While the Korea TFT Reckoning Regional Final was going on, just south was another important tournament wrapping up its finals as well. The Oceania region crowned its TFT Reckoning Championship representative over the weekend after months of qualifying events. Here is what we learned from the OCE TFT Reckoning Series Regional Finals.
Escha not only entertains, but he is also an elite player
— Teamfight Tactics by ORDER (@ocetft) September 5, 2021
There is no shortage of TFT personalities in the community, especially on Twitch. For the Oceania region, “Escha” is at the top. Known for his crude humor and crazy names for compositions, the challenger level TFT player has made a name for himself as an entertainer. But when it comes to proving himself as an elite player, he has failed to make an impact. But the day has finally come.
After surviving a gauntlet of qualifying events, Escha found himself in the final eight players fighting for a single spot at Worlds. Although Escha was the most well-known player in the top eight, he was far from the favorite to win. Based on semifinals performances, the high-ranked challenger players “Choonga” and “Chubb13unny” were expected to continue their dominance.
The six-game finals started with Choonga pulling away early. By the end of Game 3, Choonga was far and away in first place. But the rest of the pack was crowded around second place, among the players in the mix was Escha. Game 4 was the start of Escha pulling away from the pack. After a Game 4 win, not only did Escha put himself alone in second, but a poor performance from Choonga brought Escha within a single point of first. Game 5 saw Choonga take another dive which opened the door for Escha. As the dust settled, Escha’s consistency was rewarded as he took home the title of OCE’s best player and punched his ticket to Worlds.
Checkmate format isn’t needed to create hype moments
Unlike the Korean finals, the OCE finals used the standard finals format which consisted of a six-game series with the player with most points at the end wining the event. The problem with this format is that the event is often decided before the final game is played since a player who does well early can make it impossible for anyone to catch up. This creates a boring experience for the spectator. The Checkmate format, which was used in the KR Regional Finals, makes sure that the player who wins the final game will always win the tournament. This creates a very hype experience for the spectator. However, The OCE finals showed that the standard format can be hype too.
Heading into the final game of the OCE Regional Finals, The difference in points between first and fourth was two points. Any of the top four players going into the final game had a very realistic shot at winning the event. Game 6 brought the hype as all eyes were on the four potential winners. One by one they started to fall, and while Escha ended up securing the win with a third-place finish, the fact is that the last game mattered and for a majority of it, every round mattered.
In a perfect world, there exists a tournament format that is optimal for players and spectators. The standard format may not always be optimal for the spectator but when it is, it’s very good.
The Meta Game is in a fantastic spot
Although TFT has had its balancing problems historically, the game has been in a very good spot diversity-wise over the last few weeks. At the OCE Regional Finals, that diversity was showcased once again.
Over the six-game finals, a different composition won each game. Three of the six games were won with reroll compositions. Revenant Assasins headlined by a Nocturne three-star took a game but so did the Yasuo Nightbringer comp. Miss Fortune was the other reroll comp that won a lobby.
The other three comps were surprisingly all AP compositions. Vel’Koz carry won a lobby, but so did Karma. The other composition was a Gwen hyper-carry comp that got a majority of its power off of having 10 units on board thanks to Force of Nature. The comp overwhelmed enemy boards due to the sheer board presence.
The odd part about this isn’t that there were six different compositions, it was which compositions won. The meta has been dominated by AD compositions. Comps that utilize Jax, Apehlios, Draven, Kayle and Lucian have been forces in the current metagame and none of them won a lobby in the OCE finals. But make no mistake, these compositions are top-tier.
The metagame has many threats which makes skill expression high. This is great news as the TFT Reckoning Championship will be one to remember if the meta remains healthy.