Evolution Championship Series 2015, the fourteenth tournament in the series’ and all-around world’s biggest fighting game tournament has come and gone this past weekend (18 – 20 July Singapore time). Thousands of international players congregated in Las Vegas, Nevada, to prove their worth in 2D fighting games like Ultra Street Fighter IV, Mortal Kombat X, and even Super Smash Bros. for the Wii U.
The dust has settled, the battle for glory is over, and new champions of the world have been crowned. Many went for broke, but a few achieved total dominance. Here are our top heart-stopping, pulse-pounding and off-kilter moments in no particular order.
Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3’s Missing Gods
The Marvel vs. Capcom 3 scene has always been America’s game. The 2D hyper fighting madness featuring heroes like Spider-Man and The Hulk, and game characters like Okami’s Amateratsu and Mega Man X’s Zero was a fan favourite among players in the US, with heavy hitters like Justin Wong and Peter “Combofiend” Rosas dominating the competitive scene.
EVO 2015 however, saw players from the rest of the world giving the Americans some serious competition. Only three US players placed in the top 8 this year, and not even the god of MvC, Justin Wong, was there at the top spot. It looks like new blood is takoing over, and they’re using heavy guys like Hulk and Haggar; an unheard-of combination in a metagame dominated by fast heavy hitters like Vergil and Zero.
Chile’s KaneBlueRiver defeated all challengers and knocked American player Raynel “RayRay” Hidalgo to second place. Japanese players Koji “TMP Cross” Shimomura and Ryota “RF” Fukumoto proved that even Japan can be dominant in a game this unorthodox (to them) and unlike footsies-focused titles like Street Fighter IV.
True, almost all of them had top tier character Doctor Doom in their team, but we expect to see a true changing of the guard this finals season.
Guilty Gear Xrd Premature Celebration
A costly mistake like this moment is a highlight no matter the outcome. Top tier Guilty Gear Xrd player Ryuichi “Woshiige” Shigeno celebrated a tad too early after getting a win in a 2-out-of-3 match against top Zato-1 player in the world Kenichi “Ogawa” Ogawa. This gave the latter the chance to capitalise on this and ended Woshiige’s EVO winning streak in just a few seconds.
One does not simply lose attention or let your guard down to the likes of Ogawa. Still, Woshiige placed a respectable 3rd with his character Millia Rage, but one wonders if things would have turned out differently if he’d kept his cool.
All Of The Killer Instinct Top 8 Finals. All Of It.
You can’t call yourself a true fighting game fan if you haven’t played what is arguably one of the best fighting games currently on the Xbox One (and heading to PC soon): Killer Instinct. It’s slick, it’s got a great combo system, and its characters are varied and distinctive from one another.
This year’s Killer Instinct Top 8 finals kept us on the edge of our seats – we saw a high level hit-and-run fighter Cinder use an infamous bomb loop to fight off the competition, courtesy of the sole Japanese player, Domi. We witnessed the biggest-yet-lamest-yet-still-
There were so many awe-inspiring moments in this year’s Top 8 finals that can’t wait to see how the competitive scene develops from here. Especially with the upcoming release of Killer Instinct on PC, we expect to see a whole slew of international players flocking to this game post-EVO 2015.
Momochi wins Street Fighter IV EVO 2015 despite technical difficulties
It was the Street Fighter IV showdown of the century: Yusuke “Momochi” Momochi, who had won countless tournaments with his aggressive use of Street Fighter IV’s Ken since the first version of the game, against Bruce “Gamerbee”, a pro who proved that a supposed low-tier character could stand against all odds (see #9 here). A malfunction in Momochi’s joystick disrupted an intensive battle at match point, breaking the momentum and concentration of both players. Gamerbee showed a true level of sportsmanship, a replacement joystick was found, and Momochi emerged this year’s winner. Although we can’t help but wonder what the outcome would have been without the disruption.
A comment on this YouTube page gave us some food for thought:
“what’s worse? a win you can’t celebrate, or a loss you didn’t deserve?” – don
Gamerbee beats Daigo Umehara
Despite that final match loss, Gamerbee has at least conquered one demon that has plagued his competitive run: the fighting game god Daigo “The Beast” Umehara. A long-running feud between the two was put to (a momentary?) rest when he defeated The Beast at EVO 2015.
It was a gruelling match as Gamerbee used the unique footsies-and-overhead-attack mixup queen Elena against Umehara’s revved-up Evil Ryu. Because he stuck with Ultra I which shuts off Evil Ryu’s fireball game, and maximising his combo potential when he lands a single light kick, the Taiwan’s top player persevered and earned a spot in EVO’s top 8 in Ultra Street Fighter IV.
Uncle Valle Brings The Pain
Knowledge of character matchups is an integral part of competitive Street Fighter. Going up against a character seemingly designed to counter your own can be incredibly daunting, no matter how good you are at the game. Which is why the audience went absolutely ballistic when old-school American fighting game legend Alex Valle systematically took apart Bonchan’s Sagat with Hugo.
Against a 7-3 matchup heavily in Sagat’s favour, the 37-year-old Valle showed that he still had what it takes to hang with the best. Bonchan, reputedly the world’s best Sagat player, was overwhelmed by Valle’s aggressive Hugo, and got sent to the loser’s bracket after losing 4 rounds in a row – a totally unexpected result, given that Sagat should have had no trouble distancing himself from the big, slow grappler with his array of long-ranged attacks.
If anything, this match is a perfect display of how a top player can overcome challenging circumstances using rock-solid fundamentals, in-depth game knowledge and overall smart play.
SonicFox Does What SonicFox Is Good At
A notable Mortal Kombat X pro gamer, Dominique “cR|SonicFox” McLean pulled through EVO 2015 with his duo of Erron Black and Kitana. He managed to reset the Grand Finals match against Foxy’s Grandpa who used a top tier Kung Lao. This is a classic example of a guy getting paid his dues since the Fatal 8 tournament.
Strip Fighter 2 Turbo
Just to match their on-screen character’s garb, R/Kappa Poongko and Epic GG Onisan took their tops off mid-match just because they can.
What were your favourite EVO 2015 moments? Did you love or hate the outcome of this year’s tournament?