I feel before we state "Character X is S-Tier, and this other character sucks", we'd need to have a clear guideline on what actually constitutes Tier placement.
Ultimately what a Tier List *to me* reads as is: "Pick the characters at the top if you want to have the best shot at winning a tournament".
.. not necessarily the three highest ones, as their synergy might suck, but eg Double in bottom tier when she's undoubtedly a TOP contender for "Pick this character when you want to win a tournament" seems *tremendously* off to me. She might place low on a matchup chart, but on a Tier List? I don't think so.
To me, a 'proper' tier list is a culmination of factors.
The first and most obvious factor are "Matchups":
The addition of "How good are you at landing a hit against X + how good are you at avoiding to get hit by X + what do you get out of hitting X + what does X get out of hitting you" provides you with a number representing "How many matches out of 100 would a top player running this character score against his clone playing X".
Buttons (hitbox-, range-, speed-, angle- and recovery-wise), Mobility Options, Mixup tools, Damage, Resets, defensive Options, Reversals, etc are tossed into a pot and stirred until one gets to a conclusion.
There are three main different ways of how matchups tend to play out:
2) with common assists (eg "one lockdown, one DP")
3) with meter
For example you could go "Fukua beats Peacock in 1v1, loses when assists come into play as she then gets zoned out, is roughly equal when both are metered as Fukua gains a tremendous tool in Fireball super while Peacock doesn't really get anything".
Less obviously, you have to "Weigh the Matchups":
Winning against good characters is worth more than against bad;
Winning against common characters is worth more than against uncommon ones.
You need to further weigh the worth of the respective matchups based on how likely they are going to pop up based on the respective character positions;
- For example: Valentine having an (dis-)advantageous matchup against Double would barely matter, as Val is always run point and Double nearly always run anchor, so they are not going to end up fighting against each other much.
Bonus note: While showing up equally on a matchup chart, having two 5-5 matchups is generally preferable to having one 7-3 and one 3-7 matchup; since "just becoming good" makes you able to win every match, as opposed to people worse than you being able to win matches via counterpicks.
The third point to consider is "Team Value":
What does a character add to a team? Do they have a specific role that they fill?
This can be anything from "Great anchor due to catheads", "Strong assist choice", "Safe DHCs", "Strong Battery", or whatever.
Short: The main reasons for picking the character aside from its matchups.
In many cases -mostly when considering any character that's not the point- this is actually more relevant than their specific matchups or placement on a matchup chart.
If you want Brass Knuckle assist, it doesn't really matter whether BBand is the worst, 4th worst, or 3rd best character. You'll run him.
The fourth is "Versatility":
Tying in from the second part, how MANY of those roles does the specific character fulfill?
The worse a character is at this, the easier your overall gameplan is to shut down.
If any of your three characters can run on any spot of your team, you can DHC and Tag combo all you want, while scoffing at enemy snaps.
If you run a Valentine/Double Duo, the opponent landing an early hit and snapping in Double disrupts your entire playstyle and can win the game on the spot.
The fifth and final part is "Variance":
This is generally a part of matchup considerations, but IMO big enough to fill its own slot.
What I'm referring to is "Randomness", or the ability to completely tip the charts with raw reads.
Basically there are two different kind of matchups - safe, and risky ones.
The easiest example for a safe matchup would be if you were to clone Parasoul, and then just reduced the clone's damage output by a bit. Woop, 6-4 matchup - both characters have the same options, but one gets better reward for landing anything.
A 'risky' matchup on the other hand would be Parasoul-Filia. While pretty much every button of Parasoul's beats pretty much anything Filia attempts to do, Filia doing dumb shit and landing a random hit from a stupid Gregor can get her a win on the spot.
As an even simpler example for a risky matchup we take Solo Bella vs a Trio of choice. It is pretty clear here that in a 'perfect game' Bella is looking at a nigh insurmountable obstacle. In a real game however, sometimes the opponent will make a bad read or flat mistake, Bella mashes out a lvl3 and kills 2 characters right there.
This is of additional importance to see how to avoid being forced to fight in bad matchups and being able to create synergistic teams - eg a character who wins every matchup if they land that first hit can be put 3rd and tag-combo'd into; a character who has no issue landing hits but lacks the damage/mixup potential to really threaten their opponent can just DHC out after connecting with a stray button.
I might have missed something, but this seems to be roughly what I'd use as base for evaluating tiers.
To write a proper list, we thus *IMO* need to do the following things in order:
- Create a 'universally agreed' matchup chart with definitive reasoning on every matchup, for all of the 3 cases
- Look at various Tournament say Top32s and/or create a list of decent-good players and their teams, to determine the most popular characters (100/132 people in a tourney playing Val doesn't matter when all of those 100 are Day1 players which can be beaten blindfolded with any character; 'popular' refers to 'popular amongst the tournament crowd'), then weigh the matchup chart accordingly
- Create 'Tier Lists' for Assists, DHCs, Tags (SSS+: Bella, F: Rest), Metergain, Supers, whatever; use this data to further change positions on the tier list (Double getting a rather nice boost at this spot)
- Lastly, reconsider whether characters should be placed higher or lower based on how their matchups actually play out - eg Filia has a lot of meh matchups, but when she's mostly entering the screen via Gregor DHC, that plays little to no role.
I don't think I'm in a position to really write a tier list (because I'm not good enough, because I definitely have no idea about matchups of characters I don't play, and because I sorta trust in what I just outlined and I'm not doing all of that - let alone by myself), but here's some food for thought:
- Valentine might be overrated, as while being the 'perfect' point character, she's also the character the most susceptible to snaps / worst at utilizing team mechanics that aren't assists (eg a low health Parasoul can safe DHC into something and then you have anchor Parasoul regenerating red life and offering Pillar assist; a low health Valentine is probably better off just dying rather than spending two bars on getting... ..c.MK or something)
- Parasoul is seen by most as a point character - where she will most probably meet one of the following characters: Parasoul, Fortune, Peacock, Fukua, Valentine. Every single of these matchups is generally viewed as "Even at best". On the other hand, she is seen as having good matchups against Filia (unless Filia lands a single hit, and that she will if the opponent DHCs into her) and 'highly relevant' characters such as Painwheel and BigBand (+Double who she will never fight against). Does that really make a Top3 character?
- Bella is vastly underrated due to people losing against her and then going "Well I lost, but it was random! If I was better this wouldn't have happened!" as opposed to "Wow, this character is kinda good". Also, Tag. With everyone recognizing how strong of a tool it is, why does nobody seem to bother putting it on the list of things she brings to the table?
- What are Squigly's issues aside from Daisy Pusher being super shit and most of her gameplan requiring meter?
E: I don't really see what this "Is Fukua = Ryu or not?? And what about BBHood????" talk has to do with Tier List discussion?