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PMRank 2017 Recap

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Photo Credit: Jonathan ExHale

Hey everyone, Sabre here! PMRank 2017 is out in full, and there’s a wealth of interesting information present in the rankings besides just the order of the players. Today I’ll be taking a deeper look at this year’s top 50 and examining character representation, use of single or multiple characters, and regional representation at the highest levels of Project M. If you missed the PMRank release, or would like to take another look at the rankings, below are links to all of the articles from last week!

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

Character Representation

First, I’ll take a look at the trends in character representation in the top 50. The first image shows raw character usage among those who made it onto PMRank 2017, whereas the second image sorts these numbers by where each character is on the PMBR’s 3rd PM Tier List. For both graphics, mains are counted as a full character and secondaries are counted as half a character.



As another year of Project M 3.6 has passed, the meta has continued to settle, and this is clear if we observe the characters that were most common among PMRank 2017 players. Meta Knight, the highest rated character on the newest tier list, was represented by seven different players on the top 50, while Wolf, Mewtwo, and Wario all had an increase in representation compared to last year. All of these characters moved up on the tier list after its September release, and these results make evident why this was the case. At the lower end of the tier list, not a single character below C tier was represented as a main on PMRank 2017, though ThundeRzReiGN’s Ganondorf made an appearance as a secondary. The lowest tier character on PMRank 2017 to be used as a main is Squirtle at 31st. This number has risen from last year, where Yoshi filled that role at 38th.

Despite this decreased success by bottom tier characters, the PM meta is as vibrant as ever. The highest rated character on the 2017 tier list to not be represented in the top 50 is Roy, ranked at 29th, and a number of characters in C tier are still making waves. Sothe is ranked at 10th as a solo Ivysaur main, there are once again 3 Luigis in the top 50, and there are two new Samus players on this year’s PMRank. Even more telling, eleven characters are represented by only one player, including high tiers such as Fox, Lucas, and Snake. These characters all represented by highly ranked players who have demonstrated their potential, but there is plenty of room for other characters or players to rise to the top.

Solo Mains, Dual Mains, and Secondaries

While one of Project M’s most appealing aspects is its cast-wide character viability, it is often considered difficult to solo main certain characters given how many matchups exist in the game. 12 of this year’s top 50 used more than one character, and generally players picked secondaries that were higher on the tier list than their main. Last year, the only characters each player had listed on their graphics were their “mains,” meaning that if a character was used occasionally but not often, it was not on their PMRank graphic. This led to the omission of counterpick characters such as Gallo’s Pit. This year, we added a section to our graphics that showcases “secondaries,” featuring any character used against another top level player with serious intent. This distinction led to the inclusion of characters this year such as ThundeRzReiGN’s Ganondorf, which made occasional appearances against players such as Malachi, Sothe, and Jose v, but was far less used than his mains.

This year there were only 4 players who counted as having more than one main: ThundeRzReiGN, Malachi, Boringman, and Silver. While none of these players mained more than two characters at the same time throughout 2017, all but Malachi had more than just their two current mains on their graphic, with Boringman and Silver featuring a whopping four and five total characters respectively. In addition to these players, seven players who see themselves as solo mains still made use of secondaries against certain characters or players this year, with four of these seven using more than one secondary to complement their main.

Regional Representation

In addition to changes in character usage and representation, there were some shake-ups in how regions across the United States and the world were represented this year, 2018 may herald even more change. This graphic indicates the total regional representation of PMRank 2017, and below I discuss some of these regions and how I anticipate that they regions will develop in the future.


New York/NewJersey

Just like in 2016, nearly a quarter of PMRank 2017 players hailed from NY/NJ as the region maintained its stranglehold over the East Coast. While strong players such as Malachi and dvd remained as threatening as ever, Switch shot up to new heights last year with wins over Sosa and Malachi, staking his claim to top 4 in the world. Meanwhile, the likes of Gallo, Emukiller, Phresh, and Bongo make even the lower end of the NY/NJ Power Rankings look like the results thread of a national. Nearly all of NY/NJ’s ranked players this year made a return appearance, and PMRank newcomers Bongo and Mask gained recognition as well. Additionally, up and comers such as GP, Ant, Keychain, and Bubbles may be well on their way to making their region proud at a national level.


Often seen as the primary challenger to NY/NJ for the title of best region in the world, Southern California’s decreased representation on PMRank 2017 may come as a surprise to many who remember their strong national roster of years past. Sosa remains as dominant as ever on the West Coast, and his fellow Riverside Savages Blank and Jose v both claimed spots in the top 25 this year, but a relative lack of national activity led to a decrease of almost 50% in SoCal players in the top 50. Now, SoCal has less players on PMRank than New England and the Midwest, and is tied with NorCal and MD/VA for the fourth most players in the top 50. Despite this change, it is clear that SoCal still has the talent to challenge any region in the world. Aion, Dr., and Jason Waterfalls were all extremely close to making this year’s PMRank, and players such as Sneez, Venom, Zenokids, Jawstin, and Dumshiny have all demonstrated their own potential to take on anyone, if they are playing well. SoCal seems to have had a fire lit under them again, seeing as the region is preparing to attend nationals en masse in 2018. They hope to ensure that their top players will not be lacking in data against players from around the country, and to quell any doubt about their status as one of the best regions in the world.

New England

Connecticut and Massachusetts were once considered two sub-regions, but the unified force that is New England Project M is nothing to be scoffed at. The growth demonstrated by players from both states in 2017 was remarkable, from the top of the rankings to the bottom. Flipp remained as threatening as ever, rising into this year’s top 5, and his teammate Kycse rose to 12th by proving himself time and again as a national contender. Meanwhile, despite the loss of MA’s sole PMRank 2016 representative Darc due to his inactivity, five players from the Bay State made their debuts on PMRank 2017. From the impressive peaks of players like Twisty and Yung Quaff to the consistency displayed by Kumatora and Silver, New England proved that Flipp and Darc were far from their only top level threats, and perhaps soon their next tier of players will begin to have breakout moments of their own.


Although Northern California was once considered a one-trick pony, cargo-carried on the back of ThundeRzReiGN, it is clear that this is no longer the case. Strong performances from Boringman and Pikmon led to substantial rises for both players on this year’s PMRank, while The Doctor’s explosive combo game and consistent results led to a top 25 placement for the player now considered one of the best Marios in the world. Despite the retirement of two of NorCal’s finest, a new face is already seeking to replace ThundeRz and Strong Bad on the national stage. Ivayne began 2018 with a bang, defeating Hyperflame, Sothe, Twisty, Dirtboy, Envy, and Flarp on the weekend of We Tech Those 3, and placing second at Cashed Out: Forbidden Fight Club, with wins over Boringman, The Doctor, and Pikmon. Ivayne may have had a quiet 2017 outside of his spectacular top 4 doubles placement at Bigger Balc with Sugydye, but perhaps Elk G’s finest is ready to shake off the label of of “most underrated player in PM” and become a household name in the PM community.


While the incredible rise of techboy into the highest echelon of national competition is an inspiring story in and of itself, the region over which he has come to rule is full of other national threats who had their share of breakout performances this year. From Morsecode’s bracket run at Frozen Phoenix to Anther’s top 8 finish at Bigger Balc, the Midwest proved this year that their top players can compete with anyone. In addition to their strong 6-man roster on this year’s PMRank, the Midwest is home to a host of up and coming players who may well be on next year’s top 50, such as Ellipsis, drugfreechu, and Wyld.


Despite the fact that none of PMRank 2016’s non-American representatives qualified for this year’s ballot, Canada’s elite took up their mantle. JJK and MorKs traveled to the U.S. on a number of occasions to compete and prove themselves, and their results speak for themselves. JJK placed an astounding 7th at Supernova 2, and MorKs defeated a number of strong players on his way to a 13th place finish at Bigger Balc. Other Canadian players such as BlueZone and Sylarius are threatening players in their own right, but they will need to travel and rack up more wins against players outside of Canada in order to qualify for PMRank 2018.


At first glance, it would seem that Florida has fallen off over the last year, with only one representative on PMRank 2017, but the rare occasions when the state’s titans have come to play prove this to be untrue. Mr Lz, one of the best players in the world, was forced into inactivity due to health issues for almost the entirety of 2017, but with a first place finish at Cashed Out: Forbidden Fight Club, perhaps he will soon return in full form. Hero of Time was also largely inactive in 2017, but placed 9th at Bigger Balc, the largest tournament of 2017. Aside from JFyst, most of Florida’s top players did not compete out of region last year, but at Tipped Off 12 Noghrilla and JFyst made their way to Winners Finals over the likes of Hyperflame, Twisty, Silver, and Yung Quaff. While Noghrilla would fall to Hyperflame in Grand Finals, his performance suggested that Florida has more depth to show off should the region compete at more events in 2018.

Toward the Future

To end this recap, I would like to point out that a whopping 23 of the PMRank 2017 top 50 were not ranked in 2016, and that 7 of the returning players rose by ten spots or more. After an incredible year featuring some of the biggest tournaments in Project M history, and with an array of new and exciting storylines to follow, it is a great time to play or watch Project M.

On behalf of all the PMRank staff, I sincerely hope that you have enjoyed PMRank 2017. It’s always a pleasure to see the excitement and discussion that come as a result of our efforts, and I would like to thank the entire PMRank team for the time and effort that goes into maintaining and improving the quality of our rankings each year. This will be our team’s last SmashBoards article until next year, but there will be plenty of exciting Project M content over the course of 2018, so keep an eye out!

Thanks for reading, and long live Project M!


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"
  • 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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How do you guys think the DK meta will change without ThundeRzReiGN, or DK's placing on the tier list?
DK's placing will probably go down without Thunderz winning tournaments. Meta is defined by how well characters and their players place in tournaments for the most part.
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