Hey, whats up kids. I am not a very good 5's player, I tend to play solo Q and never Duo Q so I'm stuck at 800 ELO and ****. But before the MMR compression in HoN I was ranked in the 1800's and I've played DotA for years, so I'm not bad at these games.
These days I'm ****ing sick of how annoying people in ranked have become and how boring the current Meta is. So I've been playing a lot of 3's with my team Threesus Christ Superstar. I figured people might want a guide that breaks down the current "meta" and team building strategies that are popular and powerful in the current Twisted Treeline environment.
Runes and Masteries
For the most part your standard Runes and Masteries will not change for 3v3. If you wish to tailor some pages you need to build for one of three roles:
Role 1: Defense
Straight defensive runes are powerful on AD or AP carries in 3v3. The main reason is that you have less people to rely on in 3v3 and you cant rely on having a whole team to back up how squishy you are. The other reason is that most people will transfer their 5v5 builds into 3v3 and if you are stacked defensively you can dominate the early game simply by winning trades and surviving ganks.
Role 2: Sustain
The grind for killing towers in 3v3 is harder and longer than in 5v5. And although its a shorter run to the lane, staying in lane will gain you advantages over the enemy.
Role 3: Pure Damage
If your team is made up of strong support characters you can rune your carry for pure damage. This requires you to have a solid initiator or stunbot like Leona or Amumu.
Unlike the meta for 5v5, 3v3 roles are different in their classification. Here is a good breakdown:
Large crowd control effects win fights in 3v3, this is what defines the meta at its core. Leona is one of the most powerful champions in 3v3 because she fits all the most important roles in 3v3 so I will use her as an example of the meta:
She has a large AoE disable (in the form of her Ult). This is the size of most of a 3v3 lane or any point in the jungle except the dragon pit. If you initiate with this skill successfully you will most likely win the fight.
She is hard to kill. This is also essential for 3v3, tank characters win fights. Even if you are a carry in 3v3 you should build some defensive items. AP carries can get RoA, AD can get a Wits End or Ionic (which is actually a great item in 3v3).
She helps her team. Her passive makes her team deal more damage and she buffs their resists. Its good to pick a character that helps out your team in some way (Sivir is great in 3v3 for a myriad of reasons you should be able to guess).
She initiates in a way the shuts down the enemy team. Initiation works a little differently in 3v3. In 5v5 what you most need from your initiator is the momentary advantage that you translate into winning a fight. In 3v3 the initiator needs to translate the momentary advantage into more disables. Leona does this with her stun and her AoE. Lee Sin can do this with dash->slow->kick. Xin for example can not do this because he really doesn't have a follow up to his one popup. Other people who fill this role include Amumu, Malphite if built correctly, Alistar and Kennen.
She does not however fit the last important role:
Massive AoE damage.
Twitch is the AD carry that best fits this role. Tiamat Twitch is quite viable on TT. In an ideal situation you would have you initiator (lets say Kennen) burst into the team, stunning them. Then you turn on Twitch's ult and melt their team in three shots. Sivir is also good for this role, since ideally you hit all of them with boomerang and bounce and your other team members clean up.
As far as AP carries go you need to be a little bit tough and have great AoE. Anivia isn't viable because of her mana costs, instead take someone like Annie or Cass.
Balls to the Wall
Its cliche to say that the team who wants to win more will be victorious. In 3v3 its sort of true. TT is a very skirmishy map. People dart around, doing brief ambushes and ganks and most people will focus on 2v1 fights since they are very hard to lose in 3v3. The issue is that unlike in 5v5 you NEED and Ace to solidly win a 3v3. You need the entire team down for half a minute to a minute in order to bring down the base tower. If the enemy has guys constantly respawing in their base they will be able to hold you off just by being able to heal in the fountain constantly.
What wins a 3v3 is solidly committing to a teamfight. Most enemies will try and run if its unbalanced, or even if its a 3v3 because they believe strongly in the pick off 2 or 2 v 1 strat. If you are more hardcore and balls to the wall and initiate on them while they are being skittish you have won because you initiated, you disabled, and they are now dead.
A loose Twisted Treeline Tier list
I don't normally believe in Tier Lists for 5v5, but due to the unique requirements of 3v3s you can do some separating of characters into categories. I'm not going to include all champions here, just pick out the ones I feel are best and add some notation as to why they are good.
Tier 1: Characters who idealize the 3v3 meta
Leona: I already went over this one, but essentially she fits all the qualifications for a great TT character.
Hecarim: He ***** AoE damage, he has great sustain, he can jump walls and he needs about 4k gold of items to roll *****es into graves.
Gragas: AoE damage, strong sustain, can jump walls and escape well.
Olaf: Current best AD character in TT. He counters the meta of 3v3 by easily killing tanky characters and being hard to disable.
Karma: She is not a support. Don't think that. She is a very strong AP carry in 3v3. He AoE's can hit across most parts of the maps, she can heal her team for crazy sustain, she can shield your initiator AND add damage to his initiation, and he speed boost is great for chasing down dudes.
Kennen: This should be obvious. He has SO MUCH DAMAGE and SO MANY STUNS. And he does it all without having to build a lot of damage. You have to tailor him different for 3v3 than 5v5. Your core should be: Rylais, WotA and Haunting Guise. You can go Rylais if you are rolling or even build him straight tanky as just an initiator and run a different carry (in this case rush Warmogs, Aegis, Starks or even Randuins).
Mundo: Hard to kill, strong AoE presence, does percentage based damage and heals. I feel that these days his crown is sagging, Hecarim and Olaf both do his job better but they are common bans.
Tier 2: Good characters with a single issue
Twitch: Stealth, poison, a strong slow, AoE damage and high damage make Twitch a great pick for your carry in 3v3. He is crazy squishy which means you REALLY have to know how to play him in order to be successful.
Twisted Fate: Good for the same reasons as Twitch, plus he has global presence. Bad for the same reasons as Twitch.
Galio: Out classed by Leona and really mana heavy but still a really solid tanky/ap character who if correctly done can end fights, a key part of "Triforce" which is a strong 3v3 comp you will occasionally see.
Graves and Sivir: The best AD carries in 3v3 after Twitch. Graves scales well, has great AoE's, and can help your initiator with his smokebombs. Sivir just spreads her damage well and buffs your team with her solid ult.
Maokai: Good disables, good AoE, but is really skill dependent.
Kog Maw and Ezreal: These guys are in a strange place. They do well in 3v3 due to certain abilities and their focus on straight damage. They do not however bring anything else to the table. This is also the case with Xerath and Lux.
Tier 3: Skill Dependent Characters
If you are good with the following, I don't have to tell you what to do, if you aren't don't play them.
Blitzcrank, Pantheon, Shaco, Swain, Viktor, Vlad, Nautilus, Lulu (she is honestly probably Tier 1 or 2, but I rarely see good Lulu in 3v3).
A note on Varus
He should be very good in 3v3, but he is new so until I see some really solid 3v3 play of him I cant comment on his overall performance.
A note on other characters
There are many other good characters in 3v3 (Rumble!) that I have not listed here. This is because I try and list only characters that I personally have experience playing with and using in team compositions. If you think a character you love would be good in 3v3 then play that character!
"The Triforce" an example team composition
I don't know what the technical term for this comp is, but me and my friends call it "the Triforce".
Here is the basic idea:
Galio, Nunu, Vlad or a similar setup.
The idea is to throw down three high damage disables that will hopefully drop the enemy team or at least two thirds of them.
Galio is good because of his strong AoE taunt. If he drops the taunt, Vlad instantly follows up with his ult (and then uses pool/tides for a lot of damage) and Nunu begins ulting as soon as the taunt goes up (meaning it will finish right after the taunt breaks, but before the enemy can escape or kill him) this combo will kill most enemy teams.