Road to EVO: Results
Evolution 2017 is now in the books, and boy was this tournament good. Each and every game showcased displayed the best of the best duking out to win the coveted title of EVO champion. From Tokido’s phenomenal loser’s run to win Street Fighter V to the great play in Injustice 2 and Tekken 7, all fans of the fighting game community had something to entertain them. Of course, Melee and Smash 4 also did not disappoint. From the vast number of upsets to crazy Top 8 play from competitors and the drama that ensued, this was definitely a tournament to save the VODs for. While there was a bit of drama that occurred at EVO, mainly in Melee, I want to take this article to look specifically at the results and how each competitor did. The Melee drama will be discussed further in next week’s article. With this out of the way, let us look at Smash 4 first.
Smash 4 Pools and Bracket
Remember how amazing Civil War was? Not just for the amazing crew battle but the huge upsets that occurred? Yeah, EVO may have given that tournament a run for its money in terms of upsets. In day one of competitive play, we only had one major upset: DOM sent Kameme to Loser’s Bracket. Kameme, formerly Kamemushi, got second at EVO 2016 and got sent to loser’s so quickly. Even though this was huge, this was only major upset that happened on day one. Day two, however, is a much different story. For starters, Kameme was eliminated by Eon and placed 65th. Ally, last year’s EVO champion and my pick to win EVO 2017, was sent to Loser’s bracket by Chanshu and eliminated by MVD to place 49th. Think about this for a second: the two competitors who placed first and second at EVO 2016 placed 49th and 65th at EVO 2017. Ally is ranked 5th in the world. Kameme is ranked 27th in the world. This was just the tip of the iceberg in terms of upsets. MKLeo, the second ranked player in the entire world, placed 65th at EVO 2017, eliminated by False and MuteAce. ESAM is double-eliminated by Ixis to place 49th. Kirihara, the Rosalina who defeated ZeRo at Frame Perfect 2 and placed 5th at Civil War, placed 65th. Manny eliminated Elegant, the best Luigi player in the world, who placed 17th. WaDi eliminated Ranai at 17th. 9B eliminated Fatality at 33rd. this combined with everything going on at Melee nearly melted my brain. Alas, when the dust settled, we had our Top 8.
Smash 4 Top 8
In Winner’s Bracket, we had ZeRo versus Tweek and Salem versus Larry Lurr. In Loser’s Bracket, we had VoiD versus Nairo and KEN versus Dabuz. I find this odd that despite all of the major upsets happening in pools and brackets, Top 8 still looks rather normal. ZeRo and Larry Lurr make quick work of Tweek and Salem to advance to Winner’s Finals, which was expected. Nairo takes out VoiD and KEN defeats Dabuz. These events set up ZeRo versus Larry Lurr in Winner’s Finals, Salem versus KEN, and Tweek versus Nairo. Despite being down 2-0, ZeRo shows how dominant he is in Smash 4 and defeats Larry Lurr 3-2 to advance to Grand Finals. Salem wins a close bout with KEN and Tweek upsets Nairo 2-1 to advance. Then, Salem takes out Tweek to advance into Loser’s Finals against Larry Lurr. I honestly thought Larry would take out Salem here, but costly mistakes and amazing play sent Salem into Grand Finals, defeating Larry 3-1.
So we have ZeRo versus Salem. The first person do double-eliminate ZeRo in a tournament. I predicted that ZeRo would lose EVO at second place. However, I believed that ZeRo would have defeated Salem. Then, Salem plays perfectly. Even though he was using a “broken” character in Bayonetta, no one can deny how great Salem was playing. He reset the bracket against ZeRo 3-2. The second set went to Game 5, and ZeRo took the lead really early. Salem then comes back and, in a last stock, last hit situation, propelled ZeRo’s Diddy Kong into the skies to win 3-2. Just like that, Salem, who is not even the highest-ranked Bayonetta player in the world, upsets ZeRo and wins EVO 2017.
Melee Pools and Brackets
Melee has this stigma surrounding the game. No matter who enters, one of the Gods of Melee usually wins. Because the game has been around for so long, newcomers struggle to crack into the top echelon. In day one, we actually had no major upsets. We had the likes of Fendrick Lamar defeating Toph, but no big names went down. Day two rolls around and we have more to talk about. We had some minor upsets and some major upsets. Gahtzu, one of the top Falcons in Florida, got upset by DaShizWiz. There has been some controversy surrounding Shiz. Even though he is one of the most influential Falcos in the game, he has received criticism for his past actions. Many felt he should not be competing because of this. While I will go over the EVO debacles next week, I personally see no problem with him competing. I feel bad for Gahtzu. He said on Twitter that he would have no problem against Shiz. Shiz then goes on to double eliminate. Another upset happened when Crush, who has been having a breakout year for himself, got upset by Fiction, an old-school Fox from back in the day. Syrox, one of my favorite Fox players in the game, lost to Bladewise and KA-Master. KA-Master made some waves here, placing 25th and nearly defeating Mew2King. Ice lost to Blea Gelo, a Luigi player. PrinceAbu, the second-best Puff in America, had such an amazing EVO, upsetting HugS, DruggedFox, and Plup on his way to 9th. Japanese Yoshi player aMSa took out DruggedFox. The Moon took out Leffen, my pick for second, to advance to Top 8, alongside seven other major players.
Melee Top 8
In Winner’s Bracket, we had Armada versus Mew2King and Hungrybox versus Mang0. In Loser’s Bracket, we had Plup versus The Moon and SFAT versus Lucky. Melee, surprisingly, had the same variance of Top 8 as Smash 4 in that despite all of the major upsets, the best players still managed to make the finals. The four active Gods even managed to all stay in Winner’s Bracket. With two amazing Winner’s Semis matches, Armada and Mang0 advance to Winner’s Finals for an epic matchup. Plup made quick work of The Moon, and Lucky, the one surprise of the Top 8, upsets SFAT to advance. This sets up Armada versus Mang0 in Winner’s Finals, Hungrybox versus Plup and Mew2King versus Lucky. Armada versus Mang0 is usually an epic matchup. Armada is the only player to have a winning record against Mang0, and he dominated Mang0 3-0 to advance to Grand Finals. Despite the best from Plup and Lucky, Hungrybox and Mew2King showed that they are Gods at this game for a reason. This set up Hungrybox and Mew2King: the battle of the ledge-stallers. Hungrybox beats Mew2King to face Mang0 in Loser’s Finals, and what a close match this was. Mang0 just wanted to win more, defeating the defending EVO champion to face Armada in Grand Finals.
The epic rivalry of Armada and Mang0. Armada: the only player to have a winning record against Mang0. Mang0: the only player that can consistently keep up and beat Armada. This match should have been as legendary as last year, when Hungrybox pulled off the best upset in Melee history. Alas, though, Armada defeats Mang0 3-1. Out of all of the Grand Finals at Mandalay Bay, this was one of the most boring ones. Two of the best players face off, and the match is not even that close. Regardless, congratulations to Armada, your 2017 EVO champion.
That’s all, fellow Smashers! Evolution 2017 is in the books, and Smash looks brighter than ever. Hell, Smash 4 was on ESPN 2 and Disney XD, two major television networks. If we could just get some developer support from Nintendo, Smash could become one of the greatest esports game today. Thank you to all of the competitors for displaying the best gameplay that Melee and Smash 4 have to offer.
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