Cloudhead Live Rank v5: The Heir To The Smash 4 Throne

Cloudhead - March 1, 2018

With ZeRo retired, the current PGRv5 season was suddenly up in the air. For three years, he had been the most consistent part of the least consistent game on the planet, taking 1st place on the PGR season in and season out. So with him out of the competitive picture, the door to #1 that had been slowly and slowly opening was busted right off its hinges. The crown set to go to someone new, the stage was set for a race for the ages.

But so far, it looks like one competitor's gotten out to a far larger lead than anyone anticipated - MkLeo is now the man to beat.

To see just how good Leo has been and what the competitive landscape looks like under him, we're using the Cloudhead Live Rank, a live-updated unofficial sheet that takes data from all the season's tournaments and molds it into something slightly resembling a Smash 4 rankings. Who's fighting to take Leo down? Who's fighting to get into the top 50 for the first time? And who's fighting to climb back in after a not-so-good start? Let's take a look at the stats and find out!

Top 50 Rankings

For the full rankings sheet, click here.

1 FOX MVG MkLeo 26 ERG Lima
2 Dabuz 27 FS Darkshad
3 EMG Mistake 28 LH K9sbruce
4 NRG Nairo 29 C9 Ally
5 P1 Tweek 30 Samsora
6 YP Fatality 31 Raito
7 Liquid MVG Salem 32 Zackray
8 KEN 33 CL Legit
9 DNG Nietono 34 Kirihara
10 falln 35 Paseriman
11 bc Mr. R 36 GRV Eon
12 Choco 37 E2C tyroy
13 Tsu- 38 Ri-ma ToonLinkHeadSSB4-U.png
14 shky 39 SHFFL Maister MrGame&WatchHeadSSB4-U.png
15 WaDi 40 Ho3k Ralphie
16 DNG Kameme 41 KJS Javi
17 Cosmos 42 Ron
18 Abadango 43 Shu
19 eM Zenyou 44 Kome ShulkHeadSSB4-U.png
20 PG ESAM 45 EG Zinoto
21 MSF Larry Lurr 46 DA Sinji
22 PG MVD 47 FOX MVG Mew2King
23 2GG komorikiri RoyHeadSSB4-U.png 48 HY Chag
24 Shuton OlimarHeadSSB4-U.png 49 Rizeasu
25 BSD Elegant 50 Light

Tournament Recap: January - February

For PGStats's full Tournament Tier System (TTS), click here.

Player Showcase

All notes of "CLR #" denote the player's placement on the Cloudhead Live Rank as of March 1st, 2018.

Top Threats

MkLeo (CLR 1)

2017 began and ended with MkLeo, and things are shaping up to make 2018 the exact same way: with victories at GENESIS 5, EVO Japan 2018, and the first Umebura Tokaigi Qualifier, the triple-main monster took gold at three of the four tournaments he played in this season and finds himself solidly on top of the projected rankings. A select few players were able to push him to the brink over this stretch; Dabuz's Bayonetta gave him the momentum he needed to force a Game 5 in GENESIS winners' semis, and Abadango fought tooth and nail to do the same in winners' finals of EVO Japan. But no one else at those three events took more than one game per set against the prodigal prince. His only fall from first place came at Niconico Tokaigi 2018, where he lost two sets to Nairo after reaching Grand Finals on winners' side, but it'll take a lot more than that to knock him down from his mighty 1st place on the Cloudhead Live Rank.

Dabuz (CLR 2)

But that's hardly to say MkLeo is going uncontested. At Frostbite 2018, the second largest tournament of the season, the big winner was Dabuz, the face of Rosalina in Smash 4 and perhaps the most consistent man in the game. He was faced with an onslaught of Bayonetta and Cloud in top 8, two of the very few matchups that Rosalina is not considered to have a clear advantage in. Where other players would have faltered, Dabuz prevailed, tossing aside Tweek, Mistake, and Tweek again en route to a frosty first place finish. MkLeo remains the only true blemish on his record, as he's proven capable against every other opponent he's played; but after coming closer than ever in the aforementioned GENESIS set, Dabuz's time to shine like a star might not be over yet.

Mistake (CLR 3)

ZeRo's departure naturally left a hole not only in the top spot, but also in the top 5, and getting there was in many ways anybody's game. But through the first two months, that spot seems to be solidly in Mistake's grasp. After an unexpected loss in pools to the Mexican Game & Watch Maister at GENESIS, he put on an absolute clinic and made a near-unstoppable losers' run to second place, blowing through players like Dabuz, Nairo, and Salem without breaking a sweat. His run to 3rd place at Frostbite was similarly impressive, as he picked up victories over Mr. R and Fatality, among others. While he started off last season hot, too, he didn't see blistering success quite like this. If things hold up, Canada's own high-flying Bayonetta has more than a shot at breaking into the top 10 or even top 5 for the first time of his career.

Other Top Threats

Nairo (CLR 4); 4th at GENESIS 5, 1st at Tokaigi 2018; wins on MkLeo, KEN, ESAM / Tweek (CLR 5); 2nd at Frostbite 2018, 1st at King of the Springs 3; wins on Salem, Dabuz, Mr. R / Salem (CLR 7); 3rd at GENESIS 5, 4th at Frostbite 2018; wins on Ally, komorikiri, CaptainZack.

On The Rise

Fatality (CLR 6)

Fatality is everything that Smash loves about Captain Falcon and more. He plays faster than anyone can keep up with, knocks out opponents' stocks in the blink of an eye, and implements deep strategy and intelligent plays that can't be understated, no matter how much they might get lost in the flashiness. When he's on, he's an unstoppable juggernaut of skill and style. However, Fatality wasn't in top gear for much of last season; aside from a rather isolated B-tier victory at Showdown: Battle Royale 2, the fatal Falcon saw a series of middling placements at best and landed at 38th on the PGR. This year, however, he's quickly turned it around. A solid 17th place at GENESIS served as a springboard into 5th place at Frostbite and 2nd place at C-tier King of the Springs 3, between which he ran down top-level players like Salem, Dabuz, and Cosmos. If Fatality can stay as hot as he is right now, he could see an end-of-season result similar to the 15th place he earned in the PGRv3 season - or better.

falln (CLR 10)

Much like Fatality, falln had always improved upon his PGR placement up until this past season, where he landed at 41st in the world after being ranked 28th the season prior. However, he stated that he was unconcerned, and predicted a big 2018 for himself after a quiet PGRv4. So far, he's made good on that promise. The master Luma puppetmaster started the year off in a big way, scoring top 8 at a supermajor for the first time in his life with a 7th place at GENESIS, with WaDi, Raito, Lima, and Ally among the list of names that falln took down to get there. He followed it up with a resounding 1st place at Noods Noods Noods, a local C-tier, where he double-eliminated Elegant and kicked off what's become a 13-tournament win streak in SoCal at the time of this writing. He'll be fighting against the toughest region in the world to keep up these results, but with the level of play he's shown so far, it's a safe bet to say he's up to the task.

shky (CLR 14)

It wouldn't surprise most people to say that two months into the season, a highly skilled Zero Suit Samus player has collected wins on Abadango, ANTi, AC, and two wins on Tsu. Nairo, Marss, and Choco, the holy trinity of Smash 4 ZSS mains, are all such strong players that wins like that sound anywhere from reasonable to expected. But this resume belongs to none of them - instead it's shky, the new bounty hunter on the block who's quickly built himself up as one of Japan's most dangerous competitors. He's made waves by scoring 13th place at Umebura T.A.T., 3rd place at the Umebura Tokaigi Qualifiers, and most remarkably, 7th place at EVO Japan 2018, the largest Japanese Smash 4 tournament ever. Consistency is hard to have in Japan, where the skill gap is so small between players that you can drown in pools one day and win it all the next. But if he's done it for two months, he can certainly do it for four more; and if he does, we might be talking about the holy quaternity by the end of the season.

Others On the Rise

Nietono (CLR 9); 3rd at Umebura T.A.T, 4th at EVO Japan 2018, 5th at Tokaigi 2018; wins on KEN, Shuton, Choco / Choco (CLR 12); 2nd at Umebura T.A.T, 5th at EVO Japan 2018, 13th at Tokaigi 2018; wins on KEN, Kameme, AC / Kameme (CLR 16); 5th at Umebura T.A.T, 3rd at EVO Japan 2018, 5th at Umebura Tokaigi Qualifier 1; wins on komorikiri, ESAM, Choco.

Bounceback Candidates

Larry Lurr (CLR 21)

The best Fox in the business certainly isn't out of the game just yet, especially this early into the year, but Larry Lurr hasn't seen his trademark success in this season thus far. His GENESIS experience ended at an early 17th, following a loss to Javi in pools and another to Lima in top 32. While his Tokaigi outing was better, earning 5th place out of 16 at the stacked invitational, his double elimination at the hands of Tsu- was similarly uncharacteristic, having a clear character advantage and a formerly perfect record against his opponent. No Fun Allowed, a Texas C-tier, is the only significant blemish on his record; he bowed out at 5th place again, this time in major upsets to native Texan players Cyanide and Jumbolias. With a dearth of guaranteed nationals until a boom in May and June, Larry Lurr might have to wait a while to get his rank back to where he wants it, but chances are, you'd be wise to put your money on a return to form rather than a repeat of this past stretch.

VoiD (CLR 58)


While a sub-top 50 ranking jumps out at you when it's attached to a marquee name like VoiD's, it is important to note that he missed GENESIS 5 due to sickness, a tournament which would have likely doubled his current point total had he played. But the tournaments he attended over the course of these two months did not result in the numbers that he usually produces. At Noods Noods Noods, he entered top 8 in the first seed, as projected. Two quick losses to Eon and MrConCon, however, sent him to an unexpected 5th place. His invitation to Tokaigi went comparatively better, as he defeated Choco and recieved respectable losses to KEN and Kirihara. Still, however, anything less than 1st place stands as a missed opportunity for more, and such a missed opportunity has not treated VoiD well in the standings. Once VoiD returns to PGR play, he'll need one of the big performances he's famous for to climb back up in the standings.

Other Bounceback Candidates

Ally (CLR 29); 9th at GENESIS 5, 9th at Tokaigi 2018; no PGR wins / CaptainZack (CLR 55); 17th at Frostbite 2018; wins on Charliedaking, dyr / Mr E (CLR 62); 25th at Frostbite 2018, 3rd at Xanadu; no PGR wins.

March Tournament Preview

All listed tiers may increase before their given registration deadlines. Links to the tournaments' or challonge pages are attached to the heading names.

Midwest Mayhem 11 (C-tier)

Image result for midwest mayhem 11

When & Where: St. Charles, IL, USA; March 9th-11th, 2018

Who's Coming: MkLeo (CLR 1), Dabuz (CLR 2), Cosmos (CLR 17), Darkshad (CLR 27), tyroy (CLR 37), NAKAT (CLR N/A), IxisNaugus (CLR N/A), Glutonny (CLR N/A)

What's Up: Europe is known as perhaps the most underrated Smash 4 scene in the world, with tons of good players hampered by a lack of top travel in and a lack of travel to majors abroad. Midwest Mayhem 11 is out to change that, flying out the winners of six European qualifiers; so far, IxisNaugus, Glutonny, S1, Griffith, and quiK are coming out to enjoy the mayhem. They'll recieve a warm welcome from the toughest fighters in the business, including MkLeo and Dabuz, currently the two top players on the CLR. No matter how it goes, this will be a big event - so tune in, if Europe for it.

EGLX 2018 (C-tier)

Image result for eglx 2018

When & Where: Toronto, ON, Canada; March 9th-11th, 2018

Who's Coming: Mistake (CLR 3), Larry Lurr (CLR 21), Ally (CLR 29), SuperGirlKels (CLR N/A), Blacktwins (CLR N/A)

What's Up: Canada's biggest gaming expo is back, with some of the nation's best competing for the top spot. Mistake, playing for his home crowd, is the favorite to take it all, but Ally, SuperGirlKels, Blacktwins, and the SoCal invader Larry Lurr all pose a threat to him and the almost one hundred players in the bracket. Head over to the true north for EGLX and see a host of strong players who certainly aren't free.

Sumabato 24 (C-tier)

When & Where: Osaka, Japan; March 24th, 2018

Who's Coming: Tsu- (CLR 13), komorikiri (CLR 23), Raito (CLR 31), Paseriman (CLR 35), Ri-ma (CLR 38), Sigma (CLR 54), HIKARU (CLR 57), Taiheita (CLR N/A)

What's Up: One of Japan's two staple monthly series, this Sumabato might turn out to be one of the biggest in recent memory. komorikiri, Tsu-, and Raito stand tall to defend their ranks on the PGR, but Japan has more players than any other region that can take down their top ranked fighters in one fell swoop, and there's too many to count that are already signed up. Your reputation doesn't matter at Sumabato - only whether or not you can keep up with the competition, every game at a time.

Full Bloom 4 (C-tier)

When & Where: Bloomington, IN, USA; March 24th-25th, 2018

Who's Coming: Darkshad (CLR 27), Samsora (CLR 30), Zinoto (CLR 45), Locus (CLR 73), ANTi (CLR N/A), Ryuga (CLR N/A)

What's Up: The Midwest's best will be showing up for business at Full Bloom, including the likes of Darkshad, Zinoto, and Ryuga. Joining them are top visitors like ANTi, Samsora, and Locus, the latter of whom is set to throw down with Darkshad in a battle of the two best Ryu players. With more of the region's top players yet to sign up, this could turn into one of the most competitive events of the month.

Smash Masters League: Battle for Vegas (C-tier)

When & Where: Las Vegas, NV, USA; March 24th-25th, 2018

Who's Coming: MkLeo (CLR 1), Cosmos (CLR 17), Larry Lurr (CLR 21), Z (CLR N/A), Urameshi (CLR N/A)

What's Up: eSports Arena is kicking off the grand opening of their Las Vegas location with a good old-fashioned Smash 4 slugfest. The $15,000 prize pot on the line has drawn big names like MkLeo, Cosmos, and Larry Lurr in just a few days of registration, and with just under a month left to sign up, you'd better believe this battle's gonna get a lot bigger and a lot more intense. This is going to be an event you won't want to miss out on, so tune in to see what happens in Vegas.

Collision XV (C-tier)

When & Where: Parsippany-Troy Hills, NJ, USA; March 31st, 2018

Who's Coming: Dabuz (CLR 2), Nairo (CLR 4), Shoyo James (CLR 51), Mr E (CLR 61), 6WX (CLR 99), Raffi-X (CLR N/A), Biddy (CLR N/A)

What's Up: New Jersey's premier Smash 4 series is back! While the Tristate tyrants Dabuz and Nairo at the forefront, right on their heels are a swath of competitors who are more than capable of taking them down, led by Mr E, 6WX, and Shoyo James. Smack-dab in one of the most competitive but criminally underrepresented regions in the nation, anything can happen at this tournament when these top-quality players collide.

All That Said...

March is set to be a competitive month, filled with slobberknocker regionals and without a clear-cut headliner thus far. Smash Masters League, with $15,000 on the line, has the best chance to turn into the B or A-tier centerpiece of the spring, but each and every event on the schedule is going to be a fight to the finish, and each and every one is going to have a resounding effect on the rankings. Clear your schedules and don't miss a minute!

With all that said... enjoy the show, and happy Smashing!

-Cloudhead :)

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