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Evo Japan 2023 SFV Recap: Here Are Your Top 8 Players

Femi Famutimi
12 min

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Evo Japan 2023 SFV Recap: Here Are Your Top 8 Players
With over 1000 players entering into the tournament, it has been whittled down to 8 with some big names missing

We now have the top 8 players for Street Fighter V at Evo Japan 2023. The list offers no real surprises as the top players were always likely to make it to the top, with the winner to be decided in the Grand Final tomorrow. 

What was notable were some of the missing names, including Tokido, Kawano, Pugera, Justakid, ChrisCCH, and several other top players. Daigo did not enter the competition at all, and the likes of EndingWalker and iDom were unable to make the trip. 

Top 8 for Evo Japan 2023

Top 24 Winners Side Recap

Not every match was shown on stream, but we did catch all the winners' side games to make it into top 8. 

Higuchi vs NL

The match between Higuchi and NL was a lot of fun to watch and was remarkable, as it was the first time we saw a Luke on stream. The last addition to the Street Fighter V roster has generally shown up at a lot in all tournaments because of how top-tier he is. But he was mostly missing in this tournament, and it is fascinating that Punk is the only player who uses Luke in any capacity who is in the top 8. However, NL is known for his Luke, and he used him here against the young Higuchi. Higuchi's Guile has been touted as one of the best in the world, and he showed it in this game controlling the space really well. Higuchi played the fireball game and only tried to get in when there was damage to be dealt. NL was as usual, solid if unspectacular, but Higuchi was able to win the match and become the first person to make top 8. It must have felt really good for Higuchi, who was a step away from making Evo top 8 last year but lost out. Now, he can set his sights on replicating what Nauman did in 2020 and establish himself as THE young challenger in Japan.

Machabo vs Bonchan

Machabo was not so long ago facing a character crisis, and we saw him move away from his famed Necalli and give Cammy a try. It had limited success, and he would eventually return to Necalli, with whom he has always been terrifying. As for Bonchan, he went with Sagat from the start but found it difficult against Machabo, who used Necalli's ground pound to great effect. He got the win and forced Bonchan to make a change and use Luke. Things seemed to be going much better in this match, and we got one of the moments of the day as Bonchan, who had depleted Machabo's health, backed away to try and close it out, but the impetuous Machabo wouldn't take no for an answer and forced a hit leading to a double KO. Machabo would go on to win the second round and progress to top 8.

Double KO

Torimeshi vs Mono

One of the most fun games was between Torimeshi, who is one of the leading Dhalsim users in Japan, and Mono, whose F.A.N.G. is arguably the best in the world. The match did not throw many surprises, but we saw Torimeshi struggle to use his famed V-Trigger 2 as the poison piled up. Mono was cool and calm and avoided letting Torimeshi dictate the pace of the game, in which case he would have lost out. There is also an argument to be had that Mono is a lot better at the Dhalsim match-up as he has strong Dhalsims like Luiman to practice against while there aren't as many for Torimeshi to learn from. 

Zhen vs Nemo

Arguably the best game of the entire day. Zhen has sprung to life since Capcom Cup where he went on that phenomenal run to win the LCQ and then terrorize everyone with his Bison and make it all the way to Grand Final before losing to the winner, MenaRD. It was fascinating because before Zhen, Nemo was the original LCQ king with his incredible run at Capcom Cup 2017, where he finished third and was knocked out by none other than MenaRD. So, this was something of a match between players who know how to adapt and survive. Nemo went with Gill, a character who isn't much fancied but with whom Nemo has become a force to be reckoned with. Zhen, as always, went with Bison. Zhen's superpower has always been his scary corner pressure and impeccable V-Trigger 2 setups with which he has stumped many an opponent. He showed a lot of that in this game, and Nemo had to find a response. Nemo did this in style, checking Zhen's dash before launching into a super which won him his first game. This was notable because Zhen already had a game on the board and was looking like he would run away with it as he usually does. 

This forced a third game, and Nemo had adapted at this point, ensuring that Zhen did not have the corner and causing problems with Gill's incredible damage. The final round was a tense affair, and Zhen might have thought he had things sown up when he had Gill in the corner, but a smart back throw got Nemo out of the corner, and he hightailed it to the other end of the screen. Zhen tried to close the gap with an ambiguous head stomp but got nothing out of it. Gill's anti-air whiffed, Zhen tried to dash in and apply pressure, but Nemo was too quick and he punished Zhen and won the game. There was a slight pop-off, and Zhen was in losers' while Nemo made top 8. 

Nemo clutch
Nemo's win

Top 24 Losers' Bracket

This was the section where people could go home and crash out of the tournament. Unfortunately, not all the games were shown on stream, but we can have a look at how each player was able to make it from the losers' bracket.


Punk is always entertaining, and it was very nice to see him at Evo Japan after his failure to make top 8 at Evo last year and being knocked out of his group at Capcom Cup earlier this year. It was something of a return to form for him in this tournament. He was knocked out of Winners' bracket by Zhen and had to go through Sawakaze, HotDog29, and Bonchan to make it into a final 8 spot. He started well against Sawakaze, opting for his legendary Karin instead of Luke. Sawakaze made use of Laura, and Punk's familiarity with that character due to his many matches against iDom was evident right away as he knew what to expect. He checked dashes, avoided getting into the blender, and denied Laura her usual options. The highlight of the game was Punk's final action, where Sawakaze attempted an overhead, and Punk responded with a super. It was brilliant and was enough to take the game 2-0. 

His next match was against HotDog29, who is very familiar with Punk from Street Fighter League. This was the only game where Punk used Luke knowing that he was a character better suited to Bison's antics. This was evident in some of the rounds as Luke was able to deal with Bison's pressure. The first game ended with a chip win. HotDog29 had used Bison's V-Trigger 2 and planted the bomb on Luke, but Punk reacted smartly, sacrificing his meter to use his super and chip HotDog out to win the round. Something that Punk utilized well was his wakeup options, as he consistently woke up with a DP. This was even more remarkable as he was punished for the first one. He didn't give up, and it worked out the other times. 

Finally, he faced Bonchan, who again opted for Sagat, and Punk went back to Karin. This was somewhat anticlimactic as Punk was dominant and took the game 2-0 to seal his place in top 8. 

Crazy reactions from Punk


Momochi also made top 8 by winning games against Sasamostreeet, Gachikun, and NL. We were unable to watch the match against Sasamostreeet because it wasn't on stream, but we did catch Momochi defeating Gachikun. The thing with Momochi is that you always know what to expect, but because he is so disciplined and accurate, there is little that anyone can do about it. Against Gachikun, Momochi simply played as Momochi does, utilizing Cody's V-Trigger 1 perfectly and using the Zonk Knuckle with terrifying precision. Against NL, it was more of the same, and while NL threatened at the very beginning, it was soon clear that Momochi was the better player on the day, and he got his win. 

Momochi is too smart


Torimeshi turned out to be the only player to drop out of Winners' side that made top 8. To do this, he had to defeat Yosan, who had just managed to beat Fuudo. After seeing his Samsara (Dhalsim's V-Trigger 2) fail, he had to look for something against Yosan's Juri. Yosan started well and steamrolled his way through the first round. But, Torimeshi found a way back. Yosan's game plan was to ensure that Torimeshi could not find any space to control the match. Yosan literally chased Torimeshi from one end of the screen to the other, applying pressure at every point. It might have seemed like a reckless tactic, but it was effective as Torimeshi had no chance to dictate the play. To his credit, Yosan put a game on the board, but, Torimeshi is not one of Japan's top Dhalsims for nothing, and he soon adapted, making use of teleports frequently to move across the screen and put Yosan off as to where he was going to be and his timing. 

This worked a treat, and the Samsara that didn't work so well against Mono had more success against Yosan, and it was with this that he got his victory and his place in the top 8 for Evo Japan 2023. 

Oil King

We didn't get to see Oil King's first match in top 24 Losers', but he got through that okay. His match against Dusk was interesting as Dusk uses F.A.N.G. Oil King's Rashid was deployed for this game, and a little bit of impatience almost cost Oil King the game, but he held his nerve and won the match. However, his next game was a daunting prospect against Zhen. While Zhen had lost to Nemo, he is still a difficult prospect for anyone, and it proved true against Oil King. Zhen started well, and Oil King's choice of character, Seth, wasn't working out at all. He lost the first game and had the uphill task of getting back into it. First, he made a character change, switching to Rashid from Seth, and second, he changed up his tempo. Using Rashid's impressive mobility, Oil King was playing a game of cat and mouse with Zhen and forcing the Bison user to chase across the stage. This was to Oil King's advantage as he could use pokes and hits to chip away at Bison's life. The second biggest tool for Oil King was his answer to Bison's V-Trigger 2. Oil King always forced Zhen to use a V-Reversal to take away the option of V-Trigger, and when he couldn't stop activation, he simply ran and ensured that he didn't have the Psycho Charge placed on him. This took away one of Zhen's most potent tactics. With options limited, Zhen got a little frustrated and tried to force the issue, which just played into Oil King's hand, and he was able to record a remarkable win over Zhen and take his spot in top 8. 

Oil King avoiding the bomb

With the top 8 decided, we can look forward to an amazing tournament tomorrow and finally crown the winner of perhaps the last major Street Fighter V tournament. 

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