Creating a Street Fighter 6 tier list can be difficult. The way one has all characters ranked will invariably change as time goes on. After almost two weeks with the game, fans have already begun to theorycraft and discuss how strong the characters are. We’re already starting to see some tier lists from pro players and content creators, so we thought we’d offer one of our own.
Tier lists aren’t facts. They’re constantly changing as the game evolves through patches and updates — and as players discover new strategies. This time next year, this list will likely look completely different than it does now.
Street Fighter 6 Characters Ranked
At the moment, we’ve built this SF6 tier list based on how characters feel, their basic abilities, and the opinions of some of Street Fighter‘s decorated pros. Once Street Fighter 6 has some major tournaments under its belt, new tech is discovered, and patches roll out, we’ll have a better idea of where things actually stand. We’ll update this list when that happens. For now, consider this list as the start of a discussion, not the final word.
Note: tiers are ranked alphabetically, not by character strength. Characters in tiers should be considered around equal in strength. The only exception is the S-Tier, which is ranked. Here’s a quick look at all 18 characters:
- Dee Jay
- E. Honda
SF6 Tier List Explained
Before I explain why I ranked each character the way I did, I want to say that I believe every character in Street Fighter 6 is viable for tournament play. It should also be noted that tier lists really only apply at the highest level of play. At lower to intermediate skill levels, player skill matters far more. Even at a high level, it’s common for players using lower-tier characters to beat players using higher-tier characters. Character strength matters, but player skill is what decides most matches unless a character is outright broken. With that out of the way, let’s talk about the characters.
Rank 1: Luke
At this point, I feel that Luke is the best character in the game. Street Fighter 6‘s poster boy has every tool you could want. Sand Blast is probably the best fireball in SF6 due to its combination of speed and range. Luke’s Rising Uppercut is an excellent invincible reversal and anti-air. Flash Knuckles give him access to high-damage combos without spending much Drive Meter, and his crouching medium punch is plus on block. It’s easy for him to establish plus frames.
His crouching medium kick has good range and can be canceled into Drive Rush, and many of his normals move him forward. Luke also has access to extremely high damage and is the only character who can add follow-ups to his Overdrive specials at the cost of more Drive meter. Whatever you want to do, Luke can.
Rank 2: Guile
Guile has been nerfed since Street Fighter 6‘s betas. Still, he’s probably second only to Luke in terms of raw strength. His Sonic Boom is an excellent low-recovery fireball that allows him to control space easily and beats other fireballs when charged. His Flashkick is likely the best invincible reversal in SF6, and his defensive options are excellent.
Guile also has great normals in crouching medium, back roundhouse, back fierce, and so on. Many of these can be canceled into Drive Rush. He has lots of target combos to make combos easier and deals very high damage. If Guile has one weakness, it’s that he’s slightly susceptible to Drive Impact. Beyond that, he’s just excellent.
Rank 3: Juri
Juri has one of the strongest — and perhaps the strongest — ground games in Street Fighter 6. She has great normals, many of which are Drive Rush cancelable. Her crouching medium kick is an excellent poke, and her standing medium punch is one of the few normals that’s plus on block.
Juri also has a very fast walk speed, fantastic anti-airs, and an excellent, unconventional fireball. Juri’s Drive Rush is second to only Dee Jay’s in speed, and her Feng Shui Engine Super Art substantially enhances her pressure and combos. Juri can struggle against opponents who play the fireball game well, but she does just about everything well.
Rank 4: Ken
It’s nice when your main is really good, so I’m pleased to say Ken does well in Street Fighter 6. Ken is a close-range rushdown monster. He has excellent buttons; his crouching medium kick is a long-range low that can be Drive Rush canceled. And unlike most characters, he has a target combo from his standing medium kick. His standing roundhouse is also a great button.
He plays footsies well and has fantastic walk speed. He has every tool due to his wide variety of special moves — a fireball, a DP, and so on — and Dragonlash Kick grants him access to plus frames.
Command run and Jinrai Kicks offer scary mix-up potential, and he hits like a truck. Ken’s only weakness is a slight susceptibility to Drive Impact and the odd stubby normal. But if you like to get in people’s faces and do lots of damage when you hit them, Ken’s quite good.
Rank 5: Dee Jay
Dee Jay has an extremely strong kit that combines strong mix-ups, excellent buttons, great fireballs, and the highest combo damage in the game. His forward medium kick and standing medium punch are plus on block, and he gets a meterless double fireball.
His Overdrive fireball is also plus and beats many reversals. He does have a couple of downsides. Dee Jay’s neutral game is strong but a bit more specific than other characters’ and requires a bit more work. He also has very few special cancelable/Drive Rush cancelable normals.
Chun-Li has a strong ground game with incredible normals, though many aren’t special cancelable, making her vulnerable against Drive Impact. Many of her specials are vulnerable to Drive Impact as well. She compliments her normals with an excellent walk speed, good combo damage, and a good fireball.
In addition to her vulnerability to Drive Impact, her anti-airs are limited because of the down-down motion on her Tensho Kicks. Additionally, she doesn’t have a throw loop in a game where many characters do. Chun-Li has all the tools a character needs, but she’s hard to play well.
JP is an easy-to-use, long-range monster, though he’s weaker at close and mid-range. He has some of the best projectiles in SF6 and several mix-ups thanks to his Departure. The homing spike special move, a long-range command grab, and a teleport round him out.
You have to know how to fight JP to have a chance against him, and characters that struggle to get in will find him challenging to play against. While he’s weaker up close, he has Amnesia, a unique parry that beats both strikes and throws to keep opponents off him. If you’re looking for a zoner, JP is the choice.
E. Honda is a very simple, very effective character. His Sumo Headbutt is an excellent special that closes distance rapidly and isn’t punishable on block. In addition, blocking it takes an entire bar of your Drive Gauge, so it can be quite hard for other players to deal with.
His Sumo Smash special is plus on block, and he can steer it to create mix-ups. He can use Drive Rush to create scary strike/throw mix-ups. His down-forward heavy kick is comboable and cancels into his command grab. it helps that he deals high damage when he lands hits. That said, his pokes and long-range buttons are generally very slow, and he has no throw loop.
Kimberly can struggle at range, but she has many ways to skip neutral, including a command sprint and a teleport. Her Level 3 Super also grants her a permanent speed and damage buff. Once she’s in, she has strong mix-ups, safe Oki and unique combos due to her spray cans. Good corner offense is a cornerstone of play here.
Her standing medium kick is one of the best in the game because it’s special cancelable, and her crouching medium kick is plus on block. However, she does have downsides, as well. Her buttons are a bit stubby, her only invincible reversals are her Level 1 and Level 3 Supers, and her mid-screen damage is low.
Cammy has a lot of good tools. She’s extremely fast, and her already strong normals have more range than many other characters. Combine that with specials like Spiral Arrow, and she can whiff punish from very far away. She can also use Spin Knuckle to cross the opponent up or make herself plus on block, and her offense is generally strong and varied.
However, many of her set-ups are fake and can be jabbed out of or reacted to. Her divekick has a hitbox that makes it easy to anti-air, and her damage is quite low compared to other characters. Cammy has all the tools to win, but she needs to work harder to do it than characters in higher tiers.
Manon is probably Street Fighter 6‘s best grappler. She has strong normals in her standing heavy punch, standing medium kick, crouching strong, and crouching jab, though many of her pokes aren’t cancelable. Her overhead is very strong, as is her anti-air special move Rond-point, though it’s not invincible. In fact, only Manon’s Level 1 Super is invincible, so her reversal options are quite limited.
Her command grab can do outrageous damage, as it’s upgraded as she gains medals that carry over between rounds. Much of her offense is high-risk, high-reward at best — and unsafe at worst. Manon can snowball if you let her, but she has to play carefully to win.
Marisa has several strong, armored moves and deals outrageous combo damage. Moves like Phalanx and charged heavy versions of her special moves are plus on block and can break through Drive Impact. Her buttons also have good range.
Unfortunately, she’s also slow and struggles with anti-airs compared to characters with DPs. Her mix-ups are also extremely unsafe and easy to punish. Marisa’s offense is strong but risky. However, her reward for being right is enormous, and she can easily steal rounds.
Ryu is, well, Ryu. He’s your standard shoto. He’s a good character that has all the tools he needs to succeed. He has good normals, like crouching medium kick, which cancels into Drive Rush, and well-rounded special moves. He also has throw loops.
Unfortunately, Ryu doesn’t really have anything unique like Ken or Luke, is fairly vulnerable to Drive Rush, and struggles to create plus frames. He’s the archetypical shoto, for both good and bad. Still, he has everything you need and you can win with him if you play well.
Blanka is…weird. His Blanka Ball is very strong — it can’t be parried, and he’s safe if you block it. He also gets combos from it on Counter Hit. Blanka’s moveset is made up of great mobility options, strong mix-ups in the corner, and a strong Level 2 install Super in Lightning Beast, which can lead to high damage and suffocating pressure. His OD Electric Thunder is also plus on block.
However, his setplay is limited by Blanka-chan Bomb, which he can only use three times per round. His normals are just okay, and none of them are great for Drive Rush cancels. The overall gameplan for this character is pretty risky. He also has inconsistent anti-airs and inconsistent combo damage. Blanka can win, and he can be annoying to fight, but he has to work for it.
It’s hard to know where to rank Dhalsim because almost no one plays him. He’s good at zoning but weak at midrange and up close. His normals have lots of range, but his standing medium kick isn’t Drive Rush cancelable. His upward fireball is good and can poke on plus, and his teleport is good for mix-ups.
The problem is he’s a lot weaker up close. He needs counterhits to combo with his at close-range, is vulnerable to Drive Impact, and doesn’t have a lot of tools to get characters off of him when they get in. Dhalsim could be great or terrible, but he’ll need more development before we know for sure.
Jamie is a weird character. He’s very weak without drinks but quite powerful once he gets them. Unfortunately, drinks don’t carry over between rounds. When he does get some drinks down, he has a divekick, a command grab, a rekka, and a lunging punch, several new target combos, and so on. But he doesn’t start with them.
His standing medium kick and standing heavy punch are quite strong, but he struggles at range even with four drinks, and his divekick is not all that good, considering you have to unlock it. His offense is risky, and his sweep is very negative on block. Like a lot of characters in this tier, Jamie can win, and he has good strengths, but it takes a lot of work to overcome his issues.
Lily’s problem is that her entire gameplay involves building stocks of Windclad, and she can’t do much without them as her specials are very unsafe until he has them. Even when she gets them, her gameplan is very simple. She doesn’t have any reversals outside of her Supers, and even then, her Level 1 Super can be safely meatied by the entire cast. She does have some upsides, though.
Lily has great pokes, like her crouching fierce, which can go into her Level 3 Super for damage and into Condor Wind to be safe and build Windclad. Her command grab has good range but offers no opportunities for oki, and her specials are vulnerable to DI. Many of her good moves aren’t drive rush cancelable, and her combos aren’t great. I hesitate to call Lily bad this early in the game, but she has a lot of flaws and needs to work hard to win.
Zangief has great buttons, but he’s very slow and limited in neutral. His Double Lariat doesn’t hit behind him, so you can cross him up. Outside of that, Zangief is very hard to punish otherwise. His iconic Screw Piledriver is the best overall command grab in the game, and Siberian Express is good but susceptible to Drive Impact.
Zangief’s problem is that he struggles to get in. Once he does, he has a devastating strike/throw game and can deal absurd damage. Many of his moves are also unsafe, and only his Level 3 Super is a true reversal. Zangief can absolutely rob you because of his damage output, but he struggles in a lot of ways other characters don’t.
And that about does it for this SF6 character tier list. We’ll update it when things change, so check back every now and then. For more on Street Fighter 6, check out our guides hub.
Featured Image by Capcom