There isn’t really one. Judging from all the videos I’ve seen, even characters that were considered the weakest by Asian players like Kim and Ralf were played well recently. A lot of characters are underplayed and I’d say the game balance is fine as it is. Raiden’s drop kick is fine, it’s just the anywhere juggles after the second drop kick is disgusting. If drop kick itself gets nerfed, Raiden would lose an interesting dynamic of his game and he’d be a watered down 98 Shermie that could more easily do a hitconfirm from low light attacks into command throw. It’s the EX Shoulder Tackles after the Drop Kicks that are dumb. For K’, he just needs to lose Ein Trigger > Second Shell > Minute Spike > Narrow Spike > Crow Bites in a meterless, normal bnb. If he has to use meter to get his loop in to do the damage then it’s fine be it EX meter or Drive Meter so he’d have to set up a Crow Bites drive cancel into Minute Spike or EX Minute Spike in order to do the silly loop.
Elizabeth is just a basic fundamental character that could anywhere juggle almost anything into super but comparatively amongst the cast she doesn’t actually do that much damage. Shen Woo has been seen quite often most probably due to his basic zoning properties and the ability to do big yet easy HD Combos as a comeback factor. Duolon I thought would have been played more due to the loctests but he’s not as popular as the other characters, most probably due to the fact that he doesn’t hit hard and his mix up after rekkas isn’t that scary at all. He also could be punished after rekka > teleport on block. Kyo, Iori, and Andy are just basic easy characters that everyone else could just pick up easily. Kyo’s only abusable moves are HCB+K on block and EX Orochinagi being about 1 or 2 frames. I’d say Iori’s Command Throw is being underplayed since he should be able to do a j.D or j.B hit reset after it and perhaps have a run under attempt after it. Just need to test and confirm, at least he has a j.4B that hits everyone on crouch unlike in 02. Iori should have a stronger mix up game because of his command throw and his j.4B but no one really uses him for it, only has a character with a big easy HD Combo.
The most used characters currently are K’, Raiden, Shen Woo, and Kula. Runners up are Andy, Kyo, and Iori. Due to the small pool of XIII players, there has been a insurgence of Maxima, Ralf, Kim, and Ash play recently; Maxima being the most popular of the group of characters. Seems that Maxima’s df.C hits most crouchers now so he could do cr.b, cr.a xx df.c xx vapor canon and he could net good damage from a meterless bnb. Helps that he could do his full jump D during a hop and cr.b, cr.a outside of KOF XI, and that expands his high low mix up. He could also simply do cr.b, cr.a xx ex vapor canon > df.C xx vapor canon/dp+k. He could also just do an empty hop command throw that has minimal start up and it corner carries and has good oki afterwards or drive cancel into big damage and still have decent oki afterwards. Icing on the cake is that all of his guard points are much better and his Neomax is fast as anything and kills anything full screen and does big chip.
So many off tangents. tl;dr, the current tier based on character popularity (not actual potential) be something like: