The debut event for the Street Fighter 25th Anniversary Tour kicked off last weekend in Austin, Texas, featuring Super Street Fighter IV: Arcade Edition, Street Fighter X Tekken, Street Fighter 3: Third Strike, and Super Street Fighter 2 HD Remix. Evil Geniuses duo Justin Wong and Ricky Ortiz won three of the four tournaments--teaming together for Street Fighter X Tekken--and have confirmed themselves a spot for the championships in San Francisco later this year.
“The tourney in Austin was a successful tournament for Team Evil Geniuses, as we qualified for three out of four games,” Austin winner and multiple-time EVO champion Wong told GameSpot. “It was a hard road for all of us, and it will be a grind all the way until the Grand Finals in San Francisco."
“On the whole, I'm pleased with our performances this weekend” Evil Geniuses general manager Cody Conners told GameSpot. "I would have liked to have seen Justin joining Ricky in qualifying for the Grand Finals in SFIVAE, but you can't win them all. We're already looking forward to the rest of the qualifier season and I think you'll be seeing our jerseys a lot in the Grand Finals."
Ortiz won the Street Fighter IV main event over his teammate Wong in the semifinals, and then in straight sets over Jakob “Happy Medicine” Davis in the grand finals. The relatively unknown 22-year old Bison player from New Orleans, Happy Medicine, was able to make it to the finals by beating 2011’s best United States player, Joshua “Wolfkrone” Philpot, and Ortiz's other EG teammate Ari “Floe” Weintraub. However, he was not able to stand-up to the Rufus play that have made the two Evil Geniuses players such a dominant force.
Street Fighter III: 3rd Strike took center stage at a major tournament in the U.S. for the first time since being dropped from EVO following the 2010 event. The Austin 3rd Strike finals were once again dominated by Evil Geniuses, a team of two players who end up crossing each other in almost every game they play. The finals came down to Wong’s Chun-Li against Ortiz’s Ken, a fitting matchup mirroring one of the most memorable moments in competitive gaming history. That same magic wasn’t on display here, but the level of skill that a game like 3rd Strike can bring out was.
"I always enter 3rd Strike tournaments at grassroots, but competing at the Capcom events makes me want to practice more and try to win at the Grand Finals,” Wong said.
The first event of the 25th Anniversary is in the books, and registration has opened for the next one in New York City, which takes place August 11-12.
“The atmosphere felt just like a regular FGC major,” said Wong, who’s been attending events in the fighting game community for more than a decade. “Everyone there wanted to play and do their best. It's fun and I'm very happy that Capcom is supporting us and hope to see more support in the future."
A replay of the finals of the Street Fighter 25th Anniversary event in Austin can be viewed through Capcom's Twitch channel.