With the new TFT set 5.5 making its debut on live servers, players may be wondering how this set will be different from last. While the new radiant items, units, and the radiant orb have made themselves known during their testing on the PBE, players looking to climb the ranked ladder once again might be wondering what some of the more subtle changes these new mechanics bring to the meta. Here are a couple of things players looking to climb may want to know about before diving into their ranked TFT set 5.5 experience.
1. Early and mid-game are extremely important
The departure of shadow items, increase in power of normal items, increased armories and the radiant orb have all resulted in early game item slamming to become a lot more prevalent. Combine that with an easier time 2-starring units and the early game becomes less about building a team for later and more about focusing on saving health. Set 5.5 features some powerful 1 and 2 cost units that hold a lot more staying power and reroll potential. Hecarim returns as an unkillable juggernaut with the right items, Tristana is a powerful carry threat throughout the game, and Pyke provides some excellent cross-board crowd control.
Unlike set 5, where the usual game plan was to sit on resources until levels 7 and 8 to find the perfect items for a 4-cost carry, set 5.5 favors a win-now approach. Players who let their item components warm the bench will definitely be punished a lot harder, and will find it way more difficult to recover as they hit the late game.
2. Flexibility is favored over rigid team comps
With the emphasis on the early game, players will find themselves having to pivot and improvise to use the items they already created early. With the radiant item system being the focal point of the new set, the meta will likely see an increase in more improvised and modified team compositions. Radiant items only appear once, in stage 3-6, and the player can only choose from 5 out of the possible 32. With those odds, forcing a team comp relying on finding the perfect radiant item for the carry will not be a winning strategy. The power of 3 costs has also increased significantly, so units like Miss Fortune and Nocturne can double as either item holders or true team carries. This is in stark contrast to the majority of Set 5’s lifespan’s where only a handful of 4 cost units were capable of truly carrying a team without having to slow-roll for a 3-star unit.
Of course, this isn’t to say that tier lists will be done away with, and super broken comps will cease to exist, more that the best comps will likely appear in different shapes and forms depending on what’s offered, and players who weather the storm to find every perfect component for a team comp rather than improvising may just find themselves out of the game before they reach their full power.
3. Radiant items are not the end-all be-all for compositions
Building off the second point, Radiant Items do not act as signals for what composition the player should force, rather they should compliment the team comp that’s already been built. Due to the meta’s emphasis on the early game, if the player tries to transition to a new comp to fit around a radiant item, they will be punished severely, as the game will be a lot less forgiving since everyone is trying to conserve as much health as possible.
Radiant items are not just super strong items for the carry, but rather are meant to provide a complimentary buff to the team as a whole. Again, with only 5 out of the 32 available to choose from once per game, the odds of finding the perfect one are stacked against the player, so treating them as such will be a death sentence. Instead, try to choose what’s best for the current team comp, and continue to build and modify the comp with the radiant item in mind. Due to the urgency to build full items, the carry may already have three items by stage 3-6 anyways, so don’t be afraid to pick up something defensive, or a radiant item that provides a buff or AOE damage.
With the increased number of armories, the Radiant Orb, and even the opportunity to obtain spatula items that would otherwise be unbuildable, the amount of choices to build a team comp in TFT is unprecedented. Overall, set 5.5 should see a lot more flexibility and a wider variety of viable comps. While the general emphasis on the early game might be toned down after a few patches, the viability of pivoting and improvising stick around to stay, especially after the dominance of 4-cost carries and cookie-cutter meta comps in Set 5 left a sour taste in players’ mouths.