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Tekken World Tour finalist Speedkicks shares and explains his Tekken 7 character tier list

Panda Global’s Speedkicks helps you understand the logic of his tier list.

Panda Global's Speedkicks (l) facing Anakin (r) at DreamHack Denver.

American Tekken World Tour finalist, Stephen “Speedkicks” Stafford, has come up with a Tekken 7 character tier list and shares some keen insight into why he places certain characters where they are. The tier list is based on his current understanding of the the game, and he says it may even change in a few months. He also states that this helps him see how understands the game.

Take a look at his tier list below, and read his explanations underneath. Do you agree?

For those interested, a long winded explanation/guide on reading that tier list.

Ok so I’ve been getting a lot of questions about the placements on the tier list that I made earlier today. And it seems like a lot of the confusion stems from a lack of perspective on how character tools translate into winning strategies in Tekken.

So here’s a guide on how to read that tier list. Please remember that this is just based on my current understanding of the game and isn’t an attempt to define the entire game of Tekken based on my opinion.

Tier list:

Starting from the bottom:

Katarina Tier

The character really offers no sort of pressure when there’s space between the two characters. All of her pokes are low range and easy to whiff punish and her jab doesn’t really transition into any scary metagames. Basically, she can work hard all game to get that jab blocked and force a low risk/high reward mixup to attempt to break her opponent’s defense. Because of this, you don’t have to feel pressured to make a move against her as she rarely has a life lead and you get to choose when you want to engage. The only time you have to is when you’ve already made a mistake when choosing to engage and have to work against her life lead.

B Tier

These are the characters that are kind of abusable. You can force them to have to play an unfavorable game by consistently forcing situations where the risk/reward is just not in their favor. Of course, this is Tekken. Games are won in unfavorable metagames all the time and it would be foolish to call the characters in this tier “bad”.

B+ Tier

These characters aren’t exactly abusable like the ones in the last one. But this tier consists of the characters that weren’t really given much of an effective identity. They don’t really have any specific things to worry about when fighting them. These are the characters that we would have previously called “solid and fundamental” with no real sauce, but in Tekken 7…the sauce is kind of everything and these characters don’t feel so good to play.

A Tier

So this one really defines what I think Tekken 7 is about and has the type of gameplay that I think Namco should be working to implement for all the characters. I mentioned it before as the tier where characters can limit the opponent or have a gameplan and have to fight to impose it.

All of these characters have a “gameplan”. I actually really hate that word in Tekken because of the possible misinterpretations and implications but to put it simply, these characters all have something they want to do to their opponent. A situation they want to force(a single mixup to hit them with, some oki situations, guard pressure, defense with life lead, etc.) and they have no real means of avoiding the neutral game to enforce those gameplans.

Limiting the options of the opponent and controlling the situations the match plays in is also a gameplan in my eyes. The characters here like Kazuya, Jin and Law are pretty good at this without being so oppressive to the point where you can’t fight them for control of the match. They have “ways out” and they have to play to avoid those in a similar manner to how the other characters in this tier fight to find those situations they want.

Personally, this is my favorite tier. Matches between characters in this tier usually demonstrate the most technical ability and fundamental understanding of the game and mastery of the characters. I think it’s really healthy gameplay.

S- Tier

Now that I’ve explained the previous tier, it makes explaining this one a little bit better. These characters are the ones that are purely limiting. Against these guys, there’s no “way out”. In the neutral game, they have the options to kill you for doing too much. When they poke at you, they maintain the options to kill you for doing too much. When you force them to defend, they still maintain the options to kill you for doing too much. You can’t do that much against these guys except play that minimal game and edge it out with fundamentals and a knowledge of when to take the risk and cheekily dip into the realm of doing too much based on when you think your opponent isn’t thinking about it.

Fights between characters in this tier and A tier can look and feel like an uphill battle with A tier character constantly playing a limited game looking for those specific moments where they can sneak in the reward of whatever their “gameplan” is.

S Tier

Gameplan tier! These guys have a preferred method of killing you and they are always allowed to play that game through their ability to limit you like the guys in the previous tier. They can force you in situations where it’s scary to take specific options and kill you pretty effectively for not taking specific options. Fighting them is a lot like fighting the characters in the previous tier, only you really feel the need to outplay them because they are getting heavily rewarded as they limit you.

Fights between characters in this tier and A tier can feel really annoying for the A tier character considering it’s an uphill battle that they will lose heavily if they just accept the limitation the S tier character places on them. They really have to work to sneak in those “gameplan” moments and they absolutely have to make it count when they get those opportunities.

The effectiveness of these characters in tournament has led to a few players(most notably Knee) to picking characters in the S- Tier to try to combat it by saying “hey stop all this crazy stuff you’re doing and let’s just play basic game of Tekken” and forcing slower paced, fundamental matches where they feel they can beat their opponent in a match of basic Tekken skills.

The original write-up can be found here:

Aziz Peregrino-Brimah aka Zee the CEO | Founder / Editor-in-chief of TekkenGamer | Gaming has been a passion of Zee's since the early days of Atari and ColecoVision. His first experience with Tekken was in the early 90's, and it was Tekken 3 that sealed the deal. True story... As a teenager Zee once received his Winn-Dixie paycheck and spent it all at the arcade the same day. Needless to say, his mother wasn't pleased.


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