CLM 2024 Act 1 Power Rankings

Matthew “mattpopa” Popa

It’s a new year baby! The competition has ramped up these first few months in the first act of 2024 with a few older faces making it back into the spotlight. Some players are cementing their spots in the rank hierarchy and others are making moves in both directions. We don’t always have the most character variety from season to season, but it’s hard not to notice 2 different Yoshi players making the top 15 this act. I love Chicagoland Melee.

Huge thank you to those that help make all of this possible: Unsure for coordinating the community vote, Dr. Hunk, Fasthands, lovestory4a, and influenza for writing players blurbs, and a special thanks to tenacity for not only carrying the writing process, but also coordinating this process behind the scenes. Finally a big thanks to you, the community, for casting your ballots and giving these players their earned spots on the power rankings.

If you haven’t already, check out the interactive PR graphic. Without further ado here are your top 15 players for CLM’s 2024 Act 1 Power Rankings.

#15: GI0GOAT | Average: 14.89

By the skin of their teeth, and a .11 average differential, GI0GOAT returns to the Chicagoland Melee PR at 15th to kick off 2024. Despite a general step back from focusing on their Melee grind, GI0GOAT still managed to punch above their weight class. When not found in the doldrums of CS2 Premier queue or a Seinfeld watch party on Discord, GI0 can be found at Midlane giving any of your favorite CLM PR players a headache on their day.

Notably this season, GI0GOAT took sets against Unsure (1-2), bestprincess (1-1), Peanutphobia (1-3), Killablue (2-1), and Dragoid (2-0), making their case with these wins for a return to the top 15 echelon of the PR Ballot. They may have even been ranked higher, but some unfortunate losses to players like Dr. Hunk, Nephenee, and pajarito pequeño at Midlane 121 kept some voters from putting this technically cunning Fox any higher in their rankings. After a season full of drastic ups and downs, GI0GOAT is once again recognized by the people as a heavy hitter in Chicago, and with plans to return to their Melee improvement grind they may rise through the ranks again as they have in previous seasons.
Kevin “tenacity” Donnelly

#14: Dragoid | Average: 14.84

Back on the rankings as Chicago’s #14, CLM’s most recently rising bird was notably absent from the 2023 Act 3 PR after he took a step back from attending events, but has shown signs of a return to form in 2024. Dragoid’s start to 2024 came with solid wins and some incredibly close sets with strong players. His BOPME run for instance featured two intense game 5 sets back to back, with a win against CLM Punk, and a heartbreak loss to Seal, who would go on to beat Unsure right after. Despite this immediate shortcoming, Dragoid is optimistic about the prospect of reaching single digits on future Power Rankings this year, and is planning on getting his first non-local top 100 win as well. 

Throughout Act 1, Dragoid’s best wins came from his experience with the Peach matchup, taking down bestprincess, who he split sets 1-1 with, and Ferocitii, who he beat in their only set of the season. Additionally, Dragoid was able to take down a demon of his in Killablue, after 9 straight losses, as well as a set against Peanutphobia who he also went 1-1 with. Dragoid’s worst losses came at the hands of SoulOfficer and Basil, two unranked players, but he was able to take down a previous top 100 player as well in the same season. During a season with lower attendance and a few key losses, Dragoid demonstrated that after the rust is shaken off he’ll be ready to make upset after upset, until they aren’t even upsets anymore.
Kevin “tenacity” Donnelly

#13: ORLY | Average: 13.47

It’s making your heart pound. You look down at your controller. Why did he ledgedash falcon kick? Why did I get hit by it? The haze is broken by the CRT announcing the game is over. You’ve lost the set. Your heart is burning, but it does not seem to be beating anymore. Your ashes will scream for water. The next match for stream is called, again for ORLY.

ORLY has a set count (4-5) vs. our #3, Michael, that many prospective PR players would kill for. He also has taken sets from notables such as lovestory4a, Killablue, Jisp, and has 3 sets unanswered by Forest. A mainstay at Tripoint Smash in Romeoville, ORLY won the event twice over Michael and met him in grands in one more set for 2nd place. ORLY’s ability to keep up with a player of Michael’s caliber after years of Melee competition getting more and more cutthroat is undeniably impressive and has landed him at #12 on our 2024 Act 1 PR.

Outside of the venue, your heart is not the only thing burning. The American Spirit is lit, as shouting from inside calls, again for ORLY.
Ashley “influenza”

#12: Killablue | Average: 11.95

Through 13 events in Act 1 of 2024, Killablue made a strong case for himself on the CLM PR once more at rank 12. Dyno’s best friend had some key standout performances this season, with wins against most of the players on the PR Ballot, with wins reaching as high as rank 2, and relatively clean losses, with the worst of them coming at the hands of Phalanx. Killablue’s best runs of the season came at the HoP prelocal, where he beat Reesch and Forest on his way to placing second, and at Midlane 124, where he lovestory4a twice, Arpy, Forest, and Ober, on his way to another second place finish. 

Some of KIllablue’s best wins and records in Chicago this season were between himself and Ober (1-1), Unsure (1-1), Josh (1-1), and lovestory4a (2-0). While Killablue’s rank suffered this season, as he dropped from rank 8 to 12 between Act 3 of 2023 and now, twas largely due to just how stacked our PR is this season. However, this increase in competition doesn’t mean that it’s impossible for Killablue to get back to the higher end of the PR and start taking the top spot at events again, as he’s proven time and again in various instances. We can’t wait to see more of both Enrique and Dyno in Act 2!
Kevin “tenacity” Donnelly

#11: Peanutphobia | Average: 11.32

After a break swapping smash for CS2 and Super Monkey Ball, Peanutphobia returns to the Chicagoland Melee PR at 11th in Act 1 of 2024. Peanut went on a streak of 4th place finishes, with the majority of his runs throughout the Act resulting in top 8 finishes, with his best three placements coming back to back to back at Midlane 117, 118, and Tripoint 226, all at 4th. These runs were nothing to scoff at either, with strong wins coming at each of them such as taking down bestprincess and Forest at TPS 226, beating Knubs., and Dragoid at Midlane 118, and GI0GOAT, Nox, Fry, and dz at Midlane 117. 

Peanutphobia’s return was a strong one, despite not being able to reclaim the top 5 spot that he captured on his debut after moving to Chicago. Peanutphobia’s best records were against a handful of the aforementioned players, and he was also able to take sets against Skerzo, Phalanx, and Anxious, helping solidify his placement at 11th on this season’s PR. With less out of region attendance, Peanut had less opportunities to make big waves aside from at Midlane and the rare TPS appearance, but he has already started Act 2 off with a trip to Michigan for Bodied 7 and is looking to show that he’s ready for a return to single digits this season.
Kevin “tenacity” Donnelly

#10: lovestory4a | Average: 9.58

Lovestory4a returns to the Chicago PR at #10, a placement that affirms his strength against almost every player in Chicago, and belies his potential to beat the rest. Starting off the season with a strong showing placing 33rd at Full Bloom while taking his first wins over IMDRR and Sp1nda, he went on to place top five at every event he attended at TPS and Midlane save one. Despite struggling against some elite foxes and puffs, he is certainly committed to the grind, and it would be wise to expect more significant growth in his results for the rest of the year.

While dropping one spot on the rankings, lovestory4a boasts positive records on local powerhouses Ferocitii and Dz, earned a win on Josh, and pushed Michael to game 5 twice. These wins make it apparent that his careful studying and lessons with Krudo have been worthwhile. While the Puff matchup may have been a prime focus for lovestory this season, he is no slouch against Chicago’s Falco’s, Falcons, and Marth’s with clean records over the likes of Dragoid, ORLY, and Forest.

With many players bringing strong talent and dedication to the community, winning tournaments and breaking into the upper echelon of the rankings seem to be coming within reach for the Windy City’s premier Sheik. For now, we can only bear witness to the studious grind of a fast-rising player.
Isaiah “Fasthands” Sanderman

#9: Ferocitii | Average: 9.32

The second best peach in Chicago and known Melee at Night pubstomper, Ferocitii floats into the #9 spot to start off the first season of 2024. While falling just 2 spots in comparison to last season, Ferocitii still managed to show he can beat just about anybody in Chicago and it doesn’t matter if he has to pop a balloon or two. The Blue Peach primarily showed up in the second half of the season, motivated to go due to his local sheik practice partner pushing him to attend, sparking a small rivalry. The two traded sets and out of the five they played, Ferocitii captured 2 wins at TPS while lovestory4a won 3 Midlane sets. Ferocitii tended to perform better at Tripoint due the spirit of Skerzo having no way of reaching him, even if he was experimenting using Marth and Fox against Jigglypuff.

At TPS 233, determined to end strong, Ferocitii released all body tension and displayed one of his finest performances of the season. Defeating ORLY, Josh for the 2nd time, ls4a, and DannyPhantom before falling to Michael in a game 5 grand finals banger. A skillful run that illustrates his excellent tournament composure and resilient mindset even when elimination is creeping up. His 9th place finish at House of Paign 24 was only made possible by team killing Ober in the losers bracket. Out of the 10 events he attended this season, he scored a handful of great wins that helped in securing a top 10 spot. 2-0 Arpy, 1-0 Ober, 1-3 bestprincess/Eggy, 1-0 Peanutphobia, 2-0 Josh, 2-3 ls4a, and 3-0 Killablue. Very rarely did Ferocitii lose to anybody outside of the Top 10, only dropping a single set. The one player that managed to beat the htangl peach was none other than Dragoid, who has plenty of hours clocked in playing with his peach main roommate, Phalanx. CLM shouldn’t be surprised to see Ferocitii climb up the rankings next season. More than often he is grinding matchups, streaming his practice sessions, and entering online events to stay tournament ready.

#8: bestprincess | Average: 7.89

Seemingly locked into an endless power struggle with Ferocitii over mushroom princess supremacy,  the artist formerly known as Eggy came into 2024 with a new tag, bestprincess. The tag may have changed,  but this player is still very strong where he’s been strong. 

Bestprincess’s best achievement this season was likely his 2-0 record over the ascendant Blue, with an even record against Skerzo, a 2-1 record over Peanutphobia, an unanswered win against Josh, and a 3-1 record over Ferocitii rounding out a solid season. 

Outside of Blue, bestprincess struggled against the cream of the Chicago crop, dropping three straight sets to Ober and four to Michael. He lost his only set with dz this season,  and lost his only two sets against Unsure.  

Still, the good performances were there,  especially on February 22nd, when bestprincess took Midlane Melee with wins on Blue, Skerzo and Killablue.
Matthew “Dr. Hunk” Koester

#7: Josh | Average: 6.42

In one of modern CLM’S most striking success stories,  Josh has gone from Tripoint Smash regular to fearsome local contender. His rank has slipped a few spots in 2024, with many of the region’s best players giving him trouble,  but don’t be fooled. His rise isn’t over.

Josh and Michael may be two players easy to compare for shallow reasons,  like their tags being their first names, their character of choice,  and the likelihood that you will get absolutely dismantled by at least one of them at any given Tripoint Smash, but their records may suggest more differences between the two than meets the eye. 

A student of Ohio Falco legend Flash, Josh was able to hold a 2-1 record over Ober this season while the bird held a 1-0 record over Michael. On the other hand,  Josh struggled against Ferocitii this season, losing two straight sets to the Peach player who lost to Michael five times this season.  While ORLY held a nearly even record with Michael in Act 1, Josh won five sets over the Falcon veteran without dropping one.  Josh’s record against Michael himself was 2-7 this season.

The moments where Josh truly shines,  he shines bright.  While failing to take a Tripoint Smash this season,  Josh made a big wave at the leap day installment of Midiane Melee, where in a strong winners bracket run, he took out SoulOfficer, Frost, dz, and in winners finals and in grand finals, Ober, in order to win the 43 person bracket.
Matthew “Dr. Hunk” Koester

#6: dz | Average: 6.00

Sneaking back onto the PR since his last and only appearance at 11th in Spring of 2022, dz returned with a vengeance and some incredible wins to achieve a new peak rank of 6th to start 2024. The former Slippi Ranked warrior (Rank 141st in Beta Season 2) managed to win his first Midlane this year, over some intense competition, beating Dragoid, RanD (Prev. MN rank 6), and Blue twice to become champion. 

While he didn’t quite match the insane record of 471-76 he had online when faced with in person opponents, he did manage to capture wins against almost every player he faced. dz’s best moments this season helped him capture key wins and records such as wins on Blue (2-3), Ober (1-2), Fluid (1-1), Unsure (2-1), and bestprincess (1-0). Of the 51 opponents he faced this season, dz only failed to take a set off 4 of them, and had a winning or even record on all but 5 of them. The consistency dz demonstrated this season showed how he cut his rank almost in half between now and 2022. Who knows, maybe we’ll catch him again on the PR in 2026 at rank 3 or 4, with another tourney win at Midlane 236.
Kevin “tenacity” Donnelly

#5: Unsure | Average: 5.00

In a far more difficult season, Chicago’s former TO once again maintained his peak rank and continued his momentum from last season. To kick off 2024, Unsure’s first Act performance featured a slew of top local set wins and several flashes of brilliance out of region. This season, Unsure’s familiarity of the Fox v Puff matchup was key to his success as he was able to win Tripoint 226 over Michael and Josh in two sets midway through the season. These two local Puffs were not even the best balloon’s Andrew popped this season however, as he took down Khalid and Dawson at Pat’s House, on his way to a 25th place finish, as the 49th seed, his best run at a major ever. The week before Pat’s House Unsure found himself in winners-sems of House of Paign 24, the Champaign regional, after taking sets against Slowking 3-0, and Preeminent 3-1. This 5th place showing was, before Pat’s House, another one of his best events ever.

Unsure was tied for fourth highest attendance in Chicago this season, with 14 events entered, with his worst loss of the season coming at the hands of Nox, who he has a positive record on overall in Act 1. If your worst loss is the former STL rank 2 and you attended 14 events, I would argue you had a pretty good season. Against the higher end of the CLM field, Unsure had positive records against Michael and Josh (both 2-1), bestprincess (2-0), Ferocitii (4-0) and lovestory4a (2-0). If he can bring his game against spacies up to the same speed as his matchups with floaties, I’d expect to see Unsure’s rank improve and break his recent series of placements of 5th on the CLM PR.
Kevin “tenacity” Donnelly

#4: Skerzo | Average: 4.37

Here we are, after Skerzo’s final Midlane as a Chicagoan, and the first time he has been ranked outside the top 3 on the CLM PR since Winter of 2020. Skerzo’s last season had plenty of strong showings, across 13 events in Chicagoland and a bunch of events out of region, featuring a 9th place finish at Full Bloom 2024 and 17th at Battle of BC 6. Skerzo had one of the most interesting seasons I can remember in CLM, where he took sets off of top competitors such as Michael, Khryke, Krudo, Kalvar, and ckyulmiqnudaetr away from Chicago, but suffered losses to Phalanx (5-3 LOL), Frost, and Larfen at home. Skerzo still showed that he can be the top player that he’s been expected to be over the last few years, while not taking himself too seriously at locals. 

This lackadaisical nature that he took Midlane competition at managed to net him many solid wins by most players standards, but kept him from maintaining his streak of top three placings. While Skerzo won his only set between himself and Michael, he was unable to take down Zamu, Blue, Ober, or Fluid this season, but held strong against the majority of other challengers with a 3-0 record against dz, 5-1 record with Unsure, and 2-1 record with Josh. Now in Tokyo, he has started to compete with Inngenn, who he is 4-5 against lifetime, for Japan’s top spot, so he may end up chasing another crown in his new home.
Kevin “tenacity” Donnelly

#3: Michael | Average: 2.53

While new age Puffs continue to break new ground at national events, Michael remains one of his character’s and region’s strongest players.

Michael saw more successful challengers to his throne this past season than usual. The insurgent Blue vanquished him at House of Paign 24, and Ober took him down on his home turf at Tripoint Smash 220. Before Unsure showed the world how good he was versus Jigglypuff at Pat’s House 4, he took sets over Michael at Tripoint Smash 220 and 226. Even Skerzo, who first secured his spot as king of the windy city by holding a strong record versus Michael, was able to get one more win against the player at Full Bloom 2024 before moving to Japan.

With this in mind, how has Michael been able to maintain such a strong spot on Chicago’s rankings? Well, in part it’s because those aforementioned players are the only players who held records over the player this season. He held a 7-2 record against his TPS rival Josh, a 5-0 record over Ferocitii and managed to just maintain a 5-4 record against CLM’s time-tested wildcard ORLY.

The return of Full Bloom this year led some to remember Michael’s incredible performance at that tournament’s 2019 installment, where the player picked up incredible wins over the likes of PewPewU and Kalamazhu, and this season Michael was also able to remind players nationwide of his prowess. Between House of Paign, BOPME and Full Bloom this year, the Midwest monster took out the likes of essy, Morsecode762, Bbatts and Grab. Add two wins on Preeminent at Tripoint Smash 219 to the equation and Michael now has half a dozen top 100 wins under his belt this year.

Encroach into Michael’s territory and he will show you why he remains one of the region’s most feared players.
Matthew “Dr. Hunk” Koester

#2: Ober | Average: 2.32

After an incredibly strong season, Ober returns to the CLM PR in Act 1 of 2024 at Rank 2, matching his peak rank in Chicago. The windy city’s best bird showed much promise in his quest for rank 1, taking the only set between himself and Michael, who was formerly Chicago’s best. Ober proved he could hang with some of the best in the world this season, as he went game 5 with Aklo at the BOBC Pre-Local, where he beat Egg$ and Paladin on his way to 7th place. Ober also managed to win the House of Paign Pre-local where he took down Killablue, Forest, and Reesch in preparation for the Champaign regional.

This season, Ober’s best records were against Michael (3-0), Skerzo (2-0), Fluid (4-3), and Unsure (5-0). Outside of Josh, Ferocitii, and Killablue, there wasn’t a single player ranked below him that Ober wasn’t positive against. Dominance over so much of the field showed why Ober has become an immovable object in Chicago’s scene, and why he is a force to be reckoned with at all levels of competition in Melee. Ober’s aspiration to take the top spot in Chicago may very well be realized this year, should he capture wins against a few key players in the future who he has shown he can absolutely beat.
Kevin “tenacity” Donnelly

#1: Blue | Average: 1.63

A second Indiana invader has hit the top 3 of the CLM PR. Following in the footsteps of Michael, Blue has taken the Chicagoland Melee crown in Act 1 of 2024, after a series of sensational performances in Chicago, and around the Midwest. Of the players in Chicago that faced off against Zamu (SSBMRank 2023 #22), Blue was the only player to win a single set, let alone multiple against Champaign’s best. Notably in their most recent set Blue was able to win in game 5, capping off the last win in his 5 set loser’s bracket run to place 2nd at House of Paign 24. This run happened right before Blue took Salt to game 5 in the Grand Finals of the event, showing in that set just the level of player he can be.

Against Chicagoland Melee’s best players, Blue had winning records against everyone else in the top 5, with a 3-1 record against Ober, a 1-0 record on Michael, 5-0 on Skerzo, and 4-0 on Unsure. Going down the CLM stats rankings, Blue’s first non winning record against anyone on the PR being against Josh, who he split two sets with, 1-1. Chicagoland’s new number 1 has yet to be ranked in the top 100, but after highlight runs at events like HoP and Afterburner, we can look forward to a potential new addition to the global ranking with this friendly and frenetic Fox main.
Kevin “tenacity” Donnelly

Thank you for checking out the 2024 Act 1 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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