Even if you just keep a casual eye on the fighting game community, you’re probably aware that EVO 2016 happened this weekend, and showcased plenty of heroes, downfalls, and important news. If you did happen to miss this weekend’s fun, fear not because EloTalk’s recap is going to take another look at the passion, victories, upsets, and the most insane sets of the weekend.
For those of you who are not aware, EVO (short for Evolution) is one of the world’s largest fighting game events. For over a decade, EVO has consistently hosted fighting game favorites of all shapes and sizes, and allowed audiences to watch their favorite players grow – both literally and metaphorically. EVO, then known as Battle of the Bay, came from rather humble beginnings in 1996, until re-branded in 2002 and becoming the familiar EVO we’ve all grown to recognize and love. Spanning over three days, the event hosts a slew of tournaments, exhibitions, and even a “Bring Your Own Console” for fans to slug it out with their fellow fighting game enthusiasts.
This year, EVO 2016 was held at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas, looking back on its 1996 roots, as well as celebrating the tournament’s 20th anniversary. There was a nine-game lineup at this year’s EVO, hosting tournaments for:
- Street Fighter V
- Ultimate Marvel VS Capcom 3
- Guilty Gear Xrd -REVELATOR-
- Mortal Kombat XL
- Super Smash Bros. Melee
- Super Smash Bros Wii U
- Pokken Tournament
- Tekken 7: Fated Retribution
- Killer Instinct
With a whopping 14820 participant turnout across all tournaments, this year’s EVO had gigantic pools with multiple hidden gems waiting to shine in the Top 8 of their respective games.
Street Fighter V
Starting off with Street Fighter V, making its first EVO appearance as well as landing a spot on ESPN 2 for it’s Top 8, competitors had to fight through a 5000 player pool of people. Those who prevailed and came on top are:
1. RZR|Infiltration (Nash)
2. RZR|Fuudo (R. Mika)
3. Yukadon (Nash)
4. HM|Go1 (Chun-Li)
5. LI Joe (Nash)
5. MOV (Chun-Li)
7. HM|Eita (Ken)
7. AW|Nemo (Vega)
The grand Finals were between Infiltration and Fuudo. Infiltration clawed his way out of the loser’s bracket and back into the grand finals, where he took first place in EVO’s first ever SFV tournament.
EVO’s Street Fighter tournaments are normally dominated by foreign players, but one American player deserves special mention for representing his country in the Top 8. Long Island Joe managed to defeat Kazunoko in an upset and break into Top 8 – he won the crowd in a spectacular fashion and even ended up with a surprise appearance from “Daddy Joe” who showed up to support his son. LI Joe only managed to snag 5th place, but he was definitely a fan-favorite, taking out some huge names on his way there.
Super Smash Bros Melee
Super Smash Bros Melee made a triumphant return this year at EVO. Full with a 2372 fighter bracket, the Titans and Gods of Melee had to make an appearance. Names like Armada, Mew2King, and Mang0 were in attendance and we saw the best of them clash in Top 8.
1. Liquid|Hungrybox (Jigglypuff)
2. Alliance|Armada (Peach, Fox)
3. PG|Plup (Sheik, Fox)
4. C9|Mango (Fox, Falco)
5. Tempo|S2J (Captain Falcon)
5. FOX|Mew2King (Marth, Sheik)
7. G2|Westballz (Falco, Fox)
7. CLG|PewPewU (Marth)
All of the titans fell this year, though, and Hungrybox rose triumphantly in their place. Traditionally known as Mr. Second Place, Hungrybox has taken majors all year and it’s only natural that he would rip and tear through EVO, killing two major players in the loser’s bracket along the way to grand finals. Hungrybox had some ridiculous comebacks and a few near losses while playing his fragile Jigglypuff, but eventually took first place after a harrowing grand final against Armada.
Hungrybox’s passion for the game is unmatched – he takes pride in it and is a very emotional person. A dream manifesting as early as 13 years old had finally been realized and Hungrybox couldn’t help but breakdown on stage after a well-deserved victory.
Guilty Gear Xrd -REVALATOR-
A game I never saw before was actually a great experience. Guilty Gear Xrd -REVALATOR- is a very flashy and fun-looking anime brawler. With a 909 participant pool, Guilty Gear provided veiwers with a ton of anime brawls and led to an explosive Top 8.
1. Machaboo (Sin)
2. Omito (Johnny)
3. Rion (Ky)
4. Nakamura (Millia)
5. Ogawa (Zato-1)
5. GGP|Kazunoko (Raven)
7. PG|MarlinPie (Zato-1)
7. TopGaren (Zato-1)
Grand Finals was between Machaboo and Omito for Guilty Gear. After a few explosive rounds Omito is down 0-2 from losers but is able to bring it up to 2-2 for the last game. During the last game rounds are tied up 1-1. Each player stepping into it knowing one mistake could cost them the tournament, Machaboo pulls some gorgeous and frankly quite flashy gameplay to close the set 3-2 winning the tournament and stopping the reset.
Ultimate Marvel VS Capcom 3
Ultimate Marvel VS Capcom 3 is a game close to my heart and I love seeing it at EVO every year. It’s team-cenetered fighter is a spectacle to watch with flashy combos and crazy set-ups with each new team. It’s not new to see somebody locked in a crazy infinite and to rack up 100+ Combos as they juggle their opponent to death. Top 8 was especially crazy with a nice underdog story to top it all off.
1. NYChrisG (Morrigan, Dr. Doom, Vergil)
2. KaneBlueRiver (Hulk, Sentinel, Haggar)
3. BT|Angelic (Wolverine, Dormammu, Shuma-Gorath)
4. NB|DualKevin (Deadpool, Dante, Hawkeye)
5. ApologyMan (Firebrand, Dr. Doom, Super-Skrull)
5. Priest (Magneto, M.O.D.O.K., Dr. Doom | M.O.D.O.K., Dormammu, Dr. Doom)
7. Paradigm (Haggar, Dormammu, Dr. Doom | Haggar, Dr. Doom, Rocket Raccoon)
7. EG|Justin Wong (Wolverine, Storm, Akuma | Vergil, Storm, Akuma)
NYChrisG was another American hero for MvC3. Crawling through a rough losers bracket, Chris played about 5 sets in a row to get to grand finals against last years previous champion KaneBlueRiver. Using this insane Morrigan/Dr. Doom/Vergil combo, Chris would make a practical bullet hell for his opponent dealing extreme damage from far away until he could get close and pull off a huge combo with Morrigan’s Mirror to take a character off the board. This is exactly what he did all through Top 8 occasionally pulling Doom out to keep the juggle going or Vergil to close out a game, Chris has himself a fearsome team. KaneBlueRiver has an even crazier team with the likes of Hulk/Sentinal/Haggar. This beefy wall of a team could decimate your team in seconds and Haggar was the one to do it easily and solo even.
After a 3-1 reset, Chris knew what he had to do and set up his bullet hellscape once again, not letting the behemoth of a team KBR had set up to get in closing out Grand Finals with two 3-1 sets, taking the title away from the former champion.
Super Smash Bros Wii U
Super Smash Bros Wii U also made a return the the Evo Stage this year. Brandishing it’s own names of titans such as Zero, Top 8 was really… weird. people are used to seeing Sheik’s and Diddy’s dominating the Top 8 but this year there were some new contestants grabbing at the trophy.
1. Ally (Mario)
2. Kamemushi (Mega Man, Yoshi, Cloud)
3. TSM|ZeRo (Diddy Kong, Sheik)
4. CLG|VoiD (Sheik)
5. Abadango (Mewtwo, Rosalina & Luma)
5. Ranai (Villager)
7. FAD|Larry Lurr (Fox, Donkey Kong)
7. dT|DaBuz (Rosalina & Luma)
Lots of Low- to Mid-Tier characters made it to Top 8 this year which is actually an AMAZING thing. It makes it so much fun to see how it’ll go because it won’t be as predictable. The most surprising thing to me is that a Mega Man made it to Top 8 through Winners. Alas he fell to the Canadian Mario, Ally. Overall it was an exciting Top 8 and I can’t wait to see more in future EVOs or Smashes if it’ll be this diverse.
Pokken Tournament also celebrated it’s first showing at EVO this year with a whopping 1180 participants. This unique fighter is always fun to watch and is also very flashy while watching your favorite Pokemon duke it out in the way you imagined it as a kid. The Final 8 was the best of the best and oh so fun to watch.
1. Tonosama (Braixen, Sceptile)
2. Buntan (Suicune)
3. Swillo (Mewtwo)
4. Potetin (Mewtwo, Pikachu Libre, Weavile, Chandelure)
5. Circa|Suicune Master (Suicune)
5. RvL|Bosshog (Garchomp)
7. KojiKOG (Charizard)
7. Thulius (Mewtwo)
Braixen was notorious for not being in Top 8 at majors at all. For the most part, I don’t believe a Braxien ever grazed Top 8 in a major tournament… until EVO that is. We watched Tonosama, a Braixen player take the whole thing through losers, resetting the bracket, and winning with a very commanding victory against Buntan. It’s definitely a VOD worth watching and a game to get into.
Mortal Kombat X
Marking Mortal Kombat X’s second year at EVO, 2016 was quite exciting for the game. Hosting a 713 participant pool, the gory fighter got it’s share of the main stage as we watched a returning champion fly even higher.
1. cR|SonicFox (Erron Black – Gunslinger, Jason – Unstoppable, Others)
2. PLG|TekkenMaster (Kotal Kahn – War God, D’Vorah – Swarm Queen, Others)
3. PG|Scar (Sonya Blade – Demolition)
4. EVB|BigD (Ermac – Mystic)
5. cR|WoundCowboy (Shinnok – Bone Shaper, Shinnok – Impostor)
5. MTL|Hayatei (Takeda – Ronin, Takeda – Lasher)
7. EVB|Dragon (Alien – Tarkatan)
7. YOMI|Michaelangelo (Quan Chi – Summoner)
SonicFox was able to take the championship once again this year, having two EVO MKX Championships under his belt and no doubtfully looking for the esteemed Threevo in MKX (He has a win in Injustice: Gods Among Us 2014 as well). This year however was a big challenge for him, prompting him to remove his trademark fuzzy, blue hat after losing the first game against TekkenMaster. With talent rising that is rivaling SonicFox, next years EVO will definitely be a spectacle to watch.
Tekken 7: Fated Retribution
Tekken 7 had a very eventful EVO, being it’s second showing at the major tournament, they also announced two new characters coming to the roster: A returning veteran, Bob and a flashy new character, Master Raven. After the announcement there was an exciting Top 8 to follow
1. Saint (JACK-7)
2. Knee (Bryan, Heihachi, Akuma)
3. Secret|Poongko (Akuma)
4. GeeseMaster (Feng)
5. Yamasa|Nobi (Dragunov)
5. Narakhof (Claudio)
7. Take (Bryan)
7. Circa|Speedkicks (Hwoarang, Lars)
Saint took the championship against Knee fighting a hard battle. Knee was down 0-2 until he brought it back to 2-2 and Saint finally took him out, claiming the first Tekken 7 EVO Championship as his own.
Killer Instinct returned to EVO once again with a 546 player pool. With it’s own special brand of insane plays and a great Top 8 featuring the run back.
1. F3|Sleep (Arbiter, Gargos)
2. UA|Bass (Spinal, Jago, Cinder)
3. BH|SeaDragon (Aria, Hisako)
4. Circa|Nicky (Fulgore)
5. RL|Runex (Omen, Rash)
5. PaulB (Sabrewulf, Hisako)
7. BH|Grief (Sadira, Aria)
7. GnarlyFeats (Rash, Orchid)
Sleep took the win this year going through winners and beating Bass. Sleep had a 3-1 victory in winners finals (with a really clutch Gargos play) to come back and do the same in grand finals against Bass.
EVO 2016 was a great weekend as always. It was long but it was definitely worth it. Each of the games were impressive and Top 8’s were great. There was no clear winner across the board and everything was definitely a clash of titans to secure that number one spot. All of the VODs will be available at https://www.twitch.tv/srkevo1. See you at EVO 2017, where the matches will be even better this year.
You’re set free until next year fighters.