This article is part of our FGC series.
After two days of nonstop games at Evolution Championship Series in Las Vegas, just eight players remain in each side for Dragon Ball FighterZ and Tekken 7. For the majority of those 16 players, nothing at all came easy as they had to inch through some of the closet matches we've ever seen all throughout Saturday's brackets. If this is any indication of what the rest of the brackets, Sunday's top-8 will be quite the experience.
Japan runs the show in Dragon Ball FighterZ
You never quite know who might come out on top during any given tournament, but you can almost always expect two players to make it into the winners' side of the top-8 and Evo 2018 was no different. Both Echo Fox Dominique "SonicFox" McLean and Cyclops Goichi "GO1" Kishida coasted their way into to the top-8 after a fairly breezy Saturday. Neither faced much hardship while barely dropping any games in what has become the standard for these two juggernauts. The question now becomes whether they will once again be destined for a showdown in the winners final on Sunday afternoon.
Joining those two are a host of other Japanese players, as the region continues to flex on the competition with regularity.
GO1's fellow Cyclops teammate Sho "Fenritti" Shoji had an easy time qualifying for Sunday. After winning a tight 2-1 set against Team SoloMid William "Leffen" Hjelte in the opening round of the semifinals, he barely broke a sweat in his next two matches and will have his work cut out on Sunday when he takes on SonicFox in the opening round. Meanwhile, GGP Ryota "Kazunoko" Inoue rode a wave of momentum while slaying some of America's finest to crack into Sunday's bracket.
The highlight of the losers bracket by far was NRG Steve "Supernoon" Carbajal finally seeing his months of hard work pay off at the perfect time. After coming in 17th at Combo Breaker and just short at CEO with a ninth-place finish, Supernoon finally cracked into top-8 with an impressive losers bracket run on Saturday. He shrugged off a list to GO1 early in the day and rattled off three straight wins, including a tense battle against Takashi "ACQUA" Akiyama, before being overcome with emotion upon in his third win to advance.
Joining Supernoon and SonicFox is fellow countryman, Perry "KnowKami" Vinson who put on a run of his own, taking out the likes of Beastcoast Vineeth "Apologyman" Meka and R-cade Alioune "Alioune" Camara to make it to his first top-8 at a major tournament here in 2018. Rounding out Sunday's bracket is Kuobota "kubo" Tsutomo and Ponos Naoki "moke" Nakayama in what is sure to be an electric slate of matches in the Mandalay Bay Events Center. The top-8 is scheduled to kick off at 7 p.m. ET.
Tight matches abound in Tekken 7 top-8 qualifiers
Continuing the trend that's been set time and again for any Tekken 7 bracket, players had to fight tooth-and-nail in order to qualify for Sunday's top-8. There were plenty of close matches all around which separated the best players from the rest of the competition, with only a few players having an easy road into the Mandalay Bay Events Center.
One such player was Kim "JDCR" Hyun-Jin who continues to establish his dominance on the scene with every tournament he plays. JDCR might have had a bit of a scare against Averiey "Runitblack" Cobb-Entin in his qualifying match, but it was nothing that a little whiff punish couldn't handle. That win was enough to give JDCR full control over the series as he easily took Game 2 without dropping a single round to lock in his chance to defend his Evo 2017 title.
Along with JDCR, another trio of South Koreans are on their way to the top-8. Fursan Yoon "LowHigh" Sun-woong was the first player of the day to advance as he narrowly defeated last year's runner-up, Echo Fox Choi "SAINT"Jin-Woo. It looked grim for awhile as SAINT's JACK-7 is one of the best in the world, but LowHigh expertly waded through the matchup with the rarely seen Shaheen to punch his ticket into the arena on Sunday. UYU Son "qudans" Byeong-Mun and Fursan Hyun "Rangchu" Ho-Jung will also be along for the ride, with the former breaking in on the winners side.
While that winners side will be mostly filled with the dominant Koreans, the lone American representative will try and play the part of spoiler with the home crowd behind him. Terrelle "Lil Majin" Jackson picked right where he left off after his top-4 finish at CEO with another exciting run through the bracket in Las Vegas. Using a heavy dose of King, no one was able to stand up to him all night. He'll certainly have his work cut out to try and make a Cinderella run, but he's shown that he can hang with the best of them and he'll try to prove that on Sunday afternoon.
The losers side is also filled with plenty of talent as AMD Takumi "Chirichiri" Fujimura, AR Nopparut "Book" Hempamorn, COOASGAMES Takumi" Noroma" Hamasaki, and Rangchu will go to battle on Sunday when the top-8 kicks off at 4:30 p.m. ET.