This year will be the last time Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 (UMVC3) enters the Evolution Fighting Game Championships (Evo) main stage as a featured game. Although it took a crowd-funded contest to put the Evo mainstay series on the map, it made it to the big show. That being said, there has never been a two-time Marvel vs. Capcom 3 champion. With every former Marvel vs. Capcom 3 champion, except Nicolas "KaneBlueRiver" Gonzalez, in attendance, this year will represent the last chance at eternal glory.
With Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite slated to replace UMVC3 as the tournament standard for the series, this year's stakes for an Evo crown are at an all-time high. The competitive landscape looks very different than last year with several newcomers emerging as viable threats. The "three gods of Marvel" still exist and will play in the tournament, but are they the favorites to take down the crown? Who will pen the final chapter to the UMVC3 book?
The three gods of Marvel
Echo Fox's Justin Wong
The marvelous one may not be ranked high on the Curleh Circuit (138), but make no mistake -- this is your Marvel standard. Justin Wong is the epitome of defensive and safe play and he rarely makes errors in his approaches. The cracks in his armor lie in his character choice and Evo preparation (he's good at too many games), but the hunger for a second title may just be the necessary ingredient for another legendary run.
Evil Geniuses' Christopher 'NYChrisG' Gonzalez
He finally got his Evo championship last year to top off a prosperous UMVC3 career and he's been outspoken about playing the game when many tailed off. He wants to represent the game again and what's more storybook than the game's most consistent and successful player finishing as the only two-time Evo champion?
Splyce's Ryan 'FilipinoChamp' Ramirez
The heel of the fighting game community is also one of the best talkers and movers for the UMVC3 scene. FilipinoChamp is always in discussion to win any Marvel tournament because his play is arguably the best out of all three gods. He's an innovator in Magneto play, the best Phoenix in the world, and one of the hardest players to ever put on tilt.
The elite tier
Gods may live on mountains, but that still represents a peak; these are the players that can ultimately climb the mountain and finally assert themselves as true Marvel monsters.
Press Start's Rene 'RyanLV' Romero
He was the champion of UMVC3 when the game was at its lowest over the past two years, but that was not meant as a sign of disrespect. If anything, it could be argued that RyanLV is the biggest target at Evo. His dominant run over the majority of the past two years is nothing short of "godlike." If you cannot get past his infinite patience with Morrigan, you will be overwhelmed by his rushdown Chun-Li or Phoenix.
Vineeth 'ApologyMan' Meka
Peak-a-boo! ApologyMan makes the list because he is the definition of one-touch kill. His Firebrand team can finish games as soon as he kidnaps his opponent from the air or ground, but his major flaw is his own mentality. If ApologyMan can put together a complete tournament performance and run, Evo may just be his.
Panda Global's Raynel 'RayRay' Hidalgo
RayRay brings clean execution, creative okiezeme, and some of the best clutch in the Marvel community. He's arguably the best from the east coast and will try to beat his 2015 performance when he came up just short of taking the Evo crown.
Misfits' Armando 'Angelic' Mejia
With two top-three appearances at Evo, Angelic has the pedigree and resume to chalk it up to three this year. The uber-aggressive Shuma Gorath truther lives and dies by the sword of unrelenting forward motion.
Fable's Kevin "Dual Kevin" Barrios
He's a household name by this point, but he's still missing the top finishes at major tournaments. It would be amazing to see a Deadpool in the top-eight of Evo, but can Dual Kevin put together the tournament of his life?
Juan 'Priest' Corona
Priest's top-eight run last Evo snuck up on almost everyone in the Marvel community. Priest's unorthodox M.O.D.O.K. team may surprise some players this year, but there's no question that he's one of the top players in the field. If he can put together a consistent run, another Sunday appearance may be in the works.
Mischief Eddie 'Not Enough Damage' Mu
As long as his tournament run is devoid of "bullet hell" teams, Not Enough Damage's top tier play and team will make plenty of noise. One of the newcomers to the elite tier, Not Enough Damage has the resume this year to chase some of the best in the competition.