Hihi! Welcome back to another meta article this time for patch 11.2. Today I'll be ranking each synergy from S to C Tier. Do take this tier list with a grain of salt as the meta isn't made up of just top tier traits. It's a mixture of the stronger and weaker synergies so while one synergy may end up in C tier doesn't mean it's unplayable. Basically just use this tier list to get a general idea of which traits to look at consistently as that's really the main difference between each tier. Anyway I'll stop rambling so that we can get started beginning with synergies in the S Tier.
Alright in S Tier we have the following synergies; Elderwood, Mage, Slayer, Vanguard and Blacksmith. Essentially these are some of the best and most consistent traits in the meta. There have been some changes as originally when I wrote the trait tier list script (can be found on the GiantslayerTFT YouTube) it was right before the B patch hit. I wasn't entirely sure how much the nerfs and buffs would change things. I do think Elderwoods and Mage are weaker than they were but to be honest they still seem like an S Tier combo to me, so that's why they've remained so.
Since I just mentioned them, the first synergy to cover is Elderwoods. Elderwoods were on a rampage at the beginning of 4.5 until the B patch came out that smacked down Rakan to somewhat reasonable levels. Along with that, Aurelion Sol did receive a slight damage nerf and while he isn't an Elderwood he is essential for an Elderwood composition.
Overall I'd say the B patch did diversify the meta more but Elderwoods are still one of the stronger synergies, mainly because they serve as a vessel for Aurelion Sol to do his thing. And Xayah is still a top tier carry, though she is contested by players running Kayle so it's difficult to reliably use her just for an Elderwood board. Rakan has definitely fallen off once you get towards the later stages of the game but he's still quite good early on so early Elderwood is still a viable option if you end up taking that route.
Mainly what to be aware of when playing Elderwoods is they aren't as free to play in the mid game with Rakan. You're going to want to upgrade your frontline more and try to hit Aurelion Sol 2 asap to stabilize. If you can you'll be in a good position for the rest of the game and should easily top four.
As we've already talked about Aurelion Sol lets move on to Mage. Mage, for the most part, is all about Aurelion Sol because his kit is designed around casting twice. This is nice in the sense that Mage has a reliable carry, though it may end up being questionable design in the future if you always have to run Mage in order to use Aurelion.
But as it stands currently, Aurelion is one of the best carries currently as long as you have Mage to pair with him. There's not really any other reliable way to use Mage even though you may see some reroll builds based around Brand or Twisted Fate. Those can be okay but honestly most reroll builds in the meta are a result of the set being new and players still figuring out the meta in general.
Next up is Slayer! Slayer was a synergy I bumped up from the original tier list script as it's being used in multiple ways currently. There's Olaf centric builds, multiple variations of Zed carry and of course late game you can always lean towards a Samira. The amount of viable builds utilizing different Slayer champions as the primary carry definitely pushes it into S Tier in my opinion.
The main issue with Slayer is that the champions do need good items to do well. Olaf is reliant on Sword items, Zed needs Bows and good supporting synergies (Ninja/Spirit). Samira isn't reliant on items but does need to be two starred to truly carry. Overall these issues aren't too difficult to overcome so Slayer is a top tier consistent trait.
Moving along we've got Vanguard! Vanguards really shot up in value with the 11.2 patch as they now gain magic resistance in addition to armor. Plus Nautilus and Ornn bring extra crowd control while Aatrox has been buffed several times in recent patches. Combine all of that and you've got a reliable frontline that you can use in any composition.
While there is a build centered around Vanguard (Vanguard/Mystic), for the most part you don't need that many Vanguards to bolster your frontline. Aatrox and Sejuani can cover any late game needs while early game you've got a bunch of units to choose from. Ornn is always useful prior to the very end of the game for his artifacts as well. Basically if you're struggling with your boards always having weak frontlines, simply toss in two Vanguards and that should be enough to shore up any weaknesses your composition has.
We mentioned Ornn so let's go ahead and talk about him and his trait, Blacksmith. Blacksmith, to me, is an essential trait if you can get it before the ultra late game. Once it's down to the top four or five the game is likely coming to an end soon so using Ornn just for his artifacts may not provide as much value. But if you can add him earlier than that? Yeah, do so. The artifact items he can make, for the most part, have pretty insane stats and effects that will boost the power of your board by a lot.
Honestly if Ornn gets any buffs to his kit he, and Blacksmith, may end up being a mainstay in S Tier.
Let's move on now to the A Tier synergies which consist of Executioner, Brawler, Warlord, Ninja, Assassin, Spirit, Mystic and Daredevil. Overall these synergies aren't as powerful as the S tier synergies but they are consistent and are often used in top four compositions.
Up first for A Tier we have Executioner! This is one of the new traits added in 4.5 and it’s doing quite well with multiple compositions built around either Kayle as the carry or Xayah. Kayle in particular feels quite strong when you get the right items and have a strong board to assist her. Overall it’s not the flashiest of synergies but it does add a lot of extra damage to its champions so it’s almost always being used when running either Kayle or Xayah as the primary carry.
Brawlers are doing quite well in the meta after the changes introduced in 11.2 that provides them with extra attack damage on top of the increased health. This means their early game impact, which was already quite good prior to this, has gone up a lot.
Later on in the game you’re mainly going to use them with Elderwoods but there’s some niche compositions using Shyvana as a carry with Brawler as the main synergy. But if you’re wanting to get the most value out of Brawlers we recommend using them early to mid game before transitioning into a more solid frontline like Elderwood or Vanguard.
Warlords were doing alright in 11.1 but they received substantial buffs in 11.2 that has increased their consistency by a lot. In the current meta they are one of the stronger six piece traits thanks to those buffs, plus Tryndamere does well as a secondary carry for the composition. One of the best aspects of this trait is that you can always just use them for their mid game power spike and then transition into a different composition later on.
Katarina is an all around strong carry even though she's a three cost unit. That said being a three cost unit if you do want to utilize Warlords effectively in the late game you must three star her. If you don't the composition will be out scaled, especially since Tryndamere is currently not strong enough to function as a main carry.
Ninja are back and doing well in the meta mainly because of Zed, though Akali is also a viable option as a main carry. If you want to run either champion as a carry you will need to three star him. Zed, despite being nerfed in the B patch, is still all around more consistent than Akali. Consider Akali a bit more of a niche carry that you go when you're hitting a lot of Alkali's, otherwise I suggest playing Zed most of the time.
Next up is Assassin. Assassin's are doing better than I originally gave them credit for. There's several builds utilizing the trait including Warlords, Ninja (Akali carry), Diana reroll and Enlightened. The amount of compositions that use this trait, even if it's just as a two piece, means it deserves a higher tier spot than what I originally gave them. Overall the trait itself isn't as important as the champions you use but it does provide critical damage, strike chance and causes spells to crit which helps a lot for Diana, Akali and Katarina.
Up next we have Spirit! Spirit is finally back to being a real trait after it was reworked to be a flat percent increase in attack speed instead of being tied to the champions mana pool. Along with that, Diana was turned into a Spirit which has opened the door to several compositions using her, Spirit and Assassins. It’s nice to see the trait doing well though it may be a bit too good as a companion trait for carries like Zed.
Sadly Mystic has fallen out of S Tier. While it is still a fantastic splash trait that many players will add to their composition, the impact it has on your board is far less in 4.5 than the previous set. The reason is that there’s quite a lot of physical damage in the meta and, quite frankly, the trait just doesn’t help much against the damage of units like Aurelion Sol. But don’t let that dissuade you from using Mystic as it’s still one of the best splash traits.
And the last trait for A Tier is Daredevil! Daredevil, or Samira, is a fantastic late game champion that suffers from the fact she needs to be in the right composition and level two in order to truly carry. Mainly you’re going to use her in Slayer focused compositions. But with Elderwood being played less after the B patch and Slayers rising up more and more, Samira has an increased role in the meta. She could very well be higher value than I'm currently giving her credit for but time will tell how the meta evolves, especially given how reroll centric it currently is.
Let’s move onto the B Tier synergies! This tier consists of Duelist, Divine, Exile, Adept, Syphoner, Keeper, The Boss, Emperor and Fabled! Overall these synergies are capable of doing well in the current meta but for the most part are just average at best.
At the top of B Tier we have Duelist! Duelist, as a composition, is still doing the same as it was previously. It does well early game, can have a decent mid game power spike and tends to get out scaled late game. The main thing regarding Duelist that has changed is that you can use a Spatula to turn Kayle into a Duelist. This build variation helps the trait a lot in scaling to the late game.
I should make note that Duelist does seem a bit more consistent than it did in set four as you can play the trait without a Chosen Yasuo. That said it still has scaling issues regardless if you're using Yasuo or not. The saving grace for Duelists is that Yone was buffed in the B patch which will help them out late game since he's commonly added at that point of the game.
Next up is Divine which is, for the most part, all about Kayle. The fact is if you're not using Kayle it's unlikely you're really utilizing this trait much, though it will find use in Duelists mainly because of Jax and Lee Sin. But if you want this trait to be useful then yeah, it's going to be in a Kayle composition.
With the B patch I've decided to move Exile further up in B Tier. Originally it was at the end but Yone did receive a decent buff to his armor and magic resistance shred. Due to this buff it’s likely Yone will see more play late game and thus Exile will be more relevant. And of course Yasuo in the early game also adds value to this trait since he’s one of the better Chosen champions you can get in stage two.
Alongside Exile we have Adept moving up from our original placement on the tier list, though not by much. Adept is mainly having issues being relevant in the meta as the attack speed slow isn't as impactful on certain carries like Olaf or Aurelion. But it’s still a useful splash trait and will be more common now that Yone has received a buff.
I will make a note that there are more carries in the meta that may be affected by Adept like Kayle and Zed, but since Quicksilver is also common to use on them... yeah. I do think Adept is going to go through similar issues it originally had in set four and eventually end up near the top but for now it doesn't seem to be having as much of an impact as it did previously.
Syphoner is a new trait that adds healing to your board, much like Celestial from set three. The champions are all around solid and it’s easy to splash the trait into multiple compositions. What holds the trait back is mainly that the healing provided often isn’t impactful enough, especially against compositions using Aurelion Sol that burst champions down.
Swain is a really great champion if you can add him into your composition late game, so keep that in mind when using Syphoner. Splashing Swain in with Morgana can be a great way to boost the power of your board, even if the healing Syphoner provides isn't going to be that useful.
Moving along we've got Keeper which, originally, was in S tier because of Rakan. But since he was nerfed it feels like this synergy, while still useful, isn't as commonly used. Basically it has gone back to being a great early game trait and fallen off in usefulness later on. Instead of going heavy into Keeper with Elderwoods it's more likely to see champions like Sett added or other five cost champions instead of trying to hit four Keeper.
With all that said, this trait is still fantastic early game and Rakan is still a good champion. It's just that he was toned down enough to lower the value of Keeper by a significant amount.
The Boss is doing well enough in the meta since it’s possible to toss Sett into an Elderwood composition. There’s also a lot of champions with high health which increases his value in late game boards. But at the moment he’s not as valuable as other five cost champions so finding use for him can be difficult.
Brawlers are doing well in the meta though which always means Sett has potential to be used, both with them and against them. The amount of damage he does is tied to health (his and the enemies) so if you're facing players leaning heavily towards Brawlers, definitely toss Sett in when you can.
Emperor as a trait is still just okay. Azir as a champion, though, is great. Azir brings a ton of value to late game boards, though he isn't as valuable in Elderwoods now that Rakan has been nerfed. That said his sand guards are still lackluster and are even slightly outclassed by the addition of the training dummy consumable.
Fabled is another new trait added in 4.5 and while it has a place in the meta with Vanguard/Mystic, it’s difficult to always find value from this trait. Cho’gath is easily the best of the three champions but fitting all three into a composition can be difficult. Nautilus is surprisingly strong for just being a two cost unit but his crowd control definitely doesn't compare to Cho'Gath's once you hit the mid and late game. And Neeko is an unreliable carry unless you can three star her and even then it's likely this trait will get out scaled in the late game.
Overall it’s a strong trait just a bit niche in when you can utilize it.
And now we can move onto the last tier, C Tier! This tier consists of Dragonsoul, Sharpshooter, Enlightened, Fortune and Cultist! These synergies are useful in the right situation but have less of an impact on the meta than the tiers above them.
Up first is the newly added Dragonsoul! This trait seems like it should be more prominent considering how common Aurelion, Olaf and Swain are but so far it’s mainly a trait you add if you can. Because the blessing only affects one champion at a time you won’t get as much value running multiple Dragonsoul units, instead splashing in three is generally better. And really you may not always have room to add this synergy in so beyond the early game it tends be rather situational.
Overall this synergy has a lot of potential but it currently feels lacking in the meta, even though there's quite a few compositions utilizing Dragonsoul champions.
Sharpshooters are in an odd position right now. They can do well, in fact there are builds that revolve around them like Tristana reroll. But overall the impact the trait has on the meta only matters in the early game. Late game it does have Samira but she doesn’t even really care about using Sharpshooter since her entire kit is about getting a big ultimate off. It's also difficult to consistently play six Sharpshooters because there's no four cost unit anymore and you need Samira. In general Sharpshooters aren’t in a bad place in the meta they just lack a consistent identity.
Enlightened are also lacking a consistent identity even though there is a meta build using Talon and Morgana. While that composition does utilize four Enlightened, honestly the Syphoner trait matters more for it than Enlightened. The healing allows Talon to go full damage items and Morgana can be used as a frontline. And Enlightened doesn't really have much place outside of that composition, though it can be strong early game because of Janna. All in all this trait feels lacking even though there's a meta build that uses it.
Fortune is the same as ever but has received nerfs that lowered the value you get from winning while not being on a loss streak. This means you want to try and lose with Fortune to really get value from it and that is always a risky play to do, which makes Fortune overall less consistent than it was previously. Personally I still love playing Fortune but it does feel a bit too much like a gamble in the current meta, especially since keeping your health high is important to placing well.
And the last trait is Cultist! Cultist, as a vertical trait, can do well in the mid game. It’s a lot like Warlord where it spikes heavily once you get six of the trait. But there’s a big issue with Cultists and that’s the fact they don’t have a good scaling carry anymore with Jhin being removed. This prevents the trait from really taking off late game and does hurt its mid game a bit, which is where it’s supposed to be strongest.
Alright that's it for the trait tier list! Again I want to make it clear that even though there's clearly a difference between S Tier and C Tier, all traits are viable depending on the situation. A lot of the meta is still being figured out and with a patch incoming next week we'll likely see even more turmoil as players continue to work out the best way to play set 4.5.
Thank you for reading and if you're looking for more TFT content you can find videos over on the GiantslayerTFT YouTube here as well as additional content they post to twitter here! If you'd like you can also follow me on twitter here!
And as usual I recommend checking out https://lolchess.gg/ as it's a great TFT resource that I use frequently.