So, Mortal Kombat 11, huh? For fighter fans, this is sure to be one of the most anticipated releases of 2019 so far. When it comes to sheer, bone-crunching, hey, is that my spleen on the floor over there violence, you just can’t beat this franchise.
Since the 2011 reboot, Mortal Kombat has taken things to greater extremes than ever before. New mechanics like the gloriously disgusting X-Ray Attacks have been added (special moves that show you exactly the internal damage you’re doing to your foe), and horror mainstays like Freddy Krueger have joined the fray.
What’s in store for Mortal Kombat 11, then? There are lots of secrets still to be revealed. As we eagerly await its April 23 release (May 10 in the case of the Nintendo Switch edition), let’s rank the thirteen officially-confirmed (at the time of writing) kombatants who are preparing to throw down.
That’s right, friends. We’re kicking things off with Baraka, which clearly means that we’re ranking from worst to best.
Now, don’t get me wrong here. I can appreciate Baraka, I really can. His design is neat, he’s got that Fatality where he spins his opponent on one of his claws and takes little hunks off of them with the other, kebab-meat-style… what’s not to like?
I’ll tell you what’s not to like. His sluggishness and low combo potential, that’s what. This villainous member of the Tarkata is armed with wicked claws (and those teeth), but they seem to hit like wet squibs. Maybe the new title will send some much-deserved buffs his way?
Ah, Kano. He’s one of those fighting game characters that is easily lost in the crowd, easily underestimated.
When the community of such-and-such a game discovers some easily-exploitable new technique or setup, the popularity of the character concerned tends to skyrocket. Kano does have some cheeky stuff like this, but it isn’t nearly as easy to implement as that of other characters.
Players often tend to want the best results for the least effort, and while Kano’s certainly a great character, his players have tended to have to do more honest work for their wins than others. As a result, the Australian cyborg warrior hasn’t won himself nearly as many fans as he deserves.
Jade is another character who is often underestimated. Tier lists haven’t been friendly to her over the years, and it’s easy to see why. She has real trouble messing with her opponents much of the time, possessing little in the way of mix-ups. Couple that with the great cooldown on a lot of her best techniques and the trouble she has with combos, and players can often have a bad time.
With that said, though, Princess Kitana's friend does have some handy assets. If you’d been having issues with zoners before, Jade can make all of those problems instantly disappear. She’s quite unique to play, and if the new title treats her well, we could still have quite the powerhouse on our hands.
Speaking of unique characters, Kabal also brings something truly neat to the table. Firstly, there’s his morality. He originally appeared as a force for good in Mortal Kombat 3, before turning to the dark side and trying to seize control of the Black Dragon clan. In Mortal Kombat 2011, he’s on the side of good again, and we learn a little more about his backstory.
Kabal used to be a police officer, and the partner of Stryker. He’s armed with wicked hookswords and lightning-fast speed, as a result of Shang Tsung’s magic. He’s a tough one to place. Like his signature weapons, he’s very unconventional, but very powerful when used correctly.
9 Liu Kang
In a lot of ways, Liu Kang is the archetypal beginner-friendly fighting game character. Playing him is a great way to learn the fundamentals, and continue to find success as your abilities improve. Very solid in all areas, though without some of the silly things that other kombatants have in more specific situations.
He’s the Ryu of Mortal Kombat, I guess you could say, and is also central to the overarching plot. He’s been playable from the very first Mortal Kombat, and was the Grand Champion of the Mortal Kombat tournament (in-game) four times in a row. It just wouldn’t be Mortal Kombat without him, and it’s great to see him back.
8 Sonya Blade
Speaking of series stalwarts, here’s another kombatant who’s been doing the rounds since the original Mortal Kombat. Way back in October 1992, we were first introduced to Sonya Blade, formerly of the Outer World Investigation Agency (OIA).
She’s a highly trained special forces agent, and she certainly demonstrates that on the Mortal Kombat battlefield. The very definition of girl power, Sonya was the first female kombatant to feature in the series, and has always been a solid and reliable pick.
She comes armed with everything from garotte wire to grenades and drones, and is sure to use them all to optimal effect once again in the upcoming title.
Unlike Liu Kang, Sonya Blade and other veterans we’ve seen so far, D’Vorah arrived very late to the Mortal Kombat party. She debuted in the previous game, Mortal Kombat X. For my money, she’s one of the most unique and totally ugly fighters in the franchise to date.
D’Vorah is a member of the Kytinn race, odd humanoid/insect hybrids. She’s allied with Shao Khan (albeit out of necessity, after he conquered her home, the Arnyek Islands), and just the kind of dangerous and unconventional ally he favors.
Her playstyle is very different, due to her bizarre characteristics. Her gameplay centers around controlling bugs and her own lethal insect-like properties (bitey, bitey pincers, for instance).
Skarlet is an unusual case. She made her first playable appearance as DLC for the 2011 reboot, but talk of her existence dates all the way back to Mortal Kombat II (in which she was rumored to be a secret character).
Whatever the case, she’s finally here for real, and she’s one of the most unsettling characters in the roster. Her body is composed entirely of blood, allowing her to use a variety of blood-based techniques. This comes in super handy for offense and defense alike, and also grants her some of the most gloriously gross Fatalities in the whole series.
As seen with D’Vorah, the Mortal Kombat franchise definitely still has it when it comes to creating new characters. Our next confirmed fighter in the upcoming game is all-new for this entry: Geras.
What do we know about him? Well, he’s the servant of the Keeper of Time and Architect of the Universe’s Destiny (how did they ever fit that on a resume?), Kronika, and boasts some fascinating abilities.
In keeping with his theme, Geras is literally able to meddle with time in the midst of a bout. As reported by Polygon, he boasts powerful techniques like Reawakened (which allows him to resurrect himself upon defeat), Rewind Time (which reverts the battle back to the exact state it was in four seconds ago) and Spare Time (which adds up to thirty seconds to the in-game timer).
Get over here, friends, it’s time for perhaps the most iconic fighter in all Mortal Kombat.
Did I say that Liu Kang was the Ryu of the series? Scratch that. It’s totally Scorpion. Kang may be a more significant character in terms of the franchise’s lore itself, but in terms of pop culture generally, Scorpion is the real icon.
Hanzo Hasashi is a bit of a Batman-type character. Not truly a ‘good guy’ or a villain, he’s a ninja who doles out his own unique brand of vigilante justice as and when he deems necessary. In battle, he’s known for utilizing fire spells, teleportation shenanigans and that famous Spear of his.
Which is the more popular Mortal Kombat character, Scorpion or Sub-Zero? Both are truly iconic and both have been playable in every main series entry so far. I think it’s a tie.
Sub-Zero is the icy Yin to Scorpion’s flaming Yang. Long-time rivals, they’ve come to blows several times in several different forms throughout the series. In contrast to Scorpion’s command of fire, Sub-Zero is a Cryomancer, and is able to manipulate ice to a similar extent.
Ice spears, freezing and immobilizing opponents… there’s a reason why so many players dislike fighting this guy.
So, there we are. We’ve got the fire and ice elements covered. Now for something else from the Pokémon type chart: Electric (or thunder, as the rest of the world calls it).
That’s right. the thunder god Raiden is another Mortal Kombat mainstay, another of very few characters to have been playable in every main series title. A deity who has taken humanoid form in order to be able to battle and interact with us mere mortals, he commands frightening power.
Raiden’s main talents are teleportation, flying moves (think M. Bison) and creating projectiles and forefields alike from lightning. An excellent character, all in all.
1 Shao Kahn
Ah, yes. The final character to be officially confirmed for the Mortal Kombat 11 roster (as of right now) is… this guy.
The fanbase has mixed opinions about Shao Kahn. They tend to range from hating him to really, really hating him. Not just because his boss battles tend to be infuriating and cheap, but also because he’s just an all-round terrible guy.
Shao Kahn made his first appearance as the final boss of Mortal Kombat II, and has frequently served as a main antagonist since. Perhaps stronger even than Raiden, he is known for his brutal combat style and callousness.
At the moment, Shao Kahn features in the roster as a pre-order bonus.