EVO 2019: 9-game lineup revealed for August event

Evolution Championship Series, SRK
Evolution Championship Series, SRK /

The slate of main-stage games for EVO, the year’s biggest fighting game tournament, has been revealed ahead of August’s event in Las Vegas.

Things have certainly been shaken up in the world’s largest tournament for fighting games.

The lineup for 2019’s Evolution Championship Series (EVO) is jam-packed with nine games on the main stage for this year’s event, which is set to take over the Mandalay Bay Resort in Las Vegas from Aug. 2-4.

A live stream hosted by Joey “Mr. Wizard” Cuellar and Mark “MarkMan” Julio on Tuesday announced the titles that will be on the main stage for EVO 2019. They are all listed below with Sunday finals being designated with an asterisk (*):

  • Tekken 7*
  • Street Fighter V: Arcade Edition*
  • BlazBlue Cross Tag Battle*
  • Super Smash Bros. Ultimate*
  • Dragon Ball FighterZ
  • Soulcalibur VI
  • Mortal Kombat 11
  • Samurai Showdown 
  • Under Night In-Birth Exe:Late[st]

The biggest headline of this list might just be what’s missing. Super Smash Bros. Melee‘s long, improbable run at EVO appears to be over, at least for this year. Despite monumental viewership and registration numbers for the title, it appears that Ultimate is taking over as the series’ flagbearer for EVO.

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Dead or Alive 6 is also absent on the main stage despite Koei Tecmo’s bigger push towards Esports with the upcoming title. But that may not be too surprising given what happened last month at EVO Japan. Though not every game can make the main stage, Cuellar and Julio mentioned that side tournaments would get more coverage this year and be rebranded into what they called the “Community EVO Championships.”

Heading back to the main stage games, there’s not much of a surprise in terms of the big-name titles that will see finals for on Sunday. In an effort to not go as long for viewers on both coasts, the number of games played in the Mandalay Bay Arena has been dropped from five to four. Both Street Fighter V: Arcade Edition and Tekken 7 both return as the premier events for both Capcom and Bandai Namco’s respective pro tours. Smash Bros. Ultimate will also be on Sunday, making its debut at EVO while BlazBlue Cross Tag returns from last year.

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Dragon Ball FighterZ is also back after shattering registration and viewership numbers last year, and it’ll be interesting to see if that success can be replicated this year, and will likely headline Saturday night.

What’s interesting, however, is the number of new titles and series that are on the docket this year. Soulcalibur VI marks the series’ return to EVO for the first time since 2012, while the upcoming Mortal Kombat 11 replaces Injustice 2 and will likely be a big pro tour stop for that title as well.

Two series are brand-new to EVO as of this year’s lineup. SNK’s upcoming Samurai Showdowwas a complete surprise to see and got a new trailer plus a summer release window as part of its announcement.

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Under Night In-Birth Exe:Late[st] might be an even bigger shocker, considering that it’s an Arc System Works-related game that isn’t Guilty Gear taking the main stage. Julio mentioned that UNIST was one of the biggest side tournaments at least year’s event, so giving it the chance to shine on the main stage and both he and Cuellar credited the community for getting it to this point.