Teamfight Tactics, Riot’s “autobattler” game set in the League of Legends universe, is about to launch Reckoning, the game’s fifth set of completely new units. As part of Reckoning, TFT is getting its first new game mode, which uses the game’s new units in a simpler, faster style: Hyperroll.
Hyperroll helps simplify TFT’s chess-like battles for new players by removing the more fiddly and difficult-to-understand aspects of the game’s economy. But as a TFT veteran, I used Hyperroll to test out some riskier, weirder armies, and had a blast doing it.
What is Hyperroll?
Hyperroll restructures the traditional TFT game. If you’re unfamiliar with TFT, here’s how the game works.
At the start of each round, you and your seven opponents each get gold to spend on differently priced, randomly selected units available in the shop. You can then play one of these units on the battlefield. After a short timer, your unit will battle another team’s unit. You’ll get some bonus gold if you win and take some damage if you lose. If your health hits zero, you lose; the last of eight players standing wins the match.
Each round, your shop will refresh with new units and you’ll have three options: spend money to buy units, spend money to “re-roll” the shop with new units, or use gold to level yourself up. The higher level you are, the more units you can place on the battlefield at once. Since your units control themselves in TFT, what you do with your gold is the real gameplay decision.
Of TFT’s many mechanics, balancing the game’s complex economy is the hardest part. Hyperroll simplifies some of that. In Hyperroll, everyone in the game automatically levels up every few rounds, so you can’t spend any money leveling yourself up. The mode also removes interest from the player bank, meaning you aren’t penalized for spending your money on re-rolling for new units at the shop. Players also have way less health, so games only take 15 minutes instead of 30 or more.
Hyperroll also simplifies your spending options from three to two. This game mode is more about gambling your gold on well-timed shop re-rolls, and less about amassing a bank filled with cash so you can level yourself up and control more units. It’s certainly not devoid of strategy, but it’s a much easier-to-understand version of TFT.
A relaxed fit
It’s remarkably difficult to get a new player into TFT. I’ve sat loved ones and co-workers down in front of it and watched a glaze form over their eyes. Hyperroll still features TFT’s flashy colors and large unit roster, but it removes the hardest thing to grasp for new TFT players and adults in the real world: the economy.
TFT’s economy is complex. As a Platinum-level TFT player who started playing when the game first came out, it’s something I still struggle with. You get gold each round, whether you win or lose, and you have to decide if you want to spend it immediately or hold onto it. For every 10 gold you have, up to 50, you’ll get a bonus gold when the next round starts. That can add up to a lot of bonus gold by the end of the game. So, should you save it or spend it? If you’re spending, are you buying levels or rolling for better units? To make this all worse, your economic strategy might even change depending on the units you’re using in a given game.
But none of that exists in Hyperroll. When I get gold, I spend it to re-roll the unit shop looking for the characters I want, because that’s my only option. The economy is an essential layer that makes TFT’s normal mode more strategic, but it’s also the work, not the adrenaline rush — it feels like balancing a checkbook, whereas rolling for units is more like refreshing an eBay page for a rare record you’ve been searching for.
Hyperroll’s simplification is crucial for newcomers. The increased tempo means games finish in about half the time, which really helps when trying to convince a friend or loved one to give the game a try. But it also lets players embrace the game mode without stressing about the stuff that’s hard to understand before they’ve got the basics down.
I’m not a new player and I still had a blast with Hyperroll on Riot’s test environment. Because I don’t have to do money math while I play, I’ve been experimenting with weirder armies and trying new synergies inside Hyperroll. And with the games being so short, I don’t risk wasting my time.
My experiments have helped me learn a lot about unit synergy for TFT: Reckoning. For example, so far I’ve had more success with the new Hellion units — little monsters that re-summon themselves as a lesser version when they die — in Hyperroll than in standard TFT. Hellion units are cheap and weak, so it’s an army that benefits from getting duplicate units. Because Hyperroll is such focused on re-rolling and upgrading units quickly, it’s easier to test what success looks like for a Hellion composition. As a veteran player, I’ve started transferring those lessons from Hyperroll into my standard TFT games, and it’s helped give me an edge.
I love when a new mode or game type serves two functions, and Hyperroll works for me on multiple levels. It’s the first stop I’ll suggest for new TFT players going forward, but I’ll also start telling veteran players I know to give Hyperroll a try in an effort to broaden their horizons. If nothing else, Hyperroll has become my own little testing chamber for unique armies, and it’s a resource I look forward to exploiting once TFT: Reckoning hits live servers next week.