Since its release in 2014, there has been one player dominating the scene: Gonzalo “Zero” Barrios. Since he retired last month, the top spot is wide open. There are a few players who have consistently been ranked highly but now they have the chance to take it to the next level. With Zero now gone anything is possible and we are guaranteed a new number one ranked player. Ever since the PGR (Panda Global Ranking) system has been ranking the 50 best players in the world, no one has been able to dethrone Zero. This year will be the first time that someone else will take the top spot. Here are five players I think have the best chances of taking the number one spot
Let’s start off with the current number two ranked player in the world. Saleem “Salem” Akiel Young Just signed with team liquid after a red hot
2017. The Bayonetta main is approaches every game with a slow methodical offense centered around patience. His incredible tech skill paired with Bayonettas’ deadly moveset make for a very volatile pairing. Salem Racked up huge results in 2017, placing first in three S tier events. His most notable win coming at EVO 2017 where he shocked the world defeating by defeating Zero in set two of grand finals. Salem is rarely seen outside of top 8 of any event he attends, and consistently delivers amazing results.
Salem is currently number two in the world, but he came very close to dethroning Zero. A lot of his biggest victories last season came against Zero and he became a bit of an achilles heel for him. With Zero gone Salem is definitely poised to take the top spot that just narrowly eluded him last season.
Free Agent Dabuz
Samuel “Dabuz” Buzby is often known as Smash 4’s most consistent player. You can find him in just about every top eight with his tried and true Rosalina.
Dabuz doesn’t get all the credit he deserves because he’s not a very flashy player but he is very effective. He took first place at two S tier events last season which was a personal best for him. His play is very calculated and combined with the dangerous potential Rosalina has, he can produce some scary offense. Dabuz does a great job of keeping a wall between his opponent, using Luma to keep opponents out at all costs. He is a very skilled player but sometimes struggled against Zero.
Even with one of his biggest wins of last year coming against Zero, he could stand to improve. Zero being gone could possibly be the final step that leads to Dabuz rising up among the ranks.
Echo Fox MVG MK Leo
Leonardo “MK Leo” Lopez Perez is one of Smash 4’s most prolific players at only 16 years old! Given the nickname “prince of smash” he is often considered to be the best player in the world now that zero is gone; even after ranking 4th on the PGR.
Leo is simply on another level when he’s playing. Whether he plays Marth, Meta Knight, or cloud, he is precise and deadly. He’s the best with just about every character he uses and it shows in tournaments. He has two S tier wins along with one A tier win and consistently places high. The thing that really sets him apart is how successful he is against Zero, as he was definitely one of Zeros’ demons last season.
Leo is very calculated in his movements, from spacing to execution. His tech skill is amazing and many believe he will be the next to be crowned the best in the world.
“The Peoples Champ” Nairoby “Nairo” Quezada is always a fan favorite. Next to Zero he is the PGRs’ most consistent performer as he has placed third for the past three seasons. With his Zero Suit Samus by his side he is well equipped to clutch out close games or destroy whoever comes into his path. Nairo is very active in the community as he streams almost daily to a large audience, and has a massive social media presence. However he is much more than just an icon online as his results speak for themselves. He only had one first place finish last season, but it was an S tier event and he placed second at a few other tournaments. He also was only outside of top 8 two times last season. In a game where many top players will have the occasional bad tournament, Nairo always has a great run.
Nairo also did well against Zero and was one of his biggest rivals. With him gone Nairo is definitely a favorite to take the top spot this season.
Ok now hear me out, this is a bit a of a wildcard. Matt “Elegant Fitzpatrick was ranked 11th best in the world last season and isn’t necessarily a favorite to take the top spot. But I believe that he has the tools and the momentum to have a great chance at taking it. He’s the best Luigi player in the world and he is a very explosive player. He has very respectable tournament results and while he hasn’t gotten first place at a huge event yet, he is always threatening.
Elegant didn’t get to travel as much as the others on this list last year, but I think if that changes this season, we could see a changing of the guard in the Smash 4 scene. Elegant is such a skillful player and his dedication to the game, and impressive tech skill make him a player to watch in the race for the top spot.
Who do you think will take the number one spot this season? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below!
Featured image courtesy of Game Tyrant.
If you enjoyed what you read, please consider contributing to our Patreon account! Every little bit counts. We greatly appreciate all of your amazing support!
From our Haus to yours.