In a recent announcement highlighting the upcoming Teamfight Tactics Set 5, lead designer Stephen “Mortdog” Mortimer revealed the game has reached 10 million active players, daily. But since each new TFT set changes the game drastically for better or worse, it’s unclear whether fans will keep that number of users steady.
According to third party website, lolchess.gg, TFT is as popular as it’s ever been. However, the same data does show dips in popularity between sets like TFT: Galaxies and its mid-set expansion, TFT: Galaxies: Return to the Stars. Developer Riot Games has kept experimenting with ways to make the game fun for everyone, but not every change has hit the mark. For example, mechanics like galaxies delighted players while champions like Urgot have not. Riot is experimenting with Set 5 once again, but will they change the game for the better?
Reckoning brings back fan favorites and new nemeses
As with every set, TFT: Reckoning will have a theme — and this time it’s good vs evil. Players don’t know yet how the set’s mechanic will reflect this theme outside of some struggle between Garren and Darius, but the video did reveal some returning champions to each side of the moral battlefield. Some are fan favorites while others are more groan inducing.
Mortdog specifically went out of his way to mention the return of Draven, who players haven’t had access to since Set 1. No one knows whether he will still play the same way, but Darius’ brother will surely bring many fans over to the side of evil.
Meanwhile, Aurelion Sol appears to be back for his third set in a row. Aurelion Sol has historically been a monster of a carry in TFT who can delete entire teams with a simple ability cast. Yet, while he is fun to play, it can feel bad to play against him. If Aurelion Sol isn’t balanced carefully in Set 5, he could anchor players’ enjoyment of the game.
Other returning champions include Riven, Yasuo, Ashe and many others. But one of the more interesting returning champions is none other than Mr. Infamous himself, Teemo.
Teemo, like Lux from TFT: Rise of the Elements, won’t cost five gold despite being a legendary caliber unit. He will instead cost HP, though the specific amount is as unknown as his upside for such a steep price. However, this is just another way Riot Games is spicing up the set in hopes of increasing that 10 million player a day number.
Labs gives players a new way to experience TFT
Ever since TFT came out in July of 2019, the game drew comparisons to other autobattler titles. With those comparisons came envy, since games like Autochess and Underlords have a team mode. Competing against friends in TFT is cool, but the ability to play alongside friends has always been out of reach. Although the new TFT Labs haven’t checked that box yet, its addition certainly creates the possibility for co-op and many other new ways to play.
In the video, Mortdog explained that the new TFT Labs will function similarly to the Labs in Legends of Runeterra. Every once in a while, a new way to play TFT will drop and stick around for a while. Mortdog also explained if the new game mode is a huge success, it might stick around permanently. This harkens back to TFT’s origin as a successful game mode itself.
Hyperroll, the first TFT Labs game mode, is TFT on speed. It’s designed to be an experience that can get players in and out of games in a very short amount of time. The exact details are unknown, but Hyperoll will alter the economy, Carousel, items, and HP in comparison to standard TFT. Players start at just 10 HP and lose one HP each time they lose around (though that amount scales later in the game).
Hyperoll may be the answer to having a quick mobile experience that TFT currently lacks. However, it will also have its own competitive queue. In fact, Mortdog mentioned that each TFT Labs mode will come with one. This will be great if a team based mode like the 2v2v2v2 one from Overlords comes out. Alternatively, perhaps Riot will release a 4v4 mode, which Mortdog himself hosted a tournament for using the normal TFT game mode. It was widely praised by pro players and viewers alike.
Although the new sets keep the game fresh, TFT Labs may revolutionize how players play TFT. This, alongside what players already know about Set 5, could mean the number of active players is going to keep climbing.