A veteran took top honors at Texas Showdown, but a rising star nearly stole the show.
Anakin held off fellow Atlanta native Speedkicks in the grand final to win the Texas Showdown title on Sunday. The win was his fourth all-time TEKKEN World Tour victory and his first of 2018.
The champion's JACK-7 was too much for Speedkicks to handle. Speedkicks brought out both Hwoarang and Law during the winners' final, with neither character able to down Anakin in a 3-0 winners' final. Speedkicks switched to Dragunov for their rematch in the grand final and was able to take the second game of the set, but that was as close as he would get. Anakin dominated the final two games to win the set 3-1 and take home the title.
Anakin moved into sixth place on the Tour leaderboard with his win on Sunday, while runner-up Speedkicks jumped all the way up to 14th. Both players are hoping to finish the season in the top 19 and reach the TEKKEN World Tour Finals, something both players did last year.
Although Speedkicks was no easy out, Anakin's toughest challenge may have been the one he faced from Shadow_20z. The two squared off on Saturday with a place in Sunday's Top 8 session on the line. Shadow took the opening game, making him the first (and until Speedkicks, only) player to take a game off of Anakin in the tournament. But the veteran recovered to win the set 2-1 and continue his march to the title.
Shadow bounced back from the loss in a big way. He scored a 2-0 victory over Psylence to make it into Sunday's finals, then opened his Sunday by beating Rick Tha Rular. He then reached the losers' final by knocking out a pair of last year's TEKKEN World Tour finalists in Joey Fury and P.Ling. He nearly defeated a third global finalist in that losers' final, but the veteran Speedkicks clutched out a tense 3-2 win.
Shadow's third-place run - his best-ever finish at an offline Tour event - came in a bracket loaded with strong veteran players. The top six finishers on the weekend included Shadow, four of last year's Tour finalists, and former Evo champion KOR.
Evo 2011 champion KOR, widely considered to be among the greatest American TEKKEN players of all time, has not been on the competitive circuit as of late. But with the Tour in his hometown of Houston, the legend reminded the world that he can still hang with the best. He took out Reflex, Crowder, NeoX, and Trungy on his way to a co-fifth-place finish.
Last year's finalists also had strong weekends. Anakin and Speedkicks took the top two spots, while P.Ling finished in fourth place while Joey Fury tied for fifth place with KOR.
Trungy and Rick Tha Rular rounded out the top eight.
The TEKKEN World Tour’s next stop is at The Colosseum Spring 2018. The tournament, set to kick off in Rome on Saturday, will be the Tour’s first event of the year in continental Europe.