512 competitors, 60 Headliners, and 1 champion. Welcome to the Teamfight Tactics Vegas Open, a new look for TFT esports. On December 8th, 2023, 512 of the best TFT players in the world will sit down in Vegas, be separated into lobbies of 8, and battle it out in TFT Set 10: Remix Rumble. They’ll play for the biggest share of a $300,000 prize pool with the winner also receiving a custom in-game emote that no other player will be able to own. 

“The TFT Vegas Open is our first attempt at a uniquely TFT esports strategy that celebrates the opportunity of anybody competing and being a TFT champion,” said Michael Sherman, Global Head of TFT, Legends of Runeterra, and Project L Esports. “Players will compete over three days in some of the most high stakes TFT matches in the game’s history.”

While some competitors are familiar faces in the TFT streaming world and past competitive events, there are also plenty of Master to Challenger level players taking their first step into the light in Las Vegas.

The format for the Vegas Open is brand new for TFT but draws inspiration from strategy games, esports community celebrations, and some of Vegas’ premiere events. Here’s Mortdog to break it down further: 

If you want even more detail on the format, the scoring, and the additional events around the main competition, this article has you covered. Here we’ll reveal more about how the Vegas Open was created as well as where teams of Rioters drew inspiration from in order to bring this event to life.

So what is the TFT Vegas Open? 

Simply put, it's the biggest TFT esports event in the game’s history.

“In the first few years of TFT esports, we’ve tried a handful of formats,” Sherman said. “Auto battlers were an innovative take on the strategy genre and quickly became really popular across the board with strategy game players. So we are hoping to find an innovative format that matches how unique and complex TFT and this genre of game is.”

How do you mix skill with variance? Balance big-brained flex plays with high-rolling the perfect headliner? And then how do you show the best action at once with so many games going on at one time?

“In most esports events, the broadcast dictates the pace of the event itself,” Sherman said. “The Vegas Open is different. The event happens and the broadcast will follow. So back in January, we were like ‘Can I broadcast 500 players' point of view? Okay, that might be excessive. How about 32 games at once? That might be doable.’ So the broadcast we have now will show half of all the games going on day one and by day two, every single game will be available to watch. So you can have the main feed on one monitor and then your Masters or Challenger level friend or favorite streamer on the other.”

For those wanting to tune in, from December 8th to the 10th, the event will be streamed live on TFT’s Twitch and YouTube channels beginning by 12:00 PT each day.

“We hope players watch and engage of course but really we want people to see the TFT Open and be happy to be part of this game’s community,” Sherman said. “It’s the first time we’re doing this type of event so we will definitely be open to feedback and hope players enjoy seeing events like this.”

The initial response was swift, spectator and competitor passes sold out about ten minutes after they became available. Esports teams got in on the action as well with Disguised, the esports organization from Disguised Toast, picking up a bunch of popular streamers to compete in Vegas.

So where did the TFT Vegas Open come from? 

“The story of TFT is that set one ships in 2019 and players really enjoy it, set two is this transition from a mode in League to something standing alone. Then set three ships and that’s when TFT cements itself as a truly permanent game,” Sherman said. “Right at that point, Covid shuts the world down. So the heart of the Vegas Open is how do we make an event that really celebrates this community and what it has become over the last couple of years in this time when we couldn't have many live events?” 

The result is an open bracket tournament that begins with 512 players and comes down to just one champion at the end of the three days. But while the main tournament is going on, there will also be a variety of side events for both eliminated competitors and players who weren’t able to secure tickets to the main event. These events include dev & influencer meet and greets, dev hosted panels, and for-fun games. 

“There are a handful of clear inspirations here, one is Chess with the big open tournaments,” Sherman said. “But what we wanted it to sound and be like on the floor is EVO, the FGC’s annual event which has the highest level of competition, but is not really about whether you win or lose for most people. So we wanted this event to take over Las Vegas and be that sort of community centerpiece EVO has been for the FGC for years.”

EVO, which has been running annually since the 90s after being founded by Project L EP Tom Cannon, is the pinnacle of fighting game events with thousands of people showing up to compete, watch, and share their love of the FGC with other players. 

“EVO is the top but it’s also powered by thousands of local, regional, and major tournaments throughout the year,” Sherman said. “I think that’s the direction that could be really impactful for a game like TFT. So the question is, does this event inspire that excitement from players and, if so, how can we continue to build on that going forward.”

While The Desert Oasis is known for everything from the Rat Pack to the Bellagio fountain, the city is constantly evolving to stay at the forefront of entertainment. 

“When you look at The Sphere, when you look at the new football stadium, Vegas is still the epicenter of entertainment,” Michael said. “It started around the casinos and they’re still a focal point but the city has continued to expand what it offers. When we thought of players buying tickets to come out and play, we also wanted to make sure they got their money’s worth and it was a location people wanted to be at.” 

With a recent F1 race, NBA All-Star Weekend, and always plenty of musicians on stage in the city, there’s no shortage of entertainment in Vegas these days. For TFT, a game where skill meets chance, Vegas makes a ton of sense, especially when considering the theme of Set 10 and its musical influences. 

Remix Rumble represents a major milestone for the TFT team with learnings incorporated from each set, mid-set, and mortdog hotfix over the last few years. But the goal was to make Remix Rumble the most unique set in TFT’s history by bringing in overlaid music tracks, collaborating with Steve Aoki, and making the most flexible and creative TFT comps yet.

“Remix Rumble is Riot’s most ambitious push to make the biggest, most exciting set TFT has seen yet,” Sherman said. “Originally, we thought this event would replace the Set 9 championship because our esports events are usually at the end of the set and we knew this one would be coming towards the end of 2023. But then we thought about it being a kickoff event for Remix Rumble and we realized that timing arguably works even better as the meta is still settling, players haven’t figured out the razor edges that this game hinges on, and we think we will see an evolution of the meta live over the 3 days of the Vegas Open.”

As TFT moves from mid-set updates to each set being a standalone experience, the first few weeks of a new set promise a lot of opportunity for experimentation and strategy. With 512 competitors from around the global TFT community, the TFT Vegas Open will feature plenty of unique takes on the meta as players bring their own unique style to the event.

So if you’re one of the 512 competitors, we hope the Convergence is kind to you. If you're one of the spectators, we will see you there. And if you’re watching at home, we hope you enjoy this new foray into TFT esports.

Learn more about TFT Set 10: Remix Rumble