Early Game - Items
Alright as usual we're going to kick this off by going over the beginning carousel. What are the priority components? For once the meta is diverse enough that you can almost grab any component and be in a decent position. But that's a bit of a non-answer to the question so let's focus on the top three.
First is definitely Sword. Sword is still a priority component because of how many items it builds into. You can use it for Guardian's Angel, Infinity Edge, Deathblade, Giantslayer, Shojin and hell, even the Blademaster spatula item is playable. The sheer amount of items you can make from this component makes it highly valuable.
Next is the Sparring Gloves. Gloves, much like the Sword, can be used for multiple items that are common in the current meta. Last Whisper and Infinity Edge are common items for physical damage carries while Thief's Gloves is just an all around useful item. Shroud of Stillness has really risen in popularity the last few metas and it honestly a big reason for grabbing Glove. Outside of those items you can also make a Quicksilver or Trapclaw but they are lower on priority to be sure.
And the third component is Tear. Tear is much more limited in what you will do with it because you're either playing for Blue Buff or Shojins. Shojin is definitely more valuable in the current meta because it's great for so many champions such as Ashe, Bard and Janna, just to name a few. Blue Buff is good on a lot of champions but definitely not as high of priority as it was last patch when Syndra was dominating.
The main reason to play for Blue Buff is Teemo. Teemo is one of the two Sniper champions that's at the top of the meta and enabling him is a surefire way to win your mid game rounds. You can play him without it but there's certainly a stark contrast between Teemo with Blue Buff and without it. So overall Tear isn't going to be as much of a necessity as other components but it's certainly a must have if you're wanting to run Teemo.
As for the other components, they all have a place in the meta with the exception of Cloak. Cloak mostly is used for Ionic Spark and Runaan's but it's not a priority component at all so should almost always be able to get it from carousel if you need it. Definitely make it your goal to not grab a Cloak off the beginning carousel otherwise you're running the risk of getting multiple of them which, in general, isn't very good.
Early Game - Champions & Traits
Moving along let's get into early game champions & traits. As usual this should be prefaced by saying your overall goal is to play your strongest board which means you want to two star your champions. Playing for a specific champion or certain traits can be okay but if you're presented with other options that can be upgraded you're better off going for them. The usual priority is going to be two star champions and then useful traits after.
Specific traits to look for are Rebels and Cybernetics. Space Pirates have also made a return with Darius and Graves receiving buffs so you can play them early on if you get them. Darius quickly gets out-scaled so make sure you not keeping him after stage two. Rebels are particularly good because the trio of Ziggs, Malphite and Zed make for an easy composition at level five. Add in Illaoi and Nocturne and you've got yourself Brawler, Infiltrator and Battlecast along with Rebels.
Cybernetics are also doing better now with buffs to Lucian. Lucian in general makes for a strong early and mid game carry. Ahri is another two cost champion to consider for that role. The last thing to mention are three cost champions. There's definitely less of a focus on early three costs this patch than there were last but grabbing an early Cassiopeia or Shaco is still valuable. Jayce is also great. But the king of early game three costs is still Bard.
Bard will make your early game so much better, especially if you have Shojins or get really lucky and two star him quickly. You can easily keep a two star Bard until you're level eight due to the amount of experience he's going to generate you. Early on it's invaluable being able to level to five and six for less gold than you'd spend normally because it lets you build up your economy or spend it on champions instead. A good way to enable Bard is play him with a bunch of tanks like Vanguard because they'll take awhile to die meaning he has more time to spawn meeps.
Early Game - Leveling & Economy
And the last section of the early game to talk about is leveling & economy! The meta is still favoring aggression which means you're going to level to four on either 2-1 or 2-2 and again on 2-5. Pre-leveling is also common which means you want to level to four early and then hit the level up button during the 2-4 carousel.
What this does is makes it so you're 8/10 in experience which will naturally level you to five before the 2-5 shop appears. Doing this increases your chances of finding a three cost champion and lets your shop on 2-5 have a chance to roll a four cost champion.
In general don’t worry too much about building up your economy as you want to minimize the amount of damage you take by spending gold aggressively.
With the early game done let’s move on and talk about the mid game! Overall your goal for the mid game is to make it to level seven by 4-1. At that point you will decide to either roll or continue leveling towards eight. But before we touch on that part of the game lets instead talk about level six.
The standard timing for level six will usually be on 3-2. Doing it earlier, on 3-1, is fine if you’re win streaking and want to push your board advantage to keep the streak going. It’s also possible to delay going to level six if you’re close to fifty gold but be careful doing this as you’re more likely to lose health.
Lastly for level six you can roll if you’re close to a few upgrades, specifically if you’d be able to hit a two star three cost champion. Otherwise you’re better off waiting til level seven. Speaking of level seven this is where you will either roll or continue leveling.
Rolling is the current standard for the meta because it helps stabilize your board which means you will lose less health throughout stage four. Stabilizing in this instance means finding your primary carry, usually two starring them and filling in your composition.
If you’re hitting level seven with a good economy, above fifty health and a strong enough board you can still fast eight on 4-3. Overall it’s risky if you haven’t been win-streaking most of the game but the benefit of hitting legendary champions can often outweigh the risk. As we said it’s more common to roll at level seven so prioritize doing that most games and level to eight later, usually by 5-1.
Mid Game Compositions
Now we can focus on a few compositions for the mid game. We're going to talk about three builds specifically that are at the top of the meta but we want to say before getting into them that there's plenty of viable builds right now. Some of them are also non-standard ways of playing.
For example Shredder, Slash Bros and Battlecast can all be played by slow rolling. So instead of rolling aggressively or leveling they want to stay at a certain level and roll excess gold slowing to hit three star champions. Another unique way of playing is fast level nine to play a bunch of five cost champions. It's quite risky and requires high-rolling the mid game but it's playable when done correctly.
Even beyond these builds there's still options such as Mech, Star Guardian/Sorcerer and Jinx carry (either Brawler/Blaster or Rebels). Basically don't limit yourself to just the top few builds of the meta, branch out and see what works so you have more options each game!
Alright let's get back to the mid game compositions we'll be briefly covering. Those are Dark Stars, Astro/Sniper and Cybernetics. We won't go into every possible variation of these builds and instead focus on the core champions for each at level eight. First up is Dark Stars! Here's what a typical level eight will look like when going Dark Stars;
The core of the build focuses primarily on four Dark Stars. There are six Dark Star variations but the current standard is to use Jarvan, Jhin, Shaco and Karma. Jhin and Shaco are your primary carries. Jhin absolutely needs Last Whisper to burn through Vanguards and Shaco can use a multitude of items made from the Sword. The rest of your composition basically fills in the gaps.
Ashe and Lulu are easy additions for Sniper, Celestial and Mystic. Fizz or Ekko will be used for Infiltrator and your last champion can be a Protector like Rakan to help your Jarvan. Again there's a lot of variations so experiment with different combination of traits and champions by using four Dark Star as your foundation.
Overall your goal is going to be to hit level seven and roll for Shaco 2 and find Jhin. Once you have those, and a decent front line, you can aim for level eight and finish upgrading the rest of the composition. Let's move on to the next composition, Cybernetics! A standard level eight for Cybernetics looks like this;
As usual the standard for Cybernetics is to utilize the six piece trait. Ultimately your goal is to get to these six Cybernetics; Leona, Vi, Fiora, Irelia, Vayne and Ekko. Lucian is amazing early on in the game so use him as an item holder but he falls off later so look to replace him once you find Ekko. The current standard champions to add to this build at level eight are Riven (or Shen) and Thresh. This will get you to three Blademaster while also giving Mana-Reaver and Chrono.
There are a ton of variations you can play for six Cybernetics, especially since both Vayne and Irelia can be your primary carry. Just make sure you're focusing on upgrading your six Cybernetics, finding Ekko and getting items for your carry. Both Irelia and Vayne will do best with Last Whisper and Infinity Edge. Your last item can vary on both with Guardian's Angel being an all around solid choice. If you have a Spatula you can turn Irelia into an Infiltrator or Vayne into a Blademaster.
Lastly keep in mind you want at least one component on each Cybernetic champion. Your priority for full items should be your main carry > secondary carry > Ekko and then at least one component for each champion after that though Fiora can be excluded. This build excels at level seven because you should easily get it six Cybernetics at that level so roll for upgrades. Ultimately though you will want level eight as finding Ekko before that level can be difficult.
And the last composition to go over is Astro/Sniper! Here's what a typical level eight will look like;
There are variations of this build that use four Vanguard as your front line but we are going to focus on four Sniper/Astro today. The core champions are Jhin, Teemo, Nautilus and Gnar. These four give you Sniper and Astro. Since four Sniper is the most common you're going to add in Ashe plus Caitlyn and to round out the build grab Wukong for Vanguard/Chrono and Lulu to give you Celestial. Karma can also be used before Lulu for Dark Star and to buff your Teemo or Jhin.
Currently this is the most popular composition in the game. It does a ton of damage, both magical and physical, and also has a lot of CC between Ashe, Teemo, Nautilus, Wukong and Gnar. It isn't a guaranteed win but as long as you get one of Teemo or Jhin two starred your chances of getting a top four finish are quite high. For items make sure you're grabbing Blue Buff for Teemo along with either Morellonomicon or Deathcap. Jhin needs Last Whisper, with his other items being flexible.
You will want to roll on seven for this build because it's heavily contested and uses a lot of four cost champions. It's totally fine to stay on seven longer than usual if it helps secure you your champions. Your goal is both Jhin 2 and Teemo 2 but honestly Jhin is so strong he can stay at level one, just try to upgrade your front line and Teemo.
Whichever composition you choose to play make sure you're doing a few things before hand. Scouting is the most important because you need to know who's playing what. Jhin is possibly the most contested champion in the game so you need to know if others have him prior to rolling at seven. The second thing to keep in mind is being mindful of your items. Lastly don't get too caught up on finding the perfect composition. Play what the game gives you and adapt from there.
Now we can talk about the late game! As usual the late game is almost entirely based around positioning and scouting. Check for anyone hitting major upgrades and be aware of Infiltrators, Blitzcrank, Shroud and Zephyr. Other things to look for include Mech because of the AoE stun and Gnar as he can displace your carry. Overall though the best advice for positioning is to move your board around often. This makes it more difficult for anyone scouting you, so try not to remain in a static position for too long.
Beyond scouting & positioning there is of course what should you be doing with your gold? Primarily your focus will be getting to level nine. Look to fill in any needed traits at that point but just playing strong five cost champions is fine to do as well. The most common are going to be Janna, Thresh, Lulu, Urgot and Ekko. Thresh is always a solid choice because he pulls in additional champions.
The second use of your gold can go to chasing three star champions. It's definitely not going to workout most games but if you're low on health and need to spend gold it's a decent choice instead of leveling. Basically spend your gold if you're going to lose in one or two rounds as dying with 50 gold is not good. Also be aware of what your power spike is at level nine. If all leveling to nine does for you is one additional champion with no real benefit to your composition and no gold to roll with then you're better off not leveling.
And the last section to go over is Galaxies! This is just general advice for each Galaxy.
First, Treasure Trove. It's basically just a standard game with more items and gold, which is great. The main thing to think about for this Galaxy is that item dependent builds will be more viable on this Galaxy. So make sure you take that into account as you can practically play anything on Treasure Trove.
Superdense is super not that complicated because you're just gaining one extra champion than normal. It's useful, to be sure, and makes the late game quite interesting with additional traits being played. But ultimately the way the game is played doesn't change drastically. The main thing to consider is certain builds come online easier and as such you may not have to level as quickly as you would otherwise and can spend more time rolling at level seven.
Trade Sector is great for reroll compositions like Shredder, Slash Bros and Battlecast. Beyond that you will benefit greatly by leveling aggressively, especially pre-leveling on 2-4. The reason is that you get ten champions each shop for free with the reroll you get meaning your chances of finding three and four cost champions is much higher.
Star Cluster revolves around the early game a lot. Because getting a strong champion off the 2-4 carousel can often be all a player needs to win-streak through stage three. Beyond that part of the game this Galaxy is good for getting extra gold later on because you get one less gold for the cost of the two star champion. So if you can, make sure you get a three cost later on as you can sell it back for eight gold.
Oh man Galactic Armory is so much better after the change. Now instead of being forced to use two specific items you get three components you can use as you wish. The only real advice for this Galaxy is to make sure you use most of your components early as sitting on them probably means you're a good deal weaker than others in the lobby. You don't have to use all of them but definitely make at least two items.
Binary Star is still the haven for Cybernetics players. Outside of that it's also not bad for Astro/Sniper because Jhin and Teemo can get by with just two items. It is absolutely not good for certain builds like Xayah or Master Yi carry because they need three items to do well.
Dwarf Planet feels like it should be more annoying to play on than it is. There are certainly times where it can be because your carry can get CC'd much easier but overall a lot of builds are still viable on this Galaxy. It is worth noting that champions like Jarvan, Gnar and Rumble are disproportionately good on this map. Rumble is especially good because this map is amazing for Mech.
Lastly we have Plunder Planet. There's not much to be said about this Galaxy, more gold is good. But make sure you're playing a strong enough composition to kill a few units each round. If your composition is too weak to kill even one unit you're possibly losing out on gold. Other than that you can play this Galaxy a bit more aggressively if you want to with the extra gold. That means either rolling earlier than usual or leveling, otherwise you can just play standard.
And that's it for today folks! I'll be back with two more articles later this week and than that's a wrap for 10.15! It's been an okay patch but gosh are there so many Astro/Sniper players! Thanks for reading <3
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