Entering the finals of the Cloud 9 Nebula North American Qualifiers, Jeffrey “DeliciousMilkGG” Pan wasn’t playing for much. On the flip side, Davy “Sleet” Ho was playing for everything.
At the end of the four game series, “Milk” and “Sleet” emerged as the top two players and punched their tickets to the OCENA Final. They will join 22 other players from the Oceanic and North American regions in an event that will send two players to the TFT: Galaxies Championship, the first world championship event in Teamfight Tactics history.
Although both players achieved their goals in making it to the OCENA Final, they each took a completely different path too get here. Milk clinched his spot in the OCENA Final long before the Cloud 9 event began. The Cloud 9 Nebula finals was Sleet’s last chance.
Congrats to @DeliciousMilkGG on winning the C9 Nebula NA Qualifiers! @DeliciousMilkGG & @SleetTFT will both be moving on to the @TFT OCENA Final. Thank you to everyone who participated and joined us and a huge shout out to our amazing hosts @ggDoA & @Frodan! pic.twitter.com/n7arpGZUaf
— Cloud9 (@Cloud9) July 31, 2020
Sleet broke onto the TFT scene with his top eight performance at TwitchCon one year ago. In set one, Sleet finished as the 19th ranked player in North America. In set two he peaked in Challenger. However, as burn out rose, his rating and passion for the game dropped. He finished the second season in Diamond. Sleet said that the third set has reignited his flames.
“Set three announcing a competitive scene was a pretty big motivation to get back into the game.” Sleet said.
In the first half of set three, Sleet was back to his set one self finishing 21st before the mid-season update. Set 3.5 however saw a relapse of burn out for the OCENA finalist.
“I think the major burnout was caused by a certain patch where Jinx and Cybers dominated the meta.” Sleet said. “It lead to the game feeling like there were very few build options.”
Heading into the Cloud 9 event, Sleet said that the newest patch alongside having something to play for reignited his passion once again. But this time he took a different approach to practicing.
“After being invited to the C9 event, a lot of my time was actually devoted to doing research about the game rather than grinding.” Sleet said. “After doing a couple days of research, I played a few games just so I had the scouting and positioning down.”
Just before the finals began, Sleet believed he would place in the top three, his prediction was right as he took second place which was good enough for one of the two spots up for grabs to the OCENA Final.
“It was more of a feeling of relief.” Sleet said. ” I was really close to getting cut from the ladder snapshots.”
Won My 4th TFT TOURNEY LETS GOOO. STILL RANKED 4TH IN TFT EARNINGS ON GOLDEN GUARDIANS AFTER 14 MONTHS OF TFT THO. NEXT YEAR WILL BE BETTER. pic.twitter.com/JIvl8pCrvu
— DeliciousMilkGG (@DeliciousMilkGG) July 31, 2020
The OCENA Final has 24 available seats. The top 16 players on the North American ranked leader board make up 16 of those 24 spots. Sleet, who used to be a regular on top of the leader boards, has struggled to gain footing due to his past burnouts. This meant that his only ticket to a potential world championship was through this tournament. Milk on the other hand, constantly dominates the NA leader board. Milk has been rank one numerous times in the past and is almost always residing within the top 10. He punched his ticket long before the Cloud 9 Nebula Qualifiers. Heading into this event, it appeared that Milk had nothing to play for, even Milk himself said that.
“I mean winning a tourney always feels good but the win didn’t matter too much because I was going to qualify anyways.” Milk said.
Although he said the win didn’t really matter, he put a ton of effort to win the finals. Milk, alongside a lot of the players who are ranked highly on the leader boards, are coming off Twitch Rivals: Spirit Blossom, a tournament featuring many top players and streamers fighting it out in three of Riot Games’ big titles which included Legends of Runeterra, League of Legends and of course, Teamfight Tactics. Milk spent a majority of his time recently honing his skills in LoR and LOL. As a result, Milk has not touched TFT very much recently. That changed when he qualified for the finals of the Cloud 9 Nebula event.
“I Kinda talked to everyone and theory crafted for hours.” Milk said. “One day I would be up until 6AM talking…pretty much everyone on my Twitch Rivals teams helped me theory craft a little to get me back into shape.”
With a $4,000 prize for first place in the Cloud 9 Nebula finals, Milk decided to play some of his best TFT of the season. He put on a dominating display by placing 2nd,5th,1st,2nd in the four game finals which was good enough to take home the gold. Sleet thought Milk’s performance was just business as usual.
“Milk had an incredible showing.” Sleet said. “He’s proven time and time again why he’s top one or near top one every season of TFT.”
Milk said the feeling is mutual, kinda.
“Sleet would be a top 15 player in NA if he tried.” Milk said.
Now I sleep…busy AF weekend.
Mortdog Top4 Tournament starts tomorrow at 2pm PST. There's no main broadcast but everyone should be streaming!
Friday night stream I'll be recapping results.
Saturday stream and Tournament casting
Sunday patch rundown and more casting!
— Riot Mort (@Mortdog) July 31, 2020
Before the OCENA Final, there is one more big event that will give players a sneak peak at what to expect come time for the TFT: Galaxies Championship. Mortdog’s Top 4 Madness, which is presented by Giant Slayer, kicks off Friday, July 31st and features 128 of the best players from around the world. Many of those players reside in North America.
The tournament format designed by TFT lead designer, Stephen ‘Mortdog’ Mortimer, is unique. In this event players get points for placing in the top four of each lobby. To spice things up, players get no points for finishing in the bottom half of each lobby. In this tournament format, consistency is key. Also, it should provide TFT fans a first real look at what the TFT: Galaxies Championship could provide in terms of top global competition.
“Im excited the format changes the dynamic a lost so I can’t wait to see who adapts to that fact.” Mortdog said. “Plus we’ve never had such a large tournament with so many high level players, it will be cool to see which region and players do well!”
Players will be playing for more than just pride. Mortdog teamed up with William “Scarra” Li to put up a prize pool of $7000 for the event. The three day tournament will be the final pit stop before the OCENA Final. The event will kick off Friday at 2PM pacific time and will be going on all weekend long. People wanting to catch the action can do so through Twitch.tv
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