60-51 is here! Ryuga’s score will be fixed either this weekend or after the publishing is finished next weekend. Saturday and Sunday are break days, but I’ll likely publish 50-41 on Monday at an earlier time than this.
Methodology is here:
60 – Ikep
Starting and ending his participation on this cycle with wins, Ikep is one of the most dangerous up-and-coming players in Japan. His win at Sumabato Tokaigi Qualifers weren’t counted as the tournament happened too late, but it’s a bigger indicator of Ikep’s upward momentum in the last few weeks following lackluster post-nerf performances with Bayonetta. He, like many fall-off Bayonettas, seems to be regaining his stride at a rapid rate.
59 – Ned
Ned’s switch from Zero Suit Samus to Cloud proved to be a great decision, with his true breakout performance coming at Smash N’ Splash 2. Defeating his rival Zinoto and taking his first set off of Ally, Ned’s 3rd place finish at the Midwest Super-regional was largely overshadowed by the blooming conflict between ZeRo and Ally.
Despite that, Ned continued to do relatively consistently all year, beating most other Midwest greats. He’s also double eliminated Japanese Duck Hunt Raito, and beaten Day and NAKAT at ZeRo Saga and EVO, respectively.
58 – JJROCKETS
Perhaps the most traveled player on the Top 100, JJROCKETS is another prime example of a strong regional Diddy Kong player, ala-Angel Cortes. For what he lacks in high major placements he makes up for by having taken sets off of highly skilled players from numerous regions. MVD, Rich Brown, Karna, and Angel Cortes are just some of the players he’s taken sets from in a year full of tournies.
Most notable is his run at Little Big House 6, where he ran a Japanese gauntlet, defeating Komorikiri, Kie, and Shogun and finishing at 7th.
57 – Zenyou
With a story similar to many SoCal players on the top half of the list, Zenyou has a strong record of attendance, with sets over many of SoCal’s best. Rich, Aarvark, Elegant, and K9 are just the tip of the iceberg in that regard. One of the most distinctive events of his career, however, was his unexpected 2-1 victory over Ally at CEO. With him among many players causing a bloodbath of upsets at the event, he was bound to place somewhere on the list.
A key factor propelling him further over many of his SoCal peers are his strong MSM performances, where he’s defeated Larry Lurr, Rich Brown, and Tyrant.
56 – Ryuga
Carrying strong results at Michigan monthlies, Ryuga’s best accomplishment was his run at UGC. This managed to solidify his place this high on the list with wins over Midwest notables Ned and Tyroy, both of whom are PR’d higher than him for this year, and an additional pickup with iStudying. This resulted in him finishing 13th at one of the more skill-pool dense majors of the year.
Beyond his significant success at UGC, his run at Super Smash Con – where he got 17th – saw him defeating Midwest Ryu Darkshad, Toronto Cloud/Mario player Blacktwins, and Tristate hidden boss and Greninja player Venia.
55 – Day
The controversial and outspoken Lucario main from Florida manages to land his spot on this list as the best Lucario player in the world, a subject that will likely remain hotly contested. While always noteworthy through his strong regional performances, Day broke out over the summer with an unexpectedly high placing of 13th at EVO and a huge victory over ZeRo at Super Smash Con 2016.
54 – DarkShad
Sporting a record that will look somewhat comparable to Trela’s, DarkShad’s myriad of poor performances at majors came to an abrupt end at UGC Smash open. Defeating Larry Lurr, Samsora, and eliminating MKLeo from the event is one of two factors making DarkShad more than a player defined by his minor regional performances.
With an additional noted performance at Midwest Mayhem 2 where he upset Abadango and iStudying, DarkShad has done his part to keep people talking about Ryu.
53 – Vinnie
Despite an initial retirement from majors in January, Vinnie returned to the national stage in April. Despite a set of mixed performances, his peak 9th at EVO – where he sent Hyuga and Mr. E to losers bracket – confirmed his ability to stay at top form. Additional quality performances in the Rocky Mountains at Revelation 2016 and the South at TCG8 combined with strong local Tristate performances throughout the year have put him on the cusp on being Top 50.
52 – JK
Despite middling early-year performances, JK came blasting forward as one of the stronger new-era Bayonetta players. With wins over every prominent Vegas player and most of SoCal, JK set the stage well for his excellent performance at 2GG: Pay it Forward where he double eliminated Tyrant and defeated both Tyrant and Elegant.
Also worth mentioning is his run at the Vegas pre-EVO local PSG Classic, where he took sets off of RAIN and Kameme, finishing 5th overall.
51 – MVD
While one might assume MVD is coasting by on local results, he appears to be a surprisingly underrated player. He definitely takes advantage of regional wins over Florida’s best, including ESAM, but his quiet 9th place finishes at SSC and KTAR Saga mean a lot for his high placement. He defeated Rich Brown twice and notably took sets from SuperGirlKels, Elegant, and Trela.
Further propelling him were regionals were he defeated the region’s best player. He beat Marss at NEW Fish and beat Zinoto in the ditto at Combo Breaker 2016. With all of these wins under his belt, MVD rounds off the first half of the list. See you Monday!