The Sports Archives – A Guide to Evo 2019: Esports Largest Fighting Game Tournament

Evo – The Largest Fighting Game Tournament in ESports.

Today is the first day of Evo 2019. A lot of fighting game competitors and experts have already entered the Mandalay Convention Center and are getting ready to face off in what is essentially the world cup of fighting game tournaments and what may be the most important tournament of their lives. A lot of these competitors have come from far distances, even other countries, just to compete for a chance at fame and glory. For fans of the competitive fighting game scene, this is the most exciting time of the year. However, if you are not exactly familiar with this particularly passionate part of the ESports community, watching a competitive fighting game tournament can be daunting. That’s why I’ve created a guide with everything you need to know about Evo 2019, including what Evo is, what games are being played at Evo 2019, when each game is being played, where to watch the competition, and why you should care about it. Let’s get started.

First of all, you may be asking yourself, “What even is Evo?”. The Evolution Championship Series (Evo for short) is the largest fighting game event in the world. Across three days, a variety of fighting game tournaments, announcements, panels, and other events will take place. Competitors flock from all over the world to compete in these championship tournaments which decide who is the best in the world for each respective fighting game.

So what fighting games are being played? At Evo 2019, there will be 9 official tournament games. They are as follows:

Street Fighter V: Arcade Edition:

Like its predecessors which invented the fighting game genre, Street Fighter V is a 2D, one on one fighting game in which players try to execute combos and counter attacks in typical fighting game fashion. A new meter system makes this entry more inclined to risk versus reward gameplay than previous entries.

BlazBlue Cross Tag Battle:

BlazBlue Cross Tag Battle is a 2D, two on two fighting game, which includes characters from a variety of fighting games including BlazBlue Central Fiction, Persona 4 Arena, Under Night In Birth, and more. As the name implies, players can “Tag” in the other character on their team to help with combos and even to lengthen supers (with enough meter).

Mortal Kombat XI:

Mortal Kombat XI is a bloody 2D, one on one fighting game, that upholds the series tradition of absurd, over-the-top violence. In this entry players can use new supers called “Fatal Blows” when their health is low to help even the odds.

Samurai Shodown:

Samurai Shodown is a 2D, one on one fighting game that sets itself apart from other fighters with its unique art style and risk versus reward gameplay. Players have a “Rage” meter that fills up as they take hits and allows them to perform a devastating super once per match.

DragonBall FighterZ:

Based on the popular DragonBall anime series, DragonBall FighterZ is a 2D, three on three fighting game that translates well the flashy action and over-the-top transformations of the show. Because of its use of auto combos, this game can be both easily accessible and difficult to master at the same time.

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate:

With a roster of over 70 characters from numerous video games and growing, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate lives up to the “Ultimate” in its name by being one of the best 2D platform fighting games around. As its name implies, the “platform fighting” game genre involves players frantically trying to knock one another off of a series of platforms. I’d highly recommend watching this game first if you’ve never watched a fighting game before as it’s easy to understand and follow and is extremely satisfying to watch.

Under Night In Birth: EXE Latest:

Under Night In Birth: EXE Latest might have a long, somewhat confusing name, but this 2D one on one fighting game has easy to learn but deep mechanics and aggressive, fast-paced gameplay. The GRD system in particular allows for some game changing counter attacks.

Tekken 7:

Tekken 7 is a 3D one on one fighting game with a long and prosperous history as one of the best 3D games in the genre. Each punch has weight behind it and the back and forth between combos, blocks and doges really makes Tekken matches intense to watch.

Soul Calibur 6:

Soul Calibur 6 is a 3D one on one fighting game that is unique in that each character can select various weapons to use in combat. These weapons are balanced well and complement the already great fighting mechanics. This entry in particular also features a host of guest characters, such as Geralt from The Witcher series.

So now that you know which games are being played, when exactly is each game being played over the next three days. The Schedule for Evo 2019 is as follows:

Now that you know when the games are being played, where can you go to watch then? The easiest way to watch Evo is to watch on Twitch on the seven different Twitch streams that correspond to the names listed in the image above (/EVO – /EVO7). A link to all of these Twitch streams can be found here (https://www.twitch.tv/team/evolution_2019_ticket).

Lastly, why should you care about Evo 2019? Well if you’re new to ESports, Evo is the perfect place to start. Instead of following a whole team across different viewpoints where it is difficult to see what is going on (as is the case in many popular ESports like Overwatch), at Evo, there is only one screen and two very skilled players, making their battle easy to follow and exciting. Fighting games can be thought of this way; fighting games are to E-Sports what boxing or MMA fighting is to contact sports. It’s player versus player, in a fast-paced war of mind games, reads, punishes, panics, and victories. The people in the fighting game community are also passionate, skilled, friendly, and accepting, and following each player’s individual story is also engaging. So, whether you love fighting games, or have never picked up a controller in your life, there is something at Evo for everyone, and each year, both new participants and spectators continue to join in on the excitement. Will You?

By Jared Cocomazzi

08/02/2019

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