Best comps to try in Teamfight Tactics’ ranked mode

Ranked is on the horizon.

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Teamfight Tactics Patch 9.14 is quickly approaching, bringing with it a number of unit changes, item tweaks, and a ranked mode for Riot Games’ new autobattler.

These team comps should help you prepare for ranked play and the metagame.

Shapeshifters / Demons

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Units: Elise (1), Nidalee (1), Darius (1), Varus (2), Shyvana (3), Morgana (3), Gnar (4), Draven (4), Swain (5)

Shapeshifter compositions were already top of the tables in TFT. But with the release of Patch 9.14, they’ve gone up another level. Elise has been chopped, changed, and transformed from one of the weakest units in the game to one of the best. She’s a solid one-gold unit with incredible synergies, allowing you to get the ball rolling and take over the game. She does a considerable amount of early game damage with her spiderlings and she can be incredibly difficult to handle. 

You would usually have to wait for Shyvana and preferably Gnar to fill out your comp, but with the changes to Elise, you won’t have to rely on them as much. Once more, she’s a Demon, and in the game’s current state, mana burning seems to be getting stronger and stronger. Elise is never going to one-vs-five, but she’ll act as an effective barrier for the rest of your force. In the early game, especially, her presence alone will bolster Nidalee, letting her pump out as much damage as possible. 

In previous Shapeshifter comps, you’d usually aim to veer off into the direction of Sorcerers. You can still do that and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that route, but if you’re using Elise, you may as well take advantage of your Demon synergy. After you’ve found a stable early game force, you can switch her out for Varus or even Morgana as the game goes on. Soon enough, you’ll have three or four strong Shapeshifters with Elise, Nidalee, Shyvana, and Gnar, and you’ll have a good combination of damage, and most importantly, survivability. Meanwhile, in the backline, Varus and Morgana will be whittling away at your opponents, burning their mana, and preventing them from using their ultimates. 

Once you’ve hit the late game and you’ve picked up Swain, you have a few choices. You can stick to the Shapeshifter and Demon heavy comp and look to acquire two more Demons, or you can pivot to Imperial. This would mean picking up Draven and preferably boosting his damage with items like Rapidfire Cannon, The Bloodthirster, and Infinity Edge. You can even go as far as picking up four Imperial units, including Darius and Katarina. This would normally take out your Wild synergy, but you should be left with at least three Shapeshifters and four Demons. At this point, Draven and Swain will be unstoppable carries. 

This comp is powerful and flexible. It’s easy to get off the ground and it’s hard to counter. But most importantly, it’s a lot of fun. 

Gunslingers / Pirates

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Units: Graves (1), Tristana (1), Lucian (2), Pyke (2), Gangplank (3), Cho’Gath (4), Gnar (4), Sejuani (4), Miss Fortune (5)

Gunslingers and Pirates have always been overshadowed by bigger and scarier comps. But with the new changes to Gunslingers, it’s a different story. They’re one of the strongest comps in the game, and despite the recent nerf to Shiv, they’re still a viable option.

Graves and Tristana are two powerful early game units that scale incredibly well. Once you give Tristana a Red Buff and maybe even a Titanic Hydra, a Cursed Blade, or a Sword Breaker, her fast auto attacks and area of effect damage will be deadly. Add Graves for the Gunslinger synergy, and eventually Lucian and Gangplank, and she’ll hyper carry your team. She isn’t the only redeeming factor of the comp, though. Since the changes to how the Gunslinger passive works, units like Graves are more reliable. Previously he would be hit or miss, but now he deals much more consistent damage.

The comp naturally fits together with Pirates, especially in the early game. Earning additional gold after each round isn’t groundbreaking, but it doesn’t hurt to feed your economy. It allows you to snowball even further and be more flexible when pivoting your comp. It’s also another way to seek out potential high-value units in the mid-to-late game. After your two fundamental Gunslingers, Lucian, Pyke, and Gangplank will be your strongest options. They aren’t the best stand-alone units, but extending your Gunslinger synergies and building the Pirate synergy is well worth the sacrifice. Pyke, despite his nerfs, can be a good solo Assassin, allowing for burst damage and potential crowd control. He’s not the important unit, though, and there’s nothing wrong with replacing him in the late game.

Next, there are a few options, but it’s easier to go for a well-rounded and reliable tanky frontline. Gnar, Sejuani, and Cho’Gath are each strong options. They don’t create any synergies, but as stand-alone units, they’ll offer a considerable amount of CC and be able to soak initial damage. You don’t have to stick with them into the very late game. The lack of synergies will do you a disservice. If you can upgrade them to two or three stars, keep them. But if not, you should try and build your Blademasters. You already have Gankplank, so all you need is Yasuo, and preferably either Draven or Aatrox.

After this, your comp should be strong across the board. If you can pick up Miss Fortune and give her an item or two, you’ll be in an extremely favorable position.

Elementalists

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Units: Darius (1), Nidalee (1), Warwick (1), Lissandra (2), Kennen (3), Katarina (3), Brand (4), Sejuani (4), Draven (4), Swain (5)

Elementalist comps aren’t the strongest in the game, but their comeback potential is unparalleled. If you’re ever falling behind in the early game or your mid-to-late game isn’t going as planned, pivoting to Elementalists is usually your best option.

To pull this off, Brand will be the final piece of the puzzle. He’s a four-gold unit, so tunneling for this comp in the early game is a bad move. If you’re going into the match with this comp in mind, though, you should play safe, stick to reliable stand-alone units, and try not to lose too much health. Garen, Darius, Braum, Warwick, and Zed are each good options. They’re flexible, allowing you to easily pivot into a number of different comps. Darius will lead you to a hybrid Imperial/Elementalists comp, Zed will take you on the Ninja path, Braum is Glacial, and Warwick is Wild. Either way, you should be able to live out the early game while you bide your time, slowly acquiring Lissandra, Kennen, and eventually Brand.

The later the game goes, the easier it is to pick up Brand. But realistically, you should have him by level six or seven. If you haven’t found him or Anivia at this point, then rolling is your best bet.

Once you have Brand and two other Elementalists, you’ll be at your power spike. From this point on, you’ll instantly pick up the pace and have the freedom to shape your comp. Your Golem (Daisy) will act as a huge tank, allowing for your carries to dish out damage from the backline, giving you have an element of flexibility. If you want to take the Glacial route, Ashe is a good option, or you can pivot to Demons and Rangers with the addition of Varus.

If not, Draven, Katarina, and Darius will work perfectly for Imperial, and Zed, Shen, and Akali for Ninjas. There are multiple options, but it all really depends on the game at hand. If, for example, you fish out an early Draven, then go for Imperials. But if you find Ashe, go for Glacials. It’s all about pivoting and finding what works best. If it doesn’t work out, it’s easy to transition over again, sticking with your core Elementalists and picking another set of synergies instead.

If you find the ideal items for a particular carry unit, then it’s usually safe to take that path. Elementalist comps have the means to adapt like no other, making it one of the safest strategies in the game.