LumiRank 2023 | 81 - 90

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.

Stride | MVD || Photo: @emmy1984_

Since he started competing back in Brawl, there has seldom been a year in which Las Vegas's own MVD hasn't found himself on global rankings. 2023 was no exception, and it quickly proved to be a landmark year for the Snake specialist, who picked up great wins in every corner of North America.

MVD trekked far and wide in 2023, achieving strong results at regionals all over the continent. He notched wins on MuteAce and Lima in a 2nd place performance at DreamHack Dallas, then traveled to his former home state of Florida to reach 4th at CEO 2023. His next stop was North Carolina, where he dispatched Goblin, MKBigBoss, and Andrik on the way to 3rd at Patchwork. He even traveled to a few other countries in the year's final quarter: first, he defeated Chag and placed 5th at Smash Legends 4 in El Salvador; then, he flew to Japan and got 17th at Sumabato SP 43.

Some of MVD's best performances came at supermajors, where he often exceeded expectations. He placed top 32 at three of them: Collision, Super Smash Con, and Port Priority. Those runs included wins on players like Kola, Gackt, and Yaura, showcasing his ability to catch just about anyone off guard with his consistent-yet-explosive gameplay.

MVD has established himself as one of the great constants of Smash Ultimate, and that doesn't seem like it'll change anytime soon. Keep an eye out for his name in the brackets of tournaments across the country and beyond; you just never know where he might turn up next.

— Victor “AnonymousBadger” Mujat

Solary | Leon || Photo: Théo Lalanne (@thlalanne)

In a game and community that’s bursting at the seams with brand new teenage talent, ready to take their region by storm, many of the older competitors among us would be forgiven for thinking this is a young person's game and that their time has passed. This memo has clearly not been received by Leon, who has continued to be one of the strongest players at 35 years of age, making him the oldest player in this top 100.

As one of Europe’s greatest exports even back in the Brawl days, few are surprised to see his placement here whilst piloting Lucina to multiple strong performances. He kicked off 2023 strong with a trip to the States and a 25th place finish at Genesis 9, taking out ApolloKage and Riddles on the way. He spent the rest of the year collecting consistent results across Europe, including 17th at Ultimate Fighting Arena 2023 13th at Tera, 5th at DOSE2SUCRE - 2023.01, the top spot at DOSE2SUCRE - 2023.02, and five different 9th place finishes across various European majors, trading sets with fellow giants such as Supahsemmie, Tarik, Space, and Raflow.

They say that time's arrow neither stands still nor reverses, It merely marches forward. But when he’s able to maintain such consistency after so many years in the game, it’s clear to this writer that Leon’s marches only to the beat of his own drum, and we should expect that beat to bring more greatness this year too.

— Tom “G-P” Scott

Kiyarash || Photo: Brandon Prudencio (@TridentSkrt)

Kiyarash is probably not the first player you think of when you visualize a Top 100 player. After all, he hasn’t gone further east than Utah this year, and although he had a good placement of 17th at Crown, he didn’t really pick up any crazy wins.

Then he went to Port Priority 8, and after losing to Beastly, went on a tear through losers, taking down Konga, JoJoDaHoBo, and Peabnut. After Peab, however, he was plopped directly into the path of a recently upset Zomba. Most would assume Zomba had this one in the bag — after all, Zomba is 7-2 on GuyGuy — but to the surprise of literally every single spectator (except for like, three nerds), Kiyarash reminded the world that R.O.B, truly, is big.

From there, Kiyarash won a D-Tier over Chase and Larry Lurr, then went to GENESIS: BLACK, where he’d find himself facing down Lima. Lima, at this point, was one of the favorites to win the whole event. Kiyarash, completely unfazed, took down the Bayonetta specialist, finding his way to ninth place.

It feels so long ago that Kiyarash declared himself “the future of Smash”. At the time, it was easy to cast it aside as foolhardy overconfidence. But given his strong results in SoCal and his big wins at majors, all while maintaining a high baseline level of consistency, it’s time we start examining the trajectory of his career. Next year, watch out as he takes more and more big names — while apologizing to nobody in the process.

— Hugh-Jay “trade war” Yu

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

Of the many characters to wane in prominence since the early days of Ultimate, few have lost more ground in today’s meta than Inkling. Yet Japanese solo-Inkling Shirayuki soldiers on regardless, the highest placing Inkling main this year, managing to find success with the character even in an environment as harsh and unforgiving as the Japanese competitive scene.

The name of the game for Shirayuki was consistency: though he rarely saw huge, impactful runs, he made top 24 or higher at more than half the majors he entered this season, gradually accumulating wins on top Japanese talent like Atelier, Toriguri, Lv.1, Umeki, and Gackt. An outsized 4th place performance at November’s national event Sumabato SP 42 added wins on Rarukun and Doramigi to his repertoire, but on the whole, Shirayuki’s regionals were the weaker half of his season, with the aforementioned run to top 4 containing his only top 100 wins at B tier events this year.

You could say that Shirayuki’s 2023 was a lot like the turf wars of his main’s home series: a back and forth effort to diligently claim ground, full of drives and setbacks, and ultimately decided by a few pivotal moments. For Shirayuki, those moments came at majors KOWLOON 5 and MaesumaTOP #14, and he capitalized, placing 5th at both events and scoring wins on Kome, Yaura, and Shuton. With these events, Shirayuki secured his title of best Inkling of 2023, and with a 25th place at Umebura SP 10 already under his belt in the new year, it’s clear he’s hard at work defending his title before the ink’s even dry.

— Vincent “SelfDestructGambit” Chow

Jake || Photo: Jacob Revezzo (@IcefireDee)

Florida houses some of the best Ultimate players in the world, and Jake is no exception. While he makes infrequent appearances at events, he almost always gets into the top positions, even if it seems like an uphill battle.

Jake was among one of the many players to attend Let’s Make BIG Moves in January, and it was clear that the Steve player was there to win. Starting off the year, Jake was able to get 13th place while being dominant in every set he won. This would be his best run of the year with wins on Kola, BassMage, and Armadillo. 

With this run in the books, Jake would start to attend majors less frequently. He would mostly stay in region, attending regionals to build his resume with local talent wins. During this time, Jake would garner wins on Sean, Kobe, and Goblin before another solid 9th place performance at CEO 2023. Jake would once again go dormant, but would return for the bi-annual CIRQUE Du CFL 2, getting 4th. This superregional would once again bring eyes to the Steve player as he would run through a seemingly impossible bracket. Early on he would lose to Light before having to go through JMafia, Goblin, Lima, and even MuteAce, considered one of the best players against Steve.

Despite his inactivity, Jake is constantly able to outperform himself and take wins nobody would expect. This year was a fantastic display of consistency and dedication when it truly matters.

— Benjamin "BennyTheGreat" Schmid

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

Hailing from the northern Japanese island Hokkaido, Nao has quietly been a force in his region since 2017. He’d become Hokkaido’s best early in Ultimate with a variety of characters, but settled on Mario over the course of quarantine, winning and contesting some of the country’s hardest Wi-Fi events.

In 2023, Nao quickly built a case as one of the best Mario players in the world. Benefitting from travel all over Japan, Hokkaido’s rise as one of Japan’s most active regions, and international travel, Nao would build a resume of upsets and big placements early in 2023. 

He made a big impression at GENESIS 9, where he exceeded his seeding and placed 13th. He’d go even further less than a month later at Kagaribi 9, placing 5th at defeating Jahzz0, Lv.1, Hero, and Kaninabe in the process. He’d remain a looming threat for the rest of the year, notably defeating Jogibu and Shogun at the far-flung KOWLOON #5, but early 2023 was the big anchor for his top 100 case.

Japan’s swell of talent is most often associated with Osaka and Tokyo’s massive populations, but Nao demonstrates that smaller and active scenes — even as far as Sapporo — have potential to impact the international metagame.

— Joshua “Barnard’s Loop” Craig

FC | Jakal || Photo: Brandon Prudencio (@TridentSkrt)

You can’t talk about Jakal’s 2023 without talking about Crown the Third. After what had so far been a middling year results-wise, Jakal put on a show at NA’s 2nd-to-last major of the first season the likes of which may not be seen again for years. Onin. Sparg0. MkLeo. Shuton. Jakal tore through top player after top player, eviscerating every opponent in his path until being stopped by Zomba in Grand Finals, walking away with a silver medal and one of the most jaw-dropping runs of the year.

Jakal’s run at Crown didn’t “save” his season, exactly, because he had solid results both before — like 25th at GENESIS 9, beating JDV and Ling, and 5th at MAJOR UPSET with wins on BassMage and Lui$ — and since — 2nd at B tier B-airs #400, with wins on Gen, IcyMist, and Zomba, and 9th at Santa Paws with an additional win on Onin. But it’s definitely fair to say Jakal’s run at Crown secured his season, since no chance was he missing top 100 with a run like that under his belt, even if he’d go on to see some harsh underperformances. As such, Jakal rounds out the year with a classic case of high highs and low lows — and trust me, though the lows are low, those highs are so high that if Jakal can hit that level even marginally more consistently, he’ll rocket up the ranks and leave this year’s results in the dust.

— Vincent “SelfDestructGambit” Chow

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

One of the famed Kagaribi Olimars, with his trusty Pokémon Trainer at its side, Noi is a stellar example of Japan’s incredibly strong depth in Ultimate. He is amazingly consistent compared to players around his rank, but not in the way you might think. We call some players consistent because they generally don’t lose to players they shouldn’t. In Noi’s case, he may have the odd dud of a loss or event, but he can be relied upon to end up with a good win more often than not. Noi averaged slightly more than one top 100 win per ranked event, ending the year with 15. And that wasn’t just because of farming a particular head-to-head, each came against someone different. Furthermore, he took out other depth threats as well, with 10 wins against nine other players who have been top 100 in the past.

Noi is also someone you can particularly rely upon to perform at the biggest events of the year. At the eight supermajor/premier tier events he attended, Noi picked up 13 of the aforementioned 25 wins, with the highlight being his 9th place at DELTA #5 defeating Hero and Yaura.

With all the talent and mental toughness his season shows, those hoping for Noi’s continued rise can have hope that he will find a way to beat some of Japan’s very best, and will turn his matchup experience into his strongest run yet.

— James “Doxazo” Rivers

Wrath || Photo: Dylan Revezzo (@RedShirt__)

Wrath is commonly referred to as a “Wi-Fi Warrior,” but he really is more than that. Wrath is one of those players who can back up his online results with top level offline results no matter the bracket.

Wrath tended to stay in the background for most of the year, only attending in-region events in either Las Vegas or Georgia for the first half of the year. During his time in Vegas, he attended his first major at LVL UP EXPO, where he placed 13th after not attending a large-scale tournament in nearly seven months. After this, Wrath stayed mostly locals exclusive, still getting good practice against Vegas’ top threats like Capitancito and ven before eventually making it back to Georgia just in time for the Peach State’s biggest tournament of the year, MomoCon. MomoCon was Wrath’s best tournament of the first half of the year, getting not only some of his best wins, but an impressive 5th at the superregional.

For the rest of the year, Wrath attended around one large tournament a month while regularly going to locals for added practice. He would attend majors like Luminosity Makes Moves Miami and Rise ‘N Grind, but would truly show how dominant he is at regionals and D-tiers. At these tournaments, he would frequently place top 8 and get wins over strong players in dominant sets.

Wrath finished this season with an incredible back-to-back 5th place finishes at GENESIS: BLACK and Coinbox IRL, where he would also get his best win of the season with a 3-0 against Dabuz. Wrath continues to be an absolute grinder, and by making this his most active season to date, he proved it. If this trend is to continue later on, he will only climb higher.

— Benjamin "BennyTheGreat" Schmid

AKV | AndresFn || Photo: Gauthier Mercier (@Myrdwin)

Within the realms of European Smash, the Spanish community’s meteoric rise in relevance since the end of the pandemic has been an incredible sight to behold. One such individual who’s contributed to this explosion is AndresFn, whose consistent showings across the world has landed him at 81st on this year's ranking.

The Toledo resident has used all 4 FGC characters on his way to success in 2023, but Terry Bogard has been his partner of choice on his way to some fantastic results. Andres started the year off strong by earning a 25th place finish at Genesis 9, as well as knocking off Leon, Bloom4Eva, Flow, and Sisqui en route to 5th at GLORY 3.0, 4th at Shonen WAR #2, and 4th at Invasion: April 2023. Another excursion to the States led to 17th at Super Smash Con 2023, banishing Shuton to losers bracket on the way. All through the year, Andres showed incredible consistency as he regularly traded sets with countryman Sisqui and would drop sets to only the highest calibre of player.

With a new year beginning, this young competitor has the chance to push his abilities to the next level. I have no doubt that AndresFn will be taking after his characters of choice, and turning to face the next challenge head on without looking back.

— Tom “G-P” Scott

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