As there are no Ultra Street Fighter II tournaments being played competitively, online data remains the best way to determine which characters are the strongest in Ultra Street Fighter II. And as you can see from the data above, the data is starting to stabilize.
By researching the maximum number of battle points (BP) earned by the top character specialists playing Ultra Street Fighter II online, we now see six distinct tiers forming among the game’s 19 characters. Let’s talk about these six tiers, talk about how they got there, and discuss their future potential:
A Tier: Balrog, Chun Li, Ryu and Violent Ken
Earlier I talked about the potential of Balrog and Chun Li overtaking Ryu in the charts, and it’s happened! That these three characters are on the top of the list means that Ultra Street Fighter II will reward you as long as your fundamentals and ground game are strong.
That said, Violent Ken is showing a lot of momentum. He peaked at #2 in the character charts but has slipped as of late. Now a new player is making a lot of noise online and actually took over Michael Lee, who used to be the best Violent Ken in the world. Can this newcomer prove that Violent Ken is the best character in the game?
B Tier: Zangief, Dee Jay and Guile
It’s amazing to me that Zangief can do so well in a Street Fighter game where “overpowered” shotos are used so often, but if you look at what the top Zangief players are doing in the game, they are developing techniques that help them hold their own against characters like Violent Ken, Evil Ryu and even Akuma! Part of it is that Akuma doesn’t have access to some of the most gamebreaking tricks he had in Super Turbo. The other part of it is there are players out there who are just really good with Zangief.
As for Dee Jay and Guile, both charge characters play with a similar move set but Dee Jay’s offensive game is just slightly stronger than Guile’s zoning game in Ultra Street Fighter II. Online data has never shown Guile surpassing Dee Jay, but Guile’s defense holds very well against the majority of the cast.
C Tier: Akuma, Vega, Dhalsim, E. Honda and Ken
The order that these five characters show up in this tier is highly volatile. Akuma is consistently the best mid tier character, then Vega, Dhalsim, E. Honda and Ken exchange places below him. It looks like Vega players have finally found ways to play around his slower wall dive in the Spain stage, but he still has plenty to go before he can hang with the B Tier characters. Frankly, I don’t think the potential is there. The game is just too stacked against him.
Speaking of odds, Ken is another character who can’t seem to break out of the shadow of his more violent counterpart. He has held steady with his battle points while other characters have surpassed him. Unlike Vega, I feel like Ken, E. Honda and Dhalsim are three characters you shouldn’t sleep on just yet.
C- Tier: M. Bison, Sagat and Fei Long
In mid-August, an interesting thing started to happen with the online charts. Whereas Akuma, Vega, Dhalsim, E. Honda and Ken were making small gains, the number of battle points earned by M. Bison, Sagat and Fei Long players started to stagnate. There is a considerable difference in BP between these eight characters, so now we have six distinct tiers in Ultra Street Fighter II.
What can these three characters do to improve? Of the three, it’s M. Bison who has the most potential. He’s also the most volatile; at one he was ranking B tier on our charts and at another time, he was the worst character in the game. He’s currently in the same tier as he was in Super Turbo, but his explosive offense may take him further.
D Tier: Evil Ryu and Cammy
Evil Ryu and Cammy represent the two characters with serious disadvantages, but are still barely playable in Ultra Street Fighter II. Most people playing Evil Ryu should really be playing Ryu instead. Having 20% less life makes you too vulnerable to too many things. The only people who should be playing Evil Ryu are those who can consistently land his touch of death combos. They’re easy to execute, but you can also see them coming from a mile away.
As for Cammy, I’ve been playing a lot of Cammy as of late and she is definitely one of the most fun characters to play in Ultra Street Fighter II. Even Foosuke, who is currently the best Cammy player in USFII, is ranking much better using other characters in the game. I’d imagine he plays one of the most technical characters in the game just to keep himself on his toes.
F Tier: Blanka and T. Hawk
I’ve already posted articles about how Blanka is the worst character in Ultra Street Fighter II and how T. Hawk is garbage tier in this game. And now that the bottom five character’s battle points have stabilized, it looks like Blanka and T. Hawk will continue to be that way.
Interestingly enough, this is the first time I’ve seen any T. Hawk player earn more than 9,000 BPs. If T. Hawk continues to succeed at this rate, he may finally pass Blanka and confirm that Blanka really is the worst character in the game. Only time will tell, but if you’re new to Ultra Street Fighter II you shouldn’t waste your time with either character.