Esports Fighting Games

Another Evo in the Books

It is Tuesday and we have another Evo written in the books. This weekend had so many players competing to become kings. Friday and Saturday saw thousands of competitors be eliminated until we had our Top 8 finalists across the eight main games. Three of those eight games had crowned their king Saturday night.

Team Kill to Victory

The first of these games was Injustice 2. We had some new names in this year’s Injustice 2 Top 8. Method’s SylverRye and Noble’s Tweedy were newcomers along with favorites like EchoFox’s SonicFox and Panda Gaming’s Hayatei.

There was over 10 different characters used in these finals. We saw heroes like Blue Beetle and Doctor Fate fight duke it out with villains like Cheetah and Black Adam. Fighting game prodigy FOX|SonicFox was a favorite to win but we saw him eliminated at 3rd Place.

We had Noble teammates Tweedy and Rewind play each other in Grand Finals. It was the first Evo for both players and Rewind had knocked Tweedy into the Losers’ Bracket earlier in the tournament. This meant that Tweedy had to defeat Rewind in two sets if he wanted to become the champion. This was a task too large for Tweedy as Rewind was victorious and became the Injustice 2 Evo Champion.

First Year, First King

BlazBlue: CrossTag Battle was the next game to crown its king. This was the game’s first year at Evo, so nobody knew what to expect when it came to Top 8. The game has competitors construct teams of two to turn it into a tag team match. We had a high variety of characters represented in the finals, but one team stood out.

Ruby from the RWBY franchise and Gordeau from the Under Night in Birth series both wield scythes. Their scythes give them phenomenal range and great utility. Ruby and Gordeau was a combination that we saw from two competitors. Fighting game legend Kazunoko had this combination and found himself eliminated at 5th place. Heiho was the other player that we saw with this team. Heiho became the champion after eliminating PAG|Fame96’s Yu and Jin team in Grand Finals.

Image Courtesy of Polygon

Champion of the Coven

The final game of Saturday was Super Smash Bros. for WiiU. Previous Evo Champions ZeRo and Salem were absent from the Top 8. This meant that we were guaranteed to have a new king. Smash 4 has the largest roster of characters between all the games in the series. Despite having the largest roster, we only had 6 different characters.

PG|MVD and DNG|Nietono appeared in the tournament with Diddy Kong. The most popular character in Top 8 was Bayonetta who was represented by three different players. Bayonetta is a guest character from the Sega series of the same name. She is a witch who uses her witchcraft for utility and mobility in Smash. Lima, CaptainZack and EMG|Mistake played Bayonetta and they made up three of the Top 4 competitors.

Mistake was eliminated at 4th place and Nietono was eliminated at 3rd place. This left Lima and CaptainZack in a Bayonetta mirror match for the supreme witch and Evo Champion. CaptainZack was on the loser’s side of Grand Finals, and in spectacular fashion reset the bracket with a 3-2 victory over Lima. Lima would not go quietly into the night and won the next set 3-1 to become Evo Champion.

An American Hero

Sunday finals started with Guilty Gear Xrd. This game has constantly been dominated by the Japanese, but this year was different. America had a hero in Top 8, and his name was LostSoul.

LostSoul was put into the Losers’ Bracket earlier in the tournament and was the only American to make it into the finals. He had a long road ahead of him as he had to make it all the way through the Losers’ Bracket to be crowned the king.

LostSoul took the first step down this road and defeated Mikado in a 2-1 set to send Mikado home at 7th place. He continued down the path and convincingly eliminated Rion in a 2-0 set at 5th place. With momentum on his side, LostSoul faced off against NAGE. All cylinders were firing as LostSoul beat NAGE 2-0 in his losers’ side run through the bracket.

After sending all of his opponents home, LostSoul found himself in a position to make it into Grand Finals and the only person left standing in his way was SURUGAYA| Machabo. Machabo was more than prepared for LostSoul’s Elphelt and stalled the momentum to eliminate LostSoul at 3rd place. Machabo would move on to Grand Finals where he would fall to OMITO. OMITO was crowned the Evo Champion, but LostSoul was America’s hero.

Lossless

Super Smash Bros. Melee is a game that has been around for more than a decade. The game’s age does not stop it from receiving support from players across the world. With no online capabilities, strong players can show up from any country and be accustomed to offline play. This is apparent with some of the strongest players in the smash community being from Europe.

TSM| Leffen is a perfect example of this, and at this year’s Evo he showed the world why he is one of the best. Leffen made it into the Melee Top 8 through the Winners’ Bracket and he was ready to become the champ. Leffen made his way through the bracket without dropping a single set. He found himself waiting in Grand Finals for his opponent and it was another strong European player, [A]Armada. Leffen swept Armada and solidified himself as one of the Melee gods with his uncontested run throughout the entire bracket.

One for the Ages

Image Courtesy of Vancouver Street Battle

Tekken 7 is a game that is perfect for spectators. The game is easy to watch with its amazing soundtrack and its slow-motion sequences. In the past Tekken 7 has primarily been dominated by South Korean players, but this year we had a combination of Korean, Japanese, and American players in the Top 8.

Tennessee native Lil Majin had the crowd on his side with USA chants happening every time he took the stage. Fursan|Rangchu was also a fan favorite because of his use of Panda, a character who is considered to be on the weaker side. The audience was captivated with the high-level play as the bracket continued to be played. Matches were intense, and everybody was captivated by what they saw. Tekken brought the hype as comebacks were made, and players celebrated everything they got. Fursan|LowHigh defeated UYU|Qudans to become the Evo Champion and left the Tekken World Tour Champion in 2nd place.

The Coin Flip that Changed it All

Dragon Ball FighterZ had the most entrants this year at Evo, and with this being its inaugural year, everybody was watching the tournament. DBFZ broke the Evo Twitch record for peak viewers on Sunday. This was a new game with high octane action and a recognizable roster, so people from all over the world were tuned into the broadcast.

The favorites to win were FOX|SonicFox and CAG|GO1, but the entire Top 8 was stacked with talent. We had SonicFox and GO1 win their first matches and face off in the Winners’ Finals stage of the bracket. SonicFox convincingly defeated GO1 and sent him to the Losers’ Bracket. GO1 made the climb through the losers’ side, so he could run it back against SonicFox. GO1 eliminated his teammate CAG|Fenritti and made it to Grand Finals.

GO1 was hot and he was looking for revenge. The runback started and GO1 wasn’t holding back. He dominated SonicFox and reset the bracket 3-0. SonicFox called for a side switch, and after an intense coin flip, the sides were switched with him now being on the player one side. The side switch was more than enough for SonicFox, and he started to overwhelm GO1. SonicFox would eliminate GO1 after a quick 3-0 set to become the biggest game’s Evo Champion.

Image Courtesy of Shoryuken

Ringleaders and Reveals

The final game of the night was Street Fighter V. Capcom prefaced the tournament by revealing the character that they had been hinting at all weekend, G. G wants to become the President of the World and he will not stop for anything. Just as the crowd was ready for the tournament to begin, Capcom ambushed the audience again with another trailer. Longtime fan favorite Sagat is back and ready for action. The biggest reveal of the night was that both characters would be available the day after Evo. The crowd was pumped for this tournament and it hadn’t even started.

Japanese, American, and English players were in this Top 8. There was a competitor for every region and everybody was routing for someone. FOX|Tokido was the favorite to win because he was last year’s champion, but with this cast of players, anybody could win. Matches were played, and hearts were broken as players were eliminated. Grand Finals came around and there were only two left standing. European player Mouz|Problem-X and Japanese player FOX|Tokido were the finalists. Tokido was there from the winners side of the bracket and that meant that Problem-X had to overcome every obstacle to defeat him in two sets. This was no problem for Problem-X as he convincingly defeated Tokido to become the SFV Evo Champion.

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