[TFT Guide] Understanding Assassins and Counter-Strategies

Assassins are one of the easiest composition to pull off in Teamfight Tactics. What makes it easier is that they are quite strong. All you need to do is pick up all the Assassins. Just with this, more often than not, you’ll be contending for the top three.

Understanding Assassins

In order to understand what the Assassins do, we would need to know how the champions move. The sequence of champion movement in TFT is as follows.

1. Assassins are cloaked (Assassins are not targetted when cloaked), Zephyr floats its target
2. Champions that are not Assassins move (if necessary)
3. Assassins decide target(s)
4. Champions that are not Assassins decide target(s)

For the initial movement, Assassins jump to their furthest target while other champions target the closest enemy in range. Through this mechanism, the Assassins’ primary targets would usually be the opponent’s main damage dealers. With no damage dealers left, it would be a matter of time for Assassins to wipe out the remaining tanks.

▲ Basic Assassin composition positioning


Countering Assassins

As much as it is easy to attempt an Assassin comp, having a look at how to counter the build should come first. The primary ‘obvious’ counter to Assassins would be building the Phantom Dancer since it dodges all critical attacks, but not all games of TFT are blessed with the luxury of selecting which items to build. The Assassin comp often deals a lot of damage to your Little Legend because they have burst damage and can delete your team really fast. When you don’t have Phantom Dancer, you’ll need to find a different way to counter them.


Counter Positioning

When Assassins are cloaked, they are not targetted, which means that you will hit non-Assassin champions first. And if the non-Assassins are not in range, your champions will move to put them in range. Accordingly, to keep your formation in a good shape so that Assassins wouldn’t be able to reach your damage dealers, you want to have your champions maintain their positions when the combat starts.

Using a Dummy Tank

Separate a tanky champion on the other side of the board to divide the focus of the opponent Assassin build. When positioned like below, as Assassins are programmed to jump to the furthest target, about three of the opponent Assassins will jump to the dummy tank. 

▲ Yellow hex indicates the dummy tank.


Dealing with the Counter Strategies


As there are counters to Assassins, counters to those counters also exist. It almost impossible to transition to a different composition, but you can position your champions to do what they’re meant to do. It could become a matter of mechanics in this case.

Counter Positioning

If the opponent’s damage dealers are hidden behind a line of tanks, you want to make them move before your Assassins jump. To do this, you need a non-Assassin champion away from the opponent champion’s primary range. If a targetable champion is out of range at the start of the combat, they would be forced to move which will provide spaces for Assassins to jump.

Using a Dummy Tank

Against a single dummy tank, the best solution is using Zephyr. Zephyr banishes an opponent champion for 5 seconds, and this can be controlled (the champion that mirrors the carrier on the other side of the board is banished). A banished opponent is untargetable, so if you have the opponent fake tank banished for 5 seconds, it would mean that the Assassins will not be divided, and by the time the dummy tank is back on the ground, your Assassins should have killed the majority of the opponent

▲ Zephyr banishes champions mirroring the carrier.

Recommended Compositions

Most of the time, if you’re going for Assassins, you want to build 6 Assassins to maximize efficiency. The strength of the comp reduces significantly when using only 3 Assassins. As much as there are 7 different Assassins, it’s easier to collect 6 than Nobles or Blademasters. 

4 Ninja - 6 Assassins

Since two of the Ninjas are Assassins (Zed, Akali), it is very efficient to try this build. Building Youmuu’s Ghostblade (B.F. Sword + Spatula), you can turn Shen or Kennen into an Assassin to finish the build at 7 champions on the board.

3 Void - 6 Assassins

In this case, it doesn’t really matter which other two Void champions you choose, but if you play Rek'Sai and Cho'Gath, the Brawler synergy (bonus HP to Brawlers) will be activated. However, Rek’Sai’s performance in TFT is quite underwhelming while Kassadin is extremely strong; it wouldn’t be the end of the world if you’re using Kassadin instead.

6 Assassins - Yasuo

Yasuo is a very strong champion even without an additional Blademaster synergy, but it is actually fun to make some Blademasters out of some of your Assassins or make Yasuo into an Assassin.

2 Knights - 6 Assassins

In this game, decent CC is almost always necessary. Playing Sejuani on your board alongside another Knight can earn valuable time. Sejuani + Kayle would be perfection.

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