Don’t stack one stat
Let’s play a quick game of Would you rather. When building a tank against magic damage, would you rather have 3 Dragon’s Claws or a Warmogs and 2 Dragon’s Claws? The math says the 2nd option is better. If we take a look at a more obvious comparison, the answer will be more clear. Would you rather have 3 Deathblades or a Last Whisper, Infinity Edge, and Shadow Zekes? For items, it is always better to give a full dimension of stats rather than solely focusing on one. This is because a variety of stats build off of each other through multiplication, while stacking one stat is addition. This applies to both tank and damage items. In tanks, we have 3 different traits: resistances, health, and damage reductions. For damage, we have AD or AP, critical strike, attack speed, and damage amplifications.
Build a balanced team
Building off of the first tip, I want you to win in TFT, you need to find balance in your overall composition. Generally, you need a mix of Damage, Tankiness, and Utility. Pretty much every strong composition in the entirety of TFT has this. You can achieve these 3 metrics through 3 methods: units, traits, and items. In general, comps gain all 3 metrics through all 3 methods, however, this isn’t mandatory. For example, you can get all of your damage through a trait, but all your tankiness through items while having utility from your units. We can look back at old compositions such as Spirit Sharpshooters where the composition did not run a single tank unit, but built a lot of tank items instead. For more standard compositions in Set 5, we can see that a Vel’Koz Composition has a main damage dealer in Vel’Koz with 3 damage items, a main tank with Garen with 3 tank items, and the rest of the team providing utility. Lux gives a shield, Rell, Ivern, Zyra, and Nautilus stun, and then Karma gives the Invoker trait which generates mana for the whole team. Comps like these have defined tank traits such as Ironclad and defined damage traits such as Spellweaver, but this doesn’t always have to be the case. We can check out 6 Skirmishers where Skirmisher gives both Attack Damage and a shield–effectively giving two metrics with one trait. That means you will just need to provide utility with the rest of your units and items. We can see this through the prioritization of Sunfire Cape or Morellonomicon on Kennen, Remdemption on Pantheon, and Bloodthirster and Quicksilver on Jax.
Stop following leveling and econ guides
So a ton of players can get to Masters by simply following a leveling template and doing the same thing every game. However, a template is just that–a template. It is not the best way to play every game. One factor that separates a Challenger player from Grandmasters or Masters is that they know when to break the leveling and rolling templates. Challengers know when to roll at level 6, how much to roll on level 7, and deciding whether to fast 8 or slow 8.
Obviously I have made leveling and econ guides in the past. Are these guides bullshit? No, they just simply are not for advanced players. Leveling guides are great for players getting started, and again, you can blindly follow a leveling template to low Challenger, but life sure becomes easier once you figure out when to deviate from the guides. The tips in this video are for advanced players.
Get good at all aspects of TFT
Building a little bit off the last point. You may often hear me say “you can get to top 10 challenger doing xyz.” For example, you can force one comp to top 10 challenger. You can also never scout. While this is true, I do not recommend it. The reason why some people can get to top 10 with only 1 comp is because they have every other aspect of TFT perfected, which means gimping themselves in 1 dimension does not affect their overall playing power. Perfecting an aspect of TFT is very difficult. It is much easier to just get ‘very very good’ at multiple dimensions of TFT rather than being the best in 90% of them.
Master one playstyle
Now that we are talking about compositions, there are many approaches to the game. Some players as mentioned before, only play one comp. Others have one AP and one AD comp. Others only play AD comps. Some flex the top xyz compositions and lastly there are players who just flex everything. Which one is the best? Well if a computer was playing the game, it would be flexing everything… but we are not computers. Just like in regular Chess, computers are stronger than humans and can play the most complicated tactical positions better. However, just because a certain position is ‘good’ when played perfectly, does not mean it is good in practice when played by a human. Same concept applies to TFT.
Unless you are trying to become the world champion, do not play pure flex unless you are doing it for fun. If you want to climb, stick to one playstyle (you can still win the world championship without playing flex). In North America, out of the top 25 players, maybe 10% of them flex. In Europe, it is maybe 30-40%. Playstyles tend to be region dependent, but if you look at the top 10 ladder players, I often found that there are almost always 10 different playstyles as they are all playing their own game.
Playstyle can also refer to how aggressive or greedy you are. Theoretically there is no such thing as aggressive or greedy play. There is simply just incorrect or correct play–it all depends on the situation. However, the correct play is almost never found unless you are a computer, so again we need to throw out that idea.
My suggestion to you is to just copy someone’s playstyle or develop your own–either works. Just keep in mind that between certain patches, you may find different playstyle cater better to each one.
Don’t be afraid to contest comps
A common misconception I hear is “don’t go for contest comps.” While this statement is valid in many scenarios, it is not the rule. For example, let’s say there are 3 Jax players, but you naturaled a Jax on level 6 and you are low health. Sometimes, you can’t afford to switch into a different composition. Alternatively, sometimes you just completely high roll a composition, and it is not up to you to swap into a different composition even if it is contested. Sometimes in these games, you just have to accept that you will not get 1st place, and just simply punish the other players who chose to contest you since you have a better setup for the comp than them.
Stop spamming games
Since you are looking for advanced tips–I am guessing you play a lot. This is suboptimal. The best way to get better at TFT isn’t by playing 16 hours a day. You may see streamers play for 8 hours a day, but you have to remember that it is also their job to play. If they were preparing for a serious tournament (nonexistent in TFT’s history so far), I bet they wouldn’t just play for 8 hours straight–let alone 16.
I know some people have jobs, but let’s assume you are trying to go pro. What would I suggest? In 16 waking hours, I would probably have a mix of playing, VOD reviews of other players, VOD reviews of yourself, discussions with other players, and of course a few breaks in between. How would you divide up this time? That is probably a personal preference, but maybe 4 hours playing, 6 hours watching other people, 2 hours reviewing your own games, 1 hour discussing the game, and 3 hours to do other things such as eating or exercising.
Watch VODs, not streams
Streaming is great and fun, but it’s not the best way to learn. The best way to learn by watching others is to watch VODs. This way you can pause and fast forward as needed which saves a ton of time. One technique I found helpful was to pause each video at the start of every round and decide
- What I should buy in the shop
- How I should spend my gold
- Which units should I put on the board
- How I should position my units
After doing this several times, you will be able to actually play like a much higher level player. After this, you can easily fast forward through fights to save time or watch on 2x speed. With these two techniques, you can either sit down and think carefully on a turn, or you can watch twice the amount of footage within the same timeframe.
Try to focus on studying only 1-2 players at a time
As a follow up for the last tip–don’t study too many different players at a time. TFT has so many different playstyles. It is going to be impossible to master them all. If you look at the top 10 players in each region, they all often play differently, yet they are all highly ranked. This is because TFT is very far from being solved.
This means you should try to only focus on studying 2 players maximum. If you do more than that, you will subconsciously try to combine too many playstyles when you actually play, and we all know what happens when there are too many chefs in the kitchen.