Riot Games suing Vietnamese studio for Teamfight Tactics copycat

Between lore, characters, and abilities, I Am Hero: AFK Tactical Teamfight looks like an exact copy of Riot's Teamfight Tactics.

Riot Games is suing Vietnamese studio Imba Games for their Teamfight Tactics (TFT) knock-off. While it’s completely possible for games to have similarities in gameplay and art style, I Am Hero: AFK Tactical Teamfight bears startling resemblance to TFT, as Imba Games quite literally copy-pasted character lore.

Teamfight Tactics knock-off I Am Hero: AFK Tactical Teamfight

Riot filed the lawsuit in California as a request to restrict Imba Games from infringing on League of Legends copyright and prevent them from selling I Am Hero: AFK Tactical Teamfight. In 2019, Riot Games developed and published auto battler game TFT as a spinoff to League of Legends. Despite sending a cease-and-desist letter, which included “an extensive but-non exhaustive side-by-side chart of copied characters and gameplay elements,” Imba denied any sort of plagiarism.

However, the evidence is quite damning. As seen by a side-by-side comparison between two champions,  I Am Hero: AFK Tactical Teamfight copied character lore word-for word. They simply changed the name of League champion “Teemo” to “Tomee” before copy-pasting his lore into their own game. Seeing them side-by-side, there’s no way they can deny blatant plagiarism.

An image from the Riot lawsuit including Teamfight Tactics and League of Legends character Teemo versus I Am Hero: AFK Tactical Teamfight character Tomee

Teemo isn’t the only champion they’ve infringed on. Other League of Legends characters such as Aatrox, Mordekaiser, and Akali have been renamed QQtrox, Kaiser, and Akyla. Some characters they didn’t even bother to change the name of, such as Talon. Additionally, character names and descriptions aren’t the only thing Imba copied; Riot also adds that there are similar character abilities and icons in the Riot lawsuit.

I Am Hero characters "Kaiser" and "Kha", who look identical to League of Legends characters "Mordekaiser" and "Tryndamere"
League of Legends players might recognize Mordekaiser and Tryndamere in this image, but it’s actually Kaiser and Kha from I Am Hero

TFT players seem to recognize the copyright infringement as well. With almost 250 reviews on Apple’s app store and over 10,000 reviews on the Google Play store, many spoke up about the blatant copying they saw between the two games. Currently, I Am Hero: AFK Tactical Teamfight’s website still functions. However, the link to the Apple store download seems to no longer be functional.

The outcome doesn’t look so good for Imba Games

Riot’s won lawsuits against copyright in the past, including when parent company Tencent won against Moontoon’s Mobile Legends for $2.9 million. It seems like Riot Games has some pretty damning evidence against Imba for their Teamfight Tactics copycat. This lawsuit may leave Imba games thinking “wouldn’t it have been easier to make my own game rather than plagiarize?”

Via, Polygon.

Erin Vieira

Writer, artist, cosplayer, D&D player, Final Fantasy lover, and Bayonetta enthusiast Erin Vieira says that although they were born amongst mortals, someday they will exist as an unknown entity of the void. There will still be video games there, of course.
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