While they have a few different names, they all share the same goal. The bruiser’s job is a to be a tanky, damaging, carry killing machine that can survive enough to get to the back line. Bruisers are meant to kill carries, however, they usually lack hard initiation. Many bruisers will have some gap closer but in a team fight scenario you must pick the right times to dive. If you go too early in front of your team, you’ll just die because you’re not quite tanky enough to get in the back line. On the other hand, if you dive in to the fight too late you risk letting the other carry getting off too much damage and killing your team before you even do anything. Thus, we get a few broad scenarios that you should be careful to pay attention to in a team fight:

Your Carry Is Fed:
If your carry is fed then you should be helping peel for your carry, especially for less mobile late game carries. The reasoning behind this is that over the course of time the carries will be able to deal the most damage and are also the most useful for pushing. It’s a lot harder to siege a tower as a melee attacker than it is for the ADC. If you leave a team fight with your ADC alive it opens up a lot more possibilities for getting objectives.

Their Carry Is Fed:
If their carry is fed then the only way to win the team fight is to eliminate their carry.  Of course the reasoning behind this is simple: if they have a higher source of damage they will be able to kill you faster. If you eliminate what is killing you the fastest then you’ll be able to survive.

Tactics for survival:

As a bruiser you’re equipped for surviving better than the carries. However, this doesn’t mean you can just run in to their back line and expect to get there in one piece. Take into account the following:

  • The strength of the enemy carry. Could you 1v1 him?
  • The CC of the enemy team. Is some of it on cooldown? Do they have a lot?
  • The enemy carries escapes. If you dash towards them will they be able to flash, dash or otherwise get into a better position than you?
  • What is the position of your team? Will they be able to follow up? Can anyone else on your team dive in with you?
  • Is the ultimates/CC on your team available? Can any of them assist you when jumping in? (ex. Lulu ult, Ori ults, shields, etc)

Even as someone who is moderately tanky you still should not be diving straight into the enemy team. Think of your game plan first, are you peeling or are you going to kill? If you’re going for the kill make sure you have a solid opening to get to the enemy carry first. Let your tank initiate first and then look for an opening. Try to catch their carry out of position if you can, and don’t leave your team too far behind.

Itemizing as a bruiser:

Generally as a bruiser you want to build one or two offensive items and then  build all defensive after that. This way you’ll be able to deal damage to kill, and you’ll have the defensive to survive. We’ll take a look at the common offensive and defensive items but it will be up to you to decide what works best for the champion you’re playing.

Common Offensives:
Blade of the Ruined King 
Blade of the Ruined King
Ravenous Hydra Ravenous Hydra
Trinity Force Trinity Force

Blade of the Ruined King – You mainly want this item for champions who are auto attack reliant. It gives you a little bit of AS, life steal, and AD as well as extra damage on your auto attacks and an active that helps you stick to your enemies by stealing their movement speed.

Ravenous Hydra – If you need to push this is the item.  It gives AoE on your auto attacks as well as an active that deals some damage. The active is also really awesome because it can be used for animation cancelling. Animation cancelling is exactly as it sounds. It is the act of stopping an animation for it ends while still having its effect happen. Some common animations cancels include Renekton’s W animation cancel and cancels with Riven’s abilities.

Trinity Force – This item is good if you can benefit from all of its stats. This item is a really good well rounded item but if you don’t benefit at least a little from the ap there is probably a better choice.

Building Defensive: 

You should always be building some armor on bruisers to tank towers and for the ADC. However, there may be times when you need to build defensive towards the AP carries. If you feel you should be fearing the AP carries and magic damage more build magic resist. If you are more afraid of the AD carries and physical damage build armor. As a general rule of thumb, if the enemy carries seem equally as fed, or you’re not really sure which way to go, armor has more overall uses.

Armor items:

Randuin's Omen Randuin’s Omen
Thornmail Thornmail
Frozen Heart Frozen Heart
Sunfire Cape Sunfire Cape

Randuin’s Omen – This item is pretty much essential. If you’re going to be build armor at all you’re going to be building this whether its first or second this item is staple if you need armor.

Thornmail – This item gives a ton of armor as well as reflects some damage taken from basic attacks (this includes minion basic attacks). If you’re against a team of heavy auto attacking champions this is a good item. It’s important to consider though that it doesn’t give you other stats other than armor.

Frozen Heart – The thought process to buying this item is similar to that of thornmail. It lowers the auto attack speed of champions in a small radius. The beneficial part of Frozen Heart is that it also gives bonus stats such as Mana and CDR. This makes it good for champions such as Ryze, who scale off mana and work well getting a little tanky. It also works for champions who can benefit from the additional mana and cdr.

Sunfire Cape – This item gives armor. health and deals a small amount of magic damage in an AoE around you every second. Works well if you just want to sit in the middle of the team and deal some additional damage.

Magic Resist Items: 

Banshee's Veil Banshee’s Veil
Spirit Visage Spirit Visage
Locket of the Iron Solari Locket of the Iron Solari

Banshee’s Veil – This item is good if you’re looking to avoid getting caught out by a single ability. It can also stop a surprise engage from the enemy team if they know that they wont be able to full combo you. Also a good item for ADCs.

Spirit Visage – What’s cool about this item is not only does it give you HP and MR but it also increases the effects of life steal, health regen etc. For champions that do a lot of auto attacking and healing this is a good item.

Locket of the Iron Solari – Locket has a special active that gives you a team wide shield depending on levels. It also gives an aura that grants Magic Resist for the team. This is good for true tanks because you need to be in the vicinity of your team to grant them the shield and aura.


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