How to Transition from Dota Auto Chess to Teamfight Tactics
Our team has been playing a ton of auto chess this year and we’re incredibly excited to jump into Riot’s take on the genre! We wanted to create a resource for other players that are transitioning from DAC to TFT that would cover the similarities between units and synergies, as well as other key differences in game mechanics. To make this as accurate as it could be, we had the help of Ace of Spades and Saintvicious who each had multiple queen accounts in DAC.
If you’re a DAC player that’s coming to Teamfight Tactics (TFT), this article is perfect for you. If you’re brand new to the genre it should also be helpful since we’ll be covering many of the basic game mechanics (we’ll have a separate in-depth beginner guide soon!).
We’ve created a new in-depth Teamfight Tactics site as well, so be sure to check it out. It has champion and item tier lists, info on classes and origins, and more!
The article will be organized into the following chapters:
1. TFT Units Compared to DAC
In this section, we’ll be comparing units from TFT that have similar ultimates or functions to counterparts from DAC. Keep in mind that some of these are more similar than others and that we weren’t able to include every piece (some were just too different).
Feel free to let us know if we missed anything or if you feel a better comparison could have been made in the comments below.
- Although Aatrox isn’t as strong as Sven in terms of power level, both units have melee cleave mechanics.
- Ahri’s ultimate is very similar to Puck’s, the difference is that Ahri’s returns back to her instead of just going in a straight line and disappearing.
- Akali/Katarina serve similar purposes as Queen of Pain being assassins with burst ultimates.
- The key difference is that Akali bursts in a frontal cone while Katarina bursts around her like QoP but also has anti-healing properties.
- Anivia’s ultimate is similar to Enigma’s due to it being an AoE damage circle.
- Enigma’s ult deals damage based on max HP while Anivia’s slows enemy attack speed.
- Both of these rangers have an ultimate that uses an arrow to stun a single target. Both arrows increase in power based on the distance to their target.
- The key difference is that distance causes Ashe’s ult to increase in stun duration while Mirana’s increases with damage and stun duration.
- Aurelion Sol and KoTL have similar AoE nukes that go in a straight line.
- Pudge isn’t in DAC but if you’ve played DOTA or DOTA Underlords, you’ll know that he’s a unit that utilizes a hook mechanic like Blitzcrank.
- Both units target the furthest enemy backliner and pulls them to themselves. Blitz knocks up his opponent after they are pulled in.
- Brand resembles the old version of DAC’s Lich due to his chain nova ultimate.
- Although Braum only uses his shield during his ultimate, both of these units feature a directional block mechanic.
- While Mars’s shield partially mitigates physical damage, Braum’s shield reduces all incoming damage sources.
- Although there are slight differences between these units in terms of ability size and timings, all four of these frontliners have powerful AoE stun ultimates.
- These frontliners utilize an AoE burst ultimate that’s centered around them.
- The key difference is that Darius’s ult also heals him based on the number of enemies that he hits during the swing.
- These two units don’t have ultimates and instead, have increasingly powerful auto-attacks if they’re able to stack them.
- Troll Warlord needs to continuously attack the same target while Draven needs to catch his axes.
- These units utilize transformation ultimates that spawn two pets – Elise summons spiderlings while Lycan summons wolves.
- Elise is a ranged unit while Lycan fights at melee range. When Elise ults, she becomes a melee unit with lifesteal while Lycan gains bonus max HP during transformation.
- Although these comparisons aren’t as close as others, Evelynn is similar to Morphling as a mobile assassin that has an AoE ultimate which allows her to escape after she jumps in on her opponents.
- Pyke is in a similar boat except he stuns as he phases through his opponents.
- Although Fiora would be closer to a DAC warrior and Templar Assassin is an…assassin, both units can output high damage while avoiding damage with their ultimates that include a short period of invulnerability.
- TA’s ultimate increases her damage while Fiora’s stuns and bursts the closest enemy.
- We were sort of iffy on this one as the power levels of the two units are vastly different (GP’s is much weaker). The comparison is made because they create a barrels that explodes and deals AoE damage.
Garen (TFT) = Juggernaut (DAC)
- This comparison is right on the money as both units have ultimates that spin to win to cause damage to enemies around them AND become immune to magic damage.
- Gnar is sort of a Tiny on steroids as he throws multiple enemies and stuns them whereas Tiny throws one enemy and stuns them as well as everyone else who’s around them when they land.
- Graves is quite similar to the older version of Beastmaster as a pseudo ranged unit that operates in melee range.
- His ultimate deals damage in a cone similar to BM and has a damage amplifier.
- Karthus and Zeus are pretty close in function as they both have ultimates that nuke many enemy pieces.
- The key difference is that Karthus hits a scaling number of enemies while Zeus has a chance to hit all enemies.
- This is one of the closest translations as Kassadin and Anti Mage both have a very specific mechanic – mana burn as they auto-attack.
- They do slightly lean in opposite directions as Kassadin’s mana burn creates a shield while AM’s mana burn causes damage to the target.
- Although the ultimates of these three pieces differ in execution, they are very similar in function as they all deny death.
- Kayle’s ultimate is the most different as she doesn’t directly prevent death, but rather does so indirectly by making a target unable to take damage.
- Kindred’s ultimate is pretty close to Dazzle as she prevents allies from dying, however, Kindred creates an AoE anti-death zone around her while Dazzle targets specific allies based on how close they are to dying.
- Both of these units have ultimates that involve a large AoE damage circle of electricity around them.
- The key differences are that Razor’s shoots out and then pulls back to himself while Kennen’s stays constant around him and has a stun to boot.
- Kha’Zix is similar to Bounty Hunter as they are both assassins with an ultimate that blows up a single target.
- The difference is that Bounty Hunter’s has a mini-stun while Kha’Zix deals additional damage if his unit is isolated (no adjacent units).
- Tiny is more similar to Gnar as we mentioned above, but Leona does come close in regards to her purpose as a unit.
- She’s a tanky frontliner that has an AoE CC to lock down multiple enemies, but note that Leona stuns a single enemy and slows the enemies around that enemy rather than stunning them all as Tiny would.
Lissandra (TFT) = Winter Wyvern (DAC)
- These ice-themed units have a similar ultimate that encases a friendly unit in a defensive ice block.
- The key differences are that Lissandra her spell offensively to lock down an enemy and she can only ult herself defensively. In comparison, WW can ult any ally but cannot use the ultimate offensively.
Morgana (TFT) = Medusa (DAC)
- Although Medusa is a hunter and Morgana is a sorcerer, they are both ranged units that have ultimates that are AoE stuns around themselves.
Nidalee (TFT) = Enchantress (DAC)
- Although Nidalee is a much powerful unit (despite Enchantress’s econ utility), both of these ranged units have an ultimate that involves a heal over time.
- The differences are that Nidalee also has a transformation while only healing herself and another ally (prioritizing the weakest), while Enchantress heals all allies within an area around her.
- If you’re looking for a melee bruiser/tank with a knockup like Tusk, Poppy and Rek’Sai are your units.
- Poppy is basically the same ability as Tusk while Rek’Sai’s also has a healing and untargetable component before ulting.
- These two assassins buff their attacks with increased crit strike chance, however, Rengar also has a leap ultimate (and additional attack speed) while PA’s ability is passive.
Shyvana (TFT) = Dragon Knight/Terrorblade (DAC)
- DK and TB are the closest comparisons to Shyvana as she greatly increases in power when she transforms into a dragon with her ultimate.
- When cast, she dives into her opponents with increased attack damage and range while inflicting burn damage.
- Swain is similar to Necrophos as a beefy caster with an ultimate that deals damage and heals.
- The key difference is that Swain only heals himself whereas Necrophos heals his allies as well.
- These DPS units are similar due to their long-range and ultimates that nuke a single target.
- Sniper’s ult deals more damage to the single target and inflicts a mini-stun while Tristana’s is slightly weaker but includes an AoE kick on the units around her target.
- This is one of the closest comparisons between the two auto chess games as Varus basically has the same ultimate as Windranger.
- They both channel a long-range piercing arrow in a straight line, you won’t be playing him any differently than his DAC counterpart.
- Vayne fulfills a very similar role as Drow Ranger as she doesn’t have an ultimate and instead, is a carry unit with passive auto attacks.
- While Drow increases her attack damage and attack speed, Vayne relies on dealing true damage based on her target’s max health on every third hit.
- Looking for a mage like Lina to basically delete a single enemy? Veigar is your unit.
- In DAC, Lina’s ult was a single target nuke that also increased her attack speed after casting – Veigar’s ultimate deals massive damage and will automatically kill his target if he’s a higher level.
- Volibear is similar to Luna due to his ability to chain his auto-attacks between enemy units, however, there are key differences.
- Luna’s attack bounce is a passive ability while Volibear’s is an ultimate that also applies on-hit effects from his synergies and items.
- Another contrast is that Volibear is a melee unit while Luna is a ranged unit.
There are a few units which have no correlates from DAC:
- Lucian: Ranged DPS with an ult that dashes and shoots twice. Can evade spells and assassins because of this.
- Lulu: Has a similar function to Winter Wyvern and Dazzle in that she saves people from damage, but Lulu gives them a lot of HP and knocks up units around her.
- Miss Fortune: Ranged DPS that has a channeled AoE ult that does a ton of damage if no one moves out of it.
- Shen: Melee bruiser that deploys an AOE dodge circle, protecting all your nearby units from auto attacks.
- Warwick: Beefy early game melee with a stun that heals himself as an ultimate. It targets the lowest HP unit to boot.
- Yasuo: Late game solo unit that benefits by having a standalone synergy procced by being isolated on the board. Gets a shield at the start of the round and has a straight line knock up for an ult.
- Zed: Ninja assassin that has straight line skillshot damage ultimate. Has the potential to work well alone.
Synergies in TFT are about the same in amount as DAC (see the table above), but they are easier to come by for several reasons:
- There are a lot more 2/4 synergies that are powerful and can be easily made with 1 or 2 cost units to start.
- There are no 9 unit synergies to max out to, so it becomes easier to focus on a 6 and a 3 (or 4).
- There are items which allow units to dual class, making it easier but also more fun and creative.
That being said, check out the section below to see key similarities and differences with DAC. Remember to let us know if you feel like anything is missing or could be better!
- Exile is similar to demon due to its reliance on being a loner unit. For demons, this meant only having (1) demon unit (unless you had demon hunters). For exile, it means that the (1) unit must not have any adjacent allies.
- In DAC, having (1) demon meant dealing 50% extra pure damage to a target. In TFT, having (1) exile gives the unit a shield equal to its max health.
- Yasuo is currently the only exile unit in TFT.
- Similar to exile and DAC’s demon, ninja provides a passive bonus if you have a solo ninja unit (40% attack damage increases).
- The difference is that if you have (4) ninjas, there is an additional bonus (jumps to 80% attack damage increase).
- Ninjas = Akali, Kennen, Shen, and Zed.
- Noble follows a similar pattern as goblin due to its (3) nobles = (1) random ally buffed and 6 nobles = all allies buffed system.
- While goblins buff armor and hp regen, noble grants armor and health per hit.
- Nobles = Fiora, Garen, Kayle, Leona, Lucian, and Vayne.
- Robot has the same effect as dragon, starting the round with full mana.
- This was sort of hard to consistently accomplish in DAC but incredibly easy in TFT since you only need one robot to activate.
- Blitzcrank is currently the only Robot unit.
- If you’re looking for armor pen similar to DAC’s undead, void is your replacement.
- Whereas undead had (2) undead = -4 armor and (4) undead = -6 armor, TFT only has one tier of void with (3) void = all basic attacks ignore 50% of enemy armor.
- Voids = Cho’gath, Kassadin, Kha’Zix, and Rek’Sai.
Wild (TFT) = Troll (DAC)
- Looking for an attack speed team comp similar to troll? Wild may be your answer.
- Wild increases the attack speed of all wild units at (2) and all allies at (4), very similar to the (2) and (4) patterns of troll.
- Wilds = Ahri, Gnar, Nidalee, Rengar, and Warwick.
Yordle (TFT) = Elf (DAC)
- Yordle is very similar to elf in that it provides increased dodge chances (evasion in DAC) at (3) units and 6 (units).
- A key difference is that elf goes up to (9) whereas Yordle maxes at (6).
- Yordles = Gnar, Kennen, Lulu, Poppy, Tristana, and Veigar.
There are quite a few races that don’t have a correlate in DAC:
- Glacial: 2/4/6 buff that allows units to have a stun chance on auto attack. Very powerful on ranged units with attack speed items.
- Dragon: (2) unit buff that makes them immune to magical damage.
- Imperial: 2/4 unit buff which randomly gives one imperial unit double damage at 2, or gives all imperial units the buff at 4.
- Pirate: (3) unit buff that gives you extra gold at the end of the round (0-4 gold randomly), yar!
- Phantom: (2) unit buff which lowers an enemies HP to 100 at the start of the round. To give this perspective, the average front liner has a little over 1000 HP at rank 2.
- Demon (same name as DAC but different function in TFT): 2/4/6 unit buff which has an increasing chance to burn mana for damage on attack.
- This one’s basically right on the money as TFT assassins jump to the back line and gain increased crit strike, just like their DAC counterparts. Buff thresholds are exactly the same as you’ll need either (3) or (6) units.
- Assassins: Akali, Evelynn, Katarina, Kha’Zix, Pyke, Rengar, and Zed.
- Brawler is a close translation from DAC’s orc since the class also involves a bonus health buff and follows a system of (2) and (4) units.
- Brawlers: Blitzcrank, Cho’Gath, Rek’Sai, Volibear, and Warwick.
Guardian (TFT) = Knight (DAC)
- This comparison isn’t as close as the previous two classes, however, guardian and knight fulfill similar niches as tanky options.
- DAC’s knight buff provides a chance to proc defensive shields on knights at (3) and all units at (6). In TFT you just need the (2) guardians to guarantee adjacent units receive an armor buff.
- Guardians: Braum and Leona.
- We’re guessing a lot of DAC players tried out Underlords so we figured we’d included this.
- Similar to Underlord hunters, gunslingers get chances to fire additional attacks at 2/4.
- Gunslingers: Gangplank, Graves, Lucian, Miss Fortune, and Tristana.
Knight (TFT) = Knight/Warrior (DAC)
- TFT knights have aspects that are similar to DAC knights and warriors as TFT knights gain damage reduction.
- In terms of unit number thresholds, TFT knights follow a similar system as warriors since they hit at (3) and (6).
- Knights: Darius, Garen, Kayle, Mordekaiser, Poppy, and Sejuani.
Ranger (TFT) = Hunter (DAC)
- Rangers are ranged units that tend to be placed in the backline, similar to DAC hunters.
- Instead of getting increased attack damage and evasion pierce at 3/6/9 like hunters, TFT rangers gain increased DPS with increasing chances of doubling their attack speed at 2/4.
- Rangers: Ashe, Kindred, Varus, and Vayne
Shapeshifter (TFT) = Ogre/Orc (DAC)
- Shapeshifters gain bonus max health at (3) units, similar to the health increasing effects of orc and ogre in DAC.
- Shapeshifters: Elise, Gnar, Nidalee, Shyvana, and Swain.
- We’re primarily making this comparison because sorcerers represent the bread-and-butter magic damage units like mages do in DAC and gain their effects at 3/6.
- Sorcerers are quite different in that they receive double mana and increased spell damage at 3/6 while mages reduce the magic resist of their enemies.
- Sorcerers: Ahri, Aurelion Sol, Karthus, Kassadin, Lulu, Morgana, and Veigar.
There are a few classes that don’t have a correlate in DAC:
Elementalist: Mages that have a 3 unit buff that summons a beefy golem to tank for you.
Blademaster: Melee damage dealers that have a 3 and 6 unit buff giving them an extra attack chance proc.
3. The Item System
Items are a lot more plentiful and impactful in TFT, potentially even more so than the champs you pick. Building strong items early game can make your first 2-star unit a monster, and then make them even more of a monster as you stack them. Unfortunately not getting good item combinations early game will do the opposite. Here are the basics:
How to combine
- Two items make a finished item. You always want to be thinking about the champs you have and the finished items you want on them. Use this cheat sheet, it’s amazing. Thanks, Scarra and friends!
- Just to get an idea of how important item combinations are in TFT: 8 base items form the core of all 36 items, while in DAC 26 items combine to form 25 others so it’s much harder to build anything of significance.
- You have a big choice at the carousel (more on this in the Match Structure section) to pick an item and a champ. Although it might be tempting to hone in on the champ you want, you might want to take a look at the items. Of special importance is the Spatula which you can find quite often in the carousel but not in the creep rounds.
- The Spatula is of special significance because when combined with other items, it can allow a unit to dual class or it can raise the cap of your board unit count (if you combine two Spatulas). If you manage to plan ahead and target what you want, you can easily walk away with an extra synergy.
- In case you’re hoping your enemies will pass their loot to you when they die like in DAC, it’s not happening. Sorry.
- Although items could determine what you shoot for in DAC such as early Veno with Void Stone or hunting for Troll/Luna with an early Mask of Madness, in TFT you actively hunt for the item combinations you want to round out your comp.
4. Key Differences in Mechanics
- In TFT you cannot move pieces on to the board once you are capped. This is supposedly intentional to not stress the importance of high APM shenanigans. To compensate, you have 9 bench slots instead of 8.
- You cannot level past 9 and have 9 units on the board. You can circumvent this unit cap with items, but not the level cap. In DAC, the cap is 10 (Fun fact: In Underlords you can hit 11 with an item as well)
- Every unit can carry a max of 3 items. You cannot move items from one unit to another, but when you sell the unit you retain the item.
- Income, interest, and streaks seem to work largely the same as DAC. The end of the round is the tally point for finances.
- There are some great quality of life additions in bench management and upgrading when purchasing units. You can move your bench around during the battle as well.
5. Match Structure
There are a lot more match break points in TFT because of the carousel round. The carousel round is basically a section where all players get to pick a champion from a common pool with the order going from last place to first, creating an interesting catchup mechanic.
At the same time they can feel like they are at a circus parade. Here is how the flow of the match looks:
- Carousel Round to start (all players choose at the same time)
- 3 Creep Rounds (like DAC)
- 3 PVP matches
- Carousel Round
- 1 PVP match
- Creep Round
- Repeat 3-6
6. Game Length
Games are shorter in TFT for several reasons:
- Players always play another player, so somebody is going to lose some health.
- Damage to courier ramps up fast as people hit lvl 6 (mid game). Here is the formula.
- Lvl 9 is the max level for your courier and it costs a ton of XP to get from 8 to 9, so the game tops out sooner.
For these reasons, lose streaking can be harder to pull off. On top of that, it’s much easier to build a reasonable carry early on with 1-star units which can do well later in the game. Check out this table, and notice that DAC is more early and mid heavy diluting the pool with pieces, but TFT makes it easier to get early rank 2’s.
Here are the % to roll different pieces in TFT compared to DAC:
- The biggest difference in the reroll percent is that round 1 and 2 you can ONLY get 1$ units, making pairs much easier. In DAC you can got 2$ at level 2, so it dilutes much quicker.
- On top of this, the roll chance for 1$ units stays high for the first 3 rounds, so you can make those rank 2’s much faster.
- After level 6, the table compresses to speed the pace of the game as you can start acquiring epic and legendary units at a much higher rate. Compare level 9 4$ at 30% in TFT vs 20% in DAC (which is level 8 in TFT).
- Legendaries are already at 5% at level 8 in TFT as opposed to being only 6% at level 10 in DAC.
- All of the above serve to compress the pace of the game and get juicier units sooner.
- People are already cooking up strategies on how to abuse the early game spikes! Check out this TFT Reddit thread.
You have no idea what kind of economy your opponent is running in TFT most of the time. The only way you can tell is cumbersome: on your opponent’s sideboard, count the pots of gold that designate interest milestones.
If they have 5, they are at 50 gold. You can see the level of their courier, but it’s a little cumbersome since you can’t see their level in the sidebar, only their HP. Keep in mind that you can’t scroll between boards with your mouse, but you can click on a player to go to their board or use hotkeys to rotate (1, 2, 3).
8. Board Size and Positioning
- The board itself is smaller in TFT encompassing 6 vertical and 7 horizontal hexes as opposed to 8×8 places, so there’s a total of 22 fewer spaces. This leads to a few important distinctions:
- There is much less space for melee units to move into position to attack as corner formations are tighter.
- Ranged units can shoot everyone pretty easily, especially considering there is an item (RFC) that makes their range map wide for all practical purposes.
We hope this article was helpful to you and covered most of the basics. However, there are a lot of nuances that we didn’t go over, and we will do that in future articles focused on advanced strategies. Good luck making the best teams!