Mortal Kombat 11 has been out since the end of April, and many players are wondering why they are seeing so many Scorpion opponents in online ranked modes of play. Whether in online forums such as Reddit, or in Twitter rants, players cannot seem to get away from the stylish yellow fighter and his teleporting ways.
One simple reason for his prevalence in online matches is that he is ranked among the best fighters in the tier lists of professional players. MK REO, one of the more widely known and popular content creators for the game on YouTube, explains his rationale behind the ninja's power. Yet, most people are not professional, top tier players, so why is it that Scorpion seems so popular among the player base?
Scorpion was the Poster Boy of the Marketing Team
Before the game even launched, excited fans of the series and newcomers alike were bombarded with images and videos of Scorpion. Hype built quickly in the official trailer for the game, where Raiden and Scorpion go head to head in "kombat." With the Lightning God seemingly victorious after a hard fight, Scorpion suddenly returns in a classic outfit to make a gruesome finish of his opponent.
If this video served as a tipping point for new or returning players, there is little doubt that Scorpion would have been the first character they decided to play. This is not a new strategy by the marketing department at NetherRealm Studios, as can be seen in the trailer for Mortal Kombat X in 2015, where both Scorpion and Sub-Zero were shown having a duel to the death.
Much in the same way that Ryu and Ken are synonymous with the Street Fighter games, so too is Scorpion tied closely to the identity of the Mortal Kombat series. We should expect that to remain constant for years to come if the brand continues to market this way.
Scorpion Is Everywhere, And Players Are Complaining
A quick glance at Reddit will reveal posts similar to the one below, along with comments that are almost indistinguishable from one post to the next.
To be clear, now that the game has been out for a while most players have learned how to deal with Scorpion; most of the frustration seems to be more towards the monotony of playing against the same character over and over again.
Other posts seem to support those who play Scorpion, telling them to be proud for selecting a character with a rich history. Whether it is a joke or not, Scorpion is certainly a popular choice.
Easy To Learn, Hard to Master, And A Popular Choice For Beginners
There are a few options that players can choose when getting into Scorpion for online play. First, they can use the Hellport and the Death Spin to open into a fierce 13 hit combo. If an opponent is not familiar with these openers, they can quickly lose and not fully understand what happened.
This is especially true of the Death Spin move because it looks like a combo that can be blocked and countered after one or two hits. Instead, it is a simple move (DF4) that performs four consecutive Mid hits (six if empowered), and there is no middle point in which to counter while blocking. The victim needs to wait until the end of the attack to unleash their own moves, but this is not obvious at first.
The mobility on demand for Scorpion is a key component to his kit as well, meaning he can stay away, control the neutral ground, and initiate on his terms.
More advanced play allows Scorpion to teleport cancel into a grab, or to leave sufficient space to get into a D1 and B14 combo. Jumping often works well for Scorpion due to his air grab, meaning that players need to be both patient and careful.
Keep in mind that these tips only work well on beginners. Those with experience will quickly see the openings in the block to counterattack, and how telegraphed many of the moves become based on play style.
How to Beat Scorpion
Again, the prevalence of Scorpion is spawning complaints not because of his difficulty, but because players wish to see a diverse set of opponents in their online games. There are a number of simple things to do in order to trump Scorpion mains; many are only on the bandwagon, and have little skill in the fundamental aspects of the game.
First, an easy strategy is to simply avoid the barrage of combos that an opponent may attempt to spam at your character. Then, when you spot an opening, hit with an appropriate counterattack combo of your own. The same applies to when the opponent is spamming teleports and empowering them. Block more than you think is necessary, especially against a teleport - it's hard to tell when they're going to empower it for an additional attack.
Past that, it is advisable to play slowly in the first round to identify the style of play used by the opponent. Are they always teleporting? Blocks and throws will ruin their day. Many Scorpion players seem to be spamming one combo, or a Death Spin over and over again, which means that you can easily identify when to stand and block and when to duck.
Attempting to zone a Scorpion is all but useless, since the tools for zoning, generally projectiles, will simply allow for the fighter to teleport next to you whenever they wish.
Love him or hate him, Scorpion is not likely to go anywhere. With that said, the more he is selected in ranked mode, the sooner other players will continue to learn how to counter his basic move set. Eventually, Scorpion players will either be bored of losing or will want to branch out to other characters.
The constant stream of tournaments is also a great opportunity for the meta to shift and spark interest in new characters. Dominique “SonicFox” McLean won the CEO 2019 event using Cassie Cage, while his opponent was sporting a nasty Jacqui Briggs. We should be seeing less of Scorpion as time goes on, as these tournaments always bring a slight shift in the way players choose their fighters, as everyone always wants to use the best of the best.