After all of the blood, sweat, and salt over the last two months, the time finally came for the Mortal Kombat X Pro League Season 3 Finals. Sixteen of the best players from all over the world met in Burbank, California to fight for for their share of the massive US$200,000 prize pool and the championship title. With so much on the line, each player brought their absolute best, leading to some of the most amazing sets in fighting game history.
Ultimately, SonicFox continued his reign as the best Mortal Kombat X player in the world, hoisting the championship belt for the third time in a row. Thanks to all who watched and competed over the course of Season 3 and congratulations to SonicFox for defending his title as the three-time Mortal Kombat X Pro League champion!
The Season 3 Finals started off with North American powerhouse Scar taking on Europe’s Boki. While Scar stuck with Demolition Sonya, Boki pulled out a surprise by choosing Shirai Ryu Takeda instead of his infamous Kung Lao. While the first match could have gone either way, Scar enforced his will and took a 3-0 sweep to advance to the winners bracket.
With such an outstanding performance at Combo Breaker, Hayatei went into his first match against Irishmantis with some great momentum. At the start of the set however, Irishmantis displayed extensive matchup knowledge. With the first match reaching the final round, Hayatei clutched out a 1-0 lead. Despite Irishmantis’ great start, Hayatei’s unrelenting pressure led to a 3-0 victory and Irishmantis was sent to the losers bracket.
Madzin and Perfect Legend have ran into each other in before. Almost a year ago at the MKX Pro League Season 1 Finals, Perfect Legend eliminated Madzin in a close 2-1 series. This time, Madzin stuck through the entire set with his infamous Sub-Zero while Perfect Legend tried out a variety of characters. After losing the first game as Ninjitsu Scorpion, he made the switch to a crowd favorite, Displacer Raiden. When this change of plans failed, Perfect Legend decided to try and make a comeback with Buzzsaw Kung Lao, but Madzin’s perfect blend of aggressiveness and caution led to him to a clean sweep without losing a single round.
SonicFox was on a mission to defend his two time championship title. His first opponent was none other than Europe’s Crathen. Fox has been known for having a wide variety of characters ready at his disposal, and he opted for Brawler Cassie Cage against Crathen’s Ninjitsu Scorpion. Fox’s decision was perfect because Cassie Cage’s normals can deal with the extra range of Ninjitsu Scorpion, leading to easier punishes. Although Crathen had an impressive showing against the reigning champion, he was defeated and sent to the losers bracket.
While BeyondToxin was a newcomer to the MKX Pro League Season Finals, Sakr0n made his second Finals appearance. Both competitors used their respective mains, with BeyondToxin playing Master of Souls Ermac and Sakr0n on Royal Storm Kitana. Sakr0n took the momentum early on with a strong Game 1 victory. Both players exchanged rounds in Game 2 and refusing to go down two games, BeyondToxin pulled off a flawless victory to tie the set 1-1. This also seemed to deal mental damage to Sakr0n as BeyondToxin took the next two games, ultimately advancing to the winners side 3-1.
After his outstanding win at the Master’s Challenge in Chile using all three variations of Jacqui Briggs, everyone was eager to see HeeyGe0rge at the Finals. HeeyGe0rge knew he had his work cut out for him as his first opponent was none other than Europe’s MKX king A F0xy Grampa. F0xy started in style by taking two quick rounds to secure Game 1. However, a switch in variations proved to help as HeeyGe0rge answered back with a game of his own to tie the set. Each competitor traded wins and to everyone’s surprise, the series reached the third round of Game 5. F0xy’s spacing ended up shutting HeeyGe0rge down with a close 3-2.
Scar and Hayatei have a history of past run ins throughout their competitive careers. Aside from meeting throughout the Pro League qualifiers, they happened to fight each other in the Top 8 at Kumite In Tennessee, where Scar eliminated him to advance to the grand finals. With so much on the line, Hayatei did not want history to repeat itself and despite his best efforts, he eventually fell to Scar’s Demolition Sonya.
SonicFox and BeyondToxin have had their fair share of run-ins as well. Throughout both the Pro League and the Challenger Cups, SonicFox has always seemed to defeat BeyondToxin. The first game was relatively close, with Fox edging out the win. However, a change of pace with BeyondToxin’s Mystic Ermac proved to work as he managed to tie the set 1-1. Game 3 went down to the last round as well. However, Fox clutched out the win after a game ending air to air conversion. In Game 4, Fox’s rushdown overwhelmed BeyondToxin.
Takeda specialist Raptor quickly became one of the fan favorites throughout the Pro League qualifiers. After taking out St9rm in the first round, he was then pitted against AF0xyGrampa. These two never actually met in tournament at Combo Breaker and this marked the first time they had to face each other. Raptor introduced himself properly by securing Game 1 against F0xy. In round three of Game 2, Foxy managed to put Raptor in the corner and tie the set 1-1. From there, F0xy adjusted to Raptor’s patient playstyle and managed to take the set 3-1, ending in a massive X-ray finisher.
Perfect Legend and Jupe met in the losers bracket to fight for their right to continue in the tournament. After a devastating loss to Madzin, Perfect Legend started the set with a strong statement using Buzz Saw Kung. His fast-paced rushdown seemed to take Jupe by surprise. After going down three straight rounds, Jupe began to adjust to Perfect Legend’s unorthodox playstyle. In perhaps the biggest upset of the entire tournament, Jupe adjusted and eliminated Perfect Legend 3-1 using his trademark Cutthroat Kano.
As the losers bracket continued on, Jupe and BeyondToxin eventually met in a deciding set to see who would advance to the Fatal 8. Initially, Ermac specialist Toxin decided to pick Mystic Ermac in hopes to keep Jupe as far away from him as possible. Although Jupe took the first game, Toxin kept his composure and tied the set 1-1. With so much on the line, there was no room for error. Jupe caught Toxin with an overhead in the third round of Game 3 to take the lead 2-1. The loss steered Toxin away from Mystic and onto Master of Souls. Due to the different playstyles of the two variations, Jupe had a much easier time against the Master of Souls Variation and eliminated Toxin 3-1.
HeyGeorge and Hayatei also battled in the losers bracket to determine who would qualify for the Fatal 8. After coming off such a tough loss to AF0xyGrampa, HeeyGe0rge was eager to get back on the stage and show the world what he could do. Using Full Auto Jacqui, HeeyGe0rge took a convincing first game. Hayatei was unfazed by the sudden loss and continued to rush HeeyGe0rge down, eventually tying the set 1-1. Each game went down to the very last round, but Hayatei’s reads combined with Ronin Takeda’s damage resulted in the HeeyGe0rge’s fall.
Once the Fatal 8 was determined, it was time for a moment that we were all waiting for. As teased by the ESL and NetherRealm staff, a gameplay trailer for the long awaited Injustice 2 was released.
To kick off the Fatal 8, the epic saga between Scar and Dragon continued. Throughout the entirety of Season 3, Dragon has always seemed to come out on top over Scar. Regardless of the outcome of their previous sets, it was clear that Scar had made some adjustments in order to approach Dragon. Scar was absolutely relentless throughout the match, refusing to let Dragon breath and it wasn’t long before Scar was up 2-0. Dragon still had some fight left in him and after taking a game he began to keep the pressure from midscreen to stop Scar from reloading his grenades. In the end, what looked like a sweep for Scar ended up being a 3-2 win for Dragon.
Next up in the Fatal 8 we saw the clash of two titans. SonicFox was matched against AF0xyGrampa in an intense set to see who would advance to winners finals. These two have not played since the Season 2 Finals because SonicFox was eliminated by Raptor before reaching F0xy at Combo Breaker. In order to deal with F0xy’s Mileena, SonicFox decided to pull out his Acidic Alien. In the third round of Game 1, F0xy pulled off a risky read to take the lead 1-0. SonicFox was clearly unrattled by going down a point as he managed to take the next three games, only losing 2 rounds throughout the rest of the set.
Europe’s powerhouse, Madzin, met North America’s dark horse, Hayatei in the losers bracket. Both competitors stuck with their original characters, Grand Master Sub-Zero and Ronin Takeda, respectively. Madzin and Hayatei evenly exchanged rounds with every match going down to the last round with minimal health from both players. However, Hayatei always seemed to clutch out the victory as he took the set 3-0 to send Madzin home.
While Scar was sent to losers by Dragon, Raptor moved along in the losers side by defeating Jupe. Although they had battled in many online qualifiers, Raptor and Scar faced each other in an offline tournament setting for the first time. Even though Scar took the set 3-0, Raptor put up a valiant effort by taking each match to the third round.
With the loser’s bracket slowly coming to an end, AF0xyGrampa and Hayatei were next to fight for their right to continue in the SEason 3 Finals. The set started out in familiar fashion with F0xy taking the first game, but as the next match reached the third round, F0xy dropped the game winning punish. With such a golden opportunity, Hayatei took advantage to serve a punish of his own and tie the set 1-1. Although each match reached the final round, F0xy edged out the win to eliminate Hayatei from the tournament.
Only two players remained in the losers bracket. Either Scar or AFoxyGrampa would advance to the losers finals to battle either SonicFox or Dragon. F0xy seemed to take full control of Scar’s Demolition Sonya. In what appeared to be record timing, F0xy was up 2-0 against Scar. In one last attempt to make a comeback, Scar turned away from Sonya and went with his Smoke. Little by little, Scar managed to asserts Smoke’s mid screen control. After some close calls, Scar brought the set to a 2-2 tie. However, a dire mistake from Scar lead to an anti-air roll by F0xy who closed out the set 3-2.
After dreams were both made and crushed throughout the losers bracket, the time came for Dragon and SonicFox to fight for the first spot in the grand finals. Although SonicFox has consistently been able to take out Dragon in the qualifiers using other characters, he stuck with his dominating Acidic Alien. With Fox being so close to grand finals, his dream of a three-pea began to look more like a reality. Dragon was unable to deal with SonicFox’s frantic playstyle, and was quickly sent to losers finals, falling 0-3.
A F0xy Grampa and Dragon both fell victim to SonicFox and there was no room for mercy if they wanted their chance at redemption. Game 1 of the losers finals set the stage for the entire match. In the third round, F0xy banked off of a risky read to take a 1-0 lead. Dragon immediately stopped F0xy’s momentum by taking a quick Game 2. The pattern continued and the set reached a deciding Game 5 to determine who would advance to grand finals. In the second round, F0xy enforced some unbelievable corner pressure against Dragon, but with the right read, Dragon switched positions and knocked F0xy down. With the second round in Dragon’s hands, F0xy caught Dragon off guard with a wake up enhanced roll to finally send Dragon home.
After over twenty matches, only two competitors remained. It was the story of the unstoppable force meeting the immovable object. SonicFox sat comfortably in the winners side while A F0xy Grampa had an extremely tough road ahead of him. A F0xy Grampa would have to take down SonicFox in not just one, but two first-to-five sets to take the championship title.
SonicFox took a commanding two game lead using Acidic Alie, but F0xy could not be counted out. After slowly adjusting to SonicFox, F0xy managed to take two games in a row and tie the set 2-2. After another two close round, the set was tied again at 3-3. With ultimate victory close at hand, SonicFox unleashed the beast to win the next two games and achieve his dream of being the three-time Mortal Kombat X Pro League champion. For the third time, SonicFox took home the coveted ESL MKX Pro League championship belt and an unprecedented first place prize of US$75,000!
From beginning to end, Season 3 was packed salt, surprises, and upsets. As another season of the ESL Mortal Kombat X Pro League comes to an end, sixteen players have etched their name into esports history. Thanks to all who watched and competed this season and congratulations to three-time world champion SonicFox!