In this paper, we study TRIAD-AE, which is submitted in the on-going NIST Lightweight competition. We first estimate an upper bound of the algebraic degree of internal state and key-stream bit seen as multivariate Boolean polynomials. Using this estimation, we find good cubes to analyze reduced round TRIAD-AE. We get a cube of size 32 which gives zero-sum up to 540 rounds, and a cube of size 34 which can distinguish TRIAD-AE up to 550 rounds with a confidence level around $$95 \%$$. Further, we also obtained some small size good cubes which distinguishes TRIAD-AE from a random generator. We believe that our analysis can help to understand the security of the cipher better. © 2019, Springer Nature Switzerland AG.