EVO 2018 is over, but what a show we had this year. With the (sad) return of Super Smash Bros. Melee to the main stage, the debut of BlazBlue Cross Tag Battle, and the ferocious, world-ending popularity of Dragon Ball FighterZ, every possible taste in the fighting game community was catered for. We were there watching the whole thing and wanted to bring you all the results from the biggest fighting game event in the world.
BlazBlue Cross Tag Battle
The first out of the gate for Top 8 (excluding Injustice 2, for obvious reasons) was Arc System Works’ cross over title, BlazBlue Cross Tag Battle. This Top 8 was an exciting testament to the flexibility and insanity that the game brings to the table.
The Top 8 players were: kojiKOG, Dora Bang, Fenritti, Fame96, Heiho, Gouda, Kazunoko, and Dettywhiterock. So, there’s some familiar names there from the anime fighting community with mixing with some exciting new blood. The end result was some quite incredible tech on display, and also an arguable insight into the different playstyles exhibited between the different countries’ players.
- – Heiho (Ruby/Gordeau) vs Gouda (Nu.13/Gordeau). A close battle between two fantastic players, both of which were incredibly inventive in their use of assists and Cross Combos. Some very close matches.
- – kojiKOG (Waldstein/Tager) vs Kazunoko (Gordeau/Ruby). The combination of Ruby and Gordeau is a popular one and with good reason, dominating the screen, but it wasn’t enough with kojiKOG’s dominating big boy combo.
Super Smash Bros. for Wii U and Super Smash Bros. Melee
Abhorrent behaviour of some attendees and players aside, both Smash titles had some incredibly hype matches resulting in some great play in both games over the weekend (and a lot more boring matches but that might be just bias on my part against Melee).
The Top 8 players for Wii U were: Lima, CaptainZack, Nietono, Mistake, MVD, Mr.E, Choco, and Naito. The Top 8 players for Melee were: HungryBox, Leffen, Plup, Mang0, Armada, S2J, Wizzrobe, and Swedish Delight.
Personal highlights (Wii U):
- – Choco (Zero Suit Samus) vs Nietono (Diddy Kong). Nietono’s Diddy Kong had some incredible plays throughout, and eventually took the win, but Choco did not make it easy with some excellent use of Zero Suit Samus’ moveset.
- – Raito (Duck Hunt Duo) vs MVD (Diddy Kong). A joy to watch simply because of Raito’s incredible use of DHD’s tools, throwing explosive cans out in very clever ways. MVD won after a long-fought duel.
Personal highlights (Melee):
- – HungryBox (Kirby) vs Wizzrobe (Falcon). It was good to see a match where neither player was overly dominant as was, instead, a heated match between equals. The set came down to the last match and the tension in that final stock was palpable.
- – Armada (Peach) vs Leffen (Fox). This was a highlight simply because it ended the tournament. Absolutely dull Grand Final, that lasted altogether too long, but hopefully it means that we never again have to see Melee on the Main Stage.
Guilty Gear Xrd – REV 2
Consistently one of the most entertaining games to watch competitively for me personally, Arc System Works’ Guilty Gear Xrd – REV 2 did not disappoint. Although the Top 8 was filled with the characters that we have come to expect from high level play, and the expected players were there too, it was no less exciting to behold.
The Top 8 players were: Omito, Rion, Zadi, Machabo, Fumo, Nage, Teresa, and Lost Soul. As I said earlier, this was a pretty expected final 8, with three previous champions (Omito, Machabo, and Nage) of the game dominating their way through the Pools and Top 32, and only minimal upsets, such as LostSoul eliminating the EVO Japan Champion, Nage.
- – LostSoul (Elphelt) vs Rion (Ky). LostSoul was one of the strongest players the whole time in terms of conversions and execution, and this set against Rion’s Ky Kiske is easily a good example of why this game is so great.
- – Omito (Johnny) vs Machabo (Ky). Once again another battle between the two champions, but they always put on one hell of a show (twice on this occasion). These guys know each other and it shows in how quickly they adapt to everything the other does. Genuinely impressive matches.
Tekken 7 isn’t a game that I’m overly familiar with from a gameplay perspective, but it’s undeniable that it is an incredibly hype game to watch and has some fantastic commentators. The end result was a tournament that was a genuine joy to watch, and has made me want to pick the game up myself.
The Top 8 players were: Qudans, JDCR, LilMajin, LowHigh, RangChu, Book, Noroma, and ChiriChiri. Much alike the game itself, I’m unfamiliar with the players, but there was a decently diverse amount of countries represented in the Top 8 for Tekken 7. I’ll be keeping an eye on the competitive scene in this game in the future.
- – JDCR (Dragonov) vs LilMajin (King). What an opener to the Top 8! An absolutely incredible showing from both players, coming down to the very final round, and it was great to hear the crowd really get behind LilMajin.
- – RangChu (Panda) vs Qudans (Devil Jin). RangChu is a genuinely impressive Panda player, especially as the character is considered to be low tier. However, Qudans was just too good at capitalising on opportunities to punish, and took the set.
Dragon Ball FighterZ
I don’t think it can be disputed that Dragon Ball FighterZ is the biggest fighting game in the world right now. It had an absurdly high participant number at EVO 2018, the audience seemed hugely hype about the tournament, and the matches were absolutely incredible to watch. The visually stunning 3-on-3 fighter definitely seems here to stay so at least a little longer.
The Top 8 players were: SonicFox, Fenritti, GO1, Kazunoko, Supernoon, Moke, KnowKami, and Kubo. So, we have the return of those key rivals, SonicFox and GO1, as well as some of the key stalwarts from the anime fighting scene such as Kazunoko and Moke. Just on this Top 8 alone, we were always going to be in for some impressive matches.
- – GO1 (Cell/Bardock/Vegeta) vs Kazunoko (Kid Buu/Gohan/Yamcha). Two absolute veterans clashing with very different playstyles; GO1’s incredibly solid execution and conversions against Kazunoko’s more experimental and very entertaining play. A truly breathtaking set at times.
- – KnowKami (Android 21/Cell/Goku Black) vs Kubo (Gohan/Android 16/Goku). Kubo initially had a huge advantage in this set, however KnowKami staged a huge comeback taking the early game. Kubo fought back in match 2, but KnowKami was just too much.
Street Fighter V: Arcade Edition
Capcom’s premier fighting game franchise returns to EVO again with, as per usual, the tournament counting towards the Capcom Pro Tour. Street Fighter V, although dogged initially, has really worked to shake off the negativity and can be a thoroughly entertaining game to watch at high levels. It gets a lot of flak, and for good reasons, but I still love the inconsistent misfit.
The Top 8 players were: ProblemX, Gachikun, Fuudo, Tokido, The Cool Kid93, Luffy, Caba, and Fujimura. Several veterans were here, with Tokido, Fuudo and Luffy making the Top 8; yet there were a few less seen players such as Caba, and our home representative, ProblemX. My only surprise here was not seeing Daigo Umehara, but it was indisputably a solid Top 8.
- – The Cool Kid93 (Abigail) vs Luffy (R.Mika). I genuinely cannot stand Abigail, but this set was genuinely impressive. The defence from The Cool Kid was so on point, but just just beaten out by Luffy’s sheer aggressive pressure. A great example of Street Fighter V in action.
- – Tokido (Akuma) vs ProblemX (Dictator). I still can’t quite believe this Grand Final. Not only was ProblemX bringing it home for the UK, but the sheer amount of solid and interesting plays by both players was just incredible. Easily some of the best matches of Street Fighter V I have seen.
So, that was my (overly excitable) EVO 2018, but what were your highlights of the weekend? Let us know in the comments or on Twitter, and keep an eye on Rice Digital in the future for more coverage of Japanese fighting games.
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