PGR Season Finale: 16 Players to Watch at CEO

ceo
It’s been an exciting season for the PGR. We’ve seen new stars rise up, veterans seek redemption, and ZeRo continue to body everyone. This weekend will mark the conclusion of the PGR’s third season at CEO down in Florida. This is the very last chance for any player to try and improve their stock before the rankings are finalized. With the help of 2GG and Frostbite bringing in Japanese talent, the competition is fiercer than ever for those 50 precious spots. As the action kicks off, let’s take a look at 16 players looking to solidify their spot, climb higher, or sneak in at the very end.

Raito

Thanks to the efforts of the Duck Hunt Discord channel, we’ve had a chance to see Raito at several major events this season. While he has not climbed all the way to a top 8, his wins are impressive. He’s taken out top 10 talent like Larry Lurr and ANTi.
On my mid-season mock PGR, Raito was one of the players in contention for that last spot. Many players in the bottom half of the PGR will be falling off this season. With a few more wins and a decent placing this weekend, Raito has a real shot at putting Duck Hunt in the Top 50.

Larry Lurr

We’ve seen Larry make amazing plays and take opponents apart on a consistent basis. Unfortunately, we’ve also seen him consistently upset early and having to make epic losers runs. While his placings remain solid, Larry’s only had a few shots to really do damage on the winner’s side of the bracket. At a tournament as stacked as CEO, Larry’s going to need to stay on his game during pools to come out alive.

There are about 15 players genuinely in contention for the top 10 this season. Larry’s going to need to close out CEO with a solid performance this weekend to secure his place once again.

Mr. R

He puts cereal on his milk and he takes ZeRo to game five with Cloud. Unfortunately, he also gets spiked at 40% in game five. Mr. R has had a very strong year and is virtually guaranteed a spot in the top 10 this season. However, the free agent won’t be satisfied with just sneaking in again. This is a player aiming to be the best in the world, hoping to break into the top five this season.

Mr. R has a number of second place and Top 8 finishes. He has good wins and a strong resume. However, we still haven’t seen that first place at an American major this season. To truly contend for those coveted top spots, Mr. R is going to need to put in some real work this weekend, ideally coming away with a win.

Esam

FREESAM memes might be fun for Twitch chat, but ESAM has had a great year. He’s conquered his biggest demon in Ally, put Samus back on the map, and has made multiple trips to the Top 8. Thanks PAX Arena and those Top 8 runs, ESAM has a great resume against the top of the PGR this season. While he likely can’t contend for top 10, ESAM can certainly make a case for a high placing in the top 20. A top 8 at the final S-tier event would secure his place among the elite. Even a few more wins against the top 10 would go a long way towards boosting the Pikachu main up the list.

Fatality

Second at Civil War, second at Momocon, a shiny new sponsor–it’s a good time to be the best Falcon in the world. Fatality is on a tear of late, proving that a true Captain Falcon main can contend with the best in the world. He’s got multiple wins on the top 10, and seems to be on a hot streak. Really the only thing standing in Fatality’s way is volume.

We haven’t seem him at as many A- and S-tier events this season, particularly the 2GGC events. Another high placing at an S-tier would help fill out his resume and put a Falcon-only player squarely in contention for a high spot in the top 20.

Salem

Salem has not made much noise this season. We haven’t seem him in many high profile Top 8s, and most people had move onto Captain Zack as the best Bayonetta player in the world. Then came Nairo Saga and the conversation changed. Multiple wins on the top 10 in that event alone along with a second place finish at an S-tier suddenly put Salem right back in the conversation at the top of the PGR.

Salem likely can’t climb much higher without getting back to Grand Finals, but he can secure a strong finish with a few more wins and a decent placing. Plus, if he finishes higher than Zack we go right back into that conversation.

Captain Zack

With a shiny new Phoenix 1 jersey, Captain Zack struggled a bit at Nairo Saga. His streak of fourth place at S-tiers came to an end. Before last weekend, Zack was firmly in the top 10. With players like Tweek and Marss nipping at his heels, missing Top 8 this weekend could put that top 10 spot up for debate. The charismatic Bayo main will need to focus hard and bring his very best against a stacked competition in order to stay ahead of his classmates.

Tweek

Captain Zack’s teammate on P1 has lofty aspirations for this season of the PGR. He has been fighting as hard as he can to breach the top 10. Unfortunately, we have not seen Tweek finish strong at any S-tier event this season. His placings at A-tiers and lower are exceptional. He has plenty of relevant wins. This is Tweek’s last chance to break through that barrier and into the true elite class of Smash 4. A Top 8 keeps him firmly in contention for top 15, a win at CEO would put him right into that top 10 conversation.

MVD

While not battling for the top 10, MVD is certainly making a case for himself. Finishing near the bottom of the pack last season, ESAM’s static partner has been putting in work thus far. He has wins against top players and several impressive placings under his belt. He has a real shot at the top 30 this season. Many of the players competing for his spot won’t be at CEO this weekend, so it’s a perfect opportunity for MVD to pad his resume with a few more wins and become one of the most improved players of the season.

Marss

Marss has been solid all season long, but outside of a splash at Civil War we haven’t seen that truly exceptional run out of the Northeast’s favorite son. He wants top 10. He wants it really bad. Unfortunately, he’s probably not going to get it. Unless, of course, he finishes the year with a win at CEO. A second high placing at an S-tier event would be huge for Marss in that crowded top 15 and potentially push him over the edge into the top 10.

Locus

How can you not love Locus? He’s always happy, smiles even in defeat, and also happens to be a stone cold murderer in bracket. It’s become strange to see Locus at an event and not see him in the Top 8. That said, there are still a few demon’s lurking out there for the Canadian Ryu main. The bracket at CEO will be riddled with Rosalinas waiting to send Locus to loser. His resume is solid this season, and almost worthy of a strong top 20 finish. This will be his last chance to really show just how far Ryu can take him.

Javi

He’s very good in doubles, and a powerhouse threat in Mexico, but we’ve yet to see Javi release his full potential at a major this year. My mock PGR had his in a solid spot due to some strong placings early in the year, but we’re still waiting for that true breakout performance from Javi.

As we’ve said before, the back half of the PGR is a war zone. There are dozens of players trying to scramble over each other for a few remaining spots. To stay on top of the pile, Javi will need to lock in a few more wins and a decent placing at CEO this weekend.

Falln

The 2GGC has been kind to the SoCal Rosalina main. We’ve seen multiple Top 8s and some great wins out of Falln this season. Realistically his potentially has continued to soar all season long. Unless your Suar, it’s hard to tell just how high Falln can climb, and a big finish at CEO would only help kick on those afterburners sending him into the stratosphere. Early in the year we had Kirihara firmly locked in as the second best Rosalina on the PGR, but Falln is suddenly calling that claim into question. Since he won’t be at CEO, Japan’s best Rosa will have to sit and watch as Falln tried to come up and take his place.

ANTi

The first half of the season was rough for ANTi. He had a 9th place at Genesis, but little else to his name. Thanks to Greninja Saga he’s back in the Top 8 at an A-tier and has a win over ZeRo to his name. Nothing short of winning CEO will put ANTi back in discussion for the top 10. That said, he did it last year, and the man does like to put on a show. ANTi’s potential for this season is now virtually untapped. All we can do is wait and see what he’ll do next, and just how far Mario can take him.

Kameme

On last season’s PGR, Kameme earned his 11th place largely due to a single good run to second place at EVO. We have no such run this season from everyone’s favorite Japanese Mega Man, and the PGR is less kind to spiky players. Kameme is now desperately fighting to even stay close to the top 20. He needs wins against the top 10 and he needs a Top 8 finish in a bad way.If he can dodge a few Marios, perhaps Kameme can crawl his way back into the upper half of the PGR and set himself up for a better run next season.

Ranai

Ranai has by no means had a bad season. He’s still firmly in contention for the top 15. However, we have not seen that same Ranai yet from Genesis 3. The Ranai who gave ZeRo the fight of his life. We’ve seen bits and pieces of that Ranai. But the whole picture has yet to take shape. This season has been especially rough for the Villager main due to some team kills by his friend and teammate Komorikiri. If the two can dodge each other early in bracket, perhaps they can face off this time in the ring at CEO.

I have thoroughly enjoyed watching this season of Smash 4 through the lens of the PGR. Thanks to Suar and the whole PGR team for providing me with tons of content and intrigue over the last six months, I can’t wait to see how things shake out as we conclude the season this weekend at CEO.
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