This weekend over 7,000 competitors will head to Las Vegas, NV to compete in the largest fighting game tournament in the world. The main games that will take center stage are Ultra Street Fighter 4 (Xbox 360), Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 (Xbox 360), Mortal Kombat X (PS4), Super Smash Bros. Wii U (Wii U), Super Smash Bros. Melee (GameCube), Guilty Gear Xrd (PS3), Killer Instinct (Xbox One), Persona 4 Arena Ultimax (PS3) and Tekken 7 (arcade). In addition, there are side events for a number of different games, including but not limited to Dead or Alive 5: Last Round, Super Street Fighter 2 Turbo, Gundam VS Extreme Full Boost and more.
Evolution is by far the largest and most respected fighting game tournament in the world, and with that means the best of the best will be converging on the City of Sin to duke it out for big prize money. This year Ultra Street Fighter 4, Mortal Kombat X and Killer Instinct all have $50,000 on the line, while Tekken 7 has $30,000 up for grabs and most of the other games have well over $20,000 going to the top eight finishers. With stiff competition it's no wonder players from across the world have trained hard to take top honors this weekend.
You can check out all of the action on one of eight streams. The gaming begins Friday morning at 8am PT, with the finals for the last game (Ultra Street Fighter 4) starting Sunday night at 6:30pm PT. It will be a full weekend of the best fighting game matches you are likely to see all year. You can check out the full streaming schedule here, but for now let's take a look at who we personally believe will win each of the main games.
Ultra Street Fighter 4
There are plenty of strong players favored to win Street Fighter 4, including Dieminion, Justin Wong, Diago and Momochi. However, we feel that Kazunoko, who is coming off of a win at Community Effort Orlando a few weeks ago, has the best chance among the titans.
Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3
NYChrisG has dominated the Marvel scene for many years now. However, he's always come up short at Evo. While we don't feel this is Chris's year (especially given the fact he took some time off from Marvel), we do feel he'll be in the top eight. So who's going to take home the gold? We feel Justin Wong is the favor to win at the moment, but with Marvel anything can happen. X-Factor is the real winner here!
Mortal Kombat X
Let's face it, the winner of MKX will either be Sonic Fox or someone from Team Yomi (probably DJT). If we had to pick just one, we'd have to give it to DJT, simply because he will be more focused at Evo this year. Sonic Fox is likely to win several side tournaments, including Dead or Alive: Last Round, so his time will be split between all of the games he'll be playing in. Meanwhile, DJT has been training with his Yomi team, nonstop, for months. He has had no distractions and is ready to take home the Evo crown.
Super Smash Bros. Melee
Melee is arguably the game with the longest running competitive fire next to Super Turbo. Over the years many legends have come and gone, but Mango and Armada have always stayed at the top of their game. One of them will likely take Evo 2015, and at the moment, we're putting out fake dollars on Mango!
Super Smash Bros. Wii U
ZeRo has dominated the Smash 4 scene since the game released. He's had a price on his head at multiple tournaments and few people can say they've taken games off of ZeRo, let alone beat him in a full set. We'd be crazy not to think that reign of terror will continue at Evo this weekend.
Guilty Gear Xrd
Ogawa has been a solid player in the Guilty Gear scene for some time. While he'll have some stiff competition from the likes of Marlin Pie and a few other players, we see Ogawa taking top honors this year.
This is probably a toss up between Rico Suave, CDjr and a few other players vying for the $50,000 prize pool. We're favoring Rico Suave, but he'll have to work for his win all the way through pools and into the top eight. KI has a strong group of players and a game system that favors good reads over raw talent. Rico has both and will be difficult to defeat.
Unfortunately it's hard to vote against the Japanese and Korean players when it comes to Tekken 7. The game has been out in arcades overseas for months, while only barely reaching a select few US arcades over the last few weeks (with some location tests at tournaments here and there). It should also be noted that many of the Korean players have opted out of Evo due to the next season of Tekken Crash, which leaves JDCR as our top player of choice to take the inaugural Tekken 7 Evo tournament.
Persona 4 Arena Ultimax
The anime fighting games have a strong showing at Evo this, both in terms of main games and side events. With a lot of anime players converging on Las Vegas it was hard to determine who might win Persona. In the end we decided that Souji probably has the best shot!