Battle Arena Melbourne 9 (BAM9) kicks off tomorrow and is set to be the largest fighting game tournament ever held in Australia. With BAM being a Premiere Event on the Capcom Pro Tour, we will invaded by an army of international invaders coming for the Street Fighter V crown such as Daigo Umehara, Razer Infiltration, Razer Xian, Echo Fox Momochi, Fuudo and many more. Who will defend the Victorian shores from these overseas insurgents as well as the armies from interstate and how has the metagame and player rankings changed since the last major?

To break down Tekken 7 we have Abi “DaBeast” Adegbola a long-time Tekken 7 player and TO:

Who are the main challengers from Victoria?

Abi: In Victoria there are two that stand out above the rest though. Dee-on, last year’s OHN winner and Go Back|Chand NY, OHN’s 2015 winner. Both also placed top 4 at last year’s BAM and depending on who you ask, could be considered the top 2 players in the country right now.

Victoria still has potential threats to Dee-on and Chand NY: Aken and Bboy Phoenix have placed extremely consistently at Tekken 7 locals this year with each taking at least one to their name. Neither are strangers to top 8 placings at majors either. dANiel, Rame, and Chanel Number 6 are also top Victorian players that all have a chance at placing top 8.

Last BAM’s Top 4 from left: Sukebe (2nd) Marimo (1st) Go Back| Chand NY (3rd) and Dee-on (4th)

What about players from Sydney – traditionally huge rivals?

Abi: Crocop is probably Sydney’s biggest threat at BAM outside of Handsomeboi123. He placed top 32 at last year’s EVO and has 2 YSB titles to his name, one of them a win over Dee-on. Lazy Dave and 4LCH3M15T are also regular top 8 placers at YSB, the former having a 3rd placing at the most recent YSB. A dark horse to look out for is Cruise Control. He’s a new player from what I’ve heard and has been coming out to YSB since Tekken 7 has been available but has managed to place in top 8 every single time he’s entered.

And other states?

Brisbane are in an curious spot. They lost their best player, Marimo, due to him going back to Japan. Also, Jabuthehutt who came 2nd at last year’s OHN looks like he won’t be in attendance at BAM. What’s interesting though is that collectively, out of the 3 main states they’ve had the least exposure to any build of Tekken 7, outside the arcade version that is available around Australia (which is significantly different to versions with Akuma and beyond). Despite this, 3 of their players Colonov, Ravenboy, and yiggs have all placed top 8 at a YSB. I’d look for them to cause upsets, as well as Scorpion who has placed in 3 successive Top 8’s at Tekken majors.

Zarzob from New Zealand usually has a decent showing and was just shy of making top 8 BAM last year though I think his focusing might be more on SFV.

Regarding internationals, I heard a couple are coming as well (Echofox’s Saint and JDCR). Real talk though if anyone knocks either of them into losers, I’ll buy them dinner!

How has the metagame and players rankings shifted since the last major?

I think one of the main factors that will come into play during this tournament is who has had the most exposure to the updated builds of the game past what is available at the arcades. The updates after 7.0 have changed the game quite significantly in the form of character data, new moves, new characters, and new game mechanics.

Player rankings haven’t shifted too much since the last major. On a local level you see a lot of consistency in tournaments e.g. Crocop, Dee-on, Handsomeboi123 placing high in Sydney. Same with Aken, Bboy Phoenix and Chand NY (when he has time to enter) in Melbourne. How this will change when it comes to a major is always interesting though. Some players seem to do pretty well on the big stage while other have personal demons from other states but I won’t get into for fear of embarrassing anyone. Either way Tekken, as usual, looks to be hype!

Battle Arena Melbourne 9 takes place on May 12-14 at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre. It will be a 3 day event with features such as: official afterparty, huge pot and prize bonuses, artist alley, cosplay competition,

BAM9 is a Global Premier Event on the 2017 Capcom Pro Tour and will feature international guests such as Daigo Umehara and Razer Infiltration and Xian for SFV and Nakat from the US for Smash. BAM9 will also feature a Tekken 7 pre-release tournament, a Tekken 7 New Challengers tournament, international players such as Saint and JDCR and the Tekken Pass: free entry to play on over 40 Tekken 7 machines all weekend.

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