DOA5LR Top 8 EVO Showdown Highlights and Analysis

The Dead or Alive 5 Showdown at EVO 18 was a critical moment in DOA history, because it not only showed us how far we have come along, but how much growing is still possible, and that with DOA6 we're just getting started. The matches at EVO attracted thousands of people that have never played and six years later we break DOA's tournament attendance record at 150+ entrants. Say what you want, but DOA's growth has been stunning and today we are going to run @ZakkuRye EVO 2018 Top 8 Highlights under the microscope along with a highlight of our own.

Not all of the matches were listed in this Top 8 Highlights video, but the community will be observing this tournament for years to come. @Mr. Wah will soon be interviewing @Rikuto on his epic performance at EVO so I will leave the talk and thought-process of the Final (Rikuto vs Bladez) for that story. Expect a written analysis for the rest of Top 8, Pools and the EVO DOA6 events in the coming weeks leading to Gamescom where our favorites Leifang and Hitomi will be officially announced on the road to DOA6!

FSD Highlight - Winners Final Rikuto :bayman: def. Teru Rock :leifang:

Teru rocks a very strong and technical Leifang and she wins this matchup, but the steady and aggressive approach from Rikuto was on a level where he would be able to take on anyone despite what the matchup may be. In the depths of the jungle Rikuto kept Bayman away from the rock walls and environments the entire time and kept Rock from starting environmental flow, all while completely punishing every move he had with high damaging grabs and launchers. His play on the jungle was masterful and Rikuto directed this match his way.

Previous analysis of the jungle could prove to be correct since the next match starts off at Temple of the Dragon and Rikuto with haste now uses the environment to bust Leifang out of the temple and outside where Rikuto prevents Leifang from exiting the staircase area below. Rock responds to Rikuto with a well-timed powerblow, but Rikuto quickly puts Lei out with a plethora of throws. Fighting Rikuto at Temple of the Dragon is a dangerous situation and he has dominated players here for years in major events.

There needs to be a shift in the fight and Teru Rock knows he needs to be aggressive because the bottom of Crimson is a good opportunity for him to gain control and catch up with Leifang. Rock starts off the match with a great opening crush that surprises Rikuto. Rock also starts to space and gets multiple environment hits with some amazing back-turned guarantees that give him all three rounds of this match in a classic comeback!

The helipad match provided them both some space to strategically think their next moves and Rock wins the first round with good aggressive plays and even taunts Rikuto a bit with KO jabs at the end of the round. Rikuto begins to download a new Teru Rock and Rock is aware of this and at the same time is adapting to Bayman's evasive Tank Roll OH and wins at the helipad. Rock really brought it back with his razor-sharp focus and skill with his character.

Their final fight is in the forest and they have both figured each other out, and Rock is landing a lot of successful setups, but Rikuto is able to crush Rock's momentum shifts enough to get the match into last round. Rikuto ends up taking the set because of spot on defense and last move punishes.

ZakkuRye EVO 2018 Highlights:

Rikuto :bayman: def. Kwiggle :rachel:

Rikuto knew to give Kwiggle's Rachel distance, and he has the room to do so on the top floor of Lorelei where this match stays. Bayman fights for perfectly timed grabs and Kwiggle goes for his patented lows and plays one hell of a ground fight with these two extremes going into last round. Kwiggle mixes up his game with a complete throw launch combo and a few other throws of his own to close this first game.

The next fight begins on Warzone with the two players spacing each other out, Rikuto finds an opening to activate the RPG shot and follows up with an awesome combo that leads to a guaranteed ground grab, though Kwiggle still secures the round with a responsive hold and grab follow up. Rikuto starts to slow down, and he wins (another last round) because he knows his character so well that even highly unsafe guard breaks become trump cards when the wall is close, and he finishes this round by breaking Rachel's neck.

Rachel comes back from the dead to fight Bayman one more time at the helipad, where you know two heavies fighting are going to play incredibly defensive, and they do with some commands only being advanced holds, holds, throws and offensive holds done in a way that you are only going to see in Top 8. Kwiggle thrives off of comebacks from his opponents best moments, but he couldn't find his big opening for this one and loses the match. Rikuto is overwhelming his challengers not only with his applied intelligence, but pure veteran experience.

XcaliburBladez :eliot: def. Kwiggle :christie:

Now sure, we've seen this matchup before but I think this Christie vs Eliot is a testament to what matters most in DOA and that's growing as a player and seeing what can come out of friendship fights. These two have been killing each other with these characters for years and it shows on Skyline Tokyo because this is one of the most complete sets we have seen yet. High level exchanges, back and forth action with neither being more dominant than the other. Kwiggle loses the first game in a last round performance for the ages.

At the Crimson, Kwiggle retorts to Eliot play by not giving into pressure, taking advantage of not only Christie's speed, but the safeness of her pokes even right after force teching with her back near the wall. It looks like Kwiggle's game, but Bladez utilized some unorthodox behavior and side-steps Christie through the crashed neon sign and makes sure this match goes into last round before Kwiggle gives BladeZ his just desserts into an environment for the tie

For their last set we get Scramble and we see the level fall apart before our eyes like Cloud vs Sephiroth in Advent Children these two our not phased by the destruction going on around them, and Kwiggle's pressure, combined with his brilliant keep-away 214P usage give him two fast rounds. Once again Bladez comes out of the dark like a bat out of hell with brilliant parries, side-steps and environmental damage that ultimately give him the win. This match masterfully utilized all of the key components to what can make a DOA match so entertaining to watch.

Teru Rock :leifang: def. Siologica :genfu:

Leifang vs Genfu is a classic match, and these two fire off with simple high punches, both fishing for advanced holds and parries. Rock is more focused than I've ever seen him, and he's not missing a step even though he's taking big damage from Genfu. Rock finishes Siologica on the bottom level of Crimson with exploding car damage and a well-timed 46P crush.

The next match starts on Ends of the Earth and we see the environment being well used throughout the entirety of the match, with powerblows combined with ledge damage multiple times. Teru Rock plays a very good stun game against Genfu, but I like Siologica's guard breaking and defensive utilization of 44P. That being said Rock was just way too heated to lose this set and the overall pressure was just too strong and Genfu couldn't keep her off.

XcalibrBladeZ :mai: def. Teru Rock :leifang:

This match was awesome, because BladeZ decides he's going to do a showcase for KOF's Mai on the bright and beautiful Zack Island! Yes, Teru Rock's Lei gets his technical BT stun guarantee, but this match is all Mai with combos done in ways most of us have probably never seen before, keeping Fang on the ground. Mai twirls all over the place in this match and finishes with a beautiful power launcher combo.

Rock proceeds to catch up against Mai at the Sanctuary with some good combos that are extended by the torch environment, and he's also doing a better job reading Mai. He starts mixing up Mai with K and the 1K string, but BladeZ follows up with quick combos, the flame wall throws off Teru mid-match despite how unsafe it is; though that doesn't necessarily matter as it is how the move is incorporated into your play style. BladeZ wins this game by following up with a combo after his mastered 66K poke (he loves that move) into the damage.

The last match is on Rig, and Rock moves in for the kill early with explosive damage on the wall, and lots of damaging strings to secure two rounds. BladeZ quickly makes adjustments and begins to play less safe using his killer instinct and pressure instead. This strategy works and he wins the set with Mai -- a character who has seen little usage in our tournament history despite the popularity.

This tournament was incredible. You would think people would be ready for the sequel and would be burnt out on DOA5, but it appears the community has only gotten stronger and they are still improving on the material we have available to us today. Remember Matt Ponton will be interviewing EVO Champ, Rikuto this Friday! Be sure to follow FSD on Twitch!
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