General Guide by Danyi
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Introduction - How to beat the Onslaught Invasion mode.
So, for the record, this is not necessarily how to get S+ rating. Some people are happy they even make it to the end, so for those people, this is the one that tells you how.
I'm going into several key factors, some of the 'rules' I name can be bent, some can be broken, but there are a few things you simply have to do, or you will find yourself and your team running out of attempts quickly and facing that dreaded 'DEFEAT' screen once again.
I will tell you about the foes you shall face, how to beat them, priority targets, funky tricks, different maps, handy tips on when to do or not do something, etc. I'll probably forget half the important stuff but this will get you well on your way. At the bottom is a TL:DR version, which gives you key points without going into them. The how or why of it all you can find in the different sections.
Of course, everything I write is an opinion, it's not the one and only way to reach the end, it's certainly not the best way to get a great rating. This is for those people who simply struggle to get past round 4 or 5, because you're just not a Platinum player, you barely made it through normal mode, and Onslaught seems like an impossible task. For you, I shall write down the how and the who and the whatnot of it. I hope it helps some people, and to those that already know all this, why are you even reading a guide? ;)
So, like I said there are many ways to do this mode and many people have tried, failed, tried again, succeeded, tried something else, done it better, did something weird, invented the wheel, found the holy grail, you name it. This is a basic guideline. Without fancy theory-crafting and calculations, without fancy footwork, it's simply some important do's and don't that I found can make or break this mode. It's simply my way, or my version of it. It's not the only way. It's not the best way. Just a basic 'here's some key points' way.
So feel free to add a tip or some constructive feedback, if I can I will add it to the guide. But if you're here to tell me the guide sucks and you have a much better tactic but you don't actually share what that tactic is, you just wanna tell me you think my guide sucks, well, then maybe I don't need you to comment.
I'm still working on updating it, it's not entirely finished, but at least it's finished enough to publish.
Now, that out of the way, let's get into it.
Things to note
There are 8 rounds, each round starts you off on a slightly different map with a slightly different goal, round 8 is the boss fight. Everybody gets the same amount of gold, killing more minions or champions won't have any influence, neither do gold runes or masteries, so don't put any points in those. The game will simply deduct what you earned while fighting and you will get less at the beginning of the next round. You get 2600 at the start, second round gives you 800 and every round after that will get you a bit more than the previous one.
You start at level 8, that means you can get your ultimate, and put 4 points in your most valuable skill, 2 in another, and 1 in the last. You level up once after each round, and twice right before the boss fight, so by the time you face the boss, you are level 16.
Every round you get a debuff, Fading Starlight, which reduces the effectiveness of certain stats, like lifesteal, magic resist and armor. Each round it gives you a bit more of a disadvantage, ramping up the difficulty the further you get.
|Lifesteal Reduction||Armor Reduction||Magic Resist Reduction|
Don't be shy about using your cooldowns, such as your ultimate, summoner spells and active items. Each round kindly resets everything for you, so don't worry about not having them for a boss fight or something.
The goal of Invasion is rather simple. Each round has its own requirement to 'win' that round. On some maps you win by killing everything that spawns, others require you to follow a road and reach the end spot, and in the boss fight you win when you kill the boss, even if smaller mobs are still alive and kicking you in the face.
Some maps limit your movement by tossing a bubble around you that you have to remain in. If you step outside of it, you will quickly start to take a lot of damage. Some mobs can make that rather challenging when they continue to try and drag you out of it, others have a rather large enrage radius and will force your entire team in a tiny corner if you don't deal with them quickly. Things can get crowded real fast.
On most maps, the general rule is, survive first, kill second. If you are the last one standing, you can still revive your entire team and kill the remaining mobs together, as long as you manage to not die. So do whatever you have to do to stay alive, like kiting for your life around the entire map, in order to buy yourself some time and to gain some distance between you and your foes, so you can safely stand still on a teammate long enough to ress them. 2 seconds is a very long time if AoE is coming at you from all sides and a horde of meanies is trying to eat your legs from under you.
On the maps where you have to keep moving, same thing. You don't HAVE to kill every single mob, all you have to do, is reach the finish line. Naturally, killing things that try to prevent you from reaching the end greatly increases your chances of success, so of course you want to kill things. Just keep in mind what your goal is.
Let's say a Skarner drags you out of the protective circle, your team manages to get him to 30% when he lets you go, you flash back to safety and Skarner decides to run the other way. Good riddance. He's not dead, but he's also not a threat at the moment, he took off.
If you risk your life trying to kill it, you might succeed in doing so, but you'll likely die outside the bubble, which makes it impossible for your team to revive you since the bubble keeps moving further away from the location of your corpse. Your team is now one (wo)man down for the remainder of the level, all to kill a mob that wasn't even a threat anymore because he ran off. You should have used his absence to get rid of mobs that are actually trying to kill you at the very moment. If and when he comes back, deal with him then.
Some mobs are worth risking your life to kill them, since they will wipe out your team if you don't deal with them quickly. A Skarner is not one of those mobs. Know what the biggest threat is to your team and you at all times and shift your priorities accordingly. You could be killing a very slow moving Cho'Gath nicely, but if a Kog'Maw happens to spawn on the other side of the map, my advice would be to instantly drop what you are doing and run off to kill that Kog'Maw immediately, because his enrage will actually murder your entire team within seconds if you let him have his way. The Cho'Gath can wait. An enraging Kog'Maw, not so much.
If you want the best rating at the end, then yes, you should kill every single mob in the survival levels, never ever die, finish every round super speedy, etc. In that case, yes, different rules apply. If you just want to make it to the end, however, then I suggest you kill everything as quickly as you can, but when it comes down to it, then surviving is more important than killing.
The only ones you can use are Flash, Heal, Barrier and Ghost. This really comes down to preference, although I would recommend Flash for any Champion.
As for the other one, someone without any form of self healing might want to consider getting Heal or Barrier, supports like Poppy or Janna might prefer to get Ghost to quickly reach and help an ally, but honestly, I think it mostly comes down to what you personally want.
I do think it would be helpful to have at least a few Heals in the team, since you can also use it to save a teammate.
Choose your style.
Teamwork and Reviving
You keep your team alive, they keep you alive.
Dying is bad, but it's not the end of the world, or the game. Ignore the ridiculously long 1000 seconds death timer, because your teammates have got you covered. When you die, your teammates can see a spot on the floor, where your star essence or whatnot still remains. All they have to do is stand on that spot for a second or two and whoopla, you are ready to keep going. There is also a blue dot on the minimap, indicating where your corpse is. Often it's easier to see on the minimap in the field, I find, since mobs can block the view if they are standing on it.
Even if you die a few times, you can still emerge victorious in the end, as long as your team is paying attention and revives you. Even better, technically, you only need one person alive to reach the end, as long as you get there. Naturally, the more people alive, the easier you make it for yourself.
Dying is one of the things that will make you lose some points towards your final grade, which is team based, not individual. No need to take crazy risks to try to get more killing blows for a better grade, it really is a team effort.
While ressing, a few things to note:
After reviving someone, both players become invulnerable for a short second. The person doing the reviving 'pays' some hitpoints to ress someone, plus the person you resurrect will then get the same hp percentage that you have in the moment that you ress them. So if you have 10%, and your mate next to you has 80%, maybe you shouldn't be the one to do it. If the situation allows it, have the highest HP teammate do the ressing. Of course, sometimes you have no choice and you just have to ress them with whatever hp you might have. Even with the short invulnerability buff you get, you still have to pick the right moment to do it.
Ressing someone in the middle of HUGE AOE MAYHEM OF DEATH AND LASERS, is not the best idea you've ever had.
First hide from that final boss Spiral Attack and ress when it's actually safe and even go and kill the Vel'Koz and the Kog'Maw that would surely insta-kill your newly ressed friend if you were to ress them now. Wait till your teammate kites that family of Cho'Gath's away from the spot so you don't ress your dear friend in the middle of the Rupture and nomnom fest. They will appreciate the extra effort, trust me.
Ress as soon as you can, but use your brain.
So the enemies in this mode are familiar faces. We have all seen them around in some shape or form, There are 3 main categories. Critters, Champions and The Big One, the Big Bad Boss.
The first group. They are tiny, numerous, low hp, low damage, and they won't stop coming. One type resembles the little guys that run out of ZZ’Rot Portals, another group are like Malzahar minions, and the last group I will call Guardians. They are the mobs that keep another mob invulnerable until you kill it. More on the Guardians later.
The ZZ’s and the Malzions (see what I did there?) are relatively easy to deal with, they are one shot kill for an adc, they don't have special abilities besides picking a target and auto attacking that target until one of them is dead, an ADC could even use them to lifesteal some hitpoints back. Even though they are the least dangerous type, a horde of them can still overwhelm a squishy if they are not dealt with, so whenever you can, just take them down.
Then there's the 'Champions', all of them are 'portrayed' by Champions that you know very well, they are all the Champions that are shall we say, slightly less humanoid than the rest of us. All of them have abilities characteristic to the champion they represent, so it’s easy to remember which one does what and what to expect when you run into one. Some are more dangerous than others, and therefor they also have a very particular order in which you want to kill them. Some are annoying, some can wipe your team in a few seconds.
A few of them have a big and a small version, usually one of them is more dangerous than the other and it’s not always the big one. Riot gave them all funny names, but for this guide, I’m gonna go with shorter names, or nobody will know which mobs I am talking about. First I’ll give you a rundown of what they do, next section will tell what which ones you want to deal with first and how you might counter them.
Grumpy Burrow Monster (Little Reks)
- She tunnels around, damaging whatever she touches.
- She unburrows under your feet and does her annoying AoE knockup that can get you into a chain bounce that you'll find can be hard to escape from.
- Queen’s Wrath. Empowers her next three basic attacks.
HUGE Grumpy Burrow Monster (Big Reks)
- Queen’s Wrath, similar to Little Reks.
- Void Rush. A long range dash that hurts whoever she rushes through. Arrow indicators appear on the ground shortly before she does it, giving you time to dodge, which I highly suggest you do. Fast.
Big Stompy Monster (Little Cho)
- Casts Ruptures nonstop under his own feet, doesn’t seem to auto attack, but sometimes chase someone, sometimes simply pick a direction to walk in, until it’s like he suddenly remembers he forgot his keys or something, turns around and starts walking another way. The rupture hurts.
HUGE Big Stompy Monster (Big Cho)
- Ruptures like his little brother, but walks much slower.
- He picks a target victim and will walk to that person and Feast on them. If you are the lucky target, a line will appear between you and him, plus a tiny little Pac-Man kind of icon appears on your person (similar to Tahm Kench’s hit count indicator). If he reaches you, he’ll nom nom you like it’s nothing. You won’t instantly die, but there is a good chance you will die anyway, since you will sit helplessly inside his stomach, unable to do anything at all, slowly losing hitpoints until you run out, or until your team manages to save you.
He will simply keep you in his stomach until either he is dead, or you are. Since he has a buttload of hitpoints and your team is still dealing with one million other mobs and adds in addition to being one person down due to you slowly being digested, your team probably won’t manage to kill him in time. If they do kill him, you will pop out with however many hit points you had left. If they don’t kill him, they can find your corpse under his feet after he walked off chasing his new target. Kiting is the key. Just, run. He's not fast.
Shooty Eyeball Monster (Little Vel)
- Plasma Fission Will shoot blobs of Fission nonstop quite frequently and they have no maximum range. They are not very fast but when they hit a Champion, they split sideways fast. You want to dodge this. A single Little Vel on the other side of the map is a thing you should go deal with. An army of them will cause a ton of damage and will make your life very hard. Little Vel is quite high on your kill priority list.
HUGE Shooty Eyeball Monster (Big Vel)
- Life Form Disintegration Ray Big Vel is one of your biggest threats because of this ability. This massive laser is global, hurts a ton, and will block off areas and safe escapes. You want to instantly kill this guy when he shows up.
Scary Spitty Monster
- Bio-Arcane Barrage When I mention ‘the Kog’Maw enrage’, this is what I am talking about. He charges for a couple of seconds, which is your warning that it’s about to get painful. For 8 seconds he will rapidly shoot his spit at a target inside the radius, indicated by a red circle. This ability makes Kog’Maw one of your most dangerous opponents and you can’t let them live long or they will be the end of you and your entire team.
He is sometimes protected by a Guardian, a weird tentacle like squid thing, which makes Kog’Maw himself invulnerable. You’ll need to kill the guardian first, before you can attempt to interrupt his enrage or kill him. They don't have a lot of health, so get them out of the way.
Jumpy Slashy Monster
- Kha’Zix has a bit of a rotation, first he will approach a champion and throw Void Spikes forward that damage whoever it hits.
- He will then perform a Leap, doing damage when he lands.
- During this Leap, he casts Taste Their Fear, slashing and doing damage.
- After all this, he will cast Void Assault and disappear in the shadows. If you’re going for the best clear time, this will be frustrating. He will appear again and do his whole routine once more.
Draggy Tail Monster
- His Crystalline Exoskeleton is a shield that he can cast whenever he likes, which also gives him movement speed.
- Every now and then, he will cast Impale, dragging a Champion off, preferably into the path of something painful or outside the protective circle. The Champion is repressed for the duration, but the ability can be interrupted. For example, Poppy can charge him into a wall, freeing up their teammate. Sometimes he runs off and wanders around a bit elsewhere without attempting to attack.
The Big Bad Boss
This is the one whose demise will mean your victory. She will instantly throw everyone all over the map when the encounter begins. That is the least of your worries, the fun is only just beginning.
- Charge. Much like Big Reks, a bunch of arrows appear on the ground, giving you time to get the heck out before she charges. She'll drag along anything in her path.
- Every now and then she will Spawn a bunch of random adds. If you are having a bad day, you'll probably get tons of Big Vel and Kog'Maw groups. With a Guardian, of course. If you don't keep up with the adds, they will overrun you and you die. The adds should be your focus. If there are tons of adds up, you shouldn't be hitting the boss, you should be killing the adds, following the priority list.
- Near the end of the fight, she will cast Riptide, which are sort of greenish circles of fire around her, that knock you up and hurt a lot. Avoid it.
- Every now and then she will cast her Volley which will get your whole team dead real quick if you don't find a way to dodge it. There is a red indicator showing you when and where it's going. Get out.
- She does have a Weakspot. Every now and then, on her back a blue eye will appear. When it's there and you hit it, she takes a lot of damage. Use this when you can.
Kill Priority and Tips
|Selfie||Who?||Why?||Now what?||ULTRA HIGH|
|Big Vel||Lasers of Doom||
Drop what you were doing and go deal with it. Now. They are not super tanky, in later rounds a single adc can burst them down quite fast.|
Kill them quick or cc them, Lulu polymorph, Poppy charge, Soraka silence, anything that makes the pain stop. You can’t ignore these guys.
|Enrage wipes your team||
Pretty much the same story as the Big Vel. They are squishy, so either CC it or kill it, but do it now. They will wipe out everything in range within seconds.|
The Guardians are included here as well because as long as they protect their Kog’Maw, you can’t cc or kill them and they will keep murdering you.
|Little Vel||Fissions everywhere, make it stop||
If there is no Big Vel or Kog’Maw in sight, this is what you want to get rid of next. Especially in large groups, their Fissions will cause some major havoc and will limit your movement radically or make it impossible to revive someone without dying yourself.|
Very squishy, burst down or cc.
|Knocks you up till the end of days||
This is why you want a Poppy on|
your team, their dash and burrow will make them knock their heads into her W. Try not to huddle up too much when you are dealing with a bunch of them or things can get messy very quickly if everyone is CC-chained.
They can get so annoying, you’ll start yelling at your screen ‘PUT ME DOWN!’ after you’ve yet to touch the ground after seven knock ups in a row.
Especially if a horde of Rupturing Cho’Gath’s is on their way and you can’t get out fast enough because you are still bouncing.
Can be quite beefy, especially Big Reks.
|Kha’Zix||With his sneaky jump and slash he can jump out of nowhere and finish off an unsuspecting low hp Champion||
Again, Poppy’s W works wonders, make sure to time it right. Can be frustrating if you’re going for a fast time because they vanish constantly, but moving towards them seems to provoke them to attack you quicker.|
Not too tanky, focus down if you want to avoid them disappearing again.
His Ruptures hurt and|
we hate knock ups
Don’t get in their path. The Ruptures only appear directly under them and they aren’t fast at all, things like Iceborn Gauntlets slow them even more.|
A lot of Little Cho’s at once can severely limit your movement if you are fighting in a tiny space and you really don’t want to be taking a bunch of Ruptures in a row.
Can be beefy.
His Impale takes you places|
you don't want to be
Try to CC if he’s running off with a teammate, charging into a wall for example. Dps it when you can, unless there is something more important to kill.|
When he runs off, only chase it if it’s the last mob standing, otherwise, deal with whatever else is around.
Can be tanky.
|Big Cho||He’s so slow he almost goes backwards||
This guy is the least of your problems. Yes, he will kill you if he catches you, and he’s got a mountain of health but he’s even slower than Little Cho, and if you’re his target, just run. Unless you’re standing next to him when he picks you as his victim, the indicators are impossible to miss.|
Run him around in large circles around the edge of the map or find a fun route, try to avoid your team, so you don’t spawn his Ruptures all over them. Run, shoot something, run, kill something, run, shield something, run, etc, just don’t let him get close enough to nomnom you and you’re good.
I’ve seen people being focused by three at the same time and kiting them without problem. You can even kite one while you’re killing another one that’s chasing a teammate, as long as you keep enough distance between you and your own Big Cho.
Kill these big guys last, after you’ve dealt with everything else.
|The Big Bad Boss||Yes, kill her, but if you don’t control the adds, you get overrun||
You want to kill the adds first and dps the boss in between. If you ignore her adds, you’re not going to make it. You need to keep control.|
She spawns the adds randomly, you can get lucky or you can get one million Vel’Koz and Kog’Maw groups. Whatever you get, always keep an eye on the minimap and if you see a high priority target pop up, don’t hesitate, go deal with it.
You want to always keep track of where Big Bad Boss is and get out of her charge attack quickly because it will drag you all over the map. But guess what, Poppy’s W will even stop that. Use it wisely.
Her Volley, the big Spiral attack can be dodged if you hide behind a pillar or a lamp post. She first throws an indicator around, showing you it's coming. The range on it is huge, so you can't really dodge it by trying to outrange. Only if she's in a certain spot and you are too, but don't count on it.
You want to make sure you know where the closest hiding spot is at all times and fight near it, because if you have to look for a spot while the goo is flying at you, you’re too late and you die.
If you have a lot of movement speed like Poppy with her W, and if you know what you're doing, you can also avoid it, but you need to be fast. After she casts her red indicator, she'll start spinning and spewing her stuff around and if you run in a very tight circle around her and stay very close, you can basically stay ahead of it and avoid any damage. If you're not sure how this works, I advise you to first watch someone else do it, otherwise you'll probably end up waiting for a teammate to revive you.
She will sometimes pick a Champion and chase that one around for a while. If that’s you, kite her, she’s not super fast, help the one kiting by slowing her down any way you can, Like Poppy's E, but ultimately, just keep running and do what you can until she finds someone else to bother.
The eye on her back will sometimes open and hitting that will do extra damage, so keep an eye out. For the eye. Heh.
If you hear the announcer say one of your teammates has died, peek at the minimap and see if you are in a good position to go revive them. Maybe a teammate is already heading that way, or maybe you have to deal with the Big Vel first or burst that Kog’Maw down, pick your moment. Some things take priority over reviving your teammate, others things can wait. Sometimes you are the only one alive and you're about to be overrun, so ressing someone to help you is your only chance.
You can charge her into walls, she's vulnerable to certain cc. You will want to keep control of the fight while you are dealing with everything else that's running around, only dps her when there is a window to do so.
In the last part of the encounter, she'll start to cast her Riptide, which is easy to see, large green fiery circles spawn around her. If you are familiar with Westeros, you'll know about Wildfire, it reminds me a bit of that. It's hard to avoid if you happen to be already in it and it'll knock you up and hurt. If you find yourself in it, keep yourself alive best you can and try to stay in between the large circles, where there is a small strip of safe ground.
Because they are|
|Everything else hurts more than these guys and everything else is a bigger threat to you. Don’t ignore them completely, because an army swarming a squishy can still cause some trouble. Just hit one in the face as you’re running past but don’t go out of your way to hunt them down.|
So you are support.
Now, as a support, your job is first to keep your team alive. No, wait. First, keep yourself alive, then your team. Because, you know, being not dead works much better that way.
So, in order of appearance
2. Keep team alive
3. CC stuff so it can't cast terrible death and destruction all over your team
4. Do damage if the situation allows it
Remember, if you are support, then sure, you can do some damage, every auto attack or damaging spell counts, absolutely. But your Jinx or your Miss Fortune, darling, they can do it so much better. So if the choice is to use a damaging spell to an enemy or a shield or lifesaver on a teammate, it's not even optional. You are there to save your teammates, not to let your teammate die so you can do a fraction of the damage that they could have done, had you saved their life, which was your actual job that you didn’t do.
So, if you are a support and you're off on your own to kill that mob in the corner but your entire team is being murdered by a Kha'Zix and his Rek'Sai friends because you and your shield are nowhere to be seen, you're doing it wrong.
You probably don't have a lot of damage anyway, or at least not nearly as much as your carries that are actually building damage, so instead of trying to do something your champion is not built for at the moment, go keep the people alive that ARE built for it, that can do the killing very well.
Don't try to do a job that someone else can do much better. Your job is to keep them alive long enough so they can decimate those mobs in way less time than it would take you.
Know what you are good at. Know who is going to be better at something else. If you are Lulu and you think you can still do some damage even though you are building Support items, just no. If you don't give that shield in that crucial moment, they die. If you were busy auto attacking something for the tiny damage that you did and your ADC was perishing in the background, you're doing it wrong.
Look at the team, what do you have, what do you need? Fill the role that is needed. Of course it helps to communicate in the champ select. You decide, and you build accordingly. You play accordingly. Playing support means putting your game in service of the team. Next game you can be ADC and nullify enemies. This game you are a lifesaver. Your team will love you for it.
As a support, you want to stay with your team. At least stay close enough to get them out of tight spots when you have to. Sometimes you can huddle up a bit, but often, that's not a great idea, like when multiple Rek'Sai's are emerging all at once in the middle of you. You'll still be bouncing around tomorrow. When the Rek'Sai party starts, be close enough to help each other, but make sure you're not all CC'd at the same time.
Of course it happens that you get separated because some angry Skarner dragged you off and some gigantuous Cho'Gath is now blocking the path between you. Your job is to get in range to help them, while keeping yourself and them out of harm’s way. You can still CC something, polymorph or silence or snare a meanie and then quickly use the short window to regroup with your team.
CC is more important than you might think. If that Big Vel'Koz is laser-beaming your entire team to death, a Polymorph or Silence will interrupt that beautifully. Or smack it into a wall as Poppy, just to make it stop hurting so much. Even if you don't have the damage to kill it, you just bought your team a few seconds to reach it and take care of exactly that.
Sometimes, when mobs spawn, they sort of appear as some kind of silhouette first, before they 'materialize' and actually appear and you can damage them. In some cases this a fabulous way to time certain abilities perfectly, such as for example, Miss Fortune's ultimate.
In some of the maps, sometimes groups of enemies spawn nicely grouped up, which makes for a fabulous ultimate that wipes out the entire group of Kog'Maw's or Vel'Koz’ before they can even think about the damage they won't be doing anymore because of instant death. Keep an eye out for those spawning groups and make sure you have your ult ready for the most dangerous ones.
You are the damage dealer, but you are also a teammate of four others. Keep an eye on their hp and position as well and do what you can to help them. If you are Jinx and you are making short work of some Kog'Maw's, but in the corner of your eye you see that your Lux is about to be ambushed by a bunch of Rek'Sai's or Kha'Zix and she is already low on hp? Instead of running over and allowing the Kog'Maw's to live and enrage, quickly toss your Chompers between Lux and the Rek'Sai army and instantly go back to finish up your Kog'Maw's. If you are Ahri, throw a Charm towards that Kha’Zix that is about to jump on your helpless friend. You can't afford to run off and keep a very dangerous target alive so it can cause terrible mayhem, but you can buy your teammate a crucial second which can save their life.
Bottom line, keep an eye on stuff around you, toss a spell left or right to buy your friends some time, but STICK TO YOUR PRIORITY TARGETS.
Sure, a Rek'Sai is annoying, a pack of them will make your team collectively bounce until you're yelling at your screen to 'ffs put me down'! But annoying isn't the same as very dangerous. Kill the thing that's going to kill you fastest, not the thing that makes you slightly seasick but not quite dead yet.
The minimap is a very helpful tool! You want to keep a half eye on it pretty much at all times. As soon as you see that Vel'Koz or Kog'Maw portrait pop up, ping on it to quickly alert your team and head right over.
Know your abilities, do some research into your items, which ones will benefit your Champion the most.
So when you look at these 10 champions and you hear tank, the first things that pops into your mind, is Poppy. She is a welcome addition to almost every team setup, not only for her tankiness but for the utility tools she brings with her kit. So unless you are going for the mission where you can't bring any utility champions, I highly recommend you bring her along.
However, any champion can build tanky items and be a meat shield, just adjust your play style accordingly.
Timing Poppy's W is very crucial, many enemies have dashes, charges or jumps, even the Big Bad Boss can be halted, you will want to be familiar with he abilities you can stop with it. Yes you can use it to run a bit faster to get from A to B, but unless that journey is an emergency, I would definitely try to save it where possible for catching jumpy mobs instead.
Your Charge, your e, is worth gold. A lot of enemies throw painful abilities and spells all over the place you, so if the dps is currently dealing with a high priority target elsewhere, you need to find a way to interrupt certain abilities or you'll find your team very dead. A charge into a wall if of course ideal, since you stun them with it, but to interrupt a very painful ability, you don't need a wall. You just need to charge and displace them.
You can of course charge something into a wall and then keep punching it dead, but if your ADC is next to you working on that same thing, then after your charge, you don't have to stick around. You stopped the raid wiping ability, you did your job, now other areas of the map need your attention as well. Go and free some other teammate from a foe that's about to eat them, you did your job, the ADC can kill it much faster than you.
Play to your strengths. Charge the Kog'Maw into the wall, then instantly run the other way and arrive just in time to make the Rek'Sai that's about to jump on your low hp teammate butt heads with your W. If you had stayed to kill the Kog'Maw, you may have punched it once, but your other teammate would have been dead.
CC-ing is often enough, you stopped the Kog'Maw enrage, now you are probably needed elsewhere and your Jinx can burst it down in one second.
This goes for any role and any other champion that chooses to build tanky. Know your kit, know where your strengths lie. Do what your team needs, but if someone arrives who can do the task better than you can, than move on if she's got it covered and if there is a high priority foe elsewhere. Chances are you can be more useful there.
Your job is to protect your team. Not to kill.
Every champion has items that fit their kit better than others, but there are certain items that are good in general and can be used in 'I don't know what to buy' scenario's, also there are some that are Godly on the Rift or in ARAM, but pretty useless here and vice versa.
Every round you get a fixed amount of money, everyone gets the same amount, so killing more or less mobs will not influence that whatsoever. Each round you get slightly more than the last one. By the time the boss fight starts, you should have around 4 full items in your pocket. Since that is two slots less than you normally have, you need to be slightly more selective to get the best result.
Staying alive is rather vital, so having some kind of self-sustain goes a long way. Unfortunately, lifesteal isn't as effective due to the debuff you have, each round lifesteal is x% less effective, however, items like Death's Dance or Hextech Gunblade are nice, because they behave slightly different.
As boots I like to go for Boots of Swiftness on most champions, if not all of them. Being able to move around quickly to reach that dangerous foe quicker and have the speed to dodge painful things, is worth quite a lot. Of course it's still a matter of preference.
Ardent Censer. Almost a no-brainer for supports in this mode. It's incredibly strong, so unless you are building adc, you really want to get it. Every time you cast your shield/heal on a teammate, they gain 25% attack speed and their attacks drain health on hit for 6 seconds. It's kind of amazing.
Redemption - Powerful AoE heal, +10% heal and shield power, bunch of useful stats, good stuff.
Guardian Angel - So I guess you died, except, you totally didn't. This item gives you a free pass every now and then, skipping death like it's nothing. Also some armor and attack damage, which is extra bonus.
Iceborn Gauntlet - On hit damage, but almost more importantly, slows enemies, very handy for kiting things around. Also comes with armor and mana. Is particularly good on Ezreal but Poppy likes it too.
Guinsoo's Rageblade - ADC's get extra magic damage on each hit, plus provides stacking buff in attack speed, AD and AP. Also works on AD Ahri, for example.
Wit's End - Attack speed, Magic Resist, on hit magic damage, not to mention the magic resist you steal.
Blade of the Ruined King - For ADC's, does % hp damage, helpful for the Big Cho's and the Big Bad Boss, who have loads of hp.
Liandri's Torment - Does % hp damage, same as Blade, but for casters.
Armor and Magic Penetration are not as good as you'd think, (base)armor values, blah, complicated calculations, please don't ask me to explain. People who are better at theory crafting than myself have done the math and have come to this conclusion. I don't remember where I read it, but when I read it, I sounded logical to me. I'm not a theory crafter at all, and feel free to do your own research. I myself will skip these items when I play.
How to beat the Onslaught, in a nutshell:
Kill stuff so it's easier to survive
Dodge stuff so it's easier to survive
If trying to kill something is likely to get you killed yourself, refer back to the part about surviving
Moving slowly while carefully dodging two dozen Vel'Koz Plasma Fissions is better than moving fast and taking loads of damage from everything you run face first into
Resurrect friends as soon as you can
Sometimes 'as soon as you can' means 'deal with this or that first'
Pick the right person to resurrect (the one with higher % hp)
Pick the right moment to resurrect
Ressing someone during massive AoE damage which insta-kills them as soon as they revive, is what I would classify as 'not the right moment'
Running an extra halfway around the map to kill a dangerous enemy first before resurrecting someone, is sometimes the better option
If you are the only one alive, 20 mobs are following you, your teammates are on the other side of the map, then instead of rushing to them through hordes of enemies, simply kite them all around the map, run the long way around, doing damage where you can, but making sure to stay ahead of the whole bunch, then ress your team without stress because you created enough distance and let them help you finish them off
That Big Vel'Koz on the other side of the map is much more dangerous than the Skarner trying to drag you the other way, go deal with that first and finish Skarner later
You can buy precious seconds by neutralizing a Kog'Maw's enrage or a Big Vel'Koz laser with a polymorph/stun/silence/smash into a wall/any kind of interrupting cc
Pillars and objects block the devastating Spiral Attack that the Big Bad Boss casts
No you can't survive that attack, don't try to
Yes it also hurts tanky Poppy
Fight near or around a pillar so you can reach it quickly when he casts it
If you are not near a pillar, make sure you know where the closest hiding spot it, so you don't have to scramble in a panic when hell fire is hitting you in the face
Kiting is your friend, circle shaped maps are too, don't be afraid to make some miles
Big Cho is NOT SCARY, just kite him around and kill him last, he's the least of your problems
When mobs charge and dash, that hurts, get out of the way
Poppy's W blocks the charges/jumps/dashes, even the one that the Big Bad Boss does
The tiny mobs are the last on the priority list, they are easy to kill and not nearly as dangerous as the big ones, but don't ignore them altogether, a whole horde can still overwhelm a squishy
You are a team, not 5 individuals. Play like it.