Giant Slayer


The Road to Worlds: FloppyMudkip Player Profile

Legends of Runeterra is still very much in its infancy, and as such there are certain prestiges that our playerbase is missing out on. While “World Champion” is certainly a flashy thing to put in your Tinder profile, other titles like “Hall of Famer” and “Player of the Year” carry with them a certain distinguished feel. Older. More solidified. While these titles don’t exist in an official capacity for most games, and you can argue to the moon and back who would deserve such a title if we gave them out, FloppyMudkip would almost certainly be in the running this year. 

It was really just a matter of time before I wrote about FloppyMudkip. In an alternate universe, he didn’t top 4 the Empires of the Ascended Seasonal. For the sake of argument let’s say parallel universe Floppy had the worst possible Seasonal; a salty 0-9 run that results in him taking an indefinite hiatus from Legends of Runeterra. In that universe, Floppy (very likely) still goes on to play in the World Championship in September as he has a whopping 197 ladder points, 2nd only to Ace. On top of his hyper consistent ladder performance Floppy has put up 2 Giant Slayer Fight Night finals appearances, as well as 2 grassroot top 4s in the last 2 months alone. Despite being one of the younger players on the scene, a distinguished title like “Player of the Year” would certainly be within Floppy’s reach.

As far as playstyle goes, Floppy can really do it all. Empires of the Ascended was overrun with TLC, Nasus, and Dragons. During the tournament tops I just mentioned, Floppy did it with a variety of the top decks, mixing and matching. He really was just proving that if he wanted to play the meta decks, he was a certified threat on them. When it came time for the Seasonal itself, he made it to the Top 32 with Draven/Ezreal / Nasus / TF/Fizz. I’ve noticed a trend among some of Runeterra’s elite to have an extreme affinity for TF/Fizz, not dropping the deck despite the several nerfs it received after it dominated the Cosmic Creation Seasonal. Perhaps it's the high skill expression offered by the consistency of a deck with so much draw power, or maybe it’s just that they all think Wiggly Burblefish is too cute to abandon to the annex of history. Either way, TF/Fizz was the only deck Floppy kept from the Swiss rounds into the Top 32 portion of the Seasonal. He rounded out his lineup with Frostbite Midrange and Frostbite Foundry, looking to attack a specific vulnerability within the standard lineup at the time. 

In that Top 32, Floppy immediately came face to face with Magic the Gathering Hall of Famer Josh Utter-Leyton, aka wrapter. Now I’m sure that Floppy and wrapter have played each other dozens of times if not more, with wrapter finishing 2nd on the ladder in the Cosmic Creation season and Floppy right behind in 3rd. And while ultimately little was on the line for Floppy at the time as he was almost guaranteed to qualify through ladder anyway, beating a top competitor in a high level event can really be the confidence boost that someone needs to make something click. You see, in 2020 Floppy was very much a ladder titan but his success in grassroots tournaments was pretty few and far between. His first taste of success was back in Duels of Runeterra 6, but failed to make a big splash for the remainder of the year. The 2 month hot streak he’s been on started with his Seasonal Top 32 and instead of climaxing with it, it seems that tournament was what made something click for him. Whether this is the beginning of an era and Floppy has been fully unlocked since that Seasonal or just a hot streak of someone riding momentum, only time will tell. But there’s really no reason not to think it’s the former.

So where does this leave FloppyMudkip positioned for the World Championship? If I were to put out power rankings today, Floppy would be near the top. Worlds is going to have a variety of players who qualified through ladder or tournament, and these different qualification methods can impact lines of thinking like optimal deck choices, ban strategy, matchups. And Floppy is one of the few players who has had enough success in both areas to hang with either crowd. One of the things I’m most excited to witness in the elimination round of 64 is what qualification method sends through the most players, and I think it would be disingenuous not to count Floppy as both a Seasonal and ladder competitor. Whichever mentality proves to be the correct one, it’s a line that's uniquely open to Floppy. While he may fly a little under the public radar since he doesn’t have a strong social media or stream presence, I’m sure you’ll be hearing a lot more buzz around FloppyMudkip as we inch closer and closer to the World Championship. And for some of you that’s gonna bring back some nightmares, because whatever titles he may garner in the future, one he undisputedly currently holds is “Most Likely To Top Worlds With Twisted Fate/Fizz”.

Tagged: Esports
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