Front line warrior, bullet sponge, cc train, defender, the tank. what is it? How do you play it? What makes it tick?
The "tank" is a type of character found in almost all gaming genres. From the hunters of the popular Si-Fi shooter Halo to the classic warrior of Dungeons and Dragons. He or she is quite simply there to take damage and lock down the opponents so that his teammates will be able to preform there duties free of harassment. In general you can identify a tank by the character model, they are bulky, intimidating and usually carry over-sided weapons and shields. There are several different styles and variations on the premise of "tanking" however for the purpose of this article we will focus on the damage obstruction and distraction style exemplified by ETC the hero in the video.
As the definition eludes to your job is to to be in the front of your team, zoning away opponents, taking damage and protecting allies. That's a lot to take in and if read literally means that you need to be in the front line, the side lines and the back line all at the same time. Impossible. Let's break it down so that these roles and positioning is easier to understand.
Example: By looking at the mini map you can see that the entirety of the enemy team is grouped up in the middle of the map trying to defend an objective.
Your team is fairly well condensed without any noticeable or worrying damage on any one hero that may make them a target for attack by enemy assassins. Your team consist of a main tank (you) one healer and three assassins. The enemy team consist of the same types and relative power levels as your team.
You must stop the enemy team from completing this objective.
A) Tell your team to follow you and lead the charge
B) Tell your team to split so as to try and envelope the enemy team
C) Try to ambush the enemy team when the opportunity arises
D) Let the other members of your team "poke" the enemy with damaging spells and abilities while they are locked into a position.
If you answered with A B C or D you would be correct. However each answer is more viable depending on the ability and confidence you have in your team.
If you answered A, these premises should be true.
1) You have won previous engagements with this formation.
2) Your team is responsive to your call to war and make ready.
3) You know that the majority if not all of the abilities of your team are ready to be unleashed.
4) Even if you die or are unable to fulfill your duties your team win win or survive the team fight
if all or at least 3 out of 4 of these reasons have been fulfilled a frontal assault is viable. The tank should be at the tip of the spear in this assault
As the engagement progresses and the tank suffers damage they may find that by moving to the side lines they may tempt enemy heroes onto attacking them more and moving out of position
so as to be easy prey for the friendly team.
If you answered B, these premises should be meet.
1) crucially your team must be very responsive to the suggestion and fallout in an orderly and well timed manner.
2) Your team consists of damage dealers with high burst potential, meaning the can kill a single target or multiple targets in a short span of time.
3) The enemy team will be focused of either yourself or one other member or your team due to some ability they must interrupt or are interrupted by.
4) The enemy has shown disorganization, hyper aggression or the propensity to retreat when surprised.
If all or at least 3 out of 4 of these reasons have been fulfilled an aggressive ambush/invasion is viable.
The tank should be with an assassin and the healer while the other two assassins split off.
The tank should initiate the invasion but move back after absorbing the initial damage to protect the assassins that were split from the bulk of his force
or retreat to the back line to regenerate health and receive necessary healing.
If you answers C, these premises should be meet.
1) your team has been tied with or losing in previous engagements
2) One or more of your teammates is unresponsive or lacking
3) The majority of Abilities your team can bring to bear are unavailable
4) Members of the enemy team seem to be restless and wander the map when in one area to long.
5) some members of your team are severely wounded but can not return to home base to heal due to the objective and immanent loss of the game.
If the majority of these reasons have been fulfilled a passive or waiting ambush is viable. The friendly team may condense with the tank leading from the front or spread out to be able to catch wandering members of the enemy team when or if the break off.
If an enemy team member does move far enough away from there team. You the tank should signal that you are going to attack and isolate the enemy combatant. Once your team has killed the lonely member of the enemy team you can and may innate a full frontal assault or if the enemy team retreats send the members of your team to complete objectives or heal. As time is short in this scenario and if the enemy team is not breaking up, an assault may be the only option see the description of example A for a scenario of how to move and act.
If you answered D, these premises should be meet.
1) Your team consists of many long ranged damage dealing assassins
2) the enemy team consist of many heroes the fight in melee range
3) some members of the enemy team or your team are wounded
4) Members of the enemy team will be distracted or attacked by the objective
5) Your abilities are not available so you would be unable to protect your allies.
If the majority of these reasons have been fulfilled than drawn out ranged battle should be met.
As the tank you should be in the back line waiting to receive heals or wait the necessary time till your abilities are ready for use once again. This does not mean that you should abandon your team, on the contrary you should be standing very close to your high priority team members, this will dissuade the enemy team from sending abilities that you may catch with your body at them and allow your teammates to damage the enemy team with impunity.
The methods of attack that I have listed here should help you gain a basic grasp of what is required of you to do as a main tank. Of course none of of these scenario will happen exactly as described and being able to adapt will be the the most important thing to learn as a tank. Remember your role is to protect your team from damage, the set up and secure kills for your assassins, and in general lead your team. As time goes on you will become more accustomed to what is required of you. Feel free to explore and try out new scenarios.
/s/ Joseph D. Hickey
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