Former champions sent home early, underdogs running strong, and off-screen eliminations - EVO 2014 is already looking to be a year of upsets

Posted by Steven 'Dreamking23' Chavez • July 11, 2014 at 11:33 p.m. PDT

SPOILER ALERT: We want deliver a fair warning before you proceed; this story includes spoilers from EVO 2014. If you don't want to know the outcome of a handful of the Ultra Street Fighter 4 matches, you may want to turn back now.

The first day of Evolution 2014, the largest fighting game event of the year, is now over with and done. What was, in reality, roughly 15 hours of tournament action seemed to last an eternity due to the inconceivable amount of amazing bouts and hype moments.

Day 1 has already been host to a multitude of unexpected victories/losses and several large upsets. Two of the top picks to win the entire tournament have already been sent home, and multiple underdogs currently sit among the top ranks.

Below you will find an EventHubs exclusive recap that details some of the most surprising outcomes from our EVO 2014 results story.

MCZ|Daigo Umehara has been eliminated from the tournament on the first day. No matter how many times you say it aloud, it just simply does not become any more believable. The Beast has not only been breaking necks and cashing checks over in Japan as of late, currently ranked #1 in the Ultra Street Fighter 4 arcades, but was also favored to take home top honors at this year's EVO by pro players and fans everywhere.

His first hurdle came in the form of FGTVLive founder Ryan "RG|Filipino Champ" Ramirez. Though the match was not shown on stream, the uproar quickly spread across the Twitter-verse shortly after its conclusion. Not only did Ramirez defeat Umehara's exceptionally high-level Evil Ryu with a character that doesn't place too high on the tier lists, Dhalsim, but FChamp is most well known for his success as an Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 player, occasionally taking part in Street Fighter 4 series tournaments. That being said, Ramirez is definitely no slouch when it comes to keeping his opponents at bay with well placed standing heavy punches and fireball/teleport mix-ups.

Daigo's next opponent wasn't looking to be any easier than the former. In a battle of good vs. evil, The Beast came face-to-face with long time rival, Level Up's Alex Valle. Luckily, the at home audience was given the opportunity to witness this legendary tournament bout live, as Evil Ryu and Ryu traded Hadoukens on stream.

With what appeared to be a breath of new life in Umehara's play-style, the former EVO champion made quick work of Valle's Ryu, taking two games straight in convincing fashion.

Unfortunately, Daigo received a taste of his own medicine upon running into yet another rival from his past, John Choi. This set, like the one with Filipino Champ, took place off stream, but reports indicate that Choi eliminated The Beast in a vicious clean sweep -- 4 rounds straight, 2-0. Umehara is not the only former champion to have his road to top 8 cut alarmingly short, however.

EVO's 2012 champion, Seon-Woo Lee a.k.a. Infiltration, fell on hard times this year as well. Another player predicted to take home the gold, (or at least expected to secure a spot in the top 8 with ease), faced his first upset at the hands of Veloc1raptor -- a skilled Gouken player that frequently competes at Super Arcade's weekly Wednesday Night Fights event held in Walnut, California. Veloc1raptor is most certainly one of the great up-and-comers on the scene today, and defeating a player as accomplished as Infiltration is definitely something to write home about.

Infiltration's luck did not improve going into his next, and ultimately, final set of the tournament. Stepping into the arena with Eita from Japan, the two warriors set out to prove which of them has the stronger Akuma in Ultra Street Fighter 4.

Unfortunately for the EVO 2012 champ, Eita's Akuma proved stronger of the two, and thus marked the end of Infiltration's tournament run. Both of Infil's losses were fought off stream, much like many of today's other upsets.

One champion, more specifically last year's Capcom Cup champion, is doing exceptionally well for himself at EVO 2014. HORI|Sako has made a strong showing today, demonstrating his impeccable skills with a myriad of characters.

During one of the latter winner's bracket matches, Sako decided to bring out his Elena against another up-and-coming player who frequently competes at Wednesday Night Fights, NGL|Marq Teddy. What was supposed to be a character match-up in favor of Sako took a turn for the worst as Teddy's Guy quickly scored a first game victory.

The first round of the second game looked like much of the same as Sako just couldn't seem to get anything started on the speedy Guy player. With only one round away from being defeated, Sako managed to flip the switch, using Elena's long ranged normals and EX Mallet Smash overhead to take the round and cling to his winner's bracket life.

Once Sako claimed his first in-game round he was able to keep the momentum going, shutting down nearly all of Marq Teddy's advances. The Capcom Cup champ battled back from the brink of death and ended up taking two games straight, mounting a comeback that won him the entire set.

Sako fought on, scoring a victory over Twitch|KojiKOG's T. Hawk using another interesting character that isn't seen too often in tournament play: Gen. In Ultra Street Fighter 4's top 16, however, Sako (Evil Ryu) met his match in RZR|Gackt (Fei Long), suffering an incredibly close loss in the final round of the set.

He now sits on the loser's side of top 8 after eliminating AVM|Gamerbee using one of his trademark mains, and fourth character of the tournament: Ibuki.

Much like previous events in the series, EVO 2014 is already looking to be a year of upsets .

A fairly large number of all-star matches were run off stream today, and we have a huge battle log that includes the results for many of those sets along with everything shown on stream. If you'd like to see how the others shook out, you can check out all of the current EVO 2014 results and standings here on EventHubs.


SRK_over_EH said on July 11, 2014 at 11:41 p.m.

All that hype and .... went nowhere

solidmgsnake said on July 11, 2014 at 11:41 p.m.

This is like Brazil losing in the world cup

ryu600RR said on July 11, 2014 at 11:41 p.m.

greatest upset is in the stream chat lol

LACris88 said on July 11, 2014 at 11:41 p.m.

Ugh, Fuudo is gonna win isn't he?


LACris88 said on July 11, 2014 at 11:42 p.m.

Did Daigo get quadruple perfected?

BigFleccs said on July 11, 2014 at 11:43 p.m.

America tuffer than you think huh? Japan got the game first, but that ain't none of my business!

Smorgasboard said on July 11, 2014 at 11:47 p.m.

I like Snakeeyez chance the best actually. His biggest threat is probably Bon-Chan who must beat Gackt's Fei Long or risk fighting through other hard matchups.

USA is looking good for once.

ryuhayabusa13 said on July 11, 2014 at 11:47 p.m.

WHAT! WTF? Daigo Nooooooooo!!! I expected it to be a tough evo with so many people competing but didn't think it was for that much :(

I guess he needed to contentrate on training on the power of nothingness instead of harnessing satsui no hadou....

yes4me said on July 11, 2014 at 11:50 p.m.

I didn't know Xian didn't count as an EVO champion =(

xBMxSage said on July 11, 2014 at 11:51 p.m.

I'd like to see an upset like this in Marvel tomorrow. If ChrisG and/or Filipino Champ get knocked out before top 8 I will run around the tournament room screaming with laughter. Can't get my hopes up though.

WanderingSamura1 said on July 11, 2014 at 11:51 p.m.

Wow Daigo out? Can't wait to see what he says about it in interviews.

HooliganComboFTW said on July 11, 2014 at 11:53 p.m.

Oh the delicious irony

Gotomaster said on July 11, 2014 at 11:57 p.m.

I expect all of the killers eliminated to grind it out after this tournament. They're going to be thirsty for the win.

icejohn said on July 12, 2014 at midnight

This title took the words out my mouth.
But with only a month old game that players thought they kinda knew but turns out they really didn't...what can you expect?

Basically...we're all free.

Joutari said on July 12, 2014 at 12:01 a.m.

"Japan is expected to have the advantage for having the game first..."

Gotomaster said on July 12, 2014 at 12:06 a.m.

I really hope Daigo either polishes up his E.Ryu, or goes back to his more solid Ryu. It just feels like he went into this tournament a bit too confident.

RandomJohn said on July 12, 2014 at 12:06 a.m.

For the first time, MvC3 will probably be more exciting to watch than SF4.

ZenRazor said on July 12, 2014 at 12:14 a.m.

Wow what a shame I was hoping for Diego to take it. Not that I watch SF4 much but he's the only reason I care and a few others like Xian.

bloopbloopbloops said on July 12, 2014 at 12:14 a.m.

whoa, i bet it won't be the same story next year when everyone has had a cool year being on the same page with this game.

i'm guessing capcom's patches to this game, and everyone having the same time with the same iteration of the game, will even out the edges.

i'm still sad i couldn't make it to EVO, but i also kind of find some comfort....some..

TheCheeze09 said on July 12, 2014 at 12:15 a.m.

The players who beat daigo will never beat him in a long set anyway. A few fluke wins don't make them better than the beast.

caruga said on July 12, 2014 at 12:20 a.m.

And then Choi got taken out off-stream, so we don't even get to see the defeat of the guy who defeated Daigo.

SnakeofNinjutsu said on July 12, 2014 at 12:20 a.m.

Wasn't too shocked to see him lose to F Champ personally. I was expecting that would happen since he said he's sticking to Evil Ryu. Probably should have switched to Yun for that matchup.

Still kinda of disappointing to see him out the tournament. Since he brings the most hype. Hopefully he comes back stronger next year.

Gotomaster said on July 12, 2014 at 12:22 a.m.

I'd say Marvel 3 has been the most exciting game since its inception in 2011 at evo, especially last year.

messias_89 said on July 12, 2014 at 12:26 a.m.

stop the fanboyism pls...he lost to f champ(he lost to him a few times in the past btw)and he lost to john choi,a sf legend,you know top players arent invinceble,they can be defeated,even daigo lol.

OverlordJC said on July 12, 2014 at 12:28 a.m.

I'd hardly call 2-0 against one of the world's best a fluke...

blzd said on July 12, 2014 at 12:30 a.m.

dam next thing you know marvel top 8 will be missing JWong ChrisG and Fchamp

fusion said on July 12, 2014 at 12:31 a.m.

Fairly predicable - daigos greatest strength which is a calm and calculated download of the opponent is reduced with eryus lower health.
I agree that against the top characters ryu doesn't have enough firepower, but against the slightly lower players, ryus solidness helps against crazy styles/match ups and tactics (or lack of).

Akumas lower health works in tourneys like this because he has more ways to escape and reset situations...something the better player would always prefer.

ZDH513 said on July 12, 2014 at 12:40 a.m.

Considering he was the #1 Ranked E Ryu on arcades and pretty high on entire list i think he did his fair share of grinding it out and just came in too confident like you said but i think he did a good amount of training. He may of just underestimated his competition a bit too much.

Gotomaster said on July 12, 2014 at 12:42 a.m.

Well Arcades are best for saying who has been playing most more than who is actually the best. He's still playing that character like Ryu, and not as clean as say Sako.

thf24 said on July 12, 2014 at 12:48 a.m.

The craziest thing to me is that John Choi apparently barely ever plays SF4. Just goes to show what years of experience and brutal fundamental play with a solid character can do.

Triforce said on July 12, 2014 at 12:56 a.m.

Well it is cool to see who the next generation of top contenders are going to be for the years to come. What a surprising turn of events though for sure. So many big names eliminated.

T6_Nido said on July 12, 2014 at 12:57 a.m.

Daigo 48th? NO Xian? No Tokido? No Justin? Boring Top 8 ResidentSleeper

rosy said on July 12, 2014 at 1:15 a.m.

What? That will be much boring if every year is the same face make it to top 8.

MetalxHealthx said on July 12, 2014 at 1:22 a.m.

wooooow lol maybe evil ryu isn't quite as op as I thought...

sfkm2 said on July 12, 2014 at 1:57 a.m.

Very disappointed about not seeing these matches such as Daigo, John, and few others. I like to know how F. Champ 2-0 Daigo, etc for other matches. Oh well.

deus said on July 12, 2014 at 2:02 a.m.

Good story.

Guwopamole said on July 12, 2014 at 2:05 a.m.

There were no damn upsets. I've been saying for months japan wasn't nearly as dominant as all you pessimistic idiots were saying. I knew before the tournament started ANYONE could get bodied. No one pays 2000 bucks to go to a tournament just to lose: better believe everyone is a killer. Just goes to show that the FGC dick eats japan constantly. Which is stupid

RedRapperSux said on July 12, 2014 at 2:14 a.m.

No need to be a sack of sh*t.

Cyan said on July 12, 2014 at 2:24 a.m.

The freest Japanese on stream has been Itabashi Zangief while playing versus Ricky Ortiz. DAT was pure Germany - Brazil.

handsofgod said on July 12, 2014 at 2:54 a.m.

What a big flop... Don't even feel to watch it no more lol good luck to sako... Guest I'm gonna have to wait for capcom tourney

Fugo said on July 12, 2014 at 2:54 a.m.

Daigo quit Ryu for Evil Ryu -> loses to Ryu. Well served!!

Jayson619 said on July 12, 2014 at 3:03 a.m.

Without PS3...RIP EVO.

Eden said on July 12, 2014 at 3:20 a.m.

If Daigo can't defeat NO NAME, and if Infiltration can't beat Fourwude a few days before EVO, it's normal that they get eliminated like that. They weren't concistent enough.

Lilith said on July 12, 2014 at 3:22 a.m.

0 cammy, too much nerf. Gogo Luffy, FRANCE!

tonsetzer said on July 12, 2014 at 3:23 a.m.

It isnt exactly surprising that some of the favorites dont make top 16/8. There are just so many great players at a high level, and on a give day they can win against everyone.
I was pretty confident Daigo would make top8, but wouldnt have been surprised if he would have lost to some other killers. But losing to Filipino champ and John Choi is the thing thats suprising.
People saying Daigo is past is prime, isnt valid in my book. He is Nr1 in the arcades and won World Topanga not too long ago. So there were no signs of Daigo not beeing on top of his game. And now he loses to 2 players who dont even play that much and i would describe as solid, but nothing special in Street fighter 4.
Sim is a difficult MU, and Filipino champ already beat Daigo years ago, so it was tricky from the start, no matter if Daigo would have picked Ryu or Evil Ryu, but losing to John Chois Ryu is imho already the biggest Evo14 upset.
Im curious what Daigo has to say about this.

On a sidenote, i like that 2 americans and 1 european made top8. Because its pretty obvious that the times were only japanese players can win is over. They are the Nr1 nation, but past and present clearly show the rest of the world has more and more closed the gap. In the beginning of SF4 a few years ago the gap was immense, but now, i dont see why an american or european player couldnt win Evo. Maybe this year? I would still favour the remaining japanese players, but who can say that for sure at this point of the tournament??
I will root for Snake Eyes and Sako. A Gief winning Evo would be hype. 4 grapplers in Top32 is a good sign grapplers are viable in USF4.

fusion said on July 12, 2014 at 3:31 a.m.

This tourney was just weird. Eita who doesnt play much now and who apparently cares more about marvel lately is the highest ranked akuma, and who knocked infil out heh.

His play just before top 8 looked scrubby as (in comparison to tokido/infil). In fact, everyone looked less precise and mistake prone overall - whether thats all due to the new mechanics and timings is anyone's guess.

Additionally, people who said DWU made the game slower were wrong, so far anyway.

Ryose said on July 12, 2014 at 3:32 a.m.

4 Japan
1 Singapore
1 France

Who would've expected that?

qcevolution said on July 12, 2014 at 3:38 a.m.

Tiers huh?

yes4me said on July 12, 2014 at 3:50 a.m.

I was hoping Luffy make top 8. He did. Now I feel a bit special knowing he owns me at SF4... no no... the ORIGINAL ONE. I didn't play after due to life =(

FuriouS said on July 12, 2014 at 4:26 a.m.

"shutting down nearly all of Marq Teddy's advances"

did he touch you Sako? BibleThump

Jokerme said on July 12, 2014 at 4:28 a.m.

Actually everyone. If you look at the polls Eventhubs had earlier, you can see people said 2 from USA and rest of them from Asia for Top 8. There is one European in the mix, that's all.

JRXP2011 said on July 12, 2014 at 4:47 a.m.

Where are the weabos now? Hiding? Crying? Hahaha suffer!

TheBigInk said on July 12, 2014 at 4:56 a.m.

Is Xian still in?

MaverickHunterX said on July 12, 2014 at 4:58 a.m.

Xian got eliminated as well. There's been a lot of dark horse victories in this tourney, figuratively and literally.

Nayte said on July 12, 2014 at 5:05 a.m.

_Top 24, 16 different characters : 3 Fei Long, 2 Rufus, 2 Rose, 2 Guile, 2 Zangief, 2 Ibuki, 2 Yun, 1 Adon, 1 Akuma, 1 T Hawk, 1 Dhalsim, 1 Honda, 1 Sagat, 1 Gen, 1 Makoto, 1 Ken.

_0 New character.

_2 massive Users of Red Focus : 2 Yun, 0 Viper, 0 Evil Ryu.

_50% Tier list Raping : 0 Viper, 0 Evil Ryu, 0 Juri, 0 Cammy. 3 Fei long, 2 Yun, 2 Rufus, 2 Ibuki (Assuming Daigo and friends' tier list).

_Barrely no "Vortex" Character (assuming Ibuki changed playstyle), still Akuma, Gief, T Hawk.

_Delayed Wake up is Without any doubt the MOST USED new feature in this tournament. Barrely All matches were Footsies based.

Snow2Drop said on July 12, 2014 at 5:10 a.m.

Xian is not mentioned in this post, I see he is not relevant anymore, I see I see

Adnan said on July 12, 2014 at 5:26 a.m.

Kinda sucks that everyone is just offhandedly disregarding Xian. His match with Snakeeyez was great, he messed up literally at the last second and Snakeeyez was fast enough to take advantage of it. Snakeeyez is awesome, I'm actually hoping that either him or Sako wins - but I do feel Xian should've won that match.

TheTTimeLives said on July 12, 2014 at 6:07 a.m.


When you say "Gee, no Daigo, Tokido, Jwong, Rog, Kazunoko in Top 8 ... how boring"
You invalidate your own sentiments and diminish the extreme significance of this EVO.

First off, all of those players lost legitimately off stream and the hype in pools this year for SF had over 100,000 viewers combined for all streams, just for day one. Every player who made it to top 8 had to play and beat someone crazy. Players like Xian, Mago, Justin Wong and Kazunoko weren't even the last stops on the way to top 8 this year, that's how crazy stacked this tournament was!

All you monsters always complain about the same people winning, now we have an EVO that is half japs and half underdogs and you guys complain.

Two of your favorite players: Sako and Snake Eyez (whose match against Xian will go down as one of the biggest EVO moments of all time I promise you) are in top 8! We had two Honda's and two Gief's in top 16! Mike Ross got 17th place! What more do you want scrubs!?

Cammystrike said on July 12, 2014 at 6:11 a.m.

Hm, where are all those dick riders that predicted an all Asian top 8 back on that "Eventhubs feel no Europeans' will make top 8" article? I called Ricky and Snakeyez making top 8. It amazes me that people still sleep on these two.

SgtKonus said on July 12, 2014 at 6:23 a.m.

Will the mostly Western Eventhubs posters stop crapping on Western players for being Western? Tune in Sunday to find out!

Bajas said on July 12, 2014 at 7:11 a.m.

This Evo has been a huge disapointment, both in form of sh*tty streaming, and sloppy play from a lot of players. Too bad Ultra wasn't released after Evo, that way we could have seen solid play from players who have already mastered their characters, instead of this cluster f*ck.

maxi2099 said on July 12, 2014 at 7:52 a.m.

Go SnakeEyes!

Chellblubb said on July 12, 2014 at 7:58 a.m.

Don't really care, Ricky's still in there! I'm rooting for him! :D

Codech64 said on July 12, 2014 at 8:29 a.m.

Shh,go drink your Mt.Dew and go play Baja or Bust.

VelvetWonder said on July 12, 2014 at 8:54 a.m.

That's what I never understood with those idiots. I can see they are fans of the japanese guys but why do they always feel the need to belittle every other players ? We just saw sooooo many good plays from France, U.K, U.S, Taiwan, etc. Why would you purposely limit yourself to one country ?

fawaz said on July 12, 2014 at 9:54 a.m.

My only hope now is Sako.

VengefulGiblets said on July 12, 2014 at 10:02 a.m.

How many of us have been saying that USF4 was set to expose some 'top players'? Even I didn't expect this many to fall on their face but here we are.

wonderful101 said on July 12, 2014 at 10:04 a.m.

It is hilarious that people totally disregard that Daigo just picked up Evil Ryu up 2 months ago. Not surprising that he doesn't know how to play evil ryu yet, he was playing him like he was ryu.

BTW #joutari , "Japan is expected to have the advantage for having the game first..." yea looking at top 16, there were 11 or 12 japanese in there and out of top 8 there are 4 jp players. DO THE MATH:). Also for only 70 japanese players out of 2000, it is funny that all the best japanese players were eliminating each other, look at the battle log.

sweetmonkeylove said on July 12, 2014 at 12:10 p.m.

Not going to lie.

A little disappointed with the broadcast so far.

It's not Chensor or any of the commentators, I think pool massaging is not necessarily bad in this case and this stuff should be live.

Choi vs. Daigo insanely good SF. Choi dropping combos but playing the most solid ground game. That should have been live.

The Fchamp match should have been live.

A bunch of other matches should have been live.

JRXP2011 said on July 12, 2014 at 2:05 p.m.

Not only do they limit themselves to one Region but then go on to talk smack and belittle Europe and the US not standing a chance.

VelvetWonder said on July 12, 2014 at 2:41 p.m.

Didn't Daigo had something like 5 billion BP at the JP arcades ? He KNOWS how to handle the character. Also, no one forced him to stick to E.Ryu. F.Champ simply played a solid match and, for this time, he gets the bragging right.

Those 70 jp players you speak of are very good players indeed. Too bad they got their rear-ends kicked in the pools and the few who slipped by were finished off in semi. On the hundreds upon hundreds of american players, how many of them were pros ?

ButterKnife said on July 12, 2014 at 3:25 p.m.

You didn't read ANY of the comments here before making that statement.

Anyway, I'm glad Daigo got taught a lesson for playing the tiers. People who stick with their characters in the face of nerfs are way cooler. I hope Snakeeyes takes it, especially since before Ultra came out, tons of people were claiming that "delayed wakeup killed Zangief"


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