*note, this was originally in the general discussion forums, but I am recreating it here so people have easier access to it*
Hello, RoosterTeeth! Welcome one and all to the Tier System. Here, we will be assessing the combative abilities of the huntsmen and huntresses of Remnant to see where they all stand in relation to one another. However, before we begin discussion, I'd like to give some background.
My inspiration for this came from my appreciation of the Star Wars Versus Series creators on YouTube who call themselves the Council Forcecast (Reti4, GreyJedi91, Antione Bandele, Jensaarai1, and EvanNova95). In their videos, these guys analyze and dissect the capabilities of various Star Wars characters to see who they think would win in a hypothetical fight. What makes these guys different from most (and what really drew me to them) is the fact that they take care to address the entirety of a character's attributes rather than just their stated power and feats (something helped by the fact that most of them practice martial arts themselves). After getting into RWBY, I thought it might be fun to try my own hand and think about the capabilities of RWBY characters. Therefore, I freely admit that my analytical views are influenced by them and their work, though your guys' input is greatly appreciated.
With that out of the way, let's get into how the Tier System works. Like the Forcecast, I am drawing my conclusions based on all of the characters' relevant combative attributes stacked together. Specifically, we will address the following;
-Martial arts training
-Special abilities/powers (i.e. Semblances)
The goal of the Tier System is not to create a ranking from best to worst, but instead to determine who the character in question stands equal to. Just because one character is on a higher tier than another, this does not always translate into an automatic victory should those two fight. After all, many fights throughout fictional history have consisted of lesser fighters managing to overcome opponents far above their own level given the right circumstances. So if you think a certain character should automatically be higher on the scale just because they beat this one other character one specific time, you may be disappointed.
Now for the Tiers themselves
*while I am using the Council Forcecast's format, I credit newcomer Macattack 1 with codifying it(https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCbYzXt8wfZM4az6xVIhRK1g)
TIER 1: COMPLETE MASTERY
This is the highest of the high. Basically, god-level masters, the most powerful and skilled combatants of the setting and the standard by which all others are held. While fighters on this level often vary in their skillsets, they tend to be characterized by a ridiculously high level of development in at least one specific attribute. In the case of RWBY, this has so far been achieved through the use of magic, which by its nature goes far beyond most conventional skills and powers.
Examples: Ozpin and Salem (both are readily accepted as the most powerful beings to their respective factions, and both have centuries of combat experience to their name)
TIER 2: ADVANCED MASTERY
Peak of what a "normal" Huntsman and Huntress can achieve. This level is the best that can be achieved on the back of pure dedication and skill, and these fighters are generally extremely versatile tactical geniuses who can comfortably function in practically any situation
Examples: Qrow Branwen, Glynda Goodwitch, James Ironwood
TIER 3:STANDARD MASTERY
Best that can be achieved through specialization in a singular technique. Combatants at this level tend to rely on direct, focused applications of their strongest attributes to power through situations. They often possess very high performance levels, but their success is predicated on that specific skill or power.
Examples: Adam Taurus, Hazel Rainart, Roman Torchwick
TIER4: ADVANCED APPLICATION
Tthis is the general expert level, not true masters but still highly impressive. Fighters at this tier can fall into any fighter type, but are usually characterized as either a.) great masters in the making who lack the proper amount of development, or b.) baseline combatants peaking out.
Examples: Team RWBY, Nora Valkyrie, Lie Ren, Mercury Black, Emerald Sustrai, Leonardo Lionheart
TIER 5: STANDARD APPLICATION
If Tier 4 is "experts", Tier 5 is "really good". People at this level are not truly exceptional, but they are still a significant cut above the rank-and-file. This tier is usually occupied by fighters who are still growing, often rising stars who have the potential to raise to the higher levels given the proper amount of time.
Examples: Jaune Arc (Vol. 5 onward), Ilia Amitola, Oscar Pine
TIER 6: BASIC APPLICATION
Basically, the average Huntsman, Huntress, or White Fang goon. There's honestly very little to distinguish this level
Examples: Unnamed redshirts at the Vytal Festival, Dee and Dudley, Tuckson
TIER 7: BASIC KNOWLEDGE
Trainee level/Rank amateur. Combatants at this level have had some training, so they can technically fight, but they really have nothing noteworthy going for them.
Examples: Jaune Arc (Vol. 1)
This list may change or get more examples as the show progresses, and I am very interested in seeing how these fighters develop. If you have opinions on where a character should sit or any questions regarding my own judgements, please let me know and hopefully we can start a discussion! :-)