How to Watch Evo 2013: A Viewer’s Guide

By on July 9, 2013 at 2:22 pm


This weekend, the largest fighting game tournament in the world is going down in Las Vegas, and you should watch it. That’s right, you. Even if you don’t play fighting games.

Obviously, most of the people reading this here on Shoryuken play fighting games and are already planning on watching Evo — but this guide is for the folks who aren’t big fighting gamers. So, if you want to bring your friends into the fighting game fold, share this article with them so that they can understand why you’re so “salty” or “hype” next Monday morning. After all, you don’t want to miss something like this:

What is Evo?

“Evo” is short for “Evolution” — a yearly fighting game tournament held in Las Vegas that attracts players from all across the globe to compete for fame, glory, and a few thousand bucks or so. Evolution 2013 is composed of several sub-tournaments, one for each of nine games: Super Street Fighter IV: Arcade Edition ver. 2012, Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3, Injustice: Gods Among Us, Super Smash Bros. Melee, Street Fighter x Tekken ver. 2013, The King of Fighters XIII, Tekken Tag Tournament 2, Persona 4 Arena, and Mortal Kombat.

Unlike many other competitive gaming events, Evo is an open tournament, meaning anyone can enter without having to qualify in advance — which also means that popular games often exceed 1,000 entrants. If you get so excited from watching this weekend’s stream that you immediately pick up a fighting game and start practicing, you too could enter Evo next year! That said, Evo comes at the end of the “Evo tournament season”, called the “Road to Evo”, which consists of a series of major tournaments across North America where well-performing players can earn the chance to be seeded in Evo brackets. A number of tournaments outside the United States are also included in the “Road to Evo International” tournament series.

But ultimately, this question can be summed up perfectly by Richard Li’s fantastic Evo 2012 video.

How can I watch Evo?

If you can’t make it out to Las Vegas for the weekend, fear not — you’ll be able to watch a live video feed through three main channels on Twitch: srkevo1, srkevo2, and srkevo3. Streams will be produced by two community groups called iPlayWinner and Team Spooky. Streams are free, though you may purchase a pay-per-view “Premium Ticket” for $12, which will go towards an NYU Game Center scholarship fund to grant scholarships to fighting game community members who need financial assistance to attend the program (more information).

Three streams is an awful lot to keep up on at once, of course — I recommend using MultiTwitch like this to open multiple streams at once or Twitch’s own Evo 2013 hub to switch between each stream on the fly.

Unofficial side streams will also be available for Street Fighter x Tekken ver. 2013 (Karastorm), Persona 4 Arean (FinestKO), The ST Games (IE Battlegrounds), and Tekken Tag Tournament 2 (IE Battlegrounds 2).

Worried you won’t know what’s going on? It’s okay — each streamed match generally has a pair of commentators available to narrate and add context to the action.

The schedule for each stream has been included below. Note that not every match is broadcasted on stream — particularly for the “qualification pools” beginning stage of each tournament and the semi-finals brackets — so if you hear that someone got knocked out of the tournament “off-stream”, that’s what happened. However, every match from each tournament’s top eight is normally shown.


How does Evo work?

Each player starts off in a smaller tournament bracket, called a “qualification pool”, which usually ranges from 16-32 people depending on the size of the tournament. Every tournament is double elimination, meaning that if you lose to someone, you are placed in the “loser’s bracket”, where another loss results in elimination from the tournament. Once each pool has two people remaining — one person at the end of the winner’s bracket, and another at the end of the loser’s bracket — the tournament organizers take those two people from each bracket and distribute them into the semifinal bracket, with the people who qualified undefeated on the winner’s side of the new bracket and the people who qualified with a loss on the loser’s side of the bracket. Players continue to compete in this bracket until eight players are left (four in winner’s, and four in loser’s).

This remaining bracket of eight is called the “top eight” or just “finals” and is saved for its own slot in the schedule — usually on Sunday for most games. At the end of the bracket, the winner of the winner’s bracket plays the winner of the loser’s bracket; the player coming from the loser’s bracket must defeat the other player twice in order to win the tournament. This is called “resetting the bracket”.

Payouts for Evo are mostly derived from entry fees. Each game demands an entry fee of $10/player, and the total pot is paid out at 60% for first place, 18% for second place, 8% for third place, 4% for fourth, 3% for fifth and sixth, and 2% for seventh and eighth. Payouts may be boosted by the addition of a “pot bonus”, which is typically offered by a sponsor.

What are the rules?

There are a few basic rules worth mentioning about the Evo tournament format.

First of all, most tournament matches are best two of three, and later matches in the tournament bracket are often best three of five or even best four of seven. In general, the player that wins a game must stick with his or her character selection into the next game, while the player that loses the match may pick a different character.

There are a few other significant rules worth knowing about. Before the match starts, each player is allowed time for a “button check”, where they make sure that their controllers and configurations are in working order — so if you see two players goofing around and generally not fighting each other, that’s probably what’s going on. Competitors are also entitled to request a “blind pick”, where both players separately tell a tournament judge which character they plan to pick in advance, so as to prevent players from waiting for an opponent to pick their character first on the selection screen, and then counter-picking them. Also, if at any point in a match a player pauses the game, they immediately forfeit the match — except in “Inevitable Defeat” situations where they paused while the characters were in a state such that one player is guaranteed to win if the action resumed (say, in the middle of a super combo animation).

For games that are cross-platform, the PlayStation 3 version is considered the official tournament version — though console-specific characters in games that have them are typically banned.

For more information about the Evo structure and ruleset, check out the official Evo Player Guide.

Who should I know and which games should I watch?

Which games should you watch? Simple: all of them. We’ve provided a quick description of each game, as well as a little backstory whenever possible. (I don’t know a whole lot about some of the games, so if you experienced readers want to help me fill in the blanks in the comments, I’d appreciate it!)

Super Street Fighter IV: Arcade Edition ver. 2012 is the modern heir to the Street Fighter tradition, and generally considered Evo’s “main event”. It’s probably the most familiar to folks who haven’t followed fighting games since the Street Fighter II days, as it draws a lot of design inspiration from the SFII series — though with a few new mechanics, like high-damaging Super and Ultra Combos, and Focus Attacks that let you absorb an opponent’s attack and retaliate with your own. Players to watch include last year’s champion Sun-woo “Infiltration” Lee from Korea, fighting game legend Daigo “The Beast” Umehara of Team Mad Catz, Desperation Move’s recent challenger Kun-Xian “Xian” Ho from Singapore (who played a very close set with Infiltration at NorCal Regionals 2013) and Simon “Popi” Gutierrez from Sweden (who beat Infiltration at DreamHack Summer earlier in the year and will be appearing at Evo 2013 courtesy of DreamHack themselves).

Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 is a chaotic three-on-three team fighting game that draws on a roster of iconic characters from both Marvel and Capcom franchises — Avengers, X-Men, Devil May Cry, Resident Evil, and so on. Its appeal is so strong and unique that its devotees will often pop into livestream chats just to ask “When’s Marvel?” — because they simply don’t want to watch other fighting games after they’ve discovered the light. Players to watch include Chris “NYChrisG” Gonzalez of Afterglow Elite (who has consistently shut down top players over the last year with his stifling lockdown play), compLexity Gaming’s Ryan “Filipino Champ” Ramirez (last year’s Evo champion), Empire Arcadia’s Job “Flocker” Figueroa (an aggressive combo-heavy player that beat Chris G at East Coast Throwdown V), Justin Wong of Evil Geniuses (the most dominant player during the Marvel vs. Capcom 2 days), and Wong’s Evil Geniuses teammate Eduardo “PR Balrog” Perez (a highly aggressive player who has also defeated Chris G in the past).

Injustice: Gods Among Us is a one-on-one fighter with characters from the DC Comics universe (Superman, Batman, etc.); it looks and feels somewhat similar to Mortal Kombat, since it’s made by the same developer, NetherRealm Studios. If fighting games were on a spectrum from crazy (Marvel vs. Capcom) to controlled (Street Fighter IV), Injustice would fall somewhere in-between; on one hand, it’s slower than Marvel and only has two characters on screen, but the combos can still get crazy, and players are capable of interacting with elements of the stages they’re fighting on — for example, some characters can pick up parts of the environment and throw it at their opponent. Players to watch include Carl “Perfect Legend” White of Fnatic (two-time Mortal Kombat 9 Evo champion), Emmanuel “CD jr” Brito, Giuseppe “REO” Grosso, Brant “Pig of the Hut” McCaskill, and Marvel dominator Chris “NYChrisG” Gonzalez (who recently took first in Injustice at Community Effort Orlando 2013).

Street Fighter x Tekken ver. 2013 is a two-on-two tag battle game with characters from both Street Fighter and the Tekken series; while it’s a bit crazier and has more stuff happening on-screen compared to Street Fighter IV, it’s still pretty easy to follow. Players to watch include: Ricky Ortiz, Justin Wong, Yusuke “Momochi” Momochi, Eduardo “PR Balrog” Perez, and Ari “fLoE” Weintraub (all of whom are players from professional game team Evil Geniuses); also, last year’s champions Ryan “Laugh” Ahn and Sun-woo “Infiltration” Lee.

Super Smash Bros. Melee is a four-player party brawling game, though its competitive player community has settled on a one-on-one ruleset for serious play. SSBM has a rather interesting background that’s worth explaining; its player community won a breast cancer research charity donation drive with over $90,000 in contributions to earn its status as a main game at Evo. Watch for strong performances by Joseph “Mango” Marquez, Empire Arcadia’s Jason “Mew2King” Zimmerman, Hungrybox, Adam “Armada” Lindgren from Sweden, and more.

Mortal Kombat 9 is the modern-day successor to the classic fighting game franchise; it’s brutal, and bloody, and a heck of a lot of fun to watch. This is MK9’s third year at Evo, and its notable player base largely overlaps with Injustice’s.

Persona 4: Arena merges the characters from the vaunted Japanese RPG series Persona with the fast, frenzied action of a set of games colloquially known as “airdash” or “anime” fighters (Guilty Gear, BlazBlue, The Rumble Fish, and so on). A number of notable foreign players are set to make the trip to Las Vegas to compete in this title, including Die-chan, Stunedge, Tomo, and more, in addition to strong competitors from the United States like Steve “Lord Knight” Barthelemy, Jose “BananaKen” Llera, and Eddie “Brkrdave” Sayles.

Tekken Tag Tournament 2 is the latest in the ground-breaking 3D Tekken franchise; it’s a two-on-two tag-team fighting game that looks somewhat similar at first to Street Fighter x Tekken but plays very, very differently. Players to look out for include CafeId’s Knee and Nin, Aris Bakhtanians of Avoiding the Puddle, Empire Arcadia’s Rene “Kor” Maistry, Eduardo “Inkognito” Rada of Money Inc., Level Up Your Game’s Michael “MYK” Kwon and Reepal “Rip” Parbhoo, Jimmy “Mr. Naps” Tran, and more.

The King of Fighters XIII is the newest game in SNK’s long-running King of Fighters franchise; it follows the series’s traditional format of three-on-three battles, with each player using one character at a time. Last year’s finals won the game several new fans; this year’s tournament might well make a fan out of you. Notable players include the members of CafeId out of Korea (MadKOF, Kensouzzang, Verna), Afterglow Elite’s Jose “Romance” Navarrete, Reynald Tacsuan of ArcadeShock, and Empire Arcadia’s Luis “Luis Cha” Martinez.


What on Earth are you talking about?

Like any niche community, we’ve evolved our own slang in the fighting game community (“FGC”), and if you don’t know any of it, you might have a hard time following along. Here is a glossary of key terms:

Bodied: Completely dominated. Ex.: “I just got bodied by that Gen player.”

Combo: A series of attacks that the receiving player cannot block after getting hit by the first attack.

Dropped combo: “Dropping” a combo means the attacking player accidentally failed to execute the full combo.

Five Golden Letters: Slang for a PERFECT, where a player wins a round without taking damage. Yeah, we know it has seven letters. Don’t ask.

Free: Requires little effort to defeat. Ex.: “He was totally free in that last match.”

Happy Birthday: When one player in a team-based game manages to hit two opposing characters with a single combo.

Hype: Exciting. Ex.: “Did you see that match? That was hype!” (Note that unlike normal usage of this word, fighting game usage has zero negative connotation.)

OCV: Short for One Character Victory; used in team games where one player wins a match with a single character.

OTG: Short for Off The Ground. In most games, a character that is knocked down cannot be hit; some games allow OTG moves that continue the attack (and often lead to even longer combos).

Reset: Modern fighting games discourage long combos by decreasing each subsequent attack’s damage; this is called “damage scaling”. A reset is when a player intentionally stops a combo with the intention of confusing the defending player and landing another hit in order to start another combo that “resets” the damage scaling. A dropped combo that unintentionally leads to a reset opportunity is called an “American Reset”.

Runback: A rematch. Also see “salty runback”, where one player demands a rematch due to his or her excessive sodium levels following a frustrating loss.

Salty: That unique combination of anger, frustration, and defeat that a player experiences after a loss.

Salty Suite: An after-hours, unofficial event near Evo where top players challenge each other to often high-stakes money matches. It’s usually streamed.

Scrub/scrubby: A player that often makes poor decisions and/or has poor physical execution. Not necessarily a new player.

Stream monster: Someone who religiously watches fighting game streams but rarely attends in-person events. (You, after watching Evo.)

Tech/technology: Slang for new, often situation-specific gameplay techniques. Ex.: “anti-Phoenix technology”.

Vortex: A string of setups starting from a knockdown that make it very difficult for a defending player to successfully block — each of which ends in a knockdown. Usually used in SFIV.

Yipes: AKA Michael Mendoza, a well-known Marvel commentator beloved by stream monsters. Famous for commentating the MAHVEL BAYBEE video (NSFW, included below). He’s responsible for much of the Marvel community’s slang.

Finally, here’s a guide to special smiley faces you can use in the Twitch.TV chat:


Enjoy Evo!

(videos courtesy of Nica K.O, evo2kvids, and Gabby Jay)

  • Mark Imakebeats Ford

    damn killer instinct and special presentations on sunday!! tight

  • double B

    Robot with a human face

  • EA575

    Never knew OCV till now.
    Also: KappaRyu makes a comeback 😀
    LOL KappaSagat

  • Pack Ling

    Most links are effed up like this”″

    • iantothemax

      My apologies, they should be good now.

  • Dynami

    Another article where the Premium TIcket’s benefits other than going toward the scholarship program are totally a mystery.

  • superscience890
    FinestKO is scheduled to stream Persona 4 Arena pools

  • Ronaldihno

    You forgot:Godlike
    EX: That reset was Godlike!

  • Jonathan Tse

    FinestKO for P4A, IEBattleGrounds for ST Games. not sure about TTT2 though.

  • HalvallaAwaits

    Totally bummed that I can neither go to Evo or watch it from home due to getting married last year on the weekend prior and it having changed weeks this year. Is there any way to get archival footage?

    • Cat Astrophy

      Your wife hogging you all 3 days? Anniversaries are a one-day thing. Tell your wife for her present to you she should let you enjoy live footage on the other two days that aren’t your anniversary.

      • HalvallaAwaits

        First anniversary. Want to make it somewhat special. Anyways, thanks for not answering the question, haha.

        • Cat Astrophy

          EVO not special enough? You’re not that bummed. You could always schedule the other 2 days for next weekend. They are as equally unimportant as any other day that isn’t your anniversary.

        • James Joseph

          Halvalla if you pay $12 towards the school fund you get to watch archives of the stream

  • rc_on

    Very informative article, thank you!

  • Los Illuminados


    Reverse OCV or ROCV: Short for Reverse One Character Victory; used in team games where one player wins a match with his last character vs. other player’s full team. (as seen in the best fighting game of them all The King of Fighters series.)

    Five Golden Letters? LOL that sounds pretty dumb in my opinion.

  • Diego Serrano

    for Melee you can add 4-stocked, JV, gimp and much more

  • Lemonitos

    What is the timezone of the schedule?

    • Guest

      Pacific…since that’s where EVO is held

      • Lemonitos

        Well for people outside the US is not that obvious, so I’ll go ahead and say that Pacific is currently GMT -7:00 (usually -8:00 without daylight saving time).

  • Battery: A character who who builds meter really fast. Another awful term because battery CHARGER makes a lot more sense than just battery. (The meter is the battery.) But it’s the term we’re stuck with.

    • Cat Astrophy

      We already have charge characters and the term pre-dates super meters. They aren’t going to just add an “R” that would cause a lot more confusion.

      • Someone would have to be really obtuse to confuse charge and charger.

        To say nothing of context clues, but I digress.

        • Cat Astrophy

          Makes infinitely more sense to just come up with a completely different word. Charge characters are also chargers because they charge the moves. They are also charging. They charged. One charges when using a charge move, etc.

          The term battery refers to where you’re getting your juice/meter from on your team. The meter doesn’t give me meter, the battery does. Charger would have been a better term had it not already been reserved. Every term’s base word and all suffixes are based on that term. Having to read into context unnecessarily obfuscates the definition.

          Smart community terminology development keeps everything as separate as possible to minimize confusion.

          • Nobody has ever called a charge character a charger. Period. It’s not a problem.

            What IS a problem is how you don’t understand CONTEXT. I know it sounds like I’m trolling—and maybe I am—but is English your second language? Because in English there’s such a thing a word having multiple meanings; just look at vulgarities like shit, fuck and motherfucker.

            All about context.

            LOL, and with all that said charge and charger are different words anyway!

  • Trekiros

    Yo, if you need a definition for Melee :
    “Super Smash Bros Melee is Nintendo’s fan favorite cross over game. It was inspired by the fighting game genre but its developers added their own twists to it and the franchise has evolved into something unique. Its accessibility has helped creating a strong competitive following behind the game despite the lack of editor support, and twelve years after the release of this game, its players are still passionate about competition. They earned back a spot at EVO by winning a fund raising contest we organized [include a link to the news]. The game’s greatest players will all be here : the elite four, the best players in the history of this game, composed of Hungrybox, Mango, Dr.PP and Mew2King, as well as the two undefeated but retired Kings of Smash, Armada and Ken.”
    And Melee specific vocabulary :
    No johns – This is a meme that evolved into a mantra for the Smash community. It is understood as ‘no excuses, EVER’, and it means that when you loose, you are always the only one to blame, and it’s up to you only to redeem yourself. “Example : my hands were sweaty, that’s why I lost ! -No Johns.”
    DI / Directional Influence – In Smash, you can influence the angle at which attacks send you when you get hit. It is used as a way to escape combos, though it can be predicted and punished, as well as a way to extend your character’s survivability.
    Edgeguard – In Smash, you win by ringing out your opponent. Edgeguarding is doing this by jumping off the stage yourself to secure an early kill.
    Power Shield/Perfect Shield – the Smash equivalent of a parry.
    Wavedash – a movement technique used in Super Smash Bros Melee that allows quick changes in directions, both on the ground and on platforms.
    Pick the ones you want lol

    Btw, as a side note, you should list the games by number of attendants, it can be an interesting stat for viewers.

  • Garrett Jones

    “Super Smash Bros. Melee is a four-player party brawling game…” haha Yeah, don’t let the newcomers get confused.

  • Lou

    Five Golden Letters? I’ve been playing since 2nd Impact hit the arcades and I have never heard that nonsense.

  • Cat Astrophy

    If you work on Friday (like many), live anywhere near the west coast, and love Tekken…enjoy the dick in your ass

    • Streams can be time-shifted.

      • Cat Astrophy

        Live footage cannot (unless you’re a time mage, then please by all means, bestow upon us your mighty power). Not all of us like to watch our sporting events recorded.

        • I was gonna tell you how but then I got high.

          You’ll catch more bees with honey, @cat_astrophy:disqus.

  • DukeMagus

    and after ALL THIS DAMN TIME i’m still not 100% sure of the meaning of the faces used on twitch tv chat

    shame on me

  • bavobbr

    You can use this webapp to find players, matches, results and other statistics of evo2K13

  • Vadsamoht

    Also for anyone interested, the Skullgirls pools will be broascast on from 4PM Friday.

  • Charles Babbage

    I hope they at least have 720p streams for people who didn’t buy that pay-per-view bullshit. No way in hell I am watching in 480p or lower. Its fucking bullshit to have to pay to watch in decent quality in the first place. Next thing you know I am gonna have to pay to view videos on youtube.

  • Jared Bernardi

    Quick question. What time zone is the schedule in?

    • Herbert Jones Rovbinson

      cause it’s so hard to google “time in vegas”

  • Ziko577

    I wish the list of lingo was somewhat more longer. I could’ve sworn there were more terms out there.

  • Ironmanxrs2

    Our lingo set was much more advanced in 96! LOL

  • $17468069

    What’s murder face? is it a person specifically or what? heard it a few times while watching.

  • Richard Evans

    video games should be banned and encourage kids to game, cheat and KILL. I am disgusted with this street thuggery website and won’t allow these games in MY HOME!