LoL: A Beginner’s Guide to Teamfight Tactics

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LoL: A Beginner’s Guide to Teamfight Tactics

ESTNN's resident Teamfight Tactics expert Manny Gomez walks those new to autobattlers through their first game of Teamfight Tactics.

Unless you've been hiding from the internet for the past few months or have zero interest in MOBAs, then you probably have heard of the new Auto Chess (name taken from the DOTA 2 mod)/ Autobattler genre. Well, Riot Games didn't just watch DOTA run rampant with the genre and released their own autobattler, Teamfight Tactics (TFT), soon after.

Many fans are excited about the release of TFT. So much so, in fact, that TFT has dominated the Twitch charts and quickly become of the most viewed games on the platform. The thing is, however, TFT is difficult to get into. There is no tutorial, and several mechanics aren't immediately apparent. No worries, though, we're here you take you through your first match and explain all the basics. Let's jump right in!

A Beginners Guide to Teamfight Tactics 

The Basics of tft

Teamfight Tactics is a simple game with complicated mechanics. The goal of the game is to build a roster of heroes that will fight against other players. Winning means you do damage to the opposing player. Losing means you take damage. You start with 100HP, and when you reach 0HP, you die. If you're one of the last three players standing in the lobby, TFT counts that as a win. Pretty simple, no? The hard part is the mechanics: choosing units at the carousel, buying units, upgrading them, item build paths, managing the economy, and placement.

Starting Round: The Carousel/ Shared Draft.

Carousel TFT


As soon as you accept a game of TFT, you aren't sent to champion select like a normal game of League of Legends. Instead, the client immediately throws you into a game with seven other people at what is called the “Carousel.” Here is where you will see ten champions, of which you will pick one to start the game with. To pick one of these champions, you just right click to move your character to them and you'll automatically pick them up. 

Depending on the champion you pick, you'll be able to start setting up a strategy for the game. There are two main strategies: “economy” and “reroll.”  These will be a bit more complicated if you are an absolute beginner, but it is important to simply know that there are two strategies that you can follow. Rerolling involves rerolling your store using gold in order to upgrade champions (more on that later). Economy is more complicated and we'll cover that in a separate section. The image below goes into more detail on these strategies.

Strategy TFT



The Minion Rounds

After selecting your unit, you are ported to the field where your units will do battle. You can move your unit by dragging and dropping them onto the desired hexagon. In Round One, the unit will initially take on two minions. By defeating these minions, you get a chance at item drops. We will go into more detail about items later, but keep an eye on the lower-left corner next to your avatar – that's where the items will land if you get them. You will now see that you have also acquired gold and can buy units.

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All these units will have an Origin and Class. When you play one of your units or champions you will see that the left-hand side of your screen will have some names along with numbers. Let’s take the example of playing a Tristana you would see something like this:







When you play other, different units that have the same Origin or Class, you will receive a bonus that will make your units stronger. In this scenario playing 3 different Yordles will grant these units the following passive:

  • Attacks against Yordles have a 20% chance to miss.

It is important to note that playing two of the same unit (two Tristanas, for example) will not increase the bonus. This is where the strategic element of picking a composition that works well together can be the major difference between being the winner or losing early.


The first three rounds consist mainly of gathering items and forming an initial team of three units. A good starting roster is usually double Knight with Darius and Garen as your frontline and a third damage heavy champion. The other good starting point would be triple noble consisting of Garen, Vayne, Lucian and/or Fiora.

Upgrading Units

Something else to note is that purchasing three of the same unit will combine them into a two-star version that said unit. This upgrade gives them the unit better stats such as more health, more damage and a level two version of their ability. You can even upgrade these units further by combining three two-star units into a three-star, and so on and so forth. it will take nine of the same champion to upgrade a until to level three, the best possible level.




Now you might be wondering, “Yeah, but how else can I gain stronger units?” Well, one way is by using the items that drop during minion fights. This is where TFT really differentiates itself from League of Legends.

Items are only gained from the carousel (they are found on all units in the carousel) or from neutral minions. Combining two items will give you a different, completed item that will buff the unit you give it to. Fans of League will be familiar with these items, but it will take people unfamiliar with the game a little longer to get the hang of. With a wide variety of items, here's Scarra's TFT Item Cheat Sheet to help you out.

Items TFT



Riot has continued to patch TFT in order to change the meta, so be sure to check out any changes before committing to a specific strategy. For example, Riot recently nerfed players using Pyke with double Shojin, as this would stack and give “mana” (used to determine when units use their ability). This strategy was quickly causing large multi-unit stuns that could shift the battle in an instant. In other words, since TFT is in beta, check for any changes before hopping in a game.

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Learning the TFT economy and properly balancing between all of your options is something that will be important the better you get in the game. When you start the game, you gain 2g per round,. Following each PvE round, that transitions to 3g, 4g, and 5g respectively. For each 10 gold you have saved up, you actually earn 1 extra gold on top of the end of round gold drop. This “earned interest” can be very useful to buy the units you need later in the game. 


You can also earn more gold if you manage a win streak or a loss streak. This means that losing consecutive games can actually be a strategy to earn more gold. With all this newly acquired gold, you can do three things:

  • Buy units, these range from 1g to 5g.
  • Buy EXP, 4g for 4 EXP. Depending on your level you can play more units as well get higher level units in your shop.
  • Reroll 2g per use. Reroll lets you spend 2 gold to completely refresh your shop. This is used if you are desperately trying to find a unit for your composition or trying to level up a unit.


The 2nd Carousel Round and onwards

After the early game PvE rounds and the following PvP rounds, you will return to the carousel a second time. This time, however, there are some differences from the original Carousel Round. The main difference is that players now pick a unit in order of their current placing in the lobby. The lower in the standings you are, the earlier you will be able to pick a unit. The more damage you have taken, the lower in the standings you will be.

This functions as a catch-up mechanic, giving losing players first pick at units on the Carousel. You don't have to pick a champion just for the champion, however. If a unit has an item that you want, you can select that champion and then sell them once the game ports you back to your board. Selling a champion give you any item on the champion. You could deny a champion pick to another player, or you can always choose a champion for yourself. All of these are valid options and can vary depending on the game strategy you chose.



In a game as complex as TFT, we recommend new players just as much as possible. The more games you play, the more you will start to grasp the mechanics of the game. Another useful advice is to watch streams and videos on it from people that have played since day one.

The first major TFT tournament starts on July 17-18 at 10 AM PDT/ 1 PM EDT. Twitch Rivals will showcase the top 64 players and streamers in all of TFT fighting for a chance at glory and a 125k prize pool. This is a great chance for new players to get into the game and check out some of the strategies that the pros are using. Don't forget to tune in!

Images VIA: Riot Games, Mobalytics, Scarra

Manny Gomez
Manny ‘Manstr’ graduated with a degree in game design and development but fell in love with the thrill of esports. Manny has always enjoyed talking about professional League of Legends and FIFA. He has been a published video game journalist in Colombia for two different publications. Twitter: @Manster415