10 Tips For Climbing the Ranked Ladder In TFT



Tue 30th Jul 2019 - 8:01pm

Teamfight Tactics (TFT) has taken the League community by storm since its release in late June, bringing a fresh approach to the traditionally MOBA-oriented gameplay that LoL is known for. For a comprehensive gameplay guide on TFT, check out Squid’s “All You Need to Know About Teamfight Tactics”, which covers the essentials of TFT on a game-to-game basis. This guide, however, will be more specifically focused on the newly introduced Ranked system in TFT, and how best to increase your chances of playing at a higher level through 10 Top TFT Tips!

#1: Pick Flexible Units

5-cost units in TFT are the most powerful by base values and the strength of their abilities, but this does not mean that they are necessarily the best units in the game. More often than not, a team with cheaper yet flexible units will outmatch a team that is relying solely upon one powerful unit, increasing the true value of these cheaper picks. 3 perfect examples of such units are:

 Kennen: Not only is Kennen’s ability arguably the strongest in the game for his cost, he also has the potential to flex into the powerful Elementalist, Ninja, and Yordle compositions, making him a perfect transitional pick to move from the early game into a more combination-oriented late game. 

 Aatrox: Another powerful 3-cost unit, Aatrox is an incredibly powerful pick for his ability to dish out some serious damage while synergising with the mana-draining Demons and being a major component in a Blademaster composition to utilise that late game Draven with deadly efficiency. 

 Blitzcrank: With such a wide range of Origins, Brawlers have the potential to flex into nearly any team in TFT; Blitzcrank is a wildcard Brawler pick that can not only strengthen your team’s frontline, but also be used to disrupt the positioning of an enemy team, particularly if they are heavily reliant upon their backline.

#2: Counterpick Units Away From Your Opponents 

TFT is a Free-For-All game mode. Everyone else in your game is going to be focused on how best they can benefit themselves, meaning you should too. Sometimes, this means putting your opponents at a disadvantage to give yourself an edge by purchasing the champions that you can identify as integral to their composition. Since there are only a finite number of champions available in each game of TFT, you can decrease the probability of your opponents seeing a particular unit simply by purchasing it for yourself, particularly in the late game with those highly coveted 5-cost units. 

If you’ve been struggling against the level 1 Draven that’s been tucked away in your opponent’s corner and the next turn you see a Draven show up in your shop, spending a little extra gold to decrease the chance of Draven levelling up can be an invaluable opportunity for you. Be mindful, though, because as soon as you sell that Draven for some more gold it will go back into rotation and can be seized by your enemies once again. 

Tip 3 - Be Patient With Items 

This is a simple concept that a lot of newer players struggle to understand. You can leave basic items to the side for as long as you want to be used when the time is right. To illustrate this point, let’s have a look at 3 of the most powerful items in TFT currently:

 Cursed Blade: Is there anything more frustrating than spending valuable gold trying to find that last 4 or 5-cost unit, only to have them shrunk back down to level 0? Nope and, when combined with the Gunslinger buff, you can say goodbye to a whole lot of your most powerful units in quick succession. Ouch. 

 Phantom Dancer: Attaching this to one of your frontline units counters a huge chunk of damage from Assassins, as well as (roughly) 1/4 of all attacks from other units, as base crit chance in TFT at current is 25%. Equipped to a high-damage frontliner such as Volibear, Phantom Dancer also becomes a strong offensive item, validating its use in any game of TFT.

 Rapid Firecannon: This item completely disregards the benefits of Phantom Dancer and the Yordle buff, as well as potentially allowing your carry to sit safely in the back corner of the map and melt through your opponents with greater ease.

All of these items are uniquely powerful, and can be used in very different ways to enhance the effectiveness of your composition. Since they are all made using Recurve Bow, however, it is better to wait until your composition falls into place before turning your Recurve Bow into one of these items, so that it has the most value as the game goes on. Of course, if you’ve begun to formulate an effective composition early in the game, don’t hesitate in getting one of these tools online as soon as possible. 

#4: Aim For Fourth

In every game of TFT, there are 8 players. At the conclusion of a Ranked game, the top 4 will gain LP and the bottom 4 will lose LP. With that in mind, your goal should always be at least 4th place by adjusting your gameplay depending on where you are in the leaderboard. If you’ve started weak, your main goal should be to build your economy back up (through loss streaking and interest), so that you can eventually either buy more XP to get a strong combination earlier than everyone else or refresh the shop over and over until you can strengthen the units you already have. If you’ve started strong, build upon your lead by buying out units that open up your possibilities and allow you to change direction if you begin to lose to people with lower health than you. 

If you get to the awkward situation in which you have little health left, your focus needs to shift to the spots immediately between yourself and fourth place. Don’t save money in the hopes that you’ll find something better next round, since it’s likely that there won’t be a next round for you. Sell off your benched units, reposition your team if it’s not working, and do whatever else you have to do to ensure that, even if you can’t win, you at least finish strong. You don’t need to play every game for first place, especially if the gap you need to cross to get there is already too huge. 

#5: Monitor The Chat

By this, I do not specifically mean the words of the other players, but the notifications that appear when other players level up their units. This is beneficial information because, as previously mentioned, the unit pool is limited to a certain number of each champion, and if you can see that one particular unit is being bought by a variety of other players it’s probably a good idea to build into another combination. 5-cost units are scarce enough to find in TFT, and being able to pick one away from your opponents can be an effective way to hinder their progress into the late game.

#6: Spectate Your Opponents 

Spectating is a simple concept that has the potential to provide valuable intelligence to the player. At first glance, the usefulness of spectating is not apparent, especially to an inexperienced player, yet the value of spectating cannot be overstated. Not only does it indicate which champions your opponents are playing, thus allowing you to structure your team composition around them, but it also shows the positions of the enemy’s forces. Take a look at the following images (courtesy of DisguisedToast on Twitch):

1. The player has his team set up.

2. He spectates his opponent's team, noticing that they've oriented their units around the left side of the board.

3. He repositions his own board to face his frontline to their frontline, while protecting his carries in opposing corners.

4. GG

After spectating his opponent and seeing the layout of his units, the player moved his own team in response and wiped the enemy's board. Clean, right? This is the importance of spectating and, while you’re not expected to know the optimal position for every scenario, the more you play the more you’ll begin to recognise when to shift around your front and backlines, especially against those pesky Blitzcranks.

#7: Play The Carousel

The Carousel is the best place to guarantee the completion of a particular item, level up a powerful unit, or find the final puzzle piece for a strong combination. You should always aim to be proactive. If no units on the Carousel fit into your composition or are offering an item of interest to you, you should pick champions away from your opposition as an alternative. This ties in closely with nearly every other tip in this guide, and ensuring that you maintain a high level of awareness in the rounds leading up to the Carousel is a vital part in any game of TFT. 

#8: Buy XP When The Time Is Right

Purchasing XP is one of the best ways to start up a win streak and boost your economy; rather than dedicating gold to enhancing the strength of your current units, you can put yourself a unit ahead of your opposition. In the early game, an extra body on the board will often mean a win, and as the game goes on, it will allow the player to engage combinations that other players will not be able to find yet. Additionally, different player levels relate to different chances of finding certain units, as seen in the table below:

Players can use this information to buy XP when they’re close to reaching a stage where they’ll have a better chance of finishing a core component of their team composition. For example, a level 7 player looking for that final tier 4 unit might decide to throw their gold at XP instead of rerolling so that they can heighten their future chances of upgrading one of their most powerful champions. 

#9: Follow The Meta

The TFT Development team have announced that there will be a large patch every fortnight and a smaller one every other week focused on bugfixes and balance changes. This will ultimately mean that TFT players will have to stay updated on the changes made in each patch, so that they’re not following the stats and strengths of a previous version of the game. The best example of this so far is the micropatch addressing how powerful Locket of the Iron Solari was, nerfing it to the version it is now and forcing players to line their team up rather than bunch them around the Locket wearer. Staying up to date on the game is a key piece of climbing the Ranked TFT ladder with success.

#10: Be Dynamic 

In a game so heavily dependent upon randomness, it is extremely unlikely that you’ll be able to “master” one particular style of play. The ability to be flexible and change up your playstyle based upon the picks of others and the options in front of you is far more valuable than waiting for the same combination of factors that yielded you success in your last game. If you have spare gold in between rounds and can afford to spend a little extra without negatively impacting your interest, pick up a few extra units that can be potential substitutes as the game goes on. This will encourage you to be more dynamic as a player and consider different ways to counteract your opponents as you go along. 

These tips are integral parts of TFT that you can focus on to improve your game and increase your success on the ranked ladder- employing even some of these in your next games of TFT is sure to boost your success and start you on your way to climbing the Ranked Ladder. GLHF! 

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