This is it! The final article for the main Top 100. In the next week, I’ll post players who scored outside of the top 100, as well as some commentary & thoughts about the project, as well as plans for OrionRank 2018. Thank you for reading!
More Information: https://intheloop837.wordpress.com/2018/01/01/orionrank-2017-top-100-announcement-information-methodology-101/
Written by Barnard’s Loop
Illustrations by Freeziebeatz
Ranking work by Freeziebeatz & Barnard’s Loop
#10 – Ally
2016 Rank: 2nd (-8)
Ally’s 2016 consistency kicked off to a familiar start at GENESIS 4, but slowly dipped as the year came into its own. The Ally v ZeRo storyline took a backseat despite being the framework for Civil War, and the two did not meet quite as much in bracket, albeit their sets were often close and exciting.
His inconsistent record resulted in a significant drop for 2017 of 8 spots, but it didn’t prohibit him from having a dominant record over komorikiri- a player who effectively double counterpicks Mario – or winning Greninja Saga, a major in its own right with a number of top players in attendance.
Despite a year of inconsistencies, Ally also broke through Nairo at the 2GGC Championships, only to find another Demon this year – Salem. Ally has struggled with the rise of Bayonetta throughout 2017 in general with losses to most relevant Bayos on record, but Salem in particular seems to counter both Mario and Ally’s unpredictable playstyle, prompting an announcement from Ally that he would look to secondaries for future confrontations.
Still the best Mario in a era where the character is struggling, we’ll have to see if Ally can fight against the tide and succeed after a year of ups and downs.
#9 – Mr. R
2016 Rank: 7th (-2)
In a year filled to the brim with major event after major event, burnout, exhaustion from top players, and harsh upsets culminating in career low placements, Mr. R seemed to largely avoid the harshest consequences. He is upset in bracket, mind you, but he’s the only player listed here besides KEN who hasn’t dipped below a 17th.
It’s sort of a certainty that Mr. R will always make top 32 at an event and the worst that might happen is an unlucky set into an unlucky meeting in bracket with another top player.
This is a reflection of the sheer consistency of his Sheik, ran in a neutral style where the only flaw seems to stem from Sheik’s own difficulties in killing in certain situations. As a result, you can see where some of his most noteworthy upsets might occur – versus strong, heavy characters that can abuse rage, for instance.
Despite those upsets, his intelligent play has resulted in sets on top players across the board. He remains one of the most consistent players in the world, and major upsets on him are often accomplished by big upcoming players who are very strong in their ow right.
#8 – KEN
2016 Rank: 22nd (+14)
Japan’s now undisputed #1 came into the fold during mid-2016 at a time when most eyes were on players like Kameme, Abadango, and komorikiri. However, the seeds of a potential future #1 were planted at S.A.T., where he convincingly won over both Nairo and Dabuz.
Months later, starting in 2017, he’d continue to engage in a long winded rivalry with Nairo during the Tokaigi phase of Japanese tournaments. He was unable to defend the country at the time, but lesser noticed and more important was a sharp record of consistency in a region largely known for unpredictable results. KEN was winning or at least placing top 3 at nearly everything.
His second U.S. major since EVO was Frostbite, and it ended in two 2-3 losses to Dabuz and Ally for a 17th placing, but this didn’t seem to sake his confidence moving forward. He slowly built himself until by the mid-year he was finally making top 8 at events – namely CEO as his first.
With 5th at EVO as an improvement over 2016 performance, KEN’s peak found itself at MKLeo Saga, where despite losing to Lima in pools he went on to tear through losers bracket and place 2nd at the event, stopped only by Tweek’s Bayonetta.
The noted Cloud slayer has sets on every top 10 player except himself (obviously) and both ZeRo and Salem, with the former being his listed Demon for 2017.
Throughout all of his stellar U.S. performances during mid-late 2017, he continued a streak of consistently solid performances in Japan, meaning we can only expect much the same from KEN going forward.
#7 – Larry Lurr
2016 Rank: 5th (-2)
The first on the finale’s list to sport wins over the entire Top 10, Larry Lurr flies into 7th at SoCal’s best player and the best Fox in the world by a wide margin. His year is marked by solid consistency with only a rare few missteps.
His peak was EVO 2017 where he placed 3rd, and a factor that would often plague him across numerous top level events was a poor record versus ZeRo, a player he once rivaled. His sole win over ZeRo in 2017 came at Boot Camp.
He rivals SoCal’s current second best at events, VoiD, as the two meet in majors brackets with near comical regularity, and he’s shown the distinct ability to adapt over a number of players. He defeated KEN at IBP Masters Showdown, for example, despite KEN showing significant proficiency in the matchup prior.
Larry’s big weakness now, as with many players, appears to be a string of losses to numerous Bayonetta players, most notably a 0-4 record to Lima. This will likely be more relevant to his movement in the future with ZeRo’s retirement in mind, but with a solid and largely consistent record in a year as busy as 2017, it’s one hurdle that might help him finally win a major event.
#6 – Tweek
2016 Rank: 18th (+12)
Dropping Bowser Jr. and Wario is the best decision Tweek has made in his career and with his growth may be one of the best decisions among any player in any Smash scene, as he went from a player brimming with potential limited only by a poor low tier to a player many feel could be a future top 3 contender.
With Jr.’s results more or less falling off the map entirely after Tweek’s exit from the character, you can really see how a good player might benefit from picking up a better character – in this case, Tweek picked up Cloud, but also sports one of the best Donkey Kongs, and is fine tuning a very sharp Bayonetta he’s used to beat players in match-ups he’s struggled with.
His counterpick squad combined with Cloud and his own sheer talent & skill netted him a major win at MKLeo Saga, something he had no doubt been chasing for a very long time.
#5 – Dabuz
2016 Rank: 10th (+5)
Sporting 5 losses outside of the top 20, Dabuz has his own special sort of consistency to match his analytical game play and near unparalleled ability to download players. This often extends into the players in the top 20, where his bigger struggles come from Cloud and longtime rival Nairo.
His anti-Bayo record waned a bit as the year drew to a close and MKLeo is becoming notable for it now, but Dabuz in 2016-2017 remain the single best anti-bayonetta player in the world, with no losses to the character between his loss to Zack in late 2016 to his first lost to Salem in Smash 4 history at the 2GG Championship.
Dabuz is unique for many of these traits, as well as his ironclad ability to resist getting upset at events at most events, Smash Con being a rare exception. With this, he’s able to snatch wins at events plagued by upsets such as Civil War or Big House, but ARMS Saga demonstrated his ability to fight the most powerful head on and walk away the victor.
#4 – MKLeo
2016 Rank: 3rd (-1)
MKLeo is a player who is really only prevented from being #2 by the weight of his poorest performances. DreamHack would be one thing, as ZeRo was a roadblock for him, but his placements at EVO and Civil War, two of the biggest events of the year, can only really be described as anomalies.
As such, his record is other impeccable. He started and ended 2017 with triumphant victories at GENESIS 4 and the 2GG Championship, he overcame his demon in ZeRo by the end of the year, he managed to fight through a weakness against Ryu & heavies, and the only player left that seems to stonewall him is Shuton.
I think most will agree that unless he were to fall back into unexplained poor performances at large scale events, Leo may well be the clear choice for #1 in the future – especially after his recent 2018 victories.
Outside of his Cloud, his history of making Marth a character at the top continued this year. We saw him dabble with Corrin in certain match-ups, and we saw the exciting return of his original main Meta Knight as an answer to players who gave him a lot of trouble. It saw early success against KEN, and eventually turned out to be the answer he needed to fight ZeRo in the end at both GameTyrant Expo and the 2GG Championship.
#3 – Salem
2016 Rank: 8th (+5)
Salem’s rise to prominence was an inevitability. He’s held from #2 due to the first few months of 2017 continuing a weaker major track record we saw in late 2016 (in contrast to an unparalleled regional record), but it’s undeniably just how good the rest of 2017 was for Salem once he began to consistently place top 8 at events.
Nairo Saga was the first bit of huge success we saw, with ZeRo only barely holding him off after Salem went on an extensive loser’s run, and even ZeRo couldn’t hold off the wrath of the Brawl vet once EVO came as Salem took the event with a clutch Witch Twist ladder.
Once Salem found his footing at events and began to win them or consistently place among the top players, his biggest weaknesses seemed to be Leo – whom he holds a losing record against, and his own character- Bayonetta. He lost to a number of top Bayonetta mains to the point where he put one of his many secondaries in the forefront as an option – Greninja. It did not succeed, but he did win Tipped Off 12 with the character.
With Leo standing in his way and Tweek acting as a solid anti-Bayonetta player alongside the rise of many Bayonetta players, Salem’s solid record over Nairo itself will not put Salem as the games new #1 – but make no mistake, he has the potential to overcome those roadblocks.
#2 – Nairo
2016 Rank: 4th (+2)
Nairo’s record isn’t talked about as much for whatever reason, but he is a remarkably consistent top 8 threat whose valleys include two 17ths the entire year despite attending nearly every noteworthy major.
Him at #2 may come as a surprise, but his advantage over Leo and Salem is greater consistency across the entire year paired with similar win records and his own major event win at Super Smash Con that came after possibly the greatest loser’s bracket run in Smash 4 history.
Another benefit were his successful runs at Tokaigi events, something put into perspective when you consider how badly he began losing to KEN late in 2017. He successful took both the Umebura Qualifier and the cup itself, with KEN unable to defend.
This also marked the first time since 2015 that Nairo was able to take sets over long time rival ZeRo, with a successful Bowser counterpick at DreamHack Atlanta that sent ZeRo packing at 9th as well as him using his main to ultimately defeat ZeRo in two sets at SSC.
His main challenge at this stage seems to be Salem, a player he’s shown to capable of beating, but not consistently enough. His Diddy Kong counterpick seemed to hold its own for a while, and Nairo came within closing distance of taking Smash 4 Boot Camp, but the Bayonetta player may prove to be a long-term problem going forward.
Despite that, Nairo may be the most consistent player outside of ZeRo himself, and with ZeRo retiring, Nairo may come to the forefront as a potential #1 candidate if he continues his rivalry with Leo and mages to overcome Bayonetta champion Salem.
#1 – ZeRo
2016 Rank: 1st (No Change)
“Who’s the best?” “Still me.”
ZeRo remains #1 for 2017. When my thought process for ranking ZeRo’s performance in my own mind drifts to “He had a less dominant latter half of 2017”, you still come face to face with a record unlike any other player’s on this list.
It’s normal to expect the unexpected at Smash 4 events, but the most unexpected for ZeRo were 4 sub top 4 placements the entire year, making every set where he lost something of a spectacle.
You effectively understand that, outside of an incredible series of events, ZeRo is always going to be a top 4 contender at any given event. He’s the only player at this stage where you come to expect that, a mark of what even a slight decline looks like – from winning every event, to still being a serious and consistent threat to win every event.
Needless to say, he has a one-of-a-kind set record that reaches a near 80% for both wins on the top 100 and top 20. Wonky numbers can happen, but the catch here is that he holds these dominant numbers while also fighting the most players among any player listed here, another mark of his consistency.
As he exits the world of Smash 4 for the time being, the only player that seemed to walk away with a positive record after multiple encounters was Kirihara. ZeRo had numerous examples of being upset this year only to come back and shut that player down – tsu, Trela, DarkShad, Cosmos, Shuton & more.
With 3 super major event wins and a plethora of wins at Category4 “Low Key” major events at 2GGs, CEO Dreamland, Frostbite, etc., ZeRo is far and away the best player in the world, with nearly 2500 points as a lead on his closest competitor.
His retirement will make an impact on the scene in a way that I don’t think any Smash Scene in general has experiences before, marking an uncertain and highly competitive 2018 moving forward.