If you don't like walls of text just scroll down to the bottom, post a comment about how Twisted Fate has enough guides/threads about him and leave. I won't mind, your post will just keep this at page 1.
Like I said, this is not a guide. My opinion will probably bleed heavily, but I'll try to keep it as simple as possible. Its basically an understanding for people in the 1-10 level so they can understand their card master:
-Full control of the map: This used to be a huge strength a patch ago, for you new players a sixty second cool down on your gate might not seem too bad, but trust me: Thirty seconds was mind numbingly painful. On top of that, you can see anyone and go anywhere instantly. You have full map control.
-Attack diversity: His Q and W skill lets you cover stuff that most heroes demand four skills for. He can do a spread attack, a power strike, a slow, and a stun just those two buttons.
-Sniping: Wild card lets you pick off low life heroes who stand by the tower for support.
-Perfect support: Nothing says "Save that Cho from getting torn up" quite like hurling a stun every three seconds. Not to mention a good reveal can stop almost any gank.
Full versatility: I'll go into this one later. Just know card master can **** near do anything.
-Slow as hell: Twisted Fate is really (as far as I remember) only outdone by Anivia (who's an effing bird who shouldn't move like a **** glacier) and tied with Alistar. Watch it.
-High mana dependency early game: This is just one of those things you have to take a hit to adapt over. Whether your runes suffer for it, one of your summoner skills become clarity, or you blow your gold on a mana regen item, there's no way to get past CM using mana like a beast early game and will never have enough to fight.
-Dies easy: As if not being able to run wasn't bad enough. He barely gains enough HP per level to just tag along with the other mages.
Twisted fate can hold both lanes insanely well. In fact, its absolutely ridiculous.
-Middle: Against a melee character you're unstoppable. If you have a chance against a melee character I highly recommend getting boots. Gold card spam+Wild=death for everyone with the exception of maybe Warwick and Tryn. Not only can you grief if its a 1v1, but you can generally also hurt the tower before the rest of your team gets to theirs.
-Bottom: Its hard to tell where fate is stronger, it really depends on the player. You can bushwhack an early gank with your gold (and a flash once you're 12 so they don't tear you apart when you go in). On top of that any heavy hitter will love a well trained gold card. Definitely an assassin early game, and a frightening threat.
CM has ultimately six skills.
-Q, Wild Card: You hurl three cards which ealry game if you spam levels into has so much range it'll farm gold an assassinate other heroes. On top of that, you can hurl a wild card into bushes and listen for the sound of it going through something, if you hear it thar be something in those bushes. It gets weak late game however, unless you're stacking AP.
-W, the three cards (Pick a Card): I'm going to have to dissect this one, one sec. Just keep in mind once PaC starts you have ten seconds to throw your first card or it dies, if you get a gold or a red you have used your card and must bear the cooldown.
Blue: The tower slayer. You're ******ed if you can't time blue cards. They suck against other players and have no lasting effect, but they destroy towers. Blue cards last 2 seconds before red shows up.
Red Card: Some people call this the penalty card, and for good reason. Similar effects as blue, but not nearly as useful as gold card. It'll slow an enemy, but you won't get your beloved gold. Red card lasts 1 second before gold appears.
God... err Gold card: The destroyer of worlds, Gold card used to stun everything within a 100 range radius (something like that) of where it hit. Now it stuns one target for 1.5 seconds (or 1... I don't recall) and slows anything around them. Like every other card, gold can crit. It lasts .5 seconds before blue card shows up, so to get it you often have to tape W while red is still up.
-E, Gate: This skill takes anywhere from 3 to 1 second to work. If Reveal Destiny is up, Gate will almost instantly cast where you want to be. CARDS CAN be taken through gate, so use that to your advantage and gold/wild a low HP champ.
-R, Reveal Death... err Destiny: One of the most hotly debated skills on LoL, not only does it reveal all enemies on the map clearly for your entire team, it also allows you to gate instantly and slows enemy movements speed so you can chase them down and gold them. It makes you the ultimate support.
The three builds:
-AP Fate: For fates who like to rely heavily on dealing damage with their attacks. Thanks to CM's low cooldowns on his Q, and W skill, he can be horribly powerful in a team fight so long as no one notices him. Keep in mind your AP ratio is horrible (its somewhere around .4), but if you can get 300 AP .4 suddenly becomes a level 5 wild card that deals 380 damage instead of 260 (not to mention a gold card pound).
-DPS Fate: This is just a terrifying build for the master of fate late game (or at least the way I do it). Early game I'd be surprised if you did well, but if you can collect the gold for the items you need here, everyone is afraid of you. Almost no one can stand up to you 1v1.
-Tank fate: Yeah, it exists. Yeah, it sucks in the higher ELO brackets. But when you're a beginner and when people generally just understand "That card master goes squish" having a few warmogs and an atma's impaler is hilarious. I don't know how many Twitch's I stopped early game from ganking me when they saw a Malady and a warmog.
The Runes: Runes will be divied by what kind of Card Master you want to play. I'll do my best to do a breakdown:
-AP fate: Now I haven't played an AP fate since I was level 10. From my recollection though you want mana, and lots of it. Runes here can be any of (or the combination of) Mana, mana regen, magic resist penetration, and AP. I highly recommend (though I will admit to being wrong here if I am) staying away from both mana and AP on this build. Mana regen will make up for your missing mana (before I quit this rune page with my runes and utility mastery I had 20 mana regen per 5 seconds right off the bat), and magic resist penetration will make wild card really effective early game while heroes are relying natural armor resist.
-DPS fate: This is my personal favorite. For your runes just go straight crit chance. TF naturally has a 3/4/5% crit chance boost, plus with just 5 runes at level 20+ you can have an additional 7% crit. At level thirty your crit chance will become terrifying right off the bat, and hitting a level 1 hero for 80 damage is horrible for them. This build will allow you to destroy early game from pure crit chance alone (minions and heroes), and late game when you're stacking DPS items, your crit will be horrendously painful.
-Tanking fate: Laugh at this one if you want, but in the 8-16 skill bracket, people just don't know how to handle it. In all honesty, just get health regen runes here. Nothing else I can say, health regen ensures you will always be pushing early game.
-Utility: I highly recommend this for ANY Cardmaster. Regardless of what build you're playing Utility is ridiculous. +1 mana regen a second, a 15% cooldown on clarity (which destroys early game if you're laning with a cho), flash cooldown reduction... its just a ridiculous Mastery. I swear to God Riot designed this Mastery with Card Master in mind. Goes best with the AP build but I use it for the DPS build.
-Defense: For those fates who are sick of getting ganked. In all honestly this is one of the more useless masteries for Fate, but fate can do anything (even use this mastery). This is best for tanking fate simply because I can't give this build to anyone else except for an AP person who hasn't looked at the Utility skill tree.
-Attack: Once again, not fond of this mastery. But a DPS fate can work well without that +1 mana regen per sec (dear God I love that thing). The straight attack can be painful at level 30 to a DPS fate, and a tank fate can use it to get offensive as well.
The items: Before anyone hits me in the head with a stick for not picking the items they'd recommend for fate here, I'll gladly accept a polite recommendation with proper reasoning. I will not listen to some idiot rambling about why I'm ******ed. Keep in mind, this is your ULTIMATE items as suggested by me in order of which you will buy listed from first to last (not counting your first item).
First item: I ALWAYS suggest ANYBODY get Regrowth Pendant before anything else. Why?!?! Because you never die early game! I know a lot of people will disagree, but I haven't had to buy gate until level four waaaaaay too many times for regrowth pendant to go overlooked. If its not your cup of tea, don't worry. I just reaaaaally like it and you can resell it later to buy other stuff when its outlived its purpose (unless you're combining it, it loses its purpose on DPS fate after his second item).
Note: Like any decent build, all these builds demand gold, TF NEEDS GOLD probably more than any other hero. Learn to farm... and fast.
-AP Fate: (Done by Sacredl who obviously plays AP fate better than I ever could)
Maximal cooldown reduction, with reasonable movement speed, mana regen and mana pool. Allows TF to spam his cards with 395/~600 AP per every 3 seconds with insane mana amounts. Thanks to that he can teleport everywhere per every ~35 seconds (feels like nearly the previous patch, doesn't it?). Oh and golem is your priority.
(if you're going up against mages substitute trinity force for Wits end, if you're going up against DPS you may substitute both madred and trinity for a black cleaver and a bloodthirster)
(If you use the original six)A whopping 15% lifesteal, a 2.04 ATTK speed (without warwick), somewhere around 340 damage with over 70% crit chance makes this a horrifyingly terribly painful build against anyone who is stupid enough to not pay attention to you in a group fight. I've taken out all five enemies before with this build, simply because no one noticed me carving into their HP. Mix this with a gold card and any fight becomes unfair (if you're fighting an invis fool, reveal them. Almost any char who goes invis will die in the five seconds it takes to wear down).
Yeah, you're stacking three warmogs on a **** squishy. You COULD replace that third warmog with a frozen heart or against another tank you could get a bloodrazor, but you won't. Like I said: Novelty build, its hilarious in a practice game or when you're level 5 and used that IP riot nicely handed you for dishing out money to buy card master. I used it all the way from level 15-20 and up until I started replacing those mogs with DPS it was a pretty tight build. Most people don't even know what to do with it.
Word of Caution for each build:
-AP build: Just.... watch your ass. Don't ever be alone as AP fate is hella squishy. Never be alone... group fights are your forte.
-DPS Fate: Do not fear 1v1 fights... I've outfought a STACKED yi (he basically had the same items as me except for a second phantom rather than a bloodthirster) with it before. Only people who should genuinely worry you is anyone else who is crit build. TF with this build will only have 1800 hit points, so watch out. That lifesteal delays your death, it doesn't make you immortal.
-Tank fate: Why on God's green earth are you using the tank fate? Its a novelty fate! It doesn't actually work! Anyway, initiate. I DO NOT want to see you using this build UNLESS you are A) In low ELO brackets and no one has figured anything out yet, or B) Really bored and your jackass team decided to stack DPS/mage characters and no tanks. The tank build works for any mage who wants to make people go "Wait... what the hell?!?! Why won't that mage die?!?! HOW IS IT TANKING OUR TOWER!"
Summoner skills for each build:
-AP build: Clarity and Heal. Staying alive early game will be your biggest problem. I've known more than one Cho who has loved me for giving him both mana and health.
-DPS Fate: Clarity/clairevoyance, heal. I just like to put Clarity on Card master, period. Unfortunately clarity will become useless late game. Clairevoyance on the other hand will allow you to use it on yourself in the middle of a stealth char fight and extend the sight of your reveal destiny long enough for that shaco to die when he thinks he's invis.
-Tank Fate: Heal, and rally. Keeping your HP high is key. Heal and Rally will keep you and your buddy happy.
Who will kill Cardmaster: In all honesty? The card master pisses a lot of high ELO players off simply because he can survive **** near anything. Five man gank? No problem. Twitch sneaking up on me? Done. Warwick and Teemo chasing me down? POOF! But in all honesty, some well played characters will destroy him. The people any cardmaster should mainly look out for goes as follows:
-Invis people: Twitch, Eve, and Shaco. I believe all three of them gain a huge bonus when they leave invis, and in one second I've seen all three of them kill me.
-Tanks: Blitz, Mundo, Cho. Unless you're a DPS fate don't even waste your time on a tank. Stun them maybe, or slow them, but STAY away from them.
-Other mages: I'm hesitant about this one. Good mages should be constantly killed, not avoided. By other mages who stack AP will generally get a higher AP stack than fate and I've seen some ults kill me at full health.
-DPS: Twitch, Yi, Teemo, Warwick, and Tryn. Don't ask me why, but these guys scare the hell out of me. Especially Tryn and warwick... they're just **** scary for a low HP character.
Who Cardmaster will Kill: This list can actually place almost every hero. I mean, in all honesty? Aside from maybe Blitz or Tryn, and sometimes a Yi or Teemo I don't think there are too many people who cardmaster can't kill. Really at the end of the day it depends if you're DPS or AP. Not to mention Card master is a support character and most of the kills concerning you will be an assist. There's really not much to say.
Best Teammates for Cardmaster: Two words: STUN TANK!
-I kid you not, there is probably no one I love more than a good Cho'gath on my team. Rupture+gold+wild+attack from both can kill ANY level 1-3 hero (aside from Anivia). Mundo, Tryn (though he's DPS), Warwick (same), and Nunu will work just fine as well, but they aren't CHO!
-If you're good at what you're doing, a DPS character will also serve quite nicely in early kills, but don't rely on them as a lane buddy forever.
The roles of Cardmaster: Regardless of the build you are using for your beloved cardmaster, he has some roles which I feel should be brought up. Not all builds can be used for every role and you'll see why soon
-Twisted Fate, the first responder. Avoiding a paramedic pun, this is a legitimate cardmaster role, especially for those cardmasters who don't want to or can't play offensively. For the most part it consists of helping a teammate run away, or survive a gank. Grab a gold, teleport just in front of your teammate, lob the gold at the enemies approaching your teammate and book it with them. If you don't get away within five seconds keep throwing gold/red cards. I've run more than one Somalian mile with a teammate keeping them alive from a gank.
-The Gankmaster. This should be the role everyone is familiar with. After a big fight get a gold and watch the enemies. If they're dumb they'll scatter. Pick out the weakest one and jump on them. Then, run the **** back to base and pray to God no one went to intercept you.
-The crowd blender. This is where cardmaster really shines when playing DPS. In group fights cluster in with everyone, go Altair/Ezio and blend in with the crowd while loading your 500 damage crits at unsuspecting enemies. I can't guarantee you'll kill anyone, but you'll sure as hell put a hurt on them.
-The WTF HOW IS THAT CARDMASTER NOT DEAD?!?!?! Like I said, the tank build is simply a novelty build, but its still effective and painful. I've taken down towers while no one was paying attention before with it, and like I said: I still think the tank build is your best chance against the rat.
-The distraction. Go somewhere you KNOW the enemies are going to notice and push. While you're pushing top your team goes bottom (or whatever) and waits for the entire enemy team to go after you. Be smart, don't go too far and have a reveal ready with a teleport. Twisted fate can escape ANY situation.
-Crowd control. Simply put, spam wild and gold cards at a target location until the enemy numbers decrease. This is generally used best against an army of minions rather than five heroes (in case anyone was wondering).
Roles the cardmaster will have difficult performing: I'm not saying Card Master can't do anything, but there are some things even me (the person who invented tanking fate) just has problems with. They go as follows:
-Fair Fighter/1v1. In all honesty, almost anything card master cannot do revolves around multiple people. On top of that, unless you have some HEAVY DPS on you, do not gate in on ANYONE and expect to kill them without getting your first hit with a gold card. The only exception to that rule is when I killed a cardmaster and a Heimer one after the other. I think the Heimer was just too stupid to hit me with a pocket rocket, but it worked.
- Xv1. I can have people argue all day and all night that cardmaster has two crowd control skills (his Wild card and his reveal), but I want you to say that when a Yi and a cho'gath are breathing down your neck. The most you end up doing with your crowd control is throwing them behind you as you try to get away from the army chasing you down.
-APvAP and DPSvDPS. Its a gamble with these two. Unless you know what you're doing (IE have Exhaust, gold card, etc..) don't ever expect to beat a yi in a fair fight. His ult negates yours and he can dish some mean damage. Same goes for Veigar. Make sure you're fighting veigar on your terms not his, or you'll be hurting in two seconds flat. This list goes on and on of course, I'm just giving you a heads up for what to look out for.
-Stealth killer. I know I told you card master CAN kill stealth units, but not full HP ones. Granted I've lucked out and killed a shaco at full HP once before, but when you're critting for 500 damage with a lich bane and a black cleaver, I'd be impressed if too many things survive your wrath.
Cardmaster known glitches: Note these.
-Cardmaster can't use oracle. At least last patch he couldn't. I've had the rat standing next to me for five seconds when I've had an oracle up before and never noticed him. Same thing with eve and shaco. Apparently the guys at riot are like "Lol, he can already see them for five seconds (instead of the original eight) every ninety seconds (instead of sixty), why would he need to see them outside that window?!
-Gold card inhibitor glitch. Pack a gold card and lob it at the inhibitor. Doesn't do extra damage but you will sit there and hurl gold cards for 5-10 seconds at that inhibitor and it will make your team go "WTF?!?!"
-Gold card stuns towers. I swore everyone knew this, but whatever.