A New King Rises: The King of Iron Fist Tournament 2015 Recap
Last Saturday, the first global tournament for Tekken 7, the King of Iron Fist Tournament (KoIFT) 2015 was held in Tokyo, Japan. After over eight hours of intense matches between 27 players from all over the globe, one player finally came out victorious. Here’s a quick recap of the tournament:
The night before the main event, Bandai Namco streamed a special event where they interviewed the tournament players from overseas. In this event, they also proceeded to draw lots for the grouping of the players in the preliminary round of the tournament. Divided into eight groups, the result came out like this:
Each group competed in a Round Robin, and only the player with the highest standing in each group proceeded to the main tournament.
In Block A, Korea’s Knee won all of his sets but not without difficulty especially after Japan’s Gen and Yuuyuu took a match off of him. For Block B, Japan’s Double came out strong, taking down Devil who was one of the representatives from Europe and Murugold from Korea who was the champion of the student’s divison 1v1 qualifying tournament. Over in Block C, Taaku from Japan also won all of his matches, eliminating Tissuemon from Europe and fellow Japanese comeptitor Karei from the student’s division. In the D block, our very own AK managed to take down Henboku Hejoporuka from the women’s division in Korea, but unfortunately he was taken down by Japan’s Shudy from their student division who was the one that got out of the block.
In E block, AO who was 2nd place in EVO 2015 managed to win his matches over Okaty from Japan and Zeneraru from Korea’s student division, while Nobi who was 1st place in EVo 2015 defeated America’s Mr. Naps and Korean qualifying champion Secret in F block.
In G block, Tondakulove from Korea’s student division came out undefeated over Japan’s Fukamichi Quest and Dandy. Finally in H block, Korea’s Help Me who was second place in their qualifying tournament took down Japan’s SHOW who was the champion of the 1v1 qualifying tournament, and America’s Bloodhawk to take the final spot in the main tournament.
After a short break, the event continued with the main tournament which was a double elimination bracket featuring the top 8 players in the competition. In the main tournament, AO and Knee met in the winners semifinals after sending their opponents Tondakulove and Taku respectively to the losers bracket. Their match carried on to the final set of the match, where in a close 4th round Knee seals his victory and sends AO to the losers bracket. On the other side of the winners semifinal, Help Me desperately put up a fight against Nobi who calmly controlled the fight with his intense pressure. He convincingly closed out the set 2-0 and Help Me was sent to the losers bracket.
In the losers bracket after eliminating Tondakulove, Taku lost to AO but not without putting up a fight. The set ended 2-1 for AO and Taku was eliminated from the tournament. Double and Help Me fought a rematch from their match in the winners bracket where just like in each of his matches earlier, Help Me started extra shaky but started to pick up steam and evened out the set to 1-1. After making adjustments and despite Help Me’s extra effort to get the win, Double closed the set 2-1 and eliminated Help Me to join AO in the losers semifinals.
AO’s and Double’s match as two fairly defensive players was very close with each player taking a match off the other, and eventually taking it all the way to the final round of the final match of the set. With both players only one combo away from getting eliminated, Double took a gamble with Law’s double flip kicks in hopes of baiting AO into getting caught by the second flip, but AO calmly punished his gamble and sealed his place in the losers final.
Over at the winners final, the best of Korea and the best of Japan faced off early. A lot of people have been expecting this match up to be the final of the event, and without fail, Knee and Nobi took the audience by storm. Knee was shaky during the first match and was defeated convincingly by Nobi 3 rounds to none. On the second match however, Knee made his adjustments and calmly fought back against Nobi’s control and managed to snatch a win, evening out the set 1-1. On the last match, Nobi’s aggressive lock down won him the set and sent Knee to the fight AO in the losers final.
In the do-or-die match up in the losers final, Knee picked up the pace on his shaky execution from his earlier matches, and AO was calm and consistent with his game play. Their set was very poke heavy with each player capitalizing on every mistake of the other while keeping them on their toes. AO managed to recover his pace when he took the 2nd match of the set after losing the first one, and also when he was down 2 rounds to none in the last set. He came back and brought the final match to the deciding round with an incredibly risky gamble that paid off. In the last match however, AO made a mistake that cost him his lead, and later the set. With the win, Knee went on to the grand finals for a rematch against Nobi.
Being the champion of the winners bracket, Knee had to beat Nobi twice in order to win the tournament. But even with that kind of comfort, Nobi definitely went in with a make-or-break mindset. Still hot from his match with AO, Knee showed a dominating performance that won him the first match of the set. His momentum didn’t last long however after Nobi adjusted his game play and fought back just before almost losing the second match. After he evened out the set 1-1, Knee and Nobi continued a close match alternating between wins and losses until the final match of the set.
With the set dead even at 2-2, it was definitely one last chance for Knee to stay in the game and it did not look good for him after he lost two straight rounds. In an effort to come back with a huge turn around, Knee manages to take the third round but perhaps a little too late. Before Knee could gain more mometum, Nobi locked him down with his incredible pressure play and with it, he took the match and the tournament.
In the awarding ceremony, AO won ¥500,000 (₱195,168.77) for his third place finish, Knee won ¥1,500,000 (₱585,506.32) for second place, and Nobi took the biggest prize of ¥3,000,000 (₱1,171,012.64) as the champion and a special champion’s ring. Aside from the top 3, an MVP award was also presented during the ceremony. It was given to Double who caught the eyes of the sponsors with his impressive performance in the tournament. He won ¥300,000 (₱117,101.26; travel expenses) from FIELDS, one of the tournament sponsors.
After the tournament, Harada took the stage for the announcement that everybody was waiting for which you can read about right here. If you want to revisit the action, you can watch the archive on Tekken’s official twitch channel.
A big congratulations to all the winners of the tournament, and we hope to see more Tekken action next year. For more updates on Tekken, stay tuned.
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