By Jason Parker (Ragachak)
Taric has been a support mainstay practically since the creation of League of Legends, but he’s also one of the champions most in need of an update. Sure, he was okay if the enemy team was almost entirely AD, but other than that he was not seen as viable, or at least a high-priority pick. And that’s coming from a Taric main! He was okay, but he wasn’t that great, and let’s face it: The Mary Tyler Moore hairstyle needed to go. But he finally got his comeuppance, and now he looks fabulous. The Gem Knight is now the Shield of Valoran, and Papa’s got a Brand New Bag. Or Hammer. But how does he stack up? Is he Pick-or-Ban Tier now? Will he see LCS play? Now that one I can’t answer, but oh how I hope! Most of his kit received a complete overhaul, and the parts that remained were redesigned to be a bit more interesting. It is my personal opinion that he’s not pick-or-ban tier, but is definitely worth banning to avoid the wrath of his ridiculously powerful ultimate. As a character that dropped in 2009, he was definitely in dire need.
As far as Runes/Masteries, I have a few routes I go. I’ve seen the argument for starting with more MR than Armor on your Rune Pages, since it takes a little more time to build MR versus his innate Armor. However, I tend to play pretty aggressive, and a lot of his damage comes from how much armor he has. I personally run a mix of Movement Speed and Armor Quints, Armor Reds, Health Yellows, and MR Blues. If the enemy team isn’t packing much Magic or any at all, I ditch the MR for more Armor. I use one of my more aggressive pages for his Runes, using 0-18-12 for Thunderlord’s Decree. It’s still insane, and thanks to his Q, I can get two swings nice and fast, procing Thunderlord without much issue. Sure, you can also go with any of the other tank Keystones, they work well too, but I personally tend to go a little more Balls-to-the-Wall. Note like I said, I’ve been playing Taric since launch so make sure you know your way around your gems before following my lead.
Taric’s got some pros and cons as well. There are a few things that make him incredibly frustrating, as well as some things that are just bland, mediocre, or outright infuriating to have to put up with when playing The Fabulous One.
- Line Stun: Come on, seriously. Not only is it a line stun, but it can snare a whole team, and you can cast it from two angles at once thanks to Bastion.
- Step Off, Kayle: Sure, it’s got a 2.5 sec Delay, so it takes some timing and prep, but his ult can make your whole team invulnerable for 2.5 seconds. That’s a no brainer.
- Ward Breaker: Casting an ability lets him make two autoattacks much faster than normal. You see a green ward? With your Q, you can pop that shit with the quickness.
- Affects the Game: Even at long distances, Bastion can do incredible things. I’ll get into it in a bit.
- Poke Game: One of the hardest lanes I’ve encountered? LuluxCait. He’s still VERY melee range, despite his new E. If you can’t think fast on your feet, expect to take a lot of Poke, which leads me to. . .
- His Heal. SUCKS: His heal sucks. Well, it doesn’t suck. But it’s AP/HP based, and early game you’re not going to have much of either. AP Taric is definitely a thing, but you’ll still want Armor.
- Mobility: Characters like Lucian, who can slide, jump or dodge make landing that E incredibly difficult. You have to either predict it, bait it, or just use it on someone else and accept your laning phase will be sub-par.
Now, on to what he does. Taric is still a Support/Fighter, but he can definitely go Top Lane, Support, or even Jungle without any real hassle. His jungle clear starts slow, but Devourer AP Taric is probably one of the dumbest freakin’ things I’ve ever seen. Especially thanks to his Q giving him those quick two autoattacks, back-to-back. Gone are the days where his best move involves Flash and popping one of his abilities to save someone’s life. Now he can make incredible plays with his new, improved, and fancy kit.
Passive: Bravado: After casting a spell, Taric’s next two basic attacks [within 4 seconds] gain 100% attack speed, deal 22-90 damage [based on level+15% of your bonus armor], bonus Magic damage, and reduces his cooldowns. Bravado-Powered Autos lower his Q by a MUCH larger number. [6~ seconds]
Q: Starlight’s Touch: Passive: Taric stores charges of his Heal, which can be popped all at once. It cannot be cast without these charges. Active: Activating heals Taric and his nearby allies, increasing with each charge.
W: Bastion: This is easily my favorite ability on Taric now. Passive: Taric [and the person marked with Bastion] gain bonus armor. Active: Taric shields himself, and target ally for 2.5 seconds, and blesses with the “Bastion” buff. This allows him to cast his spells through that person. The abilities do not stack, but can be cast near each other. If he self-casts while he has a target already, he shields them both again.
E: Dazzle: Dazzle fires a line, and anyone caught in it after the mild delay gets stunned for 1-1.5 seconds. Dazzle also resets his AutoAttack timer. Once cast, you cannot change the direction of the beam, but can move to catch targets in it. From Bastion it fires from whatever direction they are facing. Be ready to let randoms frustrate you when they don’t understand this.
R: Cosmic Radiance: After a 2.5 Second Wait, cosmic energy falls upon Taric [and his Bastion Target] and all allies near them, making them invulnerable for 2.5 seconds.
When maxing abilities, I tend to focus E or W. E’s cost doesn’t go up, but it does increase the stun duration. And Bastion is Godly. As far as itemization goes, there are lots of options. I still go for a pretty standard bot-lane tank build, where I get Brace, Sightstone, Whichever Boots are relevant for the matchup, Iceborn Gauntlet, and then I build for the damage my team needs saving from. But I do tend to prioritize armor. Dead Man’s Plate, Thornmail [if they are very heavy autoattack], Sunfire Cape, and if I need MR/cockblocking power, I go with Banshee’s Veil and Locket. Locket is great for helping people that don’t bother with MR, but probably should. Spirit Visage is another very powerful item for Taric, to have MR and boost his heal at least, for himself. His entire kit’s pretty situational, as a Support Tank. If I’m going Top/Mid, I want RoA, Lich Bane, Spirit Visage, and probably Athene’s. That will give me the infinite sustain I need to bully whoever is top. Build for the comp, don’t just build what I or someone else says to! As a support you typically get the advantage to build reactionary to your opponents so don’t waste it.
“LOOK AT THIS KILL I GOT BY MYSELF WITH NO HELP FROM ANYONE.”
Taric’s amazing now; he was always fun, but now he requires a lot more skill and positioning. Sure, anyone can play him, but to play him WELL, you better be on top of what your enemy can/can’t do. Be aware of long-range poke teams and what damage your enemy is building. Bastion has outstanding range, and can prepare outrageous, even fabulous plays from virtually nowhere. Sure you can tie to someone with Bastion, but it won’t stop people from catching an unsuspecting dazzle beam. Taric can virtually go anywhere now. I don’t think he’s God-Tier, but I do expect to see a LOT of Taric bans just to not deal with 2.5 seconds of Ult. Now, pair that with Kayle and Zilean, and you will have a lot of tears on the other side of the fence. Taric’s visual and gameplay update is truly, truly Outrageous.