[Top 15] Best Street Fighter Characters of All Time

street fighter best characters ever
Every single Street Fighter character is interesting and unique.

Who are the best Street Fighter characters of all time?

Every main Street Fighter game ever since the debut of the series back in 1987 has had its own colorful roster. Ever since Street Fighter II hit the arcades back in the early 90s, fans of all ages and demographics have taken into what are now some of the most iconic and recognizable characters not only in the gaming industry but in the mainstream media as well.

There have been over 70 playable characters in the history of Street Fighter main games and we’ll be revisiting what are 15 of the absolute best. For this list, characters will be evaluated in a completely subjective manner, based on their personality, gameplay, lore, legacy, and personal preference.


15. Juri

Juri Han Tribute

Juri Han debuted in Super Street Fighter IV and quickly rose to be a fan favorite. She lost her left eye and her family to Shadaloo and subsequently had the powerful Feng Shui Engine implanted in her missing eye. Working for S.I.N., she ended up betraying her leader, Seth and kept following her own, twisted, personal agenda.

With a sadistic and obnoxious personality, this Taekwondo practitioner is an edgy anti-hero trying to get revenge on M. Bison and beating everyone in her path for pleasure. In Street Fighter IV, her Ultra Combo has Juri activate her Feng Shui Engine which allows her to perform Chain Combos for a specific time limit. She also has the ability to store projectiles and shoot them at unpredictable angles, and many ways to approach her opponent, which perfectly suits her rushdown playstyle.

In SFV, she’s fairly complex. Juri has a unique system in which she can store moves that can be used later on and she even has an extra meter monitoring her stored moves at that, one of them being her fireball.

Juri plays an extremely aggressive rushdown style with complex combos and can implement her Feng Shui Engine, further enhancing her combo potential She can also play somewhat of a zoning game thanks to her non-traditional low projectiles.

What Makes Juri Great:

  • Unique game mechanics
  • Complex combos that can be explored freely
  • Notorious speed and agility


14. Oro

Who is Oro?

Lore-wise, Oro is probably one of the strongest characters, if not the very strongest, and that is even why he uses only one arm to fight because if he were to use both his arms it would be too easy for him to win. 

He first debuted in Street Fighter III, with a quirky moveset, unique tools like a double jump, and ridiculously long combos that are often started with a close medium punch punish after a successful parry. Two of his Super Arts have horrific combo extending capabilities, them being the Yagyou Dama and Tengu Stone, and both these moves have a more powerful variant. 

Yagyou Dama can be used to end combos and create unblockable set-ups simultaneously, and with full meter, Yagyou Dama can become the Oodama, which is the only time Oro uses both his hands to perform any move. Oodama is included in Oro’s Critical Art in SFV.

In V, the old sage carries a turtle at all times, and his viable game plan is mostly about Tengu Stone. The V-Trigger II requires Oro to absorb enough damage and spend enough time to fill a full 3-bar V-Gauge, but the payoff sure is worth it. Tengu Stone has Oro summon random objects that can come with different properties, and all it takes is that one of the objects connects with the opponent to let the party start. With each hit and each move that Oro throws, the random objects follow in irregular trajectories and hit the opponent, leaving them in a hitstun state that grants Oro the chance to follow up with any combo he likes. 

What Makes Oro Great:

  • Seeming randomness that is hard for the opponent to read
  • Long combos with an incredibly high number of hits
  • Some of the most dreaded moves in the entire franchise


13. Gen

USFV - Gen Action

A master assassin that does not care about being haunted by the countless souls of all the people he murdered, Gen is a mean and powerful old man.

He first debuted in 1987 in the original SF game, but only became playable in Street Fighter Alpha 2, and appeared throughout the rest of the Alpha Series, before making a big comeback in Street Fighter IV.

What makes Gen so special is the design of his gameplay mechanics. After all, Gen has two different stances, Mantis and Crane, and can switch between one another as the fight goes on. All the moves are different depending on which stance Gen is on, from his Super Combos to Ultra Combos, and from his special moves to basic normals.

To learn how to play Gen, you need to essentially be learning two entirely different characters at once, and be constantly aware of which stance you’re on. He can even switch stances in the middle of combos, and these stance switches are crucial to pull off some of his most damaging ones, which makes him a complicated and hard character to pick up, but a very rewarding one if you master his playstyle.

What Makes Gen Great:

  • Two completely different stances
  • Tools for every situation
  • Unorthodox mix-ups, especially with ambiguous cross-ups


12. Cody

Cody's Evolution

Originally a Final Fight character, Cody Travers has had one of the funnest character developments in the entire cast. He started off as a reckless brawler, fighting to survive in the slums of Metro City and setting off on the path to rescue his then-girlfriend, kidnapped by the Mad Gear Gang. Cody’s unhinged behavior has led him to be locked up for several years, but he has climbed his way up in society to become the current Mayor of Metro City.

Pugnacious and snarky, Cody’s personality is captivating and it fits his fighting style like a glove. He is a good guy with a strong sense of justice but he has no holds barred when fighting, recurring to the dirtiest of tricks and tactics to get the upper hand. From launching sand at opponents’ eyes, throwing pebbles and rocks, using foreign objects like knives and pipes, and sucker-punching his foes outta nowhere, it’s hard to keep up with all the shenanigans Cody keeps up his sleeves.

In SFIV, all his battles have a random knife laid in the middle of the stage for Cody to pick up and use at will, and in SFV, his neutral game and damage output are top tier. It’s basically impossible to not have fun when playing this character, as you have access to a lot of cool features, such as feinting to throw a projectile or swiftly dodging and counter moves like they’re nothing. 

What Makes Cody Great:

  • Everything-goes fighting style
  • Character development spanning decades
  • Snarky features and tools that are as fun to use as they are fitting to his personality


11. Ibuki

3rd Strike Ibuki

Ibuki is a ninja school girl with a bright and fun personality who first debuted in Street Fighter III, as part of the cast representing the new generation of Street Fighter.

She has numerous special moves that keep changing with each of her iterations from game to game and she has a notably high amount of unique attacks, being one of the characters in all the games to have the biggest amount of normals.

Swift, versatile, and with high-speed rushdown combos, Ibuki is a mix-up specialist, basing her approach on this huge mix-up potential. 

With side switches, surprise dashes, air projectiles, a combo-able command grab, multiple overheads, multi-hit moves that interchangeably hit high or low depending on what you manually input, explosives that go off with varied timings, projectiles that criss-cross the entire screen, and even the ability to conceal herself in smoke, Ibuki is the undeniable empress of mix-ups.

What Makes Ibuki Great:

  • Best mix-up character
  • Versatile and numerous normals
  • Unorthodox offensive and evasive tools


10. Karin

SFV Karin - The best players showcase

A whimsical, highly intelligent, extremely wealthy girl, Karin is a very technical and fairly complex character, so mastering her is not an easy task, but it really does come with its rewards. She first debuted in Alpha 3, with a very distinctive playing system where most of her moves open up multiple roads that can be followed according to what the player wants. 

In SFV, Karin’s backdash is probably the best in the entire game, allowing her to escape pressure easily at any point, and even to bait out whiffed moves which she can severely punish.

In fact, her whiff punish potential is probably the scariest feature that’s part of her design as a character. Her normals have the perfect range and her crouching medium normals can be canceled to convert into devastating signature juggling combos. These combos are highly damaging and only increase in destructive power the more EX bars Karin has. Her V-Trigger Guren Ken even allows her to improve in every aspect of her gameplay, granting her a new special move with a vast number of possible follow-ups that can be incorporated into any of her combos.

To sum it up, what makes Karin the absolute best footsies character is her ability to quickly get out of range, poke with amazing normals, and bait out whiff punishes that will badly wreck the opponent’s health bar with juggling combos with great damage output. No one does it better than Karin.

What Makes Karin Great:

  • Best character at whiff punishing
  • Outstanding footsies character in neutral
  • Juggling combos with great damage output


9. Yun

USFIV - Yun Action

Yun is a hyped, upbeat, and vivacious youngster from Hong Kong. He loves skateboarding, kung fu martial arts, and his twin brother, Yang.

He is an overwhelming character that utilizes his kung fu to dominate his opponents. He has a fantastic dive kick and his playstyle is a combination of high mobility and aggressive offense.

Yun can quickly close the gap in distance between him and his opponent, so he can be up close where he excels. His combos are sharp, high-damaging, and tough in execution, and Yun’s playstyle is based around dishing out as much damage as he can each time he catches opponents with his combos, keeping up the offense, and avoiding getting hit in the process.

His most feared move is Genei Jin, his Super Art in SFIII and Super Combo in IV, which grants his moves increased recovery and fuels his specials with additional properties. If Yun gets to open you up in the corner, it’s juggle time, and until the Genei Jin timer runs out you’re in for a world of hurt.

What Makes Yun Great:

  • High mobility
  • Damage potential ever increasing along with his meter resources
  • Amazing corner carry capability


8. Urien

Nemo's Urien Compilation

As the tyrant brother of the leader of Illuminati, Urien’s gameplay reflects his personality. His normals have great range and can exerce great pressure, and his Quarrel Punch and Quarrel Kick are particularly good at checking the opponent and even stopping jump attempts at the right range.

He is very execution demanding, his game plan and toolkit are fairly complex, and he supports one of the best V-Triggers in SFV: the Aegis Reflector. He can summon up to 2 of these bad boys and can cancel into the first one from most of his normal moves. Aegis Reflector is a threat both offensively and defensively, as it can be used for creative and high damaging combos and can reflect fireballs back to the opponent. It also allows all sorts of step-ups.

In SFIII, where Urien made his debut, Aegis Reflector was one of his Super Arts and his entire plan was to hold his own on the neutral game while filling meter for Aegis. In Third Strike, there are a number of unblockable set-ups made possible with it.

Aegis Reflector is an amazingly versatile offensive tool for Urien and it is probably the character’s biggest appeal. It can do anything from creating a wall bounce effect to trapping the opponent on an extended hitstun, juggling an airborne opponent, and even changing the opponent’s trajectory mid-air or after a knockdown. Because you can manipulate the positions of the mirrors and use them in all sorts of crazy combos from all sorts of different angles, Urien can rob any player at any time, no matter how low his life bar is. 

What Makes Urien Great:

  • Aegis Reflector
  • Long limbs with great range and a fireball with multiple area coverage
  • Benefits from a bully-like playstyle based on pressuring the opponent continuously at the right range


7. Cammy

Best of Cammy

Cammy White was the second-ever woman being added to the Street Fighter roster and her status as a star with massive drawing power was determined early on back in the 90s. Countless cosplays, multiple guest appearances in other games and media, and a comfortable standings among the top tier in each of her appearances are just part of this character’s reality.

She is regarded as the true rushdown character, with multiple offensive angles, incredible speed for both her movement and attacks, and easy-to-perform combos. She can easily overwhelm any opponent once her offense starts.

Cammy has great normals that combined with her movement make her outstanding during footsies, and most of her normals can be canceled into her Spiral Arrow, Spiral Spike, or Super, which cements her as the biggest of threats when it comes to hit confirms. Get your opponent in the corner and mix him up by alternating between combos, jumps and throws for complete devastation.

What Makes Cammy Great:

  • Easy to get in optimal range
  • Normals that link between each other
  • Unbelievable speed


6. M. Bison

M. Bison Tribute

M. Bison is the final boss from the culture-defining Street Fighter II, and as the head of Shadaloo, he continues to be one of the main antagonists throughout the Street Fighter series, barring an infamous absence in Street Fighter III. 

Bison’s gameplay is all about pressure as he can keep pushing his opponents to their limits with the constant use of his relatively safe special moves like the Double Knee Press and control the air with his Head Press and Devil Reverse.

Supporting the look of an evil dictator, Bison is incredibly charismatic and his Psycho Powered moves are extremely satisfying to land. In SFV, his signature Psycho Crusher can only be used either during his Critical Art or during his V-Trigger II, but it is significantly boosted to compensate for the lower usage rate. 

Bison is without a doubt the king of frame traps, being able to catch opponents with traps laid in almost every exchange. With terrific charge moves that leave Bison safe on block and that can be highly destructive when incorporated into combos, M. Bison is the perfect choice for those who, like himself, like to play the oppressor’s game, choking their opponent out of options and not leaving any breathing room. 

What Makes M. Bison Great:

  • Relentless pressure and tremendous frame trapping
  • Safe special moves
  • Overwhelming space control


5. Evil Ryu

THE BEAST Daigo Umehara's Evil Ryu

First appearing as a hidden character in the Alpha Series, Evil Ryu is the version of Ryu where he has been consumed by the Satsui no Hado.

He is a primarily offensive character, whose game plan is to get close to the opponent and start overwhelming them with absurd, non-stop pressure and blockstrings intercalated with punishes, hit confirms, and counter-hits that will lead to long technical combos with high damage output.

In SFIV, the FADC system can be used to further extend his combos, giving players opportunities to explore ever more damaging beat-ups. He has great projectiles, a dive kick, good range, and easily convertible normals, he can teleport himself in and out of range, and he can even perform the infamous Raging Demon.

His stomp special move carries a mean reputation and a mere forward dash can send shivers down the opponent’s spine, making him scary to face against at all ranges, despite his low vitality. Evil Ryu is tremendously good in neutral and his combos are as hard to pull off as they’re fun, and the character looks just sick.

What Makes Evil Ryu Great:

  • Great pressure
  • Complex and decimating combos
  • Heavily-rewarding aggressive playstyle 


4. Sagat

Sagat Tribute

Next up, we have Thailand’s own, Sagat. Former martial arts champion and the original boss in Street Fighter (1987), turned into one of the 4 Kings of Shadaloo under M. Bison, turned respectful and honorable fighter in search of self-improvement, this character has gone through one of the most impactful character developments in the whole series.

Tiger Shot is a fireball that can be thrown high or low, and with recovery so fast that with good execution Sagat can keep shooting these fireballs like an automatic rifle. And if the opponent tries to jump in, Sagat can throw his Tiger Uppercut, which is an excellent anti-air, capable of scaring his opponents into not jumping at all.

Sagat has been a zoner since day one, and although he is currently not as powerful as his Street Fighter II iteration, he is definitely still relevant SFV. If his Tiger Uppercut is enhanced with his V-Skill 1, Angry Charge, it will deal more damage and stun, increase his V-Meter, add juggling properties to the move that allow him to follow up with new combos, and best of all, it will knock the opponent far away, at a perfect range for Sagat to keep doing what he does best, and that is zoning. 

Of all the loads of versions this character has had in several games, the most powerful ones have to be Old Sagat in SSFII Turbo and vanilla IV Sagat, who are recognized as being top-tier broken characters. 

Sagat’s serious nature and deep character evolution add an entire layer of profoundness and epicness to a series also known for over-the-top gimmicks and comedic nature, making him an integral part of Street Fighter’s DNA.

What Makes Sagat Great:

  • Terrifying DP in Tiger Uppercut
  • Has a vast amount of fireball variants throughout the game
  • Has extremely long limbs that make his normals great at poking, albeit slow


3. Chun-Li

Chun-Li Evolution

As the tritagonist of the series, the Strongest Woman in the World has been a mainstay throughout its multiple installments ever since Street Fighter II. Not only that, she’s also often Top Tier in whichever game she’s in.

There are many reasons for Chun-Li’s stellar popularity but aside from her iconic design, it’s her gameplay that hooks so many players to this character. Street Fighter is a ground-based Fighting Game and therefore, footsies play a major role on who will take the victory. Buttons with tremendous speed and long reach combined with great mobility, dynamic movement and the overwhelming power of her Lightning Legs (or Hyakuretsukyaku) makes Chun-Li the perfect character for a hit-and-run, poking style.

Chun-Li has cemented herself as one of the most recognizable video game characters and has a tremendous impact on the mainstream world. To put it simply, everyone recognizes (AND LOVES) Chun-Li, even if they haven’t ever played Street Fighter in their lives.

What Makes Chun-Li Great:

  • Fast walk speed and overall movement
  • Poking game virtually second to none
  • Can easily dictate the pace of a match


2. Guile

Evolution of Guile's Sonic Boom

Sonic Boom! Guile is undoubtedly one of the main characters in the Street Fighter universe. This American Air Force major first appeared in Street Fighter II, seeking revenge for the death of his friend, Charlie Nash.

Guile stands out for having one of the most straightforward game plans in the game. He only possesses 2 Special Moves: the iconic Sonic Boom and the Flash Kick, which serve the purposes of zoning and anti-airing, respectively. 

Because both these moves require the player to essentially be defending for 1.5 seconds before usage, Guile is perfect for those who prefer playing a more defensive style, keeping the opponents away with Sonic Booms and stopping their jump-in attempts with the Flash Kick to stay in control of the match.

What makes the Sonic Boom so terrifying is that it has amazingly fast recovery so even if you manage to jump over it you’ll probably just get blocked, if not anti-aired. With his V-Triggers in SFV, Guile adds even more projectiles to his arsenal, and particularly his V-Trigger 1 allows Guile to shoot multiple Sonic Booms in a row for the first time since his debut, allowing for crazy extended combos that are awfully dangerous when the opponent is in the corner.

At the end of the day, it’s mad difficult to get past the wall that is Guile.

What Makes Guile Great:

  • Simple and straightforward gameplay
  • Great defense
  • Excellent zoning game with Sonic Boom and its variants


1. Akuma

Best of Tokido's Akuma

Akuma only wants one thing: to keep honing his skills at the cost of other beings’ happiness, life, and well-being, and of his own humanity. Appearing for the first time as a hidden secret boss in Super Street Fighter II Turbo, Akuma has grown to become a mainstay not only in every Street Fighter game, but he has actually commonly seen on many other fighting games, from even rival developers.

Akuma is the brother of Ryu and Ken’s master, Gouken, and he represents absolute consumption by Stastui no Hado. In the lore of the series, Akuma is arguably the most powerful being in the world and many of the other characters have engaging, intricate relationships with him.

He’s equipped with many different tools, not only in offensive terms but also when talking about mobility. Akuma’s dangerous from all angles and all distances and in SFV his standing medium kick is a scary weapon to face in neutral, as it has tremendous range, speed, and can be canceled into pretty much anything. 

His Demon Flip allows for exclusive mix-ups and he always has his classic unblockable super, Shun Goku Satsu (or Raging Demon), that remains as one of the most damaging moves in the game, if you can land it. 

Akuma is the perfect agressive character for aggressive players and he looks so damn cool that of course he will continue to be one of the most played characters in every game he is in. Messatsu!

What Makes Akuma Great:

  • High damage output
  • Fantastic mix-up game 
  • Incredibly vast arsenal 


At the end of the day, everyone will have different tastes and it is possible that your favorite character is not even in this list. Still, hopefully you were able to get some interesting insight on these characters and their role in the Street Fighter series.

It was tough to exclude excellent characters like Dudley or fan-favorites such as Ryu and Ken from this list, but ultimately this was meant to be a top 15, and because Street Fighter has so many great characters it would always feel that half of the roster is missing.


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Andre walks the path of a fighting warrior to pursue self-improvement and to break his limits. His amazing power of creative writing and his unwavering love for games are the source of his willpower.
Gamer Since: 2003
Favorite Genre: PVP
Currently Playing: Street Fighter V: Champion Edition
Top 3 Favorite Games:Street Fighter X Tekken, Grand Theft Auto V, Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood

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