Getting to know the roles in League is imperative, so we’ve put together a quick guide to playing League of Legends tank champions

When played correctly, tank champions in League of Legends can completely dictate the flow of the fight. From soaking up damage to controlling key targets, they force the enemy team to play on their own terms. Effective tanks enable their carries deal damage safely, and their threatening presence blocks the enemy team for taking objectives.

The highs of the tank archetype are amazing, but its lows are equally miserable. Tanks who had a rough start or fail to itemize correctly can feel like wet paper in a fight. Furthermore, tanks are highly reliant on their team. So even if you did everything right, it’s still up to your allies to finish the job. While carry top and junglers come and go, tanks will always have a consistent place in the League of Legends meta.

Take Space and Demand Attention

The first concept that you’ll have to understand is that League of Legends is a MOBA, not an RPG. Tank champions aren’t a mandatory requirement of every team composition. Additionally, enemy players won’t default to attacking a simpleminded Shen blindly running towards them. Tank champions in League of Legends need to force enemies to take disadvantageous fights.

Depending on the game state, tank champions can take proactive steps to take space on the map. If you’re playing ahead, take towers and jungle objectives to force the enemy team to confront you head-on. If you’re playing behind, you need to buy space for your carries by split pushing and always showing yourself on the map. Good tank players know how to take on a sacrificial role without feeding the enemy team.

Adapt to the Champions

An important part of mastering League of Legends is knowing when to adapt your item build to have a better advantage. This is crucial for tanks as they have to consider what items to build resistance. After building your core items, assess whether you’ll need to build against AP, AD, or mixed damage. Buy the items that will help you do what you need to do for the game, such as getting Hullbreaker to split push.

Top and jungle tanks can get away with buying the same core build every game, but support tanks need to spend their small amount of gold carefully. Supports can assist the team with engaging with Shurelya’s Battlesong, or they could weaken key targets with Evenshroud. Sometimes, the simplest solution is running around the map looking for picks with Dead Man’s Plate. Tanks rely on their team, so you should always put them first before everything else.

Protect or Disrupt

Tanks usually have valuable crowd control and are expected to take a beating for the team. But whether you’re disrupting the enemy carry or protecting your own depends on your abilities and what your carry needs to deal damage. For example, Ornn is at its best in the frontline, throwing stuns and knock-ups like there’s no tomorrow. But if you’re fragile Kog’Maw instantly dies to the enemy Rengar, you’ll need to play conservatively with the ram to help them survive.

Another example is that all-in champions like Samira and Katarina are amazing at cleaning up teamfights, but are terrible at starting them. So you’ll need to do what you do best and start charging towards the enemy team. Set your ADC up for success and you’ll be at their nexus in no time.