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League of Legends Build Guide Author Infectious Lepar

Tanking: The War of Attrition

Infectious Lepar Last updated on April 13, 2012
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Intro: What is a Tank?

First, let's all get to know what we are referring to when the word "tank" is used.

Tank(tangk) Noun:

A heavily built defensive champion used to initiate fights, support teammates, and disrupt enemy attacks.
Commonly built with a combination of high magic resist, armor, and/or health.
"Shen will be our tank for this game"

Tanking(tang-king) verb:
Using a character to fill the role of a heavily defensive Champion.
"That Leona is tanking all the enemy team's damage!"

Tanky(tang-key) Adjective:
Acting as a Tank, filling the role of a Champion designated as: a Tank.
"With all that health and armor, that is one tanky Garen!"

I understand if that was a bit of a dry read, but it should help you understand any use of the word.

Now we can begin to go in-depth into the role of the tank.

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Tank: Defining Champions

Here are the Champions that Riot considers to fill the role of a Tank.

Although Riot's selections for tanks is rather well set, there are a few other champions that probably should have made the cut.

"What do these Champions have in common?"

These champions share a few commonalities:
A) Generally High natural health.
B) Abilities that increase defense.
C) Abilities that scale off of added health.
D) An ability (or two) that apply crowd control.
E) An ability designed to initiate fights.
Not all of the champions match these guidelines, but they do match most of them.

Many champions are not true tanks but can be converted to a tank through items; we call these "tanky" champions. Here are a few examples:

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Tanky: Items make the difference

Although many champions are not labeled as a "tank" there are ways to convert them to fill the role of a tank using items. Although they will not be true tanks, they will still be able to make a valiant effort in initiating, supporting, and disrupting enemy advances.

The key changes that items make are additions of health, armor, and magic resist. (with the most common form being health) Here are some basic items that change the role of champions:



Shurelya's Reverie

Zeke's Herald
SPACING! SPACING! Magic Resistance

I'm sure that by now you have noticed some redundancies in the items, this has to do with the well-rounded nature of the item. An item like Aegis of the Legion is going to give you a very well rounded form of defense.
I'm sure that you have also noticed that I left out a few items that you might have wished to see in here such as Hexdrinker, Maw of Malmortius, and Lich Bane. The reason I put these in here is due to a combination of low defensive quality and the fact that they are bought primarily for their offensive qualities.

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Tanking: It's not what you have, but how you use it!

"Wow, that Rammus went 12-1-3, how did his team lose?"

This is the kind of thing that makes tanks useless! It is incredibly annoying to see a highly aggressive tank that decides that playing with his team is a waste of time. The role of a tank is to initiate, support, and disrupt; if all your tank is doing is trying to 1v1 champions or push lanes, obviously he isn't doing his job. (even if he did go positive)

"That tank just went 0-3-12, good thing the rest of his team carried him!"
There is nothing wrong with tanks having 0 kills. He is supposed to be a giant meat-shield that takes the damage away from his carries so that they can attack their opponents.

Gaging the score of a tank is based mostly on assists. Here is the basic math for kills, deaths, and assists.

+1 for kills
-1 for deaths
+0.5 for assists
The total gives you your approximate value as a member on your team.

That score does not always mean that you were a viable member of your team. Viable member of teams know when to group up and split up; they know what their jobs are. If you go positive, but never help in a team fight; when your team loses, expect to be looked down on.

So, now we know what not to do, but what DO we do?

I have said it over and over again throughout this guide, but any good thing deserves repeating:
1) Initiate
2) Support
3) Disrupt

To help explain how to use these actions I am going to use Amumu as a guinea pig.

Let's start off talking about Initiation.

So, your team is standing off in middle lane just inside your own turret range. What do you do? As a tank it is entirely up to you to get the job going.
Let yourself casually move to the front to get in range for a Bandage Toss. The initial stun will hold 1 enemy in play long enough for your team to put him in his grave.
Assuming that you just jumped somewhere into the middle of the other team, use Curse of the Sad Mummy to trap the entire enemy team in place allowing your team to play "clean-up" as you advance towards their turret.

Secondly we should discuss Support.

Amumu doesn't seam like he really has any support abilities, but his presence alone is a major help. As long as he is running Despair along with Sunfire Cape he is lowering the enemy's health. Combined with the slowing effect from Rylai's Crystal Scepter he will always be giving his team the movement speed advantage.
When things get really sketchy, he always has his crowd control with Bandage Toss and Curse of the Sad Mummy.
Another thing you might be required to do is buy an Oracle's Elixir. As the tank you stand a better chance of surviving, which makes you a prime source for the "All seeing eye."

Disruption is the last part to play, and Ammumu plays it well.

In Amumu's case it is a lot like the way he supports. Trying to stay near enemies will apply enough damage and crowd control through Rylai's Crystal Scepter and Randuin's Omen to control their movements. And when your team decides to make the final move, throw down Curse of the Sad Mummy and watch the enemy team crumble.

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Finishing Touches: blah blah blah...

Support! I want it! If you have anything to add, please leave a comment, I will do my best to filter through your reactions and answer every one of them.

+Rep would be nice if this guide has helped you or someone you know.

+1 only after you have found this guide to be worthwhile. If you want to hold off till you can get some clarity on something mentioned in the guide, that is perfect too.


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