Tekken World Tour Finals spotlight: Players, recaps, and predictions

By on November 10, 2017 at 3:00 pm
Tekken World Tour

The Tekken World Tour is almost finished!

16 players, representing the combined Tekken scenes of 9 countries, will throw down in San Francisco this Sunday, November 12th at the Tekken World Tour Finals. Since this grand event is just around the bend, now seems like a good time to revisit the road these players took to qualify.

Below each player is a sample match from the World Tour, their main character, summary of their TWT Tour performance, and a prediction on how they’ll do at the TWT Finals. All data is based off of @Peet_SS‘s exhaustive chronicling of every TWT event and point distribution, which you can reference here.


JDCR

Where is he from? Korea.

What characters do we expect to see? Almost certainly Dragunov. Has a very strong Heihachi, but has gone on record saying that playing Mishimas on PS4 is too tough.

How did he qualify? Automatically qualified by winning EVO 2017.

What are the odds of his winning? Unbelievably good. As both the 2017 Evo champion and one of Tekken’s gods, the odds are overwhelmingly in JDCR’s favor. There are a few cracks in his armor, though: fellow countryman Qudans has shown multiple times that not only does this Tekken god bleed, but that he can consistently keep up with him. JDCR has also fallen versus Joey Fury in the past, whom would love nothing more then to make lightning strike twice.

Speedkicks

Where is he from? Georgia, USA.

What characters do we expect to see? Hwoarang.

How did he qualify? While Speedkicks has had a strong showing at a number of events, he’s mostly been racking up smaller points at Challenger events. There’s two notable exceptions to this: his second place finish at DreamHack Denver all but guaranteed his slot in the TWT Finals, accounting for 40%+ of his Tour Points, and he picked up some extra padding with a 1st place finish in the Steam Online Tournament.

What are the odds of his winning? Good. Speedkicks is the only Hwoarang user in all three regions, and his character is typically known as a high-skill, high-reward pressure monster — it’s exactly the sort of thing that can make even a pro crumble if they don’t come into the match-up prepared. Many of Speedkicks’s points are from 2nd place finishes, though — there’s something very small holding this powerhouse back, and he needs to find it before TWT Finals.

Jimmy J Tran, a.k.a. Mr. Naps

Where is he from? California, USA.

What characters do we expect to see? Bryan.

How did he qualify? By winning DreamHack Denver, where he scored 60% of his points.

What are the odds of his winning? Very good. Tran doesn’t have the travel experience of many other players on the list during this tour (his points come from just three events), but it’s not like he’s an unknown warrior: with over $20,000 in earnings from winning Tekken tournaments over the years, Tran has been at this for a very, very long time. A victory over a top tier Korean player still barely eludes Tran, unfortunately — he’s gotten into last round, last game situations versus Knee and Jeondding, but fell just short both times. Still, he has closed the gap more then the vast majority of non-Korean players — and that alone would make him a favorite to win.

Anakin

Where is he from? Georgia, USA.

What characters do we expect to see?  Jack-7, possibly Paul.

How did he qualify? Consistency and travel, 3 early Challenger wins (DHATL, SMJ, ABS).

What are the odds of his winning? Decent. Anakin is a veteran and possibly one of the most well-traveled players in the circuit, and no one doubts that he’s earned his spot through pure skill and tenacity. But there’s a glaring fact when you look at his overall stats: he’s hoarded points from early, smaller Challenger events, and dropped out in surprising placements at larger events. Anakin has a reputation as one of the best players in the world, but steady consistency isn’t enough to win TWT Finals, particularly when your placements seem to be worse as the meta advances. Having a Paul/Jack-7 team is certainly not the most unexpected set of picks in the qualifiers, either — does he have new tricks to surprise his well-prepared opponents?

Joey Fury

Where is he from? New York, USA.

What characters do we expect to see? Jack-7

How did he qualify? Consistency and travel, several top 8 finishes.

What are the odds of his winning? Coin flip. Joey Fury and Anakin are in very similar situations: they are excellent and well-traveled players that have carved their path by being strong enough to consistently top 8 everywhere they go. Anakin (rightfully) has more points and more consistency, but Joey Fury has something few other players in the world have: tournament wins over JDCR and Saint. Also like Anakin, his Jack-7 pick is safe and tournament tested — the sort of thing that clears out weaker players, but brings no surprises to a group of the world’s best.

P.Ling

Where is he from? California, USA.

What characters do we expect to see? Ling Xiaoyu.

How did he qualify? Consistency, travel, PS4 Online Qualifier victory.

What are the odds of his winning? Low. P. Ling is a fearsome player, but his performance on the tour has paled in comparison to those above him in the Americas. It also can’t be overlooked that he’s here because of the unfortunate circumstances surrounding the visa denial of Crespo. Despite this, you shouldn’t count out P.Ling — not only is this his second time making it to TWT Finals, but he’s also going to be going in with the empowerment of a second chance he didn’t know he’d get. Arguably, no one else has more to prove, and P.Ling has shown incredible heart when backed into a corner before.

Tissuemon

Where is he from? Italy.

What characters do we expect to see? Master Raven.

How did he qualify?: Points winner in EU, 2 challenger wins, 2nd at PGW regional and 2nd at PGW Masters.

What are the odds of his winning? Good. It’s tough to gauge how many of EU’s finest will do at TWT Finals, because they haven’t really interacted with Korea or America during the TWT tour. However, EU Points leader Tissuemon should still be considered a threat — a tournament veteran dating back to at least Tekken 5, Tissuemon has defeated Korean legends Help Me and Knee in older games. There’s no reason to think he can’t do again; particularly since his main, Master Raven, is a character not well-represented in the tournament scene. His recent surprise loss to Blackbeard at PGW will hopefully serve as a major wake-up call to give TWT Finals all he’s got.

Blackbeard

Where is he from? Denmark.

What characters do we expect to see? Josie.

How did he qualify? By winning the PGW Regional.

What are the odds of his winning? Unlikely, but possible. As I stated before, it’s really tough to judge the EU qualifiers, mostly due to their isolation from competing with players outside of their sphere. Blackbeard is particularly difficult to gauge because of his consolidation of points exclusively from one event. On top of all of that, Josie is a relatively well-understood character by this point, with decent representation in every region; I’m not sure who among the 16 qualifiers will be unprepared for the match-up. Whatever his impact on the TWT Finals is, though, his impact on the European leaderboard is undisputed: his win came in at the last moment, taking him from 6 points to 306 points, and knocking two Challenger-event tournament winners (Caiper and Ghirlanda) out of the running in the process. He’s beaten the odds before, can he do it when it matters most?

Super Akouma

Where is he from? France.

What characters do we expect to see? Akuma, possibly Lee.

How did he qualify? 2nd at two Masters events.

What are the odds of his winning? Low. Super Akouma has proven his prowess in Europe, but when he encountered JDCR in Grand Finals of TGB, the divide between the two was massive: JDCR only dropped 2 rounds in the best-of-5 set, both in the last game. Even without JDCR’s interference, Super Akouma has yet to secure a win of his own in Europe. It’s hard to see a path forward for him to reach 1st at TWT Finals without considerable training and effort. Can he bring it home for France?

Kaneandtrench

Where is he from? United Kingdom.

What characters do we expect to see? Yoshimitsu.

How did he qualify? Challenger win, 4th at PGW Regional.

What are the odds of his winning?: Coin flip. Kaneandtrench’s greatest threat to success will likely come from his fellow European players that know his tricks. As the lone Yoshimitsu in the TWT finals, he has the distinct advantage of being an incredibly smart player, using a character that has almost no representation in high level tournament play. (Let’s not forget that he’s also the UK National Champion.) The video I included for him may be of his loss to JDCR, but it’s to prove a point: even the best player in the world had trouble with him, only barely clutching out game wins. Kaneandtrench is my pick for the tournament’s biggest wildcard. If he doesn’t win outright, I predict he’s going to at least blindside one player expected to go further. [Exactly what I expect of a Yoshimitsu main! – Editor]

Fergus

Where is he from? Ireland.

What characters do we expect to see? Asuka.

How did he qualify? Consistency, and by the skin of his teeth at the PGW regional.

What are the odds of his winning? Low. Fergus is in a similar situation to the likes of Anakin and Joey Fury: he has several lower placements at many events, but no big wins under his belt. Fergus, however, has one of the most unique situations in the top 16: he was tied on the regional leaderboards with spanish player Caiper, who had won two smaller events on his own. What resulted in the tie? Fergus placing higher then Caiper at PGW Regional — which, in the event of a tie, is the first criteria in the TWT rules used for a tie breaker. Fergus’s placement is the very definition of a photo finish, but he’ll need more then luck to overcome anyone in the TWT Finals.

Saint

Where is he from? Korea.

What characters do we expect to see? Jack-7.

How did he qualify? CEO/TTM wins, top 3 finishes nearly everywhere he travels.

What are the odds of his winning? Very good. How can you can count out Saint? He’s a former Evo Champion, and he’s the returning Tekken World Champion. His training partner and teammate JDCR is the current Evo Champion and the odds-on favorite to win. If Saint has any sort of Achilles heel, it’s simply the fact that his playstyle (and character) has been, and probably will always be, one of the most-scrutinized among all competitors. He has a target on his back, and we’ve seen him fall victim to upsets more often then his Echo Fox counterpart.

Qudans

Where is he from? Korea.

What characters do we expect to see? Devil Jin.

How did he qualify? By winning SEAM.

What are the odds of his winning? Very good. Though it’s easy to be skeptical of someone’s chances when 63% of their points came from only one event, Qudans is a veteran who has experience and execution on his side. He’s bested JDCR, he dominates with Mishimas (despite claims that’s impossible to do so in a PS4 tournament scene, see above) and there’s only three people he’s lost to on the tour. Two of  those players made it to TWT Finals: Saint and JDCR. I would be very surprised to see Qudans place outside of top 3, and given that he’s in the very small group of people with a victory over JDCR, it’s easy to see him taking the whole thing.

Noroma

Where is he from? Japan.

What characters do we expect to see? Jack-7.

How did he qualify? Defeating JDCR from losers bracket to win TWT Korea, 2nd at SEAM.

What are the odds of his winning? Good. Noroma’s points are almost completely consolidated from two events: his 2nd place finish at SEAM, and by his incredible bracket reset at TWT Korea to defeat Korean legend JDCR. Noroma’s other placements were less impressive, which gives the immediate impression that there may be a consistency problem with the Japanese Jack-7 pro when it comes to the highest level of play. Still, if he can play the way he did versus JDCR at TWT Korea, it’s hard to see how he can lose.

Nobi

Where is he from? Japan.

What characters do we expect to see? Dragunov.

How did he qualify? Consistency and Travel, PS4 online win.

What are the odds of his winning? Coin flip. Despite being a legend in the Tekken community, Nobi just hasn’t found the success of other players in the Asia-Pacific leaderboards. There’s a nearly 200 point difference between himself and fellow countryman Noroma, and this largely because all of Nobi’s offline finishes are 2nd place or worse. In fact, were it not for Nobi’s PS4 Online Tournament victory, he wouldn’t be here at all — without those 70 points we would have had a tie-breaker between Kkokkoma and Doujin. Nobi is a strong bet to go far, but his character selection is tournament-standard and he is likely the most vulnerable Asia-Pacific player to a potential upset from EU or American players.

Knee

Where is he from? Korea.

What characters do we expect to see? Bryan, possibly Feng.

How did he qualify? 2nd at REV, Challenger win.

What are the odds of his winning? Good. Knee is one of the most knowledgeable players of the game, seemingly always streaming and training with the entire cast. It’s tough to bring out something Knee isn’t prepared for, but he almost didn’t qualify due to lack of travel and never securing a win beyond the ABG Challenger. In a strange way, he’s probably glad JDCR is auto-qualified through Evo — because if he wasn’t, Knee’s 6th place spot on the Asia-Pacific leader-boards would prevent him from attending. His sets versus JDCR during both Winners and Grand Finals at REV 2017 shows the real threat he brings to the tournament, despite his relatively low accumulated points.


The Tekken World Tour Finals take place on November 12, 12:00 PM – 10:00 PM PT in San Francisco!

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