Note: submitted by
The guide was deleted for some reason, a bug or something so I’ll do my best to restore the version with new edits.
WE NEED TANK! The tank class is the least played in ML yet every team wants them. While games can possibly be won without tanks, having a tank in your team is a definite advantage than an enemy line-up without one. This guide aims to give introducing to tanking in ML and help players appreciate the role. Even if you are no tank player, it is very important to know how to work with one.
Despite high demand, tanks aren't attractive to a lot of players. Why?
- Killing is not easy. Tanks don't give players the satisfaction of depleting an enemy's HP through attacks. They don't have burst magic or a marksman's ability to deplete HP from a distance.
- Risky. Some players who like helping teammates rather than killing opt to be support mains, because they stay behind the back while tanks charge frontline or initiate a clash. Well, who wants to charge head on and take the hits while marksmen and mages can safety kill from the back?
- Team oriented - tanks need their team as much the team needs them. This is particularly harsh for solo queues and starting players, as teammates may not have been able to grasp how tanks work.
The outline of this guide that will follow:
- Introduction of team roles
- What tanks do
- Basic strategy
- How to work with a tank teammate
I. Introduction - Team Roles
To understand tanking better, one must know the roles in a 5 vs 5 MOBA. When players begin, they tend to pick the hero they like most, or those that they feel are powerful. This is why it’s common to have two marksmen or two immobile mages in lower level since people are just trying to grasp the game. But as you climb in ranks, teamwork become more and more essential. A balanced team with a good synergy is always the ideal.
I’m going to list the general ML roles. Note that heroes can have dual roles and extra skills, so this is not applicable to every hero: Marksman (MM) -
Default DPS (damage per second from normal attacks) of a team. They have the most powerful normal attacks and less mana demand. In ML, marksmen tend to be weak early game but the best heroes to down turrets. Late game with full items they have the highest damage. Mage -
Default ranged burst damage of the team AKA the nuker. Skill dependent, high mana consumption, low mobility (sometimes) and low health, but with skills meant for multiple target kills or disable. Fighter -
Melee DPS or crowd controller of a team. Fighters tend to be the most flexible class as they can either build damage or semi-tank, go for the kills or protect teammates. They are the jack of stats as usually they make less damage than MMs and mages, and less durable but has more damage than tanks. Assassin -
Melee burst of the team and the most mobile class, usually have single target skills. Their main purpose is to kill and are more powerful early game since they can farm items much faster. However, they have poor durability and cannot deal good damage through normal attack. Support -
Has special skills meant to improve a team rather than directly deal with the opponent. Supports may boost offense, defense, mobility and teamwork. ML has only 3 pure supports.
Now I have outlined all these roles, know Tanks are not supposed to play like them.
So now we go to our next part.
II. What Tanks Do 1. Soak damage
Tanks are the most durable class. In all warfares there is always the frontline and the backline, that is true even in video games. The essence of this game is teamwork and to be able to win a game in a most effective manner, each character must use their strengths. The duty of a tank is stand in front and absorb the damage that otherwise would be used on your damage dealers. A tank should be able to withstand these damage until the mage/marksman kills the enemy.
Assuming attacks are equal between your team and the enemy, then the tougher tank will make the difference. 2. Crowd control (CC)
Since tanks are made to be in frontline, they are often equipped with skills to slow or stun their opponents. A well placed crowd control will not only prolong a tank’s life, but protect your entire team from offense. Even a second of stun or slow is enough for your team to unleash their offensive and win a clash.
Usually, tanks have minor CC and an ultimate that is meant for multiple targets and prolonged disables. Executing these ultimate skills need a lot of skill and good judgement, as a successful crowd control can set up a wipe out of the enemy team. 3. Peel
Related to the CC above, peeling is being defensive of your team members. Using CC, peeling is either stunning/slowing/knocking back an attacker away from your least durable teammates, preferably the main damage dealer. In a fully 5 vs 5 team clash, this is usually done by a fighter or a second tank.
Priority in peeling depends on the situation, but basically the highest damage dealer with the lowest health. The default early game laning are tank + immobile mage. From early to mid game, mages usually have the offensive power in a team, but vulnerable to assassins or mobile attackers. Therefore it’s more beneficial for the team to have them protected by a tank/fighter.
However, late game, if your full build marksmen become highest damage dealer in your team, keeping them alive might score your team a wipeout. 4. Initiate/Engage/Lead offensive
One of the most important decisions of a tank is choosing when to engage. The right timing, positioning and conditions can allow your team to kill and secure territory.
Remember, if a tank engages, a damage dealer would follow up (ideally) because of the opportunity to attack a vulnerable opponent and that the skill used by the tank may be wasted. Moreover, your teammate may also want to save you or keep you alive. A wrong engagement may end up in deaths- that’s why it’s important for a tank to know if the situation is advantageous.
Look at the map? Are the enemies waiting for you to engage as a bait for ambush? Are they busy in the other lane? How are your items? Maybe your marksman just have boots bought and can’t attack yet. I’m going to name three crucial tank engagement:
- Ganking is essentially attacking from the side and surprising the opponent in another lane. Usually the enemy might look at the minimap and think that your team is elsewhere. An effective gank is catching them off guard.
- Ambush is self explanatory. The difference with ganking is that ambush technically happens off-lane and more inside the jungle.
- Stealing Lord/Turtle. It’s a common strategy for a tank to jump and control enemies who are taking Turtle/Lord while your team steals the kill.
You always assume that the next grass may have an assassin lurking or even have a bunch of enemies hiding. Your job is to minimize the risk by checking the grass or positioning yourself as the first to be hit before your teammate. A tank who does this may also intimidate your opponent and cause retreat. 6. Dive under turret
Yes tanks are expected to take the turret hit if needed. The maneuver may allow your team to finish off the turret or the enemy under it. The tank’s superior HP will definitely take more hits than the MM, assassin or fighter. However note this is highly dependent on the risks. Remember it’s not worth the dive if the tank dies and the rest of your team wasn’t able to do the objective. Moreover, tower diving is an opportunity for the enemy to attack your team, so know to back off if the situation is a trap. 7. Bait
The tank is the best hero for an enemy to waste their special skills. In lower ranks, beginners may underestimate how tough a tank can be or never realize a damage dealer is hiding nearby. The ideal situation is for the enemy to cast their best skill only for the tank to survive. However, as you climb ranks, baiting becomes less effective as the enemy knows you’re doing it and have better map awareness. Still, it may work sometimes if enemy is not using their brains. 8. Intimidate
A tough, hard to kill tank may sometime cause the enemy to back off or even run away from an encounter. This is great as sometimes, an enemy team who can’t kill a tank may be less aggressive and result to tower hugging, making them farm much slower. 9. Sacrifice
Yes tanks are sometimes the best position to act as the final wall to let your team escape. Ideally, a tank should be able to retreat as well if needed, but some situations call for a hero. Remember it’s better for one tank to die than two or the rest of your team dying.
Important to know that most beginners don’t have game strategy and as a tank who is geared on teamplay, you have no control over their actions and it may be frustrating. A large portion of the playbase doesn’t read or watch guides. That is why if you tank, you should be able to lead and instruct.
I have too many personal experiences of players listening to my instruction and surviving. Some might not listen but it’s better to try communicating than not.
There is no tank in this screenshot though.
- Laning phase
Level 1-4 is crucial since the team who can farm faster or get their ultimates first will have immense advantage. First clashes will happen this time and the winner may be able to take a turret. Golden rule of tanking strategy: Never be alone or away from your teammates.
If you operate by that rule the rest would make sense. In all levels and ranks, this is the topmost rule. Step 1:
First minute of a tank you go top or bot lane with the teammate the need protection. The priority of protection and help are the following:
Immobile mage > bot/top lane marksman > assassin > support with offensive power > fighter with weak durability
The usual practice is for MMs to mid due to their range advantage and access to jungle monsters, but there are instances a powerful mage or assassin like Lunox, Gusion, Alice or Harith will take mid. You still don’t go with them (there are exceptions but we're discussing basics).
The other consideration on which lane to take is proximity to the Turtle.
Ideally, the fighter, the midlane hero and a roaming assassin would be ideal to kill or steal. If your team lacks a high damage fighter or an assassin, the tank should take the Turtle lane. Step 2:
After one waveclear, help your ally take the weaker buffs. At top lane it’s the Goblin (green) and the bottom lane is the Ghost Mage (light blue).
Your ally might have no idea of jungling so make sure ping “gatheneed assistance” and take the first hit. Some ally would realize what you wanted and attack with you. Then give your ally the last hit but also be careful and watch the grass. There are times enemy invades the jungle so make sure you’re not vulnerable for an ambush.
If you manage to complete Step 2 is successfully with a beginner teammate, congrats! You taught a basic strategy and probably earned their trust! Step 3:
Is very dependent on your team and the enemy. By this time, most players are level 2-3. Some fast farming assassins may have hit level 4. You either help the midlaner and help kill the Reaper or Spinner (violet and blue) or get the River Crab. Remember the ReapeSpinner gives buffs but the Crab has more gold.
If your teammate asked for help in killing the monsters, always prioritize helping them over wave clear or stealing Crab/buff from enemy. However, assuming enemy is alone and taking the Crab, take the opportunity to steal it with a teammate. Buff priority is: Assassins and then Carry Hero.
A Carry hero may be a mage, marksman or a fighter who is expected to deal the most damage and kill opponents. The reason for assassin's as top priority buff as they rely most on single target, melee burst that puts them at risk. An assassin who fail to kill an opponent will be a vulnerable target. Assuming all your team has carry potential, the priority would be Mage > MM > Fighter. In late game, it is always the MM. Step 4: Taking Turtle highly situational and might not be done at all by a tank.
Taking Turtle involves risk as it may leave your tower vulnerable, or make you exposed to ambush/Turtle stealing. If enemy initiate a Turtle attack, a well-timed steal would give the benefit of an early gold lead. However, wrong timing, level gap, wrong teamwork or simply less powerful heroes could topple a clash to the enemy favor, resulting in deaths in your team and extra gold. Note Step 1-4 are all within 6 minutes.
There will be a jungle update in a future patch and this strategy might change but the basic idea will remain the same; tanks do not simply stay idle in a lane. B. Rotation
You have probably heard “rotate” at one point (or not) but this refers to characters leaving the lanes, teaming up with others and initiating/defending at various points in a map.
At this point, marksmen would be trying to down more towers and assassins may be working around to take buffs in the jungles. In rotations, tanks have the burden of engaging or initiating teamfights. However, it is unavoidable that your team might start them or get ambushed, so tanks should aim to be able to go where they are needed the most. Do’s
- Map awareness - Always check the minimap to monitor enemy movement. Assume that when the enemies disappear, they are probably going to attack you so make sure be alert.
- Time awareness - Take note which of your enemy/ally are alive or how low is their respawn time. Besides this, note the cooldown of skills, especially the ones that are needed to most to win an encounter.
- Power awareness - A hero becomes more powerful with levels and items. If your team has gold and level lead it may be a good time to be aggressive; however, the reverse may also happen. The tank has little capacity to kill, so it’s important to know if your damage dealers have enough firepower to back you up.
- Defend strategically -In relation to the point above, if your team is generally underleveled and underfarmed, you can always utilize the towers. The idea is to force the enemy in your territory and turn the fight in your advantage.
- One minion wave rule - Sometimes it may be necessary to clear a wave, preferably with another teammate but after one wave, get out of there! Do not camp under tower and wait for the second wave.
- Guard/scout - As written above, the jungling doesn’t end at rotations and the jungle is also taken as a stealthy route to travel between lanes. Be sure to watch the grass or position yourself to guard your squishy damage dealer.
- Rescue - If you’re in proximity, take note of a teammate being harassed under a tower or running away from an opponent chasing for the kill. The rescue may be a perfectly timed ambush for your other teammate to use.
- Communicate - The trickiest part. The optimal team fight is having a voice chat and talking to your teammates. But most do not have this luxury, especially in solo queue. Be sure to use your command prompts and select what is appropriate.
This screenshot is a sample of gold lead and item difference. While Fanny managed to farm more than the rest, notice how Gusion and Aldous have less gold and completed items than Gatotkaca. The tank is often the “poorest” in a team since they don’t take jungle, clear minions or finish kills. Your game doesn’t have to end to see this scoreboard, you can view it at the top right of your screen during the game and this is important. Don’ts
IV. How do you work with tanks:
- Do not jungle or take your teammate’s buff. It’s a waste of time for a tank to jungle due to low damage - you will take too long to kill one monster. Moreover, you don't need buffs or gold lead as much as the assassin/carry as your job isn't to kill.
- Do not chase to your team’s disadvantage. This is one of the common mistakes of all roles. As tank you’re leaving your teammates vulnerable from ambush if you eye a kill, worse is if this results to you being killed along with your ally. Always check the map!
- Do not go deep into enemy territory / Do not be impatient and force an assault. I call this “ramming” are it’s about forcing your way into enemy fountain even if your team is low health, low mana or have skills in cooldown. It may cause your entire team to die. Usually this happens when your enemy turrets are down and you’re all aiming to push for the win. Be aware that you might be positioning yourself to get ambushed, especially if enemies are all alive or close to respawn.
- Do not initiate disadvantageous fights. Sometimes tank players make mistake of initiating a clash just because you can see a group of enemies together. Even if you have your crowd control ready, your team might not be powerful enough, or you might not have enough defense items as well. Often the first clashes teach this lesson. If you lose those clashes, do not repeat the same mistake and feed the enemy. In cases of lack of gold and farm, it’s wise to focus on pushing towers, strategic defending while your team jungle to catch up.
- Do not waste your ultimate skill. Some tanks are equipped with game changing ultimate skills that if perfectly executed and with enough damage from team, can wipe out the entire enemy team. But these ultimates come with large cooldowns or mana cost early game.
Naturally this part is directly tied to team roles and if you are playing with a tank, be sure to know how to work with one. These are some reminders:
10. Tanks are not top pick in this meta! Please don’t switch them as first pick!
- Tanks have less mobility and escape skills, don't expect them to follow you in disadvantageous situations.
- Tanks farm slowest and will find it more difficult to keep up with items. Especially if the enemy has gold lead and more items, some tanks might need to be cautious and build defense item first. In this case, be strategic and avoid being aggressive.
- Tanks are the worst wave clearers. Don't expect them to push especially they are melee. Destroying turrets is a burden to MMs, then to fighters or split pushing assassins.
- Tanks aren’t supposed to guard a lane. Yes, the burden of defending lanes doesn’t fall on tanks but the entire team, and more on mobile heroes with wave clearing abilities.
- Tanks have skills that can allow your team to wipeout. Be aware of this opportunity. The common complaint of many tanks is when they work hard to land a difficult skill, only for their teammate continues jungling or run away. Even if your items aren’t completed yet, a well executed crowd control combination would result to kills, so don’t waste the tank’s efforts.
- Tanks have cooldown too. Self explanatory.
- Tanks are not your personal bodyguard. While there is a priority in protecting allies depending on role and attributes, tanks should rotate and team up with the rest, especially if they’re needed in clashes. Have map awareness and learn to move around while anticipating enemy position. There are too many games where tanks are blamed for deaths when every player should be able to know risks.
- Tanks are not meat sacrifices. Tanks are supposed to take damage, but it’s not ideal for them to die in every encounter.
- For the love of tanks please hide behind them if you’re a squishy mage or MM! Don’t be too aggressive and expect the tank to save you when you go ahead.
IV: Basic Item Building Tank Emblem
is the most advisable for tanks. I would recommend HP + armomagic res
in your presets. For tank talents, Tenacity
is best against final hit bursts, while Brave Smite
is for sustain and good for tanks who roam and have frequent CC. The third talent (which name I forgot) is not advisable due to minimal damage it can inflict.
If your Tank Emblem is low level, the alternative would be Support Emblem.
Some players even prefer it for additional movement speed, cooldown reduction and the talent Avarice
(10 gold per enemy hit). However, Support Emblem might make your tank less durable and this is not ideal against high damage enemies where you are expected to survive.
There is not one build that works on all tanks and all kinds of line-ups. I will be listing the items that I feel are essential for tanks:
- Movement: Wizard Boots, Warrior Boots, Rapid Boots
- Armor: Blade Armor, Antique Cuirass, Dominance Ice (10% CD), Thunderbelt (10% CD), Bruteforce Brestplate
- Mage Res: Athena’s Shield, Cursed Helmet, Oracle (10% CD), Immortality
- Sustain: Mana necklace, Elegant Gem, Sky Guardian Helmet, Athena
- Negative Buff: Dom Ice, Thunderbelt
- Support/Buff: Courage Bulwark (10% CD)
What tanks don't need: Attacks speed, attack power, magic power, critcal chance, lifesteal, anti heal
The general idea is to build against the enemy team and to complement the abilities of your tank. Check the items in websites or in the game yourself and memorize the effects, but I’m going to give a generic advice for the first items: Boots -> Magic Res -> Armor -> ArmoRes/Sustain/Buff
The third item depends on the enemy carry or the one that depletes your life faster. If enemy has a strong MM, fighter or physical assassin, build more armor. If enemy’s mage or mage/assassin are carries, build more magic resistance. If your team is leading and in a positive momentum, build sustain or buff. Bruiser
tanks who go deep into enemy lines and inflict damage would benefit from: Cursed Helm -> Blade Armor.
Cursed Helm deals extra damage and can help wave clearing, while Blade Armor offers the highest armor and also deals damage to melee attacks. Durability
focus is essential if the enemy has strong damage, in this case; Athena’s Shield -> Dominance Ice/Antique Cuirass.
Those two items are more expensive, but the good thing is that they can be build partially (Tier II items). Silent Robes
would come before Athena, while Dreadnaught Armor c
an be build before Dom Ice/AC. You may use these two tier II items before you can get enough gold to complete them. Remember do not sell your items unless you maximize your item slots.
Items sell for less gold than you acquired to buy them and as the team member with the least gold you are putting yourself in a disadvantage.
I will be linking a more comprehensive tank guide by D_Mizuki: https://www.reddit.com/MobileLegendsGame/comments/9o15zb/guide_the_definitive_guide_for_tank_items/
Tanking needs a lot of practice. Knowing how durable or effective you are against all the possible combinations of ally and enemy teams takes dozens and hundreds of games.
Thank you for reading my tank guide, and feel free to share this to others! Part II of the guide will be specific tanks. Also I’d like to thank my friends who reviewed and gave comments to this guide.
You might ask; What if my team sucks and don’t have a strategy? What if they won’t do their roles?
Well tough luck buddy, just do your best!