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.

#20. KC | Kurama || Photo: Brandon Prudencio (@TridentSkrt)

Imagine, for a second, one of Karmine Corp’s many casual League of Legends supporters, tuning into a stream to support the team's newest signing and venture into Smash. In that position, they would be forgiven for thinking of Mario as an oppressive, unbalanced champion who destroys others off a single hit. Imagine again then, their surprise to find that this is not the case, and it’s instead the handiwork of their newest signing and Californian prodigy: Kurama.

When it comes to performance for this season, Kurama proved his ability and then some, with an outstanding performance at the final Smash Ultimate Summit defeating the likes of Sparg0, MuteAce and Skyjay to finish 4th. Outside of invitationals, Kurama put in the work with consistent performances, including top 8 finishes at MAJOR UPSET, Crown the Third and King Of Fields 95 #3, collecting victories over Sisqui, Zomba, Tea, ApolloKage and many more. No matter where in the world he went, you could guarantee Kurama would sour someone's bracket run.

Despite having years of top performances under his belt, Kurama is shockingly still just a teenager. Having now gained the support of an esports giant, will we finally get to see him operate at a higher level? Only time will tell, but for now, Kurama rounds out the season as the 20th best player on the planet.

Tom “G-P” Scott

#19. iXA | Yaura || Photo: うってぃー / Utthi (@kamera_k_rool)

Yaura is a player that, for most, only entered the public consciousness quite recently. After his swift 3-0 on Sparg0 at Kagaribi #10, he entered two NA tournaments, doing quite well at both at them. But what many might not know is that his season leading up to that point had been just as, if not more amazing, granting him the title of best Samus in the world. 

To be honest, if there’s one thing that’s holding Yaura back, it’s his, at times, awful bracket luck. Take his two NA trips for example, where he went game 5 with two top 10 players in Riddles and Light, and lost to Samus’ worst matchup in Dabuz’s Olimar, twice!

But the fact that he is ranked this high despite that is a testament to how good Yaura really is. Aside from the aforementioned Sparg0 win, he has wins on Yoshidora, Asimo, Tea, Gackt, Neo and takera just to name a few, all while mostly avoiding taking any of the bad losses his contemporaries have. And I haven’t even mentioned his arguably most impressive feat of the season, where he won a tournament over Miya, in a matchup that is consistently regarded as Samus’ worst, Mr. Game and Watch. Not only that, he double eliminated him, something only 2 others were able to do this season: Yoshidora and Shuton. 

And although this is the highest ranking a Samus has achieved this game, it feels like Yaura still hasn’t even began to tap into his full potential, and that his upcoming improvement is all but inevitable.

Jonas “Fortuna” Stritzinger

#18. LG | Maister || Photo: Bekah Wong (@alonelychime)

Between January’s two big hitter events in North America — GENESIS and Let’s Make Big Moves — it looked like Maister was in something of a slump. After his losses to MuteAce and Soar at GENESIS, he wouldn’t return to majors until Collision 2023, where Mexico & Canada ruled the stage. He took an early loss to Skyjay, but clawed back through losers, taking sets off Kurama, Zomba, ShinyMark, MVD, and Lima.

This return to form was seen in his following major performance at Battle of BC 5 where he continued to be a thorn in the sides of both Glutonny and Tweek. At his last event of the season, he’d also take a close fought set from Light. 

Whatever questions one might’ve had about his consistency have faded as he’s returned to form, ready to swat nearly any top player down as one of the biggest wildcards in Smash at the moment.

Joshua “Barnard’s Loop” Craig

#17. DTM | zackray || Photo: さきょう / sakyo (@sakyooooou)

While hardly at the height of his power, zackray proved to everyone once again this season that he is still a force to be reckoned with. After winning two majors last year, zackray apparently decided to take up a new challenge in 2023. zackray started by piloting his classic Joker and Game & Watch duo to 13th at Umebura SP 9, then shocked everyone with his latest wild card at his next major, Kagaribi #9, where after losing to the Japanese Min Min Rimu, he made a ten set losers run all the way to third place… with Pit. On the way he beat a total of six top 50 players in Umeki, Neo, Rizeasu, Kameme, KEN, and Yoshidora.

Particularly with that early loss to Rimu, zackray’s loss record ends up a little bit inconsistent, split almost evenly between top 20 and non-top 50. His two best losses came at the end of the season though with Kagaribi #10, taking yet another third place at a supermajor, beating Yamanaction, Scend, Noi, Zomba, and Hero and only losing to the top two players worldwide in Sparg0 and acola. With such a strong set of wins, and with his losses against players like Kameme, Asimo, and acola taking 5 games to complete, it seems like zackray is on the cusp of returning to his former ranking heights.

James “Doxazo” Rivers

#16. 26R | MuteAce || Photo: Bekah Wong (@alonelychime)

MuteAce’s season started off insanely strong. The first major he entered, Genesis 9, he amazed everyone and got 2nd, beating Maister, acola, Glutonny, Light, and MkLeo, before falling to Leo in grand finals and the reset. He did not stop after this though; MuteAce constantly entered regionals and large locals, only missing gold twice in the 12 C and D tiers he entered since Genesis. MuteAce was proving at locals he could do it, but what about majors? Well, at A+ and higher events, he had the tendency to struggle. At Ultimate Summit 6, MuteAce excelled in pools, going 3-0 over Riddles, Sparg0, and NaetorU. When main bracket started though, he quickly went 0-2 losing to Kurama and Glutonny for 9th. MuteAce would then travel to Japan, where he seemingly could not get things right. Despite his less than stellar placements at the 3 majors in Japan, he would still push himself to continue playing.

While none of the future tournaments would be of the same caliber, Mute would still have a solid end of season winning many regionals, and even beating a large number of top players like Kameme, Capitancito, Ling, and MVD. The Texan and formerly Floridian Peach is still a threat to everyone, and frequently upsets some of the best. While he may be among the less consistent of the bunch, his peaks are better than even some of the top 10, which just makes his lows feel lower than they actually are. In reality, Mute’s sheer presence can be enough to slow down a run from the top. There is always a chance of MuteAce winning, no matter the opponent.

Benjamin “BennyTheGreat” Schmid

#15. SZ | Asimo || Photo: さきょう / sakyo (@sakyooooou)

After catapulting into the scene at Kagaribi #7, Asimo’s steady trajectory towards becoming one of the best players in the world doesn’t seem to be stopping anytime soon. This season has already seen him enter a whopping twenty-three tournaments across Japan, taking every opportunity to challenge himself and test his mettle against the country’s best. And Asimo’s grinding has paid off — he put up a trio of consistent 13ths during the chaos of Golden Week and placed top 8 at five separate majors, including a nine-set losers run at MaesumaTOP #11 where he took out players such as Tea, Shuton, Karaage, and Lv.1 en route to fourth.

By far Asimo’s greatest hurdle, however, has been the pair of Smashmate children in acola and Miya. The two have been a thorn in Asimo’s side constantly; in fact, the first time Asimo ever outplaced acola (by virtue of acola getting upset early), he was stonewalled by Miya in grand finals at the latter’s first breakout tournament victory. Time and time again we’ve seen Asimo maneuver Ryu around matchups that seem near impossible, but every time he’s fallen just barely short. Yet climbing up to grand finals at Kagaribi #9, Asimo was determined. Despite getting 3-0’d in winners finals, Asimo was able to pull through to reset the bracket in his seventh lifetime set against acola. Conquering Miya would take longer, but in their ninth meeting of the season Asimo would finally prevail, knocking Miya out of winners finals at UltCore.

They’re just singular sets, but the fact that Asimo was able to win them at all shows that there’s still innovation to be had and new tricks to discover. Conquering these demons is just the beginning to bringing Ryu his first major victory.

Kenny “kenniky” Wang

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

As we hit the 5th year of competitive Smash Ultimate, it’s easy to look back and think of players who faded as time went on, maybe those that couldn’t keep up with the new younger generation or instead opted for less fiercely competitive avenues. Let it be known that Tea absolutely does NOT belong in that group and — just like his flagship character Pac-Man — has shown himself to be one of the world's most enduring and iconic players.

The Tokyo resident started the year off incredibly well at Umebura SP 9 defeating Asimo, Kameme and Yoshidora on his way to a 2nd place finish. This momentum has carried over throughout 2023, with consistent top 16 placements at Genesis 9, tamasuma kyokkan #2, MaesumaTOP #12, Crown the Third and MaesumaTOP #13, securing wins over Dabuz, Nao and many more.

Whilst Tea hasn’t claimed the top spot at any major tournaments for this ranking period, he’s always been in the conversation and has managed to adapt his playstyle to match any new challengers fighting for the top spots. Like a fine glass of vintage wine, this veteran has only gotten better with age and will continue to do so in the second half of 2023.

Tom “G-P” Scott

#13. Zomba || Photo: Brandon Prudencio (@TridentSkrt)

Only one guy has the guts to trash talk the greatest Ultimate player on Twitter, and then literally go undefeated in sets against him after. Zomba had one of the craziest seasons of anyone on this list. His year started very different to what it was nearing the end of the season. It took until the middle of February for him to top 8 a major. But in May, Zomba was among the dozen or so players to travel to Japan to compete in their slew of majors. Here, Zomba would absolutely pop off with two solid results at DELTA #4 and Kagaribi #10. This seemed to give the kid even more confidence as he would storm the rest of the season taking name after name and achieving placements that most could only dream of.

Not only would Zomba place 7th at Canada’s biggest tournament, Battle of BC 5, beating MkLeo, KEN, and Tweek, he would then flat out win his next major at Crown the Third. Here he beat MkLeo once again, but also Sonix, Tweek, Jakal, and Shuton, who actually eliminated Zomba at BOBC5. After this incredible feat, Zomba would enter 2 B tier events, getting top 3 in both before finishing the season strong with an impressive 4th place at Get On My Level 2023.

Zomba is arguably the fastest improving player of the season, and it’s very likely he will continue this streak to become one of the best to touch the game.

Benjamin “BennyTheGreat” Schmid

#12. R2G | Kameme || Photo: Bekah Wong (@alonelychime)

Kameme is a household name in the Smash community. Be it due to his exploits in Smash 4, or his incredible results back during pre-pandemic Ultimate, basically everyone knows who Kameme is. But although most of his fame comes from his Mega Man, his Sora is the character that has allowed him to thrive in the current meta.

One might assume that Kameme's fatherly duties would hinder his competitive career, but that concern would be for naught. Kameme has been one of the most frequent travelers, having two NA majors in season, with two more scheduled shortly after.

Throughout this season, he has had quite solid results across the board, including two second place and four additional top 4 finishes at majors. But there’s obviously a reason Kameme is this far up the ranks, and it mostly comes from 2 back to back tournaments: Battle of BC 5 and MaesumaTOP #13. Although he took his worst loss of the season at Maesuma, his wins make up for it several times over. In these two tournaments alone, he managed to get wins on Miya, MkLeo, Glutonny, Yoshidora twice, Asimo, Tea, ProtoBanham, Hero, Onin, Big D and Luugi in one of the most impressive 2 tournament stretches of all time. 

And although he sadly missed out on top 10 once again, I’m sure he’ll achieve it, along with another major win, very soon.

Jonas “Fortuna” Stritzinger

#11. Solary | Glutonny || Photo: Théo Lalanne (@CommunistBurger)

The King of Europe has ruled the continent with an iron fist for the entirety of Smash Ultimate’s competitive history. Only recently has someone risen to the challenge of competing for his throne. While dueling at home with Bloom4Eva, Glutonny once again got some of his best work done overseas. He largely avoided being upset, mostly due to his incredible clutch factor that bailed him out of many close sets, such as the one with Tilde at Let’s Make Big Moves. 

Once again, the French giant picked up a laundry list of wins over players of all skill levels. He extended his long standing rivalry with MkLeo by picking up a nailbiter 3-2 victory at Smash Ultimate Summit 6, and scored two wins over the strongest the USA has to offer in Light and Tweek both.


After his last overseas tournament at Battle of BC 5 resulted in his first missed top 8, Glutonny went back to Europe with a vengeance, winning the remaining eight tournaments he entered for the season without dropping a single set. This resulted in him taking his first win on Bloom4Eva for the season, as well as winning A tier event King Of Fields 95 #3 to add yet another major victory to his impressive resume.

Already starting off next season with a dominant performance at Smash Factor X, Glutonny shows no sign of stopping any time soon and is looking to make the rest of 2023 his best year yet!

Alice “Alice” Len

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