This article is part of our Additional Recaps series.
While Street Fighter, Injustice, and Super Smash Bros. received top billing for EVO 2017, Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 and Tekken 7 were no slouches in terms of high level fighting game action. Both tournaments followed the pattern of crowning new champions, which made it all the more interesting.
RyanLV Dethrones ChrisG as UMvC3 Champion
It was only fitting that in the final big tournament for the lifespan of UMvC3, the stalwarts of Splyce’s Ryan "FChamp" Ramirez and Echo Fox’s Justin Wong were absent in the top-8, giving way to some new blood. Even without those guys at the top, there was plenty to digest throughout the weekend.
While Justin Wong and FChamp may not have been around on the final day, one big name that wasn’t absent was defending champion Chris “ChrisG” Gonzales. While he did end up making it into the grand finals, he didn’t get there without some rough moments. He made it through the winner’s semifinals, but then ran into his kryptonite in the form of Rene “RyanLV” Romero. He was swept by the challenger in the winner’s finals, and was sent down to the loser’s bracket.
Outside of the eventual crowning of a new champion, the biggest surprises came in that lower bracket. It was there that the emergence of Jose “PC Marvel God” Aldape began to take shape. Despite having to battle through the loser’s bracket just about from the outset of the bracket, he showed such resilience to get all the way into the top-8. Along the way he took out some of the big names of Justin Wong and Luis "Paradigm" Cervantes before coming up just short in the loser’s final against ChrisG. A top-3 finish is nothing to scoff at, and he’s definitely looking strong going into Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite.
With ChrisG taking down PC in the loser’s final, the grand finals ended up as a rematch of the winner’s final between RyanLV and ChrisG. With ChrisG needing to win two best-of-fives to repeat as champion, he had a long road ahead of him. It started off very shaky from the outset as he fell into a quick 0-2 hole. He never gave up, however, and battled all the way back to a Game 5 with his favorite trio of Doctor Doom, Morrigan, and Vergil. RyanLV overcame some combo drops in the series to come up with a huge Game 5 win with his reliable Chun-Li, Phoenix, and Morrigan. RyanLV now holds the EVO crown, and will be a strong contender going into Infinite.
Speaking of Infinite, I can’t wait to see what the pros do with this game. FChamp and Peter “ComboFiend” Rosas gave us a taste of what’s in store with an exhibition match, and if it was any indication, the future is hype as hell for this series.
JDCR Completes the Echo Fox Teamkill Against Saint for the Tekken 7 Crown
Despite this being the third year of Tekken 7 at EVO, this is the first time at the event with the game having an official release for PC and consoles. So of course this tournament went the distance in the grand finals.
The grand finals came down to an Echo Fox teamkill between Jin Woo "Saint" Choi and Hyun Jin "JDCR" Kim. The two players had very different routes to get there, however. While JDCR essentially coasted into the grand finals, without dropping a single set, Saint had to work for it.
Saint was looking hot all the way up until the winner’s quarterfinals where he faced Jae Min "Knee" Bae. He was bested in the game and had to make his way through the loser’s bracket. He pushed all the way through that bracket with five straight wins to get his way into the grand finals. Along the way he even got his revenge against Knee with a dominant 3-0 in the loser’s finals.
And then there were two for the grand finals. Saint had all the momentum and came up with a swift 3-0 sweep in the first set of the grand finals. In the final set, JDCR switched back to his signature Dragunov against Saint’s JACK-7, and it was like night and day. JDCR was firmly back in the driver’s seat and made Saint look absolutely silly in the 3-1 championship-clinching win.
While both UMvC3 and Tekken 7 certainly aren’t the most popular games in the Fighting Game Community, this weekend has shown that there is plenty to be excited about for those willing to dive into the scene.