The Red Bull Golden Letters Tekken tournament takes place this weekend, and amongst the participants is last year’s winner, AyoRichie. Although many called his rise to the top in 2022 an underdog story, his skills were undeniable. As one of the best Leo players in the world, he’s a name that Tekken fans are quite familiar with.
However, he’s certainly going to have his work cut out for him this year. Many of the best Tekken players from around the world have arrived to compete in the Red Bull Golden Letters tournament. With a new and unique rule, it should be an exciting event to watch. If a player manages to secure three Perfect or Great rounds, they automatically win their set and move on.
I recently spoke with AyoRichie before the matches kicked off for the Red Bull Golden Letters tournament, and we talked about his chances, the players that he’s nervous about playing against, Tekken 8, and much more.
AyoRichie speaks about his chances in the Red Bull Golden Letters Tekken tournament and more
Q. First, thank you for taking the time to chat with us! You had an amazing run in the Red Bull Golden Letters tournament last year. Many called it an “underdog story,”but what about you? Do you agree, or were you confident about your gameplay?
AyoRichie: Going into the tournament? I felt like I was playing at an okay level, probably not to the level of the professional players, but I always knew I had, you know, some ability. I was confident I could do something, but to go on and win it? Yeah, I wasn’t sure about that, I’m not sure about that one.
Q. How do you feel about the tournament rewarding Perfects/Greats by giving players automatic wins? Is it something that you think keeps pro players on their toes?
AyoRichie: I think it’s very cool. I think it’s one of the things that should be implemented in the game, maybe here and there. I don’t think it should be, you know, used too often because I feel like, you know, the usual format is what everyone’s used to. It has been around for a long time. But I think if you do things like this every now and then, it’s very interesting and it keeps things fresh.
Q. The best of the best are coming to this Tekken 7 tournament, without a doubt, including Knee, JDCR, Anakin, and many more. How do you feel about your chances in taking first place two years in a row?
AyoRichie: Two years in a row? Well, the difficulty level definitely creeped up. Well, I’m very confident. Like I said, I’ve been working very hard to try and play the best that I possibly can, working different playstyles. So, hopefully, I can kind of catch these guys by surprise because I haven’t played against a lot of them before.
So, it’s going to be interesting and I’m feeling confident. I also want to obviously, you know, give the people that have been supporting me, you know, something to remember basically, so I can make up and not be sick.
Q. Do you feel particularly excited or nervous to play against any particular players?
AyoRichie: Probably nervous about playing JoKa, because me and him play quite a lot and we kind of know how each other plays. Obviously, that can be a bit of a tricky one, but I’m still excited to play. Definitely excited to play against Knee as well, since I’ve never played him before. And you know, he’s like the Tekken GOAT. So yeah, I think that’s the one I’m super excited to play.
Q. Tekken 8’s roster is slowly being revealed, with Jin most recently getting a gameplay trailer. Unfortunately, there’s been no word on Leo showing up as of yet. Have you been keeping up with the Tekken 8 reveals, and if so, is there anyone you’re excited to see?
AyoRichie: Yeah, I’ve been keeping up with it. I like the look of Kazuya. I already play Lars, so obviously, he hasn’t got the game playable yet, but Lars is a character that I’m very familiar with, so I can imagine that’ll be a character I can just pick up and play from the get-go. So, maybe Kazuya or Lars. I think those are the characters I would sway towards if Leo isn’t revealed.
Q. As arguably one of the best Leo players, are you worried about your opponents counterpicking you in the tournament?
AyoRichie: Um, I don’t really, I’m not too worried about, you know, counterpicks because this is the character that I just try and maximize. It doesn’t really matter what match-up it is, I will know some stuff.
So, there’s nothing that’s really going to, you know, counter me specifically. I just need to do my thing and play as well as I can. I think that will outweigh, you know, the bad match-up. So, yeah, I’m not too worried about counterpicks.
Q. On the topic of Tekken 8, the Heat System is really getting a lot of Tekken veterans talking. Some people are criticizing it for being a mechanic to draw in 2D/anime fighting fans. Where do you stand, and do you think that’s necessarily a bad thing, if it is true?
AyoRichie: Um, I think yeah, the Heat system would definitely bring in some new players. It’s a way of being more creative with your offense and it’s going to be quite hard to deal with defensively. So, I think that’s the issue most pro players are having.
Obviously, they want to be rewarded for good defense, but I do believe that that’s going to bring in, you know, room for new players to really, you know, pick up the game and be able to compete with maybe a bit less time than it usually would take to be a pro in Tekken.
So, I think that’s the kind of the route to take. They want it to be easier. They want more people to get involved in the game. So, I mean, it’s cool, right? It’s decent, but I’d have to play it to really get over it, that’s all.
Q. What does Tekken 8 need, in your opinion, to make it appeal to both the pro players and the casual fanbase?
AyoRichie: Um, I think with the Heat System that they obviously announced, I think that’s the kind of risk that they’re going for. Like, I think that is the way, you know, to cater to the new players, but how is it going to affect the pro players?
I think that, in itself, it’s like what they’re going with. I don’t really know specifically what they could do, but I think that’s a good risk that they’re taking, to be fair. So yeah, I think the Heat system is interesting. It’s definitely interesting. It’s going to change a few things, but I think it’s a good risk to take.
Q. What are your goals as a fighting game player this year? Although you primarily play Tekken, are there any games coming that you’re interested in learning?
AyoRichie: Um, I’m looking forward to Street Fighter 6. I’m definitely going to try out that game for sure.
Jason: Oh, man, I can’t wait for [Street Fighter] 6.
AyoRichie: Yeah, and I haven’t been the biggest Street Fighter fan. I haven’t really, you know, invested a lot of time into the game. But I do know there’s a lot of hype around the game, so I’m definitely gonna give it a chance and see what I can do.
Street Fighter, yeah, Street Fighter’s the game. Mortal Kombat is potentially coming out as well. So, I’m quite a decently big Mortal Kombat fan. I’m not the biggest, but I really like the old retro Mortal Kombat games. It would be very interesting to try out, you know, the new Mortal Kombat, and see what it has to offer.
The Red Bull Golden Letters Tekken tournament takes place this weekend, and you can watch it on Red Bull’s Twitch and YouTube.
You can find AyoRichie on his Twitch, Twitter, and YouTube.
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