Tournaments March 23rd, 2018

THAIGER UPPERCUT 2018 PREVIEW

Pools: Saturday, 12am ET (Friday, 9pm PT) on twitch.tv/tgu_1
Top 16: Saturday, 8am ET (5am PT) on twitch.tv/tgu_1
Top 8: Sunday, 5am ET (2am PT) on twitch.tv/tgu_main

Brackets can be found here.

Thaiger Uppercut – Bangkok, Thailand

If you enjoyed the TEKKEN you saw at Final Round, there’s plenty more where that came from. Thaiger Uppercut in Bangkok, Thailand serves as hosts for the second TEKKEN World Tour event of the year. It also serves as the first Asian event of the Tour season for the second straight year.

This weekend’s event will serve as the debut for several strong Asian players, including Meat, Tanukana, and last year’s TEKKEN World Tour champion, Qudans. But it will also include several familiar faces from Final Round, as five of the top eight finishers from that event will be in the field.

There are several storylines in play this weekend, but three in particular stand out. Here’s what to watch for this weekend at Thaiger Uppercut:

Can Knee continue his magnificent run?

It’s hard to imagine a better start to 2018 than the one Knee is having. In January he scored wins over Rickstah, Saint, and Chanel on his way to victory at the year’s first major tournament, Evo Japan. He followed that up this past weekend by taking top honors at the year’s first TEKKEN World Tour event, Final Round. Knee is clearly among the favorites to win this weekend, but his path will be no cakewalk.

Knee leads a strong contingent of Korean players. Seven Korean players finished among the Top 12 at Final Round, and six of those players will be in action this weekend. Third-place finisher Saint will hope for a shot at revenge against Knee, who beat him in the winners’ final of last weekend’s event. Fellow top finishers Chanel (4th), Kkokkoma (5th), LowHigh (7th), and JeonDDing (9th) will also be in action. But the brightest spotlight may be on a Korean who wasn’t in Atlanta last weekend…

How will the reigning world champion do?

2017 TEKKEN World Tour champion Qudans did not attend Final Round, but he still found himself in last week’s headlines. Early last week, the champ announced that he had joined JeonDDing, Fergus, and P.Ling on Team UYU. So not only will this weekend mark his 2018 TEKKEN World Tour debut, but it also marks his debut for his new team.

His debut could include clashes with his former ROX teammates, Chanel and Knee. If he stays in the winners’ side of the bracket, the earliest he could run into either player would be winners’ finals of the tournament. Should he face off with either player, you can expect a fierce, but respectful battle. “Of course I will do my best when competing against them in tournaments and events,” he said in a recent interview with TekkenGamer.com, “but I will always respect everyone in the end.”

Who will be the local hero?

There will be plenty of strong players from all throughout Asia in action this weekend, including the host nation. Two Thai players ended last season in the top 15 of the Asia/Pacific standings, and both of them will be in action this weekend. Thai fans will hope that they defend their home turf, but both will face stiff tests early.

Shin Akuma won last season’s Steam event, but he proved that he can perform offline as well with a strong showing at the South East Asia Major. A strong performance on home soil may be key to his hopes of reaching this year’s global finals. If he reaches the winners’ final of his pool this weekend, his likely opponent will be reigning TEKKEN World Tour champion Qudans.

Book didn’t find as much success online as his fellow countryman, but he beat Tsubumi, Yuu, and Help Me on his way to a Top 8 finish at the regional final at South East Asia Major. He also finished fourth at last year’s Thaiger Uppercut, so he’ll be hoping for more of the same this year. His path through this weekend’s pool play will likely include a showdown with Dimeback, who will be looking to bounce back from a disappointing 33rd-place finish at Final Round.