Introducing our hero:
Taric is generally considered only for a bottom lane support role teamed with an AD carry and is thought of as inferior to most other characters, especially alone. I'm here to dispel that assumption and offer a way for all to take Solo Queue by storm! Or at the very least get Taric out of the dark. He has a very strong initiate in his Dazzle which not only damages, but stuns! Sound like another hero? Sion maybe? He also has an AoE magic burst that shields him while it's active..wait, that sounds like another hero..Sion? The similarity is rather funny, but that's pretty much where the similarities end. Although Sion is a very strong hero, especially Solo Top, so why not Taric? With similar attributes he's sure to do just fine.
Taric is not without his faults however, so before you rush in beware that your only escape mechanism besides Flash is your stun, so use it wisely as it does have a fairly long cooldown at low levels. Also, Taric's shield doesn't offer immunity to attacks until it's gone, but rather gives him defenses in the form of bonus armor giving him natural durability. He also has a very rather coveted and somewhat select ability to heal himself or his allies for a decent amount of their health. Another bonus is the cooldown ticks down by hitting enemy units, giving him great sustain. His ultimate can be used selfishly to secure a kill or add damage to a burst, but should be reserved for team fights as it is an aura based ultimate, much like Sivir's, and should be used to benefit a large crowd rather than one person.
Taric: Pros and Cons
- great durability due to the combination of his heal and natural armor gain
- very strong in both team fights and alone
- strong initiate which stuns and does damage
- shield provides an aura that benefits surrounding allies
- very powerful ultimate, especially in team fights
- has natural mana regen and health regen in the form of his passive and Q respectively
- respectable burst potential
- his abilities scale more poorly than other champions in terms of AP ratios
- no natural escape/dash, very susceptible without stun up
- melee champion, must get close to last hit/do damage
- long cooldowns on abilities at lower levels
I Bring You An Ancient Power: Masteries
The standard 9-0-21 Mastery page used by casters, this page offers cooldowns, some Ability Power, as well as Summoner cooldowns and an EXP boost. This set gives you a nice laning phase and will keep you harassing your opponent with relative ease. This Mastery page hits up the Archaic Knowledge for the increase in Magic Pen and as many cooldown reduction masteries as possible in combination with Runic Affinity and a two buffs to your EXP from Awareness and Sage.
This Mastery setup will focus more on offense and harass in lane and will scale quite well into late game as well. With a 21-0-9 route taking a point to grab Magic Pen and all Ability Power buffs in the offense tree as well as the Flash and Teleport cooldowns in the utility tree alongside some Mana and Mana Regen. You can take this page if you anticipate the need to scale heavier AP into later game and if you figure you don't need the Utility.
More defensively oriented Masteries focus on grabbing Health buffs all the way to the bottom of the Defense tree by taking a 0-21-9 route. Make sure to nab the CDR in the Defense tree as well to help out a bit with your otherwise wretched cooldowns early on. In the Utility tree make sure to grab Mana and Mana regen to help you stay in lane and harass better as well as the Runic Affinity buff so you can hit up Blue buff sometimes. Take this page if you want to keep Flash and Teleport enhancements at the cost of a bit of Magic Pen, but you still want a lot of Health to fall back on.
Similar to the previous setup, but sacrifices Summoner's Insight and some Mana/Regen to give you back some CDR and Magic Pen. Take this page if you want to have nice staying power in lane but you still want to be able to deal reasonable damage to you lane opponent with your spells early on.
These are only basic suggestions, if you feel your points are better spend going more hybrid by putting 22-29 points in the Offense tree then go right ahead, no one will stop you. For example you can take a 29-0-1 and make a point to have Summoner's Insight for the Flash CDR and take Ghost or Ignite over Teleport and enhance it in the Offense tree.
More Then Just Precious Stones: RunesThe Runes that I suggested above scale quite well into late game while also giving you a nice chunk of Health with the Quints to make up for not having any points invested in my suggested Mastery setup. These runes focus on late game power with scaling AP Blues and Magic Pen Reds, but also give you some extra help against AD top laners by taking Flat Armor Yellows and general help with the Flat HP Quints.
Here are some viable substitutions should you not have the Runes or don't like using them. Keep in mind you don't have to take all 9 Runes in any one tier all the same, but it is advised as doing something half cocked has an increased chance to end in failure. The runes will be listed in descending order of effectiveness, so most effective substitution first working to least.
9x Greater Mark of Force - increase scaling ability power into late game
9x Greater Mark of Strength - while he is an AP character he can still use these to last hit better
9x Greater Mark of Shielding - with no natural magic resist this can be a reasonable choice
9x Greater Seal of Force - increase scaling ability power into late game
9x Greater Seal of Vitality - scale HP into the late game, making you tankier
9x Greater Seal of Shielding - with no natural magic resist this can be a reasonable choice
9x Greater Seal of Vigor - gives you far greater sustain in the laning phase, saving on Health Pots
9x Greater Glyph of Potency - greater damage from spells at the start of the game
9x Greater Glyph of Shielding - with no natural magic resist this can be a reasonable choice
9x Greater Glyph of Focus - will save you buying into CDR items
9x Greater Glyph of Warding - alt. to Glyphs of Shielding, won't scale
3x Greater Quintessence of Swiftness - movement speed can be really helpful at all times
3x Greater Quintessence of Potency - immediate boost to ability power, thus increase spell effectiveness
3x Greater Quintessence of Insight - increase already considerable early game magic pen
3x Greater Quintessence of Strength - help with last hitting early on, do not take with AD Reds
3x Greater Quintessence of Vigor - sustain in lane, save on health pots, can combine with Vigor Yellows
These are pretty much the most effective alternate choices for a Taric that is not playing support. Keep in mind that the stats you want are Ability Power, Health and Mana on Taric, so prioritize making these stats more effective, but do not take Mana Runes.
Magic Has Ruined This Land: Summoner Spells
Why these Summoner's?
- This is a standard summoner spell for all who have it and is very effective on Taric as he can use Sion's patented Flash/Stun combination to get off some big damage and guarantee kills in the later game. Also as Taric has no natural escape aside from stunning with his E this can be invaluable to avoid ganks or even being outplayed by our lane opponent. Overall just a great Summoner's, even in light of its recent nerf. If your level is too low to use this fret not, this can easily be replaced with Ghost to a similar effect, but keep in mind you will be unable to blink over walls.
- A Summoner's that's a rather common pick for Solo Top laners, but can easily be traded should the situation arise. Early game this will make it possible to return to your lane rapidly or even help gank a lane that is too far to walk to, like bottom. Alternatively you can walk and gank bot after you 'B' and Teleport back to lane to avoid losing too much farm. Late game you can split push with impunity knowing that you can Teleport into a teamfight or out of danger, but keep in mind it's "long" cast time when you're at low health and get swarmed.
Are there any others I can take?
Of course there are! Taric can use a few of the other Summoner spells to great effect, so here's a list and reasons why:
- Great offensive and defensive tool, but if you take it make sure to take a point out of Mental Force to enhance it as it's totally worth it. Use this to help a gank on your lane, to slow and save yourself or even to gank other lanes. Later game you can use it to cripple someone for the duration of a teamfight, as long as it's fast or burst some poor sucker down. If you're going to take this then replace Teleport with it.
- A nice sub out for Flash if either you don't have it or you find it unreliable/bad. Makes for a great chase and escape tool and is very effective at landing a stun to initiate a team fight later game. If you take this you can replace either spell with it as Flash/Ghost is a pretty potent combo in its own right.
- With the recent buff to Heal this spell is finally worth taking for something other than trolling, and it's actually become quite a common choice. The burst of vitality that you can get from this either alone or in a team fight can throw the opponent off and lose them a fight. Don't be too reckless with it, but if you need it, then use it. No real need to enhance it unless you're delving into the Defense tree already, but I wouldn't really think it's absolutely necessary. Last thing, never underestimate double heal, this combined with your Q will give you a ton of health back especially at higher levels and can turn around a team fight or duel. If you're taking this then you're replacing Teleport with it.
- If you absolutely must destroy your opponent in lane or if you expect Heal to be a common choice then take this. Ignite adds to your burst damage as well as providing a regen nerf to the opponent for the duration, but there is no need to enhance it, which is a bonus. Also I believe this spell can make Fiddle cry by wrecking his Drain. Take this spell over Teleport.
- Gives you AP and Attack Speed which works really well with your ultimate and spells in general. This is a more niche Summoner's than the others and requires that you enhance it to bring out its full potential, but can be a powerful tool if used right. Take this over Teleport if you want to have it.
You Face Umblemished Power: Skills
Taric loves to socket magical gems into all of his weapons, resulting in his melee attacks replenishing his mana for 7.5% of damage dealt.
This is a neat little passive and lends to the fact that Taric is supposed to fight in a lane, not support. This meshes well with your Imbue ability as its cooldown will tick down with auto attacks while this restores the mana to use it. If you need to you can, "get your auto-attack on", and hit a creep a couple of times to restore mana you need for a burst combo or a needed heal. Not really much to say about this passive as it's pretty straight forward.
Taric brings forth earthen energy to heal a nearby ally and himself for 100 / 150 / 200 / 250 / 300 (+60% of ability power). If Taric heals only himself, the heal will be 40% more effective. Basic attacks reduce Imbue's cooldown by 1 second, but the reduction increases to 3 seconds when attacking an enemy champion
Cooldown 20/19/18/17/16 seconds
Cost 70 / 85 / 100 / 115 / 130 mana
The Green Glow
This ability forms the second part of your sustain in a Solo lane environment by healing you for 140 at level 1 or 84 according to League Wiki, and it scales quite well off your AP. Heal whenever you need to and don't really worry about the cooldown as health now is almost the same as health later, unless you have close to max health then it may be worth delaying. Speaking of cooldown, if you have 3-12 seconds left on the cooldown and your opponent initiates when you're at low health, instead of trying to run hit them with Dazzle and get in as many auto attacks as you can to reduce the cooldown by 3 seconds per attack. When it's up then activate and run. Not only will you have traded blows with you opponent instead of just receiving damage, but you probably came out ahead in the exchange.
Passive: Taric's gains 10 / 15 / 20 / 25 / 30 bonus armor and provides an aura that increases the armor of himself and nearby allies by 10 / 15 / 20 / 25 / 30.
Active: Taric deals 60/105/150/195/240 (+60% of ability power) magic damage to nearby enemies and decreases their armor by 10 / 15 / 20 / 25 / 30 for 4 seconds. The passive portion is not in effect during the cooldown.
Cooldown 10 seconds
Cost 50 / 60 / 70 / 80 / 90 mana
This here is your main damage skill, much as Sion's shield is for him. Instead of soaking up damage directly this ability will give you a passive armor buff which is extended to nearby allies. However, when activated this ability will deal very nice damage to surrounding enemy units, which scales quite nicely off of AP, and lower their armor. Combined with a lead from your Ult you can easily deal heavy damage to your opponent or a nice burst of AoE damage in a team fight. Beware though! The passive is lost until the crystals around you regenerate(which is when the cooldown finishes).
Here's your basic combo route for reference:
>Basic Attack>>Basic Attack>>Basic Attack xX
Omit basic attacks as needed leading up to Shatter if it means getting off your spell burst or a couple auto attacks then take the spell burst, it'll do more. After the armor debuff is applied and your Ult is up you can auto attack at will.
Taric fires a sphere of prismatic light at an enemy, dealing 40/70/100/130/160 (+40% of ability power) to 80/140/200/260/320 (+80% of ability power) magic damage (lower damage the further the target is), and stunning them for 1.5 seconds.
Cooldown 14 / 13 / 12 / 11 / 10 seconds
Cost 95 mana
Here is probably the most known spell in Taric's entire arsenal. Mostly used to initiate in bottom lane fights while playing support this move comes into its own on Tanky-AP Taric by acting exactly like Sion's stun. Forming up with Flash to create the infamous Flash/Stun combination this ability can be used to initiate, escape, save an ally or get the upper hand in a duel. Rather simple ability, but it's very potent. Keep in mind the damage scales down at longer ranges and is most powerful if used right next to an opponent where its AP ratio is actually ridiculous at 80%! As this move has a flat Mana cost you can easily level this up second by level 13 if you plan on only taking 1 rank in heal or even first over Shatter to match the cooldowns at 10 seconds a piece.
Taric slams the ground dealing 150/250/350 (+70% of ability power) magic damage to nearby enemies. For the next 10 seconds, Taric gains 30/50/70 Attack Damage and Ability Power and grants nearby allies half the bonuses.
Cooldown 60 seconds
The Power of 1000 Suns!
Radiance benefits from a very high AP Ratio, but suffers from a small damage radius meaning that using this stand alone before you stun is usually impractical at best. However, once you get dug into a fight and pop this off you will be dealing a lot more damage from both abilities and auto attacks alike. In the basic combo route it maximizes the damage of Shatter and the following auto-attacks by a considerable amount and the aura can turn a teamfight with a quickness. With a hella short cooldown event at rank 1 you should have it up every time you need it.
With Clarity: Skill Order
General Skill Order:
By taking your stun first you will be able to harass much more readily as well as escape any ganks/attempts at your life with greater ease. Next you want to double up the next two levels with ranks in your W which will give you passive armor and nice AoE damage on a 10 second cooldown and reasonable Mana cost. This is followed by a rank in your Q so that you can heal any damage you may have taken already and any future damage. You can take your heal at level 3 if you feel it's needed, then take rank 2 of your W at level 4, it's no big deal. You want to prioritize your W above any other skill, maxing it by level 9 and taking your ultimate at every level that it's available to help your burst and maybe your team.
After that you want a couple more ranks in your heal earlier on, the fewer you can get away with the better as it lets you lessen the cooldown on your stun faster and scale its damage higher. After 2-3 ranks in your heal for free sustain you want to prioritize you nearly untouched stun so you can make its damage increase and decrease its cooldown.
Alternatively you can go a more "Sion" style skill route such as this:
This skill route prioritizes damage and should always be taken if you feel completely safe in your lane and you don't think you need your heal as much. This will give you burst damage more comparable to a character like Sion which is really nice as well as synch up the cooldowns on Shatter and Dazzle by level 13 allowing for a more spammy approach. With full 40% cooldown you can get the cooldowns to 6 seconds a piece and start destroying the competition.
Getting Your Priorities Straight
Remember that if you're not needing your heal at any particular time then take a rank in your stun instead.
Functional and Stylish: Items
So which boots am I taking?
It all depends on which boots you need. Seriously, it's that simple. Getting crowd controlled too much/need some magic resist? Take Mercury's Treads. Need some armor to stay in lane or dodge? Take Ninja Tabi. It's really not rocket science. However, late game I'll generally sell off Ninja Tabi to purchase Mercury's treads if the opponents have more CC than their AD Carry threatens me. Just keep that in mind.
- Standard upgraded boots for most games assuming the enemy team has large volumes of CC. These boots also give the standard 2 Movement Speed buff to you character and a nifty chunk of Magic Resist which only serves to sweeten the deal.
- gives Tenacity(35) and +24 Magic Resist making them a strong pick in any game
- very defensively oriented and will not provide bonuses to your abilities or attacks
- These are the cheapest upgraded boots in the game costing only 500G to get them and provide nice bonuses to boot. Pun intended. Very strong pick when laning top alone as they provide you with armor AND dodge which can go along way to ruining opponents like Tryndamere.
- provides +25 Armor and +12% Dodge giving you more durability alone or combined with. Can also be taken early and traded later on because of how cheap they are to upgrade to.
- cheapest Boots 2 in the game(500G), can be taken early and traded later on
- useless against AP champion like Sion
Here are the general mainstay items that you will attempt to build every game to keep things simple and consistent. Build whatever you need when you need it, but remember the final build goal and try to work towards it in some fashion.
Here's one of those items that just happens to give you ever stat you need and seems to be made for your character. While slightly costly it will improve your odds of surviving by a nice margin as well as giving you the mana to spam your abilities more and the AP to do the damage. Remember getting this item early is preferable so it has time to build its stacks and becomes far less useful the later you get it, for the passive as well.
A very nice secondary damage item that provides very nice bonuses including, but not limited to movement speed, magic resist and AP! Wow. The extra mana and the badass passive doesn't hurt at all and in fact will improve your burst potential. Another benefit of this is that it's really easy to build into by picking up a Sheen when you need it and working towards it through Blasting Wand. This should be your third or fourth buy from the shop in a lot of games.
No kidding, probably my second favorite item in the game, right after Frozen Heart. Sporting magic resist, health, cooldowns and a very nice passive this item is really very strong for what you pay for it. Grabbing magic resist on Taric is pretty essential, as he has none of his own, and the other abilities on this item can both save your life and get you kills. What more can you ask for? Grab this item when you can by working through a Kindlegem as it's only 700G from there.
Now while this item is not particularly strong by itself it combines really well with Spirit Visage and has a very nice active. You'll want to pick this up later in the game to maximize the gold you gain from having Philosopher's Stone in your inventory and because it's honestly not needed that badly till after Spirit Visage and your main damage items. Don't forget the active for when you're chasing or escaping, especially if you do grab this early, as getting a kill or not dying can make this item pay for itself.
First things first, do not grab this if any opponents have Mandred's Bloodrazor. Just don't do it, go for a Thornmail or Frozen Heart instead for survivability. That aside, this is a very strong item considering its "hard counter", and should be taken a lot. Great thing is you can work to this through a Giant's Belt, which will give you health anyway, which is what you'll want in a game on a Tanky-DPS. Remember to grab this item fairly early and farm it up to get max stacks. Combine this with Spirit Visage for a good laugh.
Other Good Items
These are the items that can occupy the last slot or that you can buy in the place of some of the other items should you feel it necessary. Remember to gauge what you will need and react accordingly, nothing is worse that being unprepared.
So you need a butt-ton of Ability Power do you? Well look no further! This item has the single greatest AP yield in the game through its buff and passive, and will stack really well on top of Rod of Ages and Lich Bane for good AP. If you're grabbing this then go for your Needlessly Large Rod first and work towards the Deathcap. Careful as this item is quite the investment so you'll need a good supply of gold to accomplish the task. One last note, do not take this against Ryze. If you want more damage late game against a team with Ryze then take Magic Pen instead.
Here's another one of those items I was talking about. It gives you the much loved magic resist, some good AP and a debuff aura that makes you stronger when hitting your opponents. Generally superior to Void Staff on Taric as it will apply the debuff to ALL surrounding enemies. Keep in mind you'll have to be in the thick of it, but that shouldn't be a problem. Work up to this from Blasting Wand.
A more selfish, stronger version of Abyssal Scepter. Why stronger? 40% magic pen is stronger than flat 20 in a lot of cases, unless the opponent has less than 50 magic resist. It's also a cheaper buy than the Abyssal Scepter, but lacks the additional magic resist. Buy this if your opponents are stacking magic resist and start with your Blasting Wand and go from there.
Very nice if you're finding yourself on the receiving end of too many enemy spells and need a break. Since this builds from Catalyst you can also take this over Rod of Ages if you really need to, but I wouldn't advise it. In addition to the spell shield this will also provide good health, mana and magic resist to Taric making this a well rounded pick. Go with Catalyst and finally into Banshee's.
Another item that stacks well with Spirit Visage and gives a nice movement speed buff to boot. Not much to say about this item other than if you need it you take it. Simple as that. Work up from Null-Magic Mantle.
My favorite item in the game. 500 Mana and 99 Armor among other things, this item is your hard counter to AD carries. Combine this with Warmog's and your Shatter and you really shouldn't be taking damage from AD based characters at all, as long as they don't have Mandred's. The CDR is a nice bonus, but it isn't why you would buy this. Go for your Glacial Shroud followed by this for an easy time grabbing this item.
More of a carry item so that they can revive, but it can be useful as it does provide both defensive stats. If you find yourself out of position a lot then first learn from your mistakes and stop dying, but if you can't then buy this, it'll help. No real way to work into it from a midway item, but thems the breaks.
If you need a cheap alternative or controlled version of Banshee's Veil then pick this up. It's really cheap to buy and you should be able to grab it all at once. Very nice to bait in someone and counter initiate when they think you're screwed and very useful against a cross map Ashe arrow luck shot.
Pretty nifty item if I do say so myself, but not particularly awesome on Taric. It's worth a bit more if your opponents are all close up AD characters, but generally you won't buy this. If you must though then buy a Giant's Belt and follow up with this.
This plus Warmog's > lifesteal Warwick. I don't actually know that, but that's what I was told. It's a terrible feeling seeing 85% from basic attacks in your death recap screen and if you're tired of it then try this item out. It's really cheap and you can probably pick it up if you have a surplus of gold lying around, and if you need it then grab it.
From Coal...: Early Game
So you're laning alone huh, as Taric? Have fun with that..
Pretty much the reaction you'll get from a lot of people when they find out what you're trying to do, but you know what? Who cares, prove them wrong. While picking Taric to Solo Top make sure to clarify your intentions to not be supporting bottom lane and encourage someone else on your team to take a dedicated support class. If no one wants to play ball then there's a simple solution; don't solo top with Taric. While you may be able to do well in your lane you really don't want to piss the people on your team off before the game even starts by locking in and not running it by your team.
Now, assuming you're second or so pick try wording it like this, "If someone else wants to run dedicated support I'll solo top as Taric". To quote Judge Reinhold on his Evelynn roaming guide, "This establishes that you are capable of communicating with your team in a competent manner, while also informing them of your intention to [do something unorthodox]", and also give you the chance to bluff a support that isn't support. Now when your opponents see a Taric they will most likely assume that you will be bot support, and the earlier you pick the more advantageous this will become. They may try to counter pick you with a character and ultimately fail in that attempt as you won't be anywhere near bottom. If you're having trouble getting the chance then inform your team of this and it may sway the argument in your favor.
With this out of the way you should be able to play the game to the best of your ability, but should you fail prepare to be the focus of everyone's anger.
So you made it into a game as a solo top Taric, you've bought your starting item(s) and you're doing whatever is needed before the start of the game, like leashing or what have you. Now you're in your lane and wondering what to do. It's simple; farm. Pretty standard shenanigans for a lot of solo top champions like Nasus or Skarner, but some people might harass you, but you must stand strong and keep last hitting. A thing to not about Taric's auto attack is that it's rather slow and your attack speed at level 1 is around .6, so don't screw up, also do not use your stun to last hit..ever. It has a very long cooldown at rank one and is an invaluable tool to trade blows with your opponent and help a gank, no matter how early or late it is(it also burns 95 mana..). But like I was saying, just keep farming until you reach the ideal gold amount for your first buy back and don't get too aggressive, especially if the enemy jungler is unaccounted for.
Now this doesn't mean don't harass at all. For example, you can go in for a last hit, then immediately after, if the opponent is close by, run to them and auto attack, Shatter, auto attack again once or twice. This will do a meh-tastic hunk of damage, but if you can get away with it then huzzah, as repeated attacks like this will cause them to burn through health pots. If you're jungler is coming in for a gank but is still rather far off then do this once or twice before they get there, but don't use your stun, just to get them used to the idea of your hit and run to make them feel safe. then when your jungler is close enough tell them you will stun to initiate and lower their armor with your Shatter and then help them how you can to get the job done. Remember a successful gank is not only judged on whether you kill them or not, but even if they pop a summoner's, burn through health pots or go back. If this happens then it was successful, to a point. If your heal is up then harass is a little safer for you as you can just heal off the damage.
Yes, I have to cover this. While not as common in ranked, normal is plagued with this as nobody likes to jungle because they either don't know how or get bashed really hard should they fail. Because of this it's extremely common for you to have to share your top lane with another person, and in blind pick it's almost inescapable. Simple solution, since it is normal, steal every last hit you can. Just farm happily away under the protection of your Shatter and laugh when you do get kills on your lane opponents. Remember, although you are trying to get as much money as possible regardless of who you're laning with, it's still a very good idea to coordinate with your lane partner to net kills, especially first blood. Keep in mind that it's rather foolish to sacrifice CS just to get a bit of damage on your lane opponent(s), and unless you can snag the kill or get the assist then it's generally not worth your time.
That being said, when it is time to move in on your opponents and go in for the kill, it's generally a good idea to be laning with someone such as Morgana or another character with some form of stun, or at the very least an enhanced Exhaust. Just follow your normal combo route and put out as much damage as possible while deciding who is going to be first stun and who is the follow up. It's terrible to blow two stuns on one person at the same time. The more kills you net in the early game will help you snowball really well into the late game and probably win you most team fights, and hopefully the game.
One last thing to keep in mind is that the people who play normal are the people too low, too timid or too angry to play ranked. You will get a feeder, if not two, and if you do then keep it together as the opponents team likely has one too. You just have to find them. Also, carrying a full team with Taric is nigh impossible as you don't have enough damage to one shot other tanks and are generally meant to pull the focus of a team fight around you. Good luck.
Alright, since you're pretty reliant on mana to do anything other than last hit, it's a good idea to take Blue buff if nobody else needs/wants it, so if your jungler offers then take him up on it. Red buff can help secure kills, but don't take it as it's better suited to your jungler who will be moving around the map using it instead of mashing on a single opponent and minions. More things to watch out for is ward placement, not yours but your opponents. Always look at what's happening in your lane and take note if the bushes around the river get warded to warn your jungler not to waste too much of their time.
So when does early game end?
From my experience the early game, at least in normal(ya I play normal), starts to end when people finish their first big item and begin work on their second. By this time you should have one of your "Early Game Cores" completed or about to be, and people will start to move around the map ganking other lanes and some team fights may start to happen. For level reference it's generally when people reach a comfortable damage level, which is probably 9-12, maybe even 13, as their main skill will be leveled to full by level 9 and the more ranks they have in others the more damage they can dish out. From here the game progresses into midgame and towers will start to fall, if not already.
In ranked I'm not sure. If anyone would like to fill me in on this I would be happy to add a ranked end of early game analysis as fast as possible. Any and all help from people who know what they're talking about is much appreciated.
...To Diamonds: Mid Game
Alrighty, so we've made it to mid game..now what?
Well for starters you should all have nice builds up by now and will want to start moving around in groups to avoid being picked off and killed. While you're not particularly squishy, you're not invincible either, and very few fully unfed characters can hold their own versus more than three people. So, stay with your team, but try to be at the front of the group so as to soak some damage for them and initiate with your stun should you need to, but your main objective will be to push the towers that haven't fallen yet, most likely outer towers on lanes that just didn't go anywhere. Small team fights will start to erupt around these towers but avoid fighting under them as it really, really hurts to take turret shots.
One of the other things that starts to happen around now is Baron fights and trying to take down the legendary creature to tip the scales in your favor. Never underestimate a Baron buff and don't let your opponents take it for free, if they get it make them pay with as many lives as you can take, but don't lose more members than you kill or the exchange will be awful. In normal Baron is almost never warded and people don't ward when they try to take it so it's easier to sneak up on people trying to do it, but remember that if your opponents don't do it neither will your team, so take the initiative. Baron can also be used to bait in an enemy team by either feigning that you're going to do it, or starting it but turning around to engage and catching the enemy team off guard, this is where you will use your stun to catch that unlucky squishy out and demolish them with your team.
In ranked Baron will always be warded from 20-25min onwards it seems and can be very difficult to do if you don't force the opponent to base or kill most, if not all of them. However, Baron can still be used to bait a teamfight, and with proper ward coverage and advanced warning you can benefit greatly from killing off the enemy team and taking it anyway. They will try to do the same. Now, does this mean that every time Baron is up you should try to take it? Not really, if you see an opportunity and can get away with minimal losses then try for it, but if it seems too dangerous, it probably is. There's also an argument over whether to push or Baron when the enemy team is forced to back or is killed. It's safer to Baron if they are forced back to base than it is to push as they'll be there to defend turrets and that's not a favorable confrontation to get into, but if most or all of them are dead push, push hard.
Your job at this point will be to soak turret hits if you really have to in order to take down a turret, but not too many as you're not indestructible, and to make sure if your team does get caught out doing towers then you're there to turn the tide by stunning key targets, ult'ing to give an aura buff to those around you and increase damage output, and using Shatter to lower the enemy armor. Your heal should also be quite decent by now and you should be able to sustain yourself or a squishy long enough to make the opponents regret engaging.
If you took Teleport as a Summoner's you have an even more unique opportunity presented to you; split pushing. While not the strongest champion to do it, you are still more than capable of taking a turret with just a wave of minions around you. Why? Because of your ultimate. It will give you the bonus attack power needed to push a turret to the ground, and if you have the backup of another champion you can take it with increased speed and safety. At this point you have to pay a lot of attention to where the enemy team is, if they're all missing then walk into a safe bush and go back to the platform, or if threatened then Teleport to your team. This should also be done if a team fight happens so that you can get in there and help out and take some damage.
Once a few towers fall and you level up a few more times I find that mid game generally ends. You start moving into your late game build and get closer and closer to level 18, and the maxing of all your skills. Keep in mind that some games may end at this point, especially in normal, by a surrender from either side. People are easily discouraged when they're losing and asking them to fight on in what they consider futility will result in increased aggression and less cooperation. However, if you can hold out to 50 or more minutes then do it, as your rewards post game will increase substantially for fighting the good fight.
Gems Hold Their Edge: Late Game
Wow, you're not dead?!
So, you made it this far huh? Don't start the party yet, there's still work to be done. Laning in the traditional sense is all but done and now consists of pushing creep waves to get the towers down and win the game. Something to keep at the front of your mind during this stage of the game is that you want to control the engagements and make the opponents react to you, so pushing as a team through a lane and forcing a team fight on your terms is a good idea, and will win a lot of games. Since you have Teleport and your ultimate you can push a turret by yourself and a minion wave, and if you can get away with it and not die then do it, every time. While split pushing is a great way to put pressure on the opposing team you should stay with yours if it means not losing a team fight, as losing one this late can spell doom in several different ways.
Constantly be aware of the opponents positions, and if you don't know where they are then group up and force a fight or grab a free turret with your team. Communication at this stage is also very vital and if you're not communicating then you could lose before a fight even starts. Make sure your carries aren't getting overzealous and rushing ahead of you and any other tanks, and keep them in the center of your formation. If they take damage, heal them, if they get initiated on then you counter initiate with your stun and make them pay for it. Everyone at this stage in the game likely has their full builds, so don't underestimate the strength of anybody on the other team, especially when they're moving together.
Just like mid game you'll want to keep constant tabs on specific map points as well, including Baron, Dragon and the jungle buffs and make sure that you either take them or ward them in that order. You can take on the role of a pseudo-support at this point and buy a few wards to drop around the map, especially if you Teleport so that you can TP anywhere you want to, specifically lanes near towers and Baron so you can help out at a moments notice should you be out of position. General map awareness is essential to winning games and if you have more information than your opponent then you're in the controlling position.
While you do want to be aggressive at this point you don't really want to lose too many towers yourself as super minions can be a gigantic pain in the ass and give control back to the other team. If you're team is trying to take an inner turret but the enemies are trying to take an inhibitor turret then you want to stop that from happening as that turret is all that stands between them and super minions which will just take a giant dump on your parade. If you're close to home it's smart to get a couple of people to back, but also try to flank up from behind in a coordinated effort to catch them out and kill them. You can accomplish either task and will excel at both, assuming you get into position of course. Alternatively, should you have TP, then you'll want to continue pushing till your team is ready then swoop in and initiate off of your turret, minion or ward. Do a full combo rotation and then stick around to heal people, take damage and bestow your aura to them, but obviously try not to die.
You Shall Be Crushed: Team Fights
They say teamwork is essential. Wonder why.
I feel like of covered a lot of this above, but it doesn't hurt to reiterate an important lesson; teamwork. Work as a team and win. Constant communication, information and good positioning is gonna decide a lot in team fights, especially if they're important and have massive strategic implications(ie: Baron, an inhibitor, Dragon, etc.). Team fights around these objectives need to be planned out and reacted to accordingly. The role you will play in these scenarios is that of a tank, obviously, taking damage for the team and initiating. A good initiate can define a team fight.
But what do I mean by initiate?
Well, it's quite simple, but something that you need to get right, as a bad initiation will lure your team to their demise. A good initiate will accomplish one or more of these things:
- forcing/baiting anyone into your awaiting team, ideally stunning them in the process
- catch an enemy out of position, destroying them(ex: a single enemy face checking a bush, you stun)
- lock down an important/squishy target, thus letting your team move in for the kill more easily
A half health character is a tantalizing target for anybody, especially in a 2v1 or more situation. Don't throw your life away, but if you can get away with the bait, using your heal if you must, and then counter initiating do it, your team will love you. Catching an enemy out of position is both easy and hard, as it all depends on your opponent. Trying to catch someone who is playing it really aggressive, like they're god or something is rather easy, but beware of a bluff as it could be bait.
On the flip side, catching an opponent who is playing very safe and not doing anything unnecessary is harder and may not be worth the risk you will take to achieve it. Learn your opponents habits and patterns so you can initiate better in this situation, especially your lane opponent. Play them like a fiddle.
The last one is a bit more questionable than the others, which will usually come about when both teams are in formation and really close to each other trying to poke and force a fight. This can involve either of the other strategies in the form of a good bait or catching, or you could straight up just try running in there, but most of the time that's not what you want. When in this scenario watch opponents movements/poke attempts and do a Flash/Stun after alerting your team of your intentions and take that person out and start the fight.
Ok, I initiated, that can't be all?
It's definitely not. If you got a more ideal initiate you've probably gone through your combo rotation and everything is on cooldown for at least six seconds, so what do you do? Since your have two aura based abilities you should be sticking close to your team and providing those buffs to them and auto attacking anything you can safely. You should also be trying to zone out anybody who might be afraid of you with the threat of another stun. Such champions like AD/AP carries make perfect candidates for this, keep moving towards them and keep them away from your allies while they kill the rest of the team, but don't die doing this. Another thing you can do is try to make your opponents focus you by being up in their face so that they have to deal with you as an immediate threat. Once your cooldowns are up you can do a mini combo rotation of stun, attack, Shatter, attack to get some more damage out, but as your ultimate isn't up for at least 36 seconds after use, the main thing you'll want to do is stun the next important target in the team and focus them.
So who do you focus?
It's a pretty simple list and it's made by judging who does most damage and prioritizing them first and not focusing a tank.
Here's a list of focus order from 1-5 by enemy team members:
- AP/AD Carry. Generally a team comp will have one of each on it and they are usually very squishy but put out a lot of damage. Kill them first
- AP/AD Carry. That's right, once you're done with one you'll want to kill the other. Exact same reasoning and once you do this the enemy team damage output will plummet.
- Support/Jungler. Assuming the support is someone frail like Soraka or Sona then you want to kill them next, but if it's someone who isn't like Blitz or another Taric then don't really bother as their damage will be bad. If that's the case then gun for the enemy jungler, more so if it's someone very easily killed, but high damage like Fiddle or Nocturne.
- Support/Jungler/Tank. Now if the support wasn't squishy enough to prioritize then you may want to kill them now as it should be an easier kill with only two members left, same applies to the jungler, if they were a lower threat priority or more trouble than they were worth then you'll want to kill them now. Lastly, if the tank is low or dealing too much damage for comfort then you should be able to focus them easily by now. The more members of your team alive the easier this will be.
- Whoever is left. Assuming the enemy team didn't bail after losing the first 2-3 member then you'll want to try for the Ace so you can push, or the very least force them to run far away to get back to the platform.
While this is generally the order you want to go in when killing opponents it can easily change depending one who is on the enemy team. While I did say that Fiddlesticks is squishy and a jungler he also has retarded AoE magic damage that can completely turn around a team fight for the other team. If there is a member on the opposing team that is going to deal massive AoE in a team fight then you want them dead ASAP. Similarly if the Tank is someone like Nasus then you will want to avoid him until he's severely outnumbered or if you have enough damage then you can kill him outright.
Remember to assess the threat level of the opponents and focus anybody who can carry a team fight, usually someone who's fed and has the majority of the kills as once they fall the rest of the team should crumble around their corpse without their damage output.
You Are Nothing More Than Glass: Team Comp and Lane Opponents
Preferred team comp:
Now, while Taric is decently strong he's really not the best Solo Top laner in the game and can be more difficult to run in Solo Queue, so keep that in mind when choosing him. Ideally your team should have an AP carry that offers hard CC so as to follow up your stun with theirs in a team fight or skirmish situation. While the bottom lane will best be served in the normal AD carry/support combination, but have the AD carry have some form of CC and the support be on the tanky side and have a way to initiate/lockdown alongside you. Your jungler will preferably be either able to put out pretty big damage and good CC or tanky with some form of slow or better CC. See where I'm going with this?
Ideal AP Carries. Here's a list of AP carries that will work well with a Taric:
Annie is a strong choice as she can capitalize on your stun with a burst of abilities that pretty much instantly kill a single target in one rotation. She brings to the table her own stun and an extra body in the form of Tibbers as well.
Another strong pick for a team with Taric. Yet again he has his own stun, which will mesh well with yours, and has a very strong ultimate for team fights when combined with yours. His spells offer a lot of AoE damage as well as applying a burn.
Offering a double bind, AoE burst spell and a literal noob laser she makes for a strong choice. She has the ability to follow up your stuns with her own(sensing a theme), and an ultimate that won't let the opponents get far should they choose to run.
Nice AoE puddle, a silence, transferable damage dealer and a suppression ultiamte? Damn. This champion can work wonders for your team and help you initiate with a well placed silence covering the enemy team. Once the fight starts, someone is gonna die.
Similar to her light version, Lux, she's a very potent pick as she sports a bind, AoE pool and a multi-target stunning ultimate. Once she gets dug in and you standing there with your ult on then the fight is yours. She's also quite tough with naturally decent health and spell shield.
Massive single target burst damage, much like Annie. Non-skillshot bind and a very powerful spell rotation makes Ryze a nice match with Taric.
Here's another perfect match with Taric, as they are very similar. As a mid caster Sion can dominate and follow your initiate with an initiate of his own as not only does he have an amazing single target stun, but he has the durability to pull it off!
With arguably the best poke in the game, a wicked passive and a targeted stun you're going to appreciate a team with him on it. Once he hits level 6 he can also coordinate a gank on any lane with the jungler, pretty much guaranteeing that someone goes down.
Yup, Veigar. He has a giant AoE stun ability that can wreck in a team fight late game and will dominate other casters with his ultimate. Great at pushing a lane as well this could be just the champ you want with you.
While generally considered very weak, and I must admit he is rather underwhelming when taking into account damage, he has very good range and will probably never die in a team fight. Another thing besides his range and decent stun is that he can rob the opponent of Baron from a ridiculous range using Locus + Ult.
Ideal AD Carries. Here's a list of AD carries that will work well with a Taric:
While she doesn't have any hard CC(other than popping her ult), such as a stun, she has the ability to kite anything, except Yi/Olaf. Once the team fight starts she can make sure that one opponent will be slowed and not escape. Her arrow can be an invaluable initiate as well, taking some pressure off of you.
Stupid traps. I really don't like this champion, but that's another story. With her traps and ultimate she is another strong choice for a team including Taric for the same reason why she's a strong choice to lane with him; double stun.
Probably the last really viable choice for your AD carry. She has very nice damage output and can knock someone into a wall for more stun time than is fair sometimes.
Ideal Supports. Here's a list of supports that will work well with a Taric:
Oh yeah, everyone's new favorite toy apparently, and who can blame them? He has so much CC it's not even fair. Sporting a heal, dash/knockback AND a knock-up he's very strong. He can also be tanky enough to take the punishment he needs to take and is pretty much the ideal support for your team.
ROFL-grabs FTW. Pretty much his main use other than a blanket silence to screw people up huge. He can be very tough to take down thanks to his mana shield and has a knock-up to boot.
While not exactly subtle, she does have a very powerful knock-up ability, hitting an entire team with it can seal their fate and win many engagements. Beware that she's quite frail and will need babysitting some of the time.
In my opinion a very strong champion and probably the best second choice for a bottom support with Taric top. Why? Tons of CC and she's super tanky. A nice little bonus is her passive which will increase burst potential.
Ideal Junglers. Here's a list of junglers that will work well with a Taric:
If you can find a good Amumu then be my guest. With a double stun and nice AoE damage he's a good pick for your team and should he do his job correctly then you will do quite well. Another plus is that he's very tough and extremely hard to kill if built right.
While not tanky at all he does bring a fear and an ult that literally scares everyone. The AoE damage Fiddle can put out when the enemy team tries to counter-initiate can be a lifesaver and make a teamfight go really smoothly.
While he has no hard CC he does have the ability to constantly slow and bleed the opponent using his passive and has nice ganks from level 2 and up. When he reaches level 6 and gets his ult then mowing down fleeing opponents or initiating become a much easier exercise.
Dear lord can he be a strong jungle. With a fast recharge slow and a knock-up ultimate his ganks are very strong from even early on, and since one of his attacks scales off of armor you can be sure he'll be tanky.
The new fad sweeping the community, or at least I'd like to think so :P He's easily one of my favorite characters in the game and doesn't fall short with his ganks. He has a knockback and one of the best chases in the game; Twisted Advance! His ultimate is also very powerful late game when his jungle ends and a lot of junglers lose some power, and he's tanky!
While more on the frail side he's still a good pick, and offers fear and a very long lunge to gank with.
Having a stun and a taunt he's very strong and could probably gank at level 2 with the help of your stun. He's on the tanky side, which is what you want and probably won't let you down.
Riven jungle is a little rare, but it can happen, and is definitely not as outlandish as jungle Karthus..Either way she has a very strong chase, shield and a stun, as well as the ability to build more tanky and still retain burst damage.
Don't screw with him. While yes he is squishy, he can also put boxes everywhere and can save huge on wards and net kills really easily. Having a fear, slow and a very powerful escape tool he's a good choice.
Feel his sting! A very powerful jungler with the ability to pull people towards where he wants them, while also having a shield and a slow! One of the better choices for your team with Taric.
Fast jungler that can be borderline broken against certain teams. His stances can speed him up, stun and even give him a shield!
Probably one of the best if not the best choice to jungle alongside Taric top. He can build pseudo-tank and has the damage output to keep up. His ultimate is definitely the deciding factor here.
Aw, I don't wanna fight him!
Gems Are Truly Outrageous: Final CommentsThanks for sticking with me through this whole ordeal. I had a lot of fun writing this guide and will continue to actively test and play Solo Top Taric and update this guide as needed. I've added the In-Depth section and hope that it's at least satisfactory. If there's anything else that needs to be included please inform me and I'll get to it ASAP. Also, if there's anything you have to say then please leave a comment below and I'll respond when I can and address the issue.
Still working on the lane matchup section and it will be added soon.