Welcome back to another edition of my series on the greatest players of Project M 3.6! Today I’ll be running through #10-6 on my list. Because we are getting so close to the end, and these players interacted with each other a lot more than those in the 50-20 range, there will be much more explanation to justify each placement in relation to the others. If you missed my previous articles, which include a more extensive introduction to the series, as well as players ranked #50-11, you can catch up on those here:
Introduction and #50-41
Let’s jump right into the top 10 greatest PM players of 3.6!
#10 - Fuzz
Kicking off the top 10 is Tyler “Fuzz” Graves, the fan-favorite Mewtwo player from Houston. Although always a strong regional threat, Fuzz had a quiet 2016. After placing 33rd at Low Tier City 4, his first “breakout” came in his hometown at Clutch City Clash. There, he would pick up his biggest wins of the year, defeating both Oracle and Jason Waterfalls to place 5th, before closing out the year with a decent 25th place finish at Olympus, with wins over Poilu and Dusty. If it feels like we sped over that year, there’s a reason, Fuzz’s story really begins in 2017. At his first event of the year, Fuzz placed 4th at No Fun Allowed, with no especially notable wins along the way, but game 5 sets against both Lunchables and LUCK that indicated growing potential for Houston’s #1 player.
That potential would become very real just a few months later, at The Bigger Balc. After upsetting Kycse in pools, Fuzz would sweep through Tealz, Gallo, and The Doctor, to face off against Sosa. In a shocking upset, Fuzz, the 42nd seed of the whole tournament, would send the 2nd seed to losers in convincing fashion, before repeating the feat with another 3-1 victory over Switch to find himself in Winners Finals. Even as someone who knew who Fuzz was prior to Bigger Balc, something not necessarily true for many players, this was one of the most shocking breakouts I had or have ever seen, to see two of the best players in the world consecutively sent to losers by a guy that few were even thinking of as a threat to make top 32. Fuzz went on to place 3rd at Bigger Balc, and it quickly became apparent that this event was far from a fluke, but rather the beginning of something new.
He defeated Switch again, this time not even dropping a game, along with Venom, to place 5th at Low Tier City 5. Just as Fuzz was becoming widely recognized as a top player, he would reach one more huge milestone. At Salty Juan’s 4, he would become the first Mewtwo player, or player from Texas, to win a 3.6 national. Fuzz tore through Messi, LoyaL, and Junebug, before facing off against ThundeRz in top 8, who had eliminated him in dominant fashion at Bigger Balc. This time, Fuzz’s polished edgeguards and patient neutral would give him the edge, and he won the rematch 3-1. After closing out a game 5 set with Sosa in Winners Finals, the two would trade brutal 3-0 sets in Grands before, when it was all said and done, Fuzz had won his first major. For a player to rise this fast, from not even a top 32 seed at Bigger Balc to winning his first major over the likes of Sosa and ThundeRz over just five months, remains pretty much unheard of in PM to this day.
If Salty Juan’s proved that Fuzz was a true contender for one of the best in the world, he solidified that position at the site of his first breakout the year before, Clutch City Clash 2. There, he would defeat Dingo, Fearless, Blank, and ThundeRz, before trading three sets with Sosa that would ultimately go in Sosa’s favor and result in a second place finish. By this point, Fuzz was up 2-1 against ThundeRz, 2-0 against Switch, and 4-3 against Sosa in 2017, a phenomenal year by any metric. Fuzz ended 2017 on a low note, placing 9th at Fair and Balanced after upsets by The Doctor and Jason Waterfalls, but was ranked 6th for the year, and was well on pace to be ranked even higher prior to that event. Heading into 2018, Fuzz kicked off the year with a top 8 placements at No Fun Allowed 2 and Don’t Sleep! 2, including wins over LUCK, Nyx, and Captain Birdman, but also dropped his first set to Switch at the latter event, with additional losses to Lunchables, Malachi, and Sosa.
Malachi, with his 2-0 head to head record, had proved to be one of the only consistent stumbling blocks for Fuzz after his Bigger Balc breakout, at least until their next major. At Flex Zone 2, Fuzz picked up wins over Envy and Switch before facing off against Malachi and defeating him 3-1. After taking out Switch in losers, Fuzz placed 2nd to Sosa, proving not only that Switch didn’t have his number after their last set, but that maybe Malachi didn’t either. Fuzz would drop another set to Sosa, along with Switch, at Push More Buttons 2018, where he placed 3rd after defeating players like Dirtboy and Ripple, but he bounced back for another big performance at Even Bigger Balc. At the biggest PM event ever, Fuzz defeated Drugfreechu, Nezergy, Silver, and ilovebagelz to make top 8 before losing to BaconPancakes and techboy, both on incredible runs of their own. Following Even Bigger Balc, Fuzz mostly stopped competing in PM, resulting in a slightly lower annual ranking than last year at 7th in the world.
Athough inactive, he appeared far from rusty at his sole event in 2019, as he cleanly eliminated Dirtboy and took Switch to a tense game 5 to place 3rd at No Fun Allowed 3. Overall, Fuzz was a respectable player from the beginning of 3.6, but following his incredible breakout at Bigger Balc, he stepped into the shoes of a top 10 player and never looked back. He held a genuine argument for #1 in the world in late 2017, with a resume that included positive records over three of the top four players on PMRank 2017 and a national victory at Salty Juan’s 4, and proved a consistent threat to some of the best players in the world for the next two years until his retirement. The only thing that really holds Fuzz back from being higher on this list, given his great peaks and impressive consistency, is the relatively short amount of time for which he was an active top player. Even though he proved capable of performing at a top 10 level in 2019 with his performance at NFA 3, his inactivity for the latter half of 2018, and mediocre results prior to Bigger Balc, limit how high I can reasonably place him on this list, which lands him at #10.
#9 - Hyperflame
From his constant improvement through the early years of 3.6 to his status as a vaunted top player thereafter, there’s no doubt in my mind that Alex “Hyperflame” Mireles deserves to be named one of the best PM players of all time. The fast-fingered Lucas player kicked started off his 3.6 career by placing 5th at Tipped Off 11 with a decent win over Ripple, and was performing at a respectable level on the East Coast with respectable 17th place finishes at We Tech Those and Shots Fired 2, picking up wins over Boiko and Flipp, but soon he would break into the top tier of PM’s elite in explosive fashion.
At Shuffle VIII, Hyperflame upset ThundeRzReiGN in winners before being sent to losers by MD/VA rival BaconPancakes. Once in losers, he would defeat yet another MD/VA threat in E2xD, then take out Fizzle, win the runback against BaconPancakes, and close out a grueling 10 game reset to take 1st place over Anther, his first big win. For anyone wondering if these wins were just a fluke, if perhaps ThundeRz and Anther just didn’t live up to the hype as opponents, Hyperflame silenced any doubts the next month at Supernova. After sweeping his pool and taking out Envy in winners, Hyperflame once again found himself in losers relatively early, this time at the hands of Sosa, before sweeping through Machiavelli, Darc, iPunchKidsz, and Zhime to place 4th at one of the biggest PM nationals of 3.6 thus far, barely dropping a game 5 set against Malachi to advance even further.
Hyper’s next few majors would be solid, if a bit less impressive. He placed well at both Blacklisted 2 and Big Balc, with wins over Switch and Blank, and quickly redeemed himself from a shocking upset by Zigludo at Smash ‘n’ Splash 2 by eliminating Junebug from the tournament to place 7th. Even in the sets that Hyperflame was losing, there was clear and quick adaptation being made. At his very next major, Hyperflame dropped to losers after facing off against Mr Lz, who had also eliminated him from SnS 2, but after taking out StereoKiDD, Blue, and Strong Badam, he finally claimed victory in a back-and-forth set against the Florida legend. Hyper continued to perform well at majors across the U.S., picking up wins on IPK at Push More Buttons and eliminating both ThundeRz and Jose V from EVO 2016, but it was back on his home turf of MD/VA that he would claim his second big win, at Super Smash Con 2016. Hyperflame dominated the PM side event at SSC, taking wins over Bladewise, Hungrybox, and double-eliminating Frozen to take 1st place. Despite a few poor showings, most notably placing 17th at both We Tech Those 2 and Olympus after running into matchups that he historically struggled with, like Mario and Ice Climbers, Hyperflame overall ended his 2016 as a clear top 10 threat, and one of the only players to retain an undefeated record against ThundeRz by the end of the year.
Coming into 2017, Hyperflame served as the man to beat for anyone looking to establish themselves as a threat, and he pretty much stayed at that benchmark throughout. He took wins over dvd and Boringman at Flex Zone 2, BaconPancakes, Anther, and Dirtboy at Shuffle: Battle of the Midwest, and Boiko at Philadelphia Championships to secure top 8 at all events. He would maintain that consistency at the summer’s biggest majors as well, taking out Kycse and Emukiller at Bigger Balc, then Lunchables and Hungrybox at Smash ‘n’ Splash 3, before putting up his best showing of the year so far at Smashadelphia 2017. After taking out Kycse in winners, he dropped to losers following a loss to Aidan, who had also double-eliminated him from Shuffle. Once in losers, he would defeat Fearless, Kycse, Aidan for the first time all year, and take a set from ThundeRz to place 2nd.
If his Smashadelphia run was impressive, what would come next would define Hyperflame’s entire career. At Blacklisted 3, Hyperflame took out Boiko, Kumatora, and Flipp in winners before facing off against Malachi in Winners Finals, a player he had never defeated in bracket. After displaying his brutal punish game against Sheik, Malachi switched to Peach, and Hyperflame, mixing blindingly fast pressure with patient defense, was able to quickly adapt and secure his place in Grand Finals, before edging out a game 5 victory over the New York titan to earn his biggest ever tournament win. Hyper continued to put up great results throughout 2017, with a great showing at Supernova 2 over Junebug, Emukiller, and Jose V, and capped off his year with a dominant losers run at Tipped Off 12 through Dingo, Jfyst, and Noghrilla to end 2017 with another 1st place.
In 2018, Hyperflame struggled much more heavily to meet expectations, but still displayed signs of his old glory. He placed 25th at We Tech Those 3 after an upset by Ivayne, his lowest ever placing at a 3.6 major, and dropped sets to in-region rivals BaconPancakes and Hondo at Project M Showdown 7, before showing up in a big way once again at Smash ‘n’ Splash 4. There, Hyper took out Reslived, Jason Waterfalls, and Junebug to make his way into top 8, before picking up a victory over Kycse to secure an eventual placement of 3rd at one of the year’s biggest events. After two more poor showings, 17th at Smashadelphia 2018 and a shocking 65th at Even Bigger Balc, Hyperflame found the energy to put up one more great bracket run, at Low Tier City 6. After a close game 5 set against The Doctor, Hyperflame faced off against Sothe in losers, eliminating him at an early 17th place, before defeating Boringman as well to guarantee his spot in top 8 (technically guaranteed himself 9th, but Lunchables DQ’d from losers and created a bye).
Despite his poor losses in 2018, which resulted in his first PMRank placement outside of not only the top 10 but the top 25, Hyperflame still showed that on his good days he could hang with the best players in the world. His rapid and incredible improvement throughout the first year of 3.6, followed by incredible performances throughout 2017 that include a 1st place finish at one of the year’s most stacked events, made him one of the players who absolutely defined the Project M meta throughout his career. Hyperflame was a great example of a hardworking up-and-comer who pushed the game to its limits, and remains one of the most popular players in PM for a reason.
#8 - Mr Lz
One of the hardest players to rank on this list, the Florida prodigy Forrest “Mr Lz” Griffin came out of nowhere to become a challenger for #1 in the world right out of the gate in 2015. Some players had heard of Mr Lz prior to 3.6 coming out, mostly due to getting 3rd at the EVO 2015 side event over Lucky, but he definitely wasn’t a household name by any means. Come the first big 3.6 tournament, and one of the biggest Project M events of all time, Mr Lz made an appearance at Paragon Los Angeles and absolutely dominated the competition. He tore through YadoR, Lunchables, Seagull Joe, Machiavelli, Hungrybox, and Oracle to reach Grand Finals, and only seemed to even break a sweat after Oracle surged into their rematch with new momentum, including character counterpicks to Luigi and then Wario that took Lz a moment to adapt to, but adapt he did. Mr Lz, just 13 years old at the time, became the first Project M 3.6 world champion at Paragon Los Angeles over an established field of veteran players, all without dropping a set.
Of course, the established players fought back. Mr Lz would drop sets to both Junebug and Professor Pro at Tipped Off 11, placing 4th with wins over iPunchKidsz and Hyperflame, and and entered 2016 as one of a few players vying for the #1 spot. At Shots Fired 2, Mr Lz would place 5th, his worst performance so far, after barely clutching out a set against dvd and seeming almost lost against both Ally and Flipp. At his next event, Lz was sent to losers incredibly early by Aki, the master GnW slayer from Washington. After three upsets in a row at majors, it would be reasonable to question if maybe Paragon was a fluke, if it weren’t for what happened next. Mr Lz swept through four rounds of losers without dropping a game to make his way into top 8, before 3-0ing Hyperflame, taking out Hungrybox and ThundeRz, dominating Marshall in the GnW ditto, and out-pacing Lunchables in a grueling 10 game Grand Finals to claim yet another major title. As at Paragon, the most impressive thing about this victory wasn’t even that he won, it was how effortless the game seemed to him, despite facing off against the world’s best, one after another. Mr Lz started off strong at Low Tier City 4, with wins over Fuzz, Boiko, Hyperflame, and LUCK to make his way into top 8, but would find himself out at 5th after loses to Lunchables and Hyperflame. He performed similarly at Rewired, his last event of the year, with wins over Ivayne, Jason Waterfalls, and Boringman, but clean losses to ThundeRz and Sosa. The new guard had begun to catch up.
Unfortunately, it’s hard to say what would have happened if Mr Lz had more opportunities to compete against the newly established top players like ThundeRz, Sosa, and Malachi. A health condition forced him to step back from competing in 2017, and his interests shifted towards Melee and Rivals of Aether as he recovered. His next major showing would not occur until early 2018, at the Genesis 5 side event, but he quickly showed that his talent had far from rusted. Against a field of NorCal’s finest, Mr Lz took wins over Ivayne and The Doctor to face off against Pikmon, commonly considered the best active Mr G&W player, in Winners Finals. After a back-and-forth set, Mr Lz gained an early lead in game 5 and rode it to victory, reclaiming his title as the character’s best representative before taking home the tournament with a 3-0 over Ivayne. His only other event of 2018 was at another side event, Evicted, held alongside The Big House 8. There, he took a win over Anther and traded sets with Dirtboy to place 3rd after a loss to techboy, indicating that while he can definitely still compete with the game’s best, he was far from unstoppable in the 2018 meta.
We saw Mr Lz compete once in 2019 as well, to some extent. At Smash ‘n’ Splash 5, he mostly swept through swiss pools, including a win over Scarfy, to secure his place in top 32. However, a loss to Drugfreechu, the first time he would ever lose the G&W ditto, placed him into the losers side of the bracket, and upon making top 32 he DQ’d for unknown reasons. From his occasional post-2016 showings, it’s clear that Mr Lz continued to be at least a top 20-25 player in skill even four years after his Paragon Los Angeles victory. Combined with his incredible dominance at historic events in the first year of 3.6 that make him a legend to this day, Mr Lz holds a legacy as one of the greatest players to ever play Project M, and someone with the potential to perform at a top level no matter how long it’s been since he last competed.
#7 - Junebug
One of the greatest Project M players of all time across the game’s history, Arjun Junebug” Rao entered the 3.6 as arguably the #1 player in the world, with a chance to solidify the title in this new version. At Paragon Los Angeles, however, he found himself knocked out at 5th at the hands of Oracle and Mew2King, as Mr Lz claimed the title instead at the first 3.6 major. At his next tournament, Junebug was upset in winners by Strong Badam, before defeating Mr Lz and winning his runback against the Texas Wario to face off against Professor Pro in Grand Finals. After trading sets with Professor Pro, he would place 2nd, showing that while he was certainly still a contender for the #1 title, it wasn’t his just yet by any means. After being sent to losers early at his next event as well, following a loss to XYK, Junebug would make a monster losers run at We Tech Those, taking out Hyperflame, Malachi, Envy, dvd, Seagull Joe, Gurukid, and Frozen, before taking two clean sets over Darc to win his first 3.6 major.
Heading into 2016, the MD/VA legend’s dominance only grew. He took home 1st place from winners side at FinalBOSS, despite a brief scare after going to game 5 twice against the previously semi-unknown ThundeRzReiGN, and before putting up another great showing on the East Coast at Shots Fired 2. There, he made his way to Winners Finals over Envy, Ripple, and Flipp, before eking out two sets against Professor Pro to win his third major event in a row. Heading into Supernova, Junebug was the clear favorite to win the event, taking out Aero to make his way to Winners Quarters, where he was upset by New York player Malachi. In a losers set that was deemed such a foregone conclusion that it wasn’t played on stream, he was eliminated at 9th by iPunchKidsz, his first time ever placing outside of top 8 at a 3.6 event. Ever resilient, June quickly bounced back, taking 1st place at Big Balc with wins over ilovebagelz, iPunchKidsz, Jose V, Lunchables, and an crushingly oppressive 6-0 victory over Flipp.
At Smash ‘n’ Splash 2, however, Junebug found himself out of the bracket at a shocking 17th place after unexpected losses to Marshall and Hyperflame. At his next event, Low Tier City 4, June would take revenge on Hyperflame, in addition to taking out Strong Badam and Machiavelli, but also dropped his first sets to both ThundeRz and Lunchables, placing 4th at an event that he swept from winners the year before. In his own words, the field was beginning to catch up. At EVO 2016, he would take out both Marshall and ThundeRz in winners before being sent to losers by lloD. Once in losers, he would tear through IPK, Hyperflame, and lloD, before trading sets with Sosa in Grands to place 2nd. At his next few events, Junebug would put up strong, but not amazing results. He placed top 4 at both ARLO 3 and We Tech Those 2, with losses to Phresh, Gallo, Malachi, and Lunchables, and solid wins over borderline top 10 players and below, including Hyperflame and Darc. At Olympus, Junebug found himself utterly outclassed for the first time against ThundeRz, getting quickly 4-stocked in game 1, and although the next two games were closer, the larger monkey’s brutal punish game proved insurmountable for Junebug. Immediately after, he was eliminated by Gallo in game 5 set for the ages. At the end of the year, Junebug was ranked 5th on PMRank 2016, beneath the “new guard” of Project M’s elite: ThundeRz, Lunchables, Sosa, and Malachi.
Following Olympus, Junebug began to focus more heavily on melee, entering Project M less frequently. He didn’t enter anything in the first half of 2017, placing 17th at Smash ‘n’ Splash 3 to Pooch and lloD at his first event of the year, before returning to form at his next few majors. At Supernova 2, he utilized both Diddy Kong and Sheik to make his way to 5th, over Twisty, Flarp, Yung Quaff, Emukiller, and JJK, before being eliminated by ThundeRz. He placed top 8 at Salty Juan’s 4 as well, with a win over Kycse, but was eliminated at 7th by Chevy. Compared to the year before, the field had clearly caught up. This would be the story for the next two years, Junebug’s incredible talent allowed him to continue placing relatively well at Project M majors, but nowhere near his old peaks. He placed 9th at We Tech Those 3 with wins over Boiko and Kumatora, and eliminated JJK to make top 8 at Smash ‘n’ Splash 4, but at both events was blocked from advancing further by facing off against top 20 players, including Aidan and Rongunshu. He would place 17th at Even Bigger Balc after losses to Jfyst and The Doctor, taking out Dingo along the way, and placed 7th at Smashadelphia 2018 with no PMRank wins. After nearly 3 years since his last major win at Big Balc, Junebug put up one more great major run at Smash ‘n’ Splash 5, taking out Tealz, Dirtboy, and Marshall to place 9th at one of the biggest Project M events ever.
As a longtime Project M fan, it feels fundamentally wrong to place Junebug so low on this list despite his place as the player to beat for the first year of 3.6, but I also believe it warranted. After an incredible 12 months where he held a strong argument for #1 in the world, Junebug’s results dipped to top 10 level by the end of 2016, then to top 30, and held steady as a gatekeeper for the new class of would-be top players ever since. These days, his impact on Project M was driven as much by his legacy as by his (undeniably still impressive) skill. Junebug was, and is, one of the greatest players to ever touch Project M, but as the era of 3.6 events stretched on, the impact of his initial dominance begins to diminish in value for the purpose of these rankings.
#6 - Flipp
Once a fresh new face at the beginning of 3.6, more well known for his combo videos than his results, Nick “Flipp” Filippides has become an institution of the Project M metagame over the last four years. Flipp’s sole event in 2015 was a relatively mediocre 25th place showing at We Tech Those, but Flipp had his breakout moment at the start of the next year at Shots Fired 2. There, he picked up wins over XYK and ESAM in winners, before upsetting Mr Lz in losers on a run to 3rd place, by far his best performance so far.
At his next major, Flipp showcased his patient neutral and brutal punishes (including the first showcase of his down-air strings in the SoCal vs NY/NJ crew battle) on his way to a standout 1st place finish at Supernova. Along the way, he took wins over Shiny Zubat, Switch, Darc, Malachi, and Venom, displaying dominance over rivals from across the country. Flipp found great success on the West Coast as well, picking up wins over Blue, Lunchables, and Phresh to earn 2nd place at Big Balc, before being double eliminated by Junebug in a brutal 6-0. Junebug would repeat his victory at We Tech Those 2, eliminating Flipp at 7th place, and Flipp ended his year with a relatively disappointing performance at Olympus, where upsets by Jaden and Jason Waterfalls led to an early elimination at 25th.
Flipp had a lot to prove heading into 2017, and he started off strong with wins over StereoKiDD and Malachi at Flex Zone 2, finishing in 3rd at his first major of the year. He continued to perform reasonably well on the East Coast, with wins over dvd, Phresh, and Yung Quaff at regionals, but as the summer began his results would once again significantly improve. At Bigger Balc, he once again found himself on the winners side of Grand Finals, this time after defeating iPunchKidsz, Hyperflame, Anther, and the newly ascendant Fuzz, before having victory snatched away by an unstoppable ThundeRzReiGN. He placed 4th at Blacklisted 3, with clear-cut victories over Pikmon, Envy, and Fearless along the way, before putting up another great performance at Supernova 2. There, he sent Gallo and techboy to losers before facing off against ThundeRz yet again, and he displayed a brutal punish game against the latter’s Captain Falcon to claim his first set against the NorCal titan. After defeating Hyperflame in Winners Finals, Flipp once again found himself stymied by a losers run from ThundeRz. Flipp had a respectable end to 2017, albeit sullied by a hand injury that forced him to play without the full use of his fingers and potentially impacted his results. He placed a solid 4th at Salty Juan’s 4, with wins over Jose V and Chevy, but accrued a series of losses to Silver, Twisty, and Bongo at various East Coast regionals towards the end of the year.
Flipp’s results were a bit less consistent in 2018, but ultimately no less impressive. After placing 13th at We Tech Those 3 to StereoKiDD and Phresh, Flipp quickly returned to form at the Revival of Smashing Grounds, re-establishing his dominance over New England with victories over Twisty, Flarp, and Kycse, and only dropping sets to Switch in his run to 2nd place. Flipp would place 17th at Even Bigger Balc, a disappointing showing for a player who had placed 2nd at both previous Balcs, but he nonetheless picked up respectable wins over Aero and Cala in the process. At Low Tier City 6, he defeated not only Ivayne but Lunchables to place 5th at the Texas super-major, before claiming victory over Blank, dvd, and Kycse to earn 1st place at Retro Rumble, his biggest major victory since Supernova. At the last major of the year, Flipp proved vulnerable to some of East Coast’s rising talent, dropping sets to Twisty and Envy to place 5th, but only after defeating Pikmon, Aidan, Bongo, and Connor.
From his victories at Supernova and Retro Rumble to his myriad Grand Finals appearances across the last four years, the biggest thing that separates Flipp from anyone beneath him on this list is his incredible longevity as a top player. Much as Snake notoriously recovers forever in-game, Flipp would return time and again after breaks or poor performances to put up incredible placements over a field of hungry challengers, and is one of only four players to have been ranked within the top 10 on all three 3.6-only PMRanks. The dominant force in New England well before the region’s modern renaissance, Flipp revolutionized the Snake metagame and consistently forced the world to respect him and his gameplay with one top 8 placement after another. Although many of his most storied bracket runs ended with another player’s victory, there is no doubt that Flipp is one of the best Project M players of all time.
There’s only one week’s worth of rankings left, and I think we all know who the top 5 are. I hope that you have enjoyed this dive into Project M history so far, and are ready to talk some more about the five greatest players of Project M 3.6 in next week’s article. If you enjoyed reading this article and want to stay updated on my content, feel free to follow me on Twitter at Sabre_Metrics, or subscribe to my YouTube channel and my Medium.