Marcus “M35S” Salinas was a Challenger ranked Teamfight Tactics player just looking for more tournament practice. Winning week eight of the Liquid Galaxy Qualifier wasn’t on his mind. In fact, even in the final moments of the third and deciding game of the final lobby, he didn’t even realize that he was about to become the eighth and final LGQ champion.
“I didn’t even know I won until after they announced the standings,” M35S said. “I was just playing for placements is what I told myself.”
Week 8 of the LGQ turned out to be one of the most bizarre weeks of the entire season. Mostly Grandmasters and below dominated the first seven weeks of the LGQ. Every single past winner “one tricked” their way to victory. But It was a Challenger player who piloted six different compositions that took home the gold in the last LGQ.
Week eight of the LGQ saw a new patch and brought a new meta game. Many players rejoiced when they first saw the massive amount of buffs and nerfs the new patch brought. However, those cheers quickly vanished. The new patch for TFT has been a nightmare for the competitive scene. This is largely in part due to the overpowered states of Syndra and Jarvan. Landing any of these two units, or both, are vital to success in this patch. In fact, almost any composition that does not use either of these units are considered unplayable. If there was a patch to one trick, this would be it. Which is odd considering M35S did not. M35S said that he has always been a flexible player. He noted even in a rough meta, players can play flexible.
“Although Jarvan is deserving of a hotfix, there are many more comps,” M35S said. “There is much more to the game then what people would call ‘just hit’.”
M35S piloted six different compositions throughout the event and not all of them ran Jarvan or Syndra. Although he played his fair share of Jarvan compositions, M35S found most of his success playing comps that did not even feature Jarvan or Syndra. Out of his three first place rounds, M35S only played Jarvan in one of them.
His most played comp in the event was the infamous Vanguard Mystic composition. The Cassiopeia centered composition has emerged as a possible counter to Jarvan and Syndra. M35S played the comp three times in the event. He also piloted the comp to a game three victory in the final lobby. M35S said that playing the comp was vital to success.
“I noticed that the lobbies were heavy AD so I decided to play the Vanguard comp,” M35S said.
The ever-flexible M35S only played the comp once in the final lobby. He said that if he only played Vanguard Mystic he would not have won the event. He also said that it’s okay to fall back on what has worked in the past.
“I had little direction in game three but I fully committed to the comp,” M35S said. “Committing was able to give me that first place in the final game.”
M35S becomes the last person to qualify for the LGQ finals that are happening on July 18 and with that the eight-week LGQ has come to a close. Zach “izPanda” Shiner who is the head tournament organizer for the LGQ series reflected on what went right and wrong over the past eight weeks.
“There were some pretty heavy pain points and things we would certainly do differently next time but overall I believe it was still a success,” izPanda said. “The best thing for me to come out of the LGQ was the community that came back every week…its really awesome to see that dedication from the TFT fan base.”
izPanda said that over 200 unique players played in every single week of the LGQ. He also said that there is definitely a dedicated scene that craves more competitive events. The future of Riot Games and Team Liquid’s partnership when it comes to TFT is unknown. However, Team Liquid will be hosting more TFT events in the future. One of the top priorities for Team Liquid is to improve the structure of future tournaments.
“We would like to grow the Tournament Organizer team who can help adapt the format to be something everyone can enjoy.” izPanda said. “I don’t think the LGQ was the best series for TFT, but it was a step in the right direction.”
izPanda said that he was happy that M35S won the final LGQ because he has seen M35S compete in almost every single LGQ event. But M35S didn’t really need to win the event to put him in OCENA regional contention. M35S is currently is sitting within the top 16 players on the North America points leader board.
If he keeps his current 14th place ranking, it would give him an automatic spot in the OCENA qualifier event regardless of his performance in the LGQ finals. He is also competing in the Cloud9 Nebula Invitational, which is granting two seats to the OCENA qualifier event as well. M35S said the plan wasn’t to qualify through either of the tournaments originally, but since he is now in the LGQ finals, the script has changed.
“Maybe ill qualify all three ways now instead,” M35S said.
People interested in seeing M35S and the other seven competitors face off in the LGQ finals can find more details at Liquidtactics.gg.
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