Nothing in Teamfight Tactics is quite as random as the game’s item system. When you finish the first three AI rounds with nothing but a little extra gold and a Chain vVst to show for it, while other players have full items, things can feel completely out of your favor. But as it turns out the game has a little something extra for players that don’t get lucky early. If you don’t get items in the beginning of the game, you’re much more likely to get them late, as a kind of bad luck protection.
While most players have assumed that this was a part of Teamfight Tactics since the mode launched on the PBE, we didn’t know for sure until Riot Mort, the acting lead designer for the modes team, tweeted about it.
“Getting no items early increases the odds of getting items later,” Mort tweeted. “You just have to adapt and play through your weaker early game.”
This point of clarification is an important one for players because it gives them a hint of what kind of compositions they should be trying to play in a certain game. If you don’t get your items early on, you know you’ll get them later, so you probably shouldn’t load up on units that are heavily item reliant in the early game. On the other hand, if you get five items from the first three AI rounds, you might not be getting much for the rest of the game.
Mort also tweeted out a graphic that displays what exactly you can get from each AI round:
It’s important to note that, as Mort tweeted, you don’t always have an equal chance to get either gold or items. If you get gold early on, you’ll get items later, and if you get items early you’ll get gold later. As for which items you get, it doesn’t seem like the game has any limits on what drops. So, if you get lots of items in the beginning of a game, but they aren’t the items you wanted ... sorry, you’re stuck with them.
Because items are the most random part of all of TFT, it’s very likely that Riot will take another look at the way they are distributed in the future. But for now, Mort has given us some insight into how items drop in the mode, and a little hope that if we don’t get items early, they’re on their way later in the game.