As the clock turns to Monday, the final tournament of EVO 2018 weekend is over. Street Fighter V: Arcade Edition was the main event and it lived up to the billing with some new faces and some of the best Street Fighter play in the world. The Grand Finals was ultimately contested between Benjamin "Problem-X" Simon and defending EVO champion Hajime "Tokido" Taniguchi. But while Japan has ruled the Street Fighter scene for generations, this tournament belonged to the United Kingdom, as Problem-X prevailed in two grueling Grand Finals sets.
The second set began in wild fashion. Fresh off resetting the bracket and putting Problem-X on his heels, Tokido attempted to make a statement with a Raging Demon. He missed and it ultimately cost him the first game. Problem-X smelled blood from there, taking the second game and putting Tokido on tournament point with an EX scissor kick. Problem-X nearly came back on Round 2, but Tokido clinched it with a V-Trigger-boosted Dragon Punch. The final round went back and forth, but after a well-timed V-Reversal, Problem-X won the round and the tournament.
Tokido went in with the demonic Akuma on the first set, but Problem-X remained poised throughout the set with his M. Bison. Problem-X constantly kept Tokido on his toes with Bison's head stomp and scissors kick specials. The third game was a particularly strong one for Simon, as he came back from the brink of defeat by cornering Tokido and unleashing Bison's V-Trigger I. Both players put on a blocking clinic, but Tokido whiffed on a Dragon Punch and Problem-X proceeded to go up 2-1. Simon couldn't quite clinch the tournament, as Tokido narrowly hung on to tie the series at two games a piece. Problem-X was noticeably tilted on the fifth game and Tokido was able to reset the bracket, anticipating Bison's teleports and catching Simon off-guard.
For Tokido, the runner-up finish will prove bittersweet. On Monday, he'll wake up in third place on the Capcom Pro Tour standings, having vaulted over Seonwoo "Infiltration" Lee and will sit less than 100 points behind CPT points leader Fujimura, who finished tonight in a 5th place tie. However, he'll also recognize that this same storyline played out at 2017's Capcom Cup, where Tokido walked in as one of the favorites, made it to Grand Finals, and fell agonizingly short in a second set.
However, with EVO counting for a vast majority of the points on the Capcom Pro Tour, Problem-X's victory will vault him from 13th place all the way to 2nd place, just ten points behind Fujimura. And given his level of play at EVO, CEO, and ELEAGUE June's Street Fighter V Invitational, Problem-X is suddenly finding himself as one of the true elite Street Fighter players in the world.
Ozzie Mejia posted a new article, Problem-X solves Tokido and wins Street Fighter 5 at EVO 2018
This was a great match, a definite must watch for any fighting game fan.