Hello! Welcome back to another article on the 11.1 meta this time taking a look at the strength of each synergy and what they bring to the current meta. While yes this is a tier list it's worth noting practically every trait is viable depending on the right circumstance. Sure a few of them are going to be stronger and thus played more consistently but just because x trait is in C tier doesn't mean you should never use it. Everything is relative depending on the game you're in just keep in mind the strengths and weaknesses of a trait.
This is also the last tier list for set four before we get a whole bunch of changes with 4.5. With all that said let's go ahead and get started!
This tier consists of Adept, Mystic, Hunter and Dusk! These are the most commonly played synergies in the current meta and likely to place the most consistently compared to the other tiers.
At the top we have Adept which should be no surprise as this synergy has been consistently one of the best for most of set four. Adept is really good at slowing down the game which allows other meta synergies, like Hunter, to ramp up during a fight. Reducing the attack speed of enemy champions not only lowers their initial damage output but also slows down how quickly they can generate mana.
Besides the trait itself, the champions are also great with Shen being a top tier frontliner and Yone being one of the best five cost champions. As far as splash traits go, Adept is by far the best in the game currently.
Speaking of splash traits we of course have Mystic as the next S Tier synergy. The landscape of the meta is certainly looking to change going into 4.5 but for now there’s still a lot of magic damage that splashing in Mystic is a must for basically every composition. Not much else needs to be said as the frequency of which Mystic is used should speak for itself as to why it’s in this tier.
And of course we do need to mention the Mystic champions as all of them are useful in the meta. Early game you have the ridiculous shields of Janna that can carry you through stage two and Yuumi is a fantastic healer for stage three and four. Later on you've got Cassiopeia for CC, Shen as a frontline (and Adept!) and then Zilean as your late game Mystic. Amazing champions with a must have trait for any composition.
Next we have Hunter! The current meta, at least towards the late game, leans heavily into five cost champions but Hunter compositions are still pivotal for that mid to late game period of the game. Ashe, as a carry, is really strong when paired with a good frontline, particularly Adept. Aphelios is less consistent than Ashe but in Moonlight compositions he will shine brightly. Lastly there’s Kindred who is easily the best three cost carry during stages three and four.
Overall Hunter is probably the carry synergy currently. There's enough flexibility with the champions because all you need is three Hunters and a frontline. And, as mentioned, Moonlight can also be used with a Hunter build. Being able to flex in other champions and traits is the hallmark of a top tier synergy.
The last synergy in S Tier is Dusk! Dusk remains at the top of the meta mainly due to the flexibility the trait provides. It can be used as a two splash synergy for the spell power buff, a four piece synergy to pair with a multitude of other champions and traits or you can go all in on it with six Dusk. However you go about building your composition the chances are if you need extra champions to add in, Dusk champions are the way to go.
Jhin is also another reason as to why Dusk is doing so well, even though he isn’t a Dusk champion himself. He pairs well with the spell power increase of Dusk in addition to the frontline and CC Dusk champions provide. Turning Jhin into a Dusk champion with a Spatula is also really strong which adds even more flexibility to this synergy.
Let’s move on to the A Tier synergies which consists of Exile, Moonlight, Sharpshooter, Tormented, Shade, Divine, Vanguard, Elderwood and The Boss! These traits are above average when it comes to the meta and while they won’t have as much impact as S Tier traits they are still vital to placing well consistently.
Up first we have Exile! Basically this is just the trait to gush about Yone being such a good champion. He’s easily one of the best five cost champions and building towards him as the carry late game can pay off big time. Exile isn’t too big of a deal in general, though the extra shields do help with Yone getting his ability off without taking too much damage.
And yes, early game Yasuo can carry quite well thanks to the Exile shields. Chosen Yasuo is one of the strongest champions during stage two and while Duelist with Yasuo 3 isn't that consistent, it's still a viable composition in the mid game. But overall this trait is more about Yone since he's the king of the late game.
We briefly mentioned Moonlight when talking about Hunter. Aphelios can be one of the stronger carries into the mid to late game even though he’s only a two cost champion. Moonlight is the main reason for this since it allows him to scale into being a four star unit. But Moonlight does have its downsides as it relies heavily on three starring champions to not get out-scaled late game, plus Aphelios is really the only viable option as a carry since Diana will fall off drastically around stage four and five.
Still it shouldn't be understated the value Moonlight can have during stage three and four, maybe even five if you have a really good composition with a four star Aphelios. Hitting the power spike of Aphelios 3 early on can easily fast forward you to level eight to transition into a stronger board as well, so even though Moonlight as the main trait of a composition is rather limited it's still useful to look for during the early parts of the game.
Sharpshooter is doing well mainly because of Jhin. Sure early game Teemo is a monster and Vayne 3 can be a viable strategy to go for but really when you’re talking about Sharpshooter you’re really just talking about Jhin. The reason is that Jhin fits well into any composition since his damage output is so high. It’s also relatively easy to fit in a second Sharpshooter to increase his damage, or even just finding a Chosen Sharpshooter Jhin can be all that you need.
Next is the Kayn trait, Tormented! Kayn isn’t quite as easy to toss into a composition the same way Yone is but if you can build around Kayn and two star him, he will carry you late game. Tormented brings an extra power spike as both blue and red Kayn are viable options. If you need extra damage to snipe an enemy backline, blue Kayn is the way to go. If you’re lacking sustain and need your Kayn to live longer, go with red.
Since we’re already talking about Kayn let’s go ahead and talk about Shade as well. Shade doesn’t do much for Kayn, other than allowing him to jump into the backline immediately. The traits effect of going invisible and doing extra damage matters far more for Zed.
Zed as a carry is still viable, although there are a few conditions to be met to use him. But if you can meet those requirements, Zed will still destroy the mid game, mainly because of the aggro drop that happens when Shade champions proc the invisibility. As long as you get Zed 3 you can generally top four, with higher placement dependent upon whether you find Kayn 2 or not.
Divine is doing well enough in the meta but does struggle at times to keep up with other synergies. The real power of this synergy comes online once you have Warwick since his attack speed increase is amazing. Because of Warwick it means you can play Divine almost as a splash trait for other compositions, though focusing on using Divine as a full composition is still a viable option.
Upon further review of the meta, I decided to move up Vanguard from where it previously was in the traits tier list video that this article is the companion piece to. Originally it was much further down, around the end of B Tier but it's clear that Vanguard has more of a place in the meta than I originally thought. Mainly this is due to Vanguard/Mystic which has risen in popularity after significant buffs to Aatrox and a few minor buffs to Ahri.
But I am still holding my ground that Vanguard, as a trait, is too easily bypassed even in the current meta. Hunter procs can go on non-Vanguard champions and Jhin can just build a Last Whisper, plus Yone has armor shred. So there are plenty of tools against a Vanguard/Mystic composition which is why it does struggle to scale well into the late game. Still, I can't ignore the fact that Vanguard frontlines are doing much better in this meta than previously so it does deserve a significant bump up in the tier list.
Unfortunately Elderwoods did take a big hit this patch with the Lulu nerf. But don’t worry as you can still do well with them early to mid game. The main problem is that they will suffer from being out-scaled later on in the game and require a bit of high-rolling to do well. That said this trait is easily one of the best you can play until the late game so make use of it to save health or even go on win streaks.
That trait is The Boss! Or, Sett. Sett, after many, many bug fixes, is a strong late game champion if you can two star him and have a few items to toss onto him. He’s certainly not as reliable as a Yone or Kayn but a two star Sett is still a boss of a champion and can win you plenty of late game rounds.
Alright let’s move into B Tier synergies! This tier consists of Brawler, Ninja, Duelist, Warlord, Emperor, Fortune, Keeper, Cultist, Dazzler and Vanguard! Basically these are average or slightly below average synergies that have a place in the meta but have less value than the synergies in A Tier.
I've also moved Brawler to the top of B Tier from the bottom of A Tier mainly to make room for the Vanguard swap. Plus Brawler really isn't making that much of an impact on the meta. It's a strong trait early game because it does give a ton of extra health but once you get into the mid to late game the extra health begins to matter less and less. I do think you should always consider Brawler as the go-to frontline for the early game, usually until stage four, but after that you're mainly only going to use it to pair with champions like Warwick or Sett.
Ninja is basically just for Zed, although early on in the game an Akali can do work and win you rounds during stage two and parts of stage three. But really when you think of Ninja, you’re thinking of Zed. While the increased damage is impactful, Ninja matters far less than Zed’s other trait, Shade.
Duelist is the king trait of B Tier because, well, it’s always been fairly average. Early game with a Chosen Yasuo or Fiora it can carry you and does well enough in the mid game if you three star Yasuo. But it continues to have the same problem it’s also had which is poor scaling into the late game. The conditions for Duelist to do well past stage three is a Chosen Yasuo 3, six Duelist and eventually Yone. If you can hit all of that while keeping up with the lobby in terms of levels then this trait can be decent, at least decent enough to top four. Beyond that it's not that great and shouldn't be focused on past stage two, maybe stage three.
Warlords are similar to Duelist in that they struggle to do well late game. But they can also have a rough early game if you’re not finding upgrades to the champions. That said they have more overall potential than Duelists if you can two star the units and hit a Chosen since six Warlords is really good during stage four and parts of five. They can also do well late game if you high-roll a few three star champions or manage to hit 9 Warlords.
Okay for the first time we’re moving Emperor out of C Tier. The inherent bias towards it being a boring trait for a five cost champion is outweighed by the fact that Azir is a really good five cost champion. And the sand guards can be somewhat useful as damage soakers, but really Azir as a champion is the main reason this trait has been bumped up.
As a personal opinion I still want to rate this trait far lower because gosh do I find the concept of it boring on a five cost champion. But hey, it's useful, Azir is amazing, so here it is.
Fortune fits right into the middle of B Tier because it’s the embodiment of average. It can do well, it can do poorly. How to effectively use Fortune could be an entire article on it’s own but for now the fact is this synergy has the most volatility of any in the game so it can’t really go higher than this on the tier list.
Another person note here is that I love playing early game Fortune because it adds another way to play the game through lose streaking. In the current meta, and it's been this way for awhile, it's not that viable to lose a lot of health early game. But Fortune at least mitigates that loss by giving you rewards for taking losses. Still it's always a gamble and in general Fortune is more of a bait if you're playing to lose and is better suited to trying to win for an extra few gold each round.
We always have a difficult time placing Keeper on the tier list. It's amazing in the early game, Jarvan can be a great champion and Riven exists. But the shields lack scaling unless you overcommit to the trait and the champions don’t always pair that well together. On the plus side you can always end up with a Riven and Azir if you're playing some type of Dusk composition which is a decent combo in the late game. I don't think the shields will matter much at that point but the fact those two at least synergize together is a plus for Keeper.
Cultists are still struggling to find a place in the meta. Much like a few other synergies in this tier they can do well early game and if you high-roll six Cultists early enough they’ll carry during stage three and four. But they lack good scaling and Galio is a bit of a joke the later the game goes. The only positive for Cultists in the mid to late game is that Jhin, Zilean and Aatrox are all top tier champions.
Dazzler is another hard to place synergy because there are times, mainly when using Divine or Ezreal, that it’s really useful. But with Enlightened not being in the meta and Lissandra not being useful outside of Moonlight, Dazzler is a rather restrictive synergy to use. Luckily it’s being removed in 4.5 so we won’t have to worry about it anymore!
And now for the last few synergies that are in the C Tier! This tier consists of Mage, Assassin, Enlightened and Spirit! These are below average synergies that can do well but depend heavily on the right situation to do so.
To start off C Tier we have Mage! Mage is in an odd place right now because it can be useful in the right circumstance. Early game with a Twisted Fate or Nami as a Chosen Mage can win rounds through stage two and later on Veigar is still viable (if you find him early enough to begin stacking damage). Late game there's even the option of playing Lillia with Mage for extra CC.
But those are all relatively niche situations and the reality is Mage suffers from having a real carry to use it with. Ahri is the best and she doesn't even need Mage to do well. Hopefully with the removal of a few Mage units and the addition of champions like Aurelion Sol we'll see more of a use for Mage in 4.5.
Assassin, despite having uses in the meta, is really not that impactful. Shade overshadows it and even when you’re utilizing Assassin champions you really only need two for the trait to matter. Overall it lacks any strong scaling champions since Talon is out of the picture right now and Katarina really only does well when three starred after stage four. For the most part if you’re running Assassin it’s either to bolster your early game or you have it by happenstance when running Ninja/Shade.
Next up we have Enlightened! Enlightened does surprisingly well early game between Fiora, Janna and Nami. But realistically this synergy falls off the map once you’re past stage two because neither Morgana nor Talon have a whole lot of use in the current meta. With the higher cost champions not being relevant it leaves this synergy floating in the void of C Tier.
And the last trait to talk about is Spirit! To be Spirit is to suffer as this synergy is a mess right now. It wants to provide a useful attack speed buff but three of the champions don’t have large enough mana pools for it to matter. Only Ahri really provides enough of a boost and even then you need four Spirit which is rarely ever going to fit into any composition. Hopefully set 4.5 brings much needed changes for this synergy.
That's it for the 11.1 trait tier list! Again I do want to reiterate that tier lists should always be taken with a grain of salt since a 'weak' synergy is still useful in the right situation. I'm looking forward to the meta shake up that 4.5 will bring because let's be honest the meta hasn't really shifted that much for several patches now. While that's a good thing for balance it does end up feeling a bit stale after awhile so 4.5 is hitting at the perfect time.
Thank you for reading and if you want to find more of my content you can always check here for when my blogs go live or on twitter here! If you're looking for video content I also write the scripts for the GiantslayerTFT YouTube channel which can be found here and their twitter here! And lastly I recommend checking out https://lolchess.gg/ as it's a great resource for TFT!