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TFT Explained | What is Teamfight Tactics?

If you want TFT explained, you’re in the right place! What is TeamFight TacticsQuite simply, it’s an Auto Chess-style game made by the developers of League of Legends. It features many of the same characters from the base game, although the Champions in TFT behave somewhat differently than their counterparts in League of Legends.

Even a veteran MOBA player might have a difficult time figuring out the game if they haven’t played something like Auto Chess before. Our guide is here to run you through all of the basics!

TFT Explained | What is an Auto Chess game?

TFT Explained

The first thing to understand is the nature of an Auto Chess game. Auto Chess was originally a mod for DOTA 2. In it, players select a team of heroes and place them on a board. These heroes then automatically battle it out (hence the name), with one side ultimately becoming the victor. Pick a good team and upgrade them properly and you might just win the game!

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TeamFight Tactics is a similar style of game, although it does have some differences from the Auto Chess mod in DOTA 2. Whether you’re a new player or an Auto Chess veteran, we’ll break down the basics as simply as we can.

TFT Explained | The Basic Mechanics

TFT Explained

TeamFight Tactics matches take place between eight players, although you’re only ever fighting one opponent at a time. It’s kind of like those Chess matches where you would see a really skilled player go around a room playing a bunch of people at the same time.

Each round consists of a Planning Phase and a Combat Phase, but the first thing you’ll encounter is the Shared Draft.

Shared Draft

The Shared Draft is an interesting little mechanic that starts the game off with a nice bit of randomness. You and avatars representing the seven other players stand around a circular arena. The middle of the arena has several things moving around in a circle, most of which are Champions. When you get the go signal, move in and you’ll keep the first thing that you touch!

Even if you’re pretty bad at the game, you’ll probably survive to the second Shared Draft round. From there, players are locked into a certain order starting with whoever has the lowest health.

Keep this one thing in mind: You keep whatever you touch and there are no do-overs! Make sure you only touch the Champion that you really want!

Planning Phase

Once the first Shared Draft is over, you’ll move into the Planning Phase. This is where you’ll purchase Champions, potentially upgrade them (more on that later), and place them on the board.

You can only have as many Champions on the board equal to your level. If you’re Level 2, you can have 2 Champions on the board. If you’re Level 5, you can have 5 Champions, and so on. Leveling up is easy enough in the early game, but you’ll have to boost yourself by purchasing XP with gold from the mid-game and onward.

You’re probably going to want tough melee characters up in the front and ranged damage characters, spellcasters, and assassins in the rear. Make sure you a pick a good mix of Champions and place them in a sensible formation. If you mess up, don’t worry — you’ll always be able to adjust them in a future Planning Phase.

Any heroes that are not (or cannot) be placed on the board will sit on your Bench at the bottom of the screen. These guys are in reserve and can’t be used in combat unless you place them there.

Combat Phase

Once the Planning Phase’s timer runs out, the Combat Phase begins. The Champions that both players have placed onto the board will charge at one another, doing damage until one side is completely wiped out. The loser will lose some of their own hit points. If you lose all of your hit points, the game is over for you! You can keep watching the game in progress, but you aren’t going to win once your hit points hit zero.

The Aftermath

After the Combat Phase is over, you and your opponent will hop into a portal and face off against someone else in the group of eight people playing the same game. Gameplay will continue with these rotations of 1-on-1 matchups until one person is ultimately declared the winner.

TFT Explained | Strategy

TFT Explained

So far, our TFT Explained Guide has gone over all of the basic mechanics. Now it’s time to move on to some of the more advanced stuff: Items, Upgrading Champions, and Building a Winning Team.

Much like League of Legends and other similar games, you have to keep in mind that this is only going to help you with the basics. The game’s website has a lot of data on its own, and that doesn’t count all of the many nuances between Champions, Items, and the like. If you enjoy playing this game, you’re going to have to practice and keep learning to become the best fighter out there.


Items are one way that you can enhance your Champions on the field. At their most basic, certain items will upgrade one particular facet of a Champion. These items can be acquired in PvE Rounds, and every Champion that appears in the Shared Draft will also have an item equipped.

Like many aspects of this game, it gets a bit deeper, too. You can also combine items to make them into something more powerful. Redditor /u/Zekrow has made a handy cheat sheet that will tell you how to do that easily.

Upgrading Champions

Champions can also be upgraded in TeamFight Tactics, even if you have a full bench. Heroes begin at a 1-Star rating. Buy three of the same 1-Star Champion and it automatically upgrades into a 2-Star. Buying three of the same 2-Star Champion upgrades into an even more powerful 3-Star Champion.

Higher-star Champions are much more powerful than their weaker versions, so upgrade the ones that you think are working out the best for you.

Building A Winning Team: Combos and Bonuses

Finally, one thing to take note of is combos and bonuses. The two things to consider are Classes and Origins. Simply put, getting enough Champions on the board that share a Class or Origin will confer a special bonus, allowing you to do even more damage.