Photo Credit: Joey
With 2022’s edition of PMRank released in full, we’d like to devote an article to present some summary data, both from this year’s iteration and from the history of the series.
Compared to 2019, quite a few characters have seen drastic increases or decreases in representation in the modern meta. Let’s take a look at a few of them!
The Top Three
As is tradition for PMRank at this point, Meta Knight and Mr. Game & Watch make their appearances at the top of the list. Despite Mr. GnW’s changes in Project+ v2.0, he’s still got three dedicated mains in Ellipsis, NyxTheShield, and Mr. Watch & Learn, and he also features in Pikmon’s character lineup. Meta Knight is still largely considered one of the best characters in the modern meta, being piloted to success by SipMastah, Yung Quaff, Tealz, and Qtip. The surprise appearance in the top three of the list is Captain Falcon, who had four mains in Bongo, Chaloopy, ORLY, and Anday. With his relative lack of changes in Project+, is Douglas J. Falcon reaping the benefits?
Ganondorf has seen infrequent representation in past years, usually delegated to the secondary of players such as ThundeRzReiGN, but just as he continues to reappear in his home franchise, the dark warlord has made a resurgence this season. Che and PotatoesAreYum both used the King of Evil as their primary characters, with Chaloopy and Malachi pulling him out to earn wins in some character matchups. Despite being a wizard of darkness, Ganondorf’s future looks bright.
The Robotic Operating Buddy was one of the surprise characters of this season, having three representatives in the Top 20 alone! Sneez and Comb primarily used R.O.B. in tournament, while Nogh and Kendrick used him to cover matchups for their other characters. R.O.B. was notably a strong pick against the ever-rising Ice Climbers this season, with Nogh and Comb both taking sets over techboy, and Sneez taking a set off of Serb. Is our favorite boosting buddy beginning to rise to the heights of his 3.5 peaks?
Despite only having one representative on 2019’s edition of PMRank, Marth found himself with three in 2022. Canada’s Rongunshu was joined by the return of Lunchables and the new addition of Jagz$, representing the sword-swinging prince across the continent.
Knuckles’ debut season saw him embraced by three players in the top 50: Yono, Motobug, and PotatoesAreYum. The latest addition to the cast saw multiple top 8 appearances, many ranked wins, and many glide-nairs throughout the ranking period. Will future meta development see him rise or fall throughout the coming years? Only time can tell.
With the addition of Pit with Jonny Sosa’s secondary, Kirby with Cory (as well as secondaries in Av and Mr. W&L), Olimar with CP9, & Knuckles, every character has now been represented through the history of PMRank! With a cast as large as Project+’s, this is quite an impressive feat, both for the game itself and for the representatives of each character - especially those seen only few and far between.
Despite Wolf’s historically frequent appearances on PMRank, the absence of dedicated players such as Switch and Punk Panda leave Wolf barely scraping his way onto the list - only represented in brief by a mostly-Falco Ivayne. Dedede, who had an impressive three representatives on PMRank 2019, has fallen back to zero representatives, though not without strong unranked players such as LPag, Fashoomp, and Mulldrifter looking to make their way on in future iterations. Characters solely represented previously by now-inactive players, such as Samus with Morsecode762, and Snake with Flipp, have also fallen to zero. There are fewer characters with zero representation than in 2019, though, with eight characters this year compared to 2019’s eleven.
Compared to past years, the overall landscape of regional representation has stayed fairly consistent. Some regions have received some large changes, though, so we’d like to take a moment to discuss some of those changes in depth.
The northeast of the United States only continues its rise in 2022, adding two to their overall count. Despite losing Flipp, Silver, and Anthony from 2019, Cory, grealy, Serb and Thalia all made their PMRank debuts this year, with Mira returning after her appearance in 2017. Massachusetts alone has the second highest number of PMRank players of any US state, only being surpassed by the combined force of California!
Despite remaining at the same total number of representatives as 2019, the player roster of the Midwest has drastically shifted. Lunchables and Ellipsis make their returns to PMRank from 2018, while Chaloopy, Yono, Kendrick, metroid, and Che make their debuts this year. With the most active local scene in the country, the Midwest should be proud of the growth of its players and scene over the last few years.
California remains inarguably the strongest overall state for competition, with a whopping eleven players making 2022’s rankings between the northern and southern sides of the state. Nezergy and Dumshiny bow out for the return of Jonny Sosa and first appearance of Suvir for SoCal, while NorCal loses ThundeRzReiGN and Pikmon in exchange for rising talents Av and PotatoesAreYum. California also saw some regional swaps, with Narq moving from New York to SoCal, while Sabre traveled north to NorCal.
New Regions Represented, Former Ones Missing
While most regions represented in 2022 are PMRank mainstays, a few were able to get their first representatives on the board. Yono, now residing in Kansas, puts another state on for the midwest, while Stango adds Delaware to the mix. NyxTheShield also made his first appearance this season, carrying the country of Chile to PMRank notoriety. Only two regions lost all of their representatives from 2019 - Pennsylvania’s Godtouch and MD/VA’s BaconPancakes and HyperFlame were all inactive in 2022, dropping the latter region off of PMRank for the first time.
Europe Continues to Grow
While there was very little overlap between the North American and European Project M/+ scenes in 2021-22, making it difficult to compare Europe’s best players against those featured on PMRank 2022, Europe’s scene has thrived over the past two years. We encourage you to check out the recently-published 2022 European Power Ranking, which includes players from across the continent and results from both Project M and Project+, to learn about the players and storylines that define the modern European Project M/+ community.
Five Years of PMRank in Retrospect
We’d also like to use today’s article to look back on five iterations of PMRank, spanning back to 2016. From the first panel’s unanimous coronation of ThundeRzReiGN as the first ever #1 player on PMRank to our efforts to highlight underappreciated players on the Edge of Glory and in 2020’s PMRank Rising Stars article, it’s been a privilege to help define and share the storylines that keep this community going year after year.
As pointed out in this year’s recap, every character in Project+ has officially been represented at least once on a PMRank Top 50 as of the release of PMRank 2022! Our game has long been celebrated for its character diversity and relatively compact tier list, and the hard work of some truly talented players has proven that every character is capable of success in the right hands.
Over time, shifts in the game’s meta, along with changes made by Project+ patches, have led to a very different set of common characters than are seen in today’s top 50. PMRank 2016 was dominated by Diddy Kong and Ness, two characters each with only one representative on PMRank 2022, and other characters such as Peach and Luigi thrived in the game’s early meta. While some characters such as Captain Falcon, Meta Knight, and Mr. Game and Watch have remained common picks through the years, technical titans like Lucas and Lucario have grown in popularity and perceived power as the meta progressed.
We would also be remiss if we didn’t celebrate the five players who have been featured on every iteration of PMRank to date. Together these five players, each from a different part of the United States, have represented the best that this community has to offer from 2016 through 2022.
Not only did Dirtboy basically invent modern PM Squirtle, he carried the character at the top level for years when few others could make the slippery water starter seem viable. As one of the most well-travelled players in the community, Dirtboy has faced off against, and beaten, many of the game’s greatest players while attending a whopping 74 major events since 2016. While Squirtle is now also represented by Cloudburst and Wombat in the top 50, Dirtboy’s creative edgeguards and patient neutral remain a staple of the character for any looking to emulate his success.
Kycse holds the honor and curse of being the the first and only person thus far to have retained the same spot on three consecutive top 50s with his infamous streak at #12 in the world, but he’s also been the only top Charizard on PMRank for three seasons running. In that time, Kycse has come to define the character in today’s meta with his technical ledge game and aerial acrobatics, leaving many a space animal in fear for their lives after a grab at 0%. After years of competing far and wide to push through to the next level, Kycse is not only celebrating his fifth year as a top 50 player but his well-deserved debut in the top 10 this year.
It’s hard to define Malachi’s competitive career in a short blurb. He’s been a titan of Project M ever since his breakout onto the national scene in 2016, and has remained a top 10 player in the world ever since. In that time, he’s defeated top 50 players with more characters than anyone else in PMRank history, from his original roster of Sheik and Peach to his modern Zero Suit Samus, with stops along the way to flex with Bowser, Ganondorf, and more. Malachi is synonymous with modern Project+ at this point, having led the metagame’s advancement for years with his pristine movement and infamously quick reactions. A lot of things have changed since Malachi exploded onto the scene seven years ago, but his status as one of the best players to ever touch Project M certainly has not.
The longtime overlord of Washington and a core member of the PMRank team, Pikmon has found competitive success year after year, first with his iconic Mr. Game & Watch and now with his Mewtwo and Ike as well. After making his debut on PMRank 2016, Pikmon made steady improvement year after year until he broke into the top 10 on PMRank 2019, a feat only ever matched with his character by Mr Lz in 2016. Since then, Pikmon has proved time and again that he can succeed with a variety of characters, as an Ike solo main and then as a tri-main juggling three massively different characters at a top level. After making top 8 at every major he attended this season, Pikmon remains as strong a contender as ever to put Washington on the map with a major win.
SipMastah may have reinvented himself time and again since his breakout as a Meta Knight and Mario dual main back in 2016, from changing his tag to fully revamping his character roster, but he’s always been one of the absolute best players that California has to offer. The first player in NorCal to prove ThundeRzReiGN could bleed with his win at a 2016 CenCal regional continues to be a stumbling point for his regional rivals, taking down The Doctor to win Exodus 2022 this season. His impeccable movement and ability to find openings out of nowhere bring a unique flair that makes his Meta Knight, Sonic, and Lucario all stand out from the rest. After five straight years in the top 30, SipMastah made his top 10 debut this year, and he’s not slowing down yet.
Finally, it wouldn’t be a PMRank release without a combo video, courtesy of Sabre.
We hope that you have enjoyed PMRank 2022, and thank you for continuing to support Project+ as we enter another exciting year of competition.
- 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
- Zack "Flarp" Gordon
- Timothy “ilikepizza107” W.
- Paul “Motobug” Canavan
- Ryan "Sabre" Weinberg
- Timothy “ilikepizza107” W.
- Ryan "Sabre" Weinberg
Other PMRank 2022 Articles
Last Year's Rankings