Qualifier Four preview: Pool A set for AlphaPlay team kill; stacked draws in Pools B and C

(Check out our glossary as you read this article for definitions of the jargon used)

The crowd looks on and reacts during a set at Qualifier Two of the TEKKEN 254 Circuit this season on 23 February 2019

Going into the six-week break that is set to end with Qualifier Four next Saturday, defending Circuit champion AP | Mickey secured yet another tournament win at Qualifier Three last month ahead of Frost and DVK, who finished second and third respectively, with the trio coming out as the Top 3 for the second tournament running. T-Vets | Poker Face also earned himself a maiden Top 8 finish to climb six places in the overall rankings to tenth as Season Three enters its second half and the race for Top 16 to qualify for the Circuit Finals intensifies.

Circuit newcomer Kafikan consolidated his lead at the top of the Challenger Division with his second tournament win of the season, finishing ahead of fellow newcomers T-Vets | Defiant, who Kafikan narrowly defeated in a close grand final, and Paul main Collins Odhiambo.

For eight of the twenty-four in the Premier Division, Qualifier Four marks a third straight week of Tekken action after competing in the Kenya national qualifiers of the African eSports Championship for the past two weeks. AP | PR1EST in particular will be looking for a turnaround in form this weekend, having yet to register a set win in that competition.

Conducted towards the end of March, the Premier Division draw for Qualifier Four coughed up a "sponsored pool" in Pool A, as well as groups of five previous Top 8 finishers in both Pools B and Pool C.

Pool A

Left to right: AlphaPlay members SlyFacEd, Tony, Mickey and PR1EST pose for a team photo at the Season Two Finals on 1 September 2018. The latter three have never found themselves all in the same pool before

Pool A is set to produce an AlphaPlay team kill as all three of their Tekken players, Mickey, Tony and PR1EST, find themselves in the same pool for the first time ever. Mickey and Tony were previously drawn together in Pool A for their third Circuit meeting at Qualifier One in January, while Tony and PR1EST are set to meet for the fifth time after most recently clashing heads in Pool D at Qualifier Two in February. PR1EST and Mickey will also be facing each other for the fifth time overall, and the first time since the Season Two Finals.

The three will be joined by RMP | Shoryuken, XiT | QueenArrow and Pip Squeak. The former two have met on the Circuit twice before, while the latter two are set for their second ever meeting (would be the third had Pip Squeak not missed Qualifier Two in February). Shoryuken and Pip Squeak last faced each other at Round One of Season One in January 2018.

Both Mickey and Tony will be facing Shoryuken for the fourth time overall, the latter for the second consecutive tournament, while QueenArrow will meet PR1EST for the second time overall (as well as the second consecutive tournament). QueenArrow will be facing Mickey for the third time and Tony for the first time since Qualifier Three last season.

Pool B

DVK (foreground) lost the fourth of his five previous meetings with Xstar (middle, in red) here at Qualifier Three of Season Two on 4 August 2018, but came out on top in their most recent meeting at Qualifier Two this season

Five previous Top 8 finishers will be doing battle in Pool B, with Xstar and DVK the favourites to make it out given their respective records and recent form. The two are set to meet for the sixth time overall, with their previous meeting going the latter's way in a close set. One of their close contenders, Proto-G, will be facing Xstar in the Circuit for the second time (the first time since Round Two of Season One) and DVK for the third time.

Fellow T-Vets members Poker Face and Nick Fury will be meeting in the Circuit for the second time after previously facing each other in the pool stage at Qualifier Two. DVK and Nick Fury are set for the fourth meeting overall, while Poker Face will face both DVK and Xstar for the first time since Qualifier One last season. Proto-G will be facing Poker Face for the first time ever and Flurryfists for the first time since Round One of Season One.

Rounding off the draw for Pool B was PseudoDude, who is yet to appear at a single tournament this season.

Pool C

Darktempest (left) and Furious Monkey, seen here competing at Qualifier Two of Season Two on 21 July 2018, will be facing each other on the Circuit for the second time

A second group of previous Top 8 finishers finds itself in Pool C. The highest-placed among them are currently Darktempest and T-Vets | Battousai, who will be meeting in the Circuit for the first time ever. Lord Vega, who has the most Top 8 appearances in the pool, is set to face Darktempest for the fifth time and Battousai for the third time.

Furious Monkey will be facing Darktempest, Lord Vega and Challenger Division newcomer Lowlife on the Circuit each for the second time, the third after their previous meeting at Qualifier Two, while he is set to clash heads with Battousai for the third time ever. Lowlife is also set for a second meeting with Battousai, but has never faced any of his other competitors in the pool before.

The last of the Top 8 finishers making up the pool is Tiz, whose low ranking and lack of points owe to his absence from tournaments this season.

Pool D

RobbyM$ (left) and Overhaul | In4red will be facing each other on the Circuit for the first time since their set here at Qualifier Two of Season Two on 21 July 2018

Yet to finish below the Top 3 this season, Frost will be expected to continue his fine run of form as the winner of Pool D, though his opponents are sure not to be pushovers. Overhaul | In4red, who finished in the Top 8 at Qualifiers Two and Three this season, is set for his fourth meeting with Frost, albeit the first in the pool stage since Round One of Season One.

Challenger Division newcomer Stanley Styler will be facing both Frost and In4red on the Circuit for the first time, but is set to rub shoulders will fellow Law main RobbyM$ for the third time. Another Law main, T-Vets | Chuma Mzee, is set to continue his series against RobbyM$ with a fourth meeting, but will be facing Stanley Styler on the Circuit for the first time.

Stanley Styler's fellow Challenger Division newcomer Overhaul | Deno_dev is set to face both his team-mate In4red and Chuma Mzee for the second time on the Circuit, but will be introducing himself to the rest of the pool. However, he failed to appear for Qualifiers Two and Three this season.