#44-35

 

 

This next batch of rankings is filled with players who honed their craft via netplay.

 

 

Despite only attending two tournaments, Justin “Janco” Cahoon made quite the impact in 2017. His performances at Let’s Go! and Get On My Level 2017 rewarded him with two ninth place finishes. The Pikachu main and long time protégé of Revan shook up the bracket in Baltimore. While playing friendlies, I looked up to find Revan and Janco in the heat of battle. The match was last stock and off stream; to my amazement, Janco forced game three. As I continued to watch, the intensity kept ramping up as Revan failed to unlock the secret of Janco’s advantage over him. After Janco’s victory I sat there, mouth agape, trying to convince myself it was truly a tournament match. Janco’s year is highlighted by this massive victory and underscored by coincidentally being eliminated in two close matches by Fireblaster at both events. Look for great things from Janco as he continues training with Revan in 2018.

-Jason Mani

Notable wins – Revan, Yobolight


Photo courtesy of © Preston Kwan | @The64Story

 

 

Few Pennsylvanians’ histories extend as far into the past as Dylan “HAMMERHEART” Platt. Since 2010, HAMMERHEART made a name for himself in the back alleys of online SSB where he gained notoriety for beating many of the best online regulars while using a USB SNES controller to main Samus, while broadcasting some of the most creative trash talk ever witnessed on Smashboards. In 2016 he joined the fledgling console scene in Philadelphia as a seasoned dual main with Samus and Jigglypuff, becoming one of the few players who could stand up to Finio and KD3 in PA. At Keystoned, HAMMERHEART managed to double eliminate Fireblaster on his way to taking 3rd. HAMMERHEART’s competitive effervescence, game knowledge, and cerebral approach separate him and have served to elevate the positional and tactical abilities of his fellow Quaker smashers.

-Nick Grabill

Notable wins – Fireblaster, NaCl, KD3 (x8 or something)


Photo courtesy of © Preston Kwan | @The64Story

 

 

Freddie “Combo Blaze” Guerrero’s shifty speed-switching style wreaks havoc on opponents. His twitchy and reactive combo game is complemented well by more than five years of tournament experience. He mainly channels his talents through Falcon, but we know he has put plenty of time and passion into Donkey Kong as well. Either way, you are going to have to watch as Freddie attempts to weave a combo using peculiar moves and options. His results this year at three events are very strong: 5th at Smash’N’Splash 3, 25th at Super Smash Con, and 7th at Boss Battle 3 (where he lost in the first round of Top 32 and crawled through losers, beating HeroPie).

-David Avila

Notable wins – Hero Pie, Stevie G


Photo courtesy of © Preston Kwan | @The64Story

 

 

Known as one of the top Mario mains, Thomas “Kimimaru” Deeb is one of the key players in helping put Northern California on the map as one of the top regions in NA. Although his singles career has thus far been impressive, it was his doubles play with twin brother Hydra that really made a statement in the community. Placing 4th in doubles at Snosa III, Kimimaru and Hydra were able to 3-0 the very strong team of Josh Brody and Darkhorse. In the next round, the Kimi Bros. defeated Mariguas and Dext3r 3-2 to pull off one of the most impressive doubles upsets of the year.

-Alex Jungsten

Notable wins – Madrush, hydra

 

 

Maxim “Star King” Korobskiy is an enigma. On one hand, he is one of the geniuses of the game. Star King possess encyclopedic knowledge of frame-data and an intuitive understanding of how to apply this knowledge in-game. At times, the flashes of creative brilliance in his play are akin to tacos or Isai. At the same time, Star King is notoriously inconsistent, with a high propensity for falling flat at major tournaments. In the course of a set, his play can deteriorate from top-player status to a first-timer who shows up at your local and doesn’t know how to Z-Cancel aerials. Towards the end of 2017, Star King left Northern Virginia for Colorado. Upon arriving in his new home state, Star King was dominant over DTan in their encounters, perhaps signaling that Star King will consistently play up to his potential in 2018.

-Robert Orr

Notable wins – HAMMERHEART, Yunque


Photo courtesy of © Preston Kwan | @The64Story

 

 

2017 was a relatively quiet year for Ryan “sHEERmADNESS” Gordon, as he only travelled outside of Florida once: for Boss Battle 3. However, despite this, he managed to defend his reputation as a fierce player. This year he double eliminated Josh Brody at a Florida local. He also beat Combo Blaze and Shihman at Boss Battle 3 and took sets off of Fireblaster and NTA at CEO: Dreamland. Known as the Grandpa of Florida, this year he maintained his reputation as second best player in Florida behind only the wunderkind Wizzrobe.

-Jonatan Frosth

Notable wins – Fireblaster, Combo Blaze

 

 

The Wangera of the West, Dillon “CTG” Grandy has spread the gift of his Jigglypuff play around the United States and beyond. His 2017 tour consisted of California, Indiana, Boston, Baltimore, Texas, and Sweden. Placing no lower than 25th at ten tournaments shows just how much he has improved and how high his ceiling is. His losses speak volumes about what he has left to achieve: his worst were hipstur and deathcpo, with the rest being comprised of Josh Brody, Mariguas, Isai, Hero Pie, and other top players. It seems if he could conquer his Pikachu demon, there would be little stopping CTG from being an elite-level talent. With the amount of tournaments he is able to attend, the sky’s the limit for this always-improving Jigglypuff.

-David Avila

Notable wins – Marbles, Czar, NaCl


Photo courtesy of © Preston Kwan | @The64Story

 

 

Hailing from NYC, Cesar “Czar” Guzman is one of the world’s best Mario and Luigi players. Czar is one of KeroKeroppi’s original training partners. One of the members of the legendary Koroshiyo clan, his depth of experience playing with Kero and Stranded has molded him into a formidable opponent. Czar’s run in 2017 was an exploration of his potential, and 64 fans should hope to see more of him next year. He is also typically seen wearing hats. It remains unconfirmed if this is the secret to Mario mastery.

-Max B.

Notable wins – Fireblaster, Lowww, Marbles


Photo courtesy of © Preston Kwan | @The64Story

 

 

Robert “Robert”, or as his fans know him: “Mr. Fundamentals-Driven”, is a Pikachu-main who straddles the Northern Virginia, Upstate New York, and Online scenes. Robert continued his steady rise in 2017 with a number of solid placements and set wins. His gamertag is the perfect expression of his deep-seeded hatred of human frivolities such as creativity or “playing for fun”. As such, he is well-known as a vocal critic of the pervasive culture of “flashiness” in the North American metagame. Needless to say, Robert doesn’t press lots of buttons. Rather, his strength as a player stems from his cerebral approach to the game, breaking down situations into standard templates and branching decision-trees. Logically, Robert’s thorough commitment to total rationality also demands that he maintain a Kirby secondary, which proved instrumental in wins over players such as Fireblaster and KD3. Do not be surprised if big-brain Robert ascends to galactic-brain status in 2018.

-Robert Orr

Notable wins – Fireblaster, KD3


Photo courtesy of © Preston Kwan | @The64Story

 

 

Tomas “Kort” Keselik, AKA The Brazilian Isai, truly personified the title in 2017. He showed flashes of brilliance with wins over Jose and Combo Blaze, and his patented outstanding technical combos displayed in the Super Smash Con Combo Contest; Kort also took a backseat to being overly competitive in order to more enjoy the game and community. A loss to Fray at GOML lowered his rank in 2017 but certainly not his spirits. A threat to anyone he faces, Kort is at his best when he’s making a highlight reel out of his opponents or stealing the hearts of every Combo Contest fan.

-David Shears

Notable wins – Combo Blaze, Fireblaster, Janitor*


Photo courtesy of © Preston Kwan | @The64Story

 

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