The Teamfight Tactics Set 9 Freljord Cup crowned Set 9’s first North American tournament champion! Team Liquid’s Kurumx returned to claim the throne.

A total of 160 players competed over the past two weekends, July 7-8 and July 14-15, to win North America's first tournament of Set 9 Teamfight Tactics (TFT). Here is how Team Liquid's Kurumx took the title of Freljord Cup champion.

Freljord Cup winner Liquid Kurumx

Robinsongz vs Kurumx (Image via Riot Games)
Robinsongz vs Kurumx (Image via Riot Games)

As one of North America's finest on the ranked ladder, Kurumx, along with 31 other participants received an automatic bye to Day 3 of the Freljord Cup. Kurumx, who dipped below his own standards as a professional TFT player in the previous set, did not let this bye go to waste. He made sure to secure a spot in the final day and re-establish himself as the best of the best.

The final day

On Day 3 of the tournament, Kurumx placed a respectable 17th out of the 32 participants who made it to the final day of Freljord Cup. Since he placed out of the top 12, he did not receive any of the bonus points and had a tiny bit of ground to make up to reach the final lobby of the final day.

Scores after game 5 (Image via Riot Games)
Scores after game 5 (Image via Riot Games)

Kurumx started off solid, securing two fourth-place finishes in the first two games of the day. But as the day continued, he kept getting better and better, with third-place finishes in the third and fourth games of the day, and a second-place finish in the fifth game of the day. His point totals across each game to that point were 5,5,6,6,7 for a total of 29 points. The final day format of the Freljord Cup eliminated the bottom 16 players after the first five games. Kurumx, without any bonus points, was among the top four point-scorers across the first five games. He was through to the penultimate round, consisting of 16 people fighting for the final eight spots in the final game seven lobby.

Scores prior to the final game (Image via Riot Games)
Scores prior to the final game (Image via Riot Games)

In his penultimate lobby, Kurumx continued his upward trajectory of scores, securing a 1st-place finish with the popular Lux/Azir composition. He was now in sole possession of 1st place overall through six games. Only one game remained before the winner of the Freljord Cup was named.

The final game of Freljord Cup

The final game of the day featured Kurumx, VanillaXD, DQA, Dishsoap, Im Jack, Phoenixaaa, Robinsongz, and Milk. Kurumx earned himself a six-point lead over Milk, who was 8th place at the time. However, given that his lead was two points over the next-closest opponent, VanillaXD, Kurumx still needed to finish strong.

Early Game

The portal for the final game of Freljord Cup was Scuttle Puddle. In this portal, "PvE monsters are replaced by scuttle crabs that grant extra loot."

For Kurumx's strongest board and tempo playstyle, this portal is perfect. Kurumx, like many other players in the tournament, ran Ornn as his legend. The tailored augments for this legend guarantee a useful and useable item in the early-to-mid game. On 2-1, Kurumx selected Latent Forge as his augment. After seven player combats, he would be granted the choice of an Ornn item. And as early as 2-2, Kurumx was already thinking about a potential pivot into the Noxus line. He fielded his strongest board throughout stage 2 and slammed items to guarantee a full winstreak into krugs.

Mid-to-late game

The trait of Noxus encourages winning in order to gain stats for your entire team, and Kurumx had been doing that all game. By 3-2, Kurumx had 6 Noxus online, playing the popular Darius/Katarina reroll composition. His Latent Forge netted him a Death's Dance, an amazing survivability item on one of his two main carries, Darius. Kurumx selected Small Forge as his second augment, receiving a component anvil and six gold.

From here on out, the game plan was rather simple. Use the strong tempo early to continue to take HP away from the lobby. Reroll for the carries and seek out other improvements for strongest board as the game goes on. Convert the best possible placement from here on out to win the Freljord Cup. On 3-6, Kurumx rolled a significant amount of gold, dropping to level seven and 10 gold to maintain his winstreak. He finally hit a two-star Darius with this rolldown to upgrade the strength of his team. Up until this point, he hadn't lost a single round. However, he ran into Robinsongz's Zed reroll composition and had his winstreak broken.

Throughout Stage 4, Kurumx rerolled for his carries Katarina and Darius. Since they are both three-cost carries, finding copies of one helps finding copies of the other. On 5-1, he secured a three-star Darius, with Infinity Edge, Death's Dance, and Bloodthirster. A stage later, Kurumx three-starred his duo carry, Katarina, equipped with Jeweled Gauntlet, Hand of Justice, and Ionic Spark.

Exclamation mark to the Freljord Cup

In some tournaments, winners aren't decided until the final fight of the game. In the Freljord Cup, Kurumx performed at such a high level that he won the tournament before the game was over. However, Kurumx fought until the very end put an exclamation mark on his tournament run, successfully securing a top-two finish in the final game of the Freljord Cup.

Kurumx winning Freljord Cup (Video via Riot Games)

In the final lobby, the player that had the best chance of challenging Kurumx for the tournament win was VanillaXD. VanillaXD unfortunately was unable to convert his chances in the final game, bowing out early in 7th. Another competitor, DQA, was the only one could usurp Kurumx if he made it to the top four of the final game. However, DQA faltered in fifth and could not overtake Kurumx.

Thus, the "People's Champion," Team Liquid Kurumx, through incredibly consistent and excellent play over seven games, became the winner of the Set 9 Runeterra Reforged Freljord Cup. Kurumx did not place in the bottom four in any game across the seven-game finals. He even took the crown without any bonus points from the previous day.

Prize Pool distribution

Freljord Cup final scoreboard (Image via Riot Games)
Freljord Cup final scoreboard (Image via Riot Games)

This is how the competitors split the $12,500 prize pool:

1st$3,500Liquid Kurumx
8th$400Im Jack

You can check out the full details on the scores and standings here.

Other qualifications

Qualified to Mid-Set Finale (Image via Riot Games)
Qualified to Mid-Set Finale (Image via Riot Games)

Through their finish in the top four at the Freljord Cup, Kurumx, Robinsongz, Dishsoap, and DQA have auto-qualified to the Runeterra Reforged Mid-Set Finale, occurring on August 25-27. The winner of the Runeterra Reforged Mid-Set Finale will qualify directly to the Runeterra Reforged Championship for a chance to compete at the Set 9 World Championship. Additionally, all eight finalists receive an automatic bye into Day 3 of the next tournament, the Shurima Cup, taking place on August 5-6, and August 12-13.

Interview with the winner of Freljord Cup

Kurumx's interview with Casanova, Gangly, and Khroen (from top to bottom) (Image via Riot Games)
Kurumx's interview with Casanova, Gangly, and Khroen (from top to bottom) (Image via Riot Games)

Competitive Setback

Kurumx has consistently been one of North America's best players since Set 1. He has represented NA at the TFT world championship in the past, but Set 8 proved to be a bump in the road. Unfortunately, he did not qualify to any final lobby in any major tournaments throughout Set 8. But, Kurumx took that experience as motivation to work even harder.

In Set 8, basically, I started out with a dead last, and I never want to feel that feeling ever again. In a way, it was kind of good that I went dead last because it motivated me to try harder in later tournaments. Even after going last, I still made regionals. I was dominant on ladder all of Set 8 but I was really not satisfied with my tourney performance at all.


Preparation for Freljord Cup

A C-patch for Teamfight Tactics was deployed in between two weekends of competition. Although Kurumx did not have to compete in the first weekend, a lot of his strength and preparation up until a few days prior to the tournament was on a completely different patch. Once the meta shifted, Kurumx scrambled to prepare for competition in alignment with the changes.

After C-patch, I played six games. I went 6th, 7th, 8th, 8th, 7th, 7th. I lost 350 LP (League Points) in about three hours. So after that, I barely streamed. All I did was watch people; I watched infinite VODs and studied infinite statistics, I played ten more games and felt really confident in all ten of those games; I played warmups every day before the tournament and felt really confident in those games as well.


Ultimate Goal in TFT

The end goal for any competitive player in any competitive sport or esport is to win the championship of the biggest stakes. For Kurumx, it is no different in Teamfight Tactics.

My entire goal in TFT, the only thing I care about, is winning worlds. To win worlds, you have to make it to worlds. And I did not make it to worlds [in Set 8]. [...] I would definitely like to go down as one of the players [from North America] to make worlds twice and hopefully the second player to win the championship for NA.


What's next in North America?

Teamfight Tactics Set 9 tournament information (Image via Riot Games)
Teamfight Tactics Set 9 tournament information (Image via Riot Games)

Here's a look at what's in store for North American competitive Teamfight Tactics in Set 9. Be sure to tune in to the broadcast of the next tournament, Shurima Cup, on August 12-13, at 1 p.m. Pacific Time.

Stay tuned to for the latest Teamfight Tactics news and updates.