Just like in every new set of Teamfight Tactics, Riot decides to refresh the game by implementing new mechanics, units, and items. In Set 5, they followed the trend by removing the Chosen mechanic and adding Shadow items which add a lot of complexity and nuance to the game’s item system. In the following article, we’ll tell you everything you need to know about Shadow items so you can use them effectively while boosting your rank in the ladder.
To fully understand this mechanic, we have to start from the beginning. The easiest way to spot and recognize these Shadow items is by their turquoise-colored frame which regular items don’t have.
They are the counterparts to the “vanilla” components in the game and currently, every item in the game has a shadow counterpart. Those shadow components can be combined with a regular component, or a shadow one, in order to create a Shadow item. You cannot cleanse your Shadow items and turn them into the regular ones so you’ll have to stick to the choice which you initially make.
If you still haven’t caught up with how this system works, let’s take a look at an example. Instead of combining the regular B.F. Sword and a Sparring glove to create an Infinity Edge, you can combine a regular BF with a Shadow Glove to create a Sacrificial Infinity Edge. That method works both ways, as you can combine a Shadow Sword with a normal Sparring Glove, or combine both Shadow Sword and Shadow Glove to create the desired item.
As you can notice, while the two variations of the IE are similar, there are some major differences between them. The main factor that differentiates Shadow Items from the regular ones is their effect, which provides them with added benefits as well as drawbacks. In general, the Shadow items are more powerful than the regular items in the game, but occasionally, the effect drawback can outweigh the benefit, depending on the unit you’re putting the item on.
These effect changes are what adds a significant skill ceiling to the game, as it’s crucial to predict whether you’d benefit from building a Shadow item or you’re better off sticking with the regular one instead.
Moving on, we’ll take a look at when and where you can obtain these Shadow items. In order to fairly and consistently distribute these items, Riot decided to implement a mechanic named the Armory.
Basically, the way in which the Armory works is that you get free item components of your choice at the early Stages 2-2, 3-2, and 4-2. At Stage 2-2, you can choose between a free Shadow component or a regular one. At Stage 3-2, you can choose between two regular components, and at Mid game Stages 4.2 you get to choose between four components, two shadow, and two regular ones. Generally, the Armory enables players to consistently be able to build the Shadow items they desire by giving them free choices as the game progresses.
Just like any other item and item component in the game, you can get the Shadow items and components in the Carousel. Quantity-wise, there will be anywhere from 1-4 Shadow items on the Carousel that you and other participants can choose from. Just like the regular full items, full Shadow items will appear much more often in the Carousel once the game hits the latter Stages. Overall, depending on your choices, you’ll be able to get 2-4 Shadow components in any game you play. Last but not least, Shadow items cannot be dropped from the PvE mobs so you won’t have a chance to randomly obtain them, unlike the regular items.
Shadow items cheat sheet