Tanking on a champion seemed nearly impossible before Rise of Isengard. While the champion did have three stances most players stayed in Fervor and didn’t bother with the others because they were not as effective for the class in nearly all solo or grouping situations. Well this all changed when the class changes happened with Rise of Isengard. After finding out that there are no major changes coming to the champion with Riders of Rohan; I decided now was a good time to make a case for the tanking champion.
I enjoy the champion because it is one of the most diverse melee classes in LOTRO. With a champion you can be single or AoE DPS or you can tank. This diversity allows you to fill nearly any melee role on the battlefield. If you’re running a skirmish and get lots of mobs then you can go AoE and then change on the fly to single target DPS or a tanking stance once you get to the boss fight at the end. This diversity is what has kept the champion as my uncontested main for several years now.
With RoI tanking is finally possible on the champion and so hopefully I can give a guide on what I have found to work. Since getting to cap I have played around and experimented a lot with the champion and these are the best tanking builds I have found so far.
First off is what I like to think of as the true tank in that it is how Turbine wants your champion to tank. The first thing you need to do for this option is to be in Glory stance. Glory is the stance Turbine clearly wants you to tank in. You then need to go into blue trait line at least four deep to get the glory buff to your health along with extra critical defense and extra threat. For class traits I would recommend Call of the Wild, Aggressive Exchange, Reprisal, Bracing Attack and if you want a fifth for the legendary then I would recommend Vigour of Champions. I would not continue in blue line because it would not let you hold agro very well if you stayed in it for two more traits. I recommend increasing your critical rating with two red line traits: Vicious Strikes and Deadly strikes.
With this arrangement the choice of which virtues you want is really up to you because it will be hard to mess it up unless you pick things that no champion would want. You could go into more defensive traits or if you find you need more agro you could focus a little more on damage but really it would be hard to go wrong here with this setup.
For a Man’s Racial traits I would make sure I get Strength of Morale which will give you a nice heal. The only downside is that it is only available every hour. The rest of the racial traits are up to you really as none of them really stand out except for maybe Balance of Man if you really need extra defense.
For legendary traits I would recommend Invincible (if you want to go five deep in blue), Ferocious Strikes, Raging Blade, and Fight On. These traits will give you the extra agro and defense you need as a tank and should really help you out in a fight.
With this lineup you will have the defense you need to take on T2 Isen 3 and 6 mans with ease and you can even be the main tank in a T1 raid but I would not recommend being the main tank in a T2 raid.
This stance is great because it provides you with plenty defense and agro abilities that you will need to be the main tank.
Option 2 is the option I use while tanking even though it is not considered to be a tanking stance, it is still a very viable way to tank. With this option you will want to be in fervor stance to get the best tanking effect.
This stance relies heavily on having the right virtues so that is where I will start this time. It is necessary to have these 5 in this option: Zeal, Determination, Justice, Loyalty and Valor. These virtues will give you a bunch of health and defense needed to tank.
With your man racial traits it is still the same as above.
Your class traits are where this option looks very unlike a tank. With this option you will want to go 4 deep in red line to get your trait equip buffs. The traits I would use from red line are: Vicious Strikes, Deadly Strikes, Blood-Lust and Deep Strikes. I then go 3 deep into yellow line to increase my multi-target agro abilities by increasing my damage by using these traits: Ardent Rage, Swift to Anger and Mighty Blast. These traits and buffs will allow you to hold agro and do plenty of damage while being able to take a lot of damage because of your virtues.
Legendary Traits are largely the same with the obvious exclusion of Invincible because you are not going deep in blue with this stance.
With this option I also have LI recommendations for this loadout by using the health increasing setting relics, the vitality increasing gem relics, the morale regen rune relics and finishing out with a crafted vitality. While these LI loadouts are optional I would highly recommend doing this on both of your LI’s to make you job as a tank much easier.
With this option I can be in everything as a main tank including T2 raids which is something I can’t really do in the other option. While this may just be me not getting something in the other one I have found a great way for me to do T2 raids as the main tank.
Do you have a different way to tank as a champion? If so feel free to leave your option below.
General Tanking Recommendations and Tips
Regardless of which option you pick the following information applies to all champion tanks.
As a tank bubbles are very important especially since we get sudden defense which costs no power and has a small cooldown of three minutes. This skill is really important as a tank and should really be used whenever it can. On your LI you can get a legacy that takes this cooldown to only 1 min making it be even more effective. Also the more fervor you build, the better this skill becomes.
True Heroics is another great bubble skill as long as you are in a stance. When in a stance this skill will give you a bubble from 3000-6000 morale depending on your stance and is really essential. The only downside is that it has a 5 min cooldown which is not too long but still can feel like a long time when you are in the middle of a fight.
Dire Need is another great moral boost taking away a lot of power and then giving back a larger amount of morale. This skill can be improved to be even more effective and is highly recommended to use while tanking. Sadly this has a very long 10 min cooldown and usually can only be used once in a boss fight.
Bracing Attack is another great heal that also does damage to your enemy but is a great skill to spam while tanking considering every 30 sec it pops back up. It is made even better in Glory stance with an incoming healing buff.
That brings me to a big advantage champions have while tanking which is that one of their LI’s gives healing overtime. This is really important to improve this as a tank to get better heals from the healer. With a Second Age LI this is improved even more and you can easily get your incoming healing above 2000 which healers really notice and like.
As you might have noticed tanking is a very viable option now post RoI for champions and makes the class much more than just a damage machine and really allows you to play the champion how you want to play him. I really enjoy being able to easily switch between tanking and DPS with a simple trait change. I like both tanking and DPS and depending on the champions situation he (or she) can adapt making it a great class that is no longer just about DPS.