Queen Sindel has arrived in Mortal Kombat 11 evil, angry, and ready to bend everyone to her will after discovering that she has been dead for the past few hundred years. Early testing of the character reveals three distinct and specialized kompetitive kombat variations to choose from, and overall, Sindel looks to be a strong addition to the kast of kombatants.
Universal Move Analysis
An initial examination of some of Sindel’s basic attacks might lead some to be disappointed with the Queen. Generally speaking, most of her pokes and low attacks are slower than average. They are not much slower, speaking in terms of a single frame, but if trying to be quickest on the draw, she will lose to many other fighters. However, the rest of her kit is fantastic outside of this one point.
When the gameplay footage was shown by NetherRealm Studios prior to release, it looked like Forward + 2, 1, was going to be an excellent starter, because it can be mixed up into a low, and more importantly, it provides excellent mind games because it takes a moment to get into the third hit. This means that an opponent must guess if the third hit will be high or low, but can also be tricked completely and fall into the trap of being thrown. The range of this attack is simply ridiculous as well when compared to other characters and their starters.
Back + 2 looks to be a great low attack that a player can combo into in a few different ways. A player can follow up with a simple uppercut, but also juggle a simple string like Forward 4, Up 3, which leaves knocks the opponent nearly a full screen away. In practice, the move is safe to use even on block because Sindel shifts backwards to just outside of sweeping range. While it looks unsafe on block, one needs to take into account how she forces a reposition that the opponent cannot dash into quick enough to exploit.
Speaking about uppercuts, Sindel has exceptionally long vertical and horizontal range with her attack using her Kwan Do to reach far up. Unlike most fighters, Sindel’s uppercut can hit opponents almost at their peak during a jump in. Her uppercut has possibly the greatest range among all characters, and this will be deadly for players who are always jumping around. Sindel also looks to have the furthest reaching, or nearly the furthest reaching, short hop in the game.
The Main Squeeze ability looks to be a primary way for ending combos, and since it can be amplified and a player can decide where the opponents ends up, either left or right, it allows for excellent controlling of space. If a player is in or the corner, she can control the spacing by hitting even a simple combo and ending with this move. Since its range is large, covering what looks to be jumping distance, Main Squeeze also can be used to punish whiffs.
Regal Presence is a simplified form of flight from previous games in the Mortal Kombat series that sees Sindel fly up, choose from one of three moves, dash back and forth, or drop down. Hovering is going to be fantastic for mind games as well, since it can be activated from the ground or mid-jump and an opponent will not always know when and where you will land.
Krushing blow requirements have already been announced, and they feel reasonably easy to pull off without much difficulty, especially since Sindel can engage from the neutral space with ease.
- Throws follow the same conditions as other characters: An escape fail once will activate a krushing blow on the next successful throw
- Hair Flip gets a krushing blow for punishing a low attack
- Scream activates a krushing blow on whiff punish or counter (except in the second variation, where three steps taken will then activate the krushing blow)
- Back It Up (Back 3, 4, 2) activates its krushing blow by missing the first two attacks
Sindel’s three kompetitive variations offer a broad range of play. The first variation is Splitting Hairs and offers strong combo potential and 50/50s to keep an opponent guessing. The second variation is Loud and Klear, and is not at all for beginners. Mobility is a strong point for this second variation, and we may see it used in tournaments, but time will tell if the best players in the world can get more use from this variation than from the first which is far easier to use.
The final variation is Low Star Scream, and players should know that the design for this final form was clearly considered for anti-zoning fighters like Cetrion. Royal Trap is an ability that is exclusive to this variation, which is a rather odd move that creates orbs that last for a short while and deal a small amount of damage if the player gets close. It will be interesting to see if this move promotes an unhealthy turtling playstyle once Sindel has a lead in life total. Since the attacks hit automatically and are unblockable, a strategy may be to set them up and run out the clock if an opponent has only a small amount of life remaining.
The Return Of The Queen?
Overall, Sindel looks strong in many ways with the singular exception that she is a slow character in her pokes, placing her at a disadvantage compared to other players. When the Terminator was released, the comments made by kompetitive players were that the character felt sluggish, though we have seen that he has strong attacks that are quick enough to deal with top-tier fighters.
On the upside, Sindel appears to have fantastic range with her attacks, and she has several ways to control where an opponent goes on the screen. The newest addition to the game will require some lab work to establish her optimal fighting style, because if left with only her pokes, virtually every other character will beat her on the draw. Still, there is no doubt that Sindel will make a big splash once she is tournament legal, and in general, NetherRealm Studios looks to be four out of four in terms of high-quality DLC character releases.