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EVO Japan is done and dusted which means the fighting game season is underway. There’s a litany of tournaments and big events coming up that everyone should put on their calendars to check out. Each tournament has a different feel and draw, but they all have players competing at the highest levels. While most of these take place in America there are some overseas events to take note of, as they are major stops on the FGC circuit and feature some of the top players in the world.

Fighting game developers also tend to use some of the biggest events (Combo Breaker, EVO, Capcom Cup etc) as a means to make massive announcements. For many casual players, being the first to see new DLC or even whole game announcements is more than worth watching the stream for.

Also, one of the best aspects of FGC tournaments is that they all function as miniature conventions in their own right. They typically have artist alleys, folks selling custom sticks and plenty of merch. So if you get a chance to physically attend one, you’ll often find tons of additional value for your ticket. So here’s a chance to see if there’s any big events happening near you. And even if there aren't, all of these are streamed via Twitch/YouTube. So you should have no problem following the action.

Premier Events

  • TheMixUp - Lyon, France - April 23rd-25th, 2023

Arguably the premier fighting tournament in Europe, TheMixUp is a chance to take a look at some of the best the old world has to offer. In tournaments past, TheMixUp often heralded which Street Fighter players would go on to represent Europe in the larger year end events. Players like France’s Mister Crimson, Norway’s Phenom and the UK’s Problem X have all walked away champions from TheMixUp. Problem X would eventually go on to become an EVO champion for Street Fighter V in 2018, the only European winner in SFV’s reign.

  • Combo Breaker - Schaumburg, IL - May 26th-28th, 2023

Combo Breaker is the first of the three big international tournaments in the US. This one takes place just outside of Chicago, the home base of NetherRealm Studios. So there’s always good representation for their games Mortal Kombat and Injustice.

With that said there’s also been a series of great Tekken brackets at Combo Breaker. Many US based players like Anakin seem to turn up in big ways during Combo Breaker. So if you’d like to see some of the best American Tekken players, they usually pop up at Combo Breaker in a major way.

  • CEO - Daytona Beach, FL, June 23rd-26th, 2023

Shorthand for Community Effort Orlando, CEO has since moved to Daytona Beach, but it’s still the premier FGC event for the Southern United States. The brainchild of Alex Jebailey, CEO is unique for blending the culture of fighting games with wrestling. Players in the Top 8 literally play the game inside of a wrestling ring, and get entrances like pro wrestlers. Some of the FGC’s most bizarre and hilarious moments take place at CEO. It’s one of the most intriguing tournaments to watch, and always provides top entertainment.

  • Tekken World Tour Finals, Capcom Cup Finals, ARC World Tour - Locations TBD - Q1/2024

These three publisher-run tournaments typically mark the end of the FGC year for Tekken, Street Fighter, and Guilty Gear, respectively. These tournaments often have the largest prize pools of the year. Unlike traditional FGC tournaments, these are all qualification based. So players have to earn their way to these brackets through LAN tournaments and online play. And because there’s no entry fees, the prize pools are funded directly from the publisher via DLC sales.

This year marks the first year for Street Fighter 6 in Capcom Cup, and Capcom announced that the prize pool for the cup in 2023-2024 season will be $2million. The winner would be walking away with $1million all to themselves. This is, by far, the largest prize pool in FGC history.

  • Evolution Championship Series (EVO) - Las Vegas, NV - August 4th-6th

EVO is the granddaddy of all FGC tournaments. It’s the largest in the world, has the most entries per year and marks the annual pilgrimage to Vegas for the most serious fighters on the planet. Even within the publisher-run circuits, EVO carries special weight. And to win it almost automatically qualifies you for their year-end events.

EVO carries the most prestige, has the most legacy, and often provides the top moments of the year. Entire video essays are dedicated to dream runs at EVO. And it birthed, arguably, the first truly transcendent esports moment. To call yourself an EVO champion is similar to being a World Cup or Olympic champion. To get there, you have to have beat literally the best players in the world. On top of that, some of the best announcements of the year are saved for EVO. If there’s only one tournament you can watch per year, you DO NOT miss EVO.

Other Events

The curtain raiser for the FGC season. EVO Japan is a newer tournament that’s carrying a legacy name for players in Asia.

One of the bigger Smash tournaments around, The Big House is a testament to the resilience of the fighting game community (even if some don’t consider Smash to be a fighting game). Nintendo often has a very contentious relationship with the Smash community and The Big House was hit with a cease and desist in 2020 for trying to use cracked copies of Smash Melee for an online tournament. With that said, in 2022 the tournament returned to its LAN roots.

A smaller, but still intense event that also takes place in Illinois. Frosty is a tournament that’s dominated by American players, so it’s a great way to get a look at new US based talent.

Based in Birmingham, UK, Vs Fighting is the top event for the British Isles.

A big legacy name in esports, Dreamhack has often had FGC events in its massive offerings. However, it typically moves around the US and Europe, and isn’t a solely FGC event.

  • DBFZ World Finals - TBD

Even though Dragonball Fighterz is a Arc System Works game, it’s often not added into the line up at Arc World Tour or ARCREVO.

New events are often added to the calendar throughout the year. Sponsored tournaments, special invitationals, pop-up tournaments at conventions and so much more can materialize. Also, you’ll want to do some digging in your state, province or city for local meet ups.

If you’re in North America, nearly every major population center has multiple local events weekly or monthly that you can participate or spectate in. Because of the grassroots nature of the FGC, it would not be uncommon to visit your local and run into players that have participated in the aforementioned events. If you’re in places like New York or Los Angeles, you’d have a high chance of actually meeting champions.

But for all the big events stay glued to Esports Illustrated for all your major updates on the FGC!