Saturday, 25 May 2024

How to Optimize Itemization for Tanks in League of Legends

Tanks play a crucial role in League of Legends by disrupting the enemy team and protecting their teammates. They create space and time for their carries to deal damage. To be effective, tanks must choose the right items that enhance their survivability and optimize their ability to fulfill their role. In this article, we will explore the key factors to consider when itemizing as a tank.

The Importance of Tank Itemization

Tanks rely on specific items designed for their role. Unlike bruisers, who benefit from flat attack damage and scaling with AD, tanks prioritize bonus health, resistances, movement speed, and ability haste. These stats allow tanks to withstand damage and provide utility to their team.

Understanding Damage Sources

To make smart itemization choices, it’s essential to assess the damage sources of the enemy team. This includes considering not only the thematic damage types of the champions but also the overall distribution of AD and AP damage. Knowing what damage you are likely to face during different stages of the game helps you build strategically.

For instance, in team fights, if the enemy team consists mostly of burst mages dealing AP damage, you may not need to invest heavily in magic resistance. Understanding the damage sources that pose a threat to you enables you to make informed decisions about your itemization.

Scaling and Balancing Resistances

Resistances scale negatively exponentially, meaning that early investment in resistances reduces more damage taken. As a tank, you’ll benefit more from resistances when you have a larger health pool. Therefore, it’s important to balance your resistances and not solely focus on one stat. Even against teams with little AP damage, having some source of magic resist can still be advantageous.

Balancing your resistances is also crucial. Building one resistance item (such as boots) and then opting for the other resistance after your core mythic item can significantly increase your tankiness with just two items.

Dealing with Threats and Counters

Opponents can build items that specifically counter tanks, such as magic penetration, armor penetration, true damage, and maximum health or bonus health damage. It’s essential to keep track of the enemy’s item builds, especially when facing an ADC with a Lord Dominik’s Regards, which poses a significant threat to tanks.

Certain champions, such as Cassiopeia, Aurelion Sol, and Vayne, are more problematic for tanks compared to others in their class. Thankfully, there are items available, like Frozen Heart, Randuin’s Omen, and Anathema’s Chains, that specifically reduce the damage from these targets.

The Role of Support Items

Supportive items are often overlooked when it comes to tank itemization. However, they can provide excellent defensive stats in terms of effective health. As a tank, your primary goal is to create opportunities for your teammates, making supportive items a valuable consideration. Items like Knight’s Vow, Zeke’s Convergence, and Locket of the Iron Solari are underrated choices for tanks. Knight’s Vow, for example, offers a 10 to 20% post-mitigation damage reduction for your main carry, making it an incredible item for team fights.

Healing items like Redemption and Moonstone can also be beneficial for tanks who scale with AP or possess shield/healing abilities. Pairing these items together, or combining Redemption with Radiant Virtue, can further enhance their effectiveness. However, it’s crucial to ensure that you still have sufficient defensive stats to maximize the benefits of healing in terms of effective health.

Tailoring Your Itemization

When deciding on your itemization, consider your role in the game. If you’ll primarily be frontlining for your team, focus on building for flat survivability, ability haste, and items that reduce the opponents’ damage, such as Frozen Heart and Randuin’s Omen. Additionally, items like Radiant Virtue can provide valuable utility for your team.

On the other hand, if your strategy involves diving into the enemy team, you’ll need to survive the damage from their backline while having stats that allow you to stick to your targets. Take into account how you’ll be playing out fights and select items that suit your playstyle.


Q: What are the main stats that tanks should prioritize when itemizing?

A: Tanks should prioritize bonus health, resistances, ability haste, and movement speed.

Q: Should tanks invest in both armor and magic resistance?

A: Yes, balancing resistances is important as it enhances your overall tankiness. Only stacking one resistance is not advisable.

Q: Are supportive items worth considering for tanks?

A: Yes, supportive items like Knight’s Vow, Zeke’s Convergence, and Locket of the Iron Solari can provide valuable defensive stats and utility for tanks.


Itemization is a crucial aspect of playing a tank in League of Legends. By understanding the damage sources, scaling and balancing your resistances, countering threats, and considering support items, you can optimize your itemization as a tank. Remember to adapt your item choices based on your role and playstyle to effectively fulfill your duties on the battlefield.