Taric Build Guide by SixSonatas
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Preface & Abbreviated Terms
This is a 5v5 build! Do not expect excellent results in 3v3!
THE GUIDE IS CURRENTLY BEING RENOVATED FOR EU STYLE BOTTOM LANE.
This particular build revolves around excelling mid to late game since Taric rarely dies in early game and teams of equal skill will almost always take it to late game; early game is not as strong as mid and late game, but it's still very strong. Runes, summoner spells, masteries, and early item build order are all based around these statements. If you often overextend and don't know the range for every other spell in the game, this might not be the build for you.
AA = Auto-attack (Melee Attacks)
CC = Crowd Control (Stun, fear, slow, snare, etc)
AP = Ability Power
AD = Attack Damage
PD = Physical Damage
MD = Magic Damage
AS = Attack Speed
MS = Movement Speed
MR = Magic Resistance
ArP = Armor Penetration
MPen = Magic Penetration
LS = Life Steal
SV = Spell Vamp
DPS = Strong Auto-attacker
MDPS = Strong spells; casters
CDR = Cooldown Reduction
MP = Mana
HP = Health
MP Regen (or MP5) = Mana Regeneration per 5 seconds
HP Regen (or HP5) = Health Regeneration per 5 seconds
OOM = Out of Mana
FB = First Blood
Introduction & Pros vs. Cons [Offtank Taric]
Welcome to my guide for building Taric, the truly outrageous knight. The main idea of this build is to provide the potential for early pressure as well as late game tanking support. Since Taric is a melee attacker, he's often easily harassed - however, since he does have a heal, he can also easily counter that harass. Being able to harass, you'll be able to score more last hits, deny more experience, and possibly even score a few kills. However, to play this style of Taric, you will need to constantly have map awareness; a ward at the bushes always helps when they have a jungler. If Warwick or Amumu gets a stun off on you you're pretty much done. This Taric is also a good candidate for 1v1 top since he's able to harass so well, and leveling up faster just makes him have his ultimate stronger faster which helps win team fights. Finally, the core item build I recommend requires quite heavily on gold - last hit often and ask your jungler to come by often since you'll be keeping your laning opponent at low HP at all times.
- Great harass and farming with Shatter early game
- Great support and very bulky late game
- Amazing versatility - DPS and support; ability to keep Radiance on for a long time and not die
- Element of surprise using Radiance with allied minion aggro for massive damage without drawing turret aggro
- Confuses enemies on what the hell you're building
- Tanks and destroys towers easily with Imbue and Radiance
- Might be a bit starved at low levels before Shatter is learned
- Slightly mana hungry early game
- Needs a good team to fully utilize Radiance (Don't trust solo queue!)
Skill Sequence & Explanations [Offtank Taric]
First off, note that the skill sequence should never be set in stone for Taric, but generally the one posted as "official" works the best most of the time. Rushing max Shatter allows for an increase in armor while also allowing for you to harass, but your lanemate (if you have one) and you should know that your heal will NOT burst heal you, and will only heal a bit, meaning Taric is a hero that harasses during laning phase and does not commit to a kill until he is sure he won't need Imbue to get out alive.
Gemcraft is Taric's innate ability. This bulks up Taric's MP by replenishing it upon AA hits. With the AD and AS items plus some AS runes, this innate is put to its maximum utility. When you don't have full mana, you want to be using your AA to replenish that lost mana. If you aren't able to harass yet, consider forgetting about this ability until you're able to harass and stay in the middle of enemy minion mobs.
Imbue is Taric's healing skill. This skill helps laning partners, but helps you even more. It has a +40% effect when self-used, making Taric one of the hardest characters to harass. If used on an ally, Taric himself is healed for the same amount so don't get greedy! Compare 200% to 140%! Additionally, using your AA decreases its cooldown by 2 seconds per strike. The AS runes and items I build are for this purpose. If you're being out-harassed, feel free to reverse the leveling order between this and Shatter, maxing Imbue first and Shatter second.
Shatter is Taric's passive aura ability. This skill provides armor to allied champions. However, my build relies on the dark side of this skill. When activated, Taric shatters this aura to deal MD as well as reduce armor of those damaged. This skill is very good at harassing when combined with Dazzle and decent AD. If you're being out-harassed, feel free to reverse the leveling order between this and Imbue, maxing Imbue first and Shatter second.
Dazzle is Taric's stun. This skill deals MD and stuns for 1-2 seconds based on the distance from the target. The further away Dazzle starts, the longer the stun and the weaker the MD; vice versa. This skill is mainly used for the stun in my build, and thus is kept at level one until forced to raise it.
Radiance is Taric's active aura. This skill grants Taric and minions +90 AD while providing allied champions with +45 AD. Think about it, that's basically lending your whole team a BF Sword while making your minions and you much stronger than it may seem. The MP cost on this is quite heavy when kept on for long periods of time, which is why Tear of the Goddess is built to increase max MP. This skill also has a slight healing effect that should not be overlooked when attempting an escape or tanking a tower. A good trick with this is to turn it on when all your minions have aggro on the enemy hero for attacking you at their tower; they'll get severely damaged while the tower ignores you completely.
Summoner Spells [Offtank Taric]
Clarity: Sometimes seen as a "noob" summoner spell like Heal, this spell is crucial to Taric since it gives him the ability to stay in the lane for a very long time. You will almost never need to return to base, but I recommend doing so once you can afford Tear of the Goddess and possibly Mercury's Treads since those items will just make your lane staying ability stronger. Late game, this allows him to keep Radiance on longer while also being able to refresh allies who are out of MP.
Ghost: This ability is very versatile - whether it's to chase an enemy to Dazzle or to escape a dire situation, this gives Taric the adrenaline rush he needs to fight or flight.
Considerable Summoner Spells
Clairvoyance: Allows you to avoid ganks and track enemy junglers, but is replaceable with cheap Sight Wards or great map awareness and would either take away from your staying power or chasing/escaping power. This is considerable when you're laning with someone else with Clarity.
Cleanse: Viable, but not really needed - this ability's purpose on Taric would mainly to be get you out of stun so you can stun an enemy and heal yourself; you shouldn't need this ability if you know your limits, and Ghost would be superior if you do know your limits. This is considerable if you plan on going pure tank, but that isn't what this build is about.
Exhaust: Useful for some early game kills, good for some late game Physical DPS crippling, but its usefulness decreases in team fights, which is what late game should consist of. This is considerable if you don't plan on a long game or if you're laning with a squishy.
Flash: Some people prefer this over Ghost, but if an enemy has Ghost, they'll outrun your Flash over time. Decent for jukes in the jungle or quickly dodging crucial Skill Shots or abilities, but the cooldown is depressing and you shouldn't be caught in a bad situation to begin with. This is considerable when you are just beginning to play Taric or don't have great map awareness.
Fortify: Useful in situations where enemies tower dive you; stun into fortify almost guarantees a kill. Its usefulness is dependent on your team. This is considerable when your team has a lot of CC that keep divers inside the range or if your opponent's team has a backdoorer.
Rally: Gives you that extra edge in team fights late game, but Radiance and the long cooldown puts Rally at a lower priority than Clarity and Ghost. This is considerable when you're laning with someone else with Clarity.
Teleport: Allows Taric to help out situations in an instant; if you aren't good at positioning or map awareness. This is a considerable spell to aid your teammates when they need you most, but you just can't get there in time by walking; allows some crazy tricks to be done when enemies choose to tower dive.
Runes [Offtank Taric]
Greater Mark of Attack Speed provides Taric with early AS that allows for more last hits, more MP replenishment with Gemcraft, and quicker manual CDR on Imbue; it provides Taric synergy with Radiance mid to late game as well.
Greater Seal of Scaling Mana Regeneration provides Taric with increased MP Regen late game for Radiance as well as decent MP Regen early game to harass. It surpasses Greater Seal of Replenishment at level 7, and with Clarity, you should be fine with MP Regen until level 7.
Greater Glyph of Scaling Ability Power provides Taric with increased AP to improve all his basic skills. It surpasses Greater Glyph of Ability Power at level 6 which is before you even max Shatter, and early game isn't as dependent on Imbue if you sacrifice a few last hits. Sacrificing a few last hits early game allows you intense lane staying at higher levels so I suggest staying back and losing a few last hits until level 3+ or 4+ when you can successfully harass.
Greater Quintessence of Scaling Ability Power provides Taric that extra kick of AP without having to build items for it. It surpasses Greater Quintessence of Ability Power at level 12, but you shouldn't really need that little bit of AP to successfully harass early game and the extra AP is quite beneficial late game.
Masteries [Offtank Taric]
For Taric's mastery tree, I go a 9/0/21 build. This build allows Taric to use his Clarity and Ghost more often while still getting 15% MPen with the 9 in offense. Remember, if you're going to use other summoner spells, change up the masteries that boost Ghost and Clarity that I have set.
Utility Tree (Sections divided by Tier Rows)
Tier 1 has the basics of Utility. Haste (1/1) and Perseverance (3/3) are a given since Teleport isn't used and you shouldn't be dying that much, meaning Spatial Accuracy (0/1) and Good Hands (0/3) are useless or less prioritized. Haste (1/1) boosts Ghost in duration and speed, which lets you chase or escape faster, yay. Perseverance (3/3) increases your HP and MP Regen, which is simply amazing for Taric as a tanky support that gobbles MP with Radiance. If you aren't using Ghost, feel free to put that one point in one of the other masteries.
Tier 2 masteries help either early game or late game. Awareness (4/4) and Expanded Mind (0/4) are both masteries that are very useful to Taric. Awareness (4/4) allows you to level faster, which means you can harass earlier and Clarity will replenish more MP faster. Expanded Mind (0/4) is pretty good, but sacrifices some early game dominance for Taric and is only very useful late late game.
Tier 3 has plenty of useful masteries. Greed (0/1), Meditation (3/3), Utility Mastery (2/2), and Insight (1/1) are included. Meditation (3/3) for increased MP Regen early game; Utility Mastery (2/2) for increased buff duration - Golem buff works wonders with this, allowing you to keep Radiance on for very long periods of time. Insight (1/1) helps your allies get extra mana from your Clarity, and since you have summoner spell CDR, it'll aid your allies a lot. Greed (0/1) is pretty much useless for Taric; I mean, 360 gold in an hour? If you need this mastery you really should work on your last hitting skills, because Taric isn't that easy to harass.
Tier 4 masteries include Quickness (3/3) and Blink of an Eye (0/1) which are mobility related. Quickness (3/3) is maxed out to give Taric the chasing or escaping power that can mean a kill, stun, or escaping a gank. Since Flash isn't part of my build, I left out a point from blink of an Eye (0/1). If you happen to want to use Flash instead of Ghost, feel free to put a point into this mastery.
Tier 5 masteries include Intelligence (3/3) and Mystical Vision (0/1). Intelligence (3/3) offers good early game CDR, it's not really required since this Taric runs across plenty of CDR items, but allows Taric to easier dominate early game; remember that Elixir of Brilliance and Golem buff both provide CDR, though. Mystical Vision (0/1) is another summoner spell booster, and since it isn't used in my build, it's not really needed; again, feel free to put a point into it if you are using Clairvoyance.
The Tier 6 mastery is the final mastery in each skill tree, and the one for Utility is Presence of the Master (1/1). Basically, this skill allows you to use your summoner spells more often with unique summoner spell CDR. This reduces the cooldown of Clarity to 153 seconds from 180 seconds and Ghost to 178.5 seconds from 210 seconds. Basically, it lets you gank/escape or replenish your mana half a minute early! Very useful.
Offense Tree (Sections divided by Tier Rows)
Tier 1 masteries has the basics of Offense. Deadliness (1/3) and Archmage's Savvy (3/3) are recommended for Taric to increase his AP and allow him to hit harder once in a blue moon. Since Smite should never be used with Taric (unless you're one of those crazy jungle Tarics), Plentiful Bounty (0/1) is useless and should always be left at 0. Exhaust isn't in my build, but it is viable - if you are using Exhaust, feel free to take a point from Deadliness (1/3) to put into Cripple (0/1). Archmage's Savvy (3/3) should always be maxed in a 9/0/21 for Taric, though.
Tier 2 masteries focus on quicker actions. Really, the only reason I take Sorcery (4/4) instead of Alacrity (0/4) is the pre-requisite for the Tier 3 mastery. Both CDR from Sorcery (4/4) and AS from Alacrity (0/4) are useful for Taric, but in order to get the Tier 3 mastery of Archaic Knowledge (1/1), you must max Sorcery (4/4).
Tier 3 masteries focus on early game advantages, all except Archaic Knowledge (1/1). Archaic Knowledge (1/1) gives 15% MPen so that Taric's damage output late game isn't deterred by MR items or MR from leveling. Taric should not use Ignite so Burning Embers (0/1) is useless for him. Sunder (0/3) gives ArPen, but not percentage penetration, so it's practically useless late game; since Taric isn't really a DPS, he shouldn't be putting any points in this to begin with. Offensive Mastery (0/2) allows you to hit minions harder, but really, Taric hits hard enough to last hit very well, so this skill is useless as well. The only real option for Taric's last point is Archaic Knowledge (1/1) and for that you need Sorcery (4/4), so that explains Tier 2 and 3.
Items [Offtank Taric]
This item sequence allows you to gain amazing lane presence while almost never having to go back to replenish your MP after Tear of the Goddess is built, which is ASAP in my build order. Also, note that when building items, I have a lot of items that provide CDR. CDR maxes out at 40% and works additively! Keep that in mind when building the additional items. Sight Ward is a crucial item to avoid ganks - set one up between levels 3-5 to avoid ganks, since that's when a good mid or jungler will probably approach you.
Sight Ward is very important since Taric cannot take a well-planned gank that stuns him such as from Warwick's Infinite Duress or Amumu's Bandage Toss into Curse of the Sad Mummy. You should probably force yourself to get this item right after you get Tear of the Goddess or when you approach level 3-ish in a dual lane (or 5-ish in solo lane) since that's when most good junglers attempt their first gank; place it at the bushes at the edge of the river where junglers like to plan ganks to avoid them.
Spirit Visage makes Imbue heal you for 15% more, whether you're using it on yourself or an ally! Very useful for laning presence early game and tower tanking mid to late game. This item is should always be gotten right after Tear of the Goddess to give you basically permanent lane staying ability; one may opt to get this before Tear of the Goddess as well. Spirit Visage is recommended for early MR and CDR!
Mercury's Treads reduce MD from spells your enemies may try to harass you with and allow you to chase, escape, or travel faster by providing 25 MR and 2 MS units (70).
Manamune provides a growing max MP and AD that helps Gemcraft, Imbue spam, and lane staying. This effect stacks with masteries Perseverence and Expanded Mind to give you maximized utility. This item can be skipped if the opposing team deals too much damage, you'll still want a Tear of the Goddess, though; build into tanking items after Tear of the Goddess if this is the case.
Nashor's Tooth gives you 50% AS for Gemcraft and Imbue, 55 AP for all of your basic spells, MP Regen for increased lane staying, and 25% CDR for spell spammability. This item can be skipped if the opposing team deals too much damage; build straight into tanking items if this is the case.
Warmog's Armor provides Taric with survivability - up to 1370 max HP and 45 HP Regen. Couple this item with the other tanking items and Taric will be very sturdy. If you're going to build this, it's better if you build it early, but only if the enemy team isn't capable of nuking you! If they are, build this item after your Force of Nature or Randuin's Omen (depending on enemy team; Force of Nature is generally more useful and gotten first, if this is the case, build a Heart of Gold before starting Warmog's Armor. This item can easily be swapped out for armor or MR items, however, and should not always be built.
Force of Natureis mainly used for the 76 MR since it gives the most MR for a single item, although the 40 HP Regen and 8% MS bonuses are nice pickups. This item is a must-have when playing a team of spell nukers.
Randuin's Omen offers Taric 300 max HP, 25 HP Regen, 80 armor, and 5% CDR. This item also has 20% chance to slow the target's MS and AS by 35% for 3 seconds with each of Taric's attacks. That's not all - it has an active that slows MS and AS of surrounding units by 35%. This item also builds from Heart of Gold, so remember to build that item early if you're building this item to get that little income boost; keep Heart of Gold for as long as possible before building into Randuin's if you don't need the inventory space from combining Warden's Mail and Heart of Gold. Both Heart of Gold and Warden's Mail are recommended for early armor!
Archangel's Staff is the other item that builds from Tear of the Goddess, but instead of offering AD, it offers AP. Normally, I suggest building Manamune to compliment the AS from runes and Nashor's Tooth, but if you're not building Nashor's Tooth due to high harass, it is better to build Archangel's Staff since a Manamune without AS is almost worthless for Taric. When building this item, it is best to wait until Tear of the Goddess is finished charging MP since this Taric doesn't rely heavily on AP.
Thornmail is the best armor item and is easy to afford. It doesn't offer CDR, but if you have CDR maxed out, this item may be considered instead of Randuin's Omen. This item is also a must-have when playing against teams of strong DPS.
Banshee's Veil is definitely considerable when the opposing team is composed mostly of casters for the extra MR as well as spell block, especially stuns. Generally, I recommend this item after Force of Nature if the enemy team consists of 3 or more casters with high MDPS or when they have stuns that they might be hitting you with.
Quicksilver Sash is the cheap alternative to decent MR and Cleanse in a bottle of 105 seconds. You'll need good reflexes to use this item since it is an active; I recommend this item if they have stuns and you don't want to use Banshee's Veil due the almost 200% expense of the Veil. This doesn't give you HP or MP, but definitely has the Cleanse that helps escape or support situations.
Aegis of the Legion is beneficial to teams with mostly DPS, but also supports the team in survivability. It also provides Taric with a bit more armor than the aura, but its effect is a bit low for its cost; worth it if your team has the synergy to back it up.
Zeke's Harbinger is amazing on a team of mostly DPS and should definitely be considered if your team consists of 2-3 DPS. It also gives Taric 20% AS for faster strikes that help Gemcraft and Imbue.
Soul Shroud is good if your team doesn't max out their CDR with items already; ask around and see if you should build this item since it does provide CDR aura. It gives MP Regen and some HP as well, but that's easily overlooked late game.
Will of the Ancients is considerable when your team has 2-3 casters that rely on spells rather than AA. If this is the case, you should probably consider getting Soul Shroud above to provide them CDR as well.
Abyssal Mask is considerable when both teams consist of mainly casters that take AP and MR into consideration; Taric gets AP and MR from this item a well, but there are usually better options available.
Frozen Heart is not used often since my core items are built for CDR and max MP, thus this item is often overlooked due to better options for armor. You would really only get this item when the opposing team consists of ALL DPS. Building a Glacial Shroud early can get you a cheap 20% CDR with armor and a bigger MP pool to boot. Glacial Shroud is recommended for early armor and CDR!
Guinsoo's Rageblade offers Taric AD and AP while offering additional AS and AP through stacking with AA or skills; putting this item on Taric makes him a very good tower pusher but consequently lose a spot to build bulk, making him less durable.
Malady offers Taric AS and AP now, and is a viable replacement to Nashor's Tooth if you want to get to building tanking items due to excessive harass. This item is relatively cheap, but doesn't offer the MP Regen or CDR that Nashor's Tooth offers. The passive on Malady is almost worthless to Taric since he shouldn't be attacking until after his spells are used anyway, so the MR debuff would only slightly aid teammates. Personally, I'd probably just get one of the daughter items for Nashor's Tooth ( Stinger or Fiendish Codex) since it's about 600 gold cheaper than Malady - you have to choose between having AS or AP though, but a handy 10% CDR comes from both daughter items.
Playstyle [Offtank Taric]
Taric is a great laning hero, capable of zoning very well with a suitable partner using the Dazzle Shatter combo. However, he is also a great solo top due to his Imbue heal. I wouldn't suggest soloing if you were given the choice, but it's definitely a possibility.
When laning, it's best to lane with someone with a stun or snare so that you two can pile massive damage after Dazzle is used. Remember to keep your teammate healthy and watch from any signs of your jungler wanting to gank. When committing to a kill, use Ghost and Dazzle into Shatter like usual; hopefully your teammates get the idea to commit and net you guys a kill.
Early Game Phase
At levels 1-2, you should be trying to last hit all minions. If this isn't possible due to heavy enemy harass, sit back for a few levels - if you have full MP, consider using Dazzle to last hit some minions from a safe distance; otherwise, wait for the enemy heroes to push to your tower, then get some last hits in. If your laning partner can put on damage, have them try to pressure the enemies. Always heal with Imbue when your heal has 100% effect; this means as soon as you or your partner is under the amount Imbue heals, use it. If your partner was able to harass an enemy to low enough HP, stun them when they overextend and try to score a kill. You shouldn't need Clarity at this point, but if for some reason you do, feel free to pop it ASAP to get that CD timer started. If somehow you farmed enough by this time or got an early FB to afford a Tear of the Goddess, by all means, go back to base and get it while your ally stays.
At levels 3-5, you should be putting on a lot of pressure since you now have Shatter. The standard harass combo here is Dazzle the squishier enemy, run up, Shatter, one AA and back off, and perhaps use Imbue while running back. When doing this, make sure the enemy's laning partner can't thwart your efforts or kill you. If you're using Imbue like you're supposed to, you shouldn't die. After putting on pressure, get a lot of last hits and keep you and your ally healthy with Imbue. You can also use Shatter to last hit minions, but I suggest that for later. Somewhere in here, you'll probably need a Clarity - use it when you do! When being out-harassed, save the harass when they get in range of your towers so that they won't get aggressive on you after you Dazzle Shatter AA combo them! This is also the time where you should have Tear of the Goddess - if you were good enough at catching enemies off guard and got some kills, feel free to start building that Spirit Visage. This is also about the time you'll want to place a Sight Ward to avoid ganks.
At levels 6-8, you now have your ultimate, Radiance. If your lane is able to push with a lot of minions, turn on that ultimate and attack as much as you can! However, remember to know your limits and back off when enemy champions return or mid goes missing. The perfect chance to push is when your mid or jungler successfully ganks any of the enemy champions in your lane. 2v1 or 3v1 will definitely scare them off and almost guarantee you that tower kill. Your Shatter is also reaching its peak; at this point, one use and you should be able to one hit mage minions with your AA, which means you can use it for more than just harass now. Imbue is also stronger by now so that you can endure more harass. At this time, it's prime season for the Dazzle to Shatter to AA to Imbue combo since you should be able to back off with little to no net damage taken. This is also the time where you should have already finished Spirit Visage and started to build Mercury's Treads by having at least a Null-Magic Mantle; if you're skipping building of Nashor's Tooth, you should build a Heart of Gold or Negatron Cloak next depending on what you need. If your Sight Ward wore off, you should probably take the initiative to buy another one due to your awesome farming skills.
Mid Game Phase (Gank Phase)
At levels 9-13, Taric has a wide variety of choices to choose from. Shatter on the four wraiths in the jungle should one hit all the small ones and the big one should die in one AA. Jungle farming when switching lanes at this point is very viable. At these levels, Taric can begin making good use of Blue Buff from Ancient Golem. Ganks are viable by activating Ghost to charge in and Dazzle- Shatter- Radiance and AA while a teammate takes advantage of the stun time from Dazzle. Once ganked, see if other lanes have any missing and determine whether you can push the tower or not; if you can, keep Radiance on - if you can't, turn Radiance off and back off; when pushing, Taric is a viable tower tanker due to the 140% heal from Imbue and heal per second from Radiance. Aside from switching lanes while picking up jungle farm or helping gank and push, Taric can also simply sit right in the lane while another teammate leaves to gank. Taric is such a strong lane presence right now that he will rarely lose a tower to anyone - the only thing to watch out for is possible ganks from the jungle. Taric can defend 1v2 at a tower, but 1v3 is too much for him to handle at this level. Since income is now very variable, I will not be putting what you should have at a certain point in the game.
At levels 14-15, Taric gets higher level Dazzle which really doesn't offer much but slightly increased MD output. At this level Taric should definitely be leaving his lane and helping with ganks, pushing, or team fights even though his ultimate is still only level 2. Try to catch as many enemies with Shatter since it puts an armor debuff on them! Remember to keep farming gold and not fall behind in items to keep Taric bulky and scary. Use of Dazzle on jungle creeps is viable since you should have a sufficient mana pool now and want to build your max MP whenever possible. This is when I'd run an Elixir of Brilliance for the CDR or extra AP since team fights begin to become common near this phase of the game.
Late Game Phase
At levels 16-18, Taric becomes a clear force in team fights by providing +45 AD to allied champions while providing +90 AD to himself as well as allied minions with Radiance. Try to engage more with minions since they'll be doing a lot of the dirty work for you while enemies focus on your heroes. This is also the time where Taric can easily tank towers with allies while using 140% Imbue on himself and healing over time with Radiance while providing an AD bonus to minions, allies, and himself - make sure YOU have tower aggro!
At this point, however, Taric also becomes a main target for enemy teams to target - if you built tank items already, go ahead and get into the middle of things by starting with Radiance and using Dazzle on the enemy's DPS carry or someone who started channeling an ultimate, follow up with Shatter and try to catch as many enemy champions as possible to take advantage of the armor debuff. Use Imbue on your own DPS carry who's getting focused or whoever else looks like they're under heavy siege. After Imbue, start AAing the squishiest champions to get Gemcraft and Imbue boosted. If it seems that you've almost won the fight but you're almost OOM, pop a Clarity to keep that Radiance going and try to end the fight. If it seems that your team doesn't need Radiance anymore to win the team fight, feel free to turn it off to save some mana for pushing with Radiance soon after the battle.
If you haven't gotten many tank items, you should stay behind most of your champions while supporting them with Radiance on, Dazzle on the enemy DPS carry, Imbue on your DPS carry, and don't break Shatter to provide allies that +30 armor.
Tips & Tricks
Early game, you might be harassed to your tower. However, this is very helpful for getting last hits. Soldier minions can take two tower hits before dying, but early game Taric doesn't have the damage output to single shot it after the 2nd tower hit, so hit the Soldier minion once before the 2nd tower hit, and once after the 2nd tower hit to ensure a last hit. Mage minions work the same way, but they can only take two tower hits - just hit once before the 1st tower hit and once before the 2nd tower hit to ensure the last hit. Cannon minions are very easy to time since they receive reduced tower damage and you should have no problem timing a last hit on them. Shatter helps a lot in giving Taric damage to last hit with; be careful of the AoE that will allow the tower to steal last hits from you, though!
When being chased, have Radiance on and use Imbue on yourself whenever possible. Turn Radiance off if your mana has been drained to around 10% so you can still afford an Imbue on yourself and Dazzle on a chaser. Save Ghost for when they use their escape summoner spell or before if you're being targeted by heroes with burst damage. Also use Clarity if you need it to survive! The cooldown on Clarity is fairly short (~2.5 minutes) so don't be afraid to use it.
While attacking a tower with a lot of minions (1v1 or 2v2, not 1v2), if the enemy champion decides to foolishly attack you instead of the minions, turn on Radiance after minion aggro switches to said enemy champion(s) and use Dazzle and Shatter and start attacking them. Use Imbue to heal off hits from the tower. Always aim for the one with the minion aggro on because they will take the most damage. Pop a Ghost before Radiance if you think you'll barely escape after killing. Don't attempt if you can't be sure of a kill.
Dazzle stuns the longest when you're further away! So always try to use it at the edge of its range. This means be in range to cast it, but at the outer limits of the range. You don't want to show them your aggro outline which prompts them to back off due to an incoming Dazzle.
Playing off the above fact, aggro outlines appear whenever someone is specifically targeting your hero. In this case, Taric can fake a Dazzle by actually just selecting the Attack command on an enemy hero, often making the enemy back off.
Use Clarity BEFORE your mana runs out from Radiance to make it last longer! If your mana runs out, Radiance goes into a long cooldown and sometimes, you just need that extra 3-5 seconds of Radiance to win team fights.
If you happen to see a lone character defending a turret and an ally (one or more) is nearby, feel free to ping that character and dive it with Radiance and maybe Ghost on! Make sure YOU have turret aggro, stun the target with Dazzle, rush to them and Shatter then start auto-attacking, and let your teammates do the rest of the burst damage. Your allies and you will for sure kill them within a few seconds with the help of Radiance AD, and by using Imbue on yourself plus the healing from Radiance allows you to be pretty much unharmed by the turret. A lot of people are stupid and they'll try to hold to tower and let the tower kill your teammates, let them know that they're idiots for thinking Taric dies so easily by killing them!
When being turret dived by 1-2 champions, always do the following: Turn on Radiance to start healing and giving allied minions more AD, Imbue on yourself immediately after to start the cooldown counter, Dazzle the enemy attacking you, Shatter around the enemy creep wave and clear the wave ASAP so that they can't re-dive you if they choose to run out of turret range. As soon as Imbue comes off cooldown, heal yourself; as soon as Dazzle comes off cooldown, stun one of the enemy heroes (or just the lone one); use Clarity if your mana is running low from Radiance. If they are continuously chasing you and refuse to leave the turret aggro, show them that Taric has no fear of turret divers and run circles around your turret with Radiance on, Imbue healing you, and Dazzle stunning them, especially if they start to try to run. Shatter helps turrets damage enemy heroes more, so either use it or keep it to keep some survivability.
Taric has his maximized stun time from level one Dazzle and by leveling Shatter fast, he's a character to be feared when he can't be seen. These attributes call for abuse of brush. Whenever Taric is laning top or bottom (which he should NEVER be mid, top 1v1 or 1v2 is fine) he can use the brush to his advantage; Dazzle's range is pretty far and when you're in brush, an effective zone is created where the enemy can either stay and put themselves in danger, or stay out and lose out on last hits. Using the brush effectively to zone or harass your opponents is a great way to allow Taric free last hits, and he also reduces harass with Imbue so when you have some armor/MR, feel free to last hit without worrying about slight harass such as Transfusion, Siphon of Destruction, or Parrrley because you can just use an Imbue and heal 3x that damage (assuming Spirit Visage and appropriate armor or MR to defend against the harass).
After achieving level 5 Imbue, you can literally push down full towers with the help of a Seige (cannon) minion. These minions take 50% damage from towers, and with your heal, they simply WON'T die to a single tower's blasts with you healing it. This assumes that you have AS runes and are attacking the tower at all times and healing the Siege minion when Imbue comes off cooldown from your auto-attacks. This allows Taric to EASILY backdoor towers, while keeping ENTIRE waves of minions. If Imbue isn't level 5 yet, a weaker version of this can still be done, but the minion will most likely end up dying.
Summary & Closing
Basically, play smart as Taric. If you have survivability, get into the middle of things with Radiance, Dazzle stun the most threatening enemy target, and Shatter as many enemy champions as possible while using Imbue on anyone that needs it. This is the hardest multitasking for Taric - you have to keep an eye on where the most threatening enemy target is, where most of the enemy champions are, where your most threatened ally is, whether if you or allies need a quick boost of MP (Clarity), when to kick in that speed boost (Ghost), and most importantly, your HP. You want to stay alive to keep providing that +45 AD to your allies while stunning, debuffing, healing allies, and AAing enemy champions all while knowing when to replenish MP or kick in speed! Don't blink!
If you lack survivability, build tank items as soon as possible; stay behind your team setup and provide Radiance while Dazzle stunning anyone who gets close enough to you without you overextending and Imbue anyone in need. Since Shatter and HP are virtually untouched in this setup, you have less to worry about as Taric, but that doesn't mean you can slack off! You can blink, but don't do it too much. :P
I hope my guide has shown you a new light to playing Taric as more than just the supporter he's known for being. A few things to keep in mind is that silence and reduced healing really take a toll on Taric's harassing abilities. If you're laning against anyone with one of these, take caution or ask for a lane change. Be smart with Taric, you should not die at all early game, maybe a bit mid game if the enemy team focuses you, and rarely late game due to how bulky you become. This Taric's not just support, he's not just DPS, and he's not just a tank, he's more than just your average Paladin, one with every trick in the bag.
Q. Why not use MR Per Level Glyphs instead of AP Per Level Glyphs? It gives Taric more survivability!
Q. Is Randuin's Omen really needed? Taric has +30 armor from Shatter!
Q. What if the core build isn't working out? I'm getting harassed too much early game!
Q. Why build Manamune instead of Archangel's Staff? They both provide Taric with the mana pool he needs, but Archangel's Staff provides AP!
Q. Why not build Banshee's Veil & Frozen Heart as core items? Both increase Taric's mana pool and give Taric more damage with Manamune. Frozen Heart also gives a lot of CDR!
Q. Why is Spirit Visage built as a part of the core build? If AP is boosted, Taric is able to heal more as well!
Q. Why does your CDR from items surpass the 40% CDR cap?
Q. What exactly is this particular Taric's role during a team fight?
- Some sections renamed & reordered due to above change.
- Many little changes made to sections to clarify and add depth.
- Considerable Summoner Spells sub-section updated; now includes Teleport.
- FAQs section updated.
- Mastery Trees section updated; Expanded Mind reduced to 0/4 (-4), Meditation increased to 3/3 (+1), Intelligence increased to 3/3 (+3).
- Core Item Build Sequence section updated; now includes Kindlegem due to Spirit Visage combination changes.
- Core Item Build Sequence section updated; Sight Ward icon removed as the description explain when to get it.
- Core Item Build Sequence section updated; Sight Ward description updated.
- Tricks & Strategies section updated; now has advice on harassing, zoning, & denying using brush.
- Laning & Play Style section updated; Early Game Phase subsection updated to more accurately reflect the metagame.
- Added "Recommended for" tag to Heart of Gold and Warden's Mail.
- Item Sequence Build section updated; now includes Spirit Visage and no longer includes Warmog's Armor.
- Core Item Build Sequence section updated; now includes Spirit Visage, description also added.
- Situational Items Section updated; no longer includes Spirit Visage.
- Tricks & Strategies section updated; now has advice on turret diving.
- FAQs section updated.
- Situational Items section updated; Warmog's Armor description updated.
- Item Sequence Build section updated; Warmog's Armor is now built after Force of Nature.
- Item Sequence Build section updated; Manamune is now built before Nashor's Tooth.
- Core Item Build Sequence section updated; Manamune and Mercury's Treads descriptions updated.
- Core Item Build Sequence section updated; revamped basic item buying order.
- Core Item Build Sequence section updated; Manamune and Mercury's Treads descriptions updated.
- Item Sequence Build section updated; Nashor's Tooth is now built before Manamune.
- Table of Contents officially formatted for link usage!
- Skills & Rune Explanations section dissolved; now separated into their own sections.
- Sections switched around and renamed.
- Tricks & Strategies section added.
- Situational Items section updated; Warmog's Armor and Quicksilver Sash info updated.
- Changelog format updated.
- FAQs section added.