How to Identify your Mistakes in Teamfight Tactics
TFT can sometimes be a difficult game to improve in. Unlike in other games, there usually is not one decision or one action that led to a loss. It often comes as a culmination of many decisions that ultimately were not optimal.
There will be some instances where a loss can be pinpointed to a certain event. For example, maybe you did not check for Zephyr in the last fight and it cost you the game. These situations happen, but as you get better and better, identifying your mistakes only gets harder and harder.
So without further ado, here are my tips for identifying and learning from your mistakes.
The Obvious Mistakes
I briefly touched on this topic already, but there will be times where you know an exact moment where you made a mistake. Here are a few example situations.
- You are in 1st place in the mid game, but didn’t spend time checking enemies for Zephyr.
- You skipped over a unit in the shop that you needed.
- You built the wrong item.
In all of these situations, the mistake came from a lack of focus or concentration. Simple mechanical mistakes like skipping a unit or building the wrong item can be remedied by concentrating and taking your time. Sometimes the game will require you to act and think fast, but pushing past your limit can be more detrimental than rewarding.
In the first example, being in first place can make you overly confident. You feel strong and are strong, but one perfect Zephyr can ruin your win streak. Take the time throughout the game to scout and reposition, otherwise, you may be punished.
The Not So Obvious Mistakes
In TFT, there will be many decisions you have to make, and sometimes you will make the same mistake twice. Some mistakes aren’t easy to fix like the previous section. One of the best examples of this is positioning.
When you are positioning your team, you have to watch the fight in order to understand what led to what. As a result, you adapt over the course of the game, and ideally, bring what you’ve learned into future games.
Experiment and Adapt
In a game, you usually will have general ideas on how to position your team. Ranged units in back, melee units in front, Snipers in the corners, and so on. However, there are many situations that require more thought.
- Should I put my carry on the left side or the right side?
- How do I ensure my abilities hit the right targets?
- How do I protect my carry from a threat?
- Should I bunch my front line or space them out?
When watching a fight, don’t simply watch to see if you lost or if you won. Try to see how positioning affected the fight. Ask yourself if you could’ve changed anything to make the outcome different. If you come up with an answer, try it. If it doesn’t work, try to think of another solution.
Eventually, you will reach a point where you can identify problems and correct them almost as if they were a reflex. Then once you’ve learned more about positioning, you can use scouting to create a bigger advantage for yourself.
The Hard to Identify Mistakes
TFT is a very complex game. You have decisions on what comp to play, when to level up, when to roll, what item to go for, and so much more. As a result, figuring out where you went wrong in a game can be a very difficult task to accomplish. Here are some things I’ve figured out while trying to climb the ladder.
RNG is a Factor
In TFT, there will always be some degree of luck involved. You may have done something that gave you the highest probability of success, but it didn’t pan out the way you had hoped.
For example, maybe you found 2 Vaynes really early and decided to play Cybernetics. If you go the rest of the game without finding another Vayne or a single Irelia, you may have wished you went for a different comp.
Learn the difference between making a mistake and making the correct decision. You will always know the correct decision in hindsight, but during the game, you can only try your best to make the most optimal decision.
Understand What Your Decision Entails
In most games, you may have a simple formula you follow, but sometimes, you may want to deviate from that formula or try something new. In these situations, you must understand why you’re doing what you’re doing and what you hope to accomplish.
For instance, imagine you are on a hot win streak and have a very strong team and have a lot of gold. It’s Round 3-4 and you ask yourself,
“Should I level up to 7 early?”
Usually you would have leveled to 7 on 4-1, but maybe you have a good unit to put in and want to secure your win streak. If you level up and win streak to victory, then great, you made the correct decision. Alternatively, if you lose soon after, you may have just ruined your economy and momentum and end up 4th or even lower.
On the other hand, maybe you decide to level up to 7 on 4-1 and end up in 2nd or 3rd place. You could then ask yourself, “If I leveled up to 7 early, would that early pressure have gotten me 1st place?”
This is an example of a mistake I find very difficult to identify. It would take an extreme understanding of the game to always know the optimal decision in a game.
Taking Additional Factors into Account
Moments like the example I described above are exactly the best things to learn from. You can take multiple things into account like:
- How strong is the average enemy?
- How many players are playing greedily or aggressively?
- Is my comp uncontested?
- Are my items good enough to win streak or should I lose a bit to get items off the carousel?
There are so many factors that you can take into account that it can be overwhelming. When you make a decision in a game that strays from the normal, try to see the factors that led to its success or failure. Also ask yourself if you should have strayed from the normal if you didn’t. By doing so, you will learn what to keep in mind when you want to make a decision.
Only by making mistakes (or seeing other players make mistakes) will you be able to learn how to identify mistakes, and ultimately, avoid them.
Identify your Goal
In a lot of games, you may find yourself in an unlucky situation and be forced to “play for Top 4.” This mostly applies to higher elo players who want to make consistent LP gains. However, if you’re just starting out, you may find better success in playing greedily for a top spot instead of mitigating your losses.
If you intentionally lose streak the early game after a bad start, you are making a risky call to try and build a strong team late game to skyrocket to the top. If you continue to have bad luck, you might bleed out into 8th. In the ideal scenario, you will find the perfect units you need at level 8 and get yourself a victory.
When making a conscious decision like this, ask yourself what is the playstyle you want to achieve. If you want to be consistent, then the risk would be too much and be a mistake. If you want to play greedily, then you take the sub-optimal decision with hopes of it being the correct choice.
No one can tell you how you should play the game, but if you want to learn from your mistakes, you first have to determine what constitutes a mistake. Making a risky call knowingly is different than always playing greedily without weighing the pros and cons.
There are so many factors to TFT that it can be difficult to learn from your own mistakes. It can even be more difficult to try and identify mistakes when you’re watching other players or top players. Try to take hindsight bias out of the equation and take an analytical approach to the decisions you make.
Decide how you want to play, and try to make the optimal decisions based on that. And lastly, don’t be afraid to make mistakes. Making mistakes can be rough, but learning from those mistakes is what will make you a better player.