PMRank 2018: Recap


Photo Credit: Tram Tram

Hello everyone, Pikmon here! PMRank 2018 has been released in full, so we want to take a step back and peruse some fun facts and statistics. Today we'll be analyzing the character diversity and regional representation of the top 50 players from this year. There have been plenty of changes compared to last year’s PMRank, so we hope you enjoy this overview of which characters and which regions saw the most success at the highest level of Project M in 2018. And at the end, we have a special treat to share with you all.

Character Representation
First off, let's take a look at character usage totals. The first image here will show which characters were used the most in order of how many appearances they had in the top 50, and the second image will show which characters were used the most in the order of the Project M Back Room's third PM 3.6 Tier List. In both graphics, a main character counts as 1 and a secondary counts as 0.5.

character reps.png

Immediately we see that the most commonly used characters are Mr. Game and Watch and Wolf, with 5 mains and no secondaries for both characters. Wolf's top 50 usage has more than doubled since 2017, as previously unranked threats such as Ivayne and Punk Panda pushed their skills with the character further. While both of these totals are high, each accounting for 10% of the top 50, neither of them are at quite the level we saw Meta Knight at last year. The masked sword fighter's total in 2017 was a whopping 6.5, and in 2018 he is still the third most commonly used character with a strong count of 4.5. The second most used character last year, Wario, fell off somewhat and now only has 2 mains in the top 50.

The third and fourth most used characters last year, Diddy Kong and Ness, both stayed strong with at least 3 mains apiece. In a somewhat surprising turn of events, mid-tier combo machine Lucario joins the 3-or-more-mains club with the rise of Rongunshu and $wift. The other characters with at least 3 mains in 2017 were Mario, Luigi, Charizard, and Sonic. All of these characters saw a decrease in representation, contributing to the overall trend of making this year's character distribution a little less top-heavy.

tier list rep.png

Looking at the tier list graphic, there is no shortage of evidence for why the S-tier characters are considered S-tier. The combined usage total between Wolf and Meta Knight is 9.5, meaning 20% of the top 50 uses one of those two characters. Going down to A-tier, Mr. Game and Watch and Diddy Kong are very well represented. It's worth noting that while Wolf and Mr. Game and Watch both have 5 reps, the ranks of the Wolf players were generally higher, which further aligns with the tier list. Everyone else in A and A- tier shows up between 1 and 2 times, inclusive. Talk about character diversity!

Moving on to B-tier we have our first absent character, 23rd-ranked Pikachu. The electric rat is something of a specialist character, and its champion Anther was notably quiet in 2018. Interestingly enough, we see a spike in usage with both Lucario and Ness. Are these characters underrated by the tier list or is this just a coincidence? Lucario and Ness are the only characters after Mr. Game and Watch who have more than 2 mains, and they're ranked a whole 11 spots lower! Diving into C tier, the numbers are starting to look a little less robust. There are two characters not represented (Link and Rob), and only two characters who have more than one main in the top 50 (Luigi and Ivysaur).

Looking past C tier, it is no surprise that the bottom tier has very little top 50 representation. ThundeRzReiGN’s secondary Ganondorf is the single ambassador of D-tier, but that doesn't necessarily mean no skilled players are pushing those characters. Juanpi's Yoshi, Dumshiny's Dedede, and ~CP9~'s Olimar have all made waves in the past year, and we've seen Zhime's Zelda shatter expectations in the past. Heck, Sosa's Pit has won tournaments in SoCal.

Overall, the PM meta continues to be exceptionally diverse. The total number of characters in the PMRank top 50 remains at 30 out of 41, or 73% of the total cast. With the return performances of Lunchables and the inactivity of Anther, Roy made it back in and Pikachu was relegated. Furthermore, 21 of the 41 characters are played by multiple people at the top level. It is truly amazing to me that more than half the characters in Project M have multiple top 50 reps.

Regional Representation
One of the best parts of PMRank is getting to see the homies you know and love make their appearance on the list. In this section we’ll be looking more in depth at the talent from each region, and how it’s changed since last year.

regional reps.png

New York/New Jersey

In previous years NY/NJ ruled over much of PMRank, occupying a quarter of the spots in 2017. This year however, other regions have been making deeper inroads into the top 50. Now NY/NJ has "only" 8 representatives; t’s still the most represented region by a clear margin, and the quality of the players appearing on the rank has not gone down at all. There are still the same three members in top 10 from last year: Switch, Malachi, and DVD. Envy follows close behind them after vaulting up to 11th place. It’s clear that NY/NJ is still the most stacked region overall, and it will take a lot for other states to challenge the throne next year.

Northern California

NorCal had another amazing showing this year, boasting top 20 ranks for all five of its representatives. Ivayne blew up and became the second-highest ranked Norcal player behind only ThundeRzReiGN, and he also claimed the title of highest ranked newcomer to PMRank 2018. The Doctor, Pikmon, and Boringman all had very strong years as well, further showing that NorCal remains active and powerful.

New England

Not too much changed on the New England front. All six of its top 50 players are returning veterans, and they generally maintained positions similar to what they had last year. If there’s anything to say about this region, they’re definitely consistent.

Southern California

SoCal regains a second top 10 spot after having only one in 2017. The Sosa brothers have pure talent running in their veins, dominating their region and beating nearly everyone else they face. Past that, SoCal had some cool new faces show up. Nezergy made strides this year both at locals and at nationals, and $wift made some impressive upsets as well. While SoCal isn’t quite the monstrous hotbed of skilled legends it once was, they still clearly have a lot of depth and power to show off.


BaconPancakes and lloD continue to be standout players from MD/VA, but many of the other competitors in the area have seen significant shifts in rank. Hyperflame dropped hard after some inconsistent placements, and in general the field continues to progress past Junebug. On the plus side, the one and only "Smash-Famous" Reslived makes his first appearance on the PMRank after being on the cusp for so long.


The elephant in the spacious room that is Texas is that Lunchables returned to a top 3 rank. Fuzz and Lunchables both placed consistently high when they entered in 2018, and their state's depth was augmented by three other fantastic players. Captain Birdman made an appearance on the list after repping his home state at Low Tier City 6, LUCK retained his 2017 rank, and Fearless improved his by 1.

Pacific Northwest

Washington saw the return of Aki to the list after having a down year in 2017, and a very strong return at that. Punk Panda finally showed why he is consistently near the top of the rankings in Washington, and Pikmon has his strongest year yet. Known as being one of the most active regions, it’s no surprise that Washington has improved since last year.

Other Regions

Overall, the trend among the top 50 was a shift in power away from the east coast and toward the rest of North America. A number of former greats such as Gallo and StereoKiDD stepped back, and newcomers such as Kansas' Bobby Frizz, Canada's Rongunshu, and Florida's Noghrilla and Cala stepped in. With several top players trying out Super Smash Bros Ultimate seriously and Project Plus on the horizon, the regional makeup of PMRank 2019 could be quite different from what you see today.

I’d like to end the recap by emphasizing how many new and returning faces there are on PMRank 2018. There were 12 brand new players this year, which makes up nearly a quarter of the rankings. Nezergy, Punk Panda, $wift, Reslived, Ellipsis, Captain Birdman, Noghrilla, Bobby Frizz, Cala, Drugfreechu, Rongunshu, and Ivayne all earned PMRank crowns for the first time. Of the veterans on our list, 21 of them have been ranked top 50 all three years that PMRank has existed. That kind of consistency is rewarded, but new players are always rising up to keep the old guard on their toes. Who knows, next year it could very well be your face smiling wide on PMRank 2019.

Thank you all very much for following the rankings and sharing your excitement. This is my favorite project I get to work on, and it means a ton to see how happy people get when they find out they are ranked. Thank you to the PMRank team and staff for putting together a wonderful project for everyone to enjoy. See you guys when we return next year!

Written By: Pikmon

Combo Video!

That's right, you didn't think we'd wrap up without a combo video, did you? Here it is, courtesy of Sabre, Motobug, and Zesty!

Edit: Silly us, we got the year wrong in the video! We hope that typo doesn't detract from your enjoyment.

Closing Thoughts

Hello again, it's FlashingFire, here to wrap things up with some thanks, musings, and exhortations.

Project M is a small miracle. What we have is a game developed by dedicated Smash fans who modded Super Smash Bros Brawl, without access to its source code, to play in an entirely different way. The level of polish is unmatched in a console mod, and its durability this long after the dev team's disbandment stands as a testimony to Project M's quality. And while it's no longer the hot new thing that all the new kids are playing (and hasn't been that way for years now), people do still play it. Still enjoy it. Still compete in it. Still laugh at it. Still travel across the country to spend time with the friends who have stuck around and invested in it, despite all the obstacles that have risen up over the years.

To me, PMRank is more than a panel-based Power Ranking of the top 50 Project M players worldwide. It's a celebration of the game and its community. Leading this isn't easy, and making this even less so. Take another look at the credits; all those people gave significant time and effort producing what you see before you, to say nothing of the panelists and other contributors. I invite you to celebrate as well. Thank the people who made this. Thank your local tournament organizers. Thank the people that play with you. Respond with empathy to those who seem abrasive. Support content creators and don't tear them down. We're all on the same team here, and I think we've got a fair bit of juice still left in us.

Personally, I'd be happy to keep playing Project M even after I retire. Something about the idea of old grandpa FlashingFire dusting off a Wii and a 2GB SD card before wavedashing and dash dancing in circles around a young kid makes me smile. As long as people want to play, I'll play. It's a fun game.

PMRank will return for 2019.

Will you?​

Other PMRank 2018 Articles

1/28/2019 - PMRank 2018: The Edge of Glory
1/29/2019 - PMRank 2018: 50-41
1/30/2019 - PMRank 2018: 40-31
1/31/2019 - PMRank 2018: 30-21
2/01/2019 - PMRank 2018: 20-11
2/05/2019 - PMRank 2018: 10-7
2/06/2019 - PMRank 2018: 6-4
2/07/2019 - PMRank 2018: 3-1

Last Year's Rankings

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
2/11/2018 - PMRank 2017: Recap

PMRank Staff:
  • Brennan “FlashingFire” Connolly
  • Devin “Reslived” Gajewski
  • Peter “Pikmon” Woodworth
  • Kyle “Pegthaniel” Guo
  • Courtney “Zesty” Coffman
Graphic Design and Character Renders:
  • Courtney “Zesty” Coffman
  • Paul "Motobug" Canavan
  • Jet "Jetfantastic" Breton
  • "waffeln"
  • Cosmetic Standardization Project (CSProject)
  • Brennan “FlashingFire” Connolly
Additional Editing:
  • Devin “Reslived” Gajewski
  • Alex “Darth Shard” Elert
  • Ryan "Sabre" Weinberg
  • Jet "Jetfantastic" Breton
  • Kyle “Pegthaniel” Guo
Combo Video:
  • Ryan "Sabre" Weinberg
  • Paul "Motobug" Canavan
  • Courtney "Zesty" Coffman
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