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At EVO 2023, there were 8,049 individual competitors who registered to compete across eight ‘FGC’ (Fighting Game Community) titles. If you only caught some of the multiple Twitch streams running across the three days, or if you were there competing in Las Vegas, chances are you did not get to see all the different match ups.

I have curated below a list of my personal ‘Top 6’ Top 6 finals matches from EVO 2023. Each of these matches are extremely well fought, show off the game’s complexity and the individual competitor’s skills, and are maybe a match you would not have seen otherwise.

And if you’re new to the FGC scene? EVO Japan is returning on April 27-29, 2024 and EVO on July 26-28, 2024, so you better start practicing now…

You can find out more about EVO on their official website, on Twitch, on X (formerly known as Twitter), and on Facebook.

You can see all of EVO 2023’s Top 6 Matches on YouTube.

1) MORTAL KOMBAT 11 Grand Finals
(Nicholas vs. Ninjakilla_212)

Everyone loves a good comeback story, and MORTAL KOMBAT 11 delivered it at EVO 2023. In the Winner’s Semifinals, Nicholas faced down Ninjakilla_212, and Nicolas knocked Ninjakilla_212 into the Loser’s Bracket with a 3-1 victory. Ninjakilla_212 then had to crawl his way back up through the Loser’s Quarterfinals, the Loser’s Semifinals, and the Loser’s Finals to face Nicholas once again for the winner-takes-all Grand Finals.

With MORTAL KOMBAT 1 being readied to come out in September, this will most likely be the last time MORTAL KOMBAT 11 will appear at EVO. The resulting match is easily the best of the entire Top 6 MORTAL KOMBAT 11 tournament, and one that you should not miss watching as the FGC world turns its attention to the latest entry to this storied franchise.

2) MELTY BLOOD: TYPE LUMINA Loser Semifinals
(JimmyJTran vs. Jing)

If you are going to watch one match from the MELTY BLOOD: TYPE LUMINA Top 6, make it the Loser’s Semifinals match between JimmyJTran and Jing, the defending EVO 2022 champion. Instantly a classic Ciel and Hisui match, these two competitors showcase the amazing movement that MELTY BLOOD: TYPE LUMINA is known for while also being able to take advantage of even the smallest error to set up amazing combos. As I was rewatching this fight while writing the column, I was struck by how evenly matched JimmyJTran and Jing are as control of the rounds flow back and forth between them.

This was the match that made me realize how simply amazing a fighting game MELTY BLOOD: TYPE LUMINA is, and it more than earned its spot in this list.

3) DRAGON BALL FighterZ Grand Finals
(Hikari vs. Yasha)

Out of all the DRAGON BALL FighterZ matches in the Top 6, the Grand Finals showdown between Hikari and Yasha easily was the most hype Grand Finals from the first two days of EVO 2023. The rare mirror match that was thrilling to watch (most likely due to the 3 vs. 3 format), you could tell that both Hikari and Yasha wanted the ‘W’ so bad, and they were leaving it all out on the EVO main stage floor. It also doesn’t hurt at all that the audience powered up alongside Gogeta (SSGSS) during every opening sequence, as no one in the Top 6 played Cell at this year’s EVO.

If you love the DRAGON BALL franchise and if you love fighting video games, then you will love this match up.

4) ULTIMATE MARVEL VS. CAPCOM 3 Winner Semifinals
(Kane Blueriver vs. Liberal Terminator)

ULTIMATE MARVEL VS. CAPCOM 3 has not been part of the EVO fighting scene since 2017. To put that in proper FGC perspective: 2017 was the year that Tekken 7 was released on home consoles, and UMVC3‘s last EVO competition was the year after STREET FIGHTER V was published worldwide. That means there is almost a full FGC generation that has never seen what UMVC3 is all about on the biggest FGC stage of them all: EVO.

Naturally, such a momentous return to EVO needed an equally exciting match to kick off the game’s Top 6, and Kaneblueriver and Liberal Terminator did NOT disappoint. In a 3 vs. 3 format that is anything but a mirror match, you get to see two players slug it out back and forth with the X-Factor coming into play at crucial moments to constantly level the battlefield. This fight was my favorite of the entire ULTIMATE MARVEL VS. CAPCOM 3 Top 6, and it is one that you should see if you’re curious about why so many people wanted UMVC3 back at EVO.

5) TEKKEN 7 Loser’s Semifinal
(Genghis DoN vs. Ulsan)

One of the best things about TEKKEN 7 is that any character has the potential to become an EVO Champion in the hands of the right competitor. That is: if that person knows how to wield said character. This Loser’s Semifinal match masterfully showcases this TEKKEN 7 mantra with the unlikely match up between Katarina and…Bob. Yes, Bob. In a best-of-three match, you have two players showcasing skills and competitor reads that prove they both earned their spot in the TEKKEN 7 Top 6 with two unlikely fighters.

While we do not know when TEKKEN 8 will be released, EVO 2023 may very well be the last time TEKKEN 7 appears on the EVO main stage at the Michelob ULTRA ARENA. While we do not know the full roster yet, hopefully Katarina and Bob will earn their place in TEKKEN 8 after this amazing match up.

6) STREET FIGHTER 6 Winner’s Semifinal
(Kakeru vs. AngryBird)

Out of all the games to be fought on the EVO 2023 main stage, STREET FIGHTER 6 was the newest by far. With the game being only two months old, CAPCOM and EVO set a $20,000 prize out for whoever could win it all at EVO 2023, and they guaranteed the Top 16 a cut of the remaining $50,000 in the prize pool. This led to the record-breaking largest single open-bracket fighting game tournament in history for EVO, and it helped to lift the entire tournament to the largest number of competitor brackets overall in EVO’s history.

STREET FIGHTER 6 was also the final competition of the three-day weekend in Las Vegas, and the match between Kakeru and AngryBird was the Top 6 match on the schedule, and it did not disappoint! Ken and JP threw down hard, both with different combat styles, and you could not tell who was going to win and who was going to lose at any point until the very, very END of the final round. And even when you think it is over, it most assuredly is not. There are a lot of great battles that occurred in STREET FIGHTER 6‘s debut at EVO, and I had a hard time only picking one match. But if you are at all worried about the future of this game on the competitive scene, you will come away both thrilled at the level of play after only two months…and dying to know how this FGC scene will evolve in the coming years.

STREET FIGHTER 6 could not have planned a better debut fight than this match up to launch off the game and the CAPCOM Pro Cup 2023.

And there you have it!

This is our Top 6, ‘Top 6 EVO 2023″ Matches! Of course, there is so many more matches that you can watch over on the official EVO YouTube channel, complete with commentary.

While I did not include any matches from GUILTY GEAR -Strive- or KING OF FIGHTERS XV, that does not mean there weren’t also great fighters there to see as well, and I would urge you to check out all the Top 6 matches across all the games if nothing else.

What matches did I miss? Should I have included the STREET FIGHTER 6 Loser’s Semifinal between MenaRD and Tokido?

Let us know in the comments below!

Quentin H.
I have been a journalist for oprainfall since 2015, and I have loved every moment of it.