Leveling Guide: How to Get to the Late Game in TFT
Sat 21st Nov 2020 - 1:35pm
Teamfight Tactics, or TFT for short, has changed quite a bit from set to set, and that also means the meta is constantly evolving. For a newcomer to the auto-chess game, it can be overwhelming to know what is the correct play in any given situation. Today, we’ll tackle one aspect of the game that seems daunting to new players: leveling.
Early Game (Rounds 2-1 to 3-2)
With the Chosen mechanic being introduced in Set 4, it’s important to pay close attention to Chosen odds at each level. Here, take a look for yourself.
You are guaranteed to see at least one Chosen unit by 2-2. So if you haven’t seen one by stage 2-1, it is almost always the correct play to level to Level 4. By doing this, you’re increasing your chances significantly of finding a 2-cost Chosen. If you do see a Chosen unit before 2-2, however, I’d recommend picking it up anyway to strengthen your board.
If you don’t like the Chosen you’ve received, you could play greedily and choose not to buy it in the hopes of finding a better one, but this requires a bit more experience and knowledge to play around, so play at your own risk.
What next? You’re level 4, with a 1 or 2-cost Chosen, and you’re heading into the mid-rounds of stage 2. Here is where you can play more flexibly in terms of when you can level to 5, and it really depends on the board that you have and your playstyle.
A strong board that can win streak may prompt you to go to level 5 to ensure that you keep winning while a weak board may dictate that you stay level 4 to keep a losing streak. In the latter case, if you scout your opponents and see that even if you’re level 5, your composition will probably lose, it’s better to level anyways to decrease the amount of damage you will take.
As a rule of thumb, you should always look to be level 5 before 3-1. There are instances where it’s better not to level, such as when you’re playing a re-roll comp like Nami, Diana, or Yasuo. In those cases, it’s better to stay level 4 as long as you can to ensure the highest chances of finding these 1-cost units. In most other cases, look to go to level 5 before Stage 3 hits.
Mid-Game (3-2 to 4-1)
This stage of the game is the most anxiety-inducing for players of all ranks due to the lottery system that is a part of the meta right now. What I mean by that is if we go back to the Chosen odds chart, you’ll see that the chances of finding a 3-cost and 4-cost Chosen go up significantly at levels 6 and 7. We’ll go into this with more detail later; for now, let’s look at what you should do after stage 3-1.
I’ve watched enough streams and played enough games to realize that going to level 6 before 3-2 starts is almost always the correct play. Just as an aside, you’ll notice I might use the phrase “almost always” a lot and that’s because TFT is a game of circumstance and conditions. Certain situations in the game will require you to take an unorthodox approach, but that is for another time.
Going level 6 before 3-2 does a number of things, one of which is your board will just be plain stronger due to having an extra unit on it. Another is it increases your chances of leveling up the 1-star units on your board (which are hopefully not all 1-cost units). But most importantly, it helps you start preparing your economy to go to level 7 once stage 4 comes around.
Let’s talk about 4-cost Chosen units for a second. They are some of the strongest units you can put on the board, and the current meta requires you to find at the very least a 3-cost Chosen if you’re not looking to end up in last place. The chances of you finding a 4-cost Chosen at level 7 start off at 30%, which is extraordinarily high.
By stage 4-1, you should have at least 40 to 50 gold saved up. I strongly recommend you selling whatever Chosen unit you have, level to 7 if you aren’t already, and start rolling down to hit a 3-cost or 4-cost Chosen. However, there’s a genuine possibility that you don’t hit a good Chosen or good units to build your composition around. And that is what I mean by the lottery system. Stage 4-1 is terrifying for its hit-or-miss playstyle. Unfortunately, it is a part of the current meta since other players might get lucky and find a powerful Chosen like Ashe or Talon.
You could consider sticking with your composition if you believe it to be strong enough, but you will be giving up the opportunity to find powerful 4-cost and even 5-cost units.
There are talks of changes being made to this lottery system soon, but until then, this aspect of the game will terrorize the meta.
Late Game (4-1 and beyond)
OK, so let’s say you hit the jackpot and you have a broken 4-cost Chosen with the right units around that unit. What now? Thankfully, here’s where it gets simpler. Your sole goal in terms of leveling is to hit level 8 as soon as possible.
If you’re streaking, either win or lose, I’d recommend saving as much money as you can to be able to hit level 8 at the earliest opportunity. Of course, your HP plays a strong factor in this, but in most cases, you should be able to level. I wouldn’t recommend trying to level up your 1-star 3-cost or 4-cost units as there is much more value in hitting level 8 and increasing your chances of finding those units.
From level 8, it’s pretty much the same strategy, use your streak to go level 9 as fast as possible. Level 9 compositions aren’t as common as level 8 compositions, just due to how expensive it is to get to 9 (80 gold). But it is completely possible with a strong enough board, so always be on the lookout for when you should save gold to level or expend it to find upgrades on your board.
For a generic recap of everything we talked about, here’s the basic rundown.
1. Go to level 4 between 2-2 and 2-4
2. Hit level 5 before Stage 3
3. Level 6 by 3-2
4. Go to level 7 by 4-1 and pray for a strong Chosen (that’s all you really can do)
5. Hit level 8 as soon as possible, but most likely around 5-1
6. Go 9, and win the game, hopefully
And that’s it! Hopefully, you’ll have attained a better understanding of the current leveling meta, and best of luck on the 4-1 rolldown!