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After winning the last Teamfight Tactics World Championship, South Korea is looking to extend its TFT dominance for the second season in a row. But first, they have to decide who will represent the region at the TFT Reckoning Championships. The Korea TFT Reckoning Regional Finals, also known as the Legends Cup: Reckoning, just wrapped up. Three players from South Korea have punched their tickets to the TFT Reckoning Championship. Here are the lessons we learned from the event.

Ddudu finally gets revenge

TFT Reckoning Korea
Ddudu pictured on the far right missed out on Worlds during Set 3. He got his revenge this time around. | Provided by Riot Games.

For a wide majority of TFT fans worldwide, South Korea’s “Ddudu” isn’t a household name. The player has never reached the world’s stage before. However, back in Season 3’s Galaxies qualifier, Ddudu came extremely close to putting himself on the map. At the KR Galaxies Qualifier, Ddudu placed third. Only the top two players moved on to worlds. Two seasons later, Ddudu was back in the finals of the KR qualifier once again. This time, he left it all on the convergence.

After placing in the top four at the AfreecaTV TFT Series 3 event, Ddudu found himself with a spot at the KR Regionals. During his semifinals group, Ddudu played safe and consistent. With three top fours in four games, Ddudu finished third in his group, which was good enough for a seat in the final top eight lobby.

In the finals, Ddudu didn’t start too hot. Back-to-back fifth-place finishes in the first two games put his chance at revenge on hold. But with a strong second-half performance, which included three straight top-four finishes, Ddudu did enough to secure a top-three finish. This time it was good enough for Worlds qualification.

Bobae fails to replicate success, misses out on second Worlds appearance

The final standings from the KR TFT Reckoning Regional Finals. Bobae finished dead-last after placing first in the semi-finals. | Provided by Riot Games.

During the Galaxies season where Ddudu missed out on Worlds, it was Bobae who ended up taking away his World Championship opportunity.. Bobae had a good run at Worlds, finishing in sixth place. Like Ddudu, two seasons later Bobae found himself back in the KR Regional Finals — this time looking to make himself only the third player ever to go to Worlds twice.

Things looked promising during the semifinals. Bobae dominated his group going 1,2,2,3 in the four Group Stage games. He easily finished first in his group and looked like a heavy favorite to win the entire event. But finals told the opposite story. Outside of the lone lobby win in Game 3 to extend his own tournament life support, Bobae went 8,7,8,8 in the other four games. He ended up finishing dead-last in the finals and was the only player to never reach the 18 points Check threshold.

TFT is a volatile game and Bobae showed that the best player yesterday may not be the best player today.

Checkmate format opens up multiple playstyles

The Checkmate TFT tournament format has been a popular but controversial way to decide tournament winners. Due to the nature of TFT, playing a standard five or six-game set can be boring for spectators as in some cases the tournament winner is decided before the final game is even played. But with the Checkmate format, the tournament winner will always be the winner of the final game no matter what. This is because, in this format, there is no set amount of games.

In the Checkmate format, players race to secure a point threshold which puts them in Check. Once a player in Check wins a lobby after they are put in Check, they win the tournament and the event is over. The KR Regional Finals ran this format and it showed some interesting results.

Typically when it comes to playstyles in TFT there are two main options. Players usually go for a “first or eighth” style or a “play for top fours” one. First or eighth refers to the idea of playing very risky for the highest reward. Things like greedily holding onto item components and sacrificing health for econ to get the optimal composition online is an example of this. If it works, the player tends to win more often. If it fails, the player is doomed into a poor finish.

The other playstyle refers to doing everything necessary to place into the top four. Top four is what players strive for, since on the ranked ladder a top-four placement guarantees a Ladder Points increase. Things like slamming sub-optimal items and keeping HP high through aggressive leveling and rolling sacrifice the potential to win the lobby, but make placing third or fourth more likely.

In tournament play, especially in the Checkmate format, players typically play the “first or eighth” playstyle. This is because a player has to win a lobby to win the tournament. However, in a Checkmate format finals where three players earn spots at Worlds, playing for top fours is a viable strategy as well.

Although the KR champion, “Woojung” did indeed play a “first or eighth” playstyle and it worked for him, “ZENIA” ended up sneaking into the third and final worlds spot with the other style. In the first four games of the finals, ZENIA finished third in the lobby all four times. Consistently racking up points undetected allowed Zenia to put himself in a good situation. Even though he finished Game 5 in fifth place, due to his consistency in the four other games, he was able to hold off “Strongsexy” for the final spot.

The Checkmate format has been shown to allow for multiple playstyles and in this event, showcased further that it’s not only good for the fans, but also the players too.