Tekken 7 returns to offline competition with Red Bull Kumite, which will take place in Las Vegas at the fabulous Caesar’s Palace.
The annual fighting game-focused invitational event Red Bull Kumite makes its return this year, with this second 2021 edition featuring Tekken 7 alongside Guilty Gear -STRIVE- and Street Fighter V: Champion Edition. Eight high-profile Tekken players will descend upon Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas, Nevada on November 13th, to play for their share of the $15,000 prize pool.
The tournament itself will be single elimination only, presumably similar to that of Red Bull Kumite London earlier in May. The semifinals will likely be best of seven matchups, with the grand finals being best of nine. The winner of the tournament will receive $6,500 in prize money, which accounts for 43 percent of the total pot.
Before the tournament proper begins, however, there will also be a last chance qualifier (LCQ). The LCQ will likewise take place in Caesar’s Palace, and will fill the eighth and final slot in the bracket. Red Bull implemented the LCQ in response to 2019 Evolution Tekken 7 champion Arslan “Arslan Ash” Siddique being unable to attend due to visa issues.
Full list of Tekken 7 players at Red Bull Kumite Las Vegas
- Jeannail “Cuddle_Core” Carter
- Nopparut “Book” Hempa
- Hoa “Anakin” Luu
- Vincent “Super Akouma” Homan
- Genki “Gen” Kumisaka
- Jae-Min “Knee” Bae
- Two Last Chance Qualifier winners
Nevertheless, it should be an exciting day for fans of pro Tekken 7. While the event won’t have that many participants, Red Bull made sure to invite some sick players to keep things interesting.
Players to Watch
Hoa “Anakin” Luu
- Country: USA
- Team: UYU / Red Bull Esports
- Frequently Used Character(s): Jack-7
Undoubtedly the strongest American player in Tekken 7, Anakin is no stranger to high pressure situations and going up against the best of the best the world has to offer. He certainly has the results to prove it: fourth place at the Tekken World Tour Finals in 2019, the bronze medal at Evo 2019, and second place at Combo Breaker 2019. More recently, he finished within the top six at Evo 2021 Online North America, and fourth at the Tekken Online Challenge.
Anakin is as consistent as they come over in the west. He only plays one character, that being Jack-7. His character loyalty absolutely does not make him predictable, though. Honestly, Anakin is arguably the best pure Jack-7 player in the world right now, given that others known for playing the character like Takumi “Noroma” Hamasaki regularly switch between their other picks.
Certainly, there will be stiff competition at Las Vegas come Saturday. But Anakin has proven time and time again that there is very little that fazes him at the highest level. American Tekken fans can and should expect plenty from him here.
Genki “Gen” Kumisaka
- Country: Japan
- Team: Donuts USG
- Frequently Used Character(s): Fahkumram, Lidia, Marduk, Shaheen
The sole Japanese representative in the field (assuming no others make it through the LCQ), Gen has been the king of online Tekken tournaments over in East Asia since the COVID-19 pandemic started last year. He’s been dominating both the Japanese and Korean scenes online, with three whole online titles to his name in 2021. Back in March, he completely destroyed the competition at Topanga League Season 3, going totally undefeated in matches with a staggering final advantage of +30 in the standings.
Gen is a fearsome, intimidating competitor for sure — but with Red Bull Kumite being a LAN event, things might look a little bit different for him come Saturday. He will have to prove his skill in territory that he hasn’t dipped his toes in since the start of 2020, which means that overall comfort will likely come into play for him in Vegas.
Still, his choice of characters will present a challenge to those he’ll be facing at Caesar’s Palace. He’s an excellent Lidia player, and Tekken fans know just how strong of a pick she can be. Marduk is also up there for sure. Gen will have the benefit of having a few more tools to choose from, which may come in handy when the pressure starts to mount against him in a live setting.
Vincent “Super Akouma” Homan
- Country: France
- Team: CRaZY Esport
- Frequently Used Character(s): Akuma
The master of the Satsui no Hado, albeit in Tekken 7 rather than in Street Fighter, Super Akouma has been one of the very best from Europe for quite a while now. In this year alone, he’s won five straight notable online tournaments in Western Europe, including the hotly-contested WEU edition of Evo 2021 online. Though he came from the lower bracket at Evo Online, he crushed JoKa in both sets to win the grand finals.
Of course, because Super Akouma plays Akuma, he’s got his fair share of haters in the scene. The guest characters in Tekken 7 have been a subject of controversy for a long time, with some of their built-in characteristics “breaking the rules” of Tekken. Regardless, Super Akouma has certainly risen above the derision, to become one of Europe’s premier players.
Who could forget his insane comeback against Yuta “Chikurin” Take at The Mixup in 2019? With such explosive potential, there truly is no counting Super Akouma out even when his back is against the wall. In a single elimination setting, this can make or break his tournament run. If he goes full Satsui no Hado in Vegas, the competition better watch out.
Jae-Min “Knee” Bae
- Country: South Korea
- Team: ROX Dragons
- Frequently Used Character(s): Steve, Devil Jin, Bryan, the entire remaining cast
Last but certainly not the least, we have the King of Iron Fist himself. Knee is a legend many times over at this point, and at the age of 36 still puts in incredible results. He hasn’t had the most impressive showings since the start of the pandemic, but anyone who knows Tekken, knows that Knee can turn it on any time he needs to.
Knee’s understanding and knowledge of Tekken is still unrivaled to this day. He can play literally any character at the highest level, be it his signature picks Bryan, Steve, and Devil Jin, to Geese or even Kazuya. If you thought Gen had versatility, he doesn’t even come close to Knee in that department.
But again, he’s been relatively quiet over the last 20 months. We’ve yet to see Knee’s current form in a LAN environment, so all eyes will be on the god of Tekken when Red Bull Kumite begins.
Red Bull Kumite 2021 will take place at Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas, Nevada on November 13th, 2021. Check out the fighting game action on Red Bull Gaming’s official Twitch channel.