Giant Slayer


10.25 Ranked Meta Breakdown

Hihi! I've got one article left for 10.25 and that's a breakdown of the ranked meta! I'm not going to cover every facet of the meta because that would take a long time to get into every nuance but I will touch on items and general goals for each stage of the game. That will include leveling, economy and what sorts of traits and champions to look for.

Keep in mind that 10.25 is a longer patch than we're used to because of the holidays so there is a chance the meta continues to evolve and some of the information presented here becomes outdated. That said I'll try my best to keep it generalized and refrain from too many specifics. To start off let's talk about items!


Honestly the meta is in a really great place right now as there’s plenty of options available for every component. What’s more important than specific components is aiming to have slammable early game items that can boost your board strength. The top items to look for in that case are Locket, Zeke’s Herald, Chalice of Power, Sunfire Cape, Hand of Justice and Zz’rot Portal.

Other items you can look for early game include Blue Buff, Guardian’s Angel and Luden’s Echo. Luden’s is a bit niche as you need CC to really make use of its full potential. The other two items are okay early on but are better played later on in the game.

For the items we initially listed the priority of components should go towards the primary components then the secondary. That means Sword, Rod, Tear and Glove are generally better to grab during early carousels since they tend to be the most contested. Belt, Cloak and Chain Vest are far easier to get later on and Bow can go either way depending on the meta.

That said there’s honestly only one component you should avoid during the beginning carousel and that’s Cloak. Cloak has a few uses in the meta, most notably Chalice, but starting out with a Cloak gives you far less options than other components. It’s even worse if you end up with multiple Cloaks early on since Dragon’s Claw doesn’t provide much until late game.

Overall the meta favors slamming early items so keep that in mind when grabbing components from the carousel. Look at what you have available and plan ahead for what you may be able to make. Once you hit the mid game and beyond you can look for more champion or composition specific items like Quicksilver, Infinity Edge or RFC. Avoid making them too early since they either won’t provide much such as QSS or may pigeonhole your composition into a certain direction such as with RFC.

The important piece of information to keep in mind is playing to improve your current board strength. Early game look to make those universally good items, in particular aura utility items are fantastic. Mid game you’ll want to cater towards whichever composition you’re aiming for, whether that’s more magic damage focused or physical. Late game the utility items are going to get far more value such as Quicksilver, Shroud and Zephyr.


Stage One - Early Game

Alright let's move onto talking about the different stages of the game beginning with the early game. The early game will start with the beginning carousel through stages one, two and ends early into stage three. Usually this end point will be around when the lobby is hitting level six. Since we've already talked about the opening carousel let's focus on stage one.

The plan going into stage one is simple, look for pairs. Of course there is more nuance to it and we'll cover that but there's not a whole lot you can do during stage one since you're limited by gold. Thanks to adjustments done to the early game gold drops you should, on average, get about five to six additional gold. Sometimes you will get more but generally you won't get less than that, though a Neeko's Help drop can mess with that slightly.

So with that in mind, what should you look for? As mentioned, pairs of champions are your best bet. Hitting two star upgrades isn't necessarily going to win you rounds but it does help a lot in saving health as you're more likely to win or at least not take bad losses. And to ensure that you need... pairs!

Another thing to consider during stage one is whether or not you should buy a Chosen champion if you're presented the option of one. Generally I'd say it's better to buy it when you can because it's an instant two star, a double trait and the champion has increased stats. All of those factors makes for a much stronger board than not having one.

That said you can skip buying an early Chosen if you don't like the trait the champion has. This is especially true for three piece traits as you may not even hit another one of those champions such as Warlord, Cultist or Elderwood. If you choose to not buy an early Chosen during stage one you can instead pre-level to four prior to stage two beginning.

Pre-leveling opens the possibility of hitting an early two cost Chosen. It really doesn't matter what champion it is as having a two cost Chosen is almost always going to be the best option going into stage two and often will result in a win streak. The last option in stage one is trying to hit an early ten gold interest but that can leave you with a weaker board, so do this only if you're comfortable losing a lot of health early game.


Stage Two - Early Game

Stage two brings about the defining aspect of the meta, of which I will repeat many times throughout this article; play your strongest board! While lose streaking is certainly viable, especially with early Fortune, the overall safest and most consistent way you can play the early game is to try and win rounds. Or at least not lose rounds too badly. 

Sure getting extra gold is important but health is the number one factor in placing higher later on in the game. To do that you want to play the strongest board you can. That means upgrading your one star champions as you can, playing traits that work well together and aiming to get a Chosen. Another aspect to strongest board is keeping up with the leveling curve of the lobby.

If you didn't pre-level to four prior to stage two beginning then you're either going to want to level on 2-1 or 2-2. The standard is usually 2-2 but you do get an advantage for leveling on 2-1 if you don't have a Chosen since you'll have an extra round to potentially roll a two cost Chosen. You can also forgo leveling if you found an early Chosen Yasuo, a Moonlight Chosen (Lissandra, Diana) or a Chosen Sharpshooter Vayne. 

The reason begin you're leaving the door open to playing a reroll composition later by not leveling. Of course you can still level and slow roll for those builds later if you want, you're just limiting the amount of gold and time you have to roll. But if you're not presented those options then you definitely want to level to four before the 2-4 carousel.

The end of round 2-3 presents another option for pre-leveling which usually is done when you can't make 10 gold. Otherwise wait and level on 2-5. Pre-leveling is always a potential risk since you may not get a pay off but in the case of not being at ten gold it's a better investment than not leveling. Either way the goal is level five on 2-5.

All in all there's not much else to stage two. Slam early game items, play your strongest board and level at standard intervals. Doing all of this should help mitigate bad losses and keep your health relatively high, which should be the overall goal early game.


Stage Three - Mid Game

Time for the transition into the mid game with stage three! As mentioned the early rounds of stage three can still be considered the early game but for the most part stage three is where the mid game begins. This will run usually from 3-2, through stage four and ends around stage five.

Of course the plan should still be to play your strongest board during stage three but you have a few ways you can influence this. First let's just get high rolling out of the way. If you've been doing well, winning rounds or on a large win streak, you can safely skate by stage three without much worry. The only things to really consider is when to level.

Level six usually happens around 3-2 but if you're wanting to preserve a win streak you can level on 3-1. And for level seven, which usually comes after Raptors on 4-1, can be as early as 3-3 if you've got a ton of gold and win streaking. Basically weigh what options you have on your bench and whether or not leveling early to seven is going to help preserve your win streak or win rounds. If it doesn't seem worth the investment, just wait. Otherwise aggressively level to gain a board advantage as well as having more rounds to find four cost champions before the rest of the lobby.

Now for the majority of players during stage three you're probably not going into it with either a win streak or a super strong board. First off; do not sell if your board is still winning! Even if you aren't winning every round, if you don't have to adjust your board drastically don't do it! I'll be mentioning this a lot but anytime you want to roll to increase your boards strength, don't sell off a bunch of your board beforehand if you've been doing well or even just alright.

That said if your board is weak and the early game Chosen you have is no longer helping your board, you can sell it and roll to find a new one. The other goal when rolling at level six is to find three cost champions and upgrade your two cost champions. Basically, stabilize your board as best you can. Don't overspend and especially don't roll down to zero gold.

Overall the plan is still to play your strongest board. Certain traits can help facilitate that such as six Warlord, six Elderwood or Cultist, but in general the best way to do it is to have a useful Chosen champion and upgraded champions. Roll only for one or two rounds to get your board stabilized, otherwise aim for hitting fifty gold and leveling to seven sometime between 3-5 and 4-1.


Stage Four - Mid Game

Stage four begins right away with the lobby leveling to seven. There may be some players not going to level seven here such as those that are focused on reroll compositions or already leveled but the majority will be leveling on 4-1.

The game plan during stage four is similar to stage three, play for your strongest board and roll if you need to get a bit stronger. Most of the mid game is about mitigating health loss while working towards level eight, so keep that in mind during your games as a general goal to have.

If you need to roll we recommend selling your early game Chosen unless it's still useful to your current board. For example a Chosen Teemo can often carry you until level eight or if you're running a six piece trait like Warlord you'll probably want to keep the Chosen you have.

Otherwise look to sell your Chosen to try and stabilize with good a three cost Chosen. Of course don't do this if your board is already doing well. Other things to roll for include four cost champions that give your composition direction like a Riven or Warwick and upgrading existing champions. Basically this is where your composition will begin forming if it hasn't already.

The best piece of advice during stage four is to not roll too much of your gold. The reason being you will hit much stronger power spikes at level eight and it will be much harder to get there if you overspend gold on level seven. Naturally this changes if you're really weak going into stage four and absolutely need to spend gold to survive. In that case you may want to stick to level seven, aim for as strong of a board as you can get and settle for a 6th, 5th or maybe 4th place finish.

Onto level eight. Level eight can come anywhere from 4-3 to 5-1. It all depends on your economy and board state going into stage four. Weaker boards will have to roll and thus delay when they can go to level eight. Stronger boards can usually level to eight on 4-5. Players that have been high rolling can possibly level on 4-3.

In general the two most common timings for level eight are on 4-5 and 5-1. The important piece of information to keep in mind is level when you will have at least thirty gold left over. This will give you room to transition your composition if you choose to roll right away or leave you in a decent economic spot if you choose to wait. Let's go ahead and move onto stage five to talk about what specifically to look for at level eight.


Stage Five - Late Game

And now we're into the end of the mid game with stage five! The late game will also begin around this time, usually the latter half of stage five. For now let's focus on level eight which the majority of the lobby should be hitting by 5-1, maybe 5-2.

Level eight is all about transitioning towards four cost champions and a more defined composition. Common compositions you'll see formed at this time include Divine/Warwick, Elderwood variations and Dusk variations. There's not really any specific way to play or build your composition it's really all about playing what the game gives you and building around it as best you can.

To do this you will want to roll. Whenever you leveled to eight the choice to roll right away is there, or you can wait and play the game slower. Don't play too slow if your board is obviously weak and losing you rounds as you can take some nasty hits at these stages of the game and lose a lot of health.

Before rolling you may want to consider selling your current Chosen as the goal will be to find a four cost Chosen. Again we don't recommend selling too much of your board if you're winning and strong enough to slow play level eight. For everyone else, sell and roll. Look for carries to build around like Jhin, Ashe or Warwick. Dusk is super flexible so finding a Chosen Riven can be great.

In general any four cost Chosen is going to be good to play, except maybe Talon. It depends entirely on what your existing board looks like, whether you have items for them and how well you can transition into supporting those champions. Another important piece of advice; do not be greedy! Sure you may want that Chosen Warwick but passing by a Chosen Shen can cost you the game. Play what the game gives you and build around that!

The other aspect of rolling at level eight is picking up five cost champions. Really any of them are playable, though some tend to be better in specific compositions or two starred. In general always buy Yone, Kayn or Zilean as they fit into any composition quite easily. Overall what matters the most is being able to two star these champions so again, don't be greedy.

And really all of stage five comes down to stabilizing the composition you've found yourself with at level eight. Stabilizing means hitting upgrades to your board and slotting in additional traits that will help out such as Mystic or Adept. And of course adding in five cost champions.

Beyond that a lot of stage five is about scouting and positioning. You can also begin working towards level nine but most games you will not be hitting level nine. The amount needed to hit level nine is usually far too much to bother investing in. Since we're talking about level nine let's move into the last stage we'll be covering, stage six.


Stage Six - Late Game

Alright the last stage to talk about is stage six which basically encompasses the end of the game, even if it ends up going into stage seven. The goal at this point of the game is to stabilize your board as best you can to try and place as high as you can. Some games you're just not going to have a good enough board and end up bottom four. It's unfortunate but it happens. The best way to mitigate that is to try to keep your health higher throughout the game and aim for a better transition at level eight.

Stage six is also where a few players can look to level to nine, whether from being greedy and not rolling much at level eight or by being much stronger than the rest of the lobby. The goal when leveling to nine is simply to play five cost champions and upgrade them. Aim for the relevant champions to your current board but really any two star five cost is going to prove useful.

It's also possible, at level nine, to sell portions of your board and transition into a five cost Chosen. Doing this can basically win you the game but it can be a risky move if you don't hit. So make sure before you do this, if you're leveling to nine, to try and have at least 30 gold to spend when rolling. This gives you the best chance at hitting those five cost champions while being able to transition your board smoothly.

All in all the end of the game matters far less about your board and more about positioning. Always be scouting and repositioning and whenever you can cheese, do so. Cheese meaning using items like Zephyr or Shroud to get an advantage for one round. There's no real guide to positioning late game because it varies so much game to game depending on your board and the other players so game experience matters the most.

So aim to get into the late game by having a better early and mid game. The best way to do this is to work on your transitions from level six, to seven to eight and playing your strongest board all game to keep your health high.


And that's all for the ranked meta breakdown! I'm still working on figuring out how I want to format these articles so I apologize if it's a bit of a mess currently. As I mentioned in the introduction, 10.25 is a much longer patch than we're used to so I recommend watching high ELO streamers to keep up to date with what the meta is like. Also I recommend using to check match histories as well as a bunch of other resources you can use for TFT.

Thank you for reading and be sure to check out GiantSlayerTFT on YouTube and Twitter! And if you'd like to you can follow me on twitter here!

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