This year's Combo Breaker from St. Charles, IL continued on Sunday with the latest stop on the Tekken World Tour. The Tekken Top 8 unfolded on Sunday afternoon with some of the top players in Tekken 7 battling it out in this Master tournament. With $5,000 on the line, the Grand Finals came down to Hoa "Anakin" Luu and 2018 Tekken champion Jae Min "Knee" Bae. Anakin looked to have the tournament won, but Knee fought all the way back to reset the bracket and ultimately win Combo Breaker 3-2 after a second epic Grand Finals set.
The second Grand Finals set was a back-and-forth affair between Anakin's Jack-7 and Knee's Paul. At this point, momentum was squarely on Knee's side. Anakin had shown total mastery of Jack-7 in the first two games, but started expressing nerves after the Grand Finals reset. Anakin began uncharacteristically dropping combos and gave Knee the opening to take a commanding 2-0 lead. Anakin showed signs of life in Game 4, withstanding Knee's command grabs and narrowly taking the last round. Knee was able to force tournament point, but facing elimination, Anakin rallied to take the next three rounds and force a Game 5.
Game 5 saw Knee rely on more of Paul's low parries and overhead elbows to force tournament point. Anakin looked to rally again, but Paul hit a command grab and a shoulder tackle. It was academic from there, as the timer hit double zeroes and Knee won the tournament.
The Grand Finals started with Anakin's Jack-7 putting intense pressure on Knee's Devil Jin. Anakin's pressure would pile on the chip damage over time, allowing him to take Knee's best shot and follow up with a crushing blow whenever an opening would present itself. Jack-7's sweep would prove to be Knee's undoing, with Jack-7 following up with his jackhammer fists.
With his back against the wall and facing a 2-0 deficit, Knee made the switch to Paul. Paul was able to use his arsenal of kicks, overhead fists, and leg sweeps to keep Jack-7 off-balance. While Anakin threatened with tournament point, Knee was able to force a Game 4. The same scenario presented itself in Game 4, but Anakin dropped a combo and gave Knee the opening to force Game 5. Momentum shifted to Knee, as he was able to polish off Anakin and force a Grand Finals reset.
The Losers Finals that preceded the final match of the day was an epic clash between Knee and defending Tekken world champion Hyeon-ho "Rangchu" Jeong. This clash went down to the wire, with Knee just barely able to pull it out at the end, following a number of rounds that took both players down to a sliver of health.
Combo Breaker's Master classification means the winner will receive 300 points, double the value of the lower-tier Challenger tournaments. Knee has gotten off to a bit of a slow start, sitting at 22nd place entering this weekend's tournament. He will climb the standings following this first place finish.