A close friend of mine, who used to be a pro player in competitive League of Legends and is now serving his compulsory military service in Korea, recently hit Challenger on the Korean TFT ladder. He’s always told me of this one streamer that he always watches, and told me that the stream greatly helped him reach Challenger on the ladder.
When I told my friend that I was heading to T1 HQ to talk with that same streamer, Kim “Bebe872” Kyuyeon, he labeled him as the ‘God of TFT’. While Bebe remained humble throughout our conversation, it was easy to figure out just how much time he puts into practice and research in maintaining that top level of gameplay, a work ethic fueled by wanting to become the best.
I have a friend who’s an ex LoL pro that recently hit Challenger on the TFT ladder. He called you ‘the God of TFT’, so your name is obviously widely recognized in the TFT community, but for those outside that circle, can you please introduce yourself to our readers?
Hello, my name is Bebe872. I’m a streamer on Twitch, going by the same name! I’ve been playing autochess games for over two years now, such as Dota Underlords, Dota Auto Chess, and now, Teamfight Tactics.
What kind of a person were you before you made your name known in the TFT community as a streamer?
I was just a regular student, who kept my hair down and had very big glasses [laughter]. I used to study to become a CPA [Certified Public Accountant] for two years, until I started streaming. I used to watch a lot of Amaz’s streams, and at the time, they were playing autochess. It reminded me of the ‘random defense’ genre of games, such as ‘One Piece Random Defense’. I really enjoyed watching such streams, so that’s when I was hooked on the autochess genre ever since.
I started getting my name out there as a TFT player/streamer when I hit rank 1 on the KR solo queue ladder. Other famous streamers, such as Scarra and Saintvicious, found out about me and hosted my stream, and that’s when my streaming career took off.
What aspects of the autochess genre, specifically TFT, appeals to you the most?
The good thing about TFT is that the game has a passionate dev team that invested a lot of time and energy into making the game better. As each year passes, the game keeps becoming better, so I think that’s why TFT appealed to me over the other autochess titles. In terms of the genre itself, it’s a decent strategy genre that doesn’t require too much APM. I am getting older every year [27 years old], so I can’t keep up with the mechanical side of games like League of Legends. Being able to rely on strategy over mechanics is what ultimately made me fall in love with TFT.
Can you share the story of how the signing with T1 came to be? What does it mean to represent the biggest esports organization in the world?
The producers at T1 have also been checking out my stream, among other popular streamers of course. I hit rank 1 on the ladder with Dota Underlords as well, so I was honored that they acknowledged my skill. The vision that I have is very similar to T1. Instead of just signing a streamer that just has a lot of viewers, they wanted to sign a streamer that maintained a certain level of gameplay; a level that aligned with the prestige that T1 holds as an organization. What I want to do is provide the best level of gameplay content that anybody could in the world. Such a vision aligned with T1’s visions, so it was a good coincidence that came to fruition.
Representing T1 means that I have to be the best. I stream 10 hours every day, and off-stream, I research other players for new strategies, their unit positioning, and look for unique itemization that I may not know of. So it’s 8-10 hours of gameplay on stream, and spend 2-3 hours off-stream researching.
In the competitive world of any sport, whether it may be football (soccer) or even League of Legends, people always like to rank the strengths of the regions. Where does Korea stand in terms of region ranking in TFT, and how would you rank the regions overall?
It would be Korea, China, Europe, Brazil, then NA. China is actually the hardest region to figure out, because they have really good players that didn’t participate in the TFT World Championships. There’s a separate meta that exists in China, where in set 4, they focused on Warlords, Elderwood, and mages. Strictly speaking about set 4, China seemed the strongest, but with the most recent changes to the game, the Korean meta dominated competitively.
From the recent TFT world championship, were there any unique/new team strategies that you weren’t aware of prior to the tournament?
European players built 6 Dragonsouls, with Shyvana and Aurelion Sol as the main carries. It’s a build that wasn’t popularized in other regions, so it stood out a lot. Korean and Chinese players are known to use Cultist decks a lot. It’s a strategy where you all-in at stage 3-2, get six cultists, and if you get 2-star Kalista, it almost guarantees a 3rd to 5th place finish, so it was a very safe strategy.
Chinese players also had Mages/Neeko builds. Since both decks use the same itemization, you reroll early to find either Mages or Neeko; whatever you find early. The strategies from NA mostly failed, while OCE players mostly went for the ordinary keeper decks. I think both NA and OCE players opted to go for keepers with Kennen as the main carry, which didn’t work out for them.
In competitive League of Legends, the consensus is that the LEC [Europe] is the region that’s most well known for being the forerunners of the meta, while the LCK [Korea] is very stubborn and slow to pick up the latest trends in the meta. What’s it like in the world of TFT?
I think it’s also the same for TFT in Korea as well. When you watch other Korean challengers players play, when they get fixated on a particular tactic/strategy, they don’t tend to deviate from it. They believe in their own style and strategy. Even if the preexisting meta in Korea gets nerfed, high Elo challenger players are very stubborn; you have to persuade them for a very long time.
Where do you fit in that equation? Are you a stubborn player, just like the ones you’ve described?
I used to be one of the stubborn players [laughter]. As time went on, there was a period in time where I went up to 1900 LP, then dropped all the way down to 1200 LP; I would fluctuate a lot. I realized that every meta has an answer where a certain playstyle is the most optimal, while it won’t be in the next meta, so adapting to figure out what the best playstyle is how every challenger player plays.
How would you describe the type of content that you provide to your viewers? Would you say it’s more on the entertainment side? Or educational?
At first, I personally thought my content was mostly EDU, but just as Faker does on his solo queue streams and in competitive play, I just want to show the highest level of TFT gameplay as possible. I would say it revolves around professional gameplay, while trying to educate the viewers on how to play the game at the highest level. These days, viewers ask a lot of questions about the game on stream, and that’s how streamers like I interact with the viewers, but also help them climb. At this point in time, I would say that my stream is more focused on the educational aspect of things.
Which set do you personally like & hate the most, and which set do you think was the most balanced?
I love set 4 the most. The Chosen system guarantees you with an upgrade, so knowing a lot of builds and strategies, then getting top four in a match is a lot easier than other sets, because in other sets, if you can’t find the upgrades that you’re looking for, then there’s nothing you can do. I think set 4 was the reason why players were able to reach that 1900 - 2000 LP mark, because you’re offered a guaranteed way to reach top 4.
I personally enjoyed all the sets, but the one I didn’t like the most was… If I had to choose, I’d choose set 1. Set 1 had bad graphics in comparison to the other sets, the board was smaller, and felt like there was a lot less diversity in strategy, so I think it was a bad game at the time.
Is there a system/mechanic that you miss the most?
I do miss the Galaxy system [set 3]. The thing about the Galaxy system was that, per each galaxy, there were different sets of strategies that players could implement according to the galaxy that you get, so it felt like the most diverse way to play the same game.
Currently, do you think the game (set 4.5) is currently balanced?
At the moment, there are a few builds that stand out, especially after they buffed the 3-cost unit, Neeko. It does too much damage right now; it actually does more damage than Ahri used to back in 4.0. I hear that they now added in the triple ‘Lucky Lantern’ system, where they pop up quite frequently, so some players can get ridiculous upgrades, while others may just miss the mark. It’s a bit awkward to say that the game is balanced right now.
Let’s talk about the new set coming up, ‘Reckoning’. What is your overall take on the set, when it comes to balance, aesthetics, and theme?
I do feel it was released a bit too early. I feel that the devs didn’t have enough time to prepare for it. If I were to be brutally honest about the aesthetics, I do find it a bit unpleasing, because there’s a lot of zombie-green theme colors, and the viewers did express that they’re a bit turned off by the aesthetics. This is just my personal opinion, but I think the Summer theme would’ve been a lot better. Summer is just around the corner, and there are a lot of pool party skins in League of Legends as well, so matching it in TFT would’ve been much more appealing than having zombie units in the set.
I feel that a lot of the old champions were reused; champions like Lissandra, Vladimir and Draven were just carried over from the previous set. The overall theme of the set is about Good vs Evil, with Garen and Darius being the main ‘faces’ of the set, but everybody’s just spamming Kayle right now on PBE. Before the set came out, I thought that a lot of synergies were linked to Garen/Darius, but everyone’s just using Kayle, so it’s been a bit of a miss.
Most of the synergies on PBE right now are unbalanced; Spellweavers are a bit too strong, Kayle’s much stronger than any other units, and there are unbalanced 1-cost units like Warwick, Aatrox and Vayne. In contrast, 3-cost units aren’t as strong; Riven does absolutely nothing, Yasuo has limitations, and most of the 3-cost units are support units, such as Lux and Lulu, that don’t do anything in fights. The only strong 3-cost units that I can think of are Nidalee, for her ability to cut off the carries, Zyra, because of how strong Spellweaver synergy is right now, and Morgana, with her insane range on her ability.
It feels like the value of 1, 4 and 5-cost units are high, while 2 and 3-cost units are low. In its current state, I feel that the gameplay wouldn’t be very diverse overall; there won’t be as many builds, and it’s going to be repetitive.
Now that you’ve had a chance to play a bit of set 5, what are some comps & strategies that you feel will be the strong meta upon release?
Since 1, 4, and 5-cost units have more value, I think the main strategy that players will opt to is to reroll at level 3/stage 2-1 to two star their 1-cost units, then econ as much gold as possible to hit level 8 and 9 to find 4 and 5-cost units. In terms of the build, it definitely has to be Kayle; it feels like Kayle is the strongest unit in all the sets she was in [laughter]. Kayle’s definitely at the top, then it’s Spellweavers, with Brand/Vel’Koz as the main carries. Skirmisher Jax carry builds are really strong, then Karma carry builds, which is followed by Draven or Aphelios builds; probably in the order that I described it.
With the release of set 5, do you think that new players will have an easy time getting into the game for the first time? What are some things that Riot needs to do when it comes to making this game easier for new players?
For a completely new player, I think it’ll be difficult. Without even counting the new Shadow items, there are 45 ways to make items; not only are the new players going to have a hard time memorizing what all the items do, they won’t even know which ones are good and bad to begin with. Then there are a lot of units as well; the units are always changing with each balance patch. It’s going to take a long time for new players to really get into the game, so there has to be a certain motive behind why they play TFT.
As the streamer, Bebe872, I’ve been thinking of making tierlists. As a TFT content creator, I feel responsible to help the players get adjusted to the new set. New players will definitely get lost, even when they’re searching for guides, so providing information that’s easily accessible and informative would be a really nice way to expand their player base. Maybe Riot could work with sites like LoLchess.gg and Inven to link the guides inside the game client, so that players have easier access to such information.
What are your top three Little Legends choices that you recommend to these new players?
[Laughter] Number 1 is definitely Choncc. The Featherknight series definitely deserve the number 2 spot, because they’re the face of TFT. As for the 3rd one… hmm… Do you have any recommendations? I like the Lightcharger, because you can spam it’s taunt [laughter].
As the rank 1 player on the KR server, what are some tips that you’d like to give to those that are aspiring to climb the ladder?
There are a lot of players that just like to play the build that they’re most comfortable with, so figuring out the meta is a must. Players also need to figure out the builds that the top players are playing at the moment, because if you watch the top players, they always play the most optimal way. It’s really important to watch and figure out what’s weak and strong in the meta; in order to climb, know how to ignore the weak choices.
What are your goals for 2021?
Up until now, I focused more on the player aspects of things, such as being able to position faster and learning more strategies. However, starting from set 5, I want to change that goal to helping other players learn more about the game. I do want to write down strategies that are easy for others to learn, because since this is a brand new set, I have to go back to square one and relearn, while writing guides at the same time.
As a streamer, I’m focused on keeping my viewer count high. My personal goal is to get more than 5K viewers, but it’s much harder than I thought [laughter]. Maybe I should peg down that number down a bit and try to maintain around 1-2K.
Lastly, are there any special shoutouts that you’d like to make to your friends, family, and your fans?
It’s humbling to realize that people actually care about my opinions of the game, so thank you for all those that took their precious time to read this interview! I hope that through this interview, I was able to provide useful information in their TFT journey!
Striving for perfection to achieve excellence in esports