PGR Season 5 Preview: Hyrule Saga, CEO, and the Quest to be #1
Author Credits: Despite the website displaying otherwise, this article was written by Dan "Skyhook" Marazita
PGR Season 5 Preview: Hyrule Saga, CEO, and the Quest to be #1
The Panda Global Ranking is the official player ranking system for Smash 4. On July 1st, the 5th season of the PGR will be coming to a close. While there have not been many major Smash 4 tournaments this seasons, we saw the largest tournament of the season this past weekend with Hyrule Saga. In the last weekend of June, the second largest tournament of the season will be held- CEO 2018. Both tournaments have been given the rank of A+, meaning they have reached a certain quota of current PGR members in attendance, as well as a certain number of total entrants in general. For more information on the logistics of the PGR, check out the PG Stats section of the Panda Global website (https://panda.gg/?view=pgstats).
One of the biggest differences between this season and the last is the complete lack of attendance of retired (but still current) number one ranked player, ZeRo. This opened up the spot for a new player to be crowned number one- a first in PGR history. While the spot is theoretically up for grabs, very few players actually have a chance of grabbing it. Of the hundreds and thousands of entrants that have entered tournaments throughout the season, only 5 have a semblance of a shot; Salem, Dabuz, Nairo, MKLeo, and Tweek.
By looking at the PGR’s 4th iteration, one would assume that Salem has the best shot at taking the number one spot. His performance this season does not totally prove that conclusion to be true, however. None of this is to say he had a bad season- he kicked the year off with 3rd and 4th placings at Genesis 5 and Frostbite 2018 respectively. He has not won a major tournament this year, which is what separates him from a lot of the other players aiming for the spot. Still, with a lowest placing of 9th, along with wins over Komorikiri, Fatality, Mistake, Nairo, and MKLeo, he certainly does not lack the ability to place easily in the top 5. Consistency seems to be something he has more or less mastered, which is a concept that has proven to be difficult to maintain within Smash 4 players.
Known as the master of consistency, Dabuz also has a legitimate shot at taking first on the PGR. Dabuz has not placed lower than 5th at any tournament he has entered- a feat that is unique to him. His biggest victory of the year came during Frostbite 2018, where he not only took the tournament, but defeated Wrath, Zinoto, Tyroy, Mistake, and Tweek twice without dropping a set. He also won two decently sized regionals along the way- Midwest Mayhem 11 and Overclocked II. Midwest Mayhem 11 gave him another two victories over Zinoto, as well as one over MKLeo, another first place PGR contender. At Overclocked II, he defeated Light and amassed two victories on Marss. However, at Collision XV two weeks later, he was eliminated by both players he defeated in Boston at Overclocked II. Dabuz’s chances of attaining the number one spot on the PGR hinge on his performance at CEO, and the wins he can collect there.
Fan favorite Nairo once again has a very legitimate chance at reaching the number one spot as well. At Genesis 5, Nairo dropped a set to NorCal native Legit in round 2 pools. He did not allow the upset to stop him from a forth place placing, however, earning wins on Zenyou, Esam, and MVD. His first big tournament victory of the year came in the form of the Niconico Tokaigi 2018 Invitational. He not only defeated international rival Ken twice, but also defeated MKLeo in grand finals twice, after dropping a set in winners. His success was not short lived, either- he ended up earning his biggest tournament victory by winning Smash Masters League: Battle for Vegas. He amassed wins over CaptainZack, Salem, Mistake, and two wins over MKLeo. He also has wins on VoiD, Charlie, Ac, Larry Komorikiri, and Mistake. Still, he underperformed at the season’s biggest tournament, placing 17th and dropping sets to Mr. R and Light- both considered to be upsets. Nairo will need a near perfect performance at CEO if he wants to solidify his chances at earning the number one spot.
This leaves us with the two contenders who have perhaps the best chance at earning the coveted number one spot on the PGR- Tweek and MKLeo. Both have a considerable number of tournament wins, as well as sets over multiple players. Tweek won EGLX 2018, MomoCon 2018, and Hyrule Saga, and MKLeo won Genesis 5, Switchfest, and Get On My Level 2018.
Perhaps Tweek’s best chance at earning the number one spot comes from his career set advantage over MKLeo, defeating him almost every time they have played. However, the one time they have played this season, MKLeo took the set victory. He does also have wins on Dabuz, Salem, VoiD, Komorikiri, Mr. R, Salem, Mistake, Samsora, Wadi, and CaptainZack this season. Tweek has been on fire since the season started, only missing top 8 once. A victory at CEO may solidify his spot at number one.
MKLeo, unlike his contemporaries, may not necessarily need a CEO victory to earn the number one spot on the PGR. Before Hyrule Saga, his lowest placing at any tournament entered was 4th. Even at Hyrule Saga, he made top 8 and placed 7th, even though he was upset by the best Dedede player in the world, zaki, in round one pools. In a singular season, MKLeo has earned victories over the following players: Tweek, Dabuz, Nairo, Salem, Mistake, Larry Lurr, Fatality, Light, Elegant, Cosmos, Lima, CaptainZack, falln, ANTi, and Zinoto. Touting perhaps the best repertoire of wins, MKLeo seems like a shoe-in for earning first place on the PGR.
30 PGR players and 635 other players will be attending and participating in CEO 2018, leaving Smash 4’s final full season off with a bang. Furthermore, all five of the top spot contenders will be in attendance, meaning this is the last shot these players have to prove themselves as the best in the world. Smash Ultimate’s imminent release in December begs another question- will these top players be able to stay on top, or will they be dethroned by new faces or up-and-coming players alike?