Mortal Kombat 11 has been officially released for nearly two weeks now, and it seems to be doing well in both sales and consumer reception. The diverse cast of characters offers something for every one, and the competitive scene looks to be as good as before.
As with any game that is involved in the competitive esports scene, tier lists quickly develop and rapidly change during beta testing and the first few days of release. Tiers are based upon various points: damage potential, mobility, recovery, the opinions of the pros, and in some cases, hints at upcoming changes by the devs themselves. These lists are constantly shifting, and may look drastically different in a few months. For this article, we will be considering a combination of opinions from some of the most active players in the community. These include Maximilian_DOOD, Reo, and HoneyBee, among others.
The gunslinger is adept at immobilizing his opponents, forcing them to consider carefully how to engage and punishing those who rush in with plans of simply tossing out haymakers. His mix-ups allow for effective combo making, and his fatal blow is among the most efficient as a projectile, which compliment his array of other projectiles that can zone out an unskilled or skilled opponent alike. Given his overall versatility, there is likely always going to be a top spot reserved for Erron Black.
The ninja from the beginning of the series is back and stronger than ever. In a game where the pros can make good use of mobility in their characters, Scorpion may be one of the best with both the ability to teleport and cancel out of the teleport with ease. This allows him to effectively counter attempts to be zoned, and partnered with his strong poke and good staggers, means that most players will need to react in a similar fashion to his play style to be effective, which can lead to predictability that can in turn be exploited. Scopion's play style can also be used towards frustrating an opponent, baiting them into committing into an attack that can be countered and combo punished. This leaves the character in a position to likely always be top-tier as the months go by, or at the least, likely always a cornerstone in the competitive scene.
The second classic ninja of the series is effective when played aggressively, and has a wide range of options to put your opponent in disadvantageous positions that can be exploited and punished. His staggers hit low, forcing an opponent to respond, but then he also has the fastest overhead attack in the game that hits further than most, at sweeping distance, which can be led into a full combo. All of this often forces opponents to play cautiously, which further permits an aggressive play style. Rush down strategies have long been a staple of competitive play, and there is no reason to think that Sub-Zero will be anything but top tier for the foreseeable future.
This character is currently a bit polarizing, with pros varying in their opinion of her position ranging from top tier to simply acceptable. Where she excels right now is her strong mix-up ability, effective fireball projectile, and strong combo in the corner. That said, her animations are comparatively fewer in total frames between some attacks, which means that combos need to be executed precisely to go off. That in itself may be sufficient cause to have some players no longer consider viable at top-tier levels of play. If the same result can be achieved with another character, and the game is more forgiving to them in terms of avoiding combo whiffs, why would you take that additional risk into a tournament setting? The answer is that you likely would not, so time will tell if she remains a strong contender.
Also known previously as Bi-Han, the former elder Sub-Zero and older brother of the current iteration of the character, Noob Saibot is a strong fighter who may rise to the top of the pack in the months to come. Right off the bat we should be clear that the character does not have strong mixups, and weaker mid attacks than one would like to pressure the opponent. That said, his combo potential is unreal, his clones offer boundless utility, and his teleport grants flexibility and mobility. This means that patience and baiting play a stronger role than previous versions of the character, at least so far. In a meta where pure offense and aggro take hold, the idea of a powerful baiting character may be the perfect compliment to the competitive scene.
The newcomer to the series is making his mark with some of the most damaging attacks in the game. He has numerous strong strings that can be safely played into blocks, taking away the risk of being punished, and many are safe to cancel into a special move. Combined with his ability to manipulate time, a variety of excellent throws, and one of the better fatal blows in the game, he is currently one of the most powerful fighters, and as such, a prime candidate for a nerf in the future. If Geras is not nerfed, or other characters are not significantly buffed, it is likely that he will remain one the strongest fighters in the game.