Midseason update: The new tank items might be the strongest in the game
Each year Riot Games uses the Midseason update as a catalyst to make large scale changes to League of Legends. Over the next few days, we'll be highlighting the most important changes from the Midseason update. This year, Riot's design team sets their sights on the vanguard tanks—Sejuani, Maokai, and Zac. The update aims to improve many core tank items, as well as the Rift Herald and some AD items. It's unclear how the meta will be affected by the update, but all of the proposed changes were made to improve the health of the game as a whole.
Tank items in League of Legends are all getting reworked, and two new obscenely powerful items are being added to the game, according to the midseason update preview posted last week by Riot.
While many tank items are having their unique abilities updated, there is one common change that all popular tank items will be undergoing together. Health given by the items is being nerfed, but armor and magic resist (MR) are receiving big buffs. This is going to have a huge impact on tank gameplay across the board.
For starters, tanks are going to be more difficult to play. That's a very good thing, because they are way too easy to play as they are now. In fact, the goals of the three large champion updates arriving with the midseason patch include making them more complex and difficult to play. Let's be honest, playing a tank in the game today is boring, and the items are partially to blame because they provide too much health.
If you're a Nautilus playing against a team with four AD-heavy champions, you won't feel guilty about not building much MR for the one mage that they may have, even if that mage is fed. Why? Because of the health. Even though you've built nothing but armor items, the enemy Xerath still can't deal much damage to you simply because of how much health those items have given you. If building armor items is enough to protect you against magic damage, something needs to change. It's too easy.
Lowering the health on items and boosting their resistances will make tanks harder to kill, but only if they build properly. Let's use that same Nautilus as an example. After the changes from the midseason update, if the Nautilus chose to build all armor items, he would take even less damage from all four AD champions, but he would fold like a piece of paper to the mage. It forces tanks to build intelligently and situationally instead of just using cookie-cutter builds every game.
The new items are very situational as well, but when they're built under the proper circumstances, they should be ridiculously strong.
While the Frozen Heart and Randuin's Omen put a damper on sustained attack damage, there aren't any items that accomplish the same goal for magic damage. The Adaptive Helm will be an MR/health item that reduces all incoming magic damage from the same source after taking the first hit. This means that Katarina's ult will deal less damage after you take the first tick of damage, subsequent hits from Xerath's ult will deal less, repeated Q's from Evelynn will deal less, and... well, you get the idea.
This item will have very obvious uses, and it wouldn't be surprising to see it rise to be a very popular buy against magic-heavy teams and fed mages.
Mages have the Zhonya's Hourglass, the Guardian Angel (GA) is being reworked as an AD-only item, and now, tanks will have the Gargoyle Stoneplate for their own version of mock-invincibility. Instead of turning completely invulnerable like the GA and Zhonya's offer, the Stoneplate doubles the wielder's current health for a brief period after activation. Picture Zac flying in, knocking your entire team up into the air, and then growing to have 8,000 health at the push of a button.
Not only that, but the item gives the user 40 armor and MR as well. That's not a lot of resistance, but it doubles to 80 each when three or more enemies are nearby, making this the go-to team-fighting item for tanks.
Playing as tanks should actually be a fun challenge after the midseason update arrives, and it can't arrive soon enough—because playing as a tank right now is mind-numbing. With more build options and discrepancies, playing as a tank should finally appeal to more players.