The purpose of this guide is to discuss how to correctly build a team composition that works well together, and how to counter the opposing team’s strategy. I will do this by showing how to identify a team composition’s win condition, how to correctly establish one, and how to work to negate your opponent’s win condition. Next, I’ll use examples of champion duos that have strong synergy together to show how to analyze a champion’s kit to find strengths and weaknesses, and how to build a team composition that works to bolster strengths and negate weaknesses.
Let’s start with the obvious: Twisted Treeline games are short. There are many early objectives and fights are numerous on the relatively small map. Knowing which objectives your team can contest and at which points in the game is the key to being successful in 3v3. So let’s create the first level of separation for win conditions: early game versus late game. Early game champions tend to have very powerful abilities, but do not carry that power into the late game efficiently. Late game champions tend to have little early game strength, but a lot of inevitability in how they scale with levels and items. Early game champions care a lot about Pressure and Tempo.
- Pressure: Using early power to deny resources or objectives from the enemy team.
- Tempo: Being very efficient with time and how you spend it in game. This ties in with applying pressure, but goes further in emphasizing well timed macro play and avoiding time spent farming rather than pressuring.
Late game champions focus more on Safety and Map Control.
- Safety: avoiding disadvantageous fights and scrounging for resources without unnecessary conflict.
- Map Control: giving up zones when weaker and pressured, but also taking back or even invading zones when opponents fail to maintain them.
It’s important to note that which champions constitute either early or late game is very matchup dependent and rarely, if ever, a defined variable for any champion. For example, Lucian might be a late game hypercarry against a Renekton, but will have to apply early pressure against a Master Yi. A defining characteristic of God Tier hypers is the ability to pressure well early but also play for scaling if necessary.
Supports, generally speaking, are defined more by their hypers than by early or late game strength. High tier supports all function well early game and also have abilities and items that assist their hyper late game. For example, a Taric could fit well with a Renekton (early game) or a Master Yi (late game), despite the difference in win conditions of those two champions.
In Jungle Meta, early game win conditions are the norm. Having three champions who all require gold to reach their item thresholds lends itself to someone on the team being starved for resources (usually the jungler). It’s usually the team who is able to capitalize on their early pressure and snowballing who wins the game in the Jungle Meta vs. Jungle Meta. Scaling teams are difficult to pull off in Jungle Meta without a supporting jungler who has value without much gold (God tier junglers, usually). It’s better against both Support and Jungle Metas to focus on early game snowballing as a Jungle team.
Once Champ Select is finished and the game is loading, try to identify which team has better early pressure. If it’s your team, work to fight early by invading as three at the 2:30 altar unlock. Camps should be respawning at this time, and you’ll have the health relic to aid in the case of a skirmish. If your team needs time to scale, control the map by shoving in side-lanes during an invade and making sure as many camps as possible are cleared before 2:30. If you’re a jungler wanting to avoid a fight, you can recall or go to a side lane to shove if an invade is likely. Both exerting pressure and dealing with pressure safely are key attributes of successful Twisted Treeline teams.
One of the best ways to ensure your team is well established for its win condition is to draft a team that has the same goal. In general, high tier champions work well with diverse strategies and so it’s hard to go wrong by drafting a team with them. For example, most God tier supports are strong with most God tier hypers, and a God tier AP plays well with most support duos. However, I will be covering three common duos that have excellent synergy together to illustrate how you can analyze the strengths and weaknesses of a hyper champion and pair them with a support that assists in their win condition.
Lucian / Braum –
Lucian has long been a successful hyper regardless of his strength on Summoner’s Rift. His strong early spells and powerful double-shot pasive has allowed him to flex as an early and scaling hypercarry. It’s no surprise that he has incredible synergy with Braum. Lucian and Braum’s passives work together in a way that can only be described as terrifying – causing a stun to be applied within mere seconds of a Braum Q or auto-attack landing. On top of that, few supports can keep up with Lucian or keep him as safe as Braum with his W and E, which helps to mitigate burst from enemy mages or ranged hypers. The offensive and defensive potential of this duo is so strong that almost any mage bot works perfectly with their game plan, but Vel’koz has great flexibility and benefits from Braum’s safety and control almost as much as Lucian.
While Lucian/Braum is very well rounded, Renekton/Sejuani takes a different approach to winning the game: all out, unabating aggression. Renekton’s early game is virtually unequaled, but he very quickly falls off against scaling hypers. However, there’s definitely something to be said about the value of so much early pressure when applied successfully – and that’s where Sejuani comes in. Her fast clears in the jungle with Renekton allow the duo to get to lane faster and apply kill pressure against the enemy support duo or solo top. And oh boy, do they have kill pressure. Sejuani’s passive allows nearby allied melee champions to apply a stacking debuff to enemy champions – at 4 stacks, Sejuani may use her E to instantly stun the enemy and empower her next auto attack against them. As it happens, Renekton’s W is an auto attack reset that stuns and attacks twice, adding 2 stacks of the debuff from Sejuani. The result is a simple stun chain that also jams out an incredible amount of damage. When coupled with Sejuani’s Ignite and Reketon’s other abilities, this combination is almost guaranteed to force a kill as early as level 3 Renekton and level 1 Sejuani (typical distribution after the first jungle clear). Also, Renekton tends to have a weakness for forcing fights against scaling teams in the mid game, where once again Sejuani comes to the rescue with an extremely powerful engaging ultimate. Needless to say, this duo wants to invade at 2:30, so an AP Bot with strong early lane shoving and high damage is suggested for premades (such as Brand or Ziggs).
Master Yi/Taric –
While this duo has had tremendous success on Summoner’s Rift, Yi/Taric falters in 3v3 due to poorly dealing with early pressure against experienced opponents. Nevertheless, synergy can exist whether or not the champions are well placed in the meta, and the synergy between Taric and Master Yi is undeniable. First, let’s start with Master Yi. His kit requires careful piloting to play optimally, and is not lacking in damage or mobility – you won’t be able to run from or live long against a late game Master Yi. Unfortunately, he is very easy to kill with burst or CC – which leads us to Taric. His Q healing, W shield / passive armor gift, and invulnerability ultimate all add massive survivability to his hypercarry. His E stun has broad applications but is ultimately best used with a melee hyper, who gains the most use from fighting in close quarters with enemies. It’s worth noting that this duo still struggles with early pressure and safe farming, but the late game power spike is one of the strongest. As far as bot lane is concerned, any control mage that can stall out the game and have a powerful late game is a good choice with this duo – Anivia is a sensible choice, as she excels at halting enemy pressure at inhibitor turrets.
I hope this guide has demonstrated how to identify and draft towards a team win condition, and how to play towards a goal once the game has begun. I haven’t gone into much detail on how to go from scaling safely to aggressively pursuing a victory as a late game team, but that topic is worth a guide in and of itself. The briefest of summaries would be to start to reverse Pressure once the scaling hyper has reached their core items.
Best wishes and Good Luck on the Treeline,