Some of you will consider this a Twisted Fate guide that covers some of the more advanced concepts of the game. Others will view it as a tribute to Gross Gore (R.I.P.). Some will perceive it as odd and disjointed (also the name of my college punk band). To me, it’s just interesting trivia.
Twisted Fate is one of the oldest and most unique champions in League of Legends. Throughout the years, he has been picked in solo queue and competitive play with a decent amount of consistency. Naturally, as is the case with most champions, there is some depth to him that most players might not be aware of.
Let’s dive into the complicated material first and get to some amusing trivia at the end.
Quite a while ago, when the new masteries got introduced, I was playing on a low-level account to experiment a little bit and out of curiosity, I skipped through a TF guide real quick to see the new masteries. When I was done taking a look at the ”guides,” I was quite surprised how far off the guides were, despite sometimes having millions of views. (In many cases, I believe you would probably be better off not reading them as they might actually make you worse.) But enough about that. This piece is certainly not a guide for low-level players, though it wouldn’t hurt if they read it. It’s ultimately a mixture of history, pro play, game mechanics and advice.
Speaking of guides, though, first and foremost, most will tell you to go “Pick a card” (W) Level 1 one into “Wild Cards” (Q) Level 2. I have to say I disagree with that quite heavily. In most matchups, you are better off doing what none other than Lee “Faker” Sang-yeok invented years ago: Control the wave with red cards, maybe even use those to get a quicker Level 2 (situational), followed by leveling up your E, “Stacked Deck.” The reason for this is quite simple: Once you hit Level 2 and you have your W and E ready, you are able to combine a blue card with the burst damage that you get from your fourth auto attack from “Stacked Deck.” The burst is absolutely massive and, especially when you are laning against a melee champion or a champion that can be pushed into the tower, you really get to bully them around a bit. There used to be a time where Twisted Fate could actually smash the old, broken Kassadin in lane even though most players didn’t know how. By the way, of course it doesn’thave to be a blue card. When your fourth auto attack is ready and your mana pool is looking good, in most scenarios you just walk up and instantly lock it and throw it.
Another advantage of doing this is that E has no cost. So your mana pool (which I will address next) will not suffer. It goes even further than that, though. Your E at Level 1 does 55 damage and your Q does 60 damage, and let’s be honest who hits every Q? (Also something I will address)
Be conservative (I’m still talking about the game; forget the elections)
One thing I saw Nick “LastShadow (LS)” de Cesare, former LCS coach, mention once, was that good TF players don’t spam their “Wild Cards” (Q) in lane or even throw it that often. Conserving your mana is one of the most crucial skills and one of the things that separates good players from bad ones. In general, you should only throw your Q if it gets you CS that you can’t otherwise obtain, or if it is guaranteed to hit the enemy and do damage in a meaningful situation. All of your moves have to be calculated. Throwing an ineffective Q is essentially the loss of an objective (yes, health and mana are objectives, albeit it small ones).
In fact, when you are Level 4 to 5, take a look at your mana pool. If you managed your mana properly, you will have enough for an instant gank at Level 6. Your ultimate is 150 mana at Level 1, making it one of the most expensive in the game. You don’t want to be a in position where you get a good gank off but you have to pick a blue card to be useful. That’s the worst feeling ever.
In terms of laning phase, your red card is generally your main ability in lane. You can use it for all kinds of things: trimming the wave, pushing it, harassing the enemy. Don’t forget, if your lane opponent is next to his tower, a red card to the tower will hit him as well. But you might also take tower aggro and throw the lane. Be careful.
Lastly, sometimes you want to just press W once and let the enemy see that you haven’t picked a card yet. The threat of being about to pick a gold card can allow you to farm safely and maybe even deny some CS!
Press Any Key
One of the things that many players have never heard about is of course the “target champions only” button. What’s that you ask? Well, we have all had situations where we used our ultimate in a gank scenario, tried to stun the enemy but we accidentally stunned a minion or a ward (technically you can’t ‘stun’ wards). If you want to avoid these relatively embarrassing situations, bind your “target champions only” button, which you will find in the settings, to a key on your keyboard that’s comfortable for you, and hold it while throwing your gold card. You can now only target champions while you are holding the button. It’s quite useful in a number of different situations and on various champions.
“But potato, surely you can’t even link me to one situation where it could have been-”. Shut up, pleb. Look at Nidalee’s Q.
Keep that video open. I’ll refer to it later.
While we are on the subject of buttons, let me introduce you to the F1-F5 buttons. Maybe you have heard about them before, but you don’t actually use them.
LS, on why to use them.
For those that don’t have time to watch the video, let me just tell you that those buttons are your best friends. Forget about the Master of Cards, every player that takes the game seriously should use them on every champion.
Recently, during Game 2 of the League Champions Korea finals, the game bugged out and we saw Blank’s, SKT’s jungler’s, perspective. As you can imagine, he was spamming the F1-F5 keys. Why? Those buttons allows you, as long as your camera isn’t on “lock,” to instantly snap to the perspective of your teammates. This feature is particularly useful for junglers and mid laners, as both positions need to be aware of the waves of all lanes at all times. In the beginning, it’s a little bit difficult to get used to this method, but the practice really does pay off tremendously. You are going to love yourself for learning this method. Being able to see how much health the minions have, your allies, the enemy champions, their mana etc. in a single second and without much effort, makes your game so much easier.
Enough about weird buttons. Let’s talk history.
“Empty your mind, be formless. Shapeless, like water. If you put water into a cup, it becomes the cup. You put water into a bottle and it becomes the bottle. You put it in a teapot, it becomes the teapot.” -Bruce Lee
If Twisted Fate is such a great champion, why don’t we see him in every game? Well, certainly one of the main reasons for that is how ridiculously difficult he is to play. During your average game, TF has to fulfill many different roles. Early game, you are generally a weak laner, a low damage control mage. You play passive, you farm up, you look for opportunities to gank and even during those ganks you don’t actually provide that much damage.
Then, fights around dragon or other objectives commence. Now, you are often the main source of poke for your team. At this point in the game, you will struggle to control your mana, even with blue buff, yet you will be required to land some good “Wild Cards” to poke out the enemy (more on how to actually land those things later).
TF is also an initiator. You have a ranged stun after all that can’t miss (except spell-shields). But you are also a janitor, the guy who is supposed to clean up the team fight with his ultimate.
Once you get key items and reach certain power-spikes, you will essentially turn into a control mage and look to deal as much area of effect (AoE) damage as possible. This is one of the reasons you see pros lock in red cards. Sure, sometimes they failed to lock a gold card, but at the highest level we have to assume a certain level of intentionality.
Nicolaj “Jensen” Jensen, who I consider one of the better Western TF players, shows us how it’s done. He throws his red card on purpose, at one point hitting three people with it. That’s some big AoE damage. The second he uses his ability, he immediately follows it up by “Wild Cards” and runs away, making any retaliation from the enemy impossible. Moving back like that in team fights is something you will not see too often in solo queue. Once his cooldowns are up again, he walks back in and back out. As has realizes Cloud 9 can win the fight at that moment, he makes his final decision to walk up very closely, because he knows he still has Zhonyas and in case there is any attempt from NRG to kill him, he can use the active defensively. His team cleans up and they win the fight. By the way, this is one of the reasons you get Zhonyas on Twisted Fate. There are scenarios where the added defense will also function as an offense and allow you to flash in (into Zhonyas) and make it so you can deal more damage than someone who maybe went Deathcap instead.
Going back to the red card, it’s really no joke. It’s a 50 percent slow for 2.5 seconds at Level 5. Utterly absurd. That’s not all, of course. It has double the base damage that the yellow card has. If you are good with skillshots, there are many scenarios where you can throw the red card for extra damage and potential AoE damage and then follow up with “Wild Cards,” making the stun not always the best choice.
So what did we learn so far? TF can poke, initiate, offer crowd-control and deal AoE damage. But there is more. Back when Deathfire Grasp (DFG) was in the game (rest in pepperonis), at 5-6 items, he transformed into an assassin. At that point in time, the game was almost always over for the enemy team. A lot of people will know what I’m talking about here (the math doesn’t really teach it to you the same way actually playing him would), but if you have ever been in a game where you are a six item TF, you really do feel incredibly powerful. Especially when DFG was still in the game, one-shotting a squishy was a matter of milliseconds.
Finally, TF’s last role that he can take on is the one of a split-pusher and back-doorer. A lot of champions like Jax and Master Yi can backdoor efficiently, but they don’t match up to the Master of Cards. Lichbane, which is a core-item for every TF, allows him to destroy towers to an extent that simply doesn’t exist with other champions. On top of that, his ultimate gives him a level of mobility that no other champion has and his range makes it so he doesn’t have to take the same risks a hero like Master Yi would.
What am I trying to show you with all of this? Well, I’m outlining one reason to you why there aren’t that many all-time great Twisted Fate players and also why we don’t see him picked that often. He is a weak laner. He is a punishing champion. He is highly difficult to execute and control. He requires a level of game knowledge and awareness that maybe only a dozen players in the world have. His “job,” his role in the game, changes constantly.
It never ends
What, did you think this was all? No, no, no. I like trivia, alright? Twisted Fate is good against stealth champions. His ultimate reveals champions even while they are in stealth, and it lasts for a considerable amount of time (up to 10 seconds to be precise). Historically, he has been picked against Twitch a lot, for obvious reasons. Why do I mention that? Well, the Mid-Season Invitational is about to happen, and I expect Twitch to be played. Naturally, that means there is a chance we might see Perkz fail on TF again…I mean, we might see excellent mid laners execute the champion to its full potential!
In fact, I remember this particular game, where you can witness a number of interesting things:
There’s a lot a solo queue player could learn from Link here, and a lot of trivia as well.
At 1:20 in the video, Link purposefully picks the red card. Why? It ends up hitting two people and whether Twitch, Cloud 9’s main threat in that situation is stunned or slowed, does not matter. “Destiny” (R) is used to reveal Twitch, and CLG goes ham.
At 2:20, Link chokes. I know he has the reaction time to instantly pick a gold card but he straight up choked.
At 6:20, An “Balls” Le’s Shyvanna ult wins them the game. It denies the TF engage on Zachary “Sneaky” Scuderi. C9 knows its fucking win conditions.
How do I throw Wild Cards? They are too wild…
I have come up with a theory on how to elevate your skillshot accuracy and efficiency. Before I show you a picture of what I’m actually talking about, let me first try to explain it.
One of the things — on top of locking cards and knowing when to ult — that sets TF players apart is Q accuracy, and frankly, it’s quite difficult to track it as a spectator. (One of these days I will go on a rant about statistics, and the best part is you get to read it!)
If you throw Qs, they go in three directions. Most players focus only on hitting the middle one and most players focus only on hitting gold cards. Gold card into middle Q, and all is good in the world.
Nope, you are bad. Listen, what you want to do instead is this. You need to get used to visualizing two of the three Q lines, like this.
Why? Because once you get used to this, it will allow to you to hit 2 out of the 3 “Wild Cards” with some consistency, depending on your skill level of course. I personally know pro players who use this method, and it really is possible to teach yourself to see the two lines before you even throw the Q. I believe any high elo player can learn this if they want to.
“Why not visualize all three lines?” Calm down there, little Faker. That is genuinely way too hard.
By the way, it doesn’t matter which of the two lines you pick, just choose those that are more comfortable to you. It’s all about maximizing your AoE damage and elevating your skillshots to the next level.
I want to stress this is just a theory I have. I don’t actually play TF at a high enough level. I’d love that if TF specialists have superior ideas, please correct me.
Opposing your destiny
How do you actually play against TF? One word, Wasabi. I mean Yasuo. Yasuo can mess with TF all day. Not only is it difficult to hit Wild Cards on him due to his mobility, he also has excellent Level 1 and 2 pressure, where TF usually shines and he has all-in potential on you pretty much the entire game. If you want to have even a chance of surviving against a Yasuo, you need perfect positioning, due to TF’s low mobility. Even worse, Yasuo’s wall can block all of your abilities (damn it, Yasuo). Here’s an example:
I also like to call this video “Bjergsen’s worst game of all time.” If I remember correctly, he used his ultimate to teleport to Dragon as well while Dexter was soloing it as Elise, and he pretty much killed himself. Guess he had to learn how to shot-call with quiet personalities around him, so you can’t really blame him. It’s an impossible task, a very heavy burden.
Obviously Morgana. Black shield is too strong for TF. Sivir. Nocturne. Zed to an extent. Anivia does quite well against him in some aspects, such as superior burst in the early levels and wave-clear to pressure him. Blitzcrank is also an amusing pick against Twisted Fate, because if he rushes you with his power-first ready and you turn around to stun him, he will hook you and it’s a lose-lose. Cho’Gath is okay. Liss is decent. I like him vs. Zilean, but only to an extent.
TF is good versus all stealth champions, even Vayne. Champions that have poor wave-clear mid or can’t pressure hard enough can’t punish his roams either and like I mentioned he scales hard. Your job is, in some sense, to help your lanes snowball and put pressure by staying in fog of war, threatening ganks constantly by doing that.
Who is the Master of Cards?
If we ignore Jeong “Apdo” Sang-gil, I honestly don’t know. Maybe Bae “dade” Eo-jin is the greatest TF player ever. We all remember his excellent “Maybe it’s Faker.” To me, it’s certainly not Lee “Easyhoon” Ji-hoon. He has been historically overrated on that champion; his Q accuracy and laning need some work. Sure, because, like GBM, he has such a high level of base skill in terms of how to team fight, when to retreat, when to move forward, CD-management et cetera, he can obviously perform on a good level on it but he is not particularly gifted when it comes to TF.
I don’t think Dade is the greatest TF ever. I know he had this insane game, but he’s also had some poor ones. The Korean all-time great is very good on the champion, though. It’s hard to deny that. To be honest, as controversial as this may be, I think if Lee “Faker” Sang-hyeok really wanted, he could easily become the best TF player (Apdo doesn’t count for now).
I leave you with some actual trivia, something newer players might not know. His ultimate, “Destiny” was actually a normal ability in the preseason with not that big of a cooldown. It was his E and you could use it anywhere on the map. I’m actually serious.
Jesus christ, Riot!
Finally, how not to play TF, summarized in one short video: