TFT Beginner Guide - Learn The Basics of This Fun Game!
Teamfight Tactics Beginner's Guide
If you want to try out Teamfight Tactics - the new auto-battler available through League of Legends client, but all of the game's rules seem a bit complicated to you, this guide is precisely what you're looking for. Unfortunately, Riot Games didn't provide anything that would help new players pick up this game mode. Currently, there's no tutorial mode and players are being instantly thrown in at the deep end. This article explains the most fundamental concepts and mechanics in the game. If you're interested in something more specific check out our guides on synergies, items or economy.
This often results in having no idea what to do, not getting enough time to think about your next moves and finally – completely giving up on TFT. That being said, Teamfight Tactics is a great fun and chill game after you understand some basics and get the hang of it. That's what this guide is for. We're going to start with the basics of this game to, later on, provide you with some useful tips to specific aspects of the game. To become a master tactitian, you'll have to understand eveyrhing that's happening on your screen.
What is Teamfight Tactics all about?
Unlike Summoner's Rift and every other League of Legends game mode, Teamfight Tactics (TFT) is not based on cooperation. Each match includes eight players, and all of them fend for themselves. Of course, you can play with friends, but you're going to have to fight each other anyway.
Each player starts with a pool of 100 HP. After your HP hits 0, you drop off from the match. In ranked games usually the top four (sometimes top five) players get LP gains, and the bottom three-four lose LP. The closer you are to 1 or 8, the more extreme your gain/loss will be.
Teamfight Tactics is an auto-battler, you get to create a team comp by placing units on your board, but you can't control them when the combat starts. Almost all of your actions happen between the fights when you can remove or add TFT champions and switch their positions.
Every round is either PvE, where your team fights monsters to get items and gold or a PvP round where you face another player. Winning a PvP round grants you one extra gold and losing makes you lose some HP. The loss is 2 base for losing + some extra that are calculated based on the enemy units that are still alive after the fight). When there's an odd number of players, one will face a "ghost". It's a mirror version of a random enemy's board. The good news is - even if you lose, you will receive significantly reduced damage.
Resources in TFT
Besides health, there are a few other essential resources to manage in TFT. We're going to talk about each one of them, as well as discuss ways of obtaining and using them. The things that you can use to your advantage are gold, experience, units, items and room on your bench.
Gold is the fundamental resource in Teamfight Tactics. You can use it to draft units from your shop, buy experience and reroll the store offers. There also are quite a few sources of gold generation in the game. You get a passive income of 5 gold after every round (it's reduced for the first three PvE rounds).
You get additional gold for having a win streak or a lose streak (when you continue winning or losing multiple rounds in a row). As we already mentioned, winning a battle against another player grants you one coin. You can also get gold from PvE rounds and the Pirates synergy. Finally, there's a 10% interest system that allows you to earn a coin for every full 10 gold that you have at the end of last round. It won't increase further than 5 gold per round though. If you're interested in some more advanced concepts and strategies revolving around gold management, make sure to check out our Economy Guide.
While it's not exactly a resource in a traditional sense, since you can't spend it on anything, managing experience is an important aspect of the game. Getting to a higher level not only allows you to place an additional unit on your board but also influences your chances of getting certain tiers of units in the shop.
We're not going to dive into the exact numbers, but the general rule is: the higher level you are, the higher is your chance of hitting more expensive and powerful units. In most of the cases, that's a good thing, but there are some strategies that focus on staying low level for a long time.
There are two sources of experience in TFT. Firstly there's the passive generation, which provides two points after every round – unlike gold, it's not in any way affected by winning or losing. You can also pay four gold to buy four exp at any point in the game – the price is constant, but higher levels require more experience.
The level cap is 9, but in most games, very few players can reach it. Most team comps are designed to pop off with eight units on the board anyway, what might make it a good idea to look for upgrades instead of gathering the 70 experience points necessary to get from level 8 to level 9.
As a mastermind tactician, you're going to need some pawns to do the dirty work for you. Choosing the right units and positioning them correctly on the board is a crucial aspect of the game. They are divided into five tiers based on their cost, from 1 to 5 gold.
Furthermore, you can upgrade your champions to higher levels (stars). If you get three identical one-star units, they will combine in a single two-star that has more HP, stronger auto-attacks and more powerful ultimate ability. High-level champion allows you to place more power on the board, without needing extra slots. Getting three two-star makes an even stronger three-star champion, but it happens much less often because it requires nine identical units.
Moreover, each unit has an origin and class what lets them create synergies with others. In the early game, the raw power of two-star champions should usually be the determining factor. In the later stages, though, you should always look to empower your carries with some powerful synergies from classes and origins.
Most champions have mana that they charge with hitting or receiving auto-attacks. After charging it to full, they use their special abilities. However, there are a few exceptions to that, for instance, Jinx and Graves.
It might be surprising to some of the inexperienced players, but early item drops are often the most important factor in choosing what team comp to go for. It's caused by a straightforward thing. With enough gold, you can usually find the champions that you need. You can also sell the champions you have and get other ones, completely switching your build. However, there's no way of trading your items for other ones.
For most starting players, it's recommended to use an item cheat sheet or an overlay. You often have to think fast, especially in the carousel rounds and making a mistake there might be quite frustrating. After all, the carousel is the only situation where you have any control over the items that you get. All the drops from PvE rounds are entirely random. Furthermore, you can check out our Item Guide to learn about the best users of certain TFT items.
Currently, there are nine component items in Teamfight Tactics. You can mix any two of them to get a combined, full item. The components only provide some raw stats, while the full items also offer additional bonuses.
Before playing the game, make sure to remember about these two critical things. First – after you combine two components into an item, there's no way of reversing the process to get the components back. Second - you can't freely swap items between your champions, the only way of doing that requires selling the item holder to get them back. Most of the experienced players use a great adaptation. In the early game, they place their items on a unit that's not going to be the part of their endgame team comp. This way, you can use the power of your items at all points of the game, while not being stuck with a suboptimal carry champion.
Currently, items are believed to be a bit overpowered, warping the game too much around them. When you combine it with the fact that RNG affects not only the type of items that you get but also the quantity and they can profoundly impact the outcome of the match.
Certain PvE rounds can sometimes be pretty challenging. Beginners can often lose to Krugs, Wolves or Dragon. Getting gold instead of items might feel terrible, but missing out on any of those, because of a loss is even worse. If you have a weak early game, don't be too greedy and spend a bit of that gold to ensure a win in the PvE rounds. You don't want to miss out on those items!
It's a concept that might seem weird for beginners, but the nine slots on your bench are a great asset that you should learn to play around. First of all, in the first few rounds, you should always spend all your gold to go as wide as possible (have many options left open). It is the most reliable strategy to hit multiple early two star units.
The second great thing about the bench is preparing your transition. We already talked about how in the early game you should prioritize high-level units, but later on, you're going to need some strong synergies. You can use your bench to slowly collect the units that are going to make your comp in the future. It allows you to transition from early to mid game much more smoothly without unnecessary losses of HP.
Finally, there's the HP. You should always look at it as if it was one of your resources. Sometimes it will be better to lose two or three rounds to save up some gold. Getting a flawless 100% HP victory won't happen unless you're not only good but also really fortunate. You should never really go for it. Just remember that around 25 HP you can be instantly killed after a very unlucky battle, so make sure to spend your gold before that.
Every player has an avatar called Little Legend. They all start with 100 HP and after winning a round you'll be dealing damage to your opponent's character.
Building a Team Comp
While you don't have to build a meta team comp in every game, it's good to keep in touch with some of the most powerful builds. Chances are, some enemies in your lobby will go for the meta comps, so you can preemptively counter them (if there are any counters).
Just don't force a single comp too hard, remember that you can't control the items that you'll be getting. Forcing a single strategy is only viable if you're good with it and it needs to have multiple potential carries, so you don't rely on specific items too much (unless you're able to consistenly get the necessary items, but it's going to be difficult - especially if other players want the same ones).
After you get a few item components, you have to think about the best possible combinations. Then choose a carry unit that can use these items the best. Whether it's Draven, Cho'Gath, Rengar, Ashe, Akali or anyone else - they will synergize best with different items. When you have an idea about that, start collecting the units that can be useful in your endgame team comp. Now you only have to gradually replace the temporary, early game units with the final ones. As a general rule of thumb, it's good to wait until you get your endgame units to 2* before you start placing them on your board. Even if it unlock you a new synergy bonus, the one-star unit can simply die too quickly to have any significant effect on the fight. 5 costs are the exceptions since they're often strong enough at level 1.
Depending on teams that are facing each other, positioning can be either somewhat important or ultimately decide the outcome. There are a few key things to keep in mind when creating your battle formation.
Assassins – they are a unique class of units that jump into the enemy team at the beginning of the fight. Every champion of this class will jump to the enemy that's the furthest away from them. That's why cornering your primary carry might not always be the best idea. You can use your units to surround them from each side, making them harder to reach.
Blitzcrank – he's even more decisive counter to cornering your strongest unit. Blitzcrank's target selection is identical to Assassins', but he pulls his target into his team instead of jumping. If you're playing against Blitzcrank players, look at their positioning and make one of your weak units a hook target. It's a worthy sacrifice for a round victory. You can also use it to your advantage. If you see a player cornering their main carry unit, you can put in a random Blitzcrank to win a cheeky round.
Zephyr – this one is probably the least impactful, but at the same time, it provides the most controlled target selection. Zephyr is an item that banishes one of the enemy units for the first 5 seconds of the fight. The target will be the unit that's in the mirrored position to the Zephyr user. Or if there's no one standing there, the champion closest to the mirror location. It can be used tactically, especially when you're in the final two, and you know who are you going to face. That being said, we don't recommend purposefully going for that item, but if you happen to have it, make sure to use it well.
Hextech - this trait disables all items on a random enemy unit and all the surrounding ones for seven seconds. If there are Hextech players in your lobby, you should try to make sure that you don't have multiple champions with items standing next to each other. It will often force you into some kind of suboptimal positioning. If an enemy has four Hextech units, the AoE cancel range gets even bigger, but nobody really plays for six Hextech, since the units don't synergize that well with each other.
General Tips and tricks
Most starting players reroll way too much. Make sure that you know exactly what you're looking for before you press that button. If you have multiple pairs, you can consider rolling to find the upgrades, but in general, you should avoid using this too much. Rolling a bunch without having anything specific in mind is just a waste of gold that could be used for leveling and adding more strength onto your board.
Follow the patch notes. As for now, the game is being patched every two weeks and the updates usually are quite significant. It means that meta shifts are pretty extreme, and some items and champions are often getting an impactful buff or nerf. A lot of content (items and characters) is still being released in the subsequent patches. Not all the players keep a close track of this – it's an opportunity to get an advantage, at least for the first day or two after a new patch hits. You can also look for a tier list of builds, just make sure that it's updated to the current patch. It won't automatically make you the best player on the server, but it's a useful thing to do, if you want to get better at the game.
Master a few team comps and their transitions. It might be a bit controversial, but in the current game state, you can easily climb really high with one or two team comps that have some variations. The key is being able to use a lot of different items efficiently. Kind of like one-tricking a champion in League of Legends, maining a single build (at least during a specific patch cycle) in Teamfight Tactics can allow you to reach the higher rank and get a better understanding of different aspects of the game. You can never go wrong with learning multiple strategies though - new patches may make other comps strong, or simply enforce more diversity.
Currently, Blademasters are a great example of this kind of build, with Gangplank being good with spell damage and on-hit effects, Draven with attack speed and attack damage and Yasuo being a great user of basically every item in the game. Forcing Blademasters in every match can work, but forcing a Draven comp is too narrow of a path that requires hitting particular items. Demons are somewhat similar in that sense - they have a lot of strong units that can make great use of multiple different items. Glacial units could also work, since they have multiple potential carries, but their trait works best with attack speed, what makes a bit less versatile. Remember that auto-attacks deal physical damage and almost all spells deal magic damage. It's important when itemizing against certain comps.
If you want some more insight, you can always watch some high elo players on Twitch or check Youtube for some educational videos. Micro and mechanics are not the key element of TFT, but they actually can matter in some situations (for example rolling a lot of gold in a single turn to find the necessary units). We recommend using the keyboard bindings, isntead of doing everything with your mouse. Of course, you can also change them, as well as any other settings. Make your gaming as comfortable as you can - it ca actually help you do better.
Become a master tactician
We hope that this TFT beginner guide helps you pick up this auto-chess game with success. The game has a lot to offer, both for the casual and competitive players. It can be a chill and fun game to play with your friends and try to create some crazy build or a brilliant strategy where you're trying to min-max everything that you do and track all your opponent's actions. Good luck in creating your perfect composition - we hope that you'll fall in love with this game! TFT is a great choice for players who enjoy strategic gameplay, but don't have time for really long sessions. It's also a great alternative to Summonner's Rift for fans of LOL's characters and lore, who want to take a break from the MOBA gameplay.
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