Drafting and transitioning are the most skill intensive part of Teamfight Tactics and require thinking on the fly. Drafting refers to the process of buying champions that work well together for a team comp, whereas transitioning refers to switching your team comp in the middle of the game if you’re having trouble getting the right rolls.
This guide is Part 1 of a two-part series we are releasing. This section will cover Drafting, providing you with tips and guidelines on how to draft well. Part 2 will cover Transitioning.
Drafting tends to be the more straightforward of the two skills. It requires you to do two things:
- Be able to figure out team comps with the champions you’ve been rolled and purchased in the shop.
- Scout enemy team comps and figure out what team comps you’ll be most likely to complete
For a list of good team compositions in the current meta, visit our Meta Snapshot.
Transitioning is much trickier, as it requires you to be good at drafting, managing your economy, and making very good on-the-fly decisions.
Drafting is essentially a big counting and memory game. You don’t have to remember the entire image above, just a few key points summarized below.
Tier 4 champions only start spawning at Level 5, and Tier 5 champions only start spawning at level 6, but with a negligible spawn rate. In addition, The chance to roll a Tier 3, Tier 4, and Tier 5 hero only ever increases with level
- This is one of the most important things to remember about TFT, as Tier 4 and Tier 5 champions are some of the strongest champions in the game.
- This is why leveling up in TFT is one of the most important things you can do with your money
Only 39 Tier 1 champions can spawn in each game. That means if 39 Nidalees have been bought throughout the game, it will be impossible to roll her. Subsequently, only 10 Tier 5 and 13 Tier 4 champions can spawn in each game.
- Considering that it takes 9 copies of one champion to get a 3 star, it is almost impossible to get a 3 star Tier 5 or Tier 4 champion
- This means rolling for a 3 star Tier 5 or Tier 4 is generally a big waste of money
- When going for a Tier 5 or Tier 4 unit, you need to scout your enemies. If you see multiple players going for a Brand, it may not be the best idea to compete with them
Due to the spawn rates, the best time to roll a 3 star Tier 1 champion is before level 5.
- For comps like Gunslingers or Nobles where you want a lot of Tier 1 champions, this is really important
When a player is knocked out of the game, all their champions return to the shop pool.
- If you’ve been competing with another player for the same champions and you’ve managed to hit better rolls than them, it’s often a good sign because you’ll likely outlast them and be able to take their champion rolls once they’ve been knocked out of the game
2 star Tier 4 and Tier 5 units are often significantly stronger than 3 star Tier 1 units.
- Don’t recklessly throw away your gold at level 4 for a 3 star Tier 1 unit, when you could get a 2 star Tier 4 unit at level 6 that will likely be more useful.
These points can be summarized into these basic rules:
You will be able to complete functional team compositions much more often than not if you follow and practice drafting according to these rules, and be able to place Top 4 in most of your matches.
If you’re looking for more detailed drafting guidelines, you can read the following below, where we give more specific drafting tips according to different points in the game.
Early Game Drafting
- In the first 3–5 rounds of the game, you want buy out as much of your shop as possible
- During this period of time, you won’t have enough gold to actually start earning meaningful interest
- You want to buy out as many champions as possible, which will increase your odds of finding a 2-star champion and decrease your enemies’ odds of doing so
- The goal in the early game is to make the strongest units possible (usually 2 stars) and then put them on the board, regardless of synergies
- Once you’ve found a few 2 star units, you want to look at the possible synergies you can go for with those units, and then sell the rest of the champions back so you can start building some interest
- During the early rounds, you’ll have a chance of rolling Tier 2 or Tier 3 champions — these early Tier 2s and Tier 3s are often worth holding onto in order to build a solid mid-game composition around
- Make sure you scout enemy boards to make sure they’re not going for the same champions
- You will often build a strong core of 4–6 champions with these units
- Try your absolute best to not have to re-roll your shop. It is almost always better to put that gold towards levelling up.
Mid Game Drafting
The mid game generally begins when players start hitting level 5 (so usually the Krug round). It’s at this point that Tier 4 units get unlocked, and synergies start becoming very important. To start off, you need to answer a couple of questions:
- Do the Tier 4 units you’ve rolled fit well into your early game composition?
- If not, can you make any changes to fit them into your team without taking big losses? (in other words, can you transition your composition to include it?)
If the answer to either question is yes, you should just buy the Tier 4 and hold onto it. If not, feel free to let the Tier 4 slide. More often than not, just having the Tier 4 is extremely useful as it denies other players the opportunity to use them in their own teams.
- You also need to scout more and check if other players in the game running the same team composition as you.
- You can also just buy random Tier 4 units to deny your enemies
If there are multiple players fighting you for the same champions, it might be better to transition. For example, if I’m going for Volibrawlers and I see 3 other players in the game are going for the same thing, I’m going to stop rolling for Volibear and Cho’gath and maybe transition to something else like Glacial Elementals, and start looking for Sejuani instead.
- By the end of the mid game, you want to aim to have 2 star champions across the board for a fairly cohesive team composition. This team composition should make good use of the items you’ve rolled. If you’re lucky, you’re well on your way to having a 3 star unit for your Tier 2s and Tier 3s
Try not to roll too hard yet — you still want to be putting gold towards getting level 8.
- Of course, if you feel like you’re going to lose, you’ll have no choice but to roll to complete your team comp
Late Game Drafting
The late game begins once you’ve hit level 8 or so. At this point, multiple players are either out or struggling with staying alive with a clear hierarchy of who’s in the lead. Late game drafting is where things get really interesting because you get a lot of things to work with:
- As players lose, more champions get returned to the shop pool, meaning a higher likelihood of completing some 3 Stars
- In the late game, everyone has a fairly large team and can make big substitutions if necessary
- Tier 5s are unlocked and start becoming more common, and Tier 5s are usually big game deciders.
Also, at this point, economies start getting spent out, either for a level 8/9 push and to get big 3 stars or 2 stars on key units. Here’s what you need to look out for while drafting during the late game:
- Consider which Tier 5s are good for your team comp and prioritize them. Every Tier 5 in the game is absurdly powerful and tend to swing fights if their ultimates go off
- Make sure all your Tier 4s are 2 starred
- If you are building a comp around a Tier 3 or low unit like Aatrox, Morgana, Kennen, or Volibear, you might want to 3 star those units
If you are at a point where you are in danger of losing the game by losing the next fight, you need to do one of two things:
- If you are close to levelling (20–30g to level), and you have an extra unit you can put on the board, level up
- If not, you want to roll it down as quickly as possible to get as many upgrades as you can
When you are rolling down, buy every unit in the Tier you’re searching for. For example, if you’re looking for a Brand, buy every Tier 4. If you’re looking for a Kayle, buy every Tier 5.
- This thins out the pool of available units in that tier, which increases the chance that you roll what you need.
- Once you’ve secured the 2 star or run out of money, you can start throwing those units back into the shop to regain your gold to roll more.
- Make sure that your enemies are not rolling on the same Tier 5 as you. Having to fight them for this can make life much more difficult and cause you to waste precious gold.
Everything within this guide is an extension of the basic rules that were outlined earlier, which were set based off the game’s drafting mechanics and probabilities. If you remember to monitor your opponents and understand the basic rules governing what champions show up in your shop, you’ll have enough of a foundation to draft effectively.
As mentioned above, drafting is pretty much a memory and counting game. The biggest part of it is being able to remember how many champs there are left in the pool, and counting what your enemies have. You don’t have to be exact with the arithmetic, just somewhat accurate. If you want Aatrox, and you see that there’s already three 2-star Aatroxes (so 9/21 Aatroxes have been bought already), and no one has been rolling for any other blues, it’s not a good idea to specifically roll for it. Alternatively, if you’re level 4, you shouldn’t be banking on that 15% chance you’ll get the Tier 3 unit you want. Play the probabilities, and you’ll get what you want more often than not.
That’s all you’ll need to know for drafting! For our guide on transitioning, visit part 2!
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