Our Pandas started bright and early at EVO with some, always lovely, 8 a.m. pools! The morning grind paid off however when almost all of our Pandas survived pools in Winners!
We saw our first win of the day for PG with Coach Steve taking it on stream in DBFZ, followed up with wins from from almost all the rest of our early bird players! SKD had a tough time against the insane Japanese BBTag players in Semis on Friday night. He faced Cyclops Osaka Fenritti, one of the top BlazBlue players in the world. This clash didn’t go in our Panda’s favor, however, and SKD was sent to the Loser’s Bracket. He then faced Kyami and was ultimately eliminated with a 17th place finish. Coach Steve also competed for Injustice 2, though unfortunately came just shy of Grand Finals being eliminated by NASR Tekken Master.
MarlinPie also was playing in DBFZ on top of his main title: Guilty Gear. He wasn’t able to crack through pools in either title
On Saturday, we were up against another busy day , starting bright and early. First off, we had our Melee boys pushing through the next wave of pools. Zain would go into semis against SS Colbol though quickly moved on to Winner’s Quarter Final after a [2-0] win. Our guy then had to face none other than Liquid Hungrybox, however our Marth main couldn’t keep momentum and was sent to the Loser’s Bracket [0-2]. Zain had a back to back with Melee legends as he faced Armada; our Panda was ultimately defeated and eliminated with a 9th place finish for EVO. Plup however strided from Winner’s Semis to Winner’s Top 8 defeating G2 Westballz and Wizzrobe along the way.
We next saw Hayatei play Top 8 for Injustice 2, marking him two for two in EVO finals appearances for the title. Hayatei was on the Loser’s side after losing to Noble Semij in Winner’s Quarter Finals. He would defeat Method SylverRye and continue on to Loser’s Quarter Final against Big D. After a tough set, Hayatei was eliminated with a 5th place finish.
Moving on to SFV, Infiltration took on the long days of EVO while balancing a lot of media and jet lag. Infil carried on through into Winner’s Round 1 of Semi-Finals against xl Hurricane. Our Panda fell short of the tough Cammy matchup with Menat and Juri and was ultimately sent to Loser’s [1-2]. Infil then faced Mo-Joe, but couldn’t push any longer and was ultimately eliminated out of the tournament with a 33rd place finish at EVO.The fighting wasn’t finished however as our guy played at Twin Galaxies Fight Club against Tokido in a First-to-5! The late night brawl got to our guy, and fell 5-2. Playing against one of the world’s best is no small task especially after the long day he had. After some self-reflection, our Panda is ready to get his focus back and spend more time in the lab to keep form before his next event!
Next up we had Smash Wii U with great strides from our team. ESAM was sent to Loser’s just before Semis by Lima, that didn’t get our Panda down however as he pushed in Semis all the way to face Yoshimoto Choco. The match didn’t go in ESAM’s favor however with a [1-2] loss and a 13th place finish. Our newest Panda: Cosmos leaped into Semis on the Winner’s side of things against falln. After coming up short [1-2] our Panda kept his head high and moved onward to face fellow Panda MVD. The match was devastatingly close between the two making it so hard for our team to cheer for either side. The result was [2-1] in MVD’s favor with a trip to Top 8 for him while Cosmos was eliminated at 9th.
MVD came in hot to his Top 8 performance, after defeating top players and water bottles along the way. His first opponent was well known Japanese Duck Hunt player: Candee Raito. The sets were extremely tense throughout but our man clinched it [2-1]! He then pushed onward against Mistake to a battle for Loser’s Semi Finals. The tough matches resulted in a [0-2] loss for MVD and a respectable 5th place finish. MVD has worked hard up to this and we couldn’t be more proud of our Panda!
During the same time of Wii U finals, our TEKKEN Panda Speedkicks was grinding through the Semi-Finals. Kicks was here to prove a lot with an incredibly strong set against EQNX Dimeback [2-0]. Matches would only get harder from here as our guy pushed on to face top player Echo Fox Saint. The first round was a clean take for Kicks but our guy couldn’t keep through and fell [1-2]. In Loser’s Speedkicks took on Doujin in a brawlout to push on in Loser’s. He couldn’t keep up momentum though and fell with a 17th place finish for the weekend. All of his training and high-level reads are surely paying off and we look forward to what he’s got next!
Capping everything off for the weekend, Plup would step onto the Top 8 stage once again. The Sheik master himself faced off against C9 Mango. After some intense back and forths between the two giants, Plup stayed on top with a [2-0] win over the Falco. He then faced TSM Leffen in Winner’s Finals though couldn’t keep up with the Fox main and fell [0-3] into Loser’s Finals. Our Panda had to play another tough opponent, Armada in a Sheik-Fox match. After a hard fought battle, Plup was eliminated [0-3] and took home the bronze for the weekend.
Apart from tournaments we had several players visit the Geico booth for meet and greets as well as some friendlies with the fans. ESAM and Infiltration were also invited to play in a Smash Ultimate Exhibition against some other teams. We actually took second to NRG and it looked like our players had a blast at the Nintendo booth!
And after all of the craziness, EVO 2018 is in the books. We’re incredibly proud of the growth this team has made in the year since last EVO with 18 incredible Pandas representing in the FGC and Smash Community. From everyone at PG thank you for showing love this weekend to the team! As for what’s next, be sure to check out Zain and Infil take part in the annual SFV X SBBM Showdown by HyperX on August 7.
And be sure to stay tuned to our Twitter and Instagram to see all the events we have planned soon!
- Photos and article by Zackary Potter