Tanks are a bit of a mystery. The definition of what a tank is, or what they're supposed to do, has remained hazy throughout League of Legends's history, to the point where it's not only difficult to say precisely what the role of a tank should be, but also to differentiate between "true" tanks and very tanky fighters. A lot of this has to do with tanky itemization having really poor specialization, and simply providing extra durability instead of specializing all that well into durability for the sake of dealing persistent damage (i.e. items for fighters, namely divers and juggernauts, though the Juggernaut update has added some of these), and durability that rewards less damage-oriented plays such as applying persistent crowd control, locking down targets or just absorbing damage for the rest of the team (i.e. items for tanks). As a result, durable fighters and tanks overlap heavily, to the point where they're usually picked for the same reasons ("I want a champion who can take a lot of damage"). Another part of the problem comes from tanks themselves, many of whom weren't designed to function as proper tanks so much as be very durable and full of crowd control. While itemization changes are likely a matter for another page, there are a few changes to tanks that could clearly separate them from fighters. The goals of the changes below are the following:

The core difference between a tanky fighter and a proper tank should be that a tank builds tanky because they derive power from getting enemies to focus them, whereas a diver or juggernaut wants to be durable because they should expect to take damage anyway. Whereas any other champion would want to steer clear of damage whenever they can, a tank should want to throw themselves into a crossfire and draw as much attention to themselves as possible. Moreover, a tank's playstyle should force people to focus them: tanks should be able to remain a threat even when kited, contrarily to fighters, and their threat generation should be their greatest and most visible asset.

While a tank can deal a fair amount of damage, and should be able to have their damage scale somewhat, a tank's optimal playstyle should not be to try and kill their targets, so much as grab their attention, and tanks should reward their players for playing more selflessly. While some tanks step a little into fighter territory, such as MaokaiSquare Maokai or SejuaniSquare Sejuani, tanks should feel satisfied even when they die without getting a kill, as long as they diverted the enemy's attention to themselves at the right time.

One of the reasons why tanks and fighters often overlap is because they tend to contribute many of the same features, namely durability and crowd control. However, whereas fighters should only be able to lay down crowd control in bursts or low amounts, tanks should be able to be the only champions capable of applying CC to enemies persistently, and do so in amounts that would be unbalanced on any champion capable of dealing large amounts of damage. Any fighter should clearly be going into battle and using their crowd control with their intention to kill, whereas a tank should be happy as long as they get to constantly output crowd control, or whichever other unique tank mechanics they have in store.

Currently, tanks are split into two groups, Vanguards and Wardens, with Vanguards being more offensive and Wardens being more defensive. This is a really good starting point, since there are clearly tanks who want to be in the thick of the enemy team, and tanks who want to spend more time next to their allies and save them from trouble, but the Vanguard class could benefit from a further split: out of all offensive tanks, some clearly specialize in locking down specific champions via persistent, strong, and mostly single-target crowd control, like NautilusSquare Nautilus or LeonaSquare Leona, whereas others much prefer trying to catch as many enemies as possible with their AoE abilities and disrupt the entire team at once, e.g. AlistarSquare Alistar or AmumuSquare Amumu. These two sets of tanks have very different playstyles and contributions, and would require different kinds of bonuses if they were to be specifically catered to via itemization. The first group, Lockdown Tanks, would prefer duelist-type effects that would allow them to focus single targets even better, whereas the second group, Disruptor Tanks, would instead prefer to scale with the number of enemies around them.

AlistarSquare Alistar

Niche: The Crowdstopper
  • A champion who has long suffered from a rift between competitive and standard performance, Alistar received a mini-rework that significantly bridged the gap, letting him do more things within fights while shifting his less interactive power to his passive. His kit has effectively become much tighter and more fun, but some issues still remain: his W+Q combo competes directly with MalphiteSquare Malphite's Unstoppable Force, and his damage feels weak due to being spread across his kit. The main goal of these changes is to chip at some power he isn't meant to have, and push him further into disruptor space as a major provider of AoE hard crowd control.
  • Stats:
    • Is now a manaless champion.
    • Base attack damage increased to 81 from 61.112.
    • Attack damage growth increased to 7 from 3.62.
  • Triumphant Roar:
    • Renamed to Triumph.
    • Reworked: Alistar heals himself for 50% missing health upon taking down an enemy champion or large monster.
  • Pulverize:
    • Range increased to 500 from 365.
    • Damage removed.
    • Airborne icon Knockup duration changed to 0.5 / 0.75 / 1 / 1.25 / 1.5 from 1 at all ranks.
  • Headbutt:
    • Range increased to 750 from 650.
    • Reworked: Alistar dashes in the target direction, Airborne icon knocking back every enemy he passes through 250 / 375 / 500 / 625 / 750 units over 0.5 / 0.75 / 1 / 1.25 / 1.5 seconds.
  • Trample:
    • Reworked: Alistar tramples the ground around him every second for 5 seconds, Slow icon slowing all affected enemies by 50 / 55 / 60 / 65 / 70% for 0.25 seconds each time, and gaining a Trample stack each time a pulse affects at least one enemy champion. At 5 stacks, Trample's last pulse Stun icon stuns all affected enemies for 0.5 / 0.75 / 1 / 1.25 / 1.5 seconds.
  • Unbreakable Will:
    • Reworked: Alistar grants himself 100 / 150 / 200% maximum health bonus health, decaying at a rate of 10% maximum health per second until the bonus health is consumed.

SionSquare Sion

Niche: The Area Denial Tank
  • Sion's relaunch is perhaps the most successful change to ever happen to any champion, turning him from one of the worst-designed champions in the game into one of the best. He is incredibly fun to play and play against, and unlike Old Sion, brings meaningful and valuable contributions to every fight. His niche as a disruptor tank who creates zones of extreme threat is well-set, and he adds gameplay to both teams in every fight he's in. With that said, he has a few small flaws, and suffers from a little bit of over-design: his passive, while thematically awesome, is disappointing in practice, and the amount of effects tagged on to his kit has cost him a great deal of satisfaction by siphoning power away from his other skills. The goal of these changes is to clean up the parts of Sion's kit that give him less satisfaction, and concentrate his power towards effects that were forced to be toned down over time, as well as amplify his health-stacking fantasy enough to consistently let him get the highest health in the game.
  • Stats:
    • Base health increased to 606 from 542.64.
    • Health growth increased to 82 from 73.
  • Glory in Death:
    • Renamed to Flesh Golem.
    • Reworked: Sion gains 5 bonus health upon taking down an enemy, increased to 25 bonus health against large enemies.
  • Decimating Smash:
    • Minimum damage changed to 0 / 10 / 20 / 30 / 40 (+ 100% AD) from 20 / 40 / 60 / 80 / 100 (+ 65% AD).
      • Maximum damage changed to 0 / 30 / 60 / 90 / 120 (+ 300% AD) from 60 / 120 / 180 / 240 / 300 (+ 100% AD).
    • Damage is no longer reduced against monsters and minions.
  • Soul Furnace:
    • Mana cost reduced to 65 at all ranks from 65 / 70 / 75 / 80 / 85
    • Passive removed (moved to Flesh Golem).
    • Shield AP ratio removed.
    • Shield base strength changed to 40 / 55 / 70 / 85 / 100 from 30 / 55 / 80 / 105 / 130.
    • Detonation threshold reduced to 2 seconds from 3.
    • Damage type changed to physical from magic.
    • Damage changed to 「 the shield's strength 」「 40 / 55 / 70 / 85 / 100 (+ 6 / 7 / 8 / 9 / 10% maximum health 」 from 40 / 65 / 90 / 115 / 140 (+ 40% AP) (+ 10 / 11 / 12 / 13 / 14% of target's maximum health.
  • Roar of the Slayer:
    • Mana cost reduced to 35 at all ranks from 35 / 40 / 45 / 50 / 55.
    • Armor reduction removed.
    • Projectile no longer deals bonus damage.
    • Damage type changed to physical from magic.
    • Damage changed to 80 / 110 / 140 / 170 / 200 (+ 60% bonus AD) from 70 / 105 / 140 / 175 / 210 (+ 40% AP).

MaokaiSquare Maokai

Niche: The Spell Eater
  • Maokai's gone a long way from his original, clunky self, and most of his current ability set truly shines, offering meaty (bark-y?) satisfaction in its use as well as impactful contributions in both dueling and teamfights. The exception to this, though, is his ultimate, which carries a lot of power without feeling especially amazing on its own, as is often the case for stat aura-type bonuses, and has recently had its cooldown bumped to less fun levels. In general, Maokai is still an amazing champion, so the goal of these changes isn't to drastically change his playstyle, but rather to make his ultimate feel more powerful while maintaining the same niche, and also push him a little closer towards his lore/gameplay fantasy of getting into the thick of combat and absorbing as much of the enemy's magic as he can.
  • Vengeful Maelstrom
    • Mana cost removed.
    • Cooldown increased to 100 / 80 / 60 from 60 / 50 / 40.
    • Active reworked: Maokai shields himself for 50 / 75 / 100% maximum health for up to 10 seconds. While the shield holds, all nearby enemy abilities that pass near him are intercepted and stopped completely, applying their effects to him instead. After 5 seconds, Maokai can detonate the shield if it still holds, dealing 150 / 250 / 350 (+ 80% AP) magic damage to all enemies in the interception area, and the shield will detonate automatically at the end of its duration.

PoppySquare Poppy

Niche: The Anti-Frontliner
  • Poppy's relaunch has been a tremendous success, giving her a true place in the game and an ability set that feels impactful and fun. There's not much to be improved here, though her old passive and mixed damage may not really be worth keeping on a kit that's already good at both dealing with aggressive opponents and leading the charge. The goal of these changes is to move some of her less visible power towards parts of her kit that deserve a little bit more visibility, while also updating her dash denial using Ground, a crowd control type more appropriate for the ability's purpose.
  • Stats:
    • Base armor increased to 34 from 29.
    • Armor growth increased to 4 from 3.5.
  • Iron Ambassador:
    • Damage changed to 15 - 100% (based on level) armor (+ 15 - 100% (based on level) magic resistance) physical damage from 10 - 180 (based on level) magic damage.
  • Steadfast Presence:
    • Passive removed.
    • Bonus movement speed increased to 30 / 35 / 40 / 45 / 50%.
    • Damage removed.
    • Zone now Grounded icon knocks down and Grounded icon grounds all enemies within.

ShenSquare Shen

Niche: The Interceptor
  • Shen's identity is full of interesting contradictions: he's a ninja tank, an ally-oriented champion who usually starts out in a solo lane or the jungle, a duelist who thrives in teamfights. It is surprising that such a weird identity could ever lead to a functional champion, and that he remains to this day both successful and popular is amazing. However, he has also suffered from a much more mundane problem throughout his run: he doesn't feel all that powerful or exciting to play, even if he is strong and capable of doing incredible, unique things. A recent rework put him back on the map and gave him many more high points, as well as a much more interactive laning phase, but didn't really fully solve that problem, and added in a gameplay mechanic that felt fairly alien to him, as well as some degree of redundance (i.e. the combination of his shield and dodge). A lingering issue with his kit is also that of his scalings: while he now scales properly with health, his AP ratios mean building AD or attack speed on him, which should normally be his go-to early damage stats, is less immediately obvious than it should be. The goal of these changes is to condense his power around a more easily recognizable set of stats to build, as well as establish a set of gameplay hooks that would feel more appropriate for his playstyle, allowing him to both aid allies and target enemies without having to handle an additional object on the battlefield.
  • Stats:
    • Energy reduced to 100 from 400.
    • Energy regeneration reduced to 25 from 50.
    • Health growth increased to 85 from 73.
    • Armor growth increased to 4 from 2.6.
    • Base attack damage increased to 81 from 60.
    • Attack damage growth increased to 7 from 3.
    • Attack speed growth increased to 5% from 2%.
  • Ki Barrier:
    • Reworked: Shen's next ability use every 11 - 2.5 (based on level) seconds shields him for 10% maximum health for 2.5 seconds.
  • Twilight Assault:
    • Renamed to Twilight Shift.
    • Energy cost reduced to 25 from 140 / 130 / 120 / 110 / 100.
    • Cooldown increased to 10 at all ranks from 8 / 7.25 / 6.5 / 5.75 / 5.
    • Reworked: Shen prepares to shift to the spirit realm, shifting after 1 second. Shifting brings any nearby champions, ally or enemy, and non-epic large monsters in with him, where they reappear in a parallel realm with no other units for 2 / 2.5 / 3 / 3.5 / 4 seconds, becoming invisible and untargetable to everyone within the physical realm, while also being unable to see or target anyone there as well. At the end of the duration, Shen and all shifted units reappear at their respective locations in the physical realm.
  • Spirit's Refuge:
    • Renamed to Spirit Step.
    • Energy cost reduced to 10 from 40.
    • Cooldown reduced to 14 / 13 / 12 / 11 / 10 from 18 / 16.5 / 15 / 13.5 / 12.
    • Reworked: Shen guards himself for 0.75 seconds, causing him to intercept the next instance of enemy champion or large monster damage during that time, including projectiles that pass through him without being directed at him. Upon intercepting, he blinks behind his target, Silence icon interrupting them, Grounded icon knocking them down and Slow icon slowing their movement away from him by 20 / 25 / 30 / 35 / 40% for the next 2 seconds.
  • Shadow Dash:
    • Energy cost reduced to 45 from 180.
    • Passive removed.
    • Damage removed.
    • Taunt icon Taunt duration changed to 1 / 1.25 / 1.5 / 1.75 / 2 from 1.5 at all ranks.
  • Stand United:
    • Channel duration reduced to 2.5 from 3.
    • Shield removed.
    • Shen now uses himself as a shield: all damage taken by the target while channeling is inflicted upon him instead, with his health and shield values listed as his target's shield.

Tahm KenchSquare Tahm Kench

Niche: The Target Remover
  • Tahm Kench has been a controversial pick the moment players realized the power of his kit, particularly his Devour. While pretty good at going for the enemy team, locking down key targets and protecting key allies, Tahm's strength has often spilled into less pleasant avenues, such as overly strong ally escapes and oppressive lane bullying. For a tank with no real mobility, Tahm doesn't really feel like his weaknesses are all that tangible, with tremendous reach on his abilities and pretty impressive sticking power that can massively punish opponents for trading with him. The goal of these changes is to put more emphasis on his weaknesses, reducing his overall ranged threat, bullying potential and even his mobility, as well as trimming off some excess power in certain places, while unlocking much more power in key parts of his kit, such as his ability to capture enemies where he wants them and shrug off poke. In the end, Tahm deserves to be a near-immovable object who can only be truly dealt with through proper combat, but should also give his opponents plenty of opportunities in the meantime to outmaneuver him and take advantage of his low effective range.
  • Stats:
    • Base health increased to 800 from 610.
    • Base attack damage increased to 81 from 56.
    • Attack damage growth increased to 7 from 3.2.
    • Movement speed reduced to 325 from 335.
  • An Acquired Taste:
    • Renamed to Glutton for Punishment.
    • Reworked: Tahm Kench converts 40 / 60 / 80 / 100% of the damage he takes into Grey Health.
  • Tongue Lash:
    • Damage changed to 100% AD physical damage at all ranks from 80 / 130 / 180 / 230 / 280 (+ 70% AP) magic damage.
    • Slow icon Slow strength reduced to 30 / 35 / 40 / 45 / 50% from 30 / 40 / 50 / 60 / 70%.
    • Slow icon Slow duration reduced to 1 / 1.25 / 1.5 / 1.75 / 2 from 2 at all ranks.
    • Empowered effect removed.
    • Can no longer be used to Devour non-champions from a distance.
  • Devour:
    • Cooldown reduced to 10 at all ranks from 14 / 13 / 12 / 11 / 10.
    • Range reduced to 175 from 250.
      • Range is now calculated edge-to-edge rather than center-to-center.
    • Reworked: Tahm Kench channels indefinitely and remains immobile for the duration, during which time any champion can click on him to jump through his mouth into his belly, ending the channel and placing themselves in Stasis icon stasis for up to 1 / 1.5 / 2 / 2.5 / 3 seconds, during which they can exit at will. Moving or reactivating Devour cancels the channel.
      • Champions need to be able to move in order to enter Tahm Kench's belly.
    • Can also be cast on any enemy critically struck by Tahm Kench in the last 4 seconds, bar epic monsters, placing them in Stasis icon stasis for the same duration and preventing them from exiting.
    • Regurgitating non-champions no longer launches them or causes them to deal damage to surrounding enemies.
    • Using Abyssal Voyage no longer disables Devour.
  • Thick Skin:
    • Cooldown reduced to 10 at all ranks from 16 / 15 / 14 / 13 / 12.
    • Passive removed.
    • Shield now decays over 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6 seconds, instead of remaining static for 3 seconds.
  • Abyssal Voyage:
    • Active reworked: Tahm Kench channels for 1.5 seconds before blinking to the target area, which bubbles to signal his arrival.
      • Tahm Kench can travel while his belly is full, but only if whoever's inside entered willingly.

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