When playing Twisted Treeline (TT), the game becomes more focused on individual skill, aggressive laning, and skirmishes which requires a lot of knowledge about your champion and its mechanics. Because there are less people in the team, the game demands yourself and your own performance, and as such, you have to play mechanically better. Conversely, on Summoner’s Rift (SR), the map favors a whole team’s performance together as a group instead of having so much ride on the individual; even if you did bad in lane, you could still come back later in the game if you had a better team fighting synergy than the other team.
Team Fighting in the Trees
TT revolves so much around team fighting due to the smaller map and the relative positions of objectives on the map. If you want to take the enemy altar or defend yours, force a team fight on Vilemaw, invade the enemy jungle to hunt their jungler down, or defend your own jungler, you will be faced with the enemy team often. Because of the frequency of those team fights, TT becomes a great environment to practice your champion’s mechanics, learn what your champion can or can’t do in a team fight, and discover how much damage your champion can do or take. And so, the aggressive, near-constant playstyle of TT forces you to experiment with your champion’s limits as any move or contest can easily result in a team fight.
The Trees Will Punish Poor Positioning
Because there are a lot of tight spots in the map where these frequent team fights occur, you must pay attention to your positioning when you are playing a ranged champion because you will get punished hard if you are caught out. After you play TT for a while, you will find positioning as a ranged AD Carry or AP Carry a lot easier in Summoner’s Rift due to the much more open map and “training” in tighter constraints.
Aggressive Laning Amongst the Trees
In most cases on SR you last hit, poke the enemy when you can, and wait for the jungler or another lane to set up a gank; during the laning phase, you don’t find yourself fighting an equal-numbered team very often. But on TT, the more you push in lane, the more control you get on the map. Similarly, aggressively pushing a lane becomes so important early in the game where the first three levels can mean having an extra spell over your opponent, or at level 6, where it could mean that extra burst or tankiness from your champion’s ultimate can help win a duel in your lane or a team fight at an objective. The importance of those early levels and hitting those power spikes/timings encourages and teaches the player how to play aggressive in lane. You rarely have the chance to play as aggressive as you can in TT because there is always the risk of getting ganked by the jungler in SR; there can be a jungler in TT, but it’s a lot easier to escape their ganks than it is in SR, so lanes are almost always aggressive duels.
Snowballing in the Treeline
A single player getting fed in TT can snowball the whole game. There aren’t five people to shut you down in a team fight through CC and/or burst like you’ll find in SR; simply put, there are only three people in TT you have to worry about, and so, you have less damage and less CC to also worry about. Falling behind and losing outer turrets means you will lose control of your jungle and altar. Once these objectives go down, you have to be cautious of your play and improve your decision making because your amount of control over the game drastically drops with each subsequent objective falling. In SR you could do really well in lane and still lose the game because the enemy team had better team fighting synergy than your team or they secured more global gold by getting dragons, Barons, and towers; conversely, there are always ways to come back in SR through those objectives, as losing some doesn’t reduce your control or ability to win quite as much as the unforgiving TT.
Smaller Map; More Aware
Due to the absence of wards on TT, you have to pay more attention to the map and to the enemy players movements as it’s the only way of knowing the enemy player’s location. After playing TT for a while you’ll get a feel for calling out a missing enemy, which leads to being able to calculate how much time the enemy will take to get to you after they went missing from wherever they were last seen.
For example, if you were playing solo bot lane and the enemy top laner just went missing from the middle of his lane to come and gank you, it will take him approximately 10-15 seconds to get to your lane. Learning and understanding information like that (getting a feel for when a gank will occur) will immensely help you on SR because it translates to tracking the jungler and solo laners movement whenever they go missing. If the enemy jungler started blue buff on the purple team and he ganked mid lane after doing it, then you saw him heading to his red, it will take him approximately 20-25 seconds to be done with his red buff. If he wanted to gank mid, it would take him 15-25 seconds to come to mid lane again, which is a total of 35-50 seconds; if he was going to top lane, it would be about 60 seconds. So within this time frame where the jungler is doing his camps, you can afford to play aggressive in mid lane or top lane without getting punished (bot lane will be able to play aggressive also since they know the jungler is around top and mid).