Stephen “Speedkicks” Stafford has announced his intention to retire from Tekken 7, and as a result has left Panda Global with immediate effect.
“Speedkicks, after much deliberation, has decided he is retiring from Tekken – although, we hope this does not mean a retirement for his intelligent quips about the franchise on his Twitter,” Panda Global said in a statement. “Speedkicks has earned the title of a veteran Panda, having donned the jersey in 2017 when he joined our growing family. We’ve made incredible memories together, and between his powerful Hwoarang and his sense of humor, he’s been a joy to have with us for these last 3 years. We know he’ll accomplish great things with whatever passion he chases in the future.”
Panda Global announced this departure alongside two other players, Shadowverse player Stavros “Zerofyne” Vitsensatos and Smash 64 veteran Dan “SuPeRbOoMfAn” Hoy (who recently went on to secure a World Record speedrun of Crash Bandicoot 2: Corext Strikes Back.) He also retires in a week that’s seen several other big names in the FGC retire, including Street Fighter legend Nuckledu
Speedkicks Quit Because He Didn’t Like Tekken 7 Despite Skill
Speedkicks was a beloved figure in the Tekken 7 community before he decided to retire, well known for his quips about recent balance changes as well as for being one of the best Hwoarang players in the world.
“I realized I was sick of the game way before I knew I had to stop competing,” Speedkicks explained on Twitter. “Taking 2nd place at TX Showdown using chars I never practiced after grinding in Korea in 2018 showed me the game was exactly what I thought it was. I spent the rest of that year and the next one trying to find alternate ways of winning that were fun to me because I didn’t want to let go of competing.I still don’t actually…I just hate the game. So my regret is not figuring out how to like the new Tekken.”
It seems Speedkicks will not be returning to the FGC either, due to the time commitment of learning a new game and being able to compete at a top level.
“The amount of time I dedicated to learning Tekken was pretty intense. I don’t think I have it in me to do that again,” he explained. “But I also couldn’t play a new game without giving it my best. So I’m just casual gaming from here on out.”
Speedkicks Had an Illustrious Tekken 7 Career
During his time in the Tekken 7 community, Speedkicks was a mainstay and consistently appeared across many top 8s in his career, including five career tournament wins at several events across North America.
Throughout his career, he earned approximately $14,990 from his 24 tournament placements, including about $1000 from Tekken Tag Tournament 2. Given his ubiquity across top 8s throughout his Tekken career, this also serves to highlight how underfunded the FGC is compared with other esports, as athletes with similar placement records in other games have made a significant living.
His placements included:
- 5 1st place finishes, including Dreamhack Atlanta, Austin 2018, and East Coast Throwdown 2017
- 6 2nd place finishes
- 4 3rd place finishes
- 10 top 8 finishes
He also had several top 64 finishes at almost every event he entered, and was a gatekeeper in several of those events to the upper echelons of play from would-be contenders. While he will no longer be in attendance at FGC events moving forward (after COVID-19 is cured, anyway,) any time a Hwoarang player starts making waves they will inevitably be compared to Speedkicks’ patience, poise, and ability to open up combos for big damage with the kick specialist.
cogu joins MIBR as manager and coach
MIBR have announced that they have secured the services of veteran Raphael “cogu” Camargo, who becomes the manager and coach of their team. The announcement comes at a delicate moment for the Brazilian squad, who are racing against the clock to find three players before next week’s BLAST Premier Fall Series.
More to follow…
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s Among Us stream peaks at over 400,000 concurrent viewers
U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez made her debut on Twitch on Tuesday with an Among Us stream as a way to encourage people to vote on Nov. 3.
AOC is the junior congressional representative for the 14th district of New York and is well known for her digital literacy and using technology to communicate with her constituents and the American people. Her stream on Twitch is the latest example of her use of social media for political activism.
“Make sure you hit up www.Iwillvote.com,” AOC said at the start of Tuesday’s stream. “Make a voting plan. Let me tell you why a voting plan is important. What we are seeing from data, and past studies and behavior, people who sit down and make a voting plan are more likely to get their ballot cast than people who don’t. . . please make sure to make your plan to vote.”
AOC was joined by fellow U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar, who is the junior congresswoman for Minnesota’s fifth district. Omar is a key ally of AOC, and both politicians are part of an informal group on Capitol Hill known as ‘The Squad.’ The congresswomen were also joined by Twitch personalities like Pokimane, Myth, HasanAbi, Gus Johnson, and Disguised Toast, among others. At one point, Omar’s daughter, Isra, also joined in on the fun.
The stream peaked at about 439,000 viewers, which makes it the third most-watched stream in Twitch history, behind Ninja’s collaboration with Drake and Shroud’s return to the platform. For further context, when Dr. Disrespect, one of the most popular streamers in the world, returned to streaming in August, he returned to more than 500,000 viewers. The congresswoman rivaled his numbers on her very first stream, and those viewership statistics don’t even take into account the viewership of the streamers who joined her on Tuesday evening.
Playing Among Us with Twitch stars was not AOC’s first foray into gaming. In 2019, the congresswoman made headlines when she hit Silver 4 in League of Legends.
She also made waves in Washington earlier this year when she introduced an amendment to block funding for military recruitment on live streaming platforms, like Twitch. That move followed the U.S. military using fake giveaways to trick Twitch users, including minors, into handing over their personal information to the U.S. military. That amendment was ultimately rejected.
With Twitch becoming a more mainstream platform, it would not be surprising to see more politicians utilizing it to connect with their own bases. AOC showed that you can reach a significant number of people by just playing games with popular streamers and having a good time.
Hikaru Nakamura challenges President Barack Obama to a game of chess
Popular chess streamer Hikaru Nakamura has challenged President Barack Obama to a game of chess.
In a tweet, Hikaru said any money made from the chess match between himself and President Obama would be to raise funds for Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden’s victory fund and Act Blue, a Democratic nonprofit organization.
The offer comes after U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez started her own Twitch stream by playing games of Among Us with some of the larger streamers on the platform. The stream was a part of a campaign to get people out to vote in the upcoming United States presidential election on Nov. 3. AOC’s stream pulled in more than 400,000 viewers, making it one of the most-watched streams in Twitch history.
Hikaru, a Grandmaster recognized as one of the best chess players in the world, rose to fame on Twitch after collaborating with xQc, one of the platform’s biggest names.
Since then, chess has become a popular title to stream on Twitch, even sparking tournaments between streamers of all backgrounds. Hikaru has also since signed to TSM.
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