With the passing of the summer comes the event dubbed “The Most Prestigious Fighting Game Tournament in the World”, Evolution. A spectacle that includes the best players from around the world, Evolution is electrifying, and is known for creating legendary moments immortalized forever in the world of esports. Not nearly as much a tournament as it is an experience, this year’s EVO did not disappoint. New champions were crowned, veterans saw resurgences, and we were shown once again how much the once grassroots FGC has grown to new heights.
Super Smash Brothers Melee
Super Smash Brothers Melee, which has seen a spot on the Sunday finals stage for the previous four years, surprisingly was given the Saturday finals spot instead. Though there were concerns within the community, the day change proved no match for the consistent hype and entertainment the beloved platform fighter brings. Peaking at over 130 thousand viewers on Twitch, grand finals of the event was afflicted with Melee’s seemingly scripted matchup, resulting in another monumental battle between Adam “Armada” Lindgren and Joseph “Mang0” Marquez. The set concluded with the Swede proving too formidable with his immaculate punish and neutral game with Peach, and Lindgren took home the trophy 3-1 over Marquez. Not only was the set between the two important for legacy’s sake, but no other Saturday finals game has ever passed a mere 35 thousand viewers; a number almost quadrupled by the audience this year. What more could fans of the games ask for?
Super Smash Brothers Melee Top 8 Results:
1st place: Alliance| Armada
2nd place: Cloud 9| Mang0
3rd place: Liquid| Hungrybox
4th place: MVG Echo Fox| Mew2King
5th place: Panda Global| Plup
5th place: Lucky
7th place: Counter Logic Gaming| SFAT
7th place: Misfits| The Moon
Super Smash Brothers for WiiU
As a game that has not seen a spot on Sunday since it’s release, the competitors took full advantage when given the opportunity this time around. Garnering over 1500 entrants, we were exposed to some of the most unexpected upsets of the game’s competitive lifespan, and a few of the most thrilling sets on the biggest of stages. The game’s top 8 was streamed on popular children’s television network, Disney XD, and played a part in the second consecutive year EVO has been televised.
Chile’s Gonzalo “ZeRo” Barrios was the favorite heading into the event, having been the longest standing #1 ranked player in the world. With an insane level of understanding of the game’s cast and ability to adapt on the fly, ZeRo advanced to winners side of grand finals with seemingly no room for upset. On losers side, Saleem “Salem” Young, had been put through the top 8 gauntlet, defeating Japanese Sonic main KEN, recently sponsored Tweek, and long-time Smash veteran Larry Lurr en route to the finals sets of the event. After a grueling ten game set against Barrios, Salem emerged victorious, and became the first Bayonetta main to win a major tournament.
Super Smash Brothers for WiiU Top 8 Results:
1st place: MVG| Salem
2nd place: Team Solomid| ZeRo
3rd place: Misfits| Larry Lurr
4th place: Phoenix1| Tweek
5th place: NRG| Nairo
5th place: KEN
7th place: Counter Logic Gaming| VoiD
7th place: Renegades| Dabuz
Street Fighter V
The longest standing fighting game series at EVO, Capcom’s Street Fighter unsurprisingly had the most entrants of the tournament with more than 2600. Broadcasted live on ESPN2, the grandiose affair was more viewed and accessible than ever before. With a star-studded top 8, all was lined up for this years main event to break records and vocal cords simultaneously. Entering grand finals from winners side was none other than Victor “Punk” Woodley, who saw a meteoric rise in skill in 2017. With the two highest rated players in the world being Du “NuckleDu” Dang and Woodley, the American players seemed poised to take the tournament from the Japanese powerhouses for the first time in recent memory.
Everything changed when Hajime “Tokido” Taniguchi stepped onto the stage. Though being put in losers bracket by Punk himself was not part of the plan, the seasoned veteran fought tooth and nail to climb his way back to grand finals for the rematch. As if a 20th top 8 finish at Evo wasn’t enough to round out his repertoire, Tokido saw it only right to surmount Haitaini, Fchamp, NuckleDu, and fellow countrymen Itabashi Zangief and Kazunoko to guarantee himself a top 2 placing. Dropping only one game to the prodigious Punk in grand finals, the mix-up heavy and menacing Akuma from Japan took Evo 2017 in an incredible fashion. When asked how it felt to win Evo, he responded with a simple and sweet, “I’m very happy now,”. With the trophy hoisted high, we all wait to see how next year’s Super Bowl of Fighting Games tops itself yet again.
Street Fighter V Top 8 Results:
1st place: Echo Fox|Tokido
2nd place: Panda Global| Punk
3rd place: GGP| Kazunoko
4th place: DNG| Itabashi Zangief
5th place: moke
5th place: Liquid| NuckleDu
7th place: Splyce| Fchamp
7th place: GRPT| MOV
Other games at Evo 2017
Other games featured were Tekken 7, Guilty Gear XRD Rev 2, Injustice 2, BlazBlue Central Fiction, The King of Fighers XIV, and Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3. Full brackets for all events can be found at https://smash.gg/tournament/evo-2017/events