by Pockygom

Are you interesting in starting to play TFT? Trying to get a new player into TFT? Here's the first of a series of guides aimed at introducing players to TFT

BEGINNER GUIDE (PART 1: CORE MECHANICS)

What is TFT?

Teamfight Tactics (often abbreviated TFT) is an autobattler game developed by Riot Games designed to be strategic, yet accessible for people of any background. Your units fight on their own, you are given about a minute per round to make your decisions, there are no truly challenging mechanics to TFT and you don't even have to win the game to raise your rank. TFT is, in most regards, an easy game. The main difficulty is in navigating through the randomness and variance to make well-informed decisions and maximize your expected placement.

However, this is only possible with the proper knowledge and information to base your decisions around. There is neither a tutorial nor a sufficient resource explaining how the game works for beginners. The goal of this beginner guide is to fill this gap by introducing the key mechanics of Teamfight Tactics and provide a basic structure to help new players learn the game.

BASICS OF TFT

(If you would like to skip over this, jump to the Learning TFT section.)

A standard game of TFT consists of 8 players taking turns battling each other in a pseudo-random order until one player is left alive and deemed the winner.

Take a look at your typical TFT screen.

While the UI may seem daunting at first, we will go over each component one at a time.

BOARD

Each player is given a 4-by-7 hexagonal board and a bench that can fit 9 champions as shown below.

Only units on your board will fight for you in the current round.

The number of units you can have on your board is equivalent to your player level.

You can hold units on your bench for future purposes.

SHOP/CHAMPIONS

Champions are the units that are displayed on your board/bench and in your shop.

Champions can be purchased and moved to anywhere the game highlights on your screen.

Each champion has its own unique cost, stats, skills and traits. You can check these by right-clicking the unit.

  • The cost for selling the unit is shown in the top right of the portrait

  • The stats are health, mana, attack damage, ability power, attack speed, armor, magic resist, critical chance, critical damage and range

  • During combat, units will automatically attack based on their range. Each attack dealt and all damage taken helps units generate mana.

  • Skills typically activate when the unit fills its mana bar

  • Every champion has 2-3 traits

Every unit has a star level:

  • When you purchase a champion, it comes as a 1* unit

  • When you obtain 3 copies of the same champion, all 3 will combine into a 2* version of the champion. The 2* unit has enhanced stats (HP and AD) and skills and appears bigger with a silver outline on its health bar

  • Similarly, 3 copies of the same 2* champion will combine into a 3* unit appearing even bigger and golden with a gold outline on its health bar

  • The shop will indicate when you are able to create a 2*/3* as shown below

You can reroll your shop which will replace your current shop with a new shop. This is used to spend your gold to find specific champions and upgrade them.

TRAITS

Your active traits are displayed on the left.

Traits are distinguished between origins and classes with every champion having at least one of each.

Playing different champions with the same traits on your board gives you additional bonuses and effects based on the trait.

Traits will indicate that they are active as shown below.

Hovering over the trait will show you its effects, champions and thresholds

Emblems can be obtained and used to increase the count of a specific trait by 1. These typically require a Spatula to craft, or can come from a special item called a Tome of Emblems.

PLAYER LEVEL

Your level is the value displayed on the bottom left.

It increases when the EXP bar under it reaches the threshold to reach the next level.

EXP is gained through two ways:

  • At the start of every round you receive 2 EXP

  • You can purchase 4 EXP for the cost of 4 gold

Your level is equivalent to the number of units you can have on your board.

Your level determines the odds that different champions can show up in your shop.

GOLD

Your gold is the value displayed on top of your shop.

It is used to purchase units and EXP.

There are four ways to obtain gold:

  • You naturally gain gold at the start of every round depending on several factors

  • For each 10 gold that a player has, they earn 1 additional gold / round, up to 5 additional gold/round.

  • You gain gold for winning a round

  • You can sell units you have on your board/bench for the cost displayed on the top right

  • You can receive gold from loot boxes

Win/loss streak gold is determined as follows:

ITEMS

Items are the icons that are displayed on the bottom left of your board or on top of your units.

Items are distinguished between item components and completed items:

  • Item components only give a stat boost

  • Completed items are created by combining two item components and have additional effects as shown below

Right clicking a item component will show you all the completed items that can be made using the component

Items must be placed on units on your board for it to have an effect.

You can place at most 3 items on any given unit as shown below.

There are two ways to obtain items:

  • You can pick up an item of choice on carousel rounds

  • You can receive items from loot boxes

HEALTH

Every player starts with 100 health.

Whenever a player loses a fight, they will lose health depending on two factors, the current stage as well the number of units remaining on the winning player's board.

Players die when their health reaches 0 and they receive a placement for the game depending on the order that they died.

LEARNING TFT

In a typical game of TFT, you'll do the following:

  • Take units and items from the carousel

  • Purchase, sell and reroll units from your shop

  • Add and remove units to and from your board

  • Build items and upgrade units to make your team stronger

  • Purchase EXP to level up

  • Save up gold

  • Build your strongest board to try and beat the other players

We will go through a few guidelines to follow as you get used to playing the game. For this part, we encourage you to start with a few Hyperroll games. The hyperroll game mode removes most of the complexity in managing your gold so that you can focus on learning how all the other aspects of TFT work together.

Your goal here is to build a sense of how the game plays out and figure out what units, traits, items all do. Don't focus too much on the nitty-gritty of all the math, probability, and meta behind the game! These are things you can study once you get to a point where you understand the game flow and key concepts of the game.

All TFT games start similarly and maintain the same structure throughout. Hyperroll will be a little different from the standard ranked mode but the gist of it is the same.

The game starts with the opening carousel and moves into 3 creep rounds. You will typically receive 3 item components by the time you fight other players. The game is divided into stages with each stage following the same format: 3 player combats into a carousel into 2 player combats and then one creep round. At the end of the creep round, we move into the next stage and repeat the cycle

Don't worry too much about what you take on the opening carousel and let the games play out. For the following guidelines, you will want to prioritize the ones that come first and move onto the more complex concepts as you get more comfortable.

GUIDELINES

  1. Learn the units.
    Buy units and put them on your board to see what their stats are and what their skills do. You can right click a unit on your board/bench to look at all of their information.
    Your goal here is to learn what each unit does and what traits they have.

  2. Upgrade your units.
    2* units are significantly stronger than their 1* counterparts. They have nearly double the HP and AD and are usually not too difficult to obtain. Oftentimes, a 2* unit is stronger than putting in a unit just to activate a trait.
    You can go for 3* units. Be warned that many times you will not be able to turn your units golden because obtaining 9 copies of the same unit can be very difficult especially if other people are holding the same unit as there are a limited number of copies of each unit available
    Your goal here is to build a sense of how many times you typically have to roll to get your 2* and 3* units.

  3. Learn the items (as well as the special items).
    Don't be afraid to experiment with items. Try to make combinations of items that seem like they would be good and see how they perform. You can right click on items and components to see what they do.
    Your goal here is to learn what each item does, how to build them and how well they interact with each other, units and traits. Learn how items like reforger, remover, loaded dice, tome/emblem, etc. works.

  4. Try to fit as many traits as you can on your board.
    As you are able to put more and more units on your board, the combinations of traits that you can have at any time increases. Try to adjust your board so you can either upgrade an existing trait to its next tier or add a new trait.
    Focus on testing out as many of the traits as you can while seeing how the game lets you build different combinations of traits as you level up. You will notice certain combinations can be built more naturally (and often synergize better) than other combinations.
    Your goal here is to make a habit of finding the best combination of traits that your current board can fit.

  5. Watch your fights from beginning to end.
    Even though your board fights on its own, you want to pay attention to what each unit is doing in the fight. There are many things to pay attention to here but for now focus on how units move, target enemy units, how their skills work and what initial positioning seems to work best for each unit. (Melee up front, ranged in the back is the general guideline)
    Your goal here is to make a habit of observing every little thing that is happening in the fight to better understand the combat mechanics

  6. Follow a team composition list/guide.
    Find a team composition that you would like to play and find the appropriate guide that explains the units and items that you want. If the guide is thorough enough, it will tell you how to do everything from start to finish while explaining what to prioritize.
    Try to follow the general structure focusing mostly on what units you want to use/hold, what items you should prioritize making and how to position the units in the composition.
    Your goal here is to learn how to follow a game plan and begin understanding what compositions/units are strong and part of why they are strong.

  7. Save resources.
    There are times when you will want to save item components, gold, and hold units on your bench. As you get more comfortable with the game, you will understand which items are worth making and which units are worth using/saving.
    This means holding onto item components when you can't make the right items, keeping units on your bench that you aren't playing on your board, or saving money to roll at a specific time/level to improve your chance of hitting a unit.
    This is where the majority of in-game planning in TFT is so you will want to practice it a bit as you play.
    Your goal here is to begin evaluating which units and items are worth using to win fights and learn a bit of the planning needed to navigate through TFT's game flow.

Play a few games of hyperroll while following these guidelines and once you feel comfortable with buying units, rerolling, making items/comps, etc., you can try to move into the standard mode!

In this standard mode, you will need to learn how to manage HP and gold much more carefully. We will discuss this topic further in our next article where we will focus on what resources you have and how to manage them all in conjunction with each other.

Once you're jumping into standard, check out our quickstart guide for SET 6 MECHANICS and our updated composition list for the current patch.