By Cody Perez
August 6, 2019
Evolution Championship Series 2019 was hosted this past weekend in Las Vegas, Nevada. Regarded by many as the best and biggest fighting competition in the entire world, this is one of the events that the fighting game community look forward to the most every single year. Topping the charts this year, we saw the Super Smash Bros. Ultimate EVO 2019 numbers reach heights never seen before.
Well, the competition this year did not disappoint as major fighting games were prominently featured with thousands entering many of the tournaments. The biggest tournament there, though, was none other than the Super Smash Bros. Ultimate EVO 2019 event.
This specific event was notable for a number of reasons including playing host to the largest number of competitors,the biggest overall viewership, and more. In addition, this was the first year for the game to be at EVO 2019 since it released last December.
Evo 2019 Final Numbers!— Joey Cuellar (@MrWiz) July 15, 2019
Smash Ultimate – 3492
Street Fighter V – 1929
Tekken 7 – 1885
Samurai Shodown – 1719
Mortal Kombat 11 – 1567
Unist – 1156
DragonBall FighterZ – 1191
Soul Calibur 6 – 742
BlazBlue:CTB – 640#Evo2019
With so much on the line, it’s no surprise that the event broke records for EVO as a whole. The finals, featuring the top eight players, was the most viewed event ever in the history of EVO on Twitch with a total viewership across all streams of more than 279,000 viewers.
Though this doesn’t break the record of most viewers on a single stream at one time, it is still an impressive number that is likely to only grow in the coming years as the game is heavily featured there. The record for the highest number of viewers on a single stream on Twitch for EVO is still held by Dragon Ball FighterZ from last year.
This is no surprise, though, since the number of participants in the Super Smash Bros. Ultimate EVO 2019 tournament nearly doubled that of its fellow fighting games. There was a grand total of 3,492 players who competed this past weekend for a chance to get the top spot.
That is an unbelievable and unprecedented number of players that is unlike anything else we’ve seen before. The second biggest game there, Street Fighter V, trailed behind by about 1500 players with a still impressive 1929 players who competed in that particular tournament.
It was, without a doubt, the year of the Smash as the 3492 players competed in three days of events. Round one began on Friday, August 2, 2019 bright and early at 10 am PT. The number of players was so overwhelming that the first round had to be divided up into 256 separate pools in order to narrow down everyone.
From there, the players were cut in around a third to 1024 players on day two. Round two began on Saturday and went throughout most of the day as players were divided up into yet more pools at only 64 this time. The competition didn’t stop, though, as round three immediately began after round two.
In round three, there were eight pools of 256 players in total. Within just a couple of hours, these players were dwindled down even further until it was time for the semi-finals. It was here that only 32 players remained and they competed in a tournament bracket.
The tournament bracket was divided up into two main brackets as per usual: the winners bracket and losers bracket. Players would compete in one on one matches and depending on how well they did, continue moving through the winners bracket or move to the losers bracket, or be eliminated entirely.
In the very first round of the winners bracket, MKLeo was eliminated from the winners round by Kameme who beat him in a clean two to zero victory. Unfortunately, Kameme would lose in the next round to Glutonny, who would be one of the first competitors to make it to the Super Smash Bros. Ultimate EVO 2019 Finals.
How it worked is that four players who went undefeated would be selected from the winners bracket and they would make it to the finals while four players from the losing bracket would also make it to the finals. Though MKLeo lost in the very first round of the semi-finals, he would make a comeback.
He beat Maister, ScAtt, and Abadango to make it to the finals. Unfortunately, he wouldn’t get a rematch against Kameme as he lost in the final match of the losers bracket semi-finals against ProtoBanham. With the semi-finals done on Saturday night, the eight remaining players were:
MKLeo had all of the odds stacked against him as he continued into the finals on day three, Sunday. Again, the tournament was broken up into brackets with a winners bracket and losers bracket dividing the competition. The top eight players competed once again in one on one duels.
Beginning with the winners semi-finals, there were only four players here in the winners bracket. All they had to do was win two matches and, boom, they were in the grand finals of the entire competition. The first match was fan favorite and unstoppable force Glutonny against Raito.
Glutonny was able to squeeze past with a two to one win in the match and move on to the finals of the winners bracket. The other match was other fan favorite Tweek up against Samsora where Tweek was able to easily claim the win two to zero. The winners final saw Glutonny and Tweek battle it out in an unbelievably close match where Tweek barely scraped by with a three to two win.
Meanwhile on the losers bracket side of things, ProtoBanham beat Light and MKLeo beat zackray to make it to round two of the losers bracket. In round two, Samsora joined the fight and defeated ProtoBanham two to one. But Raito wasn’t able to get the victory against MKLeo who won two to zero.
In the semi-finals match, Samsora met with MKLeo but couldn’t stop the skill player who won the match two to nothing. The losers finals saw MKLeo go up against the second place winners bracket player Glutonny. In a shocking twist of events, MKLeo got another clean sweep and destroyed him three to nothing.
This put the underdog MKLeo into the grand finals of the Super Smash Bros. Ultimate EVO 2019 tournament where he fought against the unstoppable force that was Tweek. From everything thus far, it seemed like there was no way that MKLeo could come out on top but he did have a winning streak going.
For the grand finals, Tweek used his signature Pokémon Trainer while Leo used Joker from Persona 5. Note that Joker was the newest character on the roster at EVO 2019, despite the fact that the Hero from Dragon Quest had been added the previous week to the game as part of update 4.00.
The reason for this was a simple but unfortunate one: the update came out too late to be implemented into the game. Had it come out earlier than last week, it might have been featured in the tournament but the organizers already locked in the previous version of the game that didn’t include Hero.
As fun as it would have been to see the gameplay changes and the addition of Hero, players had to make due with their usual set of characters. Of course, Joker was a popular choice at the event so it was no surprise to see him make it to the grand finals through MKLeo.
If you’re a fan of SSBU then the full grand finals set is well worth a watch
On the other hand, Pokémon Trainer, is an interesting choice as one that we don’t see too often and it is somewhat unpredictable since there are three fighters that the player can switch between. How the grand finals worked is different from the other matches of the competition thus far.
Tweek had the advantage over MKLeo as the winners bracket winner so all he had to do was win the first best of five match by getting at least three wins in the separate rounds first. On the other hand, MKLeo was the challenger so he had to win the entire first match in order to reset the tournament.
That would put him on even grounds with Tweek and then he would have to win that second match again if he wanted the championship trophy. All because of his loss in the first round of the semi-finals, it looked as if the odds were completely stacked against him.
And the first match of the grand finals was as close as can be, with MKLeo barely scraping by with a close win with three rounds to two. This unforgettable match reset the board and put the two players on even playing fields. The second match would determine the winner of the whole event.
Out of nowhere, though, MKLeo got a burst of energy and decimated Tweek in the second grand finals match, getting a clean sweep victory three to zero. This upsetting match put MKLeo on top and crowned him as the Super Smash Bros. Ultimate EVO 2019 champion. Sponsored by team Echo Fox, this wouldn’t be the only win for the pro fighting team at EVO either.
Stay tuned for more coverage of EVO 2019 and the FGC throughout the week.