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Tekken 7 is one of the best fighting games to be released in the last decade, proving that this 28-year-old series can still compete with the best of them. It also recently got its final balance patch, cementing what we have now as the definitive Tekken experience. This makes it the perfect time for a tier list, as how Tekken 7 is now is how it’s going to stay.
For newcomers as well, it’s never too late to dive in, as any experience you pick up now will give you a running start for the next game, whenever that is!
I have graded each character on their overall viability, focusing on their ability to climb the online ranks for a beginner or intermediate player. Things like low/high execution (how easy/complex a character’s moves are to pull off) and whether characters are over or underused strongly influence where fighters rank.
I’ve spent well over a thousand hours on Tekken 7, but with how technical the game is, that’s a drop in the ocean compared to the time I’d need to master every character. With this in mind, your mileage may vary from my own.
Characters that are the cream of the crop and stand head and shoulders above the competition.
Devil Jin has seen several nerfs since Tekken 7’s release. He remains an incredible fighter, with a scary tool kit and ways to deal with every character in the game. Devil Jin has strong punishment for high-level play. His gimmicks will blow up anyone at the lower levels too. He is the best ‘Mishima style’ fighter in Tekken 7, and his only downside is that he is tricky to play. He would have a tier of his own otherwise!
The most intimidating fighter in Tekken 7 is also one of the strongest, and his high pick rate is justified. Fahkumram has tremendous reach, fantastic movement and many devastating, hard-hitting attacks. A lot of his best moves are hard to react to (the online environment makes this much worse), and on top of it all, Fahkumram has a low execution barrier compared to so many other fighters.
The ability to ignore the rules of Tekken is powerful and one that only a few fighters can abuse. Geese is one of those! Geese has unique moves, complete with projectiles and a meter for powered-up attacks. Managed properly, Geese is devastating. If you’re familiar with the King of Fighters (KoF) games, you’ll enjoy using him as his moves share many KoF traits. Hard-hitting attacks and ridiculous reach make this character a nightmare to fight.
Whether you like Julia’s transition from eco-warrior to a streamer, it’s hard to argue that she belongs anywhere but the top tier.
Julia feels like she has it all! Powerful moves with deceptively long range, great launchers, and devastating combos. Like every character in S-Tier, Julia is a great all-rounder with no prominent weaknesses. She’s also pretty rare to run into online, which is always an advantage.
Kunimitsu has some of the strongest movement options in the game, allowing her to dictate the pace of a fight. She has surprisingly long-range attacks and has a low execution barrier to boot.
With practice, Kunimitsu can glide around the stage and force her opponents to make mistakes by just trying to hit her. If your opponent can’t land hits, they can’t win.
Leroy saw famously high usage at the top level when he was released and terrorized the Tekken scene. He has been toned down since but is still extremely powerful. He has no fundamental weaknesses! ‘Hermit‘ is a horrible stance to deal with. He’s got deceptive range with his cane, and he’s straightforward to use. Leroy is the antagonist in a horror story Tekken players will tell for years to come.
Lidia is part of the final DLC for Tekken 7 and has all the tropes of a powerful character. Like so many fighters in this tier, Lidia is a solid all-rounder. She has no obvious weaknesses her opponents can exploit. She can deal brutal amounts of damage with minor work.
Her execution barrier is also pretty low, making her a great beginner choice and can comfortably be used against the best fighters in the game.
Zafina is one of the least popular DLC characters, but this benefits her! She’s got a vast assortment of bizarre moves, and nobody knows how to deal with them. Zafina has some of the best low moves in the game, and they force her opponents to either take the hits or get launched if they try to defend.
Like Kunimitsu, Zafina boasts incredible movement and many tricky gimmicks. Only a well-practised opponent is going to give her trouble.
Powerful characters that are solid choices for competitive play and beyond.
If I were grading solely on the highest level of play, Akuma wouldn’t just be in S-Tier; he would be top 3! Akuma breaks the rules of Tekken and features in some of the most disgusting combo demonstrations where he can empty an entire health bar in one go
Here, he stays in A-Tier because of the execution required to do these fantastic things. If you’re climbing the ranks, I can say with certainty the Akuma’s you’re facing are not capable of such shenanigans!
Bob is criminally under-used in Tekken 7. He has a fantastic, well-rounded kit and some dangerous lows to open his opponents up. For how strong he is, it’s rare to run into him online, so many players will fall for even his basic tricks. If you’re after a powerful character that can do it all, Bob is one of the best.
Bryan is very popular online with incredibly hard-hitting moves and an infamous sweep that claims more victims than it should.
Bryan is a powerful all-rounder. He also has some incredibly high execution moves, like his famous Taunt Jet Upper. He suffers a little from being a legacy character that many people know.
Feng is my Kryptonite in Tekken 7, and even though I’ve practised against him extensively, he is a nightmare to deal fight. This character has a ton of dangerous, quick, hard-hitting moves that just chew away at your health bar. He also has a lot of ways to play defensively, slowing down the fight when your opponent is trying to put a comeback together. Feng has tools for every situation and a scary set of low attacks to go with them.
This character is interesting because he is wonderfully strong. He just demands so much from the player crazy enough to use him.
Hwoarang has an absurdly long command list and stances on top of more stances. He’s a nightmare to learn, so you rarely see him at the higher levels of play. Still, he makes A-Tier because he has all the tools you’d expect from a great fighter and a well-played Hwoarang is a sight to behold.
Jin is an impressive all-rounder with no real faults aside from his high execution barrier. High execution or not, with the time investment, Jin can take matches from just about anyone and will always remain a persistent, oppressive threat. The fact that Jin isn’t in S-Tier is a testament to how strong the top fighters in Tekken 7 truly are.
I debated putting Kazuya in B-Tier because of his high execution and how well known his fighting style is. However, he still makes this tier because he has some fantastic attacks, well known or otherwise.
‘Electric Wind God Fist‘ is such an incredible move that players spend hours trying to learn how to do it. Few other fighters can boast anything like that, and even though he may be one for character loyalists, only a fool would underestimate him.
King is well-deserving of his name with the best throws in the game that can single-handedly take rounds from players that don’t know how to escape them. The best thing about King is he’s got brilliant moves outside of his throws as well. Oppressive lows and great tools to set up counter hits, combined with a scary grapple game, make King a force to be reckoned with.
Marduk narrowly loses to King in the throw department, but his absurd damage elsewhere makes up for it. Marduk is another character that doesn’t need to land that many hits to win.
You’ll find many players crumble to his oppressive tools that even work on downed opponents. Nowhere is safe against Marduk, and he forces players to make mistakes. If you’re willing to play a slower character, he’s devastating.
Another character in A-Tier that’s bafflingly under-used! Master Raven has superb movement and many moves that can’t be dealt with without practice. She will take time to get used to as some of her moves ‘feel’ strange compared to other characters, but she’s worth the time. As she’s so under-used, she can launch opponents into powerful combos from moves that most people won’t even see.
Paul is an incredible character with explosive damage potential. Moves like his ‘Deathfist‘ are some of the most iconic in Tekken, and he forces his opponents to tread carefully.
A couple of mistakes against Paul can cost the entire match, and he can force scary situations that few others can. Being so well known is his one real weakness, as Paul has been around forever. Many people know how he works and what to look out for.
The most satisfying noise in Tekken 7 is the ‘Crack!’ of a counter hit. If you want to hear that constantly through your fights, pick Steve. His unorthodox style makes him fun to play, and he’s also tough to react to without substantial time in practice mode. A terrifying fighter, especially up close. Who said you need kicks to win a fight?
Xiaoyu is one of the hardest characters to hit, thanks to her evasive moves and infamous ‘Art Of Phoenix‘ stance. This stance allows Xiaoyu to duck under some low attacks, which is as broken as it sounds. The only thing keeping Xiaoyu in A-Tier is her lack of damage. She has to adopt a ‘death of a thousand cuts’ playstyle. Xiaoyu is very capable of doing just that, but she has to work for it.
Strong fighters, capable of winning but have a few issues holding them back.
Alisa has access to some of the wildest moves in the game and her opponents will straight up lose to them if they haven’t learned the match-up. Sadly, the reverse can be true if they have. This character is incredibly mobile and can control space with unusual movement options and her long-reaching chainsaws. She has a unique playstyle, with many ways to frustrate and chip away at her opponents.
Anna is a tough character to grade because if you have a peek at her frame data, her best moves are rather punishable. She gets away with a lot online because she’s under-used. She’s the easier of the Williams sisters to use (Nina is sulking in C-Tier) and can deal chunky damage. A good opponent will severely limit what Anna feels comfortable throwing out, though.
Asuka has been around long enough for many players to have a decent idea of how to fight her, but she has a superb, well-rounded move-set. She lacks flashy attacks and gimmicks, which makes opening some cautious players up trickier than it should be, but she will always be a solid pick. Asuka also has a reasonably low execution barrier, so you can entirely focus on your opponent.
Claudio will take time to figure out with his Starburst mechanic changing how some moves work. This isn’t as tough as it sounds. He requires low execution and has one of the best hop kicks in the game. This will let you launch and combo new players whenever you please, and even experienced players will have to respect it. Criminally underrated.
Once upon a time, Dragunov saw lots of competitive play, primarily thanks to his Russian Assault which was so oppressive you could throw it out on repeat and stay safe. Present-day Dragunov has been toned down a lot, Russian Assault is still superb, but it’s much easier to avoid. Dragunov still has a complete kit and can stand toe to toe with most of the Tekken 7 roster.
Out of the entire roster, Eliza feels the most out of place in Tekken 7. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, and she has some dangerous moves like her Dive Kick, which many players have no clue how to deal with. Like most under-used characters, Eliza will win you games because players have no practice against her. Her high execution barrier makes her a hard sell, but she will work for you if you want to learn.
As one of the least represented characters online, Ganryu has faults but a clear game-plan he wants to stick to. Ganryu is atrocious at a distance, but to balance this, he is a powerhouse up close. He also has a decent headbutt attack that catches everyone off guard.
Jack is a tricky character to place because he has powerful attacks, and he’s capable of quickly emptying health bars. He has also seen play at the highest level in tournaments.
Despite all of this, Jack relies on your roster knowledge to shine. He may be a giant robot, but he lacks gimmicks and tricks. All of Jack-7’s damage needs to be earned, making him a character that’s only as good as you are.
Through constant nerfs, Kazumi has stayed as my main, and even though I’d like her to be stronger, she’s in a good spot.
Kazumi has fantastic movement and can force her opponents to miss their attacks. She has lots of tools to poke and keep her opponents honest. She also has a low execution barrier, making her perfect for beginners. Unfortunately, she has a laughably lousy hop-kick, but the rest of her kit makes up for it.
Law is a fan favourite with devastating moves that can blow up just about anybody. He has a glorious mix of gimmicks and solid fundamental tools, but two things keep him in B-Tier. First, his combos are great but only if you learn how to DSS cancel (an obnoxious stance input, mid-combo). And second, Law has been around forever, and a LOT of people are wise to his tricks.
Lee is another character with demanding execution, but he’s got a solid kit with good punishers, and he’s brutal near the wall. He also has access to the Hitman stance, probably the coolest stance in the game! If you want to bring style to a fight and aren’t afraid to learn a complex character, you can do great things with Lee.
For the longest time, the player base cried for the return of Lei Wulong… Then they added him, and nobody used him! Lei has a daunting move list, and it’s so complex that it’s hard to know where to start. He has multiple tools for every situation and even has dangerous attacks he can use when he’s lying on the ground. Lei is a character with potential, but he’s one of the most complicated in the game.
Miguel sneaks into B-Tier thanks to his hard-hitting moves and dangerous ‘Savage’ stance. It can be downright scary fighting a good Miguel player up close, but that’s where the big problem lies.
Miguel has pitifully short arms, and nothing is more frustrating than throwing out a perfectly timed jab and just missing. If Miguel’s arms were a couple of inches longer, he could be in A-Tier.
Negan is a character that could have just existed to cash in on hype from ‘The Walking Dead’. Fortunately, it’s clear that care went into him, and he’s a decent fighter because of it. Negan has plenty of gimmicks at his disposal and has great reach with his bat. His range makes a lot of his moves safe even if he’s reckless, and he can make his opponents eat a lot of launchers when they try to close the distance.
Everyone thought Noctis would be a joke character, but he has a lot going for him. He is one of the lowest execution characters in the game, making him a great beginner choice. His combos are robust and easy to pull off, and he has a ridiculous range on most of his moves. Noctis is much more than just a gimmick character and one to watch out for.
I’ve seen more unicorns than Shaheen players online. This character is incredibly under-used, which is a shame because he has a small but strong selection of go-to moves. Shaheen boasts a low execution barrier, but his lack of flashy moves and gimmicks mean he forces whoever is piloting him to play honestly. This makes him good for new players as he will teach strong fundamentals, but his vanilla play style will put many off trying him.
You can make these fighters work, but they are overshadowed by others or have faults you need to be aware of.
Sadly, Armour King is in the C-Tier because King exists. Armour King can throw out good damage and has solid combos, but it can feel like an uphill struggle to land hits. He has a decent throw game, but it’s not even close to how oppressive King’s is. If you like King but don’t enjoy his throws, Armour King may be just what you’re after.
It may surprise a casual player to see Eddy so low, but with some practice, his ‘unpredictable’ moves aren’t nearly as hard to deal with as they look. He can even get interrupted during his flashy moves with well-timed attacks. Eddy will destroy newcomers, but you’ll have to get creative to deal with better players.
Gigas has seen some love in more recent balance patches, and he’s not nearly as bad as he used to be! He’s capable of respectable damage, has good reach, and can fall back on simple but powerful moves. As it stands, Gigas is an underrated beginner choice, and you’ll take a lot of matches from players that don’t know how to deal with him.
Mishima’s have famously demanding execution, and Heihachi is no exception. Unfortunately, he is the weakest of the family and can’t keep up with Kazuya, Jin, and Devil Jin. This doesn’t make Heihachi useless, and he’s capable of dishing out good damage. It just pales compared to many other characters. If you’re picking Heihachi for the haircut though, you have my respect!
Josie is a solid all-rounder with great counter hit tools and easy combos. Her lows are a little lacklustre, so you will have trouble getting your opponents to respect you, but she has enough brute force to keep this from being too problematic. Josie is another ideal character for beginners, thanks to her simple execution.
Lars is a fun, flashy character with a low execution barrier. He also boasts decent combo damage… if you can land them. Some of his best combo starters come from his stances, and the moment you switch stance, a player that knows the match-up will react accordingly. This can leave you feeling lost mid-fight. Lars is a flawed fighter, but he is fun to play.
Leo has access to some nasty strings and is a solid all-rounder. The biggest complaint I have about him is he feels awkward and clunky. Leo has to work for his damage, but he has the tools to get it. I have only run into a handful of Leo players online, so I fear I’m not alone in thinking he just feels terrible to play.
Lili has a wide range of gimmicky moves that will pulverize new players. She has a nasty hop kick with deceptive range and easy damaging combos. Unfortunately, as you climb the ranks, you’ll run into plenty of players who know how to deal with her more stylish moves, severely limiting what you can throw out.
Lucky Chloe has a flashy, unique fighting style full of dangerous, hard-hitting attacks. She’s capable of dealing a deceptive amount of damage quickly. Sadly, a little time in practice mode against her reveals many weaknesses in her kit, and all but neuters her high damage potential.
Nina has a strong kit, let down entirely by an absurdly high execution barrier. Nina is tough to play, and all that work amounts to rewards that don’t feel fair compared to so many other characters in the roster. For a legacy character, Nina enjoys the rare situation where many players don’t know how to deal with her, which may net you some wins.
Flawed fighters with issues that are hard to overcome.
It pains me to put my first ‘main’ down here. Katarina was nerfed into the ground early on and never recovered. A lot of moves that were once safe to throw out are now punishable, which hurts her a lot.Katarina’s strength is her effortless execution making her feel great in the hands of a newcomer. She has hard-hitting combos you’ll pick up quickly but has very few ways to open opponents up to land them.
Professional Tekken player ‘Rangchu’ famously won the Tekken World Tour in 2018 using Panda! Sadly, this says a lot more about Rangchu than the character itself. Because of their size, the Bears have wonky hit-boxes that sometimes benefit you and other times work against you. They feel sluggish to use, and although you’ll snag a few wins from players that don’t know the match-up, players that do will annihilate you.
Much like the Bears, Pro player ‘Eye Musician’ makes Yoshimitsu look downright incredible, but in the hands of the average player, that isn’t the case. Fun fact; Yoshimitsu holds the record for the worst Win/Loss ratio out of every Tekken 7 character. His Flash is an incredible move, but he dies against any player that can see through his tricks.
Frequently Asked Questions
Question: Who is the Best Beginner Character?
Answer: I’d say Kazumi. She has solid moves that can keep her opponent guessing, great movement options and simple inputs. Noctis is a fine choice too, but your skills with him won’t translate to other characters in the roster.
Question: You put a Lot of DLC Characters in the S-Tier. Is Tekken 7 Pay to Win?
Answer: Unfortunately, yes, to a certain extent. You can win with any character, but you’ll always want to try other characters in Practice Mode to learn their moves. You can’t do this unless you buy them.
Question: What’s the Difference Between High and Low Execution?
Answer: Low execution means the character has simple moves that are easy to perform. This includes combos too. High execution is the opposite and will often demand the player input tricky combinations or have to follow tight, unusual timings.
Tekken 7 has a character to suit everyone, so take your time to find one that resonates with you. Tier lists are a great way to put everyone into a nice orderly grid, but if you put the time in, you can make any fighter work. Unless you’re competing in tournaments, my advice will always be to pick your favourite!