This coming weekend, Smashing Grounds is hosting the third iteration of their Project M major tournament series with Blacklisted 3. This tournament will be a part of the Project M Championship Circuit, so players will not only be competing for prize money, but circuit points. With such high stakes, many top players are attending the event, and with 192 entrants, this will be the third largest east coast Project M event ever, as well as the largest north east event to this date.
Being such a large tournament, there will be many new and old player matchups as well as many upsets to be had in pools. Whether they be familiar players or unknown newcomers, we’re bound to see a lot of exciting matches. For this reason, let’s take a quick look at some of the matches that will be streamed in each pool.
The pools are split up into two waves: Wave B and Wave C. First, we'll be covering Wave B.
WAVE B POOLS
POOL B1: James “Mafia” Lauerman VS Kevni “King Koney” Kica
Mafia is a Peach main famous for his notable wins in Super Smash Bros. Melee, but he’s no slouch in PM either. King Koney is a Donkey Kong main from Connecticut, where he’s made a name for himself as #7 on their power ranking. Seeing as he’s the first seed, Mafia will have the clear advantage in this set, but many players have been known to dislike the Donkey Kong matchup. However, it’s likely that this won’t affect Mafia too much, as he has quite a bit of experience in that matchup from playing with POOB. With all of these factors, it will be hard for King Koney to make an upset here.
POOL B2: Aleck “Aki” Henderson VS Johnny “Gooley” Gooley
Aki is a solid and consistent Ness player from Illinois, is ranked #39 on the PM Rank and recently placed 7th at Smash ‘N’ Splash 2. Gooley, the Sonic from Connecticut, is known for making upsets at majors. This reputation Gooley has garnered began when he beat Jose “Jose V” Villasana, another Ness player, at Big Balc. However, this match took place over a year ago, so it doesn’t carry as much weight. Despite this, Gooley has remained one of the bigger threats in CT with his Sonic, and it’ll be quite interesting to see if Gooley can best another top Ness player.
POOL B3: Zack “Flarp” Gordon VS Devin “Reslived” Gajewski
Flarp is a Luigi main from Massachusetts, and Reslived is a Ness main and commentator from Virginia. Flarp has recently been making a name for his Luigi, taking the 6th spot on MA’s most recent PR and taking sets off top players like Flipp. Reslived has been known to be an incredibly strong Ness player, but has been recently falling off with a poor placing at Smash ‘N’ Splash 3. Based on recent results, it is likely Flarp will take this, but this could be Reslived’s opportunity to remind everyone that he is not to be slept on. However, it is important to note that Flarp has plenty of experience in the matchup from playing with local Ness main Kumatora.
POOL B4: Ares “Blitz” Cochrane VS Cedric “Goode” Goode
This a match we’re not likely to see again anytime soon. Blitz, an Ike main from Ontario, Canada, will be facing off against Goode, a Sonic player from Maryland. Although Blitz has always been a threat in Canada, he’s recently been placing higher at events, with a 7th place finish at Frozen Phoenix 2017 back in May. Goode, although not as consistent, he’s secured the #7 spot on MD/VA’s current PR, and has win over many strong players, such as Michael “Emukiller” Silbernagel. This could be a once in a lifetime match that you won’t want to miss.
POOL B5: Luke “Yung Quaff” Ferris VS Nick “VBD” Marcus
Quaff is a Meta Knight who’s been a threat in Massachusetts for quite a while, and recently made himself known to the world with a top 8 finish at The Bigger Balc, one of the largest Project M tournaments of all time. VBD made his name as a Melee Game and Watch player, but has also recently become known as a strong Project M Game and Watch player as well. Quaff is the favorite to win in this set, but VBD is a bit of an unpredictable player, and it’s possible for us to see an upset.
ThundeRzReiGN (left) and Yung Quaff (Right)
Photo credits: Remzi Hazboun
POOL B6: Pete “Envy” Grieco VS Douglas “Numerics” Elliott
For pool B6, Envy will be facing off against Smashing Grounds veteran and Zero Suit Samus main Numerics. Envy is currently ranked #14 on the PM Rank top 50 with his Ike. Although he hasn’t been placing as well as he was in 2016, Envy still remains a huge threat to any player. Numerics has been relatively inactive as of late, but he’s still a forced to be reckoned with as well, beating Aidan “Aidan” Shea at Blacklisted 2.
POOL B7: Marshall “Marshall” Stock VS Bora “Bobo” Chiv
Marshall, a midwest player from Wisconsin, made a name for himself after his solid third place finish at the second Smash ‘N’ Splash, and has been known as one of the stronger Game and Watch players in PM since then. Bobo is a lesser known player from Quebec, who’s Ivysaur has secured the #2 spot on Montreal’s PR. Although Bobo doesn’t have many notable placings at events out of Canada, this could be his breakout tournament, and this set could decide that.
POOL B8: Shahid “Fearless” Jivani VS Joe “Wilford Brimley” Corcoran
Pool B8 is yet another interesting matchup. Fearless, a Lucario from Texas who, just this weekend, made a top 8 finish at Smashadelphia, has secured himself the first seed spot. The second seed is Wilford Brimley, who recently secured a #7 spot on the current Massachusetts PR, and this tournament could be his opportunity to show the world that he could be the next big Snake player. However, Fearless has just as much to prove. It’s clear that we’ll see both players in this match try their heart out to show off what they’ve got.
POOL B9: Will “Twisty” Gomez VS Capitulize
In pool B9, Twisty, a Wario player from Massachusetts, will be playing against Capitulize, a Pikachu player from Maryland. Twisty has been in the Project M scene for quite a while, but recently gained traction with top 8 finishes at Shuffle and CGC 2017, as well as a top 32 finish at Bigger Balc. Capitulize is somewhat of a wild card in this pool. Currently ranked #6 on the MD/VA pr, Capitulize is one of the best Pikachus in Project M, and has wins over many of the titans in MD/VA. This will most likely be one of the most exciting matches to watch in pools.
POOL B10: Jared “JJK” Johnston VS Anna “Kumatora” Mayorskiy
This is bound to be an exciting set. JJK is a rising Game and Watch who’s recently secured the #2 spot on the Southern Ontario PR. Just this weekend at Smashadelphia, he finished with a solid 9th place. Kumatora, on top of being one of the head TO’s in MA (and one of the head TO’s for Blacklisted 3) is ranked #5 on the Massachusetts PR, and has solid placings at several large tuornaments, such as 9th at Gauntlet 6 and 5th at Gauntlet 5. This will be another great match to watch, if only to see how JJK will fare in the states.
POOL B11: Kyle “Kycse” Carrero VS Colten “SoulPech” White
Pool B11, we have the very unique matchup of Charizard vs Jigglypuff. The first seed, Kyle “Kycse” Carrero, is widely considered to be the best Charizard player in Project M, is ranked #2 in his home region of Connecticut and #44 on the PM Rank top 50. His opponent and second seed, Soulpech, is ranked #3 in Columbus, and hasn’t placed under top 32 at a national since We Tech Those in 2015. You won’t want to miss the match between the best Zard and Puff!
POOL B12: Malachi “Malachi” Covington VS Cody “Yata!” Anderson
For pool B12, the Peach and Sheik main Malachi, who’s currently ranked #1 in NY/NJ and #4 on the PM Rank Top 50, will be put up against the Snake main Yata, who’s current ranked #6 in Michigan. In this match, the odds are stacked against Yata, as not only Malachi considered by many to be one of the best players in the world, but he also has several wins over Flipp, who’s considered to be the best Snake in Project M. This match will be interesting, if only to see how Yata decides to play against such a formidable opponent.
Photo credits: Princess Hyrule Photography
POOL B13: Jacob “Dirtboy” Smith VS Adham "Dingo" Daud
Onto pool B13, Project M’s top Squirtle Dirtboy will be playing against Dingo, a fantastic Charizard player from Georgia who has only recently began traveling to tournaments. Dirtboy has shown us time and time again what Squirtle can do, with many high placings at tournaments across the country, and a PM Rank of #22. Dingo, on the other hand, mostly just has wins over players who travel to tournaments in or near his home state, until this weekend where he finished at 7th place, tying with Jason “Mew2King” Zimmerman. It’s likely that we’ll see Dingo put up quite the fight in this match, and an upset could be very likely.
POOL B14: Nick “Boiko” Boiko VS Bradley “Mask” Barnard
New York’s Meta Knight and Ness main Boiko, currently ranked coming at #34 on the PM Rank, will be playing against Mask, a Meta Knight and Charizard main from upstate New York. With both players recently favoring Meta Knight over their previous mains, it’s likely we may see a very high level Meta Knight ditto. Of course, Mask may also bring out his Charizard, which he’s used to secure him many wins, which we saw at CGC 2017 where he used his Zard to even out a set against Twisty. Regardless of character choice, this is sure to be a close set, and one you wouldn’t want to miss.
POOL B15: Kyle “Switch” Carlon VS Saladin “SoL” Islam
Switch, PM’s best Wolf player and rank #18 on the PM Rank, will play against Massachusetts local Link main SoL. Many local players consider SoL to be a “gatekeeper” of sorts, being just below the top level of Massachusetts’ players, but still being to hold his own against many top players. It’s hard to say how much experience either player has had in this matchup, especially since SoL is fairly inactive, but we saw Switch barely clutch out a game 5 set against hidden boss Aklo from New York at The Flex Zone 2 earlier this year. If SoL can channel his inner Aklo, this match may be an interesting watch.
POOL B16: Billy “GP” Hand VS D'Marcus “Kip” Xavier
Currently, GP is ranked #12 on the NY/NJ PR, while Kip is ranked #1 in North Georgia. Like Dingo, Kip is another Georgian player who doesn’t often travel. Despite this, he is still one of Project M’s best Lucas players. It’s safe to assume that both players are very well versed in this matchup as GP is a Fox main who often plays with the likes of Anthony “Ant” Scoppio and Christian “Narq” Claros. This will likely be a set where both players will struggle against each other, and it has the potential to be one of the closest matches of pools.
Bongo (Left) and GP (Right)
Photo credits: Princess Hyrule Photography
That wraps it up for wave B pools! However, there are still 16 more pools in wave C, with even more exciting matches! Let’s take a look:
WAVE C POOLS
POOL C1: Thomas “Silver” Manning VS Nadim “Dotcom” Harris
This will be quite the interesting match, as Silver is a Falco player who’s currently ranked #2 on Massachusetts’ PR, and Dotcom is an Olimar who’s currently ranked #4 on Philadelphia's PR. Like any Olimar matchup, you wouldn’t expect to see this often, but this matchup is an even rarer case, as Falco players are not common in PM. This is a matchup we’re not likely to see at this high of a level again for a long time, and missing this match would be a travesty.
Silver (left) and Twisty (Right)
Photo credits: Remzi Hazboun
POOL C2: Anthony “Gallo” Gallo VS Jacob “MLGF” Bjornberg
In pool C2, we have Gallo, New York’s #4, PM rank’s #7, and the best Mario in PM, will be playing against MLGF, who is ranked #5 in Connecticut for his exceptional Ike play. Although MLGF doesn’t have the best record out of his region, he has considerable wins inside of CT. It’s clear that MLGF will put up a fight, but Gallo, being one of the top 10 players on the PM Rank, as well as having wins over Envy’s Ike, will most likely make this a hard match for MLGF.
POOL C3: Sokcorey “Sora” Chan VS Wilder “Wyld” Cusick
Massachusetts’ Marth main Sora will play against Illinois’ #10 player and Sonic main Wyld. Sora is known for sandbagging at locals, but being a forced to be reckoned with at major tournaments. Wyld, on the other hand, is a lesser known player, with few large wins outside of Illinois. However, Wyld is known for his technical Sonic, making this an interesting matchup against Sora, a fast Marth player.
POOL C4: Peter “Pikmon” Woodworth VS Ben “Vortex” Geoghean
Pool C4 will have Pikmon, the Game and Watch from Washington, play against Vortex, who’s known for both his exceptional PM play with a diverse group of characters and his Melee Sheik. Currently, Pikmon is ranked #41 on the PM Rank. It’ll be interesting to see a Melee player, who is well versed in PM, play against one of the best Game and Watch players in the world.
POOL C5: Brennan “Bongo” Avery VS Ryan “Kunai” Romanos
New York’s best Captain Falcon Bongo will be facing off against Massachusetts’ best Toon Link Kunai. Bongo, like Capitulize, is another wild card, however this wild card has the potential to take out anyone in the tournament. Bongo is known for his inconsistency. For example, at Flex Zone 2, he placed 33rd, yet at Downfall 6, he placed 3rd, beating the likes of Yung Quaff, Brian “DVD” Sherbert, and Messiah “Phresh” Williams. Kunai, on the other hand, is fairly consistent, and has wins over players like Max “Shiny Zubat” Guerrero, Silver and Flarp. Despite these wins, Kunai will be fighting an uphill battle, but it’s a battle you won’t want to miss.
POOL C6 Raseen “BP” Khan VS Shane “POOB” Nelson
BP, ranked #30 on the PM Rank and #3 in MD/VA for his Diddy Kong, will be playing against POOB, who’s currently ranked #8 in Massachusetts for his Donkey Kong. POOB is known as a past legend, and back in the day, was easily the best Donkey Kong player in PM. Since then, he’s gone through a lengthy character crisis, and is now back with his original main, and currently on course for a comeback. POOB will have to fight an uphill battle against one of the best Diddy players in the business, but winning this match could solidify POOB as top player once again. It’s not likely that BP would let that happen, as he remains to be one of the most consistent players on the PM Rank, so it’s sure that this match yield exciting results.
BP (Left) and Goode (Right)
Photo credits: Remzi Hazboun
POOL C7: Dustin “Darc” Hayes VS Isaac “Zork” Malaret
Pool C7 will have local Massachusetts legend Darc, who’s currently ranked #1 on their PR and #19 on the PM Rank, and New York player Zork will face off as first and second seed. Darc is a player who’s been getting notable placings in Melee since 2007, and has been dominating the MA Project M scene since late 2014 using a diverse selection of characters. Zork has made a name for himself in NY after switching mains from Olimar to Toon Link about a year ago, and has since gotten wins over the likes of Mr. Watch&Learn and Vaporeon. This will be a hard match for Zork, but with experience from virtually all of Darc’s characters thanks to Jaden “Jaden” Carr, it’s quite possible Zork can make the upset.
POOL C8: Flipp VS Matthew “Yung Matt” Peters
In pool C8, Connecticut’s #1 and PM Rank’s #10 Flipp will be going head to head with the famous Lucario player from NY Yung Matt. Flipp is sitting on several national tournament wins, as well as several other top 8 placings, but Yung Matt has recently been making several impressive upsets in the NY scene. It’s hard to say how much weight these upsets carry however, as most of them are against players using characters they were unfamiliar with. For example, while Yung Matt did beat Malachi, it was Malachi’s Game and Watch. Despite this, these are still impressive wins, and this match will be Yung Matt’s chance to show that he is not to be slept on.
POOL C9: Messiah “Phresh” Williams VS Tom “6:00am” Monet
Phresh, the best PM Ice Climbers, ranked 23rd on the PM Rank and 6th in NY/NJ, will play against Connecticut’s rising Luigi and Link player, 6:00am, currently ranked #9 in CT. Recently, Phresh has becoming more and more consistent, so a match like this will be very hard for 6:00am, especially considering the fact that there are no good ice climbers players in CT, so it’s likely 6:00am will be pretty unfamiliar with the matchup- And anyone who’s played against the Ice Climbers before can tell you that knowing the matchup is incredibly important. Despite all of these factors, if 6:00am can adapt fast enough, this match could easily end in an upset.
POOL C10: Alex “Hyperflame” Mireles VS Aidan “A_E_D” O'Connell
Pool C10 has PM’s best Lucas player, Hyperflame, who’s currently ranked #8 on the PM Rank and #1 in MD/VA will play against Flordia’s #10 ranked up and comer A_E_D. Hyperflame is known as not only the best Lucas, but one of the most technical PM players in the world. He’s dominated the MD/VA scene for months, and placed top 8 at every tournament he attended after Olympus, except for Bigger Balc, where he placed 9th. A_E_D isn’t to be written off, of course. Recently, in a trip to NY, he took a set off of StereoKiDD and brought Gallo to game 5 using his Game and Watch. Depending on how this pool goes, this could be his breakout tournament. This is another match you should watch out for.
POOL C11: Aidan “Aidan” Shea VS Louis “Moon-Doggie” Quinones
NY/NJ’s #9 and Philly's #1 ranked player Aidan will face off against the Connecticut Zero Suit Samus player Moon-Doggie. Many players consider Aidan to be one of the best ZSS in Project M, and he will most likely give Moon-Doggie quite the tough time in the ditto. That’s not to say it’s not possible, of course. Moon-Doggie has wins over AED, Rise, and Gooley, and Aidan doesn’t have the best record in the ZSS ditto. This match will be a ditto you’ll want to see, for sure.
POOL C12: Brian “DVD” Sherbert VS Rob “Brother Rob” Hughes
DVD, a Toon Link from New Jersey who’s currently ranked #16 on the PM rank and #10 on the NY/NJ PR, will play against Brother Rob, a Falcon player who’s currently #10 on the Austin PR. DVD has been falling behind the rest of his region lately, but he’s still a player you don’t want to sleep on. With an incredibly solid record in 2016, a few bad tournaments won’t overshadow his wins over many of the PM Rank. However, he does not have the best record against Falcon, and Brother Rob has been boasting a win over Ripple from Smash ‘N’ Splash 3. This will be yet another set you won’t want to miss.
POOL C13: Marc-Alain “Morks” Bouchard VS Nick “Vari” DeMarco
In pool C13, Morks, Montreal’s #1 ranked player and Wario main, will play against Vari, Philly’s #3 ranked player and Mario main. Morks has recently made a name for himself with several appearances in the states CGC 2017 where he placed 9th, and The Bigger Balc and Smash ‘N’ Splash 3, where he placed 13th at both tournaments. He’s becoming known for his unique approach to Wario’s punish game, incorporating tools such as footstools, where other players like Sosa wouldn’t. Vari is no slouch, however. With wins over players like Aidan, this match could easily go either way.
POOL C14: Kyle “XYK” Curtis VS Takumu “Kalne” Kuribayashi
Ohio Lugi player XYK, who’s currently ranked #46 on the PM rank, with an interesting second seed of Kalne, a Japanese player flown out to the event with the help of a compendium donation drive. XYK is known by many as the best Luigi player in PM, and with good reason. He’s managed to dominate his region for quite a while, and poses a huge threat out of region as well. For Kalne, the Japanese Zelda, this will be his first ever tournament outside of Japan. Japan’s scene is quite small and fragmented, so it’s hard to know if he will have experience in the Luigi matchup, but it’s safe to say that he’s never played against a Luigi of XYK’s caliber. This will no doubt be an exciting match, as one of Japan’s best players attempts to show what his country has to offer.
POOL C15: Xayya “ThundeRzRieGN” Thammavongsa VS Correy “Bubbles” Pearlman
Pool C15 has Project M’s current #1 player, ThundeRzRieGN. Thunderz has completely changed the PM scene with his Donkey Kong, securing his #1 spot after winning Olympus. The second seed of this pool is a lesser known Falcon main named Bubbles, who’s taken sets off Mr. Watch and Learn and POOB, and has taken Gallo and Emukiller to game 3 in the same day. This match will more than likely end in Thunderz’s favor, but Bubbles won’t go down without a fight.
POOL C16 Max “Shiny Zubat” Guerrero VS Anthony “HM04” Creatura
Finally, Pool C16 will have New Jersey’s Luigi and Yoshi main Shiny Zubat, currently ranked #50 on the PM Rank, face off against the Connecticut Mewtwo HM04, who’s currently ranked #6 in CT. Zubat is a fairly inconsistent player, but when he’s having a good day, it's easy to see why he’s ranked in the top 50. However, it’s not unlikely for HM04 to make this upset. HM04 has recently taken wins over Bubbles and A_E_D, and he has plenty of experience in the Luigi matchup thanks to 6:00am. A match this hard to call will surely be quite the show
And that’s everything for the pools matches! All of these matches will be streamed day one of the event, which is July 1st. Wave B will start at 3:00pm EST and wave C will start at 4:30pm EST. Their will be two streams to watch these matches:
The main stream will be https://www.smashcast.tv/smashinggrounds
And the secondary stream will be https://www.smashcast.tv/greatvaluesmash
If you want more updates on the tournament, follow the Blacklisted series on Twitter here
Special thanks to Kunai and Uboa for providing insight on many of the players in this article