An interesting year at EVO 2K11

The world’s largest fighting game tournament has officially concluded and it went out with a major bang.  In comparison to previous seasons, this year’s EVO Championship Tournament was not only the highest rated, but it was also the most dramatic.

EVO’s recent growth has been rooted from several areas.  The biggest of which has to do with its new and improved livestream. Gamers from all over the world can now finally watch all of the matches live (as oppose to purchasing the DVD months later). Although EVO did broadcast its tournament  in the previous year, the broadcast was riddled with problems, such as lag and dropped connections.  This year, they finally got it right.  Also, the release Street Fighter IV and Marvel vs. Capcom 3, along with the documentary “Focus“, which was featured on G4, would further stimulated interest in EVO this year.

The 2K11 championship series certainly did not disappoint its new base of fans. Aside from its many expected nail-biting close matches, this year’s tournament also showcased a child prodigy and the utter decimation of the world’s best gamer.

The prodigy was an 8-year old boy named Noah Solis, who among a field of a thousand professional gamers- many sponsored by companies and paid to compete- finished the tournament in the top 48 in Marvel vs. Capcom 3, a game that requires insane reflexes and skill.  Noah, an obvious dark horse, was a favorite among fans and a bane to competitors, for if someone were to beat him, they will get booed and then be afflicted by the notion that they beat an 8-year old, and if they lose to him, well, they lost to an 8-year old.  It is to much wonderment imagaining how far this kid might go when he gains more experience.


Noah starts off slow, but picks up much momentum as the match moves forward

As fun as it is to talk about an 8-year old super-star, the most fascinating event at EVO 2K11 was actually the destruction of Daigo Umehara, the back-to-back EVO tournament winner, and the widely accepted “Best Street Fighter Player in The World.”  For those who are not familiar with Daigo, he came to fame when he won the EVO tournament in 2004 by parrying every single one of Chung-Li’s ultra 1 Housenka kicks with <5% health (a block would cause his toon to die, so he could only parry, a move that is extremely difficult to do just once, let alone a couple dozen times in succession), finishing it when a chain combo that defeated a healthy Chung-Li played by Justin Wong. This play would go down as perhaps the greatest finish in fighting game history:

As you could see from the video above, there is no questioning of Daigo’s skills.  Since that match, he has gone on to win multiple titles. Even when Daigo would occasionally lose a tournament, he always gave his opponent a tough fight, that is until this year.  Heading towards the final stretch of the competition, Daigo was matched with a dorky looking, up-and-coming Korean player by the gamertag name of “Poongko” (what a strange name), who plays with the unpopular character, Seth. Many fans expected the usual: a Daigo victory; but instead they got this:

Poongko didn’t just defeat Umehara, he did it in complete dominating style, achieving a “Perfect” in the final set, something that has never been done before.
Umehara would go on to lose again to Brokentier Latiff in the losers bracket and Poongko would eventually get knock out of the main bracket, as well.

The final match came down to a battle between very uncommon characters, as Brokentier Latiff’s Visper (coming back to the main bracket after registering back-to-back wins in the loser’s bracket) went up against newcomer Fuudo’s undefeated Fei Long.

To find out who wins (also in dominating fashion- shocking!), watch the Grand Final matches here:

EVO 2K11 was awesome. If you enjoyed the matchess, make sure you tune in to the livestream of 2K12!

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About Ping Zhou

Social scientist, traveler, nerd.
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