The 2018 Evolution Championship series tournament concluded on Sunday night with dramatic wins and passionate cheers. The event took place at the Mandalay Bay hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada over the weekend, where it was jam-packed with competition and excitement.
Now in its 16th year, Evo has evolved beyond the simple days of crowding around a monitor while two players duke it out. The event now hosts a sizable artist alley, an independent developers showcase, multiple promotional booths for various eSports teams and companies, as well as dozens of setups for pools and projection screens for spectators filling out its venue. To some, the event feels more focused on the spectacle than the tournament, but to others it’s a testament to its’ namesake.
The changed landscape for fighting games was on full display over the weekend. Newcomers Cygames Beast hosted a number of mini-events at its large dedicated booth with its team members, Geico Gaming hosted player meet and greets, and the top eight competitors for many of the games were sporting sponsored jerseys or jackets.
Regardless of the eSports flair, the fighting game community drama was well intact during the event. One such instance was that of Dominique “SonicFox” McLean against Goichi “GO1” Kishida in the grand finals for Dragon Ball FighterZ. SonicFox exercised a longtime rule of switching sides after the bracket was reset in GO1’s favor, which led to a short delay while tournament officials made the determination on side-switching. This led to a momentum change for SonicFox, as he defeated GO1 and took the victory.
Another instance was that of the Super Smash Bros. 4 grand finals, in which fans began to boo the top players Bharat “Lima” Chintapall and Zach “CaptainZack” for both utilizing Bayonetta (widely regarded as an overpowered character in game), and purposefully stalling the match until finally threatened with disqualification by tournament officials. The sidelined Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite tournament also proved to be a sore spot, as the initial bracket was finished on time, but the finals were pushed back by three hours due to scheduling issues.
The scheduling proved to be a continued problem with Sunday finals, with many games starting off late. The biggest issue came with Dragon Ball FighterZ, as its matches took so long that it pushed the start of Street Fighter V: Arcade Edition back approximately 1.5 hours.
Despite that, fans still packed the sold out Mandalay Bay events center to watch all the action. Omito Hashimoto claimed the championship in Guilty Gear Xrd REV 2 for a second time. William “Leffen” Hjelte toppled Evo veteran Adam “Armada” Lindgren for his win in Super Smash Bros. Melee, while Sun-woong “LowHigh” Youn routed the current Tekken World Tour champion, Byung-moon “Qudans” Son, for first place in Tekken 7. The evening was topped off with Street Fighter V: Arcade Edition, as UK player Benjamin “Problem X” Simon managed to skillfully defeat the prior year’s Evo SFV champion, Hajime “Tokido” Taniguchi, for the top spot.
Were you at Evo 2018? See what we captured over the weekend!