EVO 2017 wrapped up on Sunday and it was a great display of talented players eSports fighting for glory. Evolution Championship Series(EVO) is considered to be the Superbowl or World Cup of the FGC(Fighting Game Community). EVO is a international tournament that had modest beginnings in arcade culture, now it’s a huge gathering of players fighting for world championships. EVO was founded in 1996 but officially changed its name to EVO in 2002. EVO is an important eSports event and it’s easy enough to follow when compared to other popular eSports games like Overwatch and MOBAs. EVO took place this year at Mandalay Bay Resort in Las Vegas, with the championships matches taking place in the resort’s arena. Let’s take a look at some of the highlights and announcements that were made at EVO 2017.
[Disclaimer] For a player to win Grand Finals, there are two ways. If a player comes from the winner’s side of the bracket, he or she only needs to beat the opponent in one set, best 3 out of 5 matches. If the player comes from the loser’s side of the bracket, he or she has to win one set of 3 out of 5, and then another set of 3 out of 5. Players that lose in winner’s bracket get sent to loser’s bracket and players who lose in loser’s bracket get eliminated from the tournament. This format is known as the double-elimination tournament and you can read more about it here.
Ultimate Marvel Vs Capcom 3 Top 8
The top 8 finals for Ultimate Marvel Vs Capcom 3 was great with a plethora of newcomers seeking to gain the last EVO championship for this game. The game became a headliner title because people raised money for charity and whichever game received the most donations would be featured at EVO 2017. UMvC3’s community manage to raised $71, 590 for Make-A-Wish International, beating out the Wii U’s Pokken Tournament for a slot at EVO. The final top 8 players that made it to EVO’s Mandalay Bay stadium were NYChrisG, RyanLV, Marvel God, Paradigm, Prodigy, JoeyD, NoLife and NotEnoughDamage. These players all hailed from the US except for Marvel God who was the only one representing Canada. Lots of new players and a couple of old tournament players like NYChrisG and Paradigm.
RyanLV took 1st place championship against NYChrisG using his Chun-Li, Morrigan, and Phoenix team. There wasn’t a lot of variety of teams this year considering many used Zero or Zero May Cry Teams (Zero/Dante/Vergil). Paradigm’s Haggar/Dormammu/Dr.Doom team was a pleasure to watch and RyanLV’s Chun-Li was something out of this world. Chun-Li is usually considered a B or C tier fighter but you wouldn’t know that by seeing how RyanLV played with her. His Chun-Li provided great rush down pressure and her triple jump tool helped RyanLV’s defense and avoided the Morrigan fireball spam strategy. He was crowned the UMvC3 EVO Champion after taking out NYChrisG in Grand Finals and will go down in history as the last player to earn that title alongside Viscant, Filipino Champ, Flocker, Justin Wong, NYChrisG, and KaneBlueRiver. Bringing Ultimate Marvel Vs Capcom 3’s tournament run at EVO to a final end since Marvel Vs Capcom: Infinite is just around the corner.
After the awards were handed out, there was an exhibition match between Filipino Champ and Combofiend (Capcom Representative/former eSports player) that showed off Marvel vs Capcom: Infinite with a nice surprise! Jedha has been revealed to be a playable character for the new game and is being welcomed with open arms; Jedha is a mainstay from the Darkstalkers series. We were also given our first glimpse at Gamora’s techniques and gameplay style.
BlazBlue: Central Fiction Top 8
BlazBlue may be considered as a mechanics heavy anime fighting game but the EVO matches were still insane. The top 8 players were all from Japan and consisted of Ryusei, Fenrich, Fumi, Kaibutsukun, Souji, Tochigin, DoraBang, and MT. Takao. Almost all the players stuck to different characters from each other; except for Nine the Phantom who was used by both Kaibutsukun and Fumi. The diversity of characters made for great matches as there weren’t any mirror matches and it allowed us to see how top players adapted to certain character match-ups. The best highlight of BlazBlue: Central Fiction’s top 8 was Fenrich’s climb to Grand Finals. He came from loser’s bracket to challenge Ryusei’s Carl with his Jin. Fenrich fought his way through losers and took the first set against winner’s bracket Ryusei. It came down to the last possible round but Ryusei’s Carl manage still came out on top but it was an amazing display by both Ryusei and Fenrich. Ryusei is your 2017 BlazBlue: Central Fiction EVO Champion, everyone played at their best and delivered high adrenaline matches.
Arc System Works made two surprise announcements after BlazBlue’s top 8 concluded. The first surprise being that Jubei(Fighting Cat) would come to BlazBlue: Central Fiction as a downloadable character. The biggest announcement was the reveal of a brand new game by Arc System Works called BlazBlue X Tag Battle(The X is pronounced ‘Cross’). A brand new 2v2 fighter that will feature characters from BlazBlue, Persona 4 Arena, Under Night In-Birth, and Rooster Teeth’s RWBY.
Tekken 7 Top 8
The best part of Tekken 7’s top 8 final matches was the diversity of players who came from three different countries. Top 8 consisted of Suiken(USA), Take(Japan), JEOndding(Korea), Anakin(USA), Taisei(Japan), Knee(Korea), Saint(Korea) and JDCR(Korea). There was a great variety of characters used like Eddy, Devil Jin, Dragonuv, Steve, Jack-7, Eliza, Bryan, Heihachi, and Kazumi. Almost everyone stuck to using one or two characters except for Knee who used a total of 5 characters through out Top 8! Tekken 7’s stream viewership topped around 145,000 unique viewers on Twitch. Saint being the previous year’s champ was seeking to defend his title against fellow teammate JDCR. Saint came from loser’s bracket to Grand Finals and manage to reset the bracket against JDCR. JDCR’s Dragonuv, however, proved to be the best counter against Saint’s Jack-7 and won 1st place. JDCR is the second Tekken 7 EVO Champion by defeating 2016’s champ.
After the award ceremony, Harada-san (Tekken’s Game Producer) came out on stage and announced a brand new character coming to the Tekken series. He announced that Geese Howard (Fatal Fury/King of Fighters) would be coming to the Tekken series and still sporting his signature attacks and look. A game producer for Dragon Ball Fighters Z also made her own special announcement by showing a brand new gameplay footage of Trunks and revealing a closed beta. Sign-ups for the closed beta start on July 26th and the beta will feature at least 9 characters. The current roster for the game includes Goku, Vegeta, Gohan, Perfect Cell, Majin Buu, and Freiza.
Super Smash Bros. for Wii U Top 8
One of the best overall top 8 matches took place with Nintendo’s Super Smash Bros. for Wii U aka Smash 4. Smash 4’s competition was fierce with great players who used all kinds of tactics, stage selections, and character counter picks. Smash Bros.’ streaming numbers were also impressive this year with 143,000 unique viewers and it was also televised on Disney XD channel.
A stock of life could be lost in crazy ways or by great edge-guarding and combo set ups. Zero who hails from Chile is a top Smash 4 player that has dominated the scene with 43 tournament wins and came into the tournament as reigning champion from last year. Zero qualifying for Grand Finals was a surprise to no one but who he would face was fascinating to watch. Your Top 8 finalists were Zero(Chile), Larry Lurr(USA), Salem(USA), Tweek(USA), Nairo(USA), Ken(Japan), VoID(USA), and Dabuz(USA). There were was a total of 10 characters used which include Bowser, Diddy Kong, Zero Suit Samus, Cloud, Bayonetta, Fox and Rosalina. Ken stood out because of his great use of Sonic and Tweek’s Cloud showed what a downloadable character can do. Larry Lurr’s amazing Fox plays were reminiscent of the fast paced action of Melee and Salem’s Bayonetta showed how deadly her Witch Time and aerial combos are. Larry Lurr and Salem had some intense matches that kept viewers at the edge of their seats. At the end it all came down between Zero and Salem for the Grand Finals. Zero looked like he was dominating Salem’s Bayonetta but he managed to adapt and change his play-style. It all came down to the last round to determine the winner and an amazing Bayonetta combo secured Salem as 2017’s Super Smash Bros. EVO Champion.
Two announcements were made after the awards were handed out to the Top 8 finalists of Smash 4. Square-Enix showed off a new trailer for their arcade fighter, Final Fantasy Dissidia NT and announced that a closed beta was imminent.
The biggest news that came out of EVO was the fact that there would be another EVO tournament that will be held in Japan next year! EVO Japan is slated for Jan. 2018 and the line up of games are Guilty Gear Xrd Rev 2, BlazBlue: Central Fiction, Tekken 7, Street Fighter V, Super Smash Bros. for Wii U, and ARMS. This will be the first time that Nintendo’s latest fighter, ARMS, will make a debut at a big tournament scene like EVO.
Street Fighter V Top 8
The last and best tournament of the night took place at Mandalay Bay Arena and was available on streaming services, Disney XD and featured on ESPN2! SFV’s streaming numbers topped around 179,000 unique viewers and was the most tweeted game because of an 18 year old eSports player named Punk. This year top finalists include 3 Americans players against an onslaught of strong Japanese competitors: Filipino Champ, Punk, and NuckleDu represented the USA while Tokido, MOV, Kazunoko, Itabashi Zangief, and Moke represented the land of the rising sun. The greatest story that came out of this top 8 was about Punk. He is an 18 year old competitor that was completely dominating and destroying his competition. Even the devotion of Punk’s mom cheering for him in the audience became a moment on Twitter.
Itabashi Zangief’s matches were great and everyone was rooting for NuckleDu to win the tournament as he did when he won 2016’s Capcom Cup. In the end, it all came down to Punk vs Tokido in a great Grand Finals set. Tokido’s amazing Akuma play and experience earned him the tile of Street Fighter V’s 2017 EVO Champion. I cannot stressed enough that Punk was an amazing player who has great potential, but Tokido completely flipped the script on him through years of experience as a tournament player. Punk took the loss to heart as it was clear how devastating it was for him but has received amazing support. Tokido worked hard to reach such a strong finish and joins Infiltration in the pantheon of EVO Champions. It was an amazing Top 8 and here’s hoping that next years EVO and EVO Japan become bigger and better. What did you think of this year’s EVO? Was there a favorite match that I didn’t mention? Comment and please follow all of our social media platforms and let us know!