Making his way through 7,000 players and fighting on the main stage, NASR|AngryBird won the EVO SF6 Finals title, beating out MenaRD.
After 7,083 players, 256 pools, and two concurrent Twitch streams, it came down to just two players. Amjad "AngryBird" Alshalabi from winner's side and Saul Leonardo "MenaRD" Mena II met at the end of a long, winding road. Taking the big stage of Mandalay Bay and EVO 2023, the two friends and constant rivals would decide the first EVO SF6 Finals champion of a new era of Street Fighter.
In the end, AngryBird outlasted juggle shenanigans, multiple character swaps, and a bracket reset to win his first EVO Grand Finals title. He is the first player from the UAE to win an EVO Grand Finals championship.
EVO SF6 Finals: Bird versus Bull - Round One
MenaRD began the set with constant aggression via Blanka and his rainbow ball guessing game. What appeared to be an early advantage for the Dominican player quickly turned in the favor of AngryBird, figuring out the attack pattern. A suite of perfect parries allowed AngryBird to take advantage of the situation and jump to an early lead.
However, MenaRD would not be denied his journey from the losers bracket, continuing his aggression. Several reads and anti-airs with Blanka's jump-backward attacks kept AngryBird's Ken pinned in the corner.
But Mena wouldn't be denied at the EVO SF6 Finals and pressed his agenda. After the first of multiple character swaps, MenaRD's Luke took advantage. Matching Ken punch for punch, the now-Luke player was able to take the advantage and reset the bracket.
The game was on, and bird versus bull was far from over.
The MenaRD runback
AngryBird opened against his first loss of the tournament with determination and multiple Drive Rush cancel standings jabs. The constant story of AngryBird's attack strategy was burning Drive Meter early and often to press MenaRD into the corner. It was enough to cause Mena to swap characters once more, back to Blanka.
The swap would happen once more back to Luke as MenaRD found himself afraid to enter the mid-range area. The constant fear of a Dragon Punch reaction to jump-ins or a perfect parry loomed large over the two-time Capcom Cup champ's plans.
However, the lauded runback would be cut short, as AngryBird began to build momentum and take advantage of small mistakes. A missed throw here, an ill-timed jump there. In the end, AngryBird won with a throw loop in the corner and a final guess from Mena that went nowhere.
AngryBird wins and becomes the first EVO SF6 Finals champion. The two competitors hugged on stage as AngryBird cried tears of victory. He had climbed the mountain, but not only that: Earned the first bid into the 2023 Capcom Pro Tour and its one million dollar grand prize.
EVO is magic, folks. Nothing more, nothing less. And by accounts it appears that Street Fighter 6 has brought the franchise back to its throne.
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