Even mentioning Twisted Treeline to a League player brings them pleasant memories in mind. Nowadays it’s a synonym for LoL’s simpler times, when the game’s objective was to be fun, rather than fair for everyone and optimized for ranked games.
Introduced as the second playable map back in 2009, Twisted Treeline quickly charmed us all with its unique features and aesthetics. A small battlefield designed for 3v3 fights, it was an interesting alternative to the 5v5 gameplay that Summoner’s Rift offered.
And it was fun to play… truly fun.
When Riot Games dedicated to retire Twisted Treeline in 2019, the player base was almost shocked. And soon, nostalgia for this game mode started to spawn in all of us.
Twisted Treeline was where so many friendships arose and were strengthened. And I don’t know a single person that wouldn’t want to play a round of 3v3 on the haunting dark map.
So here I’ll take a trip down memory lane and illustrate the 5 key things that made Twisted Treeline a truly special mode in League of Legends. This blog will be both a testament to its brilliant design and an inspiration for future designs.
A Unique 3v3 Setup
The 3v3 setup of Twisted Treeline was undoubtedly one of its most defining aspects. It required a unique approach to strategy and team play, extremely different from what players were accustomed to in Summoner’s Rift.
Traditionally in League, meaning 5v5, we have jungler, top, mid, AD carry, and support. But in Twisted Treeline, roles were less distinct and you could lane solo or jungle with any champion you pick.
So right from the start, Twisted Treeline drastically changed your primary role in League and forced you to adapt. And there were obvious benefits from that. For instance, since ADC mains had to manage lanes alone, Twisted Treeline taught them to be more independent.
The 3v3 aspect of the game mode also amplified the impact of each player on the game’s outcome. With only three players per team, individual performance carried way more weight. You were responsible for a larger proportion of the team’s success, and every action actually mattered. This made it much more fun and addicting for many of us.
Twisted Treeline’s 3v3 format was also instrumental in pushing players to master their main champions. Since everyone was alone in the lane, you could only rely on your champion’s mechanics, strengths, and weaknesses.
This is how I mastered Fizz, my first main in League. And what I learned helped me climb to Masters years later.
The Distinctive Map Design
Twisted Treeline’s distinctive map design was nothing but brilliant. It had two lanes instead of three, with the jungle being right in the middle. The map was also smaller and more condensed which often made the gameplay super intense.
The jungle in Twisted Treeline was a hot spot for fights. Due to its central position, junglers could gank both lanes fairly quickly and easily, often ganking one lane after another in less than 20 seconds.
If you were a laner on Twisted Treeline, you had to be very careful about the enemy jungler since he could gank you at any moment. And you also had to rotate towards the jungle or the other lane through the jungle when the enemy team would be aggressive.
So the lanes in Twisted Treeline also had their unique characteristics. They were the place where most of my fights took place. They were ideal for 1v1 duels that you can learn from for your ranked matches later on.
Twisted Treeline’s unique map design also had unique objectives. The map’s big boss was Vilemaw, a huge monster that was this mode’s equivalent of Baron Nashor. And fighting to secure Vilemaw was simple epic!
The Altar Control Element
The altar control mechanic was a unique element that added another strategic layer to Twisted Treeline. Each team had an altar on their side. And securing control over these altars gave teams significant advantages such as:
- ONE ALTAR CONTROLLED: 10% bonus movement speed.
- TWO ALTARS CONTROLLED: Restore 1% of maximum health on minion and monster kill.
Controlling these altars wasn’t the biggest deal in the game mode but was fairly important. And if you had the two under your control, you could take home the victory much easier.
So this strategic significance also played a crucial role in encouraging teamfights. Contesting altars was a common thing and teamfights nearly every time a team would attempt to capture another team’s altar.
A Unique Champions Meta
Twisted Treeline had a different meta than ranked LoL that favored certain champions over others. For instance, fighters and champions that can duel 1v1 were almost always strong picks. A champ like Tryndamere could become unbeatable if you give him a chance.
But there were also champion combos. The meta also revolved around picking three champs that work well together and have synergy. This could be Lee Sin, Yasuo, and Malphite, for example.
Or you could follow another meta – picking a jungler, a carry, and a support. For instance, you could go for a setup like Lee Sin jungle, Darius carry top, and Taric support bot. But since the meta was always changing, many interesting combos were created on this map.
On the other hand, Twisted Treeline’s meta gave a chance to champions who were kind of forgotten on Summoner’s Rift, at least back then. Some of these champs were Mordekaiser, Galio, and Singed.
This environment where off-meta picks and strategies could thrive brought was very refreshing to the game. It allowed players to explore a wide range of champions and break away from the monotony of solo queue.
Vilemaw, the colossal spider creature that lurked in the upper part of the jungle was the boss monster of Twisted Treeline. Taking down Vilemaw was not easy but the rewards it offered were powerful and fun.
Vilemaw’s buff granted you ghosting and you’d fear all enemy minions that you come in near proximity with. It spawned on the 10th minute mark and it had 6 minutes of respawn time.
Securing Vilemaw’s buff required a coordinated team effort. But if you managed to do so, you could turn a losing game into a winning one. The tricky part was that you couldn’t place wards near Vilemaw (since you couldn’t buy them in the shop) so you never know if the enemy team is there or not.
This tension around the Vilemaw was another staple of Twisted Treeline. It was a high-risk, high-reward objective that created some of the most fun moments for me in my entire League history.
Twisted Treeline wasn’t just another game League of Legends mode that came and went. It was a distinctive and special experience that had many fun and new elements not always present in the standard MOBA formula.
Though Twisted Treeline is no longer a part of the current game, the memories sit fondly in my mind. I loved crafting a winning 3v3 combo with my friends and fighting constantly in the jungle.
Whether or not Riot Games decides to bring it back, Twisted Treeline will always be one of the game’s peaks in terms of innovation and uniqueness. And it’s what players really enjoyed.