Today we have Coralie, the first player to get to Challenger, showing us how to play the Elderwood Aurelion Sol comp (Corakan) with a bonus section on Theorycrafting to Get Rank 1 Challenger!
Hey, Cora (she/her) here with a guide on the comp I used to hit first challenger in NA by about 200 LP, with 8 hours over 2nd place. I have a history of being strong on patch day, as I am quick to theorycraft and adapt to get ahead of the meta.
I streamed the entire 29 hour climb at twitch.tv/colrux and do not have a schedule yet, but I will look to stream more, so please come ask questions!
Elderwood Aurelion Sol
This comp is S+ tier, and I hard forced it almost every game in the new set. All my friends refer to this as the “Corakan” comp, as Rakan is the true carry, not Asol/Xayah. In this guide, I will go over how I play and optimize the comp and how I theorycrafted it in the first place. I know that the meta has already started to shift and Rakan has been nerfed, but this comp is still viable.
Although there are several guides out there for the comp, my playstyle was a bit different than others because it let me hit more consistently (people know me as the 22/20 Asol player). Below are my stats having played this in challenger.
Note: This was written before the B patch notes to Rakan that fix the mana lockout on shield and increase his mana and lower his shield. This comp is still strong, but it is not as forcible as during my climb and requires playing a stronger early game to make up for Rakan nerfs.
Most recent seven games, even after the comp became contested:
This is what the standard level 8 comp looks like
Notice there are 9 units here. Depending if you hit Elderwood chosen or mage chosen, you drop Maokai or Brand. If you find an early Ornn, you can substitute Maokai or Nunu. TF can also replace Brand as they are both synergy bots, but normally my TF holds my Asol items.
The other common variation is keeper chosen that looks like this:
Kennen/Jarvan/Azir are interchangeable, and once you hit Azir he is your replacement. Normally you go for Chosen Kennen when going this route, and then you sell it at 9. Also note that Spatulas change the variations a lot in which units you play and they raise the power cap of the comp.
Level 4: Prelevel at 1-4 if you have not seen chosen and cannot make 10, otherwise natural at 2-3
Level 5: Natural at 3-2 or 2-7, depending on if preleveled to 4
Level 6: 3-2 every game and roll
Level 7: 4-1 every game and roll
Level 8: 4-5 if stay above 20 gold or low hp and allows you to play 5th mage, otherwise 5-1
Level 9: Generally only if stabilized, healthy, and looking for Ornn to make nine Elderwood, otherwise stay 8
Carousel Item Priority
There is only one absolutely core item in this comp, and it is Sunfire. Once I have Sunfire, every item I make is simply the best item I can slam with my components. If I have no components, then I follow the path above, starting with spat.
These are slammable items:
Rod: Jeweled Gauntlet, Gunblade, Deathcap, Guinso’s Rageblade, Ionic
Glove: Jeweled Gauntlet, Hand of Justice, Infinity Edge (if already have Jeweled Gauntlet)
Tear: Hand of Justice, Chalice, Blue Buff, Shojin
Chain: Bramble, Titan’s Resolve, Stoneplate, Guardian Angel
Cloak: Chalice, Ionic, Dclaw, Stoneplate
Sword: Zeke’s, Guardian Angel, Giant Slayer, Shojin
Bow: RFC, Titan’s Resolve, Guinso’s Rageblade, Giant Slayer
Belt: Zeke’s, Warmog
Late game items that are more valuable and nice to have include: QSS, Shroud, Zephyr. Also, honorable mention to Frozen Heart on Rakan. He uses it really well, but not slammable because the components make better items.
Spatula: Mage cap and Elder spat allow easy 5 mage/6 elder at level 7. I prefer mage cap if I do not have Elderwood chosen. Mage cap has insane synergy with Rakan and Xayah. It guarantees Xayah’s feathers will return because she is invulnerable during the second cast, so if Xayah has items, then I prefer cap on her; otherwise, Rakan for more disarm and taunt. With Elderwood chosen, elder spat gives you the highest cap in the game at 9 Elderwood. It also adds some tank stats to Asol so that he lives longer against AoE spells.
BIS: Everyone wants to know BIS items. In general, I slam the best items I can make instead of greeding components, but here is what I consider ideal (without Spatula):
- Rakan: Sunfire, RFC
- Asol: Jeweled Gauntlet, Blue Buff, Gunblade
- Xayah: Hand of Justice, Hand of Justice, Guardian Angel
- Annie: Bramble, Stoneplate, Dragon’s Claw
I also want to mention why the only core item is Sunfire. Rakan will normally be the last to die, and he is a mobile tank that can spread the debuff around. Sunfire also gives him the damage that he innately lacks. The rest of the items are lower in priority because Rakan stalls the enemies for so long that your team will do damage with anything.
Asol item prioritization—to me—comes down to making sure he one shots. Jeweled Gauntlet is the best item because it gives the opportunity to one shot on first cast and his second mage cast can target new units. I see many say Gunblade is necessary to win the mirror. This is incorrect. If he gets one shot, there is nothing to heal up. JG on Asol and Chalice on Veigar/Lulu guarantees one shots, while blue buff on Asol and Zeke’s on Veigar/Lulu guarantees I ult first.
Xayah best item is double Hand of Justice because you want the higher chance at her rolling healing. Having two increases the chances from 50% to 75% that she gains healing. 25% of the time she will roll double damage, which is the worst, but it guarantees she one shots everything, so not the end of the world.
RFC: I have been building RFC on Rakan since the patch dropped (and think I pioneered it, as people have sent me clips of high elo streamers that fought me with it being absolutely surprised/confused at how I had created a 1v5 unit out of a 2 cost). Rakan’s ability casts at the farthest unit in range, and with RFC, Rakan can now hit carries in the corner while disarming everyone he passes through. His taunt also messes up the pathing of enemies as he drags them across the board. When he casts, his curved path means that he usually wraps up every unit as well.
Early Game (Up until Stage 3-2)
I have been lose streaking all the way until 3-2 so that I can level to 6 at 3-2 with 50 gold to roll. The goal is 70+ hp at krugs with perfect loss. Generally, the way I do this is using Twisted Fate with Asol/Xayah items as holder and weak frontline. I want to buy just enough time for Twisted Fate to kill a backline unit to save 2 hp. Rakan 1 with Sunfire will also do the job.
At 3-2, I roll down until I believe I can win streak the rest of the stage. The goal is to stay above 20, but sometimes I roll deeper if I do not have a chosen. At level 6, you no longer see 1 cost chosens, so you are almost guaranteed a chosen that you can keep forever. This is a list of list the viable chosens, and you will see why it is near guaranteed because there are so many:
Rakan, Lulu, Veigar, Annie, Kennen, Elderwood Nunu, Enlightened Janna
If I get Fortune Annie, I will generally sell later but use the increased econ to be able to go Level 8 sooner. Enlightened Janna is such a good standalone chosen that it can guarantee win streak because it shields your elderwood units, particularly Sunfire Rakan. Janna is also a sell at level 8 before rolling.
You normally take big wins after rolling, so you are punishing other players harder. Often during this roll, you can hit a single Xayah or Asol and significantly increase the strength of your board. The chosen you hit also determines which variation you play.
With elderwood chosen, it normally looks like this without the 4 costs:
If you hit Xayah you replace Maokai or Nunu, and with Asol you replace Twisted Fate. If you do not have Asol and have more defensive items, play Annie 2 over Twisted Fate.
If you hit mage chosen, this is generally how the board looks without 4 costs:
Xayah or Asol replaces Jarvan or Twisted Fate respectively. This Annie positioning gives better chances for Twisted Fate cards as enemies group closer to you, but positioning is lobby dependent. With Asol, Annie is solo frontline. Annie does not need the keeper shield because she generally will not die with 5 Mage.
Another thing of note is that you are normally first or second pick on carousel from losing all of stage 2, and this is the first chance at 4 cost on carousel. You can often get an Asol or Xayah here to slot in early before rolling at 4-1.
You go to level 7 and roll down again to stay strong and preserve the win streak. The goal here is to stabilize with everyone else rolling. Odds are that usually you hit one of Xayah or Asol here, which is the goal. You do not necessarily need both to stabilize if the rest of board is strong. In order to hit 6 elder/5 mage, you need to hit level 8 or have a Spatula, so that is the next big goal in power spike. The idea here is to be strong enough to make it to level 8 without losing much health. This comp does not need two stars to top 5, and that is why it is reliable, though you need the 2 stars to play for top 2. If you have a loaded dice from lucky lantern, use it on Lulu/Veigar if you do not have Xayah/Asol. This comp benefits significantly from it because it gives you the opportunity to find your 4 cost carries and a chance to 3 star your other units.
This is where it all comes down to determining the strength of your board vs the lobby and how much hp you have in comparison. If I am close to Annie/Rakan/Lulu 3 star and my board is stable, I will slow roll at 7 for ones I have 6 or more copies of and go 8 after hitting. Normally, I will level to 8 at 4-5 if I have above 20 gold and it gives me 6 elderwood/5 mage power spike. You only need to roll if you are at 2 lives left, otherwise you can chill. If you do not have the gold or already have 6 Elderwood/5 Mage, then you can level 8 at 5-1.
If you have elder chosen and an elder spat, the goal is to play 9 Elderwood, which is the highest cap version of this comp. This requires finding Ornn. If you are stable and healthy, this can be best done by going level 9. If you do not have the econ or hp, you have to hope to find it at level 8. Otherwise, you are playing extra mages in the meantime. Other units that can be slotted in are Aatrox/Sejuani. Both buy you more time for Asol to cast more, and if you have Ornn providing vanguard synergy, then it is more likely to double cast. A second Asol/Xayah/Rakan 2 is also playable. Azir is always a good slot in and often can fit 4 Keeper at 9, in addition to 6 Elder/5 Mage.
Composition wise, the only comp I consistently struggled against was Dragonsoul during my climb. The 6 Dragonsoul means there are 3 units that are consistently hitting your team for 50% max hp and can kill you before elderwood ramps up its stats. This deletes your Annie frontline and your Rakan as well.
Other comps that need to be of equal strengths in star level and items and fight RNG in their favor, otherwise need to be stronger in units/levels to not rely on fight RNG:
- 8 Brawler with Dragonclaw or Bramble Shyvana
- Divine/syphoner comps with Morello Morgana: Morgana melts your team while Talon cleans up and generally jumps on Asol before he casts unless has elder spat
Comps that win if are of greater strength in item star level:
- Fabled: Three star Neeko that RNG casts on Asol, as well as three star Nautilus that stalls your whole team for Neeko to chain cast.
- Duelist comp with all the important 3 stars and good items, as well as Yone
- Spirit Zed with perfect items
- Assassins: Stacked assassins, mainly the 3-star Akali version with RFC can kill through before the elder stacks ramp up. Also, generally, do not get hit by Asol until his second rotation
Other techs to help counter elderwood mage:
- Shroud: Normally you can hit the entire team with one shroud and increase cast time significantly
- Trap claw: This needs to be opposite corner of Asol so it guarantees Asol procs it and does not get hit by another unit first. This buys you an extra five seconds before he will cast again and sometimes will stop Asol’s second mage cast.
- Dragon’s Claw, Bramble Vest, Guardian Angel: Put these items on your carry to survive first cast, but they have to be strong enough to kill before Asol casts again
- Azir soldier or other bait unit in the opposite corner of Asol and your team on same side as Asol
- Lee Sin: This unit is difficult to consistently beat. He can kick off tank Annie or Rakan or can kick a unit into the elder clump and then chain stun the team.
- Sett: Front line of elder comp is very tanky, and Sett can grab one and suplex into your entire team. He also cannot be one shot because he will go do situps.
Note: This comp has been nerfed but is still viable and still sees a lot of play.
Theorycrafting to Get Rank 1 Challenger
The guide on how to play the comp ends here, so if you are only looking for how to play the comp, you can stop reading here.
I am going to go into how I arrived at this point for those who are curious and how someone who has never hit challenger before could hit first by a significant margin.
I know I am not the best player and have plenty of weaknesses, but I know my biggest strength has always been game knowledge and adapting to patches quickly. I normally shoot up a lot of LP on patch days, and the bigger the patch, the higher I climb.
In Set 4, I peaked rank 3 by primarily playing what became known as the standard dusk/Jhin comp. Nobody else was playing it on day one consistently, and it did not show up on tier lists before then. So, I set out to do the same this set and push for Rank 1, and I knew I had to find the meta first. This was my thought process on how I arrived here:
- Find a strong, reliable mid game comp because everyone’s boards are always weaker at the beginning of the set while people discover what is strong and get better at rolling
- This means looking at 2/3 cost units and guaranteeing top 4
- There were 2 comps I was looking at that fit this role:
- Elderwood Mage focusing on Rakan/Annie
- Sivir Carry with Vanguards
- I played this a lot on pbe and felt good. When I hit, I could win the lobby, but it required perfect items too often to hit top 4 consistently
- Nobody was playing Rakan on pbe because he was weak most of the patch. After last patch on pbe, he got some stat buffs and had me looking at him as the carry, but the question was how?
- His ability makes it so that the enemy cannot play the game. Rakan in set 3 was one of my favorite units and he returned essentially with protector buff built in, as his ability is similar CC
- Sunfire has always been a fantastic early game item on any 2 star tank and old Rakan needed Morello, but new Rakan cannot apply it, so Sunfire gives him damage. He also spreads it better than any other unit because he is a mobile tank, like how Jarvan was the best user set 4, but Rakan is even more mobile.
- RFC was a very niche tech on Rakan in set 3, so I knew of its capabilities, and this was always in mind as a thing to build and test
- Frozen heart could also prevent the enemy from playing more, as on pbe everyone was playing slayer comps, all focused on auto attacks (slayer was then nerfed before live)
- Because Rakan looked like the best individual unit to me on paper, but did not have the damage, how did we build a comp around him? You start at the tags:
- Lover’s duo in Xayah is the first most obvious because she shares traits and brings the damage in a set that looks like it was designed around 4 cost carries (Tryndamere, Olaf, Kayle, Asol, Xayah)
- The next straightforward is going full elderwood or keeper and slotting in more executioners
- My thought was executioner is a fake trait to add. Kayle felt weak on pbe and Xayah feathers cast already can crit on the send out, so it only adds chance at return critting. I was of the mindset that below 33% hp, if Xayah casts, they are already dead regardless of trait, so it seems like a fake trait unless you go to 4 Executioners, which requires a chosen and another 4 cost unit
- Elderwood seems like the obvious choice, and I knew robinsongz had a lot of success with it on pbe, so I decided to build the team around that:
- The comp is innately tanky and has two mages that both gain a lot of value from being able to double cast, so we need another mage. The one cost units are not strong units after stage 3, so that leaves Annie and Asol. Asol is clearly a carry and would fit great, but now we are relying on two 4 cost carries. The other is Annie who is an incredible tank with mage buff, but Elderwood is already tanky and we need more damage.
- There is a natural transition alternating between adding Elderwood and Mages, though that can actually reliably hit 4 cost carries as the mid game is incredibly strong and what I was looking for in a comp:
- 3 mage/elderwood à 5 mage/3 elderwood à 3 mage/6 elderwood à 5 mage/6 elderwood
- We know what our end game comp looks like now, and it has a high cap depending on chosen that can fight for first. But how do we get there consistently?
- The whole basis for comps I was looking for started with strong mid game, which is already my focus. The board uses a lot of 2/3 cost units and is not a comp like old dusk that is utilizing a lot of 4 cost units or a full legendary comp. It realistically only uses one legendary in Ornn, and that is a luxury, not a necessity. This means we do not have to push levels. I like to play aggressively, and that comes in two forms: rolling for strong units or pushing levels. This comp is perfect for my favorite playstyle of rolling at 3-2.
- There was a change to no longer seeing 1 cost chosens at level 6, and there were changes last set that made your odds of finding 3 cost chosens much greater at level 6 than level 5. As mentioned in the guide, this leaves a large amount of chosens that can be found that are fantastic for the comp. You can also 2 star your entire early game board as the important units are Rakan/Annie/Lulu and 1 cost mages. There’s also a small chance at hitting an early 4 cost that isn’t insignificant when rolling 30-50 gold.
- Two ways to be able to have this amount of gold: full win streak or full loss streak. More econ here means we can guarantee a very strong board.
- At start of patch, loss streaking was easy to guarantee because everyone is playing strongest board due to not wanting to sac hp early when they do not know what is strongest and want hp advantage to allow for mistakes in late game transitions.
- Note: I actually think by the time this guide comes out, win streaking early will be better because there are more people loss streaking for comps like zed
- If win streaking the entire stage, we likely will econ back up and have done significant damage to others
- This means less people will feel safe going fast 8 as they have taken bigger hits, and based on last meta, it was normal to roll at 4-1 to stabilize. Most people tend to lean on tendencies from the previous patch, and I do not see any changes to the set that would stop from rolling at 4-1. This means people will be spiking and we need to keep up, so we will do the same unless super high rolled already.
- After playing, I realized that hitting one of Asol or Xayah normally stabilizes you until 8. It is really rare to not hit one of the two rolling down at 4-1 at level 7, so having two different carries that can stabilize is huge. Then, once at level 8, you can hit more reliably the missing carry and 2-star board (much harder now that it is contested)
- There have been very few comps in the history of TFT that can use more than one spatula item. This comp becomes a much higher cap with either elder or mage cap. This means you can grab a spat and it is very likely you will hit one of the two.
- Synergies: Everything synergizes too well in this comp. I am not sure why keeper + elder should be a thing and will always be a problem. Keeper shield and Rakan’s stalling means you can stack up Elderwood stats without taking damage. Rakan’s stall also allows for Asol to cast. It is similar to Vanguard/Mystic Ahri last Set when stalling for Ahri, except now the synergies all work together much better, has a more natural transition, and also has a much higher end game cap because of the strength of the spatula items.
If you made it this far, thank you for letting me get my thoughts out.
If you would like to ask questions and pick my mind for what is next, you can follow me at twitch.tv/colrux. I am new to streaming, but I will try to stream new patches, knowing that my strength is being ahead of the meta and finding the next strongest comp (Set 2 I was playing Sivir/Azir and friends for two weeks before it was meta. Set 4 I was playing Dusk/Jhin/cultist day one long before it caught on. When the “Warweek” patch launched at 5am I went up 300 LP before I was contested once).
I achieved my goal of being the first to hit challenger, and I am proud of the accomplishment even amidst the hate people have given me for one-tricking. I am normally a flex player, and my plan now is to go back to that and start experimenting again to find other strong comps. I love theorycrafting new comps instead of copying others, and my hope is to inspire others to do the same!
Shoutout to twitch.tv/lemonpuffs for editing and support!
If you want to check out other guides from high ranked players, check out this Kayle Guide from DQA
I hope to have more guest writers on the site! If you are interested in writing, send me a DM on any of my socials