[Top 10] SF6 Best Characters That Are Powerful

Ken punches Ryu in the face as part of his Critical Art in Street Fighter 6.
Ken bests Ryu, as he always does in Street Fighter games in terms of their gameplay styles.

Street Fighter 6 has now had several months to simmer on the market, with a big audience settling into the gameplay style and finding their groove with their chosen characters on the roster. There are now 21 characters available, with returning Street Fighter V character Ed being the newest face, and a wide array of styles is on display. (Akuma is still on the way.) But like all fighting games, some characters are better than others.

You’ll find a wider variety of them in the lower tiers online. As you climb into the higher tiers of the online rankings, or stumble onto them as you start winning (this is a judgment-free zone; it’s okay if you’re not), you’ll find that several characters dominate over the others. Minor balance updates have been released since the Capcom Cup concluded, but none have seriously shifted places on the tier lists.

It’s clear some characters still need help. Several of them were known to be limited by the start, like Lily, who still gets a small pass thanks to being a beginner-friendly character. Players have found tricks for other characters over time after taking opportunities to further learn how to play them. As players find more tricks and flaws and note them, balance updates will come sometime in the future, perhaps around the time season 2 arrives. A certain crop of characters will continue to dominate for now, and could still do so even after balance updates. They’re just THAT good.


10. Marisa

The expected reaction after Marisa shaves an opponent’s health.

Marisa is one among the several new characters introduced in Street Fighter 6, who stands out thanks to being the tallest and most muscular female character in the franchise. Those muscles aren’t purely for her appearance. She brings that power with her into her matches.

All of her moves pack serious power behind them, between her unique attacks, Special moves, and Super Arts. The power seriously increases when used in combos, especially when combined with the longer and stringier Drive attacks. Her combos are powerful and intimidating enough that they’ll put the fear of God into the opponent, who will know that one touch could result in around one-third of their health being shaved off when the Marisa player doesn’t drop their combo.

Not that she doesn’t have any clear faults. Marisa’s anti-air attacks are all situational depending on what the opponent is doing when jumping in. This means she doesn’t have one single reliable attack to rely on whenever a character is performing jumping mix-ups. But with her power and Super Armor on a small number of her attacks, this isn’t too big of an issue. She’d be higher on this list if she had one, though.


9. Juri

One cannot simply defeat the feet.

Juri stands out thanks to being the only character introduced in Street Fighter IV who’s had some form of longevity. She’s the only then-new face who’s returned in the subsequent two Street Fighter games. It’s even better that she’s rejoined the base roster this time around, after being a downloadable content character in Street Fighter V.

It’s also notable that she’s returned with a vengeance, gameplay-wise. Capcom’s development team remembered to make her good again. She never excelled beyond the lower mid-tier range in SFV, but she’s easily among the higher tiers in Street Fighter 6. This is thanks to how she has a response to everything, including a great fireball for zoning capabilities, a great anti-air, great combos, and solid normal attacks with long reach and good power.

She has a wide variety of attacks, but her key problem is how she doesn’t really excel at anything. Her normal and special attacks aren’t the best in the game, not to mention the weird angles at which she performs certain moves and the Fuhajin charging. She’s not easy to learn, but she’s also far from the hardest character to understand. The sheer number of options she has at her disposal for offensive and defensive maneuvers make up for any of her small shortcomings.


8. Cammy

The Cannon Spike will forever be one of Street Fighter’s best anti-airs (this is not about the spinoff with that name).

Cammy has been a staple of the Street Fighter franchise for several years, with those in which she didn’t appear (including the base arcade version of Street Fighter IV) feeling like they were missing someone who should have damn-well been there. But that’s okay, because Capcom learned their lesson. It’s one reason why she’s returned here, and she’s come back strong.

Cammy is dangerous and formidable in Street Fighter 6 thanks to the combination of her speed, strong offense, and strong defense. She’s capable of stringing together long combos that make use of her normal attacks, special attacks, Drive meter, and Super Art attacks. Combine those with her speed, and the opponent won’t even know when a combo has started before they can react to her fierceness.

She requires quick fingers and stick moving to fully take advantage of her potential for incredible mix-ups to take full advantage of her potential damage opportunities. Her advantages, combined with how she doesn’t have lower-than-average health like in previous Street Fighter games, makes her one of the best characters in SF6’s roster and one of the best versions of Cammy.


7. Blanka

Blanka retains his shocking appearance.

Blanka has been a staple of the Street Fighter franchise since Street Fighter II: The World Warrior, and often a dreaded one. His unique fighting style based around rolling attacks and electricity has made him a force to be feared, even in games where he wasn’t anywhere near the highest tiers.

He is once again a character to be terrified of in Street Fighter 6, which includes one of the best iterations of Blanka yet. If it’s not the rolling attacks from half or nearly full screen that are worth fearing, it’s the dangerous mix-ups capable of doing plenty of damage. Between those, an electricity attack that no longer requires mashing on a punch button like a crazy person, and Blanka Chan dolls capable of shocking to psyche out the opponent, he’s ridiculously formidable.

Those Blanka Balls are just as unsafe as they were in previous games, which means the player can’t throw them out without forming a strategy first. No longer having an Electric Thunder that requires mashing reduces the potential for the move getting the player out of a messy situation. But those are only minor issues for the best Blanka players. Merely seeing him on the Vs. screen is enough to frighten the opponent.


6. Dee Jay

Dee Jay’s combos go all the way to Maximum this time around.

Dee Jay has been an inconsistent staple in the Street Fighter franchise since his debut in Super Street Fighter II. His return in Street Fighter 6 was deserved, after being constantly given the shrift when it came to tier list placement in the Street Fighter IV games -- especially Ultra Street Fighter IV. Now, he’s back with a vengeance.

Dee Jay arrives in Street Fighter 6 with a top-tier zoning game, thanks to having the ability to throw two successive Air Slasher projectiles right behind each other without using meter. That’s only the start of how formidable he is, thanks to having an answer to everything. Zoning? Sure. Solid anti-air? Absolutely. Great normals? You bet. Dee Jay particularly excels in the corner, where the player can use a bunch of meter for maximum hits and damage.

The combination of several command and charge attacks makes Dee Jay a little tricky to learn. His move set being larger compared to previous games makes him even trickier. But he’s a very rewarding character for anyone willing to put in the work, more than making up for how pitiful he was in the SFIV titles.


5. Chun-Li

The Spinning Bird spins on through another Street Fighter game.

There’s almost no such thing as a Street Fighter game with Chun-Li (outside the Street Fighter III games, though only for the first two). Her Street Fighter 6 version represents her ultimate form, though that comes with a heavy price.

Chun-Li was heavily slept on in this game when it first released, considered mid-tier at worst, with the fact that she needed long combos to do good damage being a big hindrance. As time has progressed and more players have put in the work to learn how to play her, they’ve realized just how great she is. Her damage isn’t THAT bad outside combos. But combine that with her incredible normal attacks, her robust move set with answers to nearly every situation, and just how tricky she is to fight in the right hands, and you have a recipe for an incredible character.

Granted, it took time to reach this point because -- make no mistake -- she is a HARD character to learn. Any character with a move set this robust will require time to get down in the lab (that’s the Training Room for those of you not up on your fighting game lingo), and time in real matches. Getting those air juggles down is essential, so remember to put your Big Brain on and practice sufficiently before jumping online with her.


4. Guile

Sure, it’s a little blasphemous that Guile has a new attack, but it’s very useful.

Guile has reliably been a character with only two main special techniques since his Street Fighter II days. But his normal attack arsenal has continued to expand with every appearance he’s made in new Street Fighter games, and sometimes in the occasional crossover game. He’s in one of his best forms yet in Street Fighter 6.

Guile’s special technique set is nearly as thin as it was in previous games, though with the kind of addition some would call sacreligious through the Sonic Blade, one previously mapped to the V-Skill in Street Fighter V. All of his additional normal attacks and target combos have significantly expanded his repertoire, with each of his individual attacks being powerful and damaging when used in combos. He has an answer to everything, something many characters in the higher tiers of the roster on this list have in common.

The issue with Guile is learning how to use all those moves. Charge characters take a longer time for players to adjust to compared to those which use command attacks, with this being another trait of Guile’s that will never change regardless of the game he’s in. But the opponent will have a tough time cracking the defenses of anyone who’s mastered how to charge their attacks, and when to best use them.


3. Ken

Ken is, as always, a character with too many good attacks.

Ken is yet another staple of the Street Fighter brand, who lives on as the most-played character in any Street Fighter game he joins. Pin that on his extremely familiar move set, good looks despite his current age, and how he’s been more commonly at the helm of the tier lists in several Street Fighter games.

Guess what? That just happens to be the case in Street Fighter 6, which includes one of the best forms of Ken yet. In addition to the ever-reliable Hadoken, Shoryuken, and Tatsumaki Senpu-kyaku, he has a dizzying array of fantastic normal attacks with excellent priority, many of which lead to combos. Several of his attacks can rack up the hit count and damage, especially the number of moves attached to the Jinrai Kick. And that’s not even getting into the combo potential attached to the Dragonlash Kick, especially the EX version that will leave the opponent stunned.

Ken doesn’t have much holding him back, outside of how his overfamiliarity will make him predictable for any player who can’t distinguish their gameplay style from others. There’s also the highly-likely possibility of further nerfs in the future, as the minor ones he received around the time of the Capcom Pro Tour were nowhere near enough to impact his top-tier nature.


2. JP

On the other hand, JP can still stick it to Ken.

JP is one of the newest characters to join the roster, though his power set is slightly familiar. He’s a practitioner of Psycho Power, inheriting it after Bison died following Street Fighter V (for now, anyway). But he uses that power in a different way than his former master.

The way in which he uses it makes him even more annoying to fight than Bison ever was, especially for anyone fighting a JP player who knows what they’re doing. The man is the king of zoning abilities, with his projectile usage making him the best character in the game when it comes to keeping the opponents away. If the opponent sifts their way through the morass of purple energy to get close, JP can swipe them away so they’ll have to fight through it again.

This, of course, also means that he’s not as good of a fighter up close as he is from a mid-screen and full-screen distance. But that’s not too big of a problem when he has so many tools to knock the opponent back. Even some minor nerfs couldn’t stop his potential.


1. Luke

It’s great to have a character who can use Super Arts quickly on reaction like Luke.

When Luke was revealed as the final character in Street Fighter V’s final season, the development team members explained how he’d represent the future of Street Fighter. It was clear that they weren’t kidding when he was top-tier in SFV, and thus seen in plenty of tournaments. They weren’t kidding in this game, either.

Luke has it all, a man with answers to everything any character can throw at him. His projectile isn’t the strongest around, but it makes up for that by being extremely quick. He also has dashing attacks without using Drive Rush to get in close to opponents, and a great uppercut. His combos are also powerful, and are far from the most difficult to execute. He’s a dangerous man in the right hands, and it makes sense that a good portion of the player base has flocked to him thanks to both his powerfulness and his ease of use.

The combination of his move set being basic and Luke being easy(-ish) to learn means he can be very predictable. In this case, the player must simply become unpredictable through their reactions in the middle of matches. This is only a minor hindrance, as once you’ve played enough matches with him, you’ll develop unpredictable strategies over time. Not even small nerfs to some of his attacks, like shrinking the hit box from the crouching medium punch to reduce its range, were enough to knock him down the tier list.


Street Fighter 6 is a well-balanced game, with every character being competitive. Don’t be deterred after seeing faces like E. Honda, Zangief, or even Manon missing from this list. But like any fighting or competitive game, some characters have clear advantages over others. This list is bound to change in the future with balance updates, but you can count on it sticking for now.


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Geoffrey is the lowest-level Druid imaginable who read too many gaming magazines as a child. This made him decide that he wanted to do this video game journalism thing professionally.
Gamer Since: 1985
Favorite Genre: RPG
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