CLM 2023 Act 3 Power Rankings

Matthew “mattpopa” Popa


This marks the close of the first 3 act year Chicagoland Melee has seen, and what a year it has been. In all 3 acts we’ve had a familiar rotation of our top 3 in Michael, Skerzo, and Ober, with Michael claiming the top spot in our finale. Rounding out the middle of the rankings, we’ve seen players like Ferocitii, Unsure, Killablue and now Josh taking his rightful place at the top of this tier. We’ve seen players come, we’ve seen players go. Some more unique characters have appeared this year with the likes of Yoshi coming from Peanutphobia, Samus from Frost, and even a Ganon appearing in Act 1 with Mekk taking on a new character for 2023.

It’s been a wonderful year for Chicagoland Melee thanks to Midlane Melee and Tripoint Smash providing consistent local tournaments for our melee enjoyers. I want to give a special shout out to tenacity (all lowercase!) for not only taking full control of Midlane and helping out in the CLM community, but also bringing us a new, free venue regional tournament in Out of the Blue. With 2 installments happening last year, the third edition is already planned to happen June 8th, 2024 (get signed up!).

Now, if you look at the first player to start our introductions, you’ll notice their rank is 13th. That’s right, due to public vote, our rankings no longer extend to 15 players, but top out at 13. It seems that the CLM PR is ever-changing and for this season, possibly rightfully so as attendance seems to have slowed down a bit.

I want to give a thank you to everyone who has been involved in this whole process. Thank you to the community for being amazing. Thank you to those that submitted ballots. Thank you to the blurb writers and thank God for letting us enjoy life.

If you haven’t already, check out the interactive PR graphic. Without further ado here are your top 13 players for CLM’s 2023 Act 3 Power Rankings.

#13: Fasthands | Average: 12.23

13 is a new lucky number for Chicagoland Melee’s first PR’d Mewtwo. After an incredibly close ballot, Fasthands makes his debut on the Power Rankings at 13, after an impressive season with several upsets. Chicago’s clip channel connoisseur managed to take wins against Unsure (1-0), Ferocitii (1-3), Killablue (1-2), Certified (3-1), and natebug01 (1-0). At Midlane 97, Fasthands was able to beat 3 of these players back to back to back, on his way to a 3rd place finish, kicking off his season with a bang, putting him in prime position to break through onto the PR for the first time, which is what he did in Act 3 of 2023.

Fasthands streamed his ballot, placing himself at 10th, and while he didn’t make it to that spot on the actual PR, he had moments this season that showed potential for him to reach the top 10 of Chicagoland Melee, or even further, if he can continue to propel Mewtwo to new heights. Does Fasthands have what it takes to show that Mewtwo is the ultimate life form? We’ll find out next year if he keeps up the pace he closed out 2023 with.
Kevin “tenacity” Donnelly

#12: ORLY | Average: 12.14

ORLY, according to ssbwiki, finds himself on his 25th Chicago PR at 12th place, a rank he was first given back in 2010. 14 years later, ORLY is still showing why he’s a force in  Chicagoland, taking sets against Josh, who he went 4-3 with, natebug01 (2-0), Forest (2-0), and Trevor at various TPS events. When he traveled to events other than Tripoint, ORLY had strong performances, with 5th at both Cream City Convergence and Honeypot 6, taking wins against players like Flatline and Grab2Win. 

ORLY’s performance in Chicagoland and in surrounding regions continued to build on his multi-decade spanning resume, and he shows no signs of stopping the grind going into 2024. While he was unable to take a set off Michael this season, which garnered him many strong ballots in Act 2, he was still able to capture yet another placement on the PR, and cap off the year with a solid Act 3. With longevity like ORLY’s, we can look forward to 2050, when ORLY is making an appearance on his 115th PR, still taking wins from CLM’s top 5.
Kevin “tenacity” Donnelly

#11: natebug01 | Average: 11.36

Chicagoland has seen it’s fair share of strong Jigglypuff’s in its history: AnDaLe, Velynn, Mr. F, Michael, Prince Abu, and most recently Josh, but never before has there been three puffs on one PR. natebug01 changed that in Act 3 of 2023 with a series strong wins against many of Chicago’s finest throughout the entire season, such as Josh, Fluid, IMDRR, Ferocitii (2-1), lovestory4a (2-2), Killablue, Certified (2-3), Azzu, and many, many more. These performances were enough to show CLM ballot voters why he deserved a spot on the final PR of the year.

While natebug01 typically plays Jigglypuff, his Fox is no joke either, and he was able to capture several strong wins when he decided to break out the top tier at events. With the two top tiers at his fingertips, as well as his willingness to make the drive between Chicago, Atlanta, and a handful of other places in between, natebug01 showed brilliance in his PR debut. With peaks as high as his, it leads to the thought that he may skyrocket in placement with the upcoming season if he can continue to take down even more pillars of Chicago’s current pantheon. 
Kevin “tenacity” Donnelly

#10: Certified | Average: 10.18

In their final season of Chicago residency before moving to Atlanta, Certified made the CLM PR for the second season in a row. Certified’s standout performance this season came at Bodied 6, with a 9th place finish at the Michigan regional, after taking wins against Vorporal and JCubez, capping off a 9 set run after placing in Division 3 after pools. They also captured strong wins at home in Chicago, splitting a handful of sets with Unsure (3-3), and taking winning records over the course of the Act against Perfume (4-2), Killablue (3-2).

Certified played the role of single digit gatekeeper well throughout the season, and showed their ability to make upsets in or out of region, but unfortunately could not break into the top cut of CLM before they head south. It’s in Atlanta’s best interest to watch out for this fast improving Fox, who we fully expect to make waves in the Georgia Melee competition. We wish them the best in their move and look forward to seeing them rise through the ranks of their new home’s scene.
Kevin “tenacity” Donnelly

#9: perfume/lovestory4a | Average: 8.95

Perfume, better known as lovestory4a, has had a storied path on the way to 9th on the PR. Showing a lot of promise earlier in the year, he has quietly yet steadily climbed the Chicago rankings to become the current top Sheik player in our region. 

lovestory has also managed to claim the title of “Highest Attendance” this season which paints a detailed picture of his rise on the CLM PR. Despite attending more events than anyone else, lovestory4a has also had a striking consistency against players ranked below him, and the pool of players who can beat him has steadily shrunk.

While it’s unclear what’s next for the premier Chicago Sheik, there are a lot of signs pointing upwards including a recent Skerzo win and the several close matches against Michael.

#8: Killablue | Average: 8.18

To no one’s surprise one of Chicago’s perennial Falco mains returns to the Chicagoland Melee power rankings. Killablue never ceases to prove himself as an incredible player, as locally, he maintained nearly perfect records against any player lower ranked or not ranked with very few exceptions. However, I’d like to focus on what I think was the highlight of his season and perhaps even his melee career so far.

2023 found Chicago hosting a new regional series, Out of The Blue, with the 2nd installment occuring in November. The event shaped up to be an exceptionally stacked midwest regional, where Killablue was able to spread his wings and fly. Killablue was seeded 28th, and he decided that he wanted to play more tourney melee than just enough to meet his seed. He defeated Seal (known Falco slayer), fell to the not-so-hidden boss 100 Grand in WR1 of top 64, and would go on to defeat Umma, The Meadow, DannyPhantom, and Chango, before finally falling to another local Chicago legend, Skerzo, for 9th.

As we bring in a new year, a new melee season, and life’s ever changing challenges; there is one thing you can bet on like clockwork. Killablue is going to attend a ton of tournaments, and he is going to always be a threat.
John “Dragoid” Sori

#7: Ferocitii | Average: 6.91

Chicago’s most famous, or infamous, Peach-Falco-Marth-Fox-Donkey Kong player took a bit of a hit in the rankings as 2023 reached its final stretch. Jigglypuff mains Josh and Michael, perhaps unsurprisingly, gave him the most trouble, with both holding a 2-0 record over the Peach player. Ober, who he had traded sets with in Acts I and II, held a 3-0 record over him. Meanwhile, up and comers like Perfume (AKA Lovestory4a) have shown to be able to consistently beat the turnip puller.

It’s not all doom and gloom, though, Peach Nation. Ferocitii has been able to hold off up and comers like Certified (2-0) and Fasthands (3-1), and hold steady against the likes of Killablue (3-2).

Ferocitii remains a threat whether at Midlane Melee, where he never missed a Top 8, or at regionals like Out of the Blue 3, where he was able to take out Chicago gatekeepers like IMDRR and Dragoid to finish a respectable 17th. Will 2024 show the floaty rise to new heights? Only time will tell.
Matthew “Dr. Hunk” Koester

#6: IMDRR | Average: 5.95

Indiana native IMDRR found himself moving to the Chicagoland area for work and decided to take the opportunity to test out the CLM waters. While he did manage to take a set off of Michael, he struggled against our strong Jigglypuff players with a 1-2 record against CLM’s #1, a 1-1 record against natebug01, and a staggering 0-7 record against Josh. Despite these struggles, IMDRR found success in other places, managing to take wins on other local players: Unsure (1-0), perfume (4-0), Fasthands (1-0), Certified (2-0), and ORLY (3-0), showing why he deserves to be Chicagoland Melee’s #6.

Furthermore, when presented with opportunity, IMDRR capitalized. The Donkey Kong legend from Denmark, Moe, attended Tripoint before Out of the Blue 2 where he was defeated by IMDRR 3-1. At the ever present Indiana regional, BOPME, IMDRR defeated Essy 3-1 there, too. Moving forward, only time will tell if IMDRR will be able to figure out the pink balloon, but regardless, you can never count him out be it in his new home region or otherwise.
John “Dragoid” Sori

#5: Unsure | Average: 5.64

For Unsure’s birthday, which took place a day before Act 3’s close, he managed to match his highest placement ever on the CLM PR, at 5th place. This wasn’t CLM’s forefather’s first time breaking into the top 5, but it was the first time he made it so high after switching to a digital controller. After 98 Midlanes, several second places and heartbreak resets, Unsure finally took first place at Midlane Melee 99, and then secured the two-peat at Midlane 100. If anyone hasn’t seen it, I would highly recommend watching the end of game 1 of Unsure vs Ferocitii in Grands of Midlane 99, on Fluid’s twitter. That clip embodies the aer of confidence that Unsure carried throughout the season, leading to his fifth place ranking.

With wins against Josh, Ober, Pleeba, Fluid (3-1), Ferocitii (3-2), Peanutphobia (2-2), and Killablue, Unsure continued to be a consistent force this season, with only 2 losing records to players ranked below him, being IMDRR (0-1) and Fasthands (0-1). Unsure finally got a taste of gold at Midlane in Act 3, but his hunger for success far exceeds winning locals, as he looks to achieve his ultimate goal of becoming Top 100 in 2024. If Unsure can continue his consistency, and start taking over set records against CLM’s top echelon, Act 1 of 2024 could end up being a key stepping stone on his journey to top player stardom.
Kevin “tenacity” Donnelly

#4: Josh | Average: 3.91

Sir, a second Jigglypuff player whose tag is their first name has hit the Chicago PR. Josh has been ranked for two seasons now actually, but in Act III he was able to take a strong middle of the year and fortify his case to be part of CLM’s top five. The student of legendary Ohio Falco Flash has seen one of CLM’s greatest climbs to power this year, on some weeks even showing the ability to dethrone Michael as Chicagoland’s most fearsome floaty.

Josh’s record against Michael may be both one of the biggest signs of his strength as a player, but also of how much more he will have to accomplish if he wants to rise further in the Chicagoland ranks. The two Jigglypuffs played an insane 15 sets this past season, with only three sets in November going in Josh’s favor. That said, beating Michael at all is a huge accomplishment in and of itself.

Josh maintains positive or even records over much of the PR-eligible field, including Ober (1-0), Unsure (1-1), IMDRR (7-0), Ferocitii (2-0) and Perfume (5-0), although even 1-1 records against natebug and Forest show that he’s not quite the paragon of consistency that is Michael. One thing he does have in common with Michael is a troubled record against Tripoint Smash’s gatekeeper ORLY, who won four of the seven sets they played.
Matthew “Dr. Hunk” Koester

#3: Ober | Average: 3.14

Chicago’s top Falco found himself in the Windy City’s top three once again, this time at third, after another consistently strong season. At Riptide 2023, on his way to a 25th place finish, Ober beat Sirmeris, arguably his best win of the year, affirming his ability to those in and out of region that he’s more than capable of toppling the top 100. At home in Chicago, Ober was a powerful foil against the two players above him, being the only player to win multiple sets against both Michael and Skerzo. Ober also won the only set between himself and Smash Papi, another top 100 ranked Fox main, further bolstering his local resume.

Ober dominated the local scene, only losing sets to two Chicago-based players outside the top 7 on the CLM stats ranking, being Killablue, who he went 3-3 with, and Unsure, who he went 3-1 against. Outside of these two, he had flawless records with multiple set wins against Ferocitii, Perfume (lovestory4a), and Hyunnies, as well as every other remaining player he faced outside of the aforementioned top 7, who out of that group, only 3 made the attendance requirement for Act 3 2023. Overall, Ober demonstrated consistency against almost every active Chicago player, and showed he can take sets against those who are keeping him from taking the top spot in Chicago. With a promising third Act, Ober may take center stage and steal the spotlight going into 2024 if he can clean up the last few outliers.
Kevin “tenacity” Donnelly

#2: Skerzo | Average: 1.82

Throughout 2023 Skerzo has demonstrated his ability to be possibly the least consistent top player ever, but with a handful of losses in Act 2 to unranked players, he managed to get himself together for Act 3, and back into contention for CLM’s top spot. In Act 3, Skerzo only suffered two set losses to unranked/previously unranked players, and took sets against every player in CLM he faced except Ashley and Hyunnies. This season at home in Chicago, Skerzo went 3-3 with Michael, 4-2 with Ober, 2-0 against Q? and won his only sets against Josh and Unsure. Skerzo’s local performance was strong enough to garner a second place finish on Act 3’s PR, but his performance away from home put him in contention for number one, a race which lasted between him and Michael until the final event of the season.

Out of Region, Skerzo went ballistic, winning sets over ORLY and Peanutphobia, and two sets against DannyPhantom and Slowking to win Cream City Convergence in Wisconsin. In Indiana, Skerzo went on a monster run at Kill Roy, with almost his entire run being against CLM PR ballot/PR members or Top 100 players. At the IU hosted regional, Skerzo beat: Trevor, IMDRR, Drephen, Ossify, KJH, Free Palestine, and Essy, on his way to a second place finish. He also managed to beat MOF at The Off-Season 2 in Texas, and Bekvin twice at Mass Madness 44 in New England. Skerzo absolutely has potential to reclaim the top spot in the Windy City, he just needs to match his standard of play that he holds out of region with him back in Chicago. If he can do that, then he can absolutely be Chicago’s number one again.
Kevin “tenacity” Donnelly

#1: Michael | Average: 1.2

You can’t keep a good floaty down. They always rise to the top. The king of Tripoint Smash’s consistent attendance and performance played a big role this past season in elevating the Romeoville weekly into one of those most densely stacked weeklies around, an event where even if only seven people enter, five of them might be PR level.

If Skerzo has been able to rise to prominence as a high level Melee player despite being one of the game’s most inconsistent players, Michael may be his opposite. The powerful Puff lost to only a handful of players this past season. This exclusive list includes Skerzo, who he both beat and lost to three times, Josh, who he beat 12 of the 15 times they played, and Ober, who beat him three of the nine times they played. The Puff player’s most uncharacteristic loss may have been to IMDRR at Tripoint Smash 209, but even then, Michael maintains a 2-1 winning record over that player as well.

The days of Michael being a nationally renowned player seem to be in the background, but it’s clear that he can still hold his own against players out of state as well. At Riptide 2023, he was able to beat Preeminent and Lowercase Hero, two players who he has also beaten before at Tripoint, on his way to a very respectable 17th place finish. With the Jiggly Legend signed up for February’s Full Bloom 2024, perhaps we are due for a repeat of his legendary performance at that very event five years ago.
Matthew “Dr. Hunk” Koester

Thank you for checking out the 2023 Act 3 Power Rankings for Chicagoland Melee. Once again thank you to all those involved in making this possible. Join our Discord for updates and if you still haven’t seen it, check out the interactive PR graphic.

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