If you’ve played even a single game of League of Legends in season 12, then you know how bursty the meta is. Thanks to the item changes, Riot Games empowered the one-shot playstyle, and assassins are now on the loose. They’re running rampant, slaughtering everyone in 0.5 seconds. There is rarely an effective counter in the mid lane, except by going for extra tanky champions. So who are the top 5 best tanky mid laners that you can play in season 12?
Well, there are many champions that could be considered tanky mid laners. Take any top laner, put him in the middle lane versus an assassin, and you’ll have a pretty fun time. But what if you don’t play top lane and have no clue how these bruisers work? Well, don’t worry! Here we will give you 5 excellent tanky champions that you can run in the mid lane, ranging from mages to fighters.
So let’s begin!
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If you’ve never picked up Sylas until now, I strongly recommend you to do so! He is one of the most potent mid lane champions in season 12, able to carry most games by himself.
Sylas is an AP assassin, mage, bruiser, and fighter all in one. His playstyle changes from game to game and from minute to minute. Sylas’s R – Hijack allows him to steal his opponent’s ultimate, making it available for him.
Because of this, you can be very creative in how you approach 1v1 battles and team fights. For example, if you have Ezreal’s ultimate available, you may want to go in, get out, and fire off the Trueshot Barrage to finish your enemies. But if you have Aatrox’s ulti, you want to stay in the middle of the fight and heal while dealing damage.
This brings me to my main point – Sylas’s survivability. Sylas is honestly one of the best champions when it comes to prolonged fighting. His W – Kingslayer heals him for a significant amount and is on a 3-2 seconds cooldown in the late game.
On top of that, the general build for Sylas in season 12 is pretty tanky as well. It starts with Everfrost, which not only synergizes with his Q it also grants flat maximum HP. The next item is Cosmic Drive, which lowers the cooldown on his W and also provides health. And the last core item is Zhonya’s Hourglass, a perfect defensive tool against AD assassins.
Sylas is a very difficult mid laner to kill, especially if you play around his strength. Don’t waste your W on minions, and don’t go in when it’s on cooldown. Steal defensive ultimates if there are any, and you’ll be able to carry!
Galio is one of the easiest mid laners you can play in season 12, and he is very tanky.
The best part about Galio is the fact that you can pick him in any matchup. He doesn’t necessarily need to win the lane in order to be helpful throughout the game. His worst matchups are against bullies such as Syndra, but the truth is – they can never kill him either. As long as you’re careful and dodge half of the abilities, you’ll do alright in the lane.
Galio is a very defensive champion overall. His base health, armor, and magic resist are higher than any other mid laner, so he’s exceptional at surviving against all-in champions such as Zed, Katarina, or Fizz.
You can either play Galio with Hextech Rocketbelt or Everfrost in season 12. Both of these items give him maximum HP, which is very valuable for a melee champion. Other good items are Morellnomicon and Zhonya’s Hourglass, which will help you with both damage output and survivability.
The win conditions of Galio are a bit different than any other champion in the mid lane. You generally want to play around your teammates rather than alone. This doesn’t mean that you can’t split in a solo lane and scale, but you need to be prepared to join the fight with your ultimate at any time.
Splitting when your Hero’s Entrance is on cooldown is usually a bad idea. Galio isn’t a good champion at 1v1 duels and can’t compete against champions like Irelia, Fiora, or Darius, no matter how tanky he is. So be with your team!
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And speaking of easy mid laners that can help you climb, Malphite is the perfect pick for the job. Although he is technically a top lane champion and not a mid laner, he can become a hyper-carry with enough AP.
When you play Malphite mid, the only thing you have to worry about is hitting your ultimate – Unstoppable Force. Because you’ll build at least 2-3 ability power items at the start, you funnel all of your power in your ulti. This is the hardest-hitting ability that Malphite has, so make sure you know how it works. Plus, Unbreakable does AoE damage that isn’t affected by how many enemies it hits, so you can win team fights by yourself!
And the reason why Malphite can be highly efficient in today’s mid meta is that you can build like an off-tank. The recommended build path for Malphite mid in S12 is Ionian Boots of Lucidity > Luden’s Tempest > Zhonya’s Hourglass > Thornmail > Frozen Heart > Gargoyle Stoneplate.
Malphite scales incredibly well with armor, so any armor item works well on him. If you’re facing multiple AP champions, you should go for items like Banshee’s Veil, Abyssal Mask, or Force of Nature. And if you want to be even more defensive, you can play Malphite with Frostfire Gauntlet as a mythic item, then purchase a bit of AP just to empower his ultimate.
But honestly, you have many different build paths for Malphite mid. He is so simple yet so efficient a champion that he doesn’t leave too much room for failure. He is pretty tanky, and his burst damage is insane, so definitely try him out!
If you have a bit of experience in top lane, then Renekton is the absolute best mid lane pick for a tanky playstyle. Not only does he have a lethal amount of damage throughout the game, but he is also a hard champion to bring down. His build is often half offensive and half defensive, and his ultimate is a cheat-death ability!
Renekton is a bully. You have to play aggressively in lane to get the most out of him, no matter who you’re facing. Fortunately, Renekton can beat pretty much any mage and any mid assassin. Champions like Yasuo, Talon, or Zed have less HP than him and can’t trade efficiently. And mages like Syndra or Lux get obliterated in seconds when Renekton gets near them.
Because of this, picking Renekton in the mid lane almost always puts you in the driver’s seat. You no longer have to worry about specific abilities because Renekton can endure more shots than someone like Katarina. His Q – Cull The Meek is an excellent way to regain his lost health, both during laning phase and team fights.
On top of that, Renekton has access to another healing effect – Goredrinker. Not only does this item grant damage, max HP, and health regeneration, but it also allows Renekton to slash everyone around him and heal for a significant amount. This synergizes well with his Q and W and can be used to quickly deal damage or heal.
Other defensive items that you get for Renekton are Sterak’s Gage, Spirit Visage, or Guardian Angel. And this makes Renekton of the tankiest mid laners in season 12!
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And lastly, we have Vladimir. Now, Vladimir has always been the recommended mid pick for a tank meta. He’s way too powerful in the late game and is quite tanky for a mage. The issue with Vladimir has always been this – he sucks in the early game. But that’s not true anymore! Thanks to the new mythic item Hextech Rocketbelt, Vladimir reaches his first power spike at the 12th-minute mark!
Hextech Rocketbelt has everything that Vladimir needs – AP, health, haste, and magic penetration. On Vladimir in particular, these stats are especially valuable because of his passive – Crimson Pact. Percentage of his HP gets converted into AP, and percentage of his AP gets converted into HP.
Because of this, any AP or HP item you buy on Vladimir makes him deal more damage and be tankier. So even if you go with a fully offensive build and purchase things like Void Staff and Rabadon’s Deathcap, you’re still going to have a ton of health!
Playing Vladimir isn’t too difficult either. Despite his tankiness, he has one more advantage that none of the other champions on this list have – he is range! Being a mage, Vladimir can avoid many unnecessary fights. He has his W to quickly withdraw himself whenever the jungler comes for a gank. But this also makes it very easy for him to lane against anyone!
Speaking of which, Vladimir is perhaps the most annoying champion to play against in the mid lane. He constantly heals, and you can never outtrade him. So pick up Vladimir and use him to your advantage!
Those are the top 5 best mid laners in season 12 of League of Legends!