For the first time in what feels an age, a NetherRealm game isn’t sitting cosily in its status quo in the run up to Evo. If the original Injustice saw Gods Among Us, Injustice 2 is quickly proving to be the War of the Gods, and it doesn’t show signs of abating any time soon. With just two major events in the books, we already have two different champions, and though a SonicFox victory comes as little surprise, the marauding run of Whiteboi at Community Effort Orlando turned expectations on their head.
So what does the grandest stage of them all have in store for Injustice 2? With hundreds of competitors from all over the world making the pilgrimage to Vegas, there’s no telling who might attain the summit with an Evo victory. One thing is for sure however; it’s anyone’s tournament to win, and that feels remarkably refreshing.
The Old Gods Still Reign
Tempting though it may be to dismiss SonicFox’s Combo Breaker victory in light of his failure to conquer CEO, to do so would be a mistake. Dominique ”SonicFox“ Maclean made his name in Injustice: Gods Among Us, and though he has yet to totally settle down in the second instalment, it is very much a homecoming for him. He dominated early tournaments with a double handful of characters and a variety of styles, but this is Evo – and CEO showed us that anything less than total focus won’t cut it. Expect SonicFox to show up with only one thing on his mind: another Evo gold.
He’ll have his work cut out for him, in the form of his own Echo Fox teammate, Jivan ”Theo” Karapetian. One of Injustice: GAU’s titans, he went into something of a hibernation while MKX held the spotlight. With a return to the multiverse comes Theo’s rousing, and he’s already proving that his slumber did little to dull his razor sharp edge. He’s dominating online events; can he do the same offline? Evo is the time to prove it.
Injustice 2 has summoned other NRS elder gods too; the likes of Carl “Perfect Legend” White and Christian “Forever King” Quiles have been called by the clash of the superhumans, and will be planning to prove that they can leave their mark. Each have a deep pedigree, so sleep on them at your own risk.
There’s a Murder on the Horizon
Critical Reaction’s Nicolas “Whiteboi” Andersen is the CEO Champion. The dust has barely had time to settle and Evo is already right around the corner, but you can be sure that everyone has noted his victory, in which he wielded series newcomer Scarecrow in a run through bracket that scattered even the biggest crows – all of whom had their eyes set on that shiny CEO championship belt.
There’s little doubt that, in the little time left, everyone has put a bit of time into grinding the Scarecrow matchup. That means that, for Whiteboi at least, there’s a whole murder of crows on the horizon, with eyes still firmly set on that belt around his waist. During his CEO run he only once had to turn to Aquaman; expect a different story if Whiteboi wants to see himself on the main stage again come Evo.
Driven by Rage
Before Sayed ”Tekken Master“ Hashem piloted him to a second place finish at Combo Breaker, there were a lot of people sleeping on Atrocitus, leader of the Red Lantern Corps. Well, no longer. The Red Lanterns have had a flood of conscripts, and they will hope to harness their fury towards a Top 8 finish at Evo. Tekken Master remains the leader of the pack, but he has able lieutenants to help him prove that all you need to go to claim a win is hulk out.
Steven “Coach Steve” Delgado, after a brief stint as the Mayor of Gorilla City, has donned the mantle of a Red Lantern and seen immediate results at Next Level Battle Circuit with a string of wins. Eschewing the reset heavy style he took to with Grodd, he’s now the king of the blender, and will be planning to trip opponents up with Atrocitus’ high-low mixups.
On the other hand, Curtis ”Rewind“ McCall will be hoping to prove that he can put people in the blender without the benefit of an internet connection, as he takes his dominating style offline for one of his first major tournaments. He’s found good results online, and there’s no better time than Evo to prove that he can do it in person too.
The Summit is targeted by the World
With so many powerful threats in the USA, it would be easy to assume that the Champ will call America home. Evo is the mecca of fighting game players all around the world however, and some international talent will be attempting to ruin the party. It’s not a new role for Denom “AFoxyGrampa” Jones, who has been doing just that in Mortal Kombat X. It remains to be seen whether he can continue those efforts in a different game, but his Catwoman is out for blood.
He’ll be bringing fellow Englishman Reese “OmegaK” Gill, who has taken up the broach and fancy hat of Mayor of Gorilla City after Coach Steve relinquished them. Unlike Steve, OmegaK has built up a high execution, plus frame heavy pressure game with Grodd that tramples anyone who gets in his way. His plan? To make North America kneel before Grodd.
They’ll be joined by one of Europe’s best, with Martin “Madzin” Niedziela making the journey to Vegas too. There’s also names like Razor’s Xian and Rize’s MenaRD on the list, along with players from South Korea, Japan, Sweden and several other countries, for a real melting pot of opportunity.
And it’s not just Europe and Asia planning to play party poopers; America’s northern neighbours have something to prove too. Canada’s most notable representative is Matthew ”Biohazard” Commandeur, who has built a strong, if not necessarily spectacular portfolio in Mortal Kombat X. Injustice 2 is already proving a different story however, with the duo showing off his Bane to great effect. His character is capable of startling bursts of damage, and it’s no great surprise to see him tear games from the brink of defeat time and again.
There’s plenty to prove
There are so many players mentioned already, and there are more who could take the prize. Andrew “Semiij” Fontanez, Brad “Scar” Vaughn, Ryan “Dragon” Walker and Frank “Slayer” Perales are all more than capable of adding Evo Champion to their many accolades.
And even with the notable names who will be eyeing up Evo gold, there are a whole host of players planning to take them down. The release of Injustice 2 has shaken up the Netherrealm scene significantly, and there has never been a better time to make your mark. SonicFox proved that when he erupted onto the Injustice scene and never left, and there will be plenty looking to his example as inspiration.
For the first time since then, it really is anyone’s title to take – a remarkably exciting chance to see some of the best Injustice players in the world, all of whom genuinely have a shot at taking it all. What could be better than that?