When should you label something an S tier instead of A?

This is something I got to thinking about. Why do tiers start with S instead of A? Did RBFF start it?

I think we need a baseline guide for when people put out tiers, so people will mean the same thing when they call something a certain tier.

I’m going to propose a definition, and what I think a sample of a character that I think would be in that tier would be

God Tier- ST Akuma, Igniz
SSS tier- should be banned for balance reasons (2k3 Duolon)
SS tier- clearly overpowered compared to rest of cast, lacks bad matchups (SS2 Ukyo, NGBC Kim)
S tier- dominating, can be countered by a non S-tier character (the top tier in ST)
A tier- character that can do well in tourney play (98 Benimaru, 98 Mai)
B tier- can compete with the best characters, but at a clear disadvantage (A2 Guy, A2 Bison)
C tier- cannot win tournies, might be able to win with massive skill/luck advantage (A2 Birdie)
D tier- 3s Sean, XI Momoko

I think this would be good, as people could see how strong is strong, and how balanced a game is (SS or above would show balance problems)

Good points there.

I think +/- should be used to show signs towards the next higher or lower though. Like how Haohmaru in NGBC was called a B+.

S’s should indicate some form of imbalance towards the rest of the cast though, one S being mild and used in really balanced games, and SSS’s being saved for gamebreaking characters.

I’d name a specific example, but I’m afraid of dragging the thread into a stupid argument over the game’s tiers.

Starting a full list could help. What game to start?

If you know GG, it’s pretty much a given that Eddie and Testament are S Tier. Compare the options those characters have to others and you got your S-Tier.

Not familiar with GG, and I’m assuming this is GGAC. Why S and not A?

I’d look at these three guidelines:

  • do they not have a counterpick?
  • do they outright beat most of the cast?
  • do they dominate some characters?

I’d say for a game, if the answer to all 3 of these is yes- then SS tier is possible. 2 of the answers generally means S.

Eddie for one, who is the undisputed top-tier, has no bad matchups, can outright lock down some characters with little eddie, has unblockable setups and one of the highest damage output in the game. With little eddie, Eddie one of the best if the not the best ability to control space.

A2 Birdie is classically referred to as “99th tier”.

S tier means either:

-the character got tactics and/or gimmicks thats extremely powerful/broken with little to no weakness. if they did have a weakness, their tactic/gimmick is strong enough to overcome it.

(ex: kofxi oswald. has trouble in some areas like anti air, but his strengths outweigh his weaknesses)


-the character is above average in everything they do compared to the rest of the cast with no weaknesses/counter character

(ex: kofxi kim. everything he does is above average. his strengths aren’t as big as oswalds, but he has less weaknesses and vulnerabilities compared to oswald)

A tier means they are better than everyone else but have to work harder against the S tier and the rest of the cast to win.

To me: A tier is the ideal. That means you’ve made a well-balanced character.

S is when you get above like you mentioned.
B is when you don’t give a char effective enough tools
C is when you don’t give a char any legit tools
D is when you don’t give a char any tools

SS means you made a broke-ass character that can potentially be banned. (This is one reason I think we need a universal definition here- so people can go SS tier= consider ban.) I’d throw Tekken 4 Jin as a good example of an SS tier character, or KOF 2k3 Duo Lon.

SSS means the char was banned in 10 seconds aka Igniz, ST Akuma, etc. (SSS tier= obvious ban)

Japan tends to use S-D ranking as opposed to America, which starts at A instead.

S pretty much means they have no identifiable or realistic weaknesses, while a character like Eddie has below average defense, he has nothing you can outright exploit, and he has no matchups that are uphill, even minorly so.

the reason a character like Potemkin is considered A tier is while he has pretty much the same amount of tools to win, Eddie and Testament are characters that he has difficulty beating, because he has one minor weakness.

Would Meta Knight and Snake be considered S tier in Brawl, or are they more like S+ (or SS)? It does speak volumes about the game when these two guys win nearly every tournament, place highly overall, and have the most players. It doesn’t help that they have maybe 1 or 2 bad matchups at most, and they have ridiculous strengths that don’t even make sense (Meta Knight’s killing power, Snake’s disjointed hitboxes, etc.).

its interesting how no one mentioned jesus-toki, he is a clearly example of a near to god tier

And so are Raoh and Rei. Funny how that works.

So basically

SSS=God Tier and Banned

SS=God Tier

S=top tier

A=High tier

B=Middle Tier




Toki isn’t as high up above everyone else as he used to be, HnK ended up being one of those games that ended up breaking itself into balance.

Good list, though I say SS is potential/can argue to ban, SSS is instant ban.

SSS Tier= Gill in 3s, Igniz in KOF2k1

SS Tier= 2k3 Duolon

S Tier= character that is clearly better then the A tier, has better matchups (3S Yun/Chun)

A Tier= character that can reasonably win tournaments (Example:Urien/Makoto in 3S)

B tier= character a bit weak, but can possible win tournament (Example: Dudley/Elena in 3S)

C tier= characters not really competitive in tournaments ,but can compete if better then the other person (Example: Twelve in 3s)

D tier and below= joke characters (Example: Sean in 3s)


well igniz and gill are bosses so they are obviosly banned, even if they werent sss tier

how many games do we know that are like that?

Not all games ban the bosses. MOTW, KOF97(Orochi NFT only) , Tekken 2- just off top of my head

SSS is real rare though- you’re right on that.

SS is more common- Ibuki SF3 NG was SS I think with the easy-ass infinite.