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6 Jan 2020
3 Advanced Tips for Economy Management in Teamfight Tactics
By Luka

Buying units, rerolling and leveling in TFT all require money, but an issue many new players have with the game is not knowing how to manage their economy optimally in order to get the most bang for their buck, so to speak. Many of the top challenger players will list econ as the single most important aspect of the game you need to learn first in order to improve your gameplay as well as grow your ranking. By learning the concepts in this guide, you should be able to climb to at least diamond, so let’s get right to it.

Basic Gold Mechanics

The way you make gold is through playing rounds and picking up orbs from neutral rounds. Winning rounds nets you an extra 1g as soon as the battle is over and streaking (either winning or losing multiple games in a row) nets you a bonus amount of gold at the start of the following round.

Interest is awarded at the start of each round and is calculated as 10% of the money you hold at the end of the previous round, up to a maximum of 5 gold.

As a result of these principles, we can arrive at the following conclusions:

  1. Winning a fight at X9 gold means you hit a higher interest point and earn more interest in the following round. For example, if I am at 19 gold and win a fight, I will instantly go to 20 gold at the end of the current round and therefore gain 2 gold in interest at the start of the following round.
  2. It is sub-optimal to alternate winning and losing – you should aim to streak wins or losses in order to make the most gold.
  3. Holding more than 50 gold brings no added benefit since interest caps out at 5g.

Interest Management

Managing your interest is important in order to compound your gains and get ahead of the other players in your lobby. You may think that falling a few gold short of an interest point only costs you one gold in interest but let’s look at the following scenario:

  • I am at 18 gold
  • I am making 3 gold off my win streak
  • I will win the current round

If I choose to not sell a unit and I stay at 19 gold (because I get 1 gold for winning), I will get 5 gold simply for surviving the round, 1 gold in interest, and 3 gold off my streak, putting me at 28 gold. I am 2 gold off the next interest point and if I opt for the same strategy I will be at 28+1+5+3+2=39 gold in the next round.

If, however, I chose to sell a unit and reach 20 gold, I would end up at 20+5+3+2=30 gold in the first round, and then 30+1+5+3+3 = 42 gold in the subsequent round.

That’s a 3 gold difference over 2 round just by selling a 1-cost unit at the right time!

This is why hitting interest points is so important, because they can snowball into massive leads, so always try to think one or two rounds ahead when deciding whether hitting an interest point is important or not.

Streaks

Should I invest gold into leveling or upgrades in order to maintain streaks?

Let’s look at the numbers again. In the example above we assumed that we were winning no matter what, but let’s look at a scenario where we choose to level over reaching interest points in order to maintain a win streak:

  • I am at 20 gold
  • I am making 3 gold off my win streak
  • I will win the next round if I use 8 gold to level up
  • I will lose the round if I do not level

If we choose to save our gold for interest:

  • We lose the round
  • We get 5 gold for playing and 2 gold in interest and we end up at 27 gold
  • We lose the next round too and we go to 27+5+2=34 gold

If we level up:

  • We drop to 12 gold
  • We win the round and go up to 12+1+5+1+3=22 gold
  • We win the next round too and go to 22+1+5+3+2=33 gold

In a matter of 2 fights we have caught up in economy due simply to win streaks except we have also maintained our streaks and from this point, we can once again compound our gains and get even richer.

Before you choose to save or level, always consider scouting your lobby and estimate whether you can continue your streak, whether it is a win or loss streak, and do some napkin maths to see where you end up with your money in either scenario.

Rolling for Upgrades

Rolling for units costs 2 gold. There are a few basic strategies when it comes to rolling – rolling down early or hyper-rolling while you still have high chances of finding low-cost units or slow-rolling by sitting on 50 gold and only rolling what money you have above 50g.

This guide will not go into the timings of hyper-rolling or slow-rolling but will rather look at a more top-end approach to when to roll.

Step 1: How many outs do you have. An “out” is a way for you to achieve victory. For example, if I am at level 7 with a full team of 2-starred units and no spares sitting on my bench, I need to decide whether a bigger “out” is for me to level to 8 or to roll for 3* units.

A more complex case might be if you have two units at 1* and the rest at 2* but need to determine whether to roll or level.

You should take these steps to help shape your decision:

  1. Scout the lobby. Count how many of your “outs” are present on other boards.
  2. Calculate how many outs you have based on the remaining units in the pool.
  3. Assess alternative ways of powering up and compare the reliability of option your options.

For example, if I am playing ocean mages and only have a single Brand, I might be tempted to roll down for Brand 2. After all, he is my main carry and comes with a large power spike. That being said, there are only 12 Brands in the shared pool so if my opponents have a total of 7 Brands, I am rolling for a total of only 4 available Brands. If some of those Brand-holding opponents are low on HP I might opt to wait for them to lose before committing gold to rolling. If I come across a Janna, it might be better to level to 9, add Janna for Mystic, and just wait. Remember that leveling is a sure shot, rolling is a risk, so you need to weigh the benefits of hitting your upgrades against the unreliability of rolling.

At the end of the day econ isn’t everything, but mastering it puts you ahead of a huge number of opposing players. Furthermore, picking up good econ habits allows you to focus on improving other parts of your game down the line and those are what will set players apart at the very top level.

Luka Stanojevic
Luka Stanojevic got his start at a digital agency and worked his way up to head of marketing, overseeing both in-house and client-side campaigns and regularly contributing to online publications. As a lifelong gamer, he joined YaLLa esports to pair his professional experience with his passion and work towards building YaLLa into a world-class organization. Luka enjoys strategy games and RPGs, blaming his mediocre performance at shooters on old man reflexes.
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