Fighting games are filled with many beloved character designs that are synonymous with video games as a whole. From mortal combat ninjas at the street fighter world warriors, there are several iconic characters that are synonymous with the fighting game genre.
However, popularity doesn’t always equal quality, and many of these popular characters are deceptively weak when it comes to competitive play in their respective games. The designers don’t play favorites and sometimes the game mechanics just don’t handle these amazing characters well.
ten Roy – Super Smash Bros. Melee
Despite Roy’s attractive design and flashy fire attacks, he’s unfortunately one of the worst characters players can access in Melee. A strictly worse alternative to Marth not only makes Roy’s range worse, but his damage output is also worse, as Marth’s sword reward is spacing a player with high damage and knockback, while Roy’s sword is riddled with acid spots.
9 Heihachi – Soul Calibur 2
Heihachi is one of the most recognizable characters in the tekken series, appearing in every entry. Heihachi even appeared as one of three guest characters in SoulCalibur II, available to players playing the PS2 version of the game. Despite its strength of tekken, its usefulness in SoulCalibur is quite limited.
A lot of his weakness comes from being a martial artist in a gun-based fighting game, which means almost every other character on the roster surpasses him.
8 Frieza – Dragon Ball FighterZ
In the context of Dragon Ball Z, Frieza is one of the most integral villains in the series. Unfortunately, this strength does not translate very well in the context of Dragon Ball Fighter Z in which he is one of the weakest characters in the game when it comes to playing at a competitive level.
While the main appeal of the character is their zoned potential, several characters provide far superior zoneing to their team without having as many glaring shortcomings.
seven Joker – Injustice
Few DC villains have as much stamina and popularity as the Joker. While one may love the character, melee combat has never been the character’s selling point, so it’s not the biggest surprise that the character sits at the bottom of Injusticefrom the list of levels.
While many of the game’s strongest characters have frankly abusive tools like incredible projectiles, teleports, and character-specific powers, Joker lacks a lot of what makes a character strong in Injustice.
6 Zelda – Super Smash Bros. Melee
Zelda is an interesting case, right from the start MeleeDuring her lifetime, she was actually seen as a somewhat strong and high-level character. However, as the game’s meta evolved, it continually fell into the lit tier until it landed fairly close to the bottom. Lacking in combo and kill potential while being lightweight enough that multiple characters can combine and kill her easily, Zelda is far from the best choice players have when selecting their character.
The “First Lady of Fighting Games“, one would be hard pressed to find a more iconic female fighting game character than Chun Li. Although she has appeared in multiple games, Chun Li’s viability has risen and fallen dramatically over the course of her appearances.
While she’s been notoriously strong in games like Street Fighter III: Third Strike, she is quite weak in several matches of the Marvel Vs. Capcom series, including Marvel Vs. Capcom 2 in which she is one of the least useful characters on the roster, lacking useful assists or combo potential.
4 Ganondorf – Super Smash Bros. Series
Despite being an incredibly popular character and the main antagonist of the The Legend of Zelda franchise, Ganondorf’s competitive history in the Super Smash Bros. the series was quite lacking. One of the lowest level characters in both Fight and Ultimate, Ganondorf is a big, slow hitter who cares more about landing a few well-timed hits and punishing his opponent’s missteps than landing combos.
Unfortunately, while this can help new players learn the mechanics of the game, at a high level game where players are much less likely to stumble, this type of game loses some of its viability.
3 Zangief – Street Fighter V
Zangief is one of the most iconic and popular grapplers in fighting game history. Unfortunately, grapplers have never been the highest tier characters in fighting games, often ending up a bit low on their respective tier lists. This often tends to be the case even in more balanced modern fighting games such as Street Fighter V in which Zangief’s lack of mobility and flexibility tends to hamper him at the highest levels of play.
the Marvel Vs. Capcom The series is characterized by excess, with characters being able to perform numerous combos while dealing high damage with over-the-top super moves. This causes the strongest characters to be the ones who can perform the most absurd attacks, while the “rightest” characters tend to be the weakest.
While street fighter‘s Ryu is an easy to learn and simple character, his simplicity is his biggest flaw, leaving him with far fewer options than other characters in Marvel Vs. Capcom Infinite.
1 Shao Kahn – Mortal Kombat XI
Shado Kahn is easily one of the most notorious fighting game villains of all time, known for taunting players in the middle of a fight, eating countless quarters in arcades in the 90s. is generally an unplayable boss, he is a playable member of Mortal Kombat XI‘s list. Despite this, he’s sadly quite underwhelming, lacking many of the tools needed to be a high-level character in the game’s competitive play.
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