Taric Build Guide by DaleDrengus
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Taric was one of the first champs that I actually had success playing with, and so I've been up and down and around the avenues of the Taric build, and this is the one that I find most preferential. The reasoning behind it is thus:
Q: Why does Taric seem to be so good at winning games?
A: His ultimate
Q: What is the drawback of Taric's ultimate?
A: It costs an exorbitant sum of mana.
Q: How to we counter this fault?
A: We build a ****-ton of mana.
Fortunately, in the game today there are some very pleasant side-effects to possessing this sum of mana beyond merely sustaining your ultimate's aura for vast spans of time, which this build attempts to capitalize upon.
The result is this Healer/Pusher itemset that makes both you and your team very hard to kill as well as overwhelming the opposing team's defenses.
The essential factors are:
Enough AP for sizable heals
Enough AD to work down towers
Enough Mana to maintain your ultimate's aura to win team-fights and sustain pushes
I will now elaborate on the manner in which each of these items enables the above.
It may at first appear paradoxical to purchase both of these items (as opposed to simply going the classic AP route and stacking Archangel's Staves), however, it cannot be overlooked that Taric relies equally on AP and AD--AP primarily for support(though providing some damage) and AD for pushing towers and getting kills--so I find it wise to provide bonuses to both stats. I believe, if I have done the math correctly, at the complete build and stacks, we will have 5288 mana. This translates to about 160 AP and 105 AD (plus any stacks from Rageblade that accumulate). You will heal big and you will rock the foundations of enemy turrets.
This is my favorite pusher item. Stacking AS will make you rip turrets to shreds, especially while your ultimate is up boosting your AD. This is important because it only takes Taric and a creep wave to destroy a tower, and the combination of his ultimate, Ghost, and Imbue make him aggravatingly difficult to kill if he hangs around the backdoor too long. Taric may already be the best pusher in the game, but Rageblade just makes him a little better.
I don't often see this in Taric builds, but I feel it is quite good. It is a big ticket item, but it is worth its price. It balances out the main weakness of this build, low HP, while providing us with spades of AP and Mana, which we greatly appreciate.
This is an item I feel many shy away from. I'm not sure why. It is powerful: It gives us loads of AP, a little bit of MR, and a jaunty speed boost. However, its passive makes one rather frightening. By the end of the build, we have roughly 460 AP (plus any Rageblade stacks that accumulate), meaning that any time we stun or use Shatter, our next attack will deal (460 + 171 + 105[Manamune] =) 736 damage (if I am doing the calculations correctly). Not too shabby for one swing of the crystalline mallet. The effect has a 3-second cool-down, but still, that means towers will be taking 736 damage every 3 seconds (more because you probably have your ultimate up).
Some other items to think about:
This is a great healer item, but even so I do not think it a wise idea to rush it out of the gate as I see many people doing. My reasoning for this is as follows:
Without any AP, Spirit Visage will get you a bonus heal of only, let's assume we have level 3 heal, 40 HP (20% of 200). However, you could have spent your gold on rushing the Archangel's Staff which will give you 67.5 (90% of 1045) extra HP on its own, but even more bonus health than that once we factor in Taric's own base mana at level 5-ish (I do not know the number). In other words, Archangel's will provide your heals with roughly double the bonus that the Visage will early on in the game. However, later on, this item gets increasingly ridiculous as it boosts your AP-enhanced heals by 20%, which makes them provide incredibly a lot of HP. Nonetheless, this build being more a combat-medic style than a healer-coward style, I find purchasing this makes you sacrifice more well-rounded items that benefit more than just one's healing ability.
I recommend purchasing this item on an even more AP-centric build. Perhaps it would look something like this:
Your heals will be absurd and the other team will hate you for it.
This is a great item, and one that I am glad to see is getting more attention. AS, AP, Mana, and CDR are all good stats for Taric. However, I don't feel it gives as much mana and AP as other items, so I think that it's good but other items are better. Furthermore, it's important not to put too much stock into CDR because, while it's nice to have your abilities up more often, if you don't have the mana to use those abilities, your CDR rating is useless.
This is another good item that will provide you with a nice AoE slow with Shatter and an aggravating Stun/Slow combo out of Dazzle. Additionally it gives you a big 80 AP and a generous 500 HP. I feel, however, that since I'm getting similar stats, and more, out of Rod of Ages, this item's passive doesn't make up the difference. Thus, I think it best reserved as a back up for when you're in dire need of some extra health.
If you are looking for a tankier-feeling build then the one I have provided, I will attempt to give you some guidance (though this is not really my field of work).
Taric is not a traditional tank, and I think it is unwise to think of him as such. His survivability stems not from possessing massive blocks of HP that opponents must wade through, but rather from an ever-replenishing spring of health (whether it be the HoT of Radiance or the heal of Imbue). As such, I feel big HP items are rather lost on Taric. Instead, we should seek to reduce the amount of incoming damage so that it is easier to heal away the damage we do ultimately take. This means Armor and MR.
In general, these usually provide bonuses to Taric's support/DPS personalities while crippling the damage output of opponents. As a bonus, many of them provide auras that are extremely beneficial to your team.
This item gets a lot of hate, but on a champ like Taric with potent healing ability, it is easy (well, easier) to revive and escape, as opposed to the usual revive and die routine that we see on so many other champs.
Maybe this isn't the proper section for this item, being as its MR is something of an afterthought. But I wanted to bring it to your attention, and felt this was as good a place as any. Often neglected, this item can be invaluable to builds that have mana troubles. Synergizing beautifully with Taric's passive, this item can allow you to maintain your ultimate's aura far longer than ordinary while making you hit even harder. Cool stuff.
Consider a build that maybe looks like:
Yeah, it gives you more MR than anything else, but I feel it requires a lot of health to really make use of its passive, and I feel that stacking health neuters the champ, so it's a no-go as far as I'm concerned.
Mediocre item at best. Gives you tiny bonuses. I'd say, buy it with the intent of selling it later.
These are all items that give you a bunch of health, but really nothing else. All they really do is benefit you tangentially, while taking up item slots that could have been used to benefit your entire team. I'm not a big fan of claiming that you can have "junk HP" or "useless HP" but I think this is one case where I can make an exception.
These aren't necessarily "bad" items for Taric, but I think they're out of place on the champ. They require too much that you get into the very thick of a fight, and to do that you need health, and to build health is to drift away from the things that make Taric effective: his abilities.
A Taric tank build, I think, would look something like this:
Remember: Possessing AP means that you'll always be able to get more health back, which is oftentimes much more valuable than simply having more health to begin with.
Shopping for Shoes
These are my shoes of choice, as they allow you to become the master of the map, and make up for the lack of Teleport in this build. Furthermore, the superspeed of these can allow you overtake an opponent and get into stun range, thus ensuring their doom. Plus, how fun is it to Ghost up when you have these and Lich Bane? Zoom Zoom
Other viable boots:
While this build will get you a massive mana font by the end, along the way you will thirst for mana only somewhat less than other Taric builds. I really think Clarity is a must any time you play this champ. His ultimate is just too costly.
I could not tell you how many times this spell has saved my ***. With a HoT and a Heal, there's no reason to get the instant-safety blink of Flash, because Ghost will also allow you to chase, drive-by champs camped at towers, and span the map like you own it. Even if your team isn't as fast as you, getting this speed to get your stun off can often times give your team the few seconds they need to collapse in on an opponent and shut him down.
Other spells I could see using:
Works beautifully with your ultimate, and is a staple of the tower-pusher.
This is a great spell for denying Lifesteal Champs, Mundo, Soraka, etc. Basically, it means that you control healing for the duration of the round.
Heal is redundant
Exhaust isn't so bad, but I think it's less versatile than Ghost for what Taric is trying to do.
Some people like Fortify. It's okay.
Smite and Revive--don't bother.
RUNES AND MASTERIES
My mastery pages are fairly straight-forward for Support/Casters.
I chose AS marks just to help me manage mana and push towers (once I've bought Rageblade). It might also help you build up Manamune mana, but since its proc is on a 2 second cooldown, I'm not sure.
I think ArPen Runes and MagPen Runes would be equally as viable and justifiable as these AS ones.
In a build that emphasizes the mana pool so much, why do I have REGEN runes, and flat ones at that! It's incredibly easy to run out of mana early on in the game, effectively castrating Taric's effectiveness. However, I figure you don't need a great deal of mana, you oftentimes just need enough for a stun or a heal, and good mana regen will allow you to maintain yourself at "just enough" until clarity comes off of cooldown. This same reasoning applies to my choice of the Meki Pendent as my starter item.
Pretty straightforward. You could get CDR runes, I suppose, but I think the AP boost will give you more mileage.
I spent a lot of this guide bad-mouthing HP, but the truth is that, especially at early levels having an extra 90 HP often means the difference between life and death. With a stun and a heal, Taric can turn a fight around, so this bonus health can buy him a little extra time for those to come off of cooldown.
Other wise choices would be Flat AP, Flat/Scaling AS, or Flat/Scaling CDR Quints.
I will not go into great detail about Taric's abilities as they are all straightforward.
Imbue is a heal, and a big one at that. My general rule of thumb is to spread the love. Unless you're really in dire straits, just cast it on a teammate since that way two of you will be getting HP instead of just yourself.
Shatter is a consistent source of damage. Any time you stun, you may as well run in and shatter on them (you can always heal if you get cooked). Also, don't forget that it dampens the opponent's armor, and so can be invaluable in allowing your team to bust tanks.
Dazzle is a stun. It does a modicum of damage, but is best thought of as nothing more than CC. Having this at Level 1 is essential to either nabbing First Blood (for you or your partner) and gaining control of the lane. However, since the move does not get increased stun-time the more you level it, just let it sit at one point until you've maxed everything else out.
Radiance is a fantastic aura and self-HoT. Always make sure it is on when you're pushing towers, and try to keep it up during team fights (especially if your team is physical-based). The HoT can keep you alive in even the most dangerous situations, so be sure to throw it up when you get caught with your pants down.
What is my role in a teamfight?
With this build, you are support all the way.
Maintain your ultimate for as long as you can, which should give your team the upper hand.
Be extremely mobile; avoid becoming the focus-target of the opposing team, and spam your heal on anyone that looks like they need it.
Be sure, though, to be auto-attacking somebody as this will not only help you in maintaining your mana pool, but will also build up your Rageblade stacks giving you more AS (and therefore more mana return) and more AP, pumping up your heals.
Use shatter when the armored opponents are around (spam it if you don't have to use as much discretion)
Your stun is a huge factor in turning the tides of a fight. Use it to nullify their healers then their scary casters and then their most aggravating CC'rs (adjust this priority according to whatever is giving your team the most grief).
If you find yourself sinking to low health, try to bait someone from the other team too far from their peers and then turn around and stun them--your team should collapse in on top of the greedy one and kill him.
Get acquainted with your lane buddy. I recommend trying to find a ranged carry/caster as they can capitalize on your stun more easily (not needing to take the time to get into melee range). Or you could find somebody else with a stun like Pantheon or Sion just to make your lane opponents emoticon sadface.
Don't play too crazy at level 1. If you can get a kill, do it, but remember that you won't have Imbue until level 2, and there's no reason to die this early in the game. Unless your opponents are flat-out better than you, you should come out of the laning phase with 0 deaths. With that said, at level one, your Melee DPS side has not yet been sacrificed (in favor of AP), and so your auto-attack hits pretty hard. It's not uncommon to come away with an early-game double-kill.
Your harassment combo is Dazzle--->Run into range---> Shatter. Hopefully you can get a couple of melee hits as well. But do not spam this--mana management is your biggest priority. Always ping the target you're going to stun, and always make sure your partner is ready to engage. Following these precautions, you can often turn harassment into something lethal.
Also, remember that you are a tower diving machine, so get a feel for how much damage the above harassment does, and you may be able to pick off a kill at the enemy's tower. With your stun they can't pull any kiting ********, so lay into them until the stun is up, but watch for counter-CC, and pull out if it's becoming apparent that you can't get the kill. Don't use Shatter until you really need to, so that its aura will absorb some of the tower damage.
Try to cast Imbue on your partner, even if they have a lot of health, so you can spread the health bonus to two champs instead of just the one, yourself.
Use your ultimate sparingly. I generally only pull it out if we're going in for the kill or whenever their tower is vulnerable. It's not hard as Taric to be the first one to bust a tower. If you pop your ultimate, but it doesn't look like you guys can really make use of it, shut it down ASAP. It has a low cool-down, so conserve your mana and wait out the few seconds until it's ready again.
You shouldn't need to recall almost ever, but if you've stockpiled a load of gold, wipe your opponents (or at least scare them off) and start working on your build. But if you guys are able to keep constant pressure, don't break the momentum until you've knocked down a turret (unless of course something goes awry).
Basically, the crucial thing is timing. Coordinate your attacks and be thrifty with your abilities. With the Meki Pendent, Mana Regen runes, and Clarity, the penalty for botching a few stuns isn't so severe, but wasting several of them will leave you impotent.
Mid to Late Game
I consider this any time after you've pushed away the enemy's tower in your lane. Your stun makes you a valuable ganker, so always check to see what you can do for the middle lane and then the other side lane. If you can clear one of those lanes out, your ultimate should be enough to get another tower down. Move like an unstoppable demolition machine.
Backdoor whenever the other team is distracted and your team doesn't need help--remember that team fights always take precedence over farming/backdooring, as they can yield a big team-push, which usually has better results than a one-man BD.
Get Dragon as often as possible ( sight ward it if necessary). It's almost like providing everyone on your team with a free kill.
Grab Blue and Red Buffs when you can, but don't waste time in the jungle when your team is making moves.
Use Shatter to build up big creep waves to stretch out the other team.
With your monster self-heal, and strong HoT, you should be able to tank towers without any worries.
A parting remark:
This is not a rack-em-up K/D ratio inflationary monster build. This is a support build that works away enemy defenses. Expect a lot of assists, but also a lot of wins. A team with a good Taric should never lose.
If you've made it this far, thank you for reading. I appreciate all feedback, good and bad. So if you down-vote, please let me hear your reasoning behind it so that I can improve on what I have here, and if you up-vote, let me know what you liked about it!