Twisted Fate Build Guide
The Mindset of AP TF (Long with TL;DR)written by Revolves
Twisted Fate Build
Table of Contents
|Pros / Cons||2|
|Masteries and Runes||5|
|Your Skills and Skilling Order||6|
|Playstyle or "What should I do"||8|
Alright boys, in this guide I'll try to outline the basics of playing TF as a pure AP based champ - not hybrid, not AD - for reasons I'll explain in a couple of short moments. TF, in a whole, has a lot of things you need to keep in mind in order to progress from the stage of being food for their carries, to the point of where enemies will start ripping their hair out over your card tricks.
Keep in mind to keep what I'm saying with a grain of salt, this is the Internet after all - For my credentials: I have about 100 normal games on TF and a bit of experience with him in ranked 5 v 5 premades, and so far I've had mostly success with him.
I'm going to start off showing you an overview of TF, then show you how to build him, explain synergy between his skills, and tell you your role in the game. By the end of the day, I hope you've learned how to gamble with TF as an AP character.
Pros / Cons
So you're probably thinking to yourself right know, "hurrr why AP TF, I can just play Annie or Anivia and deal more damage". I'll separate this sub-section into two parts: why AP TF over other AP casters, and why AP TF over AD or hybrid TF. There's a TL;DR at the bottom of this in bulletin points form.
Why TF over other APs?
The first thing you should know that TF is, in correspondence with his design, nothing but a master of parlor tricks. He won't kill an enemy team, he defiantly won't out damage Annie or Anivia, or even Swain or Malzahar, or Leblanc. In fact, if you wish to deal magical damage - I suggest you pick up one of those characters - Karthus being a personal favorite of mine. He is also definitely not mobile in the sense Kassadin or Leblanc are - he is a rather slow champion with a situational escape mechanism.
So you don't pick TF over other APs for his damage output, so what is the long-haired rascal good for? Utility and range. What the hell does that even mean? Well, because TF's ult allows him to teleport anywhere on a rather short cooldown, he can BD, finish people off, steal baron, and all sort of nasty tricks. Not to mention, with a bit of AP behind it, his Q won't be exactly hitting for nothing in a team fight - esp. considering it has a low cooldown, long range, its AOE capabilities, and a pretty nice AP ratio to boost. Yes, it's pretty low damage - but it's safe damage that can eventually wither down a team. He brings a great stun and AoE slow to the table as well. Did I mention that stealth champions absolutely detest TF on the enemy team? And, as a last side note, he's an excellent farmer on par with AP Sion and Sivir when as he hits mid game.
Think of TF as a skirmisher, who fires many shots down into a fight while keeping himself at a safe distance, his greatest advantage is that at any moment he can put himself into the backlines behind the tanks while dealing some damage, or straight to the frontlines in order to wreak havoc on the enemy in full force. The closest character to AP TF would be Lux - but what she has to offer in burst, TF makes up for in even more utility. Because he has such huge range and utility, TF can afford to be built squishy - in fact, he depends on being built squishy. This makes TF not a great pick against a team with many assassins.
Why AP over AD/Hybrid?
The answer is pretty simple actually, the main thing that Hybrid and AD both have going for them is the fact they can BD better than AP TF. The main thing that's going against them is TF's horrid, horrid short auto attack range. In order to be able to auto attack effectively, you'll have to put yourself into range of nasty stuff like Pantheon's "I-Win" combo, which you can't survive with your squishy ass without burst mobility (it's channeling, bro). You can't rely on auto attacks as TF - only when you're winning, and what's the point of having an ability you can only use while winning? You want to have as much as possible that helps tip the balance into "Winning" for your team - not what you can do while you're winning. The only solution would be to build TF as a "Soft Carry" - basically you'll build him with defensive items asap with offensive items taking a secondary position. But TF is one of the most item dependent characters, and it's very hard for AD TF to farm.
So, this makes auto attacks out of the question - we're left with boosting our AP for Q and W (Yes it's in auto attack range, but you can risk one auto attack every 3-4 secs most of the time). This why I strongly advise AP TF over AD and Hybrid TF.
AP TF better than Annie, Anivia, etc. at following:
- Detect stealth guys while stealthed
- Detect entire enemy team
- Finish people off (worse than Karthus, but still)
- Backdoor/Suprise push like a boss
- Long range
- Wild cards have huge range, low cooldown, good ap ratio
- No need to auto attack more than once every few seconds for W
- Good farming
Annie/other generic mages destroy TF at the following:
- Raw damage output - in burst and sustained damage.
- (Some) are better at burst mobility (Dashes, flashes, etc.)
- (Some) are better at CC
- TF is very squishy.
AP TF over AD/Hybrid because TF lacks escape abilities without a channel, is squishy, and has a short auto attack range, all without doing abnormal amounts of damage.
This the TL;DR version of this guide. I forgo telling you why I pick certain things, and why I play like this and that, and don't contain as many playstyle tips and tricks - but for someone going into a game as a first time TF, this will allow you to look up what you need to do quickly without having to scroll through too much text.
or or or or or
Personal recommendation: and
9/0/21 or 8/1/21 depending on if you took revive.
9x Greater Mark of Insight
9x Greater Seal of Clarity or (Gambler's variety) 9x Greater Seal of Force
9x Greater Glyph of Force
3x Greater Quintessence of Potency or 3x Greater Quintessence of Insight or 3x Greater Quintessence of Swiftness
> > > (Get a level of early, level 1 = )
OR (Aggressive start) + 3x
/ (Side Lane)
(Optional, you're owning?)
if no Soulstealer:
General: - Avoid tower diving.
- Avoid diving into more than one enemy champion if you know you can't get away.
- You reveal stealthed units with your ultimate - that Evelyn isn't so lucky after all.
- Your main damage combo is Red Card/Gold Card -> Wild Cards, use it to farm, engage, harass, and damage in teamfights.
- When using your ulti to escape, first go into the bush, then use it.
Early Game: - Use your Wild Cards once it hits level 2 to harass the enemy champion(s). Don't do your Pick A Card unless you're 100% sure the enemy won't retaliate.
- Gank with Ultimate, make sure to prepare your stun/yellow card on time. Try to coordinate with your jungler. (Or roamer, if you have one)
- Counter-gank with ultimate - 1 v 1 turns nasty into 1 vs 2, 2 v 1 turns into surprise 2 v 2. Counter-ganks are far more potent than normal ganks most of the time.
Mid Game: - Do surprise pushes when team fight might be brewing - port to team fight when needed w/ ulti.
- Steal dragon?
- Reveal the enemy's plans to do dragon!
- Get the blue buff
Late Game: - Steal baron?
- Reveal the enemy's plans!
- Backdoor inhibitors, Nexus!
Team Fights: - Stay at a safe distance, do not get crowd controlled
- Spam your enemy with Wild Cards and Red Cards as much as possible
- Interrupt channeled stuff with your Gold Card
- Only close the distance when you won the teamfight.
On Ganking w/ Ulti: - Wait until either the enemy overextends, or commits to a fight, and then gank.
- Choose a position that allows you to attack while allowing a modest defense. (Right next to your tank/support, Bush)
Summoner spells are, in my opinion, a matter of taste and playstyle. But there is one thing I can tell you about TF. In a close, blood up to the beard team fight, TF does not have a reliable "OH CRAP" button in order to get him out of places where his squishy self does not belong.
Thankfully, Riot provides for the squishy champion's "Oh crap" button. Pick your poison:
Both are good, and some people are more comfortable with one spell than the other. I, however, feel that ghost synchronizes with TF's playstyle the most - as it allows him find the "sweet spot" in a team fight (Where TF can attack without being attacked) quickly, and stay there as long as possible. More on this later. Obviously Flash has synergy with TF's Gold Card, allowing for a surprise two second stun - an okay initiation and finisher.
Some people like two escape spells (Ghost AND flash). This is great for those who are picking up TF for the first time and don't want to feed, and it is certainly viable. However, if you may, allow me to give a suggestion:
Yes. Cleanse. Make no mistake, you're making a glass cannon with this build - because of TF's enormous range, he can afford to do so too. He won't so much survive if Sion glances at him, not long enough for a ghost and flash. This is a problem - so to get out of nasty Stuns that setup an insta-kill on you, take cleanse and laugh in the enemy's face. This also wonderfully counters stuff like Amumu and Galio.
Otherwise, for those of us who play TF like a risky Gambler:
Stop! Don't lynch me yet.
Please? Okay, thank you, thank you, hear me out on this.
Revive is amazing on TF. The main reason it's not picked so much is because it respawns you at the summoner platform, which is kind of crap considering most team fights don't occur on the summoner platform. This just ammounts to a person using the ability after dieing in a team fight, and, well, not being able to get back into the team fight.
But ... wait a second... TF's... ulti? It can bring me to a team fight?
This obviously has some drawbacks, the main one being that you can't wander around at the 40 min mark BDing while the rest of your team pushes as 4, with the enemy team knowing you'll Destiny + Gate into the fight - because, well, that would ruin your revive.
Secondly, revive has a long cooldown, and you'll be using up one of your summoner slots for having to be killed twice in a teamfight, and its no guarantee it will be up by the next team fight again.
Thirdly, you can't get Soulstealer with this summoner spell. The reasons should be obvious to why not.
Fourthly, it messes your masteries up a bit.
Now, who the hell would want to use Revive after all of that? Well, with it, you can get away with initiating with your short range gold card, and then just come back into the fight 3 secs later after you get focus-raped. This will play a nasty surprise to that Evelyn that thinks she's just about to get away, and that you're dead. A lot of people don't expect it in the middle of a team fight.
You can also use it in conjuction with your ulti to BD during a team fight... just saying.
Okay, time for some less controversial picks:
This is a no brainer, this with flash is a common pick for TF. Allows for some nice early-game dominance, and counters certain characters like Dr.Mundo and Tryndamare. (Or, more recently, Soraka)
You don't need me to tell you how good Ignite is at finishing off people you just barely failed to kill with that gold card + wild cards combo.
The main disadvantage is that it's got a rather short range - which is not too good for TF. However, if you managed to land a gold card you should be able to ignite. It is still hard to manage to get it off on a good target in a team fight.
This is a weird choice, I agree, but if you can live with one escape mechanism on TF - as I can with ghost - then why not add a bit of spicy support to him. Yes, I know you can reveal the enemy with your ulti, but sometimes you can't afford to waste it as you know that Annie in top lane is just going to make a mistake, but you have to check dragon. Another situation would be to check if an enemy is still vulnerable (low HP WW doing golem?) without having to use your ultimate. This can potentially save you from wasting your ultimate only to find the enemy you're after is close to Shen and Karma.
This does come in handy in some tight spots, esp. when the enemy decides to play tricky with bushes.
However if someone else has this spell, you really shouldn't need it unless you're running some sort of weird double clairvoyance strat and really know what you're doing.
Yes. This is what I thought first as well.
But think about it. What's more annoying than a TF who can get to yours towers during a team fight to BD/Surprise Push them? A TF who can then change focus on another tower in a few seconds is the answer.
What's more annoying than having TF port in on you every 2 mins when you try to have a 1 vs 1 brawl?
Him doing the same thing, except even more frequently.
This is obviously a spell for those Twisted Fate players that want to piss the enemy off and BD/Surprise Push everything.
This spell is also awesome if you want to gank early, but your lane has a pusher who will get the tower if you leave too much. Gank with your ulti, then teleport back and you're golden - you got a gank off, and your turret is still up.
What's better in early-mid game than teleporting across the map, stunning an enemy for 2 seconds twice in 6 secs, and doing a good amount of burst damage while you're at it? Slowing the enemy between the two stuns and making them unable to fight back, that's where it's at. Exhaust allows you to pull off some amazing ganks early-mid game, and it's very similar to ignite by the fact that it gives you a much better early-mid game, while falling off late game (because you won't be in range of targets who need to get exhausted most of the time).
It does have uses outside of ganks. You can kite someone who your gold card + run -> gold card + run -> etc. combo doesn't stop. (Olaf, Yi with cleanse and QSS)
Masteries and Runes
This is going to be a short one.
9/0/21 (This changes depending on your summoner spell setup)
8/1/21 If you took Revive. The 15% reduction on Revive is really significant, considering its long cooldown, and the improved version is too strong to not take over 15% magic pen.
Why? You probably heard this 5 billion times, but this mastery setup gives TF all of the things basically any caster needs. More mana regen, more MPen, more cooldown reduction, and a couple of side bonuses.
And on to the runes.
The boring, base setup:
9x Greater Mark of Insight
9x Greater Seal of Clarity
9x Greater Glyph of Force
3x Greater Quintessence of Potency or 3x Greater Quintessence of Insight
Why? It's a standard caster page, it gives you magic pen, mana regeneration (TF is MANA HUNGRY), and AP.
You want to forgo cooldown reduction, because with Golem Buff, Masteries, and TF's Stacked Deck, he'll be hitting the max cooldown reduction possible (40%). Now, you can replace the quints with Flat HP Quints if you really, really want to - but I'd advise against it, as TF has a long range, and he can afford to be built as a glass cannon.
Now, you can replace your seals with 9x Greater Seal of Force, and get your mana regen from blue cards (They give you 40% of your AP in mana every time you throw one free of charge)- but this opens up predictability in your laning phase (You have to blue card minions), which, if you're facing a good opponent, will allow you to get harassed. Your choice, in the end it will give you a little more power while making your mana recovery a bit riskier.
You can also replace the offensive Quints with 3x Greater Quintessence of Swiftness. These will allow you to position yourself more easily, which is critical to success with TF. Generally speaking, you gain mobility in exchange for damage. This can make you more effective at teamfights, as you can't get caught out of position, and will allow you to chase and kite easier. On the otherhand, if you can do without the move speed quints, you'll be more effective at team fights - if you can position correctly - but you are less effective at chasing and kiting. This is a choice depending on what you want to prioritize - I can't tell you which of these options is the best.
Your Skills and Skilling Order
I'll be going into detail on when to use which spells at what times, for now I'll give a general overview of them.
[spell_icon=Loaded Dice][spell_text=Loaded Dice]
A passive passive. Not something that actively changes the playstyle of a team or TF - but is just there. Still, it's an okay passive, if you get into a farming team, and everyone has at least 100 creep kills - with two people with 200 (Say, AP TF and Sivir), then you just gave your team 1400 gold with this passive by the end of the mid game.
Your bread and butter, you'll be using to harass, farm, and deal your main damage in team fights. It shoots out three AoE skillshot projectiles that pass through units, dealing damage to each unit it hits. A trick that a lot of people don't expect is to be hit not by the mid projectile - but rather by one of the side ones. It takes a while to learn which way the side projectiles go, but once you get it down you'll hit much more, since it's almost impossible to hit with your mid projectile as the projectiles are very slow - if the enemy is predicting it, that is. The main advantage of this skill is its huge range.
The main combo you'll be using with this spell is first either using Red Card or Gold Card and then using your Wild Cards on the Slowed/Stunned enemy for an easier hit. Using this without Red or Gold card is much safer - so it's more common to harass without Red/Gold, and more common to gank and play team fights with the Gold/Red combo.
Pick A Card
Three spells packed into one, this one brings a lot of utility.
Blue Card: Gives you mana, does extra damage to one target. Use this to help last hitting in the laning phase, regaining mana, and when pushing turrets. Otherwise your other two cards are much better for most situations.
Red Card: Does AoE Damage, also scales off AD. You'll be using this spell to kite multiple champions, or deal damage to multiple champions in a team fight, chase multiple champions, or harass champions who are near their minions.
Gold Card: Long stun to a single target, less bonus damage to that target. Use this spell to kite single champions, interrupt channeled spells, chase a champion, or when ganking.
By the way, if you draw a gold card in a lane, and don't try to be sneaky - your enemy will run away from you 95% of the time. You can use this to zone, but if you actually want to hit with a gold, you need to be sneaky (in a sidelane, Bush really helps this) and make sure the enemy can't escape.
Another passive, this gives an AP Ratio to your auto attacks and gives cooldown reduction, as well as AS. You can harass an enemy champion once you hit four stacks on this baby, but this is more a tactic for AD/Hybrid TF since you'll be prioritizing your Wild Cards over this spell. The attack speed from this skill is certainly welcome, but nothing to write home about as a pure AP TF. You won't be relying on your auto attack - or very rarely - since your range is too small and you're too squishy to be able to afford taking hits.
However, you really shouldn't ignore this passive in the early game. If you can get to 3 stacks on it before ganking, you'll have a slightly higher amount of burst damage - which could be the difference between a successful gank and a failed one.
Reveals all enemy champions, and allows TF to teleport to any place on the map once for a few seconds (The teleport has a channel and can only be used once). This is the thing that makes Twisted Fate, well, Twisted Fate. Upon gaining level 6 you should start looking for ganks - if you have a jungler with strong ganking abilities, then look to coordinate a couple of ganks with him.
Later in the game you'll be not only using this for ganks or counter ganks, but also to be able to surprise push lanes and still be there in a team fight, backdoor inhibtors/the nexus, etc.
Another use of this ability is to finish off champions like Evelyn or Twitch that just went into stealth with little to no health, or that Akali that put her shroud in the middle of your team in order to delay for her team to get there. TF becomes a steatlh champion's worst nightmare.
Last, but not least, this can be used to escape ganks. Just bee-line for a bush, and cast it while inside of it, as to stop enemies from interrupting you.
Another thing, when you use this offensively, and you think you're being sneaky by placing it in a bush - you aren't that sneaky. Even if you use it out of vision of the enemy they will still see the circle effect it generates upon casting (the same thing as with the orange puff from Shaco's decieve and JITB).
As I mentioned, you should prioritize your Wild Cards first:
Take a level of pick a card at level one, because its the most powerful at level one - A gold card is going to change the tide of a level one team fight more than a low damage Wild Cards. Otherwise, your wild cards is your main source of damage so you level that first, while an early of stacked deck gives you an extra attack based on your AP in a small skirmish. You want to max out your pick a card next, since its your secondary source of damage, along with the fact that not only the damage - but the duration of the slow/stun increases with higher levels, which is much better than a small increase in cooldown reduction which you'd get from stacked deck.
And to the last section that involves building TF - afterwards we'll discuss the actual playstyle of the gambler.
You need all four stats. Health you're lacking because you didn't take flat hp quints or defensive masteries. AP is good for early game dominance. Manaregen is always nice on TF, as he has mana problems, esp. early game. Everything you need in a little package.
This is an aggressive start that you see often on confident TF players. If the enemy has no potions this essentially allows you to trade blows and come out ahead, while being good at a level 1 team fight. If you pick this you really should be pushing your enemy to their limit - be it either being unable to sustain 1 v 1 vs you or being unable to push back the waves you keep sending at their towers. Either way, get your lane pushed by level 6 and do a gank, because super-early boots really help with that.
The Offensive option for casters. Since you have a long range, you don't need Merc threads for CC that much (If you took cleanse, well, it covers it). This gives your attacks the most power out all of the boots you can get - and this is what you want. These are rushed over Sheen or Mejai's most of the time, since TF is SLOW, and needs extra movement speed in order to get away from a lot of situations.
The CDR boots don't give a large early game damage boost like the Sorc shoes do, but they do give you the ability to gank more often and to use all of your abilities more often for a cheap price. This is great if you're focusing on being more of a utility/support TF (More Gold/Red cards, more Destinies), such as when you're on the side lane, rather than the main AP damage dealer, which is more often the case when you get a solo lane. Late game the Sorc Shoes fall off, esp. when you get Void Staff, so at that point you can switch out the Sorc Shoes for the CDR boots, as Voidstaff along with the Masteries reduce the effectiveness of Sorc Shoes (this is because of the order magic pen is calculated).
Soulstealer is great on TF. I get it most of the time when I know I'll be doing alright in a game, as in, not feeding. This is because, even though you're squishy, you have an large range on your main abilities. This will allow you to stay out of harms way, and, like Lux, build up your stacks safely while still contributing as much as you can.
Still, if the enemy team is made up of many assassins that can rip your throat out and get to you easily, then skip it. Also, if you're running Revive, skip it, the two do not synchronize at all.
If you took soulstealer, go straight for Lichbane, otherwise keep Sheen at Sheen. This is because you won't have enough AP to make the upgrade into Lichbane viable. You can also swap out the two items - get Sheen first, then Soulstealer, but I prefer getting stacks ASAP.
Why would you want these items on TF? Simple, it's synergy with his W. He already has a spell that requires him to auto attack an enemy once. Why not give it a bit of extra kick with Lichbane? This makes your Pick a Card scale so much better, and allows you to melt towers very quickly. Not to mention, extra movement speed is always a good bonus on TF.
An obvious choice, due to TF's long range he can afford to be built as a glass cannon. This item gives TF large amounts of AP to play with. You take this over Void Staff or any other ap item since it gives you the most AP for the buck. If you have the runes I told you to get, and Mejai's your AP will skyrocket - if not, then it will still boost it to at least 350. This will allow you to benefit the most from your Lichbane.
If you don't already have it. The Deathcap gives you enough AP to justify upgrading into a Lichbane.
If the game seriously does not want to end (late game) - then consider a few defensive options for TF at this point, as his offense should be more than adequate by this point:
If the enemy team has a lot of nasty CC, this is pretty much the choice then. It will block one spell, which could just save your life.
This gives you an extra life and delays your next death by several seconds. Use this against a team which has a lot of burst.
A hybrid between offensive and defensive power. Use this to delay against a team which has loads of sustained damage, so they decide to focus someone else.
A large tip: You can use its active while channeling your teleport to get away from almost anything. (The teleport doesn't get interrupted)
If the games still is going - congratz on the one hour game then. By this point the enemy should be beard-deep in magic resistance. This means you'll need to shave that magic resistance off, and you do this with a nice
This will heighten your effective damage very considerably against most teams. Of course, if the enemy doesn't have MR items by now - which I seriously doubt - you could get some other AP item. Just use your head, after the core build of lichbane + deathcap the items you should get all depend on whats happening in game.
Playstyle or "What should I do"
TF has a large learning curve, and requires a lot of knowledge to play correctly - so I'll try to cover common situations you'll face in an average game with this section.
Where and how am I laning?
Most people will let TF take a Solo lane, since they want him to gank with his ulti ASAP. This is great, as it not only opens up the ganks, it also gives TF extra farm as well. Before I get down into the specifics of laning in either a solo or duo lane, I want to cover TF's main weaknesses in the laning phase. He is very squishy, and runs out of mana quickly - so be sure to conserve mana and try not to get into range of the enemy unless you know it will end up in your favor.
So, for the first option:
1. I'm mid or solo top:
Look at your opponent. What type of solo is he? A carry who's here to farm like Sivir? A ganker/roamer like Kassadin? An anti-carry like Mordekaiser? A pusher like Heimerdinger? A combination?
Answer this question and you'll understand what your enemy hopes to achieve in this lane. Your plan? To screw over your enemy's plan.
Is the enemy trying to farm? Guess what: He has to stand still to last hit or auto attack minions. This is the time when your enemy is most vulnerable to a Wild Cards. Once he moves forward to get a last hit on one of your minions (he'll try to hit minions with low hp!), shoot them cards at him. Do this enough and your enemy will get zoned, and he'll have to stop farming. At this point you should start last hitting in order to not push to give the enemy even less farm. Start this harassment when your Wild Cards are at level two - otherwise you'll do not enough damage. Once you run out of mana, shoot a couple of blue cards to regain it. If your enemy starts to learn to avoid your wild cards, there's a second way to zone. Just make the enemy see you pull a gold card, and run towards the enemy. The enemy champion does not want to get stunned - and most likely will run away. If they don't, give them the card, and a wild cards follow up, and then run. The enemy is confident he'll win - this usually means his jungler is nearby.
Is the enemy trying to survive until level 6 in order to start ganking and roaming? This is basically a more passive form of a farmer, the idea is the same, be aggressive and try to force this person out of the lane early. The only problem is that the enemy isn't that focused on getting last hits - so it's not that easy to predict them. Using the gold card method will allow you to zone them easily, but it costs you your last hits.
Is the enemy an anti-carry thats out to get the enemy mid? Play defensive, and if the enemy is not a sustainable anti-carry, then use your Wild Cards to eventually harass them out of the lane. You can do this because they have such a huge range. Try to get as many last hits as possible, maybe harass with a red card there and there. If your enemy is a sustainable anti carry, just farm - as a last resort you can use your pick a card to get out of trouble, and sometimes you can zone them with the threat of a gold card. If you're getting zoned out, then you can use your wild cards to last hit minions. Once you hit 6, push the lane - most anti-carries can't handle a strong push. Once it's pushed, spend as much time as possible ganking, and then go back to push it back. Be sure to not overextend to the tower - use your wild cards to push.
The enemy is a pusher? Surprise ! You're a great pusher if need be. Screw their plans over by pushing slightly slower than them with wild cards and red cards - and then calling your favorite neighborhood jungle Shaco over for a "magic trick" - I mean a gank.
Obviously you should, regardless of your laning enemy, attempt to get as many last hits as possible - this is hard during the first few levels (later you can do wild cards + red card), but blue cards help increase your damage for one hit, with which you can effectively get minion kills.
Regardless, once you hit six, start looking for ganks. Look at the next question for advice on that.
2. I'm laning with a partner.
First, decide who needs more farm, your partner or you. Is he a late game carry like Tryndamare or Tristana? Then you should focus on zoning out the enemy and providing a smooth game for your partner. Is he an early-mid-game character like Sion or Pantheon? Distribute the farm equally among yourselves, try to get a double stun combo off there and there, maybe get first blood in lane or force the enemy back multiple times. Is he a support? I hope he's Soraka, because then you'll go on a rampage. Play offensive or defensive depending on how strong the enemy is early game. Harass, and try to take a large portion of the farm.
By the way, why Soraka? TF's main weakness early game is his lack of adequate mana regen and health regen. Soraka gives both of those to TF, allowing him to dominate the early game - even against two. If the enemy is only slightly sustainable at laning, they'll get zoned very quickly by the ammount of wild cards you'll be spamming at them.
Try to also analyze your enemy. Adjust accordingly whether they're strong early game, strong late game, or a mix. It's harder to zone a Sion/Taric combo than a Nasus/Veigar, for example.
When you hit 6, look for any gank opportunities, but make sure your ally can handle the 2 v 1 lane for a while, or have the lane pushed a bit to buy you time to get back before your partner starts getting too much hurt.
When do I gank? How do I gank?
Gank as soon as you get your ultimate and a gank opportunity arises. Try to have your lane pushed a bit so that your tower won't take unneeded damage.
This means you'll want to gank whenever an enemy on a different lane starts overextending, your jungler is in a fight with the enemy jungler in your jungle, or other such circumstances (enemy gank can get counter ganked). Just use your brain: "If I go into this fight, will I a. Save my teammates and/or b.Kill the enemy?" If you answered yes to one or both of those questions, then use your Destiny to gank there.
Do not use your ultimate to gank when you know it won't be successful - because the enemy can get away or otherwise (you should still save your teamates live, even if it wont kill the enemy, obviously). You must have your enemies either overextending or committed to a fight before you gank. Also, attempt to coordinate ganks with your jungler. There are few things scarier than a Shaco ganking a lane with the help of a TF.
Another thing, if one of your enemy is very predictable, and has been overextending for a while or some other sort of mistake that leaves them open for gank - and it doesn't seem like they'll let up, then you can use this time to push your lane by spamming your Wild Cards and Red Card, and then go back to base, get boots, perhaps an elixir, and charge up on mana and health. Then you can go about doing a planned gank at full hp and with boots, which obviously has a much larger chance to succeed. However, I find that the more you play TF, the less and less you'll be using opportunities like this, as you'll find many spontaneous gank opportunities, that you should know you should act on, before you find a planned one.
On another note - unless you're playing a 5 vs 5 arranged with voice chat, DO NOT RELY ON YOUR TEAMMATES TO SUBSTITUTE YOUR MAP AWARENESS. Look at your minimap whenever there's a pause in the combat of your lane, check for any dangerous spots the enemy or your allies are in, make a note if they might need help - and who knows, you might find an easy gank like this.
Now that we covered when to gank, I'll tell you how to gank. Use your judgment in positioning your teleport that you're using to gank. If you'll get stunned and raped if you go right into the middle of the enemy, don't position yourself there. On that note, if you teleport into the bush, even though the enemy will see the circle effect, you will gain a few seconds time before you can be targeted (if the enemy isn't in the bush). If the enemy is committed to a fight, then they'll usually not be able to pull something off like that, so you're safe to teleport in the middle of them. Try to cut off escape routes the enemy will try to use.
Once you choose your position, draw a gold card as fast as possible (this takes practice), and gate in. A tip: You don't need to be looking at TF to see which card you can lock-in. Just look at your skillbar, Pick A Card's icon changes color depending on what card is drawn. This may allow you to get a gank off a second faster, which could be the difference between a successful gank and a failed one. On another note, your ultimate reveals all champions as well as teleporting you. Be sure to check for any unexpected threats with its reveal.
On unexpected threats, be careful when the enemy has TF/Shen/Pantheon, as they can countergank you.
Everyone is gathered at location X! A team fight might be brewing, what do I do?
Depending on your playstyle and the situation in game, you have two options:
1. Push an entirely different lane, and use your teleport to get to the team fight when it starts. This gives the enemy team a sense of urgency, which will force them to start the team fight earlier, or divide their numbers which will allow your team to kill the enemy 5 vs 4 (if you teleport in).
2. Stay with your team and harass the enemy with your Wild Cards. This is great against a team which has a bunch of squishy champions with little to no sustainability. This way you can eventually push down a tower with your harassment ala the old heal-poke metagame.
Teamfight started! What do I do?
Firstly, if you're not there, use your ultimate to get into a nice position. A nice position would be one where you're outside the range of the enemy's abilities, but in range of your wild cards, along with a postion where you can run in closer to the enemy for a second to launch your Red/Gold card.
On that note, you're the most vulnerable when you close the distance to launch your Red/Gold cards. So try to only close the distance when the enemy is committed on one of your other players, or already has used all of their CC.
Also, if one of the enemy tries to give chase to you in a team fight and your tanks didn't manage to stop him from doing so, just run a bit, eventually they'll recommit to your allies, upon which you can get back into the position I described above, and then launch your cards at them.
Now, get into the position I described above, and start spaming your Wild Cards and Red/Gold cards. This will do significant AoE damage along with disrupting their team. Use your gold card to stop nasty stuff like Kat's death lotus or Nunu's Absolute Zero. Note that if an enemy carry is fed, and you're somehow in range to Gold Card him, then the best course of action is, most of the time, to give them a Gold Card instead of giving the entire enemy team a red card. Still, it's unlikely you'll be in range of that carry with your auto attack, unless they really overextend in a teamfight or are melee range and don't pick their targets well.
If you get stunned or otherwise, use your escape mechanisms (Cleanse/Flash/Ghost) to get out of harm's way and continue doing the above.
Because of your positioning, you'll be able to defend retreating teammates who are low hp from that assassin/carry that is looking to kill them. A low hp kog'maw will try to run from the fight - which means most of the time will go near you as he's escaping - and some enemies might give chase. A gold card + wild cards can allow you to get a free kill at that spot, esp. if the kog'maw helps.
We lost the teamfight :(!
RUN! Kite with your Wild Cards and Red cards. Go into a bush and teleport away inside of the bush if necessary to survive. Sometimes, as TF, you can turn a lost team fight into a won one with your kiting abilities.
We won it :)!
Chase down the enemy, use your ultimate if you have it to do so. Do team objectives now like Dragon or Tower.
It was a tie :|
Use your ultimate or teleport (if you have it) to start a surprise push, if it's available. Otherwise just gtfo and farm.
The following is a couple examples of what to do in a team fight as TF. Kestrel was kind enough to let me use his videos, and while they lack commentary, they're still good to look for an applied concept. Yes there are a couple of none-team fights and Jax/Nid team fights in that video, just bear with it.
If you want to see more examples of team fights with TF, I suggest you check out his youtube channel, he's a great TF player that plays very similarly to the way I am trying to describe with this guide, and he has many examples of team fights and a couple of ganks on his playlist. Some of his videos are a bit old, as in, before the Zhonya's Ring change, but the playstyle of TF is the same now as it was back then.
The enemy team is ganking me! What do I do?
I hope, for the love of all that is good, you have ghost or flash up. If you can escape with just those, do that. Otherwise I hope your ultimate is up. Bee-line for the nearest bush, and the second you get into that bush, use your ultimate to escape to a safe location. You got into the bush so the enemy won't be able to stop your channel that easily, which will buy you the extra time you need to escape.
If you can't escape, do the next best thing. Suicide on the tower if you can get to it before the enemy can damage you. Delay your death as much as possible. Damage the enemy as much as possible. We all have to die some time, right?
It's early-mid game, and there's nothing to do! Too risky to push, everybody is back for a couple of mins, what do I do?
FARM! Get to some minion waves and use your insta-death combo (Red Card + Wild Cards) to farm like a maniac. Go through the jungle. Get every single creep kill you can. This is also the point where you want to get the blue buff - you'll be having mana problems until late game, and the cooldown reduction really helps.
It's mid-late game, and everybody is sitting around doing nothing. What do I do?
If you're on the offensive:
Divide and conquer. Push one lane while your team pushes another. Have baron and dragon warded so the enemy can't get them that easily without you noticing. If you don't have them warded, use your ultimate to reveal the enemy if you think they're doing it. Alternatively harass with your team as described above.
If you're on the defensive:
Push another lane while the enemy commits to pushing one of yours. Use your ultimate to escape from ganks and to help your team if they start a team fight. Have dragon and baron warded. If you don't, use your ultimate when you think they're doing them.
If the enemy has an inhibitor up without a tower/Nexus without towers:
Ask your team to distract the enemy for you, and backdoor!
Bahhhh. An enemy just got away with 100 hp! What do I do?
Your ultimate up? Okay. Now if you go in to where the enemy escaped to, will you kill him and get away? If not, then don't get greedy, do not use your ultimate then. If you can guarantee a kill and if you're sure you'll survive, then go ahead and go after the enemy champion.
Your ultimate not up? Tough luck.
Tryndmare/Yitard/Renekton is right clicking me! WHAT DO?
If a melee champion decides to 1 v 1 one you, run after hitting him with a gold card.
And a Wild Card for good measure.
Now, if they decide to keep chasing you, look at what they have. Do they have.
b. Frozen Mallet
c. Some sort of other CC that will screw you over?
Then use your ultimate in a bush like an embarrassed hiker needing to pee. If you can get away without using your ultimate, obviously do that. Otherwise shove another Gold Card in their face, and give them a taste of the Wild Cards. If they continue chasing, they'll run out of hp eventually. Then you can finish them off with a well placed ultimate.
Annie is showing me her Tibbers 1vs1. I don't want to see Tibbers. What do I do?
Outrange casters. If they try to close the gap, give them a wild cards every so often, and keep out of their range.
It's Kassadin? Leblanc? Try to get a gold card off, and pray for a miracle afterwards. You are near the tower, right? Or your friendly neighborhood tank? Hopefully one of those will save you.
Depends. Is it late game, or early-mid? Early-mid you will win most of the time, late they will win most of the time. Use your judgment on whether to run like a maniac, or shove a gold card into their face followed with other card tricks.
Zilean is bombing me. WTF?
RUN! He's got help, a support doesn't attack by himself, his friends are coming.
What NOT to do on TF:
You shouldn't, for one, tower dive without help from your teammates. It's nearly impossible, and there are almost no circumstances where the reward outweighs the risk. This is because you're squishy. Instead, use your huge range to zone out the enemy from the tower, while you slowly push it down.
You shouldn't initiate - unless you have revive - because you're too squishy to survive it.
Don't get greedy - if you die for that one kill, most of the time it isn't worth it. Consider trying to do a team objective instead - like pushing down a tower, if you're full hp while both teams are recovering that is.
Avoid overextending. You're squishy, and your escape mechanism doesn't always work.
31/1/11: Fixed some grammar mistakes, spelling, added a couple sections to playstyle
1/2/11 : Fixed some grammar mistakes, spelling, added this section, added explanations to deathcap, lichbane after deathcap, added squishiness to pro/cons. Added "Be careful of TF/Shen/Panth" to gankign section. Updated starter items. Added 1 vs 1 encounters to playstyle. Updated stacked deck on AS bonus.
2/2/11 : Added movespeedquints to runes.
3/2/11 : Added note that people can see you ulting in even if you're out of vision.
5/2/11 : Added a couple of things to playstyle which were missing. (Going back to base when ganking, an extra note on positioning in team fights) Added Kestrel's video.
8/2/11 : Added a couple of things to playstyle. (Zoning with a drawn gold card, added some spice to a "joke" in the text, gave small summary of cons of TF in laning)
10/2/11 : Added link for masteries.
15/2/11 : Added the CDR boots.
12/3/11 : Did some proof-reading, grammar mistakes and the works.
10/4/11: Added exhaust, added tip to hourglass that you can teleport and use its active.\
15/5/11: Added the boots 1 start, couple of additions to playstyle and summoner spells.
Thanks to Valenium for helping me with this guide and spreading the word about it.
Thanks to Josidiah, Catchdown, and blizkrieg for helping with me the guide.
Thanks to Kestrel for allowing me to use his videos.
Thanks for reading this far, I hope the guide was helpful, if you have any questions post them in the comment section, and don't forget to rate my guide :)
Submitted by Revolves
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