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Teamfight Tactics, League of Legends’ new autobattler game mode, explained

League’s new game mode is a little complicated

Riot Games

Teamfight Tactics is Riot Games’ new game mode for League of Legends and it might even become a permanent addition to the game.

But what exactly is an “autobattler” and what does it really have to do with League of Legends? If you aren’t quite sure the answer to either of those questions, don’t worry, we’re here to tell you exactly what Teamfight Tactics is and what to expect before you get into your first match on the Public Beta Environment or when the mode releases in full.

How does the game work?

Teamfight Tactics is played on a board with several hexagonal spaces that run its entire length. The board is divided into two halves, an attacking side and a defending side. Every match is broken up into rounds and the matches last as many rounds as it takes for all the players but one to be eliminated.

Each of the match’s eight players will set up their game pieces on the defending side of the board as their team. Each player’s team will attack another player in the game each round. These fights are entirely controlled by the AI based on how each player set their team up. Whichever side has units remaining after a fight will deal damage directly to the other team’s Little Legend, the small character that each player controls that has 100 total health. At the end of each round players are given different amounts of gold, depending on things like whether they won or lost their fight.

How do you get units?

At the start of each round you’ll have 30 seconds to buy players with gold. The units in Teamfight Tactics are all champions from League of Legends. Once you buy a unit it will go to your bench, from there you can move it to your side of the board to let the unit join your team.

How do the champions work?

Each champion has a specific set of attributes. Two of these are categories called Origins and Classes. These two categories are shared by multiple different champions and can provide themselves or your whole team unique buffs. Each champion also has an ultimate ability, which is unique to every champ. We don’t know for sure what these abilities will be, since only a few people have played the mode, but it’s easy to imagine that a champion like Kayle might grant an ally invulnerability for a brief time as her ultimate.

Champions in Teamfight Tactics are divided based on quality. The lowest quality champions are the cheapest and most common, while higher quality champions cost more, but are better and more rare.

Is there a way to upgrade champions?

Yes. To upgrade a unit in Teamfight Tactics you’ll need to collect three of one single type of unit. So, if you have a Warwick, you’ll need two more Warwicks and if you place them all three on the board together they’ll turn into a single level 2 Warwick. If you have two level 2 Warwicks, you’ll just need one more to get one level 3 Warwick. While buying higher quality units is good, upgrading units is harder, but usually much more powerful. This is best way to get stronger units.

Are there any other ways to get champions?

Yes, the first round of each match is something called a draft phase. During the draft every player will be transported to a neutral board and will race to select a champion to pick. That champion will be the first that each player starts with. Players will return to the draft phase every few rounds, but when they return, players with the lowest health will have the chance to select their champions first.