EVO 2019 - Run It Back

July 29 2019

More than 9,000 players from 80 countries will descend onto Sin City for the biggest yearly spectacle in the fighting game community. The gambling and shenanigans won’t be limited to the casino. The Evolution Championship Series is upon us once more.

Simple in origin, EVO is a cutthroat open entry tournament on a scale only EVO can achieve. And by 2019, it has evolved into so much more. At this point, EVO can feel equal parts tournament and fighting game convention, where different FGC scenes will claim viability and developers will hope to woo fans new and old with spectacular announcements.

While the pressure has grown and there are more eyes than ever on the Las Vegas fighting game debauchery, our players’ motivations remain unchanged. For the players whose skills allow them the chance to make history, the glitz and glamour of EVO is an afterthought.

They want to win.

They want their name inscribed in the annals of the FGC. If you win EVO, you’re quite literally immortalized. And as our players have recently ascended to Marvel superheroes, quests for immortality seem par for the course.

Liquid`Gen - Tekken 7, The Return of Genkids.

Liquid`Gen, formerly known as Genkids, made his international debut at EVO 2014. That’s where he achieved a spectacular result in a 2nd place finish to Tekken bonjwa (to borrow from our Brood War fans) JDCR. Second place at EVO is incredible, and a career defining moment for many players. But for Gen, it wasn’t a capstone on a successful career. No, for Gen this wasn’t a career milestone, it was a career launching point. This was Gen’s first EVO, his first time traveling to America. Oh, and he was only 14.

EVO2014 Grand Finals:

The Next GENeration.

Five years later, with his studies in order, Gen has decided to make his return to competitive Tekken at a serendipitous moment. The excitement around Tekken 7 since it’s console release in 2017 seemingly knows no bounds, and the hype has become impossible to ignore.

We had to get involved.

Team Liquid scouted the landscape and felt Gen’s otherworldly talent and limitless potential felt like the perfect match. So far, it’s looking like a good read.

Just three months into his return to the competitive scene, Gen has already gone above and beyond our expectations. In his first event under the Liquid banner, Gen placed 5th at Taipei Major 2019, a Tekken World Tour event in Taipei City, Taiwan. An impressive start that included a dominating 2-0 victory over TWT mainstay and Korean ‘Dragon,’ CherryBerryMango.

Most impressive was Gen’s recent 4th place finish at VSFIGHTING 2019, a Tekken World Tour MASTER event which host Europe's finest along with many of the sponsored high level players from Asia. With more than 350 players entering the United Kingdom’s premiere event, a top 8 finish is great momentum heading into EVO next week. Gen cleaned house, taking out local favorite Fergus (3x TWT Finalist) and fellow countryman Pekos, a high level player who was an EVO Top 8 finalist himself in 2015.

As Gen has shown, he’s a fast learner. So as he adjusts to his world-traveling-arms-crossed esports lifestyle, we wouldn’t be surprised to see him bust brackets and bring home the win. We understand that it’s unbelievable to think that Gen could possibly improve on his first jump into the EVO madness. Though is it any more unbelievable than a 14-year-old kid from Japan traveling overseas to get second place at his first ever EVO?

Superheroes are made in the margins of the unbelievable, and Gen has superhero origins.

Street Fighter, The 2018 Fluke.

While their Tekken colleague has motivation to show his first EVO in 2014 wasn’t a ‘fluke,’ our Street Fighter players John Takeuchi and Nemo are trying to show EVO 2018 was exactly that.

Nemo and John had a disappointing EVO last year, when both finished well below their expectations at 65th. Their worst recorded finish of the 2018 Capcom Pro Tour. EVO is its own class of event on the pro tour, worth many more points than even premiere events, meaning a disappointing finish just adds insult to injury.

As with everything, context and nuance is important to fully understand the bigger picture. Nemo still went on to qualify for the Capcom Cup finals and John Takeuchi got so painfully close it still stings. So why will EVO 2019 be different? Experience and confidence.

Nemo - The Elder.

The older more experienced member of our dynamic duo, Nemo, is coming into EVO 2019 from an interesting position. In 2018, Nemo had more consistent placings heading into the big show, earning three top 5 finishes for 330 points. However, he was far less active in his preparations, having only entered three tournaments. In 2019, Nemo has been more active, having already entered eight events ahead of EVO, netting 365 pro tour points. His position in the big scheme of things is relatively similar to last year. But with one major difference. He’s won.

Headstomper 2019 in Malmö, Sweden, Nemo secured his first victory as a member of Team Liquid. A momentous occasion to be sure, especially as Nemo has admittedly placed a lot of pressure on himself to win since signing.

Any competitor will tell you it’s one thing to ‘do well’ and something else entirely to actually win. The confidence that builds from claiming victory cannot be understated, so you shouldn’t be surprised if you see Nemo in the arena on Sunday. Nemo is hungry and tremendously focused. And with his self imposed pressure to win relieved, Nemo is free to go off.

John Takeuchi, First Year Data.

It’s often said that ‘first round/first game is data,’ as inexperienced players may mash themselves to an early lead against veteran professionals. What the ‘noob’ doesn’t notice is that any success they’ve achieved is fleeting, and the pro has downloaded their offensive and defensive habits and is now ready to exploit them.

We like to reflect on John’s first year under Team Liquid in a similar way. John traveled across the world his rookie season, hitting 19 events and at various points in the tour found himself competing on 3 different continents in a single month. The experience gained through these world travels is invaluable and, judging off his position heading into EVO, the download is completing.

Last year leading into EVO, John had a respectable 185 tour points which undersells his performance. John actually had five top 8 finishes prior to EVO. The problem is, they net a combined 104 points, with 100 of those points earned at a single event. If you did the math, yes, John really made four top 8s for a combined four points. Capcom had a brutal point structure last year and it’s only been marginally improved.

As Capcom has hardly tinkered with the point structure, John took matters into his own hands. Marching into EVO 2019, John will enter at 13th in the world, with 560 points. His position on the tour going into EVO this year from last year is a night and day difference. Last year, he was sitting on the outside of qualification looking in. And the disappointing finish at EVO made the rest of the tour that much more stressful. This year he’s in a great position and on pace to qualify for the tour finale.

While John ultimately fell short of qualifying for the Capcom Cup finals in 2018, he was so close it deserves elaboration. John was literally a single set from qualifying for the finals when he lost to CjTruth at the North American finals. A month later John got 3rd in the last chance qualifier, a single event to find the final Capcom Cup competitor, with a ‘win and in’ prize held the day before the finals.

Many of these close calls would have been inconsequential if John did just a little bit better at EVO 2018, the Super Premiere that rewards more pro tour points than any other. So with the data acquired and the experience gained, we are eager to see what John has ready for EVO 2019. We think he’s arena ready.


While our players experiences and motivations vary heading into this years EVO gauntlet their expectation is the same, to win! So be sure to check out all the action as The Evolution Championship Series will be streamed live from The Mandalay Bay Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada, August 2nd-4th. We hope to see you cheer for our fighters on their quest for immortality! #LetsGoLiquid!

Run It Back - Evo 2019





プレイヤー達は自らの名を格闘ゲームコミュニティに刻みたいのだ。もしEVOで優勝した暁には、その優勝者は文字通り不滅の名声を持つことになるだろう。MARVELのスーパーヒーロー達の意志を受け継いだTeam Liquidのプレイヤー達にとっても、その不滅の名声への道を歩むことは自明の理である。

Liquid`Gen - Tekken 7



EVO2014 Grand Finals:

次世代。The Next “GENeration”

EVO2014から5””年が経ち、 学生 としてある程度節目がついた弦は、鉄拳の競技プレイヤーとしての才能をさらに磨くことを決意した。コンシューマー版が発売された2017年から、鉄拳7のシーンはさらに加速しており、その熱狂は決して無視することの出来ないものとなっている。


Team Liquidは鉄拳プレイヤーをスカウトするべく世界を探し回ったが、プレイヤー達の中でも特に弦から感じたものは、彼が次世代のプレイヤーになる素質を持っていることと、その計り知れないポテンシャルだ。今の所、この読みは外れていない。

弦が鉄拳の競技シーンに戻って3ヶ月が経ったが、その間の弦の活躍は我々が想像していたものを遥かに超えていた。Liquidの旗を掲げての初の試合となったTaipei Major 2019では5位。ワールドツアーの主力選手とも言える、韓国のCherryBerryMangoを2-0で封じるなどの目覚ましい活躍を見せた。

最も鮮烈だったのが、Tekken World Tourの中でもマスタークラスのイベントである、ヨ”ーロッパ最大の大会、VSFighting 2019”にて4位という好成績を残した事だ。アジア地域からも名だたる強豪達350人以上がひしめき合ったこの大会でトップ8に残ったということは、次週開催のEVOに向けても大きな意味を持つだろう。ヨーロッパの強豪ローカルプレイヤーであるFergusや、弦と同じ日本出身の強豪PekosなどEVO2015でのトップ8達と肩を並べた。



Street Fighter, 2018年の「まぐれ」


SFVで戦う彼ら2人にとっての昨年のEVOは、65位以内には入るだろうと彼ら自身思っていたものの、それよりも残念な結果に終わってしまった。そして2018年のCapcom Pro Tourは彼らにとって史上最も低いランクで終わりを迎えてしまった。EVOは数あるCapcom Pro Tourのプレミア大会の中でも格別にポイントが稼げる大会であるために、残念な結果に終わってしまった昨年は、まさに踏んだり蹴ったりであった。

全てにおいて、文脈とニュアンスは大きな構図の物を理解するために重要となるのは共通していることだろう。ネモはCapcom Cupへの出場資格を満たすことが出来たものの、竹内ジョンはその座をあと一歩というところで逃してしまった。では、なぜ2019年のEVOは違うと言えるのか?それは経験、そして自信が彼らに備わっているからだ。


Team Liquidの旗を掲げSFVで戦う二人のデュオのうち年上であり、歴戦の経験者であるネモは、現在EVO2019になかなか面白いポジションで参戦しようとしている。昨年のネモは、EVO開催までの大きな大会に継続的に出場し、3度トップ5に上り詰め330ptを取得していた。しかし今年は、昨年と比べて既に8回も大会に参加し、365ptを獲得している。彼の中の大きな計画は、もしかしたら昨年と似ているのかもしれない。しかし一つだけ違う点があった。彼は一度優勝したのだ。

スウェーデンのマルメで開催されたHeadstomper 2019において、ネモはTeam Liquidに所属してから初となるCapcom Pro Tour大会での優勝を果たしたのだ。この優勝はとても大きな意味を持つ。きっとネモ自身もLiquidに入ってから、自分に対してプレッシャーをかけ続けていたことだろう。

どの競技プレイヤーも口を揃えて、「格闘ゲーマーの 成功 とは 優勝 すること」と言うに違いない。優勝から得られる自信というものは、決して地味なものではない。もし日曜日に彼をアリーナで見かけても、驚くことなかれ。ネモは途轍もなくハングリーで、極限の集中状態だ。そして彼自身が自分に対してかけるプレッシャーは、勝つことによって解放されるだろう。

竹内 ジョン、初年度を終えて


ジョンがTeamLiquidに加入してからのこの1年間を考察してみよう。昨年は、ジョンにとってプロとして挑む初めてのCapcom Pro Tourであった。彼はルーキーイヤーであるにも関わらず世界中を飛び回り、19もの大会に参加し、時にはひと月に3つの大陸へと渡り歩くこともあった。それ彼にとって、とても貴重な経験となっており、その経験をしっかりとモノに出来ていることは、EVOに向かう今の彼の姿から見て取れるだろう。


CapcomがCapcom Pro Tourのポイント制度を直すことは滅多にないため、ジョンは自らその課題の解決に挑んだ。今年のEVO 2019に向け、ジョンは現在560ptでランキング13位。昨年とは天と地ほど違う。散々な結果に終わってしまった昨年のEVO以降の大会も、彼にとってはストレスになっていたことだろう。しかし今年は良いポジションにつけ、ツアーのフィナーレに向けて良いペースで着々と突き進んでいる。

ジョンは本当にあと一歩というところで、2018年のCapcom Cup出場を逃してしまった。2018年の北米プレミアでのCjTruth戦で、あとわずか1セット取れていれば出場権を得ていたのだ。そして北米プレミアから1ヶ月後の、Capcom Cup出場を掛けた最後のチャンスであるCapcom Cup Last Chance Qualiferで3位に止まり、シーズンを終えた。

もし他の大会よりもポイントが多く稼げるEVO2018であともう少し良い成績を残せていたら、Capcom Cupへ出場出来ていた。この初年度のデータと経験を得た我々は、ジョンが今年のEVO2019でどんなパフォーマンスを見せるのか楽しみにしている。ジョンは準備万端だ。

--------Team Liquidの旗を掲げて戦うプレイヤー達の経験値やモチベーションは刻々と変化しているものの、EVOへ挑戦する気持ちは皆同じ、優勝を目指している。米国時間の8月2日から8月4日に掛けて、ラスベガスのMandalay Bay Casinoから全世界に向けて配信されるEVO2019を見逃すさないで欲しい。彼らの栄光に向けての皆の声援を心よりお待ちしている。

Writer // Jeff Anderson
Translator // Uchida Biito

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