Published on July 15th, 2013 | by Cameron Woolsey
EVO 2013 Recap: A Final Look at this Year’s Greatest Fighting Game Tournament
For fans of professional fighting game competitions, there are few that can match the raw intensity of Evolution (EVO). This year’s showing was filled with tales of cheers, tears and triumph. There were sure winners, upsets and underdogs, all of which helped highlight one of the best Evolution events in recent memory.
It is appropriate that the U.S. government is beginning to recognize professional gamers as athletes, because the competitors in EVO 2013 burned enough adrenaline to send Usain Bolt in rocket shoes to the moon.
There were eight games (plus two small bonus games) represented at the show, and hundreds of gamers from around the world were vying for the top spot. But out of so many, only several could be crowned the best among their peers. Let’s take a look at those games as well as the top players.
Listed below are the top games of EVO 2013.
Missing: Street Fighter X Tekken, Tekken Tag Tournament 2, Skullgirls, Divekick
The first game two games to get to the Grand Finals were Persona 4 Arena and Mortal Kombat, both reaching their conclusion by the end of Day One on Friday.
Persona 4 Arena
EVO 2013 marks the first time P4A was hosted, and it attracted some impressive new talent to the fold. The battles took both speed and tactics, and at the end one was crowned the champion.
Grand Finals Winner: Yume
Second Place: LordKnight
Third Place: BananaKen
Mortal Kombat has been hosted by EVO for several years, so its presence was certainly expected this year. However, some gamers in the crowd wonder if this is the last time for the game, as its popularity at the show has diminished somewhat, drawing an average of around 18,000 for its live stream, an average of 10,000-20,000 less than some of the other games.It appears that some attention may have drifted to its spiritual successor, and fellow Netherrealm Studios game, Injustice: Gods Among Us.
But it still had a great show, and many popular players returned to duke it out in a series of tough, brutal matches.
One of the highlights of the MK scene was the player, Rattlehead. What’s so special about him? Well, he can play a pretty mean Cyrax. Oh, and he’s also completely blind. That’s right, Rattlehead is able to play the game simply by listening to the moves his opponent makes.
Now, it’s not the first time a blind person played in a gaming tournament, but go ahead and watch the video for yourself. I can honestly say I wouldn’t want to face Rattlehead in a Kombat match any time soon.
He ultimately lost, first to DJT 88, and then to Tyrant.
Best part: Rattlehead wearing a Kenshi-inspired red bandana across his eyes.
Grand Finals Winner: DJT 88
Second Place: KDZ
Third Place: ChrisG
King of Fighters XIII
Like many 2-D fighting games, King of Fighters XIII is all about patience and skill. We saw some of the most exciting matches of EVO 2013 occur during the finals on Sunday thanks to KOF. The KOF crowd was roaring and people were leaping out of their seats during the Grand Finals.
It was a great showing by its players, and a hell of a way to begin the EVO 2013 finals.
Grand Finals Winner: Reynald
Second Place: Hee San Woo
Third Place: MadKOF
Fourth Place: Tokido
Fifth Place (Tie): Verna, Xian
Seventh Place (Tie): Fox, Romance
Super Smash Bros. Melee
I’m sure Nintendo was happy to allow Melee into the tournament, because it generated more than 130,000 views on the live stream on Sunday.
Was Nintendo’s decision one of the best marketing tools for the event? That’s certainly a possibility. Either way, this 12-year old GameCube game was one of the most popular to watch, second only to Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3.
Grand Finals Winner: Mango
Second Place: Wobblez
Third Place: Hungrybox
Fourth Place: Armada
Fifth Place (Tie): Dr. PeePee, Mew2King
Seventh Place (Tie): Shroomed, Ice
Injustice: Gods Among Us
This was the first year for Injustice, and many popular players from the Mortal Kombat scene showed up to compete as one of DC Comics’ greatest super heroes.
It was clear during the event that Superman was the top pick when it came to the fighters. Some gamers believe that he is overpowered, and his overuse somewhat diminished what was overall an exciting showing for Netherrealm’s other fighter.
Highlight: Netherrealm Studios’ Ed Boone revealed that the Martian Manhunter and the John Stewart Green Lantern skin will soon be available for Injustice as DLC content.
Grand Finals Winner: KDZ
Second Place: DJT 88
Third Place: ChrisG
Fourth Place: Slayer
Fifth Place (Tie): Godspeed, Theo
Seventh Place (Tie): Balrog, REO
Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3
Easily the most popular game of the tournament, Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 blew people away during the finals. Player Justin Wong nearly became a true underdog story as he defeated many of the game’s toughest opponents including ChrisG, who was favored against Wong. Many in the audience were chanting his name as he powered through the ranks.
Unfortunately for Wong, he was bested by Marvel newcomer, Flocker.
Grand Finals Winner: Flocker
Second Place: Justin Wong
Third Place: Angelic
Fourth Place: Cloud805
Fifth Place (Tie): ChrisG, Filipino Champ
Seventh Place (Tie): Ranmasama, Zak
Super Street Fighter IV Arcade Edition
Super Street Fighter IV Arcade Edition was the final game of EVO 2013, and it made sure that the tournament went out with a bang. Both players Xian and Tokido flew threw the ranks as fighters Gen and Akuma, respectively. Xian showed true patience and skill as the aged Gen, and he found openings in his opponents’ defense that only a true master would have been able to exploit. Even against Tokido’s impressive Akuma, Xian was unphased.
Highlight: Capcom unveils Ultimate Street Fighter IV, with five(?) new characters and more environments.
Grand Finals Winner: Xian
Second Place: Tokido
Third Place: Infiltration
Fourth Place: Balrog
Fifth Place (Tie): Sako, Haitani
Seventh Place (Tie): Gamerbee, Daigo
Missed EVO 2013 but still want to watch the fights? Head here and watch it all. Be sure to clear your schedule.