Evolution Championship Series

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Evolution Championship Series
Evo Championship Series Logo.png
Evolution Championship Series logo
Formerly Battle by the Bay
Sport Fighting games
Founded 1996
Country United States
Most recent champion(s)
Most titles Justin Wong (8)
Qualification None (Open)
Founder Tom "inkblot" Cannon, Tony "Ponder" Cannon, Joey "MrWizard" Cuellar
Official website Evo Championship Series

The Evolution Championship Series (EVO or Evo) is an annual esports event that focuses exclusively on fighting games. The tournament is a completely open tournament and uses the double elimination format.[1] As with Super Battle Opera, contestants will travel from all over the world to participate, most notably from Japan. The first Evolution was originally held as a Super Street Fighter II Turbo and Street Fighter Alpha 2 tournament called the Battle by the Bay. It changed its name to the Evo in 2002. Every successive tournament has seen an increase of attendees. It has been held at various venues across the Las Vegas Valley since 2005.


Evo was founded by Tom Cannon, also known for his work on Shoryuken.com, a fighting game website. The tournament started as "Battle by the Bay", a 40-man Super Street Fighter II Turbo and Street Fighter Alpha 2 tournament in 1996 in Sunnyvale, California eventually moving to its recurring venue in the Las Vegas Valley.[2] The event changed its name to Evo in 2002. Over time, the tournament grew, recording over one thousand participants in 2009.[3]

Originally the tournament used arcade cabinets, but in 2004 the decision was made to move all games over to their console versions, to no small amount of controversy.[4] During the transition to games on the seventh generation consoles, most games were played on a PlayStation 3,[5] though Evo 2014 ran most games on the Xbox 360.[6] Aside from the official tournaments, there is also a "BYOC" (bring your own console) area in which many different games are played and side tournaments are held.




Evo 2004 took place at California State Polytechnic University, Pomona in Southern California from July 29 to August 1. The tournament amassed approximately 700 competitors from over 30 countries to compete in over nine different games.[4] The games featured included Super Street Fighter II Turbo, Street Fighter III: 3rd Strike, Marvel vs. Capcom 2, Capcom vs. SNK 2, Virtua Fighter 4: Evolution, Guilty Gear XX, Soul Calibur II, Tekken 4, and Tekken Tag Tournament.[8][9]

Controversially, Evo 2004 used home consoles for most of their tournament games instead of arcade cabinets, with the only exception being 3rd Strike which used the more traditional arcade cabinets. The reason for this change was attributed to the various software and hardware limitations of arcade cabinets at the time.[4]

Evo 2004 was also the birthplace of "Evo Moment #37", in which during the Street Fighter III: 3rd Strike tournament, Daigo Umehara (playing as Ken), while facing Justin Wong (using Chun-Li), was successfully able to parry one of Chun-Li’s super moves while having very little health left and then counter with his own, winning the round and eventually the match as a result.[10]

Although overlooked, Evo 2004's Soul Calibur II tournament was the birthplace of the collusion rule which was used in other major fighting game tournaments to this day. [11]


2005 was the first year Evo was held at the Green Valley Ranch casino and hotel in Las Vegas.


Evo 2006 took place at the Red Rock Resort Spa and Casino in Las Vegas. 2006 was the first year that Capcom gave its official, public support of the Evolution tournaments.[citation needed] Traditionally, Evo has only included fighting games, but in 2006 it included Mario Kart DS in its lineup.[12]


Evo 2007, officially called Evo World 2007, took place from July 17 to July 19 at the Green Valley Ranch, in Las Vegas. Throughout the year there were several other tournaments held throughout the US bearing the Evo name. The game roster had eight games, Street Fighter III: 3rd Strike, Capcom vs. SNK 2, Virtua Fighter 5, Marvel vs. Capcom 2, Street Fighter II Turbo, Tekken 5: Dark Resurrection, Guilty Gear XX Λ Core, and Super Smash Bros. Melee.


Evo 2008 took place at the Tropicana Las Vegas on the Las Vegas Strip. from August 8th to August 10th.[13] The tournament would feature six games within its official roster: Capcom vs. SNK 2, Tekken 5: Dark Resurrection, Street Fighter III: 3rd Strike, Super Smash Bros. Brawl, Super Street Fighter II Turbo, and Marvel vs. Capcom 2.[14] The Brawl tournament was widely criticized for its ruleset, which allowed items on and saw an relatively unknown player defeat Ken.[15]

Evo 2008 also allowed attendees a preview of BlazBlue: Calamity Trigger, Street Fighter IV, Super Street Fighter II Turbo HD Remix, and Tatsunoko vs. Capcom.[citation needed]


Evo 2009 took place on July 17 to July 19.[17] Held at the Rio Convention Center, in Las Vegas, Nevada, the tournament itself would feature six game in its official roster: Guilty Gear XX: Accent Core, Marvel vs. Capcom 2, Street Fighter III: 3rd Strike, Super Street Fighter II Turbo HD Remix and Street Fighter IV.[18] Notably, the newly released Street Fighter IV increased Evo attendance by a considerable margin, and the tournament for it alone boasted more 1000 participants, almost three times that of the tournaments for the other games.[19]


Evo 2010, held at Caesars Palace had a massive number of competitors, with Super Street Fighter IV amassing approximately 1,800 players to duel for a $20,000 guaranteed prize pot. Most notable in this EVO was Justin Wong cementing his dominance in Marvel vs. Capcom 2 in its proverbial swan song, defeating the champion of the previous year, Sanford Kelly. Also notable was Wong failing to make the top 8 in Super Street Fighter IV, falling victim first to Vance "Vangief" Wu, and soon after to Taiwanese player Bruce "GamerBee" Hsiang. Melty Blood: Actress Again was included after a poll on Shoryuken.com to decide on the final game of the tournament, beating out Street Fighter III: 3rd Strike, Capcom vs. SNK 2, Marvel vs. Capcom 2, Soulcalibur IV, and The King of Fighters XII.[22] BlazBlue: Calamity Trigger was to be included, but after a majority of the community moved on to BlazBlue: Continuum Shift, the decision was made to replace it with Marvel vs. Capcom 2. Also notable was G4's limited coverage of the event, even offering X-Play host Adam Sessler for commentary of the Super Street Fighter IV finals.[23]


Street Fighter cosplayers at Evo 2011

For Evo 2011, a tournament season was announced in which players could earn ranking points at one of eight tournaments. It took place at the Rio Las Vegas from July 29 to July 31, utilizing a 55,000-square-foot (5,100 m2) ballroom. All 50 states of the U.S. were represented, as well as 44 additional countries.[26][27] On July 25, 2011, it was announced that PlayStation Home users could watch a live stream of the tournament.[28] Evo 2011 was the most viewed event in its history, its livestream watched by over 2 million unique viewers on UStream over the course of the event.[29]

In attendance was Street Fighter series producer Ono Yoshinori, who announced a free balance patch for Super Street Fighter IV Arcade Edition.[30] Tekken series producer Katsuhiro Harada was also on hand to show new mechanics for Tekken Tag Tournament 2 and Soulcalibur V.[31][32] Other unreleased games shown were Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3, King of Fighters XIII, Skullgirls and Street Fighter III: 3rd Strike Online Edition. A Skullgirls side tournament was held in which the winner received a one-of-a-kind Skullgirls-themed arcade stick.[33][34] Media outlets G4, GameSpot and Destructoid were all present to cover the event.[33][35]

A notable occurrence in the Marvel vs. Capcom 3 tournament was the success of an eight-year-old named Noah Solis, whose team included Hulk, Sentinel and Albert Wesker. Solis's performance included a perfect round in less than ten seconds. Solis was eventually eliminated by Mortal Kombat finalist Chris G.[36] In an interview with Giant Bomb, Solis's father, Moises Solis, spoke of how he intends to support his son's success in fighting games, citing video games as one way alongside education to avoid falling into gang culture.[37]


Evo 2012 took place July 6 to July 8, 2012, at Caesars Palace, Las Vegas.[39] On January 3, Joey Cuellar announced that Evo 2012 would have 6 main tournament games, Super Street Fighter IV: Arcade Edition (Version 2012), Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3, Mortal Kombat, Soulcalibur V, The King of Fighters XIII and Street Fighter X Tekken. The tournament series from the previous year returned, featuring seeding points for all six games in 17 events all across the world.[40]


Evo 2013 was announced on December 2, 2012. It was held on July 12–14 at Paris Las Vegas.[42] On January 8, Joey Cuellar announced that EVO 2013 would have eight main tournament games, with the first seven revealed being Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3, Super Street Fighter IV: Arcade Edition (Version 2012), Tekken Tag Tournament 2, Mortal Kombat, Street Fighter X Tekken (Version 2013), The King of Fighters XIII, and Persona 4 Arena. The eighth game was voted on by players via online donations, all proceeds of which went to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation.[43] The eventual winner of the poll was Super Smash Bros. Melee with $94,683 raised for that game, while the total amount of donations was $225,744.[44] Nintendo of America initially sent a cease and desist letter to cancel the streaming of Melee matches, although after popular backlash a live stream was ultimately allowed to be carried out as planned.[45][46] On May 7, 2013 it was announced that Injustice: Gods Among Us would be a main tournament game, thus expanding the game roster from eight to nine.[47]


Evo 2014 was announced on September 15, 2013. It was held on July 11–13, 2014 at the Westgate Las Vegas Resort & Casino[6] On February 6, 2014, Cuellar announced that Evo 2014 would include Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3, Ultra Street Fighter IV, Injustice: Gods Among Us, The King of Fighters XIII, Killer Instinct, and BlazBlue: Chrono Phantasma, while also mentioning that discussions were ongoing with Nintendo on the possible inclusion of Super Smash Bros. Melee.[49] Melee was eventually officially added to the roster with Nintendo's approval.[50][51] Tekken Tag Tournament 2 was also later added to the roster.[52]


Evo 2015 took place on July 17–19, 2015 at the Bally's / Paris Las Vegas Casino.[54] On January 20, 2015, Cuellar announced that Evo 2015 would include Ultra Street Fighter IV, Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3, Super Smash Bros. for Wii U, Guilty Gear Xrd -SIGN-, Killer Instinct, Mortal Kombat X, Persona 4 Arena Ultimax, Super Smash Bros. Melee, and Tekken 7.[55]

While EVO 2015 initially was supposed to run on the PlayStation 4 version for Ultra Street Fighter IV, the tournament instead used the Xbox 360 version, due to a large number of bugs and glitches found by players in the newly-released port.[56] Cuellar also confirmed that EVO 2015 would use the technically outdated build of Persona 4 Arena Ultimax on PlayStation 3.[57] On May 25, Cuellar confirmed that both Super Smash Bros. Melee and Super Smash Bros. for Wii U have surpassed 1,500 entrants each. Cuellar later confirmed that Ultra Street Fighter IV surpassed 2,000 entrants.[58][59] EVO 2015 also acted as a Capcom Cup qualifier for Ultra Street Fighter IV, as well as a Killer Instinct World Cup qualifier for Killer Instinct, with both games receiving respective bonus pots of $50,000 from Capcom/Sony and Iron Galaxy/Microsoft respectively.[60][61][62] NetherRealm and Warner Bros. have also donated $50K towards the bonus pot for Mortal Kombat X, due to the success of the Blue Steel Sub-Zero skin.[63] In addition, Atlus has donated $10K towards the bonus pot for Persona 4 Arena Ultimax, while Arc System Works and Aksys Games donated the same amount to the bonus pot for Guilty Gear Xrd.[64] Bandai Namco has announced that they have provided a $30K bonus pot for Tekken 7 as well as providing all competitors in said game an exclusive T-Shirt featuring franchise veteran Lili and Tekken Revolution newcomer Eliza.[65]


Evo 2016 will take place from July 15-17 at the Las Vegas Convention Center, while the Sunday finals will take place at the Mandalay Bay Events Center. The tournament will feature Street Fighter V, Super Smash Bros. Melee, Super Smash Bros. for Wii U, Guilty Gear Xrd -REVELATOR-, Mortal Kombat X, Pokkén Tournament, Killer Instinct, Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3, and Tekken 7: Fated Retribution.

Street Fighter V, Super Smash Bros. Melee, Guilty Gear Xrd -REVELATOR-, Mortal Kombat X, and Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 will finish on Sunday. [66]


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