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Mortal Kombat 11 Ultimate, from NetherRealm Studios, is the latest and most-up-to-date entry in the Mortal Kombat series. It is available on PC, Nintendo Switch, Stadia, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One and Xbox Series X/S. The package includes Mortal Kombat 11, DLC’s Kombat Pack 1 and 2 and all the character outfits previously released for Mortal Kombat 11. It also includes the Aftermath story expansion, which tells a new story that sets the franchise off in the direction of the inevitable Mortal Kombat 12.
With a roster of 37 characters, some fighters are inevitably going to be better than other competitors. As such we’ve made this list to help you parse that information at a glance. We don’t think anyone in Mortal Kombat 11 Ultimate is useless, which is nice, but some characters (like Liu Kang, for example) are just honestly in a league of their own. We’re also talking about the tournament movesets, so if you’ve built a really good custom Rambo then please don’t be upset that we don’t like him much.
MK11 Ultimate’s characters are just listed alphabetically within each tier, as we think that the tiers are enough of an indicator of overall character viability and utility. Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, let’s get into our Mortal Kombat 11 Ultimate tier list.
S Tier characters are the most effective in the roster. In a NetherRealm Studios fighter that usually means they’re absurdly quick and can close any gaps with ease, or can just fight you from a distance anyway.
Johnny Cage and Liu Kang exemplify this rushdown bullet attack style perfectly, as they have since the beginning of the franchise. Johnny has his Green Shadow Kick and his trademark move the Nut Punch and can use them to put the pressure on. Liu Kang can annoy zoners with his fireballs, while his Bicycle Kick and Fireball Dragon Kick let him close gaps and be on the offense at the same time with potential for juggles.
Fujin can be used as a zoner that uses the wind to fight from the other side of the screen, but also has several scrappy up close abilities should he need to use them. Jacqui Briggs will use her Bionic Dash to smash skulls for double damage in the right hands, she can also use several of her Earth Special Forces weapons to keep her opponents off balance. Jade is less of a rushdown character, but has attacks that can ignore armor and Fatal Blows.On top of that, she can teleport, so she’ll play a lot of “keep away”.
Newcomers Cetrion and Geras are interesting for opposite reasons. Cetrion, like Jade, is best when playing keep away, but her elemental abilities also make her a terrific zoner. She’s great at controlling a fight from any distance. Geras on the other hand is the best grappler in the game, so get close to him at your own peril.
The Joker is Mortal Kombat 11 UItimate’s guest star from DC Comics fighting game Injustice. In MK11 he can finally cut loose, using tricky charge moves like the Birdboy Beatdown to jump in and out of attack range at his own leisure.
A Tier characters on our Mortal Kombat 11 Ultimate tier list are really good and you can definitely still win with them. You’ll just have to work a bit harder for that “FINISH HIM” screen.
Cassie Cage has learned well from her parents. She ends up generally being a better version of Sonya Blade, while also using gun attacks and the Johnny Cage inspired Ball Buster. Jax is a rushdown powerhouse, with punch moves that put pressure on his foes and mix-ups that keep them off balance and unsure of what he’ll do next. Erron Black returns from Mortal Kombat 10 with deadly traps, tricky projectiles and perhaps the best forward throw the series has ever seen.
Nightwolf has a high damage output and a long range. Those stats combined with his ability to reflect projectile attacks back at enemies almost got him into the S Tier of our Mortal Kombat 11 Ultimate tier list, but he’s still not quite there.
The villainous Shang Tsung is a zoner and thrives when he’s in control of the fight and the enemy’s positioning. He’s quick, but his damage output is low.You’ll have best results with Shang Tsung if you have some familiarity with the whole roster of characters, as he can temporarily switch bodies with the opponent.
Robocop is a zoner too, but he uses more explosives that can set-up juggles. He’d be better with higher damage output on his punches and kicks, but I guess then he wouldn’t be Robocop — he never really was known for being great at the martial arts.
Rain might be the fastest character in the game, especially in the right hands. He has a dash that is frankly incredible and his speedy normal attacks can put on enough pressure to make even the best players act recklessly. Sheeva is great at mix-ups and has a few unblockable moves, including a stomp attack that makes her hard to defend against. Skarlet often takes control of a fight by zoning with blood magics. Her normal attacks have a long reach, so if she can keep her distance she will often win.
B Tier characters are just above average, but a lot of them can compete with the higher tiers in the hands of the right player.
Kung Lao uses his razor edged hat to put pressure on his opponents, even from a distance. His high damage output and ridiculously good combos can make him one of the deadliest fighters to go up against, but his normal attacks have a short range that will see him crumble if you get up in his face. Baraka has bad overall mobility, but if you can get him into position then his attacks that stagger the opponent can make him a problem.
We advise that Noob Saibot players stay at mid-range and attack from far away, as his fast normal attacks will also make an opponent think twice about just rushing him. Noob Saibot has one of the most consistent defensive play styles, as he can do anti-air attacks and counter most other zoners with ease. He’d be higher in the Mortal Kombat 11 tier list if he wasn’t so slow.
God of Thunder Raiden is fairly strong at any range, but his thunder attacks and Electric Fly move mean that you’ll most often use him as a risky zoner. His Sparkport and mix-ups make him slippery enough that he should be able to get by in any situation, but he is fairly easy to punish. Kabal moves slowly, but attacks quickly and with a good reach. Scorpion can move quickly and puts out a lot of damage, but the trade off is that his normal attacks are kind of slow. Sonya Blade is another deadly rushdown character with a high damage output, but as we said earlier she’s just not as good as Cassie.
Spawn, like The Joker, is great at playing footsie and jumping in and out of a scrap whenever he wants to. He’s great at applying pressure from a distance, but if he whiffs and misses an attack, prepare for him to be beaten up. Sub-Zero moves quickly and is able to freeze opponents, but has to commit to his moves. An opponent that sees through his mix-ups and quick dashes will often make you regret choosing him.
The Terminator is fearsome at close range but will be easily countered by zoners that know what they’re doing.
C Tier characters are fun to play. They’re not bad, but the problem is that most of them do similar things to characters in the tiers above, but they’re worse at it.
D’vorah returns from Mortal Kombat X and continues to be weird. She’s a trickster —that also attacks from long range— that also rushes her opponent with aerial attacks that are weird to defend against. We’re not sure what NetherRealm was going for, but we’re sure we don’t really like it much.
Frost is another character that basically plays footsie. Her normal attacks are good at applying pressure quickly and from pretty far away, but her projectile attacks are slow. She can freeze her opponent like Sub Zero, which can be annoying. Kano is an up close fighter with high power moves that can stagger the opponent and give himself the frame advantage, which he will need, because he’s slow. Kitana can move quickly and attack from a distance. In theory she’d be one of the better zoners, but she doesn’t have the damage output to really be considered one of the greats.
Kotal Kahn can attack from over half the screen away, which is frankly mental. He can buff himself with higher attack and defense stats, but he’s also fairly big and slow. Generally this won’t be an issue for Kotal, because his grabs and attack range make up for it. Mileena is another quick zoner. She dominates the middle of the screen with mix-ups and teleports that make projectile attacks a risky proposition.
The characters of D Tier will often struggle. They’re all just a bit underwhelming and all of them are best when played in that ‘footsie’ in-and-out of combat (kombat?) style.
Kollector players should jump in and out of the middle of the screen and do their best with his mix-ups and the long range of his normal attacks. He’s fairly slow, but he can teleport to get around projectiles. Shao Khan is a high damage character, attacking with brutal combos that often involve his hammer and throwing big spears. He can move quickly, but is easier to punish than most because of his size. Sindel moves quickly, but attacks slowly. While she can attack from half a screen away like Kotal Kahn, she isn’t as strong, so she will often have to resort to zoning with her low projectile attack.
The E Tier, also known as John Rambo. He isn’t that good, but it’s nice to see him in the game just for the novelty of it. Unfortunately when the novelty has worn off … you still just have Rambo.
Rambo should, in theory, be a good fighter. He has decent mix-ups and uses guns for some genuinely impressive zoning. His Whip Trap lets him avoid enemy projectiles, making him a decent anti-zoner that can prevent himself from being pushed anywhere he doesn’t want to go. Sadly, Rambo’s normal attacks are pretty terrible and he struggles to meaningfully punish enemy mistakes.
Mortal Kombat 11’s competitive metagame can shift as new things are discovered and new strategies are developed by its players. As roster changes and balance patches happen, we’ll try and keep this list up to date. Do you agree with our rankings? Let us know in the comments below. If you liked this list, you might also like this one we did for Dragon Ball FighterZ.