The most competitive Tekken tournament in the world has given us a new champion
The last weekend was intense for any fans of Tekken. In just two days we've been treated with nearly 30 hours of high quality Tekken matches one after another. If you haven't kept up with it, don't worry, you can get all the main points in our recap.
Last Chance Qualifier
The start of the LCQ was a little bit shaky, with a sudden bracket reshuffle that no doubt caused a lot of confusion, with some players getting removed entirely. Luckily, it was rather quickly reverted, and we finally got to a steady flow of matches.
Usually, Tekken World Tour is seen as the event where Tekken players who have already proved themselves throughout the year get to establish who is the strongest among them. Yet, this LCQ brought us more than a few upsets and new stars.
One great example of this is Jodd, the Nina player from France. After Chanel beat him 2-1 in the winners bracket, Jodd was anything bout of the picture. His run through the losers bracket quickly made him a star overnight, knocking great players like Kaizur, M-D-LUFFY, Bilal, Infested, Super Akouma, and Pekos. Even though he later lost to JeonDDing, it was more than enough to put him through to the Global Finals alongside Chikurin, JeonDDing, and Chanel.
Speaking of Super Akouma, his match against Jodd marked one of the unintentionally hilarious moments of the LCQ, when Akouma accidentally hurt his hand in a spontaneous pop-off.
Many world-class players ended up not making it past the LCQ, but it's a real testament to the level of competition and those who managed to rise above.
The longest, and arguably the most arduous part of the tournament began after the conclusion of LCQ, with 24 players divided into 4 groups of 6 players each. With half of the matches played on Saturday and half on Sunday, we witnessed nearly 16 hours of Round Robin matches that determined the players who were no doubt the best among the best.
Group A immediately kicked off with killer action. AO seemed near invincible, defeating both Knee and Arslan. The sheer confidence with which he pulled off a ki charge into Rage Art is highlight worthy.
This stage also gave us a clear benefit of adding new regions to Tekken World Tour. Many young and relatively unknown players came in to challenge the established kings of Tekken. Sure, most of them didn't make it out of the Round Robin, but it was a clear as day indicator that there is a wealth of talented players in the regions that we don't usually consider when.
Divine_Exorcist4 is a fantastic example of this. Despite losing 4 out of 5 matches, the young competitor from Mexico managed to go 2-1 with Knee and Chikurin, while also achieving a 2-0 win over AO.
However, the real highlight of Group A was the return of an old fighter and a notable name in the EU Tekken community, Ghirlanda. Despite taking on the responsibility of being a father, he did not slow down a single bit, finding new ways to improve and using his time more efficiently. His excellent performance and the heartwarming support of his wife and daughter melted the hearts of the audience, cheering him on at every step.
Group B served a sign of what's to come. Despite fighting in the same bracket as legends like Anakin and JeonDDing, Atif Butt managed to become one of the two players to achieve a perfect 10 point score in the Round Robin stage, with the other perfect player being Nobi.
Meanwhile, the European scene was no doubt proud of K-Wiss, who beat Anakin 2-1 in what many expected to be a much more one-sided battle. Unfortunately, despite his stellar performance, the head-to-head was not in his favor. In the end, only JeonDDing and Atif Butt moved on to the top 8.
Group C was largely defined by the dominance of two players, Joey Fury and Yeonarang. Both of them finished 4 out of 5 matches in straight 2-0s, with Joey Fury only losing to Yeonarang and the latter dropping a set against Shin Akuma.
Finally, Group D also featured some fierce competition. It probably came as no surprise to those familiar with the Saudi Arabia scene that Raef had the potential to break into the top 8, but he more than proved it by beating AK and JoKa while staying loyal to Jin. Despite facing other titans like Chanel and Nobi, he still made his way to the top 8.
After the announcements from Michael Murray and Katsuhiro Harada, it was time for the final showdown.
Despite the fierce competition, many of the first few matches ended with a one-sided 2-0, with Joey Fury and Raef being the first two players to get eliminated. Ghirlanda, the people's champion, continued to push on and managed to beat Nobi, achieving fourth place but then losing to JohnDDing, receiving a deserved standing ovation for this stellar run.
Moving on to the last few matches, Atif took a very close win against Chikurin in the winners final, with the latter almost making it all the way back if not for JeonDDing. In the grand finals, Atif Butt proved to be an overwhelming force. The best Akuma player in the entire world achieved a 3-0 victory, becoming the world Tekken champion.
As noted by The Hadou, it feels like we witnessed a thematic conclusion of the Pakistan Tekken arc. After Arslan Ash conquered Evo in 2019, he put his country on a map and created Ashes Gaming, helping to create new opportunities for other talented players in Pakistan. Now in 2023, Atif Butt sponsored by Ashes is the winner of Tekken World Tour, taking home a respectable prize of $50,000.
With that said, the final top is:
- Atif Butt
- Joey Fury
You can check out the stats in more detail on our event page.