- Pre match/Draft analysis
- Laning and jungle
- Post match analysis
I. Pre-match/Draft analysis
Winning begins at the moment your team picks your line-up. If you want to advance in ranks, you must know each hero?s abilities and the combinations in a team that they are capable of.
I chose this Legend-Epic five-man Ranked game with my ML friends, whom I play with almost everyday. I am the Minotaur in this match.
Based on this our team has the following advantages:
- Superior crowd control.?Minotaur and Akai both have AoE CC they can execute to control the match. Vexana?s CC will also allow disable or protect her from divers.
- Higher durability.?Minotaur and Akai can absorb more damage for teammates than Leomord and Aldous. While the fighters can be durable, they are not there to protect unlike real tanks. Note that Tigreal?s emblem is Physical instead of Tank, which will make him softer.
- Farm/Jungle on Hanzo alone.?Only In Hanzo in our team need more farming to be able to be offensive. He can take jungle and level up fast while Vexana and Claude can progress in a normal rate.
The enemy team already have disadvantages over several factors:
- High farm dependency.?Aldous, Leomord and Gusion are all Carry heroes that need to get ahead the enemy team. If they are trying to take jungle and farm at the same rate, they will not have the progression they needed.
- Lack of crowd control.?Their only reliable source of CC is Tigreal, and his ultimate is slow and not as solid as Akai and Minotaur. Others are Leomord?s horse form and Aldous? slam. However, these crowd control cannot fight against Akai and Minotaur?s superior CC.
- Main damage dealers need to dive and bypass two tanks.?Gusion, Leomord and Aldous diving in would not only be difficult, getting out alive will also be trouble.
The only way the enemy can win in this match is to capitalize on Gusion?s superior early game and mobility. If they let Gusion farm in expense of Leomord and Aldous, he can level 5 while tanks are still level 3 and unable to protect their allies. If Gusion is able to kill Hanzo, Vexana or Claude early game, the enemy can put pressure and allow Leomord and Aldous to farm. With enough gold and experience lead, Leomord?s superior damage may be able to shred Mino and Akai?s HP, while Gus can dive to feed on Vexana, Hanzo or Claude.
Well did it happen? We will see.
Note in this draft alone I already have a build:
Wizard Boots + Athena Shield + Blade Armor/Demon?s Advent/Thunderbelt/Oracle?+?Courage Bulwark
Athena is to make sure Gusion is unable to kill Minotaur, as he is the sole magical and ealy game threat of the opponent. Once Gusion is neutralized, the next focus will be armor.
The goal of the laning phase is to set up your initial push, rush your early game hero to level 4 as soon as possible, and get ahead in offensive.?Even without voice chat, our team already have a laning plan.
As you can see on the mini map: Minotaur + Vexana and Akai + Hanzo. Why? It?s because Hanzo plans to invade jungle and Akai has superior mobility. Meanwhile, Mino is as slow as Vexana and they can stick together. Due to their low mobility, Mino and Vex at top only need to watch out for midlane in case of ambush, or go to midlane if they want to attack.
Note the positioning in the screencap. Akai is using the grass to guard Hanzo and his jungle. In this way, if Gusion tries to invade early, Akai will be there to push back.
While this guide will focus on my team?s POV, it should be noted that in that kind of enemy line up, either Gusion or Aldous should midlane due to ganking potential. The fact that YSS was their midlaner means both Akai and Minotaur can focus better on who they are against in the lanes.
Ganking is offensive launched from the sides.?The idea is that the opponent focuses on the lane opponent and you take advantage of this to ambush from the grass or through a blink ability.
Ganking is just either:
- Sidelane to midlane
- Midlane to sidlane
The objective is to win the gank and control the territory. The following scenarios are the best outcomes in order:
- Eliminate opponent, especially the potential damage dealer and threat to your team. Killing the carry will allow your team to have gold and experience lead, which makes your damage and offensive better.
- Force a recall. Enemies may not be killed but forced to retreat to save themselves. This is the perfect time to push the turret or take the jungle creep nearby.
- Save an ally. This can happen if you counter an enemy gank. You deny your enemy their objective to kill and push a lane. When the enemy ganks your ally, you can counter gank as well to turn the table around.
Claude survived and both YSS and Gusion died in this gank.
What will happen is to side to midlane gank. Look at the minimap in the ss. What happened was that YSS and Gusion decides to invade and ambush Claude?s jungle. But based on the movement on the map. Both Mino and Akai noticed this and on their way to help. The blue arrows indicate the minion flow and both lanes the enemy are defensive of their tower.
When is a good time to gank?
- When your lane has pressure of minions. Usually, a turret destroyed is a perfect time to gank but it makes it predictable.
- When you have a CC ability or damage skill ready.
- When you observe your enemy?overstay?in a lane or doesn?t move around the map for a considerable time.
Do not gank when:
- Your lane needs to be pushed or defended. Too much ganking is actually one of the common mistakes of beginners. They always want to gank to kill without applying pressure first.
- When you are underfarmed or under leveled.
- When it takes too long for you to get there. Better to focus on pushing your lane than spend too much time crossing the map.
Too much ganking is bad.?This is one of the common mistakes I see in a lot of ranks. The mentality of these players is to be aggressive for push and kill lead, but this will not always work. Like the guidelines above, wrong ganking can result to your towers falling or your hero dying due to lack of damage, items and level.
Yes, one of the the highlights of playing and most exciting parts of the game. Most low ranked players and those who have no idea what tanks do often think the only function of a tank is to stand at the front and eat damage.
- Tanks are not just meatshields.
- Tanks aren?t there to follow you wherever you want them to.
- Tanks are not supposed to attack every time an enemy shows up in close proximity
Clash hasn?t started here yet. Here, Aldous used his ultimate to show everyone in the map. With Vexana the target, my Minotaur moved to guard her as we move back to the turret.
Aldous didn?t dive due to the risk. Note that if Vexana had no protector, would he have backed out? A clash happened as the teams fought for the gold crab. Take note of the three tanks in this picture.
1. Tigreal initiated/engaged as the tank. Using his S2 CC, he targeted Claude who is low health and the team?s carry.
The idea behind this initiation is not wrong. Tanks ideally should CC the enemy carry, while the team?s own carry will inflict the damage. This is called a set-up.
Setting up kills is what tanks do.?Here in this SS, Yi Sun Shin positioned himself in the grass to strike. Aldous and Gusion are also here. Tigreal used his ultimate CC to pull everyone in. In the SS, the team has been stunned and the enemy is ready to strike. But wait?
2. Akai peeled to protect the team. Again this is one of the most important jobs that tanks do. Using his spin, Akai pushed Tigreal and the enemies away.
Peeling is very important for the marksmen and mages that are often targeted by assassins and fighters. It is the act of using an ability to protect an ally from an a melee attack.?Remember it?s not only tanks that can peel. Fighters or mages with crowd control abilities can do this too.
3. Minotaur controlled/disabled the crowd. After the rage mode was activated, Mino was able to unleash his ultimate skill. All four enemies in this SS are stunned and vulnerable to counter attack from our team.
Mino?s CC moment was actually Tigreal?s intention at the beginning. His plan to wipe out our team was defeated by Akai?s spin and one crucial detail that he didn?t take into account: Minotaur?s rage meter is close to being full.
Some cases, a well set up CC can kill Minotaur and his team before the rage ultimate can be cast. In fact, Mino?s ultimate can be cancelled. However, this is not one of those cases. So here, Minotaur was able to set-up kills for the team. Also note that after Tigreal was pushed back, Vexana positioned herself behind the tank and safe from enemy attack.
Killed after Mino ultimate: YSS, Aldous and Claude. But we have the upper hand, forcing a low health Tigreal and Gusion to run away.
Here my Mino wanted to back out but Akai decided to chase. Thus, I followed up so?I can take hits from the turret as both Akai and Vex are low health.?Vexana was able to kill Tigreal but Gusion wanted to take the chance and kill a low health Akai. However, at this point my Minotaur is ready to peel for Akai. Gusion backed out and ran back to their base.
This clash/teamfight is a good illustration on how tanks make decisions.
- Team: 3/4 members alive after clash, enemy tower conquered
- Enemy: 1/4 alive, the last one forced to run to base
Before the final part of my guide, I will show three other instances where we won teamfights.
Tigreal engaged again a Mino close to rage. Maybe he saw his half health and decided its worth the shot, Gusion followed up. But I managed to rage ultimate here and Vexana killed both Tig and Gus after.
The ?safe zone.? Here I shaded green what I feel to be the safest to be, yellow less safe and red as dangerous.
I feel very sorry for Tigreal on this match but he tried to defend and died when my Mino raged. Tigreal?s intention was probably to push Mino out of the turret but this was a wrong decision. Not only is Mino bad at damaging turrets for him to be a threat, Tigreal will lack firepower to back him up as his allies are all positioned under tower. The right decision here should have been to let the enemy dive within turret range.
Observe the positioning in this ss. Minotaur acts as the frontliner tank while Akai is positioned to the backline.
We?ve discussed guarding, initiating, peeling and crowd control earlier. This boils down to the concept of a safe zone that tanks create. Each tank has different capabilities to create this safe zone for their allies to attack. In Minotaur?s case, this is his safe zone, which expands when he is in rage.
The?safe zone?is usually the back of the tank but affected by the the following factors:
- Range of the tank?s abilities
- Enemy abilities
- Positioning of allies, enemies, and walls
- Lord and turtle position
This is an example of a different safe zone. Imagine if Aurora and Kagura are there. The safest area is to be out of range will the tank baits or forces them to use their skills.
Important: You should know and adjust to the tank?s safe zone.?You do not order a tank to wherever you want them to go as your personal meatshield. You do not dictate how much damage they can take for you, it?s their call if they think they can withstand an enemy assault.
Dying in a beefy blaze.
The final clash and Mino?s only death. What happened was that Tigreal had the idea of pushing back Mino within their turret range. The idea of using the combined force of the nexus and your team to kill an enemy tank is not incorrect but this is still the wrong decision. Mino was close to rage again and Tigreal pushed him back to his allies. I unleashed my ultimate and killed YSS, dying in a blaze of beefy rage.
I have also fulfilled my purpose in this final clash. It should be Mino, the main frontline tank, who should take the damage to buy time for my allies to destroy the enemy turret and cast their skills. While I died, we won because it wasn?t Claude, Vexana or Hanzo that was targeted. Even if I die, Akai would also be there to protect them. They were safely able to do their roles as I did mine.
V. Post-fight analysis
It?s important to do this to understand what went on for the sake of improvement. Players who just binge play without analyzing both wins and losses alike will never improve their own skills as well as their teamwork.
This guide is written from a perspective of a tank but each of my teammates has their own responsibilities that they are able to do in that fight. It will be different if written from Akai, Claude, Vexana and Hanzo?s POVs. We won due to the following factors:
- Better team composition as noted by the pre-fight analysis.
- Better coordination/power of friendship. Our team is able to maximize our potential together by knowing our roles.
- Better individual skills.
- Minotaur/Front Tank?managed rage meter well, being able to use it when needed, made the right decisions when it comes to tanking.
- Akai/Peeler Tank?who have precise execution of his spins, able to to push or pin enemies when needed. All the right decisions in tanking.
- Hanzo/Assassin?who has a strategy in taking enemy farm and effective attacks. He was able to do his work as an early game carry and assassin.
- Claude/MM?who knows how to use his mobility to poke, push and survive enemies that aim to supress him due to late game potential. He was able to use his ultimate to finish enemies when needed.
- Vexana/Mage?the (MVP of the match), knows her skills well and managed to eliminate the most number of opponents using the set up and protection that the tanks provided.
Meanwhile, the enemy team lost due to the following factors:
- Inferior draft with too much farm-dependent heroes.
- Lack of strategy. Their only chance to have a lead is to capitalize on Gusion?s early game prowess, but their laning phase is already weak.
- Weaker individual skills.
- Tigreal/Sole Tank?is a less capable tank than Minotaur and Akai, and also made wrong decisions. The guide focused on Tigreal as tanking is the topic, and his wrong engagements allowed Minotaur to rage. Even if he did the right decisions, in my opinion it is difficult for him to outplay both Akai and Mino.
- Gusion/Assassin/Sole Mage?who cannot carry early game. A lot of the team?s hope to win rested on him, but early game he was unable to kill Vex, Hanzo or Claude and got himself killed in a gank. However it was difficult for him to kill due to Mino and Akai?s strong protection.
- Yi Sun Shin/MM?is outclassed by Claude in mobility, and vulnerable to Hanzo. He was unable to keep himself safe and farm for a potential late game come back.
- Aldous/Fighter?who picked top lane when midlane was his best chance to gank. He was unable to land killing hits on Vex, Hanzo and Claude who are either good at positioning or guarded by tanks. His potential are also dependent heavily to late game and was supressed.
- Leomord/Fighter?who was 0/0/0. He is always not there during team fights and almost no map presence. His best combo potential is with Tigreal, but he was unable to do anything.
Well this is only a basic guide. Tanking is much more complicated, especially as you climb you. Also, based on the match statistics, this is actually an easy match with an overwhelming victory from our side. However, a lot of teams are much stronger and will be difficult to outplay. Still, I hope this guide will be helpful to beginners who want to pick tanking.
Remember if you choose to play a solo tank, it is quite rare to find a coordinated team like this one. I wish that the lonely souls that picked up tanking find the worthy carry mains that they deserve.
Thank you for the wonderful people that made this match possible and ML friends who gave input to this guide. SoggyV, Global Vexana, KailyoCarryingMyFatTankBottoms, RewdTheYoyoBoi, UncleWesssss, BellyButtonPoker. Thanks for the game and discussions.