Talking Tactics: TFT's First Set Revival

The devs behind the revival of Return to the Stars talk about why it’s back and what’s updated!

TFT’s first set revival is almost here, and we’re gearing up for galactic exploration with the revival of the Galaxies mid-set, Return to the Stars, as a temporary game mode available from patch 14.02 (Jan 24th) until the end of patch 14.03 (Feb 20th) during our Lunar Festival event! As for this article, I’m joined by Christina “xtna” Jiang, the product manager for the set revival, whose love for Galaxies (especially Cybernetics) is only dependent on her ability to position around my Blitzcrank. Christina, take us away!

Why Return to Galaxies: Return to the Stars?

Adding freshness to the gameplay and systems with each new set has been core to our approach to developing TFT since launch. Now that we’re approaching our fifth year (!), we’ve made a lot of sets (10 to be specific) and we’ve also found ourselves dreaming fondly about older sets, wishing we could play our past favorite champions and traits, and experience those special moments again. Good news for us, over the past few years we’ve heard the same thing from you all!

To kick off the year, we decided it’s about time we revive a set, and for that, we are bringing back Galaxies: Return to the Stars. We wanted to start with a set that was beloved by players but relatively untouched by improvements we’ve made to modern TFT over the years, so that even in a revival, we could give the set a fresh feel. And the Galaxies mid-set had a lot that we really missed.

For our veteran players, the nostalgia of the champions and traits are unmatched. Who needs Spoils of War when you have Space Pirates (shoutout to Dunkmaster Darius)?

After getting a kill, Space Pirates (2) had a 50% chance to drop one gold, providing some early drip econ to get your income to the moon (or a Fast 9). At (4), they have a 33% chance to drop an item component, gearing you up for a first.

And who can forget the positioning demands of Galaxies? Whether it’s protecting backliners from Infiltrators, or repositioning your carry around a Blitzcrank hook, Galaxies made scouting in TFT vital!

Not to mention, it’s been a while since we’ve seen “me mech no scout no pivot” in chat.

For those who did end up pivoting and may not remember, Mechs merged into a Super-mech gaining the traits of its pilots, 3 random items from among them, and 60% of the combined pilots' Health and Attack Damage.

For me, a simple person, I’m most looking forward to playing Cybernetics again. There’s something so satisfying about Vayne/Irelia duo-carry, with the option to splash Thresh and two (temporarily) benched Urgots into the mix.

For our newer players, welcome to old TFT, where we had champion abilities ranging from a passive health shield (Rock Solid) to farming XP on your bench (hi Bard). Of course we can’t overlook the set’s Galaxies mechanic that paved the way for Portals, one of the modern TFT mechanics we know and love. Whether you're new, or a veteran Rebel, we hope you enjoy this set as much as we have!

Modernizing Our Future Themed Set

Our approach to reviving Galaxies: Return to the Stars has been to bring back old champions and traits while applying learnings from modern TFT. We hope you have fun playing the set revival and enjoy some of the updates we’ve made such as transforming Galaxies into Portals, adding Augments, and more! But before we get too far ahead of ourselves, let’s talk about how we’ve modernized our most futuristic set!

Set Mechanic

Players loved the game to game variance that the original set mechanic, Galaxies, introduced to TFT. With Runeterra Reforged, we found a new way to add variance that served a similar goal, except now you had more player agency. With that in mind, we transformed Galaxies into Portals. Expect to see some classic Galaxies returning as Portals (yay Neekoverse) along with some modern Portals that are already live in Remix Rumble. Check out the list here:

Treasure Trove

Cytes, Terrabursters, Infiltrators, and Arcraptors (PvE encounters) rodgergrant extra loot.

Plunder Planet

All champions have a chance to drop a coin, especially the first ones to fall.

The Big Bang

Players receive a free reroll each round, a Tactician's Crown when Stage 3 begins, and extra loot from monsters. Free rerolls cannot be saved up.

The Neekoverse

All players receive two free Champion Duplicators at the start of the game.

Trade Sector

All players receive one free reroll per round. Free rerolls cannot be saved up.

Manatee's Delight

All players receive a free spatula at the start of the game.

Superdense Galaxy

Receive a free Tactician's Crown at the start of stage 3.

Galactic Armory

All players start with 3 component items.

Star Cluster

1, 2, and 3 cost units on carousels have two stars.

If you see a Tactician with the name, xtna, in your lobby and Neekoverse is an option PLZZZ—I need! Also, if Riot Prism is in your lobby, I hear he goes straight to 8th place if you pick Big Bang.


Can you imagine a set with no Augments? Neither can we, anymore. Adding Augments was a no-brainer to maintain variance and depth in key decision-making points in the game.

System Changes & Items

Playing an old set after a hiatus requires adjustment for anyone, even more so for players who have never played that set before. We want players to focus on having fun and exploring the meta, rather than learning or re-learning old system rules and item combinations. Therefore, we’ve updated Return to the Stars to match the active set’s core systems and items. This means modern champion drop percentages, champion bag sizes, leveling costs, item inventory, and other core system updates.

We are significantly changing one system with the Galaxies revival: champion bag sizes. Each champion will now have 50 total copies in the pool, resulting in a dramatically reduced impact for contesting champions, and the true ability to play me mech, no scout, no pivot. We want players to return to their favorite comps and units unabated by champion pool constraints, and bumping up to 50 of each champion allows you to both play what you hit, and play what you want.

5-Cost Adjustments

Return to the Stars has some of our most memorable 5-cost champions, like Aurelion Sol and Gangplank. We realized, however, when compared to their contemporaries, the original 3-star 5-cost abilities are not at the power level our players would expect today from such units. For those who are lucky (or skilled?) enough to hit these units, we’ve updated almost all 3-star 5-cost abilities so when you field them, you can properly flex on your lobby as you deserve.

Almost every 5-cost has received a 3-star upgrade treatment, and I can’t wait to see your clips as you hit them (every game trust?). Happy rolling!

Quality of Life Updates

Similar to system changes, we made sure that most quality of life updates we’ve made over the years were added to this set revival. This means you can expect to see the pop-up panel on the carousel to help identify the item and champion you’re viewing, modern day champion tooltip improvements, and more.


With great changes come great balance responsibilities. Our balance philosophy has evolved since we first released Return to the Stars, and we’ve tuned this set revival accordingly. Key areas like champion base stats, star scaling, and trait power are now similar to the live set. Backline carries rejoice—Shaco, though still strong, has been reined in after clowning on backliners too hard in the past. However, we know that we are not only introducing complexity through Augments and new Portals, but also changing major systems like items and the XP leveling curve, so we know there will be a need for balance changes early (read: play PBE!).

Our main goal is for players to have a blast playing this set revival, either by experiencing it for the first time, or finding new ways to play it with modern items and Augments. Our goal for balancing is to make sure having a blast isn’t overridden by extreme imbalance. We’re not going to push for perfect balance like we do for our main set, but we are going to be balancing the mid-set with each patch, and potentially, if needed, one B-patch early on. Alright, I think that’s it, so on behalf of the whole TFT team, we hope you have a blast returning to the Return to the Stars!

You can play Return to the Stars with patch 14.02 (Jan 24th) until the end of patch 14.03 (Feb 20th) during our Lunar Festival event! If you want to experience the set even earlier you can join PBE starting in the late afternoon (PT) of January 11th. Keep an eye out for more updates, including what new cosmetics you can use to celebrate the occasion, soon!