Everything You Need To Know About Positioning in Teamfight Tactics
Positioning in Teamfight Tactics is one of those heavily sought after nuggets of wisdom. Unfortunately, I am here to tell you that there isn’t a one size fits all for it.
TFT positioning is extremely situational and contextual – what you should do varies from scenario to scenario. However, what I can provide you with are fundamental guidelines that can help you navigate all situations.
Part 1: The Basics of TFT Positioning
Ensuring that your TFT champions are in the most ideal positions will help you increase their value and consistency for every combat round.
Here are the crucial guidelines to understand:
- Since mana generates when champs deal damage and receive damage, you want your pieces positioned on the board where they can actively deal damage and safely take damage (without dying) to gain their ultimates as fast as possible.
- A good rule of thumb is to aim to have your champion cast their ult at least once a round. If they die before that, something is wrong.
- The majority of TFT team compositions are built similarly to LoL. You have damage-dealing carries that are protected by tanks and supported by utility units.
- During the late game when there’s less players and you have a better idea of who you’re likely to face, you’ll want to be adaptive and try to optimize for that. Do not just autopilot with the same formation without double-checking that it’s as optimal as possible.
- You can save time by dragging units onto each other to switch their places. This will instantly switch their positions whether they’re on the bench or the board.
Before we continue, let’s test your knowledge with a little pop-quiz. In general, how would you position these champions:
*Cue Jeopardy music* Picture where you’d place them in your head – got it? Alright let’s see how you did…
Example #1 Garen (frontliner with an AoE ultimate)
Just like his LoLcounterpart, in TFT, Garen is a melee tank that likes to be in the middle of the fray and spin to win.
Using the positioning shown above, Garen is able to guard Varus while being in a good location to enable his ultimate. Being placed towards the center of the board increases his odds of damaging multiple enemies while he spins.
If Garen was in Mordekaiser’s spot near the side of the board, his odds of hitting multiple enemies decreases.
By putting him in a position to succeed, Garen is able to cut through all three enemy units like butter in a blender. Despite being a tanky unit, he’s able to deal a respectable amount of damage by being at the right place at the right time.
Example #2: Tristana (carry in the corner)
If you’ve never played a MOBA and haven’t heard of the word “carry”, know that it usually refers to a champion that is one of the primary sources of damage in a team composition.
In Teamfight Tactics, carries tend to have higher damage output with less health and defensive stats when compared to other units. This means that you’ll want to protect them at all costs using units that have low damage but better defensive attributes.
By placing a carry such as Tristana in the corner of the board, you can limit the number of sides that she can be attacked from. In the example above, we see that Tristana is protected from all sides, either by the walls of the board or by her allies.
This makes it impossible for melee threats to reach her and minimizes her possible damage sources to ranged attacks or damage from abilities that bounce.
Example #3: Ahri (line ultimate)
Some TFT units have ultimates that fire in a straight line. For example, Ahri’s ult shoots an orb that reverses and goes back to her. To maximize these units and their abilities, place them near the sides of the board so they have a better angle and increase their odds of hitting multiple enemies.
If you instead, placed Ahri toward the center and bottom of the board, she may be split between targeting enemies who are on the left and right of her, limiting her odds of lining up a good ultimate.
In the example above, we can see that placing Ahri allows her to successfully hit multiple enemies with one orb. It may not seem like much, but every point of damage matters in TFT. Hitting one or multiple enemies can mean the difference between winning and losing.
How did you do? If you had trouble, no worries! By the end of this article you’ll be equipped with all the fundamentals you need to make you a proficient positioner.
If you got them all right, we recommend sticking around because we guarantee you’ll learn something new (feel free to jump around though!).
Part 2: Watch your Units
If you are even remotely serious about improving your positioning, you need to start paying attention to your unit behavior. I don’t mean making mental calculations, scouting opponents, or chatting with friends in between buying decisions, I mean literally shutting off all distractions and focusing specifically on observing unit behavior.
Your goal should be to become so familiar with unit behavior that you can predict the outcome of most matches successfully after seeing the pieces align at the start of the round. Not only that, but you know exactly what the frontline and the carries are going to do.
Very few fights should feel as random as a phantom debuff. If you watch any high-level TFT streamer, you will notice that the top players already intuitively do this.
Here is a good exercise to improve your unit behavior knowledge:
- Spend 2 full games just observing unit behavior. Don’t worry about predicting just yet or anything else for that matter, including the quality of your decisions or scouting.
- Pay special attention to the carries and the frontliners with big CC.
- Assassins have a special AI, so make sure you watch them closely. Watch how your backline behaves at the start of the round too.
- Notice how many of your units are getting ultimates off. How many of the enemy’s key units as well?
- Spend the next 2 games focusing on predicting behavior and note how much you got right or wrong.
- What will your carry target?
- Which unit will your frontliner clash with?
- Where will your assassins jump and who will they target?
- Who will get mana burned by Kassadin or a demon?
- If you did reasonably well, then congratulations: You are now mindful of how units behave and will subconsciously improve this skill.
- If not, go back to step 1!
Part 3: Learn What’s Standard
As of writing, there are a few things that are standard in TFT matches. People will usually position on the left or right side of their board, placing their carries in the back corner and their beefy CC units in front.
You can use this knowledge to your advantage:
- There is a physical difference that causes more people to lean towards positioning to the left side.
- The bottom left corner hex is not blocked like it is on the right side, so the carry feels nice and snuggled in the far back with other units around it.
- Pay attention to the subtle differences the blocked hexes create as you think about positioning units each round.
- Positioning on the left is the standard safe choice because it’s where more people will usually be.
- This means that if your opponent is placed standard on left, your outermost units will walk towards their outermost units and they will meet in the middle.
- The backline will follow (unless they have very long range or Rapid Firecannon.
- In comparison, positioning on the right can be considered an aggressive play as it puts your front line in attack range of theirs.
- Your front line will immediately start to engage theirs and all units will stay clustered in formation.
- This positioning can be considered a forgetful play as well since most people know that positioning on the right is better for the Krugs round and then they forget to go back to the left.
Knowing these two general positions and their pros/cons allows you to think critically about how you want to position.
- Have a really strong carry with long range?
- You want them to shoot as much as possible, so you should position safely on the left allowing units to waste time walking to get to you.
- Have a really strong AOE carry?
- You probably want the enemy to stay clustered and take as much damage as possible (especially if it’s Brand with the bounces). Positioning aggressively on the right encourages their units to stay in a tight formation.
Part 4: Assassins
Due to their unique leap mechanic, assassins get a section for themselves since they can cause you a lot of positioning headaches. Here’s what you need to know:
- Assassins will always jump to the farthest unit from them. So if your assassin is in the back left and the enemy is positioned at his back left (your far right), the assassin will try to jump to them.
- Assassins are untargetable during the jump, but will eat CC’s like Zephyr after they land.
- If they can’t reach the farthest unit, they will jump to the closest free space to that unit and hit the nearest enemy.
- Note that this calculation does not happen at the start of the round, but rather at the predicted position of each unit once the round starts and units can move.
- This means that if part of the backline moves forward and frees up space, the assassins will jump there.
Given the above information, here are a few useful things you can do when playing as or against assassins:
- If you are playing assassins, line up your assassins in the back row. If your composition is large enough to fill 2 rows, then make sure your front liners are behind the assassins.
- This will force their units to walk forward towards your tanks, and give your assassins good space to jump to.
- If you are playing against assassins, DO NOT put your carry the furthest back, especially in the early game vs Kha’zix. This is a sure fire way to lose.
- Instead, place a melee unit in the back and have them be “stuck” there waiting. This gives the assassins no good place to jump to and protect your back line from isolation.
- In the early game consider adopting a T-formation (also called Y-formation), basically two in the front, one in the back, and one behind them to protect from isolation.
Part 5: Unique Scenarios
There are certain units that require their own section since they obey a few unique principles. Their presence makes it so that you have to constantly scout to see where the enemy is placing their units to maximize or minimize their effect.
Blitzcrank will pull the farthest unit from him to where he is, potentially making an unwinnable matchup winnable.
Playing as Blitzcrank
- Always position your Blitz in a way where one of their carries (usually in the back corner) will be pulled.
- Remember that other units will not focus the pulled unit until they finish with their current target. Best thing to do is to make sure you keep a few close range units next to Blitz to kill the pulled unit ASAP.
- Playing against Blitzcrank:
- Minimal effort and 75% effective solution: Dont position your main carry in the back left corner. Place a strong disruptive unit like Morganna or Lulu instead.
- A better solution that requires effort: Constantly scout your opponents and position appropriately.
Graves has an AOE spread attack that cleaves targets, and he also has gunslinger buff which allows him to attack more than 1 target, potentially cleaving twice onto the same target.
Playing as Graves
- You want to position Graves near the front but not necessarily as the main frontliner.
- A good example is an aggressive positioning the top right corner of your side of the board. This way Graves shoots diagonally and hits most of their first 2 rows.
Playing as Graves
- You want to isolate Graves to just fight one unit so he can’t take advantage of his spread.
- This means that you want to notice where the enemy Graves is and position away from him, leaving one unit as bait.
Not really a unit but this item really changes the way you position. It will cyclone the unit opposite to the unit equipped with the Zephyr.
Playing with Zephyr
- Zephyr will always hit an enemy unit, so if it’s positioned opposite to an empty square it will just pick the closest unit to it. You can see the tornado graphic when moving the unit around too!
- You need to think about what the biggest threat to your team is before you position your Zephyr.
- Do you have a lot of damage and do not want them to get CC’ed?
- Make sure you Zephyr a frontline tank.
- Do you have moderate damage but lots of CC?
- Control their carry with your Zephyr and methodically piece apart their team.
- Is it early game?
- Target your opponent’s most stacked and ranked up unit!
- Do you have a lot of damage and do not want them to get CC’ed?
Playing against Zephyr
- All you can do is watch where their Zephyr is and reverse the answers to the above questions.
- If the enemy is playing Zephyr, consider moving your carry at the last second to trick your opponent into using a cc on the wrong unit.
Part 6: Useful Positioning Tips
Here are a few tips that you can really capitalize on after you grasp the fundamentals.
- Some of your ults are so critical to get off that half a second will make a difference, so you want them to take just enough damage from a safe spot.
- Check out how Brand is positioned on the edge in this comp. He can take a bit of damage and still be relatively safe since most front liners will shield him first.
- If you are playing against many Aasassins it’s better to move to the right side corner.
- Units will be less likely to disperse due to the blocked Hexagon in the bottom right corner.
- Your comp will also have 1 more unit to place on the bottom left flank of your formation.
- Rapid Firecannon is a great counter to Pyke and Assassins in general, it will keep your carry out of Pyke’s shadow.
- Daisy will always spawn in an open slot near an Elementalist.
- As a result, don’t put all your Elementalists in the back unless you want your Daisy to spawn in your Backline.
- Daisy will always spawn in an open slot near an Elementalist.
- Gnar is often better in the backline if he is not 2 star.
- Try to position your demons vertically under enemy units like Cho’gath and Sejuani, they will drain their mana preventing key CC to be utilized on you.
- If you are playing with Redemption, try to position your unit so it dies first.
- If the enemy has many CC units like Sejuani and Cho’Gath, don’t position in front of them.
- You want the fight to be more chaotic so the resultingCC will have a hard time hitting several units.
- Always position Kindred at the center of the formation so she can hit as many units as possible, especially the carry.
- Assassins can be stopped from jumping by positioning them in the front and in range with an enemy, especially useful against pve camps.
- For more tips, check out Scarra’s Positioning video!
Hopefully, you are well oriented on the basics of positioning and even have the understanding to tackle some of the most advanced concepts. Remember that you can never truly become a master unless you mindfully observe unit behavior and become one with their AI!