Or see these intense battles for the first time, if you missed the stream!
While not the first appearance of Street Fighter V: Arcade Edition at a tournament event, Evo Japan was certainly the biggest showing for the new version of Street Fighter V, following the release of the upgrade by less than two weeks! Many eyes were focused on this tournament to see the massive array of Street Fighter talent battling for the first SFVAE Evo top spot.
Watching the stream live in North America was a labor of love for those that decided to stay up into the wee hours of the morning, thanks to the time difference between North America and Japan! But — in no way did it disappoint. The action was intense, and the new V-Triggers showed their power and their potential to shake up the game. The top 8 was composed of both longtime competitors and fresher faces.
The top of winners bracket saw MOV take on John Takeuchi — a perfect example of the above. John Takeuchi has readily adopted Rashid’s new V-Trigger II (Easifa), which is becoming recognized as a powerful way to apply more damage, as opposed to the single-shot Ysaar whirlwind. MOV stuck with Chun-Li’s Renkiko; his Chun-Li looking much like it has in prior seasons. The result of this match-up was an overwhelming 3-0 win for Takeuchi, with MOV only managing to snag some rounds in between Rashid’s furious assault with a couple of surprise instant-overhead heel kicks.
There were two famous Chun-Li players on the winners side of top 8, and next HumanBomb had his chance against Infiltration. Infiltration’s Menat showcased how terrifying the fortune-teller can be, merging her zoning and complex combos into a force that couldn’t be slowed down. HumanBomb couldn’t take a single game either, following MOV to losers bracket after a 3-0 win for Infiltration.
Despite their losses, the Chun-Li mains were showing off how different Chun-Li’s approach can be between the two V-Triggers now available to her; HumanBomb chose to use the new Kikosho V-Trigger, demonstrating a much different approach to each fight than MOV. It’s looking like the variety we’ve wanted to see in SFV — providing players different ways to utilize the same character — is indeed part of Arcade Edition.
On the losers side, the battle kicked off with Tokido facing StormKUBO, newly-sponsored by new esports team Atlas Bear. And StormKUBO was ready to represent his team by flattening Tokido’s trademark Akuma with that biggest of big-bodies: Abigail!
Abigail-haters found plenty to fear here, as it was looking like Abigail’s brute strength was going to be too much for the Raging Demon — but Tokido carefully tuned his play to ensure he was getting more hurt in on his opponent than he was soaking up, and sent Abigail packing.
Daigo Umehara was up against Itabashi Zangief in the next losers match. Contrary to his classic tag, Itazan had been trying out his own Abigail at the event, and many wondered if that was who we’d see against Umehara’s Guile. But the Red Cyclone was the one that came out for the fight.
While Itazan showed (as usual) capacity to inflict scary amounts of damage without warning, Daigo’s Guile — now equipped with the Knife Edge (V-Trigger II) and looking very comfortable overall — was on point, and eliminated Itazan 3-0.
As losers bracket progressed, HumanBomb was next to fall victim to Tokido’s murderous intent. While Tokido had stuck to Akuma’s V-Trigger I (Dohatsu Shoten) in the fight against StormKUBO (which did grant him a Shun Goku Satsu K.O., too!), he switched to the new V-Trigger II (Shiretsu Hasshi) for his fight against HumanBomb’s Chun-Li. Despite HumanBomb’s valiant efforts, the Demon’s onslaught couldn’t be survived, and Tokido moved on with a 3-0 win.
MOV was next against Umehara, and Daigo’s Guile was as solid as the match before — if not more so. He made quick work of MOV’s Chun-Li with an oppressive 3-0 victory — another one! — and both of the Chun-Li mains from winners bracket had been sent home.
That brought us to a fight that many were undoubtedly hoping to see: Tokido vs. Umehara! While Tokido showed off some of Akuma’s VTII damage potential in this fierce fight, Daigo was a man with a mission in this bracket — and not even Tokido would stand in his way. Daigo claimed another 3-0 victory, and eliminated the 2017 Evo champion from Evo Japan. Was the Beast going to take the Street Fighter trophy for Japan’s first Evo for himself…?
Back to the winners side, it was Infiltration’s turn to face John Takeuchi’s Rashid, in Winners Finals — and as effective as his Menat had been before, he couldn’t keep the Turbulent Wind from slipping in and doing serious damage. After losing two games, Infiltration switched from Menat to Juri, and started to make what looked like a strong comeback — but it wasn’t quite enough, and he fell to fight in Losers Finals.
Now facing Umehara, Infiltration switched back to Menat — and Daigo’s charge towards the Grand Finals from losers bracket met an unfortunate twist of fate. His Guile had torn through his prior opponents almost too easily, but Infiltration’s Menat baffled and frustrated him at every turn. His momentum broken, Daigo’s destiny became clear — and Infiltration went on for a runback against Takeuchi.
Now down to Infiltration vs. Takeuchi, we saw Infiltration pick up on his Juri-powered comeback against Takeuchi right where he left off. While Takeuchi managed to claim a couple of games for himself, Infiltration pushed through the tough fights to a bracket reset — and on to claim the first Street Fighter V Evo Japan championship as his own!
As he pointed out himself, Infiltration is now the only competitor to hold an Evo and Evo Japan Street Fighter V championship. Meanwhile, we saw strong showings from perennial competitors, as well as Daigo Umehara nearly Flash Kicking his way into an Evo Grand Finals — and a notable rising star in John Takeuchi and his superb Rashid. After this spectacular showing for the game at Evo Japan, this looks like it could be one of the most exciting seasons for Street Fighter V yet.
If you want to check out SFVAE footage from prior to top 8, head over to the Capcom Fighters YouTube channel!
Sources: Evo Japan (stream); evo2kvids