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Evo 2023: how (and what) to watch

Evo 2023: how (and what) to watch


Evo’s biggest year yet is offering some choice fighting game action.

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EVO World Championships 2018 - Day 3
Photo by Joe Buglewicz/Getty Images

Evo 2023 — the world’s premier fighting game tournament — kicks off today at 1PM ET and lasts until Sunday night. This year is shaping up to be the tournament’s biggest year ever, with several games, including Street Fighter 6, breaking their all-time records for number of participants. Whether you’re watching from home or live in Las Vegas, here’s when, where, and, most importantly, what to watch at Evo 2023.

As in previous years, Evo’s tournaments are split between several stages and Twitch / YouTube channels. Typically, a game’s first, second, and third rounds are broadcast from smaller stages, while a game’s finals take place on the main stage and broadcast from the main Evo Twitch and YouTube channels. You can see the full schedule here.

This year’s featured games include Mortal Kombat 11 Ultimate, Melty Blood: Type Lumina, The King of Fighters XV, Dragon Ball FighterZ, Tekken 7, Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3, Guilty Gear Strive, and of course, the debut of Street Fighter 6.

Graphic from EVO 2023 breaking down the number of participants for each of the eight fighting games. 1. Street Fighter 5 7,061 2. Guilty Gear Strive 2,481 3. Tekken 7 1580 4. Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 1,346 5. Dragon Ball FighterZ 838 6. The King of Fighters XV 666 7. Melty Blood: Type Lumina 554 8. Mortal Kombat 11 Ultimate 449
Image: EVO

Starting on Friday at 1PM ET, you can watch round one of any of the main eight games, but I’ll be watching the main stage for a special industry showcase event that puts the Evo spotlight on up-and-coming indie fighters. I’m especially jazzed to see 5 Force Fighters, a game I fell in love with earlier this year at GDC, will be one of the featured games.

I’m also looking forward to seeing the Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 tournament. Marvel vs. Capcom is a legendary fighting game series responsible for some of the hypest moments (and memes) in fighting game history. However, 2017 was the last year a Marvel vs. Capcom game was featured at Evo, marking the end of a 15-year-long run. Marvel vs. Capcom’s long-awaited return to the Evo stage comes courtesy of Evo’s first-ever throwback tournament, meant to highlight older but still beloved games in the fighting game community.

I can only imagine, given the quality of UMVC3 commentary and the pent-up energy from the game’s long absence, that UMVC3 is going to make for an incredible viewing experience.

Street Fighter 6’s launch exploded the fighting game community, reinvigorated a flagging fanbase, and is generally a really good game, even for casual players not embedded in the fighting game community. SF6’s Evo debut broke the Street Fighter franchise and all-time Evo tournament records for the most number of competitors, with 7,061 fighters. With that kind of support, I expect the level of competition to be exceedingly high.

I love watching fighting games. They’re easy enough to follow, and the sheer love the community has for these games bleeds through the screen directly into your chest. When the crowd yells, you’ll yell. When the commentators yell, you’ll probably be half-dead of a hype-induced stroke. Evo is some of the best competitive gaming you can watch, so make sure you catch it this weekend.