Hey everyone! Today we’d like to take an in-depth look at PMRank as a sort of celebration of its completion. First off, if you missed PMRank, here’s a sick combo video featuring the top 50 players made by Chibo of Clash Tournaments!
If you’d like to take a look back at the articles, here they are:
Next up we’re going to go over the characters used among the top 50!
One of the first things to note here is that of the 41 characters in this game, only six were not represented in a large capacity on the list of top 50 players. Those six were Bowser, Falco, Kirby, Olimar, Pit and Samus. That means that 85% of the cast was represented just in the community’s top 50 players. For comparison, only 14/26 made appearances on the top 50 of Melee’s 2016 rankings, and 28/58 on Smash for Wii U’s most recent top 50 rankings.
Even some of the characters which weren’t listed on the rankings this year still received a great deal of love, since we were more strict with which characters were listed for each player than it seems that the other ranking panels were. Of those six, Pit served as a secondary for both Sosa and Gallo in 2016, and Samus made appearances under high-pressure situations in bracket with Darc and Envy.
Outside of the top 50, some players were able to turn heads with these characters; Pooch and Morsecode are strong Midwest Samuses, while Odds has performed well at various tournaments with Bowser. Despite being too inactive to be eligible for ranking, Melee legend Westballz finished 9th place at The Big Balc, knocking Machiavelli and Hyperflame to losers, losing only to two top 10 players (Flipp & Jose V). While Kirby is often considered one of the worst characters in the game, SoCal player YadoR showed up for the first half of 2016 with strong local and regional results with the Hero of Dreamland. Despite inactivity for the second half of the year, it seems he's not out of practice at all. Just this past weekend, YadoR double eliminated PMRank’s #3, Sosa, at the Balcony’s weekly event.
Even though Fox is generally considered to be top tier or very close to it, at first he seems underrepresented in the top 50. However, some of the top 20 brought out their Foxes at various times: Darc, Jaden, iPunchKidsz and Professor Pro are all seen making use of the space animal on occasion. PMRank had rather strict requirements for counting secondaries, though, so we highlighted their more heavily used characters instead. In addition, Mew2King and Lucky are known to show up and do well with their Foxes, despite neither being active enough to be eligible for ranking.
Zero Suit Samus
Zero Suit Samus may seem under-represented in the top 50 for how common the character seems to be around the world, especially with top ZSS player Oracle fading from the PM scene or favoring other characters, however there are a number of up and coming ZSS players ready to prove themselves in 2017. Socal’s own Blank, while too inactive to be considered for the 2016 rankings, put up a fantastic performance at The Big Balc and is considered by Jfalls (the highest ranked ZSS in 2016) to be the best ZSS in the world. In addition, NY/NJ’s Aidan has taken down big names including Venom and Malachi over the last few months, while Shokio has been on the come-up in Texas, and all three of these players will be names to watch in 2017.
While often touted as one of the best characters in the game, Wolf received relatively little national representation in 2016. Switch put up strong placings on the East Coast in 2016, and with a strong 5th place start at Flex Zone 2 is looking great in 2017 too. In addition, Ivayne, one of Norcal’s rising stars, may well be on the come-up in 2017, as is Neon from Arizona.
Once the dominant character of 3.02, Mewtwo is now regarded as a rising star in today’s metagame. While Frozen has remained the best mewtwo in the world, strong regional threats including Ca$ino Wolf, HM04 and Odds have made great strides in 2016, and Fuzz made a strong appearance on the national scene with great placings at CCC and at Olympus, narrowly missing out on being ranked for 2016. Although Frozen has become largely inactive, we can expect these names to take up the mantle and carry Mewtwo’s highly technical and unique meta into 2017.
Once thought of as a low tier character in 3.6, Ice Climbers have become regional and national threats thanks to their deadly hand-off game and highly technical desynch setups, and Phresh brought his A game last year to show what the character could do. While too inactive to be ranked for 2016, Sharkz took home wins over Professor Pro, Dirtboy and Anther last year and started 2017 strong with a win on Hyperflame. Michigan up-and-comer Techboy is also looking to put his unique spin on ICs in the coming year, coming in at #5 on the Michigan Power Ranking.
Of these 36 characters, let’s now go a bit more in-depth. How does the representation look in comparison to the tier list?
*Tier list placing based on PMU tier list v2 from June, 2016, dated by 9 months.
The two most common characters were Diddy and Ness, with four players apiece, followed by Luigi, Falcon, Meta Knight, G&W, Peach and Sheik all at three players. Notably among those common characters, all of the Luigi players were ranked within the 46-50 range at one extreme, while all of the Sheik players were ranked within the top 20. It’s interesting to see characters considered mid-tier, such as Ness or Luigi, among the most common characters among PM’s top players, alongside top tiers like Diddy and Meta Knight.
On the other hand, there were definitely characters which were surprisingly underrepresented, given their relatively high placings on most tier lists. Wolf, Sonic, Mewtwo, Lucas and Fox all only had one representative on this list, despite being commonly considered top characters, in an interesting contrast to other games where the best characters are almost always the most common. Of course, many of these characters have players who are considered to be on the come-up, but for now they remain relatively underrepresented in the national meta. Some players who narrowly missed the top 50 included Red Ranger (Ganondorf), Fuzz (Mewtwo), SoulPech (Jigglypuff), MorKs (Wario), Sneez (ROB), and Poilu (Lucario). Other players you can expect to make some waves in 2017 include Neon (Wolf/Lucas), Ca$ino Wolf (Mewtwo), Ivayne (Wolf), and Sharkz (Ice Climbers).
Single vs Multi-Maining
A super common topic in every smash game is whether maining multiple characters is the future of the top level metagame, in order to avoid particularly bad matchups and be able to switch up your playstyle as needed. A look at the ranked players for this year show that while using multiple characters may not be a requirement to be the best, it also certainly doesn’t hurt. Eleven of the top 50 players were double or triple mains, and eight of these eleven found themselves within the top thirty, with the only two triple mains both landing in the top 20 (Lunchables and Darc).
Interestingly enough, there were definitely some characters which made appearances primarily alongside another main, while others were used mostly as solo mains. Most notably, Sheik was one of the most common characters within the top 50, but was *only* used as one of multiple characters for any given player, as was Marth, while Falcon, MK and Peach were also quite common as multi-mains. On the other hand, G&W was never used in concert with another main, and Ness was rarely used as a multi-main character despite being tied with Diddy as the most common character in the top 50.
The character representation alone has much to observe and discuss, but another interesting point to consider is the regional representation among the top 50.
*Boringman spent a lot of time in both NorCal and SoCal. StereoKiDD did the same in FL/NY.
At first glance, NY/NJ seems to be heavily represented, receiving the most top 50 players. But if you look more closely, they seem even more dominant; eight of these 13 players ended up in the top 20 players alone, the rest of NY/NJ falling within the top 35. Following that, SoCal had the highest representation at nine players, six of whom ended up in the top 30. Regional strength takes a big hit after that, with anywhere from one to six representatives hailing from any given region. Let’s take a look at how we expect the regional representation to change in 2017.
While California may be best known for top players like ThundeRzReiGN, Sosa and Jose V, the Golden State had 11 players achieve recognition on the PMRank, and has a deep field of players who might just break into that top 50 in 2017. From Norcal, Ivayne has established himself with strong regional placings as the world’s second best Wolf player, and earned the moniker “most underrated player in Project M” from none other than Sosa himself, while The Doctor has made his way to 5th on the Norcal PR and may well be a regional or national threat in 2017. In addition, Strong Bad is moving to Norcal in a short few weeks, bringing top Texas talent to the region.
Meanwhile down in Socal, players such as Blank, Red Ranger and Sneez put up strong national placings in 2016, and Loyal’s double elimination of ThundeRz at Socal regional Brocal Gym may indicate a strong year to come for the lower half of Socal’s PR. As mentioned earlier, YadoR was able to return from a hiatus with a bang. Whether YadoR will be able to carry this success to the national stage remains to be seen, but one thing is certain: SoCal’s talent runs deep.
Worthy of an additional note: Boringman was one of the most controversial players among panelists, receiving the highest standard deviation on the entire ballot. Many panelists felt it would be unfair to rank him so high with so few national results, while others felt it logical to extrapolate his strong local results against two of the toughest regions in the nation (NorCal and SoCal). Starting off with a strong 5th place at The Flex Zone 2 (losing only to Hyperflame) with wins on Aidan, Switch, and Strong Bad, Boringman is looking to prove himself on the national stage in 2017. Expect Boringman to shoot up in ranking if he keeps things up!
New York/New Jersey
With nearly a quarter of the PMRank’s 50 players coming from NY/NJ, and regional titans such as Malachi and Gallo still showing just how strong they are as players, the best region on the East Coast made great strides in 2016. NY/NJ is a fascinating mix of up and coming players and old-school veterans, and 2017 may reveal some shake-ups in their roster of national threats. Longtime PM players such as Frozen have become inactive by 2016's end, while new faces such as Long Island’s own Aidan have stepped up to become top players in their own right. Not all is uncertain for the region, however; Malachi started the year strong with a national win and his first two wins on Sosa at The Flex Zone 2.
At first glance it may seem that Texas is in dire straits, losing its two highest ranked players. Lunchables has formally retired and Strong Bad is moving away to Norcal. But things aren’t always as they seem. Houston’s premier Mewtwo player, Fuzz, has been a bit of a hidden boss for much of 2016, only traveling out to Olympus and placing respectably at 25th. Back home, Fuzz also went deep in the Clutch City Clash bracket, taking down Jason Waterfalls and Oracle, and took SoCal’s Aero to game 5 in a riveting set. This Mewtwo is certainly one to be feared in 2017, and hopefully he can make it out to more out-of-state majors. In addition to Fuzz, Houston’s Lucario main Fearless could make a splash on the national stage. Moving up north to Dallas, the new guard has slowly been improving to challenge the previous titans, such as Shokio and Captain Birdman. These players have limited exposure outside of Texas, but if they can clean up their game a bit more they could certainly take some names. And of course, Luck remains a serious threat just like in 2016, gaining more national experience and bolstering his skillset.
Lacking the luxury of population density that other regions enjoy and forced to travel long distances to participate in “regional” events, the Midwest is home to some of the most passionate and dedicated players of the game. The region put up a respectable six players to PMRank, and none of which show any signs of stopping. In terms of unknown threats, Midwest isn’t lacking in those either. Morsecode’s main focus is in Melee but he has shown himself to be a dominant force in Michigan, trading sets with Dirtboy and having a firm grasp over the rest of the state, save for Anther.
After returning to Illinois from Dallas, Pooch has made use of his newfound power to take out previous demons such as DLA and ORLY. Speaking of, DLA has seen a return to activity lately. One of Chicago’s older-school heavy hitters, he’s been cleaning up his Diddy Kong and could take some names at a national if given the chance. Other potential hidden bosses include Techboy, SoulPech, Dexter, Ellis, and Bobby Frizz.
Europe’s scene yielded a great deal of debate among PMRank panelists due to its relative insularity and the difficulty of comparing EU players to the rest of the PM scene, but there is no question that Europe’s finest can hold their own. While Professor Pro and *Zen made their way onto the 2016 rankings with strong results in Europe and the United States, Poilu claimed the title of best in France by the end of 2016 over *Zen. With plans to travel to Bigger Balc in May, he will be looking to take names and prove himself on both sides of the Atlantic, accompanied by top French player Charby. While the EU scene may struggle to compete against each other as often as before due to BEAST 7 and Heir 5 not hosting PM in 2017, top players such as Poilu and Charby will be on the lookout for their opportunities to make waves against ranked players throughout the year.
Like Europe, Canada’s scene suffered from little interaction with the US scene, making it hard for panelists to justify top 50 rankings for most of its players. Despite that, Canada has some talent that is not to be underestimated. n0ne tends to enter events whenever he can, even going out of his way to enter off-site side events at mainstream majors such as The Big House 6 (5th) and Cashed Out (9th). He also placed a respectable 25th place at Smash n Splash 2. In addition, MorKs, Sylarius, and Odds are well-known within Canada as being very strong players and could all end up on the top 50 next year.
News isn’t strictly good for the cold competitors, however. Having been inactive for the second half of 2016 already, it’s unlikely we’ll see a return from Ally, losing the country their only representative this year. Here’s hoping we see the other Canadians take some big names this year and end up on the rankings!
Arizona’s scene, long dominated by Blue and ilovebagelz, may well produce some national threats in 2017 to keep an eye on in addition to their strong top players. Neon (of 3.02 fame) has established himself as a strong Wolf and Lucas player who can hold his own under the most high-pressure situations, while Ca$ino Wolf has come into his own over 2016 as one of the more creative Mewtwo players. In addition, Dadpool has secured his highest ever placing on the AZ PR, taking a top 3 spot for the first time. While these five players may represent Arizona’s top players for now, don’t sleep on Wfycat, who’s begun an unprecedented rise to greatness. With fantastic recent results over Bagelz, Dadpool and the rest of the PR this season, Wfycat will no doubt be seeking to expand his results beyond Arizona in 2017.
We hoped you enjoyed this celebration of PMRank and are as excited as we are to see how things change throughout the year in 2017. That about does it for rankings content, but be on the lookout for more Project M articles in the near future. We're very pleased with the positive reception to PMRank and hope it paves the way for more PM-related content. Until next time!~
Writing: Strong Bad & Sabre
Graphic Design: <π, TinyKasama
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