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Knee winning Tokyo Tekken Masters with Lili shows that fundamentals outweigh tier lists

Burn your tier lists and play the characters you love and enjoy!

Last night during the Tokyo Tekken Masters grand finals ROX Dragons’ Jae Min ‘Knee’ Bae (S. Korea) showed once again why he may be the best Tekken player of all time. Against arguably the best Devil Jin player in the world, UYU’s Byung-moon “Qudans” Son (S. Korea), Knee picked a character that many deem to be very low tier – Emilie ‘Lili’ de Rochefort. With Lili he defeated Qudans six matches straight.

The significance of this is that it shows that any character within Tekken 7 is viable. Far too often players fall into the trap of picking their main characters based upon tier lists, but time and time again it is shown that other characters can pose as a threat when in the hands of someone who knows how to play Tekken fundamentally. Yes, fundamentals.

Understanding the fundamentals of Tekken are far more important than any tier list. The Tokyo Tekken Masters grand finals is the perfect example of that. There you had two legends who are considered masters of the craft – both fundamentally sound, have played the game for over 20 years, and have a wealth of knowledge and experience. So in the end it comes down to character knowledge, matchup knowledge and fundamentals. Nothing more. If you grasp those three things, any character is viable.

Some may argue that Knee had the upperhand because he was using a character that Qudans was not prepared for. While it may be true that Qudans was no prepared for this pick, that is no excuse entirely. Lili is not new to Tekken and not new to Tekken 7. Qudans has undoubtedly had plenty of experience against the prissy Miss Rochefort. The question that may be open for debate is does he have experience against Knee’s Lili? That answer is probably no, but that’s still not a good enough excuse.

At Evo 2018 you had over 1,500 players. Do you think those who were in the top 8 had experience against everyone that they played and defeated there? No. That’s where Tekken fundamentals come in. They never change. When you play fundamentally you place yourself on equal or higher footing than your opponent. It all depends on how quickly your opponent can adapt to the match up.

Qudans defeated Knee’s Lili previously within Top 8. He lost at first, but then adapted, which then caused Knee to pick Katarina. He sent Knee to the losers bracket. So naturally, when Knee landed on the losers side of grand finals and picked Lili again, it made people wonder “what the heck?” Well, Knee went to town on Qudans with Lili, beating him 3-0 to reset the bracket, and then 3-0 again to clinch the victory.

Granted, not everyone can play at a high level like Knee, but that doesn’t matter. It’s about fundamentals, and knowing how to play the game in the end. And because of that, any character within Tekken 7 is viable and worthy of consideration.

The verdict on tier lists? Burn them.

Play who you love.

Aziz Peregrino-Brimah aka Zee the CEO | Founder / Editor-in-chief of TekkenGamer | Gaming has been a passion of Zee's since the early days of Atari and ColecoVision. His first experience with Tekken was in the early 90's, and it was Tekken 3 that sealed the deal. True story... As a teenager Zee once received his Winn-Dixie paycheck and spent it all at the arcade the same day. Needless to say, his mother wasn't pleased.


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