Earlier this week, Teamfight Tactics game design director Stephen Mortimer, aka Mortdog, offered a preview of changes coming in Patch 14.1. While the patch will feature some pretty big changes — including an overhaul of Heartsteel and the addition of 11 new portals — it doesn't address all of the hot-button issues right now.
One of the biggest sources of debate surrounding TFT right now is Open Forting, or playing your weakest board to intentionally lose. Open Forting is a popular strategy right now as it allows players to sacrifice a nominal amount of health to secure loss streak gold (to build up their economy) as well as Carousel priority for units and item components.
Although you can also earn gold by win streaking, it's more inconsistent than Open Forting. One of the issues with actively trying to win streak is that you may suffer a loss, resetting your streak and losing out on valuable gold to build your economy. As a result, most players opt to just Open Fort.
Riot is aware of the controversial mechanics win/loss streaking and the strategy of Open Forting. And with Patch 14.1, will attempt to address these large systems.
With Patch 14.1 now locked, Mortdog has started to discuss some of the changes coming in the next patch. This patch will impact three major system, one of them being the value of streaking.
Streaking changes to address Open Forting?
Riot acknowledges that the value of streaking is too high, especially in the early game.
"The impact of going LWLWL vs LLLLL was higher than we wanted," Mortdog stated. "Streaking should be a nice bonus, not something that decides games."
As a result, Patch 14.1 will adjust streaking from 2-3/4/5 to 3-4/5/6. This will require longer streaks to get value. This will hopefully encourage more players to put out competitive boards early on in the game without fear of setting their economy back. With this change, you won't be so pressured to win or lose streak, especially in Stage 2, to keep up your economy.
It remains to be seen what sort of impact this will have on Open Forting, especially as it doesn't seem player damage will be adjusted. It still might just be easier to intentionally lose and guarantee that higher loss streak.
New rule for Combat Ties
Nobody likes a tie, and to be honest, it's not something that Riot designed around. As a result, the winner and loser of a combat tie was determined based weird rules, like whose board the fight took place on. With Patch 14.1, there will now be a consistent rule for combat ties: "If players tie in any way, the result is both players take damage as if it were a loss, and then both players' streak is reset to 0."
This could also impact Open Forting as players with two week boards who tie will now both be punished by having their streak reset. It also makes outcomes a bit more predictable for players, which is always nice.
Headliner appearance rule changes
I'll be honest, the rules surrounding Headliners and the champion pool limit have been confusing for this set. With the current rule, Headliners for units with less than half their total unit copies in the pool are not offered. While the idea behind the rule was good — hoping to avoid seeing too many 3-star four and five costs — it was too confusing and stressful as it required you to scout opponent boards and worry about enemy shops.
Patch 14.1 will change this rule so that it applies to just you: "If YOU have more than 4 copies of a four cost, or 3 copies of a 5 cost, the headliner can't appear for you."
With this change, you no longer have to do mental math and scout the lobby. The limit only applies to you, still preventing the frequent occurrence of 3-starring 4-cost and 5-cost champions.
With Patch 14.1 arriving on Wednesday, January 10, we'll have to wait a few more days until these changes are implemented. Hopefully, they address these issues.