EVO Japan 2020
The SOULCALIBUR World Tour starts off in one of the year’s biggest FGC tournament, that is, EVO Japan 2020! Held in Makuhari Messe International Exhibition Hall along City of Chiba in Japan on January 24, 2020, the tournament got more than 6,000 competitors fighting among the six featured fighting games of the night. Among its games is SOULCALIBUR VI which received a whopping 510 entrants, almost doubling its previous entrée number of 288 during last year’s EVO Japan!
With that in mind, a lot of competitors from all over the world came into this event hoping to get a chance to rack up points at the start of the World Tour with also some top players looking to make a statement within the SOULCALIBUR community. As such, the long journey to be among the legends of history starts here!
Diversity Clear For the Eye to See
Even though the tournament received a much higher number of registered players, notable is the fact that defending champ Keev did not enter the tournament. With that in mind, a new champion will be crowned regardless of what happens. Thus, after a lot of fights between some of best and most notable players within the community, 8 of them managed to survive the exhausting pools to get a chance not only to win the tournament but also to obtain points significant points which will prove crucial for the World Tour.
Other than the fact that 5 of the top 8 of the tournament were among the top players invited for the SOULCALIBUR World Tour, its top 8 also showed a diverse cast that came from different countries. The finalist includes Japan’s own and EVO 2019 Champ Yuttoto, another Japan native in Jashin, Korea’s ASL | TheKura, France’s PULSAR | NOOBICYDE, Singapore’s PG | Shen Chan, USA’s BDG | Bluegod and Illusion | Linkorz and another one of France’s pride and also Season 1’s World Champ Oplon | Skyll. With such big names fighting each other for the Grand Prize, this top 8 will be surely one for the history books of the SOULCALIBUR franchise! Without further delay, let’s start!
WORLD FINALS REMATCH
If we are looking for some international rivalry in the SOULCALIBUR scene, Bluegod’s Azwel and Skyll’s Mitsurugi would definitely be one of the players you would have to look into. This two had fought against each other in many of the game’s biggest tournaments in the previous year. Starting off their rivalry was in the World Showdown of E-Sports 7 (WSOE7) wherein Skyll put Bluegod to the loser’s during the tournament’s first round. In EVO 2019, Bluegod then 3-0’d and eliminated Skyll during the loser’s finals. Straight into the SOULCALIBUR World Invitational, Skyll got his sweet revenge by not only dominating Bluegod once but twice for him to take home the World Trophy. Skyll then continued dominating Bluegod during NEC20 where he was crowned its champion. But as the show continues on now that we have a World Tour, this two met again during in the winner’s bracket of this tournament to have another bout in their rivalry.
The 1st match commenced with Skyll winning the 1st round with his superior neutral and spacing. In the 2nd round, the match was even between the two until Bluegod punished Skyll with a Critical Edge to get significant health lead and ended it with a grab to win the round. The 3rd round started with Bluegod leading with his oppressive offense, Skyll attempted a come-back but was halted by Bluegod’s weapon arts. After a while, each of their Soul Charge clashed which ended in Bluegod’s victory by a well-timed 6B to stop Skyll’s advance. The next round started with tremendous advantage for Bluegod as he connected a whiff punish to Skyll and continued it with a lethal hit combo. Skyll was then forced to activate Soul Charge to stop the pressure. Despite Skyll putting up a fight, a timed sidestep by Bluegod gave the latter a chance for a back-grab to win the 1st match.
Going to the 2nd match, both competitors traded dominant wins during the 1st and 2nd round. The 3rd round was much closer between the two as each of them managed to dish out huge chunks of damage in their respective Soul Charge turns. In the final moments where the two was left with an inch of life, Bluegod activated another Soul Charge and after an exchange of blocks, managed to hit another 6B to a back-stepping Skyll. In the next round, after another even match between the two, Skyll took the early lead by whiff punishing Bluegod with Mitsurugi’s Critical Edge and activating Shura Blade. However, despite the buffed state, Bluegod slowly chipped Skyll’s health away which ended with Azwel’s patented Muscle Buster to end the match getting his earned revenge from his previous losses to France’s finest to advance to the Winner’s Finals.
In the other winner’s top 8 match, Yuttoto’s superior spacing and defensive oriented game with his Voldo defeated a vigilant TheKura. Although his Kilik convincingly swept by the EVO Champ, TheKura still showed a respectable performance which at times surprised his difficult opponent and even managed to get it close in the 2nd round. With the win, Yuttoto advanced further to the tournament and would claim the other half of the Winner’s finals with Bluegod.
Shining Decopon Sighting
Everyone knows who Shen Chan is; he was the first Singaporean to ever reach an EVO Grand Finals which occurred in SoulCalibur V on EVO 2012 using his patented Cervantes. However, despite starting off the Grand Finals in the winner’s side, his opponent, Shining Decopon, took down his wall and took from him the coveted EVO price using a character everyone at the time never thought of as a threat, that is, the unpredictable Tira. In this tournament, Shen Chan might have remembered his friend and rival for him to do something surprising.
In the top 8 of the loser’s side, every competitor in this part would need to play their best as one loss would take them out of the door, thus experimenting is not recommended. Similarly, Shen Chan found himself in this side where he faces off NOOBICYDE, who’s Azwel had been dominating the European tournaments of SOULCALIBUR VI. Although known as a Cervantes main, it was expected that Shen Chan will use his trusty pirate. However, knowing Cervantes’ losing record against Azwel, he decided to use another character in his repertoire. Surprise! Surprise! It was Tira!
Regardless, the 1st match was started by Shen Chan hitting his opponent with Tira’s new lows. However, a few axe moves was all NOOBICYDE needed to take back the round and win. In the next round, Shen Chan started again winning the poking game but unlike the previous match, he continued overwhelming NOOBICYDE to even the match 1-1. The 3rd round started with another Shen Chan dominating win over NOOBICYDE ending it with a devastating lethal hit combo. In the 4th round, although NOOBICYDE performed much better, he could not overcome Shen Chan’s amazing performance with Tira. Thus the match set is 1-0 in Shen Chan’s favor.
Going right to Indian port in the 2nd match, Shen Chan immediately won the 1st round via a knock-out after managing to hit NOOBICYDE with a lethal launcher at the edge. The 2nd was much close between the two but Shen Chan managed to clutch it out after a grab against NOOBICYDE. In the third, Shen Chan’s early offensive pressure forced NOOBICYDE to activate his Soul Charge. However, it came too late as Shen Chan only needed two more hits to eliminate him out of the tournament. With such a surprising character, Shen Chan displayed a master class performance to beat such a strong player in NOOBICYDE.
Meanwhile, Linkorz’ Siegfried and Jashin’s Hilde had a fast-paced in their loser’s match-up which was won by the former after surviving a powerhouse brawl fight against the latter.
Toss A Coin To Your...
Skyll, during the previous year, had been conquering USA tournaments every time he comes to visit the country. Although placing only 7th during CEO, he got back by winning WSOE7, getting 3rd place at EVO 2019, winning the SOULCALIBUR World Invitational and also winning NEC20. In some of these notable tournaments, one of his victims includes Linkorz, one of USA’s best, who despite keeping it close, never managed to beat him in many of their match-ups. Facing each other again in the Loser’s top 6, will Linkorz get over such a big hump in Skyll?
Turns out, Linkorz might have been preparing for this match the whole time. Using Geralt to fight Skyll’s Mitsurugi, their 1st match started. 1st round, Linkorz started strong winning the footsies battle against Skyll. However, showing he is better at that game, Skyll caught back immediately after a strings of hit connecting to Linkorz. Not giving up, Linkorz caught his ground and managed to avoid a Skyll come-back by hitting the latter with a Quen low mix-up. Into the next round, Linkorz started out strong managing to win the neutral battle. Skyll was then forced to activate his Soul Charge but it was met with a silver sword lethal hit combo from Linkorz which did enough damage for him to win the round. In the 3rd round, Linkorz completed the sweep by ending the match with a devastating lethal hit.
Going to the 2nd match, Linkorz continued his streak by winning the 1st round ending it with an Agni. Into the next round, Skyll was in commanding lead until Linkorz fought back to get it close. With the two in a slither of health in the final seconds, the round was left decided by an exchange of BBs which was won by Skyll. However, this win by him was found to be his last in the tournament as he failed to stop Linkorz’ momentum going into the 3rd and 4th rounds of the match. Finally beating his nemesis for the first time, Linkorz could not hide his emotions but kept it under control to give respectable handshake to the World Champion.
In the other match of the Loser’s top 6, Shen Chan continued displaying his Tira by again getting commanding wins over TheKura’s Kilik, who could not find any answer to a rare encounter.
EVO 2019 FINALS REMATCH
Now to the Winner’s finals, waiting for Bluegod there is another player whom had a history of beating (and dominating) him in the past. It was at EVO 2019, where Bluegod’s unstoppable run was only stopped by one player that is, Japan’s Yuttoto. Like getting his revenge against Skyll in the previous round, Will Bluegod again achieve another vengeance over the EVO Champ?
Going to the fight, Bluegod made early statement by quickly sweeping the EVO Champ’s Voldo in their 1st match wherein he earned it by getting a come-back win in the 1st round and continuing it with dominant wins in the 2nd and 3rd rounds.
Into the 2nd match, Bluegod continued his streak by winning the first two rounds despite close matches against Yuttoto. But in the 3rd round, Yuttoto might have gotten his rhythm back as he dominated Bluegod with his confusing Voldo mix-ups. The 4th round was then much closer between the two exchanging hits after hits which the end was clutched out by Yuttoto after punishing Bluegod’s weapon arts by a launch combo. In the final round, Bluegod never wasted time to use his two meters into Soul Charges which pressured Yuttoto so much that he could not fight back despite activating his own Soul Charge. Upon hitting a lethal hit launcher to his opponent, Bluegod ended the match with a golden seven letters to get a 2-0 match advantage over the EVO Champ.
When the 3rd match started, Bluegod again got a commanding win over Yuttoto in the 1st round. However, Yuttoto fought back getting his own commanding win in the 2nd round. But despite his efforts to make a come-back, Yuttoto could not find any answer to Bluegod’s overwhelming offense and adjustments to his game was plain to see in the succeeding rounds which were convincingly won by the Azwel player. With another sweeping win for Bluegod, he now stands waiting in the Grand Finals.
Meanwhile, Linkorz’s Geralt and Shen Chan’s Tira had a much more competitive battle in the Loser’s semis where their match had gone down to the last round of the last match. In their final match, despite being down 1-2 in terms of rounds set, Linkorz made a roaring come-back in the next two rounds to finally beat his Singaporean rival and (sadly) ended Shen Chan’s EVO Japan journey with his Tira. As one by one the competitors get eliminated, we are now down to the top 3.
Battle of the Prodigies
Yuttoto and Linkorz are players who, despite their young age (both are in their 20/early 20s) had already received many successes in their still starting careers in the SOULCALIBUR scene. Yuttoto started to make a name for himself by first winning The Weapon Master Invitational held in Japan. He continued it by cementing his mark in the legends of history by winning the biggest tournament in the history of the SOULCALIBUR franchise so far during EVO 2019 taking the trophy over 745 players. He then added his success by winning SEA Major, the finale of SOULCALIBUR Asia League and placing 2nd place of the tour’s rankings. Linkorz, on the other hand, is no slouch as he is one of USA’s finest and also the current record holder of most trophies won in SOULCALIBUR VI with his 8 trophy achievements which include wins in NEC19 and Combo Breaker. He is also the game’s first back-to-back champion by winning ECT18 and its succeeding tournament the next year ECT19 and so far its only one. With such list of successes made by this two considering their young age, we might be seeing prodigies that will go all out against one another in this Loser’s finale. Fair warning, they did not disappoint.
As expected, their best of 5 series started with a Voldo vs. Geralt battle. 1st match, Yuttoto immediately made a statement in the 1st winning it after delivering a masterful whiff punish 66B lethal hit. 2nd match, an exchange if dominating turns between the two was clutch out by Linkorz by hitting Yuttoto with Agni while the latter was in the air. Next up, Linkorz won the 3rd round by taking advantage of Yuttoto’s rare Soul Charge activation with Geralt’s increased damage with his 4BB. Going to the 4th, Yuttoto fought back by patiently waiting for Linkorz to make mistakes for him to dish out respectable damage. After a failed Yrden attempt by Linkorz, Yuttoto ended the round with a launch combo. The final round was then a commanding win for Yuttoto as he dominated the round and earned a quick ring out to his unprepared opponent. Thus, 1-0 in favor of Japan’s prodigy.
1st round of the 2nd match, Linkorz was nearly flawless with his game as he continuously whiffed and punished every move his opponent threw at him and ended it with his favorite 6B. Yuttoto then got a flawless win of his own in the 2nd round also showing his prowess by pushing Linkorz to the wall and does not give him any chance to fight back. Unlike the two previous round, the 3rd one was much closer between the two as they exchanged pokes after pokes which ended with Yuttoto’s win after side-stepping and punishing Linkorz’ 6BB. Not wanting to be down 0-2, Linkorz’ slowly but surely whittled Yuttoto’s health with Geralt pokes. To stop the pressure, Yuttoto activated his Soul Charge and pressured Linkorz with Mantis Crawl. However, a rising B was all Linkorz needed to avoid a comeback from his opponent. In the final round, a similar situation occurred like how their 1st match ended. However, it is now on Linkorz’ favor as he dominated the whole round and ended with a Witcher’s Agni. Now an 1-1 between these two greats.
The 3rd match then came into the Kaer Morhen, Geralt’s home stage. Although technically irrelevant, Linkorz might have found some sort of level-up in the stage as his bid as the best Geralt player in the world was clearly shown around the world by sweeping the EVO Champ. All throughout the 3 rounds, their fight was all close. However, Linkorz had an answer to anything Yuttoto threw at him and each clutch out the rounds, getting the match set at 2-1 in his favor.
Finding his Voldo swept, Yuttoto thought long and hard on whom he will use against his strong opponent. Surfing the character select screen to different characters, he decided to use a character he used for the first time in a major, Zasalamel. Using the scythe wielder, Yuttoto’s mastery of the character was immediately shown in the whole 4th match. Not only showing how efficient and safe he used the character, Yuttoto also showed patience by building up curse to his opponent which were all imperative for him to win the 1st and 2nd rounds. In the 3rd round, Linkorz fought back hard to stop Yuttoto’s momentum. However, with his back behind the edge, Yuttoto showed how Zasalamel is the best in reverse ring-outs as he RO’d Linkorz despite the latter overly-cautious with the character’s potential for reverse RO’s. Now at 2-2, the most entertaining match of the night was nearly ending.
Outplayed by his opponent’s new character, Linkorz decided to bet it all on the line to the character which made him first known within the community, his signature Siegfried. Despite his opponent’s character change, the EVO champ was unfazed as he immediately got a dominating 1st round win. In the 2nd round, despite being a victim of 3 lethal hit combos, Linkorz clutch out the round after disrupting a Critical Edge attempt by Yuttoto and ending it with 66B. In the 3rd round, after a close battle between the two, it ended with Yuttoto’s win who took advantage of building curses which he will use to end the match. In the 4th round, Linkorz fought hard to put Yuttoto in disadvantage. However, a reverse wall combo by Yuttoto turned back the scale to his favor. Linkorz then activated Soul Charge to avoid pressure which his opponent answered back with another Soul Charge activation. After a short standstill, Linkorz hit his opponent with a Soul Charge attack and delayed his Chief Hold B to earn another round for the match. Now, to the final round. Despite having no meter versus his opponent’s full meter, Linkorz starting out swinging early in the round. However, his momentum was halted when Yuttoto countered him with a lethal hit which dished out significant damage to go even with him. Undettered, Linkorz immediately fought back hitting Yuttoto with Base Hold B and continuing it with a just framed aB. Having significant health lead, Linkorz needed only one hit to win it but Yuttoto showed why he is THE EVO Champ. Activating Soul Charge, Yuttoto managed to hit Linkorz with 3BA then an AA to close the health gap. Linkorz then activated his Soul Charge to match his opponent, however, he was then hit with a counter just framed attack from Yuttoto, time then stopped, and their match ended…with Japan’s prodigy standing tall. With both players showing just how powerful their soul burns, what us viewers got was one of the most memorable matches which can be etched within the many legendary battles in the stage of history. Now the loser’s finals had ended, the Grand Finale comes next…
With the Power of Reason
Bluegod, despite being the most consistent player of the game (his streak of reaching the top 8 of every tournament he joined is still alive), had been overshadowed by players such as Skyll and Yuttoto in some of the game’s biggest tournaments in SOULCALIBUR World Invitational and EVO 2019. Although he won several major tournaments like CEO, he still had not won a really big SCVI tournament and managed only to consistently end up as runner-up. However, we saw a very determined Bluegod in EVO Japan 2020. Starting the pools almost undefeated with his only dropped game coming from his USA rival Linkorz, he continued his domination by getting his sweet revenge by beating his nightmares Skyll and Yuttoto (sweeping them both by the way), With this onslaught, Bluegod sat waiting in the Grand Finals. With Yuttoto surviving a heavily even match with Linkorz, he would have another match with the EVO Champ.
Unfortunately, despite Yuttoto’s great performance in the Loser’s finals, he could not get over Bluegod’s determination to win. Using Raphael in the 1st and 2nd rounds, Yuttoto started out the said rounds strong each getting wins in the first rounds. However, it was his only achievement in the rounds as Bluegod quickly adjusted to his gameplan and dominated him again with the latter’s oppressive attacks. Out of his wits, Yuttoto took another a long pause to pick which character he will use to match his overwhelming opponent. He then decided a mirror match, Azwel vs. Azwel. But…to no avail, he did not get close to the Azwel master as his own Azwel was again dominated by Bluegod. With the win, Bluegod finally found his place among the top winners of the game and could not stop his emotion with his long due achievement.
Journey Far From Over
The SOULCALIBUR World Tour started with a big bang in EVO Japan 2020 which featured a lot of great matches. Announcing afterwards that the World Tour will feature 11 tournaments around the world (including EVO Japan, The Mixup and Combo Breaker), more tournaments will still come where every players has a chance to rack up points to earn a place to the World Tour Finale.
Although Congratulations are in order for Bluegod for his monstrous performance, we are still in the first stop of the World Tour and obviously many more will come. New rivalries will come, new players will emerge, and more exciting and fun filled action will surely happen with these great players in the horizon. I ask you…Does your soul still burn? Cause now is the perfect time!
BIG THANKS TO THE COMMENTATORS!
Congrats Bluegod! I like your play because it’s always powerful and funny.
I was happy to see many strong American players coming to EVO JAPAN 2020.
Especially linkorz vs yuttoto. I wanted to see this match for a long time. It was a great match.
And all the games I saw were fun.
— デコポン (@ShiningDecopon) January 25, 2020
France won Evo Japan last year. Japan won Evo. France won the invitational. And now USA wins this Evo Japan.
To say that the level of talent for Soul Calibur VI is truly global is an understatement. The scene is SO healthy!
Congrats to 🇺🇸BlueGod for taking #EvoJapan2020 !!
— James Chen (@jchensor) January 25, 2020