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An Introduction to Set 2: Rise of the Elements
Rise of the Laser beams pewpewpew
Ohayou! It's finally here, Set 2 Rise of the Elements! I've been playing a fair amount on the test client (PBE) to get a feel for the new set and have been thoroughly enjoying it. There's definitely a lot to unpack with so many changes so this article is going to delve into what's new and ease returning players into it. I'll be listing all the resources used at the end of the article so be sure to check those out!
The new set is really bringing the heat with a ton of new content and a lot of changes to already existing aspects of TFT. So, what's new? The obvious change is; new units and traits! 

Not a lot of the previous set has transferred over but a few have. Glacial, Blademaster, Assassin and Ranger are all returning and unchanged in their functionality, though they have had tweaks in numbers. A few of the units from Set 1 with those traits have returned with some having radical changes and others being similar to their original Set 1 design.

Ashe, for example, is now Crystal/Ranger and is a 4 cost unit with a different ultimate. Vayne, on the other hand, has the same ultimate and is still a 1 cost Ranger but is now Light instead of Noble. If you'd like to check out all the returning Set 1 units and their changes going into Set 2 here is a quick document to check out!

Set 1 Unit Changes

Onto the new! New traits, units and the introduction of the elemental hexes on the board. There's a lot to learn and honestly the best way to learn is to play a lot. If you want to do a quick look over of all the new units https://lolchess.gg/ has great resources to do so. Here's a link to all the units in set 2: Units. And a link to look over all the traits (origins, classes) in set 2: Traits. Definitely recommend using online resources if you want to look and learn about the new traits and units.

Elemental map hexes are a new mechanic they've added that changes every game. There are four of them; Cloud, Inferno, Mountain and Ocean. One random element is chosen at the start of each game which you'll be able to tell what element it is based on the carousel (each element changes the appearance of the carousel). One random hex on your board will have whichever element the game chose and another will appear (with the same element) at stage 3-1. Everyone gets the same element and the same placement of elements on their board. It is mirrored and you can see a faint outline of where they appear on the enemies board.

When you place a unit onto one of the hexes it gains a buff corresponding to whichever element it is. This buff takes up an item slot so you won't be able to have a full 3 item unit gain the element buff if you put it on the hex, so keep that in mind! Here's what each elemental buff does;

*Note; Wind was changed to Cloud in game, has the same effect.

In addition to that a new unit, Qiyana, has a unique trait that matches the element of the game. So if the maps element is Inferno, Qiyana will also count as Inferno. This adds a fun layer of strategy around her as a unit and one of my favorite aspects of the elemental system.

I definitely recommend utilizing the hexes with the elements as they give a free buff. Try to position around the fact it is mirrored on the enemies board so positioning around that is key. For example you can have a ranged unit on your Inferno hex to get the attack-speed but if it's near the front of your board the enemy can keep units near it that will target your squishy ranged unit. Scouting will be very important for this set as knowing where not only to position your units but also to scout what units other players are placing on their element hex is useful information.

One last thing that's new with the elements is the unit Lux. She is the first 7 cost unit added to the game and has a unique class called Avatar. Lux has 10 different elements she can be in game and Avatar makes that trait count as double. Example being you get an Inferno Lux she will count as if you had two units with Inferno. This is a really interesting mechanic because it adds another layer of strategy in how you're planning your composition. Do note though that when you find and buy a Lux, whatever element she is that you bought and are holding onto is the only one you can find from then on. In order to roll a new elemental Lux you have to sell your existing one.
Going into set 2 there are a few changes to items but overall they are relatively the same as set 1, although there are a lot of balance tweaks. Lets briefly talk about some of the new ones and changes and then lets see how you should go about learning item priority in this new set.

One of the biggest changes is to Spatula and the items it makes. Notably a lot of the set 1 recipes are changed as those traits are no longer in the game. Here's a quick look at the new ones;

Note that Spatula + Negatron Cloak doesn't make Runaan's Hurricane anymore. That item is now made with Recurve Bow and Cloak. Cursed Blade has been removed which is what that combination of items used to make. Another important change to keep in mind is the double stats that Spatula items provided in set 1 is currently no longer in set 2. If you want to see some of the balance changes that are currently in set 2 to items here is a list of them:

Changes out of the way, lets talk priority. While there is going to be no ranked for the first two weeks of set 2 learning what items are working or not working is important. The way I break down items is as follows; Carry items (physical damage, attack-speed), Spell items (ability power, mana), Utility items (on-hit buffs and debuffs) and Defensive items (healing, armor, magic resists).

Carry items are simple, they are items that enable a carry to do their job better. In 9.21 one of the best items for that was Giant Slayer, as an example. The way to figure out what item to use for a carry is; does it have attack-speed or does it provide good damage. Items like Guinsoo's Rageblade provide a lot of attack-speed overtime so it works well with fast base attack-speed units (Ashe, Vayne) and an item like Infinity Edge is great for Assassins. I'd say in set 2 to look for enabling your carry with Guinsoo's, Runaan's or Hand of Justice, but certainly play around with the items. It's a new set and item priority is going to be in flux.

Spell items add ability power or mana, with various effects, and can be on many units including a carry. Deathcap received a buff in set 2 and is very good at providing anyone that uses ability power an extra bit of damage. It also affects healing so a unit like Mundo will heal more from his ultimate. Mana items like Seraphs are also very good at helping units with important ultimate abilities get them off quicker such as Nami or Malphite. It's also great for spammable ults like the new Kha'zix. Keep in mind that some units are not affected by spell damage increase, check their stats and if there's no numbers next to the ability power stat then they are likely unaffected by any increases.

Utility items often have on-hit effects or spell effects such as Morellonomicon and Sword Breaker. Sword Breaker has proven to be quite useful in set 2 as quite a few units and traits can do on-hit effects in an AoE. Try using it on Nocturne or Olaf with his Berserker trait. Morellonomicon is a great debuff to any unit that's getting healing so have it on anything providing AoE such as Singed. There are a lot of ways to play with on-hit items so read carefully on a units description for their abilities, if they say 'works with on-hit effects' then try building those items on that unit.

Defensive items provide stats and effects that make a unit harder to be killed. Guardian Angel has been one of the best items at this in set 1 and is still decent in set 2. Redemption continues to be very strong so far in set 2 as it was at the end of set 1 and Iceborn Gauntlet may be even better now with the Cloud bonus in the game. Generally front-line units will have defensive items so they live longer but it's definitely okay to put them on an important back-line unit if you want them to be safe. One of the most essential defensive items for a carry in set 1 was given a large nerf in set 2, that item being Dragon's Claw. It's now only 50% spell resistance so maybe look into alternative defensive items like Trap Claw or Quicksilver.

Most importantly keep in mind that item priority is going to be changing a lot as everyone learns set 2. Mess around with combinations of items on different units and definitely try playing around with the new Spatula items. One of the best ways to learn how effective something is... is to just try it. Check the stats on the unit as the game goes on, see if it's making any difference (right-clicking on a unit shows you stats) and utilize the damage meters to see an items impact. My current recommendation for items in set 2 are; Redemption, Iceborn Gauntlet, Sword Breaker, Hush, Guinsoo's, Runaan's and Deathcap. 

A big change coming with set 2 is how different positioning is going to be. One change we already mentioned is the elemental hexes that are randomly placed on your board but the other is the increase in board size.

This is a huge change because you have a lot of room now to position around your board. The ramifications of this change is going to likely not be figured out for quite awhile as it will change how we think of positioning currently. With this change and the elemental hexes there is a lot of chaos that will happen in set 2 in regards to positioning.

On top of all of that we also have a new trait in the game, Berserker, that acts similar to Assassin. Berserkers jump forward to the closest target, which is opposite of what Assassins do (jump to the furthest away unit). What this means is positioning for your squishier units is going to be a lot harder because you have to not only know where Assassin's are going but also Berserkers. I do think it's likely we'll see a similar Assassin bait positioning strategy like in set 1 but overall positioning in set 2 is going to take a lot more thought.

Here's a very basic look at what a board at level 8 may look like. Do note that this is not an example to showcase a composition, it is just for visuals to give you an idea of what the board size is like.

Notice that this is without elemental hexes in mind because they are random every game so that also alters positioning. This example is basically 'damage in the back with a front-line' so it's very basic, but hopefully gives you an idea to the size of the board now. Corner strategies will be a lot harder as your units are going to spread out a lot when your melee units move forward so keeping your ranged units slightly closer to them will be important.

I very much suggest to look at unit ranges and try to learn what that means. For example, Ashe has very long range so she is able to be back further whereas a unit like Kindred has a slightly shorter range. Your goal with positioning is to try and keep important units from moving around too much, blocking avenues for enemy units to get to your carries and to play around Assassin's. Last piece of advice is scout! Scouting will help you so, so much in regards to positioning so make sure you're doing it often.
Economy in set 2 doesn't seem like it will be all that different to the last few patches of set 1 in that you still want to play for balancing your gold and health while leveling up around certain timings. The timings from set 1 are as follows;

Stage 2-4 > Level to 5
Stage 3-2 > Level to 6
Stage 4-1  > Level to 7

Those were the basic timings for leveling in set 1 and so far it feels like they still hold true as experience wasn't changed. You do take slightly less damage early game so you can be a bit more flexible in when you want to level and when you want to greed your economy but in general those timings still hold up well.

Let's focus on one of the largest changes in set 2 in regards to your economy and buying units, that being the alteration of the number of units in each tiers pool. Basically every tier of unit (1 cost to 5 cost) has a limited number of each unit in them and in set 2 this is being altered as seen here:

Another change is there are less units than the end of set 1 so the pool is slightly less diluted. What this all means is you're going to have a bit of an easier time finding specific units but if there is anyone contesting you for those units you will have a way harder time getting them, especially 2 star or even 3 star. The flip side to this is that scouting is even more important because if you see no one is going a certain unit you can roll to try and scoop that up quickly and even 3 star it potentially.

Scouting and managing your gold will be huge in set 2 because they compliment each other really well now. A lot of people going for Nocturne when you were starting to build towards him? Pivot into a different 3 cost unit. Want to re-roll for Light units but someone else is doing it? Maybe shift to re-rolling for Inferno. A lot of this is going to come with game knowledge as well but the basic idea is use your gold based around what you're scouting.

One last thing to keep in mind is there are less 5 cost units now. At the end of set 1 there were eight, in set 2 we have five. There is also Lux but to my knowledge she doesn't count against rolling a 5 cost unit, she has her own separate pool she comes from. Basically this means going for a specific 5 cost unit is easier than it was in set 1 but you need to scout to see if it's contested. They also changed a bit of the drop rate at level 8:

Leveling to 8 with good economy is still one of the main goals in set 2 so make sure you're balancing it well.

There has been a lot of strategies using re-rolling, or hyper-rolling as it's called, to get early 3 starred units. I've seen it mostly done with Inferno, Light, Woodland and sometimes Mage. The general strategy is you hold onto the units you're wanting to roll for, usually 1 cost units, and don't spend much of your gold until stage 3-1. Then you roll all of it when you are level 4 with 8/10 experience with the intent to hit 3 starred 1 cost units. You can also look to pick up 2 cost units to try and 3 star them but the strategy usually is meant to 3 star the 1 cost units. It's a really simple strategy to follow so try it out if you want a very straight forward play-style.
Thank you for reading! This article is meant for a mix between newer players who have played a bit of TFT and more veteran players that are returning for set 2. There is no ranked for the first two weeks of set 2 so I won't be doing an article on the meta since it will be all over the place for a bit. I highly recommend just getting out there and playing games to learn the new set and watching streams will also be helpful. I know quite a few set 1 NA Challenger players will be running inhouses (private custom games) to simulate a ranked experience so check out those streams! There's a lot of them but a few I'd recommend; Kurumx, k3soju, Khroen, Keane and if you'd like to check it out here is mine; Faye.

Resources I recommend for set 2 and ones that I used in this article:
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