plainly see, while I started out slightly ahead of Master Yi, he only pulls ahead by a marginal amount - And it took him the entire length of the map to do it! So forget thinking that 5% movement speed is going to make any sort of difference. In terms of time, it took Master Yi 38 seconds to get from Point A to Point Yi, and it took Ashe 40 seconds to get there. Garbage.

    • Your character has to "pause" for a moment and then fire if they are chasing someone down, this means they have to be well inside their attack or ability range before they can actually fire at them (because the moment of firing is what determines the range, not where they stop to do it), therefore, with 15 extra move speed, you may get inside your attack range, but you'll never get inside your "stop and attack" range while chasing down a champ that's running to their tower, no matter how far off the tower is - and by the time you do get a shot off their health has already regenerated enough to take the hit again anyway.
  • Durability , Veteran's Scars , and Vigor I don't think will be contested.
    • (138 Health is nothing to sniff at, I escape with 20 or less Health about once every three games - and there's also the "safe zone" of your health, where you know you can still harass and not worry about dying to a gank from somewhere, additional health increases this pool, allowing you peace of mind, which equates to better playing)
  • Hardiness and Resistance - See Above. Obviously these are more for early game survival tanking.
    • Yes I said early game tanking, you should be taking most of the damage on bottom so your partner can gank (if you are laning with a carry). If you want to argue that though, be my guest.
  • Enlightenment - I wonder why I don't see more tanks putting points in here. For me it's about one of the most useful masteries in all three trees. This saves you from using CDR (Cooldown Reduction) runes, it saves you from hoarding blue buff when your AP caster needs it, and it saves you from sacrificing armor or resistance for CDR items as well.
    • With this mastery stacked with Frozen Heart and almost any other defensive item that includes CDR, you will easily reach the 40% CDR cap - or be so near it that getting another item would do next to nothing anyway.

  • Mercenary - You will usually have more assists than anyone else on your team. You also will usually end up with less kills than most of your team, so the 24 extra gold per assist adds up. In a game of 20 assists and 8 kills, that's an extra 24*28 = 672 gold, but more importantly, it's an extra 672 gold on top of around 4500 gold (assuming 10 hard assists (150+ gold) and 10 soft assists (85+ gold). That equates to an extra 15% gold from your kills.

Utility - All in all I'm not too picky about the Utility Tree, you can put points into whatever summoner spell mastery you want as well.
  • Ghost and Flash particularly if you want the extra bonuses for escaping or running people down.

  • Exhaust's mastery is a wonderful thing to have as a tank, because you're there first, you are probably in range of all their champions, and you can insta-exhaust their main carry, crippling him for the beginning of the fight. It's a wonderful trick, and drastically improves your survivability as well as destroys theirs - 2.5 seconds is a lot longer than it seems, and -10 armor and MR, while only marginally effective, can sometimes be the boost you need between one of your teammates dying and one of theirs (how many times have you been in a teamfight where about 6 of the champions are at 10% health or lower?).

  • Good Hands , however, is an absolute must. You will be dying enough to make this worthwhile, and your team needs you immediately after you die anyway.

sp ace sp a ce sp a ce sp a ce sp a ce sp a ce

Percent Based Masteries - It is my personal opinion (and I have yet to see otherwise) that most of the masteries that increase your damage, defense, or movement speed by a certain percentage - except maybe Archmage and the three "Ultimate Masteries" - are complete garbage. Don't ever use them unless you can't avoid them, whatever they are.
  • If someone wants to really argue this and prove me wrong, I'm more than willing to admit that spending points in these masteries is a good idea, I'm just positive it isn't.

Once again, the masteries provided are not cut in stone. About 25 of your points should be spent in the same locations for most situations, in my opinion, but you have some leeway between damage output, damage reduction, or even buff retention. Pick what masteries benefit your specific champion the most.

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Once again, any way you can see that I can improve the guide, let me know, criticism is always appreciated. If you think something I've said or done doesn't make any sense, let me know! Likely I'm wrong, and I'll test out your theory and see how it works, giving you credit when I put it in! (Doesn't that just make you feel all warm and fuzzy!?)

Likely I will expand this guide in the future if I get any questions or suggestions, but for now this is about as complete as I can make it (and it's pretty big, in retrospect), it's been about a ten hour project, though I've enjoyed it.

So, I hope you are armed with a better knowledge of how to tank. Trust me when I say that when you first start implementing these ideas, you're going to do it wrong. You're going to make mistakes. That's to be expected and you shouldn't feel bad about it. You need to think of learning how to tank like you would learn playing a sport. First you learn "how" to do it, then you practice it, then it becomes second nature.

There are a lot of small things in a game such as League of Legends that the pros don't even notice they do anymore. It's second nature to them, because they recognized a long time ago that they needed to do it, and they did it, over and over again. All the intricacies of tanking are such a thing. Work on one thing (whether it's being more confident on the "pull" or initiation, or if it's keeping a more watchful eye on intercepting skill shots for the carries) at a time, until it becomes second nature, then move on to the next thing.

Whatever you do, I wish you the best. Happy tanking, and I'll see you in the League!

NOTE: As far as credit for the images - if any of you know whose images these are, or if they are your own, and you feel I need to credit them, please let me know. I basically searched for them and found them on Google, so I'm not sure who they belong to. Thanks!


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