Knee entered COMBO BREAKER weekend as the hottest player on the planet by almost every measure… except the TEKKEN World Tour leaderboard. Yet, after his performance this weekend, not even the leaderboard can disagree anymore.
Knee survived the year’s largest TEKKEN World Tour field to date - nearly 500 players - to take the COMBO BREAKER title in St. Charles, IL on Sunday. The victory was his third of the year, with all three wins coming at Master events. That run inspired finals commentator Mark “Markman” Julio to call him “without a doubt the best TEKKEN player on the planet.”
Knee’s win propelled him to the top spot on the Tour leaderboard. COMBO BREAKER 2017 champion JDCR began the weekend in first place, a mere five points ahead of Knee. The two swapped spots thanks to the weekend’s results, with Knee now 270 points clear of second-place JDCR.
The victory did not come easy. Sunday’s action began with 24 strong players who survived the first two days of tournament action. And there were plenty of big names who did not escape the first two days unscathed; Jackie Tran and Tekken Master were eliminated before the Round of 32, while JDCR was knocked into the losers’ bracket in dominant fashion by Joey Fury. Knee himself faced a stiff test from GoAttack on Saturday, but the eventual champion survived the set to enter Sunday’s action on the winners’ side of the bracket.
Knee began his Sunday run by using his Paul to score a tensely-fought 2-1 win over Saint and his JACK-7. He stuck with Paul when matched with LowHigh’s Shaheen and scored a 2-0 win to advance to the winners’ final. Once there, he made the switch to Jin to face JeonDDing’s Eddy. The decision worked as Knee scored a 3-1 winners’ final victory in an insane set that brought the crowd to a frenzy.
The two players met again in the grand finals, with Knee again picking Jin and JeonDDing sticking with Eddy. The set was even more intense than the first and made an already-raucous crowd explode, but the result was the same. Knee pulled out another 3-1 win to take his third title of the TEKKEN World Tour season.
JeonDDing’s second shot at Knee nearly didn’t happen. He ran into a red-hot LowHigh and his Shaheen in the losers’ final. LowHigh raced out to a 2-0 lead in the set and looked to be well on his way to a spot in the grand final. But JeonDDing recovered and pulled out the next two games to tie the set at 2 games apiece. LowHigh made a surprise switch to JACK-7 in an attempt to curb the momentum, but the move did not work as JeonDDing would not be denied victory in the final game.
JeonDDing’s second-place finish moved him up to fourth place in the global standings. Saint, who finished in fourth place at COMBO BREAKER, ends the weekend in third on the leaderboard behind JDCR, who tied for ninth place at the event.
Chanel and GoAttack finished tied for fifth place, meaning that Korean players swept the top six spots at COMBO BREAKER. Anakin and Trungy, the highest-placing American players on the weekend, tied for seventh.
Although Korea dominated the top of the standings, several American players turned in strong performances in St. CHarles. Trungy secured his place in Sunday’s Top 8 by eliminating reigning TEKKEN World Tour champion Qudans. Joey Fury’s upset over JDCR helped propel him to a ninth-place finish alongside Qudans, JDCR, and fellow American player Rickstah. And Cuddle_Core followed up her Top 8 run at COMBO BREAKER 2017 with an impressive run to 13th place alongside Kkokkoma, SperoGin, and RunItBlack.
The TEKKEN World Tour continues on June 9 & 10 at FIghting Games Challenge in Lodz, Poland. The event will be the Tour’s third Master event in a four-week span, as well as the first European Master event of the year.