Choosing Your Tank Part 3: How About Bruisers?

Posted: June 27, 2011 by atenthirtyone in Champions

Last week, I covered tanks that were a little different than the usual type of tank champions. These champions can potentially provide the role of tanks, while being able to do something else. Now, what if there are champions that can provide these roles, but also provide damage and strong lanes? These would be champions that can deal quite a bit of damage, but last just long enough to survive or die slow enough to give the team victory. I would of course be talking about bruisers. However, for the rest of this article, I will be assuming that the following champions will be built primarily with defensive items and only contain at most two or three damage items (although these items may also have defensive stats on them as well). In Part 1, I gave out these for the criteria of a tank:

  • Protect your team
  • Initiate
  • Not dying (fast)
  • Be a threat
  • Be good at something (besides tanking)

Now, bruisers are generally good at the last three things, and we generally won’t need to talk about it too much (although way too many people overbuild on damage items on bruisers which makes dying slow a problem). The issue here will be whether bruiser champions can sufficiently protect your team and initiate in same matter as the supposed tank champions.

Blitzcrank – Every time, I play him, I wish I was better at using his skill shot. Anyway, Blitzcrank is a disruption whore with more tank than you would time. His passive synergies extremely well with items that suit him well such as Manamune and Frozen Heart. As a result, Blitzcrank will rarely be the squishiest in his team. However, Bltizcrank is still a character that can be focused down quite quick as he has no way to increase his resistances to damage since he can only increase his health pool through his mana shield. Nevertheless, his Rocket Grab is an instant kill on any squishy that you grab before a team fight or gank. Oh, and the AOE silence, and the constant knock-ups are trollilicious.

Garen – Uh, it’s Garen. He’s as brusier as it gets. While, Garen is great at ignoring slows and punishing over-extenders, he’s a bit lack. His ultimate, Judgment is a nice way to remind me that they are staying too long in a fight with him around. His only crowd control is through his silence on his Decisive Strike, which is his bread and butter for burst. Honestly, I don’t know enough about Garen because the only thing I play him is when he’s free and I’m drinking. If any visitors would like to give me more insight, I would love it.

Irelia – Despite looking like your typical anime female agile warrior character, Irelia is almost as tanky as it gets for a bruiser. With only one or two items for damage (prmarily the Trinity Force), Irelia put up an impressive amount of burst damage. The mechanics of her passive and Equilibrium Strike allow her to be more survivable than you would think. These two combined with her distance closer, Bladesurge allow her to trade equally if not better against many champions. She also even has Hiten Style’s passive that allows her to gain health on hit, and pop the active for some delicious true damage. Finally, her ultimate gives her stupid amounts of lasting power. Irelia is a beast in lane, and few champions outright beat her in farm or harassment. Overall, she is quite similar to how Olaf would tank in a team fight except her play style tends to be more stable and less momentum based. Oh, and she is a great lane farmer.

Jarvan – While, I wanted to put Jarvan into the first part of this article series, I feel I don’t put enough justice for just labeling him as a tank. Honestly, Jarvan is one of the few if not the only champion that is both a bruiser and a tank. Between a Spider-Man knockup, an aoe slow, and generating fucking terrain to cage people, Jarvan is as disruptive as the king of annoyance, Blitzcrank himself (itself?). Jarvan also has extremely high base stats and a great passive for burst. That said, Jarvan needs to farm to be a hero (although he easily has the tools to do so). TL;DR Jarvan is one of the few heroes that can do it all if he has the gold.

Nasus – Good old reliable Nasus. As long Nasus gets to farm all day in his lane with Siphon Strike and Spirit Fire, he will be dangerous. He really doesn’t have a cap on his scaling thanks to last hit mechanic of Siphon Strike. However, Nasus does have quite a bit of trouble getting into a fight and making his opponents stay in it. First of all, Nasus is not very tanky compared to most of the characters in the article. Whenever Nasus becomes hard to kill and tanky, it is usually due to his good farming rather than inherit character traits. Second and most importantly, his Ultimate is both his boon and bane to him trying to a tank. While it gives him a nice chunk of bonus health, the AOE effects of it will scare off the enemy team almost as hard as Fiddlesticks’ Ultimate. Thirdly, he has no closing ability and his only source of crowd control, Wither gets screwed over by Merc Treads really bad. Overall, Nasus is a bruiser that will live and die by how well he farmed.

Renekton – Whereas, Nasus can snowball by farming, Renekton will snowball if you give him a few kills in his lane. Actually, I don’t think any other bruiser can snowball harder than Renekton. In addition, he needs very few items to do a crap ton of damage. With a Brutalizer and maybe a Frozen Mallet, Renekton is safely build only tank items to burst very hard with his enraged combos. Where as, Nasus is a constant high damage bruiser, Renekton bursts extremely hard. Renekton also has the advantage of having both Slice and Dice as well as the stunning Ruthless Predator, making him much better at getting to and controlling his enemies. Oh, and Renekton is an extremely strong 1v1 top laner and often can out harass many ranged champions.


Rumble – Few champions like to lane against Rumble as he is simply way to tough and has incredible amounts of damage in the early game. His harpoons and Ultimate are also extremely useful in controlling the enemy team as well. In fact, you probably never want to fight the enemy team in tight areas if they have a Rumble. However, Rumble generally want to favor either AP items or AP/Tank hybird items (Rylai’s) in their builds. He generally will rely on his lane dominance to carry him later into the game. That said, it’s not very hard for him to do that.


Trundle – A jungling bruiser that has one of the best counter-jungling games, as well as solid ganking potential through the usage of his Pillar of Filth. Trundle is a champion that is either focused or ignored. This is due to the fact that he is very durable and difficult to crowd control with his Contaminate buff. However, he is not tanky enough to absorb all of the damage from the enemy team like a tank champion. Overall, Trundle’s two debuffs and Pillar of Filth brings a lot to the table whether it be saving his team mate or getting that perfect team splitter Pillar when the team fight starts. That said, he’s not very good at initiating since he can only herp and derp into the enemy by running at them.


Udyr – Also another bruiser that pretty much has to jungle. That said, he’s very good at jungling and has near infinite ways to build and clear the path. His Bear Stance allows him to do decent ganks, and provide a lot of stun in a team fight as well. In this article, I will only be taking about Phoenix/Turtle tanky Udyr since Tiger Udyr is more like a straight up raw damage melee carry that anything else. Udyr generally is a character that you want to focus down with damage or crowd control. Udyr’s Turtle Stance is extremely strong against pokes and non-dedicated damage being dealt to him. However, it simply cannot keep him alive if the whole team decides to kill him first. In addition, Udyr can simply be locked down by crowd control since he has zero dash/Flash abilities to close the gap. Udyr really struggles with crowd control, but if you can manage to get him into the enemy team, he can go around Bear Stance stunning the entire team if he wants and follow it up with a decent amount of AOE damage from Phoenix.


Warwick – While also known as a jungler (one of the best), Warwick can still perform decently as a solo 1v1 top laner due to his sustainability – his life steal mechanics. Warwick has two things he can bring to the table in terms of team fights – Hunter’s Call and his Ultimate. Hunter’s Call is very useful as it provides Attack Speed boosts to your entire team, which is even nicer when you are heavy on AD. His Ultimate is easily his signature ability allowing you to disable an enemy champion for quite a bit of time. Infinite Duress is not a great to start team fights with as it will simply lead to Warwick’s death if he is the initiator. However, it’s great to disable a dangerous enemy champion, allowing your team to finish off one enemy or even be used to save a team mate. Blood Scent is also useful for catching runners if Warwick has a way to slow someone (usually through Red Buff or items). Overall, Warwick is a good bruiser that can either be placed in the role of damage or an extremely durable tanky role.

Xin Zhao – Xin Zhao is quite similar to Warwick actually. While his jungle game is a bit weaker, he make than makes up for his extremely strong ganking ability. In addition, Xin Zhao is a good laner and can probably take either of the side lanes reasonably well. Xin Zhao is very good at focusing one target and locking that target that through his Three Talon Strike knock up for his team to kill. He also is reasonably good at taking hits if you have build him with defensive items and landed his Ultimate on multiple enemy champions. He’s not the greatest farmer, so he is reliant on ganks and enemy kills to perform extremely strong in the late game. That said, he is a solid bruiser that can initiate quite well.

I think the overall theme with these characters is that, they can become extremely tough to kill if they have a lot of gold. In many ways, bruisers are reliant on having a strong early game – either through champion kills and/or farming. Bruisers are far more depended on gold than the tank champions in earlier articles because they generally want to at least build a few damage items before backtracking and building defensive items. Many of these champions are good at either laning or jungling which means that it will help them reach to this required amount of gold. This is a big departure from the classic view of tanks, where as they are generally tough to kill and useful to the team with average amounts of gold, they become even more difficult to kill later on. In the case of bruisers, they rely on a strong early game to become more powerful than the enemy to create a disparity in item strength. While, you generally want to do well against your enemy in terms of farming, bruiser champions simply require to be more fed for the most part. I feel that when a team needs someone to act as the “tank”, they have two broad options. Either they pick a tank champion who is consistent in its ability to tank, protect, initiate, etc or they choose a bruiser. The bruiser has more potential to snowball, gives generally a stronger presence in the early game. At the same time, a under performing bruiser will either be too squishy (if they don’t have enough tank items) or they do too little threat (with too little damage items). I would love feedback from readers, as we (Lol no Elo) don’t get enough if any comments. Nevertheless, the selection of a champion should always be asked with the question, “Which champion would help my team win the most with him/her being in the team composition?”

  1. Gorgosch says:

    Nice articel. Generall good writing and very intersting topic.
    It would just be nice if you be more specific what the abilities are.

    “His passive synergies extremely well with items that suit him well such as Manamune and Frozen Heart”

    This makes me wonder, what actually is his passive. Probably more a technic style.
    There are so many heros. And not all of us have yet seen all heros themselves.

    • atenthirtyone says:

      Yeah. I will edit this article sometime soon. Been a little bit busy for both this blog and LoL lately. =/

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