How to Recognize When to Choose a TFT Team Comp
Some of the most common questions I see TFT players ask are: When should I decide when to play a certain meta team comp? How many components and items should I have before I commit? Is it too late to pivot at X point in the game? All of these questions are valid, but there is no set answer for any one of them.
In this guide, I hope to share the methods I use to decide what to target, when to commit to a TFT team comp, and how to adapt throughout a game.
Before we begin, I strongly recommend checking out our TFT overlay in combination with the concepts we’ll be discussing in this article.
The overlay guides you from within your game client by helping you understand how to execute your comp’s gameplan (which champs/items to target, how to navigate the early/mid game) throughout a match.
It’s an incredibly useful tool for beginners and veterans alike. Without further adieu, let’s jump into it!
For the One-trick Players
If you typically only play one comp, this guide may not be for you (unless you’re trying to change this habit!).
Many players have found great success forcing the same comp every game, which ultimately means they play more greedily than others. Some games you will find the units you want, other times you will use cheap placeholder units until you find the ones you want.
The key is how you navigate the early game. If you want to be a one-trick player, you will have an easier time knowing what items to build, but you may lose gold in the process.
In the games you don’t find your core units early, you will have to use transition units that won’t be in your final comp.
That leads to less interest gold, and more gold spent rolling down to find your units. Even still, by slamming items early, you can mitigate the weaknesses you face by piloting a strong early game.
So overall, you may become very good at this one comp but you can run into issues if you’re in lobbies with other players targeting the same comp.
Navigating the Early Game – Stay Flexible
The early game can be somewhat tricky for players when they don’t find units that match their items. You may have a comp you like to play, but you either find only the champions and not the items, or you find the right items but not the champions.
In almost every meta of TFT, it’s always advantageous to learn multiple comps as you can play whatever matches both the items and champions you find.
In TFT, it has been standard to be level 6 by 3-2. Early game is largely defined as the decisions you make before this point, and sometimes a slight bit after. For the most part, you should play flexibly in these stages, building 2 star champions and items that you find to ensure you don’t fall below 70 HP before Krugs.
Suppose you find perfect items to play Cassiopeia (Blue Buff, Morellonomicon), but you end up finding lots of Rebels or Blasters. In cases like these, it’s perfectly acceptable to build your items early on units that may not be ideal.
For example, Lucian has a very low mana pool and will be very strong with a Blue Buff early. While it might not be ideal, he will pose a strong threat to players that don’t build items or hold out for their perfect carry. After this, the game can play out in a few ways.
- You are able to transition into a comp that utilizes Blue Buff better. Eventually, you roll down at either 6 or 7 and transition your comp into a Cassiopeia centered comp.
- Alternatively, you don’t find Cassiopeia but are able to find more item components that build into core Blaster items. You look for Jinx and leave the Blue Buff on Lucian as a pseudo carry.
- Note: Whenever you make a decision, you should try to envision what options you possibly have. This will allow you to plan more carefully so you don’t end up with sub optimal late game items.
In another scenario, you may be able to build early game items that are core to lots of comps. A few examples of these are Last Whisper, Blue Buff, Bramble Vest, or Guardian Angel. These items are core to many champions, and you shouldn’t be afraid to build these items in the early game.
Find a suitable champion to hold it until you find a strong 4 or 5 cost champion that you can build around.
The first carousel can provide lots of insight on what build to play, but for the most part, you should try to build an item that can be used on lots of comps. You might be able to build 2 perfect items for a comp at this carousel, which is a very acceptable choice.
Just know that if you build those two perfect items, you may be locked into playing only that comp. As such, it’s often better to build strong but flexible items.
As a general rule, you should build whatever item you believe will make you the strongest at that point, without sacrificing too much late-game potential.
Items like Statikk Shiv or Luden’s Echo are great for the early game but fall off heavily in the late game. Furthermore, if you win streak too much, you will have last pick during future carousels, making itemization even harder.
The second carousel is approximately when you should be deciding what comp you plan to play. Many things may have happened up to this point, such as:
- You find an early 4 cost unit that you can build around.
- You have items that point you toward a certain comp.
- The champions you have are pointing toward a certain comp.
- You find a perfect champion on the carousel.
There are many things that may have happened up to this point, but try to use this as an indicator for what comp to play. By 4-1, most players will be level 7 and may roll down for their team. If you don’t decide on a comp by this point, you may lose too much HP trying to find a direction.
Committing during the Mid Game
We’ve gone over why it’s important to commit around the 3-4 carousel in order to not bleed out, but there are other situations you may find yourself in.
Committing but not hitting
In some games, you may decide on a comp, find 2 or 3 perfect items for you carry, and roll down at level 7 in order to find them. But what happens if you don’t find the units you need?
Using sub-optimal units
There are many 4 or 5 cost units in the game that might not be in the comp you want to build, but can be used to ensure you stay alive longer. For example, you may be playing a comp like The Wall.
You roll down but only were able to find 2 copies of Cassiopeia and can’t find a 4th Vanguard. In these situations, you may accept your fate and hit 8th, but there are still things you can do to mitigate the damage.
For example, Gnar is an example of a strong 4 cost unit that isn’t in the comp. He gives Astro which may be useful, but you don’t have other Brawlers. Or maybe you find a Viktor and have extra mana items.
There are plenty of champions that may be suboptimal but are strong in their own right.
Using these champions to mash together a comp can save you enough HP and time to find your ideal units. With Set 3.5, you only lose 1 gold when selling 2-star units that aren’t 1 cost. Use that to your advantage.
Using sub-optimal items
Conversely, you may have tried to build the perfect items for your carry, but got unlucky and didn’t hit those items. In these cases, you should still try to build items that are decent.
For instance, you may have found an early 2 star Jinx, but can’t build Giant Slayer or Last Whisper.
You can instead decide to build items like Red Buff or Deathblade. While the items might not be ideal, you can still be respectably strong with sub-optimal items.
Praying for a Hail Mary
Some games, you may feel like you’ve made all the correct decisions. You were flexible, built strong items, but you roll down at 4-1 and aren’t able to build a strong team.
In these cases, you may find yourself rolling every turn to look for that last unit you need to stabilize, but you can also cut your losses to try again at the Raptors.
Waiting for Raptors
Raptors, or 4-7, is the last creep round that gives item components. This will be your last hope to build the items you need.
Almost every player will be level 8 after this creep round, so this is also your last chance to roll down for the units you need to find.
If you weren’t able to hit items and units for the comp you committed to at 4-1, you should try and decide if you can afford to wait until 5-1 to try again.
You may be too low HP and be forced to roll every turn just to stay alive.
Conversely, you may find yourself with an already strong but not ideal comp. In this case, you can wait to build up more money to ensure you find the units you need.
The Greedy Fast 8
In some rare circumstances, you may find yourself low rolling units early in the game, but have the ideal items for a specific comp. While not advised to inexperienced players, you can opt to keep losing during the early and mid game in order to rack up enough gold to hit level 8 at 4-3 and roll down to find the units you need. If you hit, you can stabilize, but if you don’t you get a guaranteed 8th.
Other Frequently Asked Questions
So far, I’ve gone through my decision-making process throughout the game, but there are also other questions that frequently come up that I want to address.
What units should I have before committing to a build?
For the most part, items will be the deciding factor on what build you play. Also, remember to scout your lobby to see what builds are contested. If you have the right items early, and there aren’t too many people playing your comp, you’ll be likely to hit most of the time.
How do I recognize what items I need before committing?
This one varies from comp to comp.
- For 4 Vanguard 4 Mystic, Blue Buff on Cassiopeia is one of the only core items. The rest can be quite flexible.
- For a comp like 6 Cybernetics, you really want a Last Whisper on either Vayne or Irelia.
- For Master Yi, you really want both Rapid Firecannon and Quicksilver.
Try to build items that are core on your carry. There is usually one core item that is the most important while others can be flexible.
Do different comps require committing at different times?
For the most part, “regular” comps should ideally commit around 3-4 as I mentioned above. For comps that slow roll or hyper roll, you need to commit by 2-7 (Krugs). It can be better to commit earlier for slow roll and hyper roll comps as they are gold intensive. But if you don’t hit it can result in a bad loss.
Is it better to play a weaker comp uncontested or a contested strong comp?
This one is a bit of a tricky question. Usually, B tier comps are played by high elo players when they are able to win streak early with it. They then can either decide to transition out of the units into a stronger comp, or commit to a B tier comp and use their early win streak to top 4. Playing a weaker comp when you’re already on a losing streak is a recipe for disaster.
When is it too late to pivot to a different comp?
This one is also extremely difficult to answer. A lot of factors can come into play. If you decide to commit around 3-4, you might miss on your units if/when you roll down at 4-1. In this case, it’s not too late to try again at 5-1 for a different carry. Furthermore, you may be able to naturally hit a different carry during Stage 4 that you can pivot into.
Just be wary as you likely won’t have enough money to completely pivot, so you can try to mash together two comps to create a decent team to keep you afloat until you rebuild enough gold to find your new comp units.
Experience Goes a Long Way
All in all, there are very many factors that can go into deciding what comp to play. You can make a simple decision and just play the same comp every game. Or maybe you just decide to play what you feel like. If your game fundamentals are strong, you can get away with playing whatever comp you want and have reasonable success.
In order to truly maximize your chance of winning, however, you should strive to play whatever the game gives you in order to best make use of your resources. This is also crucial in ensuring you have a high top 4 rate to continuously climb.
You may decide to commit to a comp and it doesn’t work out. In these games, you should take a second and ask yourself if you made the right decision. It’s possible that you made the objectively correct decision, but the game just didn’t give you the units or items you needed. It happens. But maybe you could’ve done something differently.
Ultimately, as you play more games and play more comps, you will gain experience and understand what it is that you believe is the requirement to commit to a comp. What I’ve provided is a general outline, but only you can decide what factors influence your decisions.