Photo Credit: Pickle Stein
A PMRank legend makes his return, while the last of the new faces make their debut.
Welcome everyone to another year of PMRank! PMRank is a panel-based Power Ranking of the Top 50 Project+ players in North America. We're excited to put together another list of the best performers throughout the 30+ eligible events this year, covering Exodus 2023 through Honeypot 6. Initially, 76 players were qualified to be ranked based on their placings and attendance at major Project+ events throughout 2023. Panelists were tasked with reviewing this data and ranking each player in order, from #1 to #76. 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.
The full list of eligible events and eligibility requirements for PMRank 2023 can be found on our start.gg hub.
Photo Credit: BUH
In our current post-3.6 era, the sight of a Wolf player seems to be becoming rarer and rarer, the once strong pack thinning out as each year goes on. Despite being universally considered a very strong top tier, Wolf tends to not make many appearances at the top level outside of Ivayne’s trusty tertiary, which is why the return of Switch to PMRank after a four year absence is truly a sight for sore eyes. While Switch made his appearances sparse this year, his presence was very much known when he did show, be it through his still electrifying gameplay or infectiously positive personality. In the pair of Tristate regionals Cream of The Crop and Scarlet Classic VIII, he showed great prowess against his longtime statesman Phresh, sending him home with a 3-0 at both tournaments, as well as netting a win on Bongo. Making a sole excursion out- of- region to Texas for The Back Hit, Switch ended with a solid ninth place, including a win on Star and a tight game five with Blue. Though you’re far more likely to find Switch farming Turbo Mode clips and practicing for Rivals 2 on his stream these days, the brief glimpses we got to see of him back in the field this year were a treat for spectators and players alike. With any luck, next year the answer to “Have You Seen Him?” will be a resounding yes.
Written By: Flarp
Formerly “not a top player,” the person of many tags Hakeem “WouldSmokeCraq” Adams makes a breakout appearance within the top 20 - a height for Ness we haven’t seen since 2017. Bucking their previous trend of national inactivity, WouldSmokeCraq attended seven events this ranking period, split between their home state of New York, the Midwest, and even venturing to the West Coast for Against All Odds. At these events, they saw success defeating heavy hitters such as Samantha, Kendrick, Av, Cloudburst, Ivayne, and most notably Phresh across their travels in and out of state. North America’s newest best Ness also showed incredible consistency this season, only losing to players within the top 50. Between WouldSmokeCraq’s incredible performances this year, the rise of new talent in Not Chris, and Ryzuul soon to set foot on US soil for The Bigger Mile High Club, the future's looking brighter for Ness than it has in many years.
Written By: Motobug
Photo Credit: Joey
Bongo has been a top 50 mainstay and Falcon aficionado for quite some time now, but this year had a certain something he had been lacking in previous years - consistency. This year, Bongo saw no placements lower than ninth as well as no uncharacteristic losses like in previous years. Armed with a refined, dominating Falcon punish game and a shark of a Fox counterpick for trouble matchups, Bongo set out to reach new heights in 2023 and what heights did he soar to. Bongo began his season with his only loss of note to a fellow Falcon titan in Salt after an intense game five set where he utilized not just his Fox but an unforeseen attempt at a Wolf counterpick. From there, Bongo dug deep and won an amazing six sets in his losers run, picking up victories on Cloudburst and fellow NY/NJ monsters Switch and Boiko before being silenced by dvd for fifth place. From here, Bongo journeyed to the West Coast for The Grand Line #2 where, despite his best efforts to make a deep run, he placed his seed at ninth. Going into Blacklisted 8, Bongo was determined to see a top 8 after being so close at previous iterations of the event, and he did so with immense success, claiming sets over wren, Potatoes, Boiko and Comb before being eliminated at fifth place with losses to Malachi and SipMastah. Bongo closed out this year’s resume with in-region event Cream of the Crop where he picked up a set win on the head of the “Ness is a Spacie” party, WouldSmokeCraq. In 2023, Bongo performed at a level of consistency that we have not seen previously from the Long Island native, raising himself to a standard he was on the cusp of for so long. Now, the question is will Bongo maintain that consistency and maybe drum up a stronger beat and ranking in 2024?
Written By: Mr.Watch&Learn
There are few things in life that are unavoidable: death, taxes, and Pikmon on the latest iteration of PMRank, having appeared on every PMRank since the first version in 2016. The Pacific Northwest’s premier top player made it out to five qualifying events this season, showing impressive results at both in-region and out-of-region brackets. Kicking off the year at Mile High Club, he picked up triple S ranked wins in the form of Suvir, Star, and Shadowhawke to place ninth at the biggest tournament of the year. The Grand Line #2 saw the trimain earn fifth with wins over Tealz and Sabre, and, at Carnival Clash, our favorite cheater placed second only to Cloudburst. At Warp Zone 2, Pikmon placed fifth, demonstrating incredible clutch factor against mawwwk and Av. His last event of the year, Against All Odds, showed no stoppage of barn-burner sets. Sticking to his patient gameplan, Pikmon saw success against Narq, Av again, and WouldSmokeCraq to place second to wrap up the year. No matter the year, Pikmon consistently holds it down for his region, proving that PNW has what it takes to roll with the best of them.
Written By: ilikepizza107
Photo Credit: N/A
If last year was the emergence of everyone’s favorite, Chaloopy, from the realm of hidden bosses, this year was his ascension into the upper echelon of competition. Despite a shaky start at Joey’s Birthday Bash 2, placing 25th after losing to breakout stars guttey and Boat, Chaloopy did not place outside of top 8 at the next eleven PMRank-qualifying events he attended. A rare out-of-region appearance at The Back Hit was the Falcon’s first strong showing of the season with wins over Cloudburst and fellow Illinois player evil lesbian to place seventh. At the following two tournaments, House of Paign 23 and Honeypot 5, he picked up wins on Tuck, Nave, and ORLY twice before being double-eliminated by metroid in both brackets. At Invincible VII, Chaloopy raced to an impressive third place finish, bringing down SoulOfficer and Samantha along the way. Two weeks later at Warp Zone 2, he dropped a set early to West Coast’s Av before going on an remarkable five set losers run, tearing through Star, Dirtboy, Thalia, and Pikmon to earn a fourth place finish. At PM Concert: Symphony, he placed fifth with a win over Comb, and shortly after placed second at Tripoint Smash 200. C3 and Bird House XII also saw second place finishes from the Falcon, picking up wins on Kendrick, Not Chris, and metroid. It was only fitting he won the following Falcon-filled Show Me Your Moves 23, defeating ORLY another two times to secure the gold in the fast-paced race. Finally, at Honeypot 6, Chaloopy placed seventh without dropping a game in all of the six sets he won on the way to top 8 including sets over Ripple and Yono. The consistency of Chaloopy’s Falcon is simply outstanding and a true testament of his skill. We cannot wait to see what this footstooling Falcon does next!
Written By: ilikepizza107
Photo Credit: Wombat
In 2016, Shiny Zubat hit us with an amazing performance at Do or DI where he didn’t drop a set, beating players such as GuruKid, Phresh, dvd, and Gallo. This tournament run helped establish him as the gatekeeper of the first PMRank of 2016, becoming the first and only Yoshi main to ever appear on PMRank. Seemingly after this, he disappeared from the national stage, attending only a few events outside of his home region of New Jersey. Coming back this year, Shiny Zubat wasn’t satisfied with his 17th place finish at Lake George Snowdown to start his year, so Zubat decided it was time for a change. With school being over and getting a better work life balance, he was finally able to start dedicating more time into grinding EXP points to level up. Being more of a fundamental player, he decided to focus on developing his neutral game. With sharpened fangs, Shiny Zubat obtained an astonishing fifth place at Blacklisted 8, slashing through guttey, Boat, wren, and Flarp. Throughout the year, he attended three Cream of the Crop events getting fourth, second, and third placements while receiving notable wins on players such as Thalia, Flarp, WouldSmokeCraq, and PMRank 2022’s #8, Malachi. Our star Yoshi main is back here to hold his title as the one and only ranked Yoshi, and for that we are proud to say Shiny Zubat has earned the rank of #15. It’s a beautiful thing to see someone stick with their character and persevere. Reminding us all to save the game before you try to fight a shiny, it’s clear that Shiny Zubat is the community’s #1 Yoshi.
Written By: RAVN
Photo Credit: RAVN
Just as there’s no Squirtle without water gun, there’s no PMRank iteration without Dirtboy on the list. With an impressive resume of ten tournaments, Dirtboy started the year defeating Ivayne and Sabre to finish fourth at West Coast’s Exodus 2023. A few months later, he slid into first place at House of Paign 23: The Lab, taking down ORLY and metroid twice to claim the crown. Shifting to the Southeast, Dirtboy took the silver medal, resetting the bracket in Grand Finals against Aklo. Despite an early loss to Samantha at Invincible VII, Dirtboy tore through the loser’s side of bracket, defeating Star, Kendrick, and winning the runback against Samantha to take home a fourth place finish. A few weeks later, he defeated Nave and evil lesbian on the way to ninth at Warp Zone 2. After qualifying for PM Concert: Symphony, Dirtboy picked up wins on ORLY, Rise, and Chaloopy placing fourth at the stacked Midwest invitational. Not to be outdone, Dirtboy went on to win Tripoint’s 200th bracket, defeating IL’s finest in Comb and Chaloopy twice more to slip into first place. The water-type main also had an impressive showing at Undertow 2023, placing fifth with wins on Kendrick and UGS | Michael. At his second invitational of the year, Dirtboy won sets on Yuko and Lordy to match his previous invitational’s placing of fourth. Despite a wrist injury late into the year, Dirtboy recovered in time to play at Honeypot 6. There, he dropped zero games against Che and the rest of his pools on day one and against Veka in the top cut bracket on day two before finishing at 13th at the last tournament of the year. A pillar of Project+ Squirtle, Dirtboy deserves every ounce of credit for his accomplishments this year, and we look forward to seeing him blast through brackets in the coming season.
Written By: ilikepizza107
The number 38, the rank attributed to Cloudburst for PMRank 2022, was a battle cry that Cloudburst chanted at Mile High Club where he claimed wins over Ivayne, Kycse, Pikmon, and Motobug on his way to fifth place. If you were there, you could feel the passion felt by the Squirtle main as he shredded through the bracket, eager to surpass all expectations of him. Starting the year with a bang and clearly unhappy with his previous rank, Mile High Club set the tone for the rest of the year as he continued to place very well and defeat many strong players. Still eager to prove himself, Cloudburst had to settle for ninth place at The Back Hit in Texas, securing a win over ~CP9~ before falling to Bongo and Chaloopy. However, he immediately bounced back with two tournament wins at Smash Camp 2023 and Carnival Clash, amassing wins over very strong players such as Pikmon twice, PartyGhoul, Studebacher Hoch, ilovebagelz, and SDJ. Riding this momentum, Cloudburst looked confident going into Warp Zone 2 and earned a fifth place finish, garnering wins over two strong Captain Falcons, ORLY and Studebacher Hoch, while only losing to two PMRank 2022 top ten players: SipMastah and techboy. Finally, Cloudburst attended Against All Odds in Seattle where he defeated Qtip, but fell at the hands of two of 2023’s rising players: Av and WouldSmokeCraq. Cloudburst managed to not place below ninth at any of the majors he attended, showing an outstanding level of consistency with strong peaks as well. Cloudburst smashed his previous years ranking away, and lived up to his expectations of being one of the best Squirtles to touch the sticks in Project+. Let’s see if he will be chanting #13 in 2024 as he continues to climb to the top of the Project+ pantheon.
Written By: Suvir
Photo Credit: Joey
After being ranked 50th in 2019 and 19th in 2022, the self-proclaimed “sickest R.O.B. to ever do it” continued his journey toward the upper echelon of Project Plus’ top talent. While Comb has always had a creative punish game utilizing reverse and lingering hitboxes, hard reads, and bold offstage play, a newfound patience in neutral led him to a new peak. No longer being easily baited into unsafe approaches (and unafraid to very occasionally wavedash back), Comb used ROB’s strong defensive options to disrupt his opponents’ gameplans and deliver jaw-dropping combos in their moments of panic. Comb didn’t waste any time getting his top 20 campaign off the ground as he started 2023 off with a fourth place finish at Joey’s Birthday Bash 2, taking sets off Potatoes, Star, and Motobug. After some quiet ninth place performances at the Back Hit, taking a notable set off Melee darling SDJ, and at Warp Zone 2 where his lone top 50 win came by beating #40 Serb, Comb returned in major form at Symphony: The Midwest Invitational. There, he took sets off Rise, Samantha, and, most impressively, techboy, on his way to a bronze medal finish. During a quick pit stop at Tripoint 200, the local turned mini-major, Comb defeated metroid and Che before heading to Undertow 2023, where he boasted yet another top five finish. There, Comb defeated MachineDynamics, Flatline, dominated grealy 3-0, and took down fellow Midwest terror Dirtboy in a 3-1 gentleman’s sweep, but techboy got his revenge in Winners Semis. Comb immediately jumped back into competition at Blacklisted 8, just a month after Undertow, to beef up one of the most well-traveled resumes on PMRank 2023. Comb took out WouldSmokeCraq in a tense game five nailbiter, and then he had the opportunity to cement himself as the true “Icies slayer'' in a matchup with Phresh which ended in another game five last stock situation. This time, however, Comb found himself on the receiving end of a defeat, but he bounced back in losers defeating his own bracket demon, Suvir, to lock in his fifth top 8 appearance of the year. At this point, Comb was done with “close enoughs” and “almost made its,” and he locked in mentally for a highlight-worthy run at Birdhouse XII. Chaloopy and ORLY have made Comb’s life hell at locals, to the point where Comb has explored secondaries for ROB’s “impossible” matchups, but, a clear mind and realigned focus, coupled with a reaffirmed faith in R.O.B, empowered Comb to upset both players (Chaloopy twice) in a run to first place through winner’s side. Comb rode the momentum from Birdhouse into the last major event of the year, Honeypot 6, eliminating Ripple, ORLY, and one of 2023’s rising stars, Shadowhawke, in the first round of top 8. In Losers Quarters, Comb got his runback on Phresh in a defensive masterclass, taking advantage of ROB’s strengths in the Ice Climbers matchup, and boost fairing himself to Losers Semis. Although Comb lost to SipMastah, who was on one of the best runs of his own career, he achieved an excellent fourth place finish in a superb performance to round out the year. Few players make year over year improvements the way Comb has since his PMRank 2019 debut at Mr. 50, and even fewer can pinpoint the tangible changes in their gameplan that led to success. Comb, however, is simply built different and has made deliberate choices in his approach to the game that have elevated it without marring the distinct style that makes him a household name in the Project+ community.
Written By: Serb
Photo Credit: transgenderswag
No other player on the 2023 PMRank had a more curious year than Connecticut’s own Kycse. He attended three events in total, all in a one month span, in three different regions. He opened the year at Lake George Snowdown in the Capital region of upstate New York, where he finished fifth while taking a set off Shiny Zubat in pools, followed by dominant 3-1 set wins on Boiko and Malachi. His losses on his way to a solid fifth place were to second place dvd and to the tournament winner, an ascendent Phresh and his Ice Climbers, a historically difficult matchup for the big lizard. Two weekstm later, in NYC proper, Kycse competed in the winter Cream of the Crop, where he split sets with dvd for second place, getting a taste of vengeance for Lake George. Additionally on this run, he took sets off WouldSmokeCraq, Bongo, and Envy only dropping two games across all three sets. Kycse’s historic February ended with a little less fanfare than it began with when, a week after Cream of the Crop, he attended the Mile High Club in Colorado. There, he breezed through pools with no problem, but he was then swiftly defeated by Cloudburst and Sneez in 3-0 sets for 17th place. Following this run of tournaments, Kycse backed away from the game, taking time to himself before reemerging as a Street Fighter 6 competitor, rising to the top of the Connecticut SF6 local scene with a similar gusto that he became one of the Kings of CTPM with. Street Fighter may have stolen Kycse’s heart for now, but many fans of the father of modern Charizard hope the siren song of PM can lure him back to CRT’s and Gamecube controllers before too long.
Written By: Serb
Other PMRank 2023 Articles
Last Year's Rankings
- Che “Che” Woodson
- Brennan “FlashingFire” Connolly
- Paul “Motobug” Canavan
- Peter “Pikmon” Woodworth
Graphic Design and Character Renders:
- Paul "Motobug" Canavan
- Cosmetic Standardization Project (CSProject) & the Project+ Development Team
- rye "evil lesbian"
- Artemis "[Fleabag]" Groobert
- Timothy “ilikepizza107” W.
- Paul "Motobug" Canavan