Riot Games has just announced a new game mode for League of Legends. Titled Teamfight Tactics, the new mode will be available later this month – but MOBA fans may already be familiar with the concept.
League of Legends is no stranger to new game modes. New additions like URF and six-player Hexakill rotate in and out of play on a semi-regular basis, and several major skin releases also come with their own new ways to play. Almost all of those occur on Summoner’s Rift or the Howling Abyss, however, and borrow from established League of Legends gameplay.
Teamfight Tactics, however, is a game mode “played with eight players who face off in one-on-one matches until the last player remains.” You’ll win by selecting the best combination of champions from a randomised pool, upgrading them over time, and using them in the best formation possible. That wouldn’t be too distinct from LoL itself, if Riot didn’t go on to describe the mode as its “take on the emerging autobattler genre” – a very different kind of game to Riot’s established MOBA roots.
While I’ve not come across the term autobattler before, if you cast an eye towards some of League of Legends’ competitors, it’s not difficult to see what Riot has in mind. Custom game mode Dota Auto Chess has been taking Dota 2 by storm over the past few months, racking up a player count of nearly nine million.
Teamfight Tactics is a totally new League game mode that'll hit PBE later this month! TFT is a round-based strategy game that pits you against seven opponents in a free-for-all race to build a powerful team of fighters:
— League of Legends EU (@loleu) June 10, 2019
It’s so successful that Valve is now making its own version of the mode, possibly called Dota Underlords, while original developers Drodo Studios is developing a mobile spin-off without the Dota licensing.
In an announcement post (which also helpfully explains how the new mode will work), Riot says that it’s been “trying different kinds of modes that are deep and unique additions to the League experience.” The announcement also says that “folks around the office have been playing an insane amount of Dota Auto Chess in particular. We love it, and it actually got us inspired to create something new as a mode in League.”
Much like Dota Auto Chess, Riot says that Teamfight Tactics will be available within the League of Legends client, and that both new and old players will be able to access the mode with an in-game account. Expect the new mode to arrive with the launch of League of Legends patch 9.13 – and new champion Qiyana – later this month, and a ranked mode to arrive in patch 9.14.