Note: this is the reformatted version of this Reddit post. It has been uploaded here with the owner’s permission.
Hi, I’m Iniko and I’ve been challenger in every set so far and have peaked 1k+ LP in set 3 and am currently at my peak rank at rank 5.
I’ve been seeing some guides come up recently on this subreddit about how to use chosen units and how to play certain comps, but I think something should be said about what units you should look out for early game as well. For this tier list, I’ve decided to focus on units that I try to play for the strongest board possible. Keep in mind this is also all pre-wolves.
I’m going to go in depth here about each unit specifically giving my own little blurb about them. I’ll also link some example strong board combinations with proper synergies and chosen units.
One disclaimer: Everything here is my own personal opinion on how I see the game. You shouldn’t take these guides as gospel, but try to coordinate these tips with your own play, and listen to other players as well! I love learning from my peers and I’ll shout some lesser-known really good players out at the end of this guide.
Janna: One of the best units in the entire game I think. I’m shocked she’s not getting nerfed as I think she’s strong at all stages and should only be replaced by Zilean 2 in most comps. Getting an early Janna with a Vanguard, Cultist, Brawler, or chosen Yasuo opener is an instant winstreak. I always take chosen mystic Janna unless I’m trying to force some meme build.
Thresh: Also one of the best units at all stages mostly due to his synergies. Extremely flexible unit that you can play in multiple comps with versatile positioning. Early game I like putting my Thresh right behind two stacked frontliners, or right next to my main frontliner so the shield hits 2-3 units. Always pick up an early chosen Thresh. Vanguard lets you go Ahri and Dusk lets you go Riven. I can go more into detail about this kind of decision making in a different guide/in other comments.
J4: Very good coupled with cultist if you have Elise as Keeper is super strong early game and he himself does a surprising amount of damage. Can hold items for Riven.
Kindred: Extremely good chosen that can streak you to level 7 or even 8. Even taking 1 cost Kindred isn’t bad as long as you have items for her, but I probably wouldn’t play it as 1 cost without items over something like Akali. Can hold Ahri or Ashe items.
Akali: Naturally strong with Ninja buff, even better if you get her chosen. Sometimes she gets stuck on units in a weird way so for that reason I think she’s marginally worse than Kindred, but if she has Blue Buff and an AP item she can streak you really hard, chosen or not. I usually use her to hold Ahri items.
Nunu: Naturally you’re most likely going to go Ashe if you find this guy before wolves. Outfit him with tank items. If you aren’t finding brawlers you can always use him as your Riven.
Pyke: Enables cultist but still very good as a standalone unit. Chosen Pyke assassin is extremely good as is Cultist for obvious reasons. He can hold Ahri items or Jhin items if you get a Dusk spat to put on him early. Also isn’t bad with Sunfire Cape as he spreads it to everyone, but I like putting that on my beefy boys in the front.
Kennen: Obvious choice to pair with Elise in a Cultist comp early game. The only reason he’s below J4 is that it’s not as easy to 2 star him and he can often die without ulting. Sticking a GA on him is a great idea.
Zed: Pair him with Evelynn and he’s a monster. Same logic for why he’s above Eve: easier to 2 star and easier to find his chosen early game.
Maoki: Extremely tanky when outfitted with Sunfire Cape and 2 starred. Better if chosen. Better if chosen brawler. His spell rules. Not much else to say here.
Elise: Solid frontline unit for cultists, very very good Sunfire Cape holder.
Diana: Really debated on where to put Diana but I think A tier is fine with her as unless you’re going moonlight reroll, you’ll end up selling her chosen anyway. Chosen assassin enables 4 assassin cultist early on which is quite underrated and chosen Moonlight lets you play a myriad of strong boards. She can also solo 1-2 just like in set 2.
Garen: Reliable unit, good with Sunfire Cape and 2 starred, decent overall until mid stage 3 typically.
Wukong: Divine > Vanguard for chosen. He can hold dps items or tank items for whatever you transition to. I think Bonkey Kong is pretty overrated, but if you want to play it BiS is probably RFC HoJ +1 (maybe QSS/BT/IE/etc. depending on game) Using him with cultist opener bumps him to S tier.
Yasuo: Extremely strong if chosen, still pretty strong if not. Holds items well just like monkey and you can play quite a few openers around him. My only issue with him is he baits people into going for duelist slowroll which I don’t think is very good. Use him as an item holder and you’re solid. Same with monkey, using him with a cultist opener bumps him up to S tier.
Tahm Kench: UNLOAD THE TOAD OSFrog UNBENCH THE KENCH OSFrog (really good as a solo tank even, Sunfire Cape Kench will outdps your carries, chosen brawler Kench owns. Not higher because without Sunfire he’s kind of just a sponge.)
Vi: Heavily underrated unit in my opinion. Vi 2/Chosen Vi can hold any items and if she doesn’t winstreak you, you won’t ever take much damage. I like Brawler Vi more than Warlord Vi for chosen.
Lissandra: Can streak you pretty hard with chosen moonlight for a free 3 cost or just plain strong board, pretty underwhelming otherwise IMO until she has a mana/AP item. Can hold items for Ahri really well.
Kat: Pretty heckin good if you can get her to cast ever. She’s cleanup crew for a tanky team.
Eve: Not a bad unit by any means but I usually use her as a synergy bot and if she gets more than 1 kill I’m happy. Power goes way up at 2 stars though.
Sylas: Beefy frontline Moonlight dude man guy. Up so high because his spell is really good and enables a few strong boards with Brawler or Moonlight options.
Lulu: Also debated on this one but she can definitely have some clutch moments with an early Elderwood synergy coupled with her spell. Not a bad unit but I’m not sure I’d pick her up as chosen unless I was playing some mage meme comp, and even then it’s a maybe.
Jinx: Enables sharpshooter, solid stun, if you get her early she’s eh. Give her Shojin and it’s better. Her chosen can streak you with items but I haven’t seen it do much without items.
Fiora: Heavily underrated unit, I will unironically consider picking up a chosen Fiora and having her hold items. Only in B tier because you never want to keep her and her synergies don’t enable much but as a standalone unit she’s pretty good at 2 star. Stop calling her garbage 🙁
Annie: Can definitely fit into an already strong comp if you roll her as your chosen. I wouldn’t really play her otherwise, but she’s not the worst by any means. Give her Riven items or try to 3 star her for some fun (8th place) gameplay.
Twisted Fate (I think?): Obvious choice for cultists, 2 star does some great damage, overall just solid reliable unit. Give him Ahri items. Seriously could not tell if this image was Jhin or TF.
Yuumi: The absolute GOD CARRY later in the game for many comps. Seriously don’t underestimate this cat. I like her early game for mystic paired with Janna, plus her spell owns. In other situations, she is a bit underwhelming until later though.
Irelia: Not the worst but not the best. Even getting her as chosen is kind of… meh. She can probably streak you but I don’t know if it’s worth the investment because of the synergies. Open to having my mind changed on this one.
Nidalee: Overrated in my opinion. Dies to backline infiltration, doesn’t do enough damage to chew through frontline typically. Can be B tier or even A tier with an item or 2 and a couple Warlord stacks, but kind of meh overall.
Aphelios: Not the best early game but it’s not really his job anyway. I usually only pick him up as an Ashe item holder or if I’m doing the Aphelios comp.
Hecarim: I really want to like this unit but wow he is BAD. Better than Garen 2 and Wukong 2 at 2 star, worse than both at 1 star, and if I’m being honest, usually not worth holding the pair.
Teemo: Underwhelming damage with awkward early game synergies. Sharpshooter can be fine if your frontline is strong enough but dies to sins or Galio immediately usually. Not a great unit IMO.
Nami: Fine for the CC but not much else. She’s basically Zoe with worse synergies. Mage chosen Nami isn’t the worst for stage 2, but I’d rather have almost any other chosen.
Jax: Absolute synergy bot. You could pick up his chosen, but then you’d be playing chosen Jax. Idk. This guy ain’t it atm.
Lux: Synergy bot for chosen Vanguard Wukong usually to enable divine if you can’t find Jax, or to pair with chosen Dazzler Lissandra. Dazzler is pretty underwhelming early game though, plus you won’t get much value out of Lux’s spell with it anyway.
Vayne: Terrible unit that I avoid playing at all costs. A literal synergy bot in the truest sense of the phrase. I hold 1 on bench in case I want to play Riven but that’s it usually.
Xin Zhao: I’m honestly not sure about this guy because I never play him. I feel like he’s kind of terrible as he just gets bursted down/stunlocked but maybe his chosen could be ok??? Not sure. I wanna like this guy but I just can’t justify it.
Examples of very strong boards with general positioning:
Final things to say:
This guide took a really long time to make and honestly I just really hope it has good enough information for how long it is. If you read the whole thing thank you, and I really really do hope it helps. I also do stream over at https://twitch.tv/inikoiniko if anyone ever wants to pop by and ask a question or just say hi, or you can just stalk my lolchess.
Lastly, I really want to shout out some cool people:
/u/beardsandcats0240 who runs a friendly, weekly EU and NA tournament with a small prize pool. This is a really fun experience and any player of any skill level is allowed. He funds it and promotes it all by himself as far as I know, and I play in it weekly. We’re always looking for more players!
All very good players I’ve had the pleasure of meeting through various tournaments. Definitely worth checking them all out as I think they’re underrated and I honestly believe anyone of any skill level can learn from them.
I hope this guide helps some of you. There’s a lot of value in discussion so please, ask questions or criticize me if you don’t agree with my thought process. Thanks everyone for reading. Happy grinding 🙂