PMRank 2017: 6-4

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Photo Credit: Remzi Hazboun Photography

Titans old and new make their appearance in ranks 6-4 of PMRank 2017. Each of them have defined the metagames of their respective characters in the current age of Project M.

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.

Without further ado, let's dig into ranks 6 through 4!

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Score: 9.44

Of all the storylines that have evolved over the past year, perhaps none have been more enthralling than that of Tyler “Fuzz” Graves, the highest-ranked newcomer on PMRank 2017. The jovial Mewtwo player out of Houston, Texas went from a regional contender to a nationwide superstar thanks to a phenomenal showing at the largest tournament of the year, and he has demonstrated that his explosive Mewtwo has the staying power to continue taking sets against the very top echelon of PM players. Fuzz’s meteoric rise has hit a few snags along the way, but when his Mewtwo is on point it looks like there’s almost nothing he can’t do.

For roughly the first third of 2017, Fuzz put up impressive but not earth-shattering results. Over the course of a number of regional events, he established himself as one of Texas’ elite by trading sets with some of the best the state has to offer. Fuzz placed 3rd at Battle Royale 3, 2nd at Wave Dash to Win, 4th at No Fun Allowed, and 1st at SmashTown Funk, going back and forth against players such as Shokio, Fearless and LUCK. During that time he also forced Strong Bad to a game 5 situation, and he double eliminated Filthy Casual at SmashTown Funk. In mid-May, Fuzz emerged victorious from Tech That 85 after avenging a loss to Uncle Mojo from Battle Royale 3 and cleanly defeating EmuKiller in grand finals. Still, few could have predicted how much more he would accomplish by the end of the month.

It was at The Bigger Balc, southern California’s 372-entrant Project M tournament at the end of May, that Fuzz shocked the world with an absolutely incredible run. He soundly defeated Tealz, Gallo, and The Doctor to make it to Winners Quarters against Sosa, widely considered a contender to win the entire tournament. At first, it was looking a bit like business as usual for the SoCal kingpin, who took game 1 with two stocks to spare. But Fuzz, showcasing an attitude that would become one of his defining characteristics, merely smiled, nodded, and began to adapt. By the time he took the set 3-1, a huge crowd had gathered to witness Fuzz upset one of the titans of Project M.

But Fuzz wasn’t done. In Winners Semis he took on another rising star, Wolf expert Switch from New Jersey. Fuzz’s lethal punish game and efficient laser counterplay proved too much for Switch, who was sent to the loser’s bracket by Houston’s finest. It was Flipp who finally took Fuzz out of winner’s side, and ThundeRzReiGN sealed the deal by eliminating Fuzz at 3rd place. At the end of the day, Fuzz left the tournament with a phenomenal placing at the largest PM tournament of the year, sporting huge wins and losing only to players in the top 10 of PMRank 2016, all with a character that he was revolutionizing in the post-3.02 era. It certainly had people talking.

Fuzz continued to see success for the next several months. He got 5th at Texas national Low Tier City 5 in August, where he took down Venom and earned a repeat victory over Switch to breach the top 8. But he fell to Twisty, who was having the tournament of his life, and to dvd, whose evasive Toon Link proved to be a very challenging matchup. Fuzz gained his first major out-of-region victory at Salty Juan's 4 in October, tallying up wins against LoyaL, Junebug, ThundeRz and Sosa, some of the biggest names in the game. At Clutch City Clash 2 two weeks later, Fuzz beat DrinkingFood and Dingo before a hungry Sosa exacted his vengeance for his previous defeat. Undeterred, Fuzz plowed through losers’ bracket, eliminating Fearless and Blank, trouncing ThundeRz 3-0, and resetting the bracket against Sosa before ultimately running out of steam and finishing in 2nd.

Despite playing a character that can hover, Fuzz tripped over a few hurdles toward the end of the year. At AFKgg Project M Monthly, which took place immediately prior to NorCal regional Fair and Balanced in November, Fuzz was upset early by SoCal Lucas player Jawstin. Narrowly avoiding elimination several times, he eventually conquered most of NorCal, including Pikmon, Boringman, and The Doctor, before the indomitable Malachi handed him a loss in Grand Finals. Still, 2nd place was a solid achievement heading into Fair and Balanced the next day, so it came as a huge surprise when Fuzz lost to Jason Waterfalls and The Doctor to finish 9th. It was something of a humbling experience, and Fuzz is sure to carry the lessons he learned there into 2018.

The impact Fuzz has had on the Project M community is hard to overstate. He gained sudden and lasting recognition as a top player who brought out Mewtwo’s strengths in a way that had only been theorized up until his Bigger Balc performance. Wherever he goes, his Houston brethren cheer him on with fervor and dedication that almost defies belief. His positive mentality and frequent smiles routinely enrich the lives of those he meets, even while he styles on them with never-before-seen Mewtwo combos. Should you come across Fuzz at a tournament in 2018, you’re in for a treat, both in and out of the game.

Written By: FlashingFire

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Score: 9.47

Nick “Flipp” Filippides ended 2016 as one of the best players in the world, with a #10 spot on last year’s PMRank. He redefined Snake with his defensive but punishing playstyle, having become the newest champion of the character after Rolex and Professor Pro stopped entering events regularly. His Down Air combos are notoriously long and deadly, and his ability to read rolls based on the pressure he applies is close to psychic. Going into 2017, Flipp kept up his established trend of placing highly at every major he entered, only missing a top 8 finish at two tournaments all year.

Flipp began the year with a 3rd place finish at The Flex Zone 2, beating StereoKiDD and Malachi in winners’, but falling to Malachi’s adaptive Sheik in the losers’ side runback. His next big placement came at Community Gaming Celebration 2017, where he beat Yung Quaff and Phresh before falling to ThundeRzReiGN in two Grand Finals sets for a 2nd place finish. Flipp seemed to still be in his prime, but he was also known for stepping up his game in the summertime, and 2017 was no exception. In the first tournament of the Summer, The Bigger Balc, Flipp repeated his winners’ run from 2016’s Big Balc, beating Loyal, iPunchKidsz, HyperFlame and Fuzz to get to Grand Finals. But this time, instead of Junebug’s Diddy Kong, it would be ThundeRzReiGN’s Donkey Kong that prevented him from achieving the final victory. Still, 2nd place at the largest tournament of the year was a massive achievement

Flipp would go on to exert his dominance over New England at Exile 90, just two weeks later, defeating the likes of Kycse and Silver for a clean tournament victory. At the next national tournament, Blacklisted 3, Flipp still showed his strength and defeated Envy and Pikmon, but he subsequently lost to HyperFlame in a shocking 3-0 before ThundeRz eliminated him once again, this time at 4th. It looked like ThundeRz had become a major bracket demon for Flipp, as the Connecticut fighter was now down 4 sets to 0 against the Donkey Kong main. However, Flipp’s summertime drive pulled through at Supernova 2. After defeating Gallo in phase 2 of pools and techboy in Winners Quarters, he would finally take a set off of ThundeRz in Winners Semis and go on to defeat HyperFlame to earn his place in Grand Finals. Unfortunately, he soon found himself at ThundeRz’s mercy once again, and he lost two sets in Grand Finals and walked away with another 2nd place finish.

After the Summer, a major setback arose for Flipp. He injured his left index finger, which he used for shielding and wavedashing, and was forced to wear a splint for a few months. He attempted to play through the pain at a few tournaments, still netting a 4th place finish at Salty Juan’s 4 and a 5th place finish at Downfall 7, but Flipp was not nearly as technical or precise as he was before the injury. He even jokingly referred to himself as “Flopp” in several tweets pertaining to the injury. With his finger continuing to get worse and the splint back on his hand, it’s unclear how long it will be before Flipp comes back to competitive play, but we all can agree that “10-fingered Flipp” was one of the best Project M players in 2017.

Written By: Reslived

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Score: 9.56

After a whirlwind year of travel and success, New Jersey’s Kyle “Switch” Carlon has emerged as one of the absolute best players this game has ever seen. His Wolf has reached a level of consistency unmatched by other space animal mains, and his combos take opponents from zero to death so often that it’s become par for the course.

Switch kicked off 2017 full speed ahead by earning 2nd place at The True King, defeating Malachi, StereoKiDD and Aidan but faltering twice against Gallo. In February he racked up more wins over top players at the Nebulous Prime weekly immediately prior to The Flex Zone 2, where he took out Silver, StereoKiDD, Sosa, and HyperFlame, and while Stereo clinched a bracket reset he was unable to stop Switch from taking the whole tournament. Switch was poised to win a major very early in 2017, but at TFZ 2 an early loss to Boringman forced Switch to shoot, kick and claw his way through Twisty, dvd, Phresh, and true hidden boss Aklo before Malachi stopped him at 5th place. Over the next three months, Switch would continue to sharpen his game by winning 1st place at No Fun Allowed in Texas, Shuffle: Battle of the Midwest in Ohio, Super Jab Reset 2 in Pennsylvania, Immunity in MD/VA, and Don’t Sleep! again in Texas, where he triumphed over Sosa in Grand Finals. He also made a quality run at Philadelphia Championships, defeating Stereo, HyperFlame, Gallo, Aidan, Malachi, and Sosa, but Sosa held on in the second set of Grand Finals to deny the completion of a stellar losers’ run.

Switch travelled to Southern California in late May to compete amongst nearly 400 others at The Bigger Balc, and his performance there ended up reflecting his TFZ 2 story to an uncanny degree. Prior to the main event he won the warm-up weekly, Mira Mesa Madness 28, over players such as XYK and Dirtboy. But The Bigger Balc itself would prove to be a harsher test, and he once again went home with 5th place after losing to an ascendant Fuzz and a steamrolling ThundeRzReiGN. Still, along the way Switch defeated Strong Bad, Yung Quaff, and Jose v, adding to his kill count. He finally came out on top at a major after overcoming Phresh and sweeping Sothe twice to win Smash ‘n’ Splash 3, a performance that further solidified his status as one of the premiere tournament threats of 2017.

That status came under fire as the summer continued, however. At Blacklisted 3 in July, he was upset in pools by Massachusetts Link player Sol completely out of the blue. Because of this, he was forced to play against Malachi in round 1 of main bracket, and his regional rival smacked him into losers’ side. Undeterred, Switch turned up the jets and made his way past Yung Quaff, Gallo, Phresh, dvd, Kumatora, and Twisty. In Losers Quarters he faced ThundeRz, who was becoming one of Switch’s bracket demons. Although he took a game, Switch was ultimately forced out by the destructive Donkey Kong main’s extensive combos, taking 5th place at yet another national. But the low point of Switch’s year came later that same month. Supernova 2 saw Switch suffering two more big upsets, this time to techboy and Goode, and the hometown hero ended up in 25th.

Still hungry for more, Switch made it out to Texas once more for Low Tier City 5. He returned to form to take out MorKs, Dr. and Pikmon, but familiar foes stopped him from advancing much further. Fuzz and ThundeRz endured Switch’s barrage of lasers and shield pressure and hit back hard, and Switch was forced to back to the drawing board at 7th place. Switch rallied at Super Smash Con side event, avenging his loss against Gallo, tearing through HyperFlame, and winning two of the three sets of “platforms and lasers” against EmuKiller to clinch 1st place. He would continue to do battle at more regional events for the rest of the year. He finished in 2nd place at Immunity 2 and Smash Bros University 3.0 and 1st place at CGC Redux and Downfall 7, claiming additional wins over Envy, dvd, Kycse, Silver, Flipp, Phresh, and Boiko.

Overall, Switch in 2017 was one of the most well-travelled players in the entire Project M scene, and his frequent flying gave him ample opportunity to prove himself. While he did stumble a few times in the middle of the year, his robust record throughout the year shows that these were exceptions to a ferocious norm. There is precious little standing between Switch and more national victories in 2018, so buckle up and get ready for another year of his creative combos and unrelenting pressure.

Written By: FlashingFire



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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