Preface: This is a guide to playing Twisted Fate - The Cardmaster. This guide will focus on an Ability Power (AP) item build with the potential to either be a heavy pusher, assassin, carry, or all. So now the breakdown.
Passive - Second Sight
This gives a teamwide +5% critical chance. Great with physical champions and benefits anyone.
Q - Wild Card
This ability is your main long range harassment and farming ability. It is a skillshot that sends 3 cards out, 1 in the direction chosen and 1 on each side at approximately a 45 degree angle each. The cards have a pretty decent size making hitting multiple targets easy for farming, as well as being long enough range to get some hits off on an opposing champion. This scales very well with AP and end-game can clear creep waves with one well tossed throw. While creeps are moving down the lane you can throw directly at them and combined with their movement the center card will hit every minion in the line. This is useful for baiting and killing waves without your minions present allowing a good push.
W - Pick a Card
Using this ability starts a "roulette" of 3 cards, red, gold, and blue which do the following:
Blue: Deals extra magic damage, starts the roulette again allowing another card to be picked.
Red: Deals area of effect magic damage with an aoe slow. Damage is slightly more than blue.
Gold: Deals aoe damage (more than red), stuns the chosen target for a short time and deals an aoe slow around the target.
This is an excellent and versatile skill. Note that each use of this skill will proc 'on cast' effects such as from sheen, lich bane, and trinity force. This synergizes as the next card you throw will benefit from these effects. Each 'lock' of the card (within the items cooldown) will activate the effects, so multiple blues can procure these effects. Blue cards can be chosen quickly in succession by rapidly pressing the 'W' key which is used against turrets. The Red cards are typically frowned upon as for the moment they don't offer enough damage or support as their other choices. The Gold cards are the ones you want to be getting before teamfights, ganks, chasing a player, harassing an enemy lane mate. It does a respectable amount of damage but it's stun is what you want it for.
So how do you lock these cards? Well I estimated in 4/4 time that the cycle is (starting from blue) 2 counts of blue 1.5 counts of red and .5 counts of gold. This makes timing very important for locking the cards you want, especially with latency. I have found that hitting W just before the gold card is supposed to appear nets me a gold every time. This takes some getting used to and is different for each computer, so play a practice game if you want to get the timing.
E - Gate
Gate teleports Twisted to a target location anywhere on the map. It is a 6 second channel and at the target location a fan of cards opens up showing your arrival. If you use your 'R' ability the channel time is halfed to 3 seconds and will allow a quick entrance or exit. The cooldown is very large on this ability and so should be used with discretion if many enemies are missing. The main use of this skill is to teleport to a lane and push the lane by killing creeps (depending on conditions 2 waves is generally good enough, though you can push to a tower if safe) as well as entering a team fight / initiating a gank with your ultimate. With the changes to the cooldown its usage as both an entrance and exit spell is lowered, so be prepared to hoof it if enemies go missing after you recently gated.
R - Destiny
Destiny reveals all enemy champions on the map as well as slowing them. These effects are in the same debuff, so cleanse / any cleanse abilities on champions will remove the vision AND the slow. This also reduces the cast time on your gate to 3 seconds. A very powerful ultimate in my opinion, as it has so many uses including; ganking solo low health players, slowing the enemy for your team to run away, revealing ganks, helping your team catch runners and much more.
1. Pick a Card
2. Wild Cards
3. Wild Cards
5. Wild Cards
12. Wild Cards
13. Wild Cards
14. Pick a Card
15. Pick a Card
17. Pick a Card
18. Pick a Card
One point in PaC allows Twisted to help in lane ganks early, harassment, dragon ganks, dragon damage and general psycohlogical warfare on your opponent (they tend to stay back if you have a gold card showing). 2 levels in Wild cards allow you to farm minions and harass ranged champions within reason (don't spam it) getting early gold for your item build. Gate is then gotten for the trip back to the fight for your first fountain run or saved for your first gank. Once destiny is available try and set up a gank with other players, you can usually get a kill / assist each time you use this in the first 10 levels helpign an early push and more gold for you and your team.
I max gate first to lower its cooldown as I beleive Twisted's power lies in his ability to be anywhere, and since the cooldown is long having lower level wild cards doesn't hurt as by the time you clear some creep waves it will be back to use. Wild Cards is maxed in order to mow down waves of creeps mid - late game combined with your teleport to push several lanes at once. PaC is maxed last as in the early stages I use it for it's stun combined with decent damage then throw wild card's out for perfect hits. The mana cost increase by maxing PaC doesn't justify the little extra damage mid game in my eyes but it is up to personal choice. My build allows me to hit level 18 by the time my allies and opponents are level 12 - 14 and so the hard pushing stage (where you want your blue cards against turrets) is just starting so the extra damage will help.
So Priorities past level 6 are
Destiny > Gate > Wild Cards > Pick a Card
1. Start - Sapphire Crystal and 2 health potions.
This allows you to stay in lane and farm gold with an increased mana pool and health regeneration. You will level faster and even in a 2 man lane you can usually get enough gold for your next important item by level 6 (right when you want it )
2. First trip - Sheen
Sheen combined with gold card and your Destiny + Gate will almost certainly equal death for an opposing hero with some coordination. You get increased damage (+100%) more ability power for your PaC and Wild Cards so it is a no brainer!
3. Second trip - Boots / Kage's lucky Pick
For boots I reccomend Mercury Treads as crowd control is your bane. Depending on the team however you can choose what is appropriate (more speed, dodge, etc). The Kage's lucky pick allows some free gold generation and builds into an awesome item.
4. Third trip - Deathfire Grasp
Your gank potential with this item is staggering, a free nuke every 60 seconds, 15% cooldown reduction so you can use your ganking spells more often and ability power.
5. Mid / Late Game trips - Nashor's Tooth, Lich Bane, (Zhonya's Ring, Ryleighs Scepter, Archangels Staff, Rod of Ages), and then finally a survival item if needed, or more AP for the gank.
Nashor's Tooth gives you the max (40%) cooldown reduction, ability power, and attack speed. Perfect item for twisted. Lich Bane turns your AP into raw damage with each cast, allowing blue cards to decimate turrets, gold cards to really hurt your gank, etc. High end AP + Health items give you survival as well as more damage. You could calso get utility ap items (slowing with a wild card hit is always fun). Then the final item is based on how the game has went. If you are doign very well but are being targeted get a survival item like Guardian Angel, if you aren't dying often Zhonya's ring makes your damage output almost stupid. Evaluate your battle and base the final item on your situation.
Runes - Masteries - Summoner Skills
Runes - HP runes are my personal favorite, as Twisted is squishy especially early, giving you more staying power. Crit Chance runes are also fun but suit a physical build better.
Masteries - I go utility and offence with a 9/0/21 build. Since you will be getting cooldown reduction in game you can go for masteries like increased speed, mana regen, and experience. Each mastery build is honestly on a team by tema basis so figure out what would suit you best.
Skills - Ghost and Cleanse allow, with the changes to gate, to escape an oncoming gate while your spells are on cooldown. Other combinations are Exhaust + Clairvoyance (gankfest), Flash + Ghost (juking master), etc. Base them on your playstyle and expected needs of the team.
How to play :
Levels 1 - 6
Style - Aggressive
Solo or not is your choice. I like carrying with Twisted so mid solo is prefered. You can lane against an Ashe as you have the harassment to match her's. Early game last hit as much as possible, as you are very item dependant. Storing a gold card for keeping enemies off creeps to hinder their progress is also good. Keep pressure on the opponents, but don't let your mana run dry. Farm with Wild Cards after level 3 with discretion. Once you hit level 6 (and have gold for sheen) bluepill, buy, and set up a gank.
Style - Cautious
Here is where you will farm lanes to no end, gaining levels faster than anyone. You can gank at your discretion with Deathfire Grasp + Destiny + Gate with a Gold card chosen to stun and finish with Wild Cards. You also are great at aiding in a multiple push on a tower as you have some protection from enemies. Be careful as you will often be alone when pushing which leaves you a target to ganking. I never push when 3+ opponents are missing and I don't have my Destiny / Gate up. If you do have positions feel free to gate into a lane and push it until the opponents respond. Once they disappear to deal with you Gate out, run away, or if ganked Destiny + Gating out allows quick escape. You are squishy as hell, so the only thing protecting you from dying is your level advantage and your GTFOD spell combos.
Levels 15 - 18
Style - Constant Pressure
Now you should have most if not all of your items, be several levels higher than the enemy due to your farming and their unable to last hit from turret pushing, and be everywhere at once. Your team can 4 man push a lane while you solo push, forcing the opposition to deal with you or the team. When they come for you join the team with a Gold Card + Destiny + Gate combo to turn a team fight or crush the opposition completely. You can down turrets in seconds with your high blue card damage and creeps to take the turret hits for you and lead your team to victory!
Conclusion - I prefer AP Twisted as a very aggressive champion who can fulfill several roles depending on your team composition. His versatility and countering generic strategies makes him a great choice for an "out of the box" thinker. His ability to be shut down easily means you are on your toes the whole game, and takes away from the often dull and boring games other champions play out. I hope you found this guide useful, any comments / criticism is much appreciated!
P.S. - Production is under way of a movie with Twisted Fate killing Annie to "Smooth Criminal" by Alien Ant Farm...hence the name.