*Update 6/10/17 Just to let everyone know, this post is my opinion about certain characters before the 5/30 update.
Season 2 is out for Street Fighter V and the new tier lists have been the main focus of the entire community. The update brought in long-awaited veteran fighter Akuma and the first major balancing patch of the fighting game.
Before we get into the specifics, if you want to know the general changes to gameplay and the game overall, click here.
I will be highlighting characters that will be moving significantly around in tier lists.
This also means that any character that is not on the list has not, in my opinion, moved very far from their position on tier lists from season 1.
For all the characters I am about the mention, if you want to see their full Season 2 changes, simply click on their name.
Laura is much more of a offensive machine in season 2. She has gained more advantage on hits on multiple of her moves, including her V-Skill, that allow her to continue putting pressure on her opponent. Her normal and EX command grab also got buffed, increasing the amount of stun damage.
These buffs combined with the general gameplay changes put Laura in a very nice position in the game. With the elimination of meterless invincible reversals, Laura’s offensive capabilities are going to be crazy. Combined with having a chargeable fireball and having one of the best anti-airs in the game, Laura will no doubt be a much stronger character this season.
Laura has definitely shot up from low tier to at least high mid tier.
Urien was already a decent character in season 1. He has high health and stun bar, a chargeable fireball, good damage, great range on pokes, and a good mix-up game. His V-Trigger, Aegis Reflector, is great for extending combos, zoning, and resetting the situation. On top of all of that, he has a 1 meter invincible reversal.
Capcom then decides to give Urien everything he was lacking. A more reliable anti-air, and a cross-up with LP. A little increase in his health also is nice.
Urien essentially has everything a character needs to succeed in season 2. He will most likely be very high on tier lists, at the very least top 5, more likely top 3.
Much like Urien, Guile was already fairly strong in Season 1. With a 1-bar invincible reversal, plenty of anti-air options and good damage, Guile was easily mid to top mid tier in season 1.
In season 2, a fair amount of his moves got increased advantage on hit, although this is somewhat balanced since most of those moves are now more disadvantageous on block.
Guile’s main feature, Sonic Boom has also been buffed. They do increased damage and give him more CA bar on hit and block. Capcom also buffed how positive Sonic Boom is on block now, although they decreased how positive it is on hit.
Capcom also tried to unsuccessfully stop sonic boom loops, but they are as good as ever.
In addition to all of that, the cost to perform Guile’s V-Trigger is now only two bars, down from three.
Guile will most likely end up, at the very worst, top 3 in tier lists.
Balrog was in a similar position to Laura in season 1. He could do great damage, but had poor defense. The changes to the general gameplay really helped Balrog with his offensive powerhouse gameplay style.
A bunch of the boxer’s moves got + on hit and block, including on his Dash Straight and V-Skill overhead. He even got a new low attack in Crouching MK that helps immensely in his high-low mix-up game.
With the buffs to his normals and his already immense damage that is coupled with the general gameplay changes, Balrog is in a much better place. A little buff to his health also never hurts.
I would say that Balrog went from low mid tier to at least high mid tier, possibly even top 5.
Zangief was in terrible shape during season 1. He was at the bottom of virtually every tier list and for good reason.
Capcom gave has given Zangief a much better fighting chance in season 2. With SPD now allowing Zangief to close in on his opponents and apply continuous pressure, Zangief can actually keep an offense going. Zangief can also combo into Lariat more easily and a good amount of his normals are more positive on hit and block, further increasing his offense.
While Zangief will most likely not be breaking into top tier territory, the grappler is a solid mid tier character now.
Part of what made Nash such a top tier character in season 1 was his slipperiness. He had a real guerrilla warfare type of fighting style that allowed him to perform so well, always weaving in and out of the opponent’s range. This was nerfed hard by reducing how much Nash’s back dash moved him when he did it regularly and during his v-reversal.
I would put Nash at low mid tier.
It is no secret that Birdie was low tier of Season 1 and with the changes made to him during season 2, he is going to stay there. While the changes made to Birdie were not as obvious as Nash, the cumulative small nerfs Birdie received is what makes him a loser in the patch. A lot of Birdie’s moved now have less damage and less advantage on hit and on block. Birdie’s health also got a slight reduction, placing his health at second highest in the game with 1025, compared to his previous 1050 that only Zangief has now.
I would keep Birdie in the bottom 5.
R. Mika was known in season 1 for being a brain-dead character (easy to play) which allowed to her to be a high tier character throughout the season. All it took was one clap from her and her opponent would be in a constant state of 50/50s until they guessed right, were stunned, or the round ended. Capcom nerfed this move, Passion Rope Throw, so now characters only bounce off the wall if they are at the edge of the stage and the move is more punishable if it is blocked.
Having said that, R.Mika, despite not being what she was in Season 1, is still a good character. I would probably place her around mid tier currently.
Ryu was one of those characters that was heavily nerfed (because he needed to be) by the general gameplay changes. No invincible meterless reversal and no anti-air with a jab have lowered Ryu’s defensive capabilities (again, completely reasonable).
For character specifics, a good amount of Ryu’s normals now have increased start up time or more recovery. His Shoryukens also got a small damage nerf and H Shoryuken’s stun damage got nerfed as well. His Tatsumaki Senpukyakus got their chip and stun damage reduced.
All these nerfs combined with the general gameplay changes have certainly put the hurt on Ryu. He is no means a bad character, much like R.Mika, but he will most likely not be in the top 3, or top 10 for that matter, in tier lists now. I would put him around mid or lower mid tier.
Ken, much like R.Mika, was extremely annoying in season 1. Ken players could easily spam his buttons that would generally come out faster and he had high damage, along with his invincible meterless M Shoryuken. Capcom did a great job in balancing the character by adding more start-up frames to his attacks, but make them all a little more positive or safe on block. They also nerfed his damage slightly on certain moves and made his Tatsumaki Senpukyaku push less back on block, making it easy to punish. Ken’s air EX Tatsumaki Senpukyaku was also nerfed to make it more easily anti-aired.
Something I would like to point out about Ken is that he seems like he got hit with the nerf stick pretty hard. Well he did. He was a rather unbalanced character. Even with the changes to the general gameplay, he had stupidly fast moves. Capcom put Ken onto the same level as the rest of the cast which is a good thing. I’m sure we don’t want Ken players to just spam Shoryuken and Tatsumaki Senpukyaku (although it probably will still happen).
While Ken will no longer be top tier, I would probably place him around low mid tier as of right now.
Was there someone on the list that you disagree with? Was there someone that didn’t make the list that you think is going to move significantly around on tier lists? Sound off below.