Olivia R. September 26, 2019
Teamfight Tactics is finally getting a competitive scene.
In a press release from Riot earlier today, product lead Richad "Maple Nectar" Henkel announced that TFT will be receiving competitive support in 2020. This came after developers gathered gameplay data, which revealed that ranked mode was the most popular choice for the auto battler's playerbase.
“The hunger is definitely there. The proportion of ranked to normal games of TFT is 4:1, and the mode is incredibly resonant in some of our most competitive regions, like Korea. We want to provide an experience worthy of the players that have dedicated themselves to being the best in the world," Maple Nectar explained.
A quick look at the TFT leaderboard for all regions shows that the top two players in the world right now are both from South Korea. First place belongs to a Platinum IV player with 253 wins and 997 games played. Out of the 1,291 ranked matches the second-place Challenger player competed in, they won 243.
The leaderboard also shows a wide variety of regions, including Japan, North America, and Europe.
But it's no surprise that Korea has latched on to Teamfight Tactics so quickly. League of Legends is huge in Korea. South Korea has been known as the mecca of esports, and if that country has a dedicated TFT playerbase and audience, it's not a stretch to believe the game would thrive as a competitive title.
What would competitive TFT look like?
At the time being, Riot hasn't released any information on what a competitive TFT scene would look like. There has been no statement on the season's structure or if there will be domestic franchised leagues that organizations buy into, as is the case with traditional League of Legends.
But if we look at the success of League of Legends as an esport, it seems like Teamfight Tactics' competitive scene is in good hands.
Last year's World Championship had over 200 million people watching at once during the grand finals. This broke the previous year's record, mostly thanks to Chinese viewership.
Interestingly enough, English-speaking countries weren't much higher than last year, despite European team Fnatic making it to the grand finals. The Western audience only had 100,000 more people watching at its peak than last year. This was most likely due to the time zone the tournament took place in.
Still, despite Worlds 2018 being shorter than 2017's World Championship, the latest Worlds still had more views than ever before. It boasted over 78.8 million hours viewed, versus 2017's 70.39 million hours viewed.
In July, RIot announced the first-ever officially supported TFT tournament: The Twitch Rivals TFT Showdown. This had 64 of the top players and streamers competing to be known as the best auto battler player in the world.
While small compared to the likes of Dota 2 or League of Legends, the Twitch Rivals: TFT Showdown proved the game's first officially endorsed tournament a success. It also shined a light on the competitive players and what they are capable of. Now it's up to Riot Games to come up with the right way to introduce Teamfight Tactics into the world of competitive gaming.