With League of Legends Patch 8.16 fast approaching, one thing that Riot plans on looking at more intensely is the state of tanks. Meddler, the Lead Gameplay Designer for League of Legends spoke about the current state of the role in his latest Quick Gameplay Thoughts.
Support Tanks >
According to Meddler, it all starts with where tanks are being played and said, “Tanks played as supports are generally performing pretty solidly. Jungle and top tanks by contrast are more likely to struggle. A lot of that reflects what a team expects from higher gold/XP positions. Many tank patterns front load a lot of their contribution, which tends to be pretty consistent in power (CC that isn’t very item/level dependent in particular). That means support tanks are more likely to still justify their spot even if tanks overall may be weaker.”
Champions such as Sion, Volibear and Taric fall into this category, with the trio falling within the top 10 win percentage according to champion.gg. To contrast that, Sion, when played as a top laner, falls outside the top 20 in win percentage, proving Meddler’s point.
Meddler also spoke about the current meta and how tanks don’t have much of a major role and said, “[The] combination of some tanks (jungle and top struggling) and lower general appeal means metas occur, such as the present one, where there are few being played. That contributes to damage feeling high for a couple of reasons. Teams without tanks lack a front line, so tend to get burst more due to the lack of soak/zoning. Metas without tanks also mean it’s more likely that each team has 4, or even 5, damage threats on it as well though, especially if enchanters (the main other non damage group) are also being played less. Even if any individual champion’s damage isn’t any higher the game’s going to feel much more lethal when there are 1, or even 2, more high damage champs per team.”
In order to try and rectify the tank situation, Meddler suggests that Riot will be testing out some buffs in 8.16. Those tanks have been speculated to be: