I recently participated in the Tekken Online Challenge Philippines open tournament, which went about as well as you would imagine. Here’s what went down in my attempt to best my fellow countrymen.

To give you some background on my life with Tekken, my in-game name is Jagwar and I’m a diehard Lucky Chloe specialist. While I know my way around another cat-like character in King, Lucky Chloe has been my main since Season 2.

Despite being one of the more devoted Tekken players in my friend circle, I am by no means a Tekken pro. To sum up my competitive efforts, I’ve attended three local tournaments where I ended up in the top 8 while I placed 128th at REV Major 2019.

Going into the tournament, I was busy with Christmas planning and really couldn’t practice, but I thought I could cheese my way with Chloe’s dance moves and get at least one win against an over-confident Jin player.

Just like my REV experience, my first game at TOC Philippines was a DQ so my hands were pretty cold as I advanced further into the bracket. With another DQ giving me an undefeated 2-0 record, I finally met a solid match-up with a Lei player.

As you may know, Lei Wulong is one of the very few characters that boast a 170+ move list, meaning that you’ll be taking counter-hits and snake edges all day. Even though I was able to get the first game of the set with some hard-hitting combos, this Lei player basically pulled out all his tricks and handed me an ego-destroying reverse-sweep.

After a brief moment of rage and sadness, I had to fight a Bryan player in the loser’s bracket. With some stock knowledge on the Jet Uppercut killer, I managed to steal game one again with a no-round brown.

While the no-round brown gave me some hope of surviving the group stage, my daydream was immediately crushed by his pocket pick of Akuma. Once again, the match-up was pretty unknown and my dance moves could not save me from the endless flurry of dive-kicks and meter-burns.

And there it was, my short 2-2 run at TOC Philippines that featured two reverse-sweeps. In all honesty, I felt defeated and ultimately demotivated to play the game ever again. After blaming the lag, the match-up, and everything under the sun for my poor performance, I conceded that I just had to take it on the chin and remember that I was the main reason for not being able to defeat my opponents.

Looking back at it after a few weeks, my emotional reaction of wanting to quit the game was a bit over the top. Of course, lots of players tend to be overwhelmed by the feeling of both winning and losing, but you need to keep yourself in check when you take an emotional hit during a set or a match.

When it comes down to it, your loss is ultimately your responsibility. There’s no one else you can really blame so it’d be better to utilize it as a learning opportunity. Instead of looking at it as a shortcoming of your skill, take the loss as a lesson to your specific match-ups.

Fortunately, for Tekken, there is a Replay mode where you can look back at your games and see where you could’ve punished and taken advantage of the match. There are around 52 characters so don’t be so bummed if you get your butt kicked to a one-trick Lei Wulong as I did.

Interestingly enough, the advent of online tournaments leaves you with little to no closure on your fights. There are no immediate outlets like talking to your opponents and watching other peers at the venue, but rather, you’re left with just your own thoughts to overanalyze your losses.

My best advice after an unfortunate loss is to just keep playing. If you’ve already cleared with the next opponent and the marshall that your game will start at a specific time, go into Practice Online mode and spar a bit to keep yourself in tune with your character. Once you’ve gotten your reflexes warmed up, you can carry those hot hands to a potential win.

My main takeaway from this experience, and my advice to anyone, whether you’re playing Tekken or any other competitive game, is to remember that it’s just a game. While the reality of esports pits you in this gladiator-like pool system and tournament bracket, just know that your competitive career does not stop after just one loss. You’ll definitely have bigger or smaller opportunities to test your strengths once again.

While the Philippines is still observing strict social distancing in public areas and Bandai Namco has yet to announce a new online circuit, I’ll be looking to refine my Lucky Chloe to become a more competent tournament pick and will continue this Tekken journey with the hopes of becoming a solid local favorite in the next few years.

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