Tier 2 Boots
Hi. I'm Kinesis and I'm a diamond support main on EUW. In this guide I'm going to give some insight into playing Taric in the support role.
Taric is an aura offtank support, whose primary role is to peel and defend important team members, whilst 'radiating' them vital stats. Where he lacks strong initiation or Area of Effect disengage tools, he provides with utility in the form of a reliable, targeted stun, heal and ability to shred the armour of nearby enemies. While somewhat vulnerable in the early game, he becomes practically unmovable late.
Although he has fallen out of flavour in both soloq and competitive play due to a string of nerfs and power creep in other support champions (see Thresh, Braum), I believe he is still remotely viable, especially for players new to the role and provides a strong niche pick against full AD compositions and where protection of your carry is crucial. He also likes burst carries.
I would recommend you're at least level 30 with an understanding of League of Legends before reading this guide, as I plan on avoiding basic gameplay mechanics.
Pros / Cons
+ Reliable targeted stun
+ Decent healing ability
+ Naturally tanky
+ Incredible aura carrier
+ Strong dueling ability
+ Great at securing objectives
+ Easy to play
|Taric's innate tankiness, sustain and armour aura allow him to be aggressive in lane or peel against champions such as Thresh. Dazzle is targeted, making it easier and more reliable to land on its intended target. He benefits from all defensive stats and movement speed. His ultimate, Radiance, helps rush down important objectives such as Dragon .|
- No strong initiation/disengage
- Melee - vulnerable to poke
- Slow base movement speed
- Little peel outside of stun
- Benefits little from AP/mpen
- Easy to fall behind in levels
- Mana hungry
|Taric has little peel ability outside of his heal, auras and single targeted CC. This means that champions like Morgana can lock down you or your carry, leaving you with little options. Your sustain is expensive, meaning heavy poke champions such as Karma and Zyra can make life difficult. It's important not to spam abilities or risk running out of mana.|
// You deal additional damage in your next basic attack after casting a spell; lowers cooldowns.
// Think Sheen. After casting an ability, your next basic attack becomes empowered and deals 20% of your armour as magic damage. Autoattack the enemy to bring spells off cooldown faster, and attack between spells to maximise damage from Gemcraft.
// Heals your target as well as yourself.
// Your sustain tool. Unless you're being heavily poked, you typically level this 3rd and max it last.You can heal yourself as well as your ally by targeting them. Alternatively you can heal yourself for a larger amount by self-casting.
// Armour aura. Activate to shatter and lower nearby enemy armour.
// Argaubly your most important ability. Level it second and max it first. Each level increases not only the amount of damage the ability does but also the armour it grants you and nearby teammates. Using it nearby enemies will shred their armour, but will also shred yours. Be careful.
// Targeted stun that scales with rank.
// Your primary form of CC. A very reliable stun that increases with rank as you level it. You typically take this first, and max it second. It's good to note that the ablity does more damage depending on how close you are to your target, so it's a good idea to be close by.
// Does damage to nearby enemies. Grants additional stats.
// Adds to your insane burst at level 6. Level this at 6, 11 and 16. Deals magic damage in a nearby range and grants you bonus AP and attack damage. It also grants nearby allies half. Use this first in your burst to empower your other abilities!
Masteries, Runes and Summoners
0 Offense. 16 Defense. 14 Utility. (Recommended)
0 Offense. 21 Defense. 9 Utility. (Alternative)
// This page is, in my eyes, the perfect mix of defense and support utility that is appropriate for melee offtank supports, such as Leona and Alistar. Taric is no different.
Q: Could I run 0/21/9 for extra tankiness?
// Yes. You can invest points into Legendary Guardian for lategame resilience or Perseverance for more early game health regeneration. This will cost you your additional starting gold, however. I generally recommend the above alternative mastery page.
Q: Why the point in Strength of Spirit over Scavenger ?
// I feel the gold income from the mastery is underwhelming and I value any additional health regeneration to make me stronger in lane. It scales with your mana pool and synergises with items such as Frozen Heart and Iceborn Gauntlet.
Q: Why invest in Second Wind ?
// The mastery improves upon your health regeneration and self-healing when you're low on health. This will help out tremendously in engagements - saving yourself with clutch Imbues and surviving Ignite. That and it's my own preference.
0 Offense. 9 Defense. 21 Utility.
// I get asked about this alternative build a lot. I personally don't like it on tanky melee supports but it does work. (I feel it is more appropriate for passive casters such as Janna.))
It means that you will have access to the full movement speed offered by Fleet of Foot, the array of cooldown reduction from Intelligence , the gold from Scavenger and the infamous Wanderer mastery. Where you lack defensive stats early, these masteries make up for it in raw utility and speed.
Q: Is there any pages worth investing into Offense on Taric?
// I honestly don't believe so at this point.
- Greater Quintessence of Armor: // These are my go to quints on tanky supports including Taric as well as Thresh, Blitzcrank and Alistar. It really lets you go for those level 2 all ins and keeps you less vulnerable to poke. It's also the most cost efficient way to gain armour, more-so currently than seals.
- Greater Mark of Armor: // More resilience. Armour is just excellent and it's obvious as to why. Your Shatter and Gemcraft scales from it, and you probably don't need any offensive marks to play Taric.
- Greater Glyph of Magic Resist: // Flat magic resistance will help protect you against the strong AP supports that are common in bot lane today. (Especially you, Karma) They also provide defense against magic-based junglers such as Elise and carries that deal great amounts of magic damage; such as Corki. You don't need scaling. You can always itemise for it, and the early game is most important for support.
- Greater Seal of Health: // These have now dethroned Greater Seal of Armor as the go-to yellows. Having plenty of HP during the early game will keep you alive longer and help you survive all-ins and burst damage. It also makes your defensive stats much more cost effective.
- Greater Glyph of Mana Regeneration is a common sight on support runepages. Typically you take 3 to grant an extra 1 mana regen per 5, without sacrificing too much magic resistance. Since Taric is quite mana hungry, you can invest in these if you want.
- Greater Mark of Hybrid Penetration is your best offensive bet in marks. You combine both physical and magic damage at great effect. These are better than Greater Mark of Magic Penetration, but they're also not a bad choice if you wish to invest into offense.
- Greater Quintessence of Movement Speed They're not bad for roaming, lining up skill shots and making plays. Not bad support quints. Ask yourself whether you can just wait until you get Boots of Speed however.
- Greater Seal of Armor and Greater Quintessence of Health can be used together if you have not yet purchased the more effective rune sets, but I recommend changing as soon as possible for cost efficiency.
- Greater Quintessence of Ability Power and Greater Glyph of Ability Power can be used for more beefy offense, but at the cost of defense. I don't generally recommend them on Taric.
- Greater Quintessence of Gold I have to mention them, but I don't recommend them. Their gold income is negligible. Early game stats are much more important. Stay away from Greater Seal of Gold.
[+] Exhaust can cripple the enemy AD carry, helping you make the most of ganks early game and slowing the opponent so you can cast Dazzle. In the current meta, this is the best spell for crippling both carries in laning phase and assassins/bruisers later.
[+] Flash is your free getaway card. It lets you jump over walls and towards your tower when things go pear-shaped. It can also let you get into range to drop your Dazzle or your entire combo on an enemy as an effective initiation
[+] Heal, thanks to its more recent buffs is much more suited as a support spell, and you should consider it, if your ADC is not taking it. It's a lifesaver ability in teamfights and 2v2 engagements. Especially thanks to its movement speed grant.
[+] Ignite adds to your burst in lane, helps secure stragglers and thwarts both healing and lifestealing. Forget the whole 'it might take kills from your carry' argument. If they die, you both get paid, and it sends them home, denying them experience.
[-] Clarity restores mana. You would think this is nice with mana hungry carries, but it really isn't and wastes a valuable summoner spell slot. You only generally see this in really low level play.
[-] Barrier could be used to shield yourself and stay alive longer in 2v2 dogfights, but it's selfish and will probably put you at a disadvantage. Take Heal instead?
[-] Clairvoyance was made redundant by Scrying Orb and is outclassed by other summoner spells. I suppose it has an extreme niche but I wouldn't bother.
[-] Ghost is your main alternative to Flash. Except it won't help you escape over walls and initiate with Dazzle. You only really see this in pre-30 play, so don't.
[-] Revive doesn't require any explanation. Just no.
[-] Teleport leaves opportunities to gank other lanes - but why bother? Taric was a notorious roaming support once before, but not because of Teleport. It's a waste of a slot.
[-] Smite is for junglers. So no.
Your starting items are important. For Taric, I recommend starting Relic Shield, a Stealth Ward and Health Potion. You can always substitute the ward for more pots if you so choose. This will build into Face of the Mountain, and gives a valuable chunk of HP and gold generation capacity.
You can start with Ancient Coin if you value the mana regeneration, are playing a passive lane or are looking to get a Talisman of Ascension. Choice is yours.
Alternatively, you can start with a Doran's Shield and potions for a lane you know is going to be difficult.
Another popular choice is starting with a Ruby Crystal, so that you can rush your Sightstone. This is okay but remember this will delay any tertiary gold income if you fall behind.
I do not recommend starting with a Spellthief's Edge as you do not benefit much from AP, and as a melee character will not benefit from its Tribute passive.
Let's understand early game items.
Sightstone is the most important item you can pick up. You want to get it as soon as possible. With it, the amount of gold you save not having to purchase further Stealth Wards is astronomical. It proivdes a chunk of HP which adds to early game survivability.
Nomad's Medallion and Targon's Brace are the natural follow up to their initial gold items. If you are not rushing the final item, you can sit on these items for the gold generation and decent stats that they provide. If you don't have enough for a Sightstone on recall, it's often a good idea to upgrade to one of these.
Boots of Speed is a nobrainer. Pick these up for additional movement speed.
Sweeping Lens is what you generally should switch to after purchasing a Sightstone. Clear enemy wards out to gain lane control, deny vision of important objectives and coordinate ganks.
Ruby Sightstone was once an extremely important item during Season 3. This is no longer the case. Please don't rush it - there is next to no benefit aside from additional HP - finish the item after develping your other more important items.
Tier 2 Boots
Boot choice isn't too complicated!
Boots of Mobility are my general recommendation. I know they do not provide combat stats, but they make it easy for a support to roam the map and place wards. Taric also benefits from movement speed extensively in order to get into position for Dazzle and for melee combat. I cannot emphasise how good I feel these boots are on him, and other playmaking champions. *cough* Thresh *cough*
Mercury's Treads are my other primary suggestion. You buy them purely for tenacity - an extremely important stat when playing against teams with huge amounts of crowd control. Think a team with Varus, Leona and Amumu. The magic resistance is just the icing on the cake.
Ninja Tabi provide Taric with additional armour, which is extremely useful for Shatter, as well as negating autoattack damage. A great choice against heavy AD compositions and teams with hypercarries.
Ionian Boots of Lucidity could be considered if you lack cooldown reduction and you're not following a build path that will get you a sufficient amount. These could compensate but I am yet to experiment with them on Taric.
Boots of Swiftness are very similar to Boots of Mobility. Their slow reduction could help Taric against foes such as Nasus or Sejuani but they're not amazing in my opinion.
These items make up the majority of your build. They provide great overall stats and provide important utility that helps you support your team.
Face of the Mountain is the fully grown form of Relic Shield. On top of the enormous defensive stats and cooldown reduction it provides, it also provides an active shield to help protect one of your carries.
Talisman of Ascension is arguably the most important engage or disengage item in the game. On top of the great mana regeneration and cooldown reduction, its Shurelya's Reverie boost of movement speed can help you catch up with the enemy or flee a stronger team that wants to fight.
Mikael's Crucible is my favourite support item. Hands down. On top of its mana regeneration, cooldown reduction, magic resistance and Mana Font passive - it grants an amazing active that will cleanse crowd control (except suppression]) from a target and grant them additional health. You won't believe how many times this item can save your carry's butt, or anyone who gets caught out of position for that matter. This item is built from Chalice of Harmony so consider getting on early to deal with any mana issues.
Locket of the Iron Solari is a solid item to pick when the enemy team has a lot of poke and heavy magic damage. It provides your teammates with additional magic resistance and health regeneration to help survive that sort of onslaught, whilst giving you a fair amount of health and other stats. Did I mention it has a group shield active that can potentially save someone from Requiem? If you're getting one, consider picking up either an Aegis of the Legion or Kindlegem in the midgame.
Zeke's Herald is much more niche and isn't commonly seen. It's great on very heavy AD compositions, but make it one of the last items you pick up.
Ardent Censer can certainly work when you're paired up with hypercarries and teammates who benefit from attack speed. ( Twitch, Kayle). It might synergise with your Imbue, but this item works better with heal mages like Nami and Sona.
You can upgrade your Sightstone to Ruby Sightstone during the later parts of the game for the added HP.
You should upgrade your Sweeping Lens to this when you have the chance. It's a mini Oracle's Elixir and helps you when you are counterwarding. It's also a great pickup against stealth champions. A must buy for teamfights against Akali, Kha'Zix and Vayne.
These items are more for selfish defensive stats to help you stay alive. Nevertheless, they do provide forms of utility that directly affect enemies who try to fight you.
Randuin's Omen is by far the best defensive item against marksman and AD bruisers. It provides a huge chunk of health and armour, as well as slowing both their movement speed and attack speed, practically crippling them. The active is great to activate when you see enemy bruisers running directly for your backline. If you're building this, grab a Giant's Belt early for a nice chunk of health.
Frozen Heart provides another great source of armour, but also provides mana and cooldown reduction. Very common on Taric as it slows any nearby enemy's attack speed by 15% without them needing to attack Taric at all. Consider picking up an early Glacial Shroud for a boost in stats when building this.
Iceborn Gauntlet is the more niche cousin of Frozen Heart on a support Taric but is a solid item all the same. The Sheen passive synergises well with Gemcraft and provides additional peel for your backline. When building it, prioritise the Glacial Shroud.
Banshee's Veil is debatably the best magic resistance item in the game. On top of its decent health and MR, it provides a spellshield to block an incoming spell every 25 seconds. It also provides health regeneration whenever you're hit thanks to Spectre's Cowl. Consider picking one up if you're struggling to initiate because of hard hitting CC or getting blown up instantly by heavy magic damage.
Much more niche picks, but I will explain what utility they do provide.
As previously mentioned, I do not recommend starting with Spellthief's Edge. The fully built form of this is Frost Queen's Claim, which provides much more ability power and cooldown reduction, as well as its Arctic Embrace ice lance active. I don't see any reason you should ever get this on Taric. Save it for the ranged mage supports who benefit from its ability power. i.e Zyra, Morgana, Karma, Lux
Twin Shadows is a much more useful item in this category thanks to its active; helping you track down nearby enemies and see what they're up to without endangering yourself. The problem lies however with the stats it provides. Although additional movement speed and cooldown reduction are beneficial, you do not benefit much from 80 additional ability power. It's still a great situational item all the same.
Banner of Command is a great item, heavily hindered by its build path. You do not benefit much from its ability power, but it does provide a solid 20% cooldown reduction. It empowers nearby minions to do additional damage and provides an active similar to the old Promote summoner spell. It's a shame it builds out of a Blasting Wand. You could consider this if your team is heavily splitpush oriented.
Ohmwrecker doesn't see much play and there's good reasons why. It's too expensive and becomes much more useless in the later stages of the game. It's worth mentioning since some people like it, but I generally don't recommend it at all.
Morellonomicon is a fantastic item in the game and is commonly seen on many supports and AP mages alike. On Taric however it is somewhat lackluster. Interestingly it does proc Grievous Wounds on all of your offensive spells. Even Gemcraft. There might be scenarios where picking this up against heavy health regen champs could prove extremely useful.
I will be brief in explaining elixirs and enchantments. I generally go for Enchantment: Homeguard whenever I am behind or need to rush to certain places, alternatively you could use Enchantment: Alacrity for the added movement speed.
Elixir of Fortitude and Elixir of Brilliance are great pickups once you're full build. You could also buy these if you're low on gold and know you will be teamfighting soon, such as to defend an inhibitor or for Baron Nashor .
During the laning phase it's always important to ward your lane appropriately to prevent enemy ganks.
The placement of your wards is also quite important. Some people place their wards in the river bush, others further up more towards blue entrance / Dragon . Your preference.
As seen here ward the bush closest to the enemy tower for improved brush control, especially against kill lane supports who can punish you easily, such as Thresh or Leona. This also applies to strong pokers.
Also remember to ward the Tribush on blue side to prevent the jungler or midlane champion getting at you. Especially against those who can knock you towards the enemy, such as Alistar or Gragas. Consider placing a Vision Ward in this bush to assume vision control over the lane; creating indirect pressure.
Remember counterwarding is equally as important as warding. Pick up that Sweeping Lens when you acquire a Sightstone to help orchestrate ganks and pressure the enemy by denying them vision.
This map is helpful in deciding where to place wards:
As support it's important that you always carry wards and ward crucial areas but encourage others to also ward. You only have three plus one Vision Ward!
- Your jungler should carry wards to ward his blue and red buffs, the enemy's if he so chooses and objectives such as Baron Nashor
- Your mid carry can also ward their river bushes to help prevent ganks
- Solotop should always ward their river bush and tribush to prevent ganks
Even as the game moves into its later stages, keep on warding. This should be easy if you have your Sightstone. It's important for when Baron Nashor spawns and controlling gank points.
If it's not obvious already, Taric is a support that lacks any sort of strong initiate tool on the scale of Sona's Crescendo or Zyra's Stranglethorns. He is a backline champion, whose primary focus should be peeling and protecting his teammates.
In teamfights and skirmishes (small fights for objectives), you should be looking at staying close to your carry/carries and attacking incoming bruisers and carries. Stunning them with Dazzle, reducing their armour with Shatter and activating Radiance. Heal your allies, stun your enemy, and stay alive to provide your Shatter aura.
This is why items such as Aegis of the Legion are so good on you, as you are a walking aura bot. Sticking close to your allies benefits them tremendously, whilst allowing you to do your job. Your peeling ability is enhanced with items such as Mikael's Crucible and Face of the Mountain.
When it comes to picking and ambushing, having plenty of movement speed will allow you to stun out of position enemies (why Boots of Mobility and Talisman of Ascension are so popular). We all know solo queue is dictated by which moron gets caught first; exploit that.
tl;dr Stay close to your allies, heal them, provide auras, stun and shred enemies
Taric is arguably one of the most versatile supports in the game, as he fairs well against sustain/poke lanes as well as kill lanes.
He is however currently suffering from power creep, and is somewhat weaker than most newer support champions.
I hope you've enjoyed reading this guide as much as I have writing it. Please don't downvote simply because there's something that you don't like. This guide should only show you a glimpse of how he can be played.
If you have any constructive criticism, please feel free to share. I'd love to hear from you in the comments and I'll be writing guides on other support champions, both common and uncommon, in the future.
Feel free to drop me a message here on Mobafire, or catch me on my Twitch.tv channel: twitch.tv/followkinesis
Keep on supporting!
Note: Thanks again to leagueofcoaching for the warding map and to jhoijhoi for the guide creation tutorial.