Evo 2014: Final Wrap-Up

Evo 2014 was fantastic. Here are all our thoughts on the action!

The 2014 Evolution Gaming Tournament has come and gone and boy was it ever exciting. So much hype, so much salt, so much… whatever weird words everyone like to beat into the ground for shows like this. It really is great to see such a grassroots concept explode into something this huge. Not only did they have major video game companies as sponsors (including Nintendo!), but they had plenty of commercials for Geico, Mountain Dew, and even Dawn of the Planet of the Apes.

Even if I didn’t have real life stuff to keep me occupied, watching every single thing is nigh impossible. With multiple streams on the first two days, you have to pick and choose what you want to focus on. Then you toss in all the side tournaments and you start to feel like Ozymandias from Watchmen, staring at a hundred monitors at once, trying to take in all that information.

On Friday, they blazed through everything relating to Tekken Tag Tournament 2, getting the entire tournament done in hours. Twitch JDCR climbed through the top of the ranks of the winner’s bracket with his team of Heihachi Mishima and Armor King, challenged by young upstart Gen Kids (who later renamed himself Gen after making it so far in the tournament turned him into a man) and his team of Bob and Leo. Now, if you’re new to the Evo bracket style, it’s double elimination, so Gen would have to not only win three out of five matches against Twitch JDCR, but he’d have to do that twice to be crowned champ. A Herculean task, but one that Gen almost succeeded in. It was two games to two, but despite the teenager having the support of the crowd, he came up short and Twitch JDCR took home the championship.

With Tekken Tag 2‘s popularity winding down, it was probably for the best that they pushed out the news of Tekken 7.

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Saturday gave us the Top 8 for Injustice: Gods Among Us and while it did get some immediate jeers from the audience, it was infinitely more watchable than last year’s Supermanfest. For one, there was not a single Superman in the group. We got Aquaman, Deathstroke, Zod, Batgirl, Doomsday, Green Lantern, Raven, Shazam, and Hawkgirl in there, but not a single Superman. The tail end of the tournament was a good watch, but the ending was rather unfortunate. Zod-user Pig of the Hut defeated SonicFox’s Batgirl 3-2 in the winners’ finals bracket, sending SonicFox into the losers’ bracket. He quickly climbed his way back up and utterly destroyed Pig of the Hut. He reset the bracket with three consecutive wins and then finished him off with another three consecutive wins. During the last match, Pig of the Hut had an amazing lead that would have meant a definite victory, but it all fell apart and SonicFox found the path to shutting him down.

Afterwards, Netherrealm honcho Ed Boon stepped up onto the stage to show footage of Raiden in Mortal Kombat X. This was a step up from the Killer Instinct panel over the weekend, where they announced Maya will be added into the game, showing nothing more than a piece of concept art. Maya. Yay. What a scoop.

Speaking of mundane reaction, the King of Fighters XIII Top 8 didn’t exactly set the show on fire. The announcers’ lack of excitement saw to that. Seeing the same characters so many times mixed with the lengthy matches didn’t help either. In the end, it was Xiaohai’s EX Iori/Mr. Karate/Kim Kaphwan team defeating TOKIDO’s EX Iori/Mr. Karate/Chin team.

Mostly on a side-stream, they held the two Super Street Fighter II Turbo tournaments. Tournament of Legends II was the tourney where they played straight-up one-on-one. There, MAO won with Vega, defeating Nuki’s Chun-Li. That made it more entertaining when they showed the Top 8 for the X-Mania USA tournament on the main stream. There, it was a tournament of three players batched together against another three players. The finals was Team M3 (Mattsun, MAO, and TMF) against Team Japan 2 (Noguchi, Hanashi, and Kurahashi).

During the finals, MAO appeared wearing a title belt signifying his win in the Torunament of Legends II. Noguchi started for his team with Vega, going through Mattsun’s Ken and TMF’s Zangief. MAO went with his own Vega (since he earned him that belt) and cut straight through Noguchi’s Vega, Kurahashi’s Ryu, and Hanashi’s Fei Long. Even MAO’s teammates showed joking disgust in his cheap actions.

After the Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 semifinals wrapped up Saturday night, they showed a neat, 15-minute film called Matador, which told the origins of Vega. Or, well, “Balrog” as he’s known in Japan. It’s shown that his mother read him Lord of the Rings as a child and it was the Balrog creature that stuck with him; a bloodthirsty monster lurking in the shadows. The whole thing was entirely in Spanish and outside of M. Bison looking rather silly during his appearance at the end, it was a pretty cool fan film.

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I admittedly didn’t get a chance to watch too much BlazBlue: Chrono Phantasma, but the grand finals from Sunday are certainly worth checking out. Dogura (using Azrael) crushed Garireo (using Litchi) in their winners’ finals match, 3-0. Garireo climbed back up into the grand finals and the half hour of battle that followed was fantastic, edge-on-your-seat stuff. At one point Dogura was up two games and he had one round in the bag. At the same time, Garireo’s Litchi only had a small piece of health left, ready to lose at the next hit. Instead, he turned the tables and came out the winner of the round and was soon able to reset the brackets. The two fought tooth and nail, bringing it to 2-2 with each having a round between them. In the very last round, Garireo squeaked out a win and came out in first place.

Of course, much of the hype for BlazBlue was hurt by that one fan in the background during all the matches holding up a life-sized anime girl pillow. Um… right.

Killer Instinct was kind of adorable, just for seeing one of the players break down in tears upon realizing that he had made it into the Top 8. The most interesting thing about the tournament to me was runner-up Rico Suave, who didn’t lock down onto a single character. He was well-versed in over half of the cast, which was neat. It didn’t get him a win over KN RM CDJR’s Sadira, but it was a good try.

With Super Smash Bros. Melee, there’s really not much for me to say. I watched some of it, but it just didn’t grab me. Mainly because the tournament rules like to remove everything exciting and special about the game. In the end, last year’s Fox-using champ Mang0 won against Hungrybox, who tried his best with his Jigglypuff.

Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 was more fun than I expected. It was another situation where it was annoying seeing the same cheap teams over and over again. The worst was when Filipino Champ was using his Magneto/Dr. Doom/Phoenix team against Jan’s Hulk/Shuma-Gorath/Mike Haggar team and even though Champ had it in the bag with three characters and Haggar was the only one Jan had left, Filipino Champ still decided to use Magneto to push him back repeatedly for about a minute, getting plenty of boos from the crowd for his dishonor. When NYChrisG took him on and the commentators insisted Filipino Champ was the good guy in this, I refused to acknowledge it based on that Magneto bullshit.

Fighting game veteran Justin Wong took both of them apart with his Wolverine/Storm/Akuma team, which led to the awesome winners’ finals against Filipino Champ’s team. In a moment that should have ended Wong’s tenure in the tournament, his lonely Akuma was able to take out Dark Phoenix AND Dr. Doom in one fell swoop. He won 3-2 and when NYChrisG stepped up for the grand finals, Wong shut down his annoying “MorriDoom” game 3-1. Truly, the good guy won.

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Ultra Street Fighter IV was kind of comedic throughout the weekend. There were over 2,000 entrants and very few big names made it into the Top 8. That’s no big deal in itself, but what was really funny was how all these huge names in the fighting game world got knocked into the losers’ bracket and even eliminated completely and it wouldn’t even be on the stream! It’s like that South Park episode where there’s a huge war going on in Heaven and all we see is an angel excitedly talk about what’s going on.

The game’s newness is what helped make it intriguing as it was still fresh and the tiers are unrefined. The Top 8 gave us a lot of variety in characters and some great matches. There was so much variety in Ultra Street Fighter IV at Evo that I only recall seeing one mirror match (Fei Long vs. Fei Long). Luffy surprised everyone by using Rose of all characters to get through the losers’ bracket and defeat Bonchan’s Sagat twice over, getting Luffy the big win.

The Ultra Street Fighter IV stuff is entirely worth checking out, but if you had to only watch one match, it would have to be this one from the Top 32 between Snake Eyez using Zangief and RZR Xian using Gen. Just watch it, man. It’s so good.

Fantastic stuff all around. Can’t wait to see what Evo 2015 brings us.

For a full list of results, go to the official Evo 2014 website.

And don’t forget to check out all of our Evo 2014 coverage.

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