The mecca of fighting games came and gone this weekend. Upsets occurred and new blood rose to prove their worth in this current weather of FGC stars and legends. A new game is making its huge debut on the big stage with a Fox that has plenty to prove. Two other games featuring defending champions that wants to prove he is still the best in the world. EVO returned to the bright lights of Las Vegas for another year.
Although his primary focus is Dragon Ball FighterZ, Dominique “SonicFox” McLean is among one of the most consistent and best players in Injustice 2. The Injustice 2 top eight featured other notable players like Noble’s Rewind, Semiij, and Tweedy. SonicFox was not intimidated by new competitors for Injustice 2 nor did he have Dragon Ball FighterZ in his mind. Qualifying for top eight, SonicFox’s first opponent was an unknown, Big D in the winner’s semifinals. After defeating Big D, he had one more bump in the road against Noble’s Rewind. However, Rewind came prepared and defeated SonicFox to send him in the loser’s bracket. Another player from Noble, Tweedy qualified in the loser’s bracket and tore it up against Biohazard, Semiij, and Big D. His last opponent in the loser’s bracket was SonicFox. For most people, SonicFox would be a lock in the grand finals. It could be that SonicFox was focused on Dragon Ball FighterZ, but Tweedy took SonicFox to his limit and ended his run in Injustice 2.
Speaking of Dragon Ball FighterZ, SonicFox stood as the best player in the game going into EVO. Prior to EVO, he won Combo Breaker and VSFighting. These championships did not satisfy SonicFox though as he wanted to win the big one. Like in Injustice 2, SonicFox qualified in the winner’s bracket of the top eight. His first opponent was a difficult opponent, CYCLOPS’ Fenritti. Despite a difficult opponent, SonicFox pulled through and advanced to winner’s finals. Also qualifying for winner’s finals was his biggest adversary, Goichi “GO1” Kishida. The two players have had a storied rivalry since the game’s birth. It was fate that they faced each other at EVO. In the winner’s set, SonicFox channeled a level he had not gone before against GO1 and defeated him convincingly. GO1 found himself in the loser’s bracket and needed to defeat his teammate, Fenritti, to get another chance at SonicFox. GO1 with a determined look on his face went Super Saiyan on Fenritti to defeat him and advanced to grand finals with significant momentum. In the first set of grand finals, SonicFox could not control the pace and was decisively beaten. In between sets, SonicFox needed time to readjust his mindset. SonicFox had mentally prepared for the second set while GO1 still had the same level of intensity. This equated to an amazing second set to determine the first EVO champion in Dragon Ball FighterZ. The second set went back and forth between both players. Whenever GO1 took the upper hand, SonicFox created some counters to swing the match in his favor. Whenever SonicFox took the upper hand, GO1 made intelligent moves like summoning Shenron to swing momentum. In the end, SonicFox ended on the top of the podium, earning the first EVO championship in Dragon Ball FighterZ.
In Tekken 7, Kim “JDCR” Hyun Jin looked to defend his title from last year. Throughout 2018, Tekken 7 has seen an evolution of new and maturing players that qualified for top eight this year in EVO. Terrelle “Lil Majin” Jackson, Sun-woong “LowHigh” Yoon, and Nopparut “Book” Hempamorn are up and coming players that proved they can hang with the veterans of Tekken. Like last year, JDCR qualified for the winner’s bracket against Lil Majin. To everyone’s surprise, Lil Majin did the unthinkable and sent JDCR to loser’s bracket in a three-game set. JDCR had to go through the loser’s bracket against his first opponent, Book. Book has been one of the best up and coming Tekken players that is underrated. In this match, JDCR still had the champion’s mentality to defeat Book and move on to loser’s finals against Byeong Mun “Qudans” Son. Qudans, current Tekken World Tour champion, was a formidable opponent against JDCR. The defending champion JDCR could not successfully defend his championship at this year’s EVO and was brought home after two games against Qudans.
The main event at this year’s EVO was Street Fighter V: Arcade Edition. Echo Fox’s Hajime “Tokido” Taniguchi is the defending champion in SFV and was the heavy favorite going into this year’s EVO. However, he faced problem after problem. Against his first opponent, Keita “Fuudo” Ai, Tokido had a difficult time finding his pacing in the match. Fuudo is always a threat if he qualifies for top eight in any tournament, and this was no different. Tokido was defeated and was brought down to loser’s quarterfinals. Olivier “Luffy” Hay, a former EVO champion in SFIV, was his next opponent. Tokido was persistent in getting back to grand finals. He rolled over Luffy, then his next opponent, Tsunehiro “gachikun” Kanamori. In the loser’s finals, he faced Fuudo again and had to solve this problem. In an unlikely turn of events, Tokido figured out Fuudo to get to grand finals against, Benjamin “Problem X” Simon. The ultimate problem in this match was solving Problem X’s mixups with M. Bison. The first set was an intense and close match between Problem X and Tokido. After a botched mixup by Problem X, Tokido capitalized on his mistake to reset the brackets. However, Problem X recovered from the first set and swept Tokido to become the first UK EVO champion for Street Fighter.
This year’s EVO was a success for Echo Fox. There were top finishes with Tokido and JDCR. To cap things off, SonicFox exceeded expectations with a Top 3 finish in Injustice, then a championship in DBFZ. Even though EVO is the biggest FGC tournament, it doesn’t mean fighting games are done for the year. SoCal Regionals, Capcom Cup, Tekken World Tour, and Dragon Ball FighterZ World Tour are still premier tournaments to look forward to. Check out what Echo Fox’s players had to say about EVO in Echo Fox’s video recap of the event. Stay tuned as Echo Fox looks to continue dominating the FGC.