TFT: Why Patch 10.13 and Fast 8 Destroyed the Meta

League of Legends. Photo Courtesy of Riot Games.
League of Legends. Photo Courtesy of Riot Games. /

Many TFT players are complaining that Patch 10.13 has a stale meta. The problem is that the Fast 8 leveling strategy has taken over the game.

Whenever Teamfight Tactics players complain about the state of the meta, it’s usually focused on a certain team composition, champion, or item that has thrown the game entirely out of whack. Usually, when there are multiple strategies that can be used to win a game (as is the case in Patch 10.13), the meta is considered “balanced.” But players are complaining because, right now, the TFT meta is dictated by a single strategy that crowds out all others: Fast 8 leveling.

Fast 8 is not a new strategy, it has been in existence for all of Set 3 and actually originated in Set 2. Usually, though the strategy is in competition with other leveling strategies like the standard leveling, hyper rolling, or slow rolling. In the Patch 10.13 meta, as a result of factors that have nothing to do with leveling or experience in Teamfight Tactics, this strategy has not only become the strongest strategy, a way to essentially guarantee top placements.

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What is Fast 8?

Fast 8 is exactly what it sounds: a leveling strategy that is designed to get the player to Level 8 as quickly as possible. In the Fast 8 strategy, you do not re-roll before Level 8. Whereas most other strategies will see you hitting Level 8 at about the beginning of the fifth stage (5-1), the Fast 8 will get you there before the fourth carousel, at Round 4-3.

You’ll level basically as normal until you hit Round 3-5. From there on, while you would normally wait until Round 4-3 to level to 7, you’ll instead level at Round 4-1 and then level to 8 two rounds later at 4-3. This will absolutely kill your econ and you will be at Level 8 far quicker than anyone else in your lobby who is leveling normally or slow rolling in any way.

This strategy means that you cannot possibly re-roll your gold, either at Level 8 or at any time before that (except when you have banked over 50g). So you’re not going to have the ability to flex your comp around the champions that you have managed to accumulate throughout the game, because you will likely have very few of them.

Why is the Strategy so Dominant?

The reason that this strategy is currently dominating the TFT meta in Patch 10.13 has nothing to do with a change to the leveling strategy, champion pools, or econ. Instead, the strategy arose because the TFT meta is currently dominated by three primary carries: Jinx, Vayne, and Riven.

These three carries are so overpowered in the right comps that you can basically make the decision tree of which comp you are going to be going late within about two items. Because all of these carries are 3 and 4-cost units, it therefore makes sense to level to 8 as quickly as possible to get as many of these higher-cost units before they get snatched up by your competitors.

Here is how to decide which comp you will go in a game of TFT in Patch 10.13:

Step 1: Did you get two or more Needlessly Large Rods?

If yes, congratulations, you’re going a Riven comp. Slap those two Rods together to make a Deathcap, give her some defensive items (or an Ionic Spark or another Deathcap if you somehow grab four Rods) and sprinkle in six Sorcerers. Now she’s basically unkillable with her shield and does boatloads of damage.

If you answered no, go to the next step.

Step 2: Did you get a Red Buff?

If yes, congratulations, you’re going a Jinx comp. Just grab all the BF Swords, Recurve Bows, and Brawler’s Gloves you can so you can give her all the damage items possible.

Don’t forget to grab her best friends, Ezreal (Blaster synergy), Blitzcrank (Chrono synergy), Aurelion Sol, and Malphite (Rebel synergy) so she’s even stronger now! From here, you can actually make a choice for your remaining three units to go either full Rebels (you’ll drop Blitzcrank) or Brawlers.

If you picked up plenty of Rebels as you leveled up, maybe hit an early Aurelion Sol, go for the 6 Rebel comp. If not, go Brawlers and throw all those defensive items on Gnar.

If you didn’t get a Red Buff, go to the next step.

Step 3: Did you get an Infinity Edge and/or Last Whisper?

If yes, good news, you can still go that same Rebel comp but now you can also go the cool, fun 6 Cybernetic comp. Just toss all those damage items onto Vayne instead of Jinx, add a Caitlyn (Sniper synergy) and a Thresh (Chrono synergy) and you’re set!

Which comp, Rebels or Cybers, should you go? Whichever you manage to pick up more of when you were leveling silly! You were holding onto every Rebel and Cybernetic you could reasonably find, right? Good.

If no, go to the last step.

Step 4: Lose!

Sorry, you didn’t hit on one of the three comps that are going to have a shot at actually winning this game. I know you’re regretting not just hyper rolling for a 3-star Ahri and going a Star Guardian/Sorcerer comp, but let’s be real she wasn’t going to stand a chance against that 1-star Jinx with IE, Last Whisper, and GA.

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Are There Any Alternatives?

While it seems bleak, that fourth step was a bit tongue-in-cheek. There are some strategies that can work to win you games without doing the Fast 8 strategy.

If you go 6 Battlecast, loading two Blue Buffs and Deathcaps on Cassiopeia and Viktor, you might have a chance. If you go Protector Darius, with tons of AP on him, you could have a chance. If you go the Slicing Yi build where you give him a Rapidfire Cannon and Guinsoo’s and let him go to town, you can win.

The problem with all of these strategies is that they’re very risky. If you miss on a key item, you’re going to be unable to recover. That’s why the Fast 8 strategy has taken a death grip on the TFT meta in Patch 10.13: it’s safe, reliable, and very hard to screw up.