With the release of Ultra Street Fighter IV - a game that boasts the largest cast of any Street Fighter on console - EVO 2014 looked to be one for the ages and it didn't disappoint. This years EVO had more upsets than a March Madness bracket. Luckily I didn't lose any money, but I know a few people who did. It was a tournament of many surprises, many tears, and many firsts.
The 'Five Gods' of japanese fighting games were there, Daigo, Sako, Nuki, Tokido, Haitani, and it was widely assumed that one of them would bring the Street Fighter crown back to Japan. Those predictions were crushed when they were slain by the American and European players with only Sako making top 8 before he was beaten by Ricky Ortiz ('Pretty' Ricky Ortiz and Jwong are the only American players to ever come close to winning EVO). Not only was it the first time Street Fighter IV has not featured Daigo in the the Top 8, it was the first time a European country won Street Fighter.
It was French player, Louffy, who took the trophy on a Playstation One gamepad with Rose after beating Bonchan's Sagat. Rose is the first female character to win Street Fighter IV at EVO and she's the the 3rd to ever win a major tournament. Bonchan was the first Sagat to nearly win EVO and the first Sagat in top 8 ever.
Out of the SF Top 8 players this year only three were returning from prior tournaments. The rest were new blood which speaks to how wide open Street Fighter IV is right now. It has been announced, to no surprise, that Ultra will be updated and patched to fix some bugs and serious balancing issues.
The shockers didn't stop there. Justin Wong returned to glory by beating Filipino Champ and his good friend Chris G (who is commonly regarded as the best Marvel player ever) to win Marvel vs Capcom 3. This is JWong's first Marvel vs Capcom 3 title at EVO. He was so excited he barrel rolled.
Other crazy random EVO 2k14 occurrences:
Harada was upset that IGN/EVO leaked the Tekken 7 trailer before his announcement. He was angry and was going to leave but decided to stay and show the trailer.
Ono, in true Ono fashion, showed up and trolled by having a speech just to take pictures.
CD JR broke down crying after his win in Killer Instinct. He stopped playing other games to focus on KI and that paid off.
In Marvel, many were rooting for 'Coach Steve' to do well. He has overcome a lot to be successful. He made top 8 but got eliminated by his friend, quite an emotional moment.
Killer Instinct, King of Fighters, and Blaze Blue were all really hype. The winner of blaze blue cried too.
The stream ended with this inside joke:
Free is a FGC (fighting game community) term meaning you're easy to beat.
All-in-all the outcome of EVO 2014 was crazy and totally unexpected. A lot of people are pointing fingers or blaming it on new game mechanics. Me? I'm blaming it on this past weekend's full moon.