League of Legends is now diving into the emerging auto-battler genre with Teamfight Tactics.
Various celebrated MOBA developers have a new genre to fight over, and they’re all diving in head first at roughly the same time. Last week, Valve unveiled their take on the auto battler genre with Dota Underlords. This week, League of Legends maker Riot Games is showcasing their version called Teamfight Tactics.
In case you’re not aware of how an auto battler game works, units are placed on a board and then they duke it out against opposing units. XP and gold are gained by winning fights, which allow you to upgrade those units into better and badder versions of their former selves. Additionally, you can purchase more units to overwhelm your opponent. There are multiple options.
The first auto battler was Dota Auto Chess, a popular mod for Dota 2. The original developers, Drodo Games, were supposed to work with Valve to create a standalone version for Steam but have since left to make an Epic Games Store exclusive version. Valve then went alone and recently came out with Dota Underlords, which is currently in open beta.
Riot’s game is called Teamfight Tactics, and it has a few key differences from Dota Auto Chess and Underlords. This isn't limited to the fact it contains League of Legends characters and not Dota characters.
First, Teamfight Tactics uses diagonal hexes instead of strictly up-and-down squares. Second, and unlike what is featured in Dota Auto Chess, matches are actually fought against a live opponent and not against an AI-controlled clone of that opponent’s army. Matches are fought head-to-head and happen in real-time.
The third difference is the shared draft. At the beginning of each match, each player will be able to select a hero from a rotating Carousel of 10 heroes. Once a unit is selected, it joins that player’s team and cannot be selected by the opponent. This draft also happens every couple of rounds of combat until the match ends with a winner.
Each match is part of a larger game against 8 players. With each match won, more damage is dealt to your opponent. Losing a match means losing health. Lose all your health and you lose the game. Winning the game simply means being the last person standing.
Downloading League of Legends is required to play Teamfight Tactics, as it is a stand-alone game mode tacked on to LoL. If it’s even half as popular as Dota Underlords, expect to see hundreds of thousands of gamers to dive into it over the next few days.