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The Road to Worlds: Realkey Player Profile

Now that we’ve locked in our 6 representatives for the Americas at the World Championship, I had to decide who to write about first. There are dozens of authentic ways I could have done it; internally ranking them in my head by skill, writing them in the order I felt most to least knowledgable about them, throwing darts at all their pictures, judging them based on their favorite decks. But in the end, I chose the road of simplicity and started with the youngest. At least I think I did.

Having topped the Empires of the Ascended Seasonal at 17 (and turning 18 since then), Realkey is one of two Brazilian representatives playing at the World Championship. It was fitting that the only Team Sultan representative, known for their multiple victories in the Liga Brasileira de Legends of Runeterra (a Brazilian league), has practice beating his own countrymen. Of the 5 rounds that Realkey won in order to advance to the main event, 4 of them were against players from Brazil. In the lower bracket, he even had the unfortunate luck of needing to eliminate 2 of his own teammates, Finni and MaykaS, in order to advance. When it came down to 8 players fighting for the last 2 spots on day 2 of the qualifiers, all 3 Sultans were stacked onto the same side of the bracket. What I’m trying to get at here is that the Sultans are, in my not-so-humble opinion, the best Legends of Runeterra team in the West. Despite being one of if not their youngest member, Realkey will be bringing the experience of the entire team with him. Not that he needs it, considering every player from Brazil that he beat in the Qualifiers was a Sultan.

Outside of the LBR, Realkey has also had lots of individual success. If you follow competitive Runeterra in any capacity, you’ve very likely ended up checking out Santiago's Twitter at some point. If you follow him, then during the months of April and May of this year you probably didn’t go more than a few days without seeing Realkey’s name in another tournament top 4 tweet. While Realkey has been a strong competitor since the early days of Runeterra, he seems to have really found his footing during the spring of this year. This of course culminated in his Seasonal Top 32, but his momentum hit a wall for the summer. In a twitlonger in June, Realkey announced that he would be taking a break from Runeterra and he wasn’t sure when he would be back. This was his last tweet until the Qualifier Rounds, so it would seem his time away from the game hasn’t dampened him at all. He came back with quite the bang as well, registering for the Qualifier with 3 Bandle Tree decks. He wasn’t the only one to enter the event with such a lineup, but he was easily the most successful. Overall he doesn’t seem to have a specific playstyle he adheres to, as he tends to play a slight variation of the most popular lineup. This weekend many players correctly identified Bandle Tree as one of the best tournament decks, and he decided to all in on it. At the Empires of the Ascended Seasonal there was a very clear popular lineup; Lissandra/Nasus/Dragons. Realkey traded out Dragons for Overwhelm, again bringing just a slight twist to the standard. And believe me when I say this has been his style for quite some time - exactly 1 year ago at the Ascent of Targon qualifier (one of the largest grassroots events ever), the 3 most popular decks were TF/Swain, LuxAsol, and Warmother’s Call. And even then Realkey found his own twist, bringing TF/Swain, Leona/Asol Allegiance, and TLC (the L standing for Ledros, not Lissandra, as she was not released yet) to a Top 32 finish. He finds a rock in the meta, and then makes slight tweaks on the ‘best’ lineup. In a very small field like the World Championship, this kind of wildcard twist can make all the difference in undoing your opponent's prep and could give him a real edge.

As I mentioned previously, Realkey is a Sultan who defeated 4 other Sultans to move on to the World Championship. While beating your teammates is a bittersweet experience, this does make him the Sultan of Sultans. Or the king of kings, so it’s not too far of a stretch for him to become the champion of champions and take home the title next weekend. Don’t let a light social media presence stop you from rooting for one of the favorites in this event, as Realkey fights to solidify his team's place as the best in the world, and claim the inaugural World Championship title for Brazil.

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