Are low tiers good for the game?

I am pretty sure most of us know that KI has a really diverse roster. This is especially true gameplay wise. This diversity also causes some unfair match ups and some characters being better than others. Let’s say that in a hypothetical situation, the game was somehow balanced while still being diverse. All match ups are 5-5 somehow with a diverse set of characters. Sounds good right? No high tier. No low tier. Is it really all that good though? Is having low tier and high tier characters good for the game? I would argue that this is true. Let’s take Dan from SF4 for example. He is a joke character. Very low tier. Whenever someone wins with Dan, it is extremely hype for the game. I would argue that having a low tier actually benefits the game and makes things more exciting. Now let’s go back to KI. It’s pretty well balanced but some low-tiers exist and some high tiers. It’s more narrow but still there. When someone wins with a character like Kan-Ra who is considered low-tier such as Fubiki does well with him, it’s pretty cool. Does having some low-tier and high-tier characters benefit the game more than a perfectly balanced game does?


As a Dan enthusiast, I must say that low tier variety is more important than high tier variety, because FAAAATHERRR!!!

Really though, no characters are crafted w tier ranking in mind. Tiers are a function of communal perception. If a game consisted solely of binary interactions amongst tier-equal characters… Well, I guess you’d have competitive Tetris.

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I Guess there are but the lowest is like C tier (which is considered slightly below average)

No D, E or F tiers though

Lol poor Arby, Keits was still hopeful about him despite the hard nerfs. Even the people who stuck with him are now starting to drop him.

Jago will follow in Arby’s shadow in 3.8, making his healing factor like -30% less. Ggs.

You get a nerf! You get a nerf! Everyone gets a nerf!

Lol, all kidding aside, if you have fun than just enjoy who you will despite tiers. Luckily KI is relatively well balanced so I doubt you’d see a 8-2 matchup that took into account only character skill.

The problem with too much balance is that it isn’t fun anymore. If every matchup were 5-5 it would feel quite bland just because either damage would be dampened on characters or setups would be limited. Characters need space to excel in areas where others may not. RAAM has a tough time getting in, but will dominate once he’s in. Against Ra, without a bugged crouching HK would see the match played a certain way because of character advantages/disadvantages.

Honestly if KI were perfectly balanced, I wouldn’t play it.

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There really are no bad character’s or Low Tier in this game. Despite everyone always saying Kan-Ra is bad, he was never bad. He was broken before, and people relied on what was broken about him that they never really played him. Unbreakable combo’s, +10 or more block strings/setups, air momentum control for ambiguous double sided crossups that were nigh unblockable ect ect. Watching Fubuki win just shows dedication to mastery of a character, despite sleep saying it doesn’t matter. Gimmicks are gimmicks, when they are too good, they get nerfed. If you can go into a match with a single minded gameplan, and win regularly because of how good/universal it is change is needed. People dropping Arby because his vortex setup combo’s were nerfed simply proves the point further. His grenades came back too fast, his damage ender was a setup ender, and he had instant pressure on a meterless opponent by pressing a single button which in most scenarios they could do nothing to prevent it. Grounded opponent, stick grenade. Airborne opponent, stick grenade, did my damage ender stick grenade and you completely controlled the pace with it. They had to rush for a throw or spend meter to ignore the grenade. Is a gimmick character only good because of the gimmicks? Or is the character just under utilized because one aspect of their kit is too good?

In the end, as far as what I can see, KI being as balanced as it is the better player wins out. It isn’t the character (most of the time) it’s the player.

His crouching HK is his only detriment in game. Otherwise he is still a fantastic character like you mention.

But it was already confirmed as a bug, though I expected a hotfix and not so much something for the next patch.

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Even if all match ups were 5-5 there’d still be tiers. Sure the difference between a high tier and low tier characters would probably only be a few frames on a special move or the hit box size on a normal but they’d still be there.

Yes. Having a perfectly balanced game would be boring. This is also true with exaggerated High - Low Tiers (where there are only 1-3 good characters and the rest are too bad to even be considered) ex. Alien in MKX 8 months ago.

The problem then comes down to who do you let be low tier. Who gets the shaft? Does this character ever get a chance at being higher in the tier list? Do you force low tiers on purpose? I’d say this is where you draw the line. You want balance to be tight, but I also think that having noob killer characters (Riptor, RAAM, Sabrewulf) be too high in the tier list would be detrimental to the online environment.

I really don’t think there is a such thing in KI as a noob killer character. With KI the way it is, the better player will win out in a set. The supposed “noob” won’t adapt, will get thrown off by mixups and gameplay changes the better player will use to counter what they’ve been hit with in the past. There are some spam happy characters sure, but you can do that with most any character. I’ve walked forward and dp spammed someone with Fulgore because they refused to block.



I don’t beleive in tiers but a diverse characer roster is always important if that means people will perceive some characters as “low tier” than so be it.

However I’d sooner do away with the “Oh he’s ■■■■, dont use them” and adapt the “Use this character cause you like to” mentality.

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When I was a kid I picked the character that looked the coolest and played it. Snes Fulgore was the worst character in that game hands down, didn’t stop me from playing him. He was sluggish, punished on everything, only had one combo string but he looked cool doing it. I could have played OP Cinder like my brother, or Close to OP Orchid, TJ and Jago but I stuck it out with my robot. Now Fulgore is somehow arguably the best character in the game. I picked him up when he dropped because I was waiting for him, and despite every change I never played anyone else as much as I did him. The tier doesn’t matter if you genuinely enjoy your character. You’ll win more because of it. You can rely on gimmicks, or pick your favorite. Once you’ve mastered them matchups don’t matter, it’s about who you’re facing as a player not the character.


Precisely my mentality :smiley: I will be a Fulgore/Riptor/Cinder main until the day I friggen’ die!

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Another important thing to understand is that even if players of a given game WERE given a totally diverse game full of only 5-5 matchups, the players actually wouldn’t be able to realize it for a long time.

That is, the very act of the giving diversity obscures the fact that a game could be “perfectly” balanced, often until that game’s time in the competitive scene has passed. And it’s because diversity always makes it seem like there are good and bad matchups, even if such matchups will normalize to 5-5 over the course of 5 years of play.

The more “obvious” you try to make a game have 5-5 matchups, the less diverse your game will be, kind of by definition. The more diverse you try to make your game, the less obvious it will be that a matchup is 5-5 (even if it is).

The end result is that the players shouldn’t worry about it, and instead worry about whether they are having fun or not.




How is he different from any other crazy mixup character?

What happened to arbiter?

His shenanigans are generally more difficult to block/avoid, easier to initiate (dash-through->DP/throw, divekick or surged slide, etc), and the character himself is actually quite difficult to space out such that he doesn’t get to use his mixups. Shago’s mixups are very potent, not very difficult to execute, and are live threats from very far away. Add to that the fact that even once you knock him down, he can be quite difficult to actually pressure (possessing a meterless DP and back teleport that clears anything but true meaties).

Wulf and Riptor might be murder on a new player, but their kits make sense and are fairly straightforward. Shago is crazy and all over the place with his teleport dashes, and cannot be meaningfully zoned or kept out by traditional means.


Chop suey from “system of a down” suddenly blares inside my head…



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