Three players, three uncommon characters, and three large ranking jumps appear in today's PMRank article.
PMRank is a panel-based Power Ranking of the top 50 Project M and Project+ 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, 70 players were qualified to be ranked based on their placings and attendance at major Project M/+ events throughout 2019. Only 50 highly skilled players made the final list.
PMRank staff collected and organized data from dozens of Project M/+ events from the past year, seeking out tournaments with significant inter-regional competition. Panelists were tasked with reviewing this data and ranking each player in order, from #1 to #70. For each player, the highest and lowest rankings on all panelists’ lists were removed when averaging votes to reduce variance. After an initial ballot, panelists were given time to discuss the aggregated results and move closer to consensus in the case of players with high standard deviations. Then, panelists submitted a second and final ballot.
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.
In a metagame full of explosive combos and devastating punishes, Joshua “Morsecode762” Morse puts his focus on a component of the game that is much harder to exert control in: neutral. The term “neutral game” or simply “neutral” refers to what a player does without a clear advantage or disadvantage, and Morsecode’s take on this concept is unlike that of any player of Project M, especially at a high level. The patient Samus main judiciously uses the limited toolset of the durable bounty hunter to box out opponents and create the illusion of exploitable openings.
The earlier portion of the year was a mixed bag for Morsecode; while he netted wins over Michigan rivals techboy and Dirtboy at SPRING TRAINING, he also endured two losses to ORLY’s Captain Falcon. At Smash’N’Splash 5, Morse exacted revenge on ORLY and took down American Bowser, but he also lost to Aki, Bubbles, and former PMRank player Emukiller to place a relatively modest 25th.
Even with multiple solid wins already in his resume, Morsecode’s year wouldn’t truly kick off until the Texas major Low Tier City 7. Though he went down to a peak Sneez in winner’s side of bracket, Morsecode would go on to defeat Captain Birdman, American Bowser, Poilu, Dirtboy, and handily eliminate former top 10 player Fuzz before losing to ThundeRzReiGN in a close game 5 set, finishing at a phenomenal 2nd place. At Morsecode’s following event, Evicted 2, saw him earn additional quality wins on a smaller scale. He defeated ex-PMRank Bobby Frizz before methodically grinding out another set win against techboy to advance to the winners’ side of Grand Finals.. While techboy would come back and win Evicted 2 in two game 5 sets, the tournament was still a solid resume builder for Morse’s calculated Samus.
While the Mountain Dew memer had done well for himself to this point, he lacked a definitive 1st place at a major event. Going into his last notable tournament of the year, Lazer Lazer 20, Morsecode sought to fill that vacancy. After making it past ~CP9~, his first big hurdle would be heavyweight hitter Nogh, who went blow-for-blow with Morsecode to edge out their five-game set. Undeterred, Morse began a small but potent losers’ run. He defeated Florida Marth Jagz$, convincingly upset Switch, and emerged victorious from the Nogh rematch to make it to Grand Finals. Once there, Morsecode handed Cala a resounding 6-0 defeat over the course of two sets, taking home the gold at his final big event of the year.
While this has no bearing on PMRank, it’s also worth noting that Morse’s fundamentally strong abilities have earned him the #44 spot on the 2019 edition of MPGR, Super Smash Bros Melee’s top 100 rankings. His unique skillset is a treat to watch, and even with all the pressures of playing competitively, Morsecode never takes himself too seriously. With a plethora of top level wins, incredibly solid placings at major events, and a playstyle that is becoming increasingly hard to contest, Morsecode secures his spot among the highest caliber of Project M players.
Written By: Motobug
Despite a relatively inactive year by his standards, Kevin “The Doctor” Ascate quietly picked up an array of incredible wins across the country, easily solidifying his place in this year’s top 10. The NorCal Mario savant kicked off the year strong with two back-to-back 2nd place finishes, dropping sets only to ThundeRzReiGN at both. At Poi Poundaz 2, he would reign supreme over both Japanese ranked player TEITO and Dirtboy, whom he cleanly defeated twice in top 8. Back in NorCal at Neon Genesix Evangelion, The Doctor took out tough competition such as Arsenals, Ivayne, and Pikmon before once again being stopped short by ThundeRz.
The Doctor finally found some variety at Smash‘N’Splash 5. Living in a region that features both Sugydye and Pikmon may be a tough draw, but it has provided The Doctor with invaluable matchup experience against Mr. Game & Watch. After taking out Sneez in pools and applying that experience to enact an almost surgical 3-0 against Drugfreechu, he found himself facing off against Switch. In an explosive and unpredictable set, The Doctor once again brought years of matchup experience against Ivayne's Wolf to the table and pulled out trick after trick to bring Switch to game 5 before falling just short of taking the set. In losers’ bracket, The Doctor eliminated Project M legend Junebug to secure his place in top 8 before falling at 7th himself after a game 5 loss to Washington’s Aki.
At The Encore back on the West Coast, The Doctor continued his trend of racking up high-quality wins, dispatching Pikmon as well as PMRank 2018 threats Aidan and Bongo before dropping to losers’ at the hands of Malachi. In his Losers Quarters set against Rongunshu, The Doctor seemed to be in perfect control, employing brutally effective mixups to secure early stocks and frequently living to astronomical percents. He continued to rack up damage and widen his lead before closing out the set with a 3-1 victory over one of 2019’s rising stars. Although he ended his year at The Encore the same way that he started it, with a loss to ThundeRz to end his tournament run, there’s no denying that The Doctor had a fantastic 2019. He placed top 8 at every major he attended, had wins over two players in the top 10, and six of his eight losses in 2019 came from players within the top 3 on this year’s PMRank Top 50. With terrific wins, high placements, and an all-around stellar year, The Doctor makes his mark as the greatest Mario to ever play the game.
Written By: Sabre
Photo Credit: Tram Tram
With a limited but undeniably incredible set of results, Raseen “BaconPancakes” Khan breaks into the PMRank top 10 for the first time in his career. The agile Diddy Kong main started off 2019 by defending his home region of MD/VA at Immunity 3, taking wins over Aidan, Hondo, and Vari to guarantee his place in Winners Finals before the remainder of the event was cancelled due to time constraints. Undeterred by the loss of a chance to fight Switch at Immunity 3, BaconPancakes travelled to Dallas for Don’t Sleep! 3, the first major Project+ tournament. After taking out Dirtboy to reach Winners Finals, BaconPancakes pulled out all the stops against the ever-formidable Malachi. BaconPancakes came to the table with Peanut Gun snipes, creative recoveries, and immaculate item play on top of his top-tier decision making, claiming his first win ever over the New York titan in a 3-1 victory. Grand Finals was less climactic since the two played out their rematch in All-Star mode as random characters, but nonetheless, BaconPancakes once again came out ahead.
Although he had proven capable of holding his own against one of the best players Project M has to offer, BaconPancakes experienced a rather rocky road through the next three majors he registered for. He dropped at the last minute from both Smash‘N’Splash 5 and Low Tier City 7, the two largest events of the year, and disqualified himself from losers’ bracket at Blacklisted 5 after going down 0-2 against Shiny Zubat and forfeiting the remainder of their winners’ set. With zero losses to the players that would make up this year’s PMRank, the forfeited set against Shiny Zubat, and only one completed major bracket up to that point in the year, it was impossible to guess how BaconPancakes would perform heading into Super Smash Con 2019. There in his home region, he put any questions about his skill to bed by taking wins over Narq, Arsenals, and Dirtboy to make his way to Winners Finals. In Winners Finals and Grand Finals, his consistently strong edgeguards and cautious neutral led the way to consecutive 3-1 victories over Switch, earning him his second tournament win of the year.
This would be his last major event of the year, allowing BaconPancakes to end the year with a perfect record against players on this year’s PMRank top 50, and only one loss total to Shiny Zubat. However, this limited data set is a bit deceiving. Given that he barely met attendance requirements and was only able to complete two brackets, one of which included playing All-Star Random in Grand Finals, this otherwise fantastic record loses a bit of its luster. Our panelists felt that it was difficult to reward him with a higher placement on this year’s PMRank over more active competitors who have more rich and consistent data spreads in addition to amazing peaks of their own. That being said, taking home his first wins over Malachi and winning two regionals over top 10 players make BaconPancakes a clear top 5 player in the modern meta. We look forward to more frequent showings from the highest-ranked Diddy Kong player of all time in 2020.
Written By: Sabre
Other PMRank 2019 Articles
Last Year's Rankings
- Brennan “FlashingFire” Connolly
- Paul “Motobug” Canavan
- Kyle “Pegthaniel” Guo
- Peter “Pikmon” Woodworth
- Ryan “Sabre” Weinberg
- Paul "Motobug" Canavan
- Samoe "Samoe" Fuchs
- Cosmetic Standardization Project (CSProject)
- Brennan “FlashingFire” Connolly
- Connor “Connor” Remington
- Paul "Motobug" Canavan
- Nick "Nick" Hluska
- Kyle “Pegthaniel” Guo
- Ryan "Sabre" Weinberg