This guide is meant to help you understand the fundamentals of how this game mode plays, what you should/shouldn't be doing if you do wish to play and win games more effortlessly, we will be covering pretty much everything so lets get into it!
The straight forward answer is, it's 8-Players fighting through multiple stages throughout the duration of the game, usually (30 minutes) of positioning, organizing an competing against one another. Understanding everything about this game is pretty important if you intend to climb quickly and effectively.
TFT is what we call an "Auto-Battler" in the form of chess. You place your units on the board, and they fight for you without you being able to interact with them any further outside of placing them on the board. It's really all about using your own strategy & utilizing what you have been given to win your games.
No game will be exactly the same. You might be the type to play games one specific way, a similar style, every single time you play because it is fun to do just that. In TFT you are never guarantee the same composition or style due to the randomness of item drops and units. Add in the fact that everyone shares the unit pool makes it even harder if someone else is trying to go for your favorite composition. Change things up a bit!
You'll find yourself becoming quite the strategist, in this fast-paced game mode, be it through RNG or AI prediction. So let's get into the basics of how this game works, and how to understand everything TFT.
The carousal is a safe haven where after a set number of battles, two players each in order from last place (8th-7th, 6th-5th) and onward struggle to acquire a unit/item of their choice. Some are better than others.
The first Carousel is a free-for-all, it can be the decider on what you get later on in the game based on the unit that you choose, or the item that you have chosen. You can sell the unit for a better one that fits into your future build, giving the item to a unit who can fully utilize it's full potential, don't build useless items.
Regardless of if you are first, last or in between, you always have a shot at a specific unit or item. It does help to lose a few games on purpose if you really need to be first for that item/unit. It is a strong & valid strategy.
There are specific instances where the entire Carousal will be nothing but one item or item piece, this could be anything in the game. Try to use this information to acquire the items that works with the unit in the first place, if you have the chance to do so, as it benefits them and you if they are going to be used in your comp.
If you look here, in this video reference, we want the Recurve Bow but it's going the opposite way. We would always be behind the item, rather than ahead of the item. So we cut the item off the opposite way, leading into it. Here at this point there is another player trying to steal it, but we grab it first. Hooray for us!
In TFT reckoning, one of the key ways you’ll be able to claim victory over your opponents is by properly utilizing Shadow items on the correct champions with their corresponding correct items. It will serve you poorly if you don't think hard about it. Some items can become double edged swords so choose wisely.
The introduction of set 5, has granted us a few new mechanics following it's past sets. With the high risk high rewards: Shadow items!
Shadow items are basically mirrors of their originals. Upgrading them, however, can come with a risk, powerful yes, but a double edged sword.
RISK: Sacrificial Gauntlet will grant 65% Critical Strike Damage, but the caster will deal 15% of their maximum health as damage every cast. This sounds like a very good item for a champion who can sustain constantly.
NO RISK: Titan's Revenge would have no downside, dealing 40% of the max damage they have taken after 4 auto attacks into their target. This sounds like a pretty heavy hitter for a frontline that hits slowly.
Knowing who can use what more efficiently than others can really turn those high risks into more of a minor risk and with the proper champions and compositions working together to create a strong formidable team.
Hyper roll is everything the base game is, but simply faster with games lasting anywhere from 15-20 minutes, with no need for leveling. You simply reroll and try to win with what units you can pull together. There will only be 1-2 PvP matches per stage and a few PvE matches here and there before the stages skip entirely to the next. Every player will start with (20) HP, instead of the usual (100). Teemo costs 6 HP but now costs 1.
If you equip an item to a unit, you can not remove it unless you sell the unit. Make sure to be careful when you decide to put an item on a unit. Sometimes it's better to wait, see what you get next before applying it.
Why do items matter? It's quite simple really. You need items, specifically you need good items for specific units and compositions that allow you to counter another player an to strengthen your own even further.
You're not going to give a squishy unit tank items and a tank unit DPS items. Unless that specific tank is meant to be a DPS unit and that squishy unit is meant to be a backline tank with its special origin/class.
Unlike with previous TFT sets, we now have a new way of obtaining items. This once again ties in with the reckoning mechanic. Each stage will have 3 PVP battles called (#)-(#) upon arriving in (#)-(2) you will be prompted with a choice of your own item before your next bout! A dangerous and potentially strong item or a normal item with absolutely no risks at all. But is playing it safe really the best choice? Taking that risk?
Applying certain items, to units that can benefit greatly from them is more efficient than giving something like to a unit that can not utilize it fully because of their skills. They may be a front liner, a tank someone who needs to be in the front of the fights and not the prime unit for damage. Where as a squishy Assassin or a Ranged unit is much more preferred since they can attack from a longer range preferably behind their frontline Leona or Poppy keeping them alive longer with a tank in their way soaking up damage.
There are many different and countless builds that can be applied to really every unit and their origins and classes. But this is something you must experiment with and learn for yourself. A guide can only go so far.
In the beginning you start with 100HP(20 in Hyper Roll). Reach 0HP and you lose.
Take a look to the right side of your screen when you load up a new match, the information will display your current HP & placement out of the other 7 players.
The closer you are to the bottom means you are losing a lot, but will more frequently be chosen to go first when you get sent back to the Carousel to choose a unit or item. This also gives you an idea of how closer you are to losing, allowing you to theorize on how to survive a bit longer or turn the tides around.
If you are at the top you will be the very last player to get a unit or item. This can be pretty demoralizing seeing everything stolen from beneath you. So you can use this information to lose a few matches purposefully if you are in need of an item when it won't drop in any of the PvE or drops. Losing basically rewards you.
If another player is on fire then this information can tell you how well another player is doing. You can then plan your strategy for later specifically for them. Perhaps a specific comp that can counter them if others are not a major threat to it! There are multiple ways to play every composition, which you eventually learn through playing them first hand. You can even check out our comps page.
Every stage you lose against an NPC or player will subtract (x) amount of health based on how many units are left and what levels they are on the enemies playing field including the enemy player. So you will take a lot more damage from 8 units than you would from 1 unit. If you have no chance of winning fights, try to build into a comp that will at the very least keep you from taking damage.
Just above health & current placements is a sword icon which when clicked lists all of your units calculations. You can utilize this information to properly place items on your corresponding DPS, HEALER or TANK units. Simple.
If you're ever unsure of who is doing what in your current comp, give these calculations a quick glance after a fight. It will help you theorize what would be best course of action for your units to get the most out of them.
You can see here, the carry is Vayne while Hecarim & Warwick are both a tank and high sustain/shield units, so giving her DPS items and both of them tank/heal amplifiers helps increase your ability to build very strongly.
Knowing this, we would make Hecarim & Warwick front line units, while trying our best to position Vayne in a way where she is almost untouchable in the back line, with units protecting her. It might seem tough, but eventually you will understand the basics of units and how to play around their AI.
So once again if you are ever feeling stumped on what is going on in your current composition as a new player or quite possibly even as a normal player of TFT this information is absolutely a life saver, when you resposition.
To the left of the screen in a game of TFT you will notice Origin & Classes.
While in possession of any units, you will automatically activate one or many of these effects. This shapes your team if organized properly.
Your main priority in TFT is to get as many as you possibly can, while also working towards compositions that compliment each other & are activated with synergy and items that can counter your opponents or strengthen yours. It really does come down to your knowledge of the whole game.
It can take some time to understand everything to play optimally, to fully understand which items work with each unit and why they work with them.
Due to how RNG this game mode works, sometimes you will get the items that have 0 synergy with your current units or get no good units in general. You just have to work with what you are given and try your best to shape it into something strong early to survive and transition into the late game.
The general idea is work and build around what you currently have in your possession early game and figure out what you can do for the remainder of the game, to improve or switch around units. Do you invest in the units you currently have because you acquired two level 2 units? Perhaps you don't want this and want another comp. It can make or break your builds entirely.
If you are looking to widen your knowledge of current compositions that are doing well, why not head on over to our TFT Comps for assistance?
After the first minion round, the game starts to open up in terms of making decisions and constructing your team comp. Take a look at the image below, this is the shop at the bottom of the screen, let's break it down.
Your gold (which is located and displayed in the center) can be spent one of three ways on the left.
(4 Gold): You can see how much XP you have left to purchase just above it. You get XP per battle.
(2 gold): This will re-roll your current shop for another chance at gaining units that you need.
(1-5 Gold): Based on which tier the units are, each range from 1 gold to 5 gold. However, Teemo is special.
He requires not gold, but rather YOUR LIFE FORCE. This can be dangerous and extremely risky but if sacrificed becomes one of the most powerful units in the game capable of potentially damaging entire arenas.
If you find yourself unable to purchase a unit you need, consider locking your shop so you can buy it when you get more gold in the next round. Located on the top right corner, make sure it's locked before the round ends.
You can sell your units by dragging them onto the shop or by clicking them and pressing E. You might have obtained an expensive unit from the carousal that you don't need. This is great for your economy.
No surprise. Gold is important to have. The more you have the more you can do for your yourself keeping yourself ahead of your opponents, in level/strength. You acquire gold through various means, winning and losing constantly, selling units from the carousel & battling PvE. Having a good stable income is important.
Located on the left side of the playing field is your bonus income. Each gold chest indicates 1+ extra gold per turn. You can use this knowledge to then find out how much gold the other players currently possess. Use this information to play aggressively against another player who has no chance to obtain higher levels or higher tier units for their current comp due to a drain in their economy, exhaust the unit pool they need.
Try to restrict yourself from going on a spending spree. Losing a little HP and having a huge economy late game, is much better in the long run than using re-roll strategy in the mid game until you exhaust everything.
There are 2 specific ways to play TFT both with their own specific pros and cons. They are called the slow-roll & re-roll strategies, they are pretty basic concepts utilizing slightly different means to winning games.
Slow Rolling is simply not re=rolling but simply sitting on above 50 to slowly find the core units you need to 3 star early on since you don't spend point on leveling, which grants you longer access to lower tier units. This strategy can be strong if you hit your *1/2 units level 3 early, but can also be horrible if you can't find them.
The downside: Loses early a lot but, you're first to pick a unit unless you are pulling off a strong early comp.
Re-rolling Strategy is basically rerolling several times, before you hit level 5, to gain an advantage over your opponents. The chance of finding a *1 unit shifts between levels 4 and 5, so this is the perfect levels to do so.
The downside: Winning all the time can lose you carousal units & items early. It's also heavily reliant on RNG.
Here is the current list of Classes and Origins. If you ever need a reference to figure out which you are missing you can use this image. You can also use this as reference to plan out your later game, to acquire the units that would complete the bonus effects. Having one of every unit is bad since it doesn't synergize.
I would highly suggest you experiment with builds, the game is always changing and sticking to one specific play-style is never going to work 100% because players love to use the same compositions over and over.
Located at the top of the screen in TFT, are the stages. What's coming up next and what to look forward to.
At the start of each stage you will be faced off against (3) sets of PvE battles and the carousal. Followed by (2) more PvP battles and (1) PvE battle. These special PvE battles ease you into a specific composition based on the early game RNG rolls for you, be it the item drops or the units or gold that have dropped for you.
This is where you need to make your stand on whether or not you wish to dominate early game if possible, or survive enough until you can put together a strong enough team to make your come back mid-late game.
The indicator is here so that you can keep track of how much longer you need to survive or wait for the next PvE/PvP or carousel. No before you ask, you can not see the enemy you are facing, it is mostly speculation until it is the final 2-3 players remaining, at that point of the game you would start arranging units for them. Sometimes you may be faced off against a copy of an opponents team. This is basically a weaker version of their team because there are not enough players left for you to face off against. You still lose HP if you lose.
The longer the game goes on, the harder and more dangerous the PvE battles become. You will fight Rift Heralds & Dragons that reward much greater loot, fully built if you conquer them. They gain those item buffs.
There isn't really a limit to how many stages or matches there are. However, in any normal circumstances you will only ever make it to about Stage 6 before players start to lose and leave the game, in the final debut.
Something very important to TFT is unit organization. You can't just place your units in a random order. If your opponent has a Zephyr or Thresh hitting your primary carry, then simply switch them around last second replacing them with a unit of less importance. This can really change the outcome of the next fight.
You can see with this composition example that we have a pretty solid front line with a frontline carry.
Morgana is level 3, with a huge shield, massive sustain and AoE CC burst with the items that we have applied to her including a shadow item. This makes short work of multiple units fighting her head on or nearby. While also being very tanky to survive alone.
Thresh on the other hand is being placed in the back so he doesn't die too quickly so he can get his hook off to CC their farthest champion, usually the carry. We have two Lee Sin's which path into nearby enemies slowing them by 50% attack speed, forcing them to deal a lot less damage to everyone else.
Everyone else is basically running interference to keep Morgana alive until she is one of the last survivors so she can get in deep for her AoE an utilize her shadow item effectively, healing for each unit targeting her.
Watching your opponents can tell you what they are doing, they may have switched around their main carry and put him on the opposite side, in this case, we would simply move Thresh to the other side to match this switch. The same applies to really any composition that is trying to survive you or trying take out yours.