Omito "OMITO" Hashimoto emerged victorious and secured his second straight Evolution Championship Series title in Guilty Gear Xrd. REV 2 on Sunday at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center in Los Angeles.
OMITO blazed a path to the grand finals while dropping just two games on his way there. His only losses came to SURUGUYA's Masahiro "Machabo" Tominaga, the EVO 2016 champion. The losers' side of the bracket was also stacked with former Guilty Gear title-holders. Flying in the face of all these champions, though, was the lone U.S. representative in the top-8, the Bronx's own Eli "LostSoul" Rabadad.
LostSoul's presence in the quarterfinals on its own was quite the feat, and his third-place finish was the highest placing by an American in Guilty Gear Xrd. REV 2. He breezed past player after player into the losers' final in a remarkable run that ran counter to the typical dominance of Japanese players in Guilty Gear. Once he got there, however, things weren't so easy.
Whereas his Elphelt looked clean and unstoppable in rounds past, Machabo's Ky Kiske was too hot to handle. LostSoul was mixed up with relentless aggression and was rarely able to get in to do any damage as Machabo picked up an easy 3-1 to advance.
With just OMITO and Machabo left standing, fans were treated to a rematch of the winners' finals as the last two Evo champions battled it out for the crown. While their first meeting earlier on Sunday was a back-and-forth set that went a full five games, it looked as though OMITO had figured out all Machabo's tricks during that series.
Anything Machabo tried that had worked earlier was completely stymied as OMITO's oppressive Johnny put on a clinic in the grand finals. OMITO only dropped a single game during the three-set grand finals on his way to the championship.