Just like League of Legends, Teamfight Tactics throws you in at the deep end – “Oh, you’re drowning? Suck it up and learn how to play.” Seems to be Riots take on the situation.
The game no tutorials, and the fact that it comes with a fair bit of randomness also adds to the difficulty. Sure, randomness can work for you, but if you don’t know what’s good and what’s bad, you’re out of luck.
This Teamfight Tactics guide is about more than the basics though. We’re going to go through all the minutiae! Everything from which Champions appear on the carousel and when, to how much gold you receive each turn.
Then we’ll give you some examples of how to use this information to build a cohesive army. After that, we’ll take a look at some ideal builds and strategies for winning.
Unlike League of Legends, Teamfight Tactics pitches you against seven other people – that means that you have no ‘team’ to blame if things go south. Of course, you could always blame it on good old fashioned bad luck.
Each player controls an army that they can place on a chess-like board. Just like in League of Legends, you position your Champions on It with the tanks at the front, and carries in the back – but not really.
We’re getting ahead of ourselves. Let’s talk about the beginning of the match first.
Each match starts in an open field with a rotating carousel of Champions – we’ll get into this in more detail, but for now, simply walk over one to pick them up.
Drag your Champion from the “bench” to the “board” and sit back while they duke it out with two ferocious-looking minions.
At the beginning of each round, you’re given a pool of Champions you can buy with gold. You can then drag these purchased Champions from the bench to the board, although the maximum number of Champions you can have in play is equal to your level, so keep this in mind.
It’s really that simple – if you lose a match, you lose HP, if you lose without damaging your opponent too much, you lose even more HP.
If your Champions last long enough they’ll begin to build up mana. (Like Gnar and his rage system.) When this bar is full, they will unleash a special ability at their foes.
That is, in a nutshell, how TFT works. But this Teamfight Tactics guide is for those who want to come first in Teamfight Tactics; and for that, you’ll need a bit more than the basics.
As with most games, gold is what makes everything function, and your in-game actions will decide how much of it you have.
It’s good for everything, from purchasing Champions and refreshing your selection of purchasable Champions, to buying EXP. If you’ve played Teamfight Tactics before, then you’ve no doubt noticed Gold, but do you know all the ways it’s gained? Probably not.
The more you have, the more you get. For every 10 gold, you’ll receive 1 extra gold at the start of every turn. Given that 1 gold can be the difference between you getting the Champion you need to win and crushing defeat, you want to manage your interest.
In order to maximize income, you want to maintain an average amount of gold of 40 or higher – some people may advise you to maintain 50 gold or higher, as this is the number when interest maxes out. We suggest you ignore that advice.
Our repeated tests have proved that under most circumstances, 50 gold is overly difficult to maintain. An average of 40 will guarantee that you get 4 extra gold at the start of every round without substantially hindering yourself.
Of course, there are other ways to earn gold!
This handy chart will help understand how much your gold per round increases, including the gold gained from a win/loss streak.
Gold is useless if you don’t know how to spend it though, so let’s delve into the best strategies in Teamfight Tactics!
Despite what some people seem to think, you don’t want to have your carries in the backline!
That’s not to say you don’t want to have a tank in front of your Marksman, but it’s important to have one behind them too, sandwiching them in all nice and cozy.
Why? Because Assassins will jump to the Champion positioned on the hex furthest away from them, and if that’s your ADC, then they’re going to bite the dust before you can blink.
In terms of positioning, most people place their troops toward the left or right side of the board, as this gives your higher value Champions more coverage.
Most of the time, you’ll find enemies approaching you from the right side, so you want your tank to be the furthest forward and to the right. To the left-hand side of the tank, you should place your tanky DPS, such as Gangplank; this prevents him from instantly being obliterated.
Naturally, you should change up your formation in accordance to your opponent's strategy. If the enemy team positions themselves toward the left of the board, then place your tank on that side.
As you’re doing this, your enemies will likely be doing so too, and you’re going to want to break their ranks. There’s one way to do this well, or rather, one Champion who can do it well; Graves.
Graves is quite a unique unit in that his auto-attacks have splash damage, and if positioned well, he can tear right into the backline.
Finally, when placing your Assassins, you want to have them positioned in the backlines, blocking your carries in.
This means that when the fight starts, your carries can’t move for half a second – which is what you want, as it gives you enough time for the enemy troops to aggro onto your frontline.
Again, this is quite a new game mode, and we can’t cover every possible way to position your Champions in this short Teamfight Tactics guide. However, you don’t need to know every position. The meta is changing rapidly, and with these basic yet essential tips, you should be able to improvise, adapt, and overcome.
Again, what’s good today might be garbage tomorrow, however some Champions continue to shine above the rest:
Early game, it’s a good idea to have Champions such as Garen. Darius, and Warwick – Nidalee is also pretty useful, but remember to try and mix and match origins and classes. For instance, Garen and Darius will give you that great Knight bonus, in addition to tons of AOE damage.
In the mid-game, you’ll want to build according to the Champions you took early on. If you’ve decided to take both Darius and Garen, then Vayne is a great pick!
She needs defending so she can get off all her damage, and the Garen and Vayne combo can help you build into the noble Origin, if that’s what you’re going for.
Other useful mid-game Champions include Brand, Cho’Gath, Draven, and Sejuani, although that doesn’t mean that other options are trash tier.
When it comes to the late game, you want to really go all in on your Origins and Classes. Gnar and Swain are both top tier, so if you already have a Nidalee, then do your best to pick him up for that sweet Shapeshifter combo.
Akali is great if you need an Assassin, or Aurelion Sol if you’re going for the Elementalist Class bonus, which happens to be one of the best in the game – don’t worry, we’ll get into them in a little while.
Draven is excellent if you need a bit more damage output, and as much as you might have grown to revile him, Yasuo is an excellent option.
These are complex things, and they’re occasionally overlooked when you’re constantly rerolling in an attempt to upgrade all your Champions. Here are some of the best Origins and Classes in the game, and the reasons behind why they’re so good.
While these classes statistically perform the best, that doesn’t mean they’re a good fit for you – always take what fits your playstyle and make your own kind of fun!
If we’re talking about straight-up power, then Elementalists are one of the best – not only are 3 out of the four Elementalists some mighty units (Kennen, Brand and Anivia), but if you collect three of em, you’re granted a free tank!
This tank is an Earth Elemental, or as she is otherwise known, “Daisy.”
Unlike LoL’s Daisy, she won’t be knocking enemies up, but she will be the rocky shield that protects your precious squishies.
The one setback to this class is the rarity of the Champions. If you can find them, great! But don’t trade in all your troops just because an Anivia showed up in the late game.
There are more Shapeshifters out there than there are Elementalists, and what makes them so powerful is the buff they receive. It’s common knowledge that Swain and Gnar are intimidating juggernauts once they transform, but up until then, they’re kinda meh.
If you’ve ever run this comp then you’ve probably run into a situation where Swain transforms but is quickly snuffed out before he can do anything. With the Shapeshifter buff, his health is doubled after transforming, which can be the difference between defeat and victory.
It’s a tie between Sorcerers and Knights for the third spot, but in the end we had to give it to knights. Late game, Sorcerers will demolish your foes, but Knights remain prevalent throughout all levels of the game.
Knight Champions are already tanky meat bags, but do you know what would make them even greater? More tankiness, and that’s just what the Knight buff gives them. Plus, with such Champions as Garen, Darius, and Mordekaiser, why would you not want this buff?
We had a hard time figuring out which Origin to put first and which to put second, as they were so close – However, in the end, we identified the one that stood out amongst the rest.
Units with the Glacial buff have a chance to stun enemies for 2 seconds, which is no laughing matter. If an enemy is stunned, they can’t attack, and if they can’t attack, they can’t deal damage or gain mana. Plus, there’s nothing more satisfying than stunning and killing a target who’s about to use their ability
In addition to that, it comes with some top tier Champions, namely Sejuani and Anivia!
The Phantom buff adds another layer of RNG into a game that already has plenty of it – then again, if you’re not a fan of randomness perhaps League of Legends would be a better option for you.
In essence, the phantom buff sets a random enemies HP to 100 at the start of the match – this can be absolutely devastating if the right target is cursed. You are, essentially, outright killing a troop.
The Phantoms, Mordekaiser, Karthus and Kindred are all pretty good in their own right, so overall the only downside is the relative rarity of these Champions.
As it stands, there’s currently only one exile, Yasuo, so you don’t need to worry about not finding enough Champions to get the bonus.
If Yasuo starts a game with no adjacent allies, he gains a shield equal to 100% of his maximum health. While it does fit an “Exile” to have no one around him, he’s capable of ruining your enemies day if placed correctly.
We’ve got one final topic left to cover, and by the end of it you should have a more comprehensive understanding of how to play Teamfight Tactics.
Plenty of players struggle with upgrading Champions vs aiming for class/origin bonuses.
Our advice is to pick up plenty of early game Champions, especially the one cost ones. You only need three to upgrade a Champion, and you won’t be accruing vast amounts of gold early on anyway – however, don’t reroll until after defeating Krugs, that’s when things start to shift into the later stages of the game.
You want to think extra carefully about going for the highest tier Champion, as it’s not only time and money consuming but may begin to block up your bench.
Whatever you do, always specialize. This is not a game where you should try to be a jack of all trades, and if you do, that Victory screen will continue to elude you.
Now that we’ve got all that out of the way, this next section should be a bit easier to wrap your head around;
As is usually the case, some items are amazing and others are awful – we’ll do our best to help keep you from the awful.
We’ll take a look at some of the best items and which Champions they go well on to help give you an idea of what you want to be aiming for.
This item pairs remarkably well with most rangers, but Vayne in particular. Why? Because it grants a Champion the Glacial bonus.
Not only does this count toward the bonus itself, meaning you need less Glacial Champions to benefit from it, but it also allows her to potentially stun enemies with her autoattacks. A nice chunk of health is also included, which never hurts.
While wielding this item, a Champion attacks 4% faster, and it stacks indefinitely – this means that if you have three of these on an Ashe, then she will be firing far faster than any bow should be able to, and perma-stunning her foes (assuming she has the Glacial buff.) It’s also pretty nice on Vayne, as it allows her to proc her Silver Bolts passive more regularly.
Spear of Shojin
After you cast an ability, the wielder gains back 15% of max mana with each attack – this is particularly good on sorcerers, such as Karthus or Ahri.
Force of Nature
If you place two Spatulas on a Champion, it gives you an extra Champion slot – this can be super useful, but don’t waste it on Champions you want to get three items for, as it offers no stats.
Rapid Fire Cannon
When this item is equipped, a Champions range is doubled and their attacks cannot be dodged – this is especially useful if your enemies are stocking up on stinky Yordles.
When equipped, every 3rd attack deals 100 splash damage – it’s good on most carries, but especially those with the Wild buff, as they can get their attacks in at a faster rate.
Deals 10% of the wearers max health as splash damage – this works well on tanks, as you might have guessed.
You heal for 50% of the damage dealt by basic attacks. Always useful on your heavy hitters, such as Vayne for instance.
Locket of the Iron Solari
All Champions surrounding the wearer of this item begin the game with 300 extra HP. That’s nothing to scoff at, but it doesn’t scale as well into the late game as other items.
Now there’s a lot of items that are good on particular Champions, and since it’s a lot easier to make sense of an image over a wall of text, here; take this handy little reference!
All this might seem like a lot to remember, but we advise you come back to this teamfight tactics guide and leave it open during games, allowing you to find information when you need it. Follow these steps, and you’ll be well on your way to finishing first!