Welcome to LumiRank Mid-Year 2023! As the Smash Ultimate scene continues to grow and talent pools continue to deepen, carving out a position at the top of the metagame is harder than ever. We’re excited to now recognize those players that have put in the work to rise to the top.

As a reminder, LumiRank Mid-Year 2023 is meant to be a check-in point as we continue through 2023, and our end-of-year ranking will cover the entirety of this season as well as the remainder of the year.

For more information about the LumiRank partnership, the release schedule, and more, check out the introductory article here.

#10. Revo | Yoshidora || Photo: Bekah Wong (@alonelychime)

At this point, Kansai absolutely has to be mentioned when talking about the strongest regions. All the more impressive is that its third best player, Yoshidora, made top 10, something that holds true for no other region.

While Yoshidora has been a solid top 20 player for the entirety of the post-pandemic era, it seems that he has hit a breakthrough, as he manages to achieve his first top 10 finish this season. 

And it’s 100% deserved, as his accolades are something that most other people can only dream of. He has won two submajors, one of which he won by defeating Asimo and Miya twice. He has only 1 placement outside of top 8 this season, a 13th at MaesumaTOP #11. This means he has the 3rd highest major top 8 rate out of any ranked player, after acola’s perfect attendance, and Tweek, who also has only missed one major top 8, but attended one more major. 

Outside of his aforementioned wins, he also managed to beat Yaura, Kameme and Shuton twice, along with a slew of top 50 and top 50 adjacent players. But his real claim to fame isn’t his win quality, but his loss quality. You see, in a season as volatile as this, being consistent is very, very important, and Yoshidora is the picture perfect example of this. There are only three players who have no losses outside of the top 50: acola, Glutonny and, of course, Yoshidora.

Between Yoshidora’s impending appearance at the ultra-stacked Tera, and many other top overseas players’ own trips to Japan, the one thing holding him back — a lack of head to heads against top players from North America and Europe — might soon be rectified. It would be of little surprise if Yoshidora ends up ranked even higher at the end of the year.

Jonas “Fortuna” Stritzinger

#9. SST | Shuton || Photo: 限界社会人ナナミ / Genkai Syakaijin Nanami (@takatou0711)

Shuton has been a top player in Ultimate since the start of the game, winning the first Umebura SP back in 2018. As a name that has become almost synonymous with the game we play since, he adds yet another top 10 season to his resume. 

In stark contrast to the beacon of consistency that Shuton was in 2022, his 2023 was far more tumultuous — but no less impressive. While he saw some lower placements than he did last year, he also found more success: Shuton won back to back majors this season, along with having multiple deep runs overseas. In true dual main fashion he won KOWLOON #5, the first ever major in his home region Kyushu with primarily Olimar, whereas he mainly wielded Aegis to take WAVE #4.

Pushing two metagames at the same time, Shuton’s two wildly different characters consist of a terrifying combination for anyone to go up against. A skill honed by wielding Pyra and Mythra, Shuton is an expert of knowing when to switch and using each character’s strengths to apply pressure to his opponents’ weak points. His usual high attendance did not change this season, which resulted once more in a laundry list of wins on everyone who dared cross his path. Kameme seemed to have it especially rough, as he ran into Shuton six times during the year, only winning one of their encounters.

Shuton finished off the season with a triumvirate of 3rd places at North American supermajors. At Battle of BC 5 he would fall early to Armadillo before going on a lengthy losers run, whereas Crown the Third saw him reaching the placement from winners side. His final third place at Smash Factor X falls just outside of the season’s boundary, but is a good springboard to catapult him into an even higher placement at the end of the year. Shuton has been here since day 1 of Ultimate, and neither the game nor he are looking to go anywhere. Stay tuned to see if he can make Pikmin 4’s release year his best one yet!

Alice “Alice” Len

#8. Liquid | Riddles || Photo: Bekah Wong (@alonelychime)

When it comes to the Smash community, there are many ways to view it. For an athlete you can see it as grounds for competition. For an extrovert? A vehicle for socialisation. Maybe even a future career for the budding entrepreneur. If you were to instead view it through the lens of a stock broker, no assets have increased quite like Riddles has in the games lifespan. Piloting the duo of Kazuya and Terry, the Team Liquid athlete's silky smooth movement and gameplan execution has taken him to the top of the mountain.

When competing at this level, there is no time to waste, and that shows in Riddles’ results this season, attending large events on a near weekly basis and racking up impressive performances. The peak of this year thus far would certainly come from Collision 2023, where Riddles overcame MkLeo, Sonix and an extremely game Skyjay twice to take home the top spot. The story doesn’t end here as Riddles claimed repeated top 8 finishes at Let’s Make Big Moves 2023, MAJOR UPSET, MaesumaTOP #12, Kagaribi #10, CEO 2023 and Get On My Level 2023 alongside wins over Dabuz, Tea, ApolloKage, Kameme, Tweek, and many more to cement themselves as Canada's most visible and valuable prospect.

With Riddles becoming more and more prominent in the main event as time goes on, it’s safe to say this has been his strongest season yet. Whilst the metaphorical stock broker is late to the investment party, what you can absolutely bank on is Riddles continuing this upwards trend and finding themselves even more prominent next season.

Tom “G-P” Scott

#7. LG | MkLeo || Photo: Nem (@NemSumeragi)

The fact that the greatest Ultimate player of all time can win the biggest North American tournament of the season and still miss out on the top 5 is a testament to how strong the top level of Smash Ultimate is. But that doesn’t mean MkLeo’s going to give up his throne without a fight.

After starting out the season with a 4th place at LMBM and a win at Genesis 9, where he took sets from Sonix, Tea, MuteAce and Light, it looked like business as usual for the GOAT, but he missed twice as many top 8s at majors this season than he did in the first four years of Ultimate. 

Make no mistake, though, MkLeo still looks like the best player in the world when he’s on. He’s 3-2 against Sonix, 2-2 against Sparg0, and 2-1 over Light, and he still has that speed, spacing and X factor that made him the center of the Smash Ultimate universe for so long. 

He’s just not winning at the level we’ve come to expect. Out of the nine ranked tournaments he attended, Leo only finished first at Genesis and the B+ tier Wavedash 2023. But other than his loss to rising star ShinyMark in a career problem matchup, all but two of Leo’s losses were to top 20 players: a top 20 that is as competitive as it ever has been in Ultimate’s lifetime. 

It’s not fair to judge Leo in the context of his status as the Greatest of All Time. His worst season is still better than almost anyone’s best, and Leo isn’t one who is known to back down from a challenge.

You can count him out all you want. All we’re saying is to keep an apology form on hand when he goes and proves you wrong. 

Jack “Trash Day!” Clifton

#6. Moist | Light || Photo: Dylan Revezzo (@RedShirt__)

Light came into 2023 playing hotter than he ever has before, coming off a 4th place finish on UltRank 2022 with a season full of grand finals appearances. His 2023 has in some ways been even better, with a list of wins and strong head-to-heads that prove he can take virtually any tournament if he puts it all together. Even in his lesser showings this season it took a lot to bring Light down. He missed top 8 at three out of his nine qualifying tournaments, but those losses came at the hands of Shuton, Chase, Glutonny, Tweek x2, and Quandale, an impressive list for anyone.

Light truly started blowing down the doors in 2023 at Genesis 9, where after easily handling threats like YOC, SHADIC, and Kameme, he began a gauntlet of game 5 sets, dispatching Tweek, losing to MuteAce, then muscling through Sparg0 and Sonix in loser’s. He seemed determined to reach a runback with Mute in grand finals, but a narrow defeat at the hands of MkLeo put him to bed at 3rd place. A month later at LVL UP EXPO, Light would win his biggest tournament of the season, taking one loss to Tweek, but double eliminating both him and Sonix to take the tournament from loser’s. Light’s consistency truly sealed his ranking for this season, with only one non-top 50 loss and holding the distinction of being the only player with a strong head-to-head against Sonix, plus key wins over the likes of Sparg0 and MkLeo, and he’s poised to climb even higher throughout the rest of 2023.

James “Doxazo” Rivers

#5. LG | Tweek || Photo: Ramz Baltodano (@BustedDrones)

It’s no surprise that Tweek makes it near the top of this list. The consistency king once again shows that he can stand amongst the best players in the world.

Tweek’s year so far has consisted of nine A+ tier or higher tournaments. Of these nine tournaments, he missed top 8 only a single time, where he lost to two top 20 players. That’s not something many people can say. In fact, Tweek only has 1 loss to a non-top 50 player this entire season, and that didn’t stop his tournament run at all. Despite this hiccup, Tweek managed to go on a five set losers run at Get On My Level before exiting the bracket at 7th to Riddles.

One thing Tweek excels at is absolutely demolishing most players. Being positive on players like Sparg0, MkLeo, and even Big D, whose Ice Climbers used to give Tweek’s Diddy a run for his money back in 2022, it’s almost impossible to rank the Jersey native any lower than top 5. When only a few players even have a chance of stopping him, Tweek will without a doubt keep winning set after set, adding to his insane list of top 8s, and improving his combo of Diddy Kong and Sephiroth. It’s clear that Tweek is now playing better than ever.

Benjamin “BennyTheGreat” Schmid

#4. Sonix || Photo: Joseph Chow (@chowjiaming)

Sonix is your favorite player’s least favorite player. 

Don’t get us wrong, he’s a great guy, but he has to be the most frustrating, ice cold player to pick up the sticks and play Super Smash Brothers. Any game has the potential to go to time, and Sonix’s style of hit and run for your life has proven over and over to be suffocating and viable against any player in the world. 

But he’s not just the camp machine that people make him out to be. Sonix’s punish game and edgeguards have improved by orders of magnitude even in the past year. His mental toughness and defensive gameplay don’t mean anything if he couldn’t capitalize on his openings and create leads, and Sonix creates and maintains leads better than anyone on the planet. 

He only missed top 6 once, at Crown the Third, and not only was his season consistent, he finished it on a high note with his first place finish at the 877 entrant S+ tier GOML 2023. It was the quintessential Sonix tournament: 28-2 game record, wins on MkLeo, Sparg0, Zomba and Dabuz and some good old fashioned 25 minute sets where Sonix always had his foot on his opponent’s throat. 

Peerless regional results, consistent major results and a supermajor win gives Sonix his first ever season in the top five, and he’s proved that he’s among Ultimate’s best players. And as soon as he gets a stock lead, well…

You know the vibes.

Jack “Trash Day!” Clifton

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

It’s hard to believe that just one year ago, we were trying to figure out if Miya was the real deal after he’d catapulted to acola-esque heights on Smashmate. But Miya’s win at Kagaribi #8 started him off on a journey that has granted him the throne for best Game & Watch, an inarguable top 2 spot in Japan, and immense respect from players and spectators who barely knew him at the beginning of 2022.

Though Miya has been the member of the top 5 most susceptible to unusual losses, he’s also the member who attends the most — and it’s not really close. The Kansai native competed in twenty-two separate events this past season, traveling overseas to snatch 5th at Battle of BC 5 and otherwise building his legacy across the Japanese islands. With five separate major victories under his belt, an uncountable number of regional wins, and sets over all of Japan’s finest, including a milestone victory over longtime rival acola at MaesumaTOP #11, Miya has established himself as one of the strongest and most prolific players in the world. With a shiny new elite sponsor in Fennel behind him going forward, you can easily expect him to be expanding his horizons even more in the future.

Kenny “kenniky” Wang

#2. FaZe | Sparg0 || Photo: Bekah Wong (@alonelychime)

Sparg0 finally took the throne as North America’s number one player this season with a fantastic showing that consisted of two P tier wins, two second place finishes at S+ tiers, a bevy of major top 6s and regional wins and the cherry on top: a 5-0 record on his competition for number one.

He is just so good at this game. His spacing is impeccable, his advantage states are electric, game in and game out he just looks like the best player in the venue at every tournament he plays in. 

He won the premier Battle of BC 5 in 10 sets, only losing a total of three games. He had to play 17 sets to win Kagaribi #10 because he lost to Yaura in winners, but he still finished with a game record of 45-10, and took sets off of KEN, Dabuz, Yoshidora, Miya and two off of acola.

He took a step up from third to second, but he isn’t content with that. His goal always has been and always will be to be number one, but this was Sparg0’s strongest season yet, and at 17 it still feels like he has a limitless ceiling that we have yet to even understand.

Jack “Trash Day!” Clifton

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

The story of 2023 has been the new fight for #1. While most seasons have this determined well before rankings are even produced, this season featured a lengthy race between two Wi-Fi prodigies — Sparg0 and acola. In an even more unusual turn of events, the fight was decided on consistency rather than their head-to-head. 

acola takes first place on the Mid-Year 2023 rankings through his unparalleled mental fortitude. Between the nine events he attended, his lowest placement was seventh, at GENESIS. He has ended his season thus far taking no sub-top 50 losses and dominating Japan, and holds positive records on most of the North Americans he has faced. 

Yet, he’d find one demon this year: Sparg0. While acola has been more consistent in terms of losses and major performances, the elephant in the room is his weakness to Sparg0, a player whom he is ahead of by a mere sliver. It seems inevitable that they will come to blows again, and it is likely something’s going to give if he can’t beat out Sparg0 at some point this year. 

He’s resolved to either find secondaries or refine his already frighteningly good Steve even further to achieve this goal, and make no mistake, this is the only goal he’d need to meet to push far past any competition. Until then, Japan takes their first #1 slot in modern Smash, helmed by one of the fastest rises to power ever recorded in the competition scene.

Joshua “Barnard’s Loop” Craig

If you didn't make it on the top 50 you'll have your chance to make your mark in the National Arcadian at Luminosity Makes Moves this October! Learn more about Luminosity Makes Moves and register to attend on the StartGG page.

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