Twisted Fate Build Guide by Bugsydor
Not Updated For Current Season
Twisted Fate Build
Not Updated For Current Season
Welcome to my guide. Please read the entire guide before using it in-game, and please play a few games with it before commenting/rating. This is one of my first guides (my first since reaching level 30), so I would appreciate feedback on how well this works for you and on how I could improve the guide.
If you vote on my guide, leave a comment on why my guide is awesome/sucky and how you think it could be improved if possible. I don't care whether it is an upvote or a downvote, just as long as you help this guide improve.
- 7/9/2011: Added Executioner's Calling to the situational items section upon realizing how impossible it is to kill big healers when your entire team neglects to pack Ignite.
- 10/29/11: Finally got around to editing the guide to account to the Destiny nerf from a few months back.
- 11/1/11: Removed some uncertainty about Rylai's Crystal Scepter.
- 11/5/11: Saw some figures that convinced me to swap the Insight quints for Potency quints, so I adjusted the guide accordingly.
- 11/17/11: Updated the mastery trees to comply with the season 2 mastery set, and changed up the rest of my guide accordingly.
- 12/13/11: Added how Surge is useful for taking down turrets faster, as well as making various minor changes to wording. Also, removing Hextech Gunblade from the main build, as it doesn't really give enough bonuses since its nerfing to make it better than a Rylai's Cystal Scepter or other defensive item. Plus, lifesteal and spellvamp don't help that much against TF's archnemeses, casters. You need defense if you're having trouble with incoming burst damage. I added Void Staff to the situational items, as well.
- 1/18/12: Removed Sword of the Divine from the guide, seeing as it has been removed from the game.
- 5/11/12: Added Maw of Malmortius and Wit's End to the Defensive Items section of Situational Items, added Heal to my list of viable summoner spells for Twisted Fate, and corrected some minor errors.
- 8/24/12: removed Lich Bane from the cheatsheet, as I was disappointed with its performance, and restructured the mid build to make more sense. Also added Phantom Dancer to the situational items section if you're into movespeed and attack speed. Also added Frozen Mallet to the situational items section for those who prefer its better slowing and hp boost to Rylai's Crystal Scepter's better damage.
This is a guide for Twisted Fate, my favorite champion in League of Legends. I love to play as TF so much because he can often surprise his opponents with his versatility and is adept at turning the tables in a bad situation. Specifically, this build focuses on Attack Speed and Ability Power with a little bit of attack damage on the side.
The general idea is to be flexible. The first two builds above aren't really separate builds as much as they are slightly different paths on the same build. Stay closer to the first path if you are feeling aggressive and can stay in your foes' faces. Veer towards the second path if you are having trouble with extended engagements, either because they turret-hug like little cowards or because your health just drops too fast when you stay near them.
The third build is more for if you are taking mid lane, and is built under the assumption that you will get fewer chances to fully engage your opponent with autoattacks and will therefore be relying primarily upon your Wild Cards to do damage (which will destroy your opponent if you can aim). It lacks the extra HP of the other two builds, but your heightened burst damage should make up for it somewhat (especially once you get your Lich Bane and Deathcap). This build, once finished, is also the most powerful in my guide for pushing down towers. With the combination of Lich Bane, Deathcap, Rageblade, and Nashor's Tooth, you should have no problem knocking out turrets and inhibitors.
Pros / Cons
- You can appear out of freaking nowhere with Destiny (your Ult) and Teleport
- Excellent at chasing or fleeing using Red/Gold Card from Pick A Card or using Destiny
- Global Clairvoyance and good-ranged Teleport in one move
- Has a very fine hat
- Using Pick A Card right takes lots of practice
- You will very likely be focused first
Why I Like to Build TF as an AP/AS Hybrid
When I play a champ, I like to build him/her so that none of his/her abilities are unused. I generally view that as boring, inflexible, and a waste of potential. If I focused on just building AD/AS DPS, then TF's effective range is hugely nerfed, and you become more vulnerable to Thornmail in particular and armor stacking in general. You become a tower pushing machine, but anybody who can stun you outside of your autoattack range can shut you down at their leisure. If he is built full AP then his burst is awesome and he can hang back while still dealing nice damage, but he has no staying power in a fight and little use for Stacked Deck beyond its CDR. Also, his usefulness is destroyed by his enemies picking up Banshee's Veil and other MR items, and he cannot really push towers until he picks up a lichbane. That leaves me with AP hybrids. I figured that since TF's [stacked deck] already gives bonus attack speed and CDR that I should build off of that good start with Ability Power and Attack speed. I also figured that that was the best way to maximize Stacked Deck's damage. AP/AD builds can work as well; however, neglecting to get a sizable amount of AS as well means not using stacked deck to its fullest, and I want to use all of my skills.
One of the nicest things about a hybrid build is that it offers flexibility, in this case flexibility between being a sniper and a shock trooper. I can adjust my build pretty-much on-the-fly depending on what character my laning situation is taking on. This flexibility is where the name of the guide, "Play the Hand You're Dealt" comes from. You gotta know when to hold 'em, know when to fold 'em etc.
Wild Cards: A fun ability on a fairly short cooldown which does a fair amount of damage to as many targets as it hits. If you are mid, or if you are having trouble fully engaging your opponents, max this first. It has insane range and it deals full damage to every target it hits. The problem is getting hits with it. This will take a lot of practice to land regularly, but it is so worth it. If you are having trouble landing this skillshot, try stunning or slowing the intended target(s) before firing. This skill is golden for clearing out large waves of creeps, often instakilling or at least horribly maiming minions. This skill, combined with your attack speed and Red Card, makes TF optimally suited for farming large creep waves. Feel free to Teleport or Destiny to such a creep wave to get loads of gold. To me, the most amusing use for Wild Cards is kiting. When being pursued, spam wild cards at your pursuers whilst running. Oftentimes they won't notice the huge chunks of HP they are suddenly missing, and those who chase TF can often end up running from him. Just don't get too greedy and chase them to the ends of the map. Very few kills are worth dieing for.
Pick A Card: This is your bread and butter skill. Need some mana? Pop this skill and pick a blue card to fling at a minion or Champ. Need somebody to shut up and pay attention to you while you beat the **** out of them? Pop a Gold Card in his face. Need to save yourself and/or a friend from a rampaging angry mob of champs? Slap them with a Red Card to make them chill out. Making a tactical withdrawal from a fight with a worthy adversary? Give him the gift of gold to make him take pause to admire your thoughtfulness. Have a horde of minions on your turret's doorstep? Fire a canister of Red Card brand "tear gas" into the middle of them to make them "disperse." Is some Frenchman planning to taunt you a second time? Prep a golden surprise to shut their filthy mouths. The possibilities are endless. By the way, Pick A Card's magic damage also affects turrets, but not inhibitors or the nexus (if you try to use it on those it will just attack normally, holding onto the card for when you switch targets). Use this knowledge to fling blue cards at their turrets as often as you can while autoattacking them for additional mana regen and extra damage. For additional hilarity, one could fling a red card at a turret hugger's turret and hit the hugger with the splash damage (WARNING: the turret will target you for doing this). Normally, it would be preferable to attack turret huggers with Wild Cards from max range, but this is hilarious if it kills them, and it sets them up for being killed while slowed if you kill the turret with this attack. A side note: if you don't have anything better to do, such as being ready to escape pursuit using your red or gold card, fling a blue card at a minion. It's effectively free damage and free mana.
Stacked Deck: This skill will give your every 4th autoattack additional magic damage, as well as giving you 3% bonus attack speed and CDR per level of this skill taken. This skill is what gave me the idea for the build, as it is itself an AS/AP hybrid move. Eventually, this move gives a grand total of 15%AS and 15%CDR. This CDR + the 25% from Nashor's Tooth brings you to the max CDR of 40%. A fun thing to do with this ability is to load it up so that the next hit will activate it, and then smack a champ with this combined with a card from Pick A Card. Remember to max this first if emphasizing AS.
Destiny: For TF, getting his ult is a real gamechanger. It allows you to destroy whatever coward decides to turn tail from the fight and go back to base alone. Just wait for the fool to get past his tower and 'port in behind him, cutting off his escape. If you're using this move to get the drop on somebody, don't forget to prime a gold card or a red card during your ult. You can similarly use your ult for ganks in other lanes. Once you 'port into somebody else's lane, stick around and push the turret. Another good use of the ult is for escaping. Just activate it and click a safe spot on the minimap to teleport to. As long as you aren't snared, rooted, or stunned, you will quickly teleport to safety. Another fine use of this move is to scout the map. Wondering if your enemies are at Baron Nashor's place? Pop Destiny. Is the eery lack of resistance giving you the creeps? Pop destiny to see where your foes are waiting to gank you, 'porting out if necessary. Remember that this move also grants you temporary vision of any stealthed champ, so you can also use it to reveal just where exactly that Shaco thought he was going so you can drop in and visit.
Greater Mark of Attack Speed: These help to bolster your AS, one of the main stats in this build. In addition to improving your viability in extended engagements through increased autoattack damage output, these runes also let your Stacked Deck hit more often. If you feel that your abilities aren't hitting hard enough and that you have plenty of AS early game, feel free to replace these marks with Greater Mark of Magic Penetration, as in the mid lane build.
Greater Seal of Vitality: You are squishy, and these should help a bit with survivability. You don't really need Mana Regen runes because of your Blue Card, and armor feels like it wouldn't work as well as it leaves you vulnerable to your arch-nemeses: casters. These could be replaced by fortitude seals if you want to be harder to kill early game and don't care as much about late-game survivability, or you could go with flat armor seals if you just despise enemy AD carries that much.
Greater Glyph of Scaling Ability Power: AP is one of the main focuses of this build, and these are the best glyphs for the job. Maybe trade these for for MR glyphs if you really hate enemy casters and wish to spite them for the price of having a lower damage output. Consider replacing these with Greater Glyph of Ability Power if you are going mid, or if you just want your spells to pack an extra early game punch.
2 Greater Quintessence of Ability Power: These will greatly help your spell damage. They will help more than MPen quints would, seeing as Twisted Fate's abilities all scale fairly well with AP.
1 Greater Quintessence of Movement Speed: I get one of these because TF is slow. It isn't absolutely necessary, but I don't like having a base movespeed of 305 (311 with the quickness mastery, 315 with 1 swiftness quint and the mastery).
Quints are the area about which I am least sure. It could be better to get 3 Potency and skip swiftness, or it might be brilliant to stack 3 swiftness quints. Another alternative would be to swap the potency quints with Greater Quintessence of Attack Speed if you swapped your AS marks for insight marks, or if you just really like attack speed. Feel free to suggest improvements to my quint selection in the comments.
I put eight points into utility so that I can bolster TF's measly movespeed by 2%. The 10% off of my death clock and the 1 second shaved off of my recall are nice as well.
Regarding the offensive masteries: the ability power masteries are far more useful to this build than the attack damage or armor penetration masteries, and so I select accordingly. I put four points into alacrity to increase the rate I can slap people with my stacked deck, but I skip the %ArPen mastery below it. I pick up the offensive summoner spell boost to improve my Ghost or Surge.
The Executioner mastery at the deepest tier fits TF perfectly. It gives you bonus damage vs. people at fairly low health (40% and below), thus encouraging you to fulfill your role as an assassin. For example, this mastery should make killing off runners using Wild Cards more viable. Still, remember to focus down your more potent opponents first rather than just taking potshots at the weak. Also, never use this mastery as an excuse to focus their tank (unless it's actually the tank that's doing all of the killing), as your enemies love it when you focus their tank.
Boots of Speed + 3 HP Pots: I start with these because I like to be mobile and I like to use the potions to stay in lane longer.
Malady: This item is fairly cheap and provides a good amount of AS and some AP, plus its passive extra damage is nice and its MR-shredding synergizes well with stacked deck.
Berserker's Greaves/ Sorcerer's Shoes: The first branching point. Get Berk's if you feel like you can stay in their faces and they aren't threatening you much. Get Sorc's if you think you will get more done with your wild cards than with your autoattacks and your stacked deck because you need to keep your distance.
Stinger/ Fiendish Codex: The next branching point. If you feel like your situation hasn't changed much since you picked up your upgraded boots or if you really want to stack one stat at a time, then pick the option that mirrors your first choice (e.g. Stinger goes with Berk's). If you feel that your situation has shifted since then or if you just wish to keep your AS and AP balanced, then purchase the opposite choice (e.g. Fiendish Codex would go with Berk's). Either one of these items gives a nice CDR boost that will help with spamming your Pick-a-Card (PaC) and Wild Cards, while Stinger will make your stacked deck activate more often and Fiendish Codex will pump up the damage on your Wild Cards and your PaC.
Guinsoo's Rageblade: A lovely item indeed. This item will greatly increase your efficacy in assassination, teamfights, and building destruction. The AS boost when the passive winds up (32%) is quite noticeable, the AP boost it gives (45 with 0 stacks, 93 with) will make your spells hit like a ton of bricks, and the 35 extra attack damage isn't too shabby either.
Giant's Belt/ Blasting Wand: At this point comes another sort of juncture. Either pick up the Giant's Belt if enemy burst damage is getting you down, or pick up a Blasting Wand if you feel like getting the extra punch in your spells outweighs the benefits of an extra 430HP. The Giant's Belt probably fits the up close and personal path better than the long range harassment path, as the extra HP allows you to play a bit more recklessly and stay closer to your enemies longer. Either item will be later built into a Rylai's Crystal Scepter, so feel free to nix this item from the list if you don't like the scepter.
Nashor's Tooth: This is, in my opinion, the most important item in this build. Its CDR of 25%, combined with the 15% CDR from TF's Stacked Deck, brings you to the max CDR of 40%. This will allow you to spam Wild Cards every 3.6s, PaC every 3s, and Destiny every 60s. It gives a heaping helping of +50% attack speed and a sizable 55 AP, and the mana regen is nice as well if you forget to pick a blue card once in a while.
Rylai's Crystal Scepter: Slowing my enemies with my every fourth attack and whenever I pick a card combined with the extra chunk of HP is nice, especially if I am having trouble keeping an enemy in my sights with just my Gold Card or if I am having trouble staying alive. The extra HP lets me stay in a fight longer, the extra AP lets me output more damage faster, and the slow helps to prevent enemy escape.
Item sequence for Mid
Since mid lane has a significantly different character to the top and bottom lanes, the differences in item building order bear mentioning. Since mid lane champs tend to be considerably more skittish and don't like to stick around for you to autoattack, you'll be relying more on your Wild Cards to do damage. Consequently, attack speed will be less useful early on.
You still start with boots and 3 hp pots, as being able to move and dodge skillshots is a useful skill (and TF is just so dang slow). Instead of rushing malady next, though, you should build a Fiendish Codex as soon as you can. The CDR from it will let you spam your Wild Cards more rapidly, and the mana regen will help with its hefty mana cost. You'll still need to fire about two blue cards for ever set of wild cards to keep your mana up, though.
After acquiring your early Fiendish Codex, pick up Sorcerer's Shoes, buy a Malady, and continue with the build as normal.
This section is about what to do with that last item slot, as well as some possible item replacements if some of the core items don't work so well for you.
Defensive Items:Get items in this section if you are getting squashed flat a bit more often than necessary.
Mercury's Treads: Crowd control can be a real problem for a Twisted Fate who wants to keep his enemies closer than his friends. If your foes each pack powerful crowd control and they like to aim it at you (which will probably be the case if you are doing OK), then you need to pick up an item with some tenacity. Merc's treads remains the most powerful counter to crowd control effects (aside from the seldom-used Quicksilver Sash). I would recommend picking these boots over the two mentioned in the builds if you are facing a team filled with CC. If you absolutely must have one of the other types of boots, then I would recommend picking up the Cloak and Dagger, the Moonflair Spellblade, or the Quicksilver Sash.
Quicksilver Sash: As mentioned above, this is the most potent form of CC resistance in the game at the moment. It gives a hefty amount of MR, is fairly cheap, and builds off of a Negatron Cloak. The important thing is its activated ability. When activated, it removes all status ailments from you, including all CC effects (e.g. stun) as well as things like ignite, malady stacks, and Damage Over Time attacks. This ability is on a cooldown of about 2 minutes, make of that what you will. Get this item if the enemy team is totally screwing you over with CC effects or if they really like to ignite you.
Thornmail: You probably already know this, but you should get this if they have more AD supercarries than you can kill at once. The 100 armor from it will also help you with backdooring turrets by allowing you to tank them for about twice as long.
Banshee's Veil: The HP and MR on this item are useful for TF, and the passive can be helpful for getting a gold-card onto their caster with radically reduced risk of rapid retribution (sorry, couldn't resist the alliteration). This item is relatively expensive, so you should decide fairly early on in the game if you want it. A good time to build this would be after you've completed your rageblade, and then you can skip starting Rylai's Crystal Scepter and go straight on to finishing Nashor's Tooth. If your main problem is CC rather than just getting nuked before you can get a gold card off, and if you don't mind using an item's activated ability, get Quicksilver Sash instead of this. You should get this item if you are frustrated with their casters nuking you to the ground before you can get a good hit on them.
(Credit to soelra for suggesting this item)
Maw of Malmortius: This item may grant the bearer a sizable chunk of, but do not be fooled. For TF, this is a defensive item with some AD tacked on for good measure, not the other way around. You get this item if enemy casters are getting you down and you want to last an extra couple of seconds in a fight with them. Get Banshee's Veil if you want an easier time initiating against nukers. Get the Maw if you want more staying power against mages. The AD on this item also makes taking it make more sense if you're going on the "in-your-face" path, as the AD benefits from the already present AS. If you plan to get this item, I'd suggest getting a Hexdrinker instead of the Giant's Belt or Blasting Wand after Guinsoo's Rageblade, completing this item after either Rylai's Crystal Scepter or immediately after Nashor's Tooth (depending on how bad your getting nuked problem is). (Credit for this item's inclusion goes to Anastasios for thinking to put it in his TF build first.)
Wit's End: Banshee's Veil, Maw of Malmortius, and this item all have a similar purpose: protect you from enemy casters. They're better suited to specific situations than each other, and exist on a sort of sliding scale. You grab a Banshee's Veil if you're having trouble initiating a fight because the caster is killing you in a single nuke-combo. You get Maw of Malmortius if you want to add a bit of time to your life, as its main function is to save your bacon when someone uses a spell to knock your hp into critical range, so it can't just be popped by a throwaway spell early on like a Banshee's veil. Wit's End's passively giving you bonus MR as you attack means that you'll generally take less magic damage, provided you can get the drop on your foe to get your stacks up. Wit's End is also a more offensive item than the other two, as it gives you a boatload of AS and gives you 42 magic damage with every hit. The AS and Magic damage make it synergize particularly well with this build, as Malady's shredding will aid the magic damage and AS is already a core stat here. The third thing it has going for it: it's by far the cheapest of the three heavily anti-caster items I have listed, weighing in at 2150 gold. If you get this, I'd recommend getting it after the Rageblade instead of the Giant's Belt or Blasting wand; however, it's a cheap enough item that it could really fit anywhere in the order when mages are giving you problems.
Offensive Items:Get one or more of these if you feel like putting a twist on the general build. If you don't need a defensive item, then you should definitely pick up one of these in your sixth item slot.
Rabadon's Deathcap: I would get this item if I just wanted to get a boatload of AP so that my abilities would hit that much harder. If taken on build 3, it will take your relatively paltry 277 AP (327 AP with full Rageblade stacks) and turn it into a whopping 545 AP (609 AP with full Rageblade stacks)
Void Staff: Serves a similar purpose to getting a deathcap in that it makes your magic damage hurt a heaping helping more. One difference is that the %MR Reduction from Void Staff applies to all of your magic damage, including that from items like Malady, while the Deathcap's massive AP bonus can be applied to Lich Bane. Another bonus this item has over the Deathcap: its price is far more affordable.
Phantom Dancer: An excellent choice if one wishes to move faster, attack faster, get off more Stacked Decks, and maybe crit just a little. Twisted Fate is normally a slow champion, but with this item chasing enemies is loads easier. Even if your ult is down. Get this item if you feel like you need to go places faster, blow the **** out of buildings and champs faster, or if you feel like frontier justice should be swift and without mercy.
Lich Bane: This item is great for pushing turrets. The movespeed it provides is helpful for chasing and running away, and the MR will soften the blows of enemy spellcasters a little. If adding about 361-609 (depending on the build chosen and how many rageblade stacks you have) damage (before armor) to an attack every 3s doesn't sound attractive to you, then please tell me what tastes better than that.
Madred's Bloodrazor: I haven't figured out the best place in my build to get this item, but it is quite useful to get if your foes are stacking HP (especially when they neglect to stack MR as well). Remember that this item is expensive, so you can't just build one on a whim.
Executioner's Calling: While Executioner's Calling doesn't really fit the spirit of this build much, this item is a must get if the enemy team has a strong healer like Mundo or Fiddlesticks and nobody on your team thought to pack an Ignite or a champ that can inflict the "grievous wounds" status effect. The 18% lifesteal is nice, and the +15% critrate it provides makes it so you should be critting about once every seven attacks (not that crits are that important in this build, but they are nice). I personally never notice its passive DoT on Hit, but it isn't the important thing here. The real reason to get this item is that it gives you a cheap way to deal with the aforementioned big healers with its active (which has a short 20s cooldown). If you want to use this item, I would recommend picking it up in lieu of the Giant's Belt or Blasting Wand and wait until later to start building Rylai's Crystal Scepter, seeing as this gives you a good chunk of lifesteal to balance out the loss of HP from not getting a Giant's Belt and the active is way more effective than a Blasting Wand at taking down big healers.
Hextech Gunblade: This item gives a number of nice bonuses, including AP, Attack Damage, Lifesteal, and Spell Vamp. It also has an active ability that slows and damages a target enemy. These are all things AP/AS TF likes. The main reasons that this item is not in the main build are that it is very expensive for the bonuses it grants, and I view the lifesteal and spell vamp granted by this item are far less useful for surviving burst damage (TF's main weakness) than the extra HP from Rylai's Crystal Scepter would be. If you do want this item, then start it by picking up a Hextech Revolver in the place of the Giant's Belt or Blasting Wand after the Rageblade. Fun fact: Spell Vamp procs on all activated abilities, including Stacked Deck and Hextech Gunblade's active.
Frozen Mallet: Feel like Rylai's Crystal Scepter just doesn't hit often enough? Feel like you need more HP from your slowing item? Feel like you've already got enough darned AP already? Well look no further! Frozen Mallet is the item to get if you're more concerned with keeping your opponents rooted in front of you than you are with doing high burst damage. If you want to pick up this item, I'd recommend swapping out Rylai's Crystal Scepter for it, as they fulfill a similar purpose and build from similar items. Get the giant's belt first if HP is your concern, but pick up phage in place of the blasting rod from the scepter if you feel like you want more damage now and want them to just take a chill for a bit every four attacks or so. Alternatively, you could build both this and Rylai's Crystal Scepter to slow your foes even further.
The skill sequences mentioned in the builds up top aren't set in stone. Like the Pirate's Code, they are meant as more of guidelines.
There are two basic situations that you will find yourself in: one where you can afford to aggressively run up and autoattack all day, the other where you are forced to keep your distance and harass your foes continually.
If you find your state being closer to state A upon leveling up, focus on picking up Stacked Deck. If you find yourself harassing your foes more often than you fully engage them with autoattacks, focus on leveling up Wild Cards. Pick A Card should always be your 2nd priority spell, as it is invaluable to both ends. Its stun's duration goes up with level, as does the slow's severity.
TL;DR: If on the offensive, r>e>w>q. If on the defensive, r>q>w>e.
My favorite spells to pick for TF are Ghost and Teleport.
Ghost: Multipurpose spell. Great for escaping ganks or retreating from a losing battle in combination with red card (for multiple foes) or gold card (for single opponents). Ghost is also great for catching people who are trying to run away, also in combination with the above mentioned cards. I like this spell more than Flash, but that is more personal preference.
Teleport: Why would I want to have this when I already have a powerful teleport on a shorter cooldown? So that I can teleport even more often, of course! Sometimes I use Destiny just for scouting purposes, but I don't want to teleport to anywhere. Other times I like to use Teleport to farm creeps, bluepill, and then use Destiny to port over to a teamfight. A more amusing way of using these teleports in tandem is to use destiny to make sure nobody is where you want to port over to, pushing down a turret or inhibitor or ganking somebody, then using Teleport to escape back to base while the enemy team tries to finish you off. If they don't stun or kill you, then you have become a successful ninja. If you do this to backdoor their buildings, expect much raging and gnashing of teeth over their consolation prize of a dead TF being stolen from them. Enough about the wonders of double teleportation for now...
Flash: Useful for escaping through walls and for hitting somebody with a surprise Gold Card. Not so useful for extended chases, whether you are the predator or the prey. If you like this spell and love having the element of surprise, take it. I find Ghost to be more reliable, if a little less spectacular.
Exhaust: This spell can work great if you take the mastery for it. It can be used to escape from a single opponent, but its far more important use is marking someone for death. If you hit somebody with this spell while they are a good ways away from their turret, they are pretty-much toast. It gives you a license to spam autotattacks and skills with impunity by killing their damage output, and you get to penetrate 10 of their armor and magic resist so that you can kill them even faster. The main reason that this isn't in the main build is that I just like Ghost and Teleport too much to go without them regularly. This could change, however...
Cleanse: Get this if CC makes you rage. TF is quite vulnerable to CC, as he is a squishy with a smallish attack range (aside from his Q). While I feel that the above spells would benefit TF more, this spell can save you from ganks by freeing you from their infinite slows/stunlocks. If you like the sound of this spell, but don't want to invest one of your two spell slots in it, then I would recommend checking out the criminally underused Quicksilver Sash item in game. (It builds from a Negatron Cloak.)
Surge: This new gem of a summoner spell fits this build perfectly, as it gives TF's attack speed and ability power significant boosts simultaneously. You can use it for assassination like Exhaust, but it's not quite as useful as Exhaust is for killing a single opponent as they can still run away from you as easily as before you cast it. Seeing as this spell affects the caster rather than his opponents, an opportune time to use it would be right as you enter a teamfight. Something this spell has over Exhaust, though, is that it is highly effective at taking down enemy turrets. Getting your AS and AP (both of which are useful for turret busting) boosted for 12s means that that turret will be going down like you just picked up a new item. Get this spell if you want a quick way to boost your DPS against champs and towers more than you want to be able to run away from/towards a fight (ghost) or more than you value the ability to appear at a remote corner of the map at a moment's notice (teleport).
Heal: This isn't a spell I'd normally recommend for TF, but it cannot be ignored as an option. Get this spell if you can't seem to get a grip on your aggression and often find yourself at too low of hp. It's a wonderful surprise for the enemy DPS when you suddenly sprout a few hundred extra hit points, giving you time to finish him off, but it won't help you nearly as much against nukers (unless you have very good reaction time and low latency).
Summoner Spells that you shouldn't get
Ignite: Not my spell of choice for TF, seeing as he already has mechanisms for making sure his prey doesn't escape alive. I see this spell as being more of a parting shot or a way to deal with an annoying healer like Mundo or Tryndamere. Generally, you won't need a parting shot aside from your autoattack, Q, W, E, or R. If you are having problems with annoying healers, I would recommend picking up Executioner's Calling instead of this spell.
Clarity: You already have your blue card for mana regeneration. This would be superfluous.
Smite: You are not a jungler; therefore, you don't need this spell.
Revive: While this can seem like it would be a useful tool for backdooring turrets repeatedly, I strongly advise against taking it. First, it can only be activated once every 9 minutes, so you would only be able to cheat death a few times in any given match. Second, using this spell will earn you the eternal mockery of your teammates and your enemies.
How to Play: Duo-Lane
I love to take a side-lane as TF. I might not get fed as quickly, but I have a buddy covering me, and said buddy loves it when I stun or slow our foes.
Be sure to Use your Blue Card regularly to keep your mana up, and watch your HP and use a potion whenever you need one. Always keep an eye out for an opportunity to Gold Card stun an enemy for you and your ally to destroy. If you need to run, smack your pursuer with a Gold Card (or a Red Card, if chased by multiple enemies) and hightail it out of there. Another thing to be doing is to throw Wild Cards at enemy champs followed by a blue card to a minion (or an enemy champ, if feasible) so you can harass without worrying about mana much.
Once you get to lvl6 and have Destiny, the next phase of the game begins. Stay in lane as long as you feel like, but make sure to pick up a Malady from base sometime soon. Keep an eye out for opportunities to gank via Destiny, but keep an eye on your tower and make sure it stays up. Since you have 2 teleports, you can get around loads faster than people who insist on walking. Use them to farm massive creep waves, set up ganks, and generally screw with your opponents.
How to Play: Mid
Many have said that TF is an excellent choice for mid lane. They are right. If you know how to aim and dodge skillshots, you will eat mid champs like Ashe alive. You will also get fed quite rapidly and will therefore be excellently equipped for ganking to become even more fed. The main downside to going mid is that you have nobody else in your lane (most of the time) to take advantage of your stuns and slows, so Pick A Card will be a bit less useful.
Play is much like it is in the sidelanes, with a few significant differences. First, pay close attention to your opponent and watch for their skillshots if they have any. Feel free to push the lane as hard as you like, as you can even harass them at their turret using Wild Cards from long range. Map awareness is crucial, especially when you get close to their turret. Keep an eye out for uncalled MIA's, and always keep enough mana to cast Pick A Card to stump any gankers. Chances are good that wildcards will be your prime source of damage in mid lane, so max those first.
Mid game at mid lane is essentially identical to mid-game in the side-lanes, except that you need to watch your tower even more closely and will probably have more opportunities for ganks.
Friends, Foes, and How To Deal With Them in Lane
In this section, which was included at the behest of my friend DreadPirateAllen, I will not be discussing your relationships with specific champions as much as discussing how you relate to different types of champions.
Twisted Fate plays well with all manner of laning partners.
Physical/Magical DPS:Characters like Xin Zhao, Ashe, and some species of Teemo. These guys will love your Gold Card Stun and your Red Card Slow. If either of you has exhaust, neither of you should have problems picking up kills and assists. If feasible, wait to use your Gold Card for when you are both ready to go for the kill on one of your enemies. Be sure to keep an eye on your ally's HP and use your Gold Card (or red card for multiple enemies) to help your laning buddy escape if he is dying; doing this regularly is a great way to earn their respect/friendship. One way to think about this is that you are their mage in charge of nuking (kinda') and crowd control (most definitely), so you should consider building more AP items first (build 2) if you lane with a DPS.
Tank:Characters such as Dr. Mundo, Rammus, and Malphite. In this situation you can function as both a mage and a DPS for your tank to shield. This may be obvious to some, but you should try to stay behind your tank unless you are sure that you can get a kill with little to no risk of losing your own life. He is there to soak up damage, initiate fights, and use some CC to set up kills for you (and sometimes for himself. Tanks need gold too.). Watch what your tank is doing so you know what he wants you to do. Try to follow up on his initiations with your own CC (after his wears off) and your autoattacks/ Wild Cards so that his skills aren't wasted. If he is trying to interpose himself between you and an enemy, that might be a good time to run back to base. He might know something you don't (like your HP level :p). I know from experience as a tank how frustrating it is when somebody I am trying to protect while running away refuses to retreat or keeps returning to the fray to fire parting shots. No tank can save you from yourself. Trying to tank for that guy is an awful experience. DO NOT BE THAT PERSON.</rant> Anyhow, tanks allow you to stay in lane a bit longer if the enemies in lane focus him more because they have trouble hitting you, and they are great for setting up kills for you. You might want to rely more on AP and Wild Cards for general harassment so that you can deal damage while staying behind your tank, but you should base your build more off of how you find yourself dealing with your enemies.
Support:Characters like Soraka, Janna, and Karma. Lane with one of the characters of this type if you want to stay in lane forever without worrying much about HP or Mana (mana regen is a bit more rare than healing, but you have Blue Cards to deal with that anyway). You will be able to push the lane harder than usual, for one thing. Another benefit is that you will probably get more kills due to being able to ignore your squishiness to some degree and autoattack your foes whole hog. One of your main jobs is to keep your laning buddy alive. Keep a close watch on her (or his, in some cases) HP and Mana as if they were your own life bars (which they kinda' are, seeing as she is your medic). Make sure not to go charging into a fight if your support is low on mana or her heal is on cooldown. As stated above in the DPS section, use your Gold Card or Red Card to cover her escape if things get hairy. While she isn't in lane, play more conservatively (maybe even turret-hug) and spam Wild Cards. While you can afford to play either more AP or more AS, I would generally recommend getting more AS as you can often afford to be more aggressive. Remember: chances are good that you are your lane's sole source of heavy damage, and your support makes you better able to take that role with her buffs and healing.
NukeMage:Characters like Veigar, LeBlanc, and Lux. When you are laning with one of these on your side, your role shifts a bit. Generally, you want to have your mage act first. If he hits them with some CC, follow it up with some of your own when his wears off. If she drops a nuke combo on an enemy, finish off what is left of said heap of ashes. They might not fully appreciate your securing their kills, but it can be quite necessary. Just don't steal their kills too egregiously, and you should be in good standing with a reasonable person. However, you should not be too passive. If you know they have a difficult skillshot, stun or slow your foes to make landing it easier. Autoattack and harass as you normally do as well; just refrain from using Pick A Card until right when you are sure that your mage-buddy is about to make his move. As with laning with a DPS or a support, keep an eye on their HP and Mana and be ready to cover their retreat with Pick A Card. In general, you are the mage's bodyguard and his 5th spell. He should be calling the shots, and you should respond to his needs. Alternatively, you could think of her as the targeting laser mounted on the Gatling cannon of TF. Since the nuker has the heavy burst damage department pretty-much covered, you can probably focus more on getting attack speed.
For Mixed/Oddly Built Characters:There are a number of champs in LoL that don't quite fit entirely in any of the above molds, such as support-tanks like Alistar. In any case, you should use your own judgement to decide which bits of strategy mentioned above apply to each champ you lane with. If somebody decides to build Sona as an Attack Damage champ rather than support (you would not believe how well that can work), then treat her like a Physical DPS rather than as a Support.
TF's versatility allows him to lane effectively against most champions. Mages and heavy CC might give you a problem, but they aren't gamebreakers.
Physical/Magical DPS:Your stun will murder these, especially if they are melee champs. Remember how lethal CC is to TF? It is even worse for somebody like Master Yi or Xin Zhao who depends on doing continuous DPS. Keep a close watch on your health bar, however, and never drop your guard. These guys will kill you fast if you don't Gold Card them, and they often have some way to charge at you and/or stun you to make escaping them difficult. If an autoattacker's damage is still bothering you, then pick up a Thornmail to make Twitch kill himself or get some MR that doesn't come from Banshee's Veil to deal with Teemo's poison or Orianna's Windup.
Tank:Don't attack these if there is a better target (read: any other champion) available. If their laning buddy refuses to come into your range, though, feel free to shred the tank with Wild Cards while last-hitting minions until a better target presents itself. Always watch out for the tank's CC, as that can land you in a heap of hurting if either the tank can do serious damage or if their laning partner was waiting for an opportunity to take you down. If an apparently competent tank initiates combat with you, RUN. If you don't, chances are good that a savage beatdown is coming and that you will be on the wrong side of it. This is especially true when a tank is being aggressive and you can't see anybody else in lane. That means that a gank is coming.
Support:To borrow an adage from Team Fortress Two (a great class based multiplayer FPS made by Valve), SHOOT THE MEDIC FIRST. If given a choice between shooting down their carry and attacking their support, shoot their support unless you know that you can burst down the carry before the support can react (Wild Cards are amazing at that). If you pick the carry over the support, then the support will just heal the carry and maybe buff it/debuff you and maybe even give it additional mana. The carry will probably kill you, or at least escape your wrath. If you kill the support first, you can kill the rather defenseless carry later without worrying about it healing or suddenly developing an immunity to damage. Aside from targeting priority, keep in mind that the one laning with the support can afford to push harder than normally, and will probably be extra aggressive. Adjust your playstyle accordingly by adopting a more conservative stance. If you see that the support is out of mana (oom) and you know that they aren't packing clarity (or it is definitely on cooldown), then feel free to destroy the carry first and kill the support at your leisure.
NukeMage:As I see it, these will give you problems the most consistently. Most mages, if I recall correctly, have some form of heavy CC (stun, silence, snare) that can be a great hindrance to your killing them and your survival in general. The safest time to attack a mage is when all of his spells are on cooldown, but that might be a rather rare occurrence. If the mage has a silence, then lock in a goldcard before getting into range. Since Pick A Card has already enhanced your next attack, your stun will go off without a hitch. It is also good to remember that your Wild Cards outrange most mages' spells, so you can safely harass them with that if you can aim well enough. Also, many mages' abilities are skillshots. This makes dodging most of their damage fairly easy if you are facing them mid; just pay attention to how they prepare to fire their spells. If I am facing Lux mid, the song running through my head is MC Hammer's "Can't Touch This." If a mage is really bothering you, then get some Magic resist. Get Mercury's Treads (or some other tenacity item) or Quicksilver Sash if CC is bothering you most; or get Banshee's Veil, Maw of Malmortius, or Wit's End if your main concern is the mage's burst combo.
There are two very important aspects to TF's late game: Carrying in Teamfights, and smashing enemy buildings.
As a squishy, you shouldn't be initiating teamfights. In the prelude to one, you may spam Wild Cards in their general direction to soften them up if you have enough mana and if you don't expose yourself to the enemy team's damage. They want you dead, and will likely focus you first. If focused, TF will die. Let your tank initiate the fight, then join in in earnest.
After the teamfight is rolling, make sure to stun whoever has been causing you and your team the most trouble. Feel free to keep autoattacking said troublemaker as long as you aren't being hit by CC. If they start to hit you with CC, or have had a history of crowd controlling you, keep your distance somewhat while flinging wild cards every time they come off of cooldown. You shouldn't have any problem cleaning melee-DPS off of your shoes, so I would advise keping a closer watch on their casters in general. Don't forget that you can ult to catch up with an escapee and then slow/stun him for you and your allies to finish him off.
In short: be at the teamfights unless they obviously don't need you, stun and autoattack a problematic enemy if you are confident that you will survive it, don't be reckless, use all of your skills, and remember that you have an ult that is very useful for mop-up.
With Teleport, Destiny, and OK DPS to work with, it should be fairly obvious that TF is good at backdooring turrets and inhibitors. However, there are good times for it that will start your team singing your praises, and then there are those times when you really shouldn't be backdooring or pushing a lane separately where your team will curse your name if you attempt to. I will attempt to delineate some of these situations.
Signs That it is a Good Time to Push a Turret Separately:
- If your team is in a teamfight, 4/5 of your team are there and they obviously don't need your help.
- A swarm of your minions is on an enemy building.
- You pop Destiny and there are no enemy champions that can interdict your building smashing.
- Your team has just won a teamfight (especially if it was an ace).
- You look at the map and see that an enemy turret has very low hp (400HP or less) so that you should be able to tank said turret without minions.
Never Push a Turret Separately If:
- your team is in a 3v5 or worse teamfight.
- your team is losing a teamfight.
- your team isn't obviously winning a teamfight and the building you are attempting to push isn't already almost dead.
- they have more teammates alive than you do.
- you will likely die before you can do very significant damage to the tower.
- you know they are waiting for you at the building you wish to destroy.
- you ask your team if it would be ok for you to push down an enemy turret and they object.
As to how to actually go about backdooring:
Generally, when Twisted Fate backdoors a turret or inhibitor (or a nexus :3), he teleports in with Destiny. This is helpful because it allows you to skip over the enemy's front line of defense, and because it lets you know precisely where every enemy on the map is so you know if backdooring is even a good idea (with that last bit in mind, don't backdoor immediately after activating destiny; instead, take a second to scout the map using your global champ sight, then jump in if it's sane to do so).
Ever since the nerf to TF's teleport to change it from global to long-ranged, it has become important to position him before activating Destiny. A great place to activate it from is the enemy's jungle (provided they don't have ambushers in the wings there). If you can manage to sneak in there without any enemies noticing, then you can teleport to anyplace in their base and catch them with their proverbial pants down. If their nexus turrets are down, you can even teleport behind their nexus to either win the game or give them the fright of their lives. Even if you don't end up killing their nexus before buying the farm, your team can still oftentimes rush at it for the last few hits provided they're close enough and have the hp to get there.
I'm liking surge so far, so it may appear in the main build one of these days.
The new masteries I am a bit unsure about, so I am open to suggestions on how to modify them. That said, masteries are subject to change on a whim. >:D
Also, somebody gave me the idea to incorporate a section on who specifically is really fun to lane with or really irksome to lane against. I'll likely be adding said section after some experimentation. If anybody has any suggestions for either category, please post it in the comment section with some reasons why (and some strategy if you don't mind). I'll be sure to credit such submissions whenever I use them.
I hope that this guide has proven to be helpful to you. Please leave a comment on how it could be improved or on why you disagree with one or more of my choices. Who knows, I might even change the guide and credit you at the site of the change.