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RedBull Strijders Malta Tekken 7 Preview

Saturday the 6th of April will mark the beginning of a brand new, and hopefully long, scene of FGC Tournaments in the island of Malta from where yours truly hails.

In partnership with Visionary Iron Team and Gamers.com.mt, Red Bull will inaugurate the first RedBull event in Malta, consisting of a trio of tournaments happening at the same time. These tournaments will feature Tekken 7, Soul Calibur VI and Mortal Kombat X. Unfortunately, the latter two do not feature as much of a scene as Tekken, and the relative lack of participants is further proof of this. On the other hand, Tekken’s scene is blossoming as of late, thanks to the ever increasing number, and quality, of competitions being held in the Maltese islands. The Malta Tekken National Cup held in mid-November is a prime example of how big the scene is becoming in Malta, having attracted a considerable amount of players from the Italian scene as well, players who ultimately dominated the competition.

The RedBull Strijders Fight Club event will feature 32 local players fighting for the honor of “Malta’s Best”, as the tournament is strictly Maltese-only. The initial phase of the tournament will consist of a group stage, splitting the players into four groups of eight members each, from which four players will make it into the Top16. From there, a double elimination format will take place, placing all players emerging from the groups on the winners’ side and proceeding normally until the end. We shall go briefly over each of the groups, highlighting favourites and potential dark horses of the event, to draw out a clearer picture, especially for those who are not as familiar with the Maltese scene.

Group A, consisting of Joker, NELL, CarldMalta, Jaguar, Bonof, DrewAce, Fridge, and Kawki is a very well rounded affair, with probably Jaguar and Kawki being favourites to at least go through to the next stage. Kawki has been mastering his sword-trickery as of late, and his Yoshimitsu will prove to be a very hard encounter for anyone standing in his way. Jaguar is the island’s prime Kings player, and given the return of beloved Armor King, you can bet that the silver armor clad wrestler will make an appearance on Saturday. CarldMalta is an up and coming competitor in the local scene, having made quite of a name for himself in the Sensei-Student tournament held last December, where together with Jaguar, whom he will face in the group stage, reached 7th place.

Group B is probably the toughest of the lot, as it features tons of potential as well as ascertained talent. Dy_Lee is not only favourite to go through to the next stage with super slashed odds, but also to win the whole thing. He definitely is the biggest favourite by far, and will also be carrying over the momentum from his emphatic performance at BattleDome in Milan. Earning himself a very well deserved 17th place and eliminating Tekken 5 legend Ryan Hart in the process, Dy_Lee became the highest ever placing Maltese Tekken player in any overseas event, proving himself as THE man to beat at Strijders. Going over the names in Group B, the other 24 players will definitely be thanking their lucky stars they did not end up in this mess. The most experienced player in the group will probably be Moonkin, as he has been mastering the craft of ducking under mids with Ling ever since I can remember. He also has a very powerful Alisa, meaning his female arsenal is nothing to take lightly. Lyonidas is another up and coming talent in the Maltese scene, and one of my picks for Dark horses of the day. He is as of now the only regular Maltese Tekken streamer (you can find him athttps://www.twitch.tv/thelyonidas) and has been making leaps ahead in terms of improvement, meaning a strong showing would come as no shock at all. Darkvide would probably be the player we know less about as he is the only foreigner taking part, having registered himself before the regulation of strictly locals. He will have a very tough group in front of him, but if he makes his way out, he will definitely become noticed. Final shoutout to Bio_Hazard, as a Mishima player is never to be cast aside.

DevilSean is the definitive favourite to win Group C, having been at the top of the Maltese scene for the last ten or so years. His trusted army of Mishimas are ready to roll when the action begins, so I’d keep my eye on this guy. Another very strong and still very young player is Kaneo, who was DevilSean’s partner in crime in December’s aforementioned Sensei-Student tournament, placing at an impressive 2nd place. Unfortunately he mains that pain in the behind of an idol in Lucky Chloe, but beware as behind her cat ears and mittens lies a killer awaiting his next prey. The Spikeman is the only Steve main in the mix, and as a fellow British Boxer fan I must support this man. Steve Fox can prove himself to be a strong matchup against anyone, so you can never take him for granted. Frenchy closes out the quartet of players I think will be going through from this group, as with very solid performances in the Sensei-Student tournament and being paired up with Dy_Lee, he won first place. He’ll definitely be up there in terms of entertainment as his main Yoshimitsu promises to bring his unique flair, but it’s ultimately up to his user to bamboozle his way to victory.

Phoenix Breaker starts off the roster for Group D in impressive fashion. Having been one of Malta’s best for quite some years, it is probably time for him to prove himself on a bigger stage. His trusted Bryan will come to rip anyone to shreds, so a tough matchup is assured. Coming off of a Top32 finish in November’s National Cup, Phoenix Breaker will be coming with a vengeance to prove himself as one of the nation’s elite, and is one of my picks for the final four of the day. Wenzu is one of the earlier players of the scene, and will no doubt come to make an impact. He brings an impressive Nina to the games, and for someone to enter a tournament with the blonde vixen given her toughness to master, is a statement of intent from the veteran. Now that his old main Julia has been released, he may ditch the assassin in favour of the nature activist, who is quite an amazing character in her latest version. Xiled2131 is a bit of a blind pick. He is known to pick Noctis to both win and troll his opponents, but in a tournament setting no one can predict the reaction of his opponents.

If I were to draw off a hypotetical Top 8 with my picks, it would probably be the following:

Dy_Lee, Lyonidas, Kaneo, Phoenix Breaker, Kawki, DevilSean, Jaguar and Frenchy, with massive favourite Dy_Lee winning the whole thing. Heck, I’d be amazed if someone managed to send him to the loser’s bracket, let alone not win the tournament!

Unfortunately, most of the remaining players are relatively unknown in the scene, so there is no practical way of gauging their abilities. Until Saturday that is, when all hell will break loose and only the toughest will secure their places in the second phase! So brace yourself, as the first edition of RedBull Strijders is just round the corner!

The whole competition will be livestreamed on twitch.tv, and a link to this will be provided as soon as we will have one.

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