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Evolution Championship Series
Founded 1996
Region United States
Format Double elimination
Super Smash Bros. Melee winners USA Ken (2007)
USA Mango (2013, 2014)
Sweden Armada (2015, 2017)
USA Hungrybox (2016)
Sweden Leffen (2018)
Super Smash Bros. Brawl winners USA CPU (2008)
Super Smash Bros. for Wii U winners Chile ZeRo (2015)
Canada Ally (2016)
USA Salem (2017)
USA Lima (2018)
Super Smash Bros. Ultimate winners Mexico MkLeo (2019)
Most successful player(s) USA Mango (Melee 2013 and 2014)
Sweden Armada (Melee 2015 and 2017)

The Evolution Championship Series, or simply EVO, is a fighting game tournament series held annually in Las Vegas, Nevada. The tournament, first held in 1996 as Battle by the Bay, is organized and directed by Tom "inkblot" Cannon and Tony "Ponder" Cannon, (and formerly Joey "Mr. Wizard" Cuellar), founders of fighting game website[1] EVO is widely recognized as the premier event for fighting games and the largest fighting game tournament in the world. As of EVO 2019, the tournament series holds the record for the largest Smash tournament to date, with 3,522 players entering Super Smash Bros. Ultimate.


2007-09: Smash debut and Super Smash Bros Brawl[edit]

Main articles: EVO World 2007, EVO 2008, and EVO 2009

Although Smash wasn't added to EVO's official game lineup until 2007, interest in adding the game to the roster started in early 2004, when Tom Cannon, one of EVO's founders, started a discussion for the game's inclusion in the forums.[2] Three years later, Super Smash Bros. Melee was officially announced as part of the EVO Circuit and EVO World 2007 finals, in Las Vegas, being the largest Smash tournament of 2007, with 270 players.[3] It was also the largest Melee tournament until GENESIS two years later.

With Super Smash Bros. Brawl release date set to March 2008, the EVO staff decided to feature Brawl as an official game instead of Melee, choosing to support the newer game in the series. The tournament ended up gathering 110 players and was widely criticized for its ruleset, having many items turned on, including the Smash Ball.[4][5] In 2009, Brawl wasn't featured as an official game at EVO 2009, but a notable side tournament was organized, with support from the EVO staff in partnership with All is Brawl team (now Nintendo Dojo), gathering 128 players and using the accepted standard ruleset with items off.[6][7]

2013-14: Melee return and record numbers[edit]

Main articles: EVO 2013 and EVO 2014

Following EVO 2009, no Smash was featured at EVO again until EVO 2013, when a campaign to choose the 8th game on the official lineup was announced. Through a donation drive for breast cancer research, the game community that donated the most money to the drive would have their game featured as an official game at EVO 2013. With intense support from the Smash community and a coordinated final push from the Melee It On Me crew, Melee eventually won the 8th spot after more than $94,000 were raised.[8][9][10]

Just three days before EVO 2013, on July 9th, the organization received notification from Nintendo's legal department informing that EVO would not be allowed to live stream the Super Smash Bros. Melee tournament, while also trying to shut down the tournament entirely.[11][12] After a widespread backlash from the community, through social media and official channels, the decision to impede the live stream Melee was retracted, allowing EVO to follow its original schedule for all games.[13][14] With 709 players, EVO 2013 went on to be the largest Smash tournament of 2013, breaking the record for largest Smash tournament to date.[15] It also had twice the players as the previous largest Melee tournament, Pound 4.

The following year, Melee was already been considered in for EVO 2014, but after the official lineup announcement, the staff informed that Melee's status at the tournament was currently uncertain, with an official statement from Nintendo saying "While we are engaged in preliminary discussions with Evo about their upcoming event in July, the potential role of any Nintendo software at this event is undetermined at this time".[16] The game wasn't officially added to the lineup until March, when an agreement was reached with the event staff.[17] Nintendo was then added as one of EVO 2014 sponsors and eventually displayed a video message from Nintendo of America president and CEO, Reggie Fils-Aimé, at the tournament stage right before Top 8, congratulating all competitors and continuous support for the Smash series, while also promoting the upcoming Super Smash Bros. 4.[18] EVO 2014 established a new record for tournament attendance, with 970 players, becoming the largest smash tournament of 2014 and the largest overall at the time, until Apex 2015.

2015-2018: Smash 4 along with Melee[edit]

Main articles: EVO 2015, EVO 2016, EVO 2017, and EVO 2018

With Super Smash Bros. for Wii U released at the end of 2014, speculation started to arise whether or not EVO would feature both Melee and the new game, or favors the new game in the franchise, as in 2008 with Brawl's release. But on January 20th, 2015, Mr. Wizard confirmed that both Melee and the newly released Smash 4 would be featured on the lineup, citing the noted "continued interest in Melee" with Apex 2015 record numbers.[19]

EVO 2015 went on to break another record for the largest Smash tournament, with both Melee and Smash 4 nearing 2,000 entrants. Despite concerns that featuring two Smash games on the lineup would result on a large player overlap, less than 16% of the total numbers of entrants registered for both games.[20] At EVO 2016, both Melee and Smash 4 broke their records for their largest tournaments, each of them breaking 2,000 entrants for the first time, and having over 4,000 unique players across both games.[21] EVO 2016 still holds the record for the largest tournament for both of their games, and the Smash 4 tournament held the record for the largest Smash tournament overall for three years until EVO 2019 beat it. While Melee and Smash 4 at EVO 2017 and 2018 did not have the largest tournament of the year, they are still among the top ten largest tournaments for each game.

2019: Ultimate[edit]

Main article: EVO 2019

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate was announced to make its EVO debut in 2019. While confirmed to replace Smash 4 if it released in time in 2018, this was the first EVO post-release. For the first time since EVO 2012, Melee was not revealed to be in the lineup, instead being hosted as a side event, making EVO 2019 the first one since 2014 to feature only one Smash game instead of two. Ultimate at EVO 2019 ended up becoming the largest Smash tournament of all time and the first tournament to achieve over 3,000 entrants. Not only that, it was the most popular game at EVO 2019 and was the first time a Smash game had the most entrants at EVO. It also had the highest peak viewership on Twitch for any game at EVO that year.

2020-2022: COVID-19 and termination[edit]

Despite the high viewership, EVO 2019 would mark the last EVO tournament that featured Smash in its main lineup. Although Ultimate was announced to return for the lineup of EVO 2020 - with Melee remaining off the lineup - the COVID-19 pandemic cancelled the tournament. Ultimate was cut from the lineup of EVO Online, the planned online replacement; that tournament was also cancelled entirely following allegations of sexual misconduct against EVO CEO Mr. Wizard.[22] The next year, EVO was once again held online, however, Smash remained off its lineup. The year after that, after being co-purchased by Sony Interactive Entertainment, EVO released a statement stating that Nintendo had chose not to continue hosting Smash tournaments with them, effectively removing it from the lineup permanently.[23]


Super Smash Bros. Melee Melee Winners Super Smash Bros. Melee[edit]

Year Player Tag Character(s) Runner-up Character(s)
2007 Ken Hoang USA Ken MarthHeadSSBM.png USA HugS SamusHeadSSBM.png
2013 Joseph Marquez USA Mango FoxHeadSSBM.pngFalcoHeadSSBM.png USA Wobbles IceClimbersHeadSSBM.png
2014 Joseph Marquez USA Mango FoxHeadSSBM.png USA Hungrybox JigglypuffHeadSSBM.png
2015 Adam Lindgren Sweden Armada PeachHeadSSBM.pngFoxHeadSSBM.png USA Hungrybox JigglypuffHeadSSBM.png
2016 Juan Debiedma USA Hungrybox JigglypuffHeadSSBM.png Sweden Armada FoxHeadSSBM.png
2017 Adam Lindgren Sweden Armada PeachHeadSSBM.png USA Mango FoxHeadSSBM.pngFalcoHeadSSBM.png
2018 William Hjelte Sweden Leffen FoxHeadSSBM.png Sweden Armada PeachHeadSSBM.pngFoxHeadSSBM.png
2019* Juan Debiedma USA Hungrybox JigglypuffHeadSSBM.png USA ChuDat IceClimbersHeadSSBM.png

* Melee was a side event in 2019.

Super Smash Bros. Brawl Brawl Winners Super Smash Bros. Brawl[edit]

Year Player Tag Character(s) Runner-up Character(s)
2008 Asim Mehta USA CPU ROBHeadSSBB.png USA Ken MarthHeadSSBB.png
2009* Jason Zimmerman USA Mew2King MetaKnightHeadSSBB.png Canada Ally SnakeHeadSSBB.png

* Brawl was a side event in 2009.

Super Smash Bros. for Wii U Smash 4 Winners Super Smash Bros. for Wii U[edit]

Year Player Tag Character(s) Runner-up Character(s)
2015 Gonzalo Barrios Chile ZeRo Sheik's stock icon in Super Smash Bros. for Wii U.Diddy Kong's stock icon in Super Smash Bros. for Wii U. Netherlands Mr. R Sheik's stock icon in Super Smash Bros. for Wii U.
2016 Elliot Carroza-Oyarce Canada Ally Mario's stock icon in Super Smash Bros. for Wii U. Japan Kameme Mega Man's stock icon in Super Smash Bros. for Wii U.
2017 Saleem Akiel Young USA Salem BayonettaHeadSSB4-U.png Chile ZeRo Diddy Kong's stock icon in Super Smash Bros. for Wii U.
Japan 2018 Leonardo Lopez Perez Mexico MkLeo Marth's stock icon in Super Smash Bros. for Wii U.CloudHeadSSB4-U.png Japan Abadango BayonettaHeadSSB4-U.pngMewtwo's stock icon in Super Smash Bros. for Wii U.
2018 Bharat Chintapall USA Lima BayonettaHeadSSB4-U.png USA CaptainZack BayonettaHeadSSB4-U.png

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate Ultimate Winners Super Smash Bros. Ultimate[edit]

Year Player Tag Character(s) Runner-up Character(s)
2019 Leonardo Lopez Perez Mexico MkLeo JokerHeadSSBU.png USA Tweek PokémonTrainerHeadSSBU.png
Japan 2020 Shuto Moriya Japan Shuton OlimarHeadSSBU.png Japan Kome ShulkHeadSSBU.png

Project M Winners (side event)[edit]

Year Player Tag Character(s) Runner-up Character(s)
2014 Gonzalo Barrios Chile ZeRo PitHeadSSBB.png USA ChuDat KirbyHeadSSBB.png
2015 David Vargas USA iPunchKidsz LucarioHeadSSBB.png USA Bladewise PeachHeadSSBB.png
2016 Jonathan Sosa USA Sosa WarioHeadSSBB.png USA Junebug DiddyKongHeadSSBB.pngIkeHeadSSBB.png
2017 Neil Goel USA Filthy Casual WolfHeadSSBB.png USA lloD PeachHeadSSBB.png
2018 Tyler Graves USA Fuzz MewtwoHeadPM.png Chile Nyx MrGame&WatchHeadSSBB.png



  • Some smashers have the title of being the first player of their nation to have won an official EVO event. This includes:
    • ZeRo of Chile winning Smash 4 at EVO 2015.
      • Interestingly, the day after ZeRo's victory, the Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 event was won by a Chilean player named Nicolas "KaneBlueRiver" Gonzalez. This gave Chile their first two EVO titles in the same year; however, since ZeRo's victory came before KBR's victory, he holds the title of first Chilean EVO winner.
    • Armada of Sweden winning Melee at EVO 2015.
    • Ally of Canada winning Smash 4 at EVO 2016.
    • MkLeo of Mexico winning Ultimate at EVO 2019.
  • Leffen won Melee at EVO 2018 and Guilty Gear Strive at EVO 2023, becoming the first player to win both platform and traditional fighting game titles at official EVO events.
  • Ken's Shippu Jinraikyaku Final Smash references EVO 2004's Street Fighter III: 3rd Strike loser's finals between Daigo Umehara and Justin Wong. Daigo parried every hit of Justin's Hoyokusen then won the match with Shippu Jinraikyaku, which famously became known as "Evo Moment 37." Ken's Shippu Jinraikyaku references the parrying pose from Street Fighter III when activating the move, as well as having a lightning bolt effect at the beginning of the move from Street Fighter III: 3rd Strike. In Ken's reveal trailer, he parried Little Mac's attack then followed up with Shippu Jinraikyaku.

External links[edit]


  1. ^ Evolution Championship Series F.A.Q.. Evolution Championship Series official website. Retrieved on 2015-06-22.
  2. ^ THE SSBM UPDATE: MODES AND ITEMS. forums. Retrieved on 2015-08-09.
  3. ^ Smash in 2007: Year in Review. Smashboards forums. Retrieved on 2015-08-09.
  4. ^ EVO FINAL RULES FOR BRAWL. forums. Retrieved on 2015-08-09.
  5. ^ My thoughts on EVO2k8. Smashboards forums. Retrieved on 2015-08-09.
  6. ^ Evo 2k9 Brawl. Retrieved on 2015-08-09.
  7. ^ EVO 2009: Brawl Singles and Doubles. Smashboards forums. Retrieved on 2015-08-09.
  8. ^ Evo 2013 Details! Game Lineup, Get Your Game to Evo, and Road to Evo Events. Retrieved on 2015-08-09.
  9. ^ Fighting Game Fans Raise over $225,000 for Breast Cancer Research. Smash Wins!. Retrieved on 2015-08-09.
  10. ^ Super Smash Bros. Melee official winner of the Evolution 2013 donation drive. Retrieved on 2015-08-09.
  11. ^ Nintendo wanted to shut down Super Smash Bros. Melee Evo event, not just stream. Retrieved on 2015-08-10.
  12. ^ Evo 2013 Stream Cance--IS BACK. Smashboards forums. Retrieved on 2015-08-10.
  13. ^ Allow Super Smash Bros. Melee to be streamed at EVO 2013. Retrieved on 2015-08-10.
  14. ^ Update: Smash is Back!! Changes to Evo 2013 Smash Schedule. Retrieved on 2015-08-10.
  15. ^ EVO 2013 confirmed as largest Super Smash Bros. tournament to date, nearly 700 participants. Retrieved on 2015-08-10.
  16. ^ Evo 2014 Lineup Revealed! Ultra Street Fighter IV, Killer Instinct, BlazBlue: Chronophantasma, and More. Retrieved on 2015-08-10.
  17. ^ Super Smash Bros. Melee Joins the Evo 2014 Roster!. Retrieved on 2015-08-10.
  18. ^ Reggie's speech to the smash community at Evo 2014. Retrieved on 2015-08-10.
  19. ^ Evolution 2015 Games Reveal. Twitch. Retrieved on 2016-05-04.
  20. ^ Smash Registration statistics. One Frame Link. Retrieved on 2015-07-26.
  21. ^ Player game stats. Bavo Bruylandt (aka acku80/bavobbr). Retrieved on 2016-07-18.
  22. ^ EVO Online cancellation.
  23. ^ EVO on Smash in 2022.
  24. ^ Evolution Championship Series. Wikimedia. Retrieved on 2016-05-08.