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Week of 10.3: Ranked Meta Breakdown
Hey there! I'm here with another ranked meta breakdown! I'll be looking at each section of the game and delving into some of the best compositions for mid to late game. 10.3 has been quite a controversial patch with a lot of Challenger players mentioning they dislike it and others loving it. A lot of that controversy comes from the removal of Spatula from all carousel rounds as it has limited the ability to force certain compositions. Spatula builds are much more rare in 10.3 so keep that in mind during your ranked games! So with that preamble out of the way let's get right into it, starting with the early game.
Alright let's get into the early game! First off let's mention a few of the components you will want to look for on the first carousel and what items are strong for the early game.

For the beginning carousel the best items to grab are going to be Sword, Bow, Chain Vest and Gloves with Rod & Tear as strong second choices. Cloak and Belt are definitely on the low end of priority so if a lot of players are contesting the more popular picks try to look for a secondary item that's open.

Sword and Bow are likely going to be the most contested as they make some of the strong meta items for several compositions but Chain Vest has started becoming higher priority as Guardian's Angel and Bramble Vest are great all around defensive items. Bramble Vest, particularly in the early game, can often win most rounds through to Krugs when it's on a hard to kill champion like a Warden or a Druid. Maokai with Druid and Leona with Warden are two of the strongest to give a Bramble Vest for that reason.

Guardian's Angel as mentioned works in a lot of different compositions but you don't have to prioritize making it super early on if you want to hold onto the components. If you grab a Tear or Bow you can look to turn them into Statikk Shiv for Rangers later in the game. Bow is also quite strong because it is made into a Rageblade which fits onto several different carries in the current meta such as Azir, Kindred and Ashe.

While Thieve's Gloves priority is a bit lower in 10.3, Glove is still worth grabbing as it builds into Hand of Justice and Infinity Edge. IE was nerfed in 10.3 so it's not often you'll want to make it right away but it still goes well with Twitch in Rangers. Hand of Justice is an all around useful item to build for carries but the main reason it has become really popular is due to Yasuo coming up in the meta.

Okay with early items out of the way let's get into economy and leveling for the early game which is usually from the beginning of the game til about round 3-2. While not a ton has changed for the early game the removal of Spatula from the carousel has altered the strategy of intentionally losing, referred to as 'open forting' (a term from Dota Auto-Chess).

This style of play was intentionally losing the early game rounds (2-1 to 2-3) to get an early round pick for carousel to try and secure a Spatula. With Spatula no longer appearing on the carousel this particular part of the style has become defunct. But you can still play to lose streak early if you want to make extra gold while getting what you want from the carousel. It's just riskier to do as the Spatula was often the comeback mechanic to use to pull yourself out of the loss streak after Krugs.

Okay back to the typical early game; look for pairs! Hitting two-star champions is still the key to a strong early game with focus on certain strong traits like Woodland/Druid & Predators. Ornn did receive a buff so grabbing early Electric is also strong and if you have the option to make a Bramble Vest you can put it on a front-line champion and it will carry most rounds. One thing to note in 10.3 is that there is often less gold dropping from the first PvE rounds so it is easy to find yourself lacking gold. While you want to be on 20g going into 2-5 it is not always going to happen because gold is a little more scarce.

On top of there being less gold there are a ton of really strong three cost champions to pick up early that will eat into your economy as well. Azir & Kindred are likely the two you will for sure want to grab but even units like Karma, Ezreal and Sion can be good to pick up. Karma is just an all around strong champion that is contested later in the game (though weak as a one-star) and Sion is a great front-line three cost champion that's heavily contested by Shadow builds. Ezreal is nice to get as an item carry for Rangers and he's fairly strong especially if you have early Glacial for him.

So with that, what should your economy look like and when should you level? Ideally 20g is your goal at 2-5 but don't fuss over it too much if you aren't. Leveling to 5 at 2-5 is more important this patch than previously because a lot of the contested champions are three and four cost so staying on a good leveling curve to naturally roll into those units is important. I'd only recommend not leveling to 5 early if you're on a loss streak, have above 30g on 2-5 and not on a win-streak or are playing a hyper-roll composition like Predators.

After 2-5 the early game plays out the same; pick up strong champions but mostly save your gold to level to 6 on 3-2. If you're on a win-streak with above 90hp on 3-1 it is possible to level to 6 there and roll a little to maintain your streak but keep in mind this can be risky and potentially grief your economy. We'll talk about what your goal is at level 6 on 3-2 as we move into the mid game!
As we move into the mid game this is where the game pace picks up a lot. For the last few patches it has become more standard to roll a bit at level 6 or in some cases all-in your gold. Let's go over the timings to do that and when you should and shouldn't do so.

Your goal will be to level to 6 on 3-2 but should you roll or sit on your gold? Really it depends on a lot of factors. Board strength relative to the rest of the lobby, how many players are rolling, health and current state of your economy are all factors you need to consider before rolling. Also what build you're playing can determine whether you should roll or not.

To begin with if you're low on health, meaning below 60-70 health, it is generally a good idea to roll after you level to 6 to try and stabilize your board so you don't continue to take huge chunks of damage. Stabilizing means hitting pairs you have on your board and filling out your current composition. Try not to roll too much of your gold, at most go down to no lower than 10g but preferably hover around 20g as you want to keep some of your economy intact to level to 7 later on.

Scouting in the mid game is necessary so make sure you check to see who's rolling gold at level 6 and what compositions everyone is starting to form. This is the time where you'll begin to determine what path most players will take, especially in regards to certain builds like Shadow or Yasuo carry. If you are playing one of those builds or looking to play it you must scout to see what champions are being taken across the game and pivot out of your plan if necessary. The best example is that Kindred is incredibly contested due to them being used in both Shadow & Ranger compositions so if you are hoping to get them two-starred you need to know how many players are contesting them.

Okay so from there you want to save your gold up and look to level to 7 either at 3-5 or 4-1. Leveling to 3-5 is generally for players with higher health, good economy and didn't roll much at level 6 or didn't roll at all. Otherwise you're likely to level to 7 after Wolves on 4-1. At this point it's okay to all-in your gold if you're feeling your board is weak (lots of one-stars) or low on health (50 or below). Otherwise roll down to 20-30g to stabilize and try to keep a decent economy.

So let's get into a few compositions that are strong in the meta and how they will look at level 7. First up is one of the most popular, Shadow/Inferno!

The core of the composition is 3 Shadow/3 Inferno with Kindred, Sion and Malzahar as the Shadow champions with Varus and Annie being the typical ones to round out the 3 Inferno. From there you can place in whatever you happen to have whether it's a front-line champion like Malphite or on Inferno map you can play Qiyana. Leona/Karma are also easy additions at this point of the game or you can look to play Mystic if you find an early Master Yi.

Sion and Kindred are the most important pieces for this build so always scout to see if there are other Shadow players or anyone contesting Kindred for Rangers. You will want to roll a bit at level 6 just because hitting Kindred 2 or Sion 2 is key for stabilizing but the bulk of your rolls will be at level 7 so don't grief your economy too much at 6.

Give front-line items to Sion, especially Guardian's Angel and carry items can be put on Kindred though building one or two Lockets for them is fine to do. Lastly if you do find a Spatula it is great for this composition because you can make Sion an Inferno and have an early 6 Inferno at level 7. We'll discuss late-game transitions in the next section but first let's go through a few more mid game builds!

This is a basic variation of the Yasuo Carry build that consists of 2 Desert/2 Cloud/2 Lunar/2 Mystic/2 Blademaster. Your core is going to be Yasuo, Sivir, Azir, Janna and Karma with your last two spots at level 7 being flexible. Aatrox is good to throw in for more front-line and if you hit an early Master Yi or find a Spatula to make Azir a Blademaster you can get a quick 4 Blademaster. Leona pairs well with this build since Lunar boosting your teams damage output is quite useful as the goal is to have Yasuo killing champions in one or two casts of his ultimate.

You will want to roll a bit at level 6 for this build since Azir and Karma are quite contested and Yasuo should be easy to get two-starred at level 6. Don't over-roll as you do want to get to level 7 and 8 for this build to get top 4. Good items to give Yasuo include Hand of Justice, Guardian's Angel and Bloodthirster and Azir should be given a Rageblade. Otherwise you can just have defensive items for your front-line or use utility items such as Zephyr.

There are quite a few variations to this build but we'll cover more common ones for late game. As long as you get the core champions for this build it should let you stabilize in the mid game so you can go towards level 8 and secure a top 4 placement. Next up let's go over a mid game Ranger build!

Ranger has a lot of ways you can get to it for the mid game but this is a typical board you're going to see at level 7. It's possible you won't have a Twitch or an Ashe at this point so using Ezreal as your item carry is perfectly fine to do at this stage of the game. You also don't have to run 4 Ranger at level 7 if you have strong front-line to play like Malphite or if you hit an early Taric.

Braum is one of the better tanks you can play for early and mid game Ranger as he eats a lot of damage with his ability and has a decent health pool. Lunar works well and Karma is a must with Ranger as she enables your carry to pop off much earlier in a fight. The current meta for items is Rageblade with Statikk Shiv that goes on Ashe but Twitch still does work with items like Infinity Edge, Last Whisper or even a Rageblade of his own.

Be sure to scout a lot when going for Rangers as you need to know how contested the champions are. You won't be rolling much at level 6 because this build is meant for late game but keep tabs on how many Kindreds are taken and whether anyone else is holding onto Rangers. While your back-line is important your front-line is even more important so anyone hitting early Tarics or Singed you need to be aware of.

3 Summoner/3 Assassin has made a comeback in 10.3 as a strong meta composition. Azir is one of the strongest champions in the game at the moment and certainly the best mid game carry. Look to pair him with a Karma, Rageblade and getting him two-starred with a decent front-line is often enough to carry you to late game. There's several variations you can look for in this build but the core champions are Azir, Yorick, Kha'zix and Karma for the mid game. This changes once you hit late-game but we'll go over that later.

The theme of 10.3 is definitely scout! Azir is heavily contested and this build doesn't work without him so really make sure you scout at level 6 and 7 to see who's picking him up. If you have an Azir pair on level 6 it is totally fine to roll a bit of gold to try and two-star him otherwise you want to play for level 7 and roll then. This build works best when you can smoothly transition to level 8 so don't wreck your economy too much at level 7. Yorick is still slightly contested but it should be do-able to find him two-star and Kha'zix/Karma may be difficult to get two-starred but as long as you have them in, even as a one-star, that'll be fine for the mid game.

Alright so that's it for a few meta builds you will see in the mid game, I will be going over each specifically in the next section for their late game. There are other builds you can look to play though they aren't as strong and to really shine they need a Spatula. Ocean/Mages was super popular in 10.2 but isn't quite as strong in 10.3 with the removal of the Spatula off carousel. If you play it you're going to go for 4 Mage/4 Ocean and can get top 4 easily if you manage to get a Spatula.

Lights are also still a viable composition just not anywhere near as consistent as they were last patch. Again this is a build that you will prefer to have a Spatula with but if you don't then look to play Lucian and Vayne as your carries to make up for the lack of an Azir carry. Let's move on now to the late game!
As the game progresses into the late game this is where you want to try and complete the build you're looking for. Level 8 should be generally the round after Raptors unless you decided to fast 8 in the mid-game but that isn't as common right now unless you've been hard win-streaking all game. From level 8 onward it's about gauging how greedy you can be vs. how much you need to roll to hit upgrades.

While level 9 is the end goal for most games there are occasions where you'll want to stay on level 8 (or even level 7). Mostly when you're too low on health to safely save up enough gold to level is when you're going to continue to roll to try and hit upgrades. Around the 20-30 health mark is when you're in 'kill range' after two normal losses or one really, really bad loss so if you're at that health it's often best to roll. If you're at that health and on a win-streak you can usually greed and save to level. But what about builds that stay at level 8 such as.. Shadows?

6 Inferno is a common and easy way to transition your build from the mid game 3 Shadow/3 Inferno. You can look to play Zyra over Qiyana on non-Inferno maps or play her instead of Brand if you're wanting Summoner. Master Yi can also be played instead of Malzahar with the level 9 adding in Mystic. But this is a build that's common to stay on level 8 as your win-condition most games is a few things one of which is hitting Kindred 3 and Sion 3. The second is hitting a Shadow Lux which looks like this... 

6 Shadow is super strong but works best when you hit the Lux. It can be done without her but it's better when you do as you free up one champion spot and can fit in Mystic. Inferno Lux is also fine to play for the build but it's basically the same as the regular 6 Inferno build except you can then add in Mystic if you find a Yi.

In any case your goal is definitely Kindred 3 or Sion 3 most games as finding Lux is not going to happen often. Late game Shadow/Inferno can struggle into Crystal/Ranger/Poison so always position your Kindred with that in mind and try to burst down a non-Crystal champion. If there's a Yasuo build in the game make sure you don't fully stack Kindred with items otherwise Yasuo will have a chance to hit them and will probably kill your Kindred.

Speaking of Yasuo this is what a basic late-game variation of the build may look like. It's using four Blademaster with the addition of the Master Yi and can transition really easily into four Mystic at level 9. The win condition for this build is often Yasuo 3 but you can also look to get Master Yi 2 and stack items onto him from Azir and have him be the main carry. If you're able to get a Spatula and turn Azir into a Blademaster you can replace Master Yi with any front-line legendary (Taric is a good choice), Qiyana for 3 Cloud if it's Cloud map or if you find a Cloud Lux you can play her for 4 Cloud. 

Overall this composition is going to do fairly well late game but it isn't as strong as in the mid game. Poison and CC will give it a lot of trouble as well as anyone stacking full items on a front-line to bait the Yasuo. Crystal is both good and weak into it as Taric can counter a lot of the damage but Yasuo does hit multiple times which can whittle away the health despite their trait. Shadow/Inferno can also be good into it as the high damage output of the composition will kill Yasuo rather quickly but it really depends on who Yasuo targets.

Next up we have late-game Rangers! While 4 Rangers is perfectly viable, 2 Rangers in the late game allows for a lot of flexibility in the build. You're able to run Poison & Mystic by dropping two Rangers and still have a strong front-line due to Taric with Crystal. If you manage to hit every upgrade, in particular Taric 2 and Singed 2, this composition is most likely going to secure you a win. The issue with Rangers right now is that they are super contested and require you to hit expensive champions like Taric and Singed.

While Twitch still works well as a main carry, Ashe has become the staple carry for the build using Rageblade & Statikk Shiv (two usually). Karma is a must if you're playing 2 Ranger and honestly don't try to play 2 Ranger without her as the damage output will be a lot slower, the boost she gives to a carry is really important. This build doesn't lose to much in the late game so your only concern is going to be a Yasuo composition sniping your carries. Work around this by giving Taric full items and only two items on your carries.

Lastly we have Summoner/Assassin late-game. Zed 2 is the win condition in this particular variation but there are three ways you can look to play this in the late game. Azir carry, Zed carry or Kha'zix carry are all viable options. What it really comes down to is what items you find and whether you're able to hit Zed 2 or not. Ideally the build will look similar to the above reference so you want Zed 2 with full items.

If Kha'zix is your carry look to give him RFC, Bloodthirster and a defensive item like Quicksilver. Azir of course will want Rageblade but Deathcap and Jeweled Gauntlet are strong choices if he's the main carry. The alternate route this build can take with Azir and Zed is if you do find a Spatula or a Light item from carousel you can swap out Janna for Soraka and play 3 Light. Primarily this build is weak into Poison so it will often struggle into Rangers but if you do get a Zed 2 fully stacked with items you're looking at a good chance of top 2 if not 1st.

With all of these builds in the late game make sure you're scouting to check the positioning of other peoples compositions and for any Zephyrs. Having an important unit Zephyr'd is often the easiest way to lose late-game and end up with a third instead of a second or first. So always be scouting!
Thanks for reading! Hopefully you find this article helpful but if you want additional information on the meta I have another article out right now about the top champions for 10.3 which you can find here! I'll also be posting another article about top items for 10.3 so I'm covering as much of the meta as possible. This is likely to be my theme for each patch now where I do a 'Week of' for each patch, delving into all aspects of the meta. Please leave feedback about this as it's a new thing I'm trying!

As always check out https://lolchess.gg/ a great TFT resource. You can find me on twitter here and twitch here and be sure to check out GiantSlayerTV here for more TFT content! Thanks!
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