Tier List Letters Meaning – The Odd S Ranking (SABCDEF Tiers) Demystified

Fun fact – did you know tier list is a concept that originated from video games first?

But what is a tier list? And what’s S ranking in the SABCDEF tier list? Let’s demystify the tier list letters meaning and find out quick ways to make some!

Let’s go.

What is a tier list?

Simply put, a tier list is a way to classify people, places, and objects in different ranks, like game characters, in-game elements like features and weapons, Twitch streamers, YouTuber’s houses, etc. It is used as content form by streamers and YouTubers alike, to share their point of view on different options and choices.

What is SABCDEF tier list letters meaning?

It is a framework designed to rank game characters and in-game elements by their level of strength, weakness, and related usage in the game.

With Twitch and YouTube, streamers have opened up Pandora’s Box, by applying the S Ranking concept to any and all aspects of life. There is a tier list on literally everything under the sun, including fast food tier lists, the US President’s tier list, and even bizarre ones like dumbest deaths in the history tier list.

What does S ranking in SABCDEF tier list mean?

Well, the sour thumb in the tier list, S ranking, is actually derived from shū, meaning Superb or Super in the Japanese grading system. The origin story of the sequence – SABCDEF is interestingly the academic grading system in Japan.

Japanese grading system tier list
Source: Wikipedia

This concept was applied in 1v1 fighting games first. Game players and reviewers would rank characters, gameplay features, etc. from most powerful to least.

The earliest tier list I could find in the deep wells of the internet is this one for Super Smash Bros, dated Jan 21, 1999.

Super smash bro tier list from 1999
Source: What do you do in Super Smash Bros? An article dated Jan 21, 1999

The earliest S ranking list I could locate was from July 2005 in this forum discussing tiers for non-fighting games by user Iczer_one.

Earliest tier list on forum discussing tiers for non-fighting games by user Iczer_one
Source: Shoryuken.com, now part of Sony Interactive Entertainment and RTS

Different players and reviewers would have their own interpretations of who or what belongs to which tier. This would spark discussion in different forums that propped up during this age of dawn of the internet.

Fast forward to today, there is an insane number of tier lists in existence. Mainly because, for streamers and YouTubers, tier lists trigger responses and (sometimes heated) discussions.

Which are the cool ones, you ask? Well, here we go.

Tier list examples

  1. Fast Food Tier List by iDubbbzTV: The tier list content trend started with this video itself. So this is where our list would start where he rates fast food restaurents according to their best dishes. The top comment is obviously someone bashing the list:
Top comment on fast food tier list
Top comment on fast food tier list
  1. Other People’s Tier List Tier List by TheOdd2sOut: This video is like a crash course into the most-watched tier lists to date. This can be an especially interesting one if you’re just getting into creating a tier list, or just woke up to the idea of tier lists. You can get to know the different points of view on things that have existed before in the passage of time.
  1. The Dinosaur Tier List by TierZoo: The best part about this video, is that it describes life as a game, and the animals as players, ranking each of them in different tiers. The topic is kind of neutral, so the viewers engaged positively with the video. The channel has other videos like The Fish Tier List, The Cat Tier List, etc. with some of the lowest dislikes (~2.6k for The Fish Tier List) in this category of content.
  1. Fortnite Weapon Tier List by Lachlan: With the world of gaming starting the concept, it’s only fitting that one of the most-watched tier list videos is on all the Fortnite Weapons, ever.
  1. YouTube Apology Tier List / The Liquid Ladder by MoistCr1TiKaL: Charles is always a delight with his energy and enthusiasm for life! Well, no seriously, hats off to this guy for giving Tier lists a meaning with a branding – The Liquid Ladder, which he defines as:

The Liquid Ladder is a zany new measurement system that you can use to safely rank things that many people deem too dangerous to rank. Our patented system goes all the way from S to F, so you can rest assured that you’re getting the most precise information possible.

Tier list ideas

Time for some original tier list ideas. Feel free to use these ideas in your Twitch stream or YouTube video – look forward to checking them out!

  1. The all-in-one Earth survival kit tier list: Think about aliens, landing on Earth for the first time. How would you introduce them to Earth? Easy, with a tier list. Talk about energy forms on Earth – Earth, Fire, Wind, Water and Heart, the 5 elements of Captain Planet (maybe skip Heart). About currency. About Government. About countries. Basically, everything that makes up life on Planet Earth. Make it zany.
  2. Upcoming games’ predictive tier list: Let’s accept it, you’re the ultimate authority on games. People just don’t know it yet. No but seriously, there have to be some upcoming games on your radar. Jump on the wagon that hasn’t been ridden yet, and get your predictive tier list into play. Talk about upcoming game characters, and game features. With the disclaimer – your video may or may not hold true. Get your strategy into action, as you get into the process of working on your tier list.
  3. Facts on climate change tier list: This list unlike popular beliefs will not be based on myths. You can pull out facts about climate change emergency, a very real event happening in our lives right now. Organize them in tiers about which problem we should be most bothered about, and which ones can hold on for now. In fact, do this for all known pressing problems, including facts about zombies to know before a zombie apocalypse. Grow your knowledge on the subjects in the process.
  4. Doors around you – a tier list: Now, here’s something you see everyday. The doors around you. Assign them a tier, go on. We know you have your favorites.
  5. As random as it gets tier list: The last idea on the list. Capturing the essence of what a tier list. Totally random. Anything under the sun. Any song(s), movie(s), game(s), game character(s), window(s), door(s), bed(s), toilet(s), poop(s). Anything.

In case you are looking for streaming ideas.

Check out my articles where I give 100 fun stream ideas and 18 cool ideas for the Just chatting category.

Tier list maker free suggestions

Finally, I leave you with the ultimate tier list of tier list makers.

Tier list rankings of Tier list making tools
Tier list ranking of tier list makers
  1. Kapwing Tier List Maker:- This is a cool tier list maker. In our tier list, it gets S ranking as the free version allows you to import images directly from Google with an inbuilt search function. This nifty feature saves a lot of time in case you can’t find a perfect template for your idea.
  1. TierMaker: The OG of all tier list makers. TierMaker is not only a great tool to make a tier list, but it is also a great library of all possible tier lists. You can discover all the tier lists that have been created in the history of time since 2016 and create your own new twist on those lists.
  1. MyTierList – It takes Tier list one step further, You can create your Tier list and options to choose from in Text format. But the interesting thing is that you can now share the link with your friends or subscribers to get their opinion of rankings on your given choices. You can then compile the results and see who is the ultimate winner.
  1. Design Wizard– They offer a clean experience with a ton of editing functionality. Offer a variety of images and tier lists. It’s similar to Canva and can offer some clean and simple templates.
  1. TierLists.com – They have tons of templates with preloaded images. Comes with an interactive dashboard where you can use arrows to move images on the ranking. Custom name the ranking tier, etc.
  1. Adobe Spark– Tier list maker: Adobe provides professional tier list templates on Adobe Spark. This is all cool but they do have a watermark for the free plan.
  1. Picmonkey– They also have decent templates for tier lists but It’s a paid tool. But if you already have a subscription for Picmonkey, check it out.

In closing

Tier lists are a cool way of sharing your point of view with the world. We are all entitled to our opinions, and a tier list content framework can help you initiate a discussion on those with your viewers and followers.

But hey, when it comes to real people, don’t forget to be respectful.

Happy tier-listing!