With Season 2 coming to a close, List your Top 3 and Bottom 3 Characters [Poll]

With about 1 week until the General public gets to see the first Playable Build of Season 3 and approx 2 months until Season 3’s release, I felt it is now a good time for everyone to have a discussion on who they feel are the Top 3 and the Bottom 3 characters in Killer Instinct.

Top/Bottom 3 in terms of how strong they are in matches overall verses the entire cast. (Not in terms of looks, design, playstyle, etc)

I understand this can be a heated topic for some so lets have an open minded discussion about other people’s views.

Thanks!

(Bottom 3 Poll in 2nd Post)

Top 3 Character in KI (You can vote up to 3 times)

  • Jago
  • Sabrewulf
  • Glacius
  • Thunder
  • Sadira
  • Orchid
  • Spinal
  • Fulgore
  • TJ Combo
  • Maya
  • Kan-Ra
  • Riptor
  • Omen
  • Aganos
  • Hisako
  • Cinder
  • ARIA
  • Shadow Jago

0 voters

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Bottom 3 Character in KI (You can vote up to 3 times)

  • Jago
  • Sabrewulf
  • Glacius
  • Thunder
  • Sadira
  • Orchid
  • Spinal
  • Fulgore
  • TJ Combo
  • Maya
  • Kan-Ra
  • Riptor
  • Omen
  • Aganos
  • Hisako
  • Cinder
  • ARIA
  • Shadow Jago

0 voters

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TOP:
Aganos, Kan-Ra, Shago.

These 3 have been the most successful INNOVATIVE characters on the roster. They arent necessarily better than the others, but they have had a LONG history of fun and knowledge evolution in the community.

BOTTOM:
Riptor: GREAT character design and move set, but Way too noob friendly, while being almost as difficult to use as Aganos in tournament level play.

Omen: Way to high risk with almost no reward. Even when you get successful resets and mixups, you are not rewarded enough. Resets get you about 10% more damage IF you dont get broken. Mixups cost at least 1 shadow bar, sometimes 2, and still get you only Half the damage as the rest of the cast IF you are not broken.

ARIA: Switching between bodies feels more like a game of “management” then a game of “creative application”. The rewards for using the bodies correctly is not as great as the rewards for just using jumping shotgun kick over and over again.

Top 3 in no order (My Opinion Of Course)
Saberwulf: His Instinct. That’s probably my biggest complaint about this character. Getting a damage buff, Increased chip damage and Feral Cancels is insane imo. “Just get better at defense so he can’t mix u up” the thing is that running OH and Sweep while punishable it’s impossible to react to and makes it easy to open you up. He can do running uppercut with no risk and if blocked he can either grab, backdash or shadow eclipse. It’s also kind of annoying that he can cancel his shadow move if blocked or if he misses.
Kan Ra: This character is godlike lol. He can do jumping shadow scarab, into scarab, into scarab and into another scarab and if blocked he either gets his entire shadow meter back or almost up to full it’s insane. It seems that this character excels at almost everything with good offensive pressure and defense with his scarabs and traps. Let’s say Kan Ra is fighting Jago and Kan does shadow scarab if Jago does shadow windkick he has to drop his combo and block just cause that thing doesn’t go away and tracks the opponent and Kan can just get out of jail free. This character just controls the field and the opponent is probably gonna be blocking for like 80 percent of the match. Has a command grab and pretty good speed as well with his sandpit as ur gonna see him start flying everywhere putting scarabs
Maya: It was a hard decision between choosing Maya Sadira or Fulgore here but I think Maya definetly deserves to belong in top 3 (well for me anyway). Her Daggers are just so good. Getting more powerful and getting like a 40-48 percent one chance or an unblockable because someone is blocking is insane. I guess her weaknesses like having the Worst SC in the game, losing some normals after losing daggers and terrible auto doubles is supposed to balance her but it really doesn’t feel like it. I would have to agree with other people in that she just feels like a one trick pony and not much creativity for her to show. (Block these daggers, get 50 percent, rinse and repeat)

Gonna cheat a bit.
Top 3: Riptor, Sadira, and interchangeably Shadow Jago/Fulgore.

I like Riptor’s moveset. It feels really comfortable and allows for a good combination of rushdown and pokes. Plus I love her design, especially with Color4. Plus one of the coolest retro costumes in the game.

Sadira has a nice level of mobility that allows me to be aggressive, in the air, on the move, and just out of reach. Technically she was my first Killer Instinct character I ever played when I got the free version, too. I also just really like her design, visually.

As for Shadow Jago and Fulgore, both are shotos who put a nice twist on the archetype. Shadow Jago’s insane juggles, teleportation, surged moves, and Ultimate are really good contenders. Fulgore, on the other hand, has crazy vortexes with his fireballs, teleportation, high low stuff, and the devastation beam. Both are really cool visually and have a recognizable silhouette that helps to keep them in the back of my mind.

Now for my bottom 3, I stuck to mostly gameplay.
Bottom 3: ARIA, Cinder, Hisako

ARIA just doesn’t feel good in my hands. I’ve played her enough to get her to 50, but the whole thing with the body switching and losing access to moves as I went -while certainly interesting- doesn’t really get me jazzed. I play her probably less than the rest of the cast. Her visual design is intriguing, but with a few exceptions I don’t like her colors or accessories.

Cinder is a character I feel that I should like, but don’t. I actually quite like his moveset as far as actual moves are concerned, but putting them to use without getting stuffed out of stuff has proved difficult. I’m not super competent with his juggles or bomb tech either. His modern design is alright, and his retro is cool, but it’s definitely not my favorite.

Hisako is a character I’m really heartbroken to put in my bottom 3. Visually and conceptually, she’s probably one of my favorite characters in the game. I’m talking gameplay, though, and as much as it pains me I just don’t click with the Hisako style of play. Her counters and grabs and awesome pokes/manuals make her a really good character, but it’s a bit too reactive for my tastes most of the time, rather than proactive. I’m happy with her inclusion and value her archetype, but something just keeps me from being any good with her. It feels like I’ve been given the cold shoulder. :sweat:


Honorable mention: Sabrewulf

Wulf could honestly go into by Top 3 OR my Bottom 3 at this point. I feel l like I’ve forgotten how to be the Wulf. I’m dropping combos left and right, doing stupid stuff and missing inputs constantly, and trying to do any of the more effectual stuff hasn’t gone well. I don’t know if I can actually call myself a Sabrewulf main anymore. However, he’s still one of my favorites in design and playstyle. He was the first character I got good enough to go online with. His moveset is imprinted on my heart and mind, his story is still one of the most driving I’ve experienced, his damage is off the charts, and his mixups are so good. I want to relearn to play the Wulf asap, because when I did have him down, his Ultra rhythm was so firmly stuck in my head I was drumming it on my fingers.
That fluffy butthead is one of many reasons I bear the name of Fwufikins. I do wish to get back into my Wulf game.

Top:

Fulgore: Can take control of the match from anywhere on screen with projectiles, a great backdash, safe pressure, and teleports which give him INVISIBLE mixups. Is fully capable without meter, and only gets faster, with better mixups. When he’s at full meter, the opponent is essentially pinned down, or else they’ll eat around 60-70% damage from Devastation Beam + 1 more mixup.

Sabrewulf: Is a rushdown character, but also has great footsies. Has running uppercut as a safe, heavy-special-priority way to get in, with variable distance. Has unreactable mixups that are essentially SAFE IN INSTINCT. If you’re on defense, you WILL get opened up, where he’s close to unbreakable and defies the combo rules with 2-hit heavy linkers and rabid doubles, which get him very high damage on a lockout.

Spinal: If you said “here’s a character that has a vortex that enables him 2-3 straight plus-on-block 50/50 teleport mixups” I’d say “sounds like a great character!” That’s even before considering that the vortex removes your ability to get out of it by draining your meter and instinct. Instinct gets him skulls, skulls gets him meter, meter gets him instinct. He’s guaranteed to have his crazy offense jump-started twice a match.

Bottom:

Aganos: Has all the disadvantages of being big and slow - he gets crossed up by everything, instant overheads are even more instant, and he can’t get away from a lot of attacks. It’s made worse in KI, since the opponent is free to close the distance on him between rounds and even push him along the ground (WTF!!). His special mechanic is completely negated by attacks with an arbitrary number of hits. His strength is having long range normals that control a lot of space in front of him, but that doesn’t matter when a bunch of characters either have teleports or can fill that space with fast/multiple projectiles (Maya, Omen, Fulgore, Shago, ARIA, Kan-Ra). Getting tagged with any of those projectiles stops whatever button he’s pressing dead in its tracks, which is compounded by his total lack of defense in a game where most characters have safe pressure.

Cinder: Has to go through way too many shenanigans to get any decent amount of damage. He has to 1) Stick bombs on his opponent. 2) Approach from the air where he has low priority 3) Land a juggle and recapture with an obvious break point, 4) Do a burnout ender 5) Repeat steps 1-3. If he gets his combo broken at any point, it’s all for nothing.

Hisako: Probably too read-heavy of a character. Did you counter in a rekka, but your opponent didn’t press a button? Get punished. To me, her two command grabs almost serve the same purpose, which makes her feel very limited. Loses to anything that is arbitrarily labeled as a projectile.

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Since I’m not that good at the game, so I’m mostly going with how easy it is to pick up and have fun with a character + design.

Best:
Maya: love the dagger style and mantis attack, good speed too. Cool warrior woman design and nice bright level.

Hisao: probably one of the coolest designed fighters in a fighting game period.
Love her style (even if difficult b/c its reactive). She has good range and wall jump to compensate speed and her backcrawl/teleport is creepy. And again good looking level.

Aganos: there is something about playing a moving mountain and punching ppl through walls, even though I’m not particularly good at it. Again his design is top notch and really makes him stand out even when compared to other fighting games and again he has a beautiful stage, and just like Maya it is bright. Which I like.

Reminder for those leaving feedback:

Top/Bottom 3 in terms of how strong they are in matches overall verses the entire cast. (Not in terms of looks, design, playstyle, etc)

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Now for the bottom three:

I picked Omen: cant get a handle on his floating jump, his fireballs look good but feel unpredictable, no stage for him either, although I dont really count this since he’s a bonuscharacter (we already get more stages than a lot of other fighting games, esp. If every character in Season 3 gets one aswell). And I frankly dobt like his whole look, he doesnt look menacing at all, with the exception of his face, which I dont like either. He has no worthwhile customisation either.

Seond character is Cinder: I REALLY want to like him, but his moves dont come naturally to me (the input and how to combine them). I love how his moves look though. I love his design too, good update from the original (those hands though).
His stage is ok, not reallya fan of those chaotic style levels (but fits a fire character) looks a bit to much like Fulgores level though colorwise.

Lastly I had picked Glacius, but I’m changing it to Aria: I Like her addition, design is ok, but perhaps a bit too elegant for a robotbody, but…lady robot, right. Just feels like it clashes a bit with the other designs. Then again this game consists of extremely different style characters so…no biggie.
Jer moves come together nicely (when in instinct mode).
Struggling with her moves when in seperate body’s, always seem to choose the wrong ones, that managing style is a bit too complicated for my tastes. Love what the spare body’s do in a battle the way they function as projectiles though.
To me she’s a case of, soubds awesone… But apparently not my style. But thats ok, other ppl mihht not like Aganos. Its good that their is such variation in the game. And since many players have 1 or 2 mains its no problem if there are characters with different styles. And she’s interesting to fight against.

In that case:
Top seem to be:
Kann-ra and Glacius since they sometimes seem to be unasailable (out of experience fighting them)
Third…Shadow jago and his annoying shadowkick teleport, fireballs, slide, fast moves that can take you by surprise.

Bottom:
Aria…seems too much a chore, with the managing…cant win with her, but might be different in the hands of a top player. Requires extra investment of player too get really good, falls back on same knee move, usually beat Aria characters because of this.
Riptor, like someone else said, easy to pick up, hard to master.
Lastly I would say Cinder, a lot of ppl seem to not know how to play him (neither do I) which make him an easy matchup to play against.

Kan Ra just burns through your soul sometimes man. Shago is getting up their, he pretty much has every tool in the book. Both of them at times feel unfair.

Although I would give Thunder and Spinal the overall strongest, they feel like a fair fight. Unless you’re playing against Bass then you hate your life.

Agreed, thunder and spinal feel strong but fair.

Top 3:
Kan-Ra: at high level, just incredibly dominant. Lives off of level 3 one chance breaks that don’t even require him to expend meter, and throw you back into his vortex for another one chance break into level 3 ender that doesn’t require meter. Mobility is such that he can come and go much as he pleases the instant he’s given even a bit of room, so he’s not even easy to chase down. Can also be incredibly damaging when he wants to be - shadow clutch damage is insane. Command grabs also generally start full combos, which -shocker- lead into level 3 one chance breaks. Oh well…at least those ones require some meter :unamused:

Spinal: safe 50/50 left/right/high/low mixups that lead into additional safe 50/50 left/right/high/low mixups. Oh, and he’s stealing your resources to fight back as he hits you with said mixups. Pretty crap on defense, but all he needs is a single knockdown in almost any situation to turn a fight almost completely around. Spinal with skulls is simply not blockable for any appreciable length of time.

Wulf: Was kind of torn between putting Fulgore here, as I think Fulgore is the better character on paper, for all the reasons that @LeoFerreis said. But when it comes down to it, I think Wulf’s instinct just pushes him into the top 3. Resets on demand, safe (unreactable) pressure, and nigh-unbreakable WHILE he’s getting extra damage on top of all it. Wulf’s instinct is the best in the game IMO, and it puts him up here with the other killers. He just does too much damage safely and unbreakably once he pops instinct. If Wulf hits you while he’s in instinct, it’s almost as if you just forfeit the lifebar. If you get locked out on anything, then you DID just forfeit a lifebar.

Bottom 3:
Orchid: Not a bad character by any means, but just a bit too honest in the neutral. Once she’s on top of you she’s as dirty as anyone in KI, but getting to that point can be a struggle for her. Best pressure options are incredibly shadow counterable.

Riptor: Too reliant on shenanigans, and a lot of her pressure options are very shadow counterable if you have a halfway decent SC. Can do solid damage, and quickly, but is also very susceptible to ambiguous cross-ups and the like due to her wide hurtbox.

Aganos: One of my favorite characters, but just demands a level of perfection in neutral that can seem unreasonable outside high level specialists for the character. Giant hurtbox, and once he’s stripped of chunks has no way to get them back against a relentless opponent. Also has to deal with several MU’s where a character gets to blow through ALL his chunks with a single lucky move. Aganos is terrifying when played well, but otherwise can just seem like #TheStruggle - the Game.

Now where I take issue with other people’s lists :grin:

Then you haven’t had the opportunity to see someone take good advantage of Aria’s various bodies. She’s definitely like Aganos in that she demands perfection in the neutral, but when her various bodies are used well Aria gets ridiculous payoffs for it.

This is an interesting one I feel like. Hisako is absolutely a read-heavy character, but she’s kind of funny for tier lists (to me anyway) in that I don’t actually think she loses very many fights. She doesn’t really outright win any MU’s either though. I give her nearly 5-5 MU’s across the board, with the only bad fight being Riptor (which is fuck-awful). Everyone else in the cast I honestly believe she goes even with. Even Spinal or Aria or Fulgore pressure is pretty manageable, and she has solid options against all of them on knockdown. I personally place her smack dab in the middle of the pack.

I can see why it seems that way, but the two are actually pretty variable in application thanks to the unique properties of possession. Possession’s high active frames and cancelability (and ability to blow through grab invulnerabilities) make it favored heavily over influence in certain MU’s. Influence serves as a better option once you’ve taught someone to sit still, or when you want to go for the reset. It also resets wrath and establishes Hisako’s vortex, so you kind of use it for different situations overall.

I think this topic should be reset with a new title that makes this statement more clear.

I didn’t follow this rule, so i know i broke the poll.

Top: Spinal, Thunder, Kan Ra

Bottom: Orchid, Glacius, Aganos

That’s just from a matchup standpoint, as OP asked. Spinal seems borderline matchup proof at times, Thunder, while having to work to get in is so devastating when he does, while Kan Ra is insanely adept at keeping people out, keeping them off-balance and escaping when he needs to.

As for the bottom three, Orchid seems decent at everything, but not that great at anything, Glacius is much less effective on opponents that can get in on him and Aganos feels so slow and seemingly needs so much to go his way in order to set up his high damage attacks.

Again, this is all just from a general matchup standpoint. I know there are players that can make any of those bottom three look god tier.

Now that I think about it, they probably seem the same to me because I’m sure as hell not going to try backdashing with Aganos against her. For me, neutral jump + throw beats both of them, while blocking loses to both of them (on wakeup, at least). In neutral, I feel like if you can do Possession, you can just as well dash forward and do Influence… unless you expect your opponent to be jumping at that moment?.. which is a strong read to me, considering that you’re pulling your opponent closer, making a punish easier. I don’t know, maybe I look at it from the perspective of the Aganos matchup too much.

I put Hisako as bottom 3 partly for two reasons:

  1. I’m not that willing to jump on the “Riptor is bad” bandwagon. I don’t think anyone had that opinion before Paul B made a video about it.

  2. I’ve never thought Omen is bad. He was one of my contenders for bottom 3, but I felt my reasoning was mostly by popular opinion. The results of the poll show that he* is* bottom 3, but this is Ultra-Combo we’re talking about, where useful strategy is drowned out by naivety and demands that Microsoft takes advantage of us with DLC.

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In terms of over all matchups, in that case…
Top 3: Jago (capable in any situation with an extremely powerful instinct, hardly ever a bad choice if you don’t know what to expect), Kan-Ra (his unique ability to put threats on the screen and just leave them there for you to either fight your way through or get knocked into as well as his great pressure when he has resources), and Maya (her daggers provide a bunch of awesome tools ranging from safe DP’s to full screen openers to unblockable homing projectiles to super great damage, AND she gets an advantage whether you’re blocking her or not.)

Bottom 3: Cinder (he doesn’t get a lot of priority when it comes to attacks, so you can knock him out of some of his best offensive options fairly easily), Aganos (if you strip away his chunks and/or get him in a hard knockdown, he’s going to have a bad time. Very few people have learned to utilize Aganos to a higher level) and Thunder (while he’s on the cusp of being really good thanks to his damage and Projectile Invulnerable DP, he’s got quite a few hard counter picks that really hurt the average Thunder.)

Mind, I don’t think any of the characters in game are particularly bad. While there are some nasty matchups occasionally, most of the time any given character has a way out of it. I’ve seen (and played) matches where the matchup looked like it would drastically favor one character, but the victory went to the supposed lesser character in the matchup. That, and all the characters can be played well enough if you understand the fundamentals of the combo system. Find an opener, some linkers you like, an ender that gets the job done, and figure out their Ultra and you’re good to go. It also helps that everyone can generally do well up close if you try.

I’m not an expert on match ups or high level play, but from what I can see even if there are characters who have a harder time than others it’s still a lot closer to balanced some games I’ve played.

Lol. Totally true :slight_smile: Aganos is one of the MU’s where possession is generally favored over influence. If you’re doing either of them on oki, then you’re betting that the Aganos isn’t going to jump, and is going to either block (to keep from getting meatied on a jump out) or try to fight his way out. Possession is better for this because it beats both of Aganos’ options to fight, shadow pulverize OR ruin, and will also beat the block.

Possession is generally how Hisako baits and punishes reversal attempts in a way that isn’t possible with influence, and tends to make people try to jump a bit more as a wakeup option. Basically, you use possession mostly to condition the opponent, and then use influence to punish that conditioning. Possession is good because the only thing that beats it (if you’ve read the opponent right, or they don’t have an invincible reversal) is the jump out, which you can punish free if you have the read on it. Influence is only useful after someone’s been trained to sit still on their wakeup, but is the better option once that’s been established. They both have their uses, and you’ll see both from a good Hisako I think.

Eh…yes and no. Against Aganos, yes. Against other members of the cast, not necessarily. Hisako has better range than most of the cast, so dashing into point-blank range isn’t necessary in order for you to be a threat. Dash into rekkas or cr+MK is also viable at the ranges you would use dash->possession, and you don’t have to put yourself in danger to do it like you do with dash->influence. So dash into possession takes advantage of the those other Hisako options to get the opponent to sit still and just get caught by it. And if they try to jump out of it, you can either cancel possession into counter (to catch jump+button) or just hold it to suck them up when they land and try to throw you. Again, requires conditioning to work, but has its benefits. Dash-influence gets reaction poked a lot, while a lot of players will just kind of watch themselves get absorbed into a possession.

I agree that Omen is consistently underrated. I just don’t know that Riptor doesn’t have more bad MU’s than Hisako though. She does have some winning fights though, so depending on how you look at your tiers (is it about having a bunch of winning MU’s, or is absence of bad fights also important) I can see how she’d float higher than Hisako. I DO think though that Riptor’s tools get beat out by a lot, and that a lot of her best tools are ridiculously punishable or counterable.

Cool list but the list is supposed to be on who u feel is the strongest in the game and who is the weakest. Not who u have the most/least fun with