Grandmaster Tips for Adapting in Teamfight Tactics
TFT patches often shake up the meta quite a bit, especially early in the set. For many people, patches are a blessing as the comp they detest is finally getting nerfed. For others, patches are a curse that nerf their favorite comp to play. Either way, patches create meta shifts that can be difficult to keep up with regardless of how you feel about the patch.
In set 1, patches always seemed to be a toss-up for me. I either played very well and consistently or instantly bottom 4’d my first 5 games.
In set 2, I found much better success throughout each patch, and wanted to share my tips on how you can create a competitive edge against other players with a bit of critical thinking and preparation.
With patch 10.7 coming out, the meta will shift and evolve rapidly as the new galaxy mechanic rolls out. This article will first go through the main factors I consider when reading a new patch and some tips to prepare yourself for the incoming Galaxy mechanic.
One of the things I noticed about set 1 was that I always had the same leveling strategy regardless of what comp I played. I, like many other players, have learned and adjusted our leveling strategies to match the comp we are playing. I won’t go into every leveling strategy in this article, but I’ll explain a basic gameplan.
Hyper Rolling: Looks to use all early game gold to reroll for 1 and 2 cost units to snowball the early game, gain a lead, and punish greedy players. Predators in set 2 are a great example of a hyper roll comp that remained a solid team comp throughout most of the set.
“Regular”: Looks to level mostly after every creep round and rolls down only slightly in order to stabilize. Often uses 2, 3, or 4 cost carries as the center of the team. Brawler Blaster and Protectors are two examples of this.
I say regular, but there is quite a large variance of leveling strategies within this category. I simply group them together for simplicity’s sake.
Fast 8: Looks to save up gold to 50 and never reroll until hitting level 8 (before other players) to find 5 cost units to become unbeatable late game.
At the time of writing this, every TFT player knows about Rebel and Cybernetic comps and how they dominate the meta currently (Patch 10.6). Update: Cybernetics have slowly fallen off their initial strength, but still remained a solid option for a top 4 comp.
Carry Cost simply refers to the cost of the main carry of your team. For Rebels, it would be Aurelion Sol or Gangplank. For Protectors, it would be Xin Zhao and Rakan. The cost of your carry directly correlates to how you should decide on a leveling strategy.
For Rebels or Cybernetic, Fast 8 is arguably the best leveling strategy. For Protectors, it would be a “regular” leveling strategy that leans toward more early game rerolling for your 2 cost carries.
Being able to discern the leveling strategy for a new comp or a comp that has recently gained popularity will net you an advantage over other players who haven’t put in the same thought.
Applying this knowledge
The best way to explain this would be through examples.
Follow the trend, but do it better
In set 2, 6 Shadow comps became very popular after other top tier comps received nerfs. Shadows were buffed over the course of many patches, and eventually, players found out that it was a top tier comp.
While I may not have innovated this comp myself, once I lost a game to a 6 shadow player, I was able to understand the key points of the comp, and figure out an appropriate leveling strategy to replicate it before there was any reddit guide or youtube video explaining how. While it may not have been the perfect strategy, it was a strategy that worked for me in Grandmaster elo.
6 Shadows had 3 main carry units. Kindred, Sion (both 3 cost units), and Master Yi (5 cost unit). With this, I understood that Kindred and Sion allowed this comp to have a mid game power spike, but the comp did not rely on 3 starring either unit as Master Yi became the late game carry.
I decided that once I hit level 6, I would roll down and ideally find Sion and Kindred 2 star to carry me through the midgame. I would not roll all my gold down, however, and cut my losses if I didn’t hit Kindred and Sion to ensure my economy can bounce back. After that, I would stop rerolling until I can comfortably hit level 8 to find Master Yi.
This strategy follows more of a “regular” leveling strategy, with a slight inclination toward saving gold for level 8. This allowed me to cover the weaknesses of Fast 8 (weak midgame) and reliably find Master Yi while staying fairly healthy.
If you’re watching a new comp on a popular stream, you’re likely already late to the party. Being able to dissect comps you play against, or theory craft your own comps, will be what gives you an edge against other players.
Play against the trend
Conversely, early in set 2, while everyone was playing comps that relied on 5 cost units like Singed or Zed, some players found success by win streaking early. Some players even rerolled in the first round of PvP by looking for Nasus (A strong early game unit and item holder).
This resulted in the popular 6 Inferno comp that took over the meta. By building up an early win streak, these players consistently landed top 4 and even took first every now and then.
6 Inferno may seem like a comp that would gravitate toward Fast 8, since it relies on finding Amumu (5 cost unit) for an ideal endgame comp, but players didn’t do this. Kindred allowed for an extremely strong midgame, and Zyra allowed for an extremely strong early game.
Furthermore, the late game strength of 6 Inferno lied in the synergy buff rather than the carry units.
Because of this, players rerolled aggressively in the early game to build a win streak and hit level 8 at an average pace while maintaining high gold and health. Hitting Amumu 2 was not necessary as long as you had your 6 Inferno buff.
This is a prime example of how players understood the leveling strategies of the current meta and devised a comp with a corresponding leveling strategy that countered the meta.
How this applies to Set 3: Galaxies
(For those of you reading in the future, this may not be useful information anymore, but it may give you some insight on how the meta can shift.)
The change to player damage in set 3 completely changed the speed of the meta. System changes like these don’t happen often, but when they do, the game changes quite dramatically. Since players take less damage in the early game, players can comfortably force a Fast 8 comp like Rebels or Cybernetic without being punished early game.
Furthermore, the addition of streak gold after creep rounds meant that players could build up immense amounts of gold by lose streaking the entire early game.
If 10.7 was a regular patch, players could simply read the patch notes and try to figure out what is going to stay strong, or what new comps have potential. But 10.7 is no regular patch.
The Galaxies Mechanic (and my thoughts)
With patch 10.7, the new galaxy mechanic will finally be released. These galaxies will bring highly differing games with their unique mechanic. I can’t give you any exact predictions of how the galaxies will affect the meta, but hopefully, after reading this article, you can take my predictions and your own to give yourself an edge this coming patch.
Every player starts with two Neeko’s helps.
- This galaxy will most likely push players into playing late game oriented comps. By going fast 8 (and fast 7), players can high roll an early 5 cost unit and instantly make it two star.
- This galaxy will likely create a very greedy early game where players will not reroll at all.
Initial Carousel is all four cost champions.
- The first carousel will definitely be a hectic one. If a player can grab a Fizz, they can easily get the Super Mech online way before they usually can.
- Other players will likely force comps based on what 4 star they are able to get. Use this early information to scout and plan how you will combat other teams with your own.
The first reroll each round is free.
- This galaxy will definitely punish players who want to lose streak. Players who are win streaking will be at an advantage as they can continuously make their team stronger without spending too much gold.
- This galaxy will likely popularize slow roll comps like Protectors or Star Guardian comps who use early carries like Ahri or Xin Zhao (2 cost units).
- Players receive a free Force of Nature on reaching level 5.
This galaxy, in my opinion, will be the weirdest one of them all so far. Team comps have natural power spikes based on the synergies and units they are able to put in at certain levels.
- If everyone has a Force of Nature, this will change the natural progression of many team comps, and the comps that can abuse this the most will gain an edge.
Not So Little Legends
Little Legends have more starting health and are larger.
- In my opinion, this galaxy will change the meta the least. The impact will depend on how much extra health you start with.
- Regardless, players will likely lean more toward Fast 8 comps, but Neekoverse will also do that, but with more impact.
These thoughts can be quite simple to think of yourself, but you should ask yourself more thought-provoking questions.
- “If the meta will likely shift this way, how can I follow the trend but do it better?”
- Or, you can ask yourself “If players will likely do this, how can I counter that.”
These are the questions that top players consistently ask themselves as they are playing. They are able to come up with solutions and react to the meta much faster than other players.
Even if you come up with a solution that didn’t work out in practice, you can watch how the meta shifts over time, learn, and take in that information.
Figure out what you didn’t expect, and what you did expect. Over time, you will find yourself making correct predictions more and adjusting quicker if you pay close attention.