A guide to TFT Set 5's Shadow Items: How and when to use them

Source: Riot Games


Set 4 of Teamfight Tactics had a signature mechanic, Chosen, which empowered a single unit to make it and one of its traits more powerful. In Set 5, Riot has upped the ante to introduce a new mechanic that powers up items. Shadow Items give users a more powerful version of the item they know but at a cost


Each Shadow Item has some drawback that also gives an inherent risk to using it. When used properly, Shadow Items can be far better than the regular version of the item. When used incorrectly, however, the items can end up hurting their user. Going into Set 5, it’s imperative that players know how Shadow Items work and which ones are the best to use.


What are Shadow Items in TFT?

On the carousel or in the armory (another new mechanic added where players will get to choose one of a selection of items for free before the second round of the stage) certain items will have a green outline on the item frame. These are Shadow Items, which give the extra boost to their power, for a price.


It should be noted that, while component items can have this outline, they are not technically Shadow Items because they only give raw stats. The stats a Shadow component gives are the same as the regular version of that component item. The Shadow bonus and penalty only apply to combined items.



How to get a Shadow Item

Players can either get a Shadow Item through regular means (the carousel or a Draconic egg), but the most common way is for a player to combine a Shadow component with another item to get the completed Shadow Item. It does not matter which component item has the Shadow effect on it, as combining one Shadow and one regular item will make the upgraded item a Shadow Item. For instance, in making a Shadow Spear of Shojin (aka the Spectral Spear of Shojin), either the Tear of the Goddess or BF Sword can be a Shadow Item to get the proper upgrade. 


If both components are Shadow Items the resulting combination will be a Shadow Item as well. There is no benefit or penalty to combining two component Shadow Items. The result will still be a Shadow Item. So, getting a Shadow Item is as easy as getting any component Shadow and combining it with any other component, whether it’s a Shadow or not.

Spatula Shadow Items

Spatulas can, in fact, have the Shadow properly and can be combined with Shadow components. Doing either (or combining a Shadow Spatula with a Shadow component) will actually give a different trait to the holder than the normal combination, so be aware of this. 


Combining a Shadow Spatula with another Spatula will also produce a new item, Force of Darkness. With this item, the player will have two extra slots on the board. Beware, though, that Force of Darkness will double the amount of damage the player’s Little Legend will take if they lose a round.



5 Shadow Items that are better than the regular item

1. Caustic Quicksilver (Quicksilver Sash)

For the small cost of losing 20% maximum health, the wearer gains crowd control immunity for the entire round. That max health penalty is almost always worth it, especially when putting it on a squishy carry.


2. Hand of Vengeance (Hand of Justice)

The wearer gets both the HoJ bonuses (extra 40 AD/AP and healing for 40% of damage built), but they lose both bonuses after their first takedown. Luckily, the wearer regains both bonuses again after the second takedown, and so on. The deciding factor, though, is that the wearer gets these bonuses at the start of the round, meaning it’s guaranteed they will get that extra up-front damage and healing.


3. Riskthirster (Bloodthirster)

The wearer loses a third of their health at the start of combat, but they will gain 30% attack speed for 3 seconds if they heal to 90% health or higher. On a back-line damage dealer, they will almost always be able to heal up to 90% off the first few attacks and thus gain the attack speed. Also, bonus attack speed is simply better on carries than the bonus health than the regular Bloodthirster gives when dropping below 30% health.


4. Warmog’s Sacrificial Armor (Warmog’s Armor)

For an additional 800 health, the user takes 100 true damage per second. By simple math, that means that for the first eight seconds of combat the item is giving more health than a regular Warmog’s. Since it will likely go on a frontline tank who is unlikely to live very long, it’s almost always an upgrade.


5. Vengeful Trap Claw (Trap Claw)

This will block the first enemy’s spell and then transport this unit to that attacker. The user and target will then deal 25% increased damage to each other. For a melee carry who doesn’t have a way to get to a backline carry (i.e. non-Assassin’s) this teleportation is almost always worth the risk that they will die once they reach their target.

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