Arbiter as "low tier"

Just curious about this and looking for some input. On the community tier lists and in general discussion, Arbiter seems to fall pretty low in the game’s meta. Now, a low tier in Ki is still viable and I kind of get why people say he is. Given that he is a fairly technical character that relies on a plethora of reads, match up knowledge and practice, there are definitely easier characters to play that give you similar coverage for not as much effort.

All this to say, why is it exactly people view him as a bad character? I say bad character because when someone is still playing Arbiter these days, people seem to act like it’s borderline shocking on a competitive level and that people are still playing the character. As a day one Arbiter main, I admit he requires effort but it has never seemed, to me, that it was detrimental for me to play him. Am I missing something or perhaps have I misunderstood what the community thinks about him?

It’s just that Arbiter relies heavily on neutral control, and depending on the MU it makes it really difficult. Not to mention his damage output isn’t great and his enders don’t have much utility.

If he had more reliable anti-air options it would be nice. His shadow moves outside of shield could use a boost in neutral as well.


Fair enough. Those are very valid struggles that Arby has. I guess I just don’t realize how hindering they can be due to a mix of character loyalty and my mindset. Granted, I’m not a tournament level player or professional and that probably speaks volumes. But when I see problems like this, I enjoy finding a way around them even if perhaps switching characters is the smarter move.

I don’t think he’s a low tier, but players that obviously don’t make good use of all of his tool-sets and well that is all it takes. Just not enough players are using everything.

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I could see that. Don’t get me wrong, he does have some weaknesses that can be exploited. But using his full moveset, and a little bit of gutsy risk-taking, can off set some problems. Not 100% of the time, obviously, but enough to keep you competitive and winning.

At least at my potato tier level… :grin:

i ran into an Arbiter player like 2 months ago and i was only able to touch him like four times. none of my assists worked and it was impossible to get in, and the split second i stopped paying attention i was in a combo. no way he’s a low tier IMO. people just don’t really know how to utilize the character’s toolset at a really high level yet. more time in the labs is necessary.

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I personally think Cr.HK (gun), Cr.HP, shadow shield and DF.HK are all fantastic anti-airs. Granted they are all a bit slow. I definitely agree on ender utility.

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All of them have critical flaws, though.

Cr.HK: Low angle, recovers super slow, costs a resource

Cr.HP: Doesn’t cover Arbiter’s body well and is insanely slow

Shadow Shield: costs a resource and other wise doesn’t do much

DF.HK: Would be awesome if the input didn’t require me to let go of block and let people smack me in the face.


While they have flaws, they are the options he has and they provide various amounts of coverage.

Obviously, other characters have better anti-air tools but Arbiter works with what he’s got and he can do quite a bit with them.

Doesn’t every button let go of block though since you can’t block during the start up of something.


It’s kinda funny that he’s considered low tier now, since he was so high on the totem pole toward the beginning of the season.

Arby is a character that works best when you’re scared. Once a good Arbiter has you conditioned, it’s straight in the meat grinder you go. He’s very momentum heavy, so if he’s going good it can be hell to try and get out of. But if he gets interrupted or he can’t get started, he’s going to have a rough time.

He’s got some interesting traits, like his Shadow Reversal that gives him shield rather than dealing damage, or his marvelous setplay/reset potential, and his unique resources. Makes him great for character specialists, but can make him hard use on a whim.

The one thing I think I’d give him to shake things up is to make his Shadow Command Grab a big cash out. Currently it doesn’t connect if you try to use it in combo, which is weird considering no other command grab behaves like this. I think if he had an omega damage ender to consider spending meter on as opposed to just Shield and Mercy’s Demise (the QCF one) it could give an extra layer of depth to Arbiter. Gives him a new source of damage, at the cost of Defense.

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Off-Topic?: - His Kyle AI is low tier lol; I’ve spectated cpu vs cpu matches with Arbiter involved and he rarely wins sadly, due to having slow moves and his AI not managing to add up combo damage.

Since Arbiter’s AA’s are slow, you have to anticipate a jump which means switching to the AA direction input while still facing each other on the ground.

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Recently started playing Arbiter, as he was one of 3 characters that lured me to KI and alas I think it’s time to play those 3 unto their 50th level. I am Character Crisis, the Man.

RE: OP, I think Arby’s “low tier” status is a result of some severe overnerfing. Yes, launch Arby had some over-9000 junk, but I think a lot of nerfing happens to assuage relentless crying from the community, so things like hella nerf-bat happen to Arby and Gargos and pretty much anyone that isn’t ARIA that Sleep plays (and I have to assume ARIA hasn’t been utterly disassembled because so few play her and the team thinks everyone plays her wrong).

That said, I don’t think he’s been nerfed to the point of no return. He feels awful strong, and his most potent elements of his toolset is incredibly interesting for a fighting game character: human psychology. He is at his best when you can convince the opponent that they are helpless, though they won’t often truly be. It’s pretty darned cool, but the sort of thing that sticks in people’s craw, ya know?

RE: Arby’s AA suite - one of the things I’m really enjoying about Arby is his wide variety of AA’s, as my most played character is Mira and dear lord I hit maybe one AA per match, if I’m lucky (or if I burn INSX freeze). Yeah, most of Arby’s AA’s require a guess on our part, but we aren’t lacking for options - st.HP also works at certain ranges, particularly when their back is to the corner. My one major gripe is that d.3P (face 'nade) doesn’t recap - it costs a resource, damages us, and isn’t even throw invincible, can it please function like his other grenades?

I also have to agree w/ @SonicDolphin117 that it would be a lil’ more intuitive (and a lil’ less risky feeling ) if his gun-stock moves required a “back” directional (as in the rear end of the gun) as opposed to a “fwd” (as in the front part of the gun that shoots bullets).

None of that makes him bad in any way, and he’s hella fun to play, tiers be damned.

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At the start of season 3 , arbiter had high damaging one chance breaks , vortexes and mixups. Throughout the course of season 3 he received nerf after nerf after nerf. What we are left with is a shell of what he once was. With very low damage , terrible reversals , long cooldowns on gernades and bullet damage reduction. His buttons still have long recovery and his target combos still wiff . I guess hes a footsies character now , with terrible buttons . Imo I think he should have some of his damage back , his cooldown reduced and possibly the ability to use his parry outside of instinct. Regardless , arbiter is bottom 5 for sure ( sadira is still the worst character in this game)

Arbiter isn’t unviable. But his hard match ups are among the most brutal in game now. He’s still good against some more annoying characters( he does well vs aria and is still a hard counter to gargos) but when it comes to fighting strong air fighters such as omen or rash or if someone like thunder or aganos gets on him he’s pretty much finished. With his buttons being weakened arbiter doesn’t really get a turn vs these characters.

A lot of you are making sense. I guess I just never regarded any of the nerfs or changes as “so bad” it should make someone drop him. Not everyone is as… I suppose masochistic, as I am. :wink:

Jokes aside, I think he’s still plenty capable of handling any character in the cast. The amount of skill required and on the fly adaptation is what will obviously vary.

But thank you to all who offered input. I wasn’t understanding where people and tier lists were coming from saying he’s low tier. I get it now. Doesn’t change anything for me, I’d still pick him against tournament level Thunder, Aganos, Hisako and other bad match up characters.