Mortal Kombat 11 tier list: All fighters ranked plus best characters by playstyle

Our picks of the best Mortal Kombat 11 characters, including new addition Shang Tsung.

Mortal Kombat 11 has been out for a few months now, with thousands of players around Earthrealm putting their fists in each other's faces for the sake of extraordinary violence.

Since then, lots of time has been spent delving deep into the game's cast of characters in order to discover just how good they really are. Between that, and the recently released Shang Tsung, the meta has changed significantly since launch.

Therefore, We've updated our Mortal Kombat 11 Tier List so that you new and experienced players alike can discern which are the best characters worth learning.

On this page:

Each Mortal Kombat 11 character fits into one of the three general fighting game archetypes; those being Rushdown (which refers to characters who are in their element in the opponent's face), Grapplers (who mix up standard offense with grabs) and Zoners (who excel at keeping opponents at a distance with a variety of special moves).

If you're looking for more guides, our Mortal Kombat 11 Fatalities list can help.

Mortal Kombat 11 Tier List

We've ranked every Mortal Kombat 11 fighter into a single tier list. We looked at a range of factors such as a character's special moves, the range and speed of their normal moves, how easy their high damage combos were to perform, and so on.

There are two things to bear in mind - one, that this list is subjective, and is based on our own opinion of how good a character is. Two, it's worth noting is all characters are viable. If you like playing Kung Lao, then play Kung Lao! Just because a character is average in our eyes does not make them unplayable.

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When ranking characters, we used two tournament variations as they were specifically balanced for competitive play, and act as a universal point of comparison for all of the characters. If you aren't a fan of a specific tournament variation, you can make you own - there are an extensive number of special moves for you to try out that can make a character better suit your style of play.

Mortal Kombat 11 is sure to change over time. With DLC characters due to be released post launch alongside continuous patches, the placement of fighters on this list is sure to be shaken up.

Mortal Kombat 11 Tier List (Fighters ranked by Tier)

Mortal Kombat TierFighters
Best Geras, Sonya, Erron Black
Strong Kabal, Skarlet, Cassie Cage, Liu Kang, Baraka, Scorpion, Shang Tsung, Noob Saibot
Good Cetrion, Jacqui Briggs, Frost, Sub Zero, Jax Briggs, Raiden
Average Johnny Cage, Kotal Khan, Kitana, Kung Lao, Kollector, Jade
Weak Shao Kahn, Kano, D'vorah

Between new characters and patches, here's how our Mortal Kombat 11 tier list has changed since launch:

  • Shang Tsung (new - Strong)
  • Baraka (jumped from Good to Strong)
  • Frost (jumped from Average to Good)
  • Raiden (jumped from Average to Good)
  • Kollector (jumped from Average to Good)
  • Sub Zero (dropped from Strong to Good)
  • Kotal Khan (dropped from Good to Average)

Mortal Kombat 11 Tier List (Fighters ranked alphabetically)

Mortal Kombat CharacterTier Ranking
Baraka Strong
Cassie Cage Strong
Cetrion Good
Devorah Weak
Erron Black Best
Frost Average
Geras Best
Jacqui Briggs Good
Jade Average
Jax Good
Johnny Cage Average
Kabal Strong
Kano Weak
Kitana Average
Kollector Good
Kotal Kahn Good
Kung Lao Average
Liu Kang Strong
Noob Saibot Strong
Raiden Average
Shao Khan Weak
Shang Tsung Strong
Skarlet Strong
Skorpion Strong
Sonya Blade Best
Sub Zero Strong

How we settled on our Mortal Kombat 11 tier list

Mortal Kombat 11 gives players a plethora of ways to get up close and personal. With the time players have had to figure out the characters, this is even more true now than it was previously.

Zoning characters must be played with even greater care given to how safe you are from your opponent's aggression.

Rushdown characters are still king, and thus maintain their grip on the Best / Strong tiers as it's not too hard for them to get up in your face and start doing their thing. With the playerbase having time to acclimate to Mortal Kombat 11, skilled players don't find getting close much of a burden.

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Zoning characters have suffered due to this, but not to an extent where you can categorise them as 'bad'. They generally are still able to keep foes at bay at long distances, but with the existence of so many characters who can bridge the gap between them in a flash, you're going to have to make sure you aren't throwing out special moves haphazardly.

Grapplers, being generally slower and having a harder time getting close, have found themselves in a tough spot. What has happened over time is the grapplers able to overcome this struggle have landed high up in the tier list, while the rest have found a home near the bottom.

Grapplers can spend a lot of time struggling to get an opportunity. Once they do, they fair as well as any other character, just make sure that once you get a chance to slap 'em around a bit you make the most of it.

How good is Shang Tsung and how does he fit into the Mortal Kombat 11 tier list?

So how good is newcomer Shang Tsung? Well, as a Zoner he excels at keeping opponents away from him, with both of his tournament variations coming with some seriously good tools at keeping them at bay. His basic combo range from fairly standard to superb.

With some strings leading to quick overheads that your opponent will have to quickly react to, great range on some normal moves such as his sweep and front kick, and a sweep that hits twice la Guile from Street Fighter.

As for special moves shared between both his tournament variations, Sorcery Rush is a decent gap closer and combo ender, yet sadly lacks an enhanced version to give it some more oomph. Soul Steal, on the other hand, is absolutely useless, but so much fun. The ability to take the form of your opponent as well as their entire move list is quite the ace to pull from your sleeve (granted you have knowledge of how their character works).

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His first variation Fire and Brimstone provides a range of powerful long-ranged attacks. Infernal Skull is a decent ranged attack which can be enhanced twice for extra damage (although this probably not the most efficient way to use your meter), and Ground Eruption is an excellent attack that carries enemies far away, which can lead to a further combo if enhanced.

These two paired together may not seem like much, but they both allow a skilled Shang Tsung player to dictate exactly where on the screen they want you at all times.

His second variation Soul Taker also comes with a selection of cool special moves. Scatter Souls is a great way to get other fighters off you, so you can continue to pressure from range where he's most comfortable.

Screaming Soul is his go-to projectile in this variation, which travels fairly fast and can slow down approaches into your space. Use this safely and often, and you'll be off on the right start. Finally there's Soul Well which creates a med pack of sorts that you can reactivate to heal a substantial amount of health. The trick is, this healing increases if you damage your opponent, regardless of their distance from the Soul Well.

So if you pop it before you go on the offense, your high damage combo also will further increase the HP difference between yourself and whoever you're fighting. He also has Crashing Flames - which is replaced with Ground Eruption in his Fire and Brimstone variation - a long range mid-hitting attack. It cannot be ducked unlike Screaming Soul, so making good use of this is key to keeping opponents at bay.

Overall, Shang Tsung has found himself a comfortable home in our Strong category. While he doesn't take Erron Black's position as the best zoner, and barely falls short of Skarlet's oppressive ranged game, he is still a fantastic character to play right now. Of his two tournament variations, his Fire and Brimstone variation takes the cake.

If you want to play a specific type of character, refer to the following sections:

Best Rushdown Characters in Mortal Kombat 11

Rushdown characters are those who are in their element in the opponent's face. Despite the strength of characters like Kabal and Baraka, Sonya and Scorpion remain the two best in their class.

Sonya

Sonya's damage is crazy good. She's easily able to dish out 300 damage off her Overwatch combo with just a single bar of offensive meter. Not only does the first hit come out fast - catching any slow attacks your opponent throws out - the second hit is an overhead meaning you'll catch them if they're blocking low.

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She's also able to mix up her offense, switching between overhead and low attacks to force a reaction to some incredibly fast attacks. If they mess up? Sonya's basic combos can do a hefty amount of damage, even without using meter!

Not only is Sonya the best aggressive character in the game, but she also has a superb selection of long-range special moves. Her grounded and aerial Energy Rings allow her to beat some Zoners at their own game. Sonya is busted, and if winning's all you care about she is too good to pass up.

Scorpion

The fiery figurehead of Mortal Kombat himself, Scorpion is a force to be reckoned with in Mortal Kombat 11. His second variation Searing Rage provides him with a handful of special moves that make defending against his attacks a real pain.

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Being able to switch up overhead and low attacks means your opponent must be on their toes when blocking, as getting hit can lead to combos dealing up to 40% of their total health.

He's also exceptional when it comes to getting close to zoning characters. His Hell Port special move allows him to quickly attack from behind, making it a brilliant tool to punish players who're using ranged attacks too liberally.

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Best Grappler Characters in Mortal Kombat 11

Grappler characters who are at their best mixing up standard offense with grabs.

While Geras has fallen slightly in the eyes of some players and Jax hasn't changed much since launch, they still place much higher than their counterparts in the grappler archetype, and therefore remain the top two grapplers in the game.

Geras

Geras' entire kit is outstanding. He's arguably the #1 character in the game with his high damage output, his ability to apply intense pressure, and his excellent special moves.

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His throws are particularly scary, with both the forward and backward throws allowing Geras to set up his next attack while the other player is getting up. There's also his Titan Tackle that carries the opponent across the stage, allowing Geras to easily get them in the corner.

One of the major weaknesses grapplers often have is long ranged attacks, as it can make getting close for grabs difficult. Luckily for Geras, his Sand Trap allows him to catch fighters at lall distances when they aren't blocking low and teleport behind them for a devastating neck breaker at the cost of a single bar of meter.

Jax Briggs

When in comes to Jax it's all about momentum. For every punch Jax hits his arms get hotter, increasing the damage of all of his punches and adds krushing blows that deal massive damage. He's equipped with a variety of tools such as a dashing attack called Stiff Armed, which can help close the distance if an opponent lets their guard down.

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For players who love grabs, Jax has a bunch of fun ones you can mess around with. There's his default Gotcha Grab that allows you to build up heat on your arms as well as position the other player wherever you please. If you use Gotcha Grab to throw them into the corner, they are left in a standing position, which means you can immediately start threatening additional attacks without having to worry about a wake-up strike.

Then there's the Hunker Down variation that adds the Quad Grab and Burning Hammer moves, providing more ways to get your hands on whoever you run into online. Jax may not be quite as good as Geras, but once he gets his hands on you, he's as strong as any other fighter.

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Best Zoning Characters in Mortal Kombat 11

Zoners excel at keeping opponents at a distance with a variety of special moves. It's a testament to how good Erron Black and Skarlet are that Shang Tsung missed out on the top two spots, coming in a close third.

Erron Black has remained a powerhouse both online and in tournament, and fighting a good Skarlet player is bar none the most frustrating experience I've ever had.

Erron Black

Erron Black's Smoking Gun variation takes a bit of work to get good at, but once you do you'll become a menace to your friends and any online warriors you run into in ranked. His ability to control the stage with his rifle and Zaterrean Spit makes it difficult for your adversary to get close to you without either eating a ton of damage and wasting a lot of time.

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If they do manage to get close to you, they might wish they hadn't. Erron Black has a selection of powerful basic combos that are both safe on block and can be extended for high damage on hit. His On The Shoot combo is particularly good. Not only are the final two hits overheads (which force your opponent to block standing) it can be cancelled into an incredibly fast low slide.

If the string connects unblocked, you can also cancel it into his Rising Stock for a combo extension and 30-40 per cent of their total life.

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Skarlet

Skarlet is an exceptional zoning character, able to keep other fighters at bay from mid to long rang with an arsenal of blood based moves.

Blood Ball and Blood Shot are standard horizontal projectiles that travel at varying speeds - but add her Blood Tentacle with its fast start-up and massive knock-back alongside her low hitting Blood Trail and she's got a response to almost anything.

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Her great special moves aren't all Skarlets got, as her normal attacks are both powerful and able to hit from quite the distance. Skarlet players will do well using moves like her blood whip and far reaching sweep to punish enemies that whiff attacks in her direction.

If you're looking for more guides, our Mortal Kombat 11 Fatalities list can help.

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About the author

Connor Makar

Connor Makar

Contributor

Connor is a journalism student who writes about video games. When not studying, he can be found playing fighting games and scouring the internet for cool new stories to report.

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