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.
Since the last time this list was updated several new characters have been released including Sindel - the game's most recent addition. On top of that each character has been given a third tournament variation, giving players more choice and improving the standing of certain characters.
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.
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)
|Mortal Kombat Tier||Fighters|
|Best||Cetrion, Geras, Sonya, Liu Kang, Cassie Cage|
|Strong||Johnny Cage, Nightwolf, Jacqui Briggs, Shang Tsung, Jax, Erron Black, Sindel|
|Good||Baraka, Terminator, Scorpion, Sub Zero, Kabal, Skarlet, Kung Lao, Kitana, Noob Saibot|
|Average||Frost, Shao Kahn, Jade, Raiden, Kano, Kollector|
|Weak||Kotal Kahn, D'vorah|
Between new characters and patches, here's how our Mortal Kombat 11 tier list has changed since the last update:
- Baraka (fell from Great to Good)
- Cassie Cage (rose from Great to Best)
- Cetrion (rose from Good to Best)
- Erron Black (fell from Best to Great)
- Frost (fell from Good to Mediocre)
- Jacqui Briggs (rose from Good to Great)
- Jax (rose from Good to Great)
- Johnny Cage (rose from Mediocre to Great)
- Kabal (fell from Great to Good)
- Kano (rose from Bad to Mediocre)
- Kitana (rose from Mediocre to Good)
- Kotal Kahn (fell from Mediocre to Bad)
- Kung Lao (rose from Mediocre to Good)
- Liu Kang (rose from Great to Best)
- Nightwolf (Great)
- Noob Saibot (fell from Great to Good)
- Raiden (fell from Good to Mediocre)
- Scorpion (fell from Great to Good)
- Shao Kahn (rose from Bad to Mediocre)
- Sindel (New - Great)
- Skarlet (fell from Great to Good)
Mortal Kombat 11 Tier List (Fighters ranked alphabetically)
|Mortal Kombat Character||Tier Ranking|
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 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.
That being said, due to time and the addition of new tournament variations, certain rushdown characters have moved around our list despite them generally still being strong.
Scorpion - who previously was one of our top rushdown picks - has fallen over time due to other character's move sets revealing themselves frankly to be harder to deal with.
While his barrage of attacks remains good, characters like Liu Kang who has risen up the ranks remain a serious problem for both new and experienced players.
Zoning characters have previously suffered due to this, and while they still do to an extent, you can't really 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.
This has resulted in a fairly concrete placement for the zoning characters in the game. Characters like Skarlet who previously ranked highly in our list, has been moved down slightly due to the relative ease players have for getting in close compared to other zoners.
On the other hand, Cetrion (who was placed rather low in previous iterations of this list) has soared upwards due to her ability to keep opponents at a distance despite the multitude of methods players have for getting in her face.
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.
It's this ability to get close enough to start grabbing that defines a grapplers placement on this list. Geras - who has always been a nightmare to keep away - remains hands down the best grappler in the game due to his ridiculous move set throughout his three variations.
Others like Kotal Kahn just don't compare to that level of usefulness in that regard - and thus place lower in the list.
How good is Sindel and how does she fit into the Mortal Kombat 11 tier list?
Sindel, like all the DLC fighters, is a powerful character with a lot of unique quirks that separate her from the rest of the cast.
She's a combo-focused character with a high skill-cap - meaning that if you're particularly good at pulling off long combos there's the opportunity for some flashy high-damage combos. Best played at a slight distance away from your opponent, Sindel is fantastic at punishing whiffed moves.
Sindel has some pretty good basic attacks that act as the foundation of her combo and damage potential. Arcane Overload (Back + Y / Triangle) is a quick attack that hits low.
Not only does it knock the opponent high in the air if it hits, Sindel dashes back when she does it - so it's pretty safe to use. Dark Intentions (Forward + B / Circle ŕ Up + A / Cross) is a cartwheel leading into a backwards kick.
While you might assume it looks super unsafe to throw out - when blocked you back super far away from your opponent. So you can throw this string out quite a bit without worrying about getting hit back.
As for special attacks, Sindel has a couple of powerful ones available to all of her tournament variations. Mane Squeeze is a short-ranged grab that hits high (so be careful of it getting ducked).
If it hits, it does 100 damage and places the grabbed player a small distance in front of you. When enhanced - this move does 50 more damage and you can choose whether to through them in front or behind you.
Sindel also has scream - a versatile move that can start off a huge combo, especially if it counters / punishes your opponent triggering the krushing blow. This is more than just a standard mid-range attack - since it can be charged and cancelled it forces your opponent to make a decision.
If they sit and block, then you can keep the pressure up for chip damage. If they try to hit you out of it, they risk taking a bunch of damage from a charged scream. This move when used well can scare players into doing nothing - giving you more opportunity to go on the offensive.
The final default special move Sindel gets is regal presence - which allows Sindel to fly. Yep, permanent flight that allows Sindel to just glide over any projectiles that might be coming your way.
Now, it's not perfect. It has a long start-up animation so you can't just spam it out if you're under fire, and you are at serious risk of getting hit out of the air by a jumping attack. Nonetheless - regal presence is great if you're sick of getting zoned out by characters like Cetrion, Skarlet etc.
Sindel's first variation, Splitting Hairs, comes with a special uppercut called Hair Kut. This short-range move can of course be used as a panic move if whoever you're fighting gets too close, but it's best used as a combo extender. Hitting an airborne enemy in the air with this can turn a good combo into a great one - especially if you invest one bar of attack meter.
She also gets whip & flip, which is a jumping overhead grab that throws opponents to the ground for good damage. Tired of getting crouch-jabbed all the time? This move will punish any crouching attack easily. It is quite slow though, so if it's not used as a punish then you'll take a bunch of damage for throwing it out recklessly.
Variation two, Loud and Klear, comes with special moves that allow for sneaky approaches that bait out enemy attacks.
The first move is Maleficent March, a chargeable scream that has Sindel walking forward towards the opponent. When charged, you walk further than normal, but you can also cancel the attack whenever you wish. This is a method of closing the distance that can be quite daunting to deal with, as one false move will trigger Sindel's Krushing blow and cause a lot of damage.
Shriek is a mid-ranged scream attack that hits high and causes the opponent to enter a stunned state. This can also be charged - so again this is best used punishing attacks that your opponent uses when they miss. Once they're stunned, you have an opportunity to pull out your best combo - so go for broke.
You also get deadly echo, which is sort of like a double jump in which Sindel screams towards the ground pushing her a small distance in the air. This is useful for catching out an opponent trying to hit you out of mid-air.
Simply jump in, use deadly echo before you're hit, the attack the enemy following their move missing. It's another tool that allows you to trick your way into a big-damage combo, granted you don't pull it out too often. Don't be obvious!
Finally, banshee dash is an air projectile that can get you up close to your opponent from mid-screen. This move has Sindel shoot out a banshee during her jump that flies forward.
If it hits, it does a decent amount of damage and staggers the enemy. However, the real value in this comes from the enhanced version. For the cost of one bar of attack meter, Sindel teleports above the staggered enemy, allowing for a full combo after banshee dash hits.
Sindel's final variation, Royal Edenian, is a more ranged focus one - with long ranged attacks and traps so that you can both be oppressive up close and far away.
Royal Trap is a proximity based ranged attack that does low amounts of unblockable damage to opponents close by. You can use this as a sort of proximity mine, making other players hesitant to get close. Or (this is my preferred use) you can use this as an extra layer of ouch when you get an opponent in the corner. Once you get them to either side of the screen, throw this out. This means that even if they block your next attack, they're taking damage.
Her second unique move, banshee barrage, is an air attack that shoots three projectiles at the flow in front of you. This move is sort of slow, and can be dodged by staying back or jumping. However, it does stop people dead in their tracks when you throw it out.
Low Star Screamer is a standard low projectile. It's not the fastest ranged attack but combined with the rest of Sindel's kit in this variation expands her repertoire of options at a distance.
Overall - Sindel is a great character for players who like to get inside their opponent's head - and wreak havoc once they've figured them out. Combining great tools for getting close and pressuring a blocking enemy, with special moves designed to catch any missed attacks in a moment of panic, Sindel has high potential in the hands of aggressive players with a tendency to optimise combos.
Scare an opponent into throwing out a move, hit them back with a powerful special of your own, pull of a potentially difficult combo for max damage, then repeat. If that sounds like something you'd like to do, then the Queen of Edenia is for you.
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. While Sonya still reins supreme as the queen of rushdown - Liu Kang has become a real menace over time, overthrowing Scorpion for a spot in the top two.
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.
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'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.
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.
Even after all this time after launch, Geras and Jax remain the top two grapplers in our opinion. Geras has been fantastic since day one and remains incredibly strong, and Jax can still hold his own against the rest of the cast despite his flaws.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 is still an incredibly strong zoner even now, but his spot as number one has been stolen by Cetrion - who has been causing havoc both online and in tournament.
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.
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.
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.
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.
If you're looking for more guides, our Mortal Kombat 11 Fatalities list can help.