There are several different philosophies when it comes to the prickly issue of choosing characters to play in fighting games. Some are staunch loyalists, picking a fighter at the beginning of a franchise and sticking with them in every game thereafter. Some flit from character to character as the tier lists dictate, in pursuit of that competitive edge.
In Mortal Kombat, as in any other fighter, kombatants’ styles vary a lot. The best picks often aren’t the most fun; they can be a little played out and boring, in fact. Some just aren’t as viable as others. If you’re on the fence, here are some Mortal Kombat 11 characters who are a blast to play, and others you might want to avoid.
10 Fun: Erron Black
Well, here’s a controversial pick right from the off. The fun factor of the gun-totin’, Reptile-poison-throwin’ cowboy largely depends on one thing: whether you’re playing as him or against him.
Since very early on, Black has been considered one of the best characters in the game, boasting an array of deadly options at range and at close quarters. He’s got every tool he could possibly need (and a whole lot that he doesn’t really), including the deadliest, most where-the-heck-did-that-come-from kick since Leonidas in 300.
9 Disappointing: D’Vorah
Now, on the surface, there’s a lot to like about D’Vorah. Introduced in the previous instalment, she seemed to have every asset a good Mortal Kombat character needs: a fantastic and revolting gimmick (she’s a member of the Kytinn, a race of insects that gathers together to form a humanoid body), an impossible and befuddling backstory, super-sharp teeth… she had it made.
Despite her awesome design, though, she’s hugely disappointing from a gameplay perspective. With lots of very slow, unsafe moves, most players agree that she’s one of the worst picks the game has to offer.
8 Fun: Baraka
Well. Well, well, well. What the heckola happened here? When it comes to the top characters in Mortal Kombat, Baraka has often been forgotten. The wannabe Wolverine with the unfortunate dental situation has been doing the rounds since the second instalment in the franchise, but has never really been too much of threat.
Recently, though, things have changed, and Baraka fans will be glad to see that he’s had various buffs. Not one of the best, perhaps, but the Tarkatan warrior offers a visceral, rushdown style that’s heavy on the claws.
7 Disappointing: Kotal Kahn
Like D’Vorah, former Emperor Kotal Kahn was introduced in Mortal Kombat X. He offers the huge-sword-waving antics that just tickle the fancy of certain fighter fans, but the general consensus is that he’s languishing down in the depths with the game’s worst characters.
Why? He suffers from weaknesses that often doom kombatants. For one thing, certain moves take three to four working days to come out, leaving him with limited options. He struggles the most when it comes to responding to zoning, which is an incredibly powerful tactic. In short, the meta is very much against him.
6 Fun: Geras
One of the new kids on the Mortal Kombat 11 block, Geras is a character with a fascinating concept, for starters. This servant of Kronika has the power to control the sands of time. This means two things: he can mess with time itself to freeze his opponents in place temporarily, and he can oppress and control them through quicksand shenanigans.
Do either of these things sound like fun for the opponent? That’s because they aren’t. In a similar fashion to Erron Black, Geras can be a blast to play, but not so much to be on the receiving end of.
5 Disappointing: Shao Kahn
Anyone who’s familiar with the series will know Shao Kahn. If you’ve been around for a while now, you’ll probably remember the incredibly unfair boss battles of yesteryear, and his dastardly actions across the series’ overarching narrative. Shao Kahn the Konqueror wants you to hate him, and he certainly goes the right way about it.
Intimidating a force as he is, though, Shao Kahn has largely been left behind by the meta. As with Kotal Kahn, he has high damage potential, but has to work so darn hard to pull off anything big.
4 Fun: Scorpion
This was kind of natural, really. Along with Sub-Zero, Scorpion is one of the most iconic characters in the franchise. The palette-swapped ninjas are the Ryu and Ken of Mortal Kombat, so it stands to reason that both have been super-solid picks since the series first began.
Scorpion always tends to be ranked super high. He’s got that blend of versatility, damage potential and just raw GET OVER HERE badassery that he needs to get the job done. Not to mention that darn teleport, which he’s been proudly infuriating opponents with for decades now.
3 Disappointing: Kollector
Kollector also made his first appearance in this installment. This is some true Mortal Kombat character design in action, right here. There’s just so much to take in here. He looks fantastic, there’s no doubt about that.
His combat style utilizes everything from a mace to bolas, making him very unique. He also stands out in the fact that he’s such a tough one to place. He has his gimmicks and he can be a tricky one to handle, but as he tends to struggle at a range that top-tier characters excel at, he can be super tough to use to best effect.
2 Fun: Jax
A fighting game wouldn’t be a fighting game without a character like Jax Briggs. No fancy business, no silly gimmicks, he just crashes through the wall at you like the darn Terminator and gets so far up in your business that he can see what you had for breakfast that morning.
With a surprisingly solid projectile game and incredible damage potential up close, Jax is a lot of fun and a real menace if you can’t keep him at bay.
1 Disappointing: Cetrion
Now, we’re not here to talk smack about Cetrion. She boasts some of the flashiest, hey, ma, look at my particle effects moves that Mortal Kombat has ever seen, and we can respect that.
The fact is, though, for an Elder God, there’s something underwhelming about her. She was controversial for her design from the get-go, and her stunning-looking moves are just a little too reminiscent of various other characters’ mashed into one. Cetrion’s flashy, but a little lacking in substance.