Today, some strong competitors make their PMRank debuts, as well as the return of some seasoned veterans.
Welcome one and all to the return of PMRank! PMRank is a panel-based Power Ranking of the Top 50 Project+ players worldwide. We're pleased to be doing another full, Top 50 list, covering Undertow 2021 through HELLBREAK. PMRank staff collected and organized data from 25 Project+ events from the ranking season, seeking out tournaments with significant inter-regional competition. Initially, 72 players were qualified to be ranked based on their placings and attendance at major Project+ events from late 2021 through 2022. Panelists were tasked with reviewing this data and ranking each player in order, from #1 to #72. 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 to determine the placement of our PMRank Top 50.
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.
Where other Squirtle mains zig, Wombat zags, abandoning the careful patience of a water-gun centric gameplan in favor of attempting to overwhelm his opponents with constant pressure and a flurry of hitboxes. This mastery of a completely different style of turtle often leaves his opponents scrambling, tripping over their own feet, and making costly mistakes that Wombat fully capitalizes on. At Undertow 2021, Wombat had his best national appearance to date, taking sets off Metroid and ORLY while also taking a game off The Doctor in a dramatic comeback paired with an explosive popoff. A pair of Blacklisteds rounded out Wombat’s résumé with a win on Grealy, while only dropping sets to fellow PMRank players Av, Narq, SipMastah and a set to Florida Yoshi main, TomBoComBo. Hopefully more travel is in store for Wombat in 2023 so that he can show the world what rush-down Squirtle can do and continue making splashes at nationals in the new year.
Written By: Serb
From the outside looking in, it would seem that the once ever-present Fox main is a dying breed in Project+’s world of fast-faller slayers, the perennial top tier turned taciturn and tame. Head northeast, however, and one New Englander could show you exactly how much further this space animal can go. Thalia’s hot-and-cold playstyle will have you wondering one second if they’ll ever approach, then wondering how the hell they got so close just as quickly. Their methodical play has earned them consistent top 32s at majors this ranking period, as well as a highly respectable fourth place at super regional Joey’s Birthday Bash, where they took out most of Illinois and fellow up-and-comer Kendrick to boot. Going into the coming year, Thalia hopes to ramp up their efforts and truly carry the torch for Fox McCloud, taking him back to where they think he rightfully belongs: grand finals at a major.
Written By: Flarp
After years of refining his Wolf, 2021 saw Cloudburst returning to his roots by shelving Wolf and relying predominantly on Squirtle at nationals. Cloudburst began the ranking season with a strong showing at Undertow 2021, earning a 17th place finish falling to Malachi and a tight game five set to Lunchables. At Jailbreak, Cloudburst earned his highest national placing to date by defeating Oats, Ludo, Nezergy, and Fearless along the way to an incredible fifth place finish. Cloudburst carried this momentum into 2022 with back-to-back ninth place finishes at Smash Camp 2022 and 5:00 PM Fights: Game Night, earning wins over Jank, Ensign, and Suvir. Finally, Cloudburst finished his ranking season with a 13th place finish at HELLBREAK, defeating SDJ, Dr. Grin, and Aklo. Cloudburst’s eccentric movement and willingness to go deep for edgeguards have proven quite fruitful this year. With a shift in his focus to train up his Ivysaur, we may be seeing a whole new Cloudburst heading into 2023. Whether we see him pulling out Squirtle, Ivysaur, or Wolf at nationals next year is yet to be seen, but one thing is certain: Cloudburst is a multi-character force to be reckoned with.
Written By: FingerStripes
Dread them, run from them, the Ice Climbers arrive all the same. Serb took full advantage of the advancing Ice Climbers metagame this year, terrorizing his local scene with chaingrabs and handoffs aplenty, while also taking his talents abroad to the West Coast for the first time since Even Bigger Balc. While there, he accrued multiple wins on Sabre and a stellar upset over Ivayne at HELLBREAK, as well as taking Blue to a game five nail-biter at 5:00 PM Fights: Game Night. At his best, Serb pulls the strongest tools from his ICs peers into his own unique playstyle, combining brutal handoffs along with strong desync setups to mix up his approaches. What Serb aims to add to his contemporaries, however, is his patience, a stringent commitment to shooting barrage after barrage of ice blocks and blizzards until his opponent is forced to approach him. Using this gameplan, and a little bit more polish on his handoffs, we could very well bear witness to the saltiest of anti-ICs Twitter threads, as Serb forward throw-fairs your favorite player to oblivion, all with a smile on his face.
Written By: Flarp
Perhaps the longest tenured Lucas player on this iteration of PMRank, Narq brings an old school style to a character that has seen his ceiling pushed year after year. Despite hailing from New York originally, SoCal swagger oozes from Narq’s flashy playstyle, one in which going for the clip might outweigh getting the win. Narq traveled to both Blacklisted 6 and Undertow 2021 where he secured wins on Wombat and Thalia, but he had his most memorable bracket of the season back home in SoCal at HELLBREAK. After losing to Av in pools in a game five nail-biter, Narq went on a tear defeating Suvir, LoyaL and Motobug to finish seventh place. Narq was able to show the world that old school Lucas still has a place in today’s meta among the magnet strings and high APM shield pressure, and he has the skills to keep that style going as long as he chooses.
Written By: Serb
Once a rising star within SoCal’s local scene, Suvir proved himself a national competitor this year with his clean movement and patient neutral. At his first ever out-of-region major, Suvir lived up to the hype with an upset over Comb at Shipwrecked to secure a top 16 finish. Although Suvir immediately established himself as a serious bracket threat, Suvir did experience some growing pains at his next couple of events. At Blacklisted 6, Suvir suffered surprising losses to Ronan and Moy resulting in a 65th place finish, and then at You’re So Mad, he had close losses to Qtip, PwrUp!, and Catosat. With more out of region experience under his belt, he returned stronger than ever at 5:00 PM Fights: Game Night. After taking down Che in winners and being sent to losers by Cloudburst, he diced Pineapplr and PotatoesAreYum before facing off against the legendary Kycse in a top 8 qualifier set. Despite going down 0-2 to Kycse in the best of five, Suvir displayed incredible adaptation as he rallied for a reverse 3-0 comeback to secure his first top 8 at a major. He continued that momentum to take down his former UCLA training partner, Sabre, to earn a fifth place finish. The rest of Suvir’s 2022 continued to show incredible potential with wins over GodTouch, TRai, sfy bees, and two more sets over PotatoesAreYum at events around the country. If the experience gained throughout this season can shape Suvir into a more consistent top player, then the sky is the limit for SoCal’s hero in 2023.
Written By: Sabre
Photo Credit: TheZardDog
Perhaps no other contemporary player has worn more hats in the Project+ community than Sabre. He’s been a lead TO, content creator, historian, and community leader, while spearheading a dizzying number of projects throughout the years. Once plagued by hand injuries so severe that it seemed he would never be able to play again, Sabre has since shown that he’s still capable of competing with the best of them. At You’re So Mad, Sabre turned in an infamous performance where he went 9-1 in the waterfall bracket, defeating myriad players including PwrUp! and grealy while losing only to SipMastah. He followed up this return to competition with consecutive top 8 performances at Exodus and 5:00 PM Fights: Game Night, and even a third place finish at Shipwrecked 2, picking up wins over metroid, Anday, Av, and former PMRank top 5 Mewtwo player Violet in the process. Sabre displayed another strong showing at Undertow 2022, defeating tia, sfy | bees, and Che before being eliminated just outside of top 8 by Kycse. Blacklisted 7 was the only smudge on Sabre’s résumé, where he lost in pools to Tuck and Shadowhawke to place a disappointing thirty-third. He immediately returned with a vengeance at HELLBREAK, where he eliminated Cloudburst in a Pokemon battle for the ages before losing a last stock set to fellow content creator Serb for ninth place. Sabre’s gameplay is filled with flashy combos and daring edgeguards, but is highlighted most by his consistency at techniques once thought to be impractical at a top level, a reflection of his equally consistent role as a pillar of the community at large.
Written By: Serb
One of the West Coast’s most technical players, Tealz hit the ground running with strong performances in the post-quarantine era. At Shipwrecked, Tealz upset Twisty in a nail-biting game five set that, along with a win over Texas hidden boss Apathy, propelled him to a top 8 finish at his first major of 2021. He followed up this performance with a win in the Meta Knight ditto over another Massachusetts titan in Yung Quaff at Blacklisted 6. At Jailbreak, he shredded metroid, jhamp, and Dotcom to end his 2021 with impressive top 24 placements at every major he attended. In 2022, Tealz put up a clean winners bracket run through the waterfall format of You’re So Mad, winning 12 consecutive sets over the likes of Bladewise, Av, Qtip, and PwrUp! before placing fifth after losses to Pikmon and SipMastah. Tealz spent the rest of 2022 primarily focused on training his new secondary Pikachu. At 5:00 PM Fights: Game Night, the new Pikachu showed potential in a close set against Anday, yet it still had some leveling up to do, resulting in an early exit at 25th place. Having gained Exp. Points, Tealz’s Pikachu defeated Ensign and old school legend Nashun on his way to a ninth place finish at Grand Line #1. With both Meta Knight and Pikachu in his arsenal, Tealz remains one of SoCal’s best as he leads his local scene into a new era of competition.
Written By: Sabre
A pillar of the Illinois Project+ scene and longtime Ike solo main, it's no secret that metroid has had the potential to do well on the national stage. After almost a decade of competing, metroid has cultivated an amazing return to form that has propelled him to new heights of competition this year. After over a year without in-person events, metroid placed just outside of the top 32 at Undertow 2021, taking a set off of sfy | bees before losing a close set to Wombat. But that would be his lowest placement for the rest of 2021, as he went on to place 25th at both Blacklisted 6 and Jailbreak. However, his breakout performance came at Joey's Birthday Bash, where he would quickdraw his way to an impressive fifth place finish, defeating PotatoesAreYum, Star, and Motobug. Months later at Honeypot 3, metroid once again placed fifth after defeating his familiar bracket demon, Ripple, in a clean 3-0. When Super TPS II came around, metroid fought for his friends to help defend his home turf. He defeated LPag 2-0 on his way to making an astonishing upset over Lunchables in Winners Semis, triumphing over Lunchables’ Roy, Marth, and Toon Link to win the set 3-0, before being eliminated from bracket by Ellipsis and in-region rival Chaloopy. That wasn’t the end for metroid, though, as he harnessed his adaptiveness and methodical neutral to place seventh at Invincible VI with wins over Kendrick and NyxTheShield before rounding out the year with a fifth place finish at Honeypot 4, defeating Chaloopy and Shadowhawke along the way. Throughout the ranking period, metroid has demonstrated incredible creativity in his utilization of Ike’s entire kit. Perhaps you can teach an old Ike new tricks.
Written By: ilikepizza107
Photo Credit: Everfresh
A man of many states, Yung Quaff has been a PMRank regular since 2017. Despite taking a step back from seriously competing locally, Quaff produced a surprisingly consistent résumé for this iteration of PMRank. At Undertow 2021, after defeating Vaporeon, Quaff fell to rising star Yono in pools and barely made top 32. There, he faced the consequences of one of the most notable upsets of the tournament: Malachi’s loss to the Connecticut hidden boss, AssTAStic. Not to be upset again, Malachi forced Quaff to settle for a disappointing 25th place. At Shipwrecked, Yung Quaff showed the world that he is still unquestionably a top player with his best bracket of the ranking period. Despite a rough start, losing early to Illinois Ganon player Che in pools, Quaff put any doubts quickly to rest. He razed through losers defeating Todayyz, Dawn, Suvir, Drinkingfood, and upsetting Arizona titan Blue before finally hitting a wall at Johnny Sosa’s Pit for fifth place. Quaff followed this amazing run with a quiet Blacklisted 6 where he lost to Tealz in the Meta Knight Ditto and then to rising star Comb for another 25th placement. Quaff did not enter another national event until one year later at Blacklisted 7, where he lost to Cory in a set that saw him go random in game three; a gambit that did not pay off. In losers bracket, Quaff eliminated national arcadian champion Shadowhawke before losing to a longtime New York bracket demon of his in Phresh. Across the ranking period, Quaff showed he has the potential to be an unstoppable force when locked in, and we hope to see more of the world-traveled Meta Knight main in future brackets.
Written By: Serb
Other PMRank 2022 Articles
Last Year's Rankings
- Brennan “FlashingFire” Connolly
- Paul “Motobug” Canavan
- Peter “Pikmon” Woodworth
- Ryan “Sabre” Weinberg
Graphic Design and Character Renders:
- Paul "Motobug" Canavan
- Cosmetic Standardization Project (CSProject) & the Project+ Development Team
- Timothy “ilikepizza107” W.
- Ryan "Sabre" Weinberg