Competitive Tekken 8 match causes a frenzy after a rogue controller 'robbed' pro player of a game-winning combo

Dragunov points with two fingers.
(Image credit: Bandai Namco)

A competitive Tekken 8 match ended in controversy this weekend after a rogue controller connection caused a potentially game-winning combo to be dropped, leading to a match reset which ended in a loss for the would-be winner.

DreamHack Dallas saw nearly 500 Tekken players descend on the Kay Bailey Hutchinson Convention Center this weekend, vying for a $50,000 prize pot and a spot at the Esports World Cup in Riyadh this summer, which itself is boasting a huge $1 million prize pool. Two of those players were Korean pro Kim "JDCR" Hyun-jin and Filipino pro Alexandra "AK" Laverez, who were duking it out on the winners side of the top 64. Both players had won one game apiece and were both one round away from winning the third and final game to continue their run on the winners side. 

JDCR had smacked AK with a helluva combo on a 90% health lead, carrying his opponent to the wall ready for the final killing blow. But right before he could do it, the PlayStation 5 controller connect screen appeared, killing his inputs and causing him to drop the combo. Commentators Tasty Steve and Kai Kennedy can be heard exclaiming "Oh no!" as it happens, as JDCR takes off his headset and sinks his face into his hands. 

The Twitch chat descends into absolute chaos as tournament organisers attempt to discern whether one of the players had their controllers disconnected—which results in an automatic loss for the faulty pad user—or whether someone else who was previously connected to the setup had attempted to turn their controller on. It was deemed to be the latter, leading to a reset of the final round to play from the beginning, which Kai Kennedy described as "quite the windfall for AK," adding: "This is a heartbreaker, you hate to see situations like this pop up but it does happen. Live competition is live competition."

As the match gets reset, Twitch chat can be seen saying things like "JDCR won that fair and square," "JDCR ALREADY WON," "JDCR got screwed" and "Jdcr won. This is rigged." Regardless, the game goes ahead and becomes almost a mirror of the pre-controller disconnect round, as AK gets a tidy life lead and clinches the win with 22 seconds to spare. Twitch chat once again loses its mind, calling out accusations of rigging and saying JDCR was "robbed." Shortly after the loss, JDCR tweeted "Idk it hurts a bit but yeah".

A controller connection disrupting a Tekken 8 match.

(Image credit: EWC_Fighters via Twitch)

The discussion spilled out onto Reddit and other social media, with fans who were watching accusing the rogue controller connector as doing so maliciously in an attempt to purposefully sabotage JDCR—someone had apparently attempted to connect a controller prior to JDCR's first win against AK, though this had also happened during an earlier set between UK pro Joka and American player Jahzzo.

The situation has also led to AK getting a heaping of rather undue hate flung his way, with some going as far as claiming AK orchestrated the whole thing to give himself another shot at taking the win. Others said that AK should have forfeited the game which, as some pointed out, more than likely goes against the official Tekken World Tour rules around "engaging in or allowing outcome fixing."

As Kai Kennedy noted during the kerfuffle, ultimately rules are in place to deal with a situation of this kind. In the official Tekken World Tour rules regarding match disruptions, it dictates: "If a match disruption occurs that is out of control of the players of the match, such as the action of another player's un-desynced controller or a game software crash or console hardware failure making players unable to continue a set, the tournament organizer staff member shall order the players to restart the set, but with the same round count from the point that the match disruption occurred."

DreamHack founder Alex Jebailey addressed the controversy on Twitter, saying he was "incredibly sorry for what happened during the JDCR vs AK match," adding: "I take full responsibility for an external pause that shouldn't have happened." In a follow-up tweet, Jebailey said: "I feel terrible for the end result for JDCR and will help him attend future qualifiers for another chance but the amount of death threats and crazy things being said to me are pretty horrendous."

Twitch chat following JDCR v AK.

(Image credit: Twitch)

JDCR, who went on to narrowly miss out on top eight and a qualifying position at the Esports World Cup after losing to Pakistani player Arslan Ash, took to Twitter to say: "Finished at 9th. AK and the TO checked on me many times if I felt ok with everything. I should've checked the bluetooth and I could've done better. Thanks for supporting."

Ultimately, it's mighty unfortunate that it happened right as JDCR was clearly about to close out the set. It has generated a much-needed discussion around the responsibility of ensuring controllers are desynced between sets or, as Jebailey pointed out all the way in 2020, using the PS5 function to turn off bluetooth all together and making folk play their matches wired. 

I've attended and competed in a handful of tournaments since the beginning of last year, and have only had one instance where tournament organisers have taken the liberty of hopping on stage between games to make sure all unnecessary bluetooth devices are deleted off the console. Considering you couldn't even desync your own pad on PS4—but can now on the PS5—it's unsurprising that many players don't take the initiative to do it themselves. Personally, I feel like it needs to become a more robust part of a tournament organiser's responsibilities, especially when it comes to the main stage setup. Having something like this occur in a top 64 match is brutal, but it becomes an even bigger mare when it could potentially happen in something as big as a grand finals game.

Mollie Taylor
Features Producer

Mollie spent her early childhood deeply invested in games like Killer Instinct, Toontown and Audition Online, which continue to form the pillars of her personality today. She joined PC Gamer in 2020 as a news writer and now lends her expertise to write a wealth of features, guides and reviews with a dash of chaos. She can often be found causing mischief in Final Fantasy 14, using those experiences to write neat things about her favourite MMO. When she's not staring at her bunny girl she can be found sweating out rhythm games, pretending to be good at fighting games or spending far too much money at her local arcade.