Twisted Fate Build Guide

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Twisted Fate - Dealing Death from Afar

written by Facade

Twisted Fate Build

Starting items

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Core Build

Late Game / Luxury Items

Situational Items

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Shopping List

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Skill Order

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  • Loaded Dice
  • Wild Cards
  • Pick A Card
  • Stacked Deck
  • Destiny

Runes for Twisted Fate

Masteries for Twisted Fate

Table of Contents

  • Overview

    This guide is for Twisted Fate as played in AP mid. This playstyle focuses on two key aspects which intertwine: mobility and damage. This is a glass cannon style of play. You will keep your distance from enemies and fling in cards to deal damage with an insane AP. This is facillitated by a high level of mobility. This mobility is further taken advantage of to roam around the map; a job which Twisted Fate is uniquely suited to. 

    On Solo Queue - on one hand this is tougher to pull off in solo queue because in teamfights you are VERY squishy, meaning you need to make sure you have a team to guard you. Communication helps a lot. On the other hand the roaming based style and heavy damage output make it easier for you to win your solo queue ally's lanes and team fights for them. Decide for yourself.


    Pros - High Damage

            - High Mobility

            - Excellent Map Control


    Cons - Difficult to Learn

            - Punishes Mistaked very Hard

  • Spells

    Second Sight - one of the easiest passives to forget exists (I think Sion's takes the cake for that) but one of the most powerful. Spread across an entire team, 2 extra gold per CS is a pretty big difference. This also has some synergy with your roaming style since you wont have as much farm as other AP carries might, and definetely synergizes with your 'help other people win their lanes' theme.


    Wild Cards - I adore this spell. Its a VERY long range nuke. You can actually get it to go a little farther than the sight range indicates. The damage it does is pretty significant, which is absurd when coupled with its 5 second (non-reduced) cooldown. An awesome spell overall. Use this to farm creeps from outside of harass range, and to harass the enemy as well while you're at it. This is your bread and butter spell. Some tips with this spell. First, smart cast it. The range is huge so its easier to smartcast than a lot of spells since you dont have to wonder if theyre in range. It doesnt show you a targeting line anyways so its really not any more difficult to smart cast than normal cast. Just do it. Second, learn to aim the side cards. This will take time but use the spell enough and you'll get it. When you can land side cards you can pull off this awesome trick that will make dodging your cards much harder. When you are running side to side in lane if you cast Q to hit the enemy with your side card your character doesnt really turn much at all. This makes it easy to throw out cards without telegraphing the fact that you are about to because you never turn towards the enemy. You can also trick them into running away from where it looks like you are throwing the center card...right into your side card. If you get VERY good at understanding the side card angles you can reliably hit multiple enemies with different cards in fights. To this day my favorite moment in LoL was getting a triple kill with this Q: one card per kill (didnt know about LoL Replay at the time...). As your primary damage ability level this up as fast as possible.


    Pick a Card - this is another one of my favorite spells in the game. It adds a great decision making mechanic to TF that really extends both his skill cap and his versatility. It lets every player play him just a little differently. Not to mention choosing which card is best at any given moment is a ton of fun. Basically, the three cards trade off DPS for CC. The blue card gives you mana back and does the most damage, but has no CC effect. Did I mention it gives you mana back? Because that is the single greatest thing on an AP caster...ever. They even had to nerf it off of Soraka. This gives you so much lane sustain. You should be using blue card at every moment possible but I'll cover that more in the Early Game explenation below. The red card does AOE damage and an AOE slow. The damage is lower than blue but higher than gold, just like the CC effect is higher than blue but lower than gold. This is the card you should be picking if the enemy is grouped up; its particularly good in ganks (slow both instead of stunning only one) or teamfights (hurt them all, slow them all). The gold card does the least damage but provides a hard stun. Useful in obvious circumstances like initiating or disabling an important hero in a teamfight. You'll level this up second. However, I like to take it at level 1 if I think there might be level 1 aggression or an early gank becuase the CC is extremely useful in those circumstances.


    Stacked Deck - this is a passive ability so there really isnt much to say about it. Try and harass with it every time it comes up if you can. If you are going to gank and/or initaite on your lane opponent try and make sure this will proc. Ideally you want it to proc on the first auto so that way it has the best odds of coming up again.


    Destiny - an absolutely incredible ultimate. The primary use will be to gank the side lanes during the laning phase. I like to teleport into the side bushes most of the time, but it all depends on where the enemies are. Generally speaking you want to teleport behind them so they cant run away, and in bushes so they aren't sure if you are coming for them specifically until its too late. Some people claim this ulitmate falls off later in the game, but I disagree. This facilitates great split pushing. Your insane damage plus two AOE spells (your Q and your red card) means you push like no ones business. Then, if the enemy shows up to either stop you or confront the rest of your team you just ult to escape/show up to the fight. Plus, never underestimate the ability to detect every champion on the map during the late game. This can give huge positional advantages, let you set up ideal teamfights, spot baron attempts, spot them out of position to stop you from assaulting baron or a tower, let you know youre safe to split push...any number of things. Super-late game when everyone has full item builds and no one has room for wards this spell is invaluable. As a special bonus, keep in mid that it reveals invisible units. That has come in handy every once in a while. Twitch just stealth away? he didnt. One last use of the ultimate is to chase down enemies that just barely made it away. They retreat further back in lane to B, ult in and finish them off. This becomes less effective as players understand the ult mechanic, and it should never work twice on the same person. To help its effectiveness, I like to try and ult either in a bush or behind a wall next to them then finish them off with a Q over the wall/out of the bush using the vision from my ult. If they dont see you port in they are far more likely to try and just finish the B.

  • Summoner Spells

    Flash - an absolute must have on TF. Flash to escape, flash to chase, flash to initiate with gold card...lots of options. Too good to pass up.


    Ignite - standard AP carry mindset. You want to do damage...this spell does damage. Sold.


    Other Spells


    Teleport - this is the only other summoner I seriously consider. It fits really well into TFs mid game play of roaming ganks and late game play of split pushing. Plus you get to do this...kill mid, ult top and kill the top laner, teleport bot to a ward in the brush and kill them too. When you pull that off for the first time you will feel like a god; a god who probably just won their team the game. Late game you can also push one lane, teleport to the other when they show up and push that one, and still have your ult to meet up with your team. This kind of turns you into a backdooring monster. Be EVERYWHERE all of the time.

    Cleanse - this can actually be viable if you are facing a super heavy CC team. Since you are so squishy getting stunned can mean your death. This helps that. I also take this against Fizz because little known fact: you can cleanse his ult. 


    Exhaust - you already have CC so this isnt necesarry defensively. Offensively I find it outclassed by ignite for the AP carry. This spell is most effective when used on the AD Carry, who you should probably never be close enough to to pop this on.


    Ghost - if you really need it to position yourself I guess it could work, but you should probably be fast enough with boots + move speed quints + swiftness mastery.


    Promote - a terrible summoner spell...but slightly less terrible on TF than normal. Since his mid game is focused on pushing his lane to roam and his late game is focused on pushing lanes to backdoor promote could be of marginal use. Severely outclassed by just about everything though.


    Cleanse - that summoner spell that doesnt outclass promote. Its bad at the best of times. You have a blue card. Dont make me smack you.


    Clarevoyance - oh yeah, the other summoner spell that promote outclasses. Did you even read your ultimate's description?


    Revive - for laughs you can take this and run zombie TF. Die -> revive -> ult back into the fight. Ultimately though its awful. It's cooldown is too long to be of great use and you should be one of the last people to die in a fight anyways so theres not really a fight to ult back into anyways. Overally I'd say this ranks one above promote though.

  • Runes

    My primary focus with runes is to augment Twisted Fate's early game. This is for two reasons. First, the faster you win lane the faster you can roam and the faster both you and your teammates will snowball. Second, your build gives you an absurd amount of AP lategame (~700) which is more than sufficient. Late game oriented rune setups are not necessary.


    Marks: Magic Penetration (Flat) - these are the defualt marks on an AP caster. They're pretty much the best marks available. This should be the least controversial rune choice.


    Seals: Ability Power (Flat) - this choice is made in part because it helps early game (as advocated above) and in part because none of the other options are particularly better.


             Mana Regen (Flat or Scaling) - most AP casters take some form of mana regen as their seals. I find this to be unnecessary because of blue card. If you have trouble managing mana then I guess you can use these. The only legitamate reason would be to allow you to spam cards that aren't blue. In other words, now you can use more red cards to push faster or more gold cards to increase aggressiveness. These are probably the second most viable option.

              Cooldown Reduction (Flat) - Twisted Fate doesnt benefit that much from CDR because his cast times are already very low. The percentage based system doesnt scale well. Full CDR selas gives you 2.5% CDR. Two and a half percent of a six second cooldown is virtually nothing (~0.15 seconds).


             Alacrity - because of Twisted Fates E attack speed actually does increase his magic damage. Its hard to quantify because it depends on how long any particular engagement lasts, but if these allow you to get an extra Stacked Deck proc then they can give you a good amount of damage. They kind of work like cooldown reduction in that sense, and probably do a little better to be honest. Generally speaking though there are better options.


    Glyphs: Ability Power (Flat) - the reasoning is the same as on seals. They augment your early game and give you more power.


                Magic Resistance - these are the go to glyphs on most AP carries. I choose to eschew them on Twisted Fate however because my aim is to simply never take damage. I try and poke down in lane with Q without taking a hit back and farm from afar in a similliar manner. You can certainly take MR here if you want because you will invariably take damage and it can be a good choice in matchups with hard to avoid harass (of which there arent a whole lot for TF) but I prefer the added AP.


    Quintessences: Movement Speed - this plays into the idea of mobility. These quints are godly on TF. While laning they let you get in an out to farm and harass without taking damage back. When roaming they let you get around a whole lot faster, making ganks more effective (less time to call mia) and reducing the amount of experience and gold lost from farming. In team fights these let you hover at the back and deal damage without taking very much.


                           Ability Power (Flat) - these are what I see most AP carries take. If you took flat AP in your other runes this is unnecssary. Plus, they just arent as good as movement speed quints are on TF.

  • Masteries

    I recommend a 21-0-9 mastery setup. This is somewhat standard except for a few choices, which I will elaborate on here.


    Brute Force vs. Mental Force - the overall damage increase is better with brute force. The 3 AP must pass through a ratio which drastically lowers its impact. The AD however has a 1:1 ration with his W and E (since they are auto-attacks), and helps with last hitting.


    Good Hands vs. Expanded Mind - 72 mana at level 18 isnt even one spell. That mastery does nothing. Ten percent less time spent dead makes a HUGE difference later on in the game. Especially with your ultimate, you can be anywhere as soon as you revive. Plus, blue card means you dont worry about mana that much in the first place. Clearly a better choice in my mind.

    Meditation vs. Swiftness - bascially cross-apply everything I said on movement speed quints to swiftness. That extra two percent movement speed helps a ton in lane, in ganks, and in team fights. Compare that to meditation: you dont really need the mana regen (blue card) and it forces you to take Expanded Mind instead of Good Hands up above.

    Improved Recall vs. Runic Affinity - on paper, Runic Affinity is a better mastery. Its probably the best single mastery in the game especially since its full effect comes at one point. However, I do not ask for the blue buff as TF (explained more bellow but basically blue card). For this reason I put that point into Improved Recall as that gives the most bang for your 1 point buck. If you plan on taking blue buff then absolutely take Runic Affinity.

    Other Setups

    21-9-0: This would be the other setup I would recommend. This is pretty unique to TF as he doesnt need the mana masteries that most AP casters take out of the utility tree. The defensive tree stats are pretty good for AP casters. The MR is helpful, as is the extra life to survive burst. These are probably the most popular TF masteries. I choose 21-0-9 however because I do not plan on being in many head on fights, which is where the defensive masteries really come in handy. If I know its going to be a tough match up though (Kassadin for instance) then I will take 21-9-0.

  • Items

    First Items


    You have a couple of choices here, each with some pros and cons.


    Boots + Pots - this is my preferred start. It gives you mobility and sustain. Most important though, mobility. Move faster, harass more, dodge skillshots, stay in lane.


    Dorans Ring - I don't like starting Doran's Ring on pretty much any AP caster. I think the movility and sustain of boots and pots outclasses it almost every time. Having said that, TF can take Doran's Ring in matchups without long range skill shots because he can farm and harass from so far away (matchups like Ryze come to mind).


    Amplifying Tomb + Pots - this works if two conditions are met. First, like the Doran's Ring start, your mathup doesnt demand high mobility in the very first levels (you'll have boots by the time you gank anyways). Second, you are planning on building a Haunting Guise (which this builds in to). If those two conditions are true, start with this.


    Early Game Itemization


    You have two choices here. Double Doran's Ring, or Haunting Guise. 


    Double Doran's Ring - the more standard opening. This is standard on most AP casters actually. Gives you health, AP, mana regen, and for pretty cheap. You know why this is good.


    Haunting Guise - I know this isnt the most common opener but try and keep an open mid. First off, here is what you lose compared to the double Doran's opener: 5 AP, 1 mana regen/second. Here is what you gain: 40 health, 20 magic penetration. Losing 1 mana regen/second has absolutely no consequence to TF as he has blue card. Gaining the 40 health is nice, but if you play the glass cannon style isnt really significant. The reason I choose Haunting Guise is the 20 magic penetration. The damage increase from 20 magic penetration is much larger than 5 AP (which will end up being like 3 extra damage BEFORE magic resistance). This works well against the new trend of opening early abyssal (an MR item among other things). It also compounds well with your roaming style. Why you ask? Well other than mid lane who really take MR runes, or opens with early MR items? Unless you have an AP top, no one. That means that your 20 magic pen will bring you pretty close to true damage against the side lanes you are ganking. Not bad.


    Mid Game Core


    Not a whole lot of decisions here. You want to get Sorcerer's Shoes, then Rabadon's Deathcap, then Lichbane. This core is just too good for there to be much debate. 


    Get Sorcerer's Shoes first. These give you an increase in speed to help your ganking, which will be the focus of your mid game. The magic penetration is also useful for reasons discussed above.


    Then get Rabadon's Deathcap; the AP boost results in a huge surge in damage that super charges your midgame. Rushing this as your first big item also works well with the AP heavy rune setup which now just got 30% better. You are also getting this item so fast so that your Lich Bane can work. Its passive only really matters if you have AP. Lich Bane's massive damage increase means you really only want to delay it by one major item, and Rabadon's gets you the most out of that delay.


    Lich Bane might be TF's favorite item. You mean I actually get to add another 1:1 ratio on top of my autos? If you pick a blue card and proc a Stacked Deck...that auto attack can just destroy people.


    Late Game Items


    In ninety-nine percent of games you will finish out your build the same way: Deathfire Grasp, Void Staff, Zhonya's Hourglass.


    Deathfire Grasp - this is mostly just a DPS item. If the focus of this build is to dish out damage DFG lets you do that. The active is pretty good. I talked above about how CDR isnt the best stat on TF but if 15% CDR comes with the package you won't catch me complaining. And DFG doesnt give you too small of an AP boost at that. This item fits really well into a glass cannon build because it's effectiveness scales with AP. Since we are stacking a lot of AP this item fits in very nicely (this is the same reason its rushed on Veigar). TF also uniquely apprecieates this item; Tiwsted Fate is more of a sustained damage than a burst caster. If you grab a DFG it lets you do DFG -> Q ->(optional auto to proc Lich Bane) -> Blue Card + Stacked Deck + Lich Bane = massive burst combo. This gives you more versatility as a caster and also gives you the option of defending yourself by simply nuking an opponent who catches you out of position before he can kill your very squishy person (think defense a la LeBlanc).


    Void Staff - never, ever underestimate the DPS increase that comes with ignoring 40% of an opponents magic resistance. Coupled with the 10% bonus from the Arcane Knowledge mastery you are literally ignoring half of the opponents magic resistance. Plus the flat magic pen from sorc boots. Usually you'll want to pick this up after DFG for a couple reasons. You have 10% + 40 magic penetration from your masteries, Sorcerer's Shoes, and Haunting Guise. That should hold you until late game which coincides nicely with around the time DFG finishes up. If for some reason people start stacking MR earlier than usual feel free to grab this before DFG.


    Zhonya's Hourglass - this is mostly taken for the absurd amount of AP (130 with Rabadon's Deathcap's passive). One hundred and thirty is a lot of AP. A lot. The active also gives you an OH SHIT button, which is nice to have late game when you are playing such a squishy character. The active works well with TF because his cooldowns are so low; you WILL have your Q and W up by the time its effect ends.


    Situational Items


    These items aren't necessarily bad, they just arent the best in my opinion.


    Abyssal Scepter - this is a more tanky-dps oriented item. You don't really need the MR with this playstyle, so take the extra DPS with Void Staff. There is one noteable exception. If for some reason 40% of their MR isnt more than 20 then this item actually gives more DPS. That should never happen. Some people will say double AP comps necessitate this item and they are right; the fact that it gives an aura MR debuff works magic in double AP comps. However, odds are the other AP is Vladamir, Kennen, Diana, or Swain (or some other tanky-ish AP). Abyssal Scepter probably works better on them than it does on you, and the aura doesnt stack so no need for two of them.


    Rylai's Crystal Scepter - this actually is a pretty good item on Twisted Fate. I don't pick it up not because its bad but because I just like my other options better. If you want to, substitute this in for Zhonya's. The AP provides some nice DPS. This item has a unique synergy with TF though. Normally AOE spells only apply a 15% slow; for the purpose's of Rylai's however TF's Q is treated as a single target spell (despite being able to hit multiple targets) and apply's the full 35% slow. This is a pretty powerful fact. The slow also synergyzes well with the high mobility concept and helps keep you safe during team fights or if you are out of position. The 500 health also makes for an ok substitute for Zhonya's safety net.


    Nashor's Tooth - I discussed how attack speed can actually provide a pretty significant DPS boost for TF up above. Here's an item that gives attack speed and AP. TF would really like this item if all the others werent better.


    Will of the Ancients - this item only becomes core in double AP compositions, where it is simply too good to pass up. First off, if you are taking damage then the fight is probably already lost (you should be way back behind your team) and you wont be able to spell vamp your way to victory. Second, your health pool is really low so spell vamp is of negligeable use since you can be burst down so easily. Third, you do more continous damage than burst damage so you spell vamp wont really give you that burst heal that helps you stay alive so easily. Its not that its bad, its just that its not the amazing stat that it is on most AP carries. I prefer just going for the greater DPS on Zhonya's and DFG. Zhonya's provides a better defensive ability anyways.

  • Early Game

    I define early game for TF as pre-level 6. Your early game should be focused around farming heavily and gaining an advantage. You are trying to set up the ability to roam at 6 and later. To do this you need to get your early game core up as fast as possible (whether thats double Doran's or Haunting Guise) and you need to have enough of an advantage in lane (be at least even) to let you roam around.


    Your early game revolves around using Q and W at every single cooldown. Everytime Q is up use it to either farm, harass, or ideally both. Every time W is up use it to gain back some mana so you can keep using Q every time possible. If you can proc the blue card on the enemy its a great form of harass, but if you dont want to get that close or they are cautious then just farm a minion with it. The important thing is keeping your mana up so that you can spam Q. Also, try and proc your Stacked Deck as much as possible on the enemy because why not. It actually does pretty good damage. If you can proc a blue card and a stacked deck on the enemy at the same time it will chunk them.


    I see a lot of TFs using the combon gold card -> Q harass. I find this to be sub-optimal. If you are good you dont actually need the stun on gold card to land the Q. With that in mind the extra damage from a blue card is more than the extra few autos you get out of the stun. Not to mention every gold card used is mana not recovered. If you use this build you need to be VERY careful about your mana in the early stages, so using as many blue cards as possible is essential.


    The other thing to keep in mind about this early game playstle is that you will be pushing very hard with all your Qs. You need to be careful about the jungler showing up. Your stun/slow helps a lot, as does flash, but you still need to be very careful. This is one of the reasons grabbing that lvl 1 ward is so useful.


    If you can consistently land Qs and sometimes blue cards and Stacked Deck procs without taking harass back then you will slowly widdle down your opponent. When hes low enough go in for a blue card + Stacked Deck + Q + Ignite combo and your oponent will go down faster than he thought possible. Sometimes I purposely avoid using Stacked Deck and blue card at the same time so that the enemy underestimates my burst and stays in lane longer than he should. I only do this if I know I can get an adequate amount of damage without that double proc though. 


    Also, if your enemy stays in lane with very low health know that he isnt safe turret hugging. Your Q has an absurd range. Abuse it. If he hugs turret just through Qs at him anyways. That little space between turret and the wall is your best friend; if he goes there he can't dodge.

  • Mid Game

    Mid game for Twisted Fate hits earlier than for most champs. For TF, mid game hits at pretty much level six. This is when you start heading out from your lane.


    Mid game is all about roaming and ganking. You should be shoving your lane with Q and red cards then running off to whichever side lane is more gankeable (or ulting if its off cooldown). If neither is gankeable see if you can shove your lane up then grab the enemy's wraiths. Basically, be everywhere all the time. Everybody should be constantly fearing you might show up at any moment, because you should be showing up a lot. If you ever get to your enemies turret your goal should be to roam off while he pushes the lane back, not to take the turret. If you can get at least one enemy killed in both side lanes you have done your job well.


    One good thing to do with TF is remember that the enemy blue buff is probably coming up around 7:15 and then around 12:30. Your ultimate gives you vision (and teleport) which makes stealing blue a lot easier than it usually is. Coordinate with your jungler to steal their blue through your ult's vision.


    While I'm talking about blue buff I'd like to explain my stance on not taking it. You have blue card so you dont really need the mana regen and I talked in the runes section about why CDR isn't all that great on TF. The odds are there is someone on your team who can make better use of it. Obviously if your top is Garen and your jungle is Shyvana you might be the best choice. If your bottom is near the blue though consider giving it to one of them. People often udnerestimate how good blue is on AD carries (Corki, Sivir, Graves, etc.) or even supports (Blitzcrank, Soraka, Taric, Alistar, Sona, etc.). Besides, TF is all about winning other peoples fights; giving your blue buffs to them fits right into the play style.

  • Late Game

    Late game arrives when laning starts to break down, towers start to fall, and big team fights really start up. Late game for TF has two distinct components: backdooring and team fights.


    Late Game - Backdooring


    Twisted Fate's utility as a pusher should never be under estimated. Between his Q and his red card he can clear a wave in no time at all. His ult (and possibly teleport) let him either escape from a bad situation if hes caught out of position or get back to his team within seconds of them being initiated on. As late game rolls around, all that time you spent ganking should now be spent split pushing and taking turrets. Continue being everywhere all the time.


    Late Game - Team Fights


    Twisted Fate approaches teamfights with the same mentality as an AD carry. Stay back, stay protected, dish out damage. With your 700 AP your spells hurt a lot. Your AOE can really mess with the enemy team. You are incredibly squishy though so stay safe. Throw out Qs from a distance and dont get closer than you have to to use your W. Focus primarily on positioning, then on targeting.


    The decision making you use on your W during a teamfight helps distinguish a good TF from a great one. Like I said, positioning first targeting second. If you have to go out of position to land a good stun or AOE hit dont go for it. Generally, you will be throwing red cards at groups of enemies that present themselves. If for some reason a high priority target sticks his head out you can either try and burst him down with blue card or if you have allies ready to pounce on him lock him down with gold card. Make sure to manage your mana; throw out blue cards if you have to in order to stay in the fight. If there are no good groups to red card consider using blue card just for the extra damage even if it has no stun.


    Also, read the ultimate write up in the spells section for ideas on how to use your ult well late game. Its pretty situational but it pretty much becomes either a backdooring tool or a map awareness tool depending on what you need.

  • Matchups

    Will be updating. For now, just know that Kassadin destroys you.

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