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 gains a stack of Triumph every time he impairs the movement of an enemy champion or large monster. At 4 stacks, he consumes Triumph to heal himself for 20% missing health.
  • Pulverize:
    • Renamed to Headbutt.
    • Range reduced to 250 from 365.
    • Cooldown reduced to 14 / 13 / 12 / 11 / 10 from 17 / 16 / 15 / 14 / 13.
    • Reworked: Alistar Airborne icon knocks away all enemies in front of him a set distance.
  • Headbutt:
    • Renamed to Stampede.
    • Reworked: Alistar rears his horns for the next 4 seconds, causing him to Grounded icon knock down and Airborne icon drag all enemies he runs into with him as he moves.
  • Trample:
    • Range reduced to 200 from 350.
    • Reworked: Alistar tramples the ground around him every second for 4 seconds. The first three pulses each Slow icon slow all affected enemies by 50 / 55 / 60 / 65 / 70% for 0.25 seconds, and the final pulse Stun icon stuns all affected enemies for 1 second. Each pulse after the first increases in range, and Alistar can reactivate Trample to end it on the next pulse, causing it to apply the Stun icon stun.
  • Unbreakable Will:
    • Reworked: Alistar delays all incoming damage, healing and crowd control for the next 4 seconds.

x20px Ornn

Niche: The Setup Tank
  • In spite of a pretty good design, Ornn has struggled to find his place in a game environment whose pace and level of damage saturation has left him lagging behind. While he doesn't need to operate at a faster pace or deal significant damage, Ornn does have the potential to push his niche further still as a provider of unique items. Currently, his twist on itemization leaves much to be desired, as it boils down to boring stat boosts on a select few items, which isn't conducive to the most appreciable gameplay. In addition, his main claim to fame, i.e. his Brittle debuff, awkwardly relies on synergy with others, while providing a boost that is often more appreciated for its damage than for its additional crowd control, despite its power. Ornn shines as a tank able to set enemies up for his allies' plays, and the goal of these changes is to tune him around that in a manner that would make his synergies more organic, while also giving his team true gameplay, rather than just more power.
  • Stats:
    • Is now a manaless champion.
    • Base attack damage increased to 81 from 59.72.
    • Attack damage growth increased to 7 from 3.5.
  • Living Forge:
    • Reworked: Ornn's abilities leave enemies they hit Brittle for 2 seconds, Slow icon slowing them by 50% for the duration. The effect ends early if the affected enemy is struck by a champion.
    • Additionally, Ornn's allies can commission him for a unique item which takes no space in their inventory. Ornn completes this item at the 20-minute mark, and each of the commissioner's takedowns reduce the completion time by 60 seconds. The items on offer are:
      • Obsidian Brigandine: Allows Ornn to collide with the wielder with Searing Charge, rendering the wielder invulnerable for 1 second after collision.
      • Endless Auger: Causes the wielder to deal 5% of Ornn's maximum health bonus physical damage upon striking a Brittle enemy.
      • Infallible Compass: Connects Ornn and the wielder, allowing one to target the other in order to begin a 4-second channel, blinking to the other's location upon completing the channel successfully. Has a 180-second cooldown.
      • Molten Chisel: Allows the wielder to target Ornn's Volcanic Rupture pillar with their basic attacks, spraying molten rock with each attack in a cone that renders affected enemies Brittle.
      • Hand-Carved Idol: Allows the wielder to use their ally-targeted abilities on Ornn regardless of distance.
      • Galvanized Helm: Causes Ornn to render the wielder unstoppable for 1 second every time he hits him with effects that would normally leave enemies Brittle.
  • Volcanic Rupture:
    • Damage removed.
    • Slow icon Slow removed.
    • Pillar delay reduced to 1 from 1.125.
    • Pillar no longer Airborne icon knocks aside enemies.
  • Bellows Breath:
    • Shield strength changed to 11 / 12 / 13 / 14 / 15% maximum health from 12% maximum health at all ranks.
    • Self-Slow icon slow removed.
    • Damage removed.
  • Searing Charge:
  • Call of the Forge God:
    • Damage removed.
    • Slow icon Slow removed.
    • Airborne icon Knockup is now a Stun icon stun instead.
    • While the elemental is moving towards Ornn, the player's camera pans out to show its full path.

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).

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. Additionally, her damage has occasionally been an issue, causing her to burst targets while locking them down. 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:
    • Is now a manaless champion.
    • Base attack damage increased to 81 from 56.
    • Attack damage growth increased to 7 from 4.
    • Base armor increased to 34 from 29.
    • Armor growth increased to 4 from 3.5.
  • Iron Ambassador:
    • Bonus damage removed.
  • Hammer Shock:
    • Damage removed.
    • Slow icon Slow increased to 30 / 40 / 50 / 60 / 70% from 20 / 25 / 30 / 35 / 40%.
  • Steadfast Presence:
    • Passive removed.
    • Duration reduced to 2 from 2.5.
    • Bonus movement speed increased to 60 / 70 / 80 / 90 / 100%.
    • Bonus movement speed now decays over the duration.
    • Damage removed.
    • Zone now Grounded icon knocks down and Grounded icon grounds all enemies within.
  • Heroic Charge:
    • Damage removed.
  • Keeper's Verdict:
    • Damage removed.
    • No longer Slow icon slows Poppy.
    • No longer grants Sight icon sight.
    • No longer renders targets untargetable.

SkarnerSquare Skarner

Niche: The Extractor
  • After going through three separate reworks, Skarner has still not yet landed in an ideal spot, and remains notoriously difficult to render appealing to most players. Though part of that likely rests on his theme and character, his biggest gameplay hurdle right now is that combat with him often boils down to a stat check, with no real potential for outplay-based variance. The main issue here is likely with his Q and W, which have no real highs or lows (they both have near 100% uptime, and consequently each cast doesn't feel spectacular). Additionally, his latest rework left him confused, placing him into full juggernaut space when he's also part tank, and shifting a lot of power into a gimmicky innate that rarely, if at all meshes with the pace of matches. The goal of these changes is to make Skarner's kit much more interesting for both him and his opponent, giving both sides more agency as well as more options to outplay each other, along with better-defined highs and lows, as well as clearer definitions of success and failure.
  • Stats:
    • Is now a manaless champion.
    • Base attack damage increased to 81 from 57.
    • Attack damage growth increased to 7 from 4.5.
  • Crystal Spires:
    • Renamed to Crystal Venom.
    • Reworked: Skarner's strikes against enemies affect them with crystal venom, which becomes active for 2 seconds after a 2-second delay. During this time, Skarner's next basic attack against the target Stun icon stuns them for 1.25 / 1.5 / 1.75 / 2 seconds, during which his movement also Airborne icon drags them along with him, consuming Crystal Venom.
    • After Crystal Venom is consumed or disappears, the target becomes immune to Crystal Venom for 10 seconds.
  • Crystal Slash:
    • Renamed to Energize.
    • Cooldown increased to 10 at all ranks from 3.5 / 3.25 / 3 / 2.75 / 2.5
    • Reworked: Skarner marks the target enemy for 2 seconds, gaining 80 / 100 / 120 / 140 / 160% bonus attack speed against them, and refreshing the mark with each basic attack.
  • Crystalline Exoskeleton:
    • Cooldown increased to 15 at all ranks from 13 / 12.5 / 12 / 11.5 / 11.
    • Shield duration reduced to 4 from 6.
    • Shield strength changed to 12 / 14 / 16 / 18 / 20% maximum health from 10 / 11 / 12 / 13 / 14% maximum health (+ 80% AP).
    • Bonus movement speed removed.
    • Now delays all crowd control applied to Skarner until the shield ends, whereupon all of it is applied at once.
  • Fracture:
    • Cooldown reduced to 14 / 13 / 12 / 11 / 10 from 14 / 13.5 / 13 / 12.5 / 12.
    • Projectile no longer slows down upon hitting an enemy.
    • Slow icon Slow duration reduced to 2 from 2.5.
    • Damage removed.
    • No longer marks enemies.
    • Cooldown reduction upon crystallizing enemies removed.
  • Impale:
    • Renamed to Earthen Depths.
    • Reworked: Skarner channels for 4 seconds, during which damage interrupts the channel, and upon completing it successfully, burrows into the ground, vanishing for 10 / 15 / 20 seconds, during which he can move freely, and pass through units and terrain. Upon reactivation or at the end of the duration, Skarner reemerges at his current location, leaving behind a tunnel formed at the start and end of the burrow, which remains for 4 seconds and can be used by Skarner to travel to the other end.

MaokaiSquare Maokai

Niche: The Spell Eater
  • Maokai's had a strange history: originally a supremely clunky champion, a visual and gameplay update significantly improved him by making some key changes to his abilities, allowing him to be significantly smoother and more functional. However, a later roster update shifted him in tone completely, giving him a ton of crowd control and a new, less original ultimate. That update treated him as an offensive initiator tank, but the reality is that the near-entirety of his kit is defensive in nature. The goal of these changes is to bring him back to defensive status, shifting him back to his previous niche as an interceptor of damage, and allowing him to lock down key damage-dealers by eating up their spells.
  • Stats:
    • Is now a manaless champion.
    • Base attack damage increased to 81 from 63.544.
    • Attack damage growth increased to 7 from 3.3.
  • Sap Magic:
    • Delay removed.
    • Health threshold removed.
  • Bramble Smash:
    • Damage removed.
    • Slow icon Slow removed.
    • Projectile now applies the Airborne icon knockback.
  • Twisted Advance:
    • Reworked: Maokai sends a group of slow-moving roots in the target direction, with each root Root icon rooting the first enemy they hit for 1 second.
  • Sapling Toss:
    • Damage removed.
    • Slow icon Slow changed to 30 / 35 / 40 / 45 / 50% from 35% at all ranks.
    • No longer empowers saplings in brush.
  • Nature's Grasp:
    • Cooldown reduced to 100 / 80 / 60 from 120 / 100 / 80.
    • Active reworked: For the next 4 seconds, all nearby enemy abilities that pass near Maokai are intercepted and stopped completely, applying their effects to him instead.

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.
    • 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 10.5 - 2 (based on level) seconds shields him for 10% maximum health for 2 seconds.
  • Twilight Assault:
    • Renamed to Twilight Shift.
    • Energy cost reduced to 30 from 140 / 130 / 120 / 110 / 100.
    • Cooldown removed.
    • 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 40 / 35 / 30 / 25 / 20 from 40.
    • Cooldown removed.
    • Reworked: Shen blinks to the nearby target allied champion or himself and becomes unstoppable for up to 0.75 seconds, during which he intercepts the next instance of large monster or enemy champion damage against the target. Upon intercepting, he blinks behind the enemy who inflicted the damage.
  • Shadow Dash:
    • Energy cost reduced to 50 from 180.
    • Cooldown removed.
    • 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 from 3.
    • Ally 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:
    • Is now a manaless champion.
    • 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, regenerating it over 4 seconds while not having been struck in the past 4 seconds.
  • Tongue Lash:
    • Damage removed.
    • 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.
    • 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 Critical strike icon 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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