A3 tiers update & thoughts

Hey all.

Recently stumbled across these tweets from @version_zero3 (VER from the Vegas arcade in Japan)

He tweeted an updated tier list for A3 as of 2016. It mostly resembles the one from a few years ago with a few changes.

I tend to agree with the first version for the lower-tier characters, in that I feel like the new “D” and “E” characters are all fairly close to one another. And while a lot of those problems might have issues with tournament viability, I’m not sure any of them are truly “E”. V-ISM sort of raises the floor of the game, because even Birdie has an infinite and Mika can do big damage, for example. Honda is not necessarily suited to this game because he can’t use his naturally defensive character design as well. But he builds meter at an usually high rate while holding both charge options (whiff down/back throw), and does at least have decent VC ability (anti-air & midscreen & corner), even if the combo damage is relatively low.

In general, I’m on board with the character tiers here (by row, not individual character order), but the grades throw me off a little bit.

Was surprised to see Rose move up, but I think it probably makes sense. I assume it was largely do to Tsugu/Tugu, one of the Japanese players. His V-ISM Rose is very impressive, in particular because he seems to be pretty comfortable linking VC activation after a crouching light attack (no counter hit needed; a V-Rose-only feature), and seems to have a few other optimizations down as well.

His A-Rose is also very strong and he makes great use of the Soul Illusion (shadows) super and the related unblockable knockdown loops. Sidebar: Note that he chooses A-Rose vs a Charlie player, because he’s less able to deal with it than some other characters; the unblockable can be safe vs wakeups (other than 0-startup command grabs like Zangief’s, or invulnerable throw supers if she’s in range). Charlie can do a wakeup Somersault Shell (flash kick), but if Rose times the unblockable correctly, she will be able to punish. If he were playing a shoto, he might be able to wakeup hurricane kick would get him in to the air immediately (some moves have 0 ground frames on startup, so they are immediately in the air on reversal), and either take the hit and float away if it were a light punch, or maybe escape over it, if it were a light kick.

I’m making a video about the 0f airborne reversals thing, but it won’t be out for a while at this rate.

Seeing Sagat go down a spot, I wonder if it was because people were getting better at escaping the infinite? Air recovery has 3 directions in A3 (forward, back and neutral), and a late neutral air recovery will get you out of certain V-ISM setups that the usual ones won’t. Or maybe it’s just that players like Nekonohi at a-cho made the character look better than he is? Or was it just Ryu moving up? Overall I tend to think that Ryu is a stronger character, he just happens to be more solid, even if he’s not as scary.

Gen moving down I guess I understand. All of the other characters in new tier are also quite strong, so it’s not exactly a major demotion. Never played much Rolento so I can’t say, though I’m curious about Adon. I don’t think of him as a bad character, but I don’t think of being as good as the rest of the chars in his tier.

These are overall tiers, by the way. It’s assumed whatever ISM the character is best in is the one they’re talking about, which means V-ISM for most of the cast. A-ISM tiers without V would be different. These don’t include X-ISM, but I would assume A & X is similar to just A.

Ryu is really strong. I think when most people think of A3 and Ryu they might imagine V-Ryu, but A-Ryu is really solid. I think he is probably a viable tournament character.

But in terms of moving up the tier list, the biggest story is probably Balrog (boxer). Rog has good buttons, and he likes to hit buttons. But his lack of defense vs V-ISM characters hurts him and keeps him from applying pressure as easily as he’d like. Rolento is similar, because the odds that he loses 50% of his health bar for mashing jabs or jumping in drops dramatically, and he gets to abuse his priority. Gief may have been a similar story, if he weren’t also so overly strong in V.

Blanka I like quite a bit, but I can’t help thinking that he’s ranked so high here because Kayaman is such a strong player. I also want to say Chun should move up a tier, if for no other reason that she beats Gen pretty solidly. Maybe I’m jaundiced by playing online too much, but I’ve always found her tricky to deal with, in general.

In terms of moving downward, Cody and Sagat do not fare well. I want to say Sagat isn’t that bad, but at the same time, I can’t really argue with his placement.

On the one hand, if these tiers are accurate you have a huge tournament-viable group of characters- but I remember A3 being a lot of shotos + Chun + Gief + Sim, with the odd Charlie thrown in, before people really got the hang of V-ISM (I’d heard Rolento was very good, just didn’t see much of him). I’m not sure how much variety we’d really see if everyone stopped playing V for a few years. These characters are all fairly easy to play, and high-priority characters have a built in option select because they do damage on hit and on block. So people might decide that it’s not worth learning Gen when they could just pick up Ryu instead; why play Sodom when you could just play Zangief, why play Adon when you can learn Chun so quickly, etc.


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