The number of open spots in the Teamfight Tactics OCENA Final are dwindling as the event approaches. With two spots up for grabs in the Cloud 9 Nebula North American Qualifiers, this may be the last opportunity the eight remaining players may get.
The Oceanic/North America Final will decide who represents the NA and OCE regions at the TFT: Galaxies Championship. Only 20 players from NA will end up qualifying for the regional finals. Many have virtually done so already through the NA ranked leader boards and through the Team Liquid LGQ.
The Cloud 9 Nebula NA Finals will feature eight of North America’s best TFT players. After two weeks competition, those eight players have navigated through a field of 32 to get here. Some players in the final eight have already clinched their OCENA Final spot. Some players are in limbo, while the rest have to rely solely on their Nebula NA Finals performance to qualify. With so many implications on the line, The Nebula NA Finals are shaping up the be the most important event in TFT esports so far.
After battling through several groups these are the finalists! Join us next week on Thursday at 6PM PT for the final battle of the C9 NA Nebula Qualifiers at https://t.co/LAQaUAf8Vq! pic.twitter.com/V5DjOYW5Xh
— Cloud9 (@Cloud9) July 26, 2020
This event wasn’t the only tournament to give out OCENA Final invites. Team Liquid’s Liquid Galaxy Qualifier which wrapped up last week, also gave out two spots to the OCENA Final. Marcus “M35S” Salinas is the only player in North America to qualify for the finals of both the Nebula NA Qualifiers and the Liquid Galaxy Qualifier. After a heartbreaking third place finish last week, M35S said that with newfound knowledge, that history wont repeat itself.
“Well I actually thought only one player qualified so in the Liquid Galaxy Finals I decided to go all in for first in my last game.” M35S said. “I could of won had I played safer, luckily there wasn’t much on the line for me.”
M35S is one of two players in the Nebula NA Finals, alongside Golden Guardians “DelciousmilkGG” who is currently sitting inside the top 16 players on the North American TFT leaderboard. If his position holds, M35S would earn an automatic invitation to the OCENA Final. However, M35S said that just because he already has an invite practically locked up doesnt mean he isnt going to give is all in the Nebula NA Finals.
“Some of the greatest NA players are in this tournament and to be able to do well against the competition means a lot to me.” M35S said. “Trying to beat what people assume are the best players motivates me the most.”
M35S said that hes confident that he can lock down a top two finish in this event. When asked about who would finish in the top two alongside him, he had an interesting answer.
“No flame but I wasn’t expecting DeliciousmilkGG to get through, he’s been struggling recently.” M35S said. “But Ill give the top two spots to myself and Agon.”
Top 8 is decided! Good luck to the competitors next week in the finals!! pic.twitter.com/BwWbQVAJMe
— Riot Mort (@Mortdog) July 26, 2020
William “Agon” Zhu is an enigma in the TFT community. Agon is a known streamer but is also a bit of an oddity who sometimes communicates using his twitch emotes. Although recently Agon has been dipping in and out of Challenger, he is still regarded as one of the best players in North America. Players and casters alike point out that Agon plays the game differently than a lot of other players. M35S said that Agon plays a more high-risk high reward playstyle. Agon said that he thinks he just plays optimally.
“Im a player who constantly thinks about my expected placement in my lobby and the value of each point of hp the risks I take are kind of decided by that” Agon said.
Agon noted that he thinks he’s prone to being unlucky in the early stages of the game. Because of this, he said it leads to him taking more risks.
“To me the worst feeling in the game is playing a capped comp and getting eighth with it.” Agon said. “When you are already weak and low-rolling it shifts how risky things are, so for me its easier to play risky since if I just did nothing It would be a bottom-three finish anyways.”
Agon is currently sitting in 21st place on the unofficial NA ranked leader board. He is six spots out of the top 16 needed for an automatic invitation. The gap isn’t big enough to put Agon out of the running. But its also not small enough for him to close it by himself. Agon said that the Nebula NA Finals has a lot of added pressure.
“Yes, its added pressure especially since who wins the tourney can directly affect whether I qualify off ladder”.
According to Riot Games, if a player qualifies through both the Nebula NA Finals and through the Top 16 on the ranked leader board, their tournament qualification will override the leader board. In that case, their invite earned through the leader board would be passed down to the next highest-ranked player. M35S and DeliciousmilkGG are not the only players in the Nebula NA Finals that are ahead of Agon. “Cottontail” and “Sphinx” are too. This means that even if Agon doesn’t place in the top two if any combination of the four players above him do then it would be a nice consolation prize that would put Agon very close to an automatic OCENA Final invite.
Another tournament, another Top 8 qualification. This time in the @Cloud9 Nebula NA Qualifier!
Hungry for another 1st place finish though, it's been too long. pic.twitter.com/QGjSmuYnmt
— C9 Khroen (@Khroen) July 26, 2020
Brandon “Saintvicious” DiMarco, “SleetTFT”, and Khalif “Khroen” Hashim round out the eight final players. Unlike the rest of the bunch, this event is do or die for them. Khroen, is currently sitting in 30th place on the TFT leaderboard. His position is too far away from the top 16 needed to qualify automatically. But to him, ladder means nothing if you can’t perform in tournaments.
“I’m pretty comfortable in a tournament environment and honestly thrive in high-pressure situations.” Khroen said “Ladder and scrims are to learn and then I use what I learn for playing well in tournaments, fully concentrating and trying my hardest.”
Khroen plays for Cloud 9. Like many of the players in Nebula NA Finals, Khroen streams often on Twitch.tv. Khroen said that players who stream often don’t play their best because their focus is on their viewers. He said that the lack of tournament exposure is holding a lot of streamers back.
“I think a lot of people who compete in TFT lack tournament experience and it shows” Khroen said. “It seems as though some players approach a tournament exactly as they would a ladder match, I don’t think that should be the case for consistent tournament performance.”
When it comes to Khroen’s past tournament performance, he has been brilliant. Despite not being as highly ranked as his competition, Khroen has constantly out-placed his peers in tournament play. Khroen has played in a ton of TFT tournaments and has done well in many of them. With wins in the Fandom Legends Weekly Invitational, the Ephos Lobby 2 Invitational, and a second-place finish in the Giant Slayer Season 2 Finals, Khroen is looking to be a favorite to win the Nebula NA Finals. Khroen spoke highly of his opponents in the Nebula NA Finals. But when it comes to predicting winners, Khroen thinks he has as good of a shot as anyone.
“I think I have pretty good chances to qualify. I believe I have one of, if not the best, consistently dominant tournament performance out of every NA TFT player.” Khroen said.
Follow The Game Haus on Twitter as well for more esports coverage