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Week of 10.6: Ranked Meta Breakdown
Vohiyo! Time to the first ranked breakdown of set three, woo! Of course I really should point out that set three is still super new and the ways to play the set are still evolving every day. This article is an attempt to help with the very basics right now and as we get further into set three each week it'll be more in-depth. I'll be focusing on each stage of the game with a few builds mixed in as usual but the advice will be a bit more broad because not a lot is super figured out yet. Anyway, let's get on with it shall we!
Let's talk shop about early game. For starters, what items are best from the beginning carousel? It's.. tough to say because there's a chance you're going to have a game where the starting carousel is only defensive items or all of one item so there's not really a definitive answer to what's best to grab. On top of that the items are quite diverse right now as there's a lot of variety in what you can pick up and play. With that said I do think there's a few components always worth considering. Sword, Chain Vest and Rod all make into a lot of fantastic items. All of the other components are also worth considering but I'm going to separate those into the secondary picks and focus on the first three.

While the meta is definitely magic damage heavy there's a lot more viable options for physical damage carries in set three and Sword is the way to go for those champions. It can make into several good items depending what you play such as Giantslayer, Bloodthirster, Gunblade, Infinity Edge and Deathblade. All of those items, in the right circumstance, can be used on multiple champions. One of the best items built from the Sword though is Guardian's Angel since it keeps important units alive longer in fights.

Rod can be made into Rageblade, Ionic Spark, Deathcap, Jeweled Gauntlet and Morellonomicon. All of which, again, are usable in the right situation and champion. Another added bonus of Rod is combining it with a Spatula turns a unit into a Demolitionist which is one of the current meta splash traits late game because of Gangplank.

And lastly for Chain Vest it makes into Guardian's Angel, Redbuff and Bramble Vest. It also can turn a unit into a Rebel which is commonly done on Gangplank or Miss Fortune in a Rebel build and even Titan's Resolve has seen some play so far. All in all there's a ton of viable options for items right now so whatever component you grab can often be used in some way.

Before I touch on leveling and economy let's talk about a few decent options for champions early on. I think it's too early to really say what is going to be considered a strong mid game carry but there's a few standouts already with Lucian with Red Buff and early Cybernetics being one of the best options. Ziggs with AP items and an early three Rebel can do work as well.

A decent item carry for AD items is Xayah who can shred units early on with her attack speed bonus, especially when paired with early Blademaster. Whatever you grab early on try to play it based on your items so give AP items to magic heavy champions and AD items to physical damage champions as that will make transitioning later a bit smoother.

Onto a bit about leveling and economy. The main thing to keep in mind right now is that maintaining either a win or loss streak is insanely important. Ideally you want to win streak as long as possible to Krugs or lose streak as long as possible. This is due to the change in the streak system making it much easier to get +3 gold as you only need four of either to do so and you also get that bonus gold on PvE rounds.

If you have a strong start, play aggressively by leveling on either 2-1 or 2-2 and again on 2-5 and use your items to make sure you're keeping your streak going for as long as possible. If you have a rough start then it's often best to play the weakest board you can to try and lose each round. You will generally not level until either Krugs or the round after and your goal is to be on 50 gold as quickly as you can. 

Leveling times are a bit off as well as those with a loss streak will want to level later than usual so the normal timing for 3-2 doesn't always apply. For those with high health it's totally fine to still level on 3-2 to 6 but you can delay it if you think the rest of the lobby is still on the weak side. However you wish to play it's best to scout on Krugs, 3-1 and 3-2 just to get an idea of the strength of the lobby and see who's playing slow and who's playing aggressively.
Onto the mid game! The mid game is now all over the place in terms of how to play it. There's many different builds and play styles so I'll try to tackle three. First is rushing to level 8, second is slow rolling at level 7 and the last is slow rolling on 5/6. 

Going fast level 8 is nothing new as it was common to do in set two. What's different in set three is it's a bit harder to do if you're not able to get to 50 gold quick enough since the early game economy is much slower. The timing is still roughly the same as you want to hit level 8 around stage 4-3. It works best when you're able to either maintain a win or loss streak for an extended period of time. It also mostly plays into a couple builds which I'll go over right now. The first build you fast 8 for is Rebels with Gangplank which will look something like this at level 8:

Keep in mind this is legit like almost perfect case when you fast 8 and roll but the idea is simply 6 Rebels with Gangplank. If you find Miss Fortune or Lulu you'd take out one of the Rebels. This build is heavily reliant on finding Gangplank with Aurelion Sol being the second most important so you want to rush to level 8 to have a greater chance at rolling these champions. As soon as you hit one or both of them you're likely going to stabilize so don't panic too much if you end up low on health at this stage of the game.

Here's the other build you're likely to see when going fast 8, Cybernetics: 

Again this is the one of the ideal looking boards if you hit everything but your goal is to find all six Cybernetics. Why you have to fast eight for that is due to Ekko being required for this build and as a legendary champion you need that higher chance of hitting him that level eight provides. The other two slots can be filled with anything though Kayle will give you Blademaster and Miss Fortune gives Valkyrie and Blaster on top of being a really strong champion.

Okay so that's typical fast eight builds. Brawler/Blaster does spike at level 8 but it isn't necessary to fast eight with that build as your main goal is to find Jinx which is a four cost and is easily found at level 7. You can definitely fast eight with that build but it isn't a necessity. Moving on let's talk about a build that you're going to see slow rolling at level 7. Slow rolling means you're staying at 50 gold and only roll the excess amount each round with the intent to three star a few champions.

6 Star Guardian/4 Sorcerer wants to get to 50 gold as quickly as possible because the power spike of getting all the pieces together as quickly as you can will be enough to let you stabilize and roll for three star units. Neeko, Ahri and Syndra are the champions you will want to get three-starred. This build isn't as popular or dominant as others in the meta but when you're able to pull it off it works great at getting a top 3 and really showcases 'slow rolling' at level 7.

For builds that showcase rolling at 5 and 6 let's go over two of them. First, Protectors!

Protectors with Celestial and later Mystic is almost like a hyper-roll composition from previous sets but instead of rolling all your gold down you slow roll it. The intent is to hit Xin'Zhao 3 and Rakan 3 as quickly as you can and then transition into 4 Protector/4 Mystic. There is another variation that rolls for Kai'sa 3 and transitions towards Protector/Infiltrator. I should warn you with any of these slow roll compositions you need to scout and see if anyone is contesting as they are much harder to pull off if anyone else is rolling as well. 

Next up let's showcase an Infiltrator composition that slow rolls at level 6, Mech/Infiltrator!

Basically this build wants to get to level 6 as quickly as possible and find all the Mech-Pilot champions. From there you want to roll for Shaco 3, Annie 3 and Rumble 3. Why you do this is for two reasons, one is that Shaco 3 is just a beast. He does so much damage as a three star especially with any AD items. Second is how the Super-Mech scales. It scales with the star level of each Mech-Pilot so if you have Annie 3 and Rumble 3 it's going to be a lot stronger than if they were only two-starred.

So that's a few of the builds and play styles you're likely to see in the mid game! Keep in mind these are not the only builds or ways you can play the mid game this is just a snapshot of a few of the builds you're going to see. Despite the end game builds being dominated by legendary champions the mid game is super flexible and a lot of fun and with set three still being fresh there's a ton of new builds to explore.
And here we are at the end of things, the late game. Most of the late game, I think, can be defined as 'who has more upgraded five cost champions' because that's a big part of the current meta. Gangplank, Miss Fortune, Ekko, Lulu and Aurelion Sol when two starred are super, super strong and really dominate late game builds. Often the best champion to play at level 8 or 9 is one of those champions and two star them.

Because of the Mercenary trait, Gangplank and Miss Fortune really standout as ridiculously strong champions late game because of the AoE and damage they do on top of getting upgrades like double strike for Gangplank and a larger cone for Miss Fortune. It really does limit a lot of what the late game may look like right now since legendary champions are a bit over tuned.

One other late game option is trying to fit in four Mystic to counter anyone with heavy magic damage which a lot of the late game builds will end up having. Generally your goal is going to level 9 though the builds that roll for three-star champions are going to struggle to get there before the game ends as they have been spending most of their economy on rolling. And if they haven't hit by then it's going to be really hard to get above 4th or 3rd as they'll get behind playing late game legendary champions.

All in all I think the late game is a bit more limited in what's optimal to play, which isn't necessarily a bad thing because the mid game right now is fantastic with a ton of builds and play styles. But your best bet in the later stages of the game is simply finding legendary champions to throw into your composition at level 8 and 9.
That's all for today's meta breakdown! I hope y'all find this helpful in some way as we're all still learning the new set. I'll do my best in two weeks to have a more in depth look into the meta when we've all had more time to get accustomed to the new set. Thank you for reading!

As always check out https://lolchess.gg/ as a great TFT resource and you can find me on twitch here and twitter here! If you want to find more TFT content you can find it over at GiantSlayerTFT here! Thanks!
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