What's your personal tier list so far?

Coming upon the 2nd week of release…

A-Tier: Everyone
S “Me Winning like it’s 98” -Tier: EX Kyo

Just my top 3 favorites:

Shen - He has a bionic arm, how can he lose. Good overheads, command grab, punishing.
Athena - Best keepaway in the game imo. Fast backdash, EX Fireball, good air CD, reflects projectiles.
Ash - He’s a French feminine Guile. Good keepaway, long combos with HD.

Also any character with a mango-colored costume (looking at you Elisabeth and Maxima).

A+ tier - Hwa Jai, Duo Lon, Terry, Mature, Kyo, Kula
A tier - rest or w/e

top- Kyo, Ryo, King, Terry, Clark, Hwa, Joe, Andy
high-the rest

a+ | iori, kyo, ex kyo, leona
a | everyone else
wildcard | mr karate
havent played | ex iori

C-Tier: Everybody
S-Tier: Whoever I choose to play as at that time.

Hey, you did say personal tier list.

In all seriousness, though, I’m going to bet that Elisabeth, Takuma, Shen, Duo Lon, K’, Kula and of course Kyo and Iori will be dominators. Not that this really matters to me - Clark was considered F-Tier in KOFXII, and I was having huge success with him back when XII was still ‘fresh’. Hell, I played Mary in KOF’98 religiously, and she was considered trash … never once did I feel I was at a huge disadvantage in most match-ups. Kyo or Joe vs Clark in KOFXII just didn’t even begin to feel like Yun or Chun vs Sean to me.

(Kyo or Joe… Yun or Chun… I think I’ve found the secret. If two characters have names that rhyme with each other, they’ll be top tier in at least one game they appear in.)

I’d just have to say the kind of characters that are pretty easy will seem pretty good at the beginning, but in all honesty, everyone has their own weaknesses as well as strengths.

For example, Kyo can stun you with 4 bars and full drive in a seemingly endless combo of Orochinagi’s and Shiki Kai attacks, but for the same amount of meter, Daimon can flat out kill you as well as Athena, Terry, Duolon, Kim, Ralf, Clark, and practically the entire cast. Given the opportunity and enough work, anyone can be degenerate. Even more so with this balance. Even if you’ve got a real easy to use character, everyone’s got their own means of winning.

I’m trying to get a feel for KoF and what makes a character good/bad but I’m wondering if I’m right in thinking Joe is underwhelming relative to everyone else.

Depends on how you play and how you play Joe. You have to use all of his moves and take a couple of risks, but he’s definitely an unorthodox character. Especially his fireball. It’s a ground to mid-level fireball so he can zone pretty well. His slide can cancel into special moves and HD cancel. His moves, when spaced properly, can be hard to punish, and he can do some pretty big damage with drive/bar.

He’s similar to Terry in needing drive to break some serious ground for damage, but he’s certainly rewarding when you do some damage. Check out how other people are taking to Joe and see if you can’t use some of those strategies when you play him. Never hurts to borrow from a neighbor/competitor.

IIRC she was around mid or lower in arcade XIII but still she can wreck shop.

I actually really like that with meter pretty much the whole cast can blow you up and take you to the brink of death if not kill you.

I’m just going to say that Kyo has to be pretty much top or at worst just under S tier. K’ I’m finicky about since at max range crB he can’t do anything without burning meter unlike Kyo or Iori or Duo Lon.

I think burning meter isn’t a sin. Especially when you’re far away and you want to commit to some damage that’ll bring you closer to winning.

Week 2 Tiers:

I’d say top 5 right now in alphabetical order, not counting DLC (since they haven’t really been tested):

Andy, K’, King, Kula, Kyo for S-Tier…yeah, so KOF 2000 all over again. They all have the tools they need while a lot of characters in the game are STILL very incomplete. Plus they are all stupidly safe and easy to use.

Yuri and Elizabeth at A

Everyone else in the middle is too difficult to discern yet but I think Joe and Vice are definitely Bottom.
What I don’t like about the game is that it seems like zoning sucks (sorry fanboys but Athena’s zoning definitely isn’t that good) and very few characters are able to play a neutral ground game.

How can you say Vice is “definitely” bottom? She has a pretty good set of normals overall (st.B and j.CD being especially nice), an instant command grab leading to good okizeme, a super-cancelable overhead, hit-confirmable combos from lows, and the best ‘anywhere juggle’ move in the game (any random hit can lead to good oki or 700+ damage).

Maybe she’s not as bad as Joe, but it seems to me she has zero ways of controlling space, zero ways to mix-up, and zero ways to control the match.
Those are the things that make a good character. “Good okizeme” is nebulous. IMO almost no characters in the game have good wakeup until you get in the corner, and Vice has virtually no ways to FORCE the opponent in the corner. A lot of this has to a lot of game engine changes from past KOFs. Fireballs are slower (or smaller), jump attacks have a lot less blockstun, and the game gives out meter like candy when you take damage now (meaning characters almost always have access to an EX Special/DM that gets them out of pressure).
By the way, EVERY character has hit-confirmable combos from lows and can possibly do 70% combos. That doesn’t mean a character isn’t low tier. Her normals are by the far the worst set she’s had since 96.
You can’t honestly tell me you would take the current Vice over KOF 2002 UM Vice.

I’m not an expert at KOF, but we can all agree that the game seems pretty damn balanced at least, right? No character seems flat out terrible to me so far.

Nah, Joe is really really bad.

What kind of mix-up tools are you looking for? She has a low, an overhead, and a command grab. Her hop isn’t as floaty as it was in previous games, so she can also do some simple hop mix-ups competently. Her command grab carries opponents pretty far across the stage, and if it ends mid-screen, she can also do an ambiguous roll mix-up.

As for controlling space, she has some basic pokes, like st.B and st.C, plus hcf+K can threaten people at a distance (and unlike past games, it actually pulls them in, giving you a free grab). Her normals don’t reach as far as before, but they are also not slow as hell anymore and are overall pretty effective. j.B and j.CD are also good for air-to-air, and j.B gives her a practical cross-up option for once. st.A anti-airs hops well, and cr.C works as vertical anti-air. cr.C has a tendency to trade, but that’s actually a good thing for her because she can combo with hcf+BD afterwards. She obviously doesn’t excel when it comes to space control, but I think it’s better than what Iori has, for example.

Having low hit-confirms is significant for a grappler since it makes it easier to fight against alternate guard. Sure, everyone can do something, but it’s significantly harder for Daimon and Shen to combo from their lows, for example.

For me it has a really decent balance for the moment, maybe some few characters are really bottom tier but i haven’t seen anything broken yet.

I like everybody in this game and I really dont like tier lists because people believe that they’re set in stone like the ten commandments and cant be changed, however if I had to create a tier list for the console version. It would look like this (NOTE: this is my opinion and I could be wrong on so many levels however after playing over 200 matches with some diehard KoFers, onliners, new comers, pros, casual gamers, etc. This pretty much sums up the first month unofficial tier list in my eyes)

A - Yuri, Athena, Clark, Elizabeth, Kensou, Kula, Hwa, Duo Lon, Saiki, Ex-Iori
B - Terry, Robert, Andy, Ash, Billy, Leona, Kyo, K’, Mature, King, Chin,Shen
C - Raiden, Takuma, Ash, Maxima, Iori, Ryo, Mai, Kim, Goro
D - Vice, Joe, Ralf, Benimaru

Like I said, tier lists is not and should not be set in stone (case in point, look at Raiden in the arcade vs Raiden on the consoles) and play who you like and make them GDLK. it still hurts my soul to see Hwa higher then Joe…