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Evolution Championship Series Lineup Thoughts

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The Evolution Championship Series, also known as EVO for short, recently aired a livestream where the Co-founder Joey Cuellar, Popularly known as Mr. Wiz, revealed the games that will be main stage this year. Thoughts about the lineup were very certain of quite a few titles, but if there’s one thing you can always count on, it’s Mr. Wiz having a big surprise in store.

Under Night In-Birth Exe:Late[st]

This literally should be the theme song for the UNIST community:

Literally, a Cinderella story for the FGC and gaming in general, French Bread (FB)’s Under Night In-Birth Exe:Late[st] will be a main event game. Those who have been in the anime gaming community for years know about FB’s Melty Blood, and FB never stopped grinding. The game has one of the more balanced rosters with one of weaker character Enkidu being in Top 4.

In addition, coming off a North American French Bread tournament in Atlanta, Climax of Night, this community just kept on pushing this title. Fast action, great roster and a core community that didn’t stop evangelizing it until they literally couldn’t breathe, yep it deserves EVO main stage action.

DragonBall FighterZ

To be honest, the biggest elephant in the room is SonicFox. He has a legacy with Netherrealm studios and has shown to be really good at just about everything else he touches. With EVO 2018 he proved that it doesn’t matter what game, he can rank. Some may be displeased by the way he won, but at the end of the day, he’s proven to be a champion.

The question is can he do it again or will Go1 or Kazunoko take the crown? With a lot of combat and now new characters Videl and Jiren, it’s going to definitely be a knuckle down fight for those entering the tournament.

Street Fighter V

Arguably THE legacy fighting game, Street Fighter V is again on the mainstage for EVO 2019 and rightfully so. Each year, SF manages to put on a show and last year was no exception. Evo 2018 had Problem X from the UK come in and win after having to deal with a bracket reset from Tokido one of the legendary fighting game players.

Since then, we have seen multiple players take up the mantle of winning SF through the Capcom Cup. While EVO 2019 will probably not be a stop, it’s an ample opportunity to make one stand out, will anyone take the challenge for SF this year or will one of the old guards come through?

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate

There wouldn’t be an EVO without a Smash game (Rip Melee) and Super Smash Bros. Utlimate fills in that slot. To be honest, the Smash community needed Ultimate and badly. The metagame in Smash 4 lead towards excruciating scenes where only one character became dominating: Bayonetta. This issue came to head with an infuriating Grand Finals event.

So it felt like time to hit the reset button for Smash and it did with Ultimate. With a new open meta, multiple characters that feel viable and there will be sure to be a lot of new and old faces trying to become an EVO champion.

Samurai Shodown

This addition is for the fans and the old guns. Samurai Shodown has not had a new game since 2008 and Evo has had non-released games on stage for instance Tekken 7 when it was in arcades. Unlike many fighting games, Shodown focuses more on making your attacks hig and being effective. Damage output is very high for characters, and more punishing if you’re disarmed. With it’s more methodical approach to fighting games, it will be interesting to see how the EVO crowd responds to it this year.

Tekken 7:
At this point in time, Tekken 7 itself is no stranger to EVO’s main stage. Just last EVO, we had a surprising Grand Finals match between Qudans and LowHigh, where LowHigh’s Shaheen beat Qudans’ Devil Jin to take the tournament:

Now, We have the addition of Season 2 to think about in the equation, Will we see much of Anna, Lei, Negan, Armor King, Marduk, or Julia in this years EVO? Of not is that one of the crowd’s favorite King players, LilMajin will most likely be there to turn heads with his explosive play. Tekken has always been a game of Footsies vs. Big Risks, and with new characters and new strategies, there’s no telling what could happen this year! Will Negan take over EVO?

Mortal Kombat 11:
There’s no surprises in the fact that Mortal Kombat 11 is at this year’s EVO. It’s one of those series that will always have the newest iteration at EVO. The game will be out for all players months in advance of the event, but it remains true at the time of the announcement and writing of this article that we don’t know all there is to know about the game yet. Not all the characters at base launch have even been announced! Our latest reveals were Cassie Cage and Kano. Netherrealm games have always brought the hype and delivered at EVO, thanks to the big name players that have stayed with them since the reboot in 2011. Among these top players is one we’ve mentioned earlier, SonicFox. SonicFox is an undisputed MASTER at NRS games, and after having been invited to the Reveal Event months ago to help exhibition the game, He showed off an already strong looking Sonya. EVO will push the new Mortal Kombat hopefully just where it deserves to be: seen by as many as possible.

SoulCalibur VI
Given how the game’s popularity has exploded as of the franchise’s return, It’s great to see Soul Calibur back on the EVO lineup. Namco’s weapon fighter had a small stint with V but it’s popularity just didn’t last. This game promises to be different, we’ve gone back to the series 16th century roots and a good amount of big players have jumped in. EVO might just showcase to more people why this is such a deserving game.

BlazBlue Cross Tag Battle:
This is a game that many might be surprised to see make it in, but honestly, after the popularity of BBTag exploded as it has, there was no chance it was sitting EVO out. This here is a game that has seen so many new players and commentators rise up that it simply had to be here. Anime style games are no stranger to the EVO main stage, as evidenced by Dragon Ball FighterZ, but we’re sure to get one heck of a show out of BBTag this year, that’s a certainty. There’s no telling what or who we’ll see, but the gameplay will be absolutely stunning.

I never had too much hope that a Dead or Alive game would get into the main lineup, but with the game’s new focus on gameplay rather than just having sexy looking characters, there was a chance that this would be the one that finally showed it was different. A stream being run by the team thought some advertising for the game got to out of hand for their liking and took the stream down, apologizing and saying that it “went against their core values”. Those same core values seem to have soured Mr. Wiz on letting it in, and it missed its chance once again. Maybe next year DOA6!