Earlier this month, CorleoneMatt traveled to Birmingham, UK to compete at the VSFighting Tekken 7 tournament. Matt: “I had been looking forward to this tournament for months. I had been preparing myself by training a lot, playing against other very good opponents and knowing more about the characters I play. You know how to use a character, but you can always still learn something new about them. My last tournament, Force 3 in Almere, was not one of my best moments, but a very good learning moment to take with me to VSFighting.”

Preparation

Around 10:00 AM Matt arrived in Birmingham. After checking into the hotel, it was time to find the venue, where Matt met up good friends and Team Dutch Brawlers players Jay Cruz (JdoubleC) and TBS Shin (Giorgio). Matt: “Seeing both of them again was great, especially since that meant I wasn’t the only Dutchman at the tournament. We decided to meet again later, so I could explore the city by myself until the other members of Team Dutch Brawlers arrived. The other members were of course Malekith (Chin), Art of Ace (Arman), and Mirku (Wim) with their manager, Dwight. Friday was a moment for everyone to get together and get ready for the tournament on Saturday. There were also other talented Dutch players like Jay, Mert, Ruben, players who I all got to know very well during my tournament experience in the Netherlands.”

Casuals

On tournament day, all the Dutch players gathered at the venue, before playing casual matches. Matt: “I don’t play a lot of Tekken 7 before a tournament. Of course I train, but for a few days before the tournament, I don’t play Tekken, until I’m at the tournament for casuals. If I keep playing Tekken until right before the tournament, I tend to stay in the same ‘mode’ as in my practice sessions. In those same sessions you  make many of the mistakes you need to learn from. I always start each tournament with a clean slate so I know for sure that the mistakes I might make are learned from and are quick to process.”

CorleoneMatt played some casual matches with Grzybek and NeedsMoarCoffee, the latter being a particularly strong Kuma player. At first he didn’t recognize the player, but when they played, Matt realized that his opponent was at a high level. Matt: “Only later did I find out that I fought NeedsMoarCoffee. Losing all of those matches wasn’t a problem for me, because I always want to learn how to better myself, and playing against him was still fun in the end. That’s the most important thing.”

The tournament

Matt was placed in pool was B2, a pool with many well-known Tekken players, including LowHigh (EVO 2018 champion), Suiken, MYK, RunItBlack and others from the team Level Up Your Game. Furthermore, there were the two Italian pro players, Ghirlanda and Tissuemon, both players who had made it to the Tekken World Tour Finals in past years. Tissuemon even managed to end in the Top 8 of the TWT 2017 finals. The pool was was more focused on qualifying for the Top 64, so the chances of running into more than one of them was very slim.

Match 1: Abswing (W 1 – L 0)

Matt’s first opponent was Abswing. Before he became my opponent, I watched a match of him against an Alisa player, whom he had defeated. I took this match very serious because Abswing is an Armor King player. A character I lost to on Force 3. Since that tournament, I have studied Armor King to find the best way to fight against him. Matt: “When my match against Abswing started, I immediately noticed 1 thing in the first round which I could use to make it very difficult for him to catch my playstyle. Abswing was too cautious to punish Eddy and never went for anything, and he didn’t know that Armor King has 1 move that floats Eddy from his stances. My fight with him was all mix ups to make him confused of what’s coming.”

The first match was a reasonably easy win for Matt. In the second match, his opponent played a lot more defensive, so he waited more for mistakes and whiffs. Matt saw right through him and what he wanted to do, so he changed his strategy to space him out and stay patient by not whiffing, but provoking his opponent to come to him instead. Matt won the second match, and the set, convincingly!

Match 2: Vaan-GRE (W1 – L 1)

The next opponent was a Greek player named Vaan_GRE. Matt wasn’t quite familiar with Vaan, but he looked Vaan up before the tournament and noticed that he used Nina a lot. Matt was prepared to fight her, but to his surprise, Vaan went right to Anna, a character that Matt isn’t familiar with at all. Matt: “The moment the match started, I was lost. I didn’t know anything about Anna, and I couldn’t properly counter her mix ups because I just didn’t know anything about her. I have tried very hard to get control over the match, but Vaan was clearly prepared for Eddy.” After the first game, Matt switched to Lars in order to play a safer game. He was able to take a couple of rounds, but Vaan still won the set, thus sending Matt to the losers Bracket.

Matt: “Surprisingly, Vaan had also against none other than UYU’s Jeondding, my favorite Tekken player and the best Eddy player in the World. Vaan eliminated Jeondding from the tournament, and he also used Eddy in the entire set. The moment I heard that, I made it my mission to study Anna Williams to find out why Jeondding lost to Vaan with Eddy. I want to find out what Eddy makes it so difficult to fight against Anna so I’m prepared for it next time. Vaan is an extremely good player, and much respect to him!  The runback between me and Vaan is guaranteed when we see each other again in a tournament, and I will be ready next time.”

Match 3: Deathborn (W 2- L 1)

Down in the losers bracket, Deathborn, was Matt’s first opponent. Matt didn’t know what to expect, because he didn’t recognize the player’s name, however he quickly discovered that Deathborn couldn’t punish Eddy properly with his King or handle many successive 50/50s. At one point Deathborn managed to land King’s most damaging chain grab, the Rolling Death Cradle, but Matt recovered and took game 1. In the second match, Deathborn switched to Kazuya and showed that he knew how to punish Eddy a lot better in this match up. In the end it still wasn’t enough, and CorleoneMatt took the set! Matt: “After the match I talked to Deathborn about our set, and I explained to him where he can improve. He was very impressed bt my Eddy and how patiently I was compared to other Eddy players he fought, who are 100% ‘party mode’ and no strategy. That is always something that motivates me to improve, and be the best Eddy player I can be.”

Match 4: BLOPER (W 3 – L 1 )

BLOPER, an Eliza player, was the next opponent on the path to top 64. again, it was a surprise to me. Matt: “Against 2D characters, I prefer to use Lars because of his great punishment, but thanks to TBD member Miso (Sipan) who unfortunately could not make it to VSFighting, I went for Eddy because of 1 reason. A long time ago, Sipan and I played Eliza Vs Eddy and both labbed our characters that time. Thanks to him, I was aware of what I can and cannot punish properly.”  BLOPER showed a lot of strategic mix ups that made it difficult for Matt to catch him off guard, but there were so many moments where BLOPER finished unsafe strings, which allowed for easy punishment. Matt defeated BLOPER 2 – 0 and moved on to the losers finals against Signor Farfalla, who had recently lost to Tissuemon.

Match 5: Signor Farfalla (W 3 – L 2)

Matt: “I have seen only a little bit of Farfalla’s match from Tissuemon, but I knew that he is Gigas player, a character that I have also played in the beginning Tekken 7.” Matt tried to rely more on neutral play and fundamental punishment. This was the match he had to win to get out of the pool and get into the Top 64. Matt: “I was well acquainted with the match up, but the problem was that Farfalla was very unpredictable at times, and I didn’t punish Gigas’ DB2 the right way. Signor Farfalla was always 2 steps ahead with Gigas. After losing the first game, Matt switched to an infinite stage, so he could try to keep Gigas out. The second match was a lot closer, but went off the rails when Matt used the wrong punisher and gave away it away. Matt: “Maybe it was the nerves, or maybe I wasn’t that prepared. I just missed Top 64 and was eliminated from the tournament.” Matt finished 65th out of 360 total players.

Reflection

Matt: “Overall, I was very proud of my result, because I almost made it out of my pool at my very first Masters tournament abroad. I’m still thinking about my wrong punish against Farfalla, but I always keep on fighting and striving for more experience in Tekken. My friends in the Dutch Community had seen some of my matches. Ruben, one of my friends, said that I had done very well and that I could have come further if I had better punished Farfalla’s Gigas. That’s something I’ll definitely work on!”

Helping a friend in need

After his tournament run was over, CorleoneMatt stayed around to watch matches from fellow countrymen Malekith and Art of Ace. Matt: “There was a moment when I wanted to go outside for fresh air and get some food, until Jay Tuan saw me walk away and ran right to me for help. He told me that Ruben had a match against an Eddy player. I dropped everything went to watch Ruben’s match and see if I can help. The score was 1-1 and Ruben was at the verge of losing. I wasn’t sure if I could coach and I didn’t want Ruben to get disqualified because of me. I watched the style of that Eddy player and I saw many mistakes and holes in his defense. Ruben had clutched the match with a Double K.O., so the match was played over again and he got another chance to win. I coached Ruben as much as possible about how he could defeat this specific Eddy player and his style. Ruben adjusted his playstyle and won the match!

Socializing!

CorleoneMatt was out, but that didn’t mean the event was over. Matt: “I enjoyed all the matches very much, and took some nice pictures. I also ran into Jeondding before his pool started. I told him hat he’s my favorite Tekken Player and that I was very inspired to play Eddy again after I dropped him for Lars in Tekken 6, more than 12 years ago. Jeondding also signed my controller, but unfortunately, his signature faded in my backpack. On the picture, I realized that I was holding my controller the wrong way. Luckily, Dwight, the boss of TDB, took another picture of me holding it the right way with the signature perfectly in sight. I’m always thankful to Dwight for all the support he has given me from day one. One of the many highlights was my very long conversation with Super Akouma (Vincent Hooman), the best Akuma player in Europe. I dislike fighting against Akuma, but Super Akouma just knows how to play Akuma so well, that you have no choice to get hype for how he uses him.”

Finals day

Top 8 was played on Sunday. Matt: “There were times when I jumped out of my chair out of excitement, because of the amazing matches the players put on. It’s a whole different experience seeing the tournament with your own eyes, as opposed to on your laptop on Twitch. You feel the hype growing and growing and the community coming together to watch some Good Ass Tekken. At the end of the tournament, Knee was able beat LowHigh in such an incredible match, that you would not believe how it ended if someone told it face to face. You had to see it yourself. At the end, when Knee had the time, I took some time to talk to him about his tournament run and some of the choices he made. I learned a lot from that conversation.”

Matt had told himself and others that the trip wouldn’t be over until he met Jeondding and Kkokkoma. Matt: “Before I had taken a picture with Kkokkoma, I wanted to have some fun with him with the question he always loves to answer (most people in the scene know what that question is). He is really a very nice guy to talk to, and I always enjoy his streams. His English is very fluent, so having a conversation with him was easier than some others. The pictures show how much fun I had, talking to him. I really hope to see him again along with Jeondding, LowHigh and Knee. Chanel was supposed to be at the tournament as well, but he became very ill. I really give him my best regards and wish him a healthy recovery from his illness.”

Conclusion

Matt: “My trip to VSFighting was instructive, fun and exciting. I was very nervous because I couldn’t know what to expect. But I’ve talked to many people, played a lot of matches and got a great tournament result that I can be proud of. The trip has given me more publicity. Hearing how people were proud of me, from TDB to Dutchies Esports themselves, has really done me good. There are a lot more tournaments, and I really hope that I can be there at most of them to officially represent Dutchies Esports with my teammates, KevieroBosconovich010 and Petriggity. I keep continuing to strive for better results, and I will be better at Tekken 7.”