Twisted Fate Build
Not Updated For Current Season
The masteries shown here are not yet updated for the current season, the guide author needs to set up the new masteries. As such, they will be different than the masteries you see in-game.
I've been hooked on The Cardmaster for quite some time and been enjoying him despite all the trolls and flamers who try to discredit having one of the most underrated champions in solo queue.
Twisted Fate is easy to learn, but hard to master. There are a lot of quirks to his gameplay, and he can be an extremely versatile champion. I don't promise to reveal any new secrets, but rather I intend to outline some of the most effective ways I've found to work Twisted Fate into your team.
Why Play Twisted Fate?
Twisted Fate is a squishy, low-range, slow moving, card-chucking hooligan. He's outranged and out-damaged by most physical carries. He's outnuked and outperformed by AP carries. Why the hell would you play this guy?
I'll keep it simple: Gold Card.
No other character has a stun as spammable as Twisted Fate's, and as such we will be abusing the hell out of it by maxing out CDR early. We'll be building around the gold card combo and securing kills for your team, both early game and late. In conjuction with your global reveal and teleport, Twisted Fate is one of the premier gankers and counter-gankers. Your role in team fights will be to disable threats, interrupt channeled abilities, and dish out some respectable damage.
My typical rune setup will change depending on what I find to be effective and what I feel needs to change. Here's a rundown of my current setup:
x9Greater Mark of Desolation = 15 Armor Penetration
x9Greater Seal of Vitality = 175 HP @ lvl 18
x1 = 0.9% CDR @ lvl 18
x8 = 5.12% Attack Speed
x1Greater Quintessence of Desolation = 3.33 Armor Penetration
x2 = 3% Movement Speed
This setup allows for a number of things. The combination of x9Greater Mark of Desolation and x1Greater Quintessence of Desolation gives you 18 Armor Penetration at level 1, which will allow you to be doing full damage to most champions at the start of the game.
Twisted Fate is a very squishy champion, so I do suggest some type of defensive Seals. I enjoy the health boost from the Greater Seal of Vitality, but you could easily sub in if you're going with or something similar.
My glyphs are a personal choice and are quite debatable. The single brings my end-game CDR to a clean 39.90% at level 18, which is just about as close as you can get to maxed CDR without going over. The rest of the glyphs are to boost our fairly low attack speed. Other great candidates for Glyphs are , , or .
As I stated before, my first choice of Quintessences is to boost my Armor Penetration with x1Greater Quintessence of Desolation to achieve 18 Armor Penetration for that early game advantage. For my other two slots I like to increase my movement speed with since Twisted Fate really needs the boost to stay competitive with other ranged champions. For alternatives, you can't go wrong with flat HP . I've also had good results with HP5 Greater Quintessence of Vigor or with more Armor Penetration Greater Quintessence of Desolation.
I've gone with a pretty standard 9/0/21 build for my masteries. We go this route mostly for:
+ 9% Cooldown Reduction
+ 3% Movespeed boost
+ 5% EXP boost
+ Improvements on our Summoner Cooldowns
I don't recommend going a full offensive build over this one because the other trees offer so much more than a deep offensive build does. If you are going to vary from this mastery build, know that you'll probably have to find CDR through your runes or by itemizing differently.
Flash is mandatory on Twisted Fate because of his low range and vulnerability to getting focused first in a fight. It's also fantastic to use for a Flash + Gold Card combo on an unsuspecting target.
I take Exhaust as my second spell because it covers up our 3 second vulnerability between gold cards and is a great answer to melee champions like Yi or Renekton who can close the gap you rely on to kite. I find it's more useful to the team and for securing a kill than Ignite is.
Alternatives to Exhaust could be , , and .
Passive - Loaded Dice
An often unnoticed and underappreciated passive. This isn't gamebreaking, but it can mean getting your items sooner. Considering how item-dependent Twisted Fate is, the gold boost is helpful and synergizes well with TF's need to be ahead of the enemy team.
Q - Wild Cards
In an AP build this ability can really hurt. It is one of the few abilities that acts as a line missile that will hit both minions and champions for full damage on its flight. We won't be using this ability much for this build since it requires a good deal of AP and Magic Penetration before it starts to sting. When you have your Sheen/Trinity Force built, this is a good ability to get procs when your mana pool isn't an issue.
W - Pick A Card
Use of this ability will make or break you as a TF player. The order the cards appear is simple and predictable: Blue -> Red -> Gold -> Blue -> Red -> Gold. However, the first card that appears will be random, so a quick reaction to pulling the right card promptly will determine a fight.
Blue cards will restore mana and do the most single target damage of all the cards. These are great in laning for last hitting minions. Blue cards are also great for taking down towers, but will not affect Inhibitors or the Nexus.
Red cards will do area damage and slow around the target it hits. This is useful during the laning phase when you want to harass an enemy who is keeping their distance from you enough that you can't get close to gold card them. Toss a red card at a minion they're close to and they'll take the AoE damage and the slow. Red cards will work on towers, so be careful if there is an enemy champion within range when you toss it since it'll cause the tower to target you.
Gold cards are the reason you play Twisted Fate. At rank 5, a gold card will stun for 2 seconds. With maximum CDR that we get from this build we're looking at a 3 second cooldown on Pick a Card. Perfect your ability to pull a gold card mid-fight and your team will love you.
E - Stacked Deck
Every 4 attacks you'll do bonus damage. You'll see a fluttering of cards surround TF when this is ready to go, much like Annie's swirly thingy when she has a stun up. Keep an eye on this so you can pull off the bonus damage during your first gold card combo.
The often overlooked part of this ability is the passive increase to Attack Speed and Cooldown Reduction. I don't see a lot of guides make mention of this part of it, but it's critical in our build. At rank 5 of Stacked Deck we'll be getting 15% CDR. We get 15% from , and 9% from Masteries. If you're OCD like me, you'll tack on the 0.9% from the scaling CDR glyph to top it off at 39.9% CDR.
R - Destiny / Gate
Twisted Fate's signature ability lets him see everyone on the map and then teleport anywhere he wants. This ability is why you want a solo lane. Communicate with your team when you're about to hit level 6 so they can prepare for a gank.
It's worth noting that Destiny will reveal hidden/stealthed units.
Destiny also gets blocked by Banshee's Veil. -_-
Items and Explanations
Doran's Shield (475 gold)
Start off with a Doran's item. TF needs the HP boost since his base HP is very low. I prefer as it provides you the lane sustainability you need to survive to level 6. is a good option if you don't think you'll be receiving much harass from your opponent. The AP and mana regen mesh well with your blue cards.
On your first trip back to base, aim for one of the following:
The Brutalizer (1337 gold) or Sheen (1260 gold)
Sheen is preferred if you are going to immediately start ganking, as it will provide you more damage for your opening combo. If no good opportunities present themselves, get a Brutalizer so you can start working toward your Ghostblade.
Mercury's Treads (1200 gold) or Boots of Swiftness (1000 gold)
These are your options for boots. Berzerker Greaves would be an option if you had the kind of range to back them up. You don't. Don't get them. Merc Treads are usually the best option, otherwise you'll want Boots 3 to optimize your positioning in a fight and to keep those gold cards going.
Youmuu's Ghostblade (The Brutalizer + 1350 gold)
The first big item we're working towards has everything we need. When you Gate in for a gank, you have to maximize the damage output in the short time you have. That means porting in with a gold card, a Stacked Deck proc, Sheen, and then activating this bad boy. Once your first stun wears off, you'll have the movement increase up from Youmuu's to keep yourself close enough for your next gold card. A lot of TF players will build a to achieve the same effect, but Youmuu's will provide you with better base stats and an activated ability more relevant to your short term goal of nuking the hell out of your target.
By the time your core build is complete the game ought to be swaying one way or another, so I suggest building intelligently based on what your team needs. Here are some good options.
Trinity Force (Sheen + 2810 gold)
This is the logical upgrade from Sheen since we aren't focusing on AP enough to build a Lich Bane out of it. Trinity Force synergizes very well with Youmuu's Ghostblade, making it the perfect item for this build.
Frozen Mallet (3250 gold)
If you find yourself in need of more survivability, you can pass on upgrading to Trinity Force and build a Frozen Mallet instead. It's a sizeable chunk of health and the 100% slow proc works wonders for your ability to kite in between gold cards.
Banshee's Veil (2715 gold)
This should probably be built most games. With TF's low range, you will need some kind of defensive ability to avoid getting focused down quickly. Banshee's Veil is highly recommended to counter TF's vulnerability to burst damage.
Guinsoo's Rageblade (2235 gold)
A lot of hybrid builds focus on this item and for good reason. It'll compliment your build nicely and have the added benefit of increasing the AP on your abilities. It synergizes well with your Ghostblade combo, too! You'll have 8 stacks up by the time your first gold card has worn off.
The Black Cleaver (2865 gold)
This is a great option to increase your damage. It compliments your Youmuu's armor penetration for later in the game when your enemies have more armor to cut through through.
Infinity Edge (3830 gold)
Infinity Edge is usually reserved for the team's true carries, but it fits well into this build after your Youmuu's and Trinity Force is complete. Typically, I'm only building this if the game is going on for too long or I got fed.
Farm, farm, farm. This is the time of the game you want to be abusing your passive +2 gold bonus as much as you can. Don't be afraid to use your blue card to secure last hits, but try not to lock it in before you are in range so your opponent knows you're not trying to gold card them. You are very squishy, but you can't let your opponent know that. If your opponent is harassing you, nail 'em with a gold card when your Stacked Deck is approaching 3-4. Your opponent should be backing off any time you start cycling through your cards, even if you're mostly using them to blue card minions. Remember that you can still auto-attack while cycling through Pick A Card, so you can "juke" your opponent this way by last hitting a minion, then hitting them with a gold card right away.
As you approach level 6, be sure to communicate with your team that you'll be looking for ganking opportunities. You're there to punish overextended lanes and secure kills for your team, and your team should know this.
Your goal is to go back to town after you've hit 6 and can afford your first item. Before you head back to shop, try to get your Stacked Deck up to 3-4 cards. Quickly analyze the map for a gank, and quickly buy your items. I'd go for a Sheen if you can afford it and will be attempting a gank. If you think you'll be heading back to your lane, grab some boots and start working on your Brutalizer instead.
Some basics on Destiny/Gate ganking:
If you see a good opportunity, communicate to your team and get ready to lock in a gold card. Once you're golden (ha ha ha) hit Destiny and ping who you'll be gunning for. It's smart to wait a second or two to see how your opponents react before you Gate in. It's also smart to use this time of global map presence to make a note of nearby enemies. Is their jungler nearby? Is a roamer making their way across the river? Is this gank opportunity going to turn against you? Don't take too long as I've embarassed myself by Gating in when my gold card
You want your teammates already moving in for the kill by the time your Destiny lights up the enemies. Communication is key here. Nothing is more embarassing than porting into 2 enemies when your teammates are too far away to do anything and you suddenly find yourself waiting on the respawn timer. Also, if your team has a jungler, try to coordinate ganks with them.
Gate in, positioning yourself intelligently so that you can land your gold card as soon as you arrive. The idea is to stun then and hit them with your Sheen proc and Stacked Deck before the first stun wears off. Predict where they'll be moving for their escape so you can be in position for your next gold card.
If your gank goes well, don't hesitate to ask if one of your teammates wants to go back to shop. It's a good opportunity for you to keep farming, push a tower, or help your jungler get dragon. The idea is to use Twisted Fate's global presence to help your team. This enables your team to take down towers sooner and push an early game advantage. You are reliant on your team so show them some love.
Continue using your ultimate to help your lanes to punish overextenders.
By level 12 you should have 2 ranks in your Destiny and 5 ranks in your Stacked Deck. You should also be nearing completion on your Youmuu's Ghostblade, meaning you're just about maxed out on your cooldown reduction. Destiny should be close to a 60 second cooldown, which is insane this early on. The opposing team will have little choice but to clump up to avoid getting picked off by your constant teleporting.
Use this to your advantage by pushing lanes and controlling jungle buffs, keeping wards in key locations to avoid getting cut off. If the enemy team splits up to chase you out of the lane, the rest of your team can either push the other lanes, or engage a fight if the enemy has sent more than 1 person at you. With your low cooldown ultimate, you can easily transfer into the fight and start locking down their carries. As long as your team knows to not pick a fight against uneven odds, you can safely whittle away at towers and resume your early game control into the mid-late game.
You are there to lock down the most threatening targets you can without exposing yourself. I find myself getting careless in team fights due to my early game advantage of ruthless ganks and find myself getting cut through like butter once I get into the thick of it. You're probably going to be targeted and focused down very quickly as soon as you step out of position, so play cautiously. As Twisted Fate you're not there to carry; you're enabling your carries to do their job. You'll be dishing out lots of damage, but your primary goal is gold carding the hell out of the enemy team so that your team's main damage sources can do their job better. Run in and gold card, and only stay to autoattack if it's safe. Otherwise, run out until you can gold card again.
Well, I hope you enjoyed this Twisted Fate outline. I know there's a variety of ways that people prefer to build the Card Master, and I welcome all comments and criticisms. A big thanks to my usual group of friends for putting up with my blue cards as I continue to learn this hero.