You may think you’re ready, but you aren’t even close.
EVO 2012, the largest fighting game tournament of the year and one of the biggest competitive gaming events of all time, is set to begin in less than 24 hours. This yearly fixture in the fighting game community has seen it all, including down-to-the-wire victories, surprise upsets, and gut-wrenching losses. Every tournament seems to somehow raise the stakes from the one before, and this year’s is looking to be no different.
But before we start dishing on the main event, let’s take a look at the road that brought us here.
The Road to EVO 2012
Apex 2012 – January 6th-8th – New Brunswick, New Jersey (Results)
While mainly a Smash Bros. even, APEX 2012 incorporated a few more traditional fighters into their lineup this year, including Super Street Fighter IV: Arcade Edition ver. 2012, Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3, and Mortal Kombat. It was here that Masta CJ won his very first major, taking first in UMvC3. This tournament also saw the beginning of Dieminion’s AE 2012 dominance on the east coast, a tournament tour that eventually saw him finish 3rd in overall seeding points for the game.
Winter Brawl 6 – February 18th-19th – Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (Results)
Winter Brawl 6 was home to a variety of great stories. vVv dominated the Mortal Kombat portion of the tournament, with sponsored players CDjr and REO taking first and second, respectively. Juicebox Abel, newly picked up by Dominion Method Gaming, went on an absolute tear in the AE 2012 top eight, defeating Dieminion and Gridman before placing a respectable second behind Justin Wong. This is also the first major that saw Morrigan become a huge part of NYChrisG’s game plan.
Final Round – March 2nd-4th – Atlanta, Georgia (Results)
When I think of Final Round XV, three specific moments come to mind. First, and most touching, was tournament organizer Larry “Shin Blanka” Dixon’s opening to the festivities, where he revealed that his mother had passed away only two days before. His perseverance through one of life’s most difficult moments and the community’s outpouring of support is a testament to the community and what it’s all about.
Second, Kusoru. I don’t know if anything else needs to be said about this Japanese player and his fantastic showing in the Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 tournament, but he showed up with a highly unorthodox team and completely dominated everyone who stood in his way.
And last, Wolfkrone’s trip through the losers bracket to take first place in AE 2012. He was disqualified early on in winners (much to the delight of his fellow competitors), and had to make his way through losers for most of the event. He eventually made it to the grand finals, reset the bracket in the first set, and eventually won the whole thing.
NorCal Regionals 10 – March 24th-25th – San Francisco, California (Results)
This tournament was the definition of hype. From the incredible Soul Calibur V grand finals match between professional heel Alex J. and the reserved eventual champion No Face Killer, to NorCal’s first place finishes in both AE 2012 and UMvC3, NorCal Regionals 10 was another successful entry in the tournament series. NCR10 was also notable for being the first major to include Virtua Fighter 5: Final Showdown in the lineup, thanks to Sega’s support. It also marked the first appearance of Street Fighter x Tekken, which went…less than spectacularly.
PowerUp 2012 – April 13th-15th – Cincinnati, Ohio (Results)
The most memorable moment from this tournament had to be the one that eventually spawned it’s very own running joke: Wolfkrone and his headphones. Sanford Kelly made a remarkable return to form at this event, slicing his way through the AE 2012 brackets with his intimidating Sagat play, as well as plenty of support in the audience. PowerUp 2012 also showcased one of the very first Skullgirls tournaments at a major. While the play was a little less than optimal due to the game’s recent release, it still provided a great look at the endearing indie fighter.
Civil War 4 – April 28th-29th – Richmond, Virginia (Results)
While this tournament stop saw another dominating performance by Dieminion in AE 2012, the real story was Chris G. The Civil War 4 tournament organizers, in order to help distinguish their tournament with something unique, gave away Civil War-era replica swords as first place prizes. Chris G, never content to rest on his laurels, set out on a path of destruction over the course of the weekend, taking first in UMvC3, Street Fighter x Tekken, and Skullgirls. If you’re having trouble following along, this means he scored a total of three swords. Well, a human’s only got two hands, so what do you do with the last one?
Oh, I don’t know…put it in your mouth a la One Piece’s Roronoa Zoro? Duh.
Toryuken – May 19th-20th – Toronto, Ontario, Canada (Results)
Toryuken was the first of two Canadian stops on the Road to EVO this year, and featured some stellar play from native players Chi-Rithy and Air. The former was able to stave off Dieminion and take first place in AE 2012, while the latter dominated the King of Fighters XIII competition. Unfortunately, the United States found victory in many of the other games, including UMvC3, Mortal Kombat, and Street Fighter x Tekken.
Season’s Beatings: Summer Slam – May 5th – Columbus, Ohio (Results)
The newly expanded Team Broken Tier made an incredibly strong showing at Summer Slam, taking three spots in UMvC3’s top eight with their varied play and top notch execution, but Noel Brown eventually took first using his tried and true team of Wolverine, Frank West, and Wesker. Infiltration also made the trip from Korea to compete, running the AE 2012 gauntlet with four different characters to earn himself a first place finish. The GGA team from Illinois also managed to fill out the Mortal Kombat bracket, taking half of the top eight places.
Ultimate Fighting Game Tournament 8 – May 25th-27th – Chicago, Illinois (Results)
Keits’ Ultimate Fighting Game Tournament has regularly set the bar for other tournaments to match, this year’s was no different. The eighth iteration saw old standbys like the mystery game and auction tournaments joined by Keits’ own creation Divekick, the one true fighting game that’s currently looking for funding on Kickstarter. If any one organization was to be dubbed MVP during this tournament, it would have to be Team Evil Geniuses, whose long-standing members Justin Wong and Ricky Ortiz faced each other in the grand finals for three separate games (AE 2012, Street Fighter x Tekken, Street Fighter III: 3rd Strike). It’s also the tournament that entered, “What are you standing up for?” into our cultural lexicon, courtesy of Wolfkrone’s premature celebration, Ricky’s subsequent victory and pop off, and Ultra David’s masterful dubbing.
Oh yeah, and first place trophies were home-made Infinity Gauntlets. Swords are cool and all, but come on.
Northwest Majors – June 2nd-3rd – Des Moines, Washington (Results)
While Northwest Majors saw many familiar faces taking top honors, it also brought out regional favorites like Rowtron. PR Balrog made strong showings in both UMvC3 and AE 2012, but ended up taking second in both behind Filipino Champ and Ricky Ortiz, respectively. All in all, every game saw some amazing competition.
Montreal Annual Tournament IX – June 2nd-3rd – Montreal, Quebec, Canada (Results)
While Northwest Majors was going down in Washington, our friends to the north were putting on the ninth Montreal Annual Tournament in Montreal. Once again, Chi-Rithy’s impressive Cammy play was able to completely smother Dieminion’s defensive Guile, marking the second time he’s deafeated the east coast player in grand finals.
East Coast Throwdown 4 – June 9th-10th – Morristown, New Jersey (Results)
Sweet Johnny Cage and LI Joe’s East Coast Throwdown tournament saw its fourth iteration join the Road to EVO this year, and a variety of pot bonuses and side events drew some intense competition to New Jersey. Fanatiq put on a clinic during the UMvC3 portions of the event, defeating RayRay by an astounding ten games in their first to fifteen set before winning the main tournament against Justin Wong. Young competitor Sonic Fox also made quite a splash, taking seventh in Soul Calibur V, second in Virtua Fighter 5: Final Showdown, and first in Mortal Kombat.
CEO 2012 – June 15th-17th – Orlando, Florida (Results)
Alex Jebailey took a page out Keits book and sought to make CEO 2012 not only a fantastic tournament, but a fantastic all-around experience for everyone involved as well. From bringing out Divekick to running high-priority matches in a life-sized wrestling ring, Jebailey went all out and definitely succeeded in his main goals. He also invited a ton of international talent, including Daigo and Mago from Japan, Kayane from France, and B.A.L.A. from Mexico, making this one of the highest concentrations of talent on the entire Road to EVO.
Every one of those tournaments was great in their own way, and they’ve provided an entertaining and informative path to this year’s EVO event. EVO 2012 is on pace to become the biggest fighting game tournament we have ever seen, as well as the most attended competitive gaming event of all time. Though it’s set in the United States, players from all over the world (including Japan, Korea, Taiwan, China, Mexico, England, Canada, France, and many more) will be in attendance to test their skills against a truly global community.
If that doesn’t give you chills, I don’t know what will.
But, if you’re one of the unlucky community members unable to make it out to the event this year, have no fear! The exemplary streaming teams of Team Spooky and iPlayWinner will be on hand all weekend to make sure you don’t miss a minute of the action. The broadcast will be split among three official streams, all of which can be watched on one convenient page.
While chat is open at the moment, it will soon be available only to those who pay for the subscription, a one-time payment of $12 that will also give you access to high-definition video, freedom from ads, and the use of custom EVO emoticons. All proceeds collected through these subscriptions will be put towards the all-new, annual $10,000 EVO scholarship, which is set to help those looking to gain an education for a career in the games industry.
If this lineup isn’t your cup of tea, there are also a variety of side tournaments being held for games like Virtua Fighter 5: Final Showdown, Skullgirls, BlazBlue Continuum Shift: Extend, Melty Blood Actress Again Current Code, and Guilty Gear XX Accent Core Plus. You can find streams for these in a previously written article.
Super Turbo Tournament of Legends
While it would be an exercise in futility to completely list every player who poses a threat in these different tournaments, we’ve collected a few names for each game that you’ll likely see do well. Again, this is not a comprehensive listing of every top-level player, so forgive us for any mistakes or missing names that you think should be included. For a full look at the pools, be sure to head on over to our official brackets.
Be sure to let us know in the comments who you think will do well this weekend, because we’ve obviously only scratched the surface.
Super Street Fighter IV: Arcade Edition ver. 2012
MCZ|Daigo Umehara, MCZ|Tokido, MCZ|Mago, EG|Justin Wong, EG|Ricky Ortiz, EG|Floe, RZR|Fuudo, RZR|Itabashi Zangief, RZR|Latif, LU|Alex Valle, EG|Momochi, MRN.MCZ|Marn, MRN.MCZ|Wolfkrone, BT|Dieminion, WW.MCZ|Infiltration, WW.MCZ|Ryan Hart, coL.CC|Mike Ross, coL.CC|Combofiend, coL.CC|Filipino Champ, CVPR|PR Balrog, MTSLF|Chi-Rithy, CCG|Air, FC|NYChrisG, DMG.MCZ|Juicebox Abel, FNEX|K-Brad, TS|Arturo Sanchez, Aquasilk, WW.MCZ|Laugh, WDM.MCZ|Cuongster, Kindevu, Kazunoko, Poongko, Eita, DM|Xian, Uryo
Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3
coL.CC|Filipino Champ, coL.CC|Combofiend, EG|Justin Wong, BT|Dieminion, BT|Viscant, BT|Clockwork, BT|IFC Yipes, FC|NYChrisG, CVPR|PR Balrog, AGE|Knives, AGE|Fanatiq, UVG|Noel Brown, EG|Ricky Ortiz, EG|Floe, DJ Huoshen, MC|KBeast, MC|GCYoshi13, MC|Honzo Gonzo, TTF|Dios X, Dignitas|Zak Bennett, Neo, LLND, KaneBlueRiver, AG.MCZ|MarlinPie, Chou, Mamespider, Kusoru, GX, Shimada, ABEGEN, Padtrick
King of Fighters XIII
IGL|B.A.L.A., eLivePro|Mr. KOF, vVv|Romance, AS|Reynald, Qanba.eLivePro|XiaoHai, Qanba.eLivePro|Dakou, DM|Xian, MCZ|Mago, MCZ|Tokido, TC|Yoshi, TC|The Beast, FC|NYChrisG, coL.CC|Combofiend, Hell Pockets, Kaoru, Haitani
Soul Calibur V
nSydia|Keev, Kayane, vVv|RTD, EMP|KDZ, BrewtusBibulus, MCZ|Tokido, EG|Floe, RZR|Itabashi Zangief, Mateo Galvan, Aris, Woahzz, AVerMedia|Gamerbee, Hawkeye, EG|Justin Wong, I’m Dope
vVv|REO, EMP|Perfect Legend, DetroitBallin, EMP|Tom Brady, GGA|16 Bit, vVv|CDjr, KN|Crazy Dominican, Pig of the Hut, GGA|Dizzy, FC|NYChrisG, TS|Arturo Sanchez
Street Fighter x Tekken
ER.MCZ|Tatsu, ER.MCZ|AndyOCR, WW.MCZ|Infiltration, WW.MCZ|Ryan Hart, WW.MCZ|Laugh, EG|Ricky Ortiz, EG|Justin Wong, FC|NYChrisG, BT|Dieminion, MRN.MCZ|Wolfkrone, EG|Floe, LU|Alex Valle, Hsien Chang, CCG|Air, WDM.MCZ|Cuongster, FNEX|K-Brad, FC|Jago, Kindevu