RamKev · @Kevinramen

7th Mar 2022 from TwitLonger

On "Competitive" TFT

I want to preface this by stating that this is not a criticism of the game of TFT itself. I love TFT.
Contrary to many big names in the community, I think 6.5 has been a great set and have nothing but respect and appreciation for what the TFT dev team has managed to accomplish. I am only discussing and criticizing the current landscape of TFT tournaments.

I owe a lot to the tournament scene. I would not be where I was today if it were not for TFT tournaments, and I am incredibly grateful for that. However, because of this, I am also incredibly invested in the growth and improvement of the competitive scene. In that regard, I really have had nothing to be excited about, because there has been essentially zero growth and improvement in terms of competitive format for the past 2 sets.

Initial Outlook:
When I first heard that Set 6 was going to have a larger focus on tournaments for the new competitive format, I was actually really excited. I was still at a point where I thought that tournaments were a better indicator of skill than ladder was. I realize now that this initial opinion that I had was based solely on the fact that in tournament, you play against a higher caliber of player. This has nothing to do with how the tournaments are set up and everything to do with the players that are willing to participate in these events. What I have come to conclude is that the tournament formats themselves do nothing to promote or to demonstrate the skill level of these players and in many cases are detrimental to this goal.

Sample Size and Variance:
From a player perspective, the main Riot affiliated tournaments as they are currently set up feel as if those who decided on the format have never played TFT competitively a day in their life. The key to representing skill is to reduce variance, and in order to do that, you have to increase sample size. I am going to talk extensively here about my experience in Zaun Cup. For those that are not aware, I bombed out Day 1 in Zaun Cup. However, it was the nature in which I didn't make it to Day 2 that left an incredibly poor impression on me. The first day of Zaun Cup was set up in a 6 game format where half of the field was cut in the first 3 games, scores were fully reset, and the next half moved on according to the scores of the next 3 games. In other words, your advancement in a MAIN RIOT SPONSORED TOURNAMENT was decided on the results of 3 entire games. If I had played poorly, that would be one thing, but I had the highest average scores in the entire tournament. I went out on a scoreline of 2 1 3 4 4 5. It's actually laughable that the format actually managed to find a way to make that a scoreline that was not able to make the second day of competition. Not only that, but it made my ability to qualify for Regional Finals much worse.

Obviously, I was incredibly upset afterwards. I deleted all of my vods, I didn't want to think about the game, and I just stopped caring. I had played some of the best TFT I had ever played in that first day for it to just completely mean nothing. No one would care. If I didn't move on, then obviously I was not a good enough player. After all, this is the premier TFT tournament system we're talking about. A premier TFT tournament system that, might I remind you, has managed to plop the starting date of 3 major tournaments at the start of a new patch, which does nothing to help with decreasing variance.

I'm not saying I have a clear solution for this problem. Obviously more games requires more monetary investment, and it's very easy for me to ask for more games because I could not give a flying fuck about the money that I get from tournaments. However, this 3-to-6 game in single a day garbage to even attempt to accurately represent the skill level of the players? It's just not it.

A Lack of Change:

Honestly things just got worse after Zaun cup. I just kept on hearing excuses about why we are still stuck with the same garbage 3-6 formats over and over. Let me list a few of them, and we can go into detail on why none of them are valid.

"If the tourney format was so bad, why didn't anybody complain about it beforehand?"

First of all, just because nobody says anything about it does not make it fine. If you think that a 3
game sample size is acceptable, then you are just bad at math, straight and simple. The moment that I saw that there were 3 games, I knew something was wrong, and there's no way other players didn't know it was wrong either. There were plenty of people on Twitter already saying how 3 game sample size is just a coin flip. Furthermore, the players shouldn't have to point out these things. Some of these problems should be apparent at the get-go. Why the hell does Setsuko have to consider throwing a game because of he's playing in an event that qualifies 2 players that uses a garbage "Checkmate" format that only works for determining a 1st place winner? How the hell was Spencer supposed to know that he'd have to play in a garbage Day 1 play-in tournament because of how he placed in Regional Finals in Set 5?

Additionally, how the hell are we even supposed to give feedback? People know that the current system is incredibly flawed. Why have players never been approached by any tournament organizers on how to improve the current format? Why isn't there some kind of standardized way for players to give their feedback after every tournament? Our contact information is required for these events, so why not use them? Don't give me any bullshit about getting feedback from Lobby 2 or Reddit or any other Discord server. Make it open and accessible, these are official events for Pete's sake, this should be professional.

"We can't do anything without Riot approval"

Fuck Riot. You want me to elaborate, wait until we get to the Tournament Realm section where I thoroughly chew Daddy Rito Games out.

"If we had more games, people would just AFK if they were guaranteed out."

This one's a real fucking kicker right here. You know, I actually bought into this one for a little bit. Then Innovation Cup came around, and I realized that this isn't actually a concern, this is damage control. You know how I know this? Because in Innovation Cup, we make our grand return to a format where people actually just ended up AFKing because the results were gauaranteed by game 5! I can't tell you how crazy it felt to be going into the last game on Day 1 guaranteed to advance while Sunastro AFKs because he's guaranteed out, where I'm just thinking to myself "Wait a fucking second." You're telling me that you knew there was a problem, came up with a band-aid solution, and then went back to having the same format that made this a problem in the first place? How? Why? I just cannot understand the reasoning behind this.

"Any more games and viewers won't be interested"

I understand that TFT needs viewership. I however do not understand how the current tournament format is in any way conducive for increasing viewers. Has there actually been any explanation that says that what we have is the best we can do? There's no way in hell anybody wants to watch a game where half of the participants' results have already been decided. There needs to be serious thought behind this. I personally think that TFT is not a game where competitive should be viewed live. There is so much decision making that can be analyzed and highlighted that cannot hope to be done in real-time. Casters are not going to pick up on everything in the first go.

Let me tell you what. Before we start tailoring a format to bring in viewers instead of doing its best to accurately represent the skill level of people playing in the event, why don't we do a better job of advertising the events instead? Why is it that for every TFT event, I constantly hear that people who are genuinely interested in the game had no idea that it was happening? Why are people constantly coming into my stream to ask what time the event starts? It's almost as if the information is not readily accessible to them.

Tournament Realm:

Oh baby, Tournament Realm. If you thought that the current League client was garbage, wait until you see this sack of shit. Bugs every time you leave game. Bugs when you try to invite people to a lobby. Bugs when you try to play a game of Double Up. Don't think that I forgot about the Double Up tournaments. Big shoutouts to my teammate Liquid Goose. Our run as a team in Set 6 was definitely short lived, but it was really fun. I had a great time playing Double-Up with the player that I basically watched religiously while I was learning to play the game. The tournament though? Absolute fucking disaster. Tell me why on the first day of the tournament, we cannot even play Double-Up because it hasn't even been implemented on Tournament Realm properly. Tell me why we have to wait for over an hour to then play this archaic 2 v 2 v 2 v 2 bullshit from Set 5 or else have be forced to play Double-Up on a buggy, unplayable patch.

Riot Games has made it blatantly clear that they do not give a shit about competitive TFT. Do not blame the TFT team because this is something that is completely out of their control, and I really feel for them. They do so much work to make this game great, and I just want there to be something real to showcase all the work that they put into it. Someone out there has to be interested and passionate about actually creating an environment where competitive TFT can thrive. I would support them wholeheartedly. Riot on the other hand? They've completely lost my trust.


I hope people reading this get offended at what I'm saying. I hope people who are working on tournaments right now read this and try to prove this arrogant, whiny TFT player wrong, because if there is no substantive change SOON, and I mean by NEXT SET, then whatever we currently have will continue to be a joke and not worth any of my effort. I'm sure there are things that I missed. I had to get my thoughts down quick so that I could get this out as soon as possible.

I'm done with competitive TFT for the rest of set 6. I really wanted to care. I really, really wanted competitive this set to be something that I could look forward to and enjoy, but it's not and I'm genuinely afraid it might never be. I will not be entering Challenger Series. I will not push for snapshots. I will not play in Regional Finals. I will not be entering any tournaments until there is transparent, irrefutable evidence that an effort has been made to improve and change so that these tournaments to ACTUALLY take into account player experience. Take me off any power rankings and leave me off any analyses for the stats from these tournaments. I do not want to have my abilities as a player defined by for-fun events, which for all I'm aware of, are the only events that are currently available. Or I'll move to China. At least they have good money over there.

I'll still be streaming, and I'm looking forward to having no more pressure and just having fun playing the game. I was and never have been the biggest streamer, so for the longest time it felt like if I didn't do well in these events, without "competitive" TFT, I would just be nothing. I'm over that. In my own mind, I'm the best TFT player out there, and that's all that matters.

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