Tier lists, while subjective, have always sparked discussions and comparisons within the fighting game community.
Making a tier list often comes down to experience and expertise combined with your own biases. All that said, it is always fun to compare characters and talk about matchups.
So, here’s an initial Street Fighter 6 tier list.
Although you shouldn’t pick your character based on their tier, this can surely help you understand each character’s strengths and weaknesses so you can choose that main that best fits you.
SF6 Season 1 Tier List
|Ken, JP, Dee Jay, Cammy, Luke, Juri, Guile
|Kimberly, Chun-Li, Honda, Marisa, Blanka, Rashid
|Manon, Ryu, Zangief, Lilly, Jamie, Dhalsim
Here you will find all the characters that seem to have all the tools they need to fight pretty much all matchups.
Either they are too strong and can use the universal mechanics better than the rest of the characters or they don’t need to. For instance, JP plays his own game and you just have to play along.
Although some matchups can be harder than others, these characters usually make up for it somehow.
Cammy is fast, tricky, and oppressive. Her anti-air is solid; she has a command jump that leads to different follow-ups and mixes up the adversary. She can also side-switch by using Overdrive specials.
She also has a dive kick that can lead to combos. Cammy even has a move that goes through fireballs, and the OD version of it is lightning-fast. So, what is her problem? She doesn’t really have one.
There was a time in which players complained about her damage. It is true that without spending resources, her damage might be on the lower side, but who cares?
Cammy is always in your face, her buttons will most likely be faster than hours, her walk speed facilitates shimmies, and her bread’n butter combos lead to pressure.
The truth is, this character is very powerful and effective.
I wasn’t sure at first, but now I am: Guile belongs in the A tier. This character is a tank. He can be oppressive, has damage, effectively zone you out, and is a combo monster.
So, what is Guile’s weakness? That is debatable. Many players would say this character has none.
For instance, his damage, although good, isn’t necessarily impressive. Guile’s zoning is annoying but not as annoying as JP’s. Besides, his normals feel a bit vulnerable to Drive Impacts.
All that said, none of those things seem to matter to good Guile players. Although he has slow buttons, he also has fast ones to bait Drive Impacts. His zoning might not be JP’s zoning, but it is far from being weak.
No matter who you use, you will have a hard time fighting Guile. He can fight at long, mid, and close range. He is also the same combo monster he was in SF5, and he can keep you out even when he is burned out.
Also, don’t get burned out when fighting against Guile.
JP is just a nightmare to fight. He doesn’t let you get in, and when you finally do, he can teleport away or use his counter that works on throws.
This is one of those characters that are definitely annoying to fight against, boring to watch, and possibly a blast to those who enjoy this play style.
Although JP’s normal attacks are not the greatest up close, the fact that he can teleport away and use his counter more than makes up for it.
Although this is another character with Ryu’s move set, Ken’s playstyle is quite different. He is worse at zoning, and his damage is arguably lower than Ryu’s.
However, Ken makes up for it by excelling in rushing down and corner carry. Ken’s whole game plan is usually to make you uncomfortable by having your back against the wall.
This character can carry you to the corner from pretty much anywhere. He has a meterless side-switching combo and a tatsumaki senpuu kyaku (his spinning kick special) that carries you from half the screen all the way to the corner.
The thing about Ken is that he carries you hard. If you are decent at fighting games, playing Ken will grant you many victories right away.
Good Ken players are the scariest thing you will ever see. With a character that can do it all, you will always feel like you don’t know what to do next against Ken.
Juri has always been popular. She was not a bad character in SFV, and now she maintains all that used to make her good, but with even more tools to her arsenal.
She is fast, has good buttons and decent setups, and doesn’t need to charge her moves before using them anymore.
On top of all that, she has a dive kick that can push you toward the corner and is extremely useful against characters who rely on fireballs to keep you out, like Ryu, Ken, or even Luke.
The worst thing about fighting Juri is dealing with her positive buttons, such as her medium punch, and her stupidly fast drive rush.
Juri’s drive rush allows her to pretty much run full screen towards you and take a foot to the face when trying to interrupt it.
It is not as fast as Dee Jay’s drive rush, although that one is pretty much broken, but it still one of the strongest and hardest to deal drive rushes in the game.
The first Street Fighter 6 character to be revealed, Luke, is in many ways another Ryu.
He is an all-rounder with a somewhat generic fight style, but he does feel more contemporary than the World Warriors.
Luke’s fireball is quick, his anti-air is invincible, and he also has easy and hard combos. In many ways, his mechanics can be easier to understand than Ryu’s.
Still, overall they are almost the same in terms of function.
Luke is an all’rounder with more damage than Ryu, better fireballs, a positive crouching medium punch, and two of the best supers in the game.
Once you realize that his characters is virtually good at everything, you can’t really put him in any lower tier.
These characters are viable and effective. They are just not as oppressive as the ones in tier A. They are more than viable, but you don’t necessarily roll your eyes when matched against them.
For instance, Ryu can pretty much do everything, but it never really feels unfair. Ken pressures you quite well, but there are ways to stop him from looping his pressure.
Even Guile, who is significantly powerful, is somewhat vulnerable to Drive Impacts due to the long recovery of his normals.
The thing about Marisa is that she just has way too much damage. You can’t commit a mistake in front of her. If you do, you lose over half of your health or more.
Marisa has slow attacks, but her chargeable specials break armor. This alone makes her scary since you can’t Drive Impact through her pressure strings.
She also has a counter move that allows her to stop Drive Impacts even when burned out.
A good Marisa player will wait for the perfect opportunity to punish you with a full, high-damaging combo that will make you scared of pressing any button.
That said, she might have a few match ups in which that opportunity might not be awarded to her. Fighting Marisa is not easy, especially when the Marisa players is good.
It can be annoying to keep her out and be constantly worried about being whiff punished once and losing the match. That said, it still seems better to fight her than to face JP or Ken.
The bushinryu representative of this game is super annoying to deal with. She is fast, hard to predict, and can both mix you up and rush you down.
That said, Kimberly has two flaws that are worth mentioning. Getting in is harder than it seems at times, especially when the adversary knows the matchup well.
The other problem that she has is the lack of an invulnerable reversal, making her slightly less likely to get away from pressure than other characters on the roster.
However, Kim only really needs to get in once. Once she is in, get ready to guess.
Kim has the strongest vortex in the game, with mix ups that can make you guess if her next attack is a grab, an overhead, a low or a delayed button to catch reversals.
The worst part is, all that leads to a combo if you guess wrong. Being stuck in the corner against Kimberly, especially when she has oki, is pretty much a guessing game, and it isn’t fun.
Chun-Li is a fast character with great setups and decent damage. Her projectile is more like Juri’s, used more for setups than for zoning.
That said, she is a combo monster with left-right mix-ups, air-combos, a stance that gives you 6 command normals on top of the ones she already has, and more.
Although this character has always been a technical one in the series, she reached a new height in Street Fighter 6. Her arsenal is huge.
Unfortunately, it might take too much work to perfectly use all her moves and specials, which ends up placing her in the B tier.
This character is even trickier than he ever. Now he can use his taunt to throw little dolls on the stage and make them attack you by charging them with his electric specials.
Blanka continues to be a hard-to-deal-with and hard-to-predict character who will jump around and make you guess.
He is also fairly hard to punish as well.
Much like Blanka, Honda moves around the screen in ways that are harder to punish, but he is not as tricky.
However, what he lacks in mix-ups, he compensates with raw power and high-damaging attacks, including a command grab.
This is a powerful character that can be surprisingly fast at times and has an armored attack by spending two bars of his drive gauge that allows him to go through fireballs.
You can still win games with these characters, thanks to how Street Fighter 6 was designed.
However, you will suffer and rage and feel how much more work you had to put in than when you play Ken or any other top tier.
Manon is a scary grappler who becomes more powerful with each command grab and hit grab that she lands. She also has quick overhead attacks, long buttons, and a way to go under fireballs.
However, the more we learn about the game, the more here weakness become easier to explore.
All her buttons are negative, so he depends on being a bit random to get.
Manon players have to Drive Rush, random sweep, or try to mix you by jumping and sometimes making it an empty jump and sometimes pressing heavy kick.
Once they manage to make you block, some Manon players might attempt to drive rush cancel a normal, but this can be easily stopped by drive reversal.
This alone causes a lot of problems to Manon players since they used 3 bars against the 2 that you used to counter their play.
As mentioned above, Ryu can do it all. He has damage, combos, and some okay mix-ups. He can even decently zone you out. That said, he doesn’t really excel at any of those traits.
Ryu is the true all-rounder of the game. He has basic things that are easy to use, hard combos that demand expertise, a fast fireball, a strong anti-air, and a quick and far-reaching Drive Rush.
All that said, he can’t zone you as well as Guile or JP. His damage is decent, but only when he spends resources.
It seems that there’s no reason to play Ryu when there’s Luke and Ken in the game, but it gets even worse.
His solar plexus punch isn’t consistent, his drive rush is slow, his overdrive Shoryuken sometimes hits only once, making you vulnerable to a full punish counter combo, and so much more.
You have to be an incredibly amazing player to make Ryu work at the highest level, and if you care about winning, he just isn’t worth it.
Ryu plays a game in which if you throw a fireball and you guess right, the enemy takes a little damage.
However, if they guess right and jump in on you, you take 500 damage.
Jaime is a cool character with good combos and good tools. He has good rekkas and pressure; if you get creative, you can also find some decent mix-ups.
He also has a drinking system. The more he drinks, the more moves he unlocks and the more damage he deals.
Unfortunately, Jaime does need to drink to become a fully fleshed-out character with good damage. On top of that, he has more trouble than most characters dealing with projectiles.
Lilly is a grappler with tools to get in. When she gets wind charges up, she can approach quickly and get the advantage when blocked. She can even armor through attacks by spending two bars of her drive gauge.
Unfortunately, her long moves and two-hitting specials are significantly vulnerable to drive impacts, making her someone predictable and easier to counter than most of the roster.
The Yoga master is a zoner, as he has always been. Unfortunately, he lost some of his rush-down potential from Street Fighter 5.
On top of that, since Street Fighter 6 is much more designed around whiff punishes than the previous iterations, Dhalsim is not nearly as menacing in this game as he was in the previous one.
It seems that his zoning capabilities are just not as good as Guile’s or JP’s, and he has nothing else to make up for it.
The iconic Street Fighter grappler has great damage, lots of health, and a long-reaching command grab.
His level three super takes away half of your health bar, and you can’t see it coming. So, what makes him a bad character?
There is a way to deal with him.
Zangief is slow and will try to get close to you in order to make you afraid of his command grabs. However, he doesn’t run fast or have a special move to close the gap.
Everything Zangief has to do in order to get in is risky and often highly punishable. Once he is finally in, he might not even want to command grab you since that would reset the neutral.
The only time when you must respect Zangief is when he has level 3. Until then, you can bully him and backdash even a negative button since his command grab has 5 frames of startup.