This should probably go down in Tekken esports history. A player used Panda of all characters to win the whole 2018 Tekken 7 World Championship. The player who’s won it all using this rather interesting choice of character is Hyeon-ho “Rangchu” Jeong. What is interesting to note is that he didn’t win any other major tournaments leading up to the World Championships. According to Kotaku, Rangchu was able to earn a spot in the finals with his still stellar performances at events such as the Taiwan Challenger, where he finished second behind known Japanese quantity Takumi “Noroma” Hamasaki.
When it comes to playing competitively in Tekken, Panda is not considered a high-tier character. So it does come as a surprise to many that he won the entire championship with him. I guess one could even go so far as calling him the “Panda Master.” Fans in the Tekken community flocked to him because he used Panda. Also, pandas are cute!
Why Panda Is Overlooked in Tekken
Since Panda first made her debut in Tekken 3, she hasn’t really been seen much in the competitive scene. Her moves aren’t great, she’s slow, and also she is easily taken down. Rangchu was somehow able to turn those disadvantages to his advantage. He began showing people that, while she may be cute, she has a deadly side.
Rangchu also utilized other characters such as Kuma, Geese Howard, and Feng Wei during parts of the tournament. Those never worked out for him though, so he doubled down on Panda for the finals with great success. His final victory came against Qudans, who used Devil Jin. Rangchu had come from the losers bracket, but he forced a reset with a 3-1 win, and then he pulled out another 3-1 to win the tournament.
Now that Rangchu has proven that Panda can be used effectively in tournaments, could we see her more often? That remains to be seen. Besides how cute she is, players may want to take this as a lesson to learn how to use her more effectively in matches. Congrats to Rangchu for his win with this rather unconventional character choice.