Tekken is one of the oldest gaming franchises in the esports world – most pros have been playing their entire lives, hopping from generation to generation whenever a new game was released. As with many games, Korean players usually dominate the pro scene – at the very least until one Pakistani player shook things up – Arslan "Arslan Ash" Siddique.
What You Missed in Part 1
Arslan Ash hit the Tekken scene like an earthquake – nobody saw him coming and he wiped out the entire Tekken scene competing in the EVO Japan 2019 tournament. Even the most talented players couldn’t hold a candle to him – he quickly drew even with the "God of Tekken" Jae-Min “Knee” Bae, launching the beginning of an epic rivalry.
Check out Part 1 if you want to know more!
A Rivalry Meant to Be?
Knee and Arslan Ash were set to compete again in Thailand – except that Knee ended up in the lower bracket due to an early loss, while Arslan Ash soared through the upper bracket towards the finals.
However, the two met again – and Arslan Ash defeated Knee... once again. For many fans, it was the first time they saw him beat Knee, as their first show-down wasn’t streamed since nobody expected it to be a match worth watching.
Get Ready… K.O!
After matches in Asia, the last fight to be fought was to take Arslan Ash to the US – where he once again faced serious problems when it came to getting a visa. With the help of eFightPass – an organization specifically created to help esports athletes work out travel issues – he was able to make it to the US version of EVO – WSOE 7: The Tekken 7 Showdown.
READ MORE: Around the World: Esports in the US
Keep in mind, this was less than a year after Arslan Ash appeared on the world stage – the year before, nobody would have expected him at all, yet he was straight up favored to win.
Despite this, he had to forfeit his first game round… purely because his plane was late. In other words, by the time he made it to the tournament, he was already firmly in the losers’ bracket. JimmyJTran, a notable American player managed to knock him out though – and once again, critics were quick to write Arslan off as a fluke.
Arslan Ash and the Biggest Tournament of All
The Evolution Championship Series 2019 was all that was left to conquer – and Arslan Ash was eager to prove his might. He soared through the huge EVO bracket, defeating a number of popular and skilled players on the way. He had some close calls, but firmly earned his spot in the winner’s Top 8, and even the most skeptical of fans had to admit that Arslan Ash was here to slay – and to stay.
Once again, he found himself facing Knee, who was more than determined to finally get his revenge match against Arslan Ash. Neither of them had anyone left to prove their skills to – it was merely a question of who could take the crown home with them. Their showdown marked the winners’ semi-final – and in one of the most epic moments of Tekken history, Arslan Ash defeated Knee with a K.O in the last second of the last round of their match.
This put Knee in the losers’ bracket, which he plowed through on his way to the Grand Finals. Nobody was really surprised by the fact that these two faced off in the finals once again – out of 1900 players, they were what many had come to see.
A Fight Between Gods
For perhaps the first time in his career, Knee found himself in the underdog role – and Arslan Ash was the one to beat. Kazumi vs Kazuya – the biggest match of the year. More than 200.000 people watched the match – and the live crowd in the arena went wild.
Arslan Ash had done it – he decisively won the last competition, properly cementing himself as the best Tekken player in the world. Still, on the stage, he knelt down to pray – his hard work and difficulties making it to the international stage had all finally paid off.
Riding the High
Of course, even after winning everything, life had to go on – for Arslan Ash that meant, well, more winning. He won two more tournaments after EVO 2019, starting 2020 with a bang.
He also expanded his character pool a little – by attempting to master character Zafina. While most of his epic wins show him playing Kazumi, he also uses Geese, with Zafina being the latest addition. Arslan Ash stayed humble, though – he knows what’s coming and that the entire Tekken world is gunning for him now.
“People have more expectations this time around. The spotlight is on me. I feel in a way it’s my national responsibility and I hope that I win again and make Pakistan proud.”
One thing is certain – if anyone wants to beat Arslan Ash any time soon, they are going to need some serious talent and skills in Tekken.
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And if you like reading about the best and brightest in esports, check out our other pieces in our Life and Times series: