[Top 10] Street Fighter 6 Most Played Characters

Ken during preparation for his third Super Art.
Ken gets ready to unleash his most powerful Super Art.

It’s one matter to create a list of the best fighters in Street Fighter 6, and rank them from top to bottom. But character popularity rarely mimics that. Online players for fighting games gravitate towards the popular and familiar, the faces that have stuck with them and a given franchise for years. This fits Street Fighter to a tee, a series some of us old people have been familiar with since our elementary school days in the 1990s. The list of the most played characters in Street Fighter 6 is both unsurprising regarding some faces on it, but also surprising for the newer faces it includes.


10. JP

It's fitting to see just how tricky JP is with his attacks.

JP is one of the newest characters to join the Street Fighter universe as of Street Fighter 6. The character introduces himself to nations around the world, some of which are impoverished, as a philanthropist who seeks to solve their problems. Little do they know that he’s the root cause of many of them, and this entire scheme has led to him profiting greatly. He’s seeking to use this status to reestablish Shadaloo after Bison’s apparent death.

JP also comes with a unique move set, one consisting of several mid and long-range attacks. He wields the Psycho Power in a different way from Bison, using techniques focused on tricking and comboing opponents from a distance. He’s not as formidable with opponents that can close the distance, but has more than enough to make up for that shortcoming.

Really, JP’s move set is ridiculous. The Street Fighter franchise has plenty of characters with long-ranged attacks; but none of them focus so heavily on ranged moves and an excellent keep-away game like JP. He feels as if Capcom took a character from an Arc System Works game like Blazblue or Guilty Gear and inserted him in a Street Fighter installment.

The unique combination of long-range techniques has made JP one of the best characters in the game. He wasn’t as popular online as he was in tournaments for several months, but the online community has since caught on. He knocked poor Manon out of the top ten, after several players realized she wasn’t as good as initially expected.


9. Zangief

The dizzying array of strong wrestling moves has drawn many players to Zangief.

Zangief has been with the Street Fighter franchise since the original Street Fighter II, the grappler from Russia who gained his expertise from wrestling bears. He’s a big and muscular man whose move set has only expanded for as long as he’s been with the franchise. Whenever anyone thinks of a grappler in the Street Fighter series, they consider Zangief, highlighting his overall importance.

It’s remarkable to remember just how threadbare his move set was when he first started, merely consisting of a lariat and the Spinning Pile Driver. Yet, he was still memorable and made a cultural impact thanks to the dizzying array of normal throws he utilized in addition to the command one and his design. He also made one hell of a physical impact on the life bars of the opponent when vacuuming them in for the SPD.

All that said: Zangief isn’t at his best in Street Fighter 6. He lacks good ways to close in on opponents who can throw projectiles from a full-screen distance, and must rely on guessing games to make it to the opponent. Several of his attacks will knock those opponents away so far that he has to play the same guessing games over and over again throughout the matches, which can be frustrating if the opponent knows what they’re doing.

Zangief’s damage doesn’t quite make up for those shortcomings. But it’s more remarkable how all of that hasn’t stopped him from being popular online. It’s one reason that he has an appealing design. It’s a much bigger reason that the man is an absolute scrub killer when playing online matches. Plenty of players, especially among the lower rankings,massively underestimate Zangief’s throw range, which remains staggering so many years later. This has been a constant occurrence (and source of complaints) since the Super Street Fighter II Turbo HD Remix days. He’s also fun to play; that’s important too.


8. Dee Jay

This is the Dee Jay Street Fighter IV players wanted to see.

Dee Jay has been part of the Street Fighter franchise since Super Street Fighter II in the 1990s, one of the four new characters to debut in that installment. (Another one of the “New Challengers” from the game is even higher on this list.) The Jamaican fighter and musician is notably the only character to return in Street Fighter 6 after being absent from Street Fighter V. He makes quite an impact this time around.

Dee Jay brings his entire arsenal from previous Street Fighter games back, including the Air Slasher (“Max Out”) projectile and the Jackknife Maximum air kicks. Not only are his anti-air attacks some of the best in the game, he also comes with incredible corner combo potential. The combination of those and usage of the Drive and Super meters for EX attacks and Super Arts makes him a formidable force.

Dee Jay has long been a popular face in the Street Fighter series, but has rarely been at his best in terms of gameplay potential. His Street Fighter Alpha 3 iteration left something to be desired, but he was treated especially poorly by Capcom in the Street Fighter IV series. SF6 represents the best he’s been in a long time, and the combination of this and his strong personality has made him a popular face again. He also has several techniques to troll opponents with.

Dee Jay is near the top of the tier list in this game, though doesn’t quite sit among the most notorious top-tier characters. He’s also not the easiest character to play, something all characters with charge techniques have in common. Here,Dee Jay’s move set consists of a combination of charge and command moves, with the need to mix those up to create his biggest combos. But his personality and fighting skills are enough to make him this popular among the community.


7. Marisa

Marisa's ease of use and power have, unsurprisingly, made her very popular. The fan art has helped too.

Pardon the trend here, but Marisa is another one of the brand-new characters in Street Fighter 6. She’s made quite an impact, in terms of her stature and how she can use it. Marisa hails from Italy, but claims ancestry with powerful Greek warriors. She demonstrates this through the gladiatorial techniques she uses in battle.

It wouldn’t be a surprise if Marisa’s inclusion in Street Fighter 6 was a reaction to the popularity of another character within Capcom’s sphere of influence: Resident Evil Village’s Lady Dimitrescu. There was an incredible reaction to having a tall and at least semi-muscular woman in that game, and there’s a good chance this led to Capcom reacting by putting someone with a similar build into their newest fighter. The developers, of course, made sure Marisa was likable and kind-hearted, in contrast to Dimitrescu.

Her physique and outgoing personality are two elements that made her an instant hit with the Street Fighter community. The other is just how good she is in action. Marisa isn’t among the game’s more notorious top-tiers, but she’s only just below them. She has plenty of options for starting combos with several Super-cancellable attacks in her arsenal, and is capable of high damage potential from all of them.

To top this off: She’s also one of the easiest characters to play in the game, great for both players new to the Street Fighter franchise or anyone settling into this installment. It’s unusual to see newer characters place this high among those heavily played online, especially when they’re female. But it’s proof that Capcom was on to something with including her, a unique kind of face among fighting game (and, really, overall video game) rosters. 


6. Jamie

The Street Fighter community was clearly awaiting a good drunken kung fu character.

Jamie is one of the brand-new faces in Street Fighter 6, a game that launched with more brand-new characters than any recent installment in the franchise. His inclusion is important because of what he brings with him. He looks up to Yun and Yang from the Street Fighter III series (who themselves are related to Gen), but uses a different fighting style: Drunken kung fu. This gives him a unique move set for the franchise.

Some of Jamie’s techniques are familiar. He has a dive kick and one that lunges him into the air for a good combo finisher or anti-air attack. But the drunken kung fu techniques distinguish him from every other character this series has provided. Many of his best techniques are tied to how much he drinks during battle, which unlocks his full combo potential. 

The combination of his move style, design, and banging theme have made Jamie an instant hit with the Street Fighter audience. He has a high-and-mighty cocky attitude, but with most of the skills to back them up -- in the story, anyway. He also comes with a great and stylish design regardless of which outfit he’s wearing, which especially applies when his long and flowing hair magically comes down after he drinks enough.

Those factors make it irrelevant for a good portion of the player base that Jamie is far from the game’s best character in terms of gameplay. Too many of his best techniques are tied to his drinking, and doing so will leave him wide open to an attack. But he’s a lot of fun to play regardless of that, on top of being slick and stylish. It’s no surprise that a crop of players are perfectly willing to tough it out with him.


5. Juri

Players have realized there's more to Juri than just her feet.

Juri was by far the most popular character to debut in the Street Fighter IV games through Super Street Fighter IV, the reason why she’s unsurprisingly appeared in every game in the franchise since. The combination of her design, the endearing anti-villain personality, and how she uses her feet has made her very appealing. (Let’s not delve into precisely which audience is fully into her feet.) Street Fighter 6 notably marks the first time she’s appeared as part of the starting roster in a Street Fighter game.

It’s also fortunate that Juri has been treated far better in SF6 in terms of how she plays. Her Street Fighter V iteration looked promising from gameplay videos, only for her many fans to discover how horribly neutered she was compared to her SFIV self. She never got much better, though some players made her work after she was buffed into the lower mid-tier range.

This is not the case in SF6, where Juri is near the high-tier range. She’s similar to Marisa through how she isn’t among the more notorious top-tier characters, but she’s close enough to that range to be a threat for several characters on the roster. This version of Juri combines her good projectile and range game from the SFIV games with her solid combo game from the SFV titles, making her a formidable force.

Juri is bound to keep her place among the most popular characters, especially among those in the lower tiers online. She’s not the easiest character to play, but her gameplay expertise and design have made that irrelevant for several who play her. That hot new outfit featuring her wearing zipped-down pajamas in battle will only help her maintain the position.  


4. Cammy

Quite simply the most popular iteration of Cammy yet.

Cammy has long been one of the most popular characters in the Street Fighter series. Like Dee Jay above, she made her debut in Super Street Fighter II back in the 1990s. Unlike him, though, she’s been a staple for the franchise in every Street Fighter game since then. The combination of her design and story history as a former brainwashed Shadaloo doll who became an M16 agent have made her perpetually popular.

Cammy comes with every technique she’s had in her arsenal since the earliest Street Fighter games, including the Spiral Arrow and Cannon Spike, all of which hit just as hard as they used to. She’s also a rush down and combo monster. The combination of her combo potential and excessive speed allows for her to get into the faces of characters for several hits and play a good keep-away game whenever she wants to.

Her current popularity is completed thanks to her new default outfit, in which she’s wearing yoga pants, a bare midriff, and a Union Jack coat. It was an instant hit when the character was fully revealed prior to the game’s release, and all those then-potential players who said they wanted to play her weren’t kidding. It’s why she’s remained a staple online, regardless of the player tiers.

Cammy, like Juri above and Marisa below, isn’t among the largest top-tier characters, but remains only one step away from it. Her speed and mix-up potential can make fighting hell for opponents, as tournament players like Punk have helpfully demonstrated, which goes double online. Her popularity could persevere throughout the game’s long remaining life.


3. Luke

Lots of players have suddenly realized that they like to go Beast Mode.

Luke is another one of the newest characters in Street Fighter 6, though he’s not entirely new. He first arrived as the final character in Street Fighter V’s final season, added as a preview for the future of the brand. He fully takes over as the protagonist in SF6 proper, being one of the first characters highlighted on the Character Select screen and the character who launches the avatar’s adventure in the World Tour mode.

Luke certainly has the look and feel of a “new franchise protagonist.” His looks couldn’t be more mainstream friendly, particularly with the default SF6 threads that cover his excessive tattoos. (One of the newly-released and expensive alts restores this outfit.) It fits with his more basic move, through having a projectile and uppercut on par with a “Shoto” Street Fighter character like Ryu and Ken.

It helps that Luke is incredibly good in this game, one of the more notorious top-tier characters with performance on par with his SFV self. His “Sand Blast” projectile is incredibly fast and does a good deal of damage, enabling him to play a good long-range game. His Rising Uppercut has incredible priority, making for one of the game’s best anti-airs, with juggle potential if it trades hits. The combination of these two, along with combos that don’t require excessive time to practice in the Training mode and during live matches, easily made him one of the most popular characters online.

His adorably dorky personality helps, a slight change from his barely-there portrayal in SFV, helps with that popularity. Capcom took notes on how to implement his personality into this title, with the character’s English voice actor, Aleks Le, giving him assistance by leaning into the memes. Even if he’s nerfed in future games, his ease of use and personality are parts of the reasons why he’s jumped three positions in the most played lists in only a month.


2. Ryu

Being a low-tier character won't stop Ryu's popularity.

Ryu has long been the main face of the Street Fighter franchise, and has for many years been the overall mascot for Capcom. The character has been part of the franchise since the very first Street Fighter game, being the only playable character among the World Warriors in the older version. Even though he’s no longer the main character in Street Fighter 6, he remains an important staple in the franchise.

Ryu may be older in this game, but he’s nonetheless kept his trusty techniques. He’ll always have the basic Hadouken, a Shoryuken that trades combo hits for power (for the non-EX versions, notably) and the Tatsumaki Senpukyaku hurricane kick. Those are in addition to new attacks and combos unique to SF6.

It speaks to Ryu’s popularity that he’s placed so high on this list. SF6 continues the trend of Ryu being mid-tier at best. But he’s more commonly placed among the lower tiers here. There isn’t much of a point in playing him when Ken and Luke are on the roster, and do everything that he does better. Yet, he’s so familiar of a face that players are sticking with him regardless, especially among the lower online rankings.

Ryu and Luke are close now in the character popularity rankings, but this means more for Ryu considering how lacking he is in the current game. Considering his status, though, the chances of him being buffed are solid. Perhaps they’ll give his Hashogeki improved uses.


1. Ken

Let's be real here: It was inevitable that Ken would be at the top of this list, even if he was bottom tier.

Ryu remains the most prominent protagonist in Street Fighter, but Ken has long been a larger face in the franchise for main titles in the franchise. This is not only attributed to his design and status in the storyline, as a fellow trainee of Street Fighter’s iteration of Shotokan karate with Ryu. Ken has been said to have more potential than Ryu in the game’s storyline, something demonstrated through how he’s been the better character in terms of gameplay in several titles.

Ken has been the better fighter since Street Fighter III: 3rd Strike, where he was among the higher-tier faces compared to Ryu being a lower mid-tier character. He’s been the most popular choice in Street Fighter games since IV, to a memetic degree. The "Flowchart Ken”phenomenon  was born here, after an untold number of neophytes to the game flocked to the character and all used the same strategies.

This phenomenon kind of subsided with the Street Fighter V games, but it’s back and better than ever in Street Fighter 6. It helps thatKen is one of the best characters in this game, if not THE best. He has incredible technique priority, with combos that pack a punch while being  quick on his feet. This is why several recent tournament winners have used Ken, including AngryBird at Evo.

Playing Ken proficiently requires practice, and knowing how and when to use a Drive Rush to get into the faces of opponents for quick and damaging combos. Anyone who gets these combos down can rise to the top in no time. But Ken remains popular because he’s perfectly playable for anyone, regardless of their skillset.


It speaks to Street Fighter 6’s character diversity that plenty of variety is on display through this list. The top two faces are hardly surprising, but the remainder of the list provides a solid mixture of new and returning faces with distinct fighting styles. The list will fluctuate with future new character additions and balance readjustments, but the positive trend displayed should remain a constant for the remainder of this game’s potentially long life.


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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
Currently Playing: Assassin's Creed Unity
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