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General Guide by mastajdog

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League of Legends Build Guide Author mastajdog

how to tank/what is a tank

mastajdog Last updated on October 3, 2011
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Team 1

LeagueSpy Logo
Support Role
Ranked #5 in
Support Role
Win 52%
Get More Stats

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.


Brute Force
Improved Rally

Offense: 0

Strength of Spirit

Defense: 23

Expanded Mind
Blink of an Eye
Mystical Vision
Presence of the Master

Utility: 7

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for starters

I've been working on this off and on for about 3 months. i hope you like it and don't think i just tried to copy this guide:a manual for tanks which has some great champ indivdual explinations.

read the next three chapters if you nothing else. to verify that you did, please just read them and you will figure out why. i am making this guide as a playstyle/champion type guide, not an indivdual champion guide, and i would appriciate it if i don't get "your lack of good marks disturb me." no, they're not optimal. they're marks, which are meant to be offensive. as a tank, i chose not to take those. THIS IS NOT A PERFECT EXPLINATION OF ANY OF THE 5 ABOVE CHAMPIONS, NOT WILL IT EVER BE!!!

Also, none of these rules are ever set in stone, items definently. just opinions and STRONG RECOMMENDATIONS that almost (sometimes) approach the severity of runes.

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what i do and do not claim

i most certantly do not claim that this is the best build for the above champions. i also do not claim that these are the only tanks nor that they have to be played as tanks. may people still like ap alistar, off-tank rammus is defineltly good, galio can get a deathcap, mage taric works, and ap is still good on shen. so with that said, what am i actually claiming? these champions are most commonly thought of as tanks, and i feel that they are good that. i also feel that people don't really know how to tank, with the current metagame off trinity tanks/atmog's lessining the potential of a true tank. and a true tank won't do well in a 1v1 lane. however, they work can work well in a 5v5, esepecially on premades and with ranged carries.

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you don't know how to play champion x:

see above again. i have played all of the above except taric (who i've never yet seen free) but only own alistar. i am a level 30 champion. i do not possess the best build for the above champs. that's right. it's still not the focus of the guide.

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comment types:

There will be ideally 1 type of comment: relevant. however, there will also be those who comment in the following categories:
Irrelevant: aka trolls/spam ads
Relevant but mentioned already: like i have a chapter
No help to me
I wanted to vote without commenting so ",./"

Relevant: "i don't agree with the fact that you went for total auoras on taric. i feel that going him as a total tank would be better"
still critisism, but actually relevant. also, critisism on theories presented is also welcomed, especially from trusted sources like Dufftime

Irrelevant "buy dadada from"
"oh no" ect.

Relevant but mentioned already: "why doesn't rammus have a thornmail?"
"can't alistar be played as an ap champ?"

Superficial :" i don't like the runes for galio. you should stack only mr and all mr"

IDIOTIC: "i went 0-19-33 with this build. this build fails." well besides the face that you're a tank/support....

No help to me, "I don't like this build."

I do take critisism IFF it either is presented nicely, i didn't already refute/mention it, your name is Dufftime, or you have a top-rated build on the subject.

I do not take troll votes, spam comments/votes, or offensive language. i made this build for you and if you don't like it, you don't have to cuss on it.

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what makes a tank a tank

most of this info below is presented throught in a more cohesive, understandable manner and all in one place. these are simply my sources.

this guide is a similar type, intended to differentiate between tanks and non-tanks, and also between off-tanks and tanky dps. please read it if you want to know why i chose the champions i did.

great forums i found:what makes a tank a true tank and what is a tank

more foroums for discussion:the tank the best tank

LoL official website lists alistar amumu galio leona makoi rammus shen and taric as tanks.

i also found this forum helpful-if you play a tank

is a similar post, first post is incredible

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The tank

for roleplay and rules, read the rest of the chapters. for skill set/gameplay mind, read here.

tanks have good hard cc. Cc, for those who don't know, is croud control-the ability to render opponnent's statistics lower in a way that decreases their damage and/or escape/chase potential. most common are attack speed or movement speed lowerers like Wither or Ice Blast. next are stuns, which prevent anything (except special abilities that remove cc like Unbreakable Will or Remove Scurvy). a fear Terrify, for example, is similar to a stun except that instead of being rooted to the ground, you wander aimlessly. a taunt (not the /t kind) is a forced attack on one person. this is suicidal to have carry, since it's a kill me to all but a few. puncturing taunt is one of the most iconic (i've heard it called 10 seconds by some). there are also roots and binds, but those are much fewer

HARD CC is a stun, fear, knock-up, or taunt.
Silences and forced movement spells (only 3 i know of the latter are Headbutt, Rocket Grab, and Fling) are kinda of inbetween, since tecnically a hard cc is something that BOTH stop channels AND prevents movement, and they either do one or the other and always differently.

SOFT CC is pretty much just anything else, like Dark Binding Seismic Shard Shadow Walk Wither ect.
Olaf and master yi's ults and morgana's Black Shield are the only things i know that can prevent application of some or all crowd control effects. unberakable will and Remove Scurvy are the only skills that remove crowd control that i know of, and Cleanse and Quicksilver Sash can as well. just a warning.

so anyway, that's cc for you.

Tanks have at least 1, preferably 2, hard cc spells. they can also have soft cc, it adds to the fun, but 4 soft cc's is no replacement for 1 good hard cc.
Tanks also have massive durability. for example, viegar has a stun. even better, it's aoe. but he everywhere else fits into the non-tank categories.

Tanks don't have ks/kill requirements/skills, my main reasons DEFINENTLY against tank garen, and also against tank cho'gath and sion.

Tanks can take damage well. it may be a shield like Feint or it may be a propensity to build mr ( Runic Skin) or armor ( Spiked Shell puncturing taunt Ground Slam) or just a heal (preferably melee aided) like Imbue or truimphant roar. several have FLAT Armor/mr increases such as Shatter Defensive Ball Curl Eclipse ect that they can kinda spam. alistar, notably, has an incredible ult in Unbreakable Will that increases his turret tanking, reduces all magic and physical damage by 75% before his armor/mr, and removes all cc.

Tanks can TEAR THROUGH TOWERS. wishful and helpful, but usually not the case. alistar, as a godlike pusher between pulverise and Triumphant Roar is able to get about 50 minions at a tower in 1 minute, or solo it with Unbreakable Willhis passive Trample also deals double damage to towers and minions. rammus can also solo with Defensive Ball Curl giving him a potential 500 armor and Tremors raping a tower. not a requirement, but very helpful. taric's new Radiance is great for pushing a tower with a team. often this is a different kind of effective cc, as it forces the enemy team to either loose the tower or leave the teamfight, being an effective way to help your team.

Generally tanking stats. Feast doesn't count because of the above, and tank's propensity to die despite their itemization. they're much less likely to go legendary, persay.

main weakness is a lack of damage and are countered by ignoring/carry killing. for some contrast,
tanky dps have the following problems:
they also have a set weakness (aka jax and Sword of the Divine and mages, dr. mundo and grevious woulds, nasus and not getting to siphon, olaf and anti-health stacking ppl... (love you too, kog with level 5 Bio-Arcane Barrage, 2.5 as, and a Madred's Bloodrazor...)
and a general tendency to prefer 1v1's

again, there's a set weakness, usually dodging the aoe skill shots (or stopping abosolute zero early

again, they're similar and often the same champs. it's partly gameplay, mainly build, and parly thinking.

so back to tanks...

doesn't have to farm to be good (aka isn't a carry or item dependant)


ideally, a tank meets most of the above requirements and definently the last 2.

overall, as many of the above as possible. some, such as shen and taric, play more of a support role, but both have 1 hard cc, a damage reduction/shield, are tanky by nature, and don't have to get kills to win.

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why do i need a tank

see here. i neither endorse the makers nor the ****ing nor the rest of the guides, but if you can get past that (and the walls of text), it makes for a good read. and you should read it. i apoligise, but am unable to find a good guide on team composition besides the above, so a quick summary:

balance of mages/phys dps

1 tank (like Amumu)
1 ranged ad carry (like Caitlyn
1 ranged ap carry (like viegar
1 melee ad tanky-dps (like Garen
1 melee squishy dps (like Master Yi)

jungler often fits into squishy melee, or a champ capable of jungling. there exceptions, and many others are off-tanks, but most of the best are melee squishies. (think Warwick)

higher elo finds you at:
1 tank ( like Alistar
1 ranged ad carry (like Corki
1 ranged ap carry (like Brand
1 support (off-ap carry) (like Soraka or Sona
1 jungler (off-tank like Nunu squishy melee like Master Yi or off-tank like jarvin IV)
ect. you will find supports, you will find multiple tanky-dps/off-tanks, ect, but above is fairly standard.

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items for tanks:

this is not a set rule. if you want thornmail, see below. but some items were made for tanks, and some were made as stand-alones for carries, and most work well for either one.

Banshee's Veil or Force of Nature-why not both? BV is more geared toward carries in my opinion, but it's good on a tank, especially one who initiates. if you add FoN, you have now screwed the enemy team totally

Quicksilver Sash was built as a counter to malth's Nether Grasp mord's Children of the Grave and ww's infinite durress. it works for other stuff too, like teemo's shrooms and igniring tf's Destiny. it also can remove requium's hit. but why would you care? sure, if it's a fed mord, you should care. the rest... just be happy they wasted it on you as they supressed themself and your carry cleans up them. it is, again, in my opinion for squishies. however, again, a viable chice, especially if you don't have Cleanse or Unbreakable Will. the more of a support tank you are, the more you would need this.

Warmog's Armor is useless... not really. yea, it's a ****py starting item, but after your core is done, i'd take it. especially facing a team of all magic damage.

but i want 5 Sunfire Capes!!!

fine. get 1. it's a good idea. just next, get the even better Randuin's Omen and a Frozen Heart. since the word UNIQUE means the passive doesn't stack, and you're paying for the passive and 20 hp, get more anti-ad carry items.

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Thornmail is not for tanks. it is for carries, especially melee dps who want to 1v1 sombody. why isn't it for tanks?
(a) if they're wasting their time attacking you, that's not going to kill them anyway
(b) Frozen Heart is actually better. it reduces their attack speed, your cooldowns, and increases your mana pool with 1 less armor.
(c) Randuin's Omen works great with Frozen Heart

(d) i believe that it calculated after it hurts you (see description, damage taken, not damage dealt to you). so if tryn tries one of his famous 2k crits, it should hit you for 800 max. he would take about 150 if he didnt't get any extra mr, but he's lifestealing at least as much right back. so it still doesn't matter

(e) they won't take the time to auto-attack you. YOU'RE STILL THE FREAKING TANK, RIGHT??

still, it can be taken on tanks, especially rammus. however, still not the best choice.

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why do i need to do to be the tank

you gotta be able to be happy with the following score : 2/5/20 and 20 minions slain
you need to know how to feed kills to the carry you are laning with. if you see caitlyn running as she ignited tryndamire at level 2, and he's at 10 hp after you pulverised him, and he's still got the ignire debuff on him, let cait get the kill. if she just ran and is IN NO DANGER, get the kill. fine. better dead than not, and then you can get more items. but she's going to help your team more with that kill than you will. you gotta focus on K/D/A, not K/D. 0/5/20 isn't necessarially feeding, it could mean tanking/supporting/ksing

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who (personally) is good at tanking

those people who say "chill" in chat. not the people who go "RUNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNN" or the people who go "***** mother****" the people that can keep a cool head on their shoulders and are okay with not being the ,killing machine. if you played and liked supprts, you've essentially played a tank. tanks are a different kind of support, and many are supportish in their tankiness.

if you like melee champs like olaf and don't mind not getting legendary, you should try tanking.
if you liked getting fed as a carry and want to repay the favor, try tanking. if you are level 30, you should learn either tanking or being a support, especially if you solo que on ranked.

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what does a tank do

you have a few main roles: support, map watcher, tank, disruptor. rules for tanking are below:

#1 save your carries. you can't deal damamge nearly as well as they can if you've been following rule #2. they must stay alive, at the price of your death, if need be. you're not going to give them a bonus 1000 gold for slaying the legendary taric LOLOLOLOLOLOLO ROFL ROFL ROFL SWOSH SWOSH SWOSH SWOSH SWOSH BOOM!!!... byby with that dream. not gonna happen.--tldr: if it's between your death and your carry, You DIE. if it's not, try not to.

rule #2. feed the carries. safety first, but ensuring the feeding of your carry is a close second. they gotta farm and kills, not you. you can live off of the assists from 3 legendary carries.

rule #3. support. notice the summonner spells. Fortify, Clairvoyance, and Clarity all are good. Cleanse just helps tankiness, but not all tanks need it.

rule #4. read the above rules and master them before trying to go on.

rule #5. disrupt. you should have hard cc puncturing taunt Pulverize Headbutt Shadow Dash Idol of Durand Dazzle ect. use it. know when to use it and who. save it for stuff like abosolute zero or Highlander. use it to follow the above rules.

rule #6. save carries doesn't equal go suicide and then complain about lack of support. it means to go try and help the carries.

rule #7. communicate. is your ult up? are you oom? are you trying to get close enough to your carry to heal them? are you about to try to initiate? who should be focused? who should the jungler gank? you, not having to constantly worry about your health, can be constantly map scanning to see what can be done. is somebody overextending?

rule #8. babysit. heal/support/save people. if your carry's about to turret-dive, start the dive first. you should draw/tank the tower.

rule #9. YOU ARE NOT INVINCIBLE. sure, you can be difficult to kill, but you still can't try to go 1v5. YOU WILL DIE!!!

rule #10. hope to never finish your build. if you do, then you shoulda followed rule #2 better.

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i really like this. where can i find some good builds?

alistar:alistar the pure tank is a good build and so (in my opinion) is my build.

rammus can be foundhere since the #1 hasn't been updated in 6 months.

shen:right here

galio can be found right here

and, of course, taric can be found right there

for all of these champions the number 1 build is tank, except the ap ali builds still hanging around. it took me 6th to find a tank ali.

other tanks: amumu is jungle based, but all final items are pure tank.


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tanks are useless

and read everything above
and yes, i've been on a 5v5 relativly high elo (pvp) with 3 tanks and 2 off-tanks, we all ended positive, and rammus lost fb to ashe by 20 hp(solo mid lvl 1 fight). epic win.


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