Ignoring that I missed covering the previous NYC Tekken Monthly (sorry), today's tournament is the second NYC Tekken tournament to be a part of the Tekken World Tour. Coincidentally, yesterday's Tekken tournament at the Long Island Retro Gaming Expo was also a Tekken World Tour. You're going to hear "TWT" a lot, but what exactly does it mean?
Beginning in 2019, the Tekken World Tour adopted a new format to cast a spotlight on grassroots. In the past, the World Tour selected prominent tournaments around the world and whoever had the highest points would not only determine who would enter the finals but also determine seeding.
The problem with the previous format was not everyone had the opportunity to attend all the tournaments around the world. It separated the privileged from the talented who didn't have the same resources to venture out. Starting in 2019, Bandai Namco implemented a system to have credible local tournaments host TWT events that would give players points for winning.
The number of points was nowhere near as high as it would be for premiere events like EVO, CEO, and others. It is however enough to be placed on the leaderboard and hopefully encourage local winners to attend a major. Hence why every point counts for those who wish to take Tekken seriously. Even if those who earn points have no intention of going to the Finals as a competitor, they can at least say they earned a spot on the leaderboards.
What makes today's tournament even special is three reasons. One, for many who didn't attend last night's event, this is the first offline Tekken tournament since EVO. Knee's win surely would have lit a fire under many to play the game again. Two, a regional tournament known as Summer Jam is next weekend, giving players practice before a large event which means more potential points.
The third reason is that this will be the final tournament under Tekken 7 as players know it. On Wednesday, Tekken 7 will have its first major balance patch since the Lidia update and if the trailer is anything to go by, it's a doozy. There are many mechanics added that are introduced without nary an explanation. Many moves have had their properties changed as well. With close to 30 entrants, it's every fighter for themselves. In the end, Ty, one of Pennsylvania's best, won tonight's monthly, earning him points and a part of the huge pot bonus courtesy of a special beneficiary.
I didn't mention how I did in last night's tournament because I felt it didn't matter much, but in both instances, I was several wins away from the coveted "top 8." Last night I was one win away and tonight I was a few wins short. So far, muscle memory has been kicking my tail but the Snack Box Micro has been proving to be a worthwhile investment. I'll actually break down the controller later this week so I can inform everyone what this small beast is capable of. Both tournaments made me realize something about competing that I've picked up on.
As you enter more locals and get used to a competitive environment, you realize the difficulty isn't in not going "0-2," but in maintaining consistency. Staying on the winner's side of the bracket is the best outcome anyone can hope to achieve because it means fewer games to play to reach Top 8. On the flip side, going through a loser's bracket run is one of the most stressful things at a tournament. A local with 30 people is fine. A major, like EVO, with almost 1K players is a different beast altogether.
The better you play that day, the less you have to worry. The earlier you get sent to losers, the more you have to play through a gauntlet to get to a comfy position with the ever-looming threat of elimination. That's a tournament's most hidden and darkest truth. The main way to handle the pressure is to keep playing long sets until endurance becomes a non-issue. Other standard advice includes having water on hand and taking a pause in-between games in a set. Everyone has different ways to handle "the gauntlet" and not everyone has the same method. Some handle things better than others while others just simply "play the game."
When asking the players how they felt about the upcoming Tekken patch, several were simply excited that the game was receiving something new. Others were aware it was BNE biding their time until they are ready to show something for Tekken 8. From a competitive standpoint, no one knew what to expect except what the trailer showed. With many counter-hit launchers added and the yet-to-be-explained wall mechanic, everything is speculation. The next big "regional" event is Summer Jam this coming weekend and it may be Tekken 7 running on an older patch to make it "fair" for everyone.
Or it could be running on the latest patch, ensuing complete and utter chaos. Who knows? What I do know is the next few months are going to be intense for Tekken 7 fans and East Coast players. Next month will be the third Five-A-Side, where New York will take on Boston's finest. Boston has a very impressive Tekken scene that I only saw snippets of during my stay at PAX East. It will be great to see how the fresh talent competes against the veterans. (I have faith in New York, of course)
UPDATE 08/15/2022 It seems as if Summer Jam will not be running on the newest Tekken patch so those who are attending, hold off on updating just yet!