The latest patch to Teamfight Tactics is set to introduce perhaps the biggest single system change to the game of Set 5. The Armory, a new shop system that was implemented at the start of Set 5, is going to appear more frequently and will give players more powerful items. According to Riot, this will hopefully drive players to move towards more flexible play and reduce the consistency of item builds.
What is the Armory in TFT and how did it change the game?
The Armory system, added in Set 5, had a massive effect on the meta. At rounds 2-2, 3-2, and 4-2, players would have the option to choose from two or four component items, essentially adding an additional item and a half into players’ builds. By injecting more items into the game, and especially doing that early, players became incentivized to combine and “slam” these items onto strong carries.
This led to a largely inflexible meta as players who got strong items onto early-game units would simply hold them until the best late-game carry for the items showed up. For instance, a player would get the components to an Infinity Edge early, be forced to slam it onto a Kalista, and hold it until they got a Draven later in the game.
How is the Armor different in Patch 11.12?
With Patch 11.12, Riot is incentivizing players to be more malleable with their team comps and item builds. This is done by changing the loot tables and adding additional armories later in the game.
According to the latest patch notes, the armory on round 3-2 will now include one shadow and one regular item component, as opposed to its current loot table that includes two regular item components. The armory at round 4-2 has been removed, but there is now a chance for the armory to spawn on the second round of every stage after stage 4 (4-2, 5-2, 6-2, etc.). These later armory rounds will have a variety of options including item components, combined items, Spatulas, Spatula items, and consumables like Neeko’s Help. At stage 6, however, these armories become even more powerful and may drop Spatula items for traits that are currently on the player’s board.
How will the change affect TFT meta?
Although the goal of these changes is to make gameplay feel more flexible, it is unlikely that this patch will completely erase the “slam items for late game carries” meta. Those early injections of extra items are still coming early in rounds 2-2 and 3-2. Players will still get a full extra item before they (likely) hit level 6. Combined with the fact that two of the strongest slow-roll comps (Abominations and Spellweaver/Cavaliers) are both also getting nerfed in this patch, there is going to be more pressure on players to level quickly to get those higher-cost and more powerful carries.
However, these changes are going to make end-game comps a lot more flexible, which is quite good. In addition to the armory changes, Patch 11.12 is introducing new consumables that veteran TFT players will remember from Set 4. These include the Reforger, Magnetic Remover, and Loaded Die, which will be available in those later-game armories. The addition of these items means that players will have opportunities to transfer and reroll items to better fit their comps in the late game. In addition, the inclusion of completed items in those late-game armories means that players can choose items that are better matched for their comp, rather than just trying to get the best out of their spare components.
Ultimately, these changes to the armory shop will probably prove to be more impactful from stage 4 on. In the early game, players are still going to be incentivized to slam their early items in order to get ahead early simply because they will have enough components for two completed items by the time the second carousel ends. For the late game, however, players will find it a bit easier to transition items to new units, chase down “reach traits'' that were added in this patch (such as 6 Dragonslayer, 4 Revenant, or 9 Skirmisher), and optimize their late-game item builds more efficiently.
This is a big positive change for TFT, as the game state after stage 4 (where players are probably level 7 or 8), is the least flexible. Players are essentially hoping that they can roll their carry to 2 or 3-stars, get that last item on their second or third carry, and perhaps econ their way to level 9. The addition of late-game armories with more dynamic items could actually give players an incentive to pivot off comps that are falling off, as opposed to their opportunity in the current game which is to pray to hit the right units in the shop.
Players will still have to be fairly adaptable in the early and mid games based on the item components they get. But now, there is the potential that more dynamic strategies will become available in the late game, removing the need to linearly path into the ideal comp early. Even if that is the only change, TFT will become a better game when players have more choices to adjust their strategy.
Diamond TFT Player & esports watcher.