While it isn’t a main game this year, The King of Fighters XIV still has a stage at Evo 2018 thanks to AnimEVO and the expanded support for side tournaments at this event. Combined with a decent-sized $5,000 prize pool bonus from SNK, this means some of the best KOFXIV players in the world are once again coming to Evo.
Now as of late, Chinese players have been a dominant force in The King of Fighters XIV. Players such as QANBA.Douyu|Xiaohai and PandaTV|Dakou have been doing well in recent tournaments; Xiaohai in particular won CEO 2018, which means he’ll be coming in on a hot streak — or would, if he were joining KOFXIV.
Yes, XiaoHai and the other Chinese players are conspicuously absent from this tournament. Whether it’s due to focusing on other games or simply not being able to make the trip, they won’t be competing at The King of Fighters XIV this year. Now, while this may seem like a bad thing, let us not forget that China isn’t the only dominant force in competitive KOFXIV. There are other strong players from other regions who have been making their marks in the scene, and the absence of the Chinese simply blows the doors wide open for them to take the win.
There are still other players from the far East competing at The King of Fighters XIV at Evo 2018. A number of Japanese players are coming over: among these is kojiKOG, who’s made it quite far in numerous tournaments in the East — including 9th at Evo Japan 2018 with his unorthodox team of Dinosaur, Mature, and Verse. In addition to this, Taiwan’s Rowy|ZJZ is also in attendance.
Of course, it’s the Mexican players that many people are expecting to shine in this tournament. Violent Kain and El Rosa from TxC are both in the tournament, and both have seen good finishes in numerous tournaments with the former almost making top 8 at Evo Japan 2018. Luis Cha is another Mexican player who did well at Evo Japan 2018, also making it into the top 16. Meanwhile, VegasKOF|Wero Asamiya is coming off a lot of momentum thanks to his second place finish at CEO 2018 — the latter result making him a favorite here. He’ll be joined by teammate Johny, who’s accomplishments include a top 8 finish at NCR 2018.
While the series isn’t as big in the USA as it is in other regions, that doesn’t mean that there aren’t any good American players coming in for a shot at the prize. Two other players coming in hot from great performances at CEO 2018 are JDR from KPB, and Vicio from TxC and Orochinagi. Another player who’s done well for himself is MTG|Y05H1, who made top 8 at NCR 2018. He’s being joined by MTG teammate Sol Goodguy.
Of course, this is just a slice of the over 50 players coming to compete in the The King of Fighters XIV at AnimEVO. There’s still a chance for many other players to shine at the event. The lack of certain players (on top of SNK’s generous prize bonus) has only made the stakes higher, with better chances of winning for those who are in attendance. So who will take the win at this year’s KOFXIV tournament? We’ll find out when Evo 2018 kicks off on August 3rd.
UPDATE: We have been informed that both Qanba|Xiaohai and Qanba|Dakou are attending the tournament after all. With this, the landscape changes a lot –as both look to be heavy favorites to do well, and even win the tournament outright (especially with Xiaohai’s recent win at CEO). However, their presence doesn’t diminish the presence of the other players attending the event. We’re still looking forward to some strong KOF competition!