The long-awaited battle for the kingdom has finally arrived! After winning the prequel competition “Road to Kingdom” last year, THE BOYZ secured themselves a slot in the major leagues. Joining them in the final lineup are BTOB, iKON, SF9, Stray Kids, and ATEEZ. With so much explosive talent in one building, “Kingdom: Legendary War” can only be nothing but entertaining. And the premiere on April 1 proved it to be very much so.

Want to know what happened in this first episode? Read on and find out.

Warning: You’re literally going to find out what happened. So… spoilers! 

Welcome to the Kingdom

The episode started off with the winners of “Road To Kingdom,” THE BOYZ, stepping onto the battleground. Coincidentally (or intentionally), they were sitting in the same seats as they did in the prequel competition. Following them were Stray Kids and ATEEZ, the latter who also happens to be the maknae (youngest) team. The teams all looked pretty nervous and awkward around each post-initial introduction, and silence lingered in the air.

Just as I was thinking that they need some icebreakers like BTOB, in walked BTOB, who are also the most senior group of the six. To give you an idea, there’s about an 11-year gap between the youngest in Stray Kids and the oldest in BTOB. Eunkwang also randomly started trying to converse in English with Stray Kids’ Bang Chan. It was all very silly, and it successfully lightened the mood.

Next up was SF9, who looked like a bunch of models striding in, and iKON, the group which most of the boys were looking forward to.

LOL at SF9 bowing to BTOB.

Here’s how the game is played

The cherry on top of the very large pie chock-full of talent is none other than the MCs, TVXQ. TVXQ is a huge part of the Hallyu wave and will soon be approaching their 20th anniversary, which makes them major sunbaes (seniors) to all the groups. Having Changmin and Yunho around and giving the younger teams affirmation will no doubt be a morale booster (though Yunho has since pulled out of the show).

The MCs explained the rules for the show. There will be four rounds in total (excluding the Introduction Stage), of which the fourth will be the live finale. The points system is made up of group evaluations (25 percent), expert evaluations (25 percent), domestic and global fan votes (40 percent), and views on streaming platforms (10 percent). The winner with the highest cumulative score across all rounds will be crowned the winner, with a prize of a special performance show and the group’s own variety show. Oh, and there also won’t be any eliminations, so we can enjoy all six groups for the whole length of the show. Yay!

This very first performance is the Introduction Stage, where each group has 100 seconds to perform a reinterpretation of one of their songs that won on a music show. The winner of this will gain 1,000 benefit points that will go towards their cumulative score, and they will also be able to decide the performance sequence for the first round.

As for the order of the Introduction Stage, it is done in a relay style, i.e. each group picks who goes next. Beforehand, they had voted amongst themselves to see which group would most likely win this whole competition, and iKON came in first. Thus, the group was given the most coveted ending spot, and they in turn chose the youngest group, ATEEZ, to kick off the show.

Introduction Stage

ATEEZ (performing “WAVE: Overture”)