Teamfight Tactics
Image via Riot.

A Beginner’s Guide to Teamfight Tactics

Aug 29, 2019
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Image via Riot.

Teamfight Tactics Guide

Over the past month I’ve played hundreds of games of League of Legends’ new strategy game: Teamfight Tactics (TFT). I rose through the ranks very quickly, and had a blast trying out all of the different strategies. Now the game has settled down a bit and there are clearly defined metas each week. This means that if you’re looking to climb, the time for experimentation has passed, and you need to figure out good strategies to perform at your best. Need some help? Then keep reading our Teamfight Tactics guide to up your game.

Play the Meta

This one is both obvious and incredibly boring. After each patch a meta very quickly establishes itself. If you don’t have time to play much, there are many content creators who go over the current meta, or you can read up on some of the better ones on one of my favorite new subreddits, r/competitiveTFT. However you choose to go about it, you should seek to understand the meta quickly after it changes. Typically there are two to four very strong compositions in the meta, and you should at least be aware of all of them.

While playing you should keep those meta comps in mind, and be able to adapt into something resembling one of them as needed. It’s a great thought to say that you’ll just play whatever you want, and sometimes you’ll get away with it, but these comps are considered meta for a reason. If you find something that can consistently beat the meta comps, play it fast and often before it becomes the new meta comp!

Know What You’re Looking For

Every single time you re-roll, or have your shop refreshed, think to yourself: “what am I looking for?” If you do this beforehand and have a list of things you’re looking for, you will be able to re-roll much faster and more efficiently. This can be essential to getting that upgraded unit in time, or swapping in your Kayle for full noble before the next round starts. It may not sound like a big deal, but it can save you a round of life loss, which is often the difference between third and fifth place.

Knowing what you’re looking for comes alongside the tip of knowing when you should be rolling. If you are level 6 and the only unit you are looking for is Kayle, rolling might not be the best idea. Know your odds of getting each rarity at each level. There are apps that can help; I use the Blitz app myself, which provides in-game overlay for the odds of getting each rarity of champion at each level, as well as what each item combines into.

This article is not sponsored by Blitz, but I find it very useful for TFT. But back to the point: don’t roll if your odds of hitting a tier 5 champion are only 2%. Even if you hit a tier five champ, you likely won’t hit the one you want. Make sure you’re always looking for multiple things when you’re rolling, unless you just need that last piece to make everything come together.

These tips are the reason I’m doing so well on both my accounts. Image via EsportsEdition.

Don’t Spend Much Gold Early

This is a tip that people don’t talk about much, but typically you don’t want to be rolling for champions unless you’re already level six. That’s pretty much the bare threshold for when I even consider hitting that re-roll button. Keeping up your levels and economy is very important. Rolling might win you a fight, but keeping up your gold income will win you the game.

A typical start will look something like this: get as many level two units as you can in the opening three minion waves from simply buying the right units and capitalizing on pairs and triplets that you find. Good synergies early on are nobles, knights, and voids, but two-star units will tend to be stronger than synergies. Once you get to stage 2-1, where you’ll be facing another player, you will want to level up to four as soon as you can. If you got all gold and didn’t find units you want, that might be as early as 2-1.

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Play through until the carousel, collecting as many two-star units as you can. After the carousel, level up again. At this point you’ll have put eight gold into getting two levels. This is worth the power that it gives you without relying on the chance of re-rolling. Try and get as much gold as you can from carousel to krugs while still picking up relevant units to your composition.

After krugs, most people will level up again if they can afford to. This makes you level six at the start of 3-1, allowing for some real synergies to start happening on your board. Hopefully you have good income as well, as you’ll be looking at leveling again shortly after wolves if you’re following a typical pattern. At this point it’s up to you to decide if you’re healthy enough to keep saving money, or if you have to re-roll to keep yourself alive.

Obviously this is just a guideline, but it’s the blueprint that I and many others use in higher divisions. It will keep you on-par with the other players as you’re trying to progress.

Use Units Outside Your Composition

This section could also be labeled “improvise, adapt, overcome.” Basically, use what the game throws at you. This is particularly relevant for the first six levels as you’re not re-rolling, and have select things to work with. If you’re planning to play nobles, and you see three Kassadins in a single bar, don’t hesitate to replace one of your weaker units. Just because a unit doesn’t fit your idealized final composition doesn’t mean that they won’t make your team stronger for the moment.

This is particularly true of high impact characters such as Sejuani, Cho’Gath, Jinx, Draven, Vi, and all of the tier five units. If you have a fifth brawler because you’re planning to go six, take it out and sit it on your bench until you have the sixth one. No reason to have a weaker unit for the moment. If you have a stronger option, it’s almost always right to take it. You can always sell them off later.

This tip also spreads to items, to some extent. Don’t make an item you know will be bad in your late composition because you have the pieces. Making a slightly less optimal late game item for a huge boost now is almost always right. Ludents isn’t a great endgame item, but it can carry your entire early and mid-game on a Lucian or Ahri. Shiv might not be the best late game item, but any ranger will destroy teams with it early. These strategies might leave you in a poor place to take on the top two players, but it will give you a much better chance of getting to top four, which is a victory in itself!

Conclusion

Teamfight Tactics is still fairly new, and I’m sure that many more strategies will emerge in the future. For now, your greatest strength will come from playing the meta, improvising properly, and conserving your gold whenever possible. We hope that you’re enjoying TFT as much as we are, because it has quickly become my favorite game. Good luck with your climb, fellow summoners!

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Stephen Draper
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Stephen has a degree in English from Brock University. He grew up playing video games and card games, always having an affection for strategy. He picked up League of Legends in early Season One and has since achieved Diamond rank multiple times. He also picked up Hearthstone in Beta and has since achieved Legend consistently. When he isn’t reading, writing, or gaming, he’s probably watching other people game.
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