The 2019 Evolution Championship Series witnessed a major plot twist in one of esports’ greatest rivalries, with fighting game pro Goichi “GO1” Kishida taking the win over the famous Dominique “SonicFox” McLean, turning the tables on his crushing defeat in 2018 – but their last bout didn’t mark the end of their battles, by far.
Thus far, GO1 has been steamrolling through the 2019 Dragon Ball FighterZ World Tour, coming out on top in every event of the season. Having won three events – including the esteemed EVO, the largest fighting game tournament of the season – the pro is settled for a spot in the World Tour Finals in France, but his victories didn’t come without a struggle.
“On the last episode of Dragon Ball FighterZ…”
The 2019 DBFZ World Tour kicked off with a bang at CEO’s sunny Daytona Beach Center, seeing a swath of strong competition and a nail-biting Grand Finals between Shoji “Fenritti” Sho and GO1, with GO1 emerging the victor – a Grand Finals that would repeat yet again at VSFighting nearly a month later.
While Fenritti landed himself in second place at the 2018 DBFZ World Tour Finals, his strength never waned between seasons, going up against GO1 yet again in the UK’s premier fighting game tournament to hash it out in Grand Finals in hopes of overturning his loss at CEO. He wasn’t to be outdone, resetting the bracket in a solid 3-0 run after a tense battle against France’s young “WaWa” – but GO1 once again took the victory, emerging the champion in place of VSFighting’s previous winner, SonicFox.
Esports’ greatest rivalry gets a new chapter
Although it appeared that Fenritti vs GO1 would be the rivalry of the season, this storyline was later interrupted by a previous beef between GO1 and SonicFox, who boasted a smack-talking competition ahead of EVO 2018. Their rivalry came to a head at this event, where GO1 appeared to have a win in the bag after resetting the bracket – but SonicFox ended up taking the Championship after a last-minute side switch, resulting in a massive plot twist for EVO’s very first DBFZ showdown.
Thus, their EVO 2019 Grand Finals match came as a welcome development in their heated plotline, with GO1 taking the win in an emotional victory that saw the fighting game pro shed tears on the Top 8 stage – but EVO was only the third stop in the 2019 Tour, with Celtic Throwdown and the Melbourne Esports Open taking place not a month later.
WaWa wows fighting game fans once more
Celtic Throwdown stands as Ireland’s premiere fighting game tournament, with fighting game pros from around the world traveling to the Emerald Isle to test their might – including both GO1 and SonicFox, who saw yet another chapter added to their historic competition after a month of training in the hyperbolic time chamber.
However, their meeting was far from the only epic battle taking place at Ireland’s fighting game jewel – young French pro WaWa the “Wonder Kid” made another impressive showing at the event, at just eighteen years of age and having already made a name for himself at multiple tournaments this year. With championship wins at “The Mixup” and “Stunfest,” WaWa went on to take third place at VSFighting after a close battle with Fenritti in the Losers’ Final, a placement he repeated at Celtic Throwdown against EVO 2019’s runner-up.
WaWa made it through Top 8 in Losers’ side, after being thrown into the lower bracket by GO1 in a solid 2-0 run. Taking out last year’s World Tour champ Ryota “Kazunoko” Inoue in the Quarter-Final, WaWa found himself in the Losers’ Final against SonicFox, bringing the famed pro down to a single character in a close final match before getting eliminated in third place after the tense showdown.
A raging rivalry runback
Thus, SonicFox was set to face off against GO1 once more, just a month after their meeting at EVO 2019. Having been knocked into Losers’ side by GO1 in the Winners’ Final in their Celtic Throwdown showdown, their Grand Finals battle marked a significant runback for the American hero – but Japan’s strongest DBFZ fighter took the victory yet again, even making SonicFox end their game prematurely, marking GO1’s fourth event win this year in a win streak mirrored by Kazunoko’s own steamroll performance in 2018.
Throwing down in the “land down under”
Of course, Celtic Throwdown wasn’t the only Tenkaichi event going down this weekend: the Couchwarriors FGC Stage at the Melbourne Esports Open also took place in the land down under, with some of DBFZ’s biggest players in attendance. “Maddo,” who made a major showing at CEO 2018, made his way to the Grand Finals in Losers’ side after being knocked into the lower bracket by Fenritti in the Winners’ Final, meeting him again in the Grand Final to close out Top 8.
Despite going 0-3 in the Winners’ Final, Maddo adapted his game plan and fought hard against his opponent, taking two games against Fenritti to make for a nail-biting final game. With both players down to their final character at two victories apiece, it seemed like anything could happen – but a dropped combo from Maddo spelled death for the challenger, as Fenritti closed out their set 3-2 with a decisive hit on wakeup.
What’s next for the DBFZ World Tour?
An action packed weekend for the 2019 Dragon Ball FighterZ World Tour is in the books, having completed two action-packed events back to back to end the summer. With GO1 having taken yet another victory and Fenritti finally having a Tenkaichi event under his belt, this year’s competitive trends continue to track – but SonicFox’s high placements are seeing a resurgence of a classic rivalry, and with the rest of the season still ahead, there’s no telling what the competition will bring in the future.
The next event on the World Tour isn’t far away, either: The Penang Esports Festival takes place on September 7 in Penang, Malaysia, having been announced at EVO 2019 along with five other tournaments. Fasten your seatbelts and get in training mode – the season is just getting started!