#01: What are the sources you used?
We used the official firsthand books that were created in the Tougeki tournaments. Top players were involved in the making of such handbooks in most cases thanks to the work of Gian (a top Dhalsim player). We also presented the data from ratio tournaments in arcades that are known for hosting top players. For the 'average' data we didn't take into account the Japanese ratio data from the arcades but only major tournaments like SBO and EVO.
#02: Why should I care about tier lists? Are they useful at all?
Tier lists serve three purposes: It gives you a reference about what characters are stronger by design; it groups characters so you can assign points to each in a ratio tournament; it opens the possibility to debate inside the community about pros and cons of each character.
#03: I disagree with the tier lists shown here.
It is fine to disagree with the data, everyone does and as long as it leads to healthy debate then the tier list served one of its intended purposes. Don't take it too seriously, it's just a reference.
#04: I don't want to debate about it but I still disagree with the tiers.
Ok. Good for you.
#05: How was the USA ratio list made?
#06: I have seen more recent tier lists from Japan that are not listed here.
We are aware that there have been more recent ratio tournament data from other smaller arcades in Japan but since no top players were involved in those they haven't been included here.
#07: Aren't there any tier lists made before 2008?
Maybe. If you find one send it to yogaboy.
#08: Shouldn't tier lists just be done by adding up the values of a matchup table?
The data that you can obtain by adding up the values of a matchup table is an accurate ordered list of the characters. However, in the tier lists the purpose is to group characters by different levels and also taking into account, in a subjective way, how well a character is currenly doing in tournaments and, in some cases, how often the characters are used.
#09: Are there any big changes in recent data that makes the presented tier lists outdated?
Not really. A tendency in the latest years has been to place Chun Li and Dee Jay a little bit higher in the lists.
#10: Do you have pictures of the original sources?
We are in the process of getting pictures of the SBO handbooks, so far we have 03, 07 and 11, so any source you might have please send it our way. As we still don't have all the sources, we used the references from posts in nohoho's blog and old posts in the SRK Wiki. Ratio tournament data from arcades has been taken from other sources like tweets or blog posts.
#11: What is exactly the soft ban in this game? I heard nobody actually bans these characters even in Japan.
The reason that there is no actual ban in a soft ban is solely because the term 'soft ban' was coined very poorly. What the term actually means is that you can use any of those characters in tournaments, however, don't expect anyone in the venue to cheer for you as they openly admit you are using cheap characters. Also, there is a chance that in casual games you will be left by yourself playing against the CPU as seen in the picture.
#12: Why is Akuma banned in this game? I think it should be allowed in competition.
Akuma has been banned from the early days and recognized as being too strong by all the top players. Even when it has been allowed to use it nobody has done it unless the tournament was intended just for fun.
#13: Why there are only few characters presented in the old characters section of some tiers?
That's because there are only three cases where the old characters are considered better than their new character counterparts: Ken, T. Hawk and Sagat. For the rest of the characters they are equally good or worse so they might not be presented in the lists.
#14: Is it true that Japanese consider old characters cheap?
More than cheap they simply consider that the game comes with 16 characters and the rest are accessed through a "secret" command, as if they don't consider those old characters as part of the game. With that said there are few players in Japan who use them but those are really few and definitely fewer than in other scenes.
#15: I'm organizing a ratio tournament. Can I use these tiers as a reference?
Sure. Why not.
#16: I'm a commentator. I will use these lists as a reference in the next tournament.