Author’s Note: SSBMRank will kick off again on Tuesday, 12/9. I still have to do some hunting for  information. Sorry for the delay!

The first 50 players have been revealed on this year’s version of SSBM Rank. As per tradition, we ask some community members 5 questions on what they think so far.

1. What’s the most exciting thing for you in regards to SSBMrank?

Michael “Nintendude” Brancato – SSBMRank is a showcase of the depth of talent we have in the Melee community, and I think it’s a great reminder of how many fantastic players we have from so many regions. It also rekindles rivalries and generates new ones, which is a great motivator for people to go to big events and improve.

James “Mafia” Lauerman -MIOMRank makes me feel a lot of things. Excited is certainly one of them, but mostly a crushing sense of nervousness. That i didn’t win enough, or travel enough, or impress the right people. Hopeful that maybe I’ll be in the next 10 players, and downright depressed knowing I wouldn’t put myself there. It makes me feel frustrated that I won’t be acknowledged on the same level as the players mentioned. As MIOM is the largest group of it’s type, it has somewhat of a monopoly on the “ssbm national ranking” thing. Other opinions will take place in the comments section, existing only in contrast to the closest thing the melee community has to an authority.
This is not a bad thing. It is good that there’s a place where newer players can become familiar with high level players. But by making the list, the creator’s opinions will be valued more highly than anything that comes from discussion. So while I do not reject MIOMRank as a valuable article, I do reject it as an authoritative top 100 ranking, and I am excited to see how the list will look in it’s completion.

Jeremy “Germz” Francis – Without question the most exciting thing is how SSBMRank will improve the experience of being a fan of competitive melee. With more people becoming interested in melee, and the number of tournaments increasing, knowing who the smashers to watch are can get pretty complicated. The SSBMRank helps people understand where various players stand, and that helps them to know when a match qualifies as an upset, or when a player is going through a “slump” or a “hot streak”. This type of knowledge and discussion is very important to the fans of other sports/esports, and having a ranking system to refer to is a catalyst for this.

2. Out of the 50 revealed, who was the most underrated?

Michael “Nintendude” Brancato – I’m going to give the same answer as last year: ESAM. While I do think his placement on the list is justified since he didn’t attend anything notable besides Apex (where he earned a respectable 49th), I bet he could beat half the people ranked 51 to 99.

James “Mafia” Lauerman – My eyes jump to Connor at 93. So far I’ve found him pretty interchangable with most of the bottom 50. He’s a great player and a Peach inspiration, but missing the national tournament results that the rank values. Also Remen. That guy is good.

Jeremy “Germz” Francis – I am going to say Bizzarro Flame. His Ganon is the perfect blend of style and effectiveness. It is beautiful to watch. Above all else, Melee is a game that is played for fun, and watching Bizzarro Flame play reminds me of this. I am confident that I could justify placing Biz ten spots higher. Fun should count for something in this world.

3. Who was the most overrated?

Michael “Nintendude” Brancato – Remen. He beat literally nobody at MLG (0-9 in sets) and only got there by winning a poorly attended qualifier in Japan. I also recall him struggling to make it out of pools at an SSS before going 0-2 in bracket. I’m surprised he made the top-100 list at all.

James “Mafia” Lauerman – Eggm at 80. I spent two years going to tournaments in NJ and saw him maybe once. I’m not sure how active he’s been in the past 4 months, but i don’t know how it could put him there. While I don’t mean to pick on NJ, I think Stric9 also deserves a mention here. Controller johns led him to prematurely quit out of the last 2 tournament sets he and I played.

Jeremy “Germz” Francis – To me, the most obvious answer is Remen. MLG Anaheim is the only national he attended in 2014. Yes, he technically got 17th at that tournament, but he lost all 7 of his matches in championship pools and then lost to Lucky 3-0 in losers bracket. I know that Remen is one of the top five smashers in the Netherlands, but I do not know what that means on a larger scale, and I do not think anyone else really does either. It’s really hard to justify calling Remen the 72nd best Melee player in the world.

4. Who is a person in the bottom 50 that stands to make the biggest jump on SSBMRank2015?

Michael “Nintendude” Brancato – This is going to be a big year for Lord HDL. I think he’s struggled a bit in the past because he played Link and was under significant pressure to perform at his rare appearances at US tournaments. However, he now mains Marth and lives in Connecticut, giving him a big opportunity to showcase just how good he is. He’s only been here for a short time and he already got off to a great start at the most recent NYC Nebulous tournament, placing 2nd to Hax while defeating DoH, The Moon, and Swift.

James “Mafia” Lauerman – This one is easy: Slox. Currently New England’s golden boy, he’s got fistfulls of players (yours truly included) in our region eating his dust. That being said, he has more than enough to prove, both now and over the next year, including his MM with MIOM’s own Tafokints. I’m sure I’m not the only one with my eyes on him, and if he gets to where he wants to go, I’m planning on being less than a few paces behind him.

Jeremy “Germz” Francis – Any smasher worth their weight in salt will tell you that getting good at Melee requires time and dedication. This is why, for a higher rank in 2015, my money is on Gahtzu. The man set a world record for playing melee, so you can tell he likes to play at least a little.

5. What is the most interesting dream match between two similarly ranked people?

Michael “Nintendude” Brancato – Lil Fumi vs. Hanky Panky. Both are true hidden bosses from opposite sides of the country, and both excel in the respective matchup. Lil Fumi has recent wins over Bladewise and MacD, and Hanky Panky convincingly defeated Zhu’s Fox 2-0 at The Big House 4. It’d be even cooler if Lil Fumi busted out his Yoshi. Not enough people are aware of just how good it is, and I wish he used him more often.

James “Mafia” Lauerman – Personally,I liked the proximity between DoH and HankyPanky. DoH is a self-proclaimed peach ditto master, which I’ll only back because I haven’t seen him play Armada yet. I’m sure HankyPanky’s recent breakout performances wouldn’t come close to phasing DoH’s confidence. Yet Hanky, still an up&comer at this point, has proven that he’s able to make gods bleed. Above all else, I’m sure DoH would appreciate the opportunity to prove he should be ranked higher.

Jeremy “Germz” Francis – I would personally like to see Ken Vs Slox. Any time Ken is matched up against a player with very good tech skill, it is interesting to me. I want to know the extent to which experience can help overcome a player with better mechanics. For me, this match answers a lot of questions about melee in general.