News LOL Game Coaching to Gold: Winning on a tank

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Getting stuck playing a tank can seem like a boring and unfun experience to some players. So often, we drift towards locking in our favorite carry champion, hoping to 1v9 and outskill our opponents.

But playing a tank can not only be just as exciting as ADC, it also makes for an easier win in lower ELOs since teams don’t have the mechanics or kiting ability to punish you.

Taking can be a great way to learn about the game, too.

But Gabriel, tanks are boring....

Nope. Believe it or not, tanks can actually be fun to play. Hitting massive crowd control abilities in fights is incredibly satisfying and playing a tank is also just mechanically less demanding. This makes things such as the lane phase and navigating teamfights much easier. You also have less positioning issues than you would with a carry.

Tanks have a great initial laning phase against most carries, especially with the help of the jungle. The team with a tank is a likely winner in a top lane 2v2. Something like Nautilus and Graves has a lot of kill pressure versus common top-jungle combinations in low ELO solo queue such as Tryndamere and Shaco. Calling your jungler up and getting an early advantage makes tanking for your team a breeze.

Access to your tanky stats before any damage dealing items on the enemy team makes you a deathball that actually has great kill pressure on squishy champions due to the relatively high base damage of your abilities on champions such as Maokai, Nautilus, Poppy, and Galio. Winning lane and being that unkillable monster is definitely an underrated aspect of tank play that can be rewarding.

Tanks and diversity

Tanks can also serve as utility beyond peeling. The usage of Zz’rot Portal in particular is a great way for tanks to completely pull apart uncoordinated teams, as they can tie up the enemy splitpusher (if there is one) and force advantageous fights as a result. Tanks can also use items such as Locket of the Iron Solari or Knight’s Vow to ensure that your carries can survive again over-commitment from the squishy members of the enemy team.

Beyond itemization, tanks also have diversity in their playstyle beyond just being meatshields. Galio and Shen have more splitpush capabilities thanks to their global ultimates, while Nautilus can CC all targets over extended periods of time. Maokai has heavy single-target pick potential, and Poppy has great disengage capabilities through her W and R. As such, it's really easy to find tanks that more effectively fit your playstyle or team's needs. The variety in tanks allows you to reap the rewards for selecting the right one against particular enemy team compositions.

The secret formula

Most tanks have waveclear built into their kits, so going all in on early game stats can help them keep the lane in a good place and relieve pressure very easily. This also helps them apply pressure and get information or priority on invades. Getting early health in combination with cheap items that provide similar durability will help you abuse your stat advantages much earlier. A combination of Spirit Visage and Knight's Vow is incredibly powerful in conjunction with items such as Locket of the Iron Solari, which are valuable items to build in the top lane in the current meta due to their prices, efficiency, and the way they're tied to early grouping.

Having an early impact is possible outside of your own lane as well. Using your Teleport summoner spell to collapse on another lane brings your team closer to getting the first tower, since you bring the needed crowd control to kill enemies and use that advantage to secure it. That early gold advantage and potential for a laneswap can punish the enemy team substantially as their carry top is denied by a 2v1 presence.

Little things like this can snowball easily in the tank's favor, and ensure that you're a threatening presence for the rest of the game. From there, peeling and tanking damage becomes much easier.

Gabriel Zoltan-Johan is a News Editor at theScore esports and the head analyst for the University of Toronto League of Legends team. His (public) musings can be found on his Twitter.

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