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Character Tiers

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Po Yi sat down to play Talisman with his generals. He said: "At this moment, each of us has an equal chance of winning. When we choose our character cards, then we will no longer have equal chances."

So the game's been out for a while. It's been beaten and re-beaten. The secrets have all been discovered, the items have all been collected, the Easter Egg has been unearthed, and the exasperated rumors have been debunked. For all intents and purposes, the game is solved. That means there's only one thing left to do...


...That's right. It's time to get on the internet and argue about which characters are the best.

It seems inevitable when you've got a game with Loads and Loads of Characters; the time will come when the only thing left is to try and figure out whether or not this character is powerful enough to solo an endgame Bonus Boss or dungeon all by themselves. It can be a polite discussion or a Flame War; a debate of logic and reason or a contest to see who can stick their fingers in their ears the longest. It can even birth legions of Scrubs and "Stop Having Fun" Guys. If the game happens to have a competitive scene, expect even more of this.

The characters are usually divided into rough levels of ability, or "tiers", from which the trope takes its name. Those tiers frequently look something like this:


Sometimes a lower-tier character has a strangely favorable match-up against a much higher-tier character, as mentioned earlier; this is known as the Anti-Metagame Character. When players choose this type of character in response to their opponent's choice (often after they lose, since tournaments commonly have the winner pick first), it's called a counter-pick.

Sometimes the tiers get shaken up due to metagame shifts, and characters that were once below-average can become more useful. However, the chances of this phenomenon occurring diminish if no new content is added to the game. Said new content usually came in the form of numerous re-releases (the most (in)famous of which being the Street Fighter II series of games), game updates, and straight up sequels.

Depending on the game, tiers may not be as pivotal as they seem or are portrayed to be. (Indeed, some games are closely balanced enough that the tiers are only rated as a formality, with Street Fighter IV being one such example.) Most often, they exist, but are generally less important than than the skill, advantages, and/or tools of a particular character or adaptive player. Which, of course, leads to discussion for which play-style is best.

All of the above notwithstanding, some players simply don't give a damn about this trope and will simply use whichever characters they want. It can also be a sort of Self-Imposed Challenge. After all, anybody can probably beat the game with enough practice if they're using a God-Tier character. Beating it while using a Low- or Bottom-Tier character is a Bragging Rights Reward in and of itself, more so if they did it with said character alone.

Compare: PVP Balanced, Competitive Balance. When a character's tier placement negatively affects players' opinions of him, he becomes a Tier-Induced Scrappy. See also Super Weight for character power levels narrative-wise.

Examples in order of genre:

    open/close all folders 

    Driving Game 
  • Although the Gran Turismo games don't explicitly use Car Tiers, their cars can be pretty much divided into snail-slow subcompacts, slow sedans, medium sports cars, fast supercars, super-fast JGTC racing cars, lightning-fast Le Mans racers, and the Polyphony Formula Gran Turismo.
    • The arcade mode in the first three games had an explicit series of tiers. They were Class C for compact sedans, Class B high-power sedans, Class A sports cars, and Class S supercars (in GT2) or racing cars (in GT3).
  • Need for Speed: Carbon
    • The game divides its cars into three tiers. The first tier is made of cars such as the Mazdaspeed 3 or the Chrysler 300C, the second tier includes the Dodge Charger and the Lotus Europa, while the third tier includes the Dodge Viper and the Lamborghini Murciélago
    • The game also actively enforces the tiers by denying lower-tiered cars performance upgrades that would put them on par with higher-tiered cars, a sharp contrast from the Underground games and Most Wanted which allowed the likes of the Chevrolet Cobalt to, once upgraded, compete with (and even surpass) a Porsche Carerra GT.
    • In Need for Speed Hot Pursuit 2, the PC version has classes, in PS2 you can tell the tier by the police car that chases you, though the corvette tier, featuring cars from the Corvette Z06 all the way to the Ferrari F50 was wider than the actual tier wherein players of a similar ability would have a decent chance to win (excluding unlucky mishaps).
    • Need for Speed: Rivals has a subtle tier system based on the heat level they start off when leaving a hideout as racer or the max level of pursuit tech they can mount. An early game 2015 Mustang starts at heat 1 and only mounts level 1 pursuit tech while an end game Ferrari Enzo starts at heat level 4 and can mount any pursuit tech at level 4. This is more apparent in friends only or offline play.
  • The Forza series simultaneously adheres to this trope and subverts it: every car is designated a "performance index", complete with a corresponding tier denoted by a letter grade, but most low-tier cars can be upgraded enough to compete with higher tiers. The Performance Index is calculated from an algorithm that rates the average flying lap time of the vehicle on an imaginary track; so it's possible for cars with a low PI (but tuned to a specific track type) to beat cars with a much higher PI.
  • Mario Kart
    • Mario Kart: Wii gives each character has a subtle boost in certain stats like Speed and Drift. Players have already begun to make a tier list based on who has the biggest Speed bonus, etc. While the differences do not really make much of a difference in a VS race, some people will still use the top rated characters anyway.
    • This tier system is much more apparent in Mario Kart DS, because of the drift system. Characters like Yoshi got huge boosts off drifts and would be relentlessly used online by anyone who could snake well. Drifting in Mario Kart Wii was toned down because of general dislike of the system.
    • Mario Kart 7 basically mirrors what Mario Kart Wii did. Not only are people only using Metal Mario for his extra top speed, but kart parts used online and in time trials seem to be only the B Dasher and Mushroom Wheels (or Gold Tires), because this combo gives the best top speed possible without sacrificing too much in acceleration or steering.
    • In Mario Kart 8, the super-heavyweights (Bowser, Dry Bowser, Morton, Wario, and large Miis) have the highest speed stat of any racers in the game, and you'll rarely find a world record time that doesn't use one of those five.
  • Arcade racing games Initial D Arcade Stage and Wangan Midnight mostly avert this, since all full-tuned cars can compete on an equal footing. There are, however, cars that are meant as novelties, most notably the AE85 Levin for IDAS and the Subaru R2 for WMMT.
  • Blur has (from slowest to fastest) classes D, C, B, and A. Differently-tuned versions of the same car can appear in different tiers; for example, the Nissan 350Z (D- and C-Class), Chevrolet Camaro (D-, C-, and A-Class), and Dodge Challenger SRT8 (D-, B-, and A-Class).

    Fighting Games 
  • Note that Tournament Play will shake tiers up. Sometimes a victor discovers an overlooked technique with a low-ranked character that the upper tier characters have no counter for. Also, some characters are fantastic counters against half the cast but get mopped by the other half, instead of being above or below-average consistently.
  • David Sirlin (who did balancing for Street Fighter and Puzzle Fighter HD Remix) accepts that perfect balance is impossible, as characters with differing abilities will always have advantages and disadvantages over each other, but believes that the God Tier and Garbage Tier should be empty, and that no specific character-versus-character matchup should give more than a 6-4 advantage (meaning that if equally skilled players play ten matches, the character with the advantage should at most win six and lose four). His own games (Kongai, and especially the tabletop games Puzzle Strike, Flash Duel, and Yomi) go through years of playtesting and tweaking in search of this.
  • Capcom vs. SNK:
    • Capcom vs. SNK: Millennium Fight 2000 actually codified its tiers in-game, and based the number of characters one could select for their team on what tier each character was; this didn't go over very well with gamers, and was dropped for the sequel. (In the sequel, the player splits 4 "Ratio" amongst up to three characters, giving the player some input as to the character's tier.)
    • The problem with Capcom vs. SNK was that how the tiers were codified had nothing to do with how strong the characters actually were in competitive play. Nakoruru was the strongest character in the game bar none, yet she was only Ratio 2.
  • Tiers are completely evident in nearly every single Dragon Ball Z game.
    • In general, throughout the series, transformed characters are far better than their untransformed counterparts.
    • The Tenkaichi and Raging Blast series are notorious for their tiers (which is somewhat expected with over 100 characters).
    • The Raging Blast god tier features completely broken characters, including Kid Buu, Super Saiyan 2 Gohan, Super Gogeta, and Super Vegito. Each has ridiculous stats and can easily chain massive combos.
  • Super Smash Bros.: The competitive Smash community maintains tier lists for each game decided upon by top-level players on Smash Boards. Most tournaments are composed exclusively of high and top-tier characters, because other characters are generally seen as too weak or too finicky to be consistently competitive. Special tournaments are sometimes run where players are restricted to playing mid-tier and below characters.
    • The original game on the Nintendo 64 has a small cast of 12 fighters, making for a much closer gap character balance-wise. Isai, a well known Smash 64 player, is known for being the only player in the 64 community to be consistently good with all 12 characters in tournament play.
    • Melee tournaments often feature both Star Fox reps, Sheik, Marth, Jigglypuff, Princess Peach, Captain Falcon, and the occasional use of the Ice Climbers, Pikachu, Yoshi, Dr. Mario, etc. Special note goes to Fox and Falco, who are considered the best and second best characters in the Melee metagame respectively due to being good at just about everything. The former has a high learning curve, but when properly played, is a sight to behold. In fact, Fox is so good that a community meme known as 20XX was spawned as a result. Explanation 
    • Super Smash Bros. Brawl:
      • The third Smash game has a single borderline god-tier character — Meta Knight. Universally considered the best character in the game, he dominates most of the cast with extremely fast and safe attacks, excellent recovery and edgeguarding capabilities, and unrivaled ledge game. He has one or two match-ups against other top tiers that might be considered 50-50, but many are skeptical. He was been dominant enough in the competitive scene for many fans, and some tournaments, to support banning him.
      • After Meta Knight are the Ice Climbers, whom some would argue are better than Meta Knight in some ways due to being too good with chaingrabs.
      • Brawl also has the odd case of King Dedede, who isn't really overpowered, but can counter a handful of specific characters so effectively that they are essentially non-viable in tournaments.
    • Thanks to the occasional balance patch and a roster that's significantly more balanced than Brawl's was, the tier lists in Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS and Wii U has a case similar to Street Fighter IV's where the bad characters aren't that much worse compared to the top tiers and even low-tier characters are capable of decent tournament placings, given some effort.
      • That said, pre-1.06 patch, Diddy Kong was seen by many as the new Meta Knight due to a frustratingly good down throw to up-air combo many came to call "Hoo-hah". It got so ridiculous that at one point, it was common to see Grand Finals of Smash 4 tournaments where both players used him. Diddy ended up getting nerfed throughout two different patches; although initially perceived to have dropped from top to high tier, players who mained him discovered that although he was indeed less powerful in certain areas, his greatest strengths remain untouched, and he retains his top-level placement.
      • With that said, Sheik, a character who was already universally considered back in the Melee days to be top tier, has since become one of the best character in the metagame. At one point, she was the best character in the game, though patches brought her down a bit. She still solidly remains in top tier.
      • The characters introduced through DLC have all been unique cases similar to Little Mac or Ike from Brawl in that at first, they tend to perform well if not dominate the meta game until players get enough match up familiarity to counter them. Of all the characters introduced through DLC, Mewtwo was initially considered to still be a low-tier mess, even after having been buffed from Melee, until a series of patches nullified or alleviated most of his weaknesses and turned him into a viable top-tier fighter. Fellow Melee veteran Roy wasn't as lucky and remains low on the tier list, largely due to his bad approach. Lucas plays about the same as he did in Brawl as a low-mid tier character. Ryu is considered to be high-tier, since his being a Jack-of-All-Stats in his home series plus his combo oriented style of play from said series translates well to a Smash Bros. game.
      • This isn't even beginning to mention how Cloud Strife affects the metagame. Wanna know how crazy he is? Players of all sorts simply discarded their mains for Cloud and still did well or started placing much higher at their weekly local tournaments. Granted, he has some of the worst recovery and a very limited throw game, but that's just a small price to pay for his insane priority and being able to KO at 70% or even less.
      • Corrin is perceived as a solid high to top tier character because of his/her incredible frame data; disjointed attacks; good kill power; and his/her signature move, Dragon Lunge, which lets him/her pin his/her opponents into the ground.
      • Bayonetta was so overpowered at release due to her absolutely killer aerial game and combo ability that an infamous patch was dedicated solely to nerfing her and no one else... and it still didn't keep her from being considered the best character in the game.
    • Super Smash Bros. Ultimate has been surprisingly durable to the concept of Character Tiers, due to the mix of an extremely large roster and relatively good balance in that roster, along with Balance Buff patches to help or hinder certain characters. That said, most players seem to agree that Joker, Pikachu, Peach/Daisy, and Snake are near the top, while Bowser Jr., Kirby, and Little Mac languish behind the rest of the cast.
  • Street Fighter:
    • Street Fighter II:
      • You can select the old Super Street Fighter II versions of the characters in Super Turbo by quickly inputting a code after selecting them. Old Sagat is considered top tier, and is "soft-banned" in some tournaments (meaning that there is a tacit agreement not to use him, but he can be used anyway), not because he is so overpowering (Balrog and Dhalsim are better characters overall), but because he's extremely hard for several other characters to counter, and players agree that that makes for a less interesting game.
      • Akuma is considered god tier in ST for a variety of reasons, such as his ability to lock down opponents in inescapable blockstun with repeated red fireballs (they can even let go of the joystick and are still stuck blocking until they die). Akuma was toned down a lot in HD Remix, but due to bugs such as his Raging Demon super being inescapable from blockstun 75% of the time, he was banned from tournaments.
    • Street Fighter III: Third Strike was supposed to be a more balanced revision of the previous two games, given the complete and obvious advantages certain characters had over others, and succeeded in this endeavor for half the characters. The others simply moved around between tiers.
      • In most fighting game communities, the Chinese characters (Chun-Li and Yun in particular) were top tier throughout all three games.
      • Sean went from godly in New Generation to 2nd Impact/Giant Attack to bottom of the bottom.
    • Lethal Joke Character Rufus from vanilla Street Fighter IV is considered nearly godly, to the point that he was commonly placed in the game's Top 5 along with Sagat, Ryu, and Balrog.
  • Marvel vs. Capcom 2: New Age of Heroes has 56 characters, and therefore tiers are inevitable. The unique thing is that the current god tier isn't banned, but are actually favoured for tournament play simply because all the options and tactics available to them mean that they're also the most interesting characters to play in the game. There's also the fact that the game is less dependent on individual characters and more on team synergy. Some good teams aren't totally dependent on the god tiers, but instead team them with lower-tiered characters who have really good assists that make the overall team stronger.
  • In Tatsunoko vs. Capcom, the Japanese developed a different tier list for the characters (partially because unlike in the United States, the players didn't stop thinking that Karas was a broken character), using two tier lists — one for the overall character performance being the point (combat) character and another for the character's Assist. Roll isn't considered the lowest tier (she's mid), and her Assist is ranked high in the tier list, upping her rank as a Joke Character to Lethal Joke Character.
  • Due to the massive changes that occurred between the original Guilty Gear and its sequels, it can be quite hard to pinpoint exact tiers at times. From Guilty Gear X onward, the tiers became more or less well-defined due to the series' mechanics becoming more and more polished over time, which in turn affected the balance of power for better or worse. Of note is that, like Capcom's Vs. series, much of the combat in Guilty Gear favors a fast-paced and technical approach, with characters that possess incredible mobility, mix-ups and disjointed hitboxes constantly being at the top.
    • The first game would almost be counted out due to how broken some of the mechanics are, such as having infinite Tension meter when below 50% life which allowed for perpetual Overdrive spamming. Because of this, there are at least two characters considered to be quite dangerous: Millia Rage with her infinite Iron Maiden projectile spam and Justice with her infinite Gamma Rays. And that's not getting to how easy it is to land Instant Kills that would end the entire match as opposed to merely ending a single round like it does in later games.
    • In GGX, the Assassin's Guild characters note  consistently ranked very high on the list, if not outright at the top, while the two main characters (Sol and Ky) would consistently dance around the midrange area. Newcomer Johnny also landed in the top tier due to highly tricky but incredibly strong mobility and unblockable mix-ups.
    • Guilty Gear XX had a very unusual tier setup — partially because the game is so well-balanced that tiers rarely affect a match significantly, but unusual in that the top tier consisted of only ONE character — Eddie. Mainly because of his ability to destroy you on wake-up due to unblockables. Eddie was crippled somewhat in Slash, but he recovered in Accent Core (with a triple unblockable sequence) and now shares his spot with Testament. The catch? All of the characters have a steep learning curve, and it can take several months (or even years) of practice to use them effectively in Tournament Play.
    • Guilty Gear Xrd, having been openly described to be based off of #Reload (the second revision of XX), once again saw Zato at the top due to unblockable setups and disjointed hitboxes, followed closely by Faust, Johnny, Raven and newcomer Elphelt Valentine who also possesses her own brand of unblockable mix-ups. However, it also returned to having a slightly more unbalanced tier selection, with the high/top tiers possessing significant advantages over other characters in terms of zoning, pressure, mobility and damage output. In fact, three out of the top 8 players at EVO 2016 all had Zato as their main. Still, most match-ups depend largely on individual player skill, and any competitor worth their salt can still find a way to dominate with their favorite character no matter the odds.
    • An interesting case in particular across all games is Axl Low, who started out as a quirky character in the first title. note  His GGX retool was widely considered as his weakest incarnation due to poor mobility, abysmal move recovery and a severe lack of pressure/mix-up tools compared to the rest of the cast, basically painting him as a poor man's Dhalsim and earning him the derogatory nickname "Axl Low Tier" which has stuck with some to this day. While somewhat mitigated with the discovery of his infamous high-damage Axl Bomber loop, it took until XX note  to truly fix his design by adding new tools for close quarters defense, footsies, space control and the ability to use special cancels on some of his moves, thus elevating him into high tier. Come Xrd, however, despite losing many of his tools from Accent Core, he was considered to be the absolute god tier character on Day 1 due to the addition of Sparrowhawk Stance, which lets Axl pressure and juggle his opponent from across the screen at the cost of temporarily losing his mobility. This lasted until players learned about Sparrowhawk's weaknesses, after which his ranking plummeted and eventually sat at around upper mid-tier.
  • BlazBlue:
    • Calamity Trigger has three characters in the top tier spot: Rachel, Nu, and Arakune. In that order. Rachel is extremely good, but VERY hard to use effectively unless you know how to control her wind. Nu has magical flying swords which enable ridiculously long and damaging combos, but she has very low health and defense. Arakune has BEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEES.
    • In contrast, the Top 3 in Continuum Shift were Bang Shishigami, Litchi Faye-Ling, and Ragna the Bloodedge — all of whom are combo-oriented characters instead of zoning characters. Litchi has numerous combos which can lead into resets. During one of her combos, she will inevitably (and it WILL always happen) get enough heat to end her combo with a knockdown and follow with her Great Wheel Distortion Drive, which is used to trick the opponent when they get up, repeating the process. If played correctly, she can trap you in a corner and shred you to pieces. Bang went from bottom tier to top due to several of his hitboxes being altered, and many of his moves come out much faster. His basic combos can also deal around 4000-5000 damage. Ragna is like Litchi and Bang combined: he has a large amount of reset opportunities with his new Belial Edge and oki game, but utilizing this takes the simplicity of using Bang.
    • The Continuum Shift II update is considered to be very well balanced. On the top, there's Makoto and Noel, and on the bottom Tager. Most characters are viable, and tournaments top 8 generally have few overlapping characters.
    • Continuum Shift Extend is also considered to be very well balanced. Thanks to the damage nerf, characters that can produce high damage like Ragna, Valkenhayn, and Hakumen tend to rank high on the tier list.
    • New system mechanics in Chronophantasma changed up the listing a bit. The CSEX tops were still pretty up there, and a few mids went up a bit. Newcomers like Azrael became top due to their damage potential and all around good movepools. The other newcomers ranged from mid to low tier, with the sole exception of Kokonoe. The first two iterations of the game had her as the undisputed god tier due to having tools that fucked over the entire cast, including being the only character to have a truly unblockable setup.
    • The third iteration, Chronophantasma Extend, saw a significant change in the list due to overall damage buffs but as well as the nerfing of many character options. Notably, Iron Tager, a character considered by many to be low tier for quite a few games, has become one of the best characters in the game. How good? Players actually conclude that he stands a significant chance of beating Nu, a character he notoriously did poor against throughout the entire series and also another top tier character in this iteration.
  • Soul Series:
    • Soulcalibur IV tiers generally class Hilde as god tier. This is mainly due to her "Doom Combo" that can ring out from pretty much anywhere, though there are other characters agreed to be just/almost as dangerous but without as dominating a ring out/corner carry game. Other generally good characters to use include Sophitia, Amy, Voldo, Setsuka, and Kilik, whereas Rock in particular is awful.
    • Soulcalibur V currently has no "concrete" tier list, but match-up charts tend to place Cervantes and Alpha Patroklos very high on the list. Raphael and Z.W.E.I. are considered the weakest characters, while Dampierre gets his own placement below them for being a Joke Character. That being said, the game is very well-balanced and considered an improvement from IV in that department.
  • Virtua Fighter 5: Final Showdown is largely considered to be well-balanced. Most players agree that Akira is at the top, but he's not overpowered due to the high learning curve required to be decent with him, as well as his lack of full circular attacks. You can watch many matches and see that there isn't any one character who dominates the screen time.
  • JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Heritage for the Future: One thing certain is that Kakyoin is very much high tier due to his Mystic Trap setups. Oh, and Petshop? He's so broken he's tourney banned.
  • The Gundam Vs Series, like Capcom vs. SNK, codified its tiers as part of the gameplay. Each team has a resource meter (worth 6000 points in the Extreme Versus series and 1000 in Gundam Versus) and characters are divided by how much they cost. The lowest tier units can respawn four or five times before depleting the resource meter, while the most powerful machines can only do this twice; however, the tiers are by no means a hard-and-fast measure of character quality. The Zaku II Kai is always placed in the lowest cost tier but consistently ranks high overall because of its trap grenades, resulting in its being the only bottom-cost unit to get tournament banned; the Gundam Epyon is the opposite, being in the highest cost tier but generally ranking at the bottom overall because while it can string together insane melee combo chains, melee is literally all it has and thus players have to be incredibly good at getting in close in order to actually get to use those combos, generally making it more trouble than it's worth.
  • SaltyBet has five tiers based on how powerful a character is. If a character wins 15 times in a row, it can ascend to the next tier, but if it loses 15 times in a row, it will be demoted to the lower tier. It's not uncommon to see characters who are too good for one tier, only to be completely annihilated by the next tier up. Some characters may even be untiered because of factors such as A.I.-breaking super armor, regularly cause problems such as slowdown, have an unusual gimmick that most normal characters can't deal with, or are just so confusing, not even the creators know how they work.
    • X Tier: The god tier. Reserved for the most broken and overpowered characters, such as Rare Akuma. These can typically overwhelm normal fighters in a few seconds, liberally spam One-Hit Kills, and have TAS level A.I. Some characters even have alternate palettes that make them powerful enough to fit in. Unlike most tiers, characters have to be manually put into this tier, and the fights are best two out of three with no tourneys in rotation. Sometimes nicknamed eXhibition Tier because these characters tend to be requested in exhibitions often (ironically enough, several of them have been banned from being requested due to causing problems such as crashes and freezing the game so long, the match skips automatically).
    • S Tier: The high to top tier and the highest a character can ascend without being X Tier. It consists of standard SNK Bosses, characters with professional level A.I., characters that have absurd damage output from regular attacks, and powerful and diverse movesets.
    • A Tier: The upper tier. Consists of characters who have solid A.I. and decent movesets or strong characters who have at least one weakness keeping them from being true S tiers (such as lack of agility or health).
    • B Tier: The low to average tier. Consists of regular characters with okay A.I. and movesets but have a tendency to throw fights. May even consist of P Tiers who were freed.
    • P Tier: The bottom (Potato) tier. Consists of characters who have no A.I., very poorly made characters, Joke Characters, and those that just can't keep up with the more modern B Tier fighters. With good reason, it has been Demoted to Extra due to how boring the fights can get. Even though P Tier tourneys have been discontinued and matches rarely show up in matchmaking, Gold members can free just about any of them for an in-game price and request them in exhibitions (either to see if there are any promising characters unfairly put in or just to troll the viewers).

  • League of Legends has spawned lots of tier lists, the most popular can be found here. They're constantly being changed, cause every patch brings nerfs and buffs to certain characters. As such posting a tier list here would be kinda useless. Once in a while, low tier characters get "discovered" and end up in top tiers. Many agree that characters in lower tiers can still be effective, maybe being less all-rounder than the top tiers.

    Role-Playing Games 
  • Pokémon:
    • Despite having over 800 Pokémon of varying balance (as well as mons with alternate forms and Mega Evolutions), the series has taken to heart its preaching of using your favorite Pokémon. The most well-known tier system, Smogon's, organizes all Pokémon into 6 tiers. It is also continuously changing, with Pokémon changing tiers based on usage, and even implementation or removal of clauses. In the most popular format, Overused, or OU, acts as Top Tier and is considered "standard", while Ubers falls under God Tier since it functions as a banlist tier (though it has a metagame in itself). Beneath that, there was initially just Underused for everything not in OU, but as the list of Pokémon grew, more tiers were added to encompass the Pokémon with low usage in UU, and then the Pokémon with low usage in that tier as well. The current metagame as of the eighth generation boasts, in descending order, AG (Anything Goes, for Pokémon too overpowered for Uber), Uber, OU, UU, RU (Rarely Used), NU (Never Used), PU (no common meaning; the name was a bad pun that ended up sticking), and Untiered, also known as ZU (Zero Used). Since the tiers are usage-based, the viability ranking thread does contain quite a number of Pokémon that's residing in a lower tier. Additionally, each tier besides Ubers and AG has their own banlist, which is for Pokémon that are banned from a lower tier, but don't have enough usage to rise to a higher tier. As for Doubles, it has 3 tiers, Doubles Ubers, Doubles OU, and Doubles UU.
    • Additionally, there exist "in-game tiers", which try to rank Pokémon in terms of how good they are at finishing the game efficiently rather than at competitive battles. This can result in some suddenly becoming very useful, while typical competitive standbys become Awesome, but Impractical, due to factors like ease of accessibility and catching, Level Grinding, the areas they're found in, how they match up against that game's Gym Battles and other bosses and evolution methods suddenly becoming very important, while things like egg and TM moves or specific items that can normally be counted on suddenly often fall into "too tricky to be worth it." For a good example, the original generation's in-game tiers have Joke Character Farfetch'd placing highly, while Infinity -1 Sword Dratini ends up at the bottom: one only requires trading away a common Spearow and is immediately effective, while the other requires either lots of gambling or getting lucky in the Safari Zone, not to mention so much grind it won't be fully evolved until the endgame.
  • Fire Emblem:
    • This is a big thing in the fandom, where the participants don't stop simply at unit performance. They also take into account joining time, joining level, starting stats, stat growths, weapon options, support options, elemental affinity, promotion requirements, and other, additional abilities in their quest to accurately rank the characters. Due to the way the system works in Fire Emblem, the vast majority of characters are at least usable if you really want to play them, and so the tier lists are mostly arranged by merit of which characters are most helpful for Ranked or low-turn playthroughs. The Fire Emblem community's mantra in these debates is "personal experience means nothing"; just because a character worked out for you does not make that character good; you may have simply gotten lucky with the Random Number Goddess. Hence, the community judges a character's stats based on averages for their level progression. Generally, judging characters based on higher difficulties is preferred as well, since that tends to exacerbate differences between units: simply cranking things down to the lowest difficulty, and, in post-New Mystery games, switching on Casual Mode, will make pretty much any character somewhat viable at base and overpowered when raised, which turns tiering into a simple question of "who can effortlessly kill everything on the map first?"
    • As a general rule, the top tiers of a Fire Emblem tier list are mostly dominated by mounted units. This is largely thanks to the how poorly balanced mounted units are compared to foot units, who have better movement and solid stats, plus often several other advantages depending on game (the rescue/drop system, the ability to move after attacking, access to multiple weapons). Fliers are usually put in the same category thanks to their ability to ignore terrain, which allows fast clears of a lot of maps when used correctly. For everyone else, unless they have a utility that matches the mounted units (e.g. healers, which not only keep units alive, but can utilize staves to teleport allies or disable enemies, and dancers, which can give an Extra Turn) or have really good stats, they will not be as high as units with mounts. Additionally, Crutch Character units tend to outdo Magikarp Power units, due to the former being seen as more reliable and efficient—after all, would you rather work your butt off for an overpowered unit, or spend little to no effort for a serviceable one?
    • Character who sit in their game's god tier are generally those who influence the game to a much bigger extent than the rest of the cast, such as Caeda and Lena, Sigurd, Safy, Melady and Rutger, Marcus, Seth, Titania, Jill, and Marcia, Haar, and Robin. The exact parameters and reasoning varies from character to character—some are high-level, others are low, some are purely combat, others are mostly utility—but they are generally seen as units where not making use of them makes the game much harder, or at the very least, much more tedious. This is also partly why Magikarp Power characters tend to perform poorly; rather than making the game easier for the player, raising them pretty much forces the player to spend dozens of turns bringing them up to par.
  • Chrono Cross, despite being an RPG, has over 40 characters to choose from, so tiers were bound to arise, especially since some characters are worse than others.
    • Glenn is considered one of the best in the game, and the principal reason to not help Kid when she is poisoned. The alternative choice gives two useless characters and Razzly. While she is a fantastic mage, the player will already have Leena, who is just as good, only tougher. Later in the game, Karsh is almost always picked over Zoah since the player already has a powerful Yellow innate with Norris. Irenes tends to be the go-to pick if Harle's black elemental nature would do more harm than good.
  • Radiata Stories proudly boasts over 150 characters you can collect and use in battle, and the quests to obtain them have a wide range of difficulty which doesn't always correspond to each character's strength. There are characters you'd have to be crazy not to go into the final battle with, characters that are only there for the lulz, and inevitably you'll find a character that you just plain like. They're all pretty interesting.
    • The game actually gets slammed by those who play only the early sections of the game for this, as many of the early characters are outright useless except as decoys. One very early character, a Farm Boy cleric, even outright says he has no skills at all (his only attack is very slow and unwieldy), but he's still better than some characters, which have no attacks at all, and their only support ability is to remove status ailments. The win-the-fight-single-handedly good characters, however, are almost invariably the leaders of certain sub-factions, and require you to collect every one of their subordinates before they can be added into your group. This means you have to do things like drag that annoying, useless brat mage around until he gains 10 levels to recruit his father just so you can recruit that father's boss. Oh, and if we're speaking power levels, the humans have much better character choices than the non-human faction does.
  • After the arena system was introduced in World of Warcraft, players and developers alike have been compiling statistics about which character classes are over- or underrepresented in high-rated teams. Naturally, these statistics are then (ab)used regularly in flamewars about class balance.
  • Urban Rivals (which sometimes advertises on the sidebar to your left) has their marketing strategy built around this. Each virtual card represents a character that appears in comic book features, has a backstory, a set of stats and abilities, and their description pages contain reviews on the cards appearance, strategic applications, and effectiveness. Many forum threads are about which cards or dream teams a given player advocates. The auction market for these cards can be manipulated into high fluctuation based on current popularity, collector status, or how much cleavage or implied nudity is on the card.
  • Valkyrie Profile has a lot of characters but they are clearly examples of Character Tiers. The two lancersnote  tend to rank at the top because of their god-tier like weapons which are available starting in Chapter 2, and can be purchased. The heavy swordsmen rank just below them, also due to weapons. The swordsmen are under that, and they fall under Can't Catch Up. Janus and Valkyrie are extremely useful as archers, but Llewellyn and Badrach are useless. The sorcerers are fairly interchangeable. While there are tiers of them based on starting magic powernote , the difference is minimal, and only one sorcerer is needed. This all changes in the Seraphic Gate, where swords just ridiculously overpower everything.
  • This happens in Dark Cloud. Interestingly, the tiers match up with when the characters join the party, with earlier ones generally being more powerful. See that game's YMMV page for a more in-depth analysis than what is presented here.
    • Toan, and Xiao are hugely powerful, to the point of almost being broken, and are the first two characters.
    • Goro and Ruby are hard to use, but very effective when used properly, putting them neatly in middle tier. They join third and fourth, respectively. Ruby is ahead of Goro in this tier due to being more intuitive, and thus, easy to unlock the full potential of, for most players.
    • Ungaga and Osmond are plagued by different kinds of problems, and there's never really a time when another character won't outdo them. They join last.
    • Note that this is a somewhat loose tier list, as the game has a very extensive and involved upgrade system; any character can become a powerhouse with the right items, equipment, and other power-ups.
  • The Super Robot Wars games, in which both mecha and individual pilots are ranked.
    • Notable on the God tier are GaoGaiGar, Zeorymer taken further by Great Zeorymer in J and the Aussenseiter (Daitrombe) as well as its pilot Elzam Ratsel in every game they're in. The Black Selena HM in all games Nadesico is in except W. The Vaisaga also makes a good case for this in OG at least, but on the GBA version of OG 2 you can only get it on your second playthrough and it's kinda hard to get. You can get it your first time through in the PS2 version though. Also, strangely, the Gundam X Divider can be deadly without many upgrades in Alpha Gaiden, as well as Kamille and his Zeta Gundam, which Kamille is God tier (Better stats than ALMOST every other pilot in all the games I've seen, even more than Char and Amuro), and the Zeta is Top to High most the time. If it's not the best MS in the game, you can just switch him.
    • The Mazingers in Alpha Gaiden is a unique case.
      • First, Mazinger Z, a decent unit in and of itself. It's extremely cheap in term of energy consumption, doesn't need morale (in contrast to other super robots), accompanied by relatively strong weapon with good range coverage that gets a slight power up later in the game, and Mazinpower to increase attack power by 20%. It's fairly sturdy to boot.
      • Great Mazinger is a contender for Top tier. Tetsuya is involved in a lot of scenario in higher number than most other character, have good stats, high SP and Great is one of the best overall unit having High damage, need no Morale requirement for all of its weapon except for it MAP attack, and all of them consume few energy, but while its strongest attack only has 1 ammo but deals massive damage. It also get Mazinpower.
      • Then theres Mazinkaiser. It has a massively powerful weapon on all range with its weapon able to reach 4-6 range, all of its attacks don't need will to be used, massive armor, high HP, and its dodge is higher than some reals. It gets Mazinpower to further enhance its already powerful attacks. In fact, its attack is so powerful that a fully upgraded Mazinger Z without power up is of the same power as fresh Mazinkaiser. Also, it has good terrain modifiers. It goes without saying that it's a God tier unit. Not to mention Koji is a Top Tier pilot only being slightly worse than Tetsuya.
    • You've also got Ideon up there on the God tier or beyond, at least in Alpha 3 where you don't have to worry about that pesky universe ending IDE gauge. Banpreios in Alpha 3 also is God tier. On the low ends, you have mook Gundam pilots and most supporting characters like Katz, Fa, Musashi in Getter 1, any MS that isn't piloted by Char or Amuro that's not a Gundam, and any Astevailis that isn't piloted by Akito or Gai. The Valzacard in W is God tier as well.
      • The resident Joke Character Boss and Boss Borot is an anomally in the tier list. In older SRW, boss is Mid tier at best, having decent Seishin set, and Boss is one of the better Ressuply unit. Its extremely cheap repair cost lets you to use it for suicide bombing purpose just in case. However, some newer SRW gave Boss his subpilots, having awesome Seishin but get hit by Magikarp Power to fully achieve its biggest potential. Then come J, L and W. in J, and W its a Swiss Army Knife able to repair, ressuply, and have strong and economic weapon and its really cheap to upgrade. In L, boss has an awesome Squad bonus, and a lot of its attack deals massive damage AND lower morale. Both game also has 3 Pilot Seishin for Boss. In these SRW, Boss is a contender for Top tier.... then you have games like the Z series and V where he's based off of the Shin Mazinger version and is absolutely useless.
  • The popular Warcraft 3 map Defense of the Ancients has characters divided according to early or late game, extent of item dependency and ganker/tank/carry types, amongst others. One key type is the "pubstomper", which can do over 1000 DPS with a full compliment of items, but is dependent on "farming" heavily and thus only dominates in individualist "pub" games, being usually hunted and shut down in Tournament Play. Competitive worthy champions vary wildly in role, to say the least.
    • There really are no truly best or worst characters when playing a full 5v5 game. Under other conditions this may not be true. 1v1 match-ups favor DPS characters, early-game harassers, and single-target stuns. Only-middle-lane games favor Area of Effect spells and pushers. Even "pubstomper" characters aren't necessarily overpowered in pub games - if the opposing team is poor, those character can most quickly become unstoppable, but if its own team is poor then those characters can also most quickly become useless.
  • Disgaea has some degree of tiers; other then the in-game tiers (unlocked by leveling up their "lower tier" units), some classes have definite advantages over other; until you realise that Divine Majins beat everything except maybe Flonne in a single stat. They are very time-consuming, though.
    • Later games balanced this out a little, to the point where in Disgaea 3, Majins are considered the worst class in the game.
    • In general with Disgaea, since only the PSP port of Disgaea: Hour of Darkness had PvP, this is mainly based on stats and performance against other stats and performances. Equipment, residents, and abilities play heavily into each character, and the Story characters can also be ordered along the same way. While each game has a definitive "best" class, it all depends on how one combines a character with its equipment and according to its abilities and overall stats. As an example, assuming one faces off against a Ninja with an Iron Knight, one has to take into consideration their abilities, the evasion potential of the Ninja versus the exceptional defensive wall of the Iron Knight, movement, attack possibilities, and what residents are in each item. If an Iron Knight has a 100 Specialist Alchemist in their weapon, it could take only one hit to win since the poison would pretty much assure repeated damage, but may never get the chance considering the dodging ability of the Ninja especially if the ninja has equipped a weight to activate its ability by keeping its health low, and also has a 25 Lover specialist, making it like catching air with your bare hands. In contrast, a Baciel never misses thanks to its ability, making a Ninja worthless, but it hardly matters if you can't miss if you're up against an Iron Knight with such incredible defense that you're doing basically no damage. Disgaea, in the end, mainly comes down to math and performance on whether something will perform in a given situation or not, but since the game has 9999 levels, the majority of all the battles fought in the game will mainly come down to being higher level unless one is up against the very last bonus bosses in each game, or wants to see the true potential of the character in question.
  • In the first Mass Effect game, Adepts were basically the top class - their powers kept enemies under permanent lockdown to the point where they could never fight back. Even the final boss was not immune. This made the hardest difficulty in the game (Insanity) pretty easy. Sentinels were considered the absolute worst class in the game, due to being a Spoony Bard class that was basically the Master of None, having the worst weapon skills and weaker biotic and tech skills than any class bar the Soldier (who had no biotic or tech skills) without anything to really make up for it. In an attempt to tone down Adepts in the sequel, the game was changed so that biotic powers no longer work on enemies with any type of shielding (Armor, shields, or barriers). Every enemy in Insanity difficulty is shielded after the first mission, dropping Adepts from the best class to the worst. Sentinels also got a huge boost when they were given the same weapon skills as Engineers or Adepts (still technically the worst, but this could be remedied in a later mission that let them upgrade their weapon selection to include assault rifles) and the Tech Armor power, which made them the most durable class. They also got abilities to deal with pretty much every protection (Overload was especially useful considering how common shields were).
    • The first game was also very glaring in two regards: One was that the Krogan Battlemaster (aka Wrex) was very powerful due to him being sort of a Vanguard (soldier/adept hybrid), while still retaining most of the perks of the soldier class (heavy armor, regeneration, wide array of weapons to choose from...) as opposed to the standard vanguard. The other was the predominance of synthetic opponents, which made classes that were good at controlling/hurting these comparatively strong. Mass Effect 2 did away with this due to geth not being nearly as prominent in this game as in the first one.
    • NPCs in Mass Effect 2 are ranked based on their powers. Miranda's powers are always useful, and she gives a damage bonus to the entire squad, making her the best overall. Mordin is feast or famine - against organics (particularly the Blood Pack, since he works well against armored foes), he is utterly amazing. Against synthetic foes, he is terrible. At the low end of the tier list is Jack (who has no skills for dealing with armored foes and is very fragile), Jacob (who is simply inferior to Grunt in all respects) and Morinth, for having all the problems of Jack without the Warp Ammo bonus power that makes her playable.
  • Companions of the same class in Dragon Age: Inquisition have access to the same class abilities, so they are pretty much interchangeable in the party... until you unlock the Specializations, that is. Since each companion has a predetermined spec in this game, and not all specs are equally powerful and/or useful, it induces a certain inequality. Among party mages, for instance, the Knight-Enchanter Vivienne is easily the best pick, as her specialization counteracts most of the weaknesses inherent to her class (low defenses, lack of effective melee capabilities), while also boosting the party's overall survivability; Solas, whose Rift Mage spec gives him an impressive damage output boost, comes secondnote , while Dorian's Necromancer abilities are sadly very situational and rarely see much use.
  • Suikoden is in the same boat as Chrono Cross in that the huge roster of characters (technically 108, but only about half of that can be used in battle) has greatly encouraged the use of tiers. Typically, physical fighters come up above magic users and weak fighters with several rune slots (and thus, plenty of customization potential) are far more valued that strong fighters with few or no rune slots.
  • Not all of your recruits in Valkyria Chronicles are created equal. While every class's basic stats are about the same, their "potentials" are assigned purely based on their personality, resulting in some characters with nothing but useful perks, and some with absolutely crippling drawbacks. Since there are plenty of people to choose from, each with their own very unique personalities, and even the worst of them are usable with a bit of clever tactics (plus the entire game is singleplayer only) it ends up adding charm and individuality without taking away from gameplay.
  • Due to the way Elemental Rock–Paper–Scissors works in ZanZarah: The Hidden Portal, Psi, Ice, Light, and Dark faeries are inherently the most powerful combatants, so at least three of them are more-or-less Required Party Members by the endgame (most likely Light, as you'll mostly be fighting Dark and Chaos fairies); whereas Nature, Stone, and Chaos tend to become Tier-Induced Scrappies because they are mostly one-trick ponies with lots of easily exploitable weaknesses.
  • The party members in South Park: The Stick of Truth had a very clear character tier delineation,
    • Butters the Merciful was the go-to party member for most of the game. His attacks were very good at hitting heavily armored opponents, and his special skill made him great at harming vertical columns of enemies.
    • Elf King Kyle was overpowered as soon as he became available, with a high-damage all-hitting attack he could one-shot almost all enemies, even on higher difficulties. The only reason people rank Butters higher than him is because Kyle only joins in the late game.
    • Princess Kenny was better than Butters at dealing with lightly armored foes because the bow attack hit multiple times, and the unicorn attack hit enemy rows, which enemies often grouped themselves as. Unfortunately, a failure would kill Kenny.
    • Stan hit very hard and was decently tough, but became less useful once Kyle joined the party.
    • Jimmy only had one use, putting Al Gore's Secret Service to sleep. Other than that, he wasn't useful.
    • Cartman's magic wasn't bad, but it simply wasn't as good as Kyle, and by the time Cartman was available, so was Kyle. He was really only useful to gain achievements.
  • Star Ocean: Till the End of Time, due to it's real-time battle system, had a strong character tier system.
    • Cliff and Maria were considered to be the two top-tier contenders. The former could lock enemies in place, and the latter did the most damage in the game. In the late game, Cliff's ultimate ability Max Shockwave is considered one of the game's best powers.
    • Nel was considered a godsend in the early and mid-game, and she had skillful powers even in the late game, she just tended to be outclassed by the top two.
    • Albel was hard to use, but his ability to juggle could be used against extremely powerful bosses like Lenneth and Freya. A skilled player could literally juggle the boss from one end of the arena to the other and prevent them from getting any attacks at all.
    • Fayt had the game's highest defense, but his skills in the late game tended to taper off.
    • Peppita, like Albel, was considered difficult to play, but good (if outclassed by Maria).
    • Mirage was considered good at solo runs or useful on the AI, but she just wasn't as useful as the others.
    • Sophia has powerful magic chains to lock enemies, but she does almost no damage and almost all her spells do elemental damage.
    • At the bottom, Adray and Roger were considered to be a Joke Character who do nothing spectacular.
  • With the numerous amounts of characters players have access to in the Trails Series, chances are that this trope comes into play.
    • In the Sky Series, art users dominate the field since physical attacks are weak without significant buffs, especially in higher difficulties. Estelle is a Jack-of-All-Trades character who usually sits in the middle tier while Joshua is usually placed at a higher tier due to his speed, Delay Craft, and an S-Break that hits every enemy in the field. Estelle gets bumped up a little higher after she gains Wheel of Time, the second most powerful S-Craft in the trilogy. Among Arts users in particular, Kloe easily dominates in this category thanks to her sheer Art Strength, with most players keeping her in the party. This only changes after Renne is playable. The only physical based characters that are really worth using are Richard in The Third whose speed is just insane and has the strongest S-Craft. Or Agate if he's spamming Wild Rage and using his S-Craft/Break with strength or critical bonuses on those turns. Surprisingly, once the Orbal Gear Craft is obtained in her Moon Door, Tita jumps from one of the lowest tier characters who has range and area of effect attacks and little else to a tanky, incredibly strong Lightning Bruiser that's equal to, if not stronger than Richard.
    • It's the same story with Zero and Azure Series where physical attacks are still terrible but not as bad as the ones in Sky, though because you only have up to 4-6 characters by the endgame, the tier list isn't as varied though Randy usually gets benched in favor of Wazy due to his powerful S-Craft. Lloyd is usually kept in the field thanks to Burning Heart plus his evasion stat and Elie and Tio are there to cast buffs. Lloyd sometimes gets swapped out with Rixia mainly thanks to the range of her weapon.
    • Due to the Loads and Loads of Characters in the Cold Steel Series tier lists are bound to happen, especially with 27 overall characters by the end of II and 39 characters by the True Final Boss in IV (though guest characters can't change their Master Quartz and equipment setup so they're stuck with what the get). Rean is usually rated high to top in the tier lists mainly thanks to needing the levels to participate in Valimar fights, his absurd Arc Slash in II that inflicts heavy delay to enemies meaning no one's ever gonna take a turn unless they're immune to delay, and his three restricted slots (two Time Elements and one Fire element) are really great since Rean can equip more speed or delay quartz which helps out his Arc Slash even more. Meanwhile on the lower end of the spectrum, Elise ends up being the worst playable character in II due to her terrible crafts and her so-so arts where everyone else excels so much better.
  • With extra characters from the DLC, Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3: The Black Order has over 50 characters. Most are going to decent albeit mediocre, a lot will be very good or even fantastic and there's even a couple of complete game changers. Then you have a few stinkers...
    • Once you factor in the DLC, the game has two in the God Tier list: Thanos (Infinite) is a wrecking machine with almost universally the best stats and his abilities when charged, hit with the power of a synergy or a weak Ex attack. Phoenix is squishy but she has two game-changing powers: her Ex can resurrect her team mates and gives her a time limited self-revival, but most importantly her Cleansing Flame ability will steal energy from enemies and give it to your entire team. In a game where abilities are key, Phoenix lets a team spam these. Before Phoenix, players would have to manage their teams's energy use and avoid particular low-tier characters. With her on a team, every character can be viable to play.
    • The bottom tier are Dr. Strange and Scarlett Witch, both characters have awful stats even in the key attack stat for them (Mastery is the stat for doing energy and ethereal damage, many bruiser melee characters have higher Mastery than these two), the abilities they have look good on paper but can be underwhelming in actual gameplay and neither character are effective in synergizing abilities (the only character worse than Scarlett Witch at synergy is Thanos (Infinite) who's designed not to have any).

    Tabletop Games 
  • Dungeons & Dragons
    • The Dungeons & Dragons community has an ultimate prototype for a (ridiculous) God Tier character: Pun Pun the Kobold. Pun Pun was initially created in 3.5e and has since been worked out in other editions as well as versions in other RPGs mechanics. It's essentially the most minmaxed character possible in a given set of mechanics.
    • In 3rd edition, versatility (how many problems a character can contribute to solving) is often at least as important as power (how powerful the character's abilities are for problems) in tiering. In one popular system, the top tier is characters who, with the right spells prepared, can solve nearly anything the GM can come up with as a standard action. Lesser tiers either have less versatility or less power. For example, Druids tend to be high/top-tier due to their highly versatile magical powers which include conjuring and purifying food and controlling the elements as well as the ability to transform into various animals, as are Wizards, who depending on whether or not they prepared the right spells and still have spell slots the cast them, can either be a Useless Protagonist or effectively overcome absolutely anything; Fighters on the other hand tend to be low-tier as they are unparalleled allies in battle but have few useful skills outside of Intimidate (i.e, outside of a fight, the only thing they're really good for is preventing one). In general, while a character of any tier can be a Game-Breaker with the right factors, only a high-tier character can be a Story Breaker. Imagine how The Lord of the Rings would have turned out if Gandalf could teleport any distance, read minds, identify any item instantly, and make anyone immune to mental influence... and that was just a fraction of his abilities.
    • More in-depth: The generally agreed list is six tiers. Tier 1 is for characters like wizards, clerics, and druids, who possess Story-Breaker Power and can utilize pretty much every type of it. Tier 2 is for characters like sorcerers, psions, and favored souls, who have access to similar Story-Breaker Power, but to a more restrictive degree (the creator compared it to the difference between a nation with a thousand nukes and one with ten). Beneath them, the tiers refer to characters in terms of how good they are at their given focus, and how many things they can do well. Tier 3 is for characters like bards, factotums, and duskblades, who can either do one thing incredibly well and still pull off other tricks passably, or do pretty much anything effectively. Tier 4 is for characters like rogues, barbarians, and rangers, who can do one thing incredibly well but struggle at doing anything else, or can do a lot of things to a passable degree. Tier 5 is for characters like fighters, monks, and paladins, who can generally be okay at one thing but not much else, or can do a lot of things but kinda sucks at all of them. Tier 6 is for classes that can't even be okay at the thing they're supposed to be good at, and is mostly reserved for deliberately weak NPC classes and the worst-designed PC classes. And then there's the truenamer, which is so mechanically broken that it doesn't work as intended, fluctuating between 4 and 6 depending on whether they can make their rolls consistently.
    • Tiers themselves are based on "As Written" comparisons based on how effectively the class can deal with different situations. The original author pointed out that optimized fighters can still be a low tier but capable of taking down the Tarrasque in a single turn. In the the right hands, many classes can be equal to higher tiers in power, even though they still remain in their tier because of their lack of versatility. The Truenamer breaks the tier system by dint of its mechanics not being properly thought out, getting worse by every level, until level 20, when it will just spam Gate Celestial Angels.
    • Prestige Classes generally are set on separate tier system, ranking them on how they might move the expected base class through standard tiers. Marvelous tier advances base class by two tiers, Great to Good Tier by one, Medicore don't advance it at all and Bad to Awful Tier and Catastrophic Tier can actually move the class down one or two tiers. What you enter Prestige Class from is also important - for example, Warshaper is Marvelous Tier when taken by classes who cannot use magic, but only Medicore Tier, when taken by a caster. Some are also very situational - Dragonstalker and Dragonslayer are Bad to Awful Tier, but if your game is focused heavily on fighting dragons, they're respectively Good to Great and Medicore. A few prestige classes are informally referred to as "Tier Zero", which doesn't have a precise definition but is generally accepted to mean a prestige class designed to make a Tier 1 class significantly better - for instance, the Planar Shepherd upgrades the druid's already-powerful Voluntary Shapeshifting to let them turn into celestial beings instead of animals and lets them set up bubbles that run on different laws of physics, while keeping basically all their old power.
    • The 4th edition of D&D sought to remove this by making all the classes follow the same progression, so everyone is linear. Predictably, this nevertheless didn't result in a uniform power level, and discussions about which classes are higher-tier than which others are common. For example, "iconic" classes like the fighter and wizard have many more spells, feats, and abilities printed than "what on earth is that" classes like the Battlemind or the Seeker.
      • On the other hand, it's been said that the power spread of the entire 4E tier system could fit within one tier of 3.5, partially because of more aggressive errata and the inability to do things which simply break the gameplay in half. Additionally, while some classes have many more powers to choose from, in reality all that actually matters is the -strongest- powers at any given level - unlike in 3.x, where spellcasters had access to every single new spell in every single book (at least potentially), characters in 4th edition are limited in their number of powers, so no matter if you have four powers or thirty to choose from, you still have the same breadth of ability. The primary advantage lies in that with a higher number of powers, it is more likely one will be overpowered, and less likely that all will be bad or unsuitable for your build.
    • D&D Minis had informal tiers based on the perceived usefulness of a particular miniature. Unlike the RPG, spellcasters were rarely in the top tier due to Squishy Wizard Syndrome, among other things. Also, very few of the most powerful monsters from the RPG were top tier as minis, due to poor playtesting by the Devs.
    • 5th edition tried to rebalance the classes and eliminate the tier system and... ultimately ended up just reshuffling the tiers around a tiny bit. Wizards and Druids are still more than capable of wrecking the game in every situation, while Bards somehow ended up sharing a God Tier spot with them due to their ability to break the skill system entirely and learn up to 9th level spells from EVERY classes spell list. Clerics were bumped down a little bit and Paladins became less specialized, but ultimately the tier system is still prominent, it just looks a little different compared to 3.5.
  • Pathfinder, D&D 3.5e's Spiritual Successor, strives to make all characters much more balanced, with limited success. All classes received upgrades, but low tier 3.5 classes received more extensive rewrites while powerful 3.5 classes only received minor enhancements to make them more fun to play along with some nerfs to the most well-known exploits. A good example is that the Wizard, a top tier character, received new abilities which are hardly worth a mention and had many metamagic feats nerfed, while the Paladin, a tier 5, had its trademark Smite Evil boosted into a permanent buff against the designated target, its Lay on Hands ability was boosted to be far more useful as a source of healing and status removal, and its other abilities were generally enhanced, pushing it up into Tier 4. The overall balance of the game is unchanged, however, and competent casters can still break the universe in half while fighter-type characters still tend to lack any versatility outside combat.
  • While it is generally agreed that tabletop wargames Warhammer and Warhammer 40,000 have army tiers, getting anyone to agree which armies are in which tier is nearly impossible. It also revolves around the competitive metagame as much as individual matchups and will often depend on how easy or hard it is to make the army competitive. This issue is exacerbated by the fact that the more popular armies get updated much more often than the less popular ones.
    • Daemons of Chaos in Warhammer Fantasy is an exception to the rule, everybody agrees that they're God Tier.
    • It's a joke among the 40k fandom that you're not allowed to bitch that GWS hates, ignores or deliberately nerfed your army unless you play Dark Eldar. Their original codex was released in 1998 for the launch of 3rd edition 40k, and they did not receive a new codex until 2010, for the Fifth Edition of 40k.
      • Necrons had similar issues. The changes from Fourth to Fifth Edition almost completely gutted their competitive metagame, and since their army had such little variety it was nigh impossible for players to find new tactics. This was eventually fixed with the release of a new, much larger codex in late 2011note 
    • The Orks also had a long time between their 3rd edition codex and their next one. They were one of the first to come out for 3rd edition in 1999 but didn't get another until early 2008 just before Fourth Edition was replaced by Fifth Edition. Their next scheduled Codex update is early 2014.
      • That said, they never quite tipped into Bottom Tier or God Tier at any point since 2000.
    • In Apocalypse (extremely high-point games), however, two God Tier factions have emerged. The Imperial Guard simply have more and more powerful vehicles than anyone else, especially fliers (and Apocalypse is won on vehicle power), while Chaos Daemons...can cherry-pick units from any faction so long as the model has spikes on it.
  • A lot of debate goes on in Magic: The Gathering fandom as to whether one card can be "strictly better" than another. While it's certainly true that as the game gets more powerful in general newer cards outshine old ones with the same casting cost and power/toughness (though all of the very strongest cards ever printed are long since out of print), it gets harder to judge recent cards against each other due to how situational many cards are these days.
    • This is complicated by Wizards releasing cards that seem useless, only to either 1) release another card later that makes it useful, 2) have a player suddenly realize how it was meant to be used in the first place, or 3) to have a player use it in a way that they didn't intend but that completely breaks the game; the last tends to be the largest problem. Ironically, One With Nothing itself was meant to be a completely useless card, but due to a deck that wizards never even thought was viable, let alone good, coming to exist - a deck that won by forcing its opponent to fill up their hand with cards all the time - One With Nothing briefly became a tournament staple, though the popularity of the deck in question (Owling Mine) declined dramatically after everyone started playing aggressive decks that simply didn't care because they were throwing lightning bolts at people's heads, and drawing more cards just meant more lightning bolts and Kird Apes.
    • In Mirrodin's case, it was a whole mechanic that worked mostly as intended, but was more dominant than expected. Cards costing one-fourth what they should proved slightly too strong. The same thing happened in the Urza block. Due to the way the mechanic counted the resources spent, what was supposed to give back the resources (and maybe a bit more) winded up returning a lot more. In both cases, the ability to play your whole hand in a turn or two and do it sooner than you should be able to was a bit too much for the metagame.
    • The same debate goes on regarding different decks - generally there's the "best deck", several other top-tier decks, and a large number of second-tier decks. Then there are the "rogue" decks that aren't popular enough to have an obvious tier, and the decks that are pure Metagame choices. Being able to select the right decks is considered as much of a skill as playing well.
    • It's important to note that there is an official definition for "strictly better" - a card is strictly better than another card if it does more for an identical cost (or the same/more for a smaller cost). Lightning Bolt, for example, is strictly better than Shock - both cost one red mana, but Lightning Bolt does an extra point of damage. Of course, with the way Magic tournaments are run, those strictly better cards might not always be legal.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh! has a similar tier list to Magic, with decks being judged mostly by how well they do in tournaments. Generally, the most important tiers are Tier 1 (the best decks of the format that regularly win tournaments), Tier 2 (not as good as the Tier 1s but can still win tournaments in the hands of a good player), Tier 3 (can do well in tournaments but will rarely ever top them), and Rogue (can win individual games against the other tiers, but is too inconsistent to win tournaments). With Yu-Gi-Oh! being one of the all-time kings of Power Creep, decks maintaining their tier position for more than a year is quite rare, and the vast majority of decks and archetypes aren't even considered Rogue-tier. Very occasionally, there are decks classified as Tier 0, which refers to a deck so overpowered that nothing in its format can beat it reliably aside from a mirror match, resulting in all tournament placings being variants of that deck—these decks are usually short-lived, due to them getting smacked by the banlist after a month or so.
  • In traditional chess, the white player is considered to have a slight advantage simply because he moves first, which agrees well with statistics[1]. This is not the case in other chess-variants, especially shogi (Japanese chess) where both players have an almost even 50% chance of winning.
    • One way to fix this advantage in chess and other games where turn order can be an unfair advantage given identical starting circumstances is with the "pie rule" - where one player makes the first move with white. The other player then has the option of either playing as black or switching to white for the game.
  • On the other hand, the first-move advantage for Black in Go is not disputed. Strangely enough, it took until the twentieth century for compensation for White to become standard. It's called komi and consists, depending on the ruleset, of 6.5 to 8 free points added to White's score.
  • Blood Bowl has a fairly well-agreed upon tier system divided into three tiers: Tier one consists of all teams that are perfectly capable of running a main scoring strategy (running, throwing or bashing) out of the box. Tier two consists of teams that either need some SPP development to do so, or have an obvious drawback when playing their favoured strategy. Tier three are obvious joke teams who basically depend on luck to win. Notably, something like 80% of the game's teams are in tier 1. How strong a team is also depends a lot on the type of tournament/league you're playing, other teams participating, and rules (such as time limit per move) that are implemented. And, of course, ultimately Nuffle is the final arbitrator.

  • Ace Combat:
    • Since Ace Combat 6: Fires of Liberation comes with multiplayer capability, the planes themselves have been separated into tiers. All of the planes are divided into three categories: "fighters", "bombers", and "multirole" planes. Within each category are other tiers based on each individual plane's performance attributes. Naturally, many modern planes such as the F-22 or SU-47 would be far superior to older planes like the F-16 or A-10.
    • Ace Combat 04: Shattered Skies had a Versus mode, albeit it (and Ace Combat 5: The Unsung War) referred to the bombers as "attackers" and doesn't state tiers, it's soon clear where each plane fits in.
  • In Tom Clancy's H.A.W.X., tiers do exist, but many planes toward the top are close enough that it's not that clear cut and while the F-22 is near the top it's hardly alone. This also ignores that "guns only" still rather illogically allows unguided rockets which can be a significant edge and a reason to chose another plane. Guns only actually gets rid of one of the F-22 edges which is that it's hard to lock due to stealth, but also has high maneuverability unlike most of the other stealth planes. Without missile the extra lock time is a non-factor and a number of other planes are just as or very nearly as maneuverable.
  • In nearly every online sports game, there is a small group of teams with an enormous advantage (much like Real Life).
    • In the NCAA Football series, for instance, there are over 115 teams, but only show-offs and super-fans pick outside the Top 10.
  • The FIFA series, being a reflection of the current state of world football, is naturally this. The tiers in-game are actually startlingly accurate when compared to real life.
  • The campaign modes in Europa Universalis and its sequel, being based on and seeking to emulate late medieval to modern European history, do not pretend to create balanced factions in any way: various nations are more economically and militarily well-off from the very beginning, and scripted historical events affect gameplay in such a way that make it more difficult even for successful nations to continue dominating if history says that they cannot, effectively altering tiers based on the length of the game. Skilled players can take advantage of game mechanics to turn the tiers on their heads, but non-Christian, non-Western European nations have a much harder time at it.
    • In fact, until a almost world conquest by a native american faction in a AAR in EU3 (Here it is), it was considered impossible to become a world power with them, merely surviving being already a lot.
      • Note: in the third game, the scripted events disappear, monarchs are no longer pre-determined (which means that you are no longer certain if you start in the 1600's as France that Louis XIV is going to live as long as he did - and it brings up the possibility that he might be succeeded by a douché with a weak claim due to sudden heir deaths and after the succession, crisis after crisis) and non-European powers can "Westernize" and thus increase their tech rate - reducing the gap to the Europeans.
  • Similarly, Koei designed Romance of the Three Kingdoms and Nobunaga's Ambition to be historically accurate. As a result, both games are unbalanced, and both have at least one scenario where Cao Cao and Oda Nobunaga (respectively) are at least twice as powerful as the second strongest force.
  • EVE Online goes through this with every major patch. Each of the four races has had a turn at being the Flavor of the Month depending on who boasts the current Scrappy Mechanic; maybe it's the Caldari with ECM jammers being overpowered, Minmatar dominating because of unbalanced speed tanking, Gallente hurting because their close range ships suffered from the super-speed nerf or players calling for a boost to the Amarr all around. Fortunately, the EVE devs generally listen to the community....even if they swing the Nerf Bat a little to hard at times.
  • GoldenEye for Nintendo 64 included at least 2 playable characters in multiplayer that were considerably shorter than other characters, specifically including Oddjob. Thanks to the way the game's auto-aim worked, it would fix on a point that would be where the head was on any other character - and just above the head in his case, requiring you to manually aim down (which was difficult on the N64) and give the Oddjob player plenty of time to gun you down. It got so bad that tournaments (and friends) banned use of Oddjob and the Moonraker Female (the other short character) from use.
  • The Gundam Vs Series has its tiers built into the game; the Universal Century and Cosmic Era games use a five-star system (with half-stars), typically following technical progress (which means in the Mobile Suit Gundam SEED Destiny-based game, most of the returning SEED machines are downgraded). In Gundam Vs. Gundam the system is simplified to three levels (3000 for hero machines, 2000 for middle-of-the-roaders, and 1000 for Mooks); Gundam Extreme Vs. adds a 2500 tier consisting mostly of Rival and Lancer machines.
  • WWE Raw Deal, a Professional Wrestling collectible card game, took almost no time to sort itself into character tiers from Stone Cold and Chyna nearly unbeatable in earlier sets, to Andre the Giant and Largest Athlete in Sports Entertainment, the Big Show alternate, in later sets. Interestingly, the devs insisted that the game was perfectly balanced and that players just weren't finding the other characters' "killer archetypes." Said archetypes, if they ever existed, still haven't been found yet ten years later.
  • Hearts of Iron 2, what tier a country belongs to depends almost entirely on its size and industrial capacity. The strongest countries are, in order: Germany, the Soviet Union, the United States, the United Kingdom, Japan, Italy, and Francenote . It's possible to conquer a continent or more with some of the smaller countries (especially Brazil and Argentina, which are far away from the main super-powers), but almost any country on the European continent will either be conquered by Germany or allied with Germany. Same with Japan and Asia.
  • Command & Conquer: Red Alert 2 has this for the countries rather than characters. When playing multiplayer with the expansion, Yuri's side is Top Tier and can border on God Tier. For the Allies, Korea and the USA are Top Tier since their special units/abilities don't cost anything extra (USA gets free paradrops, Korea gets about a 50% upgrade to Harriers without a corresponding cost increase), Great Britian is slightly lower on the Top Tier, and Germany and France are Mid Tier - useful, but rarely worth skipping out on either free stuff or long-range instant protection against enemy special infantry units. For the Soviets, Iraq is Top Tier, Cuba is Mid Tier, and Russia and Libya are Low Tier. When facing an Allied player, Cuba drops to Low Tier, and Russia and Libya drop to Bottom Tier because often only Iraq can stop hordes of Mirages Tanks (especially in vanilla RA2, without the expansion) if the Allies survive the early game.
  • Shining Force 1 and its subsequent games have this in spades. It makes sense, since there's always going to be those who excel, and those who don't. The problem is that many characters always had decent stat gains, if you're lucky every five levels. The most notorious bad character that isn't even a Joke Character (but might as well be) is poor Hans.
    • Even worse is the only response to this: "Use better characters". Yep, that's right. Now imagine if everybody did that. The game would get pretty stale pretty fast, then. That's why they give you 29 different characters to choose from, so you can try something new.
    • Another notorious example is in Shining Soul 1, where the Dragonute is the only character with no redeeming qualities. Yes, he gets a breathe weapon counter, but... that's it. He's slow, has bad range, hits as much as nearly everyone else(as in rarely), and gets very few useful abilities save that particular one. In fact, the list in order would best be considering(from High to Low) Mage, Archer, Warrior, Dragonute.
  • Unreal Tournament 2004 has an In-Universe example: the teams the player fights in the single-player mode have a different tier. (Weak-Tough-Strong-Godlike) The Weak tier characters can only be fought in the Team Qualification round, and the challenges. Those in the Godlike tier are the candidates to be the team the player faces in the Finals. This is also reflected in the bots chosen for these teams, as the Weak team has "weak" bots (overall low accuracy, low aggressiveness, low agility and low team tactics) while the bots in the Godlike tier are the inverse.
  • Dungeon Crawl:
    • The many gods available have been ranked into tiers. While almost all of the gods (except Xom) are very powerful if chosen wisely, some gods are easier to use and are useful in more builds than others.
      • High: Kikubaaqudgha, Okawaru, Sif Muna, The Shining One, Trog, and Vehumet
      • Middle: Beogh, Elyvilon, Lugonu, Makhleb, and Yredremnul
      • Low: Ashenzari, Cheibrados, Fedhas Madash, Jiyva, Nemelex Xobeh and Zin
      • Joke: Xom
    • The races have also been ranked into tiers of "Easy-Medium-Hard," again more based on ease of use than strength. Classes haven't as such (as they only affect the start of the game, not your progression), but each race has classes (and often weapon types) that synergize well with them.
      • Easy: Centaur, Deep Dwarf, Draconian, Gargoyle, Halfling, Hill Orc, Kobold, Merfolk, Minotaur, Spriggan, Troll, Vine Stalker
      • Moderate: Deep Elf, Demonspawn, Ghoul, High Elf, Human, Naga, Ogre, Tengu, Vampire
      • Hard: Demigod, Felid, Formicid, Mummy, Octopode
  • The Geneforge series uses a Point Build System, with skills divided into three categories (Combat, Magic, and Shaping) and the cost of buying skill ranks dependent on class affinity. Character classes each had one strong skill category, one average, and one weak. General fan consensus on class viability usually goes...
    • God Tier: Sorceress (Strong Magic/Avg. Shaping/Weak Combat). Added in the final game, and it's pretty obvious why it was never in any of the previous ones. Average shaping skills are sufficient to make powerful creations, and strong magic is far handier than strong combat if you've got a meatshield or two handy.
    • Top Tier: Shaper/Lifecrafter (Strong Shaping/Avg. Magic/Weak Combat) and Agent/Infiltrator (Strong Magic/Avg. Combat/Weak Shaping). Both solid choices, they trade off the top dog slot between games as spells and creations are rebalanced.
    • Mid Tier: Servile (Strong Combat/Avg. Magic/Weak Shaping). Added in the fourth game. Mathematically more powerful than the Agent if minmaxed, but harder to play if you don't know the system inside-out.
    • Low Tier: Guardian/Warrior (Strong Combat/Avg. Shaping/Weak Magic). Competitive in the first two games, and at least usable in the third, but outclassed later on. Strategically simple, so doesn't adapt well if played on high difficulty levels.
    • Rubbish Tier: Shock Trooper (Strong Shaping/Avg. Combat/Weak Magic). Added in the fourth game, apparently just for the sake of completeness. Again, average combat is much less useful than average magic if you've got meatshields you could be buffing.
  • Rogue-like games such as Ancient Domains of Mystery have this in spades. While the game can hardly be considered easy under any circumstances, playing a Wizard or Archer in ADOM is much, much easier than playing a Farmer or Thief.
    • This is usually deliberate. Since these are single-player games, there's no need for the classes to be balanced, and this is one way to adjust the difficulty level. The Tourist in NetHack is clearly intended as a challenge class (though it does offer some late-game advantages, if the early game can be survived).
  • You might think that simple Simulation Game Animal Crossing wouldn't have character tiers. You would be wrong. As a rule, the tiers are based solely on villager popularity (which, in turn, is based mostly on villager cuteness) and are mostly used in villager trading, so anyone who doesn't trade can just ignore them. Even if you do trade, you can probably ignore the tiers—but you might be less likely to have a deal go through if you try to trade a low-tier villager for a higher-tier one.
  • Advancements in pinball, both in technology and in competition, has resulted in some games having their own tier lists too:
    • AC/DC pinball machine has tiers regarding its songs. At the beginning of the game, and after hitting some milestones, you're asked to pick a song, which changes the rules of the table. Naturally, different sets of rules would contain different high-scoring options and different ways to exploit the rules, and this means that some songs are considered to yield higher scores than others. Although there are disagreements on which song is the best to use due to differences in play style, some songs are far, far less popular than others. (You will hardly see "TNT" or "You Shook Me All Night Long" in competitions, for instance.) All of the top players know exactly how each song stacks up against the others and why, and this knowledge is essential to doing well in tournaments.
    • When you begin a game of Game of Thrones, you are asked to pick a house to play as. Each house has one or more advantages in particular areas and also affects which objectives will be available at the start. With several months since its release, the choices for houses in competition have solidified (but that may change with patches later on).note 
  • For StreetPass Mii Plaza:
    • In Mii Force, Brown, White, and Light Blue shirts are better than other shirts. Brown and White can destroy purple plasma shots while Brown also gives a perpetual shield against physical attacks. The only drawbacks of Brown is that when it blocks a physical attack it launches you in the opposite direction, potentially into another trap and Brown shirts can be really hard to find. Light Blue shirts just have good range, rapid fire, damage, and destroy fire based attacks. While other shirts like Blue, Red, and Orange are good in general and other shirt colors are good in certain levels (2-3 for Black, 3-1, 4-1 and 4-3 for Light Green), Light Blue, White, and Brown are the best shirts to have on your ship during most levels of Mii Force. They make arcade mode a bit easier. The only useless power is Dark Green, whose attacks are both weak and unreliable.
    • In Find Mii, Yellow, Light Blue, Dark Blue, Red, Black, and White shirts are often required for passing certain levels. In addition, Red and Dark Blue magic is handy for armored enemies where, if not strong enough, can still deal damage that way, and Light Blue and Light Green magic can be handy against the Green Slime. Once again Dark Green is the most useless type of magic in the game.
  • In This War of Mine, Marko and Bruno are at the top (since their abilities are so handy and universal), Marin, Pavle, Katia, and Roman are high tier (Marin's good for shelter development while the others are good for trading or hostile engagement), Zlata, Boris, and Arica are mid-tier (Zlata being a Jack-of-All-Trades, Boris being strong but slow and having a huge backpack, and Arica for her stealth abilities), Anton and Emilia are low tier (Anton merely being better with animal traps and creating the not too useful herbal medicine and Emilia is simply emotionless), and down at the very bottom is Cveta (with the fantastic ability of being friendly to children).
  • The counselors in Friday the 13th are easily divided up in terms of utility, and the game rewards speed over every other trait they might have. That, by itself, puts Mark and Crissy right at the top of the list, with Laura trailing behind them since she can't jump as high. George, Paul and Debbie will count themselves fortunate to be used by any players who aren't specifically making a point to actually use each counselor's individual strengths, or who aren't playing a Self-Imposed Challenge. Your only incentive to use the low-tier characters is the game employs Perma Death, meaning you might want to put the worse characters to use in order to save your better characters for later.
  • The Nintendo Wars series tends to have fairly atypical tier rankings. It's generally agreed that the "bottom-tier" characters in the game come off more as balanced mid-tiers (Andy, Olaf), with the next step up being characters who feel noticeably stronger than those (Sami, Eagle), then characters who are pretty much broken (Colin, Kanbei), and then characters who might be fair in a two-on-one game (Sturm, Hachi). The exceptions are Flak and Jugger, who are basically Joke Characters.
  • In Diablo II, the Sorceress is god tier in Single-Player mode as she is far and away the best item farmer than the rest of the classes combined for 99% of the game, thanks to a combination of easy gearing, access to Teleport and Static Field.
    • The Necromancer could easily fall into bottom tier if built around raising skeleton minions. Bosses gained big buffs against minions, allowing them to kill them almost instantly while taking virtually no damage. In addition, most bosses were fought in gated areas with no other monsters around, meaning the Necromancer was left with no corpses around to raise, or to use for other skills like corpse explosion. Since Hell difficulty allowed monsters to regenerate health, it was no longer possible to use tactics jumping in and out through portals to slowly wear them down, and progress past a certain point was simply impossible.
  • Below the Root was an early example with a choice of five questers of varying ages, races, and genders. These were theoretically balanced, but Pomma ended up being Top Tier with her high starting mana, favorable NPC reaction, and good starting location making her crazy-good for speed runs. Neric and Herd were considered Mid-Tier because they had about a 50-50 chance of a good NPC reaction, good strength, and moderate mana. Genaa and Charn were Low Tier and suitable mostly for challenge gamers; Genaa due to her complete lack of psionics (meaning she had to visit every trainer to boost herself up enough to win) and Charn due to lacking either Herd or Neric's strength, but being only slightly sturdier than Pomma, and having only average mana.

  • Meme Generator is a website for generating memes, ranks the available 'characters' by popularity/ubiquity as God Tier, Demigod Tier, Legendary Tier, Top Tier, Fascinating Tier, Meh Tier, Lame Tier and Fail Tier.
  • The Wheel of Time: The setting's magic-users, channelers, draw on The One Power, the very juice of creation itself. The amount of Power any given channeler can wield is an important metric (especially with the Sealed Evil in a Can breaking free and a "Save the World" Climax looming), but pinning them down specifically would have led to endless Fan Wank about Power Levels. To avoid this, author Robert Jordan deliberately classed his characters into tiers, simply saying "Egwene is about as strong as Elayne, but Nynaeve is stronger than either of them," without bothering to be specific about how much stronger Nynaeve was. (And then we add in the fact that channeling is a Gender-Restricted Ability, and that men have their own tiers, which Jordan specifically refused to cross-correlate with the female ones. And then we add in the fact that the Quirky Miniboss Squad are all "at least as strong as Nynaeve, but we don't really know how much stronger". And then we add in the fact that said Quirky Miniboss Squad can also channel power directly from the Big Bad. And that's how fans get obsessed with The Wheel of Time.)
  • TierZoo is a video series that treats life like an MMO game and places animals into tier lists depending on how well they can survive as a species. Rankings are determined by various factors such as stats (Intelligence, Power, Defence, Speed, Health and Stealth), abilities that the animal has (such as venom or armor piercing bites) and finally, how well they match-up against predators and prey in the "server" (habitat).

Alternative Title(s): Tier Lists


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