A new champion has been crowned.
Closing out this year's edition of the Evolution Championship Series was Street Fighter V, and when it was all said and done, mousesports Benjamin "Problem-X" Simon hoisted the final trophy of the weekend.
For all of the collective griping from the Street Fighter community over the ubiquitous and oppressive nature of Cammy, fans were no doubt pleased to not only see a top-8 absent of the series stalwart, but to see a wide variety of characters all night long. Seven unique characters were used, with even the long thought dead Rashid making an appearance in the top-4.
Of all the characters to show up in this top-8, however, it was Problem-X's Bison that had the last laugh. It wasn't easy by any means, but Problem-X never stopped pushing and eventually brought home the title.
Problem-X's night began by taking on Kanamori "Gachikun" Tsunehiro, one of the last remaining Rashid players on the Capcom Pro Tour. Gachikun might have shown that Rashid still has some legs left even after being heavily nerfed a few months back, but he was simply no match for Problem-X who punished with relentless aggression to secure a 3-1 victory. The win slotted Problem-X into the winners' finals where he faced Cygames Beast Ai "Fuudo" Keita, who was hot off a 3-1 trouncing of the reigning Evo champion, Echo Fox Hajime "Tokido" Taniguchi. Fans of close rounds got what they paid for in this match as Problem-X and Fuudo fought pound-for-pound all the way to the final round of Game 5 when Problem-X narrowly edged out Fuudo's pesky R. Mika to punch his ticket into the grand finals.
Despite being knocked into the losers bracket almost immediately, Tokido wasn't ready to pack things up just yet as he wanted the chance to defend his title against Problem-X. Before he could do so, he had to run through a gauntlet filled with plenty of heavy hitters. His earlier loss to Fuudo didn't seem to throw him off his game for too long, however, as the bodies started to fall in his wake. He kicked off his run by decimating Ares Red Bull Olivier "Luffy" Hay's R. Mika in a 3-0 sweep, showing that he's got no problem dealing with that character despite the upset loss to open the night. Tokido followed this up by showing why he's the best Akuma in the world with some incredible, on-the-spot reads to punish Gachikun and keep himself alive with a 3-1 win.
All that stood between Tokido and his shot at a second straight Evo title was the man that put him in the losers bracket to begin with, Fuudo. It was clear that Tokido picked up on R. Mika in a hurry and fired back with a 3-1 of his own to avenge his earlier loss to Fuudo and advance into the grand finals for a showdown with Problem-X.
Tokido brought a head full of steam into the grand finals, as he was playing with a level of aggression that won him the title last year. Problem-X did his best to try and stymie the tide, but Tokido was just a bit more on his game and Tokido secured the 3-2 win to reset the bracket.
At that point, though, Problem-X flipped a switch and put on the performance of a lifetime in the second set. Forcing Tokido into sticky situations that cost him dearly, such as narrowly missing out on a Critical Art and losing a round because of it, Problem-X had all the cards in his hand and there was simply nothing at all that he could do to stop it. As such, he blitzed his way to a 3-0 sweep in the second set to secure his first Evo title becoming the first player in the history of the Evolution Championship Series to secure a win using Bison.