King of Fighters is a tactical fighting game series developed by SNK for its Neo-Geo MVS arcade system board. The first game was released in 1994. We will rank all the characters of The King of Fighters series from 2013 – 2020. These characters have been nerfed too hard compared to their initial popularity and how far they dropped—characters like Rugal desann, etc. The characters were inferior and never good even at their prime—characters like Bonne Jenet, Elisabeth Branctorche, etc.
The following list shows how good each character was during their high point era.
List of characters
These are characters that never were popular but always had potential or lacked what it takes to make a tier list. Still, they could make a comeback, maybe via DLC or patches. For example, Kyo Kusanagi (KOF13) doesn’t measure up to his old version from The King of Fighters XIV, which I consider one of the best versions of Kyo Kusanagi in my opinion. Also, his Desperation Move is really bad compared to his old version in The King Of Fighters XIV.
Characters that are capable of doing well but struggle against some matchups or have some downsides that make them not very good overall despite how good they are. Examples include Hinako, Mian, Robert Garcia, etc.
These characters are just below the top rankings but could potentially reach that point with enough improvements and buffs to their gameplan, gutting through difficult matchups, or they’re slightly more dated, which makes them suffer a bit more in this day and age. They also tend to be ner by newer updates in recent years.
These characters are slightly worse than those in tier A1, but they’re still solid as a whole. They can hold their own against almost everyone and have very few bad matchups. They still have an above-average chance at winning despite the slight drop in performance compared to tiers above this one. The main difference is that they’re not as consistent as those ranked above them.
These characters are overall strong and have a great chance at winning. They may have issues here and there, but they’re still very capable of holding their own against anyone if played correctly, even with some unfavorable matchups from time to time.
These characters are the cream of the crop. They have no terrible matchups or losing streaks that can prove fatal, unlike those below this tier. Examples include Kyo Kusanagi (KOF13), Maxima, etc.
These guys are basically on par with SS tires; I’d say they’re probably on par with an average SS tier character, maybe slightly better than them, like how Nakoruru was considered in Capcom vs. SNK 2, where she’s good enough to win any matchup but not as consistent as others above her. I’d say these are slightly better than the rest of the rosters who are on par with tier S or SS tiers but just less consistent than those two tiers, in my opinion.
These characters are perfect. They’re either close to being top-tier worthy or even better than that. They don’t have enough evidence yet to place them over other characters ranked above this point.
Characters like Yuri Sakazaki (KOF13) and Mature (KOF13). They can keep up with everyone else pretty well, but there’s always one problem that prevents them from reaching the upper echelon of fighters, mainly due to their lack of range. Characters like Oswald (KOF13) fall into this tier as well due to lack of range.
Characters can do well, but they struggle against some matchups or have some downsides that make them not very good overall despite how good they are. A lot of these characters rely on unblock-able setups or command grabs to open up opponents. So you can say they’re very meter-dependent, which makes things difficult for them since if you spend your entire meter trying to get in.
These characters are below average, not as strong as the rest of the roster, and struggle more often than not, making it difficult for them to win matches, let alone tournaments. They must work hard to improve themselves if they want to reach higher tiers someday, excluding those with the worst matchups. Examples include Chizuru Kagura (KOF13), Billy Kane (KOF13), etc…
This tier is for characters considered deceptively strong in specific areas such as Chonshu (KoF13). They may not be the best overall, but they’re still good enough to take on most of the cast and even do well against some of them despite having slight issues that hold them back from placing higher in the list.
These characters either suffer from bad matchups, don’t have reliable mixup options, or both. Some would argue that this tier should be merged with the lowest tier since all these characters will practically lose every matchup if they cross paths with another character within this tier or above.
These are the worst in the game, no contest whatsoever. Even if you’re an experienced KoF player, I’m not sure if you can do well with these guys, especially in tournaments where your opponents will generally know what you’ll be doing beforehand, thanks to their minimal options. They have pronounced weaknesses that are easy to exploit, so even if you know nothing about this game but basic fighting game knowledge, you can still beat these guys with little effort. Only pick them up if you want to play a character because they look cool or have no other option available.