#34-25

 

 

Today’s group is dominated by veterans who have sustained success for years.

 

 

He isn’t known in Philadelphia as the “Local Legend” without reason. Kyle “KD3” DiFrank’s rise to the top of Philly’s Power Rankings was prophesied in 2016 by Moosh. Displaying uncommon consistency and broad technical skill, KD3 seemed to improve at every tournament he attended in 2016, riding the waves into 2017 as the #1 ranked player on Philly’s PR while exploring the roster. At Let’s Go!, while teaming with Moonshoes, they managed to bring Mariguas/Dexter to game three final stock. At The Empire Smashes Back, KD3/Lowww defeated Firo/Jimmy Joe to claim 1st place, and at MVP vs MOMS KD3/Hammerheart took 2nd behind LD and iCactusdog. KD3’s placements earned him the respect of Florida’s crew, who sponsored him to compete in Unrivaled VII where he defeated Loto to conquer Florida in Pennsylvania’s name. Spurred on by a constructive attitude towards improvement and competition, KD3 shows no signs of disrupting this momentum into 2018.

-Nick Grabill

Notable wins – Fireblaster, Marbles, HAMMERHEART


Photo courtesy of © Preston Kwan | @The64Story

 

 

Dave “Firo” Eisenberg’s 2017 tournament appearances were limited compared to last year. However, the veteran low-tier player managed to grow his skills and achieved significant results at SSC and The Empire Smashes Back. His playstyle is wildly volatile which often results in his sets going to final game nail biters. Firo memorably held the lead in game 3 against the Japanese combo master, Prince, at SSC. With his Ness two stocks ahead of Prince’s final Yoshi stock, Firo waved off his fans’ calls for a defensive, conservative finish and kept up his signature aggressive style. Although Prince ultimately made the comeback, the match was a true display of Firo’s character and potential as a player.

-Max B.

Notable wins – Fireblaster, Daniel

Photo courtesy of © Preston Kwan | @The64Story

 

 

Javier “Fireblaster” Romero had another year of ups and downs, finishing as high as 3rd at CEO but as low as 17th at Super Smash Con and Boss Battle 3. Once a player who would be considered a perennial top-12 threat, Fireblaster has seemingly taken a more relaxed approach and spent less time worrying about results. This lax attitude may have in part contributed to his recent losses, especially to players who up until this year may have been considered far beneath him. With a local scene around him and others maintaining a steady flow of entrants, Fireblaster may try to work his way back into a rank he’ll be satisfied with in 2018.

-Rob Stone

Notable wins – Kort, Janco, KD3


Photo courtesy of © Preston Kwan | @The64Story

 

 

Juan Guillermo “Shalaka” Amézquita Muñoz has long been one of South America’s premier ambassadors for Super Smash Bros. He has aided multiple international players in their travels to North America and he never fails to be the happiest player at the tournament. Shalaka made the most of his limited appearances in 2017, placing 17th and 9th at Super Smash Con and Let’s Go! respectively. After an unexpected loss to Yobolight at Let’s Go!, Shalaka became part of the bracket madness when he gave Revan his second upset, a favorite for Top 8. Shalaka then went on to defeat Czar and Star King before succumbing to Zero. One of the biggest challenges for international players is travel. Hopefully 2018 allows for safe and easy travels for Shalaka to give him more opportunities to upset brackets.

-Jason Mani

Notable wins – Revan, Czar


Photo courtesy of © Preston Kwan | @The64Story

 

 

Collin “lord narwhal” Fitzgerald, formerly known as admiral octopus or Narwhale, rounded out perhaps the first year where he was not, in his words, “grossly underseeded.” The North Carolinian Captain Falcon-formerly-Kirby-formerly-Luigi main impressed us once again with Top 24 finishes at both majors he attended, during the course of which he beat some scenes’ best players, including KD3, HAMMERHEART, Loto, and Clubbadubba. He even managed to snatch a game off Alvin and, during his brief stint in Maryland, place 2nd at MVP vs MOMS, giving us a familiar and oft-groaned-at Baltimore Grand Finals.

-Rob Stone

Notable wins – Clubbadubba, HAMMERHEART, KD3


Photo courtesy of © Preston Kwan | @The64Story

 

 

SoCal’s top player, Alex “Hero Pie” Ornelas continued to make a name for himself as he built off his strong 2016 campaign by placing 5th at DPOTG to start the year. Hero Pie was able to defeat other top ranked players throughout the year such as JaimeHR, Cobr, and Janitor. Consistently among  the Top 9 for all events he entered, Hero Pie will be looking to build on his improvements every year and take out more high rankings players come 2018. Although he will not travel to many tournaments, you can always expect Hero Pie to be competitive with anybody he plays.

-Alex Jungsten

Notable wins – JaimeHR, CTG

Photo courtesy of Daniel Soto

 

 

After being considered a “hidden boss” in the 2016 rankings, Kevin “Lowww” Batista has stepped up his game and emerged as a top player in the NY/PA regions. Lowww secured 13th place at Let’s Go!, 5th place at Boss Battle 3, and capped off the year with an amazing 3rd place at Empire Smashes Back. Boss Battle 3 had Lowww’s personal favorite moment of the year, where he pulled off an impressive 3-0 reverse sweep on sHEERmADNESS. However, he was not yet done, as ESB saw him take down Fireblaster and Firo and pull off another reverse 3-0 over KD3, though his run finally ended after an extremely close Losers Finals Pika ditto against Brody that ended his run. With his fast and creative Fox and Captain Falcon, along with a pocket Pikachu that is only getting stronger, Lowww is improving quickly and looking to make his mark on the national stage.

-Brendan Murray

Notable wins – sHEERmADNESS, Fireblaster, KD3, Shears


Photo courtesy of © Preston Kwan | @The64Story

 

 

Tommy “Stranded” Speziale spent most of 2017 tired, not retired. Despite still possessing arguably the best tech skill and movement in the world, he continued to enter doubles with his friend Zero, where they achieved all Top 8 results save for one anomalous 25th place finish, as well as some high-scale regionals where he netted 5th place. Unfortunately, it would seem inactivity, sandbagging, a general distaste for the game and the community, and a gut-wrenching loss to JaimeHR at G4 brought Stranded down this year. With the return of his brother Kero, only time will tell whether or not he will come back as well.

-Rob Stone

Notable wins – Shears, NaCl


Photo courtesy of © Preston Kwan | @The64Story

 

 

D’Artagnan “DTan” Wake silenced the critics of his 2016 ranking when he took a set from KeroKeroppi at Smash Conference LXIX. But after a strong start to 2017, he had a rather quiet second half to his year. He was able to gather some decent wins in the few tournaments he did attend, including 2 wins over Josh Brody, giving him the advantage at 2-1 for the year. The Kirby from Colorado is in a small but strong community that now includes Star King. The talent around him should be enough to keep him sharp for when he does decide to travel out of region to compete in 2018.

-Rafael Oceguera

Notable wins – Josh Brody, KeroKeroppi, Kimimaru


 

 

Jaime “JaimeHR” Hernández Rodríguez was a model of consistency this year, netting wins against Stranded, Handsome Tom, and DTan along the way. Additionally, he and SuPeRbOoMfAn, his longtime doubles partner, placed 1st and 2nd at Genesis and Super Smash Con, respectively. This marks the third time in five years that Team Mejor has placed 2nd in doubles. At Snosa III, Jaime and Hero Pie placed 3rd, which is Jaime’s lowest doubles placing ever. The man is consistent. Jaime has also continued to grow his online presence with an active and informative Twitter account and has been streaming on Twitch with Boom on an almost daily basis as they continue to show their unparalleled doubles skill, as well as exhibit high level singles play with the entire cast. JaimeHR has been a stalwart member of the community for years and has demonstrated his ability to compete at a high level — at this point, it would be foolish to doubt his consistency.

-Brendan Murray

Notable wins – Stranded, Nintendude, DTan


Photo courtesy of © Preston Kwan | @The64Story

 

* denotes a win at a national or regional event that was NOT included in the 2017 ballot