PMRank 2017: 30-21

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Photo Credit: Remzi Hazboun Photography

PMRank 2017 continues with ranks 30 through 21! There are more familiar faces in today's batch of players, but even this far into the rankings, newcomers continue to make their presence known.

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.

And with that, let’s continue!

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Score: 6.32
Sponsor: Great Value Smash

If you’re looking for the finest Falco player in Project M, Thomas “Silver” Manning is your man. Silver is one of very few competitors taking the beaked battler to new heights in the current metagame, combining classic laser pressure and pillar combos with up-to-date character and game engine knowledge. He also boasts high-level proficiency with Fox, Marth, Sheik, and Meta Knight, though they make less frequent appearances in Silver’s pivotal matches.

His biggest claim to fame is a trio of victories against renowned Snake player Flipp, demonstrating an ability to reliably apply matchup knowledge and adapt to a tricky opponent. He maintains a consistently threatening presence in and around his home state of Massachusetts, sporting wins over Boiko, Gallo, Phresh, Twisty, Yung Quaff, and more. While Silver has yet to truly break out onto the national scene, top 8 finishes at CGC Redux, Downfall 7, and Tipped Off 12 help to cement his entry into this year’s top 50.

Written By: FlashingFire

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Photo Credit: Jonathan ExHale

Score: 6.39
Sponsor: ePeen Gaming

Chevy “Chevy” Vall is redefining what it means to be a Samus player in Project M. He has carved out his own unique style and pushed the aggressive capabilities of his character, honing his punish game to a sharp edge. Chevy is also one of the few Samus players who is comfortable making use of ice mode, adding a new repertoire of hitbox coverage and KO options to his play. Of course, Chevy isn’t just about surprising agility and fancy tricks. His solid game sense has allowed him to pull off victories against PM legends such as Malachi, whom he upset out of nowhere at Bigger Balc; and ThunderzReign, whom he defeated at an AFKgg Project M Monthly.

His standout tournament performance was a 5th place finish at Salty Juan’s 4 toward the end of the year, which featured a remarkable losers’ bracket run through Filthy Casual, Tealz, former best-player-in-the-world Junebug, and Luck. The final player in that list pushed Chevy to his limit, but he ended up grinding out a rare victory by timeout in game 5 of their set. His only losses at that event were to PM titans Sosa and Flipp, which speaks to Chevy’s consistency; in fact, he lost to only one player ranked below him in 2017—Strong Bad. As the new year dawns, Chevy looks to be on a distinctly upward trajectory.

Written By: FlashingFire

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Score: 6.44

If 2016 was the year that Nick “Boiko” Boiko stepped into the spotlight as a top player, then 2017 was when he proved his ability to maintain that title against increasingly skilled challengers. Boiko’s strong fundamentals and his mastery of one of the game’s strongest characters in Meta Knight helped him to make his case as one of the most consistent players in PM. He placed 9th at The True King, Philadelphia Championships, and Downfall 7, and 17th at super stacked nationals Supernova 2 and Blacklisted 3. With victories over the likes of Malachi, dvd, BaconPancakes, and Phresh, Boiko’s results were nothing to scoff at this year, and his recent local wins over players including Switch, Envy, and Aidan indicate more to come from this Meta Knight player. Boiko has also explored Marth as a counterpick option with some mixed results: he scored a win over Phresh at Philadelphia Championships but found it ineffective vs Flarp at Blacklisted 3. With strong records over most of New York’s finest, Boiko has proven himself one of the best players in what may be the best region in the world, and perhaps in 2018 that success will allow him to advance further onto the national stage.

Written By: Sabre

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Score: 6.55

Formerly known as the best Project M player in the world, Arjun “Junebug” Rao decided that 2017 was the year to let someone else take the throne. He began focusing his efforts on Melee, and recently his efforts were rewarded with a ranking of #54 on the MIOM 2017 Top 100. The few PM events Junebug did enter in 2017 saw him being upset by players like Pooch, Chevy, and longtime regional rivals lloD and Hyperflame. While his competitors may have improved considerably while Junebug practiced Melee, he still possesses veteran risk-reward evaluation and an extremely potent neutral game. Even with his days of dominance long behind him, Junebug was able to take out top players like Emukiller, Kycse, Twisty, and Yung Quaff with his determined Diddy Kong and superb secondaries, and he fought his way into top 8 at Supernova 2 and Salty Juan’s 4. Despite his relative inactivity and more carefree attitude, Junebug still showed that he deserved his spot in our rankings for 2017.

Written By: Reslived

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Photo Credit: Jonathan ExHale

Score: 6.59
Sponsor: ePeen Gaming

With RNG blessed by the gods themselves, Peter “Pikmon” Woodworth is one Game & Watch main you do not want in your bracket. He is affectionately (or resentfully) known as “Peter the Cheater” due to his frequent and unashamed use of the RNG-dependent Judgement (hammer) to claim stocks at ludicrous percent. Since moving to NorCal from Washington, Pikmon has garnered wins over The Doctor, Ivayne, ThundeRzReiGN, Dr., and many more.

He started off 2017 by defeating Bladewise, ilovebagelz, and more to qualify for the Cashed Out invitational, where he finished 9th. He later flew out to the east coast, attending Blacklisted 3, where he defeated the likes of Gallo in a close 2-1 set and Bongo in a nerve-wracking 3-2 for another strong 9th place finish. Pikmon made his way around America as the year went on, flying to Low Tier City 5, where he defeated Aion, JJK, and Strong Bad for yet another 9th place finish. Pikmon wrapped up his year on home turf at NorCal major Fair and Balanced, where he defeated Chevy and reverse 3-0’d Jason Waterfalls in top 8. He finished at 5th, losing to Sosa, but not before nailing the SoCal savage with four 9 hammers in two out of their four games. With his game knowledge, strong performances, and a healthy dose of luck, Pikmon has once again solidified his place as one of the best Game & Watch players in the world.

Written By: Tracy "Lux" Le

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Score: 6.72

Jose “Jose v” Villasana left his mark on the Project M community in 2016, consistently placing in top 8 at majors and making it to #9 on last year’s PMRank. Throughout the year, the nimble Ness menace continued to show dominance in his home region of SoCal. He maintained a winning record over everyone but his crewmate Sosa, though he did drop a pair of sets to CenCal’s Zelda phenom, Dr. In general, however, the field has been improving, and while Jose v remains an astounding player, his rank has dropped relative to his peers.

2017 started off promisingly for Jose as he took 4th place at the Cashed Out invitational, overcoming longtime national threats such as Frozen and Professor Pro along the way. In March, he beat Dirtboy on his way to 9th at Bigger Balc, losing only to Switch and Malachi. Even at Supernova 2, Jose v still showed his skill by taking 5th place after taking out players such as Boiko and up-and-comer JFyst. But by the time Salty Juan’s 4 rolled around in the Fall, a trend was starting to emerge: Jose v was well-equipped to beat most players, but when it came to the rising top talent, he couldn’t quite push through like he had done in 2016. At that event in particular, he defeated Colorado hidden boss Messi, but fell to Connecticut powerhouses Flipp and Kycse. In order to reclaim his former standing, the “Fastest Masher in the West” will need to tap into the explosive tempo and innovative gameplay that initially propelled him to the highest level of play.

Written By: Alex "Darth Shard" Elert

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Score: 6.76

In the aftermath of his phenomenal 3rd place finish at Olympus, Anthony “Gallo” Gallo found himself ranked among the top 10 players for 2016. It’s difficult to picture a better start to his year, as he and his trusty Mario were able to jump, kick and dunk their way to 1st place at The True King, a regional event in Pennsylvania. Along the way, he overcame Dotcom, Yung Quaff, Aidan, and Switch in both Winner’s Semis and Grand Finals to take the event.

The veteran member of the Free Saltines crew did not make as much noise as nationals the rest of the year, failing to make top 8 at any of the 2017 circuit events. Despite this, Gallo picked up wins on both coasts at a host of other regional events, including players such as StereoKiDD, Silver, Boringman, Reslived, Twisty, and most notably a 4-0 head-to-head record with BaconPancakes. All of this demonstrates that he remains a challenging bounty to collect. Furthermore, top 8 finishes at Philadelphia Championships, We Livin’ V, and Super Smash Con prove that his presence in bracket should still makes foes wary.

In 2018, there is more young and upcoming talent than ever before, but Gallo stands with his vast knowledge and experience as a sort of gatekeeper for those rising through the ranks. PMRank hopefuls beware, as Gallo is capable of deleting opponents both at home in New York and abroad!

Written By: Alex "Darth Shard" Elert

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Photo Credit: Remzi Hazboun Photography

Score: 6.98

Kevin “The Doctor” Ascate is a Mario main from NorCal, infamous for his ability to recover from practically anywhere off-stage with deep Up-B wall jumps. His energy after winning an important match is contagious; The Doctor has been known to hop across stages and over chairs with almost as much agility as Mario himself! He is a well-rounded battler, but his distinctive combo extensions make him one of the most fun NorCal players to watch.

In 2016, The Doctor was a standout player locally, having set wins over all the members of the PR, but he had never travelled outside of NorCal. However, he began testing his out of region abilities at the 79th Smash at The Balcony, where he defeated Aion, Blank, and Venom, and after a nerve-wracking Game 5 loss against Jose v placed an astonishing 4th out of 61 entrants. He later returned to SoCal for The Bigger Balc, where he placed 17th after beating StereoKiDD and XYK. The Doctor made his first out of state appearance at Low Tier City 5 and the weekly immediately preceding it, and over the course of that weekend he defeated Aidan, Blank, and Venom and earned 9th place at the Texas national. A repeat victory over Aion at Balcy’s Palace, wins over Dr. and LUCK at the same event, and a massive upset against Texas titan Fuzz on his way to placing 7th at Fair and Balanced have also served to establish The Doctor as one of the best Mario mains in the world in 2017.

Written By: Tracy "Lux" Le

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Photo Credit: Jeff Mahieu

Score: 7.12
Sponsor: Great Lakes Smash

It’s been a relatively quiet year for Jacob “Dirtboy” Smith, but that doesn’t mean the high octane Squirtle main has taken things slow at all. Still the most active player in the Midwest, famous for attending dozens of locals every month, the Michigan native has taken to focusing on physical and mental health as well as adopting a more positive mindset to improve his game. Dirtboy has continually demonstrated dominance in the Midwest, rarely losing to anyone but the top contenders and often sweeping tournaments cleanly. He has experienced some difficulties with out of region contenders however, having his brackets at both the Bigger Balc and Supernova 2 cut short by Yung Quaff as well as being eliminated by Charizard mains Dingo and Kycse together at Blacklisted 3.

Despite a mid-year lull with some underwhelming achievements, Dirtboy came alive in the latter part of the year, taking a set each off of national contenders Sothe and lloD, both of whom he holds tied records with in 2017. Similarly, the advent of an extremely strong Michigan Ice Climbers player in Techboy has prompted Dirtboy to adapt his Melee main, Peach, to the new PM matchup. This seems to have finally started to chip at his new rival with a string of victories in recent months. Dirtboy seems poised to move past his growing pains and his demons to start 2018 off fierce as ever!

Written By: Yata!

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Score: 7.15

In previous years, New England was dominated by longtime Melee veteran Darc, who would win every single weekly more or less uncontested. In the days where Darc was king, Will “Twisty” Gomez was the first player to dislodge him from his throne. Now, he has surpassed yet another milestone as his 2017 performances have landed him a spot in the top half of this year’s PMRank.

New England’s best-dressed player had his fair share of consistency issues throughout the year, including losses to burntsocks and Mar, but his peaks are undeniably high. Early in 2017, Twisty earned an electrifying win over Melee-famous Lucky at Shuffle: Battle of the Midwest, ending the SoCal native’s loser’s run on his way to a 5th place finish. Twisty has won two sets over regional rival Flipp, including an elimination at CGC Redux. His greatest performance of the year came at Low Tier City 5; in winners’ quarters, Twisty shocked the world by sending PMRank 2016’s #1-ranked player, ThundeRzReiGN, to the losers’ bracket. The very next round, Twisty encountered hometown hero Fuzz and cut his run short with his Wario’s chomping teeth. These upsets netted him an astounding 3rd place finish, a demonstration of his realized potential. It would seem that Twisty’s flashy attire is only surpassed by his stylish gameplay, and is sure to bring us many more entertaining sets to enjoy in 2018.

Written By: Alex "Darth Shard" Elert



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
 
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FlashingFire

Comments

#2
So many Wario, Meta Knight, and Game & Watch players in the rankings.

Also, R.I.P. Junebug.
 
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