Taric Build Guide by L3gislacerator
[S9] Surf's Up! - Taric Support GuideBy L3gislacerator | Updated on July 17, 2019
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Runes: Survive and Thrive
+10% Attack Speed
Threats & Synergies
Tier 2: Medium
Tier 3: Hard
Tier 1: Easy
Some things never change.
See the Matchups chapter for full descriptions!
Champion Build Guide
Hey, I'm L3gislacerator, a Diamond/Master-tier support main and gem enthusiast. Taric has been one of my favorite champions for a long time now, and over the years I've accrued over 800k mastery points playing him. What's there to love about him so much? Well, everything!
Taric is one of the most versatile champions on the Rift. His kit allows him to adapt to any situation whether you want to get up close and personal with your enemies or stand back and protect your allies. With an entertaining smugness and dazzling abilities, it's hard to not enjoy playing him.
While Taric is easy to pick up, he's definitely hard to master. You'll need a keen sense of time, good decision-making, and a little creativity if you want to bring out his full potential. Once you get the hang of him, though, it's as rewarding as no other, and soon enough you'll be outplaying your opponents time and time again.
This guide is going to show you the ins and outs of playing the gem knight as well as the builds I've had the greatest success with yet. With so many tools to shield, heal, and peel for your team, any well-played teamfight can be considered won.
Without further ado, let's dive right in!
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Tankiness and Armor
With defensive items and the armor buff from Bastion, you'll scale into an incredible guardian. Not only will you be able to soak up tons of damage for your team, but you can make your allies tankier as well.
Sustain in Lane
While not on the scale of medics like Soraka, you have a valuable heal that will keep you and your partner alive during laning phase. Also, your shield can negate harass and buffer you whenever you engage.
Susceptible to Poke
As a melee support, you will have to brave a lot of hits if faced against a ranged support. Your sustain should keep you on your feet, but you will have to be more cautious about how you position.
Your stun and your ultimate activate after a delay, so timing them is crucial. To be effective, you have to be able to predict your enemies' attack patterns and positioning then capitalize on them.
Besides Flash, you don't have any reliable mobility, so you should always be wary of getting caught in a bad position. Group up whenever you can, and stay in the middle of your team during fights so you can reach everybody but remain safe.
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The Resolve tree is where tanks gets all their favorite runes. It provides you with a plethora of effects including improved defenses and healing that allows you to buff your team while being a resilient tank.
This is the best keystone a support Taric can have. As a protector, your specialty is keeping your allies alive for as long as possible, and Guardian helps you do just that. The shield can be easily set up by casting Bastion on someone or standing next to them when you anticipate oncoming damage. The speed boost that comes with it can rush you and your teammate to safety or let you close a gap to finish off a kill.
The alternative Resolve keystones are not as useful to you. To make full use of them, you need to be in the middle of the action, yet many situations require you to do otherwise. For instance, Aftershock is wasted anytime you use Dazzle to peel rather than to engage. Grasp of the Undying rewards constant fighting, but in the process you will expend your mana quicker than usual, rendering you and your ADC more vulnerable in lane. In the end, Guardian takes the crown for being the most reliable (and generous) of the three.
This is your most reliable secondary tree. These runes improve your resource management and will help you through the early game while setting you up for a powerful mid game.
With runes that give you more battle stamina, a secondary in Precision is best suited for those who like to brawl. Take it in favorable matchups if your goal is to snowball.
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Attack speed, damage, and cooldown reduction, oh my! Packed with all of that, this passive is what makes Taric the king of melee fights. Because you can activate it frequently, you can lay down a lot of hurt while keeping you and your allies alive in extended trades.
One of Bravado's most important aspects is its cooldown reduction from each empowered swing. When fighting, always try to weave in two autoattacks between each ability cast so that your cooldowns constantly reset. By doing this, you can easily get several more heals, shields, and stuns out during a trade than usual.
After each ability cast, you gain doubled attack speed and bonus damage on your next two attacks. Through this, you can maintain a high DPS that is enough to even outduel most ADCs in the early game. This passive's damage scales off of your bonus armor, so getting tankier also lets you hit harder.
But that's not all: this passive lets you perform autoattack resets. If you autoattack, then use an ability as soon as the damage goes through, you cut your current attack animation short and the next attack will come more quickly. This is useful for maximizing your damage output as well as rapidly destroying wards.
With each rank of this spell, the heal increases substantially, so with even a couple points into it in the early game, you can keep you and your lane partner healthy.* Because of its max HP ratio, the heal will grow with you as you both level up and buy more items. The mana cost is the same regardless of how many charges you use it at, so it's best to cast it when it's fully charged to save time and resources.
With each empowered autoattack from Bravado, you gain one full heal charge, so this ability practically has no cooldown within a fight as long as you're landing hits. As such, it can easily be spammed for insane amounts of AOE healing. Doing this will quickly drain your mana, though, so be sure to invest in mana or mana regen items as the game goes on.
Bastion is the ability that makes Taric so unique. Buckle up — it's about to get weird.
Its active is a shield that acts on both you and a target ally, scaling off of maximum health. It's useful in all kinds of situations including blocking damage, baiting enemies, and even saving lives.
The first passive gives you and your Bastion-marked partner an armor buff that scales based on your own maximum armor. This is especially useful when put on squishy teammates who are prone to being bursted. (Sorry, assassins.)
The second passive is its linking component. When you use Bastion on an ally, they become linked to you and continue to be as long as you are nearby. When this happens, your abilities are replicated on them. This opens up a whole new realm of possibilities for how you use your other abilities:
Although there's a lot to it, this ability isn't as complicated as it looks. Just remember: using Bastion on an ally gives them armor, a shield, and ability replication.
With a wave of the hand, this ability leaves your opponents stunned. Used as a means to engage, deal damage, and peel for your carries all the same, Dazzle is the key to successful combat. It holds great power in that it can simultaneously hit multiple enemies and be used while moving. When paired with Flash, you have dangerous catching potential.
Landing this ability is crucial since it is your only form of CC. However, considering the 1-second delay, doing so must be a conscious effort. Ask yourself these questions before casting it:
Where can the enemy run? The simplest way to evade Dazzle is to sidestep it, so you should predict and mimic your enemy's movements. If you notice that your enemy often moves down to dodge, move down with them as you charge. If a wall is on their left, follow them as they inevitably move right. If your enemy doesn't sidestep, you're either in Bronze V or against Faker himself. Bless your soul.
Does the enemy have an escape? If so, you can count on them using it to dodge Dazzle. You'll need to wait for your enemy to use their mobility spells before attempting to stun them.
Will the enemy expect the stun? Dazzle and the element of surprise are the perfect duo. Chain the ability with Flash as it charges for a nigh-guaranteed stun, or use it on an unsuspecting foe from within a bush.
Who should I prioritize? When possible, save Dazzle to quell your most lethal enemies. Using it to slow down the enemy tank? Pathetic, says the enemy Twitch as he instantly materializes behind your team. Wait, wasn't he across the map just a second ago? But your thoughts are cut short as your screen goes gray. Bloodshed. Tears. Shish-kebabs. Avoid such a terrible fate by having patience and proper target selection.
When used in tandem with Bastion, you can get pretty creative with how you fire the stun. Tag along with a partner and use their position to land it from up close, from a distance, criss-crossed, or any which way in between. You can even do cool stuff like this!
More Dazzle Tricks
Cost: 100 mana Cooldown: 180/150/120 seconds
After a 2.5-second delay, cosmic energy descends upon Taric, granting invulnerability to
him and all nearby allied champions for 2.5 seconds upon impact.
With this stellar little spell, you become the ultimate protector. There is so much power in invulnerability that being able to use it — and even more importantly, being able to give it to multiple people — is a huge responsibility. Seconds in this game can be ages when everything is hectic, and having even a little extra breathing room can be a game changer.
Its interaction with Bastion is necessary to getting the most use out of it. Having a linked ally nearby will create two invulnerability fields, one around each person, meaning you have the possibility to affect your whole team with it. Also, if you die as it's falling, your circle will disappear but your Bastion-buddy's circle will persist, so using it on your last breath is by no means a waste.
There's a lot to consider with an ability like this — so much, in fact, that the next chapter will dive deeper into the whys, hows, and whens of using it.
This repeating combo is the most efficient way to reset your ability cooldowns. With it, a rank five Dazzle, which usually has a 13 second cooldown, can be up as little as every five seconds! Practice following this sequence and you will see a significant improvement in how much utility and damage you can bring to a fight.
LEVELS 1 - 5
Take Dazzle at level 1. It is useful right off the bat for defending yourself if necessary or catching out a mispositioned enemy for some easy damage.
Take Bastion at level 2. The shield lets you protect against a decent amount of damage, while binding to your partner makes your stun twice as dangerous and opens the door for engages.
Take Starlight's Touch at level 3 to complete your set of basic abilities. At rank one it does not offer much sustain, but it can be spammed to continuously activate Bravado.
At level 4, put a second point into Starlight's Touch. It doubles your healing for only a little extra mana. Also, being able to store two heal charges allows you to fully utilize both of Bravado's on-hit resets.
At level 5, upgrade Dazzle for even better fighting power. Substitute this with a third point into Starlight's Touch if playing passively and surviving is priority.
LEVELS 6 +
Put points into Cosmic Radiance whenever possible — levels 6, 11, and 16.
Default to maxing Dazzle > Bastion > Starlight's Touch.
Note: If you are facing an AP-heavy team, max Starlight's Touch second instead since you will not get much usage out of Bastion's bonus armor.
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The massive power of Cosmic Radiance should be used with deliberation. By identifying good opportunities to bring it out, you can make a huge difference when it matters most.
Essentially, your ultimate is your Get Out of Jail Free card. Tower diving? Use it to come out unfazed. Got engaged on? Turn that into an opportunity. Teammate on the brink of death? Lend them a few extra seconds of safety. With the right reflexes, predictions, and a bit of luck, you can cast the perfect ultimate that will fortify your friends and frustrate your foes.
The same case applies to teammates with lots of mobility. A LeBlanc, for instance, won't be needing your saving due to all the dashes and blinks she has at hand. Generally, as long as your ally-at-risk still has an escape available, you can have some faith that they'll get themselves out of their own pickles.
Recognize when a fight can be won without your ultimate. If your team has enough of an advantage to overcome your opponents, you may not even need to use Cosmic Radiance. Examples include ambushing enemies or being ahead in items and levels.
Respect enemy damage output. If you know that an opponent is capable of killing quickly, don't try to hold on to your ultimate until the last second. Maybe that enemy Zed isn't fed, but if you ignore him, you can bet he'll make short work of your allies anyways. Stay safe; a proactive ultimate is much better than one that can fail and cost you the fight.
Block entire abilities, empower your whole team, and pave the way towards victory. A well-timed ultimate has the power render your foes completely helpless, and if you can do so consistently, you'll practically be carrying the game on your back.
Seize opportunities when you see them. When you notice an escalating conflict, be on guard so that you're able to react when things start to get hectic. In turn, you will likely be able to block the brunt of the enemies' damage as it comes out. Like Intervention, this ultimate can be used to save teammates who are near death as long as you have good reaction time.
If you fall victim to a hard engage, do not hesitate to use it. You already know what's going to happen when someone like Amumu decides to jump into the middle of your team, so anticipate their arrival and be ready to smash that R button at a moment's notice.
Start off fights strong. If you have a team that specializes in going all-in, by all means give them your support. Using Cosmic Radiance on your frontline as soon as they engage will allow them to shrug off damage and stay in the fight for as long as possible.
For the audacious, this ultimate is also great for tower diving. Bind yourself to whoever is going to take tower aggro (if that's you, bind to your lowest-HP ally), then cast it as soon as the dive begins. Make sure everybody is on board with the plan first, though. Otherwise you'll have a very lonely, very deadly experience.
Examples: Abilities You Can Counter
Examples: Revives and Invincibility to Combo With
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Just about your whole playstyle revolves around empowering your allies. Likewise, your best work is often done with those who prosper in the middle of the action.
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When the game first loads up, start to have a plan in mind. Your jungler may need your help to leash or invade, so you should align your interest with theirs for a smooth start. Whatever you end up doing, aim to reach the minion wave at bot lane by 1:50 so you don't miss any experience.
INVADE: Invading should be done swiftly and as a group effort. If your team has a strong level 1 catch/kill potential, you or your allies can make the suggestion at the start of the game. If everyone is on board, head straight to the enemy's bottom-side jungle as a pack. Be ready to use Dazzle on any unsuspecting enemy you see to give them little chance of escape.
If you manage to get a kill or force out a summoner spell, consider the invade a success. Afterwards, take the same next step as your jungler, either staying to help them take the buff or leaving and recalling. The experience granted from an early kill, while small, will get you to level 2 faster in lane, so if you plan to play aggressively, use that spike to your advantage.
CHEESE: In the event that your jungler is neither invading nor needs you to leash for them, you can use some of your free time to set up a cheese: a strategy meant to catch your opponents off guard. Defend your jungle like normal until about 1:20, then make your way to the enemy's bot lane jungle entrance. (By then, the ADC and support should have left to leash, so they'll never see it coming). Wait in the bush until around 1:50 and have Dazzle ready for if any of them come near. One more step, it's a trap, then they're dead. Depending on how much damage your ADC can follow up with, you will likely get them very low, blow one of their summoner spells, or even get a kill. Afterwards, head to your side of the lane. It's time for the real game to begin.
Farming is the most reliable source of income in the game. As a support, your lane partner should be the one last-hitting the majority of the minions so they can afford their expensive items. You, on the other hand, aren't as reliant on money, so you'll be fine as long as you use your gold income items ( ) efficiently to share just a few of those minions.
Relic Shield generates a charge every 40 seconds (30s for its upgrade, Targon's Brace), so use it about once per wave to get constant benefits out of it. Save a charge once in a while to ensure that you can execute the cannon minion which rolls by every third wave and has a high gold value. Also, try not to sit on max charges for too long — that's some free gold and health put to waste.
Don't endanger your life over getting a minion, no matter how tempting it may be. To help with this, execute melee minions over caster minions when possible. Since you don't have to walk up very far to reach them, you'll be in less danger of getting attacked by your enemies.
If the enemy pushes you under your tower in the early game, you can help your ADC farm by manipulating minion health. Melee minions take two tower shots and one autoattack to kill: leave the full-health ones alone, and hit the damaged ones enough until they're at either half health or one hit away. Caster minions take one tower shot and two autoattacks to kill: if they're at full health, hit them once then leave them alone, and hit any damaged ones until they're one hit away. If you're not used to doing this, it's best to let your ADC handle it themselves to avoid any mix-ups. Regardless, once your ADC buys a damage item, they won't need the help anymore.
Lane management is an important skill to have. While it's fine to do nothing but last hit and keep the lane even, there are situations where it's more advantageous to speed up or slow down your push.
Pushing the wave is easy to do with Relic Shield and Dazzle. Doing so gives you more map control and lane pressure, especially in favorable matchups where your enemies can't punish you for it. It should always be done right before you recall to reduce the chance of your enemies pushing towards and destroying your turret. Pros and cons include:
To freeze a lane is to keep it stagnant while right outside, but not under, your turret. (If the turret gets to hit the enemy minions, it resets the lane and ends the freeze.) To perform it, let the enemy minions pile up and push towards you, then interrupt them at the spot you want them to stay. Once your own minions arrive, they will stay in that position. From then on, only last hit and repeat. Pros and cons include:
The position of both your friends and foes is important to keep in mind. Being aware of it lets you know when it's safe to play aggressively and when to step back.
If you spot the enemy jungler nearby or the enemy mid laner is missing, play it safe by standing closer to your turret. After it's clear that they're no longer around, you're good to go.
If you're planning to receive a gank, make it easier to do by letting your enemies push far enough from their tower, which in turn gives them less of an opportunity to run when the time comes.
If there's no outside interference, play as you see fit. In a favorable matchup, you should position yourself aggressively by standing next to or in front of your minion wave and looking to engage. In a difficult matchup, your best bet is to stay behind your minions for safety and just focus on farming.
Level 1: Play it safe for now since you don't have enough tools for a proper fight. However, if you get the chance, use Dazzle to capitalize on your enemies' mispositioning. An aggressor who walks too close to you won't be so carefree after losing half their health to a stun, a couple autoattacks, and minions.
Level 2: Armed with Bastion, you unlock much more of your potential. Your stun is now twice as dangerous and your shield allows you to engage without risk of taking too much damage, which makes this a prime time to turn to the offense. Alternatively, you can play passively and mainly use the shield to absorb poke.
Levels 3-5: Starlight's Touch will keep you and your lane partner alive and well throughout laning phase. Also, now that you have all of your basic abilities, you are able to use Bravado to its full extent, so as long as you have sufficient mana, you will prosper in long fights.
Level 6+: Your most powerful ability, Cosmic Radiance, is now at hand. Cast it to come out on top during a close fight, to safely escape a gank, or to tower dive if your allies are willing.
Getting to level 2 takes the first wave plus three melee minions. It has the potential to create a large gap in power, so if you're in a strong pairing and want to take advantage of it or want to prevent your enemies from doing the same, push the second wave to level up quicker.
Opportunities are everywhere. Catch your enemies out in their moments of weakness such as when they miss an important ability. Also, keep track of who uses what summoner spells. If, for instance, you know an enemy blew their Flash in a recent fight, engaging on and killing them will be much easier for the next several minutes.
Target whoever is easiest to kill in the lane. Most often this is the ADC, but occasionally it is a squishy, immobile support like Soraka or Sona. If the enemy support is a tank, don't waste your time engaging on them; you'll end up not doing much while leaving yourself open to retaliation.
When you roam, you gank for your fellow laners and create pressure around the map. During laning phase, you can visit mid lane once or twice if the opportunity arises.
Before roaming, inform your lane partner and ensure that they will be safe in your absence. If they're ahead, mobile, and/or can farm safely from range, you're good to go.
Take the river when you gank. Ganking alongside your jungler is even better, so if they're nearby, coordinate a paired gank. Wait just outside the enemy's vision range, then once they overextend, approach and Dazzle them. If you get at least their summoner spells, consider it a success and return to bot lane. However, if they're playing too safely for you to catch them, don't waste your time. You may miss valuable experience, which is especially important if you're not level 6 yet.
Once the enemy bot lane tower has fallen, partner up with your ADC to either swap with top lane or group at mid lane and take down more turrets. If your side's tower is the one that fell, ward the river and its jungle entrances, let your ADC farm, then rotate by yourself to help your other laners. Mirror the enemy bot lane's position since it is likely that they will be roaming as well.
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As a support, setting up vision is one of your main tasks throughout the game. Knowing where your enemies are and aren't can be the difference between life and death.
Check your minimap frequently so you can capitalize on enemy activity. If you aren't protected by vision at all in an area, don't push up or wander farther than necessary. If you do have knowledge of your enemies' whereabouts, you'll be much better prepared against incoming danger.
Control Wards are always good to have around. Since they only cost 75g, pick one up whenever you don't have one on the map already.
Red Side Version
Dragon pit is a hotly contested area that you should keep an eye on. Having vision on it lets you see whether or not enemies are taking it, which will help you and your team decide whether to initiate a fight, or leave it be.
Deep wards let you see enemies coming from a mile away. When your lane is pushed, you can ward near the enemy Red/Blue Buff (whichever is closest to your side) as well as deep into the river, which will respectively inform you if the jungler or mid laner are making their way towards you.
Red Side Version
Neutral Wards are the go-to option for both staying safe and keeping track of your enemies. The river is a great place to keep lit up since it is a highly active spot. If you plan to fight Dragon or Baron soon, drop a Control Ward in their respective pit.
Deep Wards are best used when your team is ahead. If you keep the enemy's jungle warded, you can catch out people who are travelling between lanes or wandering too far away from their teammates.
Defensive Wards can be lifesavers if your team is behind. When dangerous opponents are pushing waves and looking for fights, spread wards throughout your jungle, and for maximum protection, be sure to place Control Wards just outside your base.
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Always keep your eyes on the objective. Destroying structures inches you ever closer to the enemy Nexus, and killing epic monsters will grant you buffs that will aid you on that quest. Knowing which objectives are the most valuable and when to pursue them is essential to achieving victory.
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Teamfights are what Taric lives for, and with all the powers at his disposal, it's easy to see why. Play smart, play hard, and carry your allies so that they can carry you.
Choose your fights with a purpose in mind, whether it be getting an objective or shutting down a key target. Engaging unnecessarily is a risk that may offer little reward in the end — remember that before diving or chasing after a kill because if you get collapsed on without any backup or escape plan, you set your whole team behind.
Since your ultimate and your items are integral to your influence in fights, play around their cooldowns. Let your team know if you need just a bit more time for everything to recharge before engaging — it can make all the difference.
Open areas are the best places for you to fight. If you end up fighting in a chokepoint, such as a tight spot in the jungle, you're more prone to getting separated from your team and unable to assist them in time.
Your ADC is a prime target for enemies and will likely need your help to avoid getting killed. To protect them the most, bind to them with Bastion to guard them from range and to give them and a guaranteed spot in your ultimate. This way, you can help fend off aggressors at a moment's notice.
If your ADC can stay safe on their own, you can help out your frontline instead. Strengthen their engages to set up kills and make quick work of enemy carries.
The first time you use Starlight's Touch in a teamfight should be at max charges for its heal. Afterwards, spam it whenever it's off cooldown to activate Bravado and set up a cycle of cooldown resets.
Unfortunately, not everyone can be saved, especially those who get caught when overextended. Using all your resources on a doomed ally is wasteful, so in such a case the best thing to do is to leave them to die. (Doomed does not just mean outnumbered, though. If you lend your aid to a strong enough ally, there's definitely a chance they can take multiple people on.)
Don't dive face first into fights. Although you can take a decent amount of damage, your job is not to be the main tank of your team; you want to stay alive as long as possible since it is through you that your teammates will survive.
Using your ultimate in conjunction with item actives can give your allies tremendous protection in a short amount of time. Certain combos will maximize your efficiency, whether you need to safeguard a single person or your entire team.
The Teamfight Combo combines Cosmic Radiance, Locket of the Iron Solari, and Redemption to offers huge AOE protection in an instant. Against burst damage, activate everything in quick succession, with Locket coming first to ensure that your allies live long enough to be affected by Cosmic Radiance. Versus sustained damage, hold onto Redemption until your allies get low to get the most out of it.
The Ultimate Protector Combo is a designed to use everything in your arsenal, and I mean everything, to ensure someone's survival. If you have a carry who is your ticket to victory but is constantly getting targeted by enemies, this is for them. Here are the key factors:
Of course, neither of these combos are set in stone; when and how you should use your resources always depend on the situation. Activating everything in a panic can be wasteful, leaving you and your team in a more vulnerable spot. If the enemies you're fighting aren't very dangerous, you may only need your basic abilities to fend them off. For bigger threats, though, be prepared to use whatever is necessary.
After winning a fight, pursue whatever objectives you can. Any progress is good progress, even if it just means pushing a minion wave or getting some damage onto a turret. While there may be the temptation to chase after more kills, doing so is always a gamble, so keep your eyes on the prize.
The longer death timers are, the greater and grander objectives you can seize. Early game, go for whatever is nearest to you and does not take much time to do, such as Dragon or a turret. Later into the game, when you take your enemies down for longer periods of time, you have much more freedom to go after the likes of Baron and even get multiple objectives at a time.
Some objectives are of greater importance than others, so if you have a choice between several, consider this order: Inhibitor > Baron > Elder Dragon > Turret > Dragon. Start at the biggest one that is both available and safe to do, then move down the line if time and resources permit.
Do not overstay when you're pushing as it only ever leads to throws. After a teamfight, you'll often be low on resources, so if you meander for too long and your enemies have respawned, you're gonna have a bad time. Instead, take what you can get, then come back stronger and ready to give it your all once again.
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Thanks for reading! This guide has been one of my biggest creative endeavors to date. Everything I know about Taric has been expressed here, but there are always new things to learn and discover, so feel free to ask questions and leave feedback.
All of the coding was done by myself, as were the majority of the graphics. Special thanks to jhoijhoi for not only for creating these for me but also for her Guide to Making a Guide, which has always been a reliable resource.
That's all from me. Now get out there, be fabulous, and most of all, have fun.