Our exclusive interview with the TEKKEN 8 champion of DreamHack Summer 2024.

The competitive season for TEKKEN is in its hot phase, as we have the TEKKEN World Tour and the Esports World Cup (EWC) qualifiers happening quite often. Some players have achieved great success in these events, proving their power on the international scene. ULSAN is one of such players. He's one of the best TEKKEN 8 players on the planet! 

KWANGDONG FREECS | ULSAN got a few top placements at some huge fighting esports events. He qualified for the EWC from Battle Arena Melbourne 14. He finished 2nd at Super Tournament 2024. And on June 16, ULSAN brilliantly won the TEKKEN 8 tournament at DreamHack Summer 2024 — after losing to Mulgold in the winners final but proceeding to the grand final nevertheless and resetting the bracket in a close fight.

We reached out to ULSAN and asked a few questions. Here is our interview with the player.

Esports.gg: Congratulations on your DreamHack Summer victory! Are you happy with how you played at the tournament? Is there something you would do differently?

ULSAN: Yes, I'm very satisfied with my play and how I changed the main character at this tournament!

Your matches versus Mulgold were so close! Did you change your approach after Super Tournament 2024? What do you think helped you win this time?

ULSAN: I think the reason for losing is that I was in so much of a hurry when I faced Mulgold back then. This time, I played slower and thought more.

You took Azucena to a match versus Kuma of Rangchu. Is the bear a difficult matchup in TEKKEN 8? Or is it only Rangchu who makes Kuma/Panda look so solid?

ULSAN: In my opinion, TEKKEN 8 Kuma/Panda is the strongest in the whole TEKKEN series. But also, yes — Rangchu is especially strong with this character! He makes Kuma look overpowered.

You’ve been playing mainly Dragunov and Reina at the recent tournaments. Why was there no Reina in the top 8 of DreamHack Summer?

ULSAN: After the new patch, it feels like all the moves for catching sidesteps got nerfed. And now, Reina has no good options to catch sidesteps. Attacking with her is more difficult after the patch, which makes her not a very good character in TEKKEN 8 — because this game is an aggressive one.

Your Dragunov costume is like a part of your competitive style. Do costumes really help people win in TEKKEN?

ULSAN: I care about the costumes in TEKKEN a lot. It's kind of a jinx!

Are TEKKEN stages as important for matchups as the actual characters? How do you choose a stage for a competitive fight?

ULSAN: In TEKKEN 8 tournaments, the rule is to choose a random stage only. So now we practice random stages on each set!

Do you agree with the popular opinion that TEKKEN 8 rewards offense more than defense? 

ULSAN: Attacking is still more important, but before the patch, it was just too much. Now, I’m satisfied with the defense/offense part. They’ve made the game nicely balanced! We need to think more about Heat and sidesteps now. It feels like I play good TEKKEN!

How do you get prepared for top-level events like the World Tour and the Esports World Cup?

ULSAN: Before the tournaments, I get much rest and sleep! And in my opinion, just a warm-up is better practice for this period! Also, I imagine different TEKKEN situations in my head and watch a lot of TEKKEN videos. That’s it!

It will be interesting to follow ULSAN at the World Tour event and the EWC tournament. Stick around on esports.gg for everything about TEKKEN 8!