Joey Fury on Taking 6th at the Tekken World Tour Global Championships
The best Tekken players in the world gathered in San Francisco on Sunday, November 12th, for the Tekken World Tour Global Championships. These fighters had been grinding it out all season in order to qualify for this spectacular event, held at City View in the Metreon. While slightly small, the venue sported a breathtaking view of the city, and gave fans an opportunity to play Bandai’s upcoming fighter, DragonBall FighterZ, as well as Tekken 7’s incoming guest character, Geese Howard.
Circa|Joey Fury was completely focused--unlike his girlfriend, who was a veritable bundle of nerves as she watched him play from a row of folding chairs in the VIP section. Joey managed to hold it together, even when picking his pool. TWT featured a unique lottery system, which allowed players to pick which groups they wanted to participate in. “He didn’t hesitate for a moment,” Aris said. “He knew that’s where he wanted to be when he woke up this morning.”
“They had announced the format of this tournament just a few days ago, that they were going to allow us to select our groups,” Joey explained further. “And so, when I heard about that, I very quickly realized that there was a possible advantage to be gained from choosing to join JDCR’s pool. I figured during the selection process that people would avoid that pool, and that the later seeds would end up getting trapped in it. I figured if I jumped into his pool early on, I could maybe have a pool with one really strong player and two weaker ones. Maybe, worst-case scenario, I could make it out in losers, best-case, I could get out over JDCR, which would be huge. It ended up working out really well.”
“I liked it. I thought it was interesting and added another strategic element. It added some hype for the crowd. There was also a bit of a mind-game to play with the other competitors. Like, ‘I think I can beat you,’ by jumping into their pool. I kind of wanted to send a message when I put myself in JDCR’s pool. ‘I’m not afraid of anybody right now.’
“It did, of course, end up putting me in losers. I just figured it was a good option. I was happy to get out. Even getting out of the group stage would be really hard. I was actually pleased with that strategy.”
Joey’s first match of the day was a severe blow. He went up against Echo Fox|JDCR’s Dragunov with Jack-7 and lost 0-2. Joey’s defensive strategy of playing out of the corner didn’t hold up well against JDCR’s on-point whiff punishes and aggressive offense. Joey’s plan worked in his favor--by taking a loss from JDCR, he was able to beat the others in his Group, and come out in loser’s side for Top 8.
A large part of Joey’s performance hinged on nerves. “It think it was affecting everyone quite a bit,” he admitted. “I quickly noticed in this tournament from the very beginning that matches were going to be determined by who had the best composure.It was clear how rattled everyone was. The primary factor deciding everything today was composure.That’s where I felt like I got my victories. Just by keeping it together moreso than executing superior gameplay. It’s just a matter of holding it down. I feel like I lost it against TissueMon a bit. That’s the story of the tournament. Whoever has the best control of themselves will end up winning.”
After making it out on loser’s side, Joey had to face another American in Top 8--Panda Gaming’s Speedkicks.
“Steven and I had kind of been talking occasionally leading up to this tournament, discussing our opponents we’d have to fight, “ Joey recalled. “We kind of said, ‘We really want America to win this, so let’s band together and try to do this.’ I think we spent a lot of time and energy scouting the European and Asian players and not doing a ton of scouting on each other. At least, that’s what I thought.”
Joey’s match against Speedkicks started out against him. Speedkicks was able to successfully sidestep many of Jack’s advances and get in decent damage with his flamingo kicks, or what Aris dubbed, “the dance of Hwoarang,” defeating Joey 3-1 in match 1. Joey took time to reflect after this overwhelming defeat and came back strong.
“Then I started playing him, and he was playing so much differently than last time,” Joey said. “He always does. He always kind of transforms himself, which is obviously a really intelligent strategy for every match. I quickly realized he was playing a lot differently. The story of my final stand in this tournament--I was forced to play with reckless abandon.”
Joey came back to take game two 3-1 with impressive wall pressure and incredibly risky moves, such as his finish with Jack’s slide, which was able to take out Speedkicks from an impressive range. Joey continued with an aggressive playstyle, stopping any chance of momentum from his opponent. Speedkicks came back and the match went 2-2, down to the final round of the final game. Joey clutched out the win with a well-timed whiff punish. It was a bittersweet end for Speedkicks, but at least one American was left standing.
Joey’s next match against Italian Master Raven main Tissuemon proved to be just as difficult. The “unorthodox” matchup between Raven and Jack went in Raven’s favor immediately. Joey was defeated 3-1 in the first game due to Tissuemon’s control and offense. Joey knew he had to make a decision, and so made the switch to Paul.
“When I got cleaned up in that first game against Tissuemon with Jack, I sat and thought really hard, thinking like, ‘You know, my strategy beforehand was just to go down with Jack until the very end. But in that moment, it felt like, I’ve come all this way with Jack and he really just didn’t work out, and I’ve had this character in my pocket the whole time, and no one really knows how I play him. Nobody has seen me play Paul. I just felt in my heart like, ‘I have to do this.’”
“Unfortunately, I did feel pretty flustered playing that character for the first time in a big tournament. I was doing a lot of panic options, and just crazy stuff. A lot of it ended up working,” he said, laughingly. “But, it just wasn’t enough in the end. Tishimon was a bit too on top of it. I couldn’t panic my way to victory the whole way.”
Joey’s newfound mobility with Paul allowed him to start back strong in the next match. “We never see Joey sidestep!” Aris commented as Joey took round one with a significant life lead. “Well, well, well!” He took round two with a perfect in ten seconds. His momentum was high.
The tension rose in round 3. Tissuemon barely clutched out the game after an impressive comeback from Joey. He took round four convincingly, as well, boiling it down to the final round. Joey was near death, but retaliated and managed to barely take the game after sidestepping and using Iron Mountain, knowing it would hit.
You could see the relief on his face as the word “GREAT” flashed across the screen. “USA! USA!” the crowd chanted. It wasn’t over yet.
“This guy is nuts!” Aris yelled in exasperation as Joey barely took round one off Tisseumon. Joey’s risky moves ended up being his downfall, as Tissuemon capitalized off his mistakes and gained good damage from punishing him. He went with a low, but it was too risky. Tissuemon blocked the attack and punished, taking the final game 3-1.
“I had some execution errors with Paul that could’ve kept me in it a bit closer,” Joey reflected. “At the same time, he just kept giving me chances, kept dropping combos, and I was just barely getting by for a lot of that. He played really great. I felt a lot of momentum accumulate when I picked Paul and I won those first two rounds, and he made this huge block on my Demoman, and I was ready to run away with all of the momentum. I didn’t think he would see it at all, and he just spotted it. That’s what really kept him, I think, that was a crucial block. It started to tilt me a little bit. He played fantastic. I was really impressed.”
“I was proud that I could represent my country and be the last one standing, and put on a show there in the end. I was playing with everything I had. I just wanted to leave everything out on stage. It felt good to have the crowd behind me.”
“As far as being the highest placing American, it doesn’t really mean to much to me just because it was such a stacked tournament and it’s not like I got to play all the Americans. I’m just proud of myself that I made it that far. I look forward to pushing myself harder and making a run for it next year.”
Article by Ginni Lou (@EXT0PD0LL)