2017 EVO Championship Series: What you need to know

The Evolution Championship Series – known as EVO for short – is one of the biggest and oldest competitions in the world of fighting games, founded back in 1996 by Tom “inkblot” Cannon, Tony “Ponder” Cannon, Joey “MrWizard” Cuellar and Seth “S-Kill” Killian, where only two game tournaments where available at that time (Street Fighter Alpha 2 and Super Street Fighter II Turbo). Now in its 11th edition, the 2017 EVO Championship Series returns to the Mandalay Bay Sports Arena from July 14th to 16th, where some of the best fighting game players from the Middle East and the rest of the world will compete for glory in over 8 different game tournaments.

Not surprising, the 2017 EVO Championship Series will see tournaments for Street Fighter V, Tekken 7, Super Smash Bros. Wii U and Super Smash Bros. Melee, returning from previous year, while Guilty Gear Xrd -Revelator- will be replaced by its sequel Guilty Gear Xrd Rev 2, and fans of Arc System Works’ games will also be able to compete in BlazBlue: Central Fiction. Finally The King of Fighters series will return to the championship series after a two year hiatus with The King of Fighters XIV, and Mortal Kombat X has been removed from the roster to leave place for Injustice 2, especially since that tournament will have the highest amount of Injustice 2 Pro Series points and the biggest prize pool in the global championship.

Curious about what’s going to happen this year? Here’s everything you need to know about 2017 EVO Championship Series and how watch each of the tournaments live from the comfort of your house, as well as the known Arab players competing at this world class event.

BlazBlue: Central Fiction, Guilty Gear Xrd Rev. 2 and The King of Fighters XIV – The people’s choice

Possibly one of the highlight of the EVO Championship Series in 2014 was BlazBlue: Chrono Phantasma with the largest prize pool of that year – a whopping $35,000 – which saw Keiji “Garireo” Okamoto and Ryo “Dogura” Nozaki fight in an epic 10 round battle for that prize. Sadly, the 2015 and 2016 versions were not featured in the championship series, but the return of BlazBlue: Central Fiction might show promise, considering the game has been well received by its community. That tournament will start on July 14th at 7PM Egypt time, 8PM KSA time and 9PM UAE time.

Recently launched by Arc System Works, the latest version of Guilty Gear Xrd will also be present at EVO Championship Series, with [KSA] Badr “BadoorSNK” Alomair being the only competitor from the Middle East in this tournament, starting on July 14th at 7PM Egypt time, 8PM KSA time and 9PM UAE time.

Finally, SNK’s flagship license has been absent for some time from the competitive scene, but this year will see its return, with The King of Fighters XIV and a prize pool of over $17,000, and four known player from the GCC Majors scene will be competing in: [OMN] Saeed “Mr_Flamenco” Abdul Ghafoor, [UAE] Mohammad “Zantetsu” Albanna , [UAE] Waqas “White-AshX” Ali, [UAE] Naveed “Violence” Ashraf (Cannes Winter Clash KOFXIV top 4) and [KSA] Badr “BadoorSNK” Alomair. That tournament will be starting on July 14th at 9PM Egypt time, 10PM KSA time and 11PM UAE time.

[UAE] Naveed “Violence” Ashraf at the 2017 Cannes Winter Clash KOFXIV top 4

[UAE] Naveed “Violence” Ashraf (on the left) at the 2017 Cannes Winter Clash KOFXIV top 4

Injustice 2 – SonicFox is aiming for his 4th EVO Championship trophy, but will he win it?

After an epic Mortal Kombat X showdown at EVO 2016 between [USA] Dominique “SonicFox” Mclean from Echo Fox and [BAH] Sayed “Tekken Master” Hashem (now with Nasr eSports), the NetherRealm fighting game has been removed to give place to Injustice 2 as part of the global tournament: the Injustice 2 Pro Series.

Running since May 26th with a series of premier, online and ranking tournaments all over the world, the IPS 2017 has a combined prize pool of $600,000 Prize Pool, with $58,000 so far given to the tournament at EVO 2017, where some of the biggest names will be competing alongside our Middle East champion Sayed Hashem (currently 5th on the global leaderboards), including WhiteBoi, Forever King and Slayer to name a few.

The tournament will kick off on July 14th, at 7PM Egypt time, 8PM KSA time and 9PM UAE time with the final rounds starting on July 15th at 11PM Egypt time, followed by midnight KSA time and 1AM UAE time on July 16th, livestreamed on the NetherRealm official Twitch channel. Will we see another final between Tekken Master and SonicFox?

Sayed Hashem might have lost in the grand finals of MKX at EVO 2016, but he's aiming for the gold with Injustice 2 this year

Sayed Hashem might have lost in the grand finals of MKX at EVO 2016, but he’s aiming for the gold with Injustice 2 this year

Street Fighter V – Will Seonwoo “Infiltration” Lee finally lose the crown?

Without much surprise, Street Fighter V is one of the first choices of EVO Championship Series. In full swing in its second season of the Capcom Pro Tour, Street Fighter V has been quite popular since its launch in 2015, with over 2600 players competing this year at the EVO Championship Series tournament, including couple of known players form the Middle East such as [UAE] Mohammad “Zantetsu” Albanna, [UAE] Naveed “Violence” Ashraf, [UAE] Waqas “White-AshX” Ali and [UAE] Adel “Big Bird” Anouche from the UAE’s Nasr eSports club. Currently ranked 4th on the European leaderboards and 23rd on the global one, his win or top 3 position at EVO 2017 could potentially seal the deal for the young UAE player to reach the Capcom Pro Tour world finals, with 1000 points up for grabs.

Probably the most difficult of all the EVO 2017 tournaments, with a $76,220 prize pool so far, the Street Fighter V challenge will see the return of 2-times defending champion Seonwoo “Infiltration” Lee and Kun Xian Ho from Team Razer, the 2016 Capcom Pro Tour Champion Du “NuckleDu” Dang from the US, and many more Street Fighter veterans. Who knows, maybe Infiltration will finally hand over the crown to a newcomer this year?

The pools for this tournament will be played on both July 14th and 15th, with the final round on the EVO 2017 main stage on July 16th, livestreamed live on official Capcom Pro Tour Twitch channel on July 17th at 4AM Egypt time, 5AM KSA time and 6AM UAE time https://www.twitch.tv/capcomfighters

Big Bird at Capcom Pro Tour Dreamhack Summer 2017 and now currently 4th on European CPT leaderboards

Big Bird at Capcom Pro Tour Dreamhack Summer 2017 and now currently 4th on European CPT leaderboards

Super Smash Bros. For Wii U and Super Smash Bros. Melee – Will the Swedish Armada finally beat the Hungry USA Champion?

With a record audience last year of over 200’000 spectators during the final stages, Super Smash Bros. For Wii U and Super Smash Bros. Melee deserved their spot in the 2017 roster of tournaments at EVO 2017. Even if Super Smash Bros. Melee is a 15 years old game and playable on GameCube, the tournament is currently racking a prize pool of $14,000, and is leading on the front of participants, with all eyes on the 2016 champion [USA] Juan “Hungrybox” Debiedma and his rival [SWE] Adam “Armada” Lindgren. Will the Swedish Armada finally beat the Hungry USA Champion?

HungryBox Wins at EVO 2016 was an emotional roller coaster

HungryBox Wins at EVO 2016 was an emotional roller coaster

Tekken 7 – The king is back

Despite its late release this year on June 2nd, Tekken 7 Seems to have made quite an impression on the competitive scene. The 3D fighting game produced by Bandai Namco has more than 33 playable characters, which was probably a challenge for professional players to get used to before this major challenge. Like the Capcom Pro Tour and the Injustice 2 Pro Series, Tekken 7’s tournament at EVO 2017 is part of the Tekken World Tour, with the largest prize pool in the world series (over $27,000) and the largest chunk of pro points in the global leaderboards.

Starting on July 14th at 7PM Egypt time, 8PM KSA time and 9PM UAE time, the tournament has over 1200 entrants, including Omani player Saeed “Mr_Flamenco” Abdul Ghafoor and surprisingly Bahraini Sayed “Tekken Master” Hashem from Nasr eSports. What kind of tricks is up Tekken Master’s sleeves? I guess we’ll find out.

The big 9 games at EVO 2017

The big 9 games at EVO 2017

Want to get your fighting game career kicked off in the Middle East? The upcoming UAE Live Qualifier of the PLG Nationals Injustice 2 Tournament Series are happening on July 22nd at Vox Cinemas, Mall of the Emirates. Registration is live right now on our website, and is your last chance to reach one of the last 2 spots in the regional finals, for a prize pool of $5000, and a chance to continue on to the PLG Pro Tour and PLG Grand Slam for bigger rewards. Prize pool at the Regional Finals will be split into $3000 for first place, $1500 for second place and $500 for third place. The grand champion will also be flying and accommodated in the UK, to compete at VSFighting 2017, one of the international Injustice 2 Championship Series Premiere Event, for a prize pool of over $20000 and ranking points for the global tournament, from the 12-13 August, Millennium Point, Birmingham. For all the latest information about the PLG Nationals Injustice 2 Tournament Series, you can follow us on on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter, as well as the official or you can also click here to visit the dedicated PLG Nationals Injustice 2 Tournament Series page.