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Radiance Rewind: December

It’s time to wrap up 2019! A lot has happened this month and so, without further ado, here’s our first Radiance Rewind!

TEKKEN 7

The TEKKEN World Tour concluded earlier this month on December 8th with their Finals, held in Bangkok, Thailand. Hoa “Anakin” Luu and over two hundred TEKKEN 7 players flew out to Thailand all with the same goal: to claim the title of the TEKKEN 7 Champion. Nineteen competitors, including Anakin, had already qualified through points they amassed over the season.

The remaining 256 players would have to compete through the Last Chance Qualifiers (LCQ) in which only one person would be granted the twentieth spot in the TWT Finals. By the end, FATE Esports’s Bilal “Bilal” Ilyas emerged the victor and set his sights on the TWT Finals the next day.

And so, the stage was officially set with the twenty participants that were vying for the title. Anakin himself was coming off a hometown win where he took down Mu-jong “Kkokkoma” Kim at Dreamhack Atlanta and looked to carry this momentum into the TWT Finals.

At the start of the tournament, the twenty participants chose one of four groups to place themselves in. Due to his seeding, Anakin was one of the last participants to choose a group and decided on Group B. His opponents were Kkokkoma, Vincent “Super Akouma” Homan, Shoji “Double” Takakubo, and Abel “Abel Del Maestro” Segovia.

After roughly two hours of battling it out in Group B, Anakin and his trusty Jack-7 emerged from the group stages as the second seed. Per the structure of the TWT Finals, Anakin competed in the Losers Bracket.

Top 8

In his first match, he went up against his good friend and rival, Hyunjin “JDCR” Kim, who plays Dragunov. Anakin won the first set in a close 3-2 bout but JDCR did not go down without a fight. He took the second set in 3 rounds, taking this first Losers Round to a third set. But Anakin held his ground and swept JDCR in the final set, winning 2-1 overall.

Advancing onto the Losers Quarter-Finals, he took on Daichi “Nobi” Nakayama, another Dragunov player. Nobi won 3-2 in the first set and did not let up the pressure. With Nobi up 2-0 in the second set and Anakin at roughly 25% HP left, things seemed dire for Anakin. But he successfully recovered and relentlessly pushed forward, winning the next six rounds that he needed to advance to the Losers Semi-Final.

Anakin’s final round vs. Nobi

In his next match, Anakin faced Soo-hoon “Ulsan” Lim who played Kazumi versus Anakin’s Jack-7. During the match, Ulsan put up a dominating performance and only dropped one round to Anakin.

Overall, Anakin placed 4th out of the twenty players, solidifying the fact that he is one of the strongest TEKKEN 7 players in the world.

I’ve been to the TWT finals a few times now and this was definitely the best one. It’s so much different being just a spectator vs being a competitor. On top of that, Anakin was our team player this year and it was so nerve-wracking watching him play. I’m so proud of his performance and am super excited moving into 2020 to see if we can claim the 1st place trophy!

Hai Lam, CEO

IeSF Tournament

Only a couple days after the conclusion of the TWT Finals, Anakin flew to Seoul, Korea to participate in the International Esports Federation (AKA IeSF) Tournament. This final competition began on December 12th and concluded on December 14th. For this event, Anakin competed as the sole representative of the United States. 

Like the TWT Finals, Anakin’s group was Group B and he faced the representatives of Tunisia, Jamaica, and Namibia. During the group stage, Anakin showed why he’s one of the best TEKKEN 7 players in the world as he swept his group, not dropping a single set.

When the playoffs began, Anakin faced off against Chinese Taipei. He won 4-0 overall giving up only a couple rounds throughout the match.

Moving onto the Quarterfinals, Anakin ran into a familiar face, ROX Dragons’ Jae-Min “Knee” Bae representing the Republic of Korea. Early in the match, Anakin held a 2-1 lead but Knee bounced back and swept Anakin in the next 3 sets. The final score was 4-2.

With the conclusion of the IeSF Tournament, Anakin was officially done for the year and flew home to get some well-deserved rest! He’ll be back in 2020, ready to take on the TEKKEN world by storm once more!

Street Fighter V

Capcom Cup 2019 was a day away and thirty-one players were already decided, including last year’s champion, Tsunehiro “gachikun” Kanamori. But the conclusion of the Capcom Pro Tour needed to find their thirty-second player. This was done through the Capcom Cup Last Chance Qualifier (LCQ) on December 13th.

243 players gathered at The Novo to try and qualify for a prize pool worth just over $375,000 USD. One of these players was our very own Jesse “Commander Jesse” Espinoza.

Placed in Group B2, Commander Jesse competed against twenty-seven other hopefuls for a chance to move on. In this group, Commander Jesse faced close friends such as Frankie “Stupendous” Lee Jr. and even one of the Five Gods of fighting games, Tatsuya “Haitani” Haitani to emerge from the group in the Top 24 Winners side. Throughout the group stages, Commander Jesse played Dhalsim, his signature character.

Once all the groups concluded, Commander Jesse went up against Kensuke “Trashbox” Ishikawa and his Birdie. Commander Jesse defeated him 2-1 overall, advancing to the top 8.

I felt fairly confident going into the LCQ because I placed Top 3 at the prior Wednesday Night Fight and got good practice in. As the matches went on, I started to feel more and more at ease. My win over Haitani had to be the turning point for me. It gave me the belief that I can go all the way. The following wins over Xiao Hai and Trashbox really set it off and I knew there was a good chance of qualifying. The atmosphere honestly reminded me of my days back at Family Fun Arcade where everyone was huddled around the main cabinet watching the best players go at it. I loved it.

Commander Jesse looks back on his road to top 8 at the LCQ

Top 8

Entering the top 8, Commander Jesse received his first defeat against Naoki “Moke” Nakayama. Commander Jesse started with Kolin for the first time that day. Moke quickly gained a 2-0 lead with his Rashid, prompting Commander Jesse to swap back to his Dhalsim. Despite the swap, Moke finished the final set and sent him down to Losers Quarter-Final.

By this point, the crowd in the building had significantly dwindled. Only six players remained. Commander Jesse was the only American remaining.

His first opponent in the Losers Quarter-Final was Yuji “Yujix” Ishida, a Chun-Li main. Commander Jesse went back to Dhalsim for this matchup. Despite dropping one set, he moved on to Losers Semi-Final versus FAV Gaming’s Ryusei. He continued to show his mastery with Dhalsim as he defeated Ryusei’s Urien with a quick 3-0.

Over on the Winners Final, Moke eked out a 3-2 win against Mizuha, another Kolin player. Commander Jesse would face Mizuha for a chance at a rematch against Moke. His familiarity with Kolin gave him a slight advantage as he selected Dhalsim once again. With a 3-1 victory, Commander Jesse had one more hurdle: a rematch with Moke in the Grand Final.

LCQ Grand Finals

The SFV crowd showed their support for Commander Jesse just before the LCQ Grand Final began.

In the end, Moke swept Commander Jesse 3-0 again and qualified for the Capcom Cup. 

The funny thing with Moke is that we actually played against each other at the last WNF. Some of the Japanese players said that he wanted to practice against me specifically and we got to play. We both obviously had no idea that we’d end up in Grand Finals of the LCQ to qualify for Capcom Cup later that week. He did a good job shutting down my Dhalsim and his experience against some of the best Kolin players in the world made things very difficult but I tried my absolute best. In the end, he was just too strong and playing too well.

Going into 2020, I’m looking forward to the new patch and the content that we can push out!

Commander Jesse’s thoughts on his matches against Moke and the future

Even though Commander Jesse was unable to qualify, his run was nothing but amazing and impressive.

Jesse went ham at the LCQ! He made it to the grand finals and almost made it through but got taken down by Moke. Jesse has grown a lot this year as a player and person; it’s awesome to be a part of his journey as he continues to grow his brand and become an even better player. 2020 will be a great year for us and I hope you’ll support him on his path!

Hai Lam

Hearthstone

David Lei “JustSaiyan” Shan and Muzahidul “Muzzy” Islam have been grinding the Hearthstone ladder as well as trying out Hearthstone Battlegrounds since their season ended.

They’ll be back next month for the Masters Tour in Arlington, Texas!

League of Legends

As we enter the new year, we will be announcing more information on our amateur team soon so stay tuned!

In Case You Missed It…

Thank you for your support! We are super excited to see what 2020 has in store for us!

Happy New Year!

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