The megaMOBA League Of Legends today officially joins the Auto Chess craze with the launch of Teamfight Tactics, an 'autobattler' mode based on the mega-popular Dota 2 mod Auto Chess. Yes, the same mod whose makers are working on a standalone version, Auto Chess, and which Valve have copied for their own spin-off, Dota Underlords. It's been a busy year for a mod which, back in January, became so suddenly popular that a cottage industry of doubting its popularity sprung up. Now, it's the big battle royale race all over again.
Now that Dota and LoL are both in the Auto Chess racket, two huge games, you've lost the ability to purposely remain ignorant for the purpose of posturing. One last time, here's my own explanation, after which you can play one for yourself, feign vague understanding, or just shut up. You here me, Internauts?
"Auto Chess is a turn-based squad battler about building, upgrading, and arranging a team of heroes who then fight in real-time battles controlled by AI. Each turn is fought against a different opponent in the match, or sometimes against NPC beasties who drop loot. The way we build our squad draws from mods like Gem Tower Defense, presenting random selection of heroes to buy which we upgrade by merging several into a more powerful version (three duplicates go to one higher-level hero). On and on you go, buying more folks, merging them, building synergies with perks, and fighting until either you're knocked out by losing too many rounds or stand triumphant. It feels like a Warcraft 3 mod, I say with great affection."
LoL's Teamfight Tactics mode is that but with LoL characters and a heck of a lot of loot boxes.
Riot today sent us a press release with an 1863-word Q&A not once mentioning the Auto Chess mod or its creators, Drodo Studio, by name. "We fell in love with the genre earlier this year," product lead Richard Henkel said, as if Riot were a romcom protagonist who bumped into Auto Chess in the street and were struck by love at first sight without even knowing this apparent genre was in fact a megacelebrity Dota mod. I think I saw that scenario in a Christmas film where the protagonist fell head-over-heels for Santa's son? It can happen, I'm saying. They have mentioned Auto Chess elsewhere before but mate, come on.
Teamfight Tactics is available free-to-play through the LoL client. It's rolling out across the world over several days, already out in Japan and Australia and today coming to American and European servers. Riot have a wee guide to explain how to play too. And see the version 9.13 patch notes for more on this week's update.
Dota Auto Chess, the original mod, is still in Dota 2 through the Steam Workshop. The standalone Auto Chess game from Drodo Studio is available free-to-play on pocket telephones and coming soon to PC (not only via the Epic Games Store, as was originally suggested). Dota Underlords is free-to-play on Steam and pocket telephones.