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UMK3 Tier List Discussion (2022)

Juggs

Lose without excuses
Lead Moderator
I’ve been thinking about the tier list again recently, and have revised my own a bit. I think this revised tier list is a lot more accurate than my previous one. But I also want your thoughts on it, as well as your own tier lists. I’ll provide the link to the template below

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I think the most “controversial” placements on my tier list will probably be Classic Sub being so low, and Jade being so high. Other than that, I feel like this is a really solid tier list for this game in 2022. I feel Sonya is underrated which is why I have her at 7th just behind Nightwolf. I also believe Stryker can be a pocket character for certain MU’s which makes him kinda underrated. But I wouldn’t start out using Stryker even if it’s in those specific MU’s I’d use him in. In a tournament setting, It would only be if I lost convincingly would I pull him out. I could see and argument for Jax moving back/down slightly, but he’s just too solid in the current meta imo. I of course firmly believe Kabal is in a tier of his own at the top, but I also believe HSmoke is in a tier of his own just below Kabal. I’ve seen some people like @ded mention that they don’t feel like Ermac is in the top 3 (or top 4 even), and would love to hear not only the reasoning behind that, but also where they’d place him and also who would be taking his place.

Oh and the biggest changes from my previous tier list was firstly moving up Reptile. I forgot to factor in his invisibility which makes him a much deadlier character. Invisibility is why I have Robot Smoke so high as well. Robot Smoke while invisible could be S tier and maybe even S+ tier. While Reptile while invisible could easily move up to A+ tier. This is why I had to move him up to just outside the top 10. I also moved Kung Lao up a bit. Even though I feel he’s one of the most overrated characters in the game, the fact that he can punish things like a blocked Kabal dash with an infinite as well as his mobility in general, I had to move him up a few spots.
 

Magictrick

UMK3 54 fps enjoyer
Finally a good well thought out list. Honestly, the only change I'd make would be Human Smoke at #1 and Kabal at #2, but other than that it's looking good. Appreciate the context and reasoning too.

Can you go in-depth and give me some of the reasons you think Human Smoke is not #1?
 

Juggs

Lose without excuses
Lead Moderator
Finally a good well thought out list. Honestly, the only change I'd make would be Human Smoke at #1 and Kabal at #2, but other than that it's looking good. Appreciate the context and reasoning too.

Can you go in-depth and give me some of the reasons you think Human Smoke is not #1?
Appreciate it, and of course.

First I’ll list what tools they have at their disposal.


Kabal:

-Ground FB (useful in some situations full screen, especially after a knockdown or after an instant air fireball “iaFB” to cover more space on the screen)

-Air FB (useful for zoning and also you can catch people jumping with the mixup of empty jumping backwards and then jumping back into the Air FB. Also the standard combo ender)

-iaFB (very useful for zoning and really making the opponent work for it to “get in”. The lower you can do them, the more effective they are. The FB’s in general also do a decent amount of chip damage. Of course, you can neutral duck these, but as Kabal using iaFB’s, you don’t mind it at all if they are just sitting there to avoid them. The point is not only to zone and fill the screen with projectiles, it’s also to dictate the pace of the match. Against some characters, all they can do is try to slowly make their way in against an onslaught of iaFB’s)

-Kabal’s Spin (arguably the best special in the game. Super versatile, essentially prevents opponent from ever being able to jump or do a crossup jump attack unless it’s a safe jump, which is extremely difficult to do against Kabal and almost never even really worth it. His spin is one of the only moves in the entire game that forces you to play completely different than you would against any other character. When attempting to rush him down with jabs, if your kara or GJ’s have any holes in them whatsoever, you’re always susceptible to being hit by his Spin. It’s an insanely fast move that has hardly any startup frames, AND it goes pretty much full screen. Yes of course it’s punishable on block, BUT, it’s not like you have days to punish them. There ARE some times where you don’t expect the opponent to Spin, they do, you block it, but aren’t quick enough to get the punish. This move also allows Kabal to have the most freedom in the game as far as movement unless it’s a mirror match. You can apply so much pressure and the opponent has to be very careful how they defend against Kabal’s offense, because his Spin can come out at any moment. Meanwhile Kabal doesn’t have to worry about anything like that from any other character)

-Great RJ’s (that have high priority. His jabs often times have prio over other characters jabs. I’m sure this was unintentional, but I suppose that’s irrelevant)

-Decent walk speed

-Good Damage grounded and has a pop-up combo starter (he has solid BnB’s. And these BnB’s can be done while he’s rushing you down and gets an opening. Because the combo can start either with the LK or a HP)

-Great anti-air (AA) Damage

-Great Corner damage and pressure (just about every character is better when their opponent is cornered, but Kabal just has so many options that if you get cornered by Kabal, you better hope you can find a way out, and fast. If he’s able to start a combo on you where you end up in the corner, he can do the double JK aFB and in some situations he can get 3, which does a ton of damage. But also, sometimes it’s better for him to stop the combo short so he can smother you in the corner on wakeup. Same with if he Spins you and you’re in the corner. The best decision unless they’re low health is to not even combo them, but to push them as far into the corner as you can, and then start your corner jabs and just your overall overwhelming pressure)



Human Smoke:

-Fastest walking speed (this helps a lot with spacing and footsies)

-One of the highest damaging BnB’s in the game (overall gets great damage both grounded and AA damage)
-Pop-up combo starter (also can relaunch certain characters. Also like Kabal, has the low knee starter which is huge benefit especially when the knee combo starter leads to the pop-up and BnB)

-Air throw (a fairly underrated tool in his moveset. It has good air priority and you can use it on reaction a lot of the times)

-Spear (which is really only good for combo extensions. But It can be used in neutral in very specific situations, and/or you can also punish certain stuff with it like reaction spear to a blocked sweep or to whiff punish certain moves. But that requires very strict timing)

-Teleport (probably his best tool. It’s the best mobility tool in the game, which is also shared by Ermac and Scorpion. It also is used in his combos and BnB)

-Has decent, Male Ninja jabs and normals

____

So with all that stated, it’s clear that I feel Kabal not only has more tools at his disposal, but that those tools are demonstrably better than not just Human Smoke’s, but every character in the game.

However, tier lists aren’t ONLY contrived of which characters have the best tools. They also take MU’s into consideration. And Kabal just has a few more favorable MU’s than HSmoke while also having the most lopsided MU’s in the game. Kabal has no weaknesses. And the few 5-5’s he has (he has no losing MU’s) are just because the characters don’t allow him to be AS oppressive as he normally is able to be. Namely HSmoke and Ermac (and even technically Scorpion) for the simple fact of their teleport being able to interrupt Kabal from dictating the pace and space of the entire match. It’s also a lot easier to make a mistake with HSmoke than it is with Kabal. The biggest mistake Kabal can make is essentially having his Spin blocked, but even having it blocked conditions the opponent letting them know you’re not afraid to randomly throw it out. Which I explained earlier why his Spin is such a problem.

There’s probably more reasons or better reasons, but that’s all I’ve got for now. And yes, I didn’t go AS in depth on HSmoke’s strengths. You can call it biased or whatever, idc. I didn’t go as in depth because I’m tired and I already wrote a shit ton about Kabal. But anyway, yeah, that’s why I have Kabal as #1 and HSmoke as #2.
 

ded

Elder God
Do we really need another thread for this - we all know how this will end lol

I don't mind people having their own tier lists and writing guides by themselves, as long as it makes sense and keeps the game somehow alive.
 
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Juggs

Lose without excuses
Lead Moderator
Do we really need another thread for this - we all know how this will end lol

I don't mind people having their own tier lists and writing guides by themselves, as long as it makes sense and keeps the game somehow alive.
Why not? We haven’t had a good tier list discussion in awhile.

Anyway, where would you place Ermac on the tier list? I’m super curious why you don’t consider him a top 4 character. I mean, I’m curious what your overall tier list would look like too.
 

A l i

Reptile Master
Hello. Is this tier list for online or offline? As i have heard many of you say offline tier list is different and etc.
 

Pizza

Thrill Kill
Nice thread! Very informative. The tier lists for the 2D era have always been intriguing to me.

Like, why is Human Smoke so much higher than Scorpion? Does Scorpion have less favourable matchups?
 

Arqwart

Resident "Subhuman Piece of Trash" Edenian Player
Nice thread! Very informative. The tier lists for the 2D era have always been intriguing to me.

Like, why is Human Smoke so much higher than Scorpion? Does Scorpion have less favourable matchups?
Human Smoke is a strictly better Scorpion due to Human Smoke having a launching combo. This is massive as the teleport + spear toolkit makes for fantastic combo power. Additionally, having a launching combo that starts in a kick is immediately a tier jump in the run jab pressure environment of UMK3.

To keep it brief, run jab pressure is as the name implies: running and jabbing. This can lock your opponent down while also making progress towards the corner. Issue is that crouching front kick low profiles jabs as they're technically High attacks. A combo that starts with a kick, however, always begins with a Mid knee attack which will blow up an attempt at a crouching front kick.

Just another thing that results in Human Smoke being stupidly good at playing UMK3 in all the most important ways.
 

ded

Elder God
Why not? We haven’t had a good tier list discussion in awhile.

Anyway, where would you place Ermac on the tier list? I’m super curious why you don’t consider him a top 4 character. I mean, I’m curious what your overall tier list would look like too.
When we wrote the guides, there was a sort of universal agreement from almost all players about the tier list (with few characters here and there, as expected).

I've said it many times, including in my MK1 Strategy Guide, that some characters may vary, depending on the personal skills of the player and I completely agree the game has been changed for some characters, like Kitana, and maybe some adjustments should be made.

However, when it comes to Ermac, there is absolutely nothing new for him, that changes his game since... always. I dont count the new Infinites and combo patterns I've used in Combo Videos, since they are useless in VS. Glitch Jabs where there, counter TKS were known, OTGs and etc, were all there for him even then and after some time, you somehow get used to play against this character.

Don't get me wrong, he is an absolute monster, even against Kabal and Hsmoke. But the delusion of him being top 3, at least for me, comes from his mass usage online, as he is one of the easiest characters to play in delay/lag conditions.
 

A l i

Reptile Master
When we wrote the guides, there was a sort of universal agreement from almost all players about the tier list (with few characters here and there, as expected).

I've said it many times, including in my MK1 Strategy Guide, that some characters may vary, depending on the personal skills of the player and I completely agree the game has been changed for some characters, like Kitana, and maybe some adjustments should be made.

However, when it comes to Ermac, there is absolutely nothing new for him, that changes his game since... always. I dont count the new Infinites and combo patterns I've used in Combo Videos, since they are useless in VS. Glitch Jabs where there, counter TKS were known, OTGs and etc, were all there for him even then and after some time, you somehow get used to play against this character.

Don't get me wrong, he is an absolute monster, even against Kabal and Hsmoke. But the delusion of him being top 3, at least for me, comes from his mass usage online, as he is one of the easiest characters to play in delay/lag conditions.
i would like to add that earlier in Russian community, he was top 3 but i think it was more of due to his big combos and teleporter factor. But now, he is definitely one of the top 4 chars simply due to his punishes, basically some players including myself learned how to punish sweep, high kick, low kick with telekinesis which results in 75-82 percent combo. and it is very good ability if you are a technical player. teleport allows you to get out of pressure, his punishes doesnt let enemy do moves like sweep and etc vs him and you only have to jab him and even if you do, he just teleports to other side and starts jabbing you.
 

M2Dave

Zoning Master
How would you guys describe the meta of UMK3 in terms of which strategy dominates the game, offense vs. defense, rush down vs. zoning, etc.?
 

A l i

Reptile Master
How would you guys describe the meta of UMK3 in terms of which strategy dominates the game, offense vs. defense, rush down vs. zoning, etc.?
All of them has their own role. But mostly more of an offense is better if you play it correctly
 

Juggs

Lose without excuses
Lead Moderator
How would you guys describe the meta of UMK3 in terms of which strategy dominates the game, offense vs. defense, rush down vs. zoning, etc.?
I’d kinda compare it to MK9 just without meter. However, there’s no super good zoning characters like Kenshi, Freddy, etc. So it’s a lot more based on offense than MK9 in that regard. But for instance dash block is very similar to Kara Jabs. There’s more similarities but you get the idea. UMK3 is essentially MK9 without meter and no super good projectile zoning characters. Maybe that’s not a good description but I’m tired, lol
 

Arqwart

Resident "Subhuman Piece of Trash" Edenian Player
Forgive my ignorance, but how is Kitana a top 5 character in UMK3? I know she's one of the only good zoners in the game, but what makes her that scary? Instant air fans? Combos off anti-airs?
 
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Forgive my ignorance, but how is Kitana a top 5 character in UMK3? I know she's one of the only good zoners in the game, but what makes her that scary? Instant air fans? Combos off anti-airs?
I believe it's her jabs. I don't play the game and someone else will need to confirm, but I've seen mentioned that her jabs are excellent.
 

Juggs

Lose without excuses
Lead Moderator
Kitana is not top 5
Aight, let us discuss it. Why, in your opinion, is she not top 5? Where would you place her? And what does your tier list look like?

When we wrote the guides, there was a sort of universal agreement from almost all players about the tier list (with few characters here and there, as expected).

I've said it many times, including in my MK1 Strategy Guide, that some characters may vary, depending on the personal skills of the player and I completely agree the game has been changed for some characters, like Kitana, and maybe some adjustments should be made.

However, when it comes to Ermac, there is absolutely nothing new for him, that changes his game since... always. I dont count the new Infinites and combo patterns I've used in Combo Videos, since they are useless in VS. Glitch Jabs where there, counter TKS were known, OTGs and etc, were all there for him even then and after some time, you somehow get used to play against this character.

Don't get me wrong, he is an absolute monster, even against Kabal and Hsmoke. But the delusion of him being top 3, at least for me, comes from his mass usage online, as he is one of the easiest characters to play in delay/lag conditions.
It definitely has absolutely nothing to with “mass usage”. 99.99% of people sucked at the game, or suck at the game, and that number certainly applies to the players who used Ermac. HSmoke pretty much only has 2 things on him, his walk speed and air throw. Aside from that, Ermac has everything he has and also can do more damage in certain situations, at least just as damage. He also has a fb, while it’s not insanely good or anything, it’s definitely a tool that HSmoke doesn’t have. His spear has way too much recovery not to mention start up and the speed of travel.

The “nothing has changed” angle is cool, but you still didn’t answer my question, not really. Where would you place him? And what does your tier list look like? If it’s the same tier list you and others made long ago, that’s cool, just post it up because idk what it looks like. And things most certainly have changed enough to warrant changes to the tier list if the list was made as long ago as you’re implying it was.
 

Biggs

FOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOL
It definitely has absolutely nothing to with “mass usage”. 99.99% of people sucked at the game, or suck at the game, and that number certainly applies to the players who used Ermac. HSmoke pretty much only has 2 things on him, his walk speed and air throw. Aside from that, Ermac has everything he has and also can do more damage in certain situations, at least just as damage. He also has a fb, while it’s not insanely good or anything, it’s definitely a tool that HSmoke doesn’t have. His spear has way too much recovery not to mention start up and the speed of travel.
HSmoke generally does more damage than Ermac with traps.
Ermac has some nice matchup specific things over HSmoke though:
  • Green Spark goes under Kabal's IAGB.
  • TKS punishes Female Ninja sweeps where Harpoon cannot.
  • TKS also doesn't get locked when you block jump kicks. You can punish things like Sindel's JK Air Fireball with TKS where HSmoke's Harpoon would get locked.
  • Ermac has the HP,HP,B+LP, D, F, LP launcher that can be glitch jab OS'd. Absolutely ridiculous with TKS sweep punish.
 

Biggs

FOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOL
Aight, let us discuss it. Why, in your opinion, is she not top 5? Where would you place her? And what does your tier list look like?
Kitana has no sweep punish, no damage, and gets destroyed by IAF spam. Literally can't win vs a competent Kabal or someone with a fast sweep. She does destroy a lot of other characters though.

18811

Right now, my tier list is something like this.
Still a bunch of things I'm not 100% on:
  • Kano maybe goes to A above Kitana
  • CSub may go below Scorpion
  • Lao and Stryker may go up to B tier
 

Juggs

Lose without excuses
Lead Moderator
Kitana has no sweep punish, no damage, and gets destroyed by IAF spam. Literally can't win vs a competent Kabal or someone with a fast sweep. She does destroy a lot of other characters though.

View attachment 18811

Right now, my tier list is something like this.
Still a bunch of things I'm not 100% on:
  • Kano maybe goes to A above Kitana
  • CSub may go below Scorpion
  • Lao and Stryker may go up to B tier
Now THIS is what I’m talking about! You’ve surprised me Biggs.

Sell me on Mileena. I definitely think the female Ninja’s in general are very strong in the meta, they have very strong normals, much like the male Ninja’s. But I feel Kitana is the best, then Jade, then Mileena. You of course don’t have to sell me on anything, I’ve just heard/seen this quite a few times now, Mileena being not only high tier but her being better than her female Ninja palette swapped counterparts.

Mileena: Roll, ground sai, air sai, instant air sai, teleport

Jade: Leg kick, boomerang, come back bommerang, downwards rang, upwards rang, projectile invulnerability

Kitana: Ground fan, air fan, instant air fan, square air punch, fan lift

On paper I can see the argument of Mileena’s tools being better than Kitana’s and Jade’s. But I just want to hear what the arguments are. If it’s just that the roll and instant air sais are simply just better than what either one brings to the table, that’s fine, just curious about the reasoning.

I can agree with a lot of your placements, I see we feel very similarly about Kung Lao and Ermac. I also think Stryker can be underrated and I think he does very well in some particular matchups, but regardless he suffers from the same problem several other characters do as far as the tier list is concerned. Because technically characters like Styker and uSub are low tier or low mid, but I don’t consider them low tier characters the same as I would in basically any other fighting game. I think they’re actually fairly strong characters, but there’s just too many characters that are better.

Also glad to see you have both Sonya and Sindel so high. I personally believe those two characters aren’t necessarily underrated, I think most of them in the top 10, but I do think that most don’t see their true value. Appreciate the response overall, especially putting forth your own list.
 

Biggs

FOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOL
Sell me on Mileena. I definitely think the female Ninja’s in general are very strong in the meta, they have very strong normals, much like the male Ninja’s. But I feel Kitana is the best, then Jade, then Mileena. You of course don’t have to sell me on anything, I’ve just heard/seen this quite a few times now, Mileena being not only high tier but her being better than her female Ninja palette swapped counterparts.

Mileena: Roll, ground sai, air sai, instant air sai, teleport

Jade: Leg kick, boomerang, come back bommerang, downwards rang, upwards rang, projectile invulnerability

Kitana: Ground fan, air fan, instant air fan, square air punch, fan lift

On paper I can see the argument of Mileena’s tools being better than Kitana’s and Jade’s. But I just want to hear what the arguments are. If it’s just that the roll and instant air sais are simply just better than what either one brings to the table, that’s fine, just curious about the reasoning.
It's really not that crazy of an idea when you objectively look at what Mileena can do:
  • Roll is literally like 6f and punishes everything (Sweep, HK, LK, NW Shoulder, etc). Kabals Spin is like 5f and Jades Shadow Kick is like 7f, but both of those moves get disabled by kicks and roll does not. Kitana and Jade have no sweep punish.
  • Mileena's IAS does the exact same thing as Kitana's IAF, and honestly its probably better because you can spam it. This move rivals Kabals IAGB. With the move alone you zone better than Jade's boomerangs too.
  • Mileena has more damage than the other characters most of the time. She has launchers they have nothing. Mileena is doing like 30-40% on ground combos and 40-50% on punishers.
  • Mileena has a HP string launcher so you can glitch jab OS it. Combining this with Roll sweep punish is insane.
  • Mileena's strings do not have gaps. You can Spin and even Slide between Kitana and Jade's kick string, but not Mileena's.
On top of that you have the same female ninja normals and a pretty good throw. It's like the male ninja throw except plus
 

Biggs

FOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOL
Also glad to see you have both Sonya and Sindel so high. I personally believe those two characters aren’t necessarily underrated, I think most of them in the top 10, but I do think that most don’t see their true value. Appreciate the response overall, especially putting forth your own list.
TBH, I don't think you understand why Sindel is broken. It's actually absurd what that character can do
 

Juggs

Lose without excuses
Lead Moderator
It's really not that crazy of an idea when you objectively look at what Mileena can do:
  • Roll is literally like 6f and punishes everything (Sweep, HK, LK, NW Shoulder, etc). Kabals Spin is like 5f and Jades Shadow Kick is like 7f, but both of those moves get disabled by kicks and roll does not. Kitana and Jade have no sweep punish.
  • Mileena's IAS does the exact same thing as Kitana's IAF, and honestly its probably better because you can spam it. This move rivals Kabals IAGB. With the move alone you zone better than Jade's boomerangs too.
  • Mileena has more damage than the other characters most of the time. She has launchers they have nothing. Mileena is doing like 30-40% on ground combos and 40-50% on punishers.
  • Mileena has a HP string launcher so you can glitch jab OS it. Combining this with Roll sweep punish is insane.
  • Mileena's strings do not have gaps. You can Spin and even Slide between Kitana and Jade's kick string, but not Mileena's.
On top of that you have the same female ninja normals and a pretty good throw. It's like the male ninja throw except plus
I never thought it was a crazy idea at all, the opposite in fact. I can easily understand why some would feel as though she’s top 10 and better than both Jade AND Kitana. And there’s for sure a strong argument for her being better than Jade, but when it comes to Kitana it’s a bit more difficult of a sell. Regardless, I just had never really heard a true explanation. It helps tremendously to talk it out and bounce it off other people and get their feedback, that’s the biggest benefit in my eyes of tier list discussions. Because the actual tier lists themselves aren’t very useful for experienced players, but the usefulness of tier lists is an entirely different discussion altogether.

Anyway, Mileena’s IAFB’s don’t necessarily do the same thing as Kitana’s IAFB’s. I’d for sure say they can accomplish similar, specific outcomes, but Kitana’s is better overall when used at the highest levels. But with that said, Mileena’s IAFB’s definitely are better at projectile zoning considering Kitana’s IAFB’s can’t really do that.

So yeah, at a certain level of play, I can easily understand and see Mileena actually being in the top 10 and better than Kitana. There’s really not that many players capable of using Kitana at the peak of what she’s actually capable of at the highest levels of UMK3. But you can say that about a lot of characters including Mileena, but just to a lesser extent.

TBH, I don't think you understand why Sindel is broken. It's actually absurd what that character can do
For me, it’s unequivocally apparent what Sindel is capable of. I actually have her right next to Sonya (where Jax is on that tier list in the OP), but I guess I forgot to switch them when I made this new one. Actually now that I look it over, there’s a few tiny mistakes that I never fixed. I’ll update the OP.

Anyway, what don’t you think I understand regarding Sindel?
 

Biggs

FOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOL
Anyway, what don’t you think I understand regarding Sindel?
clHPHPdHP is the best string in the game. It is a 4f special high that hits mid most of the time. 4f Glitch Jab OS launcher is laughable. Combine this with Scream sweep punish and its absurd.

Her HP is a special high on over half the cast and has crazy priority. Good luck beating her HP jabs in neutral without FA.

She traps over half of the cast in the corner crouching.

Ridiculous damage with scream loops, fly cancel infinites, near universal relaunch with GC.

Character is actually broken