This year, EVO features, Street Fighter V, Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3, Mortal Combat X, Killer Instinct, Guilty Gear X RD, Pokken, Tekken 7, Smash 4, and Melee. Winning an EVO is one of the biggest accomplishments for any fighting game player.
History for Newer Players
EVO is a special tournament for many Melee players and fans, not just because of its prestige, but because of its role in the revival of Melee. Back in 2013, a fundraising competition was held for Breast Cancer Research. The community that raised the most money would be awarded a spot in the EVO 2013 line up. After a close battle versus the Skullgirls community, Melee sealed their ticket to EVO after raising an astonishing $94,683. Through the efforts of a small, grassroot, and at the time, twelve year old community, Melee was back from the brink of extinction.
From there, the rest was history. EVO has been a tournament full of storylines, which includes, the community overcoming Nintendo’s ban on the live streaming of Melee in 2013, Mango’s back to back EVO championship wins in 2013 and 2014, Armada’s long awaited win in 2015 after coming back from retirement, and the record breaking number of entrants and viewers Melee has set for the past years. Last year alone, Melee had 1,869 entrants and had over 200,000 viewers
If the last three paragraphs were not enough, check out these EVO 2016 Hype Videos
More information on the history of Melee can be found below (I only recommend the first 10-15 minutes since it is a year old)
The Four Way Split at the top:
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In the past, there was always a player going into EVO looking unstoppable and the favorite to win. Last year it was Leffen, the year before that it was Mango. However, this year is different because there is no big favorite to win EVO, and the past few months have been a testament to that. In a short span, we have seen Armada’s reign come to an end, Hungrybox’s dominance in America, the return of “try-hard” Mango, and a determined and confident Mew2King. Any of these players can take the EVO 2016 title and it may in fact come down to who is playing their best that weekend.
If you are interested in the four Gods going to EVO 2016, Daniel “Tafokints” Lee wrote a wonderful piece for Yahoo eSports
The Big Stage:
After this past year, the big stage is nothing new to Melee players. For example, the final day of Genesis 3 was held at the San Jose Convention Center. However, EVO 2016 might be the largest stage yet in which professional Melee players will be able to set foot on. The final day of EVO 2016 will be at the Mandalay Bay Events Center, which seats a whopping 12,000 people. A stage this big seems fitting for Melee, but it will also be a test for the 8 players that have fought to make it to the final day. How these players handle under the same lights the pressure confusing will be crucial in securing wins over their opponents. One thing for sure is there will be 12,000 people chanting, screaming, and maybe even crying on the final day of EVO 2016.
Emphasis on mentality and preparation:
As Melee is becoming more and more competitive, there has been a large shift towards mental and physical preparation. Playing at peak form one day in many cases is the difference between the gold or just another Top 8 finish at the highest level. So, the importance of preparing to be at peak condition for a major has never been this crucial. For instance, Hungrybox has acquired a coach to help him break down his matches and mentally prepare for the upcoming ones. We have even seen Wizzrobe get a nutritionist to improve his eating habits before and during a tournament. Lastly, we have seen Mango change his lifestyle by limiting his drinking and late nights. And with all of these players, the results are definitely showing in their performances. How top players treat their bodies these last few days before EVO 2016 and during the event will play a pivotal role in what Top 8 we will see on Sunday. In the words of Bobby Knight, coach of 1984 U.S.A. men’s basketball team, “The key is not the will to win. Everybody has that. It is the will to prepare to win that is important.”
Sponsorship is nothing new to the competitive world of Super Smash Bros. Melee, with new teams such as, Echo Fox, Selfless and Dream Team picking up their own Melee player(s). The list of available free agents are getting smaller and smaller with only a handful of players without a real big eSports sponsor. Some examples of top unsponsored players that could place well in EVO 2016 are, Druggedfox, Colbol, The Moon, and Swedish Delight.
Ice going into EVO 2016:
2016 has been filled with highs and lows. His highs include a Top 8 finishes at Genesis 3, 1st at B.E.A.S.T. 6 Melee doubles with Leffen, and 2nd at DreamHack Summer 2016. On the other hand, some of his lows are his 18th place finishing at Battle of the Five Gods and failing to make it into the Top 8 of GOML. Mainly after his GOML 2016 performance, our Ice took a step back to reset himself for DreamHack 2016 and more importantly EVO 2016.
Despite, Ice’s lack of attendance in other Smash Majors, such as CEO 2016 and WTFox 2 prior to EVO 2016, his performances in DreamHack Summer 2016 in June and Super Smash Sundays #48 just last Sunday showed viewers a glimpse of what to expect from Ice this weekend. For those who did not catch the match, Ice reverse 3-0 to reset the bracket on Lucky, the man who eliminated Ice with a quick 3-0 at GOML, and afterwards won 3-2 again to take the tournament over Lucky. What is more impressive than coming from losers is Ice’s new perspective of the game, which has allowed him to bring out the most of his abilites.
“So what I learned, and what works for me at least is that it all comes down to your definition of losing, like how you see losing. You can see losing as a learning experience or part of the script.” – mYi|Ice
With a rejuvenated, happy, and confident Ice going into EVO 2016 this weekend, the sky is the limit for him. Even Cloud 9’s Mango who was commentating Ice’s matches was impressed with Ice’s performance at SSS #48.
“Ice’s tech skill is like so unique. He is very technical in a different way… Ice is secretly super good… Ice is nuts right now ” – C9|Mango
If you want to see what Mango means by “ICE IS NUTS!!!” check out Ice’s two latest combo videos made by Josue Velasquez (@josue_dv) and Steven Eugene respectively.
Be sure to cheer on mYi|Ice and your other favorite Smashers at EVO 2016. You can find the stream schedule below!