Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3, the second game in the action-packed final day of the Evolution Championship Series (Evo), featured fantastic clashes between the world's best players.
The top eight players included absolute monsters such as last year's champion Nicolas "Kane BlueRiver" Gonzalez and two titled "Marvel gods:" Evil Geniuses' Justin "JWong" Wong and Christopher "NYChrisG" Gonzalez. There was great potential to be found in Juan "Priest" Corona and Kevin "Dual Kevin" Barrios. Then, for good measure, there was a mix of Evo tournament specialists, with some who have had multiple top-eight Evo appearances: Luis "Paradigm" Cervantes, Brokentier's Armando "Angelic" Mejia, and Vineeth "ApologyMan" Meka.
The top eight was a varied bracket that occupied every space on the fighting game style chart: hyper-aggressive players such as Kane BlueRiver, Angelic and ApologyMan mixed in with defensive styles like that of NYChrisG, JWong, or Paradigm. Whatever your flavor was, Marvel definitely catered to it.
A battle of Marvel gods: JWong and NYChrisG
Two of the greatest to ever play Marvel vs. Capcom 3 met in the first round of the loser's bracket and the match lived up to the billing. Both players are considered two of the best three or four Marvel players on the planet and it absolutely showed. NYChrisG was the pioneer of the Morgan and the "bullet time" team arc and JWong's legendary clutch potential became known as the "Wong Factor." The last time these two fought at Evo in the loser's bracket was 2012 and that match was also an instant classic.
The neutral game between the two was amazing. Whether it was JWong dashing in and out of both Morgan or Vergil's attack ranges for a low mix-up or NYChrisG's harassment of normals to force a jump and then jump grab into extension, the face-off was a stalemate. The difference came down to resources. In the last game of their set, JWong was low on life and meter and had no way to open up NYChrisG's ridiculously zone-heavy team. After NYChrisG hammered the final nail into the coffin, the two embraced to finish what many might consider the match of the Marvel tournament.
The grand finals: Kane BlueRiver against NYChrisG
With deafening cries of "USA" echoing throughout the arena, NYChrisG was fueled by the ebullient energy of the crowd. His opponent, Kane BlueRiver, was the defending champion and showed few or no cracks in his game; he had been absolutely unstoppable before the grand finals and it was almost certain that he would become the first ever repeat UMvC3 Evo champion.
What happened next? NYChrisG just played better. He never let Kane BlueRiver get in to start his offense. He stalled the defending champion's engine and neutralized his every move.
When the last fireball hit and Kane BlueRiver reached out for a sportsmanlike handshake, NYChrisG sat stunned in his chair. He'd done it. Finally, after the years of work and growing success, the one title that had eluded him was now his. He'd had a tough road through the loser's bracket, particularly against JWong. But destiny had called and NYChrisG was now immortalized in Marvel history.