WARNING: If you don’t want spoilers for any matches in top 8/grand finals because you haven’t watched EVO yet, I’d advise NOT reading this article.
Evolution 2017 concluded a little under a week ago, and every single game had a ton of hype behind it. Whether it be Guilty Gear, Melee, Street Fighter, King of Fighters, or any others, every game had at least a few moments that made you go “Damn, I love this game!” Every time EVO comes around, you know it’s time to get hype. Because EVO is more than the biggest fighting game tournament in the world. EVO is a celebration of fighting games as a whole! So join me in celebrating how amazing these games we love get, and let’s count down the top 5 most hype moments of Evolution 2017.
5. JDCR’s Comeback Against Jeondding (Tekken 7 Winners Semifinals)
(starts at 12:45)
Tekken 7 is a game full of a lot of various, small hype things that come together to make the game exciting, rather than a game that has a few hype things that just tend to happen frequently. Generally this means it only truly gets hype when you have players who know how to abuse these small hype things to their greatest potential. One of these small hype things is called a “low parry”, where if you press down-forward on your controls, you parry a low hit and can capitalize with a combo after. On an unseeable sliver of health, JDCR low parries Jeondding’s about-to-be-game-winning low, and lands a combo with just enough damage to take the match, and the set.
4. Salem’s Game 10 Victory Over ZeRo (Smash 4 Grand Finals)
(starts at 39:49)
Smash 4 is a mixed bag for me. Sets are either really fun, or really lame. EVO top 8 definitely showed that. But luckily, the game that lasted the longest wasn’t boring at all: ZeRo vs. Salem in grand finals. Both players were playing out of their mind, and game 10 was one of the most intense moments I’ve seen in Smash 4. Bayonetta down a stock AND in kill range only after taking Diddy’s first stock. And while Bayonetta is a character known for her 0-to-deaths, this is also ZeRo we’re talking about. Salem won, game 10, tournament point for both players.
3. T4M7’s Double Perfect Against Ogawa (Guilty Gear Pools)
(starts at 8:15)
The White Lion of Japan showing that Leo is more than you think. Every time he lands a hit, the crowd freaks out. Outside of top 8, T4M7 left a path of destruction behind him, most notably sending Ogawa, EVO 2015 world champion, into losers through a double perfect. This monster made it all the way to grand finals, where he finally lost to Omito. And while T4M7 was definitely a monster throughout all of top 8, I think that his double perfect against Ogawa — The former EVO 2015 champion and arguably the best Zato in the world — really goes to show that he was the star of the show throughout all of EVO.
2. Ryusei vs. Fenritti (BlazBlue Grand Finals)
(Highlight at 25:34)
I typically don’t watch BlazBlue, but I always make the exception for EVO, because it’s where it gets the most hype. Every year it’s been a main game, something amazing happens, and this year is no different. This time, we got to see Ryusei decimate all of top 8 with his incredible Carl Clover, and Fenritti (Fenrich) also decimate top 8 with his incredible Jin Kisaragi. The point of maximum hype came when both of these players ended up against each other in grand finals. Both players played out of their mind in every set they were against each other. Each match was a total slugfest, and even though I was rooting for Ryusei to take it all (which he did), I also couldn’t help cheering for Fenritti as well. As amazing as Ryusei’s pressure and offense was, I really have to give it up for Fenritti’s impeccable defense while taking Ryusei’s onslaught of attacks, as well. This is the outcome you get when you take two players who are masters at their character.
1. Punk vs Tokido (Street Fighter V Grand Finals)
By far, the most hype moment in all of EVO this year was grand finals in Street Fighter V. Punk has taken SFV by storm these past few months, taking tournament after tournament. And at the young age of 18, he’s pretty much become the prodigal son of the community. Tokido has been a part of the FGC since before Punk was even alive. The flavor of this set was amazing. Who would win it? The rising star, or the old grandmaster? Everything was on the line for both of these players.
Punk cracked under pressure, and Tokido took full advantage of it, winning the set. He had won a ton of tournaments before, but EVO is different. I’m sure the entire time he was playing he felt the weight of the world on his shoulders. Normally I’d share this video at a specific time to give an example of how good the play was, but this is a moment best enjoyed as a whole. This is why people watch fighting games: the emotion that comes with them, and the stories that they create. At the end of the set, both players were on the verge of tears for two completely different reasons.