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Wild mind games and Arslan_Ash's fantastic losers bracket run: EVO Japan finals highlights for Tekken 7 and BlazBlue Cross Tag Battle

EVO Japan gave us the announcements of when we'll be seeing Julia and Negan join Tekken 7's roster plus showed off four new characters for BlazBlue Cross Tag Battle, but we also saw quite the competition go down.

Both franchises were once again represented on the EVO mainstage where the best players from around Japan and the whole world came together to show who is the strongest and has the best nerves out there.

Pakistan-native VS|Arslan_Ash made an amazing and potentially historic run through the losers bracket in Tekken 7 taking home the championship with Kazumi while Tsurugi|Tomo/Relo beat back to back team scythes to win his title.

We've collected some of the best highlights from both tournaments' top 8 runs.

Mind games, repeated run-up command grabs, perfect rounds, full life comebacks and more can all be found below plus we also detailed potentially the best sets of this weekend in Guilty Gear's finals.

Let's start things off with Arslan_Ash's huge day coming from the losers side using Kazumi and her Tiger landing a perfect on Jimmy J Tran to go up to match point. That wouldn't stop J Tran from staying alive, however.

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Anime Ascension 2019 early results, stream ft. Jona, SKD, KidViper, MarlinPie, KizzieKay, Blaze, LPT, BrkrDave, Hotashi, JDR, Betadood, Clim and more

This weekend is hosting the 2019 installment of Anime Ascension, which is taking place in Irvine, California.

First, I'd like to note my regret at not being able to post this event sooner than finals day, which is simply because of how many resources EVO Japan took up this weekend.

However, the best part of the event is still to be seen, so make sure to tune in for the hype finals of the main games which all had around 60 entrants each.

The main titles being played are BlazBlue: Central Fiction, Under Night In-Birth EXE: Late[st], BlazBlue: Cross Tag Battle and Guilty Gear Xrd REV 2.

Some of the notable players attending include Jona, PG|SKD, KidViper, PG|MarlinPie, UYU|KizzieKay, BxA|Blaze, LPT, BrkrDave, Hotashi, KPB|JDR, Betadood, CATPION|Daymendou, Clim and UYU|BeautifulDude, though there are many more as well, of course.

Streaming is being done at LevelUp Live.

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Danger Time, insanely fast perfects and mix-ups for days: Summit and Chachacha had the best sets at EVO Japan in Guilty Gear Xrd REV 2

EVO Japan 2019 has now wrapped up its second year, and while Guilty Gear didn't get any new announcements this weekend, the game provided us with perhaps the hypest matches of the entire event.

WG|Summit managed to take 25th place in Guilty Gear Xrd REV 2 at the inaugural event last year, but he came back even stronger with his boy Chipp Zanuff to win the entire thing despite a brick wall standing in his path.

Chachacha on the other hand doesn't appear to travel much for tournaments, but he almost always places high when he does go to a major using his oft forgotten Kum Haeyun.

The pair met in both winners and grand finals giving us incredibly close sets with very different styles each time as their grand finals match would come down to the last game and last round after the bracket reset.

Summit engaged in a high octane offensive based approach with teleporting, dashing and flying all over the screen for mix-ups while Chachacha would try to lock him down in place with Kum's powerful strikes and orb abilities.

We've collected the best highlights from their winners finals and grand finals sets plus we also highly suggest you take a look at their full finals set after the jump because it's quite the spectacle. Let's start things off where Chachacha tried to use Burst Super to stop Summit's comeback in winners finals that ultimately got countered in a way that Tasty Steve says he'd never seen before.

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Time freeze glitch countered by... a rock? Funny sequence causes Blanka to panic against Cody's apparently impenetrable defense in Street Fighter 5

For those that currently aren't in the know, a glitch was recently discovered for Blanka in Street Fighter 5: Arcade Edition. Or maybe I should refer to him as "Blanka, the Time Lord"?

By canceling the Critical Art into his forward hop using a plink of the punch button and forward and all three kicks, Blanka is able to freeze time and set up an infinite. Capcom is aware of the issue and plans on releasing a patch to address it in the future.

Although this exploit is already being banned at major events like EVO Japan, those of us who seek to increase our ranking in online matches will simply have to deal with this phenomenon. If you're not trying to do it with Blanka then it's an uphill battle for sure.

The River recently posted a humorous sequence that showcased one of his matches against a Grand Master Blanka player who wasn't afraid to utilize the game breaking bug. There may be a counter if you're a Cody player.

With only about a sliver of life remaining for the Blanka user, desperate measures were used. Unfortunately for the player, The River had access to his V-Trigger. This allowed him to toss rocks upwards which formed sort of a shield in front of him.

You can tell that the hit box of the rock was active during the time freeze as Blanka went into his blocking animation while trying to back off. He tried several times, but each rock toss did not drain Cody's V-Gauge.

Eventually, the Blanka user panicked and attempted to slide under the rock and push himself and Cody away from the rock. Things did not work out as planned...

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EVO Japan 2019 results

Update: This story has been updated with final results.

The second installment ever of one of the biggest tournament expansions we've seen is here this weekend, namely the expansion of the EVO brand to Japan, with EVO Japan 2019.

This year, it's taking place in Fukuoka rather than Tokyo, and although entrants aren't as high as they were in last year's monumental premier year, the entrants certainly aren't anything to scoff at.

Over 1000 players are participating in Street Fighter 5: Arcade Edition, over 500 in Tekken 7, and roughly between 200-300 each for Guilty Gear Xrd REV 2, BlazBlue: Cross Tag Battle, Soul Calibur 6 and King of Fighters 14, respectively.

While these 6 games are the main titles at the event, there'll be an absolutely insane amount of side tournaments as well, so make sure you keep in tune with all of the action.

Players participating are a bit too plentiful to list, but just count on the vast majority of Asian top players — and many other top players from other regions of the world — being present and competing.

Streaming is being done at EVO, EVO 2, EVO 3 and EVO 4.

Side events are set to be streamed at KVO Japan 01, KVO Japan 02, KVO Japan 03 and KVO Japan 04.

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Julia Chang and Negan trailers released for Tekken 7, both characters out on February 28th — Tekken World Tour 2019 details also shared

Today, right before the Top 8 was set to take place for Tekken 7 at EVO Japan 2019, we got a little surprise.

Tekken series producer Katsuhiro Harada and game designer Michael Murray stepped up on stage for an announcement.

First, Harada told everyone about the recent announcement that he will be in charge of eSports for all of Bandai Namco's fighting game titles, meaning Tekken 7, Dragon Ball FighterZ and Soul Calibur 6, moving forward.

They then went on to explain that the Tekken World Tour will receive a number of changes this year, saying that the Tekken World Tour will begin this year at The Mixup in Lyon, France on April 20th, and that they will have many new tournaments added to the circuit. It was also said that the points structure will be changed, with more details to come later.

Another point that's been brought up in the past is the prize money pool for the world tour finals, which Harada said has a lot of obstacles to it because of legal restrictions in Japan, but that they're working their best to be able to increase the prize money this year.

They announced that on March 12th, they will be revealing the full details of the Tekken World Tour, and to please look forward to that. Finally, he also noted that this year, the Tekken World Tour Finals will be held somewhere to-be-announced later in Asia (after being held in North America 2017, and Europe 2018).

Of course, this wasn't all, as they then proceeded to show us a Tekken 7 trailer for the next upcoming character, Julia Chang, and then another trailer for Negan, who hijacked it by threatening Harada to release him alongside Julia. Both characters are set to be released on February 28th.

You can find images here, and the trailers below.

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Naoto Kurogane, Teddie, Seth, and Arcana Heart's Heart Aino announced for BlazBlue: Cross Tag Battle

Naoto Kurogane, Teddie, Seth, and Heart Aino have been announced as upcoming DLC for BlazBlue: Cross Tag Battle. These announcements came following the BlazBlue: Cross Tag Battle grand finals at EVO Japan 2019.

Teddie (or Kuma in Japanese) comes from Persona 4: Arena. Meanwhile, Naoto Kurogane originated from BlazBlue: Central Fiction.

As for Seth, he typically appears in the Under Night In-Birth series. Finally, Heart Aino is the first representative from Arcana Heart 3 to join the fight.

Naoto Kurogane's title was stated to be "Bloodedge Kindred." Teddie was declared to be "the Beast in Heat."

Seth is simply the "Assassin." Finally, Heart Aino is referred to as "the Angel Who Fights for Love and Justice."

No information about the release dates of these combatants were released other than "coming soon" and "2019 Spring." Notably, the words "next update" appeared before these reveals so they might become available with the next patch.

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ESAM lists his best 10 moves in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate

Typically in a fighting game, certain characters are armed with moves that are exceptionally strong. Although this can often result in a fighter achieving top tier status, sometimes even a low tier can gain access to a ridiculous attack or two.

PG|ESAM recently released his top 10 best moves in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate list. Everything featured comes from version 2.0.0 of the game.

Being that it's no secret that ESAM is a big believer in Pikachu's capabilities in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. It's no surprise that he listed the character's Quick Attack up special, but it was only at number ten.

Meanwhile, Pichu's forward tilt ranks at number nine on ESAM's list. Other upper tiered combatants have their moves featured like Olimar, Mega Man, and Snake.

Of course, ESAM apparently thinks very highly of Ganondorf's neutral aerial and Incineroar's Revenge (counter). Notably, these two are often regarded as mid tiers or lower on professional lists.

Being that ESAM is a top competitor for Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, his knowledge about the game is already great. As a result, he offers detailed and interesting explanations about each referenced move during the video. It's definitely worth checking out.

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Leaked unknown abbreviation for Mortal Kombat 11 may be Geras as early name during development

Not too long ago, Steam updated its trophy database page for Mortal Kombat 11. Some interesting details about the upcoming game may have been leaked as a result.

Longtime Mortal Kombat fans were able to discern a number of names based on abbreviations found in the trophy ID list. Notably, "JAD" was found here shortly before Jade was officially announced.

There were three names that users were unable to identify — "TER," "CET," and "KOL." A bit of excitement was stirred up as "TER" possibly could've been the Terminator.

Still, this seemed somewhat unlikely as guest characters in NetherRealm Studios games were typically reserved as DLC. Some sort of newcomer seemed more likely.

A recent image on Reddit seems to suggest that Geras may have used another name during Mortal Kombat 11's development. This picture shows Sonya — using the "mkday son var2" variation — fighting against Geras — using the "mkday2 ter var2" variation.

These could be unnamed variations that simply reference information from the code of the game by default. There wouldn't necessarily be a need for the programmers to change references of "ter" after renaming the character to Geras as players aren't intended to see these snippets of information.

Geras is "TER"? image #1
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Urien is king, everyone isn't playing Birdie or Blanka now and Kage didn't show up: EVO Japan character usage stats for Street Fighter 5's top 128

EVO Japan is back for its second year with six main stage fighting games, and finals day is set to kick off in just a handful of hours though it's going to take some time to get to the grand finale still.

Street Fighter 5: Arcade Edition had over 1,000 entrants, but now we're only down to the top 8 featuring some of the biggest names in the game and a few who will likely be new to viewers at home with Victrix|Momochi, Liquid|Nemo, YG|Jyobin, Powell, REC|Punk, UYU|OilKing, CYG|Fuudo and Crusher waiting to see who will walk away with their first EVO Japan title.

We've recorded the top 128 players and their character choices to break down who were the most popular fighters at the big event and who has yet to make a big impression going into game's fourth year of competition.

Urien has actually been the most popular character at EVO Japan as the only fighter in the top 128 with double digit representation though Akuma and Cammy aren't too far behind.

Season 3 characters and Kage haven't been having much of a hot start to 2019, however, with only six players in total using fighters introduced in 2018. Cody, Sakura and the replacement for Evil Ryu are the only characters not to represented in the upper part of this weekend's brackets.

Blanka still has his game-breaking bug intact currently in Street Fighter 5, but he hasn't seen an explosion in popularity at EVO Japan because using his newly discovered time stopping ability would get players disqualified. You can take a look at the full breakdown of SF5's character usage statistics after the jump.

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Tokido gets thrown 4 times in a row straight to losers' bracket, Birdie shows up to play and more: EVO Japan day two highlights for Street Fighter 5

EVO Japan's second day of competition has now wrapped up, and most of the strongest players from around the world have congregated once again for the second year in the homeland of fighting games.

Street Fighter 5's bracket has whittled down to the final eight competitors out of more than 1,000 that showed up looking to take the grand prize home and the title of EVO champion.

Victrix|Momochi, Liquid|Nemo, YG|Jyobin, Powell, REC|Punk, UYU|OilKing, CYG|Fuudo and Crusher will be facing off early tomorrow morning for those of us in North America though they had to get through some of the stiffest competition to get there.

We've collected some of the best highlights from pools up to top 16 where Tokido would fall early and some of Japan's best that don't typically get to travel showed off why they shouldn't be ignored.

Crusher and Fuudo also showed off why many in the region feel Birdie is the best character in the game at the start of Season 4 with his new V-Trigger 2 buffs.

Let's start things off with where we saw a major upset go down in pools where the new free agent Tokido lost 2-0 to Powell and his Cammy where the Street Fighter legend took four throws in a row to get sent into losers bracket.

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Xian's celebration turned to shock after Akuma powered through Blanka's time freeze glitch with a Critical Art in Street Fighter 5: Arcade Edition

If you've been following the competitive Street Fighter 5: Arcade Edition scene, then you probably can't hate on RZR|Xian's personality or play. With that said, most might agree that he's probably the "villain" of this story...

Not too long ago, it was discovered that Blanka could freeze time in a standard game of Street Fighter 5. Clearly this is not an intentional feature as Capcom has announced that they intend to fix it in the future.

Under normal circumstances, Xian is a professional player known for his incredible Ibuki as he pioneered a lot of the things the character does in high level play today. This time, it seems that Xian had an interest in playing Blanka. Or rather, the version of Blanka that allows him to freeze time with a strict input.

During the third and final round of the match, we see the pro getting excited as he dishes unavoidable damage thanks to the time freeze glitch. Eventually, he gets his opponent — an Akuma player — low enough so that he wouldn't be able to survive the chip damage of Blanka's Critical Art.

After inputting the command, Xian is seen already celebrating what he must've assumed was an assured victory. Unfortunately, his cheering was exchanged for a shocked expression when Akuma went into his Critical Art after the character's frozen status had ended.

As a word of warning, there is some NSFW language featured in the clip.

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Source: HiFightTH via Xian's Twitch.

SNK Heroines Tag Team Frenzy coming to PC in the very near future

EVO Japan day two has now wrapped up where we learned that Amy will be joining the cast of Soul Calibur 6 as DLC, but Bandai Namco haven't been the only ones to have announcements at the big event.

SNK revealed that their crossover fan-service filled fighting game SNK Heroines Tag Team Frenzy will be coming to PC via Steam on February 21 for North America and February 22 for Japan.

The developer is running a new trailer on the show floor for the game showing brief clips on the gameplay and story including that SNK Heroines will land on Steam next week though it doesn't detail much beyond that with a "stay tuned for more info" tag at the end.

SNK Heroines Tag Team Frenzy originally launched in September of 2018 on PlayStation 4 and Nintendo Switch and has since added four characters as DLC with Miss X, Jeanne from World Heroes, Skullomania from Fighting EX Layer / Street Fighter EX and Thief Arthur from Million Arthur: Arcana Blood.

One of SNK's star heroines in Mai Shiranui also landed a gig this weekend as a crossover fighter in Dead or Alive 6 along with another unannounced King of Fighters character as DLC in the upcoming game's Season Pass.

No Steam page currently exists for SNK Heroines, so we don't yet know how much the fighting game will cost on its new platform or whether it will include all of its DLC out of the gate. Massive SNK fan Gatoray is at EVO Japan where he recorded the new trailer which you can see for yourself below.

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Amy revealed for Soul Calibur 6

With EVO Japan 2019 in full flare, we were just about to enjoy the top 8 finals for Soul Calibur 6, when the game's producer Motohiro Okubo stepped up on stage.

After detailing some of the season pass which we were already privvy to, he also mentioned that the next character customization pack will be released next week, on February 19th.

However, Okubo correctly predicted that the crowd might not be entirely sated, and had something else prepared to show.

Amy, the adoptive daughter of Raphael, is set to join the fight, and she looks better than ever.

Although no release date was confirmed, Okubo promised that she will be out in the game as soon as possible.

We're still waiting to find out who the fourth character of the season pass is, though with Amy's reveal it seems quite likely that a leak from the end of last year will end up true.

You can find a bunch of images here, and the official Japanese trailer further down.

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Team Ninja appears to have gone rogue during the EVO Japan 2019 presentation

When Team Ninja took the stage at EVO Japan 2019 to showcase Dead or Alive 6, it's highly unlikely the EVO Japan staff knew the full extent what was about to happen.

Team Ninja was allotted some main stage time to showcase Dead or Alive 6 at EVO Japan 2019 this week. During this time they put on a gameplay presentation hosted by Japanese gravure idols Yuka Kuramochi and Saki Yoshida, as well as director and producer, Yohei Shimbori.

Instead of playing in a traditional manner, Shimbori manipulated characters into various sexual poses, paused the game and used the free roam camera to zoom in on characters' private parts while Kuramochi and Yoshida observed, commented and even spent some time jiggling their own breasts and spanking one another.

After a few minutes of this, the EVO Japan team decided to cut the live stream feed for the English broadcast and end the presentation early. Head organizer Joey "Mr. Wizard" Cuellar followed up with a since-deleted tweet stating that "the DOA ad that aired on our stream does not reflect the core values of EVO or the FGC. We ended the stream to protect the integrity of our brand."

EVO's Head of Business Development, Mark "MarkMan" Julio, further apologized on the live stream once it was booted back up, indicating a clear disconnect between what EVO organizers and Team Ninja were expecting during the latter's stage time. The looks on both his and commentator Steve "Tasty Steve" Scott's faces further indicated they were not prepared for the carnal display that had just taken place.

With lewdness being such a hot topic when it comes to the Dead or Alive franchise, it seems producers may be aiming more for shock and surprise as opposed to being straightforward with their intentions as we've been getting very mixed signals from the team for quite some time now.

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Dead or Alive 6 World Championship announced with over $90,000 in cash prizes

The official Dead or Alive 6 Twitter account (via Team Ninja website) has announced the Dead or Alive 6 World Championship. This seems very similar to the pro tours for Street Fighter 5: Arcade Edition, Tekken 7, and Dragon Ball FighterZ.

We previously mentioned this World Championship earlier today.

There will be over $90,000 in cash prizes. It was not revealed how the prize pool will be divided throughout the tour.

Qualifier events will take place in North America, Europe, and Asia. Each region's top competitors will compete in the grand finals event.

The grand finals will take place in Japan. An exact location was not provided.

A statement declares that the schedule, pre-qualifier areas, and regulations will be announced later.

Dead or Alive 6 will be released on March 1, 2019. The revealed roster includes Ayane, Bass Armstrong, Bayman, Brad Wong, Christie, Hayate, Helena Douglas, Kasumi, Mai Shiranui (along with another unknown King of Fighter rep), Marie Rose, Raidou, Rig, Ryu Hayabusa, and many more.

Dead or Alive 6 World Championship image #1
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The first piece of Balrog's Guts Man crossover costume and Golden Shadaloo Soldier Extra Battle available today for Street Fighter 5 players

Street Fighter 5's weekly rewards have been updated, and thus there are some new ways to both gain and spend Fight Money.

We know that there will not be a traditional Season Pass for whatever DLC Capcom brings to SF5 this year, and so players may have a bit of extra incentive to build up their in game currency for any and all new fighters that might be joining the roster.

Starting this week, players can fork over 2,500 FM to face off against Guts Man Balrog in a "very easy" bout. If successful, they'll earn one of four gems needed to obtain the costume for themselves.

Those who maintain this process over the next four weeks will get this original Mega Man baddie attire. There's also a Middle Class Shadaloo Grunt battle available for 500 FM.

The difficulty is "normal" and players will get a reward of 2,500 FM (a net gain of 2,000 FM) for defeating him. This battle can be attempted only once.

You'll see what the Guts Man looks like in motion thanks to the clip below. Observe as he pulls off a handful of specials as well as his Gigaton Blow Critical Art while a fairly familiar tune plays in the background:

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