LumiRank 2023 | 1 - 10

Welcome back to LumiRank 2023. Smash Ultimate has only seen its competition grow stronger week after week in one of its busiest years yet. LumiRank is thus proud to bring you the 150 strongest players in the world, based on the period from December 19th, 2022 to December 17th, 2023.

For information on the LumiRank 2023 schedule, check out the landing page here.

Shuton || Photo: さきょう / sakyo (@sakyooooou)

“In the end, you just can't beat the King of Kyushu.”

That's what Japan's new-gen juggernaut Miya said after losing to Shuton in Grand Finals of the major KOWLOON 5. After an early fall to the losers bracket, Shuton won nine consecutive do-or-die sets to take home the KOWLOON championship, his first major win in over three years. Over those past three years, Shuton had gotten stuck in 2nd or 3rd place at a staggering nine majors, and at times it seemed like he might never win one again. It's perhaps poetic justice that he broke the curse in his triumphant return to Kyushu, the region he used to call home.

Shuton reached some of his greatest peaks in 2023, an impressive thing to say about someone whose career has spanned nearly a decade. He followed his KOWLOON victory up with a second major win the same month at WAVE #4, defeating Kameme and Kome. At Battle of BC 5 in May, Shuton managed a 3rd place finish at one of the most stacked tournaments of all time, knocking Maister, MuteAce, Zomba, and Sisqui out of the bracket.

Even when Shuton underperforms, he always finds a way to bounce back. Perhaps the clearest illustration of this is his run at the superregional WINNER! NEXT #2, where he was stunningly upset in the very first round by the enigmatic Incineroar hidden boss Tempaman. That loss kickstarted a twelve-set losers run that led Shuton to win the entire tournament, beating KEN, zackray, and M0tsunabE in the process.

Shuton has always been one of the most resilient players in the world, consistently finding new ways to keep up with the ever-changing meta. Don't be fooled if you see him on the wrong end of a few upsets; he'll be back on top before you know it.

— Victor “AnonymousBadger” Mujat

Liquid | Riddles || Photo: Darrell McCready (@RellFGC)

Riddles’ ascendance to the top 10 has been a sight to behold. Hot off a 2022 where he became the first Kazuya to win a major, he would open the year with wins over Dabuz, Chag, and Gen at Tristate supermajor Let’s Make BIG Moves 2023. After difficulties at GENESIS 9, he’d win Frosty Faustings XV and go into Collision 2023 as the 9th seed.

Despite narrowly being seeded outside of the top 8, Riddles went on to clean up a number of regional threats — including top FL and NJ players Goblin and Syrup — and get a clean runback on MkLeo after struggling against him. He also struggled greatly with Sonix, and the set between the two in Winners Semis seemed no different until Riddles locked in Terry and performed an incredible reverse 3-0.

The other big story of the event — Skyjay’s incredible run — would converge with Riddles in Winners Finals and Grand Finals, where the two duked it out in two of the best sets of the year. Their set in Grands was down to the wire, but Riddles would ultimately be the victor.

By this point, Riddles was already a solid top 10 contender for the year, but he went a step further and directly challenged Japan by attending Golden Week. While North America’s results across the three supermajors were often mixed, Riddles placed top 8 at all three of them, and was the runner up at DELTA #4.

Riddles put a lot of time into Street Fighter 6 in 2023, but it didn’t seem to affect his consistency much at all, as he’d continue to perform well at nearly every late half major of 2023. Even at events where he’d place outside of the top 8, he’d generally take huge wins in losers, with MkLeo and Sparg0 being victims at Rise ‘N Grind and Port Priority 8.

Going from big runs in his early career with Richter to being one of Ultimate’s biggest wildcards to tear brackets up, Riddles ends 2023 with his best year to date.

— Joshua “Barnard’s Loop” Craig

Revo | Yoshidora || Photo: Théo Lalanne (@thlalanne)

In the sea of inconsistency that this year’s volatile tournaments created, Yoshidora is one of the few beacons of light to show the way to those who have fallen into chaos and disarray. 

Although only missing top 8 three times throughout the entire year is a very impressive achievement, Yoshidora couldn’t have managed to do so by relying on his consistency alone. Seeing as that’s the case, apart from the ever-elusive acola win, he managed to beat every other Japanese member in the top 20 at least once. 

For the first nine months of the year, while he never had a bad event, his really good events were often followed up by just good events. This, however, changed starting in October. He managed a top 3 finish at a supermajor as well as two top 2 finishes at regular majors back to back, getting a third of all of his top 20 wins in those 3 tournaments alone. 

But his weakest tournaments might be his most significant. His excursion to France at Tera (and to a lesser extent BoBC) weren’t quite up to his lofty standards. But long term, they signify something greater. Up until this point, there has been a bit of an artificial limiter on how much Yoshidora could prove himself. After all, he could basically only compete against players from Japan. But with him being able to travel now (albeit only on rare occasions), combined with an influx of invaders trying to prove themselves in Japan, the seal on Yoshidora’s growth for the future has been lifted. Be ready!

— Jonas “Fortuna” Stritzinger

LG | Tweek || Photo: Bekah Wong (@alonelychime)

Tristate’s bright star has refused to fade.

Tweek continues his legacy as one of the best players in Ultimate’s history, securing another in a long line of top ten slots. His year would vary somewhat, but his incredible start at Let’s Make BIG Moves 2023 had him getting a runback over Sparg0 and him establishing his strong record against North America.

Consistency was the name of his game: Tweek did not place below 9th at any event he attended during the year, so, despite many runs ending in top 12, he always would hold onto big wins and a stellar loss record expected of someone making it into late bracket so often.

We’d see secondaries like Sephiroth pop up a lot, but one key to his year may have been his near-total dedication to his Diddy Kong, by far the most refined and technical in the world, combining his suffocating neutral game with explosive plays that defined some of Tweek’s best runs.

The major thorn in his side during the year was probably Glutonny, but this didn’t stop Tweek from having a successful first time in Europe at supermajor Tera, where he’d solidify his positive record on Sparg0 and continue his rivalry with Light, a highlight of 2023 where the two played 8 sets to a 4-4 draw.

Tweek has once again begun a year with a historic run at Luminosity Makes BIG Moves 2024, so all that’s left is to wait and see if he translates it to his most dominant year yet.

— Joshua “Barnard’s Loop” Craig

Moist | Light || Photo: Ramz Baltodano (@BustedDrones)

A few years ago, you could’ve said that Light’s biggest problem was his consistency. However, in recent times, consistency is the name of his game. 2023 started off great for Light, with a 1st place finish at LVL UP EXPO 2023, where he took the victory over Tweek, considered to be Light’s main competition in the fight for the best in the United States.

Throughout the year, Light has had star-studded placements at tournaments like Genesis 9, Let’s Make BIG Moves 2023, and Get On My Level 2023. Additionally, Light got an impressive win at MomoCon 2023, where he defended his title from the previous year from Sonix and double eliminated him to take the victory.

Light has become a bit of a bracket demon for Sparg0 in the very last months of 2023, defeating him at both ReWired Fest and Watch the Throne, and in pretty dominant sets, at that. In a meta where Sparg0’s greatest strength is his head to head records, Light has started to gather a good record of his own.

Light is very similar to a bullet train, and when he goes full speed, even the world’s best feel the tremors. He’s one of the most beloved players in the game’s competitive scene for good reason. For many years prior and for many years beyond, Light will continue to hold forward and push buttons as one of the greatest players to ever put their hands on the sticks.

— Matthew “RisterMice” Rice

Solary | Glutonny || Photo: Joran Vallecchio (@Akyhiro)

During the LumiRank write ups for last year, I asked the question of if Glutonny might finally be surpassed by Bloom4Eva as the European number 1. Well, I guess he heard us, because his response has been nothing short of colossal. This year saw an obscene return to form for the Frenchman, proving he is still one of the best to ever do it, and all with a character some said was done in the modern metagame.

A factor that really cannot be overstated with Gluto is his consistency; despite being in attendance at nearly every major event of the year, he rarely missed a top 8, often even finding himself on the podium. To name just a fraction of his performances, he took the top spot at Ultimate Fighting Arena 2023, Tera, King Of Fields 95 #3, ICARUS 2023, ReWired Fest 2023, and Tech Republic VII, 2nd at Delfino Maza 2023, Kawaii Kon 2023, Cora Smash Cup, and Rise ‘N Grind 2023, 3rd at Shonen WAR #2 and Invasion: April 2023, and many others with wins over nearly every name in the game including Sparg0, Tweek, Light, MuteAce, MkLeo, and many more. This year also saw a significant uptick in performance in the latter half, missing the podium just twice from June to December.

It’s staggering to see that just when people thought Gluto might be getting caught up to, he stepped his game up another level and proved that the hardest thing is not beating Glutonny, but instead beating him a second time. Whilst some might choose to call him the King of Europe, I feel that that no longer fits his aura. Instead I would call Glutonny the true final boss, who not only has two health bars to deplete, but is so powerful only the greatest in the world even have a chance of standing against him.

— Tom “G-P” Scott

FENNEL | Miya || Photo: アルファ / Alfa in Japan (@alfa_gorinne)

Is there anyone who has shown a true grind as much as Miya? Attending the most majors out of anyone else in the world, and boasting an impressive 23 on his resume for the year, Miya made it to grand finals in 14 of them.

Hailing from the Kansai region of Japan, Miya is widely considered to be the 2nd best Japanese player, behind acola. However, this does not seem to demotivate the young professional. Any opportunity he gets, he is playing. If there is a major, you are likely to see Miya in attendance, no matter the location. His activity doesn’t just show in Majors. Miya has 128 wins on the top 100 over 54 UNIQUE players. This activity has led to immense improvement too. 

In the beginning of the year, Miya was still an impressively dominant player, almost always in top 8 of Japanese majors. There were a few cases of him getting upset, but he would simply learn from these mistakes, then bounce back the next week. Sometimes, this bounce back would even happen in a single tournament. Take Super Smash Con, for example. He would lose fairly early on to Dabuz, but would then go through six top 15 level players before ending his run at 3rd. 

In the last few months of the season, Miya seemed to have gotten a boost. Previously struggling to overtake acola, Miya has been able to win his past 3 sets against the Steve. Now, his runs are often stopped by Sonix and Sparg0, the other 2 players rounding out this top 4. In fact, Miya hadn’t seen a loss other than Sonix or Sparg0 since September. But even then, if Miya proved his capability against acola, there is no doubt that Sonix and Sparg0 will soon fall to Game and Watch.

— Benjamin "BennyTheGreat" Schmid

LG | Sonix || Photo: Brandon Prudencio (@TridentSkrt)

Sonix is one of Smash Ultimate’s most coolheaded players, and his steady improvement has built him a reputation as one of the game’s most intense grinders. From hidden boss and lord of wifi in 2021 to consistency king and major winner in 2022, he has now ascended to premier winner and the Fourth Horseman of Ultimate. Sonix showcases incredible flexibility — he can 3-0 KEN in just 13 minutes, or he can take almost 30 to win the patience battle over acola in 4 games.

You know the vibes.

The Dominican speedster started the year off strong, with four top 5 major finishes, including at Let’s Make BIG Moves, where after a rare early loss he made a run to 3rd, beating Riddles, Glutonny, and MkLeo. Sonix’s only real problem matchup this year was Light, but he did pick up his first ever win over the New England Fox main at MomoCon 2023 on his way to 2nd place. Get On My Level 2023 is where Sonix lit on fire though, making a near-perfect run to first place, followed by 11 games against Sparg0 the next week to come in second at Smash Factor X. After a slight hiccup at SSC 2023, Sonix returned to his grand finals streak, getting second at Let’s Make Moves Miami, first at Port Priority 8 with dominant wins over acola and Miya, second at Watch the Throne, and first at The Coinbox IRL.

Sonix was also half of 2023’s defining rivalry, with 15 total sets played against Sparg0 offline. All of those firsts and seconds at majors? 5/8 of them were the Sonix-Sparg0 show in grands, with Sonix taking two of those majors, and six of their overall sets for the year.

Sonix has ascended this far, and right now there’s no reason to think he won’t continue into a bid for #1 in 2024.

— James “Doxazo” Rivers

FaZe | Sparg0 || Photo: Bekah Wong (@alonelychime)

Sparg0 remains the best player in Ultimate’s history to not be ranked number one. But his case as the world’s best player is alarmingly easy to make.

A combined 25-15 record against the top 10 in 2023, at least one win on every player in the top 10 that he has played against in 2023 (all but Shuton), 6-0 vs acola, 2-0 vs Miya, 9-6 vs Sonix. Sparg0 wins the sets that matter, against the best players in the world, on a consistent basis better than anyone else in the world.

He won two P tier events in different countries back-to-back in May at Kagaribi #10 and Battle of BC 5, then got second and first at S+ tier events in different countries in back-to-back weekends in July at Get On My Level 2023 and Smash Factor X.

The only thing holding Sparg0 back from the proverbial throne is consistency. He’s a very consistent player compared to the field, but when splitting hairs at top level, he missed as many top 8’s in 2023 (four) as Miya, acola and Sonix combined. 

One of the most beloved players in the world, Sparg0 proves his supporters right constantly. His Cloud’s ice-cold movement and perfect spacing has been the backdrop for the past three years of competitive Smash, and his Aegis makes stocks disappear like genuine magic. 

Sparg0 seems to add a little bit to the bag every major, he’s playing at an absurdly high level right now, and we can’t wait to see what he does next.

— Jack “Trash Day!” Clifton

ZETA | acola || Photo: 限界社会人ナナミ / Genkai Syakaijin Nanami (@takatou0711)

Trying to take acola down? Forget it. Of all the players that tried this year, only a single-digit number succeeded. Brought him to set point? You might as well forfeit. Game 5 acola boasts an astounding 91% win rate in last game scenarios. Smashmate’s greatest find has become a titan of consistency, rivaled only by the strongest players in history in their most dominant periods. And it’s this consistency that crowns acola, with just two years of offline play behind him, as the best player in the world.

By far acola’s greatest strength is his uncanny adaptability, seemingly able to completely download players between sets and even games. Big D and KEN got their one win each, but their subsequent meetings have been marked by nothing but brutal beatdowns. And who can forget how he utterly dismantled MkLeo, mere months after the swift 6-0 at LSI? It’s symbolic, in a way, that the first victim of the Summit losers run that definitively pushed acola to the top was the former world #1, a decisive takeover of the Smash Ultimate throne.

Not to say that acola doesn’t have a crack in his armor. There are three, in fact: the three right behind him, hot on his heels in the race for #1. acola’s shown a vulnerability against Sparg0, Sonix, and late-year Miya, and his tournament runs are often ended by one of these players — that is, if they can get to him. But with his insane work ethic, acute game sense, and maybe even the help of a secondary character, there’s no reason to doubt that acola can turn the tables on these challengers the same way he has so many before.

acola has ushered in a new era of Smash Ultimate. Now, it’s his turn to defend the title. And if his ironclad hold over Japan since the day he came offline is any indication, he’s not going to give it up easily anytime soon.

— Kenny “kenniky” Wang

To stay up to date on all things LumiRank, follow @LumiRank on Twitter.