Who is on the Tekken 8 tier list? Not every character in the main roster has been revealed yet, but the recent Tekken 8 closed network test has given fans a chance to experience the next generation of Tekken for the first time. From our own experience, fighting game streamers, and other anecdotal evidence from fans, we figure there’s no better time to start considering who is the best.
That said, when considering this Tekken 8 tier list, bear in mind that the Tekken 8 release date is still a way out, and our opinions are based on our first hands-on test with just some of the Tekken 8 roster. As such, these rankings will change significantly when every one of the 32 starting characters is revealed and Tekken 8 launches with completely rebalanced systems.
Tekken 8 tier list
Katsuhiro Harada, the series director, has gone on record on Twitter to say that, in the full game, overly long combos and chip damage will “be heavily tuned”, overly flashy effects toned down, and that there will be “many changes” to the game system in general, such as to the Heat system,
Here is the Tekken 8 tier list based on our experience with the closed network test in July 2023:
|S||Hwoarang, Kazuya, Jun, Claudio|
|A||Jin, Asuka, King, Lili, Paul, Lars, Jack, Bryan|
|B||Xiaoyu, Nina, Law, Leroy|
Upon his Tekken 8 reveal, there was a buzz about Hwoarang as he’s historically been one of the better kick-orientated characters in the series. He doesn’t disappoint here, and so long as you take the time to learn his stances, he can be a considerable and constant threat. On top of this, Hwoarang utilizes Heat mode extremely well. You can leave Heat mode running until the bar depletes to deal a decent amount of chip damage with his wide variety of combos.
In the right hands, Kazuya was stupidly good in the closed network test. He has access to various highly damaging and, more importantly, long combos. If he gets one good hit in, he can easily start to mount a comeback. He also has great Heat-exclusive attacks, taking advantage of his Devil form to add that extra chunk of damage, and he’s generally quite a hard character to read.
Jun is another character that hugely benefits from the Heat system. Her unique ability to buff her attacks by sacrificing a tiny bit of life can make all the difference in tight matches. She retains a lot of the moves that she had way back in Tekken 2 but has some new techniques that bring her right up back to speed with the current juggle-heavy mechanics that the series is now known for.
The other major beneficiary of the chip damage was Claudio, as many of his moves are safe when blocked, making him nearly unstoppable. He doesn’t quite have as many options as Hwoarang, and both Kazuya and Jun have more unpredictable options for starting combos, but Claudio is one of the better newer characters to try.
Jin was perhaps the most balanced of all the characters in the Tekken 8 network test. He benefited from the Heat mode more than some characters, but his strings are manageable if you’re playing on defense. What makes him great is that his attacks are generally snappy, usually beating out the opponent if they’re trying to outspeed you.
Asuka was another well-balanced character with many options to combo low and high. She also has several command grabs and counter stances that can heavily disrupt an opponent’s momentum. She lacks slightly in power compared to the top-tier characters, but she gets a decent chunk of damage off with her Heat Smash.
This masked wrestler has a lot of potential to be one of the best Tekken 8 characters, thanks to his follow-up throws and his ability to grab enemies while they are in the air or on the ground during a long combo. Where King’s game plan struggles a little bit is that many of his opener moves are unsafe on block, leaving him a bit open to counterattacks, but he at least has a variety of ways to start a long-hitting combo.
By far, the most popular character outside of the S-tier characters that we saw in our time with the Tekken 8 closed network test was Lili, and it’s not hard to see why. Her unpredictable attacks can be intimidating to new players, and you’ll likely be on the receiving end of a powerful Heat Burst and Heat Smash combo. Some of her moves leave her wide open to counters, so if you’re prepared to go on the defensive, there are opportunities to begin the comeback of the century.
He may be one of the slower characters, but Paul’s punches pack some serious power. His combos aren’t very long, but he can easily use the Heat Rush to extend combos while having Heat mode active. Paul struggles to counter more nimble opponents and doesn’t have a lot of low-attacking options that link into his more powerful combos. In the right hands, though, he can definitely compete with top-tier characters.
Lars is incredibly unpredictable for newer players and can be frustrating when he gets going. He’s a bit like Lili in many ways, only with a few key attacks that leave him vulnerable to counters in they don’t land. Compared to some characters on the roster, he also doesn’t have all that many new techniques. His Heat-based attacks are something to be wary of if you’re fighting against him.
Of all the characters in the closed network test, we saw the least of Jack-8. We’re putting him in as central a point in the tier list as possible. His punches do hit hard, and he benefits greatly from Heat mode, but outside of that, he’s quite slow, having a tough time with counters. With the meta favoring speedy characters, that’s an issue for Jack-8.
Regarding explosive power, Bryan’s fists dish out a lot of pain. Because he has so many punching strings, it can be a little unpredictable to fight against him. Historically, Bryan has only a few low attacks that can extend into full combos, and while Tekken 8 does give him access to a few new options, none of them are safe on block.
The thing holding back Xiaoyu seems to be that her new moves and combos aren’t all that well-defined. She was one of the lower-tier characters overall in Tekken 7, and, from a fundamental standpoint, she hasn’t changed. Perhaps she’ll get more moves and be less vulnerable in her higher-risk stances in the future, but right now, she’s no power to back her up.
In the hands of someone like SonicFox, Nina can be a threat, but even so, they had a hard time against top-tier characters when they got going. Nina’s pistols do wonders when extending combos beyond where they should be and do a fair chunk of damage. She retains many of her original moves, including her various grapples. That said, she heavily relies on long combos but has few ways beyond mid or high attacks, but has few ways to start them.
Law’s gameplay style is trying to hit his opponent with kicks wherever possible. Punching is not off the cards, but they leave very little for him to extend into high-powered follow-ups. In addition, some of his attacks from previous Tekken games are gone, and his mobility is on the lower end of the scale, forcing veteran players to devise new ways to start combos.
How the mighty have fallen. Leroy may have been considered one of the best characters in Tekken 7, but his new moves fail to make much of an impact compared to the rest of the roster. His power level has also reduced significantly, and his moves leave fewer opportunities for follow-up combos than anyone else.
That’s our current Tekken 8 tier list, but of course, this is subject to change based on the rest of the coming roster and subsequent patches to chip damage and the Heat system. It will be a while until we see Tekken 8 in a playable form again, so check out our list of the best fighting games if you fancy satisfying your competitive pugilistic urge. We also have a list of the best upcoming games if you want to be excited about the AAA releases coming in 2024.