Summer is officially underway, and with it, the 2019 Dragon Ball FighterZ – World Tour! Throwing down at Community Effort Orlando (better known as CEO), players got the chance to rub elbows with the best of the Tour’s talent on the sunny beaches of Daytona, Florida at one of the biggest fighting game tournaments of the year – an event that ended in a thrilling conclusion for both fans and competitors, alike.
Sand, Sun, and a Super Saiyan Showdown
The 2019 Dragon Ball FighterZ – World Tour kicked off with a bang during CEO’s unique celebration of fighting game and wrestling culture from June 28-29. While an actual wrestling event went down at Daytona’s famous Ocean Center, a fight of a different kind was also taking place – the very first event on 2019’s DBFZ circuit, bringing with it the best of the game’s talent and a storyline that would see a striking development.
Coming off the heels of January’s Dragon Ball FighterZ World Finals, Ryota “Kazunoko” Inoe was certainly a favorite to take the 2019 Tour’s first event, after dominating in last year’s competition. Having secured four of the seven Dragon Balls in 2018’s Tour, there was no doubt that Kazunoko was one of the best FighterZ in the world – but his championship win at the Finals in January truly sealed the deal, after going up against Fenritti in a nail-biting Grand Finals showdown.
However, Kazunoko’s domination is taking a different turn this season: while the fighting game pro made it to Top 8, he found himself in the Losers’ bracket, after being taken out in Winners’ by Maddo Top 64. This set up the 2018 Champion to fight against his Grand Finals opponent once more in Top 8 – but that wasn’t the only explosive moment at CEO, by far.
KnowKami brings it down to the wire
America made a strong showing at the Daytona showdown, with massively popular players like Dekillsage, KnowKami, and the legendary Dominique “SonicFox” McLean making literal “waves” in the competition. A slew of hype moments happened ahead of Saturday’s Top 8, and one of them included KnowKami’s qualification for the bracket, going up against Maddo in Losers’ Top 16.
A crowd favorite hailing from American turf, the live audience and Twitch chat alike were rooting for Kami as he faced off with Maddo in the final match of the Top 16 bracket, with his defensive use of Android 21 and Goku Black effectively beating back his opponent. Their first fight went down to the wire, each player with one character left and just one minute left on the clock. It seemed like Maado had a win in the bag – but Kami used a Super Dash to punish Maado at the last second, setting him at match point above his enemy – going on to take the set and earn a place in Top 8.
Tachikawa’s epic comeback
KnowKami was far from the only player who delivered a hype moment in Top 16: DBFZ mainstay Fenritti faced off with Tachikawa in the same bracket, with Tachikawa delivering an incredible comeback against Fenritti against seemingly insurmountable odds.
Fenritti finished off Tachikawa with a touch-of-death combo in game one, going on to dominate his opponent in game two – even whittling him down to just Freiza against his own still-standing cast of three characters. However, Tachikawa wasn’t about to be left in “spectator mode,” as commentator Yipes joked: this beating appeared to activate Tachikawa’s “Ultra Instinct,” with the pro defeating Fenritti in a jaw-dropping comeback that ended with a “battle of the best villains” between Freiza and Cell.
GO1’s path to Grand Finals
These shocking Top 16 matches built up to a stacked Top 8 bracket, with four Western players in the mix against four Japanese pros. The competition even saw a runback of the famed rivalry between GO1 and SonicFox, which has seen such moments as their hilarious side-switch at EVO 2018 – a moment that birthed the viral meme of GO1’s famously “unamused” expression.
This time, GO1 took out McLean in a clean 2-0 run, going on to face America’s dekillsage, who he defeated 3-0 – setting him up for a guaranteed run in Grand Finals, which saw a familiar face who’d made second place in the 2018 Tour’s World Final.
The first Tenkaichi victor
Fenritti worked his way up from the Losers’ bracket to face off against GO1 in the Grand Final, which saw an intriguing twist: while GO1 got a clean game off of Fenritti to start things out, Fenritti made sure that he didn’t take the beating lying down, running it back to decimate his opponent with three characters still in tow.
This led to a nail-biting battle between the two, with GO1 consulting his classic notebook and gaining the hidden power up, ultimately taking the Grand Final against his opponent 3-1. This marks the first victor in the 2019 Dragon Ball – World Tour, who likewise got a shiny wrestling belt for his efforts – but will he go on to create the same path of destruction as Kazunoko?
The road to EVO 2019
Despite Kazunoko’s dominating run in last year’s Tour, the pro was knocked out of the runnings by Fenritti in Losers’ Top 8 – a runback from their previous bout at the 2018 World Tour Finals, which ultimately ended in Kazunoko’s victory. With many expecting a strong showing from GO1, it looks like Kazunoko is set for some major competition in the future. which includes the next tournament in the Tour: the Evolution Championship Series.
Standing as the world’s largest fighting game tournament to date, EVO boasts a major turnout and some of the toughest competition of the season. As usual, it promises intense matches and incredibly hype moments – but who will make it out on top? With America making a strong showing on the outset and GO1 taking the first Tenkaichi event, only time will tell, and that time is quickly ticking down to EVO’s kickoff in August!