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Teamfight Tactics Guide by Vrahn

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A TL:DR Guide to Killing Friends and Influencing Elo

By Vrahn | Updated on July 4, 2019

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Teamfight Tactics Guide

A TL:DR Guide to Killing Friends and Influencing Elo

By Vrahn
Introduction
Hey there! I've been playing a bunch of TFT lately and been having a blast with it so for the first time ever I thought I'd draft up a short collection of some of the things I've learned. This is not a guide that will give you specific compositions to play, or tell you a specific tier list for characters or items. I think that information is already out there in abundance and it can be somewhat distracting from what will actually win you games.

TFT is about adaptation at its core. It is not a game you will consistently win just by mathing out the optimal composition and the best items for it. To consistently succeed you need to run with what you've got. Sometimes cut corners, sometimes throw the whole thing out, sometimes go all in.

This is also not gospel, this is not particularly polished though I might spend some more time on it if people find it useful.

I might also be wrong, I know just as much about the game as the next guy over. So take everything with a grain of salt, have fun, win, get a cute pal, spam some emotes, etc. ;)
I Don't Like Reading Back to Top
Welp you're in luck! As promised, the TL:DR tips to winning:

1) Check your opponent's boards semi-frequently. More often when the game starts, and when you're down to the top few remaining.

2) When you can avoid it don't go all in on a comp or champion that is being played by other people.

3) Check for Blitzcranks. If someone picks one up at the carousel check their board to see if they keep it or sell it.

4) Try to put Phantom Dancer, or the MR reduction item (83% as of the writing of this guide) onto your high level bruiser characters. They are immensely powerful items. Particularly if you can put PD on Shyvanna due to her already being immune to magic damage for free just by having another dragon in your composition.

5) If your opponent is playing Blitzcrank you get to decide who he pulls. Position accordingly.

6) If your opponent is playing assassins sacrifice one unit on the farthest corner from the bulk of their assassins and position your main group in the opposite location. All of their assassins will jump to your lone figure, preventing real damage. It's OP, trust me.

7) Phantom Dancer directly counters assassins, shyvana will kill them all herself if she has it and a sustain item. Not even exaggerating much!

8) Origin and Class Set Bonuses are -really- important. Always look to maximize them where possible. Particularly the 6-piece set bonuses tend to get really bonkers. It can be worthwhile sacrificing to get there but you need to use your best judgement.

9) Your HP is a resource. The only loss that matters is the one that drops you to 0. Sometimes, particularly early on it can be advantageous to lose so that you get the best pick from the carousel.

10) If you're on a win or loss streak you should think carefully about breaking them. It can be worth burning more gold to keep winning because the bonus for win streaks is significant. Similarly losing gracefully can actually be the best early-mid strategy because you can stockpile gold and get the best carousel picks.

11) Combining two spatulas is OP. You get an extra body on the board which lets you do a lot of things. It's really good.

12) If you are broke and losing fights shuffle up your positioning. Sometimes that can be enough to get a win.

13) The corner hexes of the map cannot be Pyke stunned, but they are usually blitz pulled. Plan accordingly.

14) CC is generally pretty OP. AoE CC is extremely OP. Get some, it's nice stuff.

15) It helps to have a magic damage source and a physical damage source on your team so that it's harder to build against you. Late game Draven pickups are sweet, similarly Brand is good for magic as a one-slot purchase.

16) Your level matters more than just for fielding bodies. Review the champion distribution chart below briefly. If you're looking for a tier 1 level 3 champion you might need to delay levelling for a while so you can cycle your store to get what you need. Inversely, if you're building a high-tier composition it can be beneficial to powerlevel so your store gives you a higher probability of finding what you need.

17) If things are getting dire blow your proverbial load (read: gold). Cycle the store, find the champion you need to level up or finish your set bonuses. Economy helps but if you die with gold that's wasted opportunity.

If you must give up on some dreams do so. Sell the benched champions that are not absolutely necessary, etc.

18) Within reason and all else being equal try to maintain the highest 10s of gold you can to get interest. (10, 20, 30, 40, 50) Don't stockpile gold over 50 unless you're trying to level up at the high levels. Generally try not to re-roll your store if you are at 20-21 gold or 30-31 gold etc. You can re-roll 22+ because if you don't like what you get you are still at 20. Similarly often don't end a re-roll spree on something like 27 or 26. If you can't find what you're looking for keep going until you get to 20.

19) Buy champions if you're sitting at your store during combat at something like 13-19 gold, just don't go below 10 in this example and you'll still be making the same gold. You can always re-sell the champions later if it doesn't pan out or you change your mind. Selling champions does not result in a loss of gold.

20) Early in the game focus your carousel picks on finding items you need. Spatulas, and recurve bows at the moment are probably the best picks, but think about it a bit and plan ahead. There are not very many carousel picks in the game and they are the only chance you get to pick an item you want. Later in the game you might want to pick for missing champions, getting a level 3 on the field, or a tier 5 champion like Swain. Use discretion.

21) Don't lose the creep battles. Don't. They're so important. Each one has its own small mechanics make sure you read up a bit or figure it out by trial and error. They are the best source of items you're going to get. It's also humiliating to be knocked out by elder dragon in the final rounds. Don't be that guy.

22) Items stack, at least most of the time. Spear of Shojun, rageblade, and locket of the iron solari are the usual suspects. They can be pretty OP.

23) It's usually better to stack items on one character before another etc. Where possible. Often this won't be perfectly the case but you get the idea. Get a key champion in your composition kitted and they can carry the game for you. (Shyvana, Pyke, Veigar, Aurelion Sol, Draven, Lulu, etc. There are a lot.)

24) Attack Speed is generally king even on mages since it generates mana. Recurve bows bring a lot to the table.

25) Rapid Fire Cannon lets your character generally never have to move. That lets you stand in the corner hex for the entire match rather than walking out. That is really good. (Also Ashe's stun duration scales with distance. ;) )
Some Rambling Insights Back to Top
Odds are you can probably go into the game and you'll get a win eventually. There is a good bit of RNG and the mechanics are very straightforward and simple. There is no mechanical skill required which can be a blessing compared to League.

You will never always win, but nor should you ever always lose. By paying attention and adapting on the fly to the resources you have available as well as to what your opponents are up to you will significantly increase the likelihood you have of winning or placing high on the lists.

The best advice I can give to consistently improve your play is basically to Know Your Enemy. Cheesyness aside if you don't want to read anything else consider this:

In TFT your opponents play with an open hand. You get to look at their composition, positioning, bench, items deployed and held back, etc. by just clicking on their name on the side of the screen at any time in the game with the exception of during a carousel.

This is important for a few reasons:1) As illustrated in this chart which I wouldn't spend too much time worrying about champions are a shared resource that all players pull from. So if you're building wild and two other opponents are building wild you're going to have a hard time getting those level 3s out on the board or even sometimes finding key units like Gnar.

2) Positioning wins games. By assessing what your opponent is fielding you can shuffle your own positioning to counter theirs. Sometimes less savvy opponents won't notice in time and they'll pay for it. This is particularly important with Blitzcranks on the field.

3) Speaking of Blitzcranks, you can check if they have any and position accordingly. By making him pull a tank or a Kennen or some other unit instead of your level 3 Draven you tilt the odds in your favour a lot.

Additionally managing your economy is key. It's a little bit nuanced and hopefully the tips I outlined earlier help in this regard but basically this is the part of the game you get to fully optimize to your liking. You can burn gold quickly or slowly, and they each have benefits and drawbacks. TFT is somewhat complicated in that there are many possible scenarios you could run into so a one-stop solution is not practical.

Generally speaking you want to optimize your gold income by spending until you hit a breakpoint (10, 20, 30, 40, 50) if you decide to start spending, and otherwise saving until you have 50 gold stockpiled. It's often a good idea to buy champions you might want to field if you get more of them and just selling them later if it doesn't pan out. As long as you don't go over one of the thresholds by doing so you're essentially getting some free extra utility from your spare gold. Likewise mid-combat it doesn't make a lot of sense to break a threshold unless you have a really good offer up because whatever you get can't influence your current predicament and you're going to get a free new set of shop purchase options before the decision actually matters.
In Conclusion... Back to Top
Don't forget to have fun. It sounds silly but it's actually kind of the whole point. Pay attention to what your opponents are doing, manage your gold effectively, choose your champions wisely based on what other people are doing and you will improve substantially.

If all else fails, go for broke and shuffle your positioning. You never know, that enemy carry might bug out and net you a free win. ;) And also remember, they could die to dragon. :D
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A TL:DR Guide to Killing Friends and Influencing Elo