by Caspar “Mobiusman” van der Sman (Twitter: @moby_osman)
I can hardly believe this is true, but it’s been four months since the last Glicko article was published. While I have been periodically tweeting updates to the stats, I haven’t done any significant analysis of the numbers for some time – primarily to allow the dust from SSBMRank to settle. We’ve had several big events since then, and accordingly we’ve seen several big upsets that none of the panelists could have predicted. So it’s time to take a look: who has exceeded their placing, and who has been left behind?
For any unfamiliar readers, this is a ranking using scores generated by the Glicko chess algorithm, with a data set consisting of large tournaments from the past 12 months. I went into a bit of detail about Glicko and why it fits for Melee in my first article, which you can check here. However, I also explained that these results should be taken with a pinch of salt and considered as just another perspective on the metagame – not an attempt at an authoritative, objective ranking. The usual disclaimers apply: a few results have been removed due to sandbagging (mainly Leffen), while some players (particularly Hax and KirbyKaze) have been removed from the list due to lack of data.
|1||Armada (Peach, Fox)||2465||54|
|3||Mang0 (Fox, Falco)||2271||51|
|4||Mew2King (Sheik, Marth)||2266||49|
|6||Plup (Sheik, Samus)||2168||60|
|8||Swedish Delight (Sheik)||2090||56|
|13||Wizzrobe (C. Falcon)||2064||58|
|18||S2J (C. Falcon)||2011||51|
|20||Professor Pro (Fox)||2007||57|
|21||The Moon (Marth)||1981||49|
|25||n0ne (C. Falcon, Ganondorf)||1961||57|
|29||Silent Wolf (Fox)||1946||82|
Armada and Hungrybox have been trading the #1 spot ever since I started this project, and at various points over the past year there have been good arguments for either one of them to take the crown. But as you may have noticed, Armada recently decided to stop losing. His last two set losses were both from winners’ side of grand finals in tournaments which he then went on to win; the last time he dropped a set without immediately winning again afterwards was at The Big House 6 in October. That means we’re approaching six months of dominance, something unheard of in the modern era of Melee. Still, Armada has had a few memorable recent game 5 scares, including two lengthy sets with Leffen at BEAST 7 and a reverse 3-0 against S2J at Genesis 4 which was only one knee away from rewriting Melee history altogether. Everyone is waiting with bated breath for the next person to upset Armada, but they will have to really earn it – he’s shown that his work ethic is too strong to ever let his guard down.
After an inconsistent few months last year, Mew2King has enjoyed something of a renaissance recently. Since TBH6, his only loss outside of the big 5 was to n0ne at UGC Open. And while many have come to associate losers’ bracket M2K with a defeatist mentality, that particular loss preceded one of the most impressive losers’ runs of all time, rattling off wins over Duck, Mang0, Ice, SFAT, n0ne, Leffen, Hungrybox, and even Armada before falling in the second set of grands. I had wondered whether this would be the first Glicko list to feature M2K in the top 3, but instead Mang0 holds on to his spot with a 5-point lead. If M2K can maintain his current momentum, we may be seeing the high point of his career for the last several years.
As usual, there has been a lot of movement in the impossible-to-predict middle section of the list, with surprisingly large drops for perennial favourites Westballz and Shroomed. Westballz has of course been balancing disappointing lows against dizzying highs for some time now, but at 2017 majors so far he only has notable wins over Ice and SFAT (against whom he is 1-2). These results definitely do not counterbalance losses to HugS, Syrox, Lucky and Infinite Numbers. Shroomed similarly is suffering from a lack of big names under his belt, with his last major victory against anyone in this list’s top 15 being Westballz back at Smash Summit 3. In the meantime he has picked up losses to Professor Pro, ChuDat, and Duck; hardly bad losses, but not the resumé of a top 10 player, either.
Noted anime viewer KJH’s jump in this list can be largely attributed to his dominant record over fellow Michiganite Duck. According to Tafostats his overall winrate against Duck in 2017 is 67%, but his only losses have been at locals; the two have clashed repeatedly on bigger stages, most recently at SWEET, Genesis, and Smash Valley V, and KJH has triumphed every time. Duck’s recent win over Leffen at Full Bloom 3, reminding us why he is considered a spacies slayer, makes this even more impressive. Outside of Duck, KJH also has solid wins over MikeHaze and most recently Swedish Delight, with a loss to Zain being the only blemish on his 2017 so far. The other newschool fox to make waves on this list is of course Syrox, whose placement is mainly on the strength of his run at the last giant SSS. Here he took down Westballz, Kira, and n0ne (who had beaten him in winners’) before finally losing to HugS. Taken in isolation, this event might look like a fluke, especially since it wasn’t a true major. But factor in Syrox’s earlier wins against Lucky at Genesis, and both Colbol and S2J at Eden, and it gets increasingly difficult to deny that this placement is deserved.
For every exciting rise on a power ranking there must be an unfortunate fall, and there a couple on this list that it would be remiss not to mention. The “Pound 2016 effect” is finally wearing off for Laudandus, who picked up a good win over Cactuar late last year but in 2017 so far has lost to Zorc and Frootloop. While it was not part of the data set, The NorCal Classic did show something of a return to form, with a win over Nintendude and close losses to PewPewU, so it is possible that peak Laudandus will return at his next major outing. Silent Wolf’s large fall is largely due to inactivity; his Falco entry to Full Bloom 3 was not considered, meaning his last real tournament was Don’t Park on the Grass, where he was upset by Twin. This list’s unlucky #31 is Colbol, whose rating has taken a beating recently with losses to Phil, SmashG0D, and Abate. Any of these players could easily swing back into favour in the next couple of months, but treading water within the top 30 has been made pretty much impossible by the increasingly dangerous players just below who are striving to break through.
This has been probably the busiest ever “off season” for Smash – you could be forgiven for not noticing that the season ever ended. Nevertheless, the buildup to 2017’s summer of Melee is now beginning in earnest, with two extremely stacked majors scheduled for April already in CEO Dreamland and DreamHack Austin. Add that to the upcoming Smash Rivalries invitational and you’ve got a wealth of new storylines just waiting to be written.