How to Play Teamfight Tactics: Items Guide

Blitz Press
Jul 8 · 7 min read

Immediately upon release, a cacophony of first-time TFT players asked: “What items should I build?”, “What are the components?”, and “Who should I put these items on?”. This isn’t very surprising — items are extremely game changing, and with a total of 8 basic items and 36 upgraded items, it’s hard to figure out what to do with them. Furthermore, TFT doesn’t show champion stats in game nor does it have a great UI for teaching these item recipes, making it more difficult for new players to figure the system out.

With all that being said, don’t worry, this is actually one of the easiest and most straightforward mechanics in TFT to learn and master. First things first — here’s a cheat sheet of all the items, what they do, and how to make them:

TFT Item Cheat Sheet

Hold up, how do you even get items?

You can get items from two sources: The first is during carousel rounds, where you get to draft a free champion. These champions always have an item equipped, and during later carousel rounds they might even have an upgraded item equipped. It can often be worth it to draft a champion for the equipped item, rather than the champion itself.

The Gangplank has a Sword Breaker equipped.

The second way is on AI rounds. Every so often you’ll fight neutral monsters, and killing them comes with a chance to receive an item.

As an aside, this is one of the most frustrating parts of TFT. The game becomes a lot harder to win if you don’t get any items from the first few AI rounds. Riot has announced plans to change this in Patch 9.14.

Items dropping from neutral monsters

What items should I go for/make?

If an item isn’t on this list, it’s because the item is bad

Spatula Tier:

The usefulness of spatula items except for Runaan’s Hurricane and Force of Nature varies wildly from game to game. They can be useful late game when you’re just trying to get that one last synergy to try to get an edge over the last person you’re fighting

S-Tiers are almost always worth building instantly because of how good they are on the majority of champions

  • Force of Nature may be the most valuable item in the game. It takes 46 exp to go from level 7 to level 8, which is required to make extremely strong synergies work. Force of Nature saves you the trouble of having to spend that gold. In addition, having it early gives you a champion advantage, likely winning you several rounds and ensuring your little legend stays healthy.
  • Attack Speed is the most important stat for carries as it lets them use their abilities more often.
  • Be careful not to put a Spear of Shojin on a champion that doesn’t use mana.

A-Tiers are usually best in slot on or against certain champions

  • As an example, you almost always want an Infinity Edge on your carry Draven because of how well they synergize
  • Phantom Dancer is one of the best defensive items in the game, putting it on a carry almost entirely invalidates Assassins

B-Tiers are good secondary items to have after you’ve made a few S or A tier items. They tend to help with survival and allow your units to keep doing damage

  • Don’t rush building B-Tier items. Try to make some S or A tier items first before you consider using your components for items in this tier

C-Tiers are items that have some power to them, but their components can generally be crafted into something better

  • C-Tier items are usually a last resort if you’ve really had terrible luck with items and can’t build anything better
  • Some of them have very situational uses (like Red Buff and Sword Breaker) that can be highly effective in the right team composition

We want to stress — if an item wasn’t listed it’s because it’s not a good use of components.

To summarize this section: S and A tier items are what helps your army to do big damage, B tier lets your army keep doing big damage, and C tier and anything unlisted is “I’ve literally sat on two giants belts for 15 rounds, I need an item or I’ll die”.

How do I make these items?

You’ll also notice that the majority of the S and A tier items on this list require a BF Sword, a Needlessly Large Rod, a Recurve Bow, or a Tear of the Goddess. These are items you should be prioritizing when you draft from the carousel round, and they should be complementing the random item drops you get from the AI rounds.

Again, here’s the cheat sheet you can find on the Blitz app or at https://blitz.gg/tft/items. I tend to keep one of them open

Hooray for Cheat Sheets!

Once you collect the correct basic item components, you just drag and drop them onto a champion to combine them. There’s a couple of things to know about equipping items:

  • If you’ve got a Tear and BF Sword to combine into a Spear of Shojin for a champion, but that champion already has a Negatron Cloak, you can’t just drag the Tear and BF Sword onto it. Doing so will combine the component with the Negatron cloak, and you’ll accidentally create a Bloodthirster or Hush.
  • Instead, buy any champion from the shop, combine the items on that champion you’ve just bought, then sell that champion. What this will do is send the completed item to your inventory, which you can then give to the champion who needs it
How to give a champion who has a basic item equipped a combined item

If you’re drafting for an item during the carousel round, make sure that the champion you draft won’t automatically combine into a 2-star champion

  • The champion will automatically combine, and the item will be stuck on the 2-star champion. This means that you’ll either have to leave the item on the champion or sell the 2-star to get the item.

Who should I put these items on?

Generally, you should organize my items according to what heroes you have. It can be broken down like this:

  • Tanks: Tank items, Titanic Hydra (on Brawlers), Morello’s (on AoE tanks like Volibear, Garen, Sejuani, etc)
  • Carries: Shojin (on mana carries), Guinsoo’s, Infinity Edge, Deathcap, Archangel’s, Morello’s, Gunblade, Bloodthirster
  • Synergy Fillers (Characters like Fiora that you take not because they’re any good, but because they give you a synergy): Force of Nature, any spatula item, maybe Zeke’s

Notable exceptions:

  • Titanic Hydra on Tristana
  • Guinsoo’s on virtually everything
  • Phantom Dancer on your most important champions late game

Be aware that all items give base stats too. While generally ignorable, this can result in some really strong item combinations (like our above example of Draven (or AD assassins) with Infinity Edge). This is why generally items like Shojins or Guinsoo’s aren’t as effective on tanks.

Keep in mind that these are just guidelines, and aren’t the be-all end-all to equipping items. You’ll have to think on your feet.

You keep mentioning strong item combinations on Draven. What other ones can you tell us about?

There’s a lot of item interactions and combinations that are quite important to know about

  • The first thing is that items don’t have unique effects — you can stack them as much as you want. This means that if you stack something like two Guinsoo’s on one character, they will gain a lot of attack speed very quickly. This is really powerful on characters like Vayne or Ashe.
  • Stacking Shojins can make some characters cast their ult every couple of seconds — it’s incredible on champs like Aurelion Sol
  • Phantom Dancer lets a wearer dodge all critical hits. Firecannon makes it so that the wearer’s attacks can’t miss. This means that Firecannon effectively disables Phantom Dancer’s effect.
  • Titanic Hydra adds an AoE effect to every “auto-attack” hit that a champion makes. This means:
  • If a Blademaster has a Titanic Hydra and they do the multistrike, they will proc Titanic Hydra twice
  • If a Gunslinger procs their ability to attack multiple targets, all the extra hits will proc Titanic Hydra as well
  • Volibear’s ultimate that chains counts as an auto-attack similar to Gunslingers, also proccing Titanic Hydra on each hit. This also works with Red Buff
  • The Dragon’s synergy buff makes them magic immune. This means that if you put a Thornmail on a dragon when you’ve got two, they effectively become very tanky as they can’t take magic damage and will take greatly reduced physical damage
  • Morello’s on multi-hit Area of Effect spells like Garen, Kennen, Ahri, or Morgana will do a ridiculous amount of damage, as each hit will constantly proc the item’s effect

These are some very notable interactions in the game so far, but we can’t cover everything due to there being so many in TFT. These are things you should definitely keep in mind while playing. They’re things you’ll start remembering the more you play the game. Knowing all the interactions will give you more options to work with.

Remember what we said earlier: items are completely game-changing. If you’re making the right items and putting them on the correct champions, you can beat people who have a bunch of upgraded champions. It’s fairly intuitive what to do though, so as long as you have the trusty item combination cheat sheet, you’ll generally be fine.

Here’s the cheat sheet one final time:

It’s so you don’t need to scroll back up

Looking for more TFT content? Check out our TFT 101 Introductory Guide and our TFT Economy Guide. Download the Blitz App at Blitz.gg

Blitz Press

Providing insights on how to be a better player…engineer, and designer.

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Blitz Press

Providing insights on how to be a better player…engineer, and designer.

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