It sounds weird when you say it, but League of Legends is an old game. If it was a child, it would be starting Elementary school right about now. Even though Riot has been constantly patching the game for ever, sometimes, more immediate intervention is needed to bring a problematic feature of the game or something similar in line. For that reason, Riot Games occasionally throw out class or champion reworks, which are meant to modernize old content to make it more in line with what’s expected from modern League of Legends. Next thing to be targeted by Riot after the successful Warwick Champion Rework is the Tank class. More specifically, Tanks classified as Vanguards by Riot Games.
Vanguard Tanks are front-line CC spam bots with no real damage of their own. Champions like Maokai, Zac, Amumu, Volibear, Nautilus, Rammus, and Sejuani are classified as Vanguard Tanks. All of these champions are more or less the same. They fly, dash, roll or run into the enemy team, CC and do low AoE damage while their teammates kill stuff. Mechanics aside, if you can play one of them, you can play all of them, they feel almost the same with no real niche. If some of them turn out to be popular in a particular meta, it’s because of their most effective numbers and not because their stylistic strengths and weaknesses fit the best against the enemies in a particular situation.
So far, class updates turned out to be quite successful. The ADC update improved on Marksmen’s identities as a poking trapper (Caitlyn), ambusher (Twitch), or all-in menace (Tristana). The Assassin update which went live prior to the start of this competitive season was also more or less successful. Now, Assassins certainly feel different and are useful in different situations. Of course, the overnerfing of Armor Penetration brought their power down, leaving a bad taste in people’s mouths when it came to the Assassin update. With the tweaks to the numbers under Lethality’s hood, however, Talon, at least, became one of, if not THE, best Mid and Top Champions in South Korean Solo Queue, building Youmuu’s Ghostblade, Edge of Night, and Black Cleaver.
Hopefully, Riot Games will be successful in separating Vanguard Tank class identities. It won’t be easy when all of the champions essentially do the same thing with varied thematic features which, in essence, perform the same function of either gap closing or CCing enemies.