By Daniel “Tafokints” Lee
Now that we’re three months into 2017, it’s time for a quarterly Smash Melee power rankings.
Though there has been a disappointing number of events in the year’s opening quarter, it’s worth taking stock of the best players.
This ranking reflects data from the beginning of January to the end of March and doesn’t include April events, such as Yahoo Esports Rivalries. Since this is a power ranking, recent tournaments are weighted more heavily than events four to six months ago. Let’s move into the rankings!
25. Hugo “HugS” Gonzalez
24. Kyle “Dizzkidboogie” Athayde
23. Michael “MikeHaze” Pulido
22. Kalindi “KJH” Henderson
KJH and MikeHaze have proven themselves as solid Foxes, with gradual improvement and solid top 20 wins. People tend to neglect them, but they have done well to earn spots in this quarter’s top 25. Dizzkidboogie put together a nice Genesis 4 run, finishing in thirteenth, but failed to follow up at BEAST 7, where he finished in 25th. Overall, he’s evolved from being just a “wobbler” to a well-rounded player. HugS closes out the top 25 for this quarter — he’s seen great improvement, especially in the past three months.
21. DaJuan “Shroomed” McDaniel
20. Edgard “n0ne” Sheleby
19. Joey “Lucky” Aldama
18. Mustafa “Ice” Akcakaya
17. Ryan “The Moon” Coker-Welch
16. Kevin “PewPewU” Toy
15. James “Swedish Delight” Liu
14. Johnny “s2j” Kim
In Tier 6, we have a solid group of players that can make deep runs at the largest tournaments. At the top of the pile is s2j, who has shown remarkable improvement against some of his tougher rivals, winning two sets recently over SFAT at a Power 9 event and a set over Shroomed at Frame Perfect Series 2. Swedish Delight has unfortunately run into some Sheik slayers in Michael “MikeHaze” Pulido and KJH that have ended his regional runs, but he redeemed himself with a win over Ice. However, he should bounce back quickly when he sees more favorable matchups.
PewPewU holds steady here with fairly consistent results. Fellow Marth main The Moon may have had higher peaks than PewPewU with wins over Westballz and SFAT during this time frame, but a very questionable Genesis 4 performance keeps him from moving higher up this list.
Ice had an up and down quarter with an unexpected early exit from Genesis 4, where he lost to two Ice Climbers. He recovered with a solid third place finish at BEAST 7, defeating The Moon and Druggedfox. Lucky surprised many with a quick recovery from his knee injury to finish in ninth at Genesis 4. He had a poor end to 2016, but his solid performances at regionals and stacked locals thus far this year are more aligned with his overall skill level.
13. Weston “Westballz” Dennis
12. Sami “Druggedfox” Muhanna
11. James “Duck” Ma
Starting at Tier 5, ranking players becomes extraordinarily difficult. No one has really stood out, and everyone has their share of decent wins and questionable losses.
Duck and Druggedfox improved considerably to bump up into this tier. Though Duck tends to struggle with local rivals Kalindi “KJH” Henderson and Drew “Drephen” Scoles, he picked up wins against Leffen, SFAT, and Shroomed. Ever since Genesis 4, Druggedfox has taken his Fox game to a new level. He performed well at SoCal locals, picking up wins over Westballz and s2j. At Full Bloom 3, he picked up two top 10 wins against SFAT and Axe to finish in fifth. Westballz rounds out this tier with a decent record against the lower tier players, but has taken a step back in the Fox matchup.
10. Justin “Wizzrobe” Hallett
Wizzrobe has generally been quiet in the past three months, but a nice win over Hungrybox and SFAT with no noticeably bad losses keep him at number 10.
9. Daniel “ChuDat” Rodriguez
8. Zachary “SFAT” Cordoni
7. Jeffrey “Axe” Williamson
After cooling off at the end of 2016, Axe has solidified himself firmly in the top 10, with top 8 finishes at Genesis 4 and Smash Summit Spring 2017. His wins over Mang0 and general consistency have been stellar. SFAT’s play hasn’t been as remarkable as it was this past summer, but he still has a solid all-around record against the majority of the top 20. ChuDat gets a well-deserved bump into the top 10 following his impressive ninth and seventh place finishes at Genesis 4 and Smash Summit Spring 2017 respectively.
6. Justin “Plup” McGrath
5. Joseph “Mang0” Marquez
4. William “Leffen” Hjelte
3. Jason “Mew2King” Zimmerman
The battle for the three spot was tough. You could argue on behalf of either Mew2King and Leffen for this spot. Both players have shown plenty of promise in 2017. Mang0 is by far the wild card, carrying an impressive 4-2 record against the big 6, but he’s also prone to losing to lower-ranked players. Plup rounds out this list as the gatekeeper. He’s shown consistency in his results against the lower level players, and has performed well against the top 5.
2. Juan “Hungrybox” Debiedma
Hungrybox’s early 2017 was hampered by hand injuries. He placed fairly low (by his standards) at Smash Conference 69 and Genesis 4, but quickly recovered in February. Since then, he’s brought back his usual level of consistency, with a second place at Smash Summit Spring 2017 and wins at Full Bloom 3 and Frame Perfect Series 2. His consistency keeps him ahead of the pack.
1. Adam “Armada” Lindgren
This is a no-brainer. Armada came into 2017 stronger than ever, and has yet to lose a set to anyone. There’s not much more to be said for the man from Sweden – he’s clearly separated himself from the other Smash gods.
Aaron “Professor Pro” Thomas
Jack “Crush” Hoyt
Anthony “Slox” Detres
Michael “Nintendude” Brancato
Justin “Syrox” Burroughs
Most prominently, the Midwest and East Coast players have stepped it up this quarter. Can the West Coast bounce back and stay dominant? It will be an exciting next three months as players train for the summer. Who will rise? Who will fall? We will revisit this again in June!