Evo 2019 Finals - The Crowning of Three Kings & A Godly Smash Runback

TJ Denzer,

August 5, 2019 2:12 AM

Evo 2019 has come to an end, but the highlights were many and extraordinary. Between Shinku's aggressive run through BBTAG to MKLeo's potent Smash Ultimate runback, here's how Finals Sunday went down.

As with the many Evos before it, Evo 2019 was full of surprises. Day 2 was filled with enough heart-pounding and heart-warming power to bring a Frankenstein creature to life four times over. With such a wonderful road to Sunday, we knew there were bound to be more electrifying moments in store for us, but even our wildest expectations couldn’t have prepared us for the outcomes of the Evo 2019 Sunday Grand Finals. Here are the moments that brought down the house.

Shinku’s RWBY Team Races To The BBTAG Finish Line

Oscar “Shinku” Jaimes has been a force to be reckoned with all over the BlazBlue Cross Tag Battle scene. One of the brightest stars of the Houston area, he’s made a name for himself with a Ruby/Yang team that brings overwhelming aggression together with smart adaptation. Shinku came into the BBTAG Top 8 Winners side with a host of potent ArcREVO contenders and champions that included Jona Kim, Kazuyuki “KojiKOG” Koji, and Christina “bace” Kabacinski.

Shinku's final opponent was Kyamei and even after losing a set, Shinku never lost a mild smile as he pondered his opponent. (Image by Evo & Triple Perfect, Inc.)
Shinku's final opponent was Kyamei and even after losing a set, Shinku never lost a mild smile as he pondered his opponent. (Image by Evo & Triple Perfect, Inc.)

Shinku’s path was fierce and decisive, railing opponent after opponent with Yang’s brute strength and Ruby’s versatility to meet with Hiroyuki “Kyamei” Kamei at the Grand Finals. Kyamei showed some initial spark, taking a commanding set off Shinku with his incredibly high-damage Mitsuru/Akihiko team to reset the bracket and make it a true fight to the finish. Kyamei even started to make a stand in the second set, but Shinku showed the adaptibility that has guided him through the likes of Texas Showdown and other championships. He found the holes in Kyamei’s team and systematically dismantled him in a 3-0 win to conquer the bracket reset and take his first ever Evo championship. The BBTAG ArcREVO American Finals await him, and Shinku has to be feeling confident to put on a clinic there as well. BBTAG fans need to see the entirety of this final matchup.

Two Red Bulls Race To The Finish Of SFV

Street Fighter V: Arcade Edition’s Top 8 was unique this year. Outside of Team Fudoh’s Atsushi Fujimura and Red Bull’s Masato “Bonchan” Takahashi, every player in the Top 8 was a fresh face and Bonchan hadn’t been here since his Ultra Street Fighter IV 2nd Place finish at Evo 2014. With Sagat back in SFV, Bonchan quickly mastered the Tiger King in his latest iteration and kept Karin as his backup. It allowed him to grind through the likes of Derek “iDom” Ruffin’s Laura and DC "Infexious" Coleman’s Zeku to arrive at the Grand Finals on the Winners side in powerful fashion as he rocked each opponent with Tiger Shots and Tiger Uppercuts.

On the Loser’s side, the show belonged to NASR and fellow Red Bull representative Adel “Big Bird” Anouche on his aggressive Rashid. After rolling through everyone including Fujimura’s methodical Ibuki, Big Bird came to the Grand Finals stage against Bonchan and the two put on an incredible Finals showdown.

Bonchan pulled out his pocket Karin pick to take the fight against Big Bird’s Rashid. Even then, Anouche pushed Takahashi to the limit, backing him into the corner on many occasions. It was 2-2 with a reset for Big Bird waiting around the corner when he caught Bonchan off-guard with a critical art and almost took the match with Rashid’s tough tornado Ysaar V-Trigger. However, with only a pixel of life left to Big Bird, Bonchan found the space to land the smallest and quickest of hits, ending the match and the SFV Grand Finals. Both players took it to the absolute edge and everyone in the SFV Evo 2019 Top 8 made it another year of amazing Street Fighter on the biggest FGC stage of them all.

Arslan Ash Brings Knee To His Knees In Tekken 7

ROX Dragons player Jae-Min "Knee" Bae is a legend among legends in the Tekken scene with multiple first place finishes including a championship win at Evo Japan 2018. He might have gone through to a championship at Evo 2019 if not for an unexpected thorn in his side of the Winners Top 8. Arslan "Arslan Ash" Siddique of vSlash eSports has often been in Knee’s way to victory over the past year at tournaments such as Evo Japan 2019. It came to be again at Evo 2019 after Arslan crushed his way through to the Winners side against Knee. He pushed Knee down into the Losers bracket, but Knee fought his way back to the Grand Finals to face off again with Arslan in the Tekken 7 Grand Finals.

His back to the wall, down 1-2, Knee was forced to make the difficult decision of changing characters to counter Arslan Ash's Kazumi. (Image by Evo & Triple Perfect, Inc.)
His back to the wall, down 1-2, Knee was forced to make the difficult decision of changing characters to counter Arslan Ash's Kazumi. (Image by Evo & Triple Perfect, Inc.)

In the Finals, Knee went to Kazuya and then Devil Jin to try to bring down Arslan’s Kazumi and it was a valiant attempt. Several times throughout their set, Knee was backed into a corner only to find the faintest glimmer of hope and punish Arslan for a victory. That said, Knee’s back was almost always to the wall and eventually, he ran out of miracles to answer Arslan’s aggressive dominance. Arslan put Knee down once and for all and claimed King of the Iron Fist in Tekken 7 at Evo 2019, breaking Knee’s run to a bracket reset and becoming one of the first Pakistani Evo champions and the first ever unified champion between Evo and Evo Japan 2019 wins.

MKLeo’s Godlike Smash Ultimate Runback

According to Red Bull’s Spring 2019 PGRU, Leonardo “MKLeo” Lopez Perez of Echo Fox was dubbed the best Super Smash Bros Ultimate player in the world coming into Evo 2019. If that wasn’t enough pressure, Leo also took an early loss in his brackets to fall down into Losers pools for a lengthy journey to the Top 8. So what makes him the best in the world? Unshaking skill and perseverance. Throughout Evo 2019, MKLeo showed both in even the most stressful of matches, and it got him to a Grand Final against Team SoloMid’s Gavin "Tweek" Dempsey. Tweek was putting on a clinic of his own on the Winner’s side of Smash Ultimate with Pokemon Trainer.

When Tweek and Leo met at the Evo 2019 Grand Finals, it was a clash of two freight trains. The tension was on and all eyes were watching to see who would break first. Tweek seemed to have Leo set for one of his first major losses in a long series, but Leo found his footing in his last stock of Game 3, down 0-2 to Tweek. His Joker prevailed for a single victory against Dempsey and the blood in the water fueled a hungry Leo. Tweek came to the razor's edge of defeating Leo once more in Game 4, but a throw that didn't quite kill allowed MKLeo one last hit to push the set to Game 5.  MKLeo proceeded to figure out Tweek and dismantle him 3 games straight to earn his runback from the Losers bracket. Then shockingly, he earned 3 more straight victories against Tweek in an absolutely amazing comeback. Tweek held on as best he could, but for every moment of control, Leo seized it right back to pile damage onto Tweek and make him fight for his life.

Tweek came within a sharp breath of defeating MKLeo to take it all, but once Leo found his stride, the comeback of the night began. (Image by Evo & Triple Perfect, Inc.)
Tweek came within a sharp breath of defeating MKLeo to take it all, but once Leo found his stride, the comeback of the night began. (Image by Evo & Triple Perfect, Inc.)

Evo 2019 ended with Leo coming back from an 0-2 situation to achieve an incredible six-game win streak against Tweek and the Smash Ultimate Evo 2019 championship.

It was a weekend to remember all around. Every player fought to the bitter end and the arena was absolutely livid throughout the night’s many highlights. As it closed down, all players and fans walked away from another amazing year of competition that brought in thousands of attendees and hundreds of thousands of viewers worldwide. According to Esports personality Rod “Slasher” Breslau, Tekken 7 achieved record views in 2019, and Evo 2019 achieved its own record overall during Smash Ultimate. With such an incredible year and so much awaiting us in the FGC in the near future, we’re ready for the road to 2020 and every moment of passion, community, and competition along the way. Good game to all competitors. Get ready and become stronger for the next big thing.

(Featured Image by TJ Denzer)



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