What is this Guide about?
One strategy that is popular among a lot of players is to sell your units in the early PVE Stages to reach the 10 gold threshold. The intend is to kickstart your economy with the bonus gold that you receive from interest. This allows you to reach the next threshold faster, creating a snowball effect.
Especially when you are aiming for a lose streak, it doesn't matter if you keep any of your units. It can also be beneficial to drop HP in the early game for a potential Spatula in the Stage 2 carousel as well. This guide will cover which units can be used to defeat both Stage 1-3 and Stage 1-4.
Before we get into the units, I do want to quickly explain how gold interest works in TFT. A lot of players don't believe that gold interest works before Stage 2, but this is simply not true. It has been thoroughly tested and you will receive bonus gold if you reach 10 or 20 gold in the first PVE Stages.
The reason for the confusion stems from players not understanding how passive gold in TFT accumulates. Here is how it works:
- Stage 1-3 -> 2 Gold
- Stage 1-4 -> 2 Gold
- Stage 2-1 -> 3 Gold
- Stage 2-2 -> 4 Gold
- Stage 2-3 -> 5 Gold
In the first two rounds you will only gain 2 gold, which then gets increased each round and caps out at 5 gold once you hit Stage 2-3. This means if you have 10 gold in Stage 1-3 you should end up with 13 gold in Stage 1-4, since you received 2 Passive Gold and 1 Gold from Interest.
Should you solo Stage 1-3?
First of all let's cover Stage 1-3, because there are two Portals where it can make sense to only run a single unit:
- 3 Champions
- 3 Cost Champions
Thanks to these two Portals you start with 3 gold worth of units instead of 1 gold. The 2 bonus gold can be quite relevant, because they allow you to reach 10 gold in Stage 1-3 sometimes and make use of the bonus interest already. The Portal "Item Payout" can also work if you don't mind commiting to a specific item right away.
Stage 1-3: Don't use, they will fail
I would not recommend using Annie, Nami Jinx, Kennen or K'Sante for Stage 1-3. Even with items they have a high chance of failure and it's not worth the risk. Nami did receive some noteworthy mana buffs with Patch 14.1, so there is a chance that she can defeat Stage 1-3 with a specific item component.
Stage 1-3: Only safe with strong item component like Giant's Belt
Now it is possible for every single unit on this list to defeat Stage 1-3 without an item component, but it also has a certain risk factor. Units like Evelynn can often end the fight with only 1 HP remaining, so if you want to ensure victory, you should give units from this group a powerful component.
As for positioning, you usually want them quite far to the right of the first row to force the enemy caster minion to move. The only unit from this group that doesn't want to start in the frontline is Corki, he wants to be in the bottom right corner.
Stage 1-3 - Safe Choice, no items required
Both Olaf and Tahm Kench have an extremely powerful kit and will defeat Stage 1-3 with no items regardless of positioning. Taric also received some recent buffs, which fixed his worst case scenario, making him a safe choice as well. If you want to stay super safe, you can position Taric in the last row next to the corner to force everyone to move and delay incoming damage.
Stage 1-4 - Requires Giant's Belt or Chain Vest
In Patch 14.1 Olaf received +5 AD and a better scaling for his attack speed. Tahm on the other hand received +10 AD and +5 Armor/MR.
These buffs were enough to make both of them reliable choices to defeat Stage 1-4 as long as they have a defensive component (Belt or Chain).
Positioning shouldn't make a difference unless you find yourself in a worst case scenario. You might be able to minimize this risk by having Olaf/Tahm start in the last row next to a Corner to force the enemy minions to move instead of attacking right away.
Apparently it is possible for Tahm with a Large Rod to defeat Stage 1-4 as well, but this likely require very good crit RNG and is currently not recommended.
Tips and Tricks
There are also some portals that can help you defeat Stage 1-4 with only a single unit, for example:
- Training Dummy
- Wandering Trainer
Both of these portals will grant you a Target Dummy that can use to block a lot of incoming damage, so as long as you combine your Target Dummy with a powerful unit you should be able to defeat Stage 1-4 without any trouble.
Another option is to utilize a completed item. If you can build a useful item you intend to run anyways, then a lot of units will become powerful enough to beat the PVE Stages as well. You have to estimate the strength of your setup, as no tests have been made regarding full items.