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

Our picks of the best Mortal Kombat 11 characters, including the most recent addition, Joker.

Mortal Kombat 11 has been out for a while now, its intricacies have been uncovered and each character has been picked apart and generally figured out by the game's dedicated community.

Now that Spawn has joined the cast as the last character in the game's DLC season and shaken the standings up a tad, we thought it would be a good idea to update our tier list now all the additional characters are present.

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 has changed a fair amount since launch, and will continue to do so as more characters and patches are introduced.

Mortal Kombat 11 Tier List (Fighters ranked by Tier)

TierFighters
Best Cetrion, Geras, Sonya, Liu Kang, Cassie Cage
Great Johnny Cage, Nightwolf, Shang Tsung, Jax, Erron Black. Baraka, Jacqui Briggs,The Joker, Spawn
Good Terminator, Scorpion, Sub Zero, Kabal, Skarlet, Kung Lao, Kitana, Noob Saibot, Frost
Mediocre Shao Kahn, Jade Raiden, Kano, Kollector
Bad Kotal Kahn, D'vorah

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

  • Jacqui Briggs (Good to Great)
  • The Joker (Good to Great)
  • Spawn (Great)

Mortal Kombat 11 Tier List (Fighters ranked alphabetically)

Mortal Kombat CharacterTier Ranking
Baraka Great
Cassie Cage Best
Cetrion Best
D'vorah Bad
Erron Black Great
Frost Good
Geras Best
Jackie Briggs Great
Jade Mediocre
Jax Great
Johnny Cage Great
Kabal Good
Kano Mediocre
Kitana Good
Kollector Mediocre
Kotal Kahn Bad
Kung Lao Good
Liu Kang Best
Nightwolf Great
Noob Saibot Good
Raiden Mediocre
Scorpion Good
Shang Tsung Great
Shao Kahn Mediocre
Sindel Good
Skarlet Good
Spawn Great
Sonya Best
Sub Zero Good
Terminator Good
Joker Great

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 like Johnny Cage and the recently released Spawn remain generally strong in Mortal Kombat 11, maintaining their dominance over the higher tiers since it's not too hard for them to close the gap on opponents attempt to stay far away.

At this point, skilled players are well-practiced in ducking, dashing, and leaping over anything you can throw at them.

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Now we're at the end of the DLC season, Rushdown characters as a whole have solidified themselves as being the best category overall. While not all of them are particularly great, the more exceptional rushdown characters are among the best in the game if they're able to stay up close and personal.

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At the polar opposite of the playstyle spectrum, Zoners like Cetrion and Erron Black are still doing their thing up in the higher echelons of the Mortal Kombat 11 cast. Players still subscribed to the long-distance fighting style at this point are excelling at keeping everyone else at a far distance.

Zoners have finished this DLC season in a pretty good place, with several characters remaining in the Best and Great sections of our tier list. While some of the cast are exceptionally good at breaching a zoners' oppressive long range attacks, overall they can hold their own quite well.

Grapplers, being typically 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.

At the conclusion of Mortal Kombat 11's DLC pack, grapplers are largely in the same place they were a couple of months ago - both the best the game has to offer and the worst. Geras has always been and still is crazy good, despite multiple nerfs, while Jax and The Terminator have wrapped their arms around the top half of the list.

How good is Spawn and how where does he land on the Mortal Kombat 11 tier list?

Spawn wraps up the DLC character pass in style. He's got a super interesting playstyle as he's technically a zoner with good pokes and long ranged attacks - but with some fantastic mid-range normal attacks he excels just outside of reach.

The best Spawn players will know when to throw out the right strikes at the right time, and be able to convert the hits they get into damaging combos.

Spawn Variation 1 - From Hell

His first tournament variation - From Hell - grants Spawn more tools that help keep opponents at a distance.

Guns Blazing has Spawn shooting his machine guns in an upwards cone in front of him, acting as a brilliant anti air attack that can be enhanced to carry the opponent across the screen.

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Blaze Of Glory also makes use of Spawns machine guns, but in the form of a low hitting barrage. Enhancing this move gives you the same additional attack as Guns Blazing, Spawn pulls out two assault rifles and unloads them in a straight line dealing damage and pushing the opponent back.

What's special about Blaze of Glory is that it can also act as a low parry, this way savvy players can punish others who are too reliant on low-hitting attacks.

Finally, the From Hell variation grants Spawn Fallen Angel, and aerial attack which has Spawn's cloak pull him forward for a strike. This move is stupidly good, and can act as both an offensive and defensive tool.

Offensively, you can use this attack to alter the timing of your upcoming jumping attack - baiting out the other player's anti-air attack. On the other hand since Fallen Angel can be used regardless which direction you jump, you can catch an aggressive player off-guard by turning a backwards jump away into a surprise attack.

Spawn Variation 2 - The One

Spawn's second variation - The One - turns the character on his head, allowing Spawn to get close to the opposing player and dish out some major damage.

His first new move, Leetha Glide, is an aerial move that allows Spawn to glide across the screen. This drastically slows down his air speed, and can be cancelled by inputting another attack.

By inputting an additional direction before hitting the back punch button, you can do the Close version of Leetha Glide. This practically stops your horizontal movement as you hover in the air.

Use both versions of Leetha Glide to mix-up your approach, and to trick opponents into throwing out unsafe moves which you can then counter.

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Lastly, the The One variation gives Spawn Charging Hellspawn. This long-reaching horizontal charge is a ground-based gap closer, knocking opponents to the ground if it hits.

When enhanced, Spawn summons two axes to juggling your opponent up into the air following the charge. Use this move when it's least expected, and enhance it for some serious damage from a lengthy combo.

Spawn Variation 3 - Hellspawn

Spawns third and final variation - Hellspawn - refines Spawn into more of an all-rounder with an additional grab and stance for him to make use of.

Hell Chain, a new command throw Spawn recieves with this variation, has Spawn reach out with his chain throw the other fighter to the ground. This move has decent range for a command grab, and when enhanced does a small amount of extra damage.

What's special about Hell chain is if you hold the enhancement down, Spawn turns invisible for a few seconds afterwards - allowing you to sneak in a few sneaky attacks while your opponent can't see what you're doing.

The next move is Raising Hell, in which Spawn slams his fist into the ground and pulls up a low-hitting chain across the entire screen. While slow to come out, this attack can punish zoners trying to keep you away by haphazardly throwing projectiles your way. When enhanced, the chain explodes, exploding at its furthest point.

Spawn's final move is his stance, the Lethal Letha Stance. From this stance, Spawn can attack high or low, the high attack launching opponents into the air while the low throws them a large distance behind you. The low attack can be enhanced for extra damage too - this paired with the speed of both stance attacks makes this special move incredibly scary if Spawn's got his opponent stuck in the corner of the screen.

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Overall, Spawn is a fantastic zoner and an exceptional addition to the cast. Regardless of his variation, he can stand up to the best the cast of Mortal Kombat 11 has to offer. While it's still too early to see just how good he'll be in the long run, Spawn looks as though he'll be a menace for anyone unfamiliar with his quirks to fight against.

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, forcing their opponent to guess where you're going to strike from next - with disastrous consequences if they guess wrong.

Both Liu Kang and Sonya claim the top two spots as king and queen of Mortal Kombat 11's range of Rushdown fighters, as they excel above their peers at getting in and dealing loads of damage.

Liu Kang

The champion of Earthrealm is a real menace right now - with strings and special moves that are brilliant at opening up an opponent's block. His normal moves are especially oppressive - with Dragon's Breath acting as a safe method of pressuring a defending player due to the ability to cancel the move two kicks in. If they don't block it - you can follow up Dragon's Breath into a full combo.

For special attacks, Liu Kang has a selection of really handy ones with a range of uses. His Flying Dragon Kick is a great tool for getting opponents into the corner from as far as mid screen if you invest two bars of attack meter into it.

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Fireball / low fireball are both fast and allow Liu Kang to beat some zoners at their own game. Also allows you to keep the other player dodging your projectiles if you have a health lead or want to wait out the clock. A bit a versatility in a character's move set goes a long way.

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.

Best Grappler Characters in Mortal Kombat 11

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

Despite his share of nerfs, Geras is still arguably the best grappler in the game despite the multiple nerfs and adjustments aimed at him in balance patches. Alongside him, Jax retains his silver medal spot on our list as he's established himself as a viable grappler in Geras' shadow.

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.

Best Zoning Characters in Mortal Kombat 11

Zoners excel at keeping opponents at a distance with a variety of special moves and long-ranged normal attacks. When played right, Zoners make it feel like they're the only ones playing, as opponents are trapped under a relentless assault.

Cetrion is still the queen of Zoners,in a league of her own in regards to her ability to keep fighters at bay with her oppressive combination of special moves. However, Spawn has knocked Erron Black off his horse and snatched the runners up spot, as his mid-ranged normal attacks and amazing special moves combined just fall short of Cetrion.

Cetrion

There's nothing quite as frustrating as fighting a Cetrion player who knows what they're doing. The extraordinary effort required to get close is a massive struggle on its own - made only worse by Cetrion's multiple options that push you far away.

Boulder Bash and Hell's Wrath are fantastic when trying to keep the other player as far away from you as possible. The combination of both is incredibly hard to move through safely without taking a few hits in the attempt.

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She also has tools like the Tendril Pull that can be used at multiple ranges. This move is a great way to keep opponents on their toes, forcing them to always look out for a low hitting grab. This paired with all the other long-ranged moves Cetrion has just adds to how obnoxious she can be.

Spawn

Bursting in from hell, Spawn emerges and knocks Erron Black off our top two spot for Zoners in MK 11. From what we've played, Spawns tools for keeping opponents off him are superb, regardless of his variation.

Many of his normal attacks hit at a surprisingly long range, allowing Spawn to throw out moves without fear of getting punished for the attempt. If these hit, Spawn can often convert his normal moves into significant damage at the cost of a bar of offensive meter, meaning you've got to stay on your toes if you want to survive his pressure.

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His special moves, especially in his From Hell variation, allow Spawn to keep up this pressure even when further away. Moves like Guns Blazing and Blaze of Glory can make opponents scared of jumping or attacking low - limiting their options when trying to get in close.

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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