CLM 2023 Act 1 Power Rankings

Matthew “mattpopa” Popa

With that, the end of Act 1 of 2023 for the Chicagoland Melee Power Rankings comes to a close.

This year we decided to change from quarterly seasons to trimesters, allowing for longer seasons and thus more data for head to head comparisons. Moving forward, the minimum requirement for events will be increased to 8, however we are removing the requirement for a ranked player to be in attendance in order to make an event PR-eligible.

I want to give a huge congratulations to the players that made it onto the rankings this season. The community has been flourishing and the competition has only been getting stronger with many familiar faces returning to the top 15. I also want to thank those that did their civic duty by submitting their ballots. We had a whopping 40 submitted ballots for this season!

One last special thank you to those that helped put this ranking together through writing player blurbs, maintaining the website, and organizing the whole process.

If you haven’t already, check out the interactive PR graphic.

#15: Frost | Average: 14.56

Steering Samus back into the PR at a time when the character has become rarer in Melee, Frost had a mixed season, exploring depths and highs as dynamic as the landscapes explored by famed space bounty hunter Samus Aran.

The lows were losing records against most of Chicago’s finest, from Michael (0-1) to macdaddy69 (0-2), but the highlights are in winning sets over players anyone in Chicago would be happy to beat, including Skerzo (1-0), Hyunnies (1-0), and four times over Killablue. (4-1) This record helped bring Frost to third place finishes at Midlane Melees 72 and 73.

If Frost can improve his record against the high level field of CLM, the future will be bright for HugS86’s favorite Chicagoland Melee player.
Matthew “Dr. Hunk” Koester

#14: Eggy | Average: 14.32

Eggy had a big fall this season, but he is still able to keep it together against some of the Chicagoland’s finest. Attending mostly Tripoint Smash this season, Eggy did not win a single event in Act 1 of 2023.

He managed to keep winning records over Mekk (1-0), Frost (1-0) and strivers like Dragoid (1-0) and Olivia (2-0), but Mekk marks his only winning record over Chicago’s top 10.

Players he used to be competitive against like Ferocitii now seem to give him trouble (0-2), as did the deadly Michael (0-3) and DannyPhantom (0-1), whose Sheik counterpick looked dominant versus Eggy at Tripoint Smash 184.
Matthew “Dr. Hunk” Koester

#13: Scooby | Average: 14.2

Scooby broke through and made their PR debut this season at 13th, as the only player to make their debut on the PR this season. 

It was not an easy path to get here. The Sheik held losing records against many of this season’s ranked players, with the exception of an even record against Killablue (2-2), and winning records over macdady69 (2-1) and Frost (1-0). 

Still, some of these records show silver linings, including single set wins over Unsure (1-3), Hyunnies (1-2) and Azzu (1-2). Even then, matchups may not tell the whole story. 

Scooby’s strength might have been most apparent at the April 5th Midlane this year, where they shrugged off a Winners Semis loss to Michael to run through Unsure, Olivia and CLM’s formerly ranked Yoshi Dz to place second.
Matthew “Dr. Hunk” Koester

#12: macdaddy69 | Average: 12.2

Macdaddy69 continued his momentum from his debut season, and made his way to 12th place on the Act 1 PR to kick off 2023. Right out of the gates at his second CLM event of the season, macdaddy took 1st place at Midlane Melee 67, storming through the bracket right up to grands where he played a 10 game nailbiter with GI0GOAT.

Macdaddy ended up 2-1 against GI0 the season, but this was far from his only accomplishment. Macdaddy69 has accrued a series of strong wins, such as a 2-0 record against Unsure, a win against Hyunnies, and a 2-0 record against Frost (in addition to several wins out of state). 

Macdaddy is looking to attend more events and capture more wins in Act 2, and if he can replicate his best moments from Act 1 in the future, we may see him raptor boosting right into the single digits of the power rankings.
Kevin “tenacity” Donnelly

#11: Forest | Average: 11.72

Having been ranked once last summer, Champaign alumnus Forest makes his return to the Chicago PR. Ranked one spot higher from that time, Forest has grown as a player. 

The Marth main now boasts wins on PR-level Sheiks such as Scooby and lovestory4a in what has historically been a problem matchup for the Marth. Forest’s best wins are on space animals though, having winning records on Killablue and Unsure, and even going even with Skerzo. Despite this, Forest’s hardest opponent appears to be Ober, who he went 0-3 against, as well as some of the other top Marths of the region like Hyunnies and Arpy.
Evan “Larfen” Himes

#10: GI0GOAT | Average: 9.96

GI0GOAT’s season was a movie, filled with triumphs, heartbreaks, and several instances that showed CLM just what an ADHD fox can do. With several podium performances throughout the season, GI0GOAT’s first half of the season was stellar, taking 2nd place at a TPS, 3rd place at a capped Midlane 64, and being a hit away from striking gold at Midlane 67. These runs left GI0GOAT with a myriad of strong wins, including sets over Unsure (1-2), Hyunnies (2-0), Azzu (1-0), and Killablue (1-1). 

Despite an overall strong season, GI0 found themself losing two spots on the PR this season due to the return of some of CLM’s top talents. While they did fall to a lower place on the PR, GI0’s peaks are clear indicators of their ability to take wins and perhaps entire tournaments next season.
Kevin “tenacity” Donnelly

#9: Azzu | Average: 8.72

The true wildcard of Chicago’s scene returns on this season’s PR at 9th. After not making it on the previous PR, Azzu returned with a somewhat rekindled competitive spirit. Often criticized for not playing seriously at locals, Azzu decided to shut the critics up by letting his gameplay speak for him with several solid performances in Act 1.

Azzu made several top 4 bracket finishes this past season between DeSmash and Midlane. In this time, Azzu scored wins on the likes of Killablue, Unsure, Dragoid, macdaddy69, Olivia, Scooby, FoxCap, Forest, Frost, and many more of CLM’s best this season.

Perhaps the most impressive tournament run of Azzu’s season came from Out of the Blue. Azzu only dropped only one game in his RR pool at this event. After falling to fellow CLM great, Shabo in the second round of the winners bracket, Azzu then stormed through the Losers Bracket, sweeping Knubs and lovestory4a, and taking a 3-1 win over Preeminent to qualify for top 8, before finally falling to Slowking. Regardless of which character or characters this veteran of the scene chooses to play on any given night, this season proves as a reminder that no one is safe from the “Bird.”
John “Dragoid” Sori

#8: Hyunnies | Average: 8.32

Hyunnies made his return to the Chicagoland Melee PR at a career highest 8th place, his first time reaching single digits, and with some stellar performances to go along with it. 

In Act 1, the self-proclaimed “Skerzo Slayer” took multiple wins against the top fox (2-3), almost taking a Midlane Melee title in the midst. Hyunnies had unreal consistency at the events he attended, with only one loss to an eligible player outside the PR, Fasthands, who he still kept an even 1-1 record against. Hyunnies got ever so close to tasting the gold at so many events that, after a break, we may see CLM’s greatest swordsman start taking brackets in addition to taking names wherever he goes.
Kevin “tenacity” Donnelly

#7: Killablue | Average: 6.72

Killablue has slowly turned into a player that no one in Chicago feels safe from. Most players have dropped a set to the former Champaign Falco at some point this season, and if they haven’t it’s probably just because they haven’t given him enough chances. 

Only Michael and Ober hold clean winning records over this bird and represent his biggest roadblocks moving forward. On the flip side, Killablue also holds few dominant records on any of the PR, evenly splitting sets with four ranked players (Unsure, Hyunnies, Ferocitii, GI0GOAT) and dropping sets to a few more. If Killablue can even out his inconsistencies he can be a truly frightening player.
Evan “Larfen” Himes

#6: Unsure | Average: 6.44

Making a six spot jump on the PR, Unsure’s season saw huge gains as the box fox found himself full-hopping over much of the CLM field. 

Unsure’s consistency was key to his success this season, with positive records over many of CLM’s finest. Unsure found wins over top talent such as Skerzo and Ober, with few bad losses. Belt’s dad’s high attendance and strong records against players like Dragoid (3-0), Hyunnies (3-1), GI0GOAT (2-1) and Scooby (3-1) rounded out his case for a jump in placement this season. 

In Act 1 of 2023, Unsure proved to be one of CLM’s finest foxes, and he looks to reach an all time high in the coming months. Can he dethrone the spacie king of Chicago and reign as top fox?
Kevin “tenacity” Donnelly

#5: Ferocitii | Average: 6.12

CLM’s premier rectangle-wrangling Peach/Falco/Fox/Marth/Donkey Kong quadruple main came into 2023 with a burst of energy, winning Tripoint Smash 175 in January before winning his first Midlane the following Wednesday, and Scrims Showdown the Monday after that. 

There have been other highlights since, such as the Peach’s not-eligible-for-rankings 13th place finish at The Coinbox #50, beating ChuDat, and a second place finish to Skerzo at Midlane in April. 

If the Peach wants to keep rising in-region, issues with high level rivals like Skerzo and Mekk could remain a problem. Nonetheless, this season marks another jump up the PR for Ferocitii, who has made his way from being regionally unranked to Top 5 over the past two years as he has transitioned from Gamecube controller to the infamous hTangl.
Matthew “Dr. Hunk” Koester

#4: Mekk | Average: 4.44

Mekk’s announcement late last year that he would abandon his Captain Falcon and begin playing solely Ganondorf for a year came as a shock to many in the Melee community. Even more shockingly, his results in-region are as good as ever.

Last season showed Mekk hit a high standard of consistency, maintaining a 3-0 record over the likes of Ferocitii, Azzu, Unsure and GI0GOAT, while managing to take two crucial sets off of Skerzo. Even Shabo, whose attendance was not high enough to be ranked this season, failed to vanquish Mekk at Midlane Melee 65. Shabo would later get his comeuppance against the Ganondorf at Out of the Blue.

Since the end of this PR period, the chaingrabbing, forward-airing and sometimes even up-tilting Gerudo King has even had contentious sets with Mekk’s demon Michael. Thus far, the Puff has held the upper hand, but Mekk remains a threat to any player setting foot in his domain.
Matthew “Dr. Hunk” Koester

#3: Ober | Average: 3.52

Easily one of the region’s most consistent players, Ober’s calculated bird continues to struggle against Michael (0-2) and against Chicago’s reigning “Elden Ring Boss” Skerzo (1-4), but his record outside of those two players this season was all but spotless.

Be they Killablue (3-0), Unsure (2-1), Azzu (2-0), Forest (3-0) or Frost (1-0), nearly all of this past season’s notable threats have struggled with the Falco player. Naturally, this kind of strength results in tournament wins, be they over Unsure at Midlane 69 or Killablue at Midlane 74.
Matthew “Dr. Hunk” Koester

#2: Michael | Average: 1.76

There was a time where it seemed like, just like the era of five Gods, the era of Michael was over. His results remained strong, but his attendance had fallen off in Chicagoland. Today, while Skerzo remains capable of trouncing the Puff, few others are. 

Outside of dropping a set to unranked player Certified at Tripoint Smash 182, Michael’s losses this season came only to Skerzo and Wisconsin’s best player, DannyPhantom, both of whom held 2-0 winning records over the Jigglypuff main. Beyond that, he holds dominant records over Ober (2-0), Mekk (3-0), FoxCap (2-0), Killablue (2-0) and GI0GOAT (4-0). 

If Skerzo has held his position in the scene despite some inconsistency, Michael’s consistent results have defined his season. That said, Michael only attended seven PR events in Act 1, giving his rivals fewer chances to upset him than many other players on this list.
Matthew “Dr. Hunk” Koester

#1: Skerzo | Average: 1.09

Even as rival Illinois foxes like Zamu and Shabo remain a threat, Skerzo’s orange fox is still Chicago’s king. Even if he is prone to dropping the occasional match to someone below his level, Skerzo has shown the composure to pull through where it counts. 

Keeping positive records over most of Chicago’s upper crust, Skerzo’s biggest problems might be from Chicago’s up-and-comers. He holds even records with Umma, Forest and Josh, and lost his only set against Frost this past season. Some of this can be chalked up to Skerzo’s high levels of attendance, however, and even when knocked down early in a bracket, Skerzo has shown the ability to make grueling losers runs. 

Skerzo won seven Midlane Melee brackets last season in addition to an installment of Tripoint Smash, making it hard to see his position in the city as anything short of top dog. Could returning threats like Smash Papi and Shabo threaten this dominance? Tune in to Midlane Melee every Wednesday to find out!
Matthew “Dr. Hunk” Koester

Thank you for checking out the 2023 Act 1 Power Rankings for Chicagoland Melee. Once again thank you to all those involved in making this possible. Follow @MeleeChicago on Twitter for updates and if you still haven’t seen it, check out the interactive PR graphic.

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