Mortal Kombat 11 has a Mercy mechanic - brought back after making its debut in Mortal Kombat 3 - and the pros are unafraid to bust it out during the game's first big tournament.
Mercy gives your opponent a second chance at the end of a match. You trigger it with an input when your opponent is staggering about, waiting for a Fatality or some other match ender. Do it, and your opponent gets around 20 per cent of their life back, and they're back in the game. There's nothing righteous about showing your enemy Mercy in Mortal Kombat - it's seen as the ultimate insult. Here's how it looks:
And so we come to Combo Breaker, an ongoing fighting game tournament taking place in the US starring some of the biggest names in the community. Mortal Kombat 11 is being played, and so far the pros are showing maximum disrespect with Mercy.
I've seen multiple matches end with Mercy so far (Mortal Kombat 11 finished its pools section overnight). Most of the time, a player will only show Mercy when they're confident of victory. Either they've dominated to the point where they know they'll win - again - or they're just messing about safe in the knowledge they have enough of a life lead to close it out.
But during one match the Mercy mechanic went a bit... over the top. Leah "GRPT|Gllty" Hayes granted her opponent, IVWHAT|Shino, Mercy three times during her pools match. But she didn't only do it when she was in control. She did it with little life left - and lost the first game in the best of three bout because of it.
At the end of the second match, with more life in the bank, Gllty once again showed Shino Mercy, but this time she won the game. Phew!
In the third and final game, with progression in the tournament on the line, Gllty went for a third Mercy in a row - something I've never seen at a professional fighting game tournament - and she lost the match. Whoops.
You can see the match in the Twitch embed below (skip to the two hours and 52 minutes mark to see the Mercy madness).
Whatever Gllty's motivation for showing so much Mercy in her Mortal Kombat 11 match, it certainly caught the attention of NetherRealm development chief Ed Boon, who took to Twitter to praise the disrespect shown by players so far.
Perhaps we shouldn't be surprised by the antics on show. During a tournament back in April, SonicFox, perhaps the best NRS player in the world and favourite for the Combo Breaker title, performed a Mercy at the Next Level Battle Circuit tournament - in winners semi-finals. (SonicFox won, by the way.)
It'll be interesting to see whether Mercy continues as we get into the business end of Combo Breaker, or whether some pros feel it's worth showing off even in the later stages.
Get your first month for £1 (normally £3.99) when you buy a Standard Eurogamer subscription. Enjoy ad-free browsing, merch discounts, our monthly letter from the editor, and show your support with a supporter-exclusive comment flair!