We’re still recovering from a wild NorCal Regionals, but there is no rest for those hoping to reach the TEKKEN World Tour Finals. The tour rolls on with a stop at BEast Arena Hong Kong this weekend.
The list of players in the field is not final as BEast Arena will offer at-the-door registration, but the field is already star-studded. Korea will be out in full force this weekend with a contingent that includes JDCR, Saint, Qudans, LowHigh, and more. They’ll be joined by some of the best that Hong Kong and China have to offer as well as, for the first time this season, a full complement of top Japanese players.
Here are three of the big storylines to follow at this weekend’s Tour stop:
Will Japan make an impact on the global leaderboard?
We’re already a month into the 2018 TEKKEN World Tour, but this weekend marks the beginning of the tour season for most top Japanese players. Several top players had to choose between Tour stops and major Japanese events like the TEKKEN Pro Championships. Those conflicts meant that Tanukana’s ninth-place finish at Thaiger Uppercut was the only appearance by a Japanese player at a 2018 Tour event.
That changes this weekend. TEKKEN Pro Championships winner Noroma leads the Japanese contingent in Hong Kong. 2015 King of the Iron Fist champion Nobi will be competing, as will his Team Yamasa teammates Take and Yuu. StrongStyle 6 top-eight finisher BKC and the afore-mentioned Tanukana will also be in the field.
Korean players have taken full advantage of Japan’s absence, as the nation currently holds eight of the top nine places in the global standings. Will this weekend’s tournament mark the beginning of the end of that dominance?
Will all the intercontinental travel catch up to Kkokkoma and JeonDDing?
Don’t be surprised if you see Korean stars JeonDDing and Kkokkoma taking a nap on stream at some point this weekend. The two have been very busy men during the first month of the TEKKEN World Tour: They are the only two players to have competed at each of the Tour’s first three events, and both are scheduled to compete this weekend. That means that the pair have flown over 31,000 miles in less than a month.
Kkokkoma and JeonDDing’s performances have not been negatively impacted by their intense travel schedules… yet. JeonDDing is coming off of a strong fifth-place performance at NorCal Regionals, while Kkokkoma’s third-place finish at that event was his best of the young season. But with so many talented players in the field, finding similar success this weekend will be a challenge. Can they continue to rack up points as easily as they’ve racked up frequent flier miles?
Can Loveneet make another deep run?
Loveneet may have finished in fifth place at Thaiger Uppercut, but he just might have been the biggest story of the event. The Indian player made a statement by eliminating Chanel in six straight rounds, then made another one by knocking out reigning TEKKEN World Tour champion Qudans on finals day.
Following up that performance will be a tall task. This weekend’s field will have many strong players and few pools – all killer, no filler. Getting out of pools will be a notable achievement. If Loveneet does survive, he may once again cross paths with Qudans, who will be in the field this weekend and likely hungry for a rematch.