For Saint, VSFighting marked a return to the winners’ circle. For Kkokkoma, the event was yet another instance of ‘close, but no cigar.’
Saint held off Kkokkoma to win the TEKKEN World Tour event at VSFighting in Birmingham, UK on Sunday. The win was Saint’s second of the 2018 Tour, his first having come at NorCal Regionals in April.
Nobody in the field of over 270 players had an answer for Saint and his JACK-7 on this weekend. Saint defeated UK hopefuls Gosain and Asim on Saturday to reach Sunday’s finals. Once there, he knocked off a trio of his fellow Korean stars: a 2-0 win over JDCR, a 3-1 win over JeonDDing, and a hard-fought 3-2 win over Kkokkoma in the grand final.
It appeared that momentum was on Kkokkoma’s side entering the grand final. He began Sunday’s finals on the losers’ side of the bracket and rattled off win after win. He defeated European players Asim and DevilKazuya, then bested JDCR and JeonDDing to earn a spot in the grand final. Kkokkoma even held a 2-1 lead in the set, but Saint turned the tide to take the final two games and win the event.
Saint’s win meant that Kkokkoma once again fell short of earning his first TEKKEN World Tour event win of the year. VSFighting marked the fourth time he finished in the top three of an event and the second time he has reached a grand final in 2018. Despite not getting the win, Kkokkoma moved into the top five of the Tour leaderboard and is well on his way to a place in the TEKKEN World Tour Finals.
JeonDDing finished in third place while JDCR finished in fourth. VSFighting ended with an all-Korean final four, but European fans had plenty to cheer about this weekend as they saw four of their own reach the last eight of the tournament.
Germany’s Sephiblack and Italy’s DevilKazuya tied for fifth place, the best result of the 2018 campaign for both players. Sephiblack’s run, which included wins over Joey Fury and Tissuemon, was a return to the form he showed on last year’s Tour. DevilKazuya, meanwhile, took down both Joey Fury and reigning TEKKEN World Tour champion Qudans on his path to Sunday’s finals.
The UK crowd saw one of their own reach the last eight when Asim scored a memorable and surprisingly-dominant 2-0 win over Qudans to reach Sunday’s finals. Asim ended the weekend tied for seventh place with Italy’s Tissuemon.
Just outside the top eight, FalseGod - another UK player - went on a tear that could have major implications on the TEKKEN World Tour Finals qualification race. FalseGod shared a pool with
Dimeback, Joey Fury, and Fergus, all of whom began the weekend in the thick of the race for the last places in the Tour Finals. The UK player busted brackets by beating both Fergus and Dimeback in pool play. He nearly did the same to Joey Fury, but the American pulled out a hard-fought win. Both Joey and FalseGod would end the weekend among the ninth-place finishers. Dimeback finished tied for 17th, while Fergus finished out of the top 32.
FalseGod’s run helped to keep the race for the final Tour Finals qualification spots tight. Dimeback now sits in 17th place, with Joey Fury one spot behind. Kaneandtrench moved down to 19th place and is now the last man in the Finals field. Asim is now the first man out in 20th place, and Fergus is one spot behind him. All five players are separated by just 34 points.
The TEKKEN World Tour continues this coming weekend with a trip to Copenhagen, Denmark for Headstomper. The Danish event is the second of three straight Tour events on European soil.