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Evo weekend is here now: How exactly to watch the fighting game event of the entire year

The crowds this year will be smaller, and masked, but offline is back in Vegas

Enlarge / The crowds this season will undoubtedly be smaller, and masked, but offline is back Vegas


Following a two-year pandemic-induced break the Evolution Championship Series (better referred to as just Evo), the annual celebration of most things fighting games, is back NEVADA this weekend. A large number of fighting game players and fans will fill the halls and arena at the Mandalay Bay casino to create their attempts at a high 8 finish, enter casual games with folks from around the world, watch panels, browse Artist Alley, and just generally absorb an opportunity to be offline with the fighting game community again.

In a far more normal year, I’d be there myself, not trying for that top 8 finish, similar to just trying never to go 0-2 in Street Fighter V or Third Strike. But despite a robust mask and vaccine policy I’m not feeling like traveling or being in Vegas with the existing state of the planet. So I’ll spend my weekend cozy in the home streaming a ridiculous level of content and trying never to feel just like I’m really missing out too much. If you want to join me here is a quick guide from what the weekend provides.

An Evo overview

You might have heard about Evo before, perhaps from the infamous Evo Moment 37 video or from Sony’s acquisition of the tournament series in 2021. If you are not already a fighting game tournament watcher, listed below are the fundamentals of how Evo works. You can find eight main games featured, which I’ll list below, in addition to a large amount of less official side tournaments. Each game gets the same basic structure, you begin in a pool of players, everyone on equal footing. Tournaments are double-elimination, meaning you need to lose twice to be out. When you can win several matches in your pool without having to be eliminated, you progress to another one, eventually resulting in a high 24 bracket, a top 8, that leads to the grand finals.

Section of the excitement of watching pools may be the upsets. The prior champion must start exactly like other people, and there is no guarantee an unknown won’t hand them their first loss, putting them in the loser’s bracket and something game from losing that top 8 repeat dream.

As you advance deeper in to the matches, the amount of play becomes more higher level and tense, so if you are less likely to spend hours watching the safe bet would be to catch a high 24 or await the very best 8 to start to see the real high-stakes matches play out.

Every game will feature commentary by those who are experts in understanding and explaining the on-screen action. With several basics under your belt and their patterns, you need to be able to continue despite having games you are not acquainted with.

The main element to understanding the double-elimination format is everyone begins in the winner’s bracket. In the event that you lose as soon as you visit the loser’s bracket. Lose from there and you may sit watching the others, you’re done. Mathematically which means that when you reach top 8, half will undoubtedly be in the loser’s bracket, half in the winner’s bracket, and the grand finals match could have a winner’s side and a loser’s side.

To win the complete tournament from the loser’s side you have to beat another player twice, once to send them to loser’s (referred to as resetting the bracket). Creating a loser’s run is not any easy task, but a bracket reset always gets the crowd hyped up. They love an underdog, but it addittionally means another set to view.

In the event that you see an L or perhaps a W close to someone’s name on the stream overlay that’s indicating if they are playing from the winner’s or loser’s bracket. The final thing that’s handy to learn is most games are run as first to two, and that means you need to win two games to beat someone. This generally becomes the first ever to three wins in top 8.

Dominique “SonicFox” McLean congratulates Goichi “GO1” Kishida for winning the grand finals of Dragon Ball FighterZ at Evo 2019

Dominique SonicFox McLean congratulates Goichi GO1 Kishida for winning the grand finals of Dragon Ball FighterZ at Evo 2019


The games

This season the primary featured games at Evo are:

  • Street Fighter V: Champion Edition
  • Guilty Gear Strive
  • Mortal Kombat 11: Ultimate
  • Tekken 7
  • The King Of Fighters XV
  • Melty Blood: Type Lumina
  • Dragon Ball FighterZ
  • Granblue Fantasy: Versus
  • Skullgirls: 2nd Encore

All games will undoubtedly be streamed on Twitch starting Friday, August 5 at 10 am Pacific Time. A whole interactive schedule of all games are available here. Half the games could have top 8s from the primary hall on Saturday. Another four (King of Fighters, Tekken, Street Fighter, and Guilty Gear) could have their top 8 on Sunday in the Mandalay Bay arena.

Additionally, there are community-run tournaments for yet another 52 titles, from the alternate World War II title Akatsuki Blitzkampf, to barely-a-fighting-game-kinda-like-frisbee-air-hockey Neo Geo classic Windjammers. A listing of all 52 games in addition to a viewer’s guide summary for every one are available here, so be sure out if you need to dig in to the wider selection of titles you will possibly not know about.

Playing in a top 8 in the arena at Evo is one of the highest levels of fighting game achievement.

Playing in a high 8 in the arena at Evo is among the highest degrees of fighting game achievement.


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