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Welcome to the SSBM 2020 Q1 Rank, hosted by Daily Esports! With the coronavirus pandemic bringing esports competition to a halt, this ranking recognizes those who performed well in early 2020. This series will detail the results of the current top 25 Super Smash Bros. Melee players in the world.

Today’s article features five players who just made the cut for the SSBM 2020 Q1 Rank. Notably, this includes two of the fastest-rising up-and-comers in all of Super Smash Bros. Melee. These particular players have never even been ranked in the top 50 before now, let alone the top 25.

#25 – 2Saint

Toussaint “2saint” Turnier is notably the only player on the SSBM 2020 Q1 Rank who did not attend Genesis 7. As a result, 2saint’s placement is based solely on his consistently solid performances in his home region of New York. One of 2saint’s most notable performances came at the very beginning of the year at Scorpius 2020. After an early loss to Ryobeat, 2saint slogged through the losers bracket, defeating Foxy Grandpa, DrLobster, TheSWOOPER, Hax, and Ryobeat before finally falling to Aklo for a 2nd place finish.

In February, 2saint headed over to Massachusetts, where he won Mass Madness 32. There, he took a set off of Joyboy and double-eliminated Kalvar. While 1st at Hax’s Nightclub eluded him, 2saint had consistent top 4 finishes at the stacked local series. At these locals, he defeated the likes of Swedish Delight, Captain Smuckers, Aklo, and Slox.

On one hand, 2saint suffered from a bit of inconsistency against players ranked around or below him. He holds losing records against Rishi, Captain Smuckers, and Aklo, with additional losses to Ryobeat and DrLobster. However, he has taken at least one set from every opponent he faced, besides Rishi, while avoiding any horrible losses. Coupled with his flawless 2-0 record against players ranked in the 2019 MPGR top 20, this allows 2saint to barely sneak into the top 25.

#24 – KoDoRiN

John “KoDoRiN” Ko has had quiet but solid performances at the majors he attended this year. He placed 33rd at Genesis, with predictable wins over sub-top 100 players and respectable losses to Professor Pro and n0ne. Then, at Saving Mr. Lombardi 2, KoDoRiN finished in 17th place. Though he failed to advance past the round-robin pools, he still earned victories over MikeHaze, Franz, and Eddy Mexico.

While his major tournament performances were merely commendable, KoDoRiN’s local performances have been outright spectacular. Consider KoDoRiN’s set records against some of SoCal’s strongest competitors: 1-0 against ARMY, 3-3 against Westballz, and 1-1 against Lucky. Furthermore, KoDoRiN boasts dominant records against the players generally perceived as being in the same tier as him. He holds records of 6-0 against null, 4-1 against Nut, and 10-2 against Squid.

Of course, it is not uncommon for active SoCal players to earn a handful of upsets at locals. What has set KoDoRiN apart from the field is his ability to do so without accruing any bad losses. Besides players he has winning records against, KoDoRiN’s worst loss was Spud (against whom he is 1-1). Considering only players he did not take a set from, KoDoRiN’s worst loss is Professor Pro. Admittedly, KoDoRiN’s 3-11 record against Captain Faceroll calls into question his ability to consistently challenge players ranked above him. Even so, it seems SoCal has very few players that KoDoRiN cannot ever beat.

#23 – Swedish Delight

James “Swedish Delight” Liu was the least active of the players in this section of the SSBM 2020 Q1 Rank. As a result, his placement comes almost entirely from his impressive 9th place finish at Genesis 7. There, he earned victories over Laudandus, Kevin Maples, Amida, La Luna, Trif, and Mew2King. Meanwhile, his only losses were close, five-game Sheik dittos against Captain Faceroll and Shroomed.

Swedish Delight’s only other tournament, a Hax’s Nightclub local, was not quite as stellar as his Genesis run. While he was able to defeat players like TheSWOOPER and Rishi, he also suffered upset losses to Chem and 2saint. With a shallow pool of results and some questionable local losses, Swedish Delight is unable to match his position from the 2019 MPGR. Even so, the high quality of his best wins ensures him a spot in the top 25.

#22 – Professor Pro

Aaron “Professor Pro” Thomas kicked off his season at Valhalla III, where he double-eliminated Solobattle while only losing to Leffen. Later in January, the England native spent a couple of weeks competing in California, with mixed results. Professor Pro’s most notable local result came at Melee @ The Made: The Warm Up, where he placed 2nd. While he beat Fizz, Ryobeat, Krudo, null, and Kevin Maples, he also dropped sets to both null and Kevin Maples.

Professor Pro placed a mediocre 25th at Genesis 7, defeating billybopeep and KoDoRiN while losing to Mew2King and Ice. However, his best performance by far came at Saving Mr. Lombardi 2, his last event before returning to England. Professor Pro defeated Nut, KoDoRiN, MikeHaze, Captain Faceroll, S2J, and ARMY en route to a stunning 4th place finish.

Professor Pro’s local and regional results in England throughout February and March were marked by inconsistency. He traded sets with Setchi, Frenzy, and Soonsay, all of whom he would generally be considered the favorite to beat. While inconsistency keeps him out of the top 20, Professor Pro still boasts an impressive portfolio of high-quality wins.

#21 – Soonsay

Miles “Soonsay” Foster placed a disappointing 65th at Genesis 7, dropping sets to Mew2King and Voo. Despite his lackluster performance at Genesis, Soonsay’s incredible regional results have carried him onto the SSBM 2020 Q1 Rank. His season started off strong at Revenge of the 6ix: January 2020 Edition, where he beat n0ne in Winners Semis. After losing 0-3 to moky in Winners Finals, he retaliated with a 6-0 victory in Grands to win the tournament.

Soonsay won Float, another Canadian regional, in February. There, he defeated Matteo, Cami, and Ryan Ford. Soonsay’s final results of the season came during his visit to the United Kingdom in March. Though he lost a local to Professor Pro, he bounced back in a big way at his next regional. Soonsay placed 1st at Nang 4, earning 3-1 wins over Frenzy, Professor Pro, and Setchi without dropping a set.

With such a poor placement at Genesis, it’s hard to count Soonsay among the best in the world just yet. Nevertheless, his regional performances have suggested he’s well on his way to getting there. Soonsay is one of the only Melee players in the world who won more tournaments than not in early 2020. And he did so in the face of competition many would have expected to outclass him. This fact is more than enough to earn Soonsay the No. 21 spot on the SSBM 2020 Q1 Rank.

Make sure to check back tomorrow, as the rankings resume with the SSBM 2020 Q1 Rank: 20-16.