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PMRank: Quarantine's Rising Stars

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Hello, and welcome to a rather unusual PMRank article. Traditionally, PMRank has been a panel-based Power Ranking of the top 50 Project M and Project+ players worldwide. However, since the onset of the global pandemic drove TOs around the world to halt offline events in the interest of player safety, PMRank lacks the data to put together its usual top 50 rankings. The early parts of 2020 still saw several PMRank 2019 powerhouses continue to make their marks in sets like ThundeRzReign vs The Doctor at Emerald City 9 and Morsecode762 vs Drugfreechu at Tripoint 100, but high-level competition has been scattershot and regional since then. In light of this, we want to spotlight players who were not showcased on PMRank 2019, and who had standout performances throughout the year, whether online or in person.

The players below were selected by the PMRank team, and do not represent an exhaustive list of the many players who have picked up great wins and demonstrated remarkable improvement this year. However, the following players have continued to work through the unique challenges posed by 2020 to achieve great results and reach new heights, and we would like to recognize their hard work and accomplishments in this article.


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Originally known as Idontknow7, MD/VA’s netplay warrior Copykat has been seen for years on the friendlies and ranked sections of Anther’s Ladder. With the pandemic shutting down offline tournaments and moving many competitions online, the QAC-ing Pikachu main hardly had to transition to the new environment. Copykat was a common appearance in brackets in the Spring and Summer of last year, taking sets off of many players ranked on PMRank 2019. His premiere event would be Straight From The Underground, a netplay event for charity featuring many of the East Coast’s best players. In this bracket, he would defeat Twisty, HyperFlame, and Motobug all in a row to reach Winner’s side of Grand Finals at the event, though HyperFlame would return from losers and take the tournament after two close sets. Other events during the summer would see Copykat obtain wins over players such as Flipp, Yono, and Che, as well as repeat wins over Motobug and Twisty. He claimed some of these wins with his Knuckles secondary, becoming one of the few high level players in the meta to net solid wins with the character. Copykat has more than proven himself worthy of competing with some of the best players on the East Coast, but will we see his electrifying Pikachu across the country when in-person events return? Only time will tell.

Written By: Motobug


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The longtime best player in central California, Daniel “Dr.” Piescer has rarely had a chance to travel out of region and show off his highly technical Zelda, and perhaps no one benefited more from the forced adoption of netplay events this year than him. Given the chance to participate in the No Fundies League, Dr. went on an absolute rampage, defeating Boringman, Nezergy, Cloudburst, Aion, and PotatoesAreYum in the first week alone, and then taking a set off Ivayne the next week to secure his place in the league’s top 4. Dr. also won the only Wednesday Night Fights weekly that he has entered, defeating Dumshiny and Suvir along the way. Although he has entered relatively few events this year, Dr. has performed at a consistently high level, applying his in-depth knowledge of Zelda to dismantle his opponents’ defenses and quickly eliminate stocks. With what is clearly his best year to date in the books, hopefully Dr. will have an opportunity to continue taking names both online and eventually in-person next year.

Written By: Sabre

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Tom “El Shroomo” Xu took the SoCal scene by storm in 2019 when he jumped from being unranked to 3rd on the regional rankings, but even that success was only the precursor to a truly incredible 2020 on both sides of the United States. At the beginning of the year, El Shroomo placed 2nd at the first UCLA P+ monthly, double-eliminating Yung Quaff and taking sets over both Sneez and Dumshiny in the process. As the scene transitioned to netplay events over the course of the year, he would continue to put up strong results, most notably double-eliminating Nezergy from multiple online brackets. After moving to the PGH region over the summer, El Shroomo continued to impress with back to back Grand Finals appearances at the ”Don’t Touch Me I’m Sterile” netplay series, first placing 2nd with wins over Connor and Mr. Watch & Learn, and then winning the next week’s bracket after trading sets with TomBoComBo and putting his SoCal Ivysaur practice to use by double-eliminating Cala to win from the losers side. With his tricky bomb setups and brutally efficient punish game, El Shroomo has quickly risen from a regional threat to a name to watch out for in 2021, and we look forward to seeing his continued success regardless of geography.

Written By: Sabre

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One of the players featured on PMRank 2019’s “Edge of Glory,” Dan “Grzly” Grizzly continued his rapid improvement in 2020, pushing his flashy Zelda to new heights over the course of the year. Grzly is a regular entrant in East Coast weeklies such as Synthesis Online and Wombat Wednesdays, and has picked up an array of impressive wins, from established top players such as Mr. Watch & Learn, Flarp, and Kumatora to fellow up-and-comers like Copykat and AssTAStic. At the biggest online event of late 2020, Grzly backed up his local results with a top 8 finish at the Salty Spitoon, where he defeated Vaporeon and Ellipsis before eliminating Connor to earn 5th place. With his precise usage of Din’s Fire and ability to set up a brutally effective defensive wall, Grzly has found his stride this year as one of the East Coast’s best players, and a strong contender to finally break onto the PMRank top 50 once in-person events come back.

Written By: Sabre

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While most players on this list have seen success in either offline events or on netplay, Anna “Kumatora” Harmak Mayorskiy has dominated in both. While Kumatora has made an appearance on PMRank before, landing at #49 in 2017, her dwindling motivation for PM in later years made PMRank 2017 her only appearance to date. Early 2020 marked a change for the lightning-quick Ness main, however. With a newfound passion for the game, Kumatora overcame Twisty, Flarp, Motobug, and many other solid Massachusetts players to earn #1 on the Winter 2020 Massachusetts Power Rankings. Quarantine did not stop the ever-improving Ness main, with her making a tear through Synthesis #66 Online over Twisty, Flipp, Motobug, and Grzly to solidly earn 1st place at the event. With wins over Flarp, Anthony, and ~CP9~ scattered across the Ness main’s wide array of netplay events, Kumatora has shown that she hasn’t reached her peak yet, and has a strong possibility of returning to the Top 50 once the strong Northeastern scene can sit shoulder-to-shoulder once again.

Written By: Motobug

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While most of the players featured in today’s article are newcomers to the Project M spotlight, for Brian “metroid” Lin, 2020 was a return to his former glory. metroid has been a notable player since at least The Big House 2 in 2012, well before PMRank existed. He emerged as the champion of that tournament’s Project M event, but it wasn’t until recently that he began to climb back towards that kind of lofty peak. At Emerald City 9, the biggest in-person major of 2020, metroid’s no-nonsense Ike reminded us all that he still has what it takes to hang with the best players in today’s meta. In pools, metroid faced off against Pikmon, ranked 8th on PMRank 2019 and one of the best Ikes in the world, and defeated him 2-0. After taking down Tismatic, another Washington player on a great bracket run of his own, metroid had a chance to tackle another of the West Coast’s best players in Boringman, hot off his own win over Pikmon. Once again, metroid’s strong fundamentals and calm neutral helped him to control the pace of the set against Boringman’s fast-paced Lucario, and eventually to win 3-0. With a 4th place finish at Emerald City 9, metroid set himself up for his best year in almost a decade, and it’s truly a shame that we did not get the chance to see his momentum at other majors. However, his performance this year reminded us that whether it’s Project M version 2.1 or the latest version of Project Plus, metroid is still one of the best Ikes in the world, and a national contender when he is at his best.

Written By: Sabre

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If anyone is representative of how an innovative approach to the game can breathe new life into what was once thought to be a terrible character, it has to be Robert “PotatoesAreYum'' De Dios and his Ganondorf. PotatoesAreYum kicked off his year with his best showing ever at a notable event, placing 4th at Neon Genesept Evangelion with wins over two of SoCal’s best in Tealz and Sabre. After in-person events shut down, not only did PotatoesAreYum take on the task of running Wednesday Night Fights, the West Coast’s online weekly event, he also continued to pick up great wins throughout the year. He defeated Yung Quaff in the Straight From the Underground charity event, and has wrought havoc in the No Fundies League to close out his 2020. In the first week of the league he would win the lower bracket with wins over Tealz, Suvir, and Dumshiny, and he made his way to the upper bracket of Week 2 after defeating Sneez and LoyaL. His incredible improvement, tenacity, and dedication to bringing Ganondorf to new heights have resulted in a breakout year for someone whose heart and hunger were already worn on his sleeve.

Written By: Sabre

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You may know Nick “Stango” Stango for his impressive Melee results, but in 2019, Stango started to put his focus into improving at Project+. With an impressive 13th place showing at last year’s Resting Stitch Face 2, losing two very close sets to Kycse and Flarp, it was obvious that Stango was no slouch in the Project+ scene. During quarantine, however, Stango reached new heights. At the start of quarantine, in Project+ Netplay Nights #1, Stango would defeat Zhime 2-0 with his Marth, 3-0 bobby big ballz with his Bowser, and take two consecutive sets off of dvd’s Toon Link with Fox to convincingly win the event. While his netplay tournament attendance would decline afterwards, he would make a short appearance at Wombat Wednesdays #6 to defeat Mar and Grzly. His return to events would start at The Salty Spitoon #1, where he would defeat Wish (whose tag was JFyst when he made PMRank), Rongunshu, and double eliminate Morsecode762 to win the event. Stango’s next showing will be in the All Fundies League, where he is held in high regard by both his peers and his seed. Wielding a near-unmatched level of proficiency with his large array of characters, Stango is no longer just a Melee player dipping his toes in PM’s waters, but a clear top level threat.

Written By: Motobug

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Suvir “Suvir” Mehrotra has long been one of Southern California’s rising stars, with a technical and platform-heavy Sheik that excels at cornering opponents, but until this year he was frequently overshadowed by the region’s top players. In 2020, he proved more than capable of holding his own against more established West Coast players, and he did it all while organizing and running the same brackets in which he picked up some of his best victories. Suvir picked up two wins on El Shroomo at the beginning of the year, but it was the second half of 2020 where he really shined. In the No Fundies League, a California-based netplay invitational which he organized, Suvir would defeat Tealz, Yung Quaff, and fellow up-and-comer PotatoesAreYum, proving that even the players who once dominated SoCal were no longer safe from his tech chasing. In addition to the No Fundies League, Suvir also boasts multiple wins over Boringman, including double-eliminating him and beating Zenokids and Pineapple to claim first place at Wednesday Night Fights #36. With his impressive drive to improve and ample practice against top-tier competitors over the last year, Suvir has quickly become a force to be reckoned with on the screen, in addition to his work to keep the California scene running smoothly.

Written By: Sabre

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While known in the past for his Roy, Paul “Yono” Yono returned to Project+ after a year-long break to the game with a new character to him and the world: Knuckles. Yono is one of the few players, along with Copykat, Wfycat, and Motobug, to see consistent success in online events with Project+’s new character. While achieving wins over players such as Kumatora, Ellipsis, Hondo, and El Shroomo in various private netplay events, his stand-out showing would be in Project+ Netplay Nights #3. Yono’s two month old Knuckles would earn a victory over Spicy before earning a jaw-dropping 2-0 victory over Morsecode762 in Winner’s Quarters, a long-time rival for the Michigan native. In Winner’s Semis, Yono would slay the Fox of PMRank 2019’s #10 player, Sothe. While Yono would fall to techboy in both Winners Finals and Grand Finals, his run in winner’s bracket is undoubtedly impressive, especially with a only 2 month old character. With Yono being located in the Midwest, one of the populous regions of high level Project+ players, it would be no surprise to see Yono on the national rankings once offline events return.

Written By: Motobug



Last Year's Rankings

1/26/2020 - PMRank 2019: The Edge of Glory
1/27/2020 - PMRank 2019: 50-41
1/28/2020 - PMRank 2019: 40-31
1/29/2020 - PMRank 2019: 30-21
1/30/2020 - PMRank 2019: 20-11
2/03/2019 - PMRank 2019: 10-7
2/04/2019 - PMRank 2019: 6-4
2/06/2020 - PMRank 2019: 3-1

Credits

PMRank Staff:
  • Brennan “FlashingFire” Connolly
  • Paul “Motobug” Canavan
  • Kyle “Pegthaniel” Guo
  • Peter “Pikmon” Woodworth
  • Ryan “Sabre” Weinberg
Graphic Design and Character Renders:
  • Paul "Motobug" Canavan
  • Cosmetic Standardization Project (CSProject)
Editor-in-Chief:
  • Brennan “FlashingFire” Connolly
 
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PMRank Staff

Comments

I was wondering how we were going to handle that this year. Hopefully offline events return some time this year, not just for PM but for the other Smash games as well.
 
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