The good news for most players on the TEKKEN World Tour is that Knee showed the world that he can be just as vulnerable as any other player. The bad news: he also showed that he can reach an almost untouchable level.
Knee took top honors at Tokyo TEKKEN Masters on Sunday. He sealed the win, his fourth Master event win and fifth overall in 2018, with a win over reigning TEKKEN World Tour champion Qudans in the grand final. Knee lost to Qudans early during Sunday’s finals session, but the legendary player got revenge in dominating fashion to close the tournament.
Knee’s win continued his perfect record of reaching the grand final of every Tour event he has entered this year. That streak was in serious doubt after his winners’ semifinal match against Qudans. Knee used Lili to take the opening game over the reigning champion, but Qudans bounced back to take Game 2. Knee’s switch to Katarina for the final game failed to pay off as Qudans took the decisive game in three straight rounds.
The eventual champion bounced back. He scored a hard-fought 2-1 win over Evo champion LowHigh in a highly-anticipated showdown, then went on an absolute tear. He scored a dominant 2-0 win over Book, then pulled off a 3-0 victory over Tissuemon to reach the grand final and earn another crack at Qudans.
Knee went back to Lili to deal with Qudans’ Devil Jin, and the decision worked perfectly. Knee scored a dominant 3-0 victory in the first set of the rematch, losing just one round the entire set. Qudans fared little better in the next set as Knee scored another 3-0 victory to take yet another title.
Perhaps more impressive than the victory itself was the variety of characters Knee has used throughout the season in his victories. Lili was the fourth different character the Korean star has used to win a Tour event grand final, joining Paul, Jin, and Devil Jin in his arsenal.
The grand final was an all-Korean affair, but the rest of Sunday’s finals featured plenty of international flavor.
Italian star Tissuemon enjoyed his homecoming weekend with a third-place finish. The Master Raven specialist calls Italy home, but he was born in Japan and honed his skills in the arcades of Osaka. He picked up wins over TarisCutter, Fighting Spirit, and Book on his way to his best Master event performance of the year.
Book, the pride of Thailand, finished the weekend in fourth place. He can be happy with the wins he scored over Amigo and BKC, but he might be even happier that he did not finish in fifth. The Thai star had finished just outside of the top four in each of his last three Tour events.
Fursan teammates LowHigh and Rangchu, both from Korea, tied for fifth place. Fellow Korean player Mulgold tied for seventh place alongside Double, the only Japanese resident to reach Sunday’s finals.
The weekend was a rough one for Japan. Things started well for the host nation as 17 of the top 32 players were Japanese. Stars like Noroma, Nobi, and BKC were set to make deep runs. But as Saturday’s semifinals went on, nearly all of the Japanese stars fell. Only Double was able to make it to Sunday’s top eight session. And since no Japanese players finished among the top four, no new Japanese eSports Union (JeSU) pro player licenses were issued.
Sunday’s results led to plenty of movement near the top of the TEKKEN World Tour leaderboard. Knee’s win extended his lead atop the standings and all but assured his place among the top four seeds in the TEKKEN World Tour Finals. Runner-up Qudans moved into fifth place, while Tissuemon moved up to seventh.
The race for the final spots in the Tour Finals, however, remains as it was heading into the weekend. Dimeback failed to survive pool play so he remains in the 19th and final qualification spot. UK stars Asim and Kaneandtrench remain within striking distance and could make a move at the Tour’s next stop, Celtic Throwdown.
While the qualification race remained static, there is plenty of change on the horizon. During Sunday’s finals, TEKKEN series producer Katsuhiro Harada revealed that TEKKEN 7’s second season will start on Sept. 6. The new season includes a new balance patch that includes a new wall bound mechanic, new moves, new Rage Drives, and more. Two of the season’s six characters, Wei Wulong and Anna Williams, will be released on that date as well.