Preface: This blog works under the assumption that you, the reader, already knows a little about League of Legends. Why would you be reading about the game’s most underappreciated mode if you weren’t, anyway? I’ll hopefully be putting out a more newb-friendly League of Legends article soon, talking about the game in general, so keep your eye out for that, and give it a read if the stuff here is too heavy for you.
League of Legends is probably the most dominant Esport out there, with year-round off the charts viewing figures, and six figure tournaments year-round. But all we see of League of Legends Esports is the game’s most popular mode – 5v5 on Summoner’s Rift. This is the standard three-lane mode that we’re all used to, with Top Laners, Junglers, Mid Laners, AD Carries, and Supports. It makes for some pretty great viewing, too, with the match size just big enough and the skill ceiling just high enough for us to see some wild high-level LoL play. But what if I told you that 3v3, the lesser-known two-lane mode that takes place on the Twisted Treeline, has Esports potential too?
We’ve all been there; growing tired of the constant Summoner’s Rift action, and wanting to switch it up – most of the time, you’ll play an ARAM (which means All Random All Mid, who’d have known) just for some wild fun, but then one of your friends suggests a match on the dreaded Twisted Treeline, in a 3v3 match. You bite out of pure curiosity, only to regret your decision 20 minutes later after a thoroughly unenjoyable session getting stomped because you have no idea what to do or who/how to play.
If you’ve experienced this yourself when playing 3v3 – and I know you have – have no fear. This series is here to tell you all about 3v3 from a competitive stance, starting from the basics, taking you all the way through to whether I think the mode has potential to be seen on the big stage or not.
Before anything, it needs to be said that the Twisted Treeline is an incredibly under-supported map and mode. Riot naturally pours most of their focus into the Summoner’s rift and related modes, and they can’t be blamed for that – it would be a fair assumption so say not even 10% of League of Legends players queue up for 3v3 on a regular basis. For this reason, amongst others, the meta is incredibly different between modes. Like Summoner’s Rift, the meta for this map can change at the drop of a hat, too.
Let’s start by quickly addressing the map. A couple of years ago, Riot brought the Twisted Treeline up-to-date with the Summoner’s Rift, giving things a much-needed lick of paint and introducing a few changes to things like how towers trinkets work. The setup of Twisted Treeline is simple – two lanes, one at the top and bottom, and a very small jungle on each side between the lanes. Inside these jungles are altars, one on each team side, that provides powerful global buffs to your team when captured. Owning one altar grants the team a bonus 10% movement speed, and having both in your possession gives you a buff that restores 1% of your maximum health on a minion or monster kill. These might not seem huge on paper, but they are powerful buffs that can mean the difference between a win or loss on this map, turning them into important objectives that you need to keep an eye on at all times. Aside from Altars there is one more optional objective – the Vilemaw, which is this map’s Baron Nashor. Like the Baron buff, Vilemaw’s buff makes nearby minions much more powerful, letting you push much faster and with more firepower.
Now onto gameplay. Metas are probably the most important thing to know in League of Legends. Everyone knows the Summoner’s Rift meta, which is considered a staple bit of essential knowledge in the game, but very rarely do people play an effective Twisted Treeline meta, just treating it as a bit of fun. Right now, in Season 7, there are a couple of different metas for the Twisted Treeline – the first of which being the ‘jungle meta.’ This consists of an AD bruiser or ADC in top, a tanky and CC-heavy champion in the jungle, and a glass cannon champion in the bot lane, preferably a mage. Champions who work well in this meta would be Illaoi, Graves, Maokai, or Brand, just for one example of each role-type. The advantage of this meta-type is the sheer variety of champions that you can use, meaning you have lots of options for synergy and teamplay.
The other meta is the ‘support meta,’ which needs an AD bruiser or ADC with smite and someone to support them in the top lane, and another glass cannon mage in the bottom lane. Yasuo is a good example of an AD in this case, who hard scales but sometimes needs the help of a support if he finds himself in a sticky situation. A good support in the Twisted Treeline needs hard CC, so someone like Alistar or Nautilus works incredibly well. This meta is good because it means your AD top laner can take full advantage of the empty jungle, giving them a higher gold and level lead, letting them snowball with ease.
I could write about gameplay all day, but this post is already getting incredibly long and I haven’t even scratched the surface. In the next entry to this series, I’ll cover a little more gameplay and talk about picks and bans for the Twisted Treeline. Stay Tuned!