In a game of 15 characters, it may seem demeaning to say a character sits in the top 10 — particularly if it's an older, more volatile game like Vampire Savior. But as explosive as the offense is in Capcom's cartoonishly spooky 2D fighter, there's a wide viability among the cast.
Even low-tier characters like Anakaris have seen tournament-beating performances from top tier Darkstalkers 3 players, such as MightyMar's impressive top eight run at Frosty Faustings 2020. So, if one of your favorite characters shows up in the list below, all that stands between you and success is how much effort you're willing to put into them.
10 Demitri Maximoff, The Power Hungry Vampire
Whereas Morrigan and Lilith — the fireball-chucking vampires that new players are likely most familiar with — lose a lot of their power as you obtain higher levels of play, Demitri's toolkit remains somewhat stable even against knowledgeable foes.
This is because the fireball is not the core aspect of his game plan, but rather a setup for it. His main goal is to land his two-meter cost command grab, Midnight Pleasure. This two-frame, high-damage unblockable becomes a huge threat when combined with the obnoxious safety of his dashing Demon Cradle. He's also one of the few characters with an even or advantageous matchup against the top tier Q-Bee, giving him some fringe justification as a counter pick.
9 Lei-Lei, The Gimmicky Jiangshi
In many ways, the strengths of Lei-Lei (known as Hsien-Ko in the English version) are also her weaknesses — she lives and dies based on the success of gimmicks. Gimmick-based gameplay is never stable in the long run, but luckily for Lei-Lei players, the random chance to stun with an item toss is not all you have to shoot for.
Her Tenraiha super is a problem-solver at pretty much every level of play, and even on block allows you to continue pressure. Offense is everything to Lei-Lei, and if you know how to keep the momentum after using it, you'll be surprised at just how far this otherwise mid-tier character can take you.
8 Bishamon, The Unblockable Samurai
The undead samurai Bishamon may seem cumbersome in unskilled hands. Don't be fooled, though — with proper link execution and understanding of his toolkit, Bishamon is not only powerful, but capable of steamrolling rounds very quickly.
This is largely thanks to his ES Karame Dama, which is an unblockable fireball. At least, the fireball becomes unblockable at certain distances — and when it hits, the fireball stuns! With proper setups and execution, Bishamon can potentially dump several bars of meter to kill off of a single guess.
7 Bulleta, The Deceptive Hunter
Bulleta (B.B. Hood in the English version), like Bishamon above, can seem unwieldy in new players hands due to difficult execution. However, Bulleta fulfills a largely vacated niche in the Vampire Saivor meta — she is an exceptional zoning character.
This is largely thanks to her double jump (she's the only character in the game with one) and her missiles, which function similarly to Guile's Sonic Boom in Street Fighter. Unlike zoners in many other games, though, she can instantly turn her patient rewards on a dime, thanks to powerful mixup tools like her instant overhead j.MP. On top of all of this, she also has an infinite — so if you have a love of execution, you can potentially one-touch-kill any opponent.
6 Felicia, The Relentless Catwoman
Felicia is a strong character at any level of play thanks to incredible mobility and versatile buttons. Unlike some earlier characters on this list, she isn't terribly difficult to play — her combos are straightforward, and her toolkit is well-rounded thanks to a solid guard cancel and mostly even matchup spread.
There are only a few things that hold her back compared to the other top tiers. Namely, her wake-up timing is slow and exploitable — and considering that all the best characters in the game are rush-down monsters that love to force you into repeated mixups, Felicia can find herself on the back paw quickly in those particular matchups.
5 Aulbuth, Terror of the Deep
Slippery Aulbuth (Rikuo in the English verison) has the sort of big, screen controlling offense that fills opponents with dread. With big anti-air buttons, strong neutral control, and multiple ways to stun the opponent, it only takes one touch to completely swing a match into the fish-man's favor.
What keeps him out of the top tiers, frankly, is that he operates somewhat like a tank in a game where everyone else is on roller skates. He has a somewhat useless back dash in the form of a triple hop, and his charge inputs means he's often moving backwards. If you're not careful, you'll accidentally corner yourself!
4 Gallon, The Restrained Werewolf
Gallon's strike-and-throw gameplan, when combined with what is far-and-away the game's fastest walk and jump speeds, means that he is always just moments away from putting opponents in the blender. Because of this, it doesn't really matter what tier your opponents' character is — this werewolf has the tools to end opponents quickly and easily. Which is good, since he's also consistently one of the series' most popular characters.
Unfortunately, Gallon (Jon Talbain in the English version) is something of a glass cannon. He has lower-than-average health and horrendous reversal options, so he tends to melt under his opponents' offense. The only defensive saving grace is his small stature, which means some character's combos become awkward to perform on him.
3 Q-Bee, The Flying Queen
Q-Bee's strengths and weaknesses are not dissimilar from Gallon. She's a high-octane pressure character with mid/low/throw mixups that can confuse and disorient her opponents. She also has awful reversal options as well, making them both low-health glass cannons.
There are two key factors that keep Q-Bee slightly more tournament relevant. Firstly, she has a more dominant matchup spread, thanks to things like float and homing air-dash allowing her to weave around her opponents attacks. Second, and perhaps more important, is the fact that she's the only character in the game with three different wake-up timings — making her more difficult than anyone else to keep locked down in knockdown mixups.
2 Sasquatch, The Rushdown Monster
It's wild to think that Sasquatch has some of the best throws in the game. His normal throws both option-select with buttons, and his command grab, called Big Brunch, freezes the opponent for a combo. And yet, Sasquatch is not really considered a grappler, and in high-level play most tournament players have a different goal: to smother the opponent with his short hop mix-ups.
Thanks to things like push-block into short hop, Sasquatch can turn just about any situation into an opportunity to force an instant mid/low mixup. Once his difficult movement is perfected by the player, there's almost never a moment where this Bigfoot can't take control — and unlike the characters below him, he has a higher-than-average health pool to support his high octane style.
1 Zabel, The Lord of Rock
The same things that makes Zabel (Lord Raptor in the English version) the best character in the game are what that make him the worst character for new players to jump into — an embarrassment of riches. This high mobility, high damage rock star also is burdened with execution and expectations.
With a potent mid/low/command grab mixup, long-range normals, high-priority pokes and excellent frame data, Zabel has a tool for every situation in the game. He's also fully capable of smothering the opponent off a single correct guess — but the person behind the sticks has to have the speed and tight execution to pull all of this off. The only actual weaknesses this undead rocker has is slightly below average health, and your decision-making.
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