Street Fighter 4 has been out for years but it is always changing. Constant updates try to keep the game balanced and players are always finding new things with the system. Characters like Sagat and Akuma have seen minor nerfs but are still viable, and characters like Oni and Vega were considered weak until a few months ago. With Ultra Street Fighter 4 coming out digitally June 3rd, I thought it would be fun to create a tier list for the final version of Super Street Fighter 4. I consider 1-15 top Tier, 16-27 mid tier and 28-39 low tier. remember that I made this list based off of my knowledge of the game, my experience against these characters and watching way too many fighting game tournaments.
If you’ve fought Cammy before, you can easily see why she is the strongest character in the game. She may not have the best health in the game, but her damage and stun output is a force to be reckoned with. Two combos can easily lead to stun, and by that time, the game is already over for you. Cammy has all of the tools. A very powerful dive kick, an invincible uppercut, and fast movement. If you go against Cammy, you better be ready to block constantly.
Probably the ultimate vortex character. Like Cammy, Akuma has low health but can easily dominate after a hard knockdown. Playing Akuma requires decent execution, because one mistake could mean the loss of 40% of your health, but a fast walk speed and an ultra 1 that can change the tide of a match, launches Akuma into top tier territory. He can keep players from rushing him down with his air fireball and can rush you down in return with his excellent normal moves. The demon is an almost unstoppable force of offense.
- Fei Long
Rekka. Rekka. Rekka. Fei Long is the best when it comes to his poking game. His rekkas can punish almost anything at medium range and can really pile on the damage. It is hard to punish anything Fei does since most of his moves are relatively safe. Most of his combos also carry opponents closer into the corner; a place you don’t want to be against almost any character. He does have trouble with more defensive characters; especially one’s with a good fireball game.
Even though Seth might not be a popular character, he is the most versatile character in Super Street Fighter 4. If you want to play a zoning game with Seth, you can, thanks to his Sonic Boom and long range normals. If you want to play rush down, you can, thanks to his dive kick and his Tanden Engine special. Seth is a tricky character, and you probably won’t meet two identical Seth characters, since players can choose how they want to play him. The downside to Seth is that he has the lowest health/stamina in the game.
Personally, I hate Adon. He is annoying to play against since he can keep you locked down with his Jaguar Kick and strong normals. You constantly have to watch out for his overhead game and armor breaking moves. Do yourself a favor and don’t use focus attacks against Adon. The downside to Adon is that he loses against grapplers and has a very linear play style. Meaning, constant offense is key, and execution has to be top-notch. So if you’re execution is good and you want to annoy/lock-down your opponent, Adon might be the guy you’re looking for.
If you are not playing a vortex game with Ibuki, you’re doing something wrong. She has the best knockdown game, which leads to safe jump-ins that lead to more damage. Ibuki has a very fast forward and back dash, making her a very mobile character. Strong normals, varied specials and versatile ultras also make Ibuki very adaptable and powerful. The use of her kunai can lead to safe combos and can frustrate her opponent. Her downfall lies in her bad wake-up game, low stamina and slow walk speed.
Viper is another strong but not popular character. She requires the best execution out off the entire cast of characters so that tends to scare people away from her. Another weakness that she has is her very slow focus attack, rendering it useless. She also has low health. Why is she strong then? Because Viper has the ability to pressure any foe effortlessly. Even when you have the life lead against Viper, you feel as if she is in control; that’s because she probably is. A good overhead attack, damaging combos and a powerful ultra 1 makes C.Viper scary good.
Sagat may not be as strong as he was in Vanilla Street Fighter 4, but his long range game is still a dominate force. Sagat forces you to play by his rules. As you work your way through his maze of fireballs, you might run into a Tiger Knee or roundhouse, the second you get close. It is easy for Sagat players to combo into either of his ultras making it easy to deal major damage the moment a mistake is made. Unfortunately, he is very slow and his back-dash is garbage.
Yun is fun to use and is a very strong character. Yun is at his best when playing offense with his fast movement speed, command grab and dive kick. Yun doesn’t have a lot of defensive options so it is best to stay on offense when playing Yun. He has viable ultras and damaging special combos but has no reliable reversal and has a low stamina rating.
Guile is the best defensive character in Street Fighter. He’s equipped with a very fast recovering fireball, great normals for pokes and has an amazing anti-air game. Guile makes it hard for rush-down characters to get any offense going and can simply zone characters out until he wins. His weaknesses lie in his weak wake-up options; so players using him need to have top notch blocking skills. Guile also has two weak ultras. Ultra 1 is hard to put into effective use and ultra 2 doesn’t do a lot of damage.
If you’re not jumping with Sakura, you’re doing something wrong. Sakura has beautifully effective cross-ups and mix-ups after hard knockdowns, complimented by her strong sweep and EX combos. Sakura is a fast rush-down character with solid normals and good specials. Her EX Hurricane kick is one of the best moves in the game, as it allows follow-ups into a sweep, hammer fists or ultra. Like most rush-down characters, she needs to be up close to do damage and has low health.
Don’t be fooled by Rufus’ looks. He is very nimble and his dive-kick can create suffocating pressure. He can control space with his normals and can land his ultra at any given point. It is almost criminal how many ways he can land his ultra. You have to be careful with Rufus though. He struggles with fireballs, has a bad wake-up game and if you whiff his moves, you’ll easily be punished.
The face of the franchise is no joke. Ryu can land his ultra 1 from almost any given situation. Air-to-air, anti-airs, FADC combos- you name it. He also is the most studied character, thanks to his popularity, so players will know what Ryu wants to do to win. Good normals, specials, cross-ups, health and ultra 1; he has everything. Ryu is the best all- around character in any version of Street Fighter 4.
Fun fact, Bison is my most hated character in Street Fighter. Since Alpha 3, I’ve hated the dictator. Bison can lock you down in the corner and just chip your health away safely. He can also throw you around like a rag doll. He a bad jumping game, so he can get anti-aired easily. It may also be hard for Bison to deal major damage quickly in combos.
Balrog is a powerhouse. High stamina, a lot of armor breaking and armored moves. Balrog can rush almost anyone down. Balrog also sports the fastest jabs in the game, which can be used to set up his damaging ultra combo. Trade offs lie within his wake-up game and his focus attack. His focus attack is the weakest in the game, since it has really short range. He has to commit to an EX headbutt when in trouble, which is risky. Balrog is the most straight-forward character in the game. Whether or not you know when to go crazy with his rush-down will determine your success with him. The rush-down is a powerful tactic, but easily countered.
Gen is a tricky character; probably the trickiest in the game. If you don’t know how to deal with this character, he’ll blow you up. Gen is equipped with some of the best normal moves in the game, a “super into ultra” combo, a strong cross-up game and two different fighting stances. Gen is hard to study since he has so many tricks, and that works both positively and negatively for him. He isn’t a beginner friendly character since it is time consuming to pick him up, but once you learn how to use him, other players will have a hard time fighting him if they don’t know the match-ups. Without meter, his reversal and ground game suffers. His damage output is also low without meter.
Ken isn’t as strong as his buddy Ryu in this version of Street Fighter, but he still is a viable character. Ken has the ability to knock almost any character out of the skies. Ken has a bunch of tools to use against a wide range of characters. He has his kara throw which has a ton of range, a reversal game that prevents opponents from safe jumping him and he has a great knockdown game. Ken can be played in many effective ways, so he is a character you can use use to counter-pick your foe if your main character can’t do the job. Ken is a great secondary character, but remember, he also has shortcomings. His fireball has a slow recovery, his walk-speed is slow, and has a bad back-dash. Ken’s ultra 1 also doesn’t do much damage outside of the full animation.
If you said that Oni was mid-tier a year ago, people would just laugh at you. But players have shown the potential of this offensive powerhouse. His defensive options are trash with his low health, risky reversal and poor fireballs, but when he is on offense, he is hard to stop. Oni can play a tricky game once he gets some momentum going by hitting unsuspecting opponents with cross-ups, mix-ups and resets. When he has meter, Oni can do terrifying damage, especially if he combos into his ultras.
- Evil Ryu
E.Ryu is another character who was considered bottom tier no too long ago. He has a lot of tools to use as options to get in and do major damage. Just like Oni, he has low health and little defensive options. Evil Ryu has a great focus attack, a solid anti-air game, and powerful combos and ultras. Even though he dies very quickly, one combo from Evil Ryu can change the course of a match.
Blanka is a trickster and a troll. Blanka is almost impossible to lock-down since he has fantastic movement speed and a great wake-up game. Blanka is also equipped with great pokes and anti-airs. Blanka is a solid character that can annoy the hell out of his opponents; the better you are at annoying your opponent, the stronger the Blanka. Blanka unfortunately doesn’t have many reliable combos and his Blanka ball is criminally unsafe.
Vega has a low damage output, but has a great zoning game with long ranged pokes and fast movement speed. While Vega might struggle thanks to his low damage output, he is a tricky fighter to fight. If your opponent doesn’t know all of Vega’s tricks, then the match-up becomes much easier. Vega also has a bad wake-up, so you have to use his movement speed in order to keep your opponent off of you. In the right hands, Vega is a viable character, but will require a lot of work to win matches.
Zangief would be higher on this list if he was a tad faster; which would probably make him unstoppable. Zangief can deal heavy damage with any of his command grabs or ultras, so you’ll want to get in close with him. However, the hard part about playing Gief is getting close to zoning characters. Guys can chuck fireballs at Zangief all day to keep him out with almost no risk. Zangief has the highest health in the game so he can afford to take a few fireballs in hopes to get close to his opponent and grab them to death.
Rose’s biggest strength is her back-dash. Rose has the best back-dash in the game, which makes up for her bad wake-up game. Rose is a zoning character who can outplay many fireball characters thanks to her Soul Reflect, to deflect or absorb fireballs and her sliding attack can go underneath them with ease. Rose can play a good defensive game, but her offense is pretty weak. Her ultra 1 is useless and her ultra 2 is mainly for stopping the momentum of other characters, so besides her super, she doesn’t have a way to deal heavy damage all at once. Rose isn’t a comeback character, but she can control the pace of the match and play a range game with any character on the roster.
Juri is a hybrid between a zoning character and a rush-down character. Juri can hold a charge for her fireballs, making them hard to predict and they can do some nice damage in combos. Juri also has a nice low game with her long reaching low pokes that can be special cancelled. She also can knock her opponents out of the air with her solid anti-air and air-to-air normal moves. Juri has a bad reversal and wake-up game and with her low health, she can be easily knocked out by rush-down characters. Juri requires solid execution, but is a very diverse character.
Abel isn’t a very popular character for several reasons, but is still a viable character in the right hands. Abel is a tricky fighter to fight, but easy to beat. Abel has mix-up options and his combos pack a heavy punch. He has good EX specials and his two ultras are very useful in most match-ups. Abel use combos or command grabs to deal heavy damage, a feet not many characters can do. Abel has a lot of weaknesses to offset his strengths. Abel struggles against other grapplers and characters with a strong poking and knockdown game. Abel doesn’t have many options on wake-up and must play a very risky wake-up game. He does have high health, but he can be locked down easily. Don’t expect an Abel to win consistently in tournaments, but don’t dismiss him either.
- Dee Jay
Depending on the character, Dee Jay can play a rush-down or zoning game. Dee Jay has a solid fireball- defensive game as well as a good cross-up/knockdown offensive game. A defensive Dee Jay can zone out almost anyone with smartly timed attacks and an offensive Dee Jay can frustrate the opponent, but can’t deal a ton of damage at once. Either way, Dee Jay is a guy who chips away at his opposition’s mental strength. A hybrid Dee Jay who is good at offense and defense can punish any move from a distance. Dee Jay’s weakness lies within his wake-up game, forward and back dashes and poor damage output.
Guy is a very fast mix-up character who can also bait his opponent with his run-stop moves. Guy plays a mean rush-down, and can damage the opponent with fast a fast overhead, slides, mid-range normals and the ability to punish many attacks at mid-range. Guy’s pressure extends from long/mid range, and can also pressure opponents close up, especially if they are in the corner. Guy also has a surprisingly good wake-up game and can get most characters off of him to restart his offense. Pure defensive characters are this guy’s weakness. Guy’s moves do have a certain risk to them, so defense characters can wait for him to slip up then punish him for mistakes and miscalculations.
Chun is a decent zoning character, but is one with low health. She is easily killed when her opponent gets in, and she only has one risky reversal option. Her cross-up moves are a bit obvious, but she can do a fair amount of damage with her combos. Chun-Li also has great juggling combo capabilities with her ultra 2 or can punish fireballs with ultra 1. She has useful specials and useful normals, but her low health keeps her from being a top tier zoning character.
Makoto is another rushdown character who can get into the opponent’s face and beat them down. Even though her walk speed is down right atrocious, she can get in with her forward moving normals and her dash that covers a lot of distance. Makoto is a risky character to play though, since she needs to keep moving via unsafe means. Makoto has almost no defense, but her high damaging specials make up for it on offense. Makoto is also equipped with a command grab that can lead to a very powerful ultra 1, and she also has her axe kick; which is considered one of the best specials in the game. Makoto is low on the tier list because of that lack of defense and her high-risk style.
Gouken plays a great zoning game with his maze of fireballs, but his true strength lies within his knockdown game. Gouken may not have normals to rely on for a good poking match, but can apply a great amount of pressure against a cornered foe. Gouken also has one of the only parry attacks in the game, and it is a pretty good one to rely on for defense. Gouken’s mobility is also a slight weakness. His forward dash is good, but his back-dash is awful. Spacing is very important to Gouken, and at times it is hard for him to approach his opponent or back off from them.
Cody can do heavy damage with regular combos, ultra combos, punishes and mix-ups, but like other bottom tier characters, he has a weak wake-up game. Cody has a lot of options on offense, but few on defense. No joke, Cody can do damage as if he were a grappler. His overhead has crazy range, his anti-air is solid, he can play a frame-trap game with his rocks, his focus attack is beast and his ultras can devastate an opponent. His zonk knuckle can be a good reversal option, but is easily dealt with if the opponent sees in coming. Cody is also a slow moving character and his specials can be punished by good players. Cody’s ultra 2 is kind of risky to use in certain situations, because the animation can miss, leaving him WIDE open.
Patience is required to use Dhalsim effectively, and he can frustrate opponents who don’t have that trait themselves. Dhalsim has a strong zoning game thanks to his long reaching normal attacks and great anti-airs. He has slow dashes and his overall walk-speed is pretty bad, but his teleports help his mobility greatly. Dhalsim can keep foes off of his for a long time, but once they are on him, it is almost impossible to get them off. Dhalsim doesn’t have escape options outside of his teleport, so it can be easily predicted. Dhalsim struggles against characters who are fast and have a good vortex or rush-down game, because of his lacking short range defense. Dhalsim also has a great ultra 1, which can be used for defense or offense.
E.Honda can do severe damage with his super and reversals. Honda also is great at controlling space. In the right hands, Honda is annoying to play against thanks to his defensive options. With or without meter, he can deal a lot of damage with one hit. It takes a great player to make Honda work however. His moves have a slow start-up, and his one giant weakness lies with his pathetic ultras.
My main Dudley is a character who can deal high damage and make excellent comebacks, but has weaknesses that make him a low tier character. First off, Dudley has no long range low attack or cross-ups. His offense is very powerful but is very straightforward. His combos deal great damage, but he has to get in close range, which can be a problem against certain characters. Dudley has good health, good focus attacks, great ultras and a phenomenal mix-up game, but ultimately he has to lock-down the opponent in the corner to be really effective.
Yang is an offensive character that has a hard time dealing damage. With that statement alone, you can see why Yang is low tier. Yang can whiff punish a lot of moves with his good pokes and specials. Yang has to rely on meter and resets to deal heavy damage and without that, it will take some time to down your opponent. He also has low health and his dive kick isn’t as reliable as others. Yang is a fast paced character that needs three to five combos to kill his foes, but can only take two to four combos before being defeated himself.
Hakan can be a very dangerous character, but has trouble staying on the offensive. When oiled up, Hakan has great range on his command grabs to deal a bunch of damage. Hakan also can control space with his pokes, so he is a character who has a pretty solid short range game. But makes Hakan bottom tier is his constant need to stay on offense and oiled up. Without oil, Hakan can’t do much and oiling up leaves him very vulnerable to attacks. Hakan also has no defense options besides his anti-air ultra 2.
- El Fuerte
Elf is annoying as hell to play against, but even so, he isn’t a solid character. He heavily relies on momentum to win matches with his fast moving cross-ups and grabs. If that momentum is stopped, it is hard to pick it back up if the opponent says on the offensive. Elf has almost no wake-up options and his short range game is non-existent. El Fuerte can punish a lot of moves with his ultras and specials, but ultimately, Elf isn’t a reliable character.
T.Hawk is the worst of the grapple characters. He is the largest character in the game which allows him to get hit by everything. Combine that with his slow walk speed and you have a guy who struggles heavily against characters with a fireball game. He does have high damage on most of his viable moves, the most health in the game and two good ultras. Still though, it is hard to use T.Hawk because everyone with knowledge of the character will simply imply a hit and run method to deal with him.
Poor Dan has been the victim of many running jokes throughout the years. His normal moves are slow, his combos aren’t very good and his projectile is atrocious. Dan’s one strength is his weakness itself. Since everyone knows he is the weakest in the game, people tend to relax while fighting him, leaving him with more openings than usual. Even so, it is damn near impossible to make a Street Fighter living with Dan.