[Top 5] SFV Best Normal Characters That Are OP

Sadly, the master of Saikyō-ryū, Dan Hibiki, did not make this list! Outrageous!

What are the definitive best 5 normal characters in Street Fighter V?

There were 85 fighting canon characters released throughout the history of Street Fighter, and if one thing’s for sure, is that they all were based on one character, and that would be Street Fighter 1’s original character, Ryu. After all, each and every other character is based around him, and this is true not only in the Street Fighter franchise but pretty much in all 2D Fighting Games.

Ryu is, in his essence, the original “normal character”, and what we may call a shoto. The concept is simple. A shoto should have a fireball, an uppercut, and an advancing spinning kick as Special Moves, and this defines the group of characters that will be considered for this Top 5.

So without further ado, let’s jump into our first entry.


5. Kage

SFV AE - Kage Move List (Evil Ryu Manifestation)

After Ryu contained his Satsui no Hado and was able to suppress his own alternative form as Evil Ryu, this malicious, killing intent was manifested in the physical form known as Kage.

Kage has low health, but he makes up for it with his ability to deliver devastating combos. He has a great pressure game and is especially dangerous with the opponent in the corner.

His jump is short and quick and he can quickly overwhelm any opponent if he gets in with his scary combo ability. Kage is a very strong character, but he struggles at mid to long-range with relatively weak fireballs and an abnormal Tatsumaki Senpukyaku variant.

What Makes Kage Great:

  • Great pressure
  • Complex and decimating combos
  • Decent and useful V-Skills


4. Sakura

Street Fighter V Arcade Edition - Sakura Move List

Since she first saw Ryu fight, Sakura has been completely obsessed with him. Debuting in Street Fighter Alpha 2, Sakura has been one of the more popular shotos in fighting games.

Sakura excels when it comes to footsies, with a good variety of great normals that are extremely useful for whiff punishes. Particularly, her standing light kick serves as a great tool in neutral and is able to combo into her Shohoken. Sakura is also the fastest of the shotos when it comes to walk speed, which only helps accentuate how good she is when it comes to the ground game. Because Street Fighter V is such a neutral-based game, Sakura is a character that perfectly fits the playstyle encouraged by the game’s mechanics.

However, Sakura’s fireball is slow and does not even travel full screen if not fully charged, and her EX Shohoken is not completely invincible on wake-up, like the rest of the game’s shoto’s DPs (or Dragon Punches, Shoryuken, uppercuts). In any case, Sakura is definitely a fun character to play with a lot of juggling potential for those who want to have some fun using the opponent’s body as a volleyball.

What Makes Sakura Great:

  • Excellent at whiff punishing
  • Fast walk speed and overall mobility
  • Proper juggling potential


3. Ryu

Street Fighter V - Ryu Move List

Next on our list is this wandering vagabond in constant search of a better control over his power. Having been the posterboy for the Street Fighter series ever since its first installment in 1987, Ryu’s probably the most recognizable face in all of the franchise.

His combos are fairly simple and easy to learn, and can cause massive damage to your opponent if used at the correct timing. Ryu’s Hadouken fireball is also the best among all shotos, and his V-Trigger 1 exponentially enhances his oki (or wake-up game), on top of making it criminally easy to leave the opponent stunned.

Ryu is the perfect All-Rounder, having access to a skillset prepared to face multiple situations, although not particularly amazing in any of the aspects of the game. A true Jack of all trades, master of none.

What Makes Ryu Great:

  • Comfortable with fighting at multiple ranges
  • Dynamic gameplay adaptable to opponents with different playstyles
  • No particular strengths, but no particular weaknesses either


2. Akuma

Street Fighter V - Akuma Move List

Akuma only wants one thing: to keep honing his skills at the cost of other beings’ happiness, life, and well-being, and of course also at the cost of his own humanity. Appearing for the first time as a hidden secret boss in Super Street Fighter II Turbo, Akuma has grown to become a mainstay not only in every Street Fighter game but is actually commonly seen on many other fighting games, even those from rival developers.

Akuma is the quintessential glass cannon. He has an above-average damage output, combined with below-average health and stun. With Akuma, you destroy or get destroyed.

He’s equipped with many different tools, not only in offensive terms but also when talking about mobility. Akuma’s dangerous from all angles and all distances and his standing medium kick is a scary weapon to face in neutral, as it has tremendous range, speed and can be canceled into pretty much anything. 

His Demon Flip allows for exclusive mix-ups and his V-System pushes his gameplay limits even further, with the inclusion of parries, the ability to cancel Special Moves into Special Moves, combo extenders, and even greater damage output. As if all this wasn’t enough, his classic unblockable super move, Shun Goku Satsu (or Raging Demon), is ever-present with his V-Trigger 1, remaining as one of the most damaging moves in the game, if you can land it of course. Messatsu!

What Makes Akuma Great:

  • High damage output
  • Fantastic mix-up game 
  • Incredibly vast arsenal 


1. Ken

Street Fighter V - Ken Move List

Ken Masters is Ryu’s eternal rival and he’s always ready to turn up the heat. Even though he started off as an exact replica of Ryu but with a different design in the original Street Fighter game, as well as in the vanilla edition of Street Fighter II, he became more and more distinct from his Japanese counterpart as time went on.

Ken shares similar Special Moves with Ryu, but the main difference between them in Street Fighter V is that Ken is designed to take a more offensive approach, and his moves are best applied when in close range.

His heavy Shoryuken, the flame version, has a massive hitbox that can be used to catch your opponent off guard, right when he thinks he's safe and out of range and acts as an excellent combo ender. Ken is also equipped with great mobility and literally the fastest dash in the game.

What makes him stand out among other shotos is that Ken has virtually no setbacks or hindrances incorporated in his design. His normals are great and can all be converted into dynamic combos, his fireball has great frame data, and he almost always is rewarded with oki after his Shoryuken and its variants. Both his V-Triggers can be game enders if used correctly, and he can also deal with zoners and fireball wars with ease. SFV Ken is definitely a force to be reckoned with.

What Makes Ken Great:

  • Combo versatility
  • Fastest dash in the game
  • Consistent self-rewarding gameplay


Love them or hate them, shotos will always be part of the fighting game genre, and they are the whole foundation that allows for complexity to grow in any fighting game title. These normal characters remain by far the most popularly picked characters by beginners and pros alike, and there’s good reason for it.

Hopefully, this list helped you have a better insight on what makes each of these martial artists so similar but so distinct at the same time, each of them a master at their specific craft.


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Andre walks the path of a fighting warrior to pursue self-improvement and to break his limits. His amazing power of creative writing and his unwavering love for games are the source of his willpower.
Gamer Since: 2003
Favorite Genre: PVP
Currently Playing: Street Fighter V: Champion Edition
Top 3 Favorite Games:Street Fighter X Tekken, Grand Theft Auto V, Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood

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