Tanking is one of the most important aspects of League of Legends and can be extremely difficult to do correctly. You are normally the one deciding whether you are going to be going into a fight or not. It's crucial that a team have a good tank to succeed but tanking is a role given very little credit. Tanks receive a lot of the blame when a team does poorly and very little praise when doing well. I've noticed that this has caused many people to dislike tanking and it can be very difficult to find a good tank many times. Because of this I have taken up tanking to help the team so I have a lot of experience. For those of you that have not done much tanking and want to try it out or are looking for a new tank to play I wanted to outline what characteristics make a great tank.

Crowd Control

    Since we're not dealing with mobs like an MMO drawing attention to yourself is much harder to do in LoL. Crowd control effects do this by disabling the opposing team. From my experience most of the elite tanks have 2 CC effects out of their 4 abilities. This allows them to control the fight easier and keep enemies away from teammates.

Ability to Take Damage

    This is obvious but if you are going to be drawing attention to yourself you want to be able survive that attention. This ends up being based on the items you choose to buy more so than champion but building the right items to counter the other team is vital. If you are choosing a champion with the tank keyword you are going to have decent base defensive stats and from there on its up to you.

Ability to Deal Damage

    While it is not essential that a tank be able to deal damage it does draw more attention to you and away from you teammates and allows you to get some kills to keep your income up throughout the game. Also since you are the center of attention being able to deal AOE damage becomes even more useful.

Tier 1 Tanks

Rammus

CC - He has 2 crowd control abilities. The best taunt in the game along with powerball knock up that becomes a great initiation tool.

Tank - Can take lots of damage and remain in the middle of a fight due to defensive ball curl. Powerball becomes a useful escape ability when you do get into trouble.

Damage - His passive allows him to get damage stats while building tank items. His AOE ult does fairly decent damage as well.

Other - Rammus is a great initiator for the team, a decent jungler and has the skills to gank from the jungle.

Shen

CC - His taunt, while not as strong as rammus's has a dash included to increase the range. He does only have one CC move but his Shield makes up for this.

Tank - Shen can take damage with the best of them. Since he uses energy you are able to use your shield frequently during the early and mid parts of the game to prevent harass. You just have to be careful not to overuse the shield during team fights and save energy for taunt. He becomes really hard to push around in the lane when you combine that with healing from his Q.

Damage - Shen's passive allows him to deal bonus damage based on his total health pool. Like Rammus, this gives you the freedom to buy tank items and still get some offensive benefit.

Other - His global shield is one of the most rage inducing abilities in the game. There is nothing more frustrating than battling an opponent to near death and having Shen ult in to save them at the last second only to then die to him. If used correctly it somewhat gives you an extra life in big battles and can be used to bait people into overextending.

Amumu

CC - Bandage toss gives him great chasing and initiation ability and once he gets into a fight his ult is one of the most powerful in the game. A well placed ult can shut down an enemy team and win you the game.

Tank - Pretty standard tanking items allow him to take lots of damage but he doesn't have any abilities that aid him in that.

Damage - This is another area where Amumu excels. For a tank he does considerable damage with his AOE spells and Sunfire Cape. His tears do percentage health damage allowing you to not have to build any damage items while still dealing relevant throughout the game. His passive decreases enemy MR which translates to more damage for you and other magic damage champions on your team.

Other - His ultimate changes the way the other team has to play against you. It also combos with high damage AOE ults very well.

Alistar

CC - Alistar has a great CC combo that can lock a champion down until they are dead. His headbutt stuns the enemy champion for a considerable amount of time and then can pulverize to know them into the air. This is an amazing offensive ability but too few people use this to get enemies off of their squishies.

Tank - Alistar can seem unkillable at time because of his ult. The damage reduction is so significant that as long as he has a summoner skill and ult up he can get out of almost any bad situation. Without his ult up though he can become vulnerable so play accordingly. His heal allows him and his lane-mate to heal back damage from early harass.

Damage - This is the most offensive of the champions listed here. Many players build AP item along with tank items which allow him to do decent burst damage while still allowing him to take quite a bit of damage.

Other - Even with the nerfs Alistar still makes a great choice as a tank and may be good for players that want to be able to play a tank while still dealing damage. Be cautious though unless you have another tank on your team. Remember you are there to take damage and attention off your teammates, while you can deal decent damage your top priority is to keep your team alive.

    As you can see, all of these champions excel in at least two of the three crucial areas of tanking and some can do all three pretty well. This is what makes these champions top tier tanks with the most important aspect being 2 CC abilities. If you are thinking about starting tanking, try one of these champions first because they are by far the most powerful and will give you the best chance to succeed.

    I will likely be putting up my builds with many of these champions for reference
 


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