Dragon Ball FighterZ is in a very different place than it was in 2018, especially when it comes to the Evolution Championship Series. The shine has worn off the game a bit due to various factors, and attendance dropped considerably compared to 2018, relegating the once-beloved game to a Saturday finals placement rather than a spot in the arena on Sunday. But all of that outside noise fell away as soon as the Evo 2019 finalists took their place on stage.
Much of the fighting game community was looking forward to seeing a rematch in the high-profile Dragon Ball FighterZ rivalry between Evo 2018 champion Dominique “SonicFox” McLean and Japanese legend Goichi “GO1” Kishida. Spectators got their wish when both players qualified for the finals without any losses, setting up an eventual winners finals match after SonicFox finished playing with his food in an impressive effort against Japan’s Hirohiro.
Despite the depth of any single Dragon Ball FighterZ bracket, all eyes are, perhaps negligently, glued to what SonicFox and GO1 get up to. It makes sense; in addition to being two of the best players in the world, they’re also polar opposites, with SonicFox focused on smothering offence and GO1 seemingly capable of defending against just about any mixup an opponent throws at him. The crowd at Evo 2019 would be treated to a few more chapters of their story over the course of the finals bracket.
That doesn’t mean the rest of the bracket wasn’t full of killers. Dragon Ball FighterZ World Tour champion Ryota “Kazunoko” Inoue made it to the finals in the losers bracket, but was immediately eliminated by Shoji “Fenritti” Sho.
Meanwhile, Joan “Shanks” Namay of Spain carried the entirety of Europe on his shoulders, managing to defeat both Christopher “NYChrisG” Gonzalez and Hirohiro en route to a semi-finals berth. That said, it would be Fenritti that advanced to a losers finals match, but he too fell to SonicFox despite at one point going up 2-1 against the previous champion.
If last year’s Dragon Ball FighterZ championship was like a glorious anime finale, Evo 2019's grand finals was the rerun you can’t help but watch again. There’s just something special about a SonicFox vs. GO1 match, and they didn’t disappoint when it came to their final match of the tournament.
There was no apparent favourite; the crowd roared just as loud for both players, only interested in seeing the best Dragon Ball FighterZ competitors in the world do what they do best.
In the end, there could only be one champion, and today, GO1 was the better player. With all his championships, Evo is essentially SonicFox’s turf, but GO1 managed to come back from an 0-2 deficit, winning three straight games to finally defeat his eternal rival. The story of Dragon Ball FighterZ revolves around these kinds of matches, and no matter the future of the game, GO1 and SonicFox can hold their heads high knowing they authored some of the most exciting moments.