Evo is again upon us! From its humble beginnings as B3 (Battle By the Bay) til’ now, the Evolution Championship Series has grown to be the largest open fighting game tournament in the world. With that growth, many newcomers will be coming by and this guide is to help avoid all the mistakes a first-timer may make.
I’ve been going to Evo since 2009 and have made every mistake in the book. So take it from me to say this guide should help you have a great time at Evo.
Preparation is Key
Preparation is key to having a great time at this 3 day tournament. With being on a trip for this long, you’ll need to consider these things before even stepping out your door to the venue.
Obviously you’ll need some money. Be responsible, save money, and make a budget (please don’t go down the gofundme route). Consider things such as:
- Evo Tickets – You’ll need the money for the pass to get onto the convention floor, tournament entry fees, and tickets for the finals (all separate purchases).
- Travel – Airfare or gas to get to your hotel in Las Vegas, NV.
- Hotel – Consider rooming with a few friends and splitting the hotel room cost. Make sure to book enough nights for when you need to sleep.
- Food – The costs can run $10-15 per meal if you eat out. If you find a room that has a kitchen, you might be able to save money by bringing food to make. Also consider snacks like granola bars or water bottles.
- Fun Money – Think about any extra stuff you want to do like buying souvenirs, getting drinks, going to clubs or casinos.
Stuff to Bring
Just like any trip, it’s always hard to remember everything you need to bring. So here’s a short list on the essentials:
- Controller – You’ll need this to play in the tournament, if you are competing or just want to play casuals. Consider bringing a backup just in case you’ve made it out of pools and your controller breaks for no reason.
- Electronics – Some people bring a setup (monitor plus console) to play or practice in their room. Also remember to bring some extra charging packs and cables for when your phone is low.
- Passport or ID – You’ll need these if you’re traveling internationally and for
- Snacks – It’s tough to get away from the venue to eat at any time, so snacks are very useful to have. Granola bars are my personal choice to have handy if I need to power through a pool just a little longer.
- Water Bottle – Staying hydrated is super important. Bring disposable or a reusable bottle to refill at watering stations. (Personally, I’m a little on the paranoid side and bring my own case of bottled water.)
- Clothes – Bring enough clothes for 4 days (just in case). It will be hot, but consider bringing a light sweater in case you hit any areas with extra cold air conditioning.
- Toiletries – Most hotels will provide important items like towels, toothpaste, toothbrushes, soap, and shampoo (just request it if it isn’t in the room). But PLEASE bring some deodorant, the hotel might just have some if you forgot.
- Health Items – Consider things like zinc or vitamin C to help boost your immune system. Surgical masks and hand sanitizer can help with preventing illness to spread as well. Of course, bring any medication that you require for your own needs.
Scheduling is important so that you can make sure you don’t miss anything important. Consider these things when scheduling for your trip:
- Check pool times – Take note of what day and time your tournament pool is running and what station # it is. You’ll be able to find this info online at smash.gg and search for EVO. This will help prevent missing your pool or prevent a panic right before it’s about to start.
- Hotel & Travel – It’s good to double check which nights you’ll need to stay at the hotel. Often is the case where you’ll accidentally only book until Saturday then realize you need to find a place to crash after Sunday finals are done.
- Check-in time – Consider how long it may take for you to receive your entry badge. It’s ideal to get it on Thursday (noon to 11pm) to avoid any lines. If you must get it on Friday, make sure to get your badge about an hour+ before your pool. You never know how long the line may be and the bracket runner won’t wait for you forever.
- Food – There’s so many great places to eat in Vegas, so it may be worthwhile to plan when and where you might want to eat. Also figure out what’s close by and fast for in-between pools. Here’s a Vegas foodie list compiled by Crackfiend (@crackfiend) and friends.
- Stuff with friends – Evo is a huge gaming party, so you may have a lot of friends coming. Set up some times to meet for eating buffets, photo ops, and hanging out to play. Use a messenger app like Discord or group texts to stay in touch.
Get a Twitter Account
A lot of the information the FGC shares is on Twitter. You can get information on what’s going on in the brackets and what the happenings are for different scenes while at the event. Here’s a few accounts to consider following to be in the know.
- @evo – General updates about the tournament.
- @evobrackets – Noteworthy updates on who is advancing through the brackets.
- @mrwiz – President of Evo.
- @anime_evo – Information about the AnimEvo side tournaments.
- @gootecks – Hosts Bar Fights and other salty suite or after party type events.
- @jiyunajp – Hosts Anime FGC salty suites.
- @redbullesports – Hosts after parties and other salty suite type events.
- Fighting Game Producers
- @yoshi_onochin – Yoshinori Ono – Street Fighter
- @harada_tekken – Katsuhiro Harada – Tekken
- @noobde – Ed Boon – NRS games (Mortal Kombat, Injustice, etc.)
- @achilles_okubo – Motohiro Okubo – Soul Calibur
- @sora_sakurai – Masahiro Sakurai – Smash Bros.
- Fighting Game Series Twitter Accounts
- @streetfighter – @capcomfighters
- @doatec_official (Dead or Alive)
- @bandainamcous (DBFZ)
- @arcsystemworksu (Guilty Gear, Blazblue, BBtag)
- @snkpofficial (King of Fighters)
Keep Your Health Up
Such a big event and trip will take a toll on your body, so it is essential to take care of yourself to prevent illness. Here’s a few tips to stay healthy during your trip.
- Good hygiene – Make sure to wash your hands, use hand sanitizer, and take showers frequently. Keeping clear of bacteria will help prevent getting sick. Touching others with your hands then unknowingly touching your face and food with your hands will may cause you to get sick. Fist bumping can help to reduce contact with germs as opposed to a handshake which will increase the likeliness of infection. See our guide on good tournament hygiene for more info.
- Stay hydrated – Be sure to stay hydrated as it will be very hot. Bring a water bottle with you in case water stations run out of cups.
- Sun screen – Prevent sun burns in case you are walking around outside.
- Vitamin boosts – Zinc and vitamin C may help boost your immune system and prevent sickness.
- Sit whenever you can – You’ll be walking around A LOT, so make sure to rest your feet or else you’ll be in a world of hurt.
- Sleep – Getting enough sleep (7-9 hours per night) will help keep your immune system strong.
- For the sick – If you are coming to the event with a cold or contagious disease, please be considerate of others. Wearing surgical masks and sneezing into your elbow are some things that can go a long way to prevent spreading sickness.
- Post Evo – Make sure you get a lot of rest to prevent overworking your body.
Now that you’re in and ready to fight, there are a few things that you will want to know.
- Find your pool station – Scope out where on the floor your upcoming fights will be. This will help prevent you from roaming around to figure out how to get to your next pool.
- Show up early to pools – Come at least 5-10 minutes before your pool starts to check in with the bracket runner. This will make sure you’re at the right place and it’s enough time to move if you aren’t.
- Tournament Player Etiquette
- Let bracket runner know if you have any concurrent places to be.
- Let bracket runner know when you need to leave the area (bathroom break), come back ASAP.
- Report to the bracket runner if you win your match with the score.
- Get off the station to allow tournament matches (only play casuals/friendlies if the bracket runner says that the station is open for it).
- Find rest – Find time to rest in between your pools to collect yourself for your next set of matches. Hydrate and don’t go hungry.
Along with playing in or watching the tournament, there’s a slew of things you can do to have fun.
- Stroll the floor – Check out what’s on the convention floor. There’s merchandise, indie games, artists, and a ton of other booths to check out. There’ll be mini tournaments and events that these booths hold, so be sure to read their signs and see what’s going on. You may even run into some of your favorite FGC personalities.
- Play casuals/friendlies – Evo has a BYOC (bring your own controller) area where people will bring setups to play. It’s a good place to warm up or just play casuals/friendlies for fun. Also, you can stroll the hallways of the venue hotel to find people to play with (just listen for the sound of button presses and hype).
- Salty Suites – There may be exhibitions/sessions that happen in the suites of hotels. Oftentimes there will be big money matches with top players and setups to play. In the past there have been such events for the Anime FGC, Street Fighter, Smash, and Tekken scene. Follow some past salty suite organizers on Twitter and ask around to find out where and when these will happen.
- Evo Panels – There are also panels held where members of the community will discuss topics and share their knowledge. Check the Evo website for the schedule and locations of the panels.
- Pre and Post Evo Parties – There are official parties before and after Evo. Here people can get drinks, play games, and hang out. Entry is typically free with a badge.
- Las Vegas – You’re in Vegas baby!
This was our guide to having a great Evo experience. For any Evo vets, do you have any other tips to share? Let us know in the comments!