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 of your own tier lists!

Let’s go.

What is a Tier List?

Simply put, a tier list is a way to classify people, places, and digital/physical objects in different ranks. The concept originated from gaming, where different in-game elements are ranked subjectively based on the order of their preference, popularity, quality, efficiency, or effectiveness.

These lists are often depicted as rows or columns, with the top tiers representing the best and the bottom tiers the worst.

It is widely used as content form by streamers and YouTubers alike, to share their point of view on different options and choices. Popular tier list examples include game characters, in-game elements like features and weapons, Twitch streamers, YouTuber’s houses, etc.

Tier Lists: Origin and Popularity

The concept of tier lists has its roots in gaming, particularly in fighting games where characters are ranked based on their competitive viability.

Over time, this concept has spilled over into various other domains, gaining massive popularity on social media and online forums. It is now a tool that is even used for comparison and decision making.

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.

Use of Tier Lists in Streaming on Twitch and YouTube

With everything else that is finding its way to Streaming on Twitch and YouTube, Tier Lists cannot be left behind. It’s a popular content form to depict streamer and youtuber preferences and learnings, in areas ranging from gaming, tech, streaming gear, TV series and movies, sports, food, etc.

On Twitch, Tier Lists have found a way on Just Chatting category, being a go-to topic when comparing between different options.

Related Article: Just Chatting Stream Ideas to Turbocharge your Stream

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 restaurants 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.

Different Types of Tier Lists

Tier lists have use in different areas. The different fields where tier lists have found a place include gaming, Tech products, Entertainment, Education, Sales and Marketing, Sports, etc.

  1. Popularity of Tier Lists in Gaming

In the gaming world, tier lists are incredibly popular, especially in competitive scenes like eSports.

  • Use in eSports

Professional gamers and enthusiasts use tier lists to gauge the effectiveness of characters or strategies in competitive play. These lists can significantly influence the meta-game – the overarching strategy that players use to win in competitive gaming.

  • Influencing Player Strategies

For casual and professional players alike, tier lists serve as a guide to optimize their gameplay. They provide insights into which characters are worth investing time in and which might be less effective.

  1. Tier Lists in Streaming and Tech Products

Tier lists extend beyond gaming, significantly impacting user choices for tech and streaming gadgets.

  • Ranking Gadgets, Software, and Services

Users often turn to tier lists when deciding on gadgets, software, or services. These lists provide a quick reference to understand the best options available, based on functionality, cost, and user satisfaction.

  • Guide for Streaming Gear

When in doubt while deciding streaming gear to buy, streamers often turn to tier lists to make choices between different camera, audio systems and software to stream.

  1. The Role of Tier Lists in Entertainment

Tier lists have found a place in entertainment, categorizing movies, music, and TV shows.

  • Movies, Music, and TV Shows Rankings

Fans and critics alike create tier lists ranking everything from films to albums, offering a unique perspective on the entertainment landscape. These rankings can influence viewer choices and spark debates among enthusiasts.

  1. Tier Lists in Education

Tier lists have found a role in the educational sector as well.

  • Academic Tools and Study Aids

Educators use tier lists to categorize and prioritize learning materials, helping students focus on the most important or challenging topics.

  1. Impact on Marketing and Sales

Tier lists influence consumer behavior, impacting marketing strategies and sales.

  • Consumer Guidance

By categorizing products or services, tier lists guide consumers in their purchasing decisions, highlighting the best options available.

  • Product Hierarchy

Tier lists establish a hierarchy among products, influencing how consumers perceive their value and quality.

  1. Tier Lists in Sports

Sports analysts and fans use tier lists to rank athletes and teams.

  • Ranking Athletes and Teams

These rankings provide insights into the performance and potential of athletes and teams, influencing fan opinions and betting markets.

  1. Tier Lists in Food and Cuisine

Food enthusiasts and critics use tier lists to rank dishes and dining experiences.

  • Ranking Dishes and Restaurants

These lists offer a fun and informative way to navigate the culinary world, highlighting top dining experiences and must-try dishes.

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.

Related Article: 100 Fun Stream Ideas To Turbocharge your Stream

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.

What is the primary purpose of a tier list?

A tier list primarily serves to rank items, characters, or products based on specific criteria, offering a comparative perspective across various categories.

How reliable are tier lists?

While tier lists provide valuable insights, they are inherently subjective and should be viewed as one of many tools for analysis and decision-making.

Can tier lists change over time?

Yes, tier lists are dynamic and can change based on new information, trends, changes in the field they are addressing, or even the people creating them.

Are tier lists only used in gaming?

No, tier lists are used in a wide range of fields including entertainment, consumer products, education, and more.

How do tier lists impact consumer behavior?

Tier lists can guide consumer choices by highlighting the best options and influencing perceptions of quality and value.

What are the best tools for creating a tier list for streamers?

For streamers creating tier lists, Kapwing and TierMaker are top choices for their ease of use and integration with streaming platforms. Advanced users might prefer Adobe Spark or even Photoshop for more customizable and professional-looking designs.

In Closing – To Tier or Not to Tier

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!

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