Hello, I am Katsuie, a Diamond 1 SoloQ player and team leader of “MHOroKat”, the team which is currently ranking as #1 on the EU West 3v3 Ladder. Originally, our team started at Gold III, but we have come a long way since then. The team has accumulated about 300 games, and I have played in all of them with different skill level players ranging from Silver V to Diamond I. Not only have I gained a lot of experience in 3v3, I also came up with several strategies which I will be more than happy to share with you to help you climb the Twisted Treeline ladder.
Getting Started: Meta Musing
As opposed to Summoner’s Rift, there are 2 viable metagames (and certainly not “no meta” as many non-experienced 3v3 players seem to claim). You differentiate between the “Support-Meta” and the “Jungle-Meta”. If I had to make a rough estimate, 90% of all teams run the Jungle-Meta, and the rest the Support-Meta. You might say “Oh this obviously means the Jungle-Meta is way better because more people use it”. Well, let me just say that my team uses the Support-Meta. Honestly, it really just comes to preference in the end on which is better
The Jungle Metagame
This is the metagame most teams use. It includes running 2 solo lanes, usually consisting of a bruiser top, like Renekton, Lee Sin or Tryndamere, and an AP bot, like Lissandra, Karma or Orianna. As you might have guessed from the name, you also run a jungler, usually one who focuses on tankiness, waveclear and gank potential. Common picks for junglers include Jarvan IV, Udyr and Sejuani.
Now this opens up a certain question: Is Smite necessary for jungling?
This is a very debated topic actually, some say it is required for early clearing and Vilemaw control, others say its worthless past the first jungle clear and would rather take a summoner like Exhaust or Ignite to help with ganking/teamfights. My personal opinion on this that you should take Smite, even if it’s only for Vilemaw control or counter-jungling. As a player who runs the Support meta, I might not have much experience on this, but I can say that having no smite as opposed to the enemy team having one makes it very hard to take Vilemaw at any point of the game due to the potential to steal buffs.
The Support Metagame
This is the meta I personally use. It consists out of running a Bruiser/Support-Lane and an AP Caster on the other Lane. Common combos are for example a Jarvan/Leona or an Aatrox/Lulu lane. The AP picks usually remain the same as the jungle metagame. I am going to answer a few common questions about this certain meta:
“How are we supposed to play the Support-Meta?”
You pick a bruiser who profits from getting ahead with a lot of farm and a support with a lot of crowd control. Usually you run the 2v1 on top lane, due to the entrance into the jungle, opening paths for easier counter-jungling and ganking. If you feel like your AP would be better off against the opponent on top lane, feel free to go bot as well as the difference is barely noticeable.
Now for the important part: Your job is to get the bruiser fed and create a lot of pressure. This is done by immediately pushing 2 waves so both of you reach level 2 and the lane is pushed to the enemy tower. From there on, you have 3 options, ordered by priority: Gank, counter-jungle or clear your own jungle. Ganking can only be done if the other lane is pushed by the enemy, opening up an easy opportunity. If you’re able to gank successfully without losing much, you can immediately go counterjungle and contest the enemy altar on top of it, snowballing already very early in the game. If ganking is not an option, you counter-jungle. The reason why this is very efficient is due to the fact that in order to contest you, the enemy laner would have to sacrifice 2 waves at his tower or the jungler is going to lose his camps. So in this situation, one enemy player will always lose something, giving you an advantage even if you didn’t steal any jungle camps.
If neither ganking or counter-jungling is an option, proceed to rotate your jungle and think about what to do next.
“What prevents the support from being useless as opposed to a third member who actually deals damage?”
There are several factors which go into this: Your support doesn’t have to buy any wards or a sightstone, as these are not available on this map. Additionally, capturing an altar provides 80 global gold, so from not having to buy certain items combined with the fact that you get more steady income, supports are able to buy core items respective to their champion in order to remain relevant in terms of tankiness or even damage.
Furthermore, having a support provides you with a lot of utility and cc you would not have otherwise. Having a Leona on your team who can practically shut down an enemy for 3-4 seconds is a very valuable asset to have, combined with the fact you can easily catch people out of position. As is having a Lulu on your team who not can only slow enemies, but also reveal stealth champions and buff up your fed bruiser with the help of her shield, movement speed boost and her ultimate.
Controlling Game Objectives
Altars provide several bonuses and are prone to being areas of contention. What I say now will probably be frowned upon by other players, but in my opinion, altars are not very important to capture until at least 25 minutes in. The reason why I say that is because the bonuses the altars provide are not worth fighting and possibly dying over. I am not saying to never capture the altars, but you should consider if it’s worth fighting over something that only nets you about 5 AD/AP. If its safe to take though, then obviously go for it.
Later on, having 2 captured altars on your side can give you a meaningful advantage in fights and sometimes even force your opponent to capture an altar back. You can use this to your advantage to set up an ambush near an altar.
Vilemaw, or how I like to call it, the “Game-Thrower”. I can’t tell you how many definitely lost games we won due to catching the enemy team with their pants off in the Vilemaw pit. You must always question yourself “Can we kill Vilemaw before the enemy team arrives?” and if the answer is no, then never ever do it.“But Mr. Katsuie, when should we kill Vilemaw then if the enemy team is always nearby?”
Well, the easiest answer would be just not to. But that’s boring. There are 3 situations where you can take Vilemaw:
- After a won fight with no contesting from the enemy team.
- Sneaking it by soloing it with one champion(explained in Tip #3).
- Not actually taking it and simply pretending you do. By hiding in either a brush near vilemaw or in the vilemaw pit itself, the enemy will think you’re doing Vilemaw and move to contest it – this is where you ambush them. This is the most effective way to enforce Vilemaw as you can simply take it if you’re ambush succeeds or the enemy is too scared to contest it.
Towers are the most important objectives on this map: Do everything you can to protect or take them! The most effective way to snowball and create more pressure is to take early towers. If for example you can gank the enemy bot successfully, immediately push the tower. If you can’t take it, no worries, it’s important that at least you damaged it and forced someone to protect it. An early tower will leave the enemy laner unprotected and prone to ganks, making it easier to get kills on him, and you get global gold from the tower, too.
Additionally, keeping your towers alive is what can also keep you in the game. I am specifically talking about the Inhibitor towers here. With enough waveclear, you can easily stall the game, as fighting under your tower can put you on-average with the enemy team, even if they’re ahead. Protecting these towers also prevents enemies to simply rush down your inhibitor after a lost fight.
Tips – Using facts about the Twisted Treeline to your advantage
- Tip #1 - Due to the position of the shop, you can still buy from it behind the top Inhibitor tower. This means you will not have to run fully into your base in order to shop.
- Tip #2 - The Health Relic in the middle of the map spawns at 1:55. If you base your play around it, you can suprise your enemy by picking it up early and counter-jungling/outlaning them.
- Tip #3 - You can solo Vilemaw from the moment it spawns at 10:00, all you need is a little bit of sustain. This is done by dodging Vilemaw’s strongest attack through simply sidestepping it. If you see Vilemaw screeching and charging up his claws, sidestep and repeat.
- Tip #4 - If you run the Support-Meta, make sure the duo-lane is always pushed and go out of vision. This will automatically create pressure on the other solo lane, as they could be ganked at any given moment.
- Tip #5 - Hiding and ambushing your enemy is an effective strategy you can use, because the 3v3 map is a lot smaller in general. Other than hiding in brushes, the bottom jungle entrance, golem pits and Vilewmaw pit can offer good hiding spots as well.
- Tip #6 - If you run the Jungle-Meta, communicate with each other. If your jungler wants to invade , push both solo lanes so you can safely invade together. Useful for forcing fights at the enemy altar.
- Tip #7 - Clear the jungle as fast as you can. The faster you clear a camp, the faster it will respawn and you can farm it again. This is a very undervalued thing and can easily win games if you focus on this.
- Tip #8 - If you spotted the enemy team moving into Vilemaw or know that they’re doing it, wait a little. It is better to wait for Vilemaw to deal a bit of damage to them before interfering, this way you might kill them and even get Vilemaw as well. Be careful to not wait for too long, Vilemaw can be killed faster as you might think.
- Tip #9 - When given the choice of either taking a tower or Vilemaw, you should almost always opt for Vilemaw. You can siege the tower later on with the newly acquired buff. If you decide to take a tower, your enemy will most likely try to rush Vilemaw!
Team Compositions and Strategies – Outpicking your enemy
Having a synergistic team is half the battle. I do not mean picking the “most OP champions”, but rather champions who work well with each other. This is way more important in 3v3 as it is in 5v5, due to the relatively short laning phase and the focus on teamfights and small skirmishes. This means that 3 very well synergizing champions can handle a team full of champions which may be considered more viable than them. Alternatively building around a specific strategy with your preferred champions does also work very well. Here are a few compositions and strategies which you might like:
The Knockup Composition
This team consists out of a Wukong/Lulu duo-lane and a Zyra lane. The main focus of this team is synergyzing their ultimates in fights, stacking the knockups. This is amazing because not only can you easily get a full Wukong ultimate off, the knockup is a “true-cc”, which means it that the duration of the knockup can not be reduced by Tenacity. So basically, if pulled off right, the enemy is unable to do anything for the next 5-6 seconds.
The Hypercarry Strategy
This is a strategy that I have come up with through a lot of trial and error when I played with 2 Silver (SoloQ) players and ended up using from Plat V to Diamond I. The result was us running a Hypercarry + double support composition. What we have done is running the Hypercarry with a support on toplane and an AP Support bot. The hypercarry is advised to run Revive, as he is the backbone of the team.
The composition for example could be: Tryndamere/Nunu + Lulu or Aatrox/Lulu + Janna
The strategy is to get your hypercarry as fed as possible. Start by pushing the lane, then proceed to counter-jungle or jungle, rince and repeat. Your main focus should be farming up, but this does not mean you’ll have to avoid fights. Look at the situation at hand and decide if fighting is worth it. Contesting an altar which you are not sure you can protect is not necessary, for example. Just play as you normally would, except with more farming.
The Pushing Strategy
This strategy requires you to run 3 champions with high waveclear. This is a strategy compatible with the Jungle-Meta. A composition could look like the following: Renekton, Lissandra, Shyvana Jungle.
The idea is to constantly push, non-stop, always having the lanes at the enemy tower. Push as fast as you can and proceed to clear the enemy jungle as 3 people while the rest of the enemy team is not able to respond, then proceed to clear your own jungle and push the lanes again. Most teams will not know how to respond to this, and by constantly keeping this up you will acquire way more farm than the enemy team. It’s basically choking the enemy slowly to death while you get stronger and stronger.
Thanks for reading my article, I hope it gave you more insight into 3v3 and helps your team climbing the rankings. If you have any questions, you can go ahead and ask me personally on my twitter! If you’re interested in seeing us play, you can watch our stream as well!
Have fun, and good luck on the Fields of Justice!