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[Strategy discussion] Tanks in ARAM

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Hey guys, I have a question for all of you and it's this:

How valuable is a tank in ARAM and what champions work best in aram when built as a tank but are also common as damage dealing builds?

The reason I ask this is because very often I see a team of 3-4 damage dealers (like adc, mage or assassins) and a potential tank that builds straight damage instead of taking the more obious tank role. These comps almost always seem to lose as without a tank everyone is squishy and easily picked off or the entire team is wiped before they have a chance to use their potential damage.

I personally think that having at least one tank in ARAM is vital to your team's chances of survival, especially if you can get a tank that has nice CC. That way the tank can keep people off the more damage oriented champions and maybe make it more likely to score kills on the enemy main damage dealer(s).

There are ofcourse champions that are already obvious to build as tank like Mundo, Leona and Volibear. This is a small list of champions that I feel benefit themselves and the team most if they build as tank or at least high survivability but I often see them with full damage builds even if no other tank is available:
- Aatrox
- Amumu
- Blitzcrank
- Darius
- Jarvan
- Lee Sin
- Malphite
- Mordekaiser
- Poppy
- Thresh
- Trundle
- Udyr
- Warwick
- Wukong
- Yorick

Now that I have said this, it is time for everyone who does or does not agree to discuss How valuable do you think a tank in ARAM is? What champions are useful as tanks or high survivability fighters? What conditions do you consider when you decide if you are going to play tank in ARAM?

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Nerf Mister Yi

Junior Member


What conditions do you consider when you decide if you are going to play tank in ARAM?

Pretty much always.

In the case where you're going against high range and high poke, getting tanky is important so that you're healthy enough when it's time to engage and fight.

In the case where both sides are very short-ranged (there are usually a lot of fights in these kind of games), getting tanky is indirectly increasing your damage output. By surviving for a long time, you get to survive the initial burst and end up being able to auto-attack more and ditching mroe than 1 rotation of spells. Even if your spells do less damage, the fact that you're so tanky makes you almost unkillable, resulting in you sticking around for an entire fight instead of getting blown up (which would be the case if you're squishy) and doing no damage at all.

Also there's a fine line between being tanky and being "too" tanky. If you're an Alistar or a Garen, theres no point in getting 3-4 tank items. You want to put yourself in a situation where you're tanky enough to not die within the first couple seconds of a fight and ditch enough damage that you can't be ignored.

Something I like to do on champs like Darius is start with Aegis components, then get a guardian's horn, perhaps a cowl if they're magic heavy, and then go straight to dmg items (cleaver/hydra/botrk depending on what would work best in the game).

Tanky items are so cost efficient that you don't need to fully upgrade them to be tough to kill. Also some items give you both tankinss and damage at the same time, like Abyssal. That item should always be one of the first you should get on an AP bruiser (like malph/maokai/galio).

CDR is also a valuable stat on melee since their ultimates are usually very impactful (like amumu/malph/sej/galio). And a lot of cdr items also grant tankiness, like visage/face/locket/frozen heart/gauntlet.

A couple of champions I would add to your list are Xin Zhao / Akali / Diana / Cho'Gath / Irelia / Jax / Renekton / Riven / Vi. These champion doesn't need items to ditch insane amounts of damage. You don't have to build FULL tank, but 1 or 2 tanky items are often a good idea.

However, Wukong/Poppy I feel like can get away with going glass. Poppy's passive makes it inefficient to build hp items on her. If you're having trouble laning, orb of winter is a good buy on her. Other than that, her passive gives her all the tankiness she needs. As for Wukong, you should get SOME tankiness if needed, but Brutalizer and damage items (tiamat/lw/cdr boots/cleaver/hydra) goes so well on him. It's hard to justify not getting them.

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Junior Member


I'm often going tank in ARAM, and when I do, I usually end up winning the game. Doubling the life-span of a great damage dealer is just as good as doing the damage yourself.

In my opinion a good tank is solely defined by his kit. He needs something that can reliably stop an enemy from killing your teammates, plus some natural tanky-ness without any items. The later is pretty obvious, a tank Janna isn't going to work well since she is really squishy without AP items improving her shield, despite having a knock-up, slow and knock-back. That's also why I don't think of Garen as a great tank - there is literally nothing he can do to prevent a Fizz, Yi, Riven or similar champion from diving into your team and murdering whoever they feel like instead of you.

For the same reason, I'd take three champions off your list: Aatrox, Mordekaiser and Wukong.

Aatrox has a good kit, but with all of his ability costing a percentage of his life, while is W only returns a flat amount makes him effectively kill himself when built into a tank.

Mordekaiser stays alive through iron man, spell vamp, life steal from his ult and his shield, all of which are affected by AP and CDR. Building him into a full tank doesn't really make him a lot more survivable, but less dangerous, since he has no disables. When a Katarina, Yi or Fiora jumps into the middle of your team, a damage-oriented Mordekaiser can deal with them a lot easier than a tanky one.

Wukong doesn't really have a kit to protect anyone. His ult can drive people away, but has a long cooldown, plus his W doesn't really match with a role that want to be attacked. As above, using your damage to stop threats is probably going to be more effective than stacking tank items, just to be ignored.

In addition to those which Nerf Master Yi above me named, I'd also add Sion, Rek'sai and Skarner to the list champions which make great tanks, but are usually played as pure damage dealers. All of them have some sort of disable, benefit from being close to many enemies, deal high damage without a lot of items and are hard to kill due to shields or sustain.
I disagree on Alistar needing to build damage though - knocking up half their team and head-butting damage dealers out of team-fights/into your team/underneath towers already makes you pretty hard to ignore. Gauntlet is usually all you need.

There are also a few AP champions which do really well as tanks by building Tear, Staff of Infinity, Frozen Heart and then Archangel's Staff. You can then follow up with Rylai's, Hourglass or Abyssal Scepter on top of one or two "true" tank items (Rabbadons or Spirit Visage). That way you become really hard to kill without sacrificing a lot damage. Champions that work well that way are Lissandra, Gragas, Maokai, Morgana, Nautilus, and Vladimir.