One of the biggest surprises from this week’s Twitch Rivals Teamfight Tactics event was the eventual winner of the tournament. Josh “JoshOG” Beaver is primarily known for his prowess in first-person shooters, but this time, he proved that he knows a thing or two about autobattlers.
Josh opted to run the same composition over and over again, and while it wasn’t always successful, he consistently placed in the top four. He narrowly made it to the top eight of the competition, and after that, almost everything seemed to go his way. He didn’t have the strongest start to the finals, but he quickly found the missing piece of his comp—Volibear—and destroyed his opponents.
But how, and why, did Josh do so well?
The metagame in TFT is moving fast and with the addition of Patch 9.14, we’ve seen champions come and go from the limelight. Some of the top dogs are no longer elite, while those that were hiding in the shadows have slowly ushered themselves into relevancy.
The best of the bunch is Ninja/Assassins, a comp that featured heavily at Twitch Rivals. Their pure and unadulterated damage is hard to deal with and even the tankiest of comps can’t withstand their dominance. It was a similar story with six Assassins in the previous patch, but the addition of unit buffs and item changes has put Ninjas in a stronger place than ever.
That’s where Volibrawler comes in. Brawlers were barely worth noting in 9.13, but now, mainly because of Volibear, they’re a different story. Volibrawler is one of the few comps that has enough health to survive the initial one-shot of Ninja/Assassins, while simultaneously having enough damage to fight back. It’s still an overall weaker comp when it comes to matchups, but considering the prevalence of Ninjas, it’s well worth assembling. In the case of Twitch Rivals, anything that beat Volibrawler seemed to lose out to Ninjas.
There are multiple possible comps that work around Volibrawler, but Josh took the Void/Assassins route. The comp heavily relies on a two to three-star Volibear pumped full of items, but other than that, an element of flexibility is allowed.
The ideal level eight Volibrawler comp would feature Kha’Zix (one-cost), Blitzcrank (two-cost), Pyke (two-cost), Rek’Sai (two-cost), Volibear (three-cost), Akali (four-cost), Cho’Gath (four-cost), and Sejuani (four-cost). All in all, the comp takes on four Brawlers, three Voids, one Robot, three Assassins, two Glacials, and one Ninja.
While the comp relies on bolstering Volibear with items, the remaining force needs very little to thrive. Akali could use a Tear or a Rod-based item and Pyke needs a Spear of Shojin, but that’s it.
A few possible items that would fit nicely on Voli include Rapid Firecannon, Guinsoo’s Rageblade, Hextech Gunblade, Phantom Dancer, and Youmuu’s Ghostblade. There are other options, but in the perfect scenario, these are the most fitting.
In the early game, Warwick is a strong start for Brawler comps, combined with Blitzcrank or Rek’Sai. If they’re nowhere to be seen, though, taking on Assassins is a sensible idea. Kha’Zix, Pyke, and Zed are Josh’s go-to (early-game) Assassins, but if everything doesn’t go according to plan, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with pivoting to the comp in the mid-game.
When the game progresses to level six, Brawlers should be coming into fruition. At this stage in the game, both Voli and Cho’Gath, two of the most important components of the comp will come into play. This allows for the four Brawler and three Void synergies combined with Blitz, Rek’Sai, and Kha’Zix. Next, econing, or leveling to put in a third Assassin (like Zed or Akali) is the best option. This is safe as long as the economy is strong.
From this point on, the comp is about focusing on upgrades. Voli is the main target, but units like Cho’Gath and Akali are still important. The heavy damage dealer is always going to be Voli, especially if he has his preferred items. But Cho’Gath is crucial for crowd control and Akali is essential for burst damage. Even if Voli is the last bear standing, he still has the potential to solo carry with his ultimate.
As the match continues into the late game, upgrading Voli is the priority, but your economy shouldn’t be sacrificed for the sake of a third star. If the game is in dire straits and its the last remaining option, then it’s a viable choice. But other than that, it’s best to be safe. A two-star Voli is strong enough to carry.
Overall, Volibrawler is a well-rounded comp that’s easy to pull off. It occasionally falls short to mana burning, but thanks to Josh, its place in the meta has been solidified. It’s a strong counter to Ninja/Assassins and as long as Voli isn’t nerfed anytime soon, it should remain a top-tier comp in TFT.