League of Legends has had the same core game modes for almost four years. Twisted Treeline was the last to receive permanent status, but it looks like Riot may be trying to bring another into the family.
Today, Riot announced the upcoming “Teamfight Tactics” (TFT) game mode, coming in patch 9.13 in beta form. People familiar with the meteoric rise of the Dota Auto Chess custom game will find a similar experience in TFT.
A post in the League of Legends client by Riot Cactopus and Riot Beernana outlined some of the basics of TFT. There will be 8 players in a match, similar to Auto Chess, and your objective is to be the last player standing. Usable units are drawn from the 144 current champions in LoL, and they will share bonuses with other champions based on unique classes and traits (like Demacian champions getting a buff when played with other Demacian champions). Just like Auto Chess, gold is earned by each player and can be used to purchase new units for their composition. Combining three of the same unit will produce an upgraded version, and combining three upgraded units will produce a supremely powerful version.
In a seemingly unique twist, a special event will occur every few rounds. All players in the match will draft a team from a single pool of champions. However, they will do so in reverse order of the standings. This means the lowest players get first picks, allowing them an opportunity to mount a comeback.
Cactopus and Beernana point out that Riot was heavily inspired by Dota Auto Chess. They also want to make TFT a “Real Grown Up Game Mode,” highlighting an appropriate level of support. That includes, they say, a ranked system, which they expect to release in patch 9.14, one patch after TFT launches. Riot is also introducing customization opportunities for TFT avatars. These are the characters (as seen below) that represent the player and take damage when someone loses a round. They’re called Little Legends, and they have upgrade opportunities just like TFT units do. More Little Legends will come in future patches.
What’s more, your Little Legend will cheer you on from the sidelines of the Howling Abyss during your ARAM games.
The future of League of Legends is fascinating. With this announcement and more work coming on Clash, Riot looks like they’re devoted to diversifying LoL’s playable experiences. For more updates and esports content, follow us on Twitter and subscribe to our YouTube channel. See you on the Rift.