A Beginner’s Guide To Defense Items

Hello! I am Siege, a Diamond IV tank support main. I am the chief editor of LoLWildRiftBuild.com and to welcome this new big patch, we posted this tank item guide for beginners! If you are a seasoned player, please read as well and feel free to add to things that we were not able to discuss.

Defense Item Guide

A Beginner’s Guide To Defense Items

Two new defense items were released this patch while a lot more tank items are improved so we decided that this might be a good time to release a tank item guide. Along with the buffs to tank items are nerfs to Mortal Reminder and Attack Speed, so we are suspecting the advent of the tank meta. Yes, tank supports are already meta for a while now but let us see if offensively built tanks would carry games this patch. It is too early into the patch to know for sure, but we will see!

In the meantime, let us talk about the new tank items so we can theorize together what would work this patch and help out the new players have an idea what to build on their champions!

Force of Nature

Force of Nature is a new tank item on Wild Rift which replaces Adaptive Helm as the go-to item against magic resist. Its key feature is that it adds more magic resistance and movement speed the more you resist ability damage.

Stats:

Health: 350

Magic Resist: 45

Cost: 2850g

Previously, Adaptive Helm only works to counter the continuous damage of abilities. It works well against DPS abilities like Teemo’s and Aurelion Sol’s kit but it’s pretty weak against burst damage combo types like Annie, Gragas, and Fizz.

One might argue that it works too well against some champions and not much on others so Adaptive Helm is unreliable and counterintuitive as a tank item.

In comparison, Force of Nature is easier to understand. The longer the team fight goes on, the tankier you are against magic damage and the faster you get. It’s that simple.

What are the key effects of Force of Nature?

  • Absorb: Increasing magic resist as the fight goes on. Magic Resist: Base: 45 – max: 75.
  • Storm & Absorb: Increasing movement speed bonus as the fight goes on. Base: 5% – max: 5% + 30.

Who should I build Force of Nature on?

All tanks and front liners who do not rely on healing.

If you are a high sustain champion like Dr. Mundo, Fiora, and Olaf or if your team has a healing enchanter like Sona or Soraka, getting Spirit Visage might be a better option.

Who should I build Force of Nature against?

Based on the item design of Force of Nature, it works well against any type of AP champions unless you are a sustain dependent champions. But it works best against champions who likes to chip on your health little by little using different abilities like Orianna, Seraphine, and Corki.

When should I build Force of Nature?

Most AP carries have a one to three item power spike which make them deadly in the mid game. Thus, acquiring Force of Nature as your second or third item is most optimal especially if the mid lane APC bags some few early kills.  

Frozen Heart

Frozen Heart is the other tank item newly added in Wild Rift. It grants a huge amount of Armor and slows down the attack speed of enemies around you. Affected enemies will have a snowflake icon above their heads.

Stats:

Armor: 70

Mana: 300

Ability haste: 20

Cost: 2850g

What are the key effects of Frozen Heart?

  • Second highest armor stat among all upgraded defense items, which is preceded by Thornmail which has 75 armor.
  • Winter’s Caress: Reduces the attack speed of nearby enemies by 15%. The attack speed slow effect increases the survivability of all teammates near you against high attack speed champions.

Who should I build Frozen Heart on?

Support tanks are the best carriers of Frozen Heart since they will want to be near allies peeling for them so the item is most efficient with them.

If you have a tank support with Frozen Heart and a fighter as a solo laner or jungler with Randuin’s Omen, the fighter will receive 27.75% less DPS (multiplicative stacking) from auto attacks because the Cold Steel passive of Randuin’s Omen will stack with Winter’s Caress.

Who should I build Frozen Heart against?

Frozen heart works best against AD hyper carries who relies on their fast attack speed and on activating their stack based passives like Kai’Sa, Vayne, Master Yi.  (Note: Master Yi’s ultimate, Highlander ignores all kinds of slows, including the attack speed slow from Frozen Heart.)

When should I build Frozen Heart?

Frozen Heart does not grant HP, so it is not an efficient item to build early on. Every point of Armor and Magic resist increases your EHP by 1%, but if there is not much to increase, then there is no point to it.

Building it as a fifth or sixth item in the late game is ideal as a 15% decrease in the late game DPS of an AD hyper carry is a bigger deal in the later stages of the game.

Sunfire Aegis

This tank item received a rework. It’s essentially the same in the sense that it makes enemies burn around you but now it works similarly to Liandry’s Torment’s, a powerful item for AP champions. You’ll find it built in almost all matches, and that prompted Riot to nerf that item. Even after the nerf, it is still built as a staple on AP champions in most games. It’s just that good and now, Sunfire Aegis is getting that similar effect.

Stats:

Health: 500

Ability Haste: 15

Cost: 3000g

What are the key effects of Sunfire Aegis?

  • Immolate: Deals 16-30 magic damage + 1% bonus HP which increases by 8% per stack, up to 6 stacks. Max damage 23.68 – 44.4 + 1.48% bonus HP.
  • Flame Touch: Imbues your attacks with Immolate which sticks to enemies for three seconds and increases the immolate effect on minions and monsters.

Who should I build Sunfire Aegis on?

Champions with natural DPS and defenses on their kit which incentivizes staying on top of enemies are best holders of Sunfire Aegis. Among the current list of champions, these two comes out on top: Amumu and Dr. Mundo. Because it scales well now, it might be a good option for other tanks and fighters with less than ideal clear, we will see as the patch and the new season unravels.

When should I build Sunfire Aegis?

Sunfire Cape was previously used as an aid to camp and wave clearing so it is built as a first item. Even with the buffs on its transformation into Sunfire Aegis which makes it scale well into all stages of the game, it is now an even greater first item as it is perfect for clearing camps and dealing consistent damage.

Winter’s Approach

Winter’s Approach also received a major rework which makes it a viable item on crowd control heavy supports thanks to its high ability haste bonus. Now that it grants HP instead of armor, it becomes a viable first item option.

Stats:

Health: 350

Mana: 500

Ability Haste: 10

Cost: 10

What are the key effects of Winter’s Approach?

  • Awe: Grants ability haste equal to 1% of maximum mana. Refunds 15% of mana spent. A fully built Blitzcrank with the upgraded version Fimbulwinter and Manaflow Band has 3,500 maximum mana which equals to 35 bonus ability haste from this passive.

    This build grants 126 ability haste – 56% CDR – 8 seconds cooldown on his ultimate, Static Field.
  • Mana Charge: Grants 8 bonus mana when spending mana or receiving damage. Caps at 700 mana which transforms it into Fimbulwinter.
  • Frozen Colossus: Fimbulwinter’s passive. Immobilizing an enemy champion consumes mana based on the number of enemies around you. (150 + 5% current mana x number of champions). At 3,500 mana, consumes 175 mana per champion which means you can have up to 1,025 shield when 5 champions are near you when you control an enemy.

Who should I build Winter’s Approach on?

Winter’s Approach is an item which fits Blitzcrank perfectly since he is a mana hungry tank support champion. With the nerf on Alistar’s HP, it MIGHT be a good item to try on him as well. But it will be hard to replace Dead Man’s Plate as his first core item as the bonus movement speed and its other passives are just too good on Alistar to pass up.

When should I build Winter’s Approach?

If you are planning to build Winter’s Approach, build it as the first item or at least get the Tear of the Goddess item component so you can start stacking the Mana Charge passive immediately.

Thornmail

Thornmail got an adjustment that allows its user to inflict Grievous Wounds on targets you immobilize. Immobilize – Inflicting crowd control which renders the target impossible to move. Includes stuns, roots, charm, knock up. Slows are not included.

In the past, an enemy you want to inflict Grievous Wounds like Dr. Mundo would just choose not to hit the wielder of Thornmail which makes it basically useless when countering him. No one would prioritize hitting the tank support at the start of the fight anyway. But thanks to the recent change, you can now force the enemy to receive the Grievous Wounds effect.

Stats:

Health: 200

Armor: 75

What are the key effects of Thornmail?

  • Thorn: Being hit by an attack reflects 25 magic damage +10% bonus armor and inflicts Grievous Wounds. Immobilizing enemy champions also inflicts Grievous Wounds. It renders physical vamp effects useless on auto attackers.

Who should I build Thornmail on?

You should build Thornmail on tank support champions when the enemy has lots of sustain and it can also be built on tank and fighters who does not build Mortal Reminder but needs the Grievous Wounds effect like Malphite and Amumu.

Who should I build Thornmail against?

Thornmail should be built when against Bloodthirster and Blade of the Ruined King users like Draven, Yasuo, Kai’Sa and against high sustain champions like Dr. Mundo, Fiora, Olaf, Soraka, and Sona.

When should I build Thornmail?

Against auto attackers with physical vamp, Thornmail should be built as a middle item, third, fourth, or fifth but when against high sustain champions, it can be built ASAP as a first or second item.

Guardian Angel

Guardian Angel is a staple item on fighters and AD carries because of its OP passive which restores health and mana upon taking lethal damage. Good thing is that its stats and cooldowns are reduced into values which makes it inefficient to build early because it became a tiring thing to deal against in the earlier patches of Wild Rift.

Stats:

Attack Damage: 40

Armor: 40

What are the key effects of Guardian Angel?

  • Resurrect: Restores 50% base HP and 30% Mana upon taking lethal damage. Great for diving and denying high bounties on snowballing champions.

Who should I build Guardian Angel on?

There was a time where Guardian Angel was built as a first item before it was nerfed because players are abusing the Champion domination rune. But right now, it is inefficient to build because of its lowered stats. Personally, I only build it on fighter junglers when I am nursing a big bounty. But it is still a great item on divers like Camille, Vi, and Lee Sin who thrives on playing it risky.

Who should I build Guardian Angel against?

Guardian Angel is also a smart pick on ADCs in the late game when the enemy has ponent burst damage assassins like Zed and Fizz who becomes a little tamer after using their ultimates.

When should I build Guardian Angel?

Because of its low stats, it is now inefficient to build Guardian Angelearly in the game. If you are a jungler or a solo laner who had an amazing early game, you might want to build it as a third item in order to deny the enemy team your high bounty gold.

For ADCs, Guardian Angel is usually built as a last item.

Spirit Visage

Spirit Visage is the go-to item for tanks and fighters who have naturally high sustain in their kit or when the team has a healing enchanter.

Stats:

Health: 350

Health Regen: +100%

Magic Resist: 45

Ability Haste: 10

What are the key effects of Spirit Visage?

  • Blessed: Increases all healing, regen, and drain effects on yourself by 30%. This includes physical and spell vamp. This helps in dampening the effects of Grievous Wounds so that your Dr. Mundo’s or Soraka’s healing won’t be entirely useless while affected by Grievous Wounds.

Who should I build Spirit Visage on?

Spirit Visage is usually built on champions with high amounts of sustain in their kit like Dr. Mundo, Olaf, and Fiora. Fighters and tanks with no natural sustain can also build this if their support is a healing enchanter like Soraka and Sona.

When should I build Spirit Visage?

Dr. Mundo needs to build Spirit Visage ASAP to dampen the effect of Grievous Wounds on him and other champions should build Spirit Visage as a third or fourth item.

Randuin’s Omen

Randuin’s Omen is the go-to item to build against AD hyper carries with high attack speed and critical damage output like Jinx, Ashe, Yasuo, and Master Yi.

Stats:

Health: 400

Armor: 55

What are the key effects of Randuin’s Omen?

  • Armored: Reduces the damage from Critical Strikes by 15%. It negates a portion of the critical strike bonus increase from Infinity Edge. When playing against Ashe, it decreases the damage output of Ashe by a flat 15% amount due to how her passive works.
  • Cold Steel: Reduces the Attack Speed by 15% of those who attacks the wielder. Works extremely well with Frozen Heart.

Who should I build Randuin’s Omen on?

Any fighter or tank can benefit from Randuin’s Omen. But because of Frozen Heart’s introduction, solo laners and Junglers like Garen, Darius, Jax and Shyvana should be the one who builds Randuin’s Omen while tank supports like Alistar and Braum should build Frozen Heart instead to benefit the whole team.

Who should I build Randuin’s Omen against?

Randuin’s Omen works well against AD hyper carries who relies on Attack Speed and Critical Damage. Some of these are Jinx, Ashe, Yasuo, Master Yi, and Jhin.

When should I build Randuin’s Omen?

AD hyper carries come online in the late game so Randuin’s Omen is best built as a fourth, fifth, or sixth item. But if the hypercarry bags a few kills, they might be a nuisance earlier than usual so the front liner might need to build it as a second or third item.

Frozen Mallet

Frozen Mallet is an ambiguous item which is a mix of offense, defense, and utility. It’s the auto attack version of Rylai’s Scepter but it has been phased out in LoL PC due to its lack of usage. It might happen in Wild Rift as well.

Stats:

Health: 550

Attack Damage: 25

What are the key effects of Frozen Mallet?

  • Icy: Attacks slow enemies by 40%. (20% for ranged attacks.) It gives less options for immobile champions. It basically forces the target to fight its wielder to death.

Who should I build Frozen Mallet on?

Melee AD carries are the usual users of this item. It works fine on Master Yi, Jax and Yasuo. There are some Teemo players who likes this item.

When should I build Frozen Mallet?

Frozen Mallet gives a large amount of HP but its damage output is lacking so if you want to force enemies to fight you, you must have ample amount of damage in the first place so I recommended building it as a third or fourth item.

Warmog’s Armor

Warmog’s Armor grants godlike out of battle regeneration and the highest amount of health stat.

Stats:

Health: 700

Health Regen: 200%

Ability Haste: 10

What are the key effects of Warmog’s Armor?

  • Warmog’s Heart: Restores 5% HP per second if you haven’t taken damage within the last 5 seconds and if you have at least 2,500 maximum Health.

Who should I build Warmog’s Armor on?

Warmog’s Armor is also a niche item that works on specific heroes. Most of the time, you won’t be able to go in a fight, go out for 5 seconds, and contribute again. But Garen and Dr. Mundo is an exception as going in and out of a fight is a particular part of their design. Warmog’s Armor is also great for Soraka because she uses her HP as the resource for her heals.

When should I build Warmog’s Armor?

Warmog’s Heart has a 2,500 maximum Health requirement to activate so it’s not a good early game buy. I recommend buying it as a fourth or fifth item buy maybe third on Dr. Mundo if he is struggling against Grievous Wounds.

Sterak’s Gage

Sterak’s Gage is the fighter’s lifeline item. It grants the most balanced offense and defense stats out of all the defense items.

Stats:

Health: 400

What are the key effects of Sterak’s Gage?

  • Heavy Handed: +50% base Attack Damage. The damage scales per level. For example: Shyvana starts with 65 AD and has 122 base AD at level 15 which means Heavy Handed grants her 32.5-61 AD which is the second highest AD an item can give. (second to Bloodthirster which grants 65.)
  • Lifeline: Damage that puts you under 35% maximum Health will activate a shield equal to 75% bonus health. A Shyvana that has Trinity Force and Sterak’s Gage has 600 bonus health which will grant Shyvana 400 shield when it activates. A full built Shyvana will have 1,250 bonus health which will grant her 937.5 shield when lifeline activates.
  • Sterak’s Fury: Triggering Lifeline increases your size and Tenacity. The larger size does not do much except with some interactions like increases the AoE of Immolate from Sunfire Aegis. The 30% bonus tenacity however, is a big deal especially if you are equipped with Mercury’s Treads and the Hunter – Titan bonus. Tenacity lowers the duration of crowd controls and it stacks multiplicatively, and these three will bring your tenacity to 63.6% [1 – (1-30%)*(1-35%)*(1-20%)]. This means that a 2 second stun will only last 0.73 seconds on you. Sadly though, it does not affect knock ups. God knows why.

Who should I build Sterak’s Gage on?

Fighters who rely on auto attacks and fights head on are great users of this item. Some examples are Shyvana, Olaf, and Camille.

When should I build Sterak’s Gage?

Sterak’s Gage’s effects scale into the late game so it is a great buy in all stages of the game. Sterak’s Gage users usually buy it as a second or third item.

Iceborn Gauntlet

Iceborn Gauntlet is the Spellblade item for tanks which grants bonus damage and an area which slows down enemies inside it.

Stats:

Armor: 50

Mana: 450

Ability Haste: 25

What are the key effects of Iceborn Gauntlet?

  • Spellblade: Using an ability causes the next attack to deal 100% base AD in an area and create an icy field which slows down enemies inside it by 30%. Armor increases the size of the field.

Who should I build Iceborn Gauntlet on?

Iceborn Gauntlet offers a lot of utility and damage for a defensive item and its ability haste is on the higher side as well. This item is mostly built by Nasus and Ezreal but it can also be built by other tank users who wants more punch in their auto attacks.

When should I build Iceborn Gauntlet?

Since Nasus and Ezreal relies on their empowered attacks, it is usually built as their first core item. On other tank champions, it does not grant HP so its better as a second or third item.

Dead Man’s Plate

Dead Man’s Plate is another offensive tank item option as its bonus movement speed allows tanks to run down enemies.

Stats:

Health: 300

Armor: 50

What are the key effects of Dead Man’s Plate?

  • Relentless: +5% Move Speed.
  • Momentum: Grants up to 50 Move Speed which stacks while moving. Stacks decay when movement is impaired. If you have an enemy moving towards you with red streaks on them, slow or stun them ASAP!
  • Crushing Blows: Attacks deal up to 100 bonus magic damage based on Momentum stacks. Attacks with max momentum slows down the enemy by 50% for 1 second. I personally love this effect on support tanks as the effect is a big deal, especially in the early game.

Who should I build Dead Man’s Plate on?

Tanks and Fighters all benefits from the bonus movement speed from Dead Man’s Plate because one of the main issue with tanks is that they are kitable. This item makes it a lot easier to run towards opponents and force fights.

When should I build Dead Man’s Plate?

Support Tanks like Alistar and Braum usually builds Dead Man’s Plate as their first core item after building boots. Fighters like Garen, Darius, Jarvan IV wants to build it as a third or fourth item as they transition to tank items after building their physical items.

Abyssal Mask

Abyssal Mask is a good all-around item. It grants lots of stats and it grants a passive which amplifies your ally’s magic damage output.

Stats:

Health: 300

Magic Resist: 40

Mana: 300

Ability Haste: 10

What are the key effects of Abyssal Mask?

  • Eternity: Restore Mana equal to 15% of the damage taken from champions. Regen Health equal to 20% of Mana spent. Capped at 25 Health per cast. This effect is just a nice sustain bonus.
  • Abyssal: Nearby enemy champions take 15% bonus magic damage. Now this one is a beefy effect. Increasing the overall magic damage output of your AP carry is no joke.

Who should I build Abyssal Mask on?

Abyssal Mask is best built on tank supports and on solo laners who mostly deal magic damage like Amumu, Malphite, and Singed.

When should I build Abyssal Mask?

AP carries usually have great mid games so Abyssal Mask is good as a third or fourth item.

Zeke’s Convergence

Personally, this is my favorite tank support item that I build it even on Lulu who is an Enchanter support. It adds an additional effect to your ultimate ability, making it a lot deadlier.

Stats:

Armor: 40

Magic Resist: 40

Mana: 150

Ability Haste: 10

What are the key effects of Zeke’s Convergence?

  • Harbinger: Casting your ultimate surrounds you with a blizzard and ignites a nearby ally’s attacks for 10 seconds. Your blizzard slows enemies by 20% and your ally’s attacks burn for 30% bonus magic damage. 30% bonus damage output is a lot if you ask me.
  • Frostfire Covenant: Your blizzard ignites if it slows a burning enemy, dealing 40 magic damage per second and slowing by 40% for 3 seconds. This is just a bonus which adds on to the DPS received by the enemy targeted by your ally, preferably your ADC.

Who should I build Zeke’s Convergence on?

The tank supports Alistar, Braum, Blitzcrank, Leona, and Rakan are the usually carriers of Zeke’s Convergence. I also build it on Lulu after Ardent Censer when playing ahead to further increase the damage output of my ADC.

When should I build Zeke’s Convergence?

Zeke’s Convergence’s effects are great but it doesn’t grant HP so I build it after Dead Man’s Plate. Sometimes, I build it first on Leona since her M.O. is to pile on the early game kills.

Protector’s Vow

Protector’s Vow is another tank support item which also works on enchanters since it is a great buffer against burst damage.

Stats:

Health: 350

Armor: 40

Ability Haste: 10

What are the key effects of Protector’s Vow?

  • Protector: If you or your ally take damage from a champion, monster or turret, both of you receives a 125 shield + 20% bonus HP + 15% AP and 20% Move Speed for 1.5 seconds. It scales both for tank supports and enchanters and it also grants a short movement speed burst which makes it perfect for escaping.

Who should I build Protector’s Vow on?

Tank supports and enchanter support are all great candidates for Protector’s Vow. This works well especially against burst damage champions who relies on one combo to kill the enemy like Zed or Fizz.

When should I build Protector’s Vow?

Protector’s Vow is built reactively to counter against burst damage champions when your ADC is struggling so its better as a second or third item as a substitute to offensive options if going on the offensive is not the ideal game plan.

That’s all for this guide! If you are reading this, thank you for your time! I hope you learned something. If you have any comments or input to our discussion, please leave a comment below!

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