Build Guide by Azora Cross
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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.
From Coal, to Diamonds
Ever had the problem of people always choosing carries in solo queue? Ever wanted to beat yourself over the head because your team lacks disables and a tank? Well, here's my Taric. Azora Cross presents to you, From Coal, to Diamonds.
-Extremely durable. Heals through heavy criticals and armor penetration
-Feeds his carries. Stuns squishy carries so the team can focus.
-Holds the hate. People focus Taric hard, regardless of his healing.
-Can solo lane. When your jungler wants to run around, you can let him.
-Pushes turrets hard. Shatter tears apart minions, and his ultimate allows turret tanking.
-Slow early game. Boots and Force of Nature come later in the build.
-Weak. Taric does not put out too much damage. Relies on assists.
-Ignite. This spell can hinder Taric's healing and ultimate, his lynch pins for tanking.
-Cannot tank early levels. The build requires items to tank efficiently.
When choosing masteries for a tank, it's really hard to forsake the damage reduction, but the CDR, regen, and mana regen that support offers is too much to pass up on a tank who relies on his ultimate tics and spells. Clarity for allies helps keep your team pushing when you have the advantage. Teleport is necessary early game when Taric is too slow to run from place to place. It's also useful later for soloing lanes when creeps have amassed at turrets.
The most crucial part of this Taric build are the items.
The Heart of Gold is high priority. Because this build is low on the kills, and lives off of assists and crushing creep waves, it is important to gain gold from alternate sources. The Heart of Gold provides an armor and HP bonus that proves useful early game. Later on this item gets sold, or upgraded into Randuin's Omen.
Spirit Visage is number two. It makes up for the fact that early game you're stacking Shatter for creep farming, instead of Imbue. The MR it provides also helps balance Taric's ability to take damage.
Manamune is quite possibly the most important item in this build. The extra mana provided allows for longer Radiance. The extra damage it provides allows for more mana regen per hit, ala Taric's passive.
Mercury Treads come next. You're finally able to run from place to place instead of relying on teleport. Huzzah! The debuff to disables is useful for team fights later. Most tanks should have Mercury Treads anyway. You can swap this out for Boots of Swiftness if you feel being quicker is more important than less stuns and MR, but I'm sticking with my Merc's.
The next item depends solely on the opposing team's composition. Nine times out of ten they'll be a balanced team, and you'll choose Frozen Heart. It lowers the threat of their melee carries with its attack speed debuff, increases your mana for Manamune and Radiance, and provides a really healthy armor bonus. However! If their team is extremely heavy on ability power, grab Force of Nature now. The health regen and MR will keep those pesky mages from hurting you much, if at all.
After you've acquired Frozen Heart, take Force of Nature. If you took Force of Nature, grab Frozen Heart. By this time, you can opt to sell your Heart of Gold to snag this item earlier. It all depends on what you want your final item to be.
For a final item, you can grab Randuin's Omen from your Heart of Gold, if you want more Defense. If they have a Master Yi, Xin Zhao, or other heavy melee physical characters, I suggest Thornmail. If they have a Karthus, Lux, or someone with a terrible ultimate, pick up a Banshee's Veil to add insult to injury. The final item likely won't get built before you win or they surrender.
This is definitely the most painstaking part of playing Taric. From levels 1-3, he is pretty vulnerable, even with the rune specs. You have to fight the urge to snag a first blood with your partner. You have to be patient and play defensive. Stay back, heal your partner, and let him rack up some creep kills. At 2nd level, grab Dazzle. It will save your ally if he overextends, and really hurt an enemy if they're aggressive enough to jump into turret range. Level 3 means it's time to start stacking Shatter. Shatter can really hurt most carries, and makes them vulnerable to your partner's attacks. Once you've hit 4, you and your partner can start focusing their squishy.
To gain assists, or kills, have your partner focus the squishy while you Dazzle them in a creep wave and Shatter them. This is terribly effective versus champions like Master Yi, who need to be in melee range to be effective and lack defense early game. The other champion will likely start to focus your squishier partner. Get ready to spam Imbue on him when he starts to run, while you chase the champion focusing your ally. The squishier opponent is likely dead or running away, leaving his partner in a 2v1. Stun the chaser, snag the kill, push the turret.
Grab your Heart of Gold ASAP, snag your Spirit Visage, and start building Manamune. By now you'll be breaching middle game.
Early Game: Solo
When laning alone, it is important to always hang out by the turret. Get as many minion kills as you can. Harass and farm with Shatter, and save Dazzle for when the opponents get cocky and jump into turret range. Wait for your jungler to finish a few levels, then ask for a gank. This is very important, because while Taric can solo a lane till around level 10, he cannot prevent the turret from falling due to small damage over time. One successful gank will put the fear into the enemy champions, and they won't push nearly as hard, and if they do, it's a perfect setup for a second gank.
This is where things can get fun. After you've established dominance in your lane, you've likely pushed the turret down to nothing. If not, send your partner to gank middle while you hold your lane, or vice versa. Taric's stun can be crucial to giving middle a kill, and your carry will definitely appreciate it.
Once you have Manamune, you're ready to tank team battles, but not too heavily. Your goal right now is to cause confusion in their ranks. Put them in a Catch 22. If they start focusing your carries, heal them, stun their carries, and use Shatter to do some quick damage and scare them off. They'll then focus you. Once that happens, throw down some Radiance, spam Imbue on yourself (remember, alt+q auto targets self) and let your party rake in the kills. If possibly, focus hitting their squishiest melee. The more damage you do, the more mana you regen per hit ala Taric's passive. Learning when to throw on Radiance and when to turn off Radiance is the part that require the most finesse when playing Taric. Clarity can help you find the right balance. If you seem to turn it off late when it's already leached your mana away, throw down some Clarity for mana in a pinch.
Rinse and repeat this till you've gained Mercury Treads, Force of Nature, and Frozen Heart. This is when your team can start pushing turrets, and even tanking them if there are only one or two champions guarding, and your team is backing you up.
This leads you into end game.
I rarely make it to this point, since most teams have surrendered by now, but if for some reason they managed to get fed while you managed to get fed, and the kills are pretty even, this time can get pretty tense.
Remember, while Taric is great at pushing turrets, he's also extremely good on the defensive. Let them push your remaining inhibitor turrets if you find yourself on the receiving end of creep waves. Use them to your advantage. Stun their carries in turret range, heal your carries if they get focused and don't be afraid to start telling your team to play the defensive. Make sure they're on the same page as you. If the opponent's team doesn't have a healer, outlast them. You can do it. Let your carries know not to overextend. Let your carries harass the team down while you keep them healthy and happy. Once they start to retreat from low health, chase them down and Dazzle. One successful team fight with Taric and a carry left standing will lead to victory. When you win the defensive team fight, bring the survivors and push hard. Tank their inhibitor turrets with Radiance if their are no minions. Teleport into their base if there are minions. Take down the buildings and proceed to victory.
So that's my Taric. He's squishier than a giant Cho'Gath, or a full shield Mordekaiser, but he's more resourceful with stuns and heals. That being said, I've had nothing but success with this build; the only downside is its reliance on carries. If your carries suck terribly, you won't make it out alive. If they're decent, and you can get them fed, then you'll do just fine.
Also, feel free to post questions, comments, concerns, and ideas. I'm always looking for ways to adjust and grow on this build.