Combine the competitiveness of organized sports and the aesthetic beauty of Video Games, and you have a plethora of potential Awesome Moments.
This is about moments that happen at tournaments.
Moments pages are Spoilers Off. You Have Been Warned.
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- This match video. At the time of that match, Rachel Alucard was rated as among the top-tier characters. Whether defense, offense, zoning, or rushdown strategies, she could do it all with flair. Tager, by contrast, was considered one of the bottom-tier characters, with difficult ways to approach almost anyone and few if any ways to reverse the flow of battle by countering the opponent's pressure. About the only character he could fight on even footing was Hakumen, who Tager had demolished in the first round of the tournament. This time, however, he'd be up against a real fight thanks to Rachel...and for most of the first round, that's the case. Pinned, stuck in long combos, little to no way to pull out a victory... and then you realize that Tager's player is Mike Z. Cue REAL SOVIET DAMAGE. And this one provides with perhaps the greatest smackdown Mike Z has ever delivered.
- At EVO 2011, Spark shows off just how much of a Stone Wall Hakumen can be, Made awesome and hilarious by how much of a fan favorite Spark was, to the point that almost every combo and between-match break had a crowd cheering him on. Morever, he started Top 8 from losers and ended up taking the entire tournament.Crowd: Ay! Ay! Ay! Ay! Ay! Ay! Ay! Ay!
Crowd: Spark! Spark! Spark! Spark! Spark!
- At EVO 2014, it was the Grand Finals, Dogura (Winners) vs. Galileo (Losers), Azrael vs Litchi. Half an hour before the grand finals match, Galileo is completely dominated by Dogura's vicious Azrael in winner's finals; he loses 3 matches in a row. Even though Galileo starts out with the momentum, Dogura out-clutches him every time, culminating in Galileo wasting his Overdrive in an attempt to get back into the game (only to get punished by Dogura and lose the set). In order to win EVO, Galileo must now win three first-to-three sets in a row — two of them against the man who just annihilated him.
Fresh off that psychological devastation (and he looks completely devastated after getting stomped by Dogura), Galileo immediately goes into loser's finals against crowd favorite DoraBang, a Bang Shishigami player who blitzed his way through the loser's bracket. Even though Galileo put DoraBang into loser's, the cracks show as the two fight a close set down to the last match. Down a sliver of health and after having wasted his Overdrive again, Galileo somehow comes back and manages to take Dora down. Galileo comes face-to-face with Dogura again, but in a far more dire situation: he must defeat Dogura in two consecutive sets, and if he loses either set, Dogura takes the tourney.
The first set goes back and forth: Galileo comes up with two matches, but Dogura also wins two matches (and with disturbing ease). With the set tied up, Dogura takes a convincing first round and puts himself at tournament point. In the second (and potentially final) round, Galileo finds himself once again with a sliver of health and no barrier while Dogura sits on a comfortable HP advantage. Galileo whiffs his Overdrive again; from everybody's perspective, it looks like the tournament is over. But Galileo somehow takes it back and manages to finish off Dogura from the absolute worst position possible. Then he takes the third round and resets the bracket. The impossible comeback looks a little less impossible, but Galileo still needs to win the final set to pull it off.
An unfazed Dogura starts the final set by destroying Galileo in two straight matches; Galileo must now win every match from this point on or the tournament is over. Galileo rallies again and takes the next two matches, winning rounds by the skin of his teeth. Dogura looks psychologically shattered after Galileo's latest comeback, which takes the set to its final match. Galileo wins the first round in convincing fashion, which puts him on tournament point for the first time in a grueling twenty-five rounds; Dogura, a Worthy Opponent to the end, fights back to take the second round. With the world watching, Galileo takes the match to its absolute final round — and under some of the most extreme pressure that any fighting game player could ever face, Galileo won the tournament in its absolute final round.
With the largest pot money at EVO ($30,000), a lot was on the line for Galileo. What he pulled off was one of the greatest EVO Grand Final sets of of all time; Justin Wong called it the greatest comeback of all time. This phrase, uttered by one of the commentators at the time, effectively sums it Galileo's insane comeback: "This man is not human right now! This man is a legend! This is the birth of a GOD!"
- Also at EVO 2014: sG having to fight five straight Kokonoe players (Kokonoe being regarded as the best character in the game by many) on his way to being the only American in top 8. The last three players being Lord Knight (one of the best players in America), Tsujikawa (a Super Battle Opera champ and a favorite to win the tournament), and Banana Ken (another one of the best players in America).
Capcom vs. SNK 2
- Justin Wong vs. Combofiend at EVO 2005. Combofiend's Rolento, with his absolutely sicknasty pressure and mix-up game, was out-and-out the star of the show, but Justin put on a good act as well, including baiting Combofiend with his Senpu Retsu Zan feint (giving Haohmaru a go-ahead for some rather impressive Custom Combo goodness) and some nice Vega pressure of his own. To put the icing on the cake, the teams (A-Haohmaru/Mai/Vega vs. A-Rock/Rolento/Eagle) feature characters (Haohmaru, Mai, Eagle) that you almost never see at high/tourney-level play.
- At EVO 2003, Amir had the misfortune of facing Daigo's C-Guile. Daigo scores an OCV, only having to resort to busting out a super once.
- Dr. B gives Daigo's C-Groove team a run for his money at EVO 2003, narrowly losing to him... in S-Groove, no less (to clarify, S-Groove is widely seen as the weakest and least-viable Groove of the regular six, tournament-wise).
- Eric Lee, his team of K-Rock/Cammy/Kim (usually anchored by a positively electric Kim), and his almost-psychic knack for pulling off Just Defends deserve a mention here, not only for his frantic match (and close win) against John Choi at NCR2K, but for giving Combofiend's K-Groove team at hard time, even in a match he ultimately lost.
- And speaking of Choi, we have his second match against Buktooth from the Losers Bracket of EVO West 2007. Buktooth's Hibiki puts in a very valiant effort at the end, but Choi manages to pull through.
- Similar to Amir vs. Daigo above, Justin Wong's A-Rolento went to town on Gief in the 2008 V.G.A. Tournament.
- Daidouraku's Ranbat tourney matches against RCK and Dari (here's Part 2) are noteworthy. RCK's Sakura and Bison sneak in a few deadly Custom Combos, only to be answered by Daidouraku's entire team (with Akuma and Rolento delivering some illusive cross-ups and respectable pressure while Chun-Li scored supers off of good hit confirms), while Dari's Geese is just formidable in general.
- One from the very old-school: the "Motobox". Team 3D facing off against SK. An unorthodox tactic culminates in Moto getting boosted onto one of the crates littering a bombsite on the map Inferno. Whether deliberately or otherwise, Moto - armed with nothing but a silenced pistol - continues to walk until he falls down the back of the crate, landing himself in a concealed spot but completely unable to move. Only able to look out and see two areas - one of which just so happening to be a common location to plant the bomb - Moto elects to try and make the best of the situation. In a predicament that should have had him mopped up (as the last 3D member standing) in short order, he manages to take out four members of one of the best teams in the world at the time and get a humble shipping crate catapulted into legend in the process.
- ESEA LAN 13. Dynamic Swag VS VeryGames. Things are getting desperate when Braxton "Swag" Pierce had to defend the planted bomb against KennyS of VeryGames alone. What does he do when he heard footsteps getting close? He throws his pistol away as a fake flashbang. KennyS falls for it, giving Swag an opening to step in and take the kill.
- TeamX vs NiP. There's a reason this comeback is the sheer definition of epic, and why NiP is considered the BEST FUCKING TEAM OF ALL TIME IN ALL CS. NOT ONLY CS:GO. ALL CS.
- NiP are a team who have done, beyond their tournament successes, what very few - if any at all - Counterstrike pro teams have done. Played against themselves. Specifically, through showmatches at the likes of Dreamhack, fans and viewers are finally able to see what would happen if the modern (2013) line-up - consisting of Xist, Friberg, GeT_RiGhT, Fifflaren and f0rest - took on the old-school 2005 line-up (Heaton, Ahl, Fisker, Zet and Potti). It's about as awesome as you think it is. And they've not settled for doing this once.
- Performing an ace in a pro game is Difficult, but Awesome, more so when you're out-equipped by the enemy team in the round, and even more so if your team only has pistols in their arsenal. But for Team EnVyUs's Happy, all he needed was a Deaglenote , and he then obliterated TSM in their Grand Final match at Dreamhack Open London 2015.
- Here sNax from Virtus.pro demonstrated that in Counter Strike, patience, planning and really, really clear mind are just as important as shooting skill.
- MLG Major Championship: Columbus 2016 Semifinals: Luminosity Gaming vs. Team Liquid. After the Brazilian roster of LG defeated perennial favorites Virtus.pro 2-1, they moved on to face Team Liquid. In the first map, Liquid dominated the majority of the map, where they eventually were up 15-9 on Luminosity. On the next round however, things began taking a huge turn when coldzera, waiting on the B-apartments, first kills AdreN, and then does a jumping AWP no-scope, getting himself a double kill in the process. He would then no-scope another one, and TACO would then finish off the last player, winning the round 10-15. From that point on, it was the beginning of the end for Team Liquid, as they would go on to lose the next nine rounds, losing the first map and then losing the second map as well, bowing out of the tournament in 3rd-4th. As for Luminosity, they would go on to win the entire Major, defeating Natus Vincere 2-0 in the Grand Finals. The jumping AWP would then shoot the Luminosity roster (with most of them now at SK Gaming) to superstardom, solidifying SA CS:GO's return to prominence. Here is a video of the iconic play.
- Performing an ace (5 kills in one round) in a professional game? Always an awesome moment. Doing it while being outnumbered? Even more awesome. Acing enemy team in a 1v5 situation and in a match-deciding round? Sounds almost too great to be true, but in Dreamhack ZOWIE Open 2016 semifinals, Neo from Virtus.pro managed to pull it off.
- ELEAGUE Major Boston 2018 Grand Finals: Cloud9 vs. FaZe Clan. On one side, it is the best North American team making it to the Grand Finals of a Major for only the second time in NA CS:GO's history, taking down some favorites in G2 Esports and SK Gaming, the latter which many were hoping to face FaZe in the Grand Finals, in the process. On the other is a team with an all-star roster of NiKo, olofmeister, Karrigan, GuardiaN, and rain, five of the very best players in European CS:GO. With this Major taking place in Boston, many NA fans were chanting for Cloud9. The North American team started the Grand Finals strong on their map pick Mirage, but FaZe Clan would later prove why they are one of the best teams in the world by making a huge comeback to take the first map 16-14.
However, on Overpass, FaZe's map pick, Cloud9 would shock everyone by taking the first half 12-3. FaZe tried to make a comeback once again, but this time Cloud9 would force a third map after winning Overpass 16-10. On Inferno, the last map, it went as close as it could've possibly been, with both teams delivering the very best they can, trading rounds back and forth, going to two overtimes. In the end, Cloud9 would go on to defeat FaZe Clan and in the process, give NA CS:GO their very first Major win. It also gives Tyler 'Skadoodle' Latham huge closure, after bowing out of eight group stages at various Majors, the most of any CS:GO player in history, as he also won MVP of the entire event. Here are some of the highlights of the Grand Final.
- One such awesome moment came in the 30th round of Inferno. With only fifteen seconds left, four of FaZe Clan (as the Terrorists in this round) tried to make it to B-side to plant the bomb, but Cloud9's Stewie2k successfully defended the site, earning himself a quad kill as time ran out, forcing the first overtime as the crowd roared for Cloud9's comeback after being down 11-15.
- Two numbers, one statistic: 87-0. From August 2012 to April 2013, Ninjas in Pyjamas note won 87 consecutive LAN maps. Not series, maps. The early days of competitive CS:GO was dominated by NiP, establishing themselves as quite possibly the best CS:GO team of all time. Eventually, all good things must come to an end, and it was at the Upper Bracket Finals of Starladder Starseries V, where they lost the first map 14-16 to Virtus.Pro. Soon enough, other teams like VP, Fnatic, and Liquid began to catch up, and NiP slowly faded away to inconsistency. Still, the 87-0 record has defined competitive CS:GO, and it will be very unlikely that a team (or anyone in any competitive pro game) will ever surpass, let alone match up, to a record like that ever again.
- Faceit Major London 2018: Astralis creating a historical record of the first 16-0 in a major Tournament of the Professional Counterstrike scene by utterly decimating MIBR in dust 2, leaving them with no round win.
- Astralis's run as a whole was phenomenal. Having to qualify from the New Challengers Stage (due to their elimination at ELEAGUE Major: Boston 2018 in the New Legends Stage) all the way to the Grand Finals, they only dropped two maps, both of which happened during the New Challengers stage and the New Legends Stage once each. Fun fact At the New Champions Stage, they could not be stopped, defeating FaZe Clan, Team Liquid, and Natus Vincere to claim their second Major championship, all 2-0. With this, the Danes become just the third team to win multiple majors after Fnatic and the Luminosity/SK/MIBR core. The Astralis era has come.
- Astralis did not have a good start to 2018. They were eliminated early on in the New Legends Stage by eventual champions Cloud9, and shortly after that in sudden fashion, Kjaerbye left the team for North in what is now known as "The Great Northern Betrayal." Needing someone to fill their fifth spot, they signed Emil "Magisk" Reif. What no one could've predicted was the start of Danish dominance in the pro scene. They would win 10 trophies (out of 12 Grand Finals appearances!) in 2018, including the FACEIT London Major, the second Major of 2018, along with wins at Dreamhack Masters Marseille, ESL Pro League Season 7 Finals, IEM Chicago, and back-to-back at ESL Pro League Season 8 in Europe and Finals, winning the Intel Grand Slam $1 million prize, fittingly winning it and the Finals in their home country in Denmark (at Odense), finishing 2018 as currently the best CS:GO team in the world. In the span of one year, they went from a team on the cusp of mediocrity to becoming one of the most dominant rosters of all time. To add to this, all five Astralis players are in HLTV.org's Top 20 players of 2018, with four of them ranked in the top 10, two of them in the top 5, and even then, their lowest ranked player was in the top 15. Ranks As said here, if they win the first Major of 2019 in IEM Katowice, they will be considered as the greatest CS:GO team of all time. And they did.
- Intel Extreme Masters - Season XIII Championship - Katowice Major 2019: Astralis would solidify themselves as the best CS:GO roster of all time, once again going undefeated in The New Champions Stage. Oh, and they once again decimated a team by winning 16-0, this time the unfortunate opponent being Cloud9, and came very close to doing another 16-0, this against Ninjas in Pyjamas, ultimately finishing it 16-2 on Mirage in the quarterfinals. That being said, there were other surprises throughout the Major as well:
- Of all teams in the tournament, no one (save for their fans) expected the Finnish team of ENCE to have done everything they could to become the shock underdogs of the Major. Coming from the EU Minor, ENCE, led by former star Aleksi "allu" Jalli, managed to dominate the Minors and go 3-1 in the New Challengers Stage. The Legends Stage, however, was a different story. They lost their first two games, and must win the next three matchups, all Bo3's. After losing one map to BIG, they then went on to not lose a single map afterwards, eliminating BIG, G2 Esports, and AVANGAR to qualify for The New Champions Stage...to face off against Team Liquid, whom many were favoring would face Astralis in the finals. In true Liquid fashion, they had 7 chances to tie the series in Inferno, but could not capitalize, as ENCE not only forced overtime, but won 19-16, upsetting the world's ranked #2 team.
- Natus Vincere, the world's #3, was up next. They won Train in a heavily close 16-14, but were absolutely destroyed on Dust II 3-16. Mirage, however, was where many considered this series to be the best in the tournament, with Na'Vi's Oleksandyr "s1mple" Kostyliev playing almost close to a literal god, pulling off absolutely insane clutches and going 73-39 overall, but in the end, ENCE would upset another top ranked team, earning their shot in the finals, in the team's first Major, echoing Immortals's run in Krakow.
- While Astralis would ultimately 2-0 them in the finals, ENCE's run as a whole won over many fans, and would now be qualified for the Starladder Berlin Major later in August. Another thing about the Finns was that each map had a player or two from the team rise up and be the winning factor in their maps.
- Another surprise underdog at the Major was the Australian (and one Norwegian) team of Renegades. Like ENCE, they came from the Minor, this time in Asia, and would proceed to 3-0 the New Challengers Stage and go 3-1 in the New Legends Stage in unexpected fashion, defeating ENCE (Round 1), FaZe Clan (Round 2), and Team Vitality (Round 4). The team that would give them a series loss? Astralis. However, they would be the only team to hand them a map loss across the entire tournament, 19-17 on Mirage. While they would lose to MIBR in the quarterfinals, few had thought they would make top 8, and they have now secured Legend Status for the Starladder Berlin Major as well.
- Vici Gaming. My goodness, Vici Gaming. This unlikely team of Chinese players had to fight their way in the Minors 3rd Place Play-In after finishing in 3rd at the Asia Minor, and upset North twice, in their initial match, and their final qualifying match to determine who goes to Katowice. At The New Challengers Stage, through the player-selected seeding system, Vici's first opponent would be Fnatic, after both were ranked last and first respectively, and proceeded to hugely upset the Swedes 16-9. Ultimately, Vici would not make it to Challenger status, but the kicker is this: they managed to give themselves a shot to advance early on in Round 4 after upsetting C9 16-6 in Round 3, while Fnatic plummeted, eliminated at 1-3. While their run was short, Vici showed how much they took advantage of their opportunity to play in the Major. Nobody expected them get so close to making it to Legends Stage, much less even get to Katowice in the first place! They managed to upset two big teams in their run, so their performance, albeit brief, was nothing short of fantastic, playing very good CS for a team of their caliber.
- Of all teams in the tournament, no one (save for their fans) expected the Finnish team of ENCE to have done everything they could to become the shock underdogs of the Major. Coming from the EU Minor, ENCE, led by former star Aleksi "allu" Jalli, managed to dominate the Minors and go 3-1 in the New Challengers Stage. The Legends Stage, however, was a different story. They lost their first two games, and must win the next three matchups, all Bo3's. After losing one map to BIG, they then went on to not lose a single map afterwards, eliminating BIG, G2 Esports, and AVANGAR to qualify for The New Champions Stage...to face off against Team Liquid, whom many were favoring would face Astralis in the finals. In true Liquid fashion, they had 7 chances to tie the series in Inferno, but could not capitalize, as ENCE not only forced overtime, but won 19-16, upsetting the world's ranked #2 team.
- 63 days, 5 events. 63 days, 5 events. That is how long it took for North America's Team Liquid to win 4 events to win Season 2 of the Intel Grand Slam. Compared to Astralis' run in Season 1, who went through eight months from their first victory to win it, Liquid's win felt like an absolute blur as they tore through the competition. By the time ESL One Cologne came around, Team Liquid had already won the previous three consecutive ESL/DreamHack Masters events. The only event they didn't win? The Katowice Major. After Astralis' fall from grace through their non-participation in most of the events aside from the BLAST Pro Series (in what is a huge controversy surrounding the end of their era) and in their fading performances, Liquid took advantage and scooped up the next three Grand Slam events, including the ESL Pro League Finals in Montpellier in France. At Cologne, nobody could stop them, as they beat Na'Vi (2-0) and Team Vitality (3-1), who had beaten Astralis in the semis, on their way to winning the Intel Grand Slam. As saddening as it was to see how Astralis fell, new kings have taken their place, and they're from North America.
- And then Astralis went and reclaimed their throne. At the 2019 Starladder Berlin Major, the Danes went at it again. Coming into the Major, while Astralis were a favorite, they were not the favorites. That went to Team Liquid. But after going 3-1 in the New Legends Stage and TL going 3-2, seeding would force these two teams to face off in the quarterfinals. Astralis beat them 16-8 on Vertigo and 16-13 on Overpass. Astralis would similarly eliminate another NA hopeful in NRG Esports 16-10 on Train and 16-9 on Overpass (this after being beaten by NRG in the previous stage, preventing them from going 3-0). And in the Grand Finals against underdogs AVANGAR (who pretty much had a story almost identical to ENCE from the previous Major), they showed no mercy, decisively beating them 16-6 on Inferno and 16-5 on Dust II to not only win their fourth Major, but also make this their third Major win in a row. All in all, Astralis only lost two games/one series this whole Major, returning to fine form over the course of the whole tournament. If there were any doubts about Astralis being the greatest CS:GO team of all time, this Major win might have shut it all out.
- Winning a 1vX clutch is already great on its own, but winning back-to-back clutch rounds? Ridiculously amazing. Astralis's dupreeh made it happen against SK Gaming back in BLAST Pro Series Copenhagen 2017. The first one, in a 1v3, dupreeh, somehow, finds a collateral as SK were defusing the bomb...through the smoke. dupreeh then kills coldzera in a pistol battle to close out the round. The second one, a 1v4, dupreeh manages to bring it down to 1v2 before planting the bomb. The two remaining players of SK force a double push, but dupreeh kills the first scoped and the last no-scoped. Watch the glory of both clutches here.
- Na'vi picking Pudge in the finals of the very first International tournament. Consider, for a second, that Pudge is a hero that, until that very moment, has been considered a pubstomp pick that is completely unviable in tournaments; and there's US$1,000,000 at stake. Na'vi did it anyway. Now listen to the crowd roar.
- Alliance picking Ogre Magi in the grand finals of the International 3. Ogre Magi is a hero very reliable on luck, and is considered an unviable support because he is melee instead of ranged. Not that it stopped Alliance, and the crowd shows their approval of it, just like when Na'Vi picked Pudge.
- In the International 2, Na'Vi faced IG in the winner's bracket semifinals. Na'Vi drafts Enchantress, Juggernaut, Rubicknote , Enigmanote , and Shadow Shaman against IG's draft of Tidehunternote , Naga Sirennote , Puck, Dark Seernote , and Lina. In what has come to be known simply as "The Play," IG use a Smoke of Deceit to ambush Na'Vi from behind as they try to push down a tower. Naga Siren gets great positioning and manages to put all of Na'Vi to sleep. Cue a massive Oh, Crap! from the crowd and the commentators. Dark Seer Vacuums four of Na'Vi into tight formation to set up Tidehunter's Ravage. The sleep ends. Two lightning-quick reactions (or, alternatively, Button Mashing) save Na'Vi's life and turn the fight around. Dendi's Rubick uses his Force Staff to get out of the Ravage's range; and LightOfHeaven's Enigma uses his Black King Bar to become magic immune (and therefore unaffected by the Ravage), and then uses his Black Hole to capture and disable three of IG. Dendi steals Ravage.note The Black Hole finishes, Dendi returns the Ravage into almost all of IG, and the rest is mop-up for Na'Vi - they turn what is probably at best a 5 for 1 trade in IG's favor into a 5 for 0 trade in Na'Vi's favor, and can continue on pushing down the tower and the barracks. They get a standing ovation and a locomotive chant from the crowd and ride that wave to the end of the game.
- And if that was too fast to see, here it is at 1000 FPS.
- Here's the multicam edition.
- The commentary has become almost legendary note
- Dreamhack Winter 2012, Grand Finals – the brand-new team of No Tidehunter (NTH) versus Evil Geniuses. EG wins the first game, but due to some scheduling oddities, there's a two hour delay between the first game and the second two of the best-of-three. One of No Tidehunter's players, s4, along with the captain, EternalEnvy, uses the time to come up with a spectacular trick. At the beginning of the second game, one player from NTH immediately runs down to Roshan and attempts to kill him, which results in his predictable death. Meanwhile, the rest of NTH is waiting, hidden, near the Roshan pit. When EG go to check on Roshan to make sure NTH isn't doing a level 1 Roshan kill, NTH comes up behind them and manages to kill two of EG before the rest can retreat. Everyone watching the play was completely amazed - nobody had ever seen it done before, and this from a very new team.TobiWan: No one has ever done that! No one has ever done that in the history of Dota!
- The International 2013 has LGD.Gaming facing Team Liquid in a Best-of-One "Loser goes home" fight for at least 8th place (Where you begin earning money). Team Liquid are barely one year old as a team in Dota 2 (albeit with some vets of the scene) facing the team that came out 3rd in last year's International who are only in the loser's bracket because the Alliance were steam-rolling the Winner's Bracket. Team Liquid were definitive underdogs, especially with their inconsistent performance in the preliminaries. They started off with their aggressive tri-lane completely bombing with Gyro having no farm and Crystal Maiden being little more than free food for the carry with how underleveled she was. Fast forward forty minutes and Liquid found the farm, got the pick offs, Bulba found oh-so-many Hookshots and Liquid built up the deeps. It all culminated with a clusterfuck of a Rosh fight including Magnus pulling out a surprise Double RP on Liquid and stealing away Liquid's Rosh. This chaotic fight ended with Crystal Maiden saving the day with a Triple Kill (as well as popping Magnus's aegis) and Liquid scoring a team wipe on LGD. The following three minutes consisted of Team Liquid going all in on a base push to end the game before LGD would inevitably recover, and the commentators and crowd went absolutely insane. It was a sea of continuous screaming, Luminous Inverse going hoarse from trying to call everything and intermittent "USA" chants. Team Liquid, the underdog of the hour, knocked out TI2's 3rd place finisher and made history as THE very first North American Dota 2 team to make it to an International's Top 8!
- In the International 3's winner's semifinals, Na'Vi faced TongFu, a team that had surprised many by placing strongly in the upper half of their group (and thereby making it into the upper bracket). In the first game of the best-of-three, Na'Vi, always ready to please the crowd, drafted Dendi's incredible Pudge, who promptly went to town on TongFu's lineup. The second game, however, saw TongFu crushing through Na'Vi. On the back foot, they drafted Pudge again, along with Puppey's trademark Chen. Despite having two of their best players playing two of their best heroes, the game started to go the way of TongFu, with their powerful Gyrocopter and unconventional Doom picks working well to shut down Na'Vi's lineup. In desperation, Puppey and Dendi conspired to adopt a strategy which, while powerful and effective (both at killing enemy heroes and pleasing crowds), was not often seen in professional play aside from games in which Na'Vi felt like joking around. This strategy was fountain hookingnote . Knowing that outside of this unorthodox technique, Na'Vi had next to no way of killing off enemy heroes, Dendi and Puppey combined to land fountain hook after fountain hook, consistently killing off TongFu's most important heroes, (including the Gyrocopter with a very newly acquired Aegis!). Eventually, the gold and experience swung enough for Na'Vi to gain control of the game, destroy all three barracks, and force out a GG. The crowd went nuts.Dendi: The game was on the edge, and we can lose it, like any moment. I was sure about that. We knew we needed to do something, so we started to try something out.Puppey: Dendi said, "This is the only way we can win the game: us two just doing that stupid stuff." I was like, "Alright, let's go."
- TI3 Lower Bracket, Round 4, Orange vs DK, Game 3. Orange get out to a commanding lead and look to have it in the bag until a couple of teamfights go in DK's favor, and the team starts to turn it around. As DK attempt to go for Roshan, a chaotic teamfight breaks out, and ky.xy, an Orange player who was on Magnus that game, dies and buys back, rejoining his team. As DK go back to finish off Roshan, ky.xy blinks in, catches four of them with an RP, and Skewers them all back to the high ground, securing an eventual teamwipe that forced three buybacks from DK and secured Roshan for Orange. Not even two minutes later, ky.xy would one-up himself and, during another teamfight, land an RP on the entire DK team. This would result in a second teamwipe and lead to Orange knocking DK out of the tournament. The entire series between Orange and DK would legitimize Southeast Asia as a major region for Dota 2 and catapult their mid laner, Mushi, to superstardom.
- The International 3 went out with an enormous bang. After clawing their way past Orange in Loser's Finals, Na'Vi returned to the Grand Finals as they had done for both previous iterations of the International. They faced Alliance, the team that had stomped them into loser's bracket with a 2-0. After the first game in which Alliance obliterated Na'Vi, the determined squad began to fight back, winning the next two games. Alliance won the fourth, though, forcing the series to go the distance. In the final game, Na'Vi racked up a huge early lead, with XBOCT surviving and even managing to get kills in a lane where he often faced down 4 enemy heroes by himself. Na'Vi continued to build momentum through chaotic teamfights, while Alliance seemed to be struggling to keep up. Eventually, Na'Vi started beating down Alliance's middle barracks. Three of Alliance's team members were nowhere to be seen, as they were pushing both side lanes harder and harder towards Na'Vi's base. The captain, s4, despite playing his unbelievable Puck, was dead. Akke was playing the fragile Crystal Maiden and could do little to nothing to stop the push. As Na'Vi besieged the barracks, it became more and more clear that Alliance's push into their base was not going to stop. Frantically, Na'Vi finished the destruction of the barracks and prepared to teleport back to base. They never made it. S4 had bought back, blinked into the whole team, and dropped his Dream Coil to break three teleports and render Na'Vi's base unreachable except on foot. Na'Vi lost both side lane barracks and could no longer stand under the pressure of the Mega Creeps bearing down on their base. Alliance was crowned champion of 2013's International, riding on the back of the Million Dollar Coil. But wait, it gets better! The game wasn't quite over yet, as Na'Vi still had a very fed Templar Assassin who could kill any of Alliance's players with little problem. During Alliance's final assault on Na'Vi's base, Dendi (playing Templar Assassin) attempted to teleport back to base to defend it. However, s4 was nearby and managed to stop Dendi with another Dream Coil... LITERALLY IN A FRACTION OF A SECOND BEFORE DENDI WOULD TELEPORT BACK TO BASE. With Dendi's TP broken, Alliance managed to destroy Na'Vi's ancient with little opposition.
- TI4 was generating awesome moments right from the start, and one of the most amazing stories of the early stages of the tournament was last year's International winner, the powerhouse Alliance, getting knocked out of the tournament... in the group stage. From the beginning of groups, Alliance hadn't seemed to be themselves, losing games to competitors they would have destroyed a year ago. But in the waning matches of the group stage, they started to pull themselves together and finally worked their way up to a win-or-go-home match against Evil Geniuses, looking much like their old selves. In a fitting continuation, EG was content to allow Alliance to have several of their signature heroes, and Alliance entered the battle with Chaos Knight, Io, Lone Druid, Skywrath Mage, and Batrider. Alliance promptly adopted the "rat Dota" playstyle they'd become famous for, using Relocate to jump around the map and take out towers and unprotected heroes while avoiding large-scale teamfights. And yet EG managed to hold them off. Mason's Storm Spirit and Arteezy's Dragon Knight forced and won teamfight after teamfight, and Zai's incredible Enigma provided the lockdown to pick off the tankiest of Alliance's heroes. Both teams lost sets of barracks, and the game went right down to the wire. Finally, EG managed to find a hole in Alliance's defense just big enough to move onto the high ground and go for the throne. Alliance, in desperation, bought back and tried to repuse EG and push back for the victory... but Zai found one last massive Black Hole and managed to snag all three of Alliance's cores. In absolutely incredible fashion EG took down the throne and took down the reigning champions of The International before they even had a chance to get off the ground.
- TI4, Lower Bracket, Second Round, Game 1: LGD vs DK. LGD were now a much weaker team from the year before, having lost superstar carry Sylar to Vici Gaming, and offlaner and drafter xiao8 to NewBee. DK, on the other hand, were the red-hot favorites to win it all going into TI4, with a lineup of BurNIng, who was the greatest carry to ever play Dota; Mushi, a legendary mid player; iceiceice, TI3's 1v1 champion; LanM, who, though not as much of a legend as the others, had already had an excellent Dota career, and MMY, who, along with BurNIng, was a key member of EHOME's all-conquering 2010 team. In this game, DK led LGD 31-14 in kills, and had taken their Tier 3 mid tower, and were also about to take down LGD's mid ranged barracks. It looked all but over, but, in a stunning turn of events, LGD held out, turned it around, and, in a remarkable role reversal from the Liquid vs LGD game mentioned above, engineered arguably the most remarkable comeback in the history of professional Dota. Unfortunately, LGD lost the next two games and were knocked out, but that doesn't take anything away from this incredible performance.
- TI4, Lower Bracket, Second Round, Game 2: Cloud9 vs Vici Gaming: The SingSing Meepo game. Down 1-0, everything was on the line for the NA squad. And despite VG's lineup that contained so much AoE, note drafter EternaLEnVy had the absolute confidence in last-picking Meepo for SingSing (Meepo, already difficult enough with his high micromanagement ceiling, was not very good against AoE heroes, since one kill to one of the clones means he dies altogether), and they never looked back. Everyone on C9 played absolutely out of their minds, with bone7's phenomenal Clockwerk Hookshots, EE's masterful Doom play, pieliedie's Bounty Hunter giving the team a lot of gold boost, Aui_2000's Skywrath Mage all-around giving the team so much support, and of course SingSing's stellar Meepo despite the 5-man counter against him. That didn't mean to say VG didn't have a good game, because they did. Both teams even traded teamwipes! Still, the NA team made hugely successful teamfights, and when it came to counter out their loss of their mid barracks, they would wipe out four of VG, giving them the opportunity to take a set of barracks. And then bone7 made the single most vital play against VG, forcing a dieback on Death Prophet, and at one point even soloing against VG in their own fountain! note . In exchange for losing their mid barracks, C9 was able to get mega creeps. At about 46 minutes in, VG decided to go all mid for one last push, while on bottom SingSing went for the throne as well with his army of Meepos. And while bone7 missed a Hookshot, it distracted VG long enough for SingSing to whittle down the Ancient in seconds, giving C9 the win in one the best games in TI4. Like LGD, while C9 would go on to lose Game 3, it doesn't take away anything from such a ballsy move to pick Meepo of all heroes in a game where one loss will eliminate you from the tournament, and the stellar game that followed.
- TI5, Grand Finals, Game 4: Evil Geniuses vs CDEC Gaming. Though EG.SumaiL (as Storm Spirit) had a good start, he got caught out of position by CDEC and killed swiftly, forcing SumaiL to spend some time dead. Having gotten their hands on an important kill, CDEC Gaming heads toward Roshan since SumaiL would be unlikely to snatch the Aegis note . However, CDEC's movement were spotted by a well-planted observer ward, helping EG.UNiVeRsE (as Earthshaker) and EG.PPD (as Ancient Apparition) realize that CDEC is most likely going for a Roshan attempt. While all of CDEC is trying to kill Roshan, UNiVeRsE and PPD heads toward the Roshan Pit and, almost as soon as PPD planted an Ice Vortex right inside the Roshan pit note , performed one of the biggest Wombo Combos of the entire tournament that would be known as "The Six Million Dollar Echo Slam", using a combination of Earthshaker's Echo Slam note and Ancient Apparition's Ice Blast note . Caught by the two-man combo in a moment of surprise, 4/5 of CDEC died with no chances to retaliate, meaning that EG was free to take Roshan without resistance. EG would then go on to win the match and thus the whole tournament. Here's a video of the moment.
- TI5, MVP vs. Empire, Game 1. During a teamfight under Empire's Tier 3 tower, QO of MVP (as Templar Assassin), having gotten a fairly good start to the game, jumps into Team Empire and gets three kills in quick succession, forcing out a buyback from Resolut1on (as Storm Spirit) in the process. However, the rest of MVP then quickly gets wiped out by the remaining members of Empire: Silent (as Razor), yoky (as Queen of Pain), and the aforementioned Resolut1on. Empire then manages to catch and kill QO and then, while QO is resurrecting with the Aegis of the Immortal, they surround him and prepare to kill him a second time - only for QO to curbstomp all three of them and make a clean getawaynote . Summed up thusly by ODPixel: "This man, you - you can't kill him! You don't want to kill him, because he'll turn around, kill you and kill your friends, he'll kill your family!" A video of the moment in question.
- Monkey Business vs Power Rangers. During the match, Io (played by Cr1t) disconnects and fails to reconnect, forcing Monkey Business to play four versus five. Normally, a pro team would lose four versus five. note So what does Monkey Business do? Give control of Io to N0tail, a famed Meepo player, note who's playing Tiny. N0tail's micromanagement skills combined with his mastery of Io note turned what could have been a certain defeat into a victory instead. Here's N0tail's player perspective as he focuses on playing both Io and Tiny at the same time.
- Frankfurt Major 2015 EU Qualifiers, Losers' Finals, Alliance vs Ninjas in Pyjamas, Game 2. Ninjas in Pyjamas is missing their top barracks, but has successfully destroyed all of Alliance's barracks, and even eventually their final towers. This means that Alliance is dealing with a horde of mega creeps constantly descending down on them from all three lanes. So what happens? Alliance pulls off one of the biggest comebacks in Professional Dota 2 history, successfully defending their own base against the onslaught of mega creeps, fending off a few teamfights and successfully defending their own ancient to the point it was standing with less than half of its health left. And then in the final decisive teamfight, Alliance successfully kills all of Ninjas in Pyjamas, with only two casualities. This teamfight allowed Alliance to send almost the entire team in (including Alchemist who has finished building six items, more than enough for him to destroy the enemy ancient). Alliance decisively wins the match, successfully qualifying them for the Frankfurt Major. See the highlights of the match here.
- The grand finals of Nanyang Dota 2 Championships was Team Secret versus Vici Gaming. In the decisive final match, Team Secret had the last and final pick. Having drafted only one hero with hard crowd control so far, everyone thought that Team Secret was going to draft Leshrac or Magnus, as both have strong crowd control capability. Instead, they picked Tiny. Note that Tiny is generally thought of as a mediocre hero who can only truly shine when he's partnered up with Io. What happened instead is that Team Secret DESTROYS Vici Gaming with Tiny (played by Team Secret's w33haa) pulling off impressive plays and kills, ending up with the incredible kills/deaths/assists score of 13/2/11 (which is also the best KDA ratio of the match itself), something that normally wouldn't happen for an Io-less Tiny in professional Dota 2 matches. With 28 kills and 7 deaths, Team Secret soundly defeats Vici Gaming and wins the tournament. You can watch some highlights of the game here. Expect to see some Tiny moments.
- In the upper brackets of the Frankfurt Major, the match between Evil Geniuses and Team Secret had one of the riskiest plays ever that paid off massively in Team Secret's favor. During the first game, Team Secret was struggling against Evil Geniuses and loses one of their melee barracks to Evil Geniuses. In an attempt to come back from this, EternalEnvy, playing Ember Spirit, purchases a Divine Rapier. note Even though it could backfire at any moment, EternalEnvy never dies (excluding the times where he held an Aegis of Immortality) and helped Team Secret achieve a comeback. Eventually EternalEnvy purchased a second divine rapier, and practically became a force of nature in that match. In the last battle when EternalEnvy dies with an Aegis of Immortality and after resurrection, immediately used Sleight of Fist note , baited Evil Geniuses to go over to his Fire Remnant note only to blink away to his teammates, uses his courier to swap one of his items over for a Black King Bar to gain spell immunity, then turns the battle around on Evil Geniuses. EternalEnvy ends the match with a beyond godlike streak, and Team Secret would then go on to win a second match and go on to the grand finals. This match cemented EternalEnvy not only as one of the best Ember Spirit players (if not THE best) but also as one of the best carry players. Watch the game here.
- Team OG deserves a special mention for having one of the greatest underdog stories in the history of competitive Dota. The team was formed a while after TI5 (before picked up by OG, they went by monkey business), and had to go through the european qualifiers to enter the Frankfurt Major while half of the teams received direct invites. After an unimpressive performance in the group stages, Team OG ends up in the lower bracket (where if they lose one series, they're eliminated). Most expected Team OG to be eliminated at one point. Yet despite this, they didn't lose even one series, eventually beating TI5 grand finalists CDEC Gaming, former champions EHOME, TI5 champions Evil Geniuses, and going on to the grand finals against Team Secret, a team widely considered to be one of the strongest teams in competitive Dota. Against all odds and expectations, Team OG reigns victorious with a 3-1 score against Team Secret! Watch some highlights of the series between Team OG and Team Secret here. In fact, during said victory against Evil Geniuses, OG lost the first game of the Best of 3 with just 2 kills all game to EG's 29. The second game started out seeming like a similar stomp, with EG securing First Blood. For a moment, it looked like OG would be eliminated 2-0 and the finals would be between EG and Secret. And then this happened. Moon Meander, a player previously dismissed as cocky and arrogant with nothing to show for it, considered a weak link in OG, who had never really experienced much success in Dota 2, showed up to fight, and put OG on his back.
- Starladder i-League Invitational, Season 1's Grand Final between Natus Vincere and Vici Gaming Reborn started off with a game for the ages. While much of the game was back-and-forth with phenomenal play by both sides, the game-winning play most certainly deserves mention. After killing off Na'Vi's main damage dealer, Dendi's Death Prophet, while his ultimate Exorcism was activenote , VG-R goes straight for the jugular with a full 5-man push against Na'Vi's Ancient with an Aegis of the Immortal on End's Gyrocopter. What makes this amazing is Na'Vi's ability to not only Hold the Line but to then turn the five-man push into a five-man wipe. In particular, the last kill on End is absolutely glorious: Na'Vi's Ditya'Ra, on Nature's Prophet, being completely outgunned by Gyrocopter, manages to kite him by repeatedly trapping him with Sproutnote while poking away at his health, buying enough time to kill Gyrocopter just as the Aegis expires. This clears the way for Na'Vi to take down two sets of VG-R's barracks. Not to be outdone, General (on Faceless Void) manages to later drop a three-man Chronosphere on VG-R which ultimately resulted in yet another teamwipe, securing a Na'Vi victory. Something else awesome happened, as well, as longtime Dota fans heard five words they hadn't heard in years: "GREETINGS AND SALUTATIONS, DOTA FANS!" Aaron "Ayesee" Chambers, one of the most beloved casters in Dota 2's history, came back to call one more tournament, giving longtime Dota 2 fans quite the nostalgia trip.
- At ESL One Manila 2016, in the deciding series between Team Empire and Team Secret to advance to the Playoff stages, Secret were able to take Game 1 in a lengthy, 50-minute game, putting themselves in the driver's seat to advance. But in Game 2, Empire's supports played out of their minds, as two big teamfights put Empire firmly ahead in the game, and both involved KingR's Rubick, and (unfortunately) Puppey's Enigma. At 24 minutes into the game, four of Secret were advancing down midlane, and their sentry ward spotted Scandal (on Nyx Assassin). They would go to try and take down Scandal, but Afterlife (on Dark Seer) activated his Vacuum ultimate, drawing the four together, and KingR blinks in and unleashes a stolen Black Hole on Secret. Everyone else on Empire rained down hell upon the four, and all four were taken down. Much later on, 67 minutes in, all of Secret went down midlane once again to initiate a teamfight, seeking to kill off RAMZES666 (on Spectre) and Afterlife. Puppey unleashes a Black Hole, taking in the Spectre. KingR once again steals the Black Hole, blinks in, and unleashes it on ALL OF SECRET. While the Rubick would then die, the rest of Empire arrived and took down four of Secret once again with their buybacks to finish the job (with only Arteezy on Invoker surviving). The Filipino crowd (known for simply just being really loud, and is considered one of the biggest and most passionate fanbases in Dota 2) and TobiWan, one of the three casters of the series (also known for his huge reactions to momentous Black Holes) promptly lost their minds both times. Empire would win the game at 72 minutes. They would go on to take Game 3, eliminating Secret and advancing to the Playoff stages.
- TI6, Lower Bracket, Round 2, TNC vs OG. The unfancied TNC had already caused an upset by defeating Vici Gaming Reborn, and would now play against OG, the pre-tournament favourites, who had surprisingly been knocked down to the lower bracket by MVP Phoenix. This was expected to be a Foregone Conclusion in favour of OG, with the official odds on a TNC victory at just 11%, but incredibly, TNC not only defeated them and knocked them out, but did so with a 2-0 scoreline, in arguably the biggest upset in professional Dota 2 history. Here is the highlight video of this historic series.
- The Filipino cast is arguably even better than the English one, and for good reason, as no Filipino team had never gone this far at a Valve tournament (the previous best was by Mineski in TI1, who were knocked out in the same stage that TNC beat OG in).
- In general, TI6 was a CMOA for Southeast Asian Dota. Although SEA had been long looked upon as the Butt-Monkey of Dota regions (Mushi and Malaysia notwithstanding), not one, not two, but an unprecedented three Southeast Asian teams made the top eight of the tournament, with some of their players, such as Fnatic's Midone and DJ, MVP Phoenix's MP and QO, and TNC's Raven emerging as bona fide Dota superstars, thus earning much respect for themselves, their teams, and their region.
- TI6, Upper Bracket, Semifinals, Evil Geniuses vs. EHOME, Game 1. Right from the start, EHOME trounced EG early on off the back of strong play by iceiceice's Timbersaw and old chicken's Juggernaut, and by 17 minutes took all of EG's outer towers, and eventually took a Roshan, but EG successfully defended their bottom lane barracks after an astonishing Berserker's Call by Fear's Axe, and EG took down four of EHOME thereafter. Even with that play, though, the Chinese squad continued pulling away, eventually getting to a 20k net worth lead by 40-50 minutes. While EG tried their best to defend and stall out the game, keeping themselves in it with important teamfights, EHOME eventually destroyed all of EG's melee and ranged barracks, netting themselves mega creeps. EG did not have much time, and with almost all 10 players with no buyback after defending their base, where only zai's Shadow Demon and Sumail's Mirana remained (the only player with buyback was EHOME's Fenrir's Warlock), EG kept shouldering on. Through the use of Dagons, note amazing teamfight coordination later on, successful defense, and vital plays by the entire team (with special mention to Universe's Faceless Void and Mirana), EG were able to teamwipe EHOME at the endgame. With only Warlock and Beastmaster there to defend their Ancient, EHOME simply could not be able to defend, and EG, with a Divine Rapier-equipped Faceless Void, won the game after a seventy-five minute near-beatdown. The game cemented EG as one of the best teams of Dota 2 with one of the greatest comebacks in its professional history, with this comeback being the very first to happen at TI. It is said by many to be one of the best Dota 2 games of all-time. Capitalist and Blitz's casting during the game was also on point, none more than when EG finally took down the Ancient, the impossibility of such a comeback making a reality:Capitalist, closing moments of Game 1: The throne's going down! The throne, down to half HP! EHOME can't defend! EG have done it! Game 1 (brief pause) is over! Evil Geniuses! The impossible comeback made possible by EG!
- Digital Chaos's TI6 run. The team's TI6 roster consisted of players who were assembled after losing much of their roster note before the Manila Major, one of the last Major tournaments before TI6. Two of those players were then-Team Secret members w33 and MiSeRy, both of whom were replaced by Evil Geniuses members Arteezy and UNiVeRsE. note The three other players were Resolut1on (who joined in February that year before Shangahai), Saksa (picked up by the team during the shuffle), and Moo (from Team Archon, a short-lived team that qualified for Shanghai). Many considered the team as the 'misfits' or the 'rejects'. Once the group stages began, however, DC dominated the majority of their group, ending in second, qualifying for the Upper Bracket. It would be short-lived, as they would be sent down to the Lower Bracket by Wings Gaming, another team not considered by many to be a favorite in the tournament. But they would not give up, defeating LGD, TNC, EHOME, Fnatic, and defending TI5 champions Evil Geniuses on their road to the Grand Finals, where they got their rematch against Wings. While Wings would then go on to win the Grand Finals 3-1, capping their own amazing run with winning the Aegis, DC's run still ended in amazing fashion, from a team of misfits to a team upsetting some of the favorites of the tournament and winning almost $3.5 million in the biggest annual Dota 2 tournament.
- TI6 Lower Bracket Finals, Digital Chaos vs. Evil Geniuses, Game 3. With a lineup that has Slark and Ursa as your carry and mid, you'd think DC wants to snowball early and overwhelm EG with their agressive lineup. Instead, aware that going straight-up 5v5 is impossible against EG's lineup, DC turned this game into a masterclass of trading objectives, hit-and-run tactics, and split-pushing. w33ha on the Ursa managed to keep Sumail's Brewmaster down long enough for Resolution's Slark to recover after a heavy counter in lane against Universe's Tidehunter. By 16 minutes, they traded an Aegis for almost the entire top lane, only leaving the melee barracks standing. The game continued forward with DC outmaneuvering EG almost the entire game, managing to trade away w33ha's Aegis for the bottom lane towers at one point. Near the end of the game, it all came down to two things: EG pushing for DC's ancient (and DC fighting to stay alive), and DC's Moo's Beastmaster taking away all of EG's barracks. DC won out, delaying EG's advance just enough for Moo to secure mega creeps. Fear's Terrorblade went all-in for the Divine Rapier purchase, but Saksa's Shadow Demon turns EG's illusion army against them, using the Terrorblade to build their own army of illusions. DC would deny EG a chance to defend their title, advancing to the Grand Finals for a shot against Wings in arguably the best game of DC's memorable run, and one of the best games of TI6.
- Boston Major Finals Game 3, Ad Finem vs Team OG. Ad Finem had become the darlings of the Boston Major, their story beginning with them sweeping major names like Secret and Liquid just to get to Beantown. Once there, they took games and series from the likes of EHOME, TI4 champions Newbee, and TI6 runners-up Digital Chaos. They then met OG in the Grand Finals, a team that they had already taken a game from before this meeting. For the first two games, OG proved why they're considered one of the best teams in the world, rolling through Ad Finem in two straight. Then Game 3 happened. Supports MaybeNextTime and Spartan ball out, Maybe's Earthshaker landing clutch Fissures and Echo Slams while Spartan's Rubick stole numerous key spells, including Mirana Sacred Arrows and several Juggernaut Omnislashes. It seems as though they can't finish OG's Ancient after a desperate teamfight on both ends of the river, but Maybe manages to get out of OG's base and pull off something truly incredible; slipping past several OG heroes with a combination of Blink Dagger and Shadow Blade, Maybe activates his Black King Bar, giving him spell immunity, hits two rapid, back-to-back Enchant Totems and a single right-click before OG can take him down and destroys the Ancient, giving Ad Finem the game in a nearly eighty minute slugfest. Even though OG came back and won game four, and thus the Boston Major, it does little to tarnish Ad Finem's incredible story and the exclamation point that MaybeNextTime provided it.
- Starladder i-League Season 3 qualifiers, Team Ad Finem vs. Alliance: Game 1 was fairly standard as far as professional Dota 2 goes, except for one particular moment which managed to be equal parts awesome and hilarious. Ad Finem, with a solid lead thus far, has Madara (Lone Druid) go for Roshan, a move which would greatly reduce Alliance's chances of victory due to Madara causing them quite a few problems throughout the game. Alliance's Handsken, playing Pudge, then throws a blind hook into the Roshan pit and manages to hook Madara out from behind his Spirit Bear, netting an easy kill and allowing Alliance to win the fight for Roshan. Ad Finem never fully recovers from what the commentators dubbed the "bullshit hook" (no, really) and eventually lose to Alliance.
- Kiev Major Grand Finals Game 5, OG vs Virtus.pro. This game features what might well be one of the most incredible comebacks of all time. Early game, OG got hammered on by Virtus.pro, reaching a sorry state of 3-18 score. Virtus.pro's Legion Commander has been racking up duel wins, Virtus.pro's Alchemist has gotten farm, and Virtus.pro's Outworld Devourer hits like a truck. On top of that, Virtus.pro had grabbed an aegis from Roshan a number of times. In most cases, this would be game over for the losing team. Not this time. Then two fights happened. One fight, OG manages to take Virtus.pro with a three man stomp from their Centaur Warrunner, killing four of their richest players without suffering from casualties, ensuring that OG could take Virtus.pro's middle melee barracks. Next fight, OG's Troll Warlord proves that he has farmed significantly at this point and outright DESTROYS Virtus.pro's Legion Commander, Alchemist and Outworld Devourer, Virtus.pro's most important heroes. After this, it's a downhill spiral for Virtus.pro as OG proceed to grab the aegis for Troll Warlord and begin demolishing Virtus.pro's base, securing OG's fourth major win against seemingly-impossible odds.
- TI7, Upper Bracket, Round 1, Game 2: NewBee vs Evil Geniuses. In a game that was hanging in the balance, Evil Geniuses grouped up on NewBee's offlaner, kpii, who was playing Bristleback, in hopes of securing an important kill as they attempted to push onto NewBee's high ground. Just before he was expected to die at the hands of EG, his teammate, KaKa, on Earth Spirit, blinked in as soon as the Black Hole ended, then used Enchant Remnant to save kpii's Bristleback from dying to a combination of Epicenter, Reaper's Scythe, and Midnight Pulse, then kicked Bristleback away, sacrificing himself to save the more powerful hero, and freeing up the rest of NewBee to take over and teamwipe EG. EG immediately conceded, falling to Lower Bracket.
- TI7, Lower Bracket, Round 2: Evil Geniuses vs Empire. Before the tournament had even begun, Empire, who were already considered to be one of the weakest teams in TI7, were dealt a major blow when Chappie, their carry, was unable to attend due to visa issues. Because of this, Empire picked up Resolut1on to stand in as their carry; he was only supposed to be there as an analyst, rather than as a player. Despite being a capable player in his own right, even being a member of Digital Chaos' underdog run to second place just one year prior, many people felt that Resolut1on entering on such short notice would disrupt whatever chemistry that Empire had built up and cause them to do even worse than expected. At first, this seemed to be true - Empire endured a dismal group stage, only finishing with the #7 seed. After beating Cloud9, another team that had performed poorly at TI7 to that point, Empire faced off against the powerhouse EG, who were only in Lower Bracket because of the events described above. So of course they comprehensively beat EG, winning 2-0. And to top it off, Resolut1on played arguably his two best games of the tournament to beat EG.
- Game 2 between LFY and Virtus Pro in the TI7 Upper Bracket had a major CMOA from LFY's ah fu, on Earth Spirit. Having lost their earlier lead, Virtus Pro goes for a desperate attempt at Roshan, in hopes of using the Aegis of the Immortal to turn the tide. After being scouted out by an Ice Blast from LFY, ah fu decided to make an attempt at snatching the Aegis (which, as the post-game interview reveals, he fully expected to be a one-way trip). He then makes it into the Roshan pit and snatches the Aegis at the last possible moment before making a clean getaway, only losing the Aegis to a Reaper's Scythe in the process.note This cost Virtus Pro their attempt at a comeback, and they were forced to tap out after suffering several kills and a four-man Chronosphere from LFY.
- Team Liquid's TI7 run. They came in as one of the favorites to win it all, though there were doubts about them winning, as they've been infamous for coming in as favorites in big tournaments, only to be eliminated early, or just couldn't get the big win. This doesn't just apply to Dota 2. At the group stages, they excelled, taking first place in their group with a 13-3 standing, qualifying for the Upper Bracket...only to be upset 2-1 by Invictus Gaming, sending them to the Lower Bracket. Cue the groans for many a Team Liquid fan, and it may be the end of the road once again for Liquid. Not this time. They tore through unexpected underdogs like Team Empire and other favorites like Team Secret and Virtus.pro and would then go on to defeat LGD and LFY in the last stages of the Lower Bracket to earn a shot at the Aegis against Newbee, who were looking for their organization's second TI win. Liquid crushed Newbee, winning the Grand Finals 3-0 for the first Grand Finals sweep in The International's history. The win meant a lot for two players of Liquid: for KuroKy, it was the culmination of seven years of Dota 2 through the struggles and ups and downs, where he is only one of three players to have participated in all iterations of The International (the other two being VGJ.Thunder's ddc and Team Secret's Puppey, who was once a teammate of KuroKy from TI3 to TI5); and for Miracle-, it was redemption after an early elimination at TI6 as part of OG.
- At GESC Indonesia Dota 2 Minor 2018, Na'Vi faced off against Fnatic in a thrilling best of three to advance to the semifinals. Games 1 and 2 were split between the teams in close games, and it all came down to Game 3. In the drafting of Game 3, Na'Vi surprised everyone with their last pick being a mid Lina for Dendi. Fnatic slowly began to build up a lead over the CIS team, eventually managing to claim the mid and bottom racks, but the ensuing teamfight ended in Na'Vi's favor, stalling out the game and preventing Fnatic to get the mega creeps...at least until Fnatic eventually forced Na'Vi back to their fountain and took down the top racks, finally netting themselves the mega creeps. In the closing moments of the game, with their last towers down, but with Fnatic's two cores not coming online for at least twenty more seconds, Na'Vi decided to immediately go for the throne, so Dendi bought a Divine Rapier, buffing Lina's already devastating attack damage. Both teams went for a throne race, but the Lina's massive attack damage was too much for Fnatic to overcome, completing the mega creep comeback. Lina, a hero that's been ridiculed for being very squishy in the current meta at the time, as such not seeing a lot of pro play, won the game for her team. The PogChamps are through the roof, and the crowd went nuts.ODPixel: People said the Lina was a bad hero! Dendi just won the game with it! The Fiery Soul passive, the damage from the rapier, they took the tier 4's, they took the Ancient!
- The Dota 2 Asia Championships 2018 was a hell of a Major to remember with these awesome moments:
- In the group stages, while Group B went with a perfectly symmetrical standing (7-0 for Virtus.pro ,6-1 for Mineski, 5-2 for Evil Geniuses, etc.), Group A's went chaotic with seven teams in two tiebreakers after the last day of Group Stage matches. OG and Vici Gaming were in a tiebreaker to determine who would advance to the Breakout stage of the tournament, while the other five teams (TNC Predator, OpTic Gaming, Newbee, Team Liquid, and LGD Gaming, all at 4-3) had to face off against each other in a round-robin format. Surprisingly, TNC dominated the other four teams, ending with a 4-0 record and claiming the top spot in Group A, with LGD at second place, earning a spot in the Upper Bracket stage.
- Unfortunately for TNC, it would be short-lived. Up against Vici Gaming (who beat OG to stay alive in the tournament, then had to beat Team Secret to advance from the breakout stage) in Game 3 of their series, TNC at one point led by as much as 23k in net worth. However, the calm and collected Vici slowly chipped it away, taking two divine rapiers from TNC. Vici sends TNC down to the lower bracket, after about 60 minutes of intense action. The other top team, Group B's Virtus.pro, would also be upset by Team Liquid in two games, sending them down as well.
- Still, neither of the top teams gave up, with TNC eliminating OpTic and Liquid, and VP eliminating Evil Geniuses and Vici (all in best of one games) to face off against each other in a best of three. TNC gave it their all, even winning Game 1, but VP would prove why they are (as of this writing) the best team in the world, winning the next two games to send TNC to a very respectable 4th place finish (with 75 DPC points to boot). Not many predicted TNC to go this far, and this major was their showing that they can hang with the top tier teams of the world, and they didn't make it easy for VP to send them home.
- As for Mineski, the only other (and now remaining) SEA representative in this tournament, they faced off against LGD in the Upper Bracket Finals. Game 1 was dominated by the SEA team, but Game 2 was a whole different story, trading kills and momentum back and forth. Ultimately, Mineski would make history by beating LGD to advance to the Grand Finals, marking not only the team's very first Major Grand Final, but the SEA region's very first Major Grand Final!
- Lower Bracket Finals. Virtus.pro vs LGD Gaming. Game 3. VP were fighting to make a hat-trick by winning this Major and to cement themselves as the very best team in the world, while LGD, now the sole representative of the Chinese home crowd, should they win this game, would advance to the Grand Finals, and would also make their way to the top 8 of the DPC rankings, potentially securing themselves a Direct Invite to TI8 (Virtus.pro had already secured themselves an invite before DAC 2018, passing the minimum number of points to do so). So much was on the line, but a single play changed everything. Holy shit doesn't even describe this game enough. At almost every turn, VP shut down LGD teamfight after teamfight. LGD kept going despite that, maintaining a close distance from the CIS squad, but never seemingly able to really take the lead from them. It seemed as though VP would eventually close out the game, waiting out Roshan to easily get the Aegis...until Chalice, on Underlord, with the help of a siege creep, Dark Rifted the entirety of LGD to the Roshan pit, brutally catching all of VP off-guard. All of VP died, with two buying back, and LGD would then take the Aegis from a respawned Roshan. They immediately went for the tier 4 towers and ancient, and eventually killed four of VP again. GG was called, the Ancient was destroyed, and LGD advanced to their first Major Grand Final!TobiWan: What a Dark Rift! What a fucking Dark Rift!
- In the end, the Grand Finals rematch between Mineski and LGD pushed each other to their limits and went to five games, not seen in a Major since Kiev's VP vs OG, and once again, Mineski made history as the first ever SEA team to win a Major!
- Patch 7.14 reintroduced Techies to Captain's Mode. It has been 500 days since their removal. This marks the first time in a long time that all available Dota 2 heroes have become playable in Captain's Mode. And yes, despite the trio's status as Awesome, but Impractical heroes at best due to their sheer difficult learning curve and the fact that games with Techies can unnecessarily stall out the game for too long, making their Difficult, but Awesome status too difficult and Lethal Joke Character at worst, even they can have a superb game, at the hands of the right player, in the right team, with the right strategy. KuroKy proved that in his time with Team Secret at ESL One Frankfurt 2015 against Fnatic, playing as a support Techies. In the words of TobiWan himself, summing up Fnatic's difficult time against the trio: IT'S A TRAP!
- Just picking Techies in general. Techies is a character who requires such map awareness, enemy movement prediction, and careful planning in order to make their mines become really devastating, and in playing Techies, you know that you'll have to get most of your kills and assists through (highly likely) suicides in their Blast Off! ability. Not to mention, you may end up wasting your mines if you can't lead your opponent to your traps, and even if you do, if you don't end up killing your opponent, then you just wasted both you and your intended victim's time (moreso for you because you set them up). As a result, depending on how you play them, Techies could either be useless in a teamfight or a terrifying presence around the entire map with their mines. Picking him means that you have the balls to play such an unpredictable character, and you're confident that your other four teammates know how to strategize with the explosive trio. Picking the trio happens very rarely in competitive Dota, but it's a guaranteed crowd pleaser, and the crowd (and the panelists and casters) will definitely show their approval for it, as it showed in the above game by Secret vs Fnatic. note
- OG's entire run at TI8. The biggest annual Dota 2 tournament in the world solidified their status as the comeback kings, both in-game and in real life. To start:
ODPixel: They get Topson, Topson's down for two minutes only ana! ana! Can he do it here? He's at half health—CEEEEEEEEEE—Fogged: Ceb gets the call!ODPixel:—EEEEEEEEEEEEBBBBB! He gets the Call! Of his lifetime!
- Before the Supermajor, EG had removed Fear and MISERY from the team to make way for OG's Fly and s4, who had suddenly departed OG for the team, taking OG extremely off-guard, and causing a huge rift between best friends Fly and N0tail. Fun fact Severely depleted and with no time to find stand-ins, OG were forced to back out of participating the Supermajor.
- EG perform poorly at the Supermajor, finishing 9th-12th, but bounce back at the Qualifiers for TI, taking 2nd place, earning their spot. Their resurgence continued with a dominant finish at the Dota Summit 9. At the other side, OG, with N0tail at his famed position 5 and ana and Topson picked up by the team, dominate the EU qualifiers, grabbing the only EU spot for TI.
- EG and OG find themselves in Group A, and, despite their dominance in the qualifiers, aren't expected to perform very well, more so with OG (in the Liquid forum power rankings pre-TI, they were ranked '18th). EG dominate OG 2-0 in the group stage, both in sub-35 minutes. Surprisingly, though, EG finished 13-3, tied with Liquid for 1st, ultimately ending 2nd, and OG, more surprisingly, managed to squeeze out an Upper Bracket spot with a 9-7 standing, enough for 4th. In the main stage, EG find themselves facing Team Secret, and OG with Group B leaders VGJ.Storm, with both teams winning 2-0 against their adversaries, setting the stage for a highly anticipated bloodbath in the semifinals.
- It was a series to watch. Game 1 went OG's way with Topson's Invoker flat-out dominating EG, and while Game 2 looked to all but over for EG, on the back of s4's amazing Enchantress, managed to get back in the game and tie up the series. Game 3 started out with a beyond godlike streak on SumaiL's Tiny, but a crucial teamfight later on that was sealed with ana's Spectre buyback into a five-man wipe managed to turn the tide into OG's favor, snowballing the entire way. After another teamfight resulting in three of EG's heroes down without buyback, with the crowd behind the Europeans, OG stormed their base and took down the ancient, securing a spot in the Upper Bracket Finals against PSG.LGD.
- Upper Bracket Finals, PSG.LGD vs OG, Game 3. Late game, with an almost 20k gold lead, LGD's kills on OG's JerAx (on Earthshaker), Ceb (on Pugna) and N0tail (on Silencer) gave them the signal for the risky GG push, having only limited buybacks. With only ana (on Spectre) and Topson (on Arc Warden) to defend, they managed to hold and delay the push just long enough for everyone else (especially JerAx to come back into the game and push back LGD's forces, resulting in a four-man wipe on LGD with no buyback. OG, having reduced that lead to just 5k, made the GG push themselves, and with only Chalice (on Enchantress) to defend, LGD had no answer for OG, and the Europeans became the first Grand Finalists of TI8!
- The International 2018 Grand Finals may have just eclipsed TI3's Grand Finals. OG faced off against PSG.LGD, who eliminated EG 2-0 in the Lower Bracket Finals to advance. Game 1 went to OG in a mostly close game, but LGD struck back with two straight (and dominant) victories. Down 2-1, Game 4 did not go so well for OG at the start, but Ceb's Axe kept the team's chances alive all throughout, giving space to Topson's Invoker to farm, who hadn't had a good start. And on the other side, fy (on Tusk) just kept up his godlike plays with clutch saves. Later on, with a bait by Topson, OG took mega creeps. However, the true hero to this whole game was Ceb, who kept ana (on Phantom Lancer) alive at the cost of his own life, with ana wiping out the rest except for Chalice, who had retreated. With ana still alive, he went ahead and destroyed Roshan, taking the Aegis. With an additional Arcane rune that reduces the already low cooldown on his Doppelganger (the cooldown now down to just two seconds), OG went for the push, and FORCED GAME 5!
ODPixel: But now they're onto the Ancient! OG! OG...have done it! They. Have. Done it! The power of flowers and friendship have done it here, ladies and gentlemen! Your grand champions of TI8...IT'S OG!
- Game 5 at first started well for LGD, even getting at one point an 23-7 kill lead, but a fight around the Roshan pit led to all five players being wiped out. OG once again snowballed into a huge lead, and 10 minutes later, OG had overtaken LGD's kill count (34-35), and destroyed LGD's Ancient. OG, a team who was shattered with the departure of their two players, not even four months into this new roster (when you think about it, you look at what this team was composed of: ana, who hadn't played pro Dota 2 for a year, Topson, the pubstar and Twitch streamer who was participating in his first-ever LAN, Ceb, OG's coach who had only began to play for the team after Reso's departure (and to add, his last TI was in 2012), and BigDaddyN0tail and JerAx, the last two players of OG, OG really weren't believed to have a good performance), who came in as underdogs, who were pegged by some to be the absolute last team who could win the Aegis, have done the impossible and HAVE WON TI8! note You could almost feel the smiles on every fan as Owen Davies made the final call of the game, the series, and the tournament:
- Chongqing Major EU Qualifiers Losers' Finals: Alliance vs. Team Liquid, Game 2. Alliance pulls off what is quite possibly one of the most pleasure-inducing and perfectly well-executed wombo combos ever: First off, as Liquid were busy taking down Roshan, qojqva (on Dark Seer) blinks just outside the back of the Roshan pit, vaccuums four Liquid heroes in and casts the Wall of Replica. Next, Taiga (on Magnus) blinks in and casts the RP. He then Skewers them up to the high ground, where miCKe (on Enigma) then casts the Black Hole. All four get wiped out, and the lone uncaught Liquid hero (GH on Keeper of the Light, who hadn't been caught in the combo because he was staying a distance outside of the pit to alert them for anything) gets killed moments later. Alliance would go on to win the game.You have to see it. A small note to add: this game was also notable for a support Templar Assassin by Liquid's KuroKy, becoming the only player so far to have played all released heroes at least once in a competitive Dota match.
- Chongqing Major, Grand Finals, Team Secret vs. Virtus.pro. Many pegged VP and Secret to win this Major, and as such, face off (once again) in the Major's grand final. VP were seeking to win their first Major held in China, while Secret were seeking to avenge their 3-2 loss in the Kuala Lumpur Major Grand Finals versus VP. Many expected a great series...but right from the getgo, due to mind-boggling and phenomenal drafts from captain Puppey, Secret outright destroyed the team currently considered the best team in the world in the first two games, winning by a total game time of 38 minutes! This included the shortest game at the Major in Game 2 at 17 minutes, with a goddamn support Lunanote and at a Grand Finals at that! VP would bounce back in an epic 40 minute Game 3, albeit they had to work really hard to just stay in it. Eventually, Secret were just too much for VP to overcome in Game 4 despite VP's Doom and Grimstroke combo, and on the back of Nisha's signature Phantom Assassin and zai's Puck, Secret would win the second Major of the 2018-19 Dota Pro Circuit, and win their second Major held in China.
- MDL Disneyland Paris Major Grand Finals: Team Secret vs. Team Liquid. Virtus.pro bombed out in this Major at 7th-8th after a stunning 2-0 upset by OG, followed by an epic three-game series against PSG.LGD that really could've gone either way, which paved the way for Liquid to make their mark after failing to do so in the past three Majors. note After being knocked down to the Lower Bracket by EG, Liquid would go on to defeat Pain Gaming, previous Major winners Vici Gaming, OG, the aforementioned PSG.LGD, and EG in a rematch to set up a series against Secret. Game 1 was a classic Miracle- show on his Morphling, styling all over Secret despite the counters they had in Ancient Apparition and Outworld Devourer against it, even getting a Quad-Rampage! But Secret continued to prove time and time again that they are the best team in the world, winning three straight games to win the Major, including a Game 3 where they successfully countered the Morphling this time, not allowing Miracle- to have a free farming game. Puppey was named MVP of the Grand Finals.ODPixel, Game 1: (after Miracle- had gotten a triple Rampage) I don't think he can get the quad-rampage—ODPixel: He can! He can! It's still there!
- EPICENTER Major 2019 Grand Finals: Team Liquid vs. Vici Gaming, Game 4. Team Liquid were getting crushed in almost the entire game, but they knew that they have to stall as long as they can for Miracle-'s Arc Warden to make it to level 25 for the Spark Wraith damage increase talent, coupled with the level 10 8% Cooldown Reduction and level 15 -2 Spark Wraith Cooldown talents. Not an easy task. But they did. Epic moments were abound the whole game, most of all the Arc Warden and his Tempest Double just spamming Spark Wraith after Spark Wraith inside the Roshan pit. Upon respawning, all the Wraiths strike him down, literally going from full health to zero in about one second, almost like a One-Hit Kill. Still, Vici made amazing fights go in their favor, and nearly won them the Major too. In the game's final teamfight on Liquid's top side, VG's Yang (on Doom) blinks in, stuns the real Arc Warden and Dooms him. Miracle- dies and buys back. Everything devolves into one whole clusterfuck of a fight, with eight buybacks being consumed. In the end, Liquid wipes out all of VG, including their buyback respawns, while their newest member w33ha (on Puck) marches down mid, buys a Desolator, and sieges the Tier 4 towers. VG had no choice but to call GG. While VG won Game 5 after, and as such the final Major of the season (this being their second Major victory after Dreamleague Season 11 this DPC season), Liquid proved that with their new midlaner, they are still a scary team heading into The International 2019, and gave us a hell of a comeback this game.
- The International 2019 was amazing in almost every aspect (except for the crowd for most of the event). Featuring an even more stacked pool of 18 talented and deserving teams fighting for the Aegis, this was a TI for the ages. With so many possibly storylines coming into the tournament, anything can happen. Some matchups include:
- Group Stage, OG vs. Ninjas in Pyjamas. This was where OG, in OG fashion, brought out the most surprising pick of the entire tournament: Carry Io. For a long time, Io has been known to be the quintessential support hero of Dota 2, meant to do everything in lieu of supporting and enabling its teammates. While the idea of a core Io has stuck around, albeit very, very rarely, note a position 1 Io is almost unheard of. But clearly as the game progressed, ppd and his team had no idea how to counter it. While they had a good early game and getting pick-offs here and there, once ana's Io had gotten its huuuuuuge power spike (Io's new Aghanim's Scepter upgrade allows its Spirits to passively surround Io + its level 15 Talent which increases Spirit's hero damage), OG had pretty much taken over the entire game since then. And, to ppd's credit, he let it through in their second game to see if they can counter it, to no avail. Since that series, OG pulled this strat out two more times in the group stage against Fnatic and Virtus.pro with one game each, both wins, and twice in the main event, one against Newbee in their UB Round 1 matchup, and against Team Liquid in the Grand Finals, both also wins. The Io carry strat became the talk of the International, and it showed how absolutely scary OG was, that every team that faced them off afterwards, aside from those four games, banned Io in the first phase.
- Lower Bracket Round 2, Virtus.pro vs Royal Never Give Up. Heading into TI9, VP were among the leading contenders to win it all. They only found themselves in Lower Bracket after a tough loss against fellow title hopefuls PSG.LGD. RNG, on the other hand, only made it into the knockout stage as the #8 seed (eight teams from each group advance to the knockout stage), but advanced to the next round after an upset victory over Alliance. No one gave RNG much of a chance against VP, but they defied the odds to record an improbable and comprehensive 2-0 victory. That alone would've been enough for this to have been regarded as a Moment of Awesome, but the victory made RNG the first #8 seed in the history of TI to qualify for the final eight.
- Lower Bracket Round 2, Team Secret vs. Mineski. In a true battle of David vs. Goliath, nobody, absolutely nobody expected an amazingly epic best of three series between the top DPC team all season and the Southeast Asian qualifier team who just barely beat Natus Vincere in a best of one. Game 1 already had, despite a somewhat short 35-minute game (compared to the game length average throughout this tournament), a MEGA CREEPS COMEBACK from Secret, armed with a MidOne Meepo, only the second ever comeback of this magnitude in the main event. Game 2 had Mineski, once again, grabbing much of the lead, but played an absolutely conservative style of play, wanting to avoid the mistakes made in Game 1. That being said, YapzOr's Rubick got so many Chronosphere steals from Nikobaby's Faceless Void in vital teamfights. But that same stolen Chronosphere led to his team losing the last teamfight (that was also a 3 VERSUS 5 in Secret's favor, as Mineski had the defense of their lives) that sealed the game for them, with MidOne's Storm Spirit zipping into it by accident. With three of Secret down, after a Roshan kill, Mineski went for the final push and won the game. Game 3 had the two teams going back and forth, but in the end Team Secret keep their dreams for the Aegis alive, defeating the team who had, by far, pushed them to their absolute limit (yes, more so than EG, the team that sent them to the lower bracket). Many have now considered this to be one of, if not the best bo3 series in the history of The International. The series put Mineski up at this point as a very scary team to face in Southeast Asia, with Nikobaby and Moonn showing up as superstar cores. Series highlights here. This series is now a must-watch for any Dota 2 fan.
- Lower Bracket Round 2, Newbee vs. Infamous. South America had never finished further than Top 16 at TI, and now have already settled their best finish for the region after winning their best of 1 against Keen Gaming. They had their test against Newbee in the following round. It became clear how Infamous was going to go with their games: put K1 Hector on Wraith King and let the other four teammates do the fighting. The result is probably one of the most efficient farming performances of a carry player in a match, and Newbee (aside from Game 2 where they faced them without WK being picked nor banned) could not stop them, especially when Chris Luck's Monkey King and Slark just styled on them repeatedly and created so much space for Hector to farm the field. Defeating Newbee 2-1, South America has taken a top 8 finish for the first time in the region's history, eventually falling short to Team Secret, and had their best finish yet in TI.
- Also at TI9, two very different runs became the highlight of the whole event: OG and Team Liquid's runs. For OG, coming into TI, they were the defending champions, while also being the underdogs due to a rough season beforehand. Liquid, on the other hand, were favored to finish Top 4 after their stellar finish at the EPICENTER Major despite being the runner-up. Come the end of the group stage, OG went 14-2, by far the best standing for any team in this tournament, losing one game each to Na'Vi and Vici Gaming, their opening and ending series, and start off in the Upper Bracket. Team Liquid, on the other hand, went 6-10, a terrible performance for what should've been a dominant team entering TI, and had to start in the Lower Bracket.
- OG, throughout the Upper Bracket, destroyed Newbee 2-0, beat EG in their rematch 2-1 after losing Game 1, and in their rematch against PSG.LGD, also won 2-1 after losing Game 1 as well. Team Liquid went undefeated throughout almost their entire Lower Bracket run, sweeping aside Fnatic, TNC Predator, Royal Never Give Up, Evil Geniuses, Team Secret...for the third time in a row, and beating PSG.LGD 2-1, setting the stage for not only the first all-West Grand Finals since TI3, but also the match to see which team becomes the first to win a second Aegis.
- In the Grand Finals, Game 1 had Liquid pull out the Meepo for w33ha while OG drafted Spectre for Ana. Liquid had the game for most of it, but OG turned the tides after a successful teamwipe, but had gotten too lax in their buybacks that cost them the game later on. After such a competitive Game 1, OG followed up with absolute stomps in the next three games. Topson went ham on Monkey King in Game 2 (along with ana's signature Ember Spirit) and Pugna in Game 3, only dying three times each in both games and having more than ten kills as well. Game 4 had OG, once again, pull out the ana Io strat, and not only that, as their first pick. Liquid tried their chances to counter it, but unlike their match against Team Secret where they had Meepo and Leshrac to balance out the game, they had nothing similar to that, with both heroes banned. Like the NiP Game 1, Liquid had a good start, but a savvy Topson, on Gyrocopter, bought a Diffusal Blade (an item not generally built on Gyrocopter), and in the high-ground siege on OG's base, the team just obliterated Liquid. Not even twenty-five minutes in, OG had dived through Liquid's base and fountain. Liquid caved in, and OG became not only the first two-time TI Champions, but also back-to-back TI Champions. The team went 23-5 throughout the whole event. With this victory, OG have now become the greatest Dota 2 team of all time, and may have broken the game (at least for now) too.
- Overall, carry Io at TI9 went 7-1, with Team Secret going 1-1, and OG at 6-0. Clearly it is a legitimate strat that can take over the game if it can reach its timing...which may also ruin your pubs, but either way has become the biggest revelation in the entire event.
- TI9 Lower Bracket Finals, Game 1: Team Liquid vs. PSG.LGD. This was fy's game from start to finish. On his signature Rubick, he shows the world why he's one of the best to ever play the game, reminiscent of his masterful performance (as Rubick as well) in Game 1 between Vici Gaming and Cloud9 back in TI5. It can't be stated enough that if not for him and his Rubick, Liquid might have had a better chance to win. That being said, this was also Chalice's best game yet, playing as the Centaur Warrunner, especially after an abysmal start. Still, props to Team Liquid for holding out for so long, much like their TI7 Lower Bracket matchup against LFY in Game 1. Fy's impactful plays include:
- In the early fight in the Radiant side of the midlane, he steals Miracle-'s Faceless Void's Chronosphere, heading onto the clffside to use it on w33ha's Tinker, successfully killing him off and forcing him to buyback. This segues into the next fight below.
- After a heavily-contested first Roshan, in which Miracle- claimed the Aegis, the long drawn-out fight moves onto the Dire top shrine, where w33ha became a tad greedy and tried to kill off Chalice, who was so low on health, but survives as fy lifts him up. Miracle- and MinD_ContRoL (on Tiny) try to assist and get some kills. Fy steals Tiny's Avalanche, just as Void's Chronosphere is off cooldown. But with both Tinker and Void low on health, fy manages to use Avalanche just as the Chronosphere is used, killing off w33ha and taking away the Void's Aegis, wasting much of the Chronosphere's time. No one dies from LGD in this entire fight.
- Much, much later on, Somnus (on Gyrocopter) engages in a 1v1 with Miracle-, but both disengage. Miracle- tries to BKB-teleport back home, but fy, who was nearby, having stolen Time Walk sometime earlier and with Miracle-'s BKB's lower duration expiring, Time Walks and gains vision of the fleeing Void, lifting him up and enabling the rest of the team to approach and kill him.
- Sometime later, in LGD's siege of the Radiant base, fy steals KuroKy's Shadow Demon's Disruptionnote before Kuro dies. This forces Miracle- to buyback. Under Moonlight Shadow by Gh's Mirana, he tries to find the perfect Chronosphere, but was under the vision of a Dire sentry ward. As a result, fy positions himself far enough for him not to be caught out in the Chronosphere. Speaking of which, Miracle- Time Walks into Somnus and uses Chronosphere on him. With MC's Tree Volley and the right-clicks, Somnus was dying quickly. But fy uses the stolen Disruption to save him, and steals Chronosphere once again. The sphere ends, and Somnus starts to rip into all of Team Liquid. To cap off the game, fy heads into the base and uses it on the Mirana, who had just used her buyback.
- As the last event before the scheduled patch 7.23, the MDL Chengdu Major kickstarted the 2019-20 DPC season with SEA powerhouse TNC Predator (having won ESL One Hamburg just weeks ago) blazing through the competition and winning the Major for only the second time in Southeast Asia's history. With clever drafts and raw individual skill, TNC only lost four games en route to victory, with only China's Vici Gaming even coming close to beating them, having sent them to the Lower Bracket finals before falling before their Morphling + Earthshaker combo and Disruptor + Naga Siren combo in a 60-minute Game 4.
- You'd be forgiven for thinking OG didn't have much of a chance of winning the tournament coming into the ESL One Los Angeles Online EU/CIS regionals. Their new roster, announced back in January, was severely impacted thanks to the world being put under quarantine due to the COVID-19 pandemic: MidOne lives in Malaysia and as such can't travel to Europe, and playing from Southeast Asia in EU West servers is a nightmare, along with the time zones making him play either at night or past midnight, and as such couldn't play; Topson had been visiting his girlfriend in Singapore, and with the quarantine put in place during his time had to stay due to travel restrictions, and would only return home sometime in late May. Sumail was the only one outside Europe who was playing with them, albeit with ping issues. As such, Ceb and former Alliance offlaner 33 became the team's stand-ins. To everyone's surprise, OG did exceedingly well in their group, finishing 5-2 to place second and into the Upper Bracket. There, they shockingly upset Team Secret in a 2-0 win, but would be swept by Virtus.pro. They got their revenge against Vikin.gg for their series loss in the group stage with another sweep, and would narrowly lose in their rematch vs VP, 2-3. For a team whose roster was plagued with many issues, they did amazingly well with their unique style of play.
- Let's talk about that crazy Game 2 between OG and Team Secret. Secret had OG on the ropes early on in the game, with Nisha's Kunkka and MATUMBAMAN's Phantom Lancer slowly overwhelming the team. With little options left, Sumail's Gyrocopter bought a Divine Rapier. Not only that, he rushed it when OG unearthed a Paladin Sword. note With all the risks wielding a Divine Rapier had, Sumail never died the entire time after that. They defended their bottom lane of barracks successfully with the first rapier, with absolutely superb teamwork from the rest of the team in keeping Sumail alive enough to activate two Satanic uses and teamwipe Secret. After that defense, Sumail bought a Heart of Tarrasque to help with his self-regen (amplified even more with the Paladin Sword's passive), and a second Rapier...and then eventually a third. Sumail's ludicrous damage and lifesteal was just too much for Secret to power through even with MATUMBAMAN's own Rapier, and OG made the most ridiculous comeback in this tournament, just the way OG do their comebacks.
- Eastern Europe's Team Spirit was pretty much underneath everyone's radar when TI10 came around. A team full of young up and coming players from the region anchored by a veteran captain in Miposhka, they managed to qualify through the Eastern Europe Regional Qualifiers (fighting off a tough Team Empire at that, winning the finals after being down 2-1). Many had them likely finishing top 8, top 6 if they had a good day. Which was why it was absolutely shocking that they won the whole damn thing, and not only that, against Team Secret and PSG.LGD, two of the favorites (and in LGD's case, the favorite) on the final day to win it all!
- It wasn't an easy run, to say the least. Placed in Group B alongside Secret and PSG.LGD, Spirit's first half in groups was not the start they hoped, going 2-6 overall. They never lost a single game afterwards, finishing the group stage with a 10-6 record that placed them 4th, earning a spot at the upper bracket below only the three teams that managed to beat them (Secret, LGD, and Vici Gaming).
- Team Spirit vs. Invictus Gaming kicked off TI10's Main Event portion with a bang, as Team Spirit's carry Yatoro on the Morphling in Game 1 managed to snag himself a RAMPAGE on his very first game on the main stage with one single fight that outright ended the game when IG's fallen heroes had no buyback on lengthy respawn timers, allowing Spirit to siege the tier 4 towers and destroy IG's ancient. Unfortunately, IG managed to claw back and win the series, sending them down to the lower bracket for a battle against Fnatic, where the Eastern European squad decimated them 2-0. In the two series, Yatoro played Morphling, Chaos Knight, Juggernaut, Luna, and Sven.
- Their next opponent? Defending TI Champions OG. While the two-time TI Champions were no longer the favorites after their crushing 2-0 defeat against Team Secret, you could never count them out, especially after their dominant 2-0 victory against Quincy Crew. By the bracket stage, the meta heroes around TI this year were Tiny, Monkey King, and Elder Titan. Spirit knew exactly how dangerous Monkey King was, so for the rest of their run at TI after the loss to IG, they banned him in almost every single game. OG went for the next best thing and picked Tiny, but on the back of Collapse's insane Magnus, Spirit managed to do what no other team has done in the previous two TI's and eliminate OG 2-0. Yatoro played Faceless Void and Lifestealer in the series.
- Virtus.pro was up next. Before this, the series head-to-head matchup between the two EEU teams was a staggering 28-1 in favor of VP. In a series that averaged 48 minutes per game, Spirit managed to scrap and claw their way through and upset yet another team and finally win against their rivals 2-1 to guarantee themselves at least top 4. Yatoro played Monkey King, Terrorblade, and Tiny.
- On the other side of the bracket, after losing to Team Secret, Invictus Gaming managed to defeat their fellow Chinese team Vici Gaming to set up a rematch with Spirit. Not to be denied once again, Spirit showed how much they improved since they last met, with Spirit dominating IG in Game 1 off the back of their three core players's performance, followed by an extremely gutsy Game 2 comeback victory, with Yatoro earning himself his second RAMPAGE on the main stage (and against IG yet again, to boot!) and setting up a thrilling lower bracket finals series against Team Secret. The carry player of Team Spirit played Phantom Assassin and Drow Ranger.
- At this point, Yatoro has played 12 unique heroes across all 12 main stage games in Spirit's run so far. The streak continued on the final day in Game 1 vs Secret with Spectre, in a loss that unfortunately put Spirit on the back foot for the first time in their entire run. Yatoro's streak of 13 unique heroes played would end in Game 2 as he put himself back on the hero that started Spirit's main stage run with Morphling, in a game that ended in very similar fashion to Game 1 against IG in their first series (albeit without the RAMPAGE), before earning himself his THIRD RAMPAGE in Game 3 on Sven, punching their ticket to the Grand Finals against the favorites PSG.LGD. For the first time since TI3, a team from Eastern Europe is in the Grand Finals!
- In Game 1, Yatoro put himself on yet another new hero in their run with Naga Siren, capping off his total unique heroes played at 14 across 20 games (as he played repeat heroes after this). PSG.LGD never got their Io-Ursa-Lycan strategy to work as Spirit cut their momentum off in every turn, as Team Spirit went up 1-0. Game 2 went even worse for LGD as they stubbornly went for the Io lineup once more (this time with Leshrac, Morphling, and Nature's Prophet, none of which really fit with an Io), while Collapse was on his now-signature Magnus once again, Horn Tossing and Skewering LGD to their doom time and time again as Spirit went up 2-0, on the verge of sweeping the favorites.
- In Games 3 and 4, however, PSG.LGD proved exactly why they were the favorites. In Game 3, LGD drafted an entire lineup designed to counter Collapse's Magnus, with Ame's Spectre and NothingToSay's Tinker overwhelming them in an inevitable victory that went for 50 minutes. In Game 4, LGD showed Spirit that they can play the Magnus effectively as well, destroying Spirit's lineup in what is probably the most one-sided game in the main stage thus far, with a 23-2 kill score in favor of LGD. LGD were now on the verge of making history as the first team to reverse sweep a TI Grand Final.
- By the end of the draft of Game 5, it looked like the perfect end of the road for both teams at TI: PSG.LGD went back on the Tiny-Lycan strat that they themselves created, while Team Spirit, the one team that had proven themselves to be able to counter the Tiny-Lycan strat, were given the Magnus once again for Collapse, in a final clash of two teams and everything they've done to make it to this point. In the end, much like OG and Secret, both of whom had tried a variation of the Tiny-Lycan strat, LGD eventually had no answer to Team Spirit and Collapse's Magnus. With that, Team Spirit have won TI10!
- Through a combination of Yatoro's absolutely wide hero pool, TORONTOTOKYO's balls-to-the-wall playstyle, Collapse's insane games on his four offlane heroes (Magnus, Tidehunter, Mars, and Doom), Mira and Miposhka's key support performances, and coach Silent along with Miposhka's veteran presence tempering the team's youth, Team Spirit had done the impossible. And the kicker to all this? Not only was this the first TI for four of the five players, note not only was this the organization's first TI, but also that this roster is quite possibly one of the youngest set of winners of all time, with the oldest being TORONTOTOKYO and Miposhka at 24, then Mira at 21, followed by Collapse at 19. Yatoro, the youngest of the bunch, is only 18, and he managed to nab three RAMPAGES in his first TI main event stage, almost doubling the total TI main event rampages before this one, now at 7. Along with the young roster of Virtus.pro that showed out at TI, the future of CIS Dota looks bright.
Dragon Ball FighterZ
- Just about any 1v3 comeback can become this, though some of the more notable ones include:
- One of the most famous comebacks in the game's scene so far has come from none other than GO1 against Leffen in DBFZ World Tour Top 48 with the final game. GO1 has been reduced to just Bardock without a Sparking Blast on hand against Leffen's entire team. And despite this, in a show of why he's one of the best players of ''FighterZ in the world, GO1 takes the entire game back. Que jokes about Ultra Instinct GO1. See this clip here.
- Another notorious comeback was Kazunoko vs. Dekillsage at the Summit of Power. He's reduced to just Yamcha, whose main use is as an assist and meter battery and not meant to be strong on his own, against Dekillsage's team who all still have over half health left. And despite the odds, he brings it all back to win the game anyways. When the match is over, Kazunoko Proceeds to do the Wolf Fang Fist pose before walking off. Watch the clip here. Crosses over into Funny Moments given how the commentators were dissing Yamcha before and as it was happening:
- At EVO 2018, despite being only the game's first year at the tournament, managed to rack up more than a quarter-million simultaneous viewers watching on Twitch during the Grand Finals..
- SonicFox had been dropping combos early in the day during exhibitions, and was going up against Goichi/GO1 during Winner's Finals. Not only did SonicFox win 3-0, it was despite GO1 summoning Shenron to restore his Vegeta back to full health. The two would meet again in Grand Finals, where GO1 resets the bracket, 3-0 on SonicFox. Then, after a side switch from Player 2 to Player 1, despite GO1 managing to summon Shenron again, SonicFox take the set 3-0 to win the first DBFZ tournament at EVO, shedding the label of "SonicFox only wins in games that nobody plays."
- Fenrich's road to Grand Finals of the Dragon Ball FighterZ World Tour 2018 was a long, arduous climb that practically could have been an arc in the show itself. By missing out on getting a slot in the tournament normally, Fenrich had to fight through one of the FOUR Last Chance Qualifier Brackets just to get to Top 8. He would always make it to Top 8 of the LCQ, but would fall short of winning the Slot in the Grand Finals Top 8, including finishing in 2nd place to Dogura. It wouldn't be until the final LCQ that Fenrich got the spot in the World Tour Final. There was just one problem. His first opponent was Kazunoko, who not only was on a tear for months in the DBFZ circuit, winning 4 of the 7 Dragon Balls, but was also the player that stopped Fenrich from getting his own Dragon ball at Japan Round 2018. Fenrich wound up losing the match and was sent to losers, where he would claw through the scariest gauntlet of DBFZ pros around (including besting his teammate GO1 for the first time ever) to face Kazunoko again in Grand Finals. This time, Fenrich would reset the bracket 3-1, before eventually losing 1-3 in the reset. Though he lost, Fenrich showed how determined he was to make it to the top, and played OVER 70 GAMES to get there.
- In a rematch from the previous year, the 2019 EVO finals (despite being held in the middle of Saturday rather than on Sunday) saw GO1 and SonicFox take their rivalry to new heights when both clashed one more time with teams that were near mirrors of one another: SonicFox's Kid Buu and GO1's Super Saiyan Goku led a Bardock and Kid Goku on both sides to a true back-and-forth battle that truly epitomized the spirit of Dragon Ball. Unlike other EVO matches, there was no clear crowd favorite; both men gave it their absolute all and more, but unlike last year, it was GO1 who ultimately won out, denying the bracket reset by SonicFox to clinch the championship in a heart-pounding set that went 3-2 in his favor.
- Props have to go to the general conduct of everyone present in the arena for the post-match interactions, which saw GO1 immediately break down in Manly Tears in a touching display of emotion, while SonicFox played the part of the Graceful Loser by congratulating his rival on a hard-fought victory, raising his hand for the crowd to see and embracing him while wearing a big smile on his face. Both competitors gave a performance they had no reason to be ashamed of, and the crowd gave them one hell of a reaction that truly fit their status as champions.
Fist of the North Star: Twin Blue Stars of Judgment
- This match pretty much sums up the glory that is competitive Fist of the North Star play. After getting his ass kicked in the first round by Amiba (Kenshiro), Dora (Rei) gets smacked around some more in the second round, culminating in Amiba using Kenshiro's Hokuto Zankai Ken, a Limit Break that, if it properly connects, will automatically knock out the opponent when a timer reaches zero. Dora promptly uses this time to completely thrash on Amiba, winning Round 2 just as the Zankai Ken timer nears zero at 0.08, canceling the Limit Break. What does Amiba do for the third round? Use Kenshiro to hit Dora's Rei with a heavy punch, knocking him back, then immediately bust out the "Fatal KO" Hokuto Hyakuretsu Ken, instantly winning the match. note This maneuver is even named as "Jizoku note Zankai Ken" in the fandom. Even better, in the same tournament, Anago (as Kenshiro) beat another player and broke Go-sama's record of ending a match (within 2 seconds) by doing it in one second.
- Here is also a condensed video. Note: awesomeness not condensed. And here's the rematch between isa (Sol) and Buppa (Ky). Accent Core flavor.
- Daigo (Sol) vs. Zakiyama (I-No). Not for the ludicrous amounts of Dustloop abuse ("TEYAH! TEYAH! TEYAH! TEYAH! TEYAH!", etc.), but for the insane Gun Flame > FRC > Gun Flame (rinse, wash, repeat) pressure Daigo puts on Zakiyama at the end after a good read in the corner. Truly, Daigo's fingers must move at the speed of sound.
- While the compilation will come across more as side-splittingly hilarious to those familiar with the metagame, Kusoru (see also his mention in the MvC3 section below) is pretty much the living incarnation of homo-genius when it comes to GG Tournament Play. To quote a YouTuber, he plays so unsafe that he's basically safe. And he manages to somehow throw his opponents for a (Dust)loop with mindgames and win rounds, let alone matches and tournaments, with this strategy. So imagine if Kusoru stopped essentially trolling his competition and played seriously for change. (A breakdown of Kusoru's antics and why he should've failed by all means can be found here. For bonus points, there's some extra Fist of the North Star tomfoolery at the end of the above video.)
- Chipp (Susumu) vs. Jam (Kaleido Star) in Slash, a blindly fast and highly technical fight that goes from the ground to the skies and back again like no one's business. While Susumu ultimately proves why he's one of the best Chipp players in the world (if not the best), Kaleido Star's Jam was able to keep pace with Susumu for the majority of the match, even getting Susumu's number at the end of Round 1.
- During EVO 2017, Reddit's /r/kappa had crowdfunded to send a player by the name of Tomo to EVO with mindblowing results throughout, but special mentions go to Ogawa (Zato) vs Tomo (Leo) during pools. With the pressure on, Ogawa being the EVO 2015 champion and the match going back and forth the entire time, it came down to the last set. The result? Tomo played like a god and double perfect'd Ogawa, sending him to Losers. The announcers, the crowd, and Twitch chat all lost their minds.
- Though not as mind-blowing as the above set, Machabo vs. Nage from the EVO 2017 pools also merits discussion. Nage, despite being well-known in the GG circuit for his strong, oftentimes stunning Faust play, felt slighted by not being acknowledged for his skill by Machabo, the 2016 champion. His statement? Soundly sending Machabo and his Sin packing to Losers, topped off by paying the ultimate disrespect: an Instant Kill at the end of the first match.
- After years of falling short, Nage finally took home an EVO title at EVO Japan 2018 for Guilty Gear Xrd REV 2. Despite a bracket reset by the 2017 champion, Omito, in Grand Finals, Nage managed to hold his own to a final game. In a set that was down to the wire, he pushed Omito's Johnny into the corner and kept up relentless pressure before finally cracking through his defenses and taking the tournament.
- EVO 2018. A tournament that was, as usual, stacked with some of the best players for REV 2, with a Top 8 that looked to be an all-Japanese one once again. Except for one player, United States' LostSoul. Armed with Elphelt, the New Yorker clawed his way from the Loser's bracket into Top 8, where he took out Teresa, Rion, and EVO Japan champ Nage before being sent home in Loser's Finals by EVO 2016 champ Machabo.
- Fan-favorite Jam player Teresa taking home double tournament wins in both XXAC+R and Xrd REV 2 during CEOtaku 2019. Even though Elphelt player Hotashi put up a really dragged out fight against him in the REV 2 winners final (with Hotashi getting an bizarre Blitz Attack hit confirm from the rear, resulting in an emotional moment), he managed to hang on and defeat him and did it again in the Grand Final.
- Omito from Japan cementing the fact that he's the best Johnny player of REV 2 era, utterly crushing oppositions (with no round losses) and taking home the champion title of Arc Revo America 2019 final (which unfortunately ArcSys later announced that it'd be the last year for REV 2, replaced by Granblue Fantasy Versus and BBTAG while fans waited for -STRIVE-). Many have accused Omito for adhering only to top-tier character, but it speaks volumes that Omito is one of the few Johnny players worldwide that managed a consistent Top 8 tournaments placing through the years in a game that saw diverse character lineup in competitive events.
- The EVO 2022 Guilty Gear champion was UMISHO from Razer... after only starting eleven or so months beforehand. Beforehand, she'd won Contenders at Overwatch, but decided to switch to fighting games. Her choice paid off.
- The runner-up, Slash, was also a major darkhorse, as he came from Saudi Arabia—quite a ways away from the perceived strongest regions, like East Asia and North America—and mained May, a character who'd slowly slid down the tier list as the metagame evolved post-launch. And on his way to the grand finals, Slash made an incredible run through losers' bracket, scoring back-to-back wins over Hotashi, the game's most dominant American player, and Leffen, a loud-mouthed legend in Melee who'd backed up his trash talk since picking up Strive. Even though Slash lost grand finals, he still proved he was one of the best players in the world, and his matchup knowledge and strategies shook up a lot of people's understanding of high-level Strive.
- Let's not forget the mere fact that this game main-evented EVO 2022. Even just a few years earlier, nobody would've expected a Guilty Gear game to be the biggest thing at the biggest tournament in the world. It was just too weird and too niche of a series next to Street Fighter, Tekken, Smash Bros., or even Arc Sys's own Dragon Ball Fighter Z. And yet at the first in-person EVO in three years, Strive had the most entrants, the biggest prize pool, and the last spot on the Sunday schedule. That night cemented Guilty Gear as a truly A-list franchise in the world of fighting games, and Strive deserves all the credit in the world for being the game to get it there.
Heroes of Newerth
- It's Gosu Invitational Grand Finals - tdM vs TiG game 2 ended in what may be THE closest finish ever seen in any video game. TiG manages to pick off tdM's Pebbles after an attempt to sneak a Kongor kill. Knowing this may be their last chance to finish the game, they go straight for the World Tree. tdM, knowing they had no chance at defending 4v5, decide to teleport into TiG's base and attempt to ninja their Sacrificial Shrine before the World Tree dies. What ensues is probably the greatest base race in gaming history, with tdM winning the game with one ONE hit point on their own main structure. ONE. HIT. POINT.
- In the Gosu Gamers World Cup - Pretty much the Hon world cup at the time - Grand Finals game 5 between Fnatic.MSI and team LOAD. After an incredibly close series, LOAD decided to bring out a pick never even seen before in the competitive scene: Balphagore, who was at the time considered to be a weak pubstompy hero who was entirely reliant on his Ult. What followed was perhaps the stompiest game ever seen in competitive Hon. Within the 20 minutes long game, Balphagore ended up going 15-0 against Fnatic.MSI, the other part of the world´s Top 2 at the time, completely dominating the game with clever use of his minions and ridiculous pushing power. Within 2 weeks of this match being played, S2 Games nerfed Balphagore so hard that he hasn´t been picked reliably since then.
Kid Icarus Uprising
- Final match at GDC 2012. At first, Light Team ends up doing poorly, to the point where they fall behind, but they start catching up. By that point, though, regular Pit turns out to be in trouble, but luckily, the shown Light team member who turns out to be Master Knight DH heads to the scene ASAP and successfully uses his close range weapon to clobber the responsible opponent. HARD! The opponent in question is left unable to escape and gets KOed, just in time for the Dark Pit player and the third opponent to come by. Both Light team members focus their efforts on the Dark Pit player, probably realizing that the battle wasn't going to last past this skirmish. Ultimately, the Pit player gets the KO with minimal health left. That's right: Light Team won by a thread thanks to teamwork with a timely assist. It had to be seen to be believed.
The King of Fighters XIII
- EVO 2012 Grand Finals, MadKOF vs Bala. The word "hype" does not begin to describe this set that goes down to the wire and ends in MadKOF becoming the first player to win an EVO title in KOF XIII.
- EVO 2013 had AS Reynald rampaging through out the loser's bracket and even taking out last year's champion to make it to Grand Finals against an unknown Japanese player named Hee San Woo. After going down two games in the first set, Reynald would go on to win the next six games to claim the title.
- In France, there is a kid only 10 years old who plays like a pro. Wawa's finest performance was probably during the Team Tournament Grand Finals at World Games Cup 2013 where he single-handedly took out over half the enemy team by himself. OH MY DAYS!!
The King of Fighters XIV
- EVO 2017 Grand Finals, ET vs Xiaohai. Xiaohai had earlier boasted that he would win the tournament and was making good on that promise, clawing his way up to Grand Final. The match kept shifting momentum until the critical moment when ET landed Daimon's Climax (a Counter-Attack super) and finished the job with one last combo. Moral of the story? DON'T WAKE DADDY!
League of Legends
- The legendary xPeke backdoor at IEM Katowice, where Fnatic's mid laner xPeke "backdoored" (sneaking into the enemy's base and destroying their nexus, the only way to win the game, while the enemy team is absent) SK Gaming. This extremely risky move gave Fnatic the win despite an almost certain defeat if it had failed. This moment is so famous that anyone who has gone for a backdoor since has been compared to xPeke and the strategy itself is often referred to as pulling an xPeke. This event gets referred by Final Boss Veigar in Polish version of the game, as one of his attack quotes:Final Boss Veigar: When it comes to destroying Nexus, I'm better than Kassadin!
- At Worlds, wildcard teams were never usually given a second thought. They once had a reputation for just being free wins for the other big regions like NA, South Korea, China and Europe. Then, two events reshaped the way the whole community thought about wildcard teams, both being covered in-depth in two separate videos by theScore eSports:
C9.Hai: This is for KaBuM!
- Worlds 2014 Group Stage: KaBuM! eSports vs. Alliance. At the last day of play for Group D, EU LCS Champions Alliance had just crushed the favored Najin White Shield the day before, claiming second place, but for Alliance to advance, they needed to beat this Brazilian squad to likely advance. Of course, you all know what happened. Alliance lost badly to the Brazilians, giving the last team in the group, Cloud9 hope to advance. All the NA representatives had to do was defeat Najin to avoid a tiebreaker and claim second place. And unlike Alliance, they did, claiming 2nd place as a result. In two fateful games, Alliance went from possibly advancing to the bracket stage to being eliminated from the tournament altogether.
ANX.Likkrit: Being underdog doesn't mean being a loser.
- Albus NoX Luna's run at Worlds 2016. Dubbed as League's greatest underdog story, ANX was a wildcard team from the CIS that was playing in their first ever major tournament event, had won the LCL Spring and Summer split, and had good players in the region. That being said, they were put dead last in the group by all analysts, and as they had expected at first, they did not have a good start at all. They drew against ROX Tigers in their group, one of the favorites to win Worlds, and got crushed badly in their first match. However, that was when things started to heat up. ANX then went on to win against Counter Logic Gaming, G2 Esports, CLG once again, and then against ROX in a near-70 minute bloodbath. The win against ROX cemented ANX as the first ever wildcard team to advance to the bracket stage, and forever changing the community's view on the wildcards. And Likkrit's speech afterward, his closing statement specifically is something to note:
- Worlds 2018. The landscape of professional League of Legends may have changed forever in this iteration. To start:
- LCK's SKT Telecom T1, the most successful team in all of professional League history, failed to qualify for that year's Worlds. Instead, the teams who qualified were KT Rolster, Afreeca Freecs, and the defending champions of Samsung Galaxy under their new banner of Gen.G. All were favored to have a fighting chance to win the Summoner's Cup, especially KT. All were denied by many different teams, further explained below. And in their home country, no less!
- Group B: Considered that year's "Group of Death" by many, LPL's Royal Never Give Up, who had won both Spring and Summer Splits for their region and the Mid-Season Invitational, was considered the favorite to win Worlds. Many considered Gen.G to be the 2nd place team in their group. That was soundly denied by the other two teams in the group, NA LCS 3rd seed Cloud9, and EU LCS 2nd seed Team Vitality. Gen.G finished 1-5 and were the first LCK team in five years to be eliminated in the group stage. It wasn't easy pickings for RNG either, as they also struggled against C9 and Vitality. While RNG would go on to top their group, as many had expected, both Western teams did not make it easy for them, having won a game against RNG each, and RNG had to beat C9 in a tiebreaker for first place.
- KT Rolster dominated Group C by going 5-1, with their only loss being against LPL 3rd seed's EDward Gaming, who took second place in the group. They drew against LPL 2nd seed's Invictus Gaming, at first, the Chinese had their number by winning the first two games. But after a thrilling Game 3 that all came down into a base race, which KT would eventually win, they would force Game 5 with a dominating Game 4 win. But IG would not be denied, with their ADC Jackeylove and midlaner Rookie leading the way for them to upset the LCK's top seed to advance to the semifinals.
- To the surprise of many, Group A's G2 Esports, the EU LCS's 3rd seed, managed to finally make their first-ever bracket stage, defeating the LMS Summer Split champion Flash Wolves in a tiebreaker to do so. And in the quarterfinals, they drew against RNG. Not a good first opponent to start off your first time in the bracket stage. And with a track record of coming up short in the past, many expected a sweep by RNG. So of course they managed to upset the definitive favorite to win Worlds. A full bo5 had to get the job done, but G2 had eliminated what many considered to be the best team in the world in what was considered to be an entertaining series.
- Lastly, between LCK 2nd seed Afreeca Freecs, who finished first in Group A with a 4-2 record, and Cloud9, who came close to actually upsetting RNG more than once to top their group, many thought the LCK team would end the hopes of NA. Instead, C9 gave a beating to Afreeca that many would never forget, sweeping them 3-0. For the first time in seven years, North America had managed to advance to the semifinals. And for the first time ever, with KT and Afreeca gone, Korea had been eliminated from Worlds!
- With Fnatic defeating EDG and Cloud9 advancing, it was ensured that a Western team will advance to the finals. Fnatic would make it happen, effectively ending the North American team's hopes of making this Worlds their first-ever final. On the other side, G2 could not finish off the last of the LPL, having been swept as well by Invictus Gaming.
- In the Finals, IG would go on to dominate against Fnatic 3-0 and give the LPL their first-ever Worlds championship. IG would also make esports history by being the first organization to have won both world championships in Dota 2 (The International back in 2012) and League of Legends. However, that was not the biggest story to come out of Worlds. While none of these teams had won Worlds, the performances of Fnatic, G2, Vitality, and Cloud9 proved that the West had caught up to China and Korea.
- If Worlds 2018 showed how the West had caught up to China and Korea, MSI 2019 showed how they can easily match up with the best of them when it comes down to it.
- After a dominant Play-In Knockout Stage performance, LCS Spring Champion Team Liquid struggled in the group stages, but would recover on the last day, managing to escape to the Knockout Stage with a 4-6 record, marking the organization's first-ever Knockout Stage appearance internationally (also noteworthy that after nine years of playing as a professional, this is Yiliang "Doublelift" Peng's first time to appear in the Knockout Stage). Meanwhile LEC Spring Champion G2 Esports, despite their new signing in former Fnatic midlaner Caps that resulted in an extremely dominant LEC Spring Split for them, struggled as well, but finished just a win higher than TL to finish 3rd. Worlds 2018 and LPL Spring 2019 Champion Invictus Gaming finished first with a 9-1 record, only losing to the 7-3 LCK Spring Champion SKT Telecom T1. With the semifinal matches being IG vs. TL and SKT vs. G2, Many thought it would be the East showing once more their dominance, especially with SKT looking to return with a vengeance by winning MSI 2019.
- They were wrong. Team Liquid, aside from a Rookie-led Leblanc show in Game 4, outright dominated the Worlds 2018 champions, outplaying them at every turn, finishing them off 3-1. And on the other side, after a disastrous Game 1 where G2 just went and surrendered their top lane for no reason, would bounce back against SKT to trade wins throughout the series, with Game 4 being the biggest highlight, with Faker on Sylas stealing Wunder on Gnar's ult and unleashing it on the whole EU squad, and Wunder himself making the biggest play by backdooring SKT's Nexus with Caps, forcing Game 5. Game 5 was close, with G2 being in the lead for most of the game, but SKT would ace them near Baron, but G2 hit back just as hard when they all respawned, acing them back, and ultimately eliminating the once-dominant Korean team. Europe vs. North America at the MSI 2019 finals, baby.
- G2 would go on to record the fastest bo5 final against TL, breaking the record that they themselves held just a few weeks back at the LEC Spring Finals against Origen. 72 minutes was all it took for G2 to 3-0 Origen. This time, it took 70 minutes for them to win 3-0. G2's win at MSI solidifies their status as the best team in the world, but time will tell if they can replicate this success at Worlds 2019, as everyone knows that TL, IG, and SKT will be looking to return to the international stage with a vengeance as well.
Marvel vs. Capcom 2
- Justin Wong gets a huge Moment of Awesome in his EVO '07 match against Yipes. At the start of the video, he's down to one character (Cyclops), and Yipes still has three, all with full or near-full life, and two of them (Storm and Magneto) are two of the four best characters in the game. Wong somehow manages to take down all three characters with his one.
- Wong does this again, but with his one character just one chip away from death.
- He also defeats one of England's best Marvel vs. Capcom 2 players using two of the worst characters in the game.
- Neo and Clockw0rk, two of the biggest names in Marvel vs. Capcom 2 history, fighting each other, resulted in this. This has been called "The Final Chapter" for a reason, it happened a month before vanilla 3 came out, meaning it would probably be the last great event in Marvel vs. Capcom 2 history. And it was arguably the best moment in that gaming history.
- Most great tournament matches, especially those with amazing comebacks.
- Combo videos are generally full of this, special mention goes to those by Joo and the Meikyoshisyui team and Mangetro's Variable Atmophere 2.
- Everyone loves the Clockw0rk versus Neo money match, but to many MvC2 fans, Clockw0rk's CMOA was his money match against Dark Prince in 2007. Prior to the match, Dark Prince had been talking trash about several old-school players, including Clockw0rk, calling them washed up has-beens who were only recognized based on past accomplishments rather than relevance in the current competitive scene, and he went on to say that he could beat any one of them. Clockw0rk proved him wrong when he won the money match 11 games to 3, winning the last 7 games in a row. Dark Prince had a great Moment of Funny when he ran out of quarters to put into the arcade machine after the third game, apparently not having expected Clockw0rk to win more than two games.
- MVC2 Will Never Die is a montage of awesome moments of the game. The Amir vs. BB Hood moments are particularly memorable.
- VDO vs Potter at EVO 2009. Not only does VDO do good with an unorthodox team (Rogue/Ken/Colossus), but he does it well against a veteran player and showcases several clutch moments.
- Sanford defeats Justin. Justin Wong is the undisputed king of MvC2; what guys like Chris G are now Justin was an even bigger version back in the day being undefeated in every tournament he entered for a good four years at that point and was referred to as God. At Breakpoint in 2004 Sanford became the first person to dethrone him.
- The Sanford vs. Justin exhibition at NEC15. The matches are amazing, and Yipes and Chris Matrix's commentary only add to the experience.
- The three titans of the game (Yipes, Sanford, and Wong) go head to head against each other at Twin Galaxies. It's amazing to say the least.
Marvel vs. Capcom 3
- Combofiend got one against Marn at Final Round XIV. With a team of relatively underrated characters, he managed to win all three rounds against his opponent. The most magnificent moment was in the last round, when, reduced to only a pixel of health and against Marn's Sentinel, Combofiend managed to make a comeback using Spencer's Bionic Lancer move. Or rather, his BIONIC AAAAAAAAAAAARRRRRRRRRRMMM!!! The crowd and announcers' reactions are priceless. Combofiend went on to win the tournament, beating Justin Wong in the final round. The entire match.
- An 8-year old named Noah had entered into EVO 2011, and he was astonishingly a very impressive player. Almost everyone in the crowd cheered for him when he did good, and usually boo at his opponent when he's getting beat up. He made it into the op 48 before getting eliminated by Chris G... And then they shook hands.
- EVO 2011 Losers bracket match, PR Rog sent JUSTIN WONG home via perfect. Then he goes on to reset the count by beating Viscant during match point with Tron's Level 3 against Dark Phoenix.
- Wong did get some of the glory. Against Richard Nguyen, he managed an incredible Akuma comeback against two characters with no X-Factor and the tiniest smidgen of life imaginable.
- Another incredible Akuma comeback by Wong against Filipino Champ at Canada Cup 2011.
- At a Bar Fights tournament on 12/11, Marn fought Combofiend again in another First to 5, with Combofiend absolutely trashing Marn, not losing a single match. And to cap it all off, Combofiend finished Marn's X-Factor Wesker with what else but a BIONIC AAAAAAAARRRRRRM!
- Iron Fist was universally considered a bottom tier character in the Ultimate version of this game. That didn't stop Justin Wong from taking first place in Southern California Regionals with him as the point character.
- Japanese player Kusoru, aka AGEOJOE, joined a tournament with a team of Rocket Raccoon, Viewtiful Joe, and Frank West. Everybody expected this team of three low-tier characters to go down quickly. However, not only did AGEOJOE win the tournament, he also managed to defeat Filipino Champ using Dark Phoenix twice. See the final match of the tournament (Kusoru vs PR Rog) here. Here's the highlight reel. Kusoru wasn't just blowing up the competition at Final Round XV; he was having one hell of a time, laughing all the way to the bank.
- MarlinPie vs. Alukard at Curleh Mustache 2. A high-kinetic battle full of insanity (and commentary courtesy of Yipes and Chris Matrix) is putting it lightly. This is probably the defining moment of it all, but the entire match is a "first to five" set that goes down to the wire.
- MarlinPie vs. Combofiend in SCR where they duke it out in a first to 10. In a high octane battle, Marlinpie throws down insane combos while Combofiend shows off his insane maneuvers. The game also goes down to the last match.
- TA Frutsy places 5th at EVO 2012 using a team fronted by MODOK, a character that quite a few tier lists place low and not many take very seriously. Frutsy goes on to prove just how much of a Lethal Joke Character MODOK can be, getting to Top 8 in the tournament before losing to Combofiend in the Loser's Bracket.
- Jan deserves credit for being the first person to perform the infamous TAC infinite in a tournament setting, done here at EVO 2012.
- Chris G vs. Filipino Champ's FT15 at Seasons Beatings: Ascension. As noted on the Fighting Game Community page, these two are coastal rivalsnote , so any time they meet, it's sure to be intense. It is often argued that this is one of the best sets in Marvel vs. Capcom 3 history.
- Kaneblueriver vs Fooblat at East Coast Throwdown 2013 was one of the most memorable first to 15 matches ever. Both famous for using point Hulk and support Haggar, both players abused the use of armor in their characters to both devastating and hilarious effect.
- Chris G vs. Filipino Champ at Apex 2013 deserves mention as well. By the machinations of fate, the two of them met in the Grand Finals at Apex, with F. Champ coming out of the Losers Bracket. F. Champ came dangerously close to resetting with his Phoenix team, and Phoenix was set with a stock of five meters, until Chris G pulled out something never seen before: a combo into Soul Drain, taking away Phoenix's fifth bar, and killing her just shy of transformation into Dark Phoenix!
- Newcomer ApologyMan getting 4th place at SoCal Regionals 2013 with his Skrull/Frank/Doom team. There's no way you can make top 8, let alone top 4, without taking down some heavy hitters along the way (including EVO 2012 champion Filipino Champ). Apology Man's team proved how scary a maxed-out Frank can be!
- ApologyMan would follow this performance up the next year at SoCal Regionals 2014 by taking the UMvC3 tourney, defeating Filipino Champ (again) as well as SoCal Marvel legend Killer Kai in the process. He would perform this feat with a new team, Firebrand/Doom/Skrull, which showed that a Firebrand/Skrull shell (with the right hit-confirm) can lock down an opponent with no opportunity to counter it.
- Filipino Champ would get his revenge later on at Curleh Mustache NorCal, after first being sent to Losers bracket, Champ brings out his rarely seen Morrigan/Magneto/Doctor Doom team and absolutely crushing his nemesis.
- He does the same again at EVO 2014, taking his defensive play to another soul crushing level. Even when it seemed that ApologyMan would be able to take Champ out, the latter makes an epic comeback, doing just enough damage right before the timer runs out to give him the win.
- Did you ever expect to see neither Chris G nor Filipino Champ make it to either Losers or Winners Finals in EVO 2013? Well guess what? That happened.
- Justin Wong's incredible performance all throughout the Loser's Bracket. Notably, he comes back from an 0-2 deficit against Chris G and wins three straight to eliminate the man everyone thought would cruise to an EVO 2013 title. He then goes on to Grand Finals and puts up a hell of a fight against Flocker, even managing to reset the bracket in crazy fashion, but eventually lost the second set to him, and Flocker would take the title and not only have Zero win a major, but win the major.
- Their rematch at EVO 2014 was nothing short of astonishing, with Justin pulling out all the stops and beating Flocker in the last set with 6 seconds left on the clock.
- Props should also go to Angelic, who placed third in the tournament using a team with Shuma-Gorath on anchor. Shuma, while hardly a bad character, is often considered a specialist character due to his high degree of execution. Angelic proved just how scary the lord of the Chaos Dimension could be.
- Sometimes, it's not the players who get the moment. At SCR 2013, Angelic faced off against Marn and crushed him 3-0. However, during the first round of their battle, Combofiend (on commentary) proceeded to call every single move Angelic would do two seconds before he actually did them. Needless to say, his co-commenator was both amused and freaked out.Magus 1234: Alright, and Combofiend takes round one!
Combofiend: Sorry to spoil the game for you guys.
- South East Asia Major 2014's UMvC3 tournament looked to be unimpressive, then came (relative) newcomer from the Philippines, Garret of the Imperium Pro Team. Not only did he wow the crowd with his flashy Spiderman/Rocket Racoon/Dr. Strange team, but also started knocking down a good number of the best players in the region down such as Xian and Kazunoko to the losers bracket before finally falling to Japan's Eita in winners and grand final.
- Justin Wong's absolute clutch comeback against Filipino Champ during Winners Finals of Evolution 2014. During the last match of the set, Justin is down to one character while Champ still has two including Dark Phoenix. At just the right moment, Justin pulls out a clutch super that hits both of Champ's characters, then activates X-Factor to extend the combo and take them both out, winning the match. You can see the entire match here. He then goes on to win against Chris G and his Bullet Hell 3-1. The Marvel God has returned to his throne, indeed.
- Rayray's awesome comeback in his match against K-Brad at Next Level Battle Circuit #100. Complete with Yipes' impression of K-Brad. Worth noting is Rayray pulling off an epic comeback by pulling off Doom's level 3 right when the clock hits 00.
- Filipino Champ had an amazing comeback during the 7-7 NorCal vs. SoCal exhibition at the 2014 NorCal Regionals. With all of his NorCal teammates eliminated, FChamp needed to beat 4 of SoCal's best, including crowd favorite Jonathan "Cloud 805" Morales, Daniel "Clockwork" Maniago, as well as none other than Mr. Marvelous himself, Evolution 2014 champion Justin Wong. Against all odds, FChamp proceeds to beat all of them during the final round, turning what seemed to be a rout in SoCal's favor into a decisive win for NorCal.
- KaneBlueRiver takes Evo 2015. Let's repeat that: KaneBlueRiver takes Evo 2015! Kane, who had never won a single major tournament ever, and could at best be described as a player with an Awesome, yet Impractical team of Hulk/Haggar/Sentinel (none of whom are considered top tier but have very good synergy together) left a trail of bodies in his wake, including Ray Ray, Apologyman and EVO 2014 Champion Justin Wong to take not just his first major tournament, but THE major tournament!
- During Absolute Battle 5 in late 2014, Filipino Champ recieves news that his grandmother has passed away. Anyone who knew FChamp knew how much she meant to him, so he was understandably very distraught for the rest of the weekend. The awesome part? He proceeded to WIN the event's UMVC3 tournament (and perform extremely well in Street Fighter IV) and would proceed to dedicate the victory to his grandmother on Twitter.
- At Winter Brawl X, FilipinoChamp trashes KaneBlueRiver 15 - 10 in a first to 15 exhibition match, complete with all the taunting that a Heel like him could dish out. But that's not the awesome part, this is. Not only does KBR make it to Grand Finals and reset the bracket, he proceeds to win the tournament against FChamp's Magneto/Doctor Doom/Phoenix, a team which has been noted to be one that KBR does horribly against and finally getting retribution for all the taunts he's been enduring online and in the event. Made all the more better by Yipes' commentary, which was unashamedly pro-KBR. And what does he do afterwards? Does he pop off for his victory? Does he disrespect FChamp back? Nope. He simply stays calm, shakes FChamp's hand, thanks his supporters, and graciously accepts his win, a far cry from how KBR was treated the night before. Just sportsmanship at its finest.
- In 2016, after years of coming close only to fail, Chris G finally won Evo. Not only did he do this at the largest stage that the game has ever had at the Mandalay Bay Arena in Las Vegas, but he did so while finally beating his nemesis, Justin Wong who had previously taken Chris G out at Evo 2013 and Evo 2014, and then going on to take a convincing 6-1 victory from losers bracket in Grand Finals against reigning champion KBR to take the crown.
- EVO 2017 Grand Finals had RyanLV taking out defending champion Chris G with his team of Chun-Li, Morrigan, and Phoenix against Chris G's infamous turtle spam with Morrigan, Doom, and Vergil. In Yipes' own words:Yipes: Wow, how is Chun-Li landing those physical attacks, going through those missiles, and hitting Morrigan?
- Summer Jam 9: SonicFox vs. Perfect Legend. Carl "Perfect Legend" White had disputed on Twitter that Dominique "SonicFox" McLean was not as good as many people credit him to be. Fox took notice, and disputed with him. PL then challenged Fox to a first to 10 at the next Mortal Kombat X event, which, of course, was Summer Jam 9. The match was set as an exhibition to be held post-grand finals.
The match starts, and Fox wins the first game after a close battle. By the end of the final game, SonicFox destroys PL 10-0. Fox took to the mic afterwards and recapped his "rivalry" with PL over the years they've competed against each other, noting that he hadn't beaten him in any of the games they had played. Unfortunately, PL would come to regret talking smack after being given the mic, when he recounted that he would destroy his Erron Black. A best of five was then called, and Fox wins 3-0, further humiliating PL. Thus, 13-0 was born. It was one of the biggest one-sided matches of all time, and it was all humorous, sad, and brutal at the same time.
- By EVO 2016, at just 18 years old, Dominique "SonicFox" McLean was considered the best MKX player in the world, having already taken numerous first place finishes in various tournaments and the previous year's MKX EVO tournament, and was looking for a third consecutive EVO win (his first was back in EVO 2014, when he competed in the Injustice tournament). And as expected, he blitzed through the Winner's bracket stages to make it to the Grand Finals, where he faced off against Sayed "Tekken Master" Hashem from Loser's Bracket.
The first game went SonicFox's way, as he dominated Tekken Master's D'Vorah with his Cassie Cage, despite losing the first round. On the next three games, however, with a switch to Kotal Kahn, Tekken Master would win all three, even with SonicFox switching to his signature Erron Black, forcing the reset. After the first game of the second set, Tekken Master had all the momentum, and he led 1-0, leaving his opponent frustrated and vulnerable. What does SonicFox do? He takes off his signature blue hat and ears.note After that, it was game on. SonicFox took the next two rounds, but Tekken Master would tie the series after Game 4. SonicFox then made one last character switch to Alien before Game 5. Two rounds later, SonicFox wins his third consecutive EVO title. It was a hell of an effort for Tekken Master to very nearly take the EVO title from SonicFox, and to this day, he's the only one to have ever pushed him to that limit.
Overwatch League: Inaugural Season
- The Philadelphia Fusion had quite a negative stigma surrounding them before the start of the inaugural season. One of their players was a notorious booster who was suspended for most of the regular season, the now-deleted roster announcement "This is how we do it in Philly" video was a prime example of Bile Fascination, they didn't play in the preseason, and they're owned by Comcast. When the inaugural season started however, thing turned around quite fast, eventually culminating in the team just making season playoffs and delivering a huge upset victory over the league favorite NYXL to reach the finals:
- Their off-tank Poko showed off his incredible skill with Self-Destruct, consistently getting kills with a normally easy-to-avoid ultimate.
- Their main tank Fragi quickly became infamous for his highly aggressive Reinhardt play when, in the Fusion's first game, charged an Earthshatter on Lijiang Tower before the point even unlocked
- Their flex support neptuNo reshaped the role of Mercy into a damage-dealing role as dramatically as League MVP JJoNak reshaped Zenyatta; by the end of the regular season, the Spanish support had scored twice as many kills as the next most-lethal Mercy.
- Their DPS player Carpe quickly became one of the most feared damage players in the League for plays like this. After the Boston Uprising wiped the rest of his team off the point and moved to retake in overtime, Carpe as Widowmaker swung in and efficiently eliminated four Boston heroes with close-range headshots (almost) singlehandedly.
- The Fusion began their season playing ShaDowBurn in the second DPS role. Despite being one of the greatest Genji players in the world, SDB was later phased out and replaced by Eqo, a player who had not previously participated in a major tournament yet almost immediately displayed incredible talent in every damage hero.
- The New York Excelsior utterly dominated the first regular season of OWL, securing the #1 seed four weeks prior to the end of the regular season play and ending with a 34-6 win-loss recordnote and a +83 map differentialnote . After predecessor team LW Blue had fallen short of expectations throughout APEX, the NYXL brought together excellent strategic coaching with a roster of the league's best players in almost every position and made themselves a force to be reckoned with.
- Essentially, any time a team has managed to take New York Excelsior to a Game 5, let alone beat them, has been an incredibly epic battle. NYXL are just that good. In the end, they lost only 6 regular games and 2 playoff games and were only ever beaten by five out of the eleven other teams in Season 1. Those five teams all qualified for the season playoffs alongside NYXL, essentially meaning that beating them was a requirement to reach season playoffs.
- When the fan-voted roster for the League All-Star game was announced, four of the six startersnote for the Atlantic Division were from NYXL.
- JJoNak, the support player of NYXL and Season 1 MVP, delivered consistently awesome gameplay all season. Overwatch League's Season 1 was his first major pro-level tournament, but his performances with Zenyatta immediately became legendary among the fans because of his ridiculously high damage output, with him often outdamaging both of NYXL's (also extremely talented) DPS players and even sometimes dealing the most damage out of everyone in the match. When Zenyatta received a nerf on his right click attack speed on April 2018, many players (both jokingly and seriously) blamed him for the nerf because he's just too lethal when using Zenyatta.
- Even after said Zenyatta nerf hit the OWL servers, he kept up his usual antics◊. Also, take note at how JJoNak's Hero Damage Done is higher than Healing Done; that's common for him.
- Many also consider him to have singlehandedly redefined how to play Zenyatta, with most players started to pump out more damage with Zenyatta after seeing him dealing said very high DPS output in almost every single match. Little wonder that he was named Season 1 MVP.
- DPS player Pine became one of the league's breakout stars thanks to his high-tier technical skill and extremely flashy playstyle, which earned him the nickname Big Boss. Who else could get away with a 360° headshot in competitive play?
- The Shanghai Dragons managing to take a map off the Seoul Dynasty. Up until that moment, Shanghai had been firmly proven as the weakest team in the league, and Seoul was looking more and more unbeatable. When Shanghai played Seoul, they managed to win on Dorado, and while they lost the match as a whole, the fact that they were the ones to put a crack in Seoul's armor was incredible, when most of Seoul's games were 4-0 victories. What made this even more incredible in hindsight was the fact that, had Seoul not lost the map, they would've most likely secured a spot in the Stage 1 playoffs. In other words, the weakest team prevented the strongest team from competing in the title matches. And then, two nights later, the New York Excelsior beat the Seoul Dynasty, 3-2, along with the London Spitfire beating Seoul 4-0, dethroning what was then considered the best team in the world.
- The Stage 1 Playoffs were an absolute marathon for the London Spitfire. Due to poor planning of the schedule, stage playoffs were set on the same day as the last Saturday of normal play. London started the afternoon with a narrow defeat at the hands of New York but still qualified for the playoffs in the third seeded position. They then had to play another game against the second seed, the Houston Outlaws, just to have the chance to play a third game against the first seed: the same New York team that had already defeated them earlier in the day. They won both matches back-to-back, getting revenge on New York and becoming the first stage champions of the League's history, after having played 14 maps in one day. Making it even sweeter: the League recognized that the odds were hugely stacked against London's favor and that most teams could never hope to match their victory in those circumstances. The League immediately decided to move all subsequent playoff games to a separate date from normal play, ensuring that London would be the only team that could ever lay claim to that marathon accomplishment.
- The Florida Mayhem had a pretty rough season, consistently struggling to win games. Unlike Shanghai, however, they have managed to secure some matches by the skin of their teeth, including this victory over Dallas, which fell completely on the shoulders of Tviq contesting the payload by himself as Tracer against the entire Fuel team, somehow surviving long enough to allow the Mayhem to respawn and rally.
- The perfect 10-0 performance of Boston Uprising in Stage 3 was a sustained moment of awesome, even more when considering the circumstances it fell into. The termination of star DPS DreamKazper for criminal conduct was a serious blow to the team's talent pool and posed a far more serious threat to morale than the lesser drama that had already wrecked teams like the Dallas Fuel and Shanghai Dragons. Their first opponent after DreamKazper's removal? New York. Yet Boston won and kept winning against other difficult teams in a sustained streak throughout the rest of Stage 3.
- After narrowly besting London in the third round of a Map 5 that swung mainly on his near perfect Tracer stall play, Boston DPS Striker could be seen wiping away Manly Tears.
- As for the playoffs, New York came back and ended the Boston Uprising's perfect stage.
- The "Battle of Los Angeles" rivalry matches between the Valiant and Gladiators have consistently been close and unpredictable matchups. Adding to the excitement is the fact that all of Season 1's matches were hosted in L.A. and attended most frequently by natives, resulting in extremely high-energy crowds and passionate fan rivalries rarely seen in e-sports.
- In the Stage 3 battle, star tank Fissure helped secure a round win for the Gladiators by taking on a Pharah-Mercy duo reigning down fire from above a bottomless pit on the outskirts of the map as a Winston using Primal Rage. After smacking the Mercy out of the air, Fissure seemingly fell to his death after being shot by the Pharah, only to soar back up at the last possible second with his jump pack to punch out the Pharah mid-Barrage and return safely to terra firma.
- Stage 4's "Battle" featured a special introduction for the LA Valiant. While the casters were discussing the upcoming match, Medieval Times actors located throughout the arena interrupted them with massive fanfare to introduce the Valiant, with a woman cosplaying the team's mascot Valla leading the players to the stage. The Valiant proceeded to sweep the Gladiators 3-0.
- Dallas Fuel entered the league with rabid fan support and high expectations due to the success of their prior incarnation, Team EnVyUs. Unfortunately, the team floundered throughout the first three stages of the inaugural season due to persistent player and management drama, leaving the lineup in constant flux and resigning them to the bottom quarter of the standings. However, the Fuel pulled themselves together in Stage 4, helped in part by a new meta that better suited their players, and mounted a comeback that saw them make the stage playoffs by a single map win. The team's reaction to making the playoffs makes this a Heartwarming Moment as well.
- Starting with Stage 3, stage playoff matches are decided by the #1 seed selecting their first opponent. For the first selection, Boston Uprising's president HuK chose the LA Gladiators, confidently stating that they wanted an "easy team" to warm up for the finals. Come Stage 4, Boston failed to even qualify for the stage playoffs, while the Gladiators took the #1 seed and chose the LA Valiant, the only team they had lost to that stage, assuring another Battle of LA for the home crowd and showing a dedication to their "Gladiator culture" of overcoming adversity.
- After a grueling 3-2 match against the LA Gladiators, LA Valiant brutalized the NYXL 3-1 and won the Stage 4 Playoffs.
- Barely an hour before the start of the quarterfinals, the LA Gladiators announced that Fissure, the MVP-candidate tank player that had helped transform the middling team into one of the league's strongest after joining in Stage 2, would not be playing in the playoffs. Every analyst on the pre-game desk and on social media predicted that this would spell doom for the Gladiators in their match against London, as their original tank iRemiix had not performed well in Stage 1. The first match was indeed very one-sided; the Gladiators utterly dominated the Spitfire, rolling over them with excellent coordination and capping their 3-0 victory with an impressively coordinated trick play on King's Row, proving that the team's success was due just as much to coaching, development, and teamwork as it was to a single savvy transfer.note Uber: This is 200 IQ stuff! They were playing 10-D underwater mahjong out here!
- The League Finals featured an unlikely matchup between the #5 seed London Spitfire and #6 Philadelphia Fusion, two teams with high skill ceilings that had stumbled throughout the regular season yet dominated their opponents in the playoffs. Ultimately, the first season final proved to be a showcase for the London Spitfire, early favorites who had become so dismissed that none of their all-Korean roster was selected for the nation's World Cup team, who pulled together an astonishingly dominant performance.
- Gesture, the only London player selected as a starter for the Atlantic All-Star team, silenced all those who questioned the Spitfire's decision to keep him over Fissure with incredible tank play, particularly with a flashy performance with the normally un-flashy Orisa. On multiple occasions, Gesture secured picks and multi-kills by perfecting timing Orisa's Halts with teammates' Hooks, Dragonstrikes, and Self-Destructs in situations that normally would require the sustained hold of a Zarya's Graviton Surge.
- Support player Bdosin demonstrated incredible flexibility, rivaling JJoNak with his devastating Zenyatta play while seamlessly switching to dominate on Roadhog.
- London's DPS line struggled throughout the regular season, due largely to Birdring recovering from a wrist-injury. Birdring returned to his top-form DPS play by the playoffs, but it was young prodigy Profit who shined brightest against the Fusion, landing multiple long-range headshots with Hanzo arrows, securing a sneaky 5K Dragonstrike without the assistance of a Graviton Surge, and winning a 5-vs-1 match on Volskaya as Tracer to solo capture the final point. Despite being ignored by both the Korean National and the Atlantic All-Star Teams, Profit's performance was so incredible that he was awarded as Playoff MVP.
Overwatch League: Season 2
- Due to the success of the inaugural season, no one was doubting that expansion teams would be on the way for the 2019 season. What people didn't expect was a whopping eight teams coming on board for the second season, nearly doubling the total from the first season. Said teams included two teams from Canada (Toronto and Vancouver), two teams in the U.S. (Atlanta and D.C.), a team in Paris, and three teams joining the Shanghai Dragons from China (Chengdu, Guangzhou, and Hangzhou). Suffice to say, Season 2 is already looking to be bigger and better than the high bar set by the inaugural season. The reveal trailers for the new teams have been upping the ante in terms of production value, but special mention goes to the trailer for the Vancouver Titans. The overly serious narration (akin to a nature documentary) combined with some beautiful shots of the Vancouver wilderness make for Narm Charm at its finest.
- The Shanghai Dragons, the long-suffering underdog of the league with a loss streak that lasted the entire inaugural season, finally getting their first win in the 2019 season against Boston Uprising 3-1 (with a full hold against Boston on the only map they lost).note They also scored a victory in the next match against Chengdu, and it seems that the Shanghai Dragons most definitely Took a Level in Badass, even if by a little bit. This was additionally a tremendous victory for new main tank Gamsu, who had been unceremoniously traded from Boston just a few weeks prior.
- The Shanghai Dragons roar again in Stage 1 Week 4, where they manage to beat the London Spitfire, aka the champion of the Inaugural Season! Granted, the London Spitfire has been performing poorly in general this stage, but a similar thing was said when SHD beat Boston Uprising. People used to think that that was a fluke as well.
- Paris Eternal vs Atlanta Reign: Dafran's absolutely insane Graviton Surge didn't just work, it practically won the game for Atlanta Reign. For those of you who can't watch the clip, Dafran takes a lift up next to Objective A, rides the rooftop with right click, and he slides right above Paris Eternal team and drops a massive Graviton Surge. Holy crap.note
- The expansion Washington Justice lost their first six matches, which was particularly painful for Gihyeon "Ado" Chon, who was a member of the Shanghai Dragons in the inaugural season and so had lost his first thirty-six OWL matches. In their final Stage 1 match against the Florida Mayhem, Washington took the first two maps (Nepal and Hollywood, the former despite losing the first round and the latter by less than a metre), but crumbled disastrously in the tiebreakers on the next two maps (Volskaya Industries and Dorado) despite having commanding time bank advantages both times. In the deciding game on Ilios, they lost the first round, but proceeded to shut out Florida in the next two rounds to hand both Washington and Ado their first ever OWL victories. The smile on Ado's face at the end of the match said it all.
- The Stage 1 playoffs saw the #7 seeded Seoul Dynasty face the #2 seeded New York Excelsior, who had won all seven of their Stage 1 matches (including a 3-1 victory over the Dynasty). Seoul stunned the audience by taking the first two maps (Ilios and Hollywood), but the third and fourth maps provided the most awesome moments of the match.
- On Volskaya Industries, both teams managed to capture both objectives in the first two rounds (Seoul without using a single character from the GOATS meta that had dominated Stage 1 for their Attack),note but Seoul only managed to capture Point A in the third round. New York's goose seemed cooked when they were already down to overtime before taking a single tick on Point A, but Taehong "MekO" Kim delivered a devastating one-two punch as D.Va by first negating Byungsun "Fleta" Kim's Graviton Surge with a well-placed Defensive Matrix, then following it up by wiping out four Seoul players with a Self-Destruct. The subsequent seesaw battle for Point B ultimately ended in New York's favour, giving them a well-earned victory for the map.
- On Rialto, Seoul managed to push the payload almost to the finish line on their Attack round, but New York came within a few metres of matching them before being beaten back. With less than ten seconds to go, all six Excelsior players had their ultimates ready to deploy for a final push. Aware that Minhyuk "Michelle" Choi, as Sombra, had an EMP waiting for them that could disable this advantage, Yeonkwan "Nenne" Jeong, as Zarya, moved away from the main team fight to eliminate the threat. He preemptively fired a Graviton Surge at one of the two doors that the invisible Michelle could have taken to flank the fight - and picked the wrong door, completely wasting the powerful ultimate. Having successfully drawn away the valuable source of damage and shields from the main fight, Michelle EMP'd the already crumbling NYXL team. The ensuing Earthshatter/Graviton Surge combination swiftly led to a Total Party Kill that handed a massive upset win to the Dynasty, securing the team their first playoff win after an immensely disappointing first season.note
- The Stage 1 Final featured two teams that had never played a stage playoff before: the San Francisco Shock, who focused on developing their young roster the previous season, and the Vancouver Titans, a new expansion team whose lineup comprised the former fan-favorite Korean Contenders roster of Run Away who had gone undefeated the prior stage. While casters and analysts entered the match expecting a Curb-Stomp Battle in favor of the Titans, the Shock put up an extremely well-coordinated performance that pushed the Titans to the limit and took the match all the way to a seventh map.
- The announcement between Stages 1 and 2 that star Atlanta Reign player Daniel "Dafran" Francesca was leaving Overwatch League to return to full-time streaming left the team struggling to find a new identity, and Dafran's replacement, Andrej "Babybay" Francisty, initially foundered in filling the gap in the team's lineup as they lost their first three matches (including a loss to the previously winless Los Angeles Valiant). However, the remaining members proved that there was life after Dafran with two upset wins over the erstwhile undefeated New York Excelsior, the second in a five-map marathon.
- The Washington Justice's second ever win managed to be almost as awesome as their first. Even the acquisition of Yeonjoon "ArK" Jong from the New York Excelsior and Nikola "Sleepy" Andrews from the San Francisco Shock couldn't make them function as a unit, and they lost the first six games of Stage 2. In their final match against the Boston Uprising (who were coming off an upset win over the Los Angeles Gladiators), they lost the first two maps (Lijiang Tower, Temple of Anubis), but took the next two in nerve-fraying marathon final battles to set the stage for a decider on Busan. The teams split the first two points, and while Boston were the first team to reach 99% on the third point, Washington turned things around and held on the whole way to complete the reverse sweep. As with their first win, Ado's post-game reaction - charging into a group hug with his teammates - said it all.
- The San Francisco Shock managed the extraordinary feat of winning all seven of their Stage 2 matches by a score of 4-0 to become the first team in Overwatch League history to complete a truly perfect "golden" stage.note
- The last day of Stage 3, Week 3 (23 June 2019) opened with a comfortable victory by the Chengdu Hunters as they swept the Dallas Fuel. As for the remaining three matches...
- The first two and a half weeks of Stage 3 had been a disaster for the Boston Uprising, with the absence of regular Ana/Zenyatta main Minseok "AimGod" Kwon and the struggles of his replacement, Zion "Persia" Yang, condemning them to five consecutive losses and giving them the dishonour of being the first team eliminated from the Stage 3 playoffs. A match against the Paris Eternal promised more of the same in spite of AimGod's return, with losses on Oasis and Volskaya putting them on the ropes. The Uprising needed Overtime and some stellar play from Jeffrey "Blasé" Tsang as Doomfist and Richard "rCk" Kanerva as Sombra to push the payload home on Eichenwalde, and the Eternal had the payload within 2 metres of the finish line with over two minutes left on the clock as Boston crumbled in what looked like their last chance to save the series. However, a tag team of Tracer, Doomfist, Mei, and Wrecking Ball was enough to reduce the Eternal's time bank to 45 seconds, allowing the Uprising a chance to set the bar in a tiebreaker round. They needed Overtime just to secure the first tick on the payload, and were only able to push it to the first choke point before being driven away, but after switching sides, a well-timed Earthshatter from Cameron "Fusions" Bosworth proved the beginning of the end for the Eternal as they were scattered with less than 3 metres to go. Dorado had a similar finale as the Uprising needed Overtime to get the payload home, and another well-timed Earthshatter finished off the Eternal's attack with less than 5 metres to go. The Uprising completed the reverse sweep (their fifth of 2019) by taking the first two points on the tiebreaker map (Nepal), the second in a marathon final fight that ended with an Earthshatter-EMP combination that disabled the Eternal's entire team.
- The Florida Mayhem had sunk to rock bottom in the league by Stage 3, with just a single win against the Philadelphia Fusion in Stage 1, and even switching to an all-Korean roster had done nothing to turn things around. Everyone expected their losing streak to continue against the Houston Outlaws, who were riding a wave of success thanks in part to Dante "Danteh" Cruz's Sombra play and had scored an upset win over the San Francisco Shock two weeks earlier. The Outlaws cruised to victory on Ilios, and while Florida managed a decent time bank on Attack on Paris, Houston swiftly took Point A - and then stalled completely in their attempt to take Point B, finishing with less than a minute in the time bank and leaving Florida more than enough time to win the tiebreaker round. Jeongwoo "Sayaplayer" Ha's lethal Widowmaker play proved decisive in the Mayhem's victory on Hollywood, and although Danteh's EMPs stopped Florida's attack just short of the finish line on Watchpoint: Gibraltar, a heart-stopping final fight that turned on Jaemo "xepheR" Koo switching to Bastion to drive the Outlaws off the payload gave the Mayhem a much-deserved victory. Junsoo "Kris" Choi's chest-clutching relief as the timer ran out said it all.
- The Vancouver Titans won their first 19 Overwatch League matches, smashing the previous winning streak record, and had no reason to believe their fortunes would turn against the Los Angeles Valiant, who had gone 0-7 in Stage 1 but whose performances had improved across Stages 2 and 3, not least after the acquisition of Reinhardt/Winston main Russell "FCTFCTN" Campbell. The Titans managed a sweep on Oasis, but needed Overtime to take Point A on Paris and, thanks to Johannes "Shax" Nielsen's Sombra play, were unable to take Point B; further heroics from Shax on Attack allowed the Valiant to tie the series. An absolutely dominant performance on Eichenwalde saw the Valiant finish with over four minutes in the time bank, but they needed none of it as they were able to stop Vancouver on the final stretch. The Valiant likewise pushed the payload home on Dorado with time to spare, and an outstanding performance by Youngseo "KariV" Park as Ana stalled the Titans' Attack before they even reached the second checkpoint, breaking the Titans' legendary streak and handing the Valiant a major upset win.
- In the Stage 3 playoffs, the redemption of the Shanghai Dragons continued with a playoff run that saw not just their first playoff match victory, but their first playoff stage victory.
- The quarter-finals saw the Dragons score a 3-1 upset of the top-seeded New York Excelsior in a match that saw Jinhyeok "DDing" Yang make a credible case for himself as the best Pharah player in the league (ably supported by Kyungwoo "CoMa" Son as Mercy), if not the world, while Minseong "diem" Bae reminded everyone why he is considered one of the league's best Widowmaker players (on top of proving himself very handy as Tracer).
- The Dragons' heroics continued in the semi-finals with a 4-1 upset win over the #2 seeded Vancouver Titans, and although the victory came at least partly on the back of some major lapses in judgement by the Titans (most notably, a final push at match point on Oasis where the Titans made a "Cloud9" blundernote as they collectively forgot to tag the point while re-engaging the Dragons), DDing continued to shine as Pharah, diem continued to shine as Widowmaker, Youngjin "Gamsu" Noh proved very handy with a variety of characters (chiefly Wrecking Ball), and Seonghyeon "Luffy" Yang deservedly won Player of the Match for a dynamic performance as Ana, all while the Titans floundered in their attempts to adjust to the shifting meta.
- Finally, the Dragons faced the San Francisco Shock, who were competing in their third consecutive stage final. Like the Titans before them, the Shock initially struggled to respond to the Dragons' fondness for compositions based around Pharah and either Widowmaker or Sombra, losing the first three maps (Oasis, Numbani, Horizon) on the back of further heroics from DDing as Pharah, diem as Widowmaker and Sombra, and Yong-jin "YOUNGJIN" Jin as Roadhog and Doomfist. However, the Shock proceeded to storm to victory on the next three maps (Havana, Ilios, Eichenwalde) thanks to outstanding performances by Hyobin "ChoiHyoBin" Choi as Roadhog and Jay "Sinatraa" Won as Tracer and Sombra to set up a deciding Map 7 on Dorado. Once again, DDing and diem led the way as the Shock, despite having three and a half minutes in their time bank after pushing the payload to Point A, were driven away before they could even turn the second corner on the path to Point B, and despite determined play by ChoiHyoBin and Sinatraa for San Francisco, the Dragons were able to match their push with plenty of time to spare to cap off a truly outstanding stage.
- The Toronto Defiant had a Stage 3 to forget as they lost all seven matches and won just four maps, but Stage 4 got off to a brighter start against the Washington Justice as Defiant off-tank Daniel "Gods" Graeser set an Overwatch League record by negating six Ultimates with D.Va's Defense Matrix in a single series, including four Blizzards from the Justice's Ethan "Stratus" Yankel as Mei on the first map alone. Unfortunately for the Defiant, they ultimately lost not just the map but the series, becoming only the third team to lose to the Justice (and the first to do so in four maps).
- Although the Los Angeles Valiant ultimately lost their five-map thriller to the Seoul Dynasty in Week 2 of Stage 4, Shax managed a personal awesome moment by becoming the first Reaper player in OWL history to rack up a sextuple kill with a single Death Blossom on the first point on Busan. It may not have been enough to win the point, the map, or the series, but it was still the most talked about moment of the match.
- Week 2 of Stage 4 (1-4 August 2019) produced a steady parade of upsets that showed just how completely upside-down 2/2/2 role lock had rendered the entire league.
- Having already lost their opening Stage 4 match to the Washington Justice, the Toronto Defiant continued their winless streak against the London Spitfire, and their third match pitted them against the Stage 3 champion Shanghai Dragons, who had stumbled in their opening Stage 4 match against Vancouver but rebounded with a win over the Seoul Dynasty, and were expected to hand the Defiant a tenth consecutive loss. Instead, Toronto's new Damage duo, Andreas "Logix" Berghmans (primarily as Widowmaker and McCree) and Liam "Mangachu" Campbell (primarily as Mei) were the stars of the show, with stellar supporting performances from Jaeyoon "Aid" Go as Baptiste and Normunds "sharyk" Faterins as Orisa, as the Defiant bounced back from an opening loss on Lijiang Tower to win the series 2-1.
- After winning just two matches across Stages 1-3, the Florida Mayhem opened Stage 4 with a 4-0 sweep by the Titans and a 3-2 reverse sweep by the Justice.note Everyone expected their losing streak to continue against the London Spitfire, who had experienced a resurgence as DPS duo Jihyeok "Birdring" Kim and Junyoung "Profit" Park were able to pick up their preferred characters and remind everyone why they had been integral to the Spitfire's 2018 championship. Instead, it was Mayhem hitscan ace Sayaplayer who dominated the match as Reaper, Widowmaker, and Hanzo, with the Spitfire often having to spend multiple Ultimates just to temporarily shut him down as Florida racked up a stunning 3-0 win (the only draw coming on Blizzard World, where London failed to capitalise on being the only one of the two teams to enter the time bank round).
- The Vancouver Titans had been expected to drop off significantly in Stage 4 due to their heavy reliance on the GOATS meta in Stages 1-3, but Dongeun "Hooreg" Lee and Hyojong "Haksal" Kim proved their doubters wrong by becoming one of the league's most lethal DPS duos, with the former excelling with hitscan characters and the latter proving deadly as Genji. Everyone expected their Week 2 match against the Washington Justice to be a one-sided rout. And so it was... for the Justice. DPS duo Corey "Corey" Nigra and Ethan "Stratus" Yankel ran amok, with the former managing a jaw-dropping 63 final blows as Hanzo across the series (including 34 on Hollywood alone, two short of the league record) to give Washington their first ever 4-0 win, and Vancouver their first ever 4-0 defeat.
- On the final map of the Titans' sweep at the hands of the Justice, analysts noted that this left the New York Excelsior as the only team never to have lost a series 4-0. The very next match on the schedule? New York Excelsior vs. Chengdu Hunters, who, even in the new meta, enjoyed a reputation for marching to their own drum when it came to hero selection (such as almost completely avoiding Mei and Roadhog, who had become pillars of most other teams' strategies). Thanks to the stellar play of DPS players Yu "JinMu" Hi (particularly as Doomfist, Pharah, and Hanzo) and hitscan/Sombra specialists Lo "Baconjack" Tzu-Heng and Zhang "YangXiaoLong" Zhihao, the Hunters proceeded to wipe the floor with the NYXL, condemning them to their first ever 4-0 series defeat.
- The Los Angeles Valiant opened their Stage 4 match against the resurgent Florida Mayhem with a comfortable win on Ilios, but the two teams ground out a 1-1 draw on Temple of Anubis, then the Mayhem prevented the Valiant from even capturing the payload on Hollywood to set up a deciding map on Junkertown. Both teams pushed the payload home, but the Mayhem had a 47-second time bank advantage thanks to absolutely insane play from Sayaplayer as Widowmaker and Reaper. After a slow start, the Valiant pushed the payload halfway from Point A to Point B before finally crumbling, and for the Mayhem's push, Sayaplayer selected Bastion, parked on the payload, and, shielded by both Panseung "Fate" Koo as Orisa and Beom-jun "Gargoyle" Lee as Reinhardt, effortlessly mowed down the Valiant en route to shattering the previous OWL record for final blows on a single map with 42. Unfortunately for Florida, a miscalculation by Sangbum "BQB" Lee as Mei led to a wasted Blizzard,note leaving them with no crowd control Ultimates when they re-engaged the Valiant with their goal mere metres away, and a well-placed Sleep Dart by KariV just as Sayaplayer went into Configuration: Tank opened the door for FCTFCTN as Orisa and Kyle "KSF" Frandanisa as Hanzo to wipe out the entire Mayhem team and hand the Valiant a very hard-earned 2-1 win.
- The shift to 2/2/2 role lock was not kind to the Shanghai Dragons, as their triple-DPS compositions were forced into retirement, while their lack of a Mei specialist caused them to founder in a meta that relied heavily on her Ice Walls and Blizzard. Consequently, they won just one match in Stage 4 and had to enter the play-in tournament for the final two spots in the season playoffs. However, some dynamic performances from YOUNGJIN, especially as Doomfist, combined with another meta shift following the introduction of Sigma as a playable character to allow the Dragons to eliminate the Philadelphia Fusion, the previous season's runners-up, and to come within one point of eliminating the London Spitfire, the previous season's champions. The latter match was one of the most tense and exciting in Overwatch League history, with the Spitfire opening with a sweep on Busan and a full defensive hold on Numbani; the Dragons then managed their own full hold on Hanamura before an extended time bank round on Gibraltar put the Spitfire one map away from victory. However, the Dragons racked up a 2-1 win on Lijiang Tower and, after a draw on King's Row (the Spitfire needed Overtime on their initial push but managed a full defensive hold in the time bank round), scored an emphatic victory on Dorado to set up a deciding match on Ilios. The first two points finished as 100-99 wins, the first for Shanghai and the second for London, and outstanding teamwork by the Spitfire won the day on the deciding point. Yet while the Dragons may have fallen short of the season playoffs, their remarkable turnaround from the previous season had turned many heads.
- In the season playoffs, the first round pitted the San Francisco Shock against the Atlanta Reign, both of whom had blazed to 7-0 records in Stage 4; the Shock, with appearances in the three previous stage finals and a roster including season MVP winner Sinatraa, were slightly favoured, but the match was expected to be close. And so it proved to be; a 2-1 win by the Reign on Busan was answered by a full attacking push and a full defensive hold by the Shock on Numbani. A full defensive hold by the Reign on Horizon was answered by a powerful defensive stop by the Shock on Gibraltar. A 2-0 sweep by the Reign on Lijiang Tower was answered by a 6-5 victory by the Shock on King's Row. It all came down to Rialto; the Shock were stopped just short of the finish line, and while the Reign seemed unstoppable with nearly five minutes to push the payload from Point B to their goal, the Shock put up an outstanding defence. With 30 seconds left, the Shock's Myeonghwan "smurf" Yoo as Orisa and the Reign's Petja "Masaa" Kantanen as Lucio fell early in what both teams knew would be the Reign's final push, but positioning and Ultimate progress seemed to favour the Shock. The Reign's Jeong "Erster" Joon then powered into the Shock's back line as Doomfist, occupying both DPS and both Support players for the Shock, while ChoiHyoBin as Sigma dove into the Reign's back line after slamming them with a Gravitic Flux. The kills started coming in for the Shock as only Hyunjun "Pokpo" Park as Orisa and Dusttin "Dogman" Bowerman as Moira remained on the payload... but the Shock realised an instant too late that none of them were close enough to contest as the Reign pushed the payload the final few metres. The ecstatic celebrations of the Reign players and their fans in the crowd were the icing on the cake.
- To say the San Francisco Shock rebounded from their "Cloud9" blunder in the final seconds of their match against the Atlanta Reign would be a major understatement; they proceeded to crush their opponents in the losing bracket, racking up dominant 4-0 wins against the London Spitfire, the Los Angeles Gladiators, the Hangzhou Spark, and the New York Excelsior to set up a Grand Finals match against the Vancouver Titans in a rematch of the Stage 1 and 2 finals. And once again, the Shock ran rampant as they stormed to their fifth consecutive 4-0 playoff win, with standout performances from ChoiHyoBin as Sigma (earning awards as both Playoffs MVP and Grand Finals MVP in the process), Sinatraa as Mei and Doomfist, Dongjun "Rascal" Kim as Pharah, and Minho "Architect" Park as Bastion. Architect in particular made a memorable play during the Shock's Attack round on Eichenwalde as he was propelled into the chandelier in the castle and rained merry hell on the Titans players as they scrambled out of their spawn point in an attempt to slow down the payload.
Overwatch League: Season 3
- Going into Week 9 of the COVID-19 disrupted 2020 season, the Dallas Fuel were on a 15-match losing streak that stretched back almost ten months to the first week of Stage 3 from 2019. The Los Angeles Valiant, by contrast, had scored an upset win over the San Francisco Shock in the previous week, and although the Shock managed a revenge win in their next match, the Valiant were heavily favoured. An emphatic 2-0 sweep on Ilios looked to set the tone for the series, only for the Fuel to draw level after an Overtime nailbiter on Volskaya Industries. The Valiant drew ahead again after pushing the payload home on Route 66 and preventing the Fuel from even reaching Point A; an immaculately timed Earthshatter from Sanglok "Dreamer" Song as Reinhardt seconds after leaping up onto the high ground on the Valiant's Attack seemed poised to be the highlight of the series. On Eichenwalde, the Fuel stopped the Valiant's Attack with less than 0.01 metres to spare, but their own Attack stalled just past Point B until a scrappy fight went their way just as Overtime started, leaving them with over 50 metres to go. But as the Valiant prepared to charge out of their spawn point for a final re-engagement, Youngjin "Gamsu" Noh landed a five-person Earthshatter before they could even get out of the door, and his teammates proceeded to wipe out the entire enemy team as the payload eased home. The decider on Oasis started brightly for the Valiant, but the Fuel stormed back to take the first point 100-99 and the second in a clean 100-0 sweep to claim their first win of the 2020 season in style. While Gamsu's Earthshatter became the most talked about moment of the series, Player of the Match went to Gui-un "Decay" Jang for his insane Tracer play as he racked up a staggering number of Pulse Bomb kills across all five maps.
- The Boston Uprising didn't so much circle the drain as dive down it headfirst in the 2020 season, with new Tank acquisition Walid "Mouffin" Bassal dismissed for criminal conduct (the second such incident for the Uprising in three years) and the departure of flex Support Gabriel "Swimmer" Levy and off Tank Thomas "brussen" Brussen sending them into a tailspin that saw them reduced to just six players (and requiring the hasty acquisition of Australian off Tank Leyton "Punk" Gilchrist just to have that many). Despite occasional flashes of brilliance from hitscan specialist Tae-hui "Jerry" Min and flex Support Sang-min "Myunb0ng" Seo, they won just one of their first eleven matches, a seven-map slogfest against the Houston Outlaws. No-one rated their chances in Week 15 against the Los Angeles Gladiators, who were out for redemption after a loss to the Paris Eternal the previous week. The Uprising snapped a 12-map losing streak with a dominant opening sweep on Nepal, but after a smooth Attack on Hanamura, they appeared to revert to form as the Gladiators pushed through in Overtime and then bled away the Uprising's time bank round. The series turned the Gladiators' way after they stalled the Uprising's Attack halfway to Point C on Watchpoint: Gibraltar and matched their push with seconds to spare, then managed a full defensive hold on Blizzard World and carved out a win with 30 seconds left. But then the Uprising fought back with a sweep on Lijiang Tower to set the stage for a decider on Busan. The teams split the first two points, but a stellar performance by the Uprising on the third point was enough to give them a well-earned upset win for the series.
- The May Melee finals in the Asia Pacific region pitted the #2 seeded Shanghai Dragons against the #7 seeded Seoul Dynasty, who had swept the #4 seeded Hangzhou Spark in the quarter-finals and triumphed in a five-map marathon against the #1 seeded Guangzhou Charge in the semi-finals. It seemed their Cinderella story would have a happy ending as they raced to a 3-0 lead over the Dragons with wins on Lijiang Tower, Blizzard World, and Hanamura, but the Dragons fought back with wins on Watchpoint: Gibraltar (courtesy of a full defensive hold), Busan (in a sweep), and King's Row to set up a decider on Junkertown. Both teams reached the time bank round, in which the Dragons, despite the inferior time bank, were able to push the payload just past Point B and stymie the Dynasty's attack just short of Point A to complete the first reverse sweep in a seven-map series in Overwatch League history. As if that weren't enough, Dragons hitscan legend Byungsun "Fleta" Kimnote managed a personal moment of awesome on King's Row; with the Dynasty metres away from the finish line with over a minute left on the clock and Fleta having lost an Echo duel to Seoul's Junyoung "Profit" Park, Fleta switched to Widowmaker, darted out of spawn, and fired off four headshot kills in five seconds to smother the Dynasty's attack.
- The first day of Week 20 in the North American region opened with two sweeps: a one-sided rout of the Paris Eternal by the San Francisco Shock and a statement win by the Atlanta Reign over the Toronto Defiant to calm some mid-season turbulence. As for the other two matches...
- The Houston Outlaws may have boasted several world class individual talents, but they had spent most of the 2020 season struggling to function as a team, slumping to a 5-10 record by the time they faced the Los Angeles Gladiators, who were fresh from a 3-1 win over the Reign. All expectations that the Gladiators would continue their ascent were dashed on the rocks as the Outlaws stormed to a 3-1 win (their only loss coming on King's Row, courtesy of some creative Reinhardt play by Gladiators main tank Roni "LhCloudy" Tiihonen and canny use of Lúcio speed boosts by LhCloudy's fellow Finn Benjamin "BigG00se" Isohanni). Standout moments for the Outlaws included an insane reversal of fortunes just in front of Point B on Rialto courtesy of Dante "Danteh" Cruz's outstanding Tracer play, and some cheeky foiling of the Gladiators' attack on Point B of Hanamura by their own former flex Tank/DPS player João Pedro "Hydration" Goes Telles as Wrecking Ball as he repeatedly rolled into the back of their attempts to push the point.Bren: [as Meko (as Sigma) and LiNkzr (as Ashe) are eliminated for the Outlaws] Everyone weak on Houston Outlaws, [Danteh wins a Tracer duel with Kevster; Shaz (as Zenyatta) eliminates LiNkzr's B.O.B.] and that means Gladiators are definitely gonna be capitalising off of it, they tear them to pieces. [Danteh Blinks in and eliminates Shaz with a single clip, then Recalls out again] Danteh, though, with a one-clip!
Sideshow: Oh, wow!
Bren: [Rapel (as Baptiste) eliminates Birdring (as Ashe)] Yo, he takes out Kevster as well! [Danteh catches Space (as Sigma) out of position and eliminates him] Danteh might be able to clutch this one up for them right now! Gladiators, they bit off a little bit more than they could chew! [Danteh sticks a Pulse Bomb onto OGE (as Orisa); the explosion takes out BigG00se (as Baptiste), and Danteh Blinks in and finishes off OGE, clearing the rest of the way to Point B] The Pulse Bomb laid down! [laughs] DANTEH! WHAT IS THAT? Oh my GOODNESS! One of the most freakishly good Tracer performances I have witnessed in the Overwatch League!
- The Vancouver Titans imploded in spectacular fashion in May 2020 as problems between players and management finally boiled over, resulting in the entire team being let go.note A replacement team was hastily recruited from Contenders franchise Second Wind as well as various other Tier 2 teams, but they were woefully underprepared and lost their first six games, most of them heavily. Such was the Dallas Fuel's confidence that the new look Titans would pose no threat that they decided to bench Decay in favour of their new Norwegian DPS player, Stefan "Onigod" Fiskerstrand. And sure enough, the game turned into a showcase for a Scandinavian relative newcomer to OWL - not Onigod, but the Titans' Danish hitscan specialist Niclas "sHockWave" Smidt Jensen, whose insane play as Widowmaker and Hanzo propelled the Titans to not just a 3-0 sweep, but their first win since their forced re-invention.
- The Houston Outlaws may have boasted several world class individual talents, but they had spent most of the 2020 season struggling to function as a team, slumping to a 5-10 record by the time they faced the Los Angeles Gladiators, who were fresh from a 3-1 win over the Reign. All expectations that the Gladiators would continue their ascent were dashed on the rocks as the Outlaws stormed to a 3-1 win (their only loss coming on King's Row, courtesy of some creative Reinhardt play by Gladiators main tank Roni "LhCloudy" Tiihonen and canny use of Lúcio speed boosts by LhCloudy's fellow Finn Benjamin "BigG00se" Isohanni). Standout moments for the Outlaws included an insane reversal of fortunes just in front of Point B on Rialto courtesy of Dante "Danteh" Cruz's outstanding Tracer play, and some cheeky foiling of the Gladiators' attack on Point B of Hanamura by their own former flex Tank/DPS player João Pedro "Hydration" Goes Telles as Wrecking Ball as he repeatedly rolled into the back of their attempts to push the point.
- Day 2 of Week 20 in the North American region opened and closed with two of the most lopsided matches of the season as the Philadelphia Fusion made short work of the Boston Uprising and the San Francisco Shock made even shorter work of the Washington Justice, but between these two was a series of awesome between two ascendant teams in the Los Angeles Valiant and the Florida Mayhem. The Valiant's roster included four former Mayhem first team/Academy players, including Caleb "McGravy" McGarvey, Damon "Apply" Conti, Jaeho "RaiN" Park, and Johannes "Shax" Nielsen, while the Mayhem's roster included former Valiant main Tank Panseung "Fate" Koo. The series was dominated by fierce duels between the DPS duos, Shax vs. Junki "Yaki" Kim as Tracer and Kai "KSP" Collins vs. Sangbum "BQB" Lee as Widowmaker/Ashe. The Valiant opened with a sweep on Lijiang Tower, but the Mayhem struck back on Rialto despite an inferior time bank. But Hollywood provided the true moments of awesome for both teams; the Mayhem were within a metre of the finish line in Overtime on Attack courtesy of a bizarre B.O.B. duel that ended in BQB's favour, and Namjin "Gangnamjin" Kang as Zenyatta set off a Transcendence to prepare to contest, only for Dreamer as Wrecking Ball to plough into the approaching Mayhem players and allow Overtime to bleed out. The Valiant were within metres of matching the Mayhem when, with 15 seconds to go, a double Pulse Bomb kill by Yaki seemed poised to turn things in Florida's favour - only for KSP's swap to Widowmaker to pay big dividends as he, Shax, and Support duo RaiN as Baptiste and Jungwon "Lastro" Mun as Lúcio drove the Mayhem off the payload to seal a hard-fought victory. A dominant performance by Shax (who racked up 16 Pulse Bomb kills across the series) and KSP on Hanamura was enough to put the series to bed, 3-1 to the Valiant. OWL caster and former Valiant player Scott "Custa" Kennedy's reaction to the bonkers finale on Hollywood said it all (and then some):Custa: SHAX TRIED TO KILL ALL OF THE VALIANT
GARGOYLE MISSED THE FLUX TO C9
BQB ALMOST KILLS EVERYONE
KSP COMES BACK ON WIDOW AND CLEANS UP
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- The Washington Justice were expected to build on the successes of the end of the 2019 season in 2020, but instead faceplanted as the introduction of their new Swedish tank duo, Elliot "ELLIVOTE" Vaneryd and Lukas "LullSiSH" Wiklund, was stymied by LullSiSH running into visa problems while ELLIVOTE was released in June, while the previous season's DPS stars, Corey "Corey" Nigra and Ethan "Stratus" Yankel, left to pursue a professional Valorant career and shift focus to streaming, respectively. Although they were able to acquire off Tank Hyeonwoo "JJANU" Choi and hitscan specialist Chung-hee "Stitch" Lee in the wake of the Vancouver Titans' implosion (thus transitioning to an all-Korean roster), they remained a league punching bag, slumping to dead last in the standings for the Summer Showdown in July and facing a playoff against the Boston Uprising just to qualify for the first round. Thanks to a meta shift resulting from buffs to Genji in the June 2020 patch, Justice Genji specialist Ho-sung "TTuba" Lee proceeded to almost single-handedly cut the Uprising to ribbons, racking up an astounding 73 final blows (a Justice record) and 36 Dragonblade kills in his team's 3-1 win, including a quintuple kill on Hollywood that he quickly followed up by tracking down and killing the last surviving Uprising player (Cameron "Fusions" Bosworth as Orisa).
- The mini-tournaments for the 2020 season brought back the format of letting the higher seeded teams choose their opponents. In the first round of the North American Summer Showdown, for which seeds 5-8 chose from among seeds 9-11 and 13 (the #12 seed having been the Boston Uprising), the results of this approach were... unexpected:Custa: Everything I thought I knew was a lie #OWL2020
- The #8 seeded Paris Eternal were the only ones who didn't choose their opponent, ending up with the #9 seeded Dallas Fuel. Although the Eternal calmed some mid-season nerves with a 3-1 win, the end result could have been very different; on the fourth map, Watchpoint: Gibraltar, the Fuel's Attack stalled just in front of Point A after a minute-long Overtime fight, but they seemed poised to prevent the Eternal from even getting that far as, with just under 30 seconds, William "Crimzo" Hernandez as Ana and a returning Decay as Genji set off a Nano Boost/Dragonblade combination... only for Eternal flex Support Kwon "Fielder" Joon as Ana to immediately plug Decay with a Sleep Dart and team up with Brice "FDGoD" Monsçavoir as Brigitte to finish him off. The resulting team fight win was enough for the Eternal to match the Fuel's Attack push and win the series. The most amazing part? Fielder was playing from South Korea while the rest of the Eternal (and the Fuel) were playing in North America, meaning he managed a move requiring insanely precise aim on a moving target with over 200 ping (milliseconds between player input and character action).
- The #7 seeded Florida Mayhem were third to choose, and picked the #10 seeded Houston Outlaws as their first round opponents, reasoning that since they'd beaten them twice before, it would be a simple matter to do so again. However, a combination of some jaw-dropping lapses in judgement by the Mayhem (most notably, getting so engrossed in a teamfight on the fifth and final round on Hanamura that they didn't notice Danteh capturing the point until it was effectively too late, and collectively forgetting to tag the payload as Overtime ran out just short of Point A on Rialto) and some phenomenal teamwork by Outlaws DPS duo Danteh and Jiri "LiNkzr" Masalin saw the Outlaws storm to a 3-1 victory.
- The #5 seeded Los Angeles Valiant chose first, and opted for the #11 seeded Toronto Defiant because, to quote head coach Mike "Packing10" Szklanny, "We just think they're bad." The Defiant, whose roster included ex-Valiant players Brady "Agilities" Girardi and Youngseo "KariV" Park, forced Packing10 to eat his words as, thanks to a combination of some puzzling roster choices by the Valiant (choosing Rick "GiG" Salazar instead of Dreamer as their main Tank and benching Lastro in favour of Apply as Brigitte - a character he admitted to not having played in Overwatch League since the introduction of 2/2/2 role lock) and a dynamic performance by Agilities as Genji (even on maps that were ostensibly not Genji-friendly), they charged to a 3-1 victory. The turnaround on Junkertown was particularly remarkable; the Valiant romped through on Attack in just under five minutes and initially completely stifled the Defiant's Attack, but a few moments of brilliance from the Defiant DPS allowed them to finish just 41 seconds slower than the Valiant. The Defiant then managed a full push while the Valiant couldn't even reach Point A (despite having taken it in just over a minute on their first Attack).Agilities: ggs @Packing_10 thanks for picking us :)
- The #6 seeded Los Angeles Gladiators got the second choice, and decided the #13 seeded Washington Justice would provide them with a routine stroll into the next round. Instead, as had happened in the playoff against the Boston Uprising, the Gladiators had no answers for TTuba as Genji (except in the opening round on Busan, when they fought fire with fire courtesy of their own Genji specialist, Kevin "Kevster" Persson; thereafter, the Genji duel turned firmly in TTuba's favour), and the Justice cruised to a 3-1 victory. Their most dominant performance came on Temple of Anubis, on which the Gladiators didn't so much as win a single team fight.
- The Summer Showdown quarter-finals went more predictably than the preceding round, with the Cinderella runs of the Washington Justice and the Houston Outlaws falling victim to 3-0 sweeps by, respectively, the #1 seeded San Francisco Shock and the #3 seeded Philadelphia Fusion,note while the Paris Eternal may have been the lower seed in their match against the #4 Vancouver Titans but were considered the favourites and ran out 3-1 winners. However, the Toronto Defiant's resurgence continued with an upset win over the #2 seeded Atlanta Reign; although the Reign opened with a sweep on Busan, the Defiant stormed back on King's Row and Volskaya Industries, and while the Reign managed a full push followed by a full defensive hold on Rialto to even the series, the Defiant polished things off with a sweep on Nepal. As in their match against the Valiant, Agilities was the star of the show as Genji, proving more than a match for Reign flex DPS Tae-Hoon "Edison" Kim on his way to 36 Dragonblade kills across the series.
- The third and final day of the North American Summer Showdown brought yet more awesome moments courtesy of the Paris Eternal, and especially their DPS duo, hitscan ace Ki-hyo "Xzi" Jung and Genji specialist and 18-year-old league newcomer Yeong-han "Sp9rk1e" Kim.
- Although they had been favoured against the Dallas Fuel and the Vancouver Titans, the Eternal's semi-final opponents were the San Francisco Shock, who had become The Juggernaut of the North American division with a 14-map win streak stretching back to their 4-2 victory over the Florida Mayhem in the May Melee final, and a 14-match win streak stretching back to Week 9. As such, the Shock were heavy favourites to win the entire tournament with the same ease with which they had won the May Melee, and a 2-1 win on Ilios looked to set the tone for the series - only for the Eternal to bounce back with a win on King's Row in which Sp9rk1e put on one of the most dominant performances by a single player on a single map in Overwatch League history, slicing his way to 42 eliminations, 25 final blows, and 11 Dragonblade kills (with six Dragonblades) in under 12 minutes. The Shock responded with a full attacking push and defensive hold on Hanamura, but the Eternal fought back on Rialto, successfully matching the Shock's remarkable time bank round push halfway to Point C thanks to an impeccably-timed quadruple Dragonblade kill from Sp9rk1e. It all came down to Oasis, and while the Shock took the first point after an astonishing turnaround in the final fight, the Eternal took the next two to score a massive upset win, with the capstone coming from - what else? - a triple Dragonblade kill from Sp9rk1e to flip control back to the Eternal for the last time.note Jake: [with the Shock in control of the point as their capture percentage passes 90%] And Hanbin coming back on the Wrecking Ball too, this could work but it could be kind of awkward, [Xzi (as McCree) drives the Shock off the point with a Deadeye while Sp9rk1e (as Genji) sets off a Dragonblade, but Striker (as Tracer) sticks a Pulse Bomb onto Xzi] High Noon comes in, channelling everybody, [the Pulse Bomb explodes and kills Xzi...] but the Pulse Bomb catches Xzi- [... only for the kill feed to be immediately flooded with Sp9rk1e taking out Viol2t (as Baptiste), Twilight (as Brigitte), and ChoiHyoBin (as Sigma)]
ZP, Jake: SPARKLE!
ZP: It's all Sparkle in the back! Sparkle cuts 'em apart! [Sp9rk1e finishes off Smurf (as Orisa)] And the Eternal, so close to de-throning the Shock, they wipe 'em on out, [Hanbin (as Wrecking Ball) finishes off Striker as the Eternal re-capture the point; ANS (as Ashe) tries to send B.O.B. onto the point, but FDGoD (as Brigitte) Shield Bashes him away] Sparkle, the man of the day, the legend himself, [ChoiHyoBin returns as Wrecking Ball...] the Shock, can they do it again, [... but can't quite get to the point before Overtime bleeds out] NO! The Eternal! They're headed to the finals!
- The Eternal's opponents in the final were the Philadelphia Fusion, who had swept the Toronto Defiant in the semi-finals as Agilities met his match in the Fusion's Israeli Genji ace, Josue "Eqo" Corona. The 2020 season had already brought three hard-fought, five-map marathons between the Eternal and the Fusion, with the Eternal winning the first one and the Fusion winning the next two, making the Fusion the favourites going into the final. The Eternal opened with a statement sweep on Lijiang Tower, but the Fusion hit back with time bank round wins on King's Row (despite an inferior time bank) and Volskaya Industries, with Junho "Fury" Kim as Sigma and rookie Kyung-bo "Alarm" Kim as Brigitte finally doing what the Eternal's previous opponents had failed to do: effectively counter Sp9rk1e as Genji. The Eternal responded with a full attacking push on Watchpoint: Gibraltar and followed it by stopping the Fusion short of Point B, then managed another 2-0 sweep on Nepal. However, the Fusion racked up another time bank round win on Blizzard World despite an inferior time bank and an Overtime push that fizzled out just past Point A to set up a decider on Rialto. The Eternal's attack was stopped just short of the finish line, but the Fusion hadn't even reached Point A by the time Overtime kicked in... only for an absolutely mind-boggling clutch play from Eqo as Genji to wipe out the Eternal and allow the push to continue. But while Eqo's Point A heroics became the most talked about moment of the series, a well-placed Earthshatter from Benjamin "BenBest" Dieulafait as Reinhardt and some dynamic play from Xzi as McCree, carefully chosen to counter both Eqo as Genji and Jaehyeok "Carpe" Lee as Ashe, foiled the Fusion's attack just short of Point B to provide the perfect storybook ending to the Eternal's Cinderella run; the sight of the Paris players (except Fielder, half a world away in Korea) charging into a group hug was the cherry on the sundae.
- To spread the awesome, all nine players on the Eternal's roster played in at least one map win in the final series. Veteran French DPS duo Terence "SoOn" Tarlier as Symmetra and Nicolas "NiCOgdh" Moret as Mei replaced Xzi and Sp9rk1e on Lijiang Tower, and SoOn also swapped in for Xzi on Nepal as Reaper, while Jeong "NoSmite" Daun as Winston replaced BenBest on Watchpoint: Gibraltar. Off-Tank Han-been "Hanbin" Choi and Support duo Fielder and FDGoD played all seven maps. As the Eternal had played in the second semi-final, this meant that Hanbin, Fielder, and FDGoD had played twelve maps in a row - in Fielder's case, on a 200 ping connection from a time zone 14 hours ahead of his teammates.note
- Although they had been favoured against the Dallas Fuel and the Vancouver Titans, the Eternal's semi-final opponents were the San Francisco Shock, who had become The Juggernaut of the North American division with a 14-map win streak stretching back to their 4-2 victory over the Florida Mayhem in the May Melee final, and a 14-match win streak stretching back to Week 9. As such, the Shock were heavy favourites to win the entire tournament with the same ease with which they had won the May Melee, and a 2-1 win on Ilios looked to set the tone for the series - only for the Eternal to bounce back with a win on King's Row in which Sp9rk1e put on one of the most dominant performances by a single player on a single map in Overwatch League history, slicing his way to 42 eliminations, 25 final blows, and 11 Dragonblade kills (with six Dragonblades) in under 12 minutes. The Shock responded with a full attacking push and defensive hold on Hanamura, but the Eternal fought back on Rialto, successfully matching the Shock's remarkable time bank round push halfway to Point C thanks to an impeccably-timed quadruple Dragonblade kill from Sp9rk1e. It all came down to Oasis, and while the Shock took the first point after an astonishing turnaround in the final fight, the Eternal took the next two to score a massive upset win, with the capstone coming from - what else? - a triple Dragonblade kill from Sp9rk1e to flip control back to the Eternal for the last time.note
- The Asia Pacific division's Summer Showdown final provided an awesome upset of its own; the early rounds mostly went as predicted, with only one series not finishing as a sweep by the higher seed (the #5 seeded Seoul Dynasty edged past the #4 seeded London Spitfire in the first round, 3-1), and the final between the #1 seeded Shanghai Dragons and the #2 seeded Guangzhou Charge was expected to go the way of the May Melee champion Dragons. However, the Charge had other ideas, with off-Tank Ki-cheol "Cr0ng" Nam and DPS star Yiliang "Eileen" Ou leading the way as they blazed to a 3-0 lead with wins on Ilios, Hollywood, and Temple of Anubis, but the Dragons, led by dual hitscan powerhouses Fleta and Jae-won "LIP" Lee, fought back with wins on Watchpoint: Gibraltar and Busan. However, the Dragons' attack on Blizzard World was stymied just short of Point B, and the Charge matched their push in Overtime to claim a remarkable 4-2 series win.
- It was back to business as usual for the Countdown Cup in August, with the Shanghai Dragons dominating the Asia Pacific region and the San Francisco Shock fending off the Philadelphia Fusion in the North America region. The Shock and Fusion were pitted against each other again just one week later, and the Fusion proceeded to do what no Overwatch League team had done since 2018, Stage 1, Week 4: sweep the Shock. Led by DPS dynamos Heesu "Heesu" Jeong on Junkrat and Sombra, Seunghyun "Ivy" Lee on Symmetra and Pharah, and Carpe on Widowmaker, McCree, and Ashe, they stormed to a 2-0 win on Lijiang Tower, followed it with a remarkable comeback on King's Row despite needing Overtime for Points A and B, and polished things off on Temple of Anubis as they foiled the Shock's attack in dying seconds by isolating an overextended Seonchang "ANS" Lee (as McCree) on Point B so that his teammates couldn't get to the point in time to save him - or their attack. The win was enough to guarantee the Fusion the top seed in the 2020 North America Grand Finals playoffs.
Overwatch League: Season 4
- The 2020-21 offseason saw a lot of motion as many players retired or were released from their contracts, but the San Francisco Shock emerged with their 2020 roster mostly intactnote and entered the season with typically high expectations. After a routine victory over the Los Angeles Gladiators in their first match in the May Melee qualifiers, their next match pitted them against the Houston Outlaws, who likewise entered the season with high expectations. The result was one of the most epic battles in Overwatch League history, a six-map extravaganza that saw the Outlaws make a strong case for themselves as potential champions. While player of the series went to Houston's hitscan ace Jung-woo "Happy" Lee (formerly of the Guangzhou Charge) for his outstanding performances as Widowmaker and Hanzo, the two most talked about moments came courtesy of new main Tank Myungheum "JJANGGU" Cho, who had joined the Outlaws with fellow Talon Esports Tank Min-jun "PIGGY" Shin in the offseason.
- The first moment came in the opening round on Lijiang Tower. The Outlaws, having already won the first point, largely kept control of the second point but were forced off at 99% after JJANGGU, as Reinhardt, lost a duel to his outspoken opposite number on the Shock, Matthew "Super" DeLisi. Although the Shock flipped the point, the battle lasted long enough that JJANGGU was able to return, and after an initial trade of the Shock's Sean Taiyo "ta1yo" Henderson (as Symmetra) for the Outlaws' João Pedro "Hydration" Goes Telles (as Mei), JJANGGU felled all five of the remaining Shock players with a massive Earthshatter (a shot of Super screaming "WHAT!?" on player cam quickly went viralnote ) and wiped them out with help from Happy (as Symmetra) and Enrique "Joobi" Triananote (as Lúcio) to re-take the point and seal the win.
- After a marathon 3-3 draw on Blizzard World and a full hold by the Outlaws on Dorado that they easily matched on Attack, Houston were one map away from a sweep, but the Shock came roaring back with a 3-2 win on Temple of Anubis and a sweep on Oasis to set up a decider on Havana. Thanks to some dynamic Widowmaker play from the Shock's Gil-seong "Glister" Lim, the Outlaws' Attack never really got going, and they were ultimately held just short of Point A, seemingly setting up the Shock for another reverse sweep. However, as they pulled within metres of the goal with nearly a minute and a half left, a team fight went the Outlaws' way despite a four-person Biotic Grenade from the Shock's Joo-seok "Twilight" Lee as Ana, and the next fight started badly as Hyobin "ChoiHyoBin" Choi was forced to use D.Va's Self-Destruct defensively rather than offensively after being hit by a Deadeye from Happy, then JJANGGU knocked out Min-ki "Viol2t" Park (as Baptiste) with a Firestrike, leaving the Shock needing Overtime to re-group and re-contest. As the fight began, the two Meis, Dante "Danteh" Cruz of the Outlaws and Nam-joo "Striker" Kwon of the Shock, both deployed Ice Walls followed by Blizzards to immobilise their opponents... only for JJANGGU to sneak around the Ice Walls and flatten the Shock with an Earthshatter again, allowing his teammates to wipe them out and complete one of the biggest statement wins in league history.Uber: [as the Shock close in on the payload] This is it, Matt. No more second chances, no more opportunities, the Shock... have one fight to repeat the reverse sweep, gonna be two Blizzards in the fight, I'm looking at those right now, let's see how they're employed, may the better team win! [Glister (as McCree) stuns JJANGGU with a Flashbang and Twilight (as Ana) hits him with a Biotic Grenade, prompting Crimzo (as Baptiste) to deploy an Immortality Field, which Smurf (as Reinhardt) wastes little time destroying; meanwhile, Danteh (as Mei) and Striker (also as Mei) deploy their Ice Walls at right angles to each other in front of JJANGGU, while Danteh sets off his Blizzard and Joobi (as Lúcio) activates his Sound Barrier] JJANGGU's hit with a Biotic Grenade early, that's a very early Immortality Field as well, could be dangerous, [as Striker sets off his Blizzard and Glister activates Deadeye, JJANGGU makes his way behind the Ice Walls...] there's a Blizzard there now, getting thrown down, [... and, just as Crimzo wipes out Viol2t's Immortality Field, JJANGGU smashes the ground with Earthshatter, killing Viol2t, stunning Glister out of his Deadeye, and preventing Smurf and ChoiHyoBin (as D.Va) from getting out of Danteh's Blizzard] JJANGGU, Shatter, OHHHH MYYYY GOOOOOD! [the kill feed fills rapidly as PIGGY (as D.Va) launches a Self-Destruct toward the Shock and shoots the prone Glister before the mech blows up, killing Twilight (as Ana), while Crimzo finishes off the frozen Smurf, Striker makes a desperate final dash to the payload only to be killed by Happy (as McCree), and the frozen ChoiHyoBin is knocked out of mech by Crimzo and polished off by PIGGY] THE OUTLAWS HAVE DONE IT!
Mr. X: [laughs] No way!...
Uber: We thought they'd be kissing the ring, but they forced the kings to bend the knee! [as the screen cuts to the jubliant Outlaws and crestfallen Shock] The plucky upstarts have done it in the final moments! The Outlaws reign supreme!
Persona 4 Arena
- This 5 vs. 5, Japan vs. America game from EVO Anime Suite 2013. In a game normally dominated by Japanese players, this amazing sweep by BananaKen's Shadow Labrys is a rare and beautiful sight, especially because no-one saw it coming. It's made even better by the off-the-wall commentary. BananaKen has done other awesome things with Shadow Labrys as well, such as getting to 3rd place at EVO 2013, and clinching his UFGT9 win with an Instant Kill, which is almost never used in Tournament Play.
- After the pedigree established by UFGT9's Top 8, things could have only gotten better the next year. UFGTX's top 8 did not disappoint. Highlights include Grab-sama vs. MoTheHawk, a Kanji vs Chie set with several big comeback moments from Grab-sama's Kanji, all of the matches involving Ludwig using Naoto's traps, and both bouts between Grover and BananaKen, which went down to the wire with impressive combos, setups, and mindgames from both sides.
- This fight took Delcatty's Normalizenote , which is regarded as one of the worst abilities in the whole series, and turned it into a devastating Curb-Stomp Battle when put up againist a team of Ghost-Types.
- The 2014 World Championships will forever be remembered as the year where Se Jun Park won the Masters Division with Pachirisu of all Pokémon. It managed to tank a Draco Meteor and helped to take down Mega Kangaskhan before it was nerfed in Gen VII. Wolfe Glick made a video explaining the the background on how Pachirisu led to Se Jun's victory.
- The 2015 Seniors Final with Mark McQuillan vs Koki H. really stood out compared to the Junior and Master Division. Mark constantly made amazing plays and had incredible luck on his side. Some highlights including getting a burn on Zapdos on the very first turn, correctly predicting T-Landorus switching in to get an Ice Beam on it, and using Skill Swap on Heatran, Slyveon and Mega Kangaskhan to remove their more powerful abilities. Both rounds were basically a Curb-Stomp Battle.
Puyo Puyo Tetris
- Have you ever been so good at a video game that you're treated like a real life SNK Boss? Because that's what happened to Amemiyataiyo, who as he shows at AnimEVO 2017, is psychotically good at Tetris (and not half bad at Puyo either) to the point where the commentators, crowd, and Twitch chat all agreed that the Grand Finals were little else but a skill exhibition for him. For one final show however, he was challenged to a 3 Vs. 1 match between him and some of the best players at the tournament. He initially struggles for a bit and even loses a set at one point, but in the end asserts his dominance as a Tetris god and once he gets the hang of things begins slaughtering his opponents, ending with a 3-1 score. Special mention must go to his opponents for putting up a good fight.
- Oplon Skyll's performance at VSFighting 2019 using Mitsurugi was an impressive display of skill and reading opponents. Skyll clawed his way through Loser's side of Top 8, eliminating multiple players using characters that were deemed significantly stronger than the Japanese samurai. Displaying excellent use of whiff punishing against Ivy, Seong Mi-na, and even taking out the player that put him in loser's bracket with Azwel, Skyll finished in 2nd to Keev's Nightmare.
- After missing out on multiple occasions, French player Kayane finally managed to enter Top 8 in EVO 2019, becoming the first woman to do so in any open main stage game. What made it even more satisfying? A few hours ago, she led a panel about women players and addressed dissenters saying it was not possible. Fitting that the winner of the all-women Street Fighter IV championship would be the one to achieve this feat.
- As a followup to her Top 8 finish at EVO, Kayane would also manage to take Celtic Throwdown 2019, getting the runback in Grand Finals against the man who put her in Losers, Ganondeurf, and taking home her first tournament win for the game, playing exclusively as 2B.
- The 2019 World Invitational had Skyll take his performance to the next level. Faced with the EVO champion Yuttoto, the same player that stopped his own run at EVO in Winner's Finals, Skyll's Mitsurugi cleaved through his Voldo in a clean 2-0 set. Once they were out of the way, Skyll proceeded to tear his way through the other competitors, taking out BlueGod's Azwel, LoloMx's Seong Mi-na, and BlueGod an additional time to claim victory and establish himself not just as the best Mitsurugi, but the best player in the world.
Starcraft and Starcraft II
- Any game which makes SCLegacy's annual Pimpest Plays list is bound to be this.
- If a progamer wins 3 OSLs, he gets a golden mouse. It's more of a crowning moment of awesome than you'd think. In fact, winning any major tournament is HUGE. Look at the freaking crowd with thousands of people.
- Boxer's legendary SCV Rush.
- Ever 2004 OSL Finals- Boxer vs Iloveoov
- Batoo OSL Finals- Jaedong vs Fantasy
- Ever 2008 OSL Finals- July vs Best
- Bacchus 2010 OSL Finals- Fantasy vs Stork
- Every time game gets past lair tech in a Zerg vs Zerg matchup.
- Reach vs. Chojja, 2005 UZOO MSL Semifinals. While the match is mostly known for the awesome game-ending play "Reach's Lockdown", which made it to #2 on the 2005 Pimpest Plays list, but the entire match is awesome and unexpectedly long for a single StarCraft game.
- A western tournament, the TSL3's final round between Thorzain and Naniwanote . After winning a single battle and then proceeding to lose 2, Thorzain pulls off an amazing reversal and holds off two huge all-ins by Naniwa to win the tournament.
- HUK vs Moon Game 5, Dreamhack 2011. After four gruelling matches in a best of five tournament, the score is 2 to 2. The final map is one of the largest in the rotation. Everyone is predicting a long, drawn-out macro-based game. Then the commentators realize that Moon is building no drones, indicating an extremely aggressive "Six Pool" strategy that goes for an early knockout punch at the cost of severely damaging mid-game economy. And then HUK, through sheer luck, scouts Moon's base, seeing the attack coming. What follows is a rapid sequence of attacks and defends, where HUK desperately holds off not one, but TWO all-in Zerg Rush attacks while building up enough forces to counter-attack for a win. This and a CMOF in Game 4 where Moon makes a huge blunder in cancelling his second base under the false impression that HUK had it scouted. The commentators even shouted "Wait a minute!" when they realised what had happened.
- DreamHack Summer 2013, Stardust vs. Jaedong. Jaedong has built up a massive lead in material and is making a huge assault on Stardust's base, but makes a critical blunder and overextends, allowing for Stardust's army to destroy all of Jaedong's structures but one: a desperation extractor placed in the corner of the map. Stardust found it and killed it. With probes.
- Red Bull Battlegrounds 2013, Scarlett vs. Bomber. In a game that Day instantly called "the most incredible game I have seen in ZvT", Scarlett, after starting strong at the beginning of the game with a 1-base Speedling (Zerglings with upgraded speed) strategy, has been fending off a resurgent Bomber for almost half an hour—until a pair of clutch burrowed Banelings (including one that no one saw coming) from Scarlett turns Bomber's marines into sizzling goo and forces him to concede.DJWheat: "We didn't even see the Banelings get burrowed ... It was freakin' brilliant!"
- Six months later, at MLG Anaheim 2014, Scarlett is down one game in a best-of-three against DongRaeGu, a Zerg so feared as to have gained the nickname "Final Boss". What does Scarlett do for Game 2? She decides to play as Protoss instead of her usual Zerg, stunning the crowds, commentators, and DongRaeGu alike. And she wins. As in, not just the game, but the entire series (though for the deciding match, she reverted back to Zerg).
- The quarterfinals of the 2017 WCS Global Finals saw soO vs. GuMiho turn into a knock-down, drag-out slugfest that TotalBiscuit would later call one of the best matches of StarCraft that entire year. Though soO would eventually take the match 3-2, GuMiho did not make it easy for him; indeed, special mention must be made of Game 4, where GuMiho, on the ropes of losing both game and match to a push from soO within minutes of the start, pulls off a turnaround that has to be seen to be believed.
- From a casting standpoint, this entire match could be considered a crowning moment for TotalBiscuit himself, as he would succumb to cancer a mere six months after this tournament. That he casted at all in spite of his condition—to say nothing of the level of commentary he displayed—is a sign of a man who loved his job.
Street Fighter Alpha 2
- If there's one story from the annals of competitive Street Fighter Alpha 2 that's well remembered, it has to be that of future game designer David Sirlin vs Thao Duong at East Coast Championships 4. While Sirlin was in the winner bracket, Thao's Chun-Li had reset the Grand Finals set, taking out two of Sirlin's best characters along the way. Facing a possible upset, Sirlin brought out his Rose, a moves predicated on one thing only, Rose's crouching medium punch (or low strong in SF parlance) beat out most of Chun-Li's attacks at a certain range. However, if Thao got in and forced an actual fight inside that optimal range, Sirlin would actually lose. What Sirlin then does is to keep using Rose' low strong at that specific range, with a specific pattern, forcing Thao to forcus on beating it instead of trying to get in and beat Sirlin, eventually giving Sirlin the win while rewriting the book on how the Rose vs. Chun-Li match up should be played.
Street Fighter III: 3rd Strike
- Arguably the most well-known moment in competitive fighting game tournament history, if not all of e-sports history, is "EVO Moment #37", also known as "the Daigo full parry" from EVO 2004. Street Fighter III 3rd Strike has a defensive system called "Parrying"— pushing forward towards the opponent just before a medium or high height attack connects or down just before a low height attack can deflect a single hit of that attack and negate any damage from that single hit. The risk is high — the timing has to be near frame-perfect to work, and each hit must be deflected individually - but the reward is great. Different moves, especially Super Combos, have different timings, so you not only need perfect reflexes, but perfect familiarity with all the fighters. Pro players usually can parry two or three hits in the heat of battle, which is what makes the following moment so awesome.
In the first game of the match between Justin Wong and Daigo Umehara note , Daigo (Ken) is down to a bare sliver of health against Justin (Chun-Li), who has about 1/3 health left. If Daigo gets hit by a single light attack, even if he blocks, he goes down due to chip damage, and everybody knows this. After playing a bit of keepaway, Justin decides to go for Chun-Li's Super Combo, which is a rapid-fire 15 hit move, and all seems lost. Then Daigo proves why he's nicknamed "The Beast", by parrying every single one of the 15-hit Super Combo, including one while airborne, then counters with a Super Combo of his own to win the game and go up 1-0 over Justin. This moment is still considered one of the most impressive feats in all of competitive gaming.
The moment became (in)famous among the fighting game community to an absurd degree. Capcom's release of 3rd Strike: Online Edition even included EVO Moment #37 as an in-game achievement. Things get better when Daigo talks about that match: he needed the sound of Chun-Li's kicks in order to properly time his parries, but the noise generated by the onlookers distracted him. He still managed to pull it off without hearing the sound cues. When speaking of the impressiveness of that moment, Daigo merely commented, "That's just one of my common techniques, really." In other words, it's the fighting game equivalent of a "But for Me, It Was Tuesday" moment.
For more irony, pay close attention to the score during the match. Just before Chun-Li goes in with her Super, Justin has 107000 points. Daigo's score after all of that parrying and his finishing combo? 107500.
- Seth Killian later explained the real reason why this moment is so awesome: anyone who puts in enough practice could pull the full parry off—Daigo's real genius was recognizing what move Justin would use to go for the win, baiting it out, and maintaining the correct distance and timing in order to pull off the full parry. Justin didn't lose when Daigo pulled off the parry. Justin lost the moment he went for the Super, because he'd given control of the match to Daigo.
- To illustrate how hard the full parry is to pull off, Maximilian Dood needed 139 tries to do it. Daigo had only one shot, with all the pressure in the world on his shoulders, and he nailed it like it was nothing.
- English player Ryan Hart repeated the feat in the "Battle of Destiny Tournament"... against Justin Wong.
- At #37 Reloaded—a special tournament held to commemorate the tenth anniversary of Evo Moment #37—Daigo and Justin fought each other in a special exhibition match. They used the same characters, the same color palettes, and the same stage. What else would you expect? Daigo did it again. You can watch their full exhibition match for more awesome, but if you're after The Moment Reloaded, it goes down around the 4:21 mark.
- It came full circle in 2021, when Justin Wong himself attempted the Daigo Full Parry... and also needed many tries to pull it off.
- Furthermore, as Justin Wong continued to stream himself playing Street Fighter III: Third Strike, he ends up meeting various opponents that faced his Chun-li and attempted to counter him with the Daigo parry. It's usually followed with Justin getting too shocked that history would repeat again for hilarity, but for the most part, they end up failing mid-way to Justin's relief... except one certain capge who flawlessly did that while on an online connection instead of a direct match, completely unscripted. Note that it isn't just the full parry. It's the full Daigo parry and combo, right down to chaining the air parry into the exact same victory-clinching combo! It also cemented the importance of Justin Wong in the moment despite being the loser: He and Daigo inspired community to push forward against impossible odds and try to stop his signature attack which for the most part would've looked impossible.
- While they may not have gone far into the bracket, Team 9road at the 2018 Cooperation Cup was a sight to behold. An all-star team of some of the most famous Street Fighter players in fighting game history, containing Daigo Umehara as Ken, Vanao as Ryu, MOV as Chun-Li, Haitani as Makoto, and Kuroda as Q. A compilation of some of their efforts can be found here.
Street Fighter IV
- Daigo and Justin Wong continuing their rivalry into Street Fighter IV has led to some awesome moments.
- In the EVO 2009 SFIV Finals, Justin Wong (Abel) faced elimination after having been knocked down into Loser's Bracket by Daigo (Ryu). Justin fights his way back into the Grand Final, but loses Game 1. He goes back to the character select screen—while the audience yells "SWITCH SWITCH SWITCH!", expecting to see Justin's incredible Rufus—and picks Balrog with the Stars'n'Stripes hoodie. America vs. Japan. Loud'n'proud vs. stoic fury. "Let's Go Justin!!" And this from a player who's usually vehemently disliked by American audiences.
- Capcom held a Fight Club LA event in 2010 to celebrate the release of Super Street Fighter IV. Daigo Umehara fought a rematch with Justin Wong. Best three-out-of-five matches, Guile vs. Rufus, no switching. During the final round of the deciding match, Justin uses Rufus' Space Opera Symphony Ultra Combo while he has only around 5% health left; he thinks he's made a comeback as he piles on the corner pressure. Justin jumps in for the kill with the Falcon Dive Kick, but Daigo uses Guile's Flash Explosion Ultra Combo at the very last second as a counterattack. The end result? Their rematch ends in a Double K.O. draw.
- At EVO 2010, Justin Wong looked to redeem himself against Daigo in Super SFIV. Standing in his way was the incredible pad Zangief known as "Vangief"—who sends Justin to Loser's bracket—and Taiwan's low-tier Adon-playing hero, "Gamerbee." And yes, that is a ballroom of over 5,000 spectators jumping to their feet. This led to an explosion in hits to the SRK Adon forums, and some funny remixes.
- Sabre vs Alex Valle at EVO 2009. Nobody expected to see a Sakura do this good (Sakura was considered very weak in the early days of Vanilla) or dominate a legend like Valle.
- EVO 2010 also saw the infamous Juicebox Abel vs. Scumbag match. Scumbag picks Blanka against Juicebox Abel's (duh) Abel. In the second match of the game, things look up for Scumbag, so he starts backdashing a few times. He then proceeds to taunt Juicebox. Cue Juicebox making a huge comeback and reducing Blanka's health from full to nothing in about fifteen seconds. After losing, Scumbag slams his stick to the floor and says "fuck you" to Juicebox before storming off.
- Another moment from 2010 was Daigo taking the EVO championship for the second year in a row. (As of 2014, he is still the only person to win the SFIV EVO tournament twice.) The best part? He defeated Ricky Ortiz, Justin Wong's teammate from Evil Geniuses and one of the greatest Rufus players in the world, to do it.
- The first match of the SoCal Regionals grand finals for Super Street Fighter IV saw Tokido (Akuma) vs. ClakeyD (Ibuki). Both players are 2-2, at which point Tokido proceeds to remove his black jacket, revealing his white Godsgarden t-shirt. Tokido gets knocked down to 20% health, but manages to make a big comeback. When he hits Ibuki with his Raging Demon, Tokido walks in front of the projector, which proceeds to shine Akuma's "Heaven" symbol on his back.
- EVO 2011 saw something similar to the Hungrybox vs. Armada Super Smash Bros. example below, only with 801Strider vs. DR Ray. After doing button configuration practice with each fighter's mainstay characters (DR Ray's Fei Long and 801Strider's Akuma, Strider switches to Makoto. After a shaky first round, Strider kicks DR Ray's ass all over the place to the roar of the crowd.
- EVO 2011: Poongko and Latif take down Daigo, sending him home with a fourth-place finish. Poongko sends Daigo (using Yun, one of the Purposely Overpowered character) to the loser's bracket by winning four rounds in a row and getting a perfect on him to end the set. Latif finishes the job after a tough fight.
- In one of the after hours segments at EVO, just when you thought it couldn't get any more hype, the elevator opens. Out comes a guy wearing a horse head mask. Everybody laughs their asses off, especially when the guy starts downing beer and what appears to be energy drink or Sierra Mist. He then appears behind Poongko and Online Tony and sticks his head in between them. They both turn around slowly, then laugh their asses off, too. At this moment, Hype Horse is born.
- At the 2011 Marvel Madness tourney, Justin Wong faced off against Air in the SSFIV Grand Finals. Air picks Ryu, but Justin lingers, making everyone wonder if he'll pick Abel. At the last moment... he moves the cursor over to Dan. (Backup link here.) Cue Justin (with the crowd behind him due to the fact that he was gutsy enough to pick Dan note ) steamrolling Air's Ryu. Justin even finishes the final set with the Legendary Taunt Ultra, a move that is not only unheard of at high-level play, but was prophesied by commentator James Chen almost a good twenty seconds before it actually happened. Behold the glory of Saikyo!
- At EVO 2012, Infiltration cut a Giga Drill Breaker-sized hole through everyone he faced. He even dismantled Daigo.
- The Street Fighter 25th Anniversary tournament had a $25,000 waiting for the winner. Daigo busted out some new tech and beat Infiltration with a 3-0 sweep in Winner's Finals. Infiltration's answer? A 6-0 sweep in Grand Finals.
- Saying "EVO 2013 was awesome" is an understatement. We had Infiltration (Akuma) facing Daigo (Ryu) again in Top 8 and defeating him (Daigo still managed to reach EVO's Top 8 for the fifth straight year), then taking out Sako as well. He finally has a chance to face "Murderface" Tokido, who is one of the FGC's best Akuma players, in a proper big game. Tokido proves why he has the nickname "Murderface." But even Tokido's walls of Zanku Hadokens couldn't stop Singapore's Xian, who used Gennote to completely steamroll Tokido and take the championship. Back to Infiltration: After being pushed to 1-2 by PR Balrog's namesake character in Losers' Semi-Finals note , Infiltration changes characters to Hakan—a character widely considered low tier but is a strong counter to Balrog. Infiltration plays a comeback game to earn third place in a match that goes down to the final round and receives a standing ovation from the crowd. He even earns a man hug from PR Balrog. The FGC widely thinks of this as one of the greatest matches in EVO history.
- After the crushing defeats at the hands of Infiltration, most players would either learn a new counter character or resign themselves to eternal defeat. Daigo is not like most players. A few weeks earlier, Daigo showed Xian that playing an EVO winner doesn't faze "The Beast" one damn bit.
- The butt of many jokes in the FGC, Canadians hoped to prove to the world that their community was a force to be reckoned with in the 5v5 tournament.. They got their chance in Canada Cup 2013. Down to their last player at Losers Semis against team USA, Chi-rithy managed to turn the tables with Cammy. While already established as one of the best characters at the time, his reverse OCV of Team USA, which included defeating established players such as Justin Wong, Ricky Ortiz, PR Balrog and Filipino Champ, was an impressive achievement in itself for the country... only to be OCV'd by Team NE Asia in Losers Finals. While this was expected, Dakou made it even more impressive by using Dee Jay, seen as the worst character in SSFIV .2012. Made even more memorable with commentary by a bewildered Gootecks and James Chen. To quote from Chen: "You would have been better off losing to team USA with some dignity and take some semblance of honor than to get OCV'd by Dee Jay."
- Daigo used the Grand Finals of DreamHack Winter 2013 to remind everyone watching that he is, in fact, psychic.
- At NEC 14, Sanford Kelly took on AquaSilk in a pre-scheduled money match. Sanford crushes Aquasilk. After the match, the hype of the moment winds down. Then Sanford looks into the crowd...and points to PR Balrog. The two of them proceed to duke it out in a set that goes the full distance and is as hype as hype can get. Then Sanford turns to the crowd and calls out Justin Wong. Their set goes the full five as well; it even runs right down to the wire. Everyone involved lost their minds.
- At SoCal Regionals 2014, a 5-on-5 Super SFIV AE exhibition was held between teams representing Northern California (headlined by Ricky Ortiz and PR Balrog) and Southern California (made up of the best regulars from Wednesday Night Fights). The exhibition starts off poorly for SoCal when NorCal runs out to a 4-0 lead. LPN only needs to defeat the last player standing on SoCal, Snake Eyez, to sweep the exhibition. Snake Eyez manages to beat LPN—then defeats the other four members of the NorCal team in a row. The entire exhibition can be seen on YouTube; Snake Eyez's comeback starts at 49:20.
- EVO 2014's Ultra Street Fighter IV tournament will most likely go down as legendary in the history books. The tournament started Friday with what some called "The Bloodiest Day In Street Fighter IV History": numerous well-known players and EVO winners were eliminated early in the tournament. PR Balrog, Ryan Hart, Justin Wong, Tokido, Infiltration and even 2013 champion Xian were all eliminated before the Top 8. But the most shocking of these eliminations was...
- veteran Ryu player John Choi taking out Daigo Umehara. Despite a list of commendable accomplishments, John has never been considered a top Street Fighter IV player, and he has never taken the game seriously, as he prefers older games. His win against Daigo is due to his sheer fundamental knowledge: He forced a classic Street Fighter II-style fireball war to remove any advantages that the SFIV system gave Daigo's Evil Ryu. Daigo went on record to say that Choi played the better match. He refused to blame his loss on a faulty setup (like some of his fans did).
- Also noteworthy: the performance of French player Luffy (Rose), who had to fight through an absolutely loaded bracket. After being sent to losers' bracket by Xian, he fought — and eliminated — Tokido, Mago, Eita, Momochi, Gackt, Snake Eyez, and 2011 champion Fuudo. He then defeated Bonchan to become the first non-Asian and first European champion for Street Fighter IV at EVO. The real kicker? He used a vanilla PS1 controller.
- Xian vs Snake Eyez was a sight to behold. EVO 2013 champ Xian played a patient-yet-precise Gen against Snake Eyez's Zangief, who can walk players into the corner and do mind games with the Spinning Pile Driver. Their playstyles resulted in one of the closest matches in the tournament—but the Moment of Awesome was in the final match. With ten seconds left, Xian holds a fairly healthy lead on Snake Eyez, who has only a square of health left. The announcers pointed out that Gief's Ultra would take too long to complete. With five seconds left, Snake Eyez nails Xian with two jump-in attacks that bring Gen's health down. In the next second, Xian pulls off his Ultra—not necessarily to kill Zangief, who blocks it, but to get him out of the corner and hopefully beat the clock with more health. Gen passes through Zangief, but at the very last second, Snake Eyez pulls off an EX Banishing Flat. The move hits as the timer runs out...and it brings Gen's health almost a pixel lower than Zangief's, which secures the win for Snake Eyez.
- Some fans of the FGC (as well as competitive players like Filipino Champ) have called Daigo Umehara a washed-up has been, citing a steady decline in his tournament placings. On the 26th of October 2014, he proved all the naysayers wrong by annihilating six of the best USFIV players in the world in the Capcom Pro Tour Asia Finals. (His only loss was by a narrow margin at the end of an extremely close fight with Poongko. Daigo secured a spot in the Capcom Cup and proved once again why he is still "The Beast".
- Daigo used the power of Evil Ryu to assert his dominance in the Topanga A League Preliminaries; he swept his opponents with a total score of 10-1 (only losing a set to Momochi). In the first-to-seven finals, Daigo again destroys his competition and ends with a final score of 5-0 and game differential score of +22. Multiple top players said Daigo was most likely to win the 2014 Capcom Cup.
- This winning streak culminated in a Bittersweet Ending at Capcom Cup. Daigo destroyed Justin Wong in the first round of the finals, but was sent to Losers' Bracket by Xian (who won with a smart counterpick and placed 2nd in the tournament), then eliminated by PR Balrog. The Beast didn't make Top 8, but he gave one hell of a show.
- PR Balrog's phenomenal comeback against Daigo Umehara in Losers' Bracket of Capcom Cup 2014 was nothing short of astonishing.
- The rising player on everybody's mind in 2015 was Momochi. His Top 8 finish at EVO 2014 put him on a hot-streak. He placed first in Capcom Cup, Shadowloo Showdown, and SXSW Gaming Fighters Invitational. He also nabbed second place in Final Round 18, Topanga World League 2015, and Stunfest 2015. He would probably be considered the best in the world...if it weren't for Daigo Umehara, who placed first in Canada Cup Master Series 2015, Stunfest 2015, Topanga World League 2015, and the Norcal Regionals (alongside several Top 8 international placements and wins since 2014).
- Daigo vs Momochi at Stunfest 2015 Grand Final. Witness The Beast Unleashed: 25 hits combo without using Super/Ultra moves.
- EVO 2015 didn't give Daigo and Momochi a chance to fight it out. Instead, the game is a long CMOA for the aforementioned Gamerbee. To begin: he was knocked into the Losers' Bracket by Infiltration and faced Daigo Umehara, of all players, someone he has consistently struggled with throughout Street Fighter IV history. But this time, he knocked out The Beast. He proceeds through the Losers' Bracket and eliminates Nuckledu, Tokido, Nemo and, after claiming sweet revenge against Infiltration, enters the Grand Final against Momochi. With his iconic Adon he gave Momochi one hell of a fight, and though Momochi won the Grand Final eventually, it doesn't diminish any awesomeness from the Taiwanese player. Unfortunately, the game is also ruined by Razer, whose game pad's cable for Momochi broke down during the last set, forcing the pause and maintanence and thus ruining the pace of the Grand Final. No wonder words bashing Razer spread over the internet after the game.
- Alex "Uncle" Valle knocking Bonchan, the 2nd place runner up from Evo 2014, into loser's brackets during Evo 2015. Knocking Bonchan into losers is impressive enough, as he's one of the best Sagat players in the world. Taking him out with Hugo, a character considered trash by the Japanese with a 3/7 match-up against Sagat at best is more so. Doing so in two perfect sets without suffering a loss should be impossible. The cherry on top is that Alex is in his mid-thirties and should be nearing the end of his esports career.
- At Canada Cup 2015, Tokido put on a hell of a performance with his signature character, Akuma. After the tournament, he is interviewed by Mike Ross. Tokido speaks from the heart to say that he feels Akuma has been nerfed significantly in Ultra, but that if he were to stop playing him in favor of a stronger character, he would stunt his growth as a player, and that through thick and thin he plans to stick with Akuma until the very end of the game's lifespan.
- Capcom Cup 2015 was marked by the incredible run pulled off by Kazunoko. His first match was with 801 Strider, who he had beaten twice before earlier in the year and who would push their match to last round of the final game before Kazunoko won again. Kazunoko then went on to beat Problem X, Misse, Daigo Umehara and Xian in clean sweeps to go to grand finals. During this run, Kazunoko won 18 straight rounds without dropping one to his opponents, with Misse and Daigo taking clean sheets and the book-ending round losses to Problem X and Xian being the only ones he would take in those four matches. In grand finals, Kazunoko faced off with Daigo Umehara again - Umehara would finally find his footing and force last game last round in a tense match, but Kazunoko would ultimately triumph to cap off his dominant performance and take probably the last major Street Fighter IV tournament in the game's competitive life.
Street Fighter V
- Marn's performance at Northern California Regionals 2016. Marn is a cocky but dangerous player best known for being friends with Justin Wong, for being the basis for Mr. N in Divekick, and for being the butt of several jokes in earlier places on this page. While Marn has never been one to underestimate, he faded from relevance during the latter end of the Street Fighter IV and Marvel vs. Capcom 3 life cycle—particularly after moving to Vietnam, far from the American scene that knew him. Marn's stream backers paid for him to fly out to NCR and compete, and boy did they get their money's worth. Despite registering late and being forced into the "Death Bracket." note Armed with some of the craziest and riskiest R. Mika play ever seen, Marn exceeded all expectations and defeated MOV, Filipino Champ, Mago, and K-Brad to get out of the Death Bracket. His impressive reign of terror didn't end there, though, as he then went on to eliminate both NuckleDu and Ricki Ortiz from the tournament! It took nothing less than Marn's own "Demon", Justin Wong, to take Marn out. In the end, Marn finished the tournament in fourth place. An extremely respectable ranking from a guy NO ONE was expecting to do well.
- Both Final Round 19 and NorCal Regionals 2016 saw Korean Street Fighter god Infiltration score two consecutive first place wins, not only qualifying him for the Capcom Cup, but also denying Japanese SF god Tokido in both tournaments' Grand Finals. Though it wasn't for a lack of trying on Tokido's part, especially considering he fought through Loser's Bracket both tournaments to make it to Grand Finals.
- The entire year of 2016 so far could be one for Infiltration. He's consistently won just about every tournament he's gone to, and is almost single handedly the reason why his Nash is considered to be so strong.
- As of CEO 2016, Tokido finally breaks the streak and defeats Infiltration in Grand Finals. This set shows full potential of Ryu's V-Skill Parry, with Tokido using it to stop Infiltration's tactics and countering beautifully, going from parrying Nash's Forward.HK on wakeup after being grabbed, EX Moonsaultnote , and Critical Art. Tokido then ends the 6-1 set ends with a perfect, earning a spot at Capcom Cup, to the cheers of the hyped-up crowd.
- Before the game's release, consensus from the betas pointed many signs to Ken being a poorly designed character, with stubby-ranged normals, and long recovery frames in his moveset. Then at Winter Brawl X, Julio shows the community why Ken was to be feared, with his extremely risky, but rewarding gameplay. Masterfully capitalizing Ken's speed and damage from long strings, Julio went on to take second place and is still performing strongly as of this writing.
- Canada Cup 2016 saw an incredible Top 8 for SFV; John Takeuchi placing in the final four, Phenom's rampage through the Loser's Bracket (including his annihilation of Daigo Umehara, which saw Phenom's Necalli command grab Daigo's Ryu five times in a row to death in one round), and most importantly, Liquid Nuckledu becoming the first American to qualify for Capcom Cup in two years by winning the premier event, by running through Xiaohai not once (3-2, Winner's Finals) but twice (3-0, Grand Finals).
- And for anyone who saw him as a lucky fraud for winning just one premier event, Nuckledu cements his status at Red Bull Battleground as not only the best player in North America, but one of the best in the world. After being sent into Loser's by Japanese SF God Tokido, Nuckledu proceeds to eliminate two of Evil Genius' heavies K-Brad and Justin Wong before taking out the tourney's breakout star ANBU|Punk in Loser's Finals. And to cap it all off, Nuckledu, with his Guile, proceeds to tear apart Tokido, resetting the bracket with a 3-1 lead, before finishing with a 3-1 set.
- Going back to ANBU|Punk, pretty much every commentator said that he was the most slept-on competitor in the entire tournament. Starting with his 3-2 victory over Filipino Champ, Punk proceeds to cut a swath through the Top 16 Finals, sending Chris Tatarian and Justin Wong to Loser's before being sent there by Tokido himself. Finishing the tournament strong in 3rd place, there's no doubt that we'll be seeing more of Punk in the near future.
- Capcom Cup 2016. An event nobody could have predicted.
- Infiltration, Tokido, Gamerbee, Justin Wong, Daigo Umehara, all competitors that were heavy favorites to win the tournament were all wiped out in the preliminaries.
- The end of Day One saw something very rare for a major tourney in that two Americans (Nuckledu and Ricki Ortiz) made it to Top 8. Day Two brought us two things nobody saw coming: Du and Ricki facing off at Winners' Finals, and facing off again at Grand Finals. In the end, Nuckledu capped off his momentous three-month period of dominance by becoming the first American to win at Capcom Cup!
- Here's something on the Professional Wrestling front: Kenny Omega and Xavier Woods went first to 5 at CEO 2016, putting on a show for the crowd.
- After years of failing to win the title, Tokido finally wins EVO 2017 with his iconic Akuma fighting through the Losers' Bracket to Grand Finals, getting a reset and delivering a 3-0 Curb-Stomp Battle in the second set to Punk. The Grand Final is something of legends to be told, including finishing game one of the first set with a taunt combo (the commentators even said it never happened in EVO Grand Finals), a Perfect round after resetting and in the following game, lands a Raging Demon on Karin for the kill, further demoralizing Punk; the crowd obviously went nuts. To Punk's credit, he (who played in EVO for the first time) fought his way to the Grand Final without losing a single game, and came very close to winning America's first EVO SF Championship.
- Capcom Cup 2017 had Nemo surprise everyone at the event. After getting the last slot from winning the Last Chance Qualifier against Infiltration, Nemo's reward was to be in the first match of the event... against Punk, the top seeded player. Against all odds, Nemo won, sending Punk to losers. While he would lose his very next match to Daigo, Nemo continued to play well all the way to Loser's Final, where he earned a very respectable third place finish.
- There were a few great moments at EVO Japan 2018.
- Mena RD, the 2017 Capcom Cup champ, was denied entry to Top 8 by stormKUBO. Mena was a favorite to win the entire tournament, and to see him be thrashed by stormKUBOs Abigail shocked a lot of people.
- Daigo's return to form with Guile. Daigo upset a lot of fans when he dropped Ryu as his character of choice in favor of Guile, despite his experience with the character in the past. at EVO Japan he managed to silence the naysayers, delivering a beatdown to almost everyone he encountered, including at 3-0 against the 2017 EVO champ, Tokido. While he ultimately fell short of winning in Loser's Finals to Infiltration's Menat, Daigo showed he can never be counted out, and broke his dry streak by making it to Top 8 at EVO for the first time in 5 years.
- Tokido was feeling pretty good after 2017. He was overall considered one of, if not the strongest player for Street Fighter V, finally got an EVO win for the game, and took 2nd place at Capcom Cup. But that wasn't enough. He wanted the ultimate title, that being surpassing Daigo Umehara. In one of the most impressive moves possible, he challenged The Beast in a First to 10 at Daigos own Event, Kemonomichi II, knowing full well Daigo is considered unparalleled in long sets. The two of them were given one month for training, and faced off, with Tokido's Akuma vs Daigo's Guile. Daigo won, 10-5. While Tokido lost, just the fact that he had the balls to challenge Daigo is impressive, plus he has gotten the farthest of anyone in a first to 10 with The Beast so far.
- Back to the Professional Wrestling front: A feud that's been boiling over for three years finally gets settled at E3 2018, but this time, Kenny Omega and Xavier Woods brought over their stablemates The Young Bucks (for Kenny Omega) and Big E. Langston and Kofi Kingston (both for Xavier Woods) for a Street Fighter V team battle. The Elite vs. The New Day. Expect some sick burns and trash talking from both sides. James Chen and IFC Yipes were on the set to give commentary for this epic confrontation. After being beaten 2-1 in the team battle (Kofi won vs. Nick, Kenny won vs. Big E, and Woods won vs. Matt), Kenny called out Woods for his cowardice, dodging out a battle with Kenny as a point, and challenges him to a first to five. He accepts, but with a consequence: the loser and his stablemates must eat a habanero pepper each. Woods continues with Ibuki. Kenny, with permission from the devs, plays Cody Travers, who hasn't even been released into the game yet! And like before, they put on a hell of a show. Kenny won 5-4, settling the feud. Woods, however, takes all three note peppers, thanking his best friends for attending. Not to be outdone, Kenny takes a pepper himself. At the end of the video, in heartwarming fashion, they dedicate this feud to each other and all the gamers.
- EVO 2018: Whoa. So many upsets occurred early on, with favorites like NuckleDu, Nemo, EVO 2017 runner-up Punk, FChamp, Daigo Umehara and many other mainstays eliminated before top 8. Out of the top 8 at this year, only one from last year remained: EVO 2017 champion Tokido. And even then, he fell in 2nd to UK's Problem-X, marking the first time that a UK player won an SF EVO, and the first time in 10 years that a UK player won an EVO tournament. This EVO also marked the return of EVO 2014 champion Luffy and EVO 2011 champion Fuudo to the top 8, finishing in 5th and 3rd respectively.
- Even more awesome? Bison (Problem-X) beats Akuma (Tokido) at the Bison-themed stage, and even dodged a Raging Demon from Akuma before taking that round. Talk about decades-long revenge since SF 2!
- Of note as well were the performances of MenaRD and Caba. Both players were stranded in New York the day before EVO after their flight was cancelled, forcing them to drive to another state with Dieminion and DR Ray to catch another plane just to make the tournament on time. Despite the scare, They both placed exceptionally well, with MenaRD placing in 9th place and Caba qualifying for Top 8, becoming the first Dominican Republic player to ever do so.
- TWFighter 2018 saw Sako go on an absolute rampage throughout the tournament, blowing up everyone in his way with Menat. Though Sako is the Execution God of Japanese Street Fighter, his tournament record is far from perfect... but that didn't stop him from blazing through Itabashi Zangief, Caba, and fellow God Tokido in Top 8, all while not dropping a single game for the entire tournament.
- And then the FGC let out a collective D'AWWWWWWW as the most memorable photo of the tournament was Sako carrying his daughter and the trophy, while she carried the envelope with the winnings. "Go home and be a family man!", indeed.
- To say Socal 2018's top 8 was awesome is an understatement. We saw Sako go on a rampage for the title once more with his insane Menat combos, including surviving a 2-0 deficit against Storm Kubo's Abigail, Bonchan busting out Sagat to decimate XSK Samurai, TWO mirror matches in Loser's side between Chris T and Momochi for Ken, and Bonchan vs Punk for Karin, and Chris T managing to claw his way to a third place finish, almost exclusively with Ken.
- Capcom Cup 2018 finished off the year with one of the most surprising results in the game's history. With most of the top players getting sent home early like Tokido, Daigo, Punk, Problem X, NuckleDu, and reigning Champ MenaRD, the Top 8 was full of players that were expected to have lost early. And at the end of it, the finals came down to Gachikun's Rashid, and Itabashi Zangief's Abigail, with Gachikun winning the title and bringing it back to the Japan for the first time in SFV's competitive life.
- Props as well to Justin Wong, who had gone either 0-2 or 1-2 at every previous Capcom Cup, only to finish 5th place at the tournament.
- EVO Japan's 2nd year for SFV may have had less prominent faces competing, but that didn't stop the top 8 from being enjoyable. Nemo and Fuudo squared off with new characters for themselves in Kolin and Birdie, Momochi continued to show how solid his Kolin and Zeku play is, Jyobin's match against Punk was unpredictable yet hilariously entertaining, Fuudo finally defeated Punk in tournament, and Momochi and Fuudo had an incredibly solid Grand Finals, with Momochi taking it in the reset and winning his second EVO title.
- Final Round 2019, aka Upset City, was the most unpredictable tournament in recent memory. Tokido, Daigo, Fujimura, Problem X, Nuckle Du and countless others were sent packing well before Top 8, often by players no one was expecting to win, leaving Punk an opening to dominate the finals and claim victory.
- NorCal Regionals 2019 had Momochi and Sakonoko find themselves facing off in losers bracket just before Top 16. In a duel of Difficult, but Awesome characters, Momochi's Zeku went up a game against Sako's Menat, who went back to character select. Most thought he was just using it to buy time, but Sako had other ideas, changing from Menat to Kage, who was considered a high damage character, but was deemed low-tier by Japanese players due to his horrible neutral-game. Sako seemed to think otherwise, turning the tables on Momochi to win 2 games straight, including ending the set with a Raging Demon to send the EVO Japan champion packing.
- The newly sponsored Cygames Beast Infexious put on a hell of a show at VSFighting 2019. The British Zeku player tore through winner's side to make top 8, casually dismantling Haitani's Akuma (Almost exclusively as Old Zeku, who is considered significantly worse than his Young form), and even pulling a reverse sweep against Sako's Menat.
- And you thought EVO 2018 was wild. EVO 2019 might just be the most unpredictable event Street Fighter V has ever had, with countless top seeds blown up and eliminated long before Top 8. None of the previous EVO champs for the game even came close to top 8, which was a globe trot of 5 different countries, many of the players being absolute underdogs that no one was expecting to make Top 8. The United Arab Emirates' Big Bird blitzed his way through loser's side, even beating Fujimura, the only person from the last 3 years to make it back to Top 8, to get to Grand Finals. And at the end of it all, Bonchan brought the title back home to Japan in an extremely close set, marking the first time he'd made it back to EVO Top 8, let alone EVO Grand Finals since his runner-up finish at EVO 2014 for Ultra Street Fighter IV.
- Kichipa-Mu and his run at PPL Fighters Masters 2019 with the Red Cyclone himself must be seen to be believed. The Japanese Zangief didn't let his surprise Top 8 finish at EVO 2019 go to waste, as he proceeded to annihilate some of Asia's best players, namely Oil King, Tokido, NL, and Mago to make Grand Finals. While he did lose to the same player that put him in Loser’s, Hong Kong’s HotDog29, he still went obscenely far for a player many still doubted, with a character that was often laughed at in Street Fighter V's current season.
- Capcom Cup 2019. The year iDom ascended. The American Laura player was always considered a respectable player who had mastered his character, but never really achieved a major level of success as his peers. That all changed at this event, from his very first match where he managed to defeat Fujimura after losing to him at EVO. After that, he plowed through Infexious, Mago, and Phenom before losing to Punk in a close Winner's Finals. But that didn't stop him, as he proceeded to eliminate Phenom and fight his way back to Grand Finals. While he appeared to be down and out early after going down 2-0 to Punk, who decided to pick Cammy in order to force iDom to play Laura instead of Poison, iDom kept his composure, fighting back to not only reset the bracket, but claim the title and beat Punk on one of the largest stages for Street Fighter there is.
- CEO 2021 marked not just one of the first major offline tournaments since COVID, but also one of the games greatest upsets. Mono, the organizer for First Attack in Puerto Rico, attended the tournament with his F.A.N.G, and to many a fans surprise, did extremely well with the character, making Top 8 Winners. Though he had a close Winners Semis match against Joe Umerogan's Akuma, he clawed his way to a win and faced Punk in Winner's Finals, Who to the shock of many, he won against. While surprising, many assumed Punk would merely go back to his old main, Karin, in Grand Finals and wipe the floor with Mono. Which was true...Until the bracket was reset, where Mono '''proceeded to curbstomp Punk 3-0, taking his first ever Major. With his friends and family from Puerto Rico rallying behind him in the crowd and using a character often pegged as low tier and gimmicky at best, Mono dismantled the player often considered the best in the world like it was nothing.
- iDom's run with his Laura in EVO 2022 was monstrous. Despite being sent to the loser's bracket early on, he basically slaughtered every foe he faced in the Top 8, including three of the four top Japanese players: only Daigo came close to knock him out before losing 2-3 (even dueling up to their last round), and iDom delivered a 3-0 to Tokido and 3-1 to gachikun, entering the Grand Finals facing Kawano, the last of the four Japanese players in the Top 8 and his Kolin. And iDom's run still looked promising enough, dealing a 3-0 to Kawano for a reset and took a 1-0 lead after it, literally meant a 4-0 lead. Kawano caught up in the next round, but iDom won another game to a 2-1, then he's just one round to the Grand Champion, and few doubted that he would get the title right now———HOWEVER, Kawano managed to steal the game and tied at 2-2, and with iDom at the Tournament point again after a lead in their last game, he won another round, and in the very last round both of them were literally 1/4 of their health with less than 40 seconds on the clock, one set of combo would do the trick...And it's the highly-pressurized Kawano who came out on top, denying iDom to end his journey with the grand prize. It didn't mean iDom's play wasn't awesome, it's just not his time yet.
Super Smash Bros.
- Every character in Melee gets one in this video, Super Smash Bros. Metagame, a series of compilation vids of amazing combos with every single character in the game, done by various pros.
- This comeback from M2K vs. Shiz as Marth and Falco, respectively. Even more awesome with Guile's Theme!
- You can't begin to talk about competitive Smash without bringing up "Wombo Combo". The actual term for this is known as "wobbing", in which the oppenent is in position that they cannot escape from due to a continuous combo chain of grabs and knockbacks. It doubles as a Funny Moment and Memetic Mutation, though be sure to turn the volume down before viewing.
- Several other moments like this made their rounds, this includes "Wombo Combo 2", Lunch Money Combo, and UGS Team Combo This time, that IS Falco!
- This video is one of the greatest comebacks ever seen in a game. Ever.
- The stage is Pound V, Winners Quarterfinals. The combatants are Armada, Europe's top player, and Hungrybox, one of the best Jigglypuff players in the world. Armada manages to take down Hbox 2-0, but not with his main, Peach; he instead clinches victory with Young Link. note Moves were shown. Armada would move on to the Grand Finals to face Dr. Peepee. Armada would return to his main, Peach, with Dr. Peepee using Falco having come out of Loser's Bracket. The two would proceed to go at it for nearly forty minutes and tear the goddamn house down. Both players were at the top of their game, combos were being handed out left and right (some of which had never been seen before, and some believe they were made up on the fly), and the action was fast and relentless. Peepee not only resets the bracket at championship point for Armada, he then goes on to win the tournament. Many Melee players consider this one of the best matches in the game's competitive history. Watch the set in its entirety here.
- At Apex 2013, the unthinkable happened: Mew2King, armed with Meta Knight (the poster boy for High-Tier Scrappy), lost to Salem, using Zero Suit Samus! To put this in context, this would be like a team of Magneto/Storm/Sentinel losing to Blackheart/Tron/Doom in Marvel vs. Capcom 2. Not only did Salem win at Winners' Finals, he also took Grand Finals as well! In other words, Zero Suit Samus never lost a set the entire tournament!
- EVO 2013 was full of awesome, all around.
- Armada, the then-world champion of Melee, was defeated by Dr. PeePee 2-0, putting him into Losers' even before Top 8!
- Likewise, Mango, the player that most said would have the best shot at taking Armada out, was ALSO put into Losers' before Top 8 by none other than Wobbles, an Ice Climbers player!
- Mew2King, Wobbles, Hungrybox, and Dr. PeePee advance to Winners' Semis, where Wobbles beats Dr. PeePee and Hungrybox beats Mew2King. In Winners' Finals, Wobbles goes down one game to HungryBox and falls down 2 stocks to 1, and he is playing Ice Climbers vs. Jigglypuff, but manages to even the game up with a wobble. Jigglypuff takes out Nana quickly, but Wobbles manages to come back to win the game using Sopo! note Wobbles successfully wins the next game as well to earn a spot in Grand Finals.
- Mango's entire run through Losers' bracket during Top 8 is awesome in and of itself, taking down some of the world's best players, including Dr. PeePee, Armada, and Hungrybox. The craziest part is that he only drops one game during his run through Top 8!
- The Grand Finals were a category of awesome all their own. Wobbles was the person who put Mango in the Losers' Bracket, back in the Top 16. After going 4-0 in his last four games, Mango continues the streak, going 3-0 against Wobbles and forcing a reset. Set 2 begins with Mango continuing his streak yet again, going up 2-0. Just as if it looks like he's about to take Game 3 and go 6-0, Wobbles forces a Game 4 on his last stock! Unfortunately for Wobbles, Mango completed the full comeback and won EVO 2013 Melee all the way from the Top 8 Losers' Bracket, against the person who put him there. Let's stress this: Mango went on a fifteen game winning streak during his run through the Loser's Bracket. It's not often you see such a dominant run through the Loser's Bracket in any competitive game.
- The Return of the King!
- Context: One of the greatest Melee players of all time, Mew2King, has a very poor record of choking against Jigglypuff player Hungrybox. At The Big House 3, one of the largest 2013 Melee tournaments aside from EVO, M2K, after years of losing to Hbox, takes a set off of him in Winner's Finals. And again in Grand Finals! This tournament marked the beginning of an amazing consecutive winning streak in Melee (including two more victories against Hbox at Revival of Melee 6) dubbed by fans as the "Return of the King", culminating in a very respectable second-place finish at Apex 2014 against Dr. PeePee.
- He also managed to upset Dr. PeePee in Winners' Semis.
- Hungrybox also managed to upset Dr. PeePee in Losers' Finals in excellent fashion. See for yourself.
- Mew2King's Brawl run during this era was just as impressive, with a similar dominating string of first-place finishes during that time, culminating in a 2nd-place finish at Smash Factor 2, losing to ZeRo, and a 4th place finish at Apex 2014, losing to Nairo and ZeRo. His KTAR 8 performance was especially impressive, consisting of victories over ADHD, Ally, Nakat, and ZeRo (set 1; set 2), who all are capable of defeating M2K. His grand finals victory over ZeRo was particularly impressive given that he lost to ZeRo in Winner's Finals 3-0.
- The return of the king 2.0. After having had a terrible performance for the first half of the year, failing to beat a single top 5 player, going on a massive losing streak against Leffen, and coming off of a particularly dominant defeat at Super Smash Con, Mew2king 3-0'd Leffen twice in a row in Winners and Grand Finals, beating him wiith all three of his characters and ending Sweden's tournament winning streak against the US. From there he went on to take second at Paragon Los Angeles, 4-stocking Leffen and beating Hungrybox in Loser's Finals before losing a very close set to Mango in Grand Finals, and 3-0'd Mango at the Big House 5 to take a respectable 3rd place below Hungrybox and Armada
- Context: One of the greatest Melee players of all time, Mew2King, has a very poor record of choking against Jigglypuff player Hungrybox. At The Big House 3, one of the largest 2013 Melee tournaments aside from EVO, M2K, after years of losing to Hbox, takes a set off of him in Winner's Finals. And again in Grand Finals! This tournament marked the beginning of an amazing consecutive winning streak in Melee (including two more victories against Hbox at Revival of Melee 6) dubbed by fans as the "Return of the King", culminating in a very respectable second-place finish at Apex 2014 against Dr. PeePee.
- ESAM's two sets against ZeRo at Apex 2014 were ridiculous. In Winners' Semis, he 2-0s ZeRo, with his Ice Climbers. This is made even better due to ZeRo having one of the best matchups against the Ice Climbers, period. (He defeated both Vinnie and Nakat, two of the best American Ice Climbers, at KTAR 8, one right after the other!)
- Dr. PeePee's undefeated run at Apex 2014, taking a set off of Mango and two sets off of the then-undefeated Mew2King, finally cementing Dr. PeePee as the best Melee player in the world. This included four-stocking Mew2King, twice!
- aMSa's Apex 2014 performance will never be forgotten. He managed to take 9th place among some of the best Melee players in the world, with Yoshi, a low tier character.
- Mew2King's victory over Armada at SKTAR 3. Mew2King lost a first close game with his Sheik, putting him down 1 in a best of 3 set. He then switches to Fox, where he makes not one, but two two-stock comebacks against Armada. What makes this epic is that ever since Armada has been competing in the United States as of GENESIS in 2009, Mew2King has not been able to beat him in tournament. That set marked the end of a five year block that Mew2King had not been able to overcome.
- Though there were plenty of hype moments at EVO 2014 for Smash Bros, the battle between Silent Wolf and Axe needs to be mentioned. Axe took the first set in a close battle, while Silent Wolf took set 2 in a match just as close. But the final set? Axe four-stocked Silent Wolf within 1 minute. This was met with a loud "PIKACHU" chant from the sold-out crowd.
- Nairo finally turns the tables against the reigning champion of Smash 4 ZeRo by beating him in the Grand Finals of MLG 2015, thus putting an end ZeRo's win streak. However, special mention does go to ZeRo for holding one of the longest tournament winning streaks in the Smash community, dominating a total of 56 tournaments, including (but not limited to) APEX, CEO, and EVO. And for bonus points, he became the first player in any game to win EVO without losing a single game.
- EVO 2016 Melee: Having to fight through the Losers Bracket and surviving a close call by Plup, Hungrybox nearly finds himself eliminated in the first Grand Final set by last year's champion Armada when he pulls off a comeback with only one stock and a high meter to reset the bracket. After Armada takes it to 2-1 in the second set, Hungrybox again survives elimination and forces one last match. Despite an attempted comeback by Armada with only one stock, Hungrybox gets the last laugh and after coming so close so many times, finally wins at EVO.
- EVO 2017 Smash 4 Finals: the contestants are ZeRo and Salem. ZeRo's Diddy Kong and Salem's Bayonetta seemed to be quite evenly matched; as soon as one lost a round, the other would come back with a vengeance. Salem manged to win 2-3 once already, and then the following comeback round, ZeRo stops fooling around and starts putting his all into the match, leading to another 2-2 final round situation. Salem knocked out the first of ZeRo's stocks with 101% damage and a single stock left, and it seemed like ZeRo would win this one...that is, until an epic recovery from Salem as the next flurry of kicks proceeds to bring ZeRo from 26% to DONE by pushing him straight to the top of the screen, finally ending the long struggle! An epic finish towards an epic final round.
- MK Leo became the first Mexican player to win an EVO title by taking on an entire slate of Japanese players... and winning. Using Marth and Cloud, he managed to navigate the relatively unknown sea of killers to take the EVO Japan 2018 title.
- EVO 2018 Melee: The "Five Gods" are dethroned. Leffen, considered to be "good but not good enough" for the longest time, not only ends up battling to Grand Finals, but defeats last year's winner, Armada, to win the tournament and become the EVO World Champion of Smash Bros. Melee, rightfully cementing his place among the greats.
- At Collision 2019, while not an especially notable event by itself, Nairo vs Light quickly became one of the most famous matches in Ultimate so far. Light, who had quickly established himself as one Ultimate's top players with 3 tournament wins and a 5th place finish at Ultimate supermajor GENESIS 6 under his belt, demolishes Nairo's main characters (Palutena and Zero Suit Samus) back-to-back with 2 (out of 3) stocks to spare. Nairo, with his back to the wall, pulls out his Ganondorf, a character that was notoriously awful in previous games and generally agreed to have a bad matchup against Fox. And despite this, Nairo proceeds to win the next 3 games, pulling one the biggest counterpick comebacks in Smash history.
- In Smash Ultimate's first EVO tournament, MKLeo cemented his place as the best player at the moment. But how he pulled it off was even more impressive. Despite being knocked into the loser's bracket by Kameme in top 32 winners, he tore through Maister, ScAtt, and Abadango to secure a Top 8 placement. From there, the rest of Top 8 would be a Curb-Stomp Battle in Leo's favor, demolishing Zackray, Raito, Samsora, and Glutonny... until he met Tweek in grand finals. Down 2-1 and on his tournament stock, MKLeo managed an incredible reverse 3 stock to seal the deal in game 4, giving birth to the Game 4 Leo phenomenon. After that he never looked back, winning the first set 3-2 and then handily 3-0ing Tweek in the second set to become EVO's first Ultimate champion.
- Special props go to the players in general for making it the biggest Smash tournament ever with 3,534 participants in total.
- Big House 9 was a tournament that had a lot of problems, such as a very late schedule for top 8 to the point where some people were sleeping on the floor while Grand Finals was happening. That said however, it also had one of the best runs from a Japanese player in America ever. Throughout the whole tournament, Zackray was in winners destroying everyone, including Tweek (who many considered to be the 2nd best player in the world at the time), Cosmos, RFang and MastaMario before getting into top 8. Once he reached top 8, he quickly lost to Maister and fell into the losers bracket. Throughout the losers bracket, he beat Tweek again and Nairo before running into Maister once again, who was sent to losers by Dabuz. What followed was an incredible reverse 3-0, where Zackray used Sonic to analyse how Maister was playing Game and Watch, after losing two games he switched into Joker and beat him every game, with every game getting progressively worse for Maister. The first match was fairly close, but Zackray won the second game by a fairly large margin, and in the last game, Zackray didn't even lose a single stock, getting a Summit placement in the meantime. Grand Finals was very anti-climatic in comparison, with Zackray only losing 1 game to Dabuz allowing him to take the entire tournament. At this point, it was clear that he was the best Japanese player by a considerable margin.
- Zackray performed an even longer losers run at Umebura SP 7 which was about 4 weeks after this, where he fell into Losers at Top 48 to Jagaimo, before taking the entire tournament while going solo Joker, including beating Kameme (who had previously defeated Leo's Joker at EVO), Shuton, Lea, shky, T, Raito, the Umebura SP 6 winner Kuro, and KEN twice in grand finals.
- Marss' run at GENESIS 7 cannot be overlooked. During the entire tournament, he only lost a total of three games, dropping two against Maister in winner's quarters, and one against Samsora in winner's finals. However, the real magic came in his showdown against MkLeo in grand finals, where Marss won in an incredibly close 3-0 with every single game going down to the final stock, while also snapping MkLeo's three-year winning streak at the event.
- Frostbite 2020 had an incredible amount of upsets, such as Japanese Fox player Paseriman defeating GENESIS 7 champion Marss, Elegant taking out EVO Japan 2020 champion Shuton, and Kameme and Samsora being sent to loser's bracket by Young Link main Toast. However, the most notable upset involved Prodigy defeating MKLeo 3-0 in a brutally dominant showing from the Norcal Mario player (which would be a MoA on its own for Prodigy). However, from that point on in the bracket, Leo tore through everyone in his way, including Salem, Dark Wizzy, Samsora, and Nairo to reach Top 8. However, Zackray had just recently been going on a similar losers run, going through Stroder, Marss, Elegant and Nietono after losing to VoiD. They ended up matching up in the first round of loser's side Top 8, with the set going into Zackray's favor almost immediately, having handily taken the first and third games of the set (the third game being a dominant 2-stock victory), but Leo was able to fight back and narrowly take games 4 and 5 and move on in bracket. After that, Leo would crush Dabuz in a dominant 3-0 victory before doing battle against Tea. Much to everyone's surprise, Tea ended up putting up even more of a fight than Zackray, with the set coming down to literally the last three frames, Leo taking the victory 3-2 (making this particular victory even more pronounced was that Leo, normally very stoic and unflappable, jumped out of his seat and celebrated after winning). After Tea, Leo ran into Tweek in loser's finals and much like many of their encounters throughout the latter half of 2019, Tweek ended up being reverse 3-0'd by Leo. In grands, Leo 3-0'd Maister twice, ultimately winning the tournament (and famously going Byleth for the final game). This is considered one of the greatest losers runs in all of Smash, and proved that MkLeo was still the best player in the world by a significant margin even after his 2nd place finish at GENESIS 7.
- If there was one standout player from the 2013 World Tekken Championships, it would be Alexandre "AK" Lavarez from the Philippines. Coming in as a virtual unknown (at least to the international community), AK just about dominated most of his matches before finally being stopped at 3rd place by the Koreans. The best part however, AK was only 12 when he entered the tournament (and actually celebrated his 13th birthday at the event).
- 2016 was an amazing year to be a Tekken fan. Considering the newest installment at that time, Tekken 7, had not yet been released for consoles, at the very least, longtime fans of the series were given one hell of a show by the various professional tournaments across the globe, which fans were able to watch live on Twitch or easily find videos of on YouTube.
- The hype all started at the end of the 2015 global tournament, which unveiled the updated title Fated Retribution, along with a completely unexpected character reveal: Akuma. There were no leaks prior to the trailer, and absolutely no hints to this came from Bandai Namco or elsewhere, which is particularly impressive given how information leaks can be a pressing problem among gaming companies in recent years.
- Anakin from Atlanta was one of the earliest 2016 tournament qualifiers for North America; however, he did so before the Fated Retribution update was available in the U.S. Because of this, and also because he wanted more experience with the game, he gave up his qualifying spot at least twice within the year before deciding to hold on to it until the North American finals. That means he won one tournament to qualify before giving up his spot; won another, qualified, and gave it up again; then won yet another tournament and finally decided to keep his qualifying spot.
- Rip, a pro Tekken player who's also famous as a commentator for and streamer of the game, had to fight hard for his spot in the North American finals. He came close more than a few times (including coming second place against Anakin in one tournament) before finally securing his spot during the middle of the year.
- In large part due to Akuma becoming part of Tekken, several notable Street Fighter players ventured into the professional Tekken scene, including Justin Wong, who participated in several tournaments. The most infamous SF player who did this, however, was Korean player Poongko, who not only participated in a few tournaments across North America, but actually won first place in two events as well. Unfortunately for the North Americans, only native first-placers were allowed to qualify for the North American finals, meaning the second-placers who lost to Poongko were not eligible to qualify. Prior to this year, the highest-placing North American players used to be eligible for the qualifying spot.
- Because of the many spots left open toward the end of the North American Tekken Tour, the Last Chance Qualifier held a day before the North American Finals had a total of nine tournaments back-to-back, which took over 15 hours all in all. It was a grueling experience for all its participants, especially since they were single-elimination tournaments, but a lot of players were still willing to take the opportunity to qualify for the North American Finals the following day.
- The North American Finals itself was quite an experience. The top 3 players, who qualified for the global tournament, included ITS Princess Ling, who qualified at one of the latter events of the tour; Anakin; and Mr. Naps, who qualified very early in the year, but unlike Anakin, chose to hold on to his spot. Mr. Naps's first-place finish in the North American Finals was made more impressive by how close he came to not even making it to the top 8 because of a three-way tie earlier in the tournament, where both his competitors were already one win ahead of him before he managed to move on.
- The 2016 global finals had more than a few highlights even before the Grand Finals.
- In a surprising twist for the North Americans, the only qualifier from the region who made it to Top 16 was Princess Ling; both Anakin and Mr. Naps were unable to secure enough wins to make it. Princess Ling didn't last long among the Top 16 as well, coming up against more well-versed Korean and Japanese players.
- Famed Tekken players Knee and Nobi were also eliminated within the Top 16. Knee has been a longtime Tekken veteran and was one of the more favored players to win; Nobi was the 2015 EVO and global tournament champion, and was unable to defend his title.
- The aforementioned AK, the youngest of the 32 qualifiers at 16 years old, went up to Top 8 before losing against Korean player Saint in a heavily contested battle.
- The Grand Finals itself was one of, if not THE most exciting tournament match of the entire year. Chanel's Alisa went up against Saint's Jack-7. Saint was on the loser's side and had to win three matches to reset the bracket, and then win another three matches to win the whole thing. Saint takes three matches and gets the reset, seemingly without any problem. Saint continues winning and gets another two matches with the same apparent ease. The apparent common thread was that the stage they played on had no walls; Jack-7, as noted by the commentators repeatedly, had more of an advantage without walls because he could get the space he needed without worrying about an opponent's offense decimating him against a wall due to his large hitbox. On the sixth match, with Saint apparently on tournament point, the stage changes to a walled stage, and suddenly Chanel manages to fight Saint off and get his first win. On the next match, the stage reverts to a wall-less stage, but Chanel rides the momentum and wins again, tying the score 2-2. The deciding match is set on a walled stage, and both players give their all, taking it all the way to a final round. Saint pulls out all the stops and defeats Chanel with a throwback Jack-2 attack grab to win the global finals. As a bonus, he continued the trend started by Nobi in 2015 of the EVO champion winning the global tournament; Saint was also the 2016 EVO champion earlier in the year.
- Rev Major 2017, the biggest Tekken tournament in the Philippines, would come to be one for the history books. The Filipino players held their own against some of the toughest Asian players from Korea, Japan, Thailand, among other places, and even though none of the native players managed to crack the Top 8, a lot of performances made sure that the rest of the world knew they were definitely not to be underestimated.
- Tanukana, one of the best Xiaoyu players in Japan, did not make it out of pools, losing to two different Filipino players, one of whom even played Xiaoyu as well in a mirror match.
- The biggest highlight of the night was definitely the Grand Finals — JDCR vs. Knee. Both are considered the highest-level Tekken players in the entire world, so that alone was reason enough to make the match exciting. There was, however, another story to this fight — they've had a complicated long-standing rivalry in Korea, with no love lost between one another. Both players gave it their all in what some viewers have dubbed the "Battle of the Gods," and JDCR, from the Losers Bracket, not only pulled off a reset, but managed to win against Knee after a hard-fought battle. But absolutely nobody expected the night to end with Knee and JDCR shaking hands, finally ending their ongoing feud.
- EVO 2017 had several memorable highlights, especially considering that it was the first time that the world finally had access to Tekken 7 as it came out a month prior to the event.
- Among the surprising breakout performances were: Suiken from Southern California, a Feng/Lei player who surprisingly chose to use Eliza, a DLC character, and managed to make it to Top 8 alongside Anakin, the most prominent North American Tekken player; Jeondding, a Lucky Chloe/Eddy player who came very close to beating JDCR; and Taisei, a Japanese Steve player whom nobody had even heard of until he entered EVO. Both USA players didn't last long among the Top 8, which included JDCR, Saint, Knee and Take, but Taisei made it all the way to 4th place.
- The two EchoFox Tekken players Saint and JDCR wound up fighting each other in the Grand Finals, with JDCR winning EVO and automatically qualifying him for the Tekken World Tour Finals.
- After the tournament ended, Katsuhiro Harada and Michael Murray, two of the Tekken Project leads, came up onstage and introduced another unexpected character reveal: Geese Howard.
- ABUGET Cup 2017 Losers Finals - Saint vs Doujin is insane just for the character picks alone. Saint picked Jack-7 and Bob while Doujin picked Gigas (one of the lower tiered characters), Dragunov and Shaheen. Five characters being picked in a tournament match is practically unheard of. In particular, Doujin's Gigas pulled a ridiculous win against Saint's Jack-7. Also notable in that this is the second time Doujin eliminated Saint in a tournament, the first one being at Rage Art 2017.
- The Tekken World Tour Korea Masters event probably featured one of the most surprising upsets of the entire tour. Another previously unknown Japanese player, Noroma, managed to win against Saint and JDCR to become the champion. Aside from having prevailed over JDCR, considered the best Tekken player in the world at the time (especially coming from the loser's bracket at Grand Finals), many people have noted that no Japanese player had ever managed to win in a Korean tournament until that moment.
- Qudans is an old legend from the days of Tekken 5: Dark Resurrection, known for his absolutely insane Devil Jin play and feared far and wide as "The Mishima God". 10 years later, he resurfaced at South East Asia Majors 2017, beating Noroma to secure a spot in the Tekken World Tour Finals. And it was there that the unthinkable happened: he beat JDCR AND Saint, the two reigning Echo Fox champions, to take home the title of Tekken World Champion.
- Master Cup 9 Grand Finals is between Team Anti-Benkei (Amigo, BKC, Kagemaru, Kowashiya Shiro, Manba) vs Team Yamasa (Batsu, Nishi Shinjiki, Nobi, Take, Yuu). Team Anti-Benkei is looking down as Batsu's Hwoarang singlehandedly destroyed them 4-0 and it's up to Kagemaru's Josie for their last chance at victory. Not only does Kagemaru beat Batsu, he reverse OCV'd Team Yamasa for the championship. To top it all of, Kagemaru won the final round against Yuu's Feng with a perfect.
- At EVO 2018, in a tournament full of Eastern veterans and stars, one man from the West stood out: Terelle "Lil Majin" Jackson, who managed to advance to Top 8, won the crowd over with his stellar King play and crowd antics, and also defeated EVO 2017 champion JDCR in the Winner's Semis 2-1 to advance. He finished 3rd after falling to eventual winner LowHigh and runner-up Qudans, giving America their highest ever placement in Tekken at EVO. A whole slew of new Tekken fans after that look to Lil Majin's showing as an inspiration, and for good reason.
- Even aside from Lil Majin's amazing performance, Tekken 7 itself as a game also made its mark on EVO for its player turnout. Not only did it keep its spot as an EVO game for three consecutive years, but unlike all the other games alongside it, including Street Fighter V as well the Smash Bros. games and several others whose participant numbers would decline steadily after consecutive showings, the number of participants for Tekken only kept increasing with each passing year, to the point that the EVO 2018 Tekken 7 tournament turned out to be the biggest Tekken tournament in history, with over 1,500 entrants!
- On the reveals side of things, Katsuhiro Harada, Michael Murray, and the Tekken Team continued to exceed expectations with the announcement of a second Season Pass, including returning characters Anna Williams and Lei Wulong, 3 other characters, and yet another out-of-left-field guest character... Negan from the American TV series The Walking Dead.
- Tekken World Tour Finals 2018. An event that ended in the most unexpected of ways. Not only did both JDCR and Saint fail to qualify for Top 8, but Reigning Champ Qudans made his way back to Grand Finals on Winner's Side. His opponent? Not Knee, but Rangchu, using PANDA. Even more impressive? Rangchu not only reset the bracket, but WON, making him the first player ever to win with one of Tekken's Bear characters. Even Tekken Producer Katsuhiro Harada was in shock before giving Rangchu his trophy:Harada: Eh, Panda. Panda, really?
- With another batch of character reveals, Harada and Murray took the stage again before Top 8 and revealed the rest of the Season 2 DLC characters: series veterans Armor King and Marduk (who were also made playable the day after the tournament), and a teaser of another returning character, Julia Chang. Longtime fans of the game were so ecstatic that a couple of pro players even rushed onstage after the trailers to give Harada a big hug and shake his hand to express their gratitude!
- And to top off the reveals, they finally showed some gameplay footage of the upcoming guest character Negan, using an elaborate CG tribute to his iconic execution scene on the show with the rest of the TV series cast replaced by Tekken characters.
- With another batch of character reveals, Harada and Murray took the stage again before Top 8 and revealed the rest of the Season 2 DLC characters: series veterans Armor King and Marduk (who were also made playable the day after the tournament), and a teaser of another returning character, Julia Chang. Longtime fans of the game were so ecstatic that a couple of pro players even rushed onstage after the trailers to give Harada a big hug and shake his hand to express their gratitude!
- EVO Japan 2019: an event that will not be forgotten for a long, long time. Several Tekken gods, including Knee, JDCR, Lowhigh, Nobi, Qudans, Chanel and Rangchu did not even make it into the Top 8. The Top 8 comprised an unexpectedly diverse selection of players, not just in terms of skills and reputation, but even with country representation, with a total of 6 different countries represented: South Korea, Japan, USA, Thailand, the Philippines, and of all places, Pakistan. Guess which one won the whole thing? Yep, the Pakistani player, Arslan Ash. He had begun building a reputation when Knee and Chanel traveled to a Middle East tournament and Knee in particular was defeated by him 6-0. And in this particular tournament, he started off on the Losers side of the bracket and proceeded to beat all the players from the other countries, including Thailand's Book, USA's JimmyJTran, Japan's Chikurin, Korea's CherryBerryMango and LowHigh, and finally the Philippines' AK in Grand Finals.
- To make the story even more interesting, he was this close to not being able to even go to EVO Japan in the first place due to issues with sponsoring and traveling, barely arriving at Fukuoka, Japan on the second day of the event, just in time to participate. It is rumored that Arslan started in the Losers Bracket because he wasn't able to make it to the Winners bracket.
- In fact in all of the EVO Tekken tournaments, this is the first time that neither a player from USA, Japan nor Korea made it to the Final Two.
- The Mixup 2019: The result of the first Master tournament of the Tekken World Tour 2019 has proved that EU can go toe-to-toe with the rest of the world, even Korea! The winner, Super Akouma, had an incredible run throughout the tournament, showing everyone his expertise on using the Difficult, but Awesome Akuma: landing a very difficult 90% damage combo, effective but stylish combos using FADC, tatsu crossups in a game without the idea of crossups, multiple tech traps, and finally, punishing a counter to a whiffed Raging Demon with an EX Shoryuken.
- EVO 2019 saw EVO Japan winner Arslan Ash continue his complete dominance of the Tekken world. Not a single player was able to beat Arslan all throughout his tournament run, staying in Winners' side all the way to the Grand Finals, where his closest rival, Knee, remained unable to defeat him. Despite Knee changing characters multiple times, cycling from Geese, to Kazuya, and Devil Jin, Arslan did not even need to change his Kazumi to beat everything Knee could throw at him, and Arslan handily won Grand Finals 3-2 to become the first Tekken player to win both EVO events in a single year.
- Tekken 7 at EVO broke its own record for most-attended Tekken tournament in history, this time reaching a total of 1,899 participants. And for the fourth year in a row, the number of attendees continued to increase, which is an incredible feat for such a relatively old fighting game within the tournament.
- EVO 2019 marked the first time Swedish Twitch streamer TheMainManSWE appeared in a major tournament. The official Twitch and YouTube steams were flooded with requests to see him live on stream. Unfortunately, he did not get into the streams, although fellow players recorded a few matches. He (admittedly) played poorly on Day 1, and got knocked down to Losers early. He fought back and made it all the way to Round 3. His final rank? 97th place. Talk about setting a high bar in your first EVO, considering how stacked the tournament was.
- The Tekken World Tour Finals 2019 looked to be an event that would belong to Pakistan. EVO Japan 2019 and EVO America 2019 champ Arslan Ash, ROXnRoll Dubai winner Awais Honey, and several of their fellow countrymen arrived to swarm the event's LCQ, with fellow Pakistani player Bilal claiming the spot over AK. And yet, to the shock of everyone watching, none of them qualified for Top 8. Instead, Japan reminded everyone that they are never to be underestimated, as Japanese Geese player Chikurin marched his way to victory, taking out fellow countryman Double, blowing up Knee in a clean 3-0 set, and doing the same to Ulsan's Kazumi to take home the title.
- Arslan Ash's elimination from Top 8 contention was marked by two climactic matches. Firstly, Shadow 20z, one of the youngest USA players, was already down 0-3 in his pool, and his final match was against Arslan Ash, which almost everybody thought was just a formality, aside from Arslan being highly favored in the tournament. To everyone's shock, Shadow managed to win against Arslan, which then set the stage for the continuation of the main 2019 rivalry of Arslan vs. Knee. This would turn out to be the decisive match of their pool, as due to their round-robin scores with Knee at 1-2 and Arslan 2-1, but Knee leading in terms of matches won, if Knee won even one match against Arslan, even if Arslan won two matches, the resulting 2-2 tie would still favor Knee. Regardless, after a hard-fought battle, Knee managed to get his revenge and beat Arslan 2-1, proving that he was still a match for Arslan's rising talent.
- As if the fact that none of the Pakistanis made it to Top 8 wasn't impressive enough, the deciding match for that to happen could not have been more dramatic. Awais Honey's Akuma had whittled LowHigh's Shaheen down to less than 5% of his health, with his own hovering dangerously low as well. In sheer desperation, LowHigh uses his Rage Art as Awais Honey hits him once more, resulting in just enough damage reduction for Shaheen to take the hit but survive with virtually a pixel of health left... and his Rage Art connected, killing Akuma and dashing Pakistan's hopes at the Top 8.
- Chikurin's Dark Horse Victory came with a nice touch of Foreshadowing courtesy of Nobi during one of the player interviews shown between matches. Aside from emphasizing the importance of a strong offline scene in terms of honing a player's skills in the game, he also stated one of his motivations for competing as a form of national pride, stating that "Tekken is a Japanese game." Sure enough, when Chikurin won the whole thing, all of his fellow Japanese players ran to his side and celebrated with him.
- Another important part of Chikurin's path to victory was his consistently strong performance with either his more frequent main throughout the year Geese Howard, or his old main Jin. And then, when he entered the Grand Finals against Ulsan, he brought out a shocking surprise pick: Akuma. Akuma had been the bane of the 2019 Tekken World Tour for a lot of the viewers because of what most players perceived as his constant "rule-breaking" of fundamental Tekken as well as his propensity for touch-of-death combos given the right execution and situation; and so it felt almost like a relief that nobody within the Top 8 was a known Akuma player. Chikurin actually stated after he won the TWT Championship that his Akuma pick was specifically for Ulsan.
- GentlemanThief's Jean vs. Itabashi Zangief's Shun in the Losers Finals at Sega Cup 2013 (playing Virtua Fighter 5 Final Showdown), in what came down to one of the closest matches of the tournament, with Itabashi gaining a lot of momentum and winning two rounds in a row, and then Gentleman Thief pulling off the win to go on to the grand finals. The fact that nearly every single character in the game was used in said tournament, and all used very effectively. It's great to see a variety of characters in a fighting game tournament, as opposed to others where only a handful of top tier characters are used.
- Sega Cup 2014: Newcomer Zekiel displaying some killer skill with his Jacky against Jacko's Jeffry, sidestepping and outspacing and mixing it up nicely with plenty of style. To quote Shidosha: "How well, do you know, your character?!" Also the grand final, with Itazan's Shun vs Fuudo's Lion, an incredibly tense and nerve-wracking match.