PMRank 2017: 20-11

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PMRank 2017 continues with ranks 20 through 11! While almost all of today's featured players are veterans to the Project M scene, there are still a couple of new faces who stunned everyone on the national front and earned their stripes as we approach the top of the rankings.

PMRank is a panel-based Power Ranking of the top 50 Project M players worldwide. Players, commentators, and tournament organizers within the community had the opportunity to apply to be panelists, and we ended up with a little less than 20 panelists by the time of the project's conclusion. Initially, 77 players were qualified to be ranked based on their placings and attendance at major Project M events throughout 2017. Only 50 highly skilled players made the final list.

With that information in mind, the panelists were given a large collection of tournament data and the following prompt:
List all candidates on the ballot in order based on your perception of what is valuable in a competitor (recency, consistency vs. peaks, placings vs. head to head ratios, etc.).

Panelists were also tasked with rating each player on their list from 1-10, with the lowest ranking player given a 1 and the highest a 10, scaling it appropriately. For each player, the highest and lowest rating on all panelists’ lists were removed when averaging votes to reduce variance.

This project would not have been possible without the dedicated volunteers who helped us engineer spreadsheets, track down tournament data, construct head-to-head charts, create and revise ranking ballots, write and edit player summaries, and gather photographs. A number of photographers have given us permission to use their high-quality photographs of Project M players for the purposes of this project as well.

PMRank 2017 will be on break for the weekend as we take time to thoroughly prepare for the release of the top 10. We'll be back on Monday, January 29th with ranks 10 through 7.

In the meantime, feast your eyes on yet another group of Project M's elite competitors!

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Score: 7.37

For a long time, people have argued that Zero Suit Samus’s tier placement was undeserved based on tournament results. This year, that argument has been laid to rest as a new wave of Zero Suit Samus mains have taken tournaments by storm. One of the brightest stars of that wave, Brian “Blank” Sosa, has been steadily climbing in skill and placements, both in his SoCal locals and in national results. While he has always had a creative punish game, he reached new heights by adding in innovative Back Throw tech chases and refining his neutral game.

Blank is one of the more well-travelled denizens of Southern California, and he has a strong set of results to show for it. He has a host of impressive wins over players like LoyaL, Filthy Casual, fellow ZSS Aidan, Sothe, Gallo, Dingo, and most recently The Doctor, which he earned on his way to a strong 5th place finish at Fair and Balanced. Other great placements for Blank include 3rd at the super stacked Infinity and Beyond just before Low Tier City 5, 5th at Brocal Gym 3: Bulking Season, and 4th at Clutch City Clash 2. While Blank may not have fully stepped out of his older brother Sosa’s shadow yet, it is undeniable that he is an incredible competitor, and his progress in 2018 will be a treat to watch.

Written By: Pegthaniel

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Photo Credit: Remzi Hazboun Photography

Score: 7.69

PMRank newcomer Aidan “Aidan” Shea left his mark on the Project M metagame in 2017 with his safe and cerebral Zero Suit Samus play. The lanky Long Islander uses the Chozo warrior’s amazing speed to relentlessly poke away at his opponents’ defenses and exploit weaknesses. While his activity level dropped off towards the end of the year, he still came up victorious against a wide range of top notch opponents. His summer was especially impressive despite having to drop out of Low Tier City 5 due to a migraine.

Wins against players like Envy, Gallo, Goode, Bongo, Blank, Jose v, and StereoKiDD are already enough to put a player on the map, but those aren’t even his most impressive feats. Aidan has also defeated Switch at Philadelphia Championships, Malachi at The True King, and he boasts a winning 4-1 record against HyperFlame. With these incredible peaks, it’s only to be expected that his placings are equally stellar. Among fierce competition, Aidan placed 9th at The Flex Zone 2, 3rd at Immunity, and 2nd place at Shuffle: Battle of the Midwest. If Aidan can make a return to his summer form he will be a formidable opponent in 2018.

Written By: Pegthaniel

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Photo Credit: Jeff Mahieu

Score: 7.83

The progenitor of the widely-used netplay website Anther’s Ladder (a.k.a. Smash Ladder) demonstrated for yet another year that he’s still got it! Antoine “Anther” Sledge exists as something of a hermit in Michigan, rarely showing his face for events. However, when he does show up, his appearance in grand finals is virtually assured. And on the occasions where Anther travels beyond the borders of Michigan, his highly creative Pikachu has proven able to make deep bracket runs, the most resounding of which was his phenomenal 5th place performance at The Bigger Balc where he defeated the virtually-untouchable Malachi for the second time of the year.

Beyond this, Anther demonstrated a powerful grip on the top level of the midwest, taking out Dirtboy, Morsecode, Techboy, and XYK over the course of the year as well as gaining wins on Aidan and Twisty during his visit to the East Coast for The Flex Zone 2. Anther has, however, dropped further into inactivity following the birth of his first child, so it’s difficult to say what the future holds in store for the thunderous Midwesterner.

Written By: Yata!

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Photo Credit: Jonathan ExHale

Score: 7.90

Coming off of wins on Jose v and ThundeRzReiGN toward the end of 2016, Parker “Boringman” Boring was intent on proving that his skill wasn’t limited to in-region performances. He didn’t disappoint, and his ranking this year reflects that. While originally a dual Meta Knight and Mario main, he made the decision to drop Mario after The Bigger Balc and now mains Sonic and Meta Knight. While his Sonic is relatively new and has yet to take any top 20 names at majors, it made appearances in top 8 at Fair and Balanced and will no doubt prove itself in time.

In late 2016, Boringman moved to SoCal, where he took big names such as Aero, Venom, Dr., Jose v, Tealz, and Blank, earning himself #2 on the SoCal Power Rankings in no time. In April, he was flown out to The Flex Zone 2 in New York to compete against top East Coast talent. To secure his place in Top 8, he had to overcome Switch, whom he beat 2-1 and Aidan, against whom he clutched out a 3-2 win. In Top 8 he took down Strong Bad to secure a 5th place win, only losing to Hyperflame the entire tournament. At The Bigger Balc, Boringman defeated the likes of Aidan and Neon before running into The Doctor. Originally going down 0-2 with his Mewtwo and Mario, Boringman was forced to bring out his Meta Knight in order to retaliate against his NorCal brother with a reverse 3-0. He went on to lose to ThundeRzReiGN, securing a 13th place finish. Shortly after, he moved back to NorCal, reclaiming his place as #2 on their PR.

Boringman laid low for the rest of the summer, only attending locals until Fair and Balanced in November. There, Boringman and his newly developed Sonic made his home region proud. He 3-0’d Jason Waterfalls, won close sets against Blank and Tealz, and secured himself a strong 4th place finish, after losing only to Sosa and Malachi. One can anticipate seeing Boringman’s Meta Knight and Sonic put in heavy work in 2018, especially if his activity across the U.S. increases.

Written By: Tracy "Lux" Le

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Photo Credit: Jeff Mahieu

Score: 7.98

The year started off slowly for Raseen “BaconPancakes” Khan. He was still using the handle “BP,” and still considered himself a multi-character main, using Ike, Diddy Kong, and Fox to earn wins over players like lloD and Kycse. It wasn’t until the Summer where BaconPancakes decided he would be a full-fledged Diddy Kong main, and changed his tag back to BaconPancakes “for good luck.”

The change must have paid off, as BaconPancakes began earning fantastic victories over players like Hyperflame and Switch, with top 8 placements at Super Smash Con 2017, Project M Showdown 6, and Tipped Off 12. While he did drop sets to Dingo and Noghrilla at the Georgia event—an indicator that BaconPancakes has a few wrinkles to iron out against unfamiliar foes—his record against top players is remarkable. He topped off his newfound accomplishments by taking home a 1st place finish at Worlds Collide, defeating Morsecode762 and double eliminating Techboy, giving BaconPancakes one of the best tournament records against the top 10 players. With the sharp improvement we saw from him in 2017, BaconPancakes proved that there was more than one top Diddy Kong from the MD/VA region. Keep an eye out for his performances in 2018, where he should continue to turn heads and trip up opponents.

Written By: Reslived

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Score: 8.05

Having proven himself as the world’s premiere PM Ice Climbers player in 2016, Messiah “Phresh” Williams told the world he was here to stay in 2017. Showcasing his signature desync-heavy Ice Climbers flair, Phresh consistently finds supreme follow-ups in any situation. Boasting wins over players like Silver, BP, Kycse, and Tealz, his Blizzard walls and option coverage have the potential to lock down almost any opponent. The ICs extraordinaire racked up impressive placements throughout the year, including a deep run to 4th place at Smash ‘n’ Splash 3 where he took out Dirtboy and Techboy, and 5th at Low Tier City 5 with a braggadocious set against Sosa to make top 8.

Unfortunately, many of his tournament runs were cut short by fellow NY/NJ competitors Malachi, Switch, and DVD, hinting that he’ll need to find answers to his in-region brethren to continue climbing the PM ranks. While some attribute this shortcoming to their understanding of Phresh’s playstyle with an unconventional character, and others to the fact that they take advantage of the Ice Climbers’ most difficult matchups, Phresh remains confident that he can overcome these challenges. Whether it’s a new character in his pocket or an increased focus on bringing his ICs to the next level, keep an eye on Phresh as he keeps pulling new tricks out of the bag.

Written By: Wisely

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Score: 8.10

Relentlessly stylish in-game and out, NYC veteran Brandon “StereoKiDD” Boom returns for a second year on PMRank. Stereo has caught countless top 50 members in his trademark cyclone of Down Airs, Down Tilts, PK Fires, and DI traps. Not content with settling for easy percent, Stereo routinely opts for devastating mixups that can catch any player off-guard, such as early Forward Smash finishers or offstage PK Magnet extensions.

Throughout the year, StereoKiDD sported incredible peaks at events such as Nebulous Prime 79, where he knocked out heavy hitters like Envy, Anther, Sosa, and Hyperflame on his way to 2nd place, as well as Immunity, where he overcame Goode, Aidan, and won the runback versus Hyperflame to secure another 2nd place finish. On the other side of the coin, uncharacteristic losses at The Flex Zone 2 and The Bigger Balc to Shiny Zubat, The Doctor, and MorKs would see him place 17th and 33rd respectively. If he can clean up his consistency, peak Stereo could become an even scarier force to be reckoned with. Catch him in 2018 hitting grand slams, sniping with PK Flashes, and trash-talking his way to the top of any bracket he sets his eyes on.

Written By: Wisely

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Score: 8.24

Michael “EmuKiller” Silbernagel has maintained a strong presence in 2017 as an incredible dash dancing and tech chasing force of the East Coast. While some might only recognize him as the Mewtwo player who rose to prominence at SKTAR 3, the EmuKiller of 2017 is a Meta Knight main that still keeps Mewtwo around for certain matchups. His attendance at large tournaments has waned this year, but he is still a powerful competitor who always makes it far into bracket.

With his strong fundamentals and game knowledge, EmuKiller achieved victories over LoyaL and Phresh at Supernova 2 on his way to a 9th place finish. He defeated Fearless at Tech That 85 en route to clinching 2nd and claimed victory over Filthy Casual at Bigger Balc before getting 9th again. He additionally has wins on the top level of players such as Hyperflame and Switch from Super Smash Con 2017, where he ultimately placed 2nd. Furthermore, EmuKiller very rarely loses to those outside the top 10. Even though EmuKiller’s 3.02 days of peak activity are behind him, one can be sure that he is just as lethal a threat as ever.

Written By: Pegthaniel

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Photo Credit: Remzi Hazboun Photography

Score: 8.28
Sponsor: Great Value Smash

In spite of all the traction that the “Ban Zard” meme has gained in recent months, Kyle “Kycse” Carrero maintains a powerful national presence with his Charizard. He methodically uses the fiery flier’s long reach, sweet and sour spot hitboxes, and airborne chases to overwhelm opponents, while his punish game is tighter than ever. In fact, within his own region, Kycse has overtaken Flipp’s throne as #1 on the Connecticut power ranking, which no easy feat considering Flipp’s skill as a player.

Outside of Connecticut this year, Kycse has put together incredible résumé of wins. He soundly defeated StereoKiDD at Downfall 7, dvd twice at CGC Redux, EmuKiller at Downfall 6, Filthy Casual at Bigger Balc, and Envy at Blacklisted 3. Kycse additionally has great head-to-head records against a multitude of regional rivals, including flawless records over multiple sets against Twisty, Jose v, Darc, and Goode. He soared his way to high placements at many tournaments: at Salty Juan’s 4, he defeated Loyal and Sothe on his way to 5th place, and he reached 4th at Smashadelphia. With these lofty results, Kycse drastically improved from 2016—even relative to the fierce competitors in the Project M scene—and he will continue to be a threat going into 2018.

Written By: Pegthaniel

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Photo Credit: Jeff Mahieu

Score: 8.62

Arjun “lloD” Malhotra has had an incredible year as a competitive gamer. Not only is he placed highly in PMRank 2017, he also earned a spot as the 26th best Melee player in this year’s MIOM top 100, making him the highest-ranked competitor to appear on both lists. He says Melee is still his focus, and his outstanding results with Peach reflects that, but he uses Project M to practice neutral interactions against characters he’s unfamiliar with. That ability to adapt and learn on the fly has netted lloD wins over players like Hyperflame, Phresh, Anther, Jose v, Junebug, and Techboy. In fact, his finely-honed adaptation allows lloD to make up for winners’ bracket losses with losers’ side victories within the same bracket, as we’ve seen him do against Chard, Dirtboy, and Capitulize.

Since lloD spent most of his time entering Melee events, his incredible collection of PM wins came from only a handful of tournaments, like the EVO 2017 side event where lloD placed 2nd, Smash N Splash 3 where he placed 3rd, and On The House where he placed 2nd. If he continues to treat PM tournaments more like a training ground than a primary focus, it’s possible the rest of the competition could eclipse a player of his caliber. But if lloD were to put all his effort into Project M in 2018, maybe he could be the next Peach to break into the top 10.

Written By: Reslived



Rest of the List

1/21/2018 - PMRank 2017: The Edge of Glory
1/22/2018 - PMRank 2017: 50-41
1/23/2018 - PMRank 2017: 40-31
1/24/2018 - PMRank 2017: 30-21
1/25/2018 - PMRank 2017: 20-11
1/29/2018 - PMRank 2017: 10-7
1/30/2018 - PMRank 2017: 6-4
1/31/2018 - PMRank 2017: Top 3


Credits

PMRank Staff:
  • Adam “Strong Bad” Oliver
  • Brennan “FlashingFire” Connolly
  • Cody “Yata!” Anderson
  • Devin “Reslived” Gajewski
  • Ryan “Sabre” Weinberg
Graphic Design:
  • Anna “Kumatora” Mayorskiy
  • Cody “Yata!” Anderson
  • Courtney “Zesty” Coffman
  • Eric “FingerStripes” Bohorquez
Character Renders:
  • David "davidvkimball" Kimball
  • Eric “FingerStripes” Bohorquez
  • Mike "Kuro Kairaku" Nickerson
  • "SylveonPlaysSSBX"
Editor-in-Chief:
  • Brennan “FlashingFire” Connolly
Additional Editing:
  • Adam "Strong Bad" Oliver
  • Ahmed “Apollo Ali” Akbar
  • Anna “Kumatora” Mayorskiy
  • Cody “Yata!” Anderson
  • Kyle "Pegthaniel" Guo
 
Last edited:
FlashingFire

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