Final Round has long been among the biggest tournaments of the year. Now that it is a part of the TEKKEN World Tour, it is even bigger. Nearly 300 players will throw down in Atlanta, GA, USA, in hopes of starting their 2018 campaigns on the right foot. The field is full of former Final Round champions, Evo winners, and nine of the sixteen finalists from last year’s TEKKEN World Tour Finals.
This weekend’s tournament will feature 16 pools, and every one of them will include a heavy hitter (or three!). Here are some of the notable players facing off in pool play this weekend:
(All times US Eastern; All pools subject to change)
Final Round 2018
Pools: Friday, 12pm ET - 8pm ET & Saturday, 10am ET - 6pm ET
Semifinals: Saturday: 6pm ET
Finals: Sunday, 4:30pm ET
Wave A (12pm Friday)
Reigning Final Round champion JDCR won six Master events on last year's TEKKEN World Tour, and he'll be looking to score his first win of the 2018 campaign early. He'll have to get through Spero Gin to win the pool. Spero Gin finished in the top eight at this event last year, so he's more than capable of hanging with the best.
With a second-place finish at Kumite in Tennessee, the elimination of Saint at NorCal StrongStyle, and a star-making run at the Eleague TEKKEN Team Takedown, few players are on as big of a roll as Shadow20z. His path through Pool 1B won't be a cakewalk though, as he will likely go through Evo 2017’s top-placing European player, Gen1us.
Wave B (2pm Friday)
Jackie Tran did not have the performance he wanted at the Eleague TEKKEN Team Takedown. He suffered a 2-0 loss to Shadow20z in his only match at the event. Should Jackie win Poll B1, he could potentially get a rematch with Shadow20z in the tournament’s Top 16.
Last year, Korean star JeonDDing was the beneficiary of a crowd-funding drive which allowed him to attend - and place among the top three at - SoCal Regionals. This year, he'll play under the banner of the new Tekken super-team, UYU. He'll be the popular choice to win Pool B2, but he may find himself booed in his second match should he have to face 13-year-old star-in-the-making KingReyJr.
Wave C (4pm Friday)
Every pool will be tough this weekend, but Pool C1 just might be the toughest. KawaiiFaceMiles' first match may be against Mateo, who beat her at the Eleague TEKKEN Team Takedown. Whoever wins that battle might square off against NorCal StrongStyle top-eight finisher Trungy. As if that wasn't a high enough ladder, the winner of that match will likely head to the pool final to face Korean star LowHigh. LowHigh was part of the winning team at the Tekken Stars Cup Arena this past weekend.
Anakin won't be the only Atlanta native playing in his hometown this weekend, but Pool C2's biggest name will be the one under the biggest spotlight. Anakin scored four TEKKEN World Tour wins in the early part of 2017, and he'll look to start 2018 on a similar hot streak. To do so, he'll have to get through Mak, who won an online event on last year's Tour.
Wave D (6pm Friday)
Blackbeard became one of the biggest stories of the 2017 TEKKEN Wolrd Tour when he won the European regional final and qualified for the global finals. He'll have his hands full in Pool D1, as he will likely need to go through Pokchop. Fresh off of captaining his TEKKEN Team Takedown squad to a second-place finish, the Mouth of the South will be hungry to turn in a strong performance in his hometown.
Knee is on the short list of greatest TEKKEN players of all time. He has countless titles to his name, including Evo and Final Round Championships. In 2017 he qualified for TEKKEN World Tour Finals, but did not win a single Tour event en route to doing so. If he wants to change his fortunes at Final Round, he'll want to get off to a strong start in Pool D2.
Wave F (10am Saturday)
Saturday's action will kick off with Chanel in Pool F1. The Tokyo TEKKEN Masters runner-up narrowly missed qualifying for last year's TEKKEN World Tour Finals, and he has no desire to sit on the outside of the Finals field two years in a row. His first big test will likely come in the form of Victim_Of_Ritual, who finished in the top eight of three Tour events last year.
Pool F2 will feature a pair of American players who will be looking to change recent history. Both P.Ling and Obscure lost their only games at the Eleague TEKKEN Team Takedown, and both finished outside of TEKKEN World Tour Finals qualifying position (P.Ling was included in the Finals field after Crespo could not attend). Both men will want to start 2018 strong, but only one will be able to reach the Top 32 session on the winners' side of the bracket.
Wave G (12pm Saturday)
Speedkicks has high hopes for this weekend. He earned a second-place finish at Final Round last year, and will hope to either match or improve that result this weekend. He will be tested in Pool G1 by Brawlpro, who was part of the winning team at the Eleague TEKKEN Team Takedown.
Korean star Kkokkoma narrowly missed out on last year's TEKKEN World Tour Finals. A strong performance in Atlanta will go a long way to getting him into this year's Finals field, but he will likely face a stiff test in Pool G2 from SoCal Regionals top-six finisher Rickstah.
Wave H (2pm Saturday)
There will be some notable names that will fail to make it out of Pool H1. Beautifuldude, who eliminated Tanukana at Evo 2017, will likely face Kumite in Tennessee top-eight finisher Shinblade. The winner of that clash will likely face KiT top-three finisher KoDee. The reward for winning that battle will likely be a battle with Tokyo TEKKEN Masters top-six finisher Dimeback.
TEKKEN World Tour finalist Fergus will be in action in Pool H2. The lone player from Ireland will hope for the same success in the United States that he found on his home continent in 2017. He'll be tested by a familiar face - and voice - in his pool, player and commentator Rip.
Wave I (4pm Saturday)
Joey Fury and WayGamble are the favorites to clash in the winners' finals of Pool I1. Joey Fury finished in the top six of each of the final four events in the Americas region last year and will want to continue that momentum. On the other end of the spectrum, WayGamble finished just ten points outside of TEKKEN World Tour Finals qualification and will be looking for a big performance to get on the right side of the cutline this year.
Saint opened the 2017 TEKKEN World Tour by winning the season-opening event, and he's more than capable of doing so again this weekend. His path to that win at CEO went through Lil' Majin, who gave the Korean star all he could handle. The two could very well clash again in Pool I2. While Saint won the battle last year, it's not beyond the realm of possibility that Lil' Majin could come out on the winning end this time.
Tune in and catch all the action this weekend on twitch.tv/TEKKEN!