The Evolution Championship Series, or Evo, has been a wild one this year. And it’s not over. Sunday’s Grand finals at the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas are set and ready to go. This year feels exponentially larger than years past, likely from its record amount of entrants this year. Noticeably absent from the event on Sunday will be Super Smash Bros for Wii U, who had their Grand Finals Saturday afternoon, though Super Smash Bros. Melee will be in attendance.
The schedule for the Grand Finals event for Evo 2016 starts pretty early and wraps up late in the evening Pacific time:
- 8:00 AM – Mortal Kombat XL
- 10:30 AM – Ultimate Marvel Vs Capcom 3
- 1:00 PM – Guilty Gear Xrd: Revelator
- 3:00 PM – Super Smash Bros. Melee
- 7:00 PM – Street Fighter V
This year, the event is host to ESPN, as the Street Fighter V Grand Finals will be simulcast on the sports leader as well as Twitch. While many are upset that dream-team commentators Seth Killian and James Chen are split up, with Killian hosting the ESPN2 cast with Mike Ross, while Chen holds down the fort with Stephen Lyon on Twitch, the fact that ESPN is choosing to broadcast the main event from Evo 2016 shows the power that Esports, and the FGC are starting to wield with mainstream audiences.
Crazy Street Fighter V Top 8
The Top 8 for the Main Event at Evo 2016, Street Fighter V is an interesting bunch. Favorites such as Japanese players Momochi, Tokido and Daigo Umehara were eliminated Saturday night, as well as American players “Evil Geniuses” Justin Wong, Eduardo “PR Balrog” Perez, and many others. Favorite Seonwoo “RZR Infiltration” Lee leads the names that will be under the spotlight Sunday night on ESPN2. Joining him will be Japanese players Keita “Fuudo” Ai, Jo “MOV” Egami, Atsushi “Yukadon” Fujimura, Naoki “Nemo” Nemoto, Goichi Kishida, and Hiroyuki “Eita” Nagata. Joseph “L.I. Joe” Ciaramelli will be the last hope for American fans who hope to bring the most prestigious fighting game tournament’s championship title to the states.
Many of the marquee match-ups that Evolution fans want to see during the Grand Finals occurred on Saturday, with Justin Wong facing off against Daigo “The Beast” Umehara. The match-up is a long time rivalry of one of the greatest Japanese players to take up the fight stick, and one of America’s great hopes in the Street Fighter scene. The iconic “Moment 37” cements their intertwined legacy as well as the first ever Street Fighter IV Grand Finals, and the match-up with Daigo’s Ryu and Wong’s Karin was one to behold. Justin came out on top, only to be defeated later by Goichi’s Chun-Li. Wong will still compete on Sunday, as he made Top 8 for Ultimate Marvel Vs Capcom 3, a game where he has won Evo championships in the past.
Taiwan’s Gamerbee made it far in the tournament, and the Evo 2015 runner-up even had his rematch against Infiltration from Loser’s Finals last year. This year, Infiltration took the game, beating Gamerbee’s Necalli. Gamerbee would go on to lose to Goichi as well, landing securing Goichi’s spot in the Top 8.
Street Fighter V will be aired on both Twitch.tv as well as ESPN2, as stated before. This isn’t the first time ESPN2 has hosted a major esports tournament, though it is the first time a fighting game has taken center stage on the sports leader. ESPN has held many events for Blizzard’s Heroes of the Storm, as well as Valve’s DOTA 2, so it’s not uncommon to see a major esports event get prime air time. For those who want to tune in, coverage begins at 10 PM Eastern, 7 PM Pacific on ESPN2 as well as the WatchESPN app. Only the Street Fighter V Grand Finals will be aired on the cable network, with the rest of the events being hosted exclusively on Evo’s main Twitch channel.
[Image via Evolution Championship Series]