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Now the bloody beat em up is with us, many fans are wondering about the Mortal Kombat 1 characters on the roster. The semi-reboot known for its gory carnage includes a new fighting system that lets Kameo fighters enter combat for some spine-juggling combos.
The Mortal Kombat 1 fatality list has some of the most brutal ones yet. Here are the characters with whom you can unleash mayhem with timed combos and deadly Fatal Blows. We got to try all of them out as we worked on our elaborate Mortal Kombat 1 review. (Spoilers: We loved it.)
The reveals of the fighters came thick and fast, starting with a gameplay trailer that confirmined the return of the Lin Kuei clan. Next, NetherRealm Studios’ dropped Umgadi and Kombat Pack trailers to offer even more looks at the rest of MK1’s roster, followed by the Banished trailer. Gamescom 2023 brought the heat with a new Rulers of Outworld trailer that showed off Sindel, General Shao, Motaro, and Shujinko. And finally, the Megan Fox becomes Nitara trailer revealed another powerful character.
Now we’ve had some time to play the game, we’re ready to rank our favourite fighters. Read on to find out where they stand.
Mortal Kombat 1 roster ranked tier list
After spending a good amount of time with the game in our Mortal Kombat 1 review, here’s an MK1 characters ranked tier list based on how they performed:
|Kenshi, Liu Kang, Sub-Zero, Raiden, Shang Tsung, Baraka
|Li Mei, Johnny Cage, Geras, Kitana, Mileena, Scorpion, General Shao, Reptile
|Reiko, Smoke, Sindel, Kung Lao, Rain
|Ashrah, Nitara, Havik, Tanya
Mortal Kombat 1 Kameo fighters ranked tier list
While the main fighters are the ones who you’ll spend most of your time with, don’t count out your Kameo fighter assistants. Here’s an MK1 Kameo fighters ranked tier list based on the Mortal Kombat 1 beta:
|Frost, Darrius, Sub-Zero, Sareena, Kung Lao
|Goro, Motaro, Kano, Sektor, Cyrax
|Scorpion, Jax, Sonya Blade, Shujinko, Stryker
All Mortal Kombat 1 characters
Here are all of the Mortal Kombat 1 characters:
- Liu Kang
- Shang Tsung
- Johnny Cage
- Kung Lao
- Li Mei
- General Shao
The Kombat Pack adds the following characters:
- Quan Chi
And here are the Mortal Kombat 1 Kameo Fighters at launch:
- Sonya Blade
- Kung Lao
A leak included the following Kameo Fighters:
- Johnny Cage
Mortal Kombat 1 Main Fighters ranked – MK1 character bios
Here are all the main fighters in Mortal Kombat 1.
S-Tier – Kenshi
Surprise, surprise. It also appears that Kenshi needs to get his iconic blade back from a certain famous actor. In addition to the Kameo fighter backing him up, Kenshi also has a ghost samurai who shows up during many of his combos. The campaign has an interesting spin on how Kenshi loses his sight and gains the power of the Sento blade.
Playing the game showed us just how potent a buddy samurai could be. Operating two characters in a fighting game is certainly a tall ask, but skilled players can use this to punish their foes and clear rounds. You can even land ghost attacks while blocking, making it a challenging character to play and encounter as an enemy. He handily earns our S-Tier ranking based off our time with the game.
S-Tier – Liu Kang
Recently becoming a god in Mortal Kombat 11’s Aftermath DLC, Liu Kang is a fierce protector of Earthrealm. Now known as the Fire God, MK1’s campaign has him recruiting new fighters to take part in a tournament. He’s got deadly flame skills, including a sinister fatality with flaming dragons ripping an enemy apart.
Liu Kang is both deadly and simple to play as. While his attack style is similar to how he functioned in Mortal Kombat 11, his god powers enhance his defense-beating combat. His Forward Left Punch is particularly fast, to the point that we’re already expecting a nerf. He has no difficulty in nabbing an S-Tier rating. His bicycle kick and fireballs have been refined and the results speak for themselves.
S-Tier – Sub-Zero
Where Scorpion blazes through, Sub-Zero’s chill will accompany him. The Mortal Kombat 1 variant of Sub-Zero is Bi-Han. As one of the most recognizable Mortal Kombat characters, it’s no surprise that he is also a Kameo fighter. It appears the deadly duo will be supporting Liu Kang this time. The Fire God will likely drive Mortal Kombat 1’s story mode so expect Sub-Zero to back him up.
Despite the bias of him being my favourite MK character, Sub-Zero is pretty solid in the game. His new Deadly Vapours move goes well with the good-ol’ ice ball. Sub-Zero feels more like a defensive option than one that deals massive damage. His slides give him extra mobility and his combo extenders are great at launching enemies up. And while that fits my playstyle, it’s not particularly lethal unless the player knows what they’re doing. He sits at the S-Tier in our tier list because of his freeze attacks that pair up well with Kameo fighter attacks to extend combos. He can also be picked as a Kameo Fighter and grants Icy Armour to a fighter.
S-Tier – Raiden
No longer a god, Raiden is now an eager recruit who still has lightning powers. He’s in the main roster but isn’t a part of the Kameo roster. He appears in a monk outfit and retains his righteous personality. Raiden’s lightning-based attacks are still gorgeous and his fatalities are devastating too.
Crossing the screen with Electric Fly before landing a lightning combo always feel satisfying to pull off. He’s got good options to punish enemy mistakes as well, particularly the attack that creates a globe of electricity around him. An easy S-Tier pick.
S-Tier – Shang Tsung
Shang Tsung shows up as a pre-order bonus in Mortal Kombat 1. We don’t know if he’ll get to make a Kameo appearance just yet. And there’s a chance that players can still get him later as a paid purchase. It’s nice to see a villain return in this reboot. Shang Tsung retains all of his charm as he shows up in the reborn Mortal Kombat universe.
He’s got the most versatile kit in the game thanks to his ability to switch between his old and young forms. His explosive blasts give him some impressive zoning capabilities. If that isn’t enough, Shang Tsung can turn into the opponent and steal their moves. And if you were wondering, yes, here’s how to steal a fatality as Shang Tsung in Mortal Kombat 1. This trickster sits at an S-Tier rating for good reason.
S-Tier – Baraka
This brutal and unpredictable warrior is back for blood in Mortal Kombat 1. A member of the Tarkatan tribe, Baraka has appeared in multiple Mortal Kombat titles with his lethal blades and ferocious bite. And he’s arrived as another addition to NetherRealm’s upcoming Mortal Kombat game.
Baraka’s lethal blade attacks push him to the top of our Mortal Kombat 1 roster tier list. His attacks are particularly punishing against enemies who constantly jump. He earns an S-tier against some of Mortal Kombat’s best characters.
A-Tier – Li Mei
Another returning character, Li Mei started competing in the tournament to save her people. Her purple energy-based attacks and heel kicks are deadly in the right player’s hands.
Li Mei’s Rushdown abilities are exceptional. Abilities like Sky Lantern and Chain Reaction play off incredibly well with her uppercuts. With simple combos, she’s a good starting point in Mortal Kombat 1. That’s why she gets an A-tier rating from us.
A-Tier – Johnny Cage
The charismatic character returns in Mortal Kombat as an actor with quite a collection. Kenshi fights him for his sword in the gameplay reveal. Johnny Cage delivers quick blows and his free-flowing combat ends with a face smash fatality. He doesn’t seem too convinced about Liu Kang’s little party of adventurers so it’ll be interesting to see how it all plays out. Players can also get an MK1 character skin in the likeness of the famous martial arts actor Jean-Claude Van Damme. A trailer recently showed off his prowess in combat.
In the game, Johnny Cage was a menace that earned our A-Tier rating with moves like Rising Star, Ball Buster, and Shadow Dash. With the help of his Hype ability, he can even cancel into special moves. While he isn’t the easiest player on the roster, newcomers will be able to quickly learn how to land devastating attacks as Johnny Cage.
A-Tier – Geras
A noted servant of the Keeper of Time, Geras returns from Mortal Kombat 11 with god-like strength and the ability to manipulate time itself. It’ll be interesting to see how they handle this character’s powers alongside Liu Kang and his ascent to godhood. Expect powerful sand-based attacks that decimate your foes.
His time-shifting abilities can leave players puzzled and his command grab can catch enemies unaware from any direction. He can also stun enemies, leaving them open to all sorts of combos. He’s an A-tier Mortal Kombat 1 fighter who is deadly in the right hands.
A-Tier – Kitana
The Princess of Edenia reprises her role in the latest edition of Mortal Kombat. Her lethal fans are back, complete with blood-spilling attacks and fatalities. She looks like an important character in the game’s main storyline as well. Expect to see more of her combos as we head towards Mortal Kombat 1’s launch.
While Kitana was solid during our hands-on with the game, I’m certain she’s going to get a nerf. That’s because I spotted plenty of players using her left kick and right kick combo to wipe enemy health bars. Her projectile attacks and stuns are lethal too. Launching enemies into the air lets you take advantage of MK1’s new focus on aerial combat. And while her fans are potent, players discovered that using Kameo fighters could let them tackle this threat. That’s why she’s currently a A-Tier fighter in Mortal Kombat 1 and not an S-tier pick.
A-Tier – Mileena
Kitana’s rival Kombatant is back once more. Mileena’s teeth also get some showtime in the Summer Game Fest showcase’s gameplay reveal. Her teleportation kicks are back, powered by the current-gen consoles’ extra horsepower. She is currently only on the main roster.
Mileena quickly became one of my favorites. Her teleports and dive kicks keep your opponent on edge. Her ball attack is also good at punishing opponents. She’s a good pick if you want to hit fast and hit hard. She’s an A-Tier pick against Mortal Kombat’s reimagined characters.
A-Tier – Scorpion
Hazo Hasashi is back for yet another bout of savage combat as Scorpion. He can be seen getting to work with a Kusarigama this time. I know the name of the scythe attached to a chain thanks to Nioh 2. Scorpion has the standard set of heated blades for some glorious Fatal Blows and fatalities. He’s also a Kameo character. The biggest surprise was that Ed Boon, one of the creators of Mortal Kombat, called Sub-Zero his brother. That would be a nice change of pace from their bitter rivalry. If anything, it’ll justify me throwing hands as Sub-Zero when my brother picks Scorpion.
Scorpion is as reliable as ever, thanks to his instantly recognizable move set. His teleports, “get over here” grab, and flame attacks are all here and accounted for. This A-Tier character is a good starting point to hone your combos and understand the mechanics under MK1’s hood.
A-Tier – General Shao
Commonly known as Shao Kahn, this celebrated villain returns in MK1. The Gamescom trailer showcased a different side of him, one under a higher authority. In the Mortal Kombat 11 expansion Aftermath, he worked alongside Sindel as an antagonist. His trailer shows us the return of this partnership but it appears to be shakier than before. His arrogance is on full display here, with a battle axe instead of a hammer. He can even control it telekinetically, making for some sweet moves.
General Shao remains a bully thanks to attacks that are slow but hit hard. Position yourself well and you’ll be able to deal devastating amounts of damage with the war axe. He earns an A-Tier recommendation from us.
A-Tier – Reptile
Mortal Kombat 1 returns Reptile to eager fans but with a brand-new backstory. Dropping in via the Banished trailer, it appears that Reptile has been banished from his society due to his ability to take on human form. His poison-based attacks are deadly as ever as Reptile shifts from human form to his grotesque lizard form. And remember that he can turn invisible too in MK1.
I love Reptile’s Falling Fangs move that drops Reptile onto a confused foe. His moves like acid spit and force ball return in Mortal Kombat 1. And yes, he can turn invisible too. He’s a good A-Tier pick in MK1.
B-Tier – Reiko
Reiko was the last character to be unveiled in the launch trailer. His heavy attacks were showcased as well. He’s second-in-command to General Shao and you can expect to throw hands against him in the game’s campaign.
Reiko is known for his grapples and he has two of them in MK1. Pale Rider deals solid damage while Tactical Takedown helps you close the gap between you and an opponent. Charging Pain is a sweet slide kick that can help you deal even more damage. He isn’t as versatile as the other characters, which is why he’s a B-Tier character on our list.
B-Tier – Smoke
With plenty of lethal combos and smoke-based attacks, Smoke makes a triumphant return in Mortal Kombat 1. And yes, he’s a part of the main fighting roster. I can’t wait to try his Fatal Blow move on an unfortunate opponent.
Smoke’s moves let him attack him from nearly any direction at a pace your enemies will struggle against. Mixing teleports up with aerial attacks lets you compete with hard-hitting foes like General Shao. He’s a good B-Tier option.
B-Tier – Sindel
Sindel returns in all her glory from MK 11. Her lethal hair attacks deal incredible amounts of damage to enemies and the Gamescom trailer showed off a terrifying fatality of hers. Her control over ultrasonic sound waves and sonic blasts are a deadly threat. Expect her to play a role in the game’s campaign alongside General Shao Kahn.
Sindel’s kit feels specialized this time around. Inspire reduced the time between Kameo summons and Queen’s Kommand lands only if the enemy has used their Kameo move at that point. Her other moves are pretty good and she still has a shout that disables enemies for a short time. Owing to her restricted kit, she’s a B-Tier pick.
B-Tier – Kung Lao
It appears that Kung Lao isn’t as strong this time around. This classic character, present in both the main roster and the Kameo one, doesn’t have his bladed hat. At least, not at first. The story mode in MK1 might shed more light on how he gets his signature weapon.
I’m surprised that Kung Lao doesn’t have his teleport move this time. This weakens his kit, forcing you to rely on his hat throws to dazzle an opponent before getting close. His dive kick still deals solid damage, though. He’s a decent Kameo character option too. Losing out on versatility drops Kung Lao into our B-Tier rating.
B-Tier – Rain
Rain also makes a return in the latest instalment of the Mortal Kombat games. Their water-based attacks are particularly potent in MK1. The latest gameplay trailer showed an enemy being lifted off the ground by one such wave attack.
Rain’s attacks are designed to keep enemies at a distance. His ranged abilities are pretty solid. And while his portals take a while to get accustomed to, this aids his mobility. He’s a difficult character to pick up, making him a B-Tier pick.
C-Tier – Ashrah
A Netherrealm demon, Ashrah returns to Mortal Kombat 1 with her unique angel wings and blades. Despite her innocent appearance in white, she’s a demon that hunts other demons. Her weapon, however, appears to originate from a heavenly source. Watch out for her lethal winged attacks as you take her on in the game.
While Ashrah’s blade attacks are lethal when thy land, I felt they took too long to strike. And while you can switch between light and darkness, you’ll have to spend some time at your enemy’s mercy to do so. That puts her in the C-Tier.
C-Tier – Nitara
Voiced by Megan Fox, this vampiric foe returns to Mortal Kombat after 17 years. The reboot spins her story into one that blurs the line between good and evil. While she is fighting for her people, she won’t hesitate to sink her teeth into an unsuspecting opponent. Her trailer showed off an array of fighting moves that let her utilize her wings as well for a mobility boost.
Tying Air Dash to your Super Meter means that you’ll rarely use it to gain an aerial advantage. And while she does have an anti-air special that cancels into other air specials, you’ll hardly use this either. Outside of that, most of her special attacks are locked behind her Dark Sacrifice combo. This drains your own health too, making her a highly specialized pick. If you don’t know what you’re doing, she isn’t a good pick. C-Tier.
C-Tier – Havik
A Cleric of Chaos, Havik made his debut in Mortal Kombat: Deception. Returning from the Chaosrealm, Havik’s sole goal is to seed discord and will ally with anyone to see his ends through. His partially exposed skull grants him a striking appearance. He derives pleasure from pain, even his own. This can be best seen in a fatality where he punches an enemy until his arms literally fall off in MK1.
I like how Havik’s combos seem to break his limbs more than his enemy’s. But that’s about all that’s going for him. Blood Bath is a particularly strong rapid grapple that you can use to cross the screen quickly. He’s going to languish in the C-Tier until a buff arrives.
C-Tier – Tanya
This powerful combatant returns in Mortal Kombat 1 with some big buffs to her traditional gameplay. She can be seeing performing a brutal fatality in a trailer. Known for her deception, Tanya is a minor antagonist who first showed up in Mortal Kombat 4.
It turns out that Tanya’s overhaul didn’t help her kit very much. They’re highly specific moves, making them difficult to execute for beginners. Seeking Guidance needs to be done twice to charge it up before the third move lets her dash up. Expect to do your research before diving into this C-Tier pick.
Mortal Kombat 1 DLC Fighters list
Here’s a list of all the confirmed Kombat Pack 1 fighters in Mortal Kombat 1:
When it comes to rampant murder, few characters can compete with Homelander. This narcissistic character from The Boys has just been confirmed as a DLC character for Mortal Kombat 1. Homelander’s charm and the ability to precisely hack people to bits with lasers is a winning combination for new Fatal Blows and fatalities.
A character rising in prominence thanks to his TV show, John Cena plays Peacemaker in the DC Universe. It’s this version of the character that’s making its way to Mortal Kombat 1 via the Kombat Pack 1. Expect lethal pistol attacks and unique combos from this character.
Another character from Invincible, Omni-Man is a popular anti-hero character that’s a perfect fit for a game whose brand is unapologetic violence. As a darker take on a happier genre, Invincible’s character is a good addition to the Mortal Kombat Universe. Just don’t expect him to be absurdly overpowered.
Quan Chi (DLC)
This fan-favorite demon makes a triumphant return to the Mortal Kombat franchise. With deadly dark magic and necromancy abilities, he’s a powerful enemy against both Earthrealm and Outworld. While he was killed by Scorpion in Mortal Kombat X, expect the new reboot to shake things up with respect to his storyline.
An apprentice of Scorpion, Takeda uses plasma-empowered swords and bladed whips to disarm his enemies. He’s returning to Mortal Kombat 1 via the Kombat Pack 1 as well.
A ninja in red that uses telekinesis to bring foes to their knees, Ermac is a formidable opponent. He’s an odd one, with feats both heroic and villainous to his name. Expect a new arc alongside Mileena in the latest Mortal Kombat game.
Mortal Kombat 1 Kameo fighters ranked
S-Tier – Frost (Kameo)
Their devastating ice combos are back. Frost is back as a Kameo fighter in MK1. Frost is a remarkably helpful Kameo character. With a frozen orb attack that freezes enemies, you can shut down enemies or keep your combos going. Frost also has abilities that freeze the ground or stab a foe with frozen knives. This versatility places her at the S-Tier in our findings.
S-Tier – Darrius (Kameo)
Darrius makes a return from Mortal Kombat Deception as a Kameo Fighter. Expect melee-focused assistance if his previous appearances are anything to go by. His overhead attacks and launcher moves are a good way to start combos. And his swing attack is a good way to end them, making Darrius a good pick for beginners. He nabs our S-Tier rank with ease.
S-Tier – Sareena (Kameo)
Sareena returns to Mortal Kombat as another demon from Netherrealm. Her fire-based attacks are deadly, especially when paired with the right fighting partner. She’s got a sweet fatality too.
Players are already ranting about how powerful Sareena is. Her projectile attacks can reset an opponent in a combo. This lets you whale on enemies with your main fighter to deal more damage. Her Jataaka’s Kurse ability lets you drain an enemy’s Super Meter. It’s situational but it could protect you from powerful moves. All in all, Sareena is a worthy S-Tier pick.
A-Tier – Goro (Kameo)
Four-armed Goro makes a short appearance in Mortal Kombat 1’s gameplay reveal trailer. He looks like he’s lost a bit of his height but he’s still a towering menace with his punches. He makes a Kameo appearance but I hope he’s turned into a playable character down the line.
Raise The Roof is a high punch that you can use when you have Goro as your Kameo fighter. This can help you set up your combos while his Dead Weight move extends combos. Pressing the Kameo button twice lets you cancel into Shokan Stomp, which is unblockable. He’s a solid A-Tier pick among the roster of Kameo fighters.
A-Tier – Motaro (Kameo)
Motaro made a big splash at Gamescom with his return. This memorable boss made his first appearance in Mortal Kombat 3 and has evolved alongside the franchise’s bloody legacy. His metallic tail still fires lethal electric blasts as a Kameo Fighter and is great at keeping enemy combatants at bay. Mortal Kombat 1 also reinterprets his reflective skin into a forcefield that he can use in battle.
Motaro has some of the most versatile Kameo moves out there. He’s got a projectile move as well as a shield that reflects projectiles. This fighter also lets you do an absurdly quick teleport, letting you diversify your combo options. He’s an A-Tier pick who stands above most of his peers.
A-Tier – Kano (Kameo)
Kano is back in his usual white outfit. His spinning attacks can be a part of any main character’s arsenal if you pick him as your Kameo fighter. A trailer shows off his heart-ripping fatality in all its disturbing glory. We don’t know if he’ll play a bigger role in MK1.
In the game, players loved using Kano’s lasers to tackle projectiles. His spinning attacks were great too. He sits at our A-Tier ranking based on his performance.
A-Tier – Sektor (Kameo)
Not to be outdone by Cyrax, Sektor is here to burn your foes to a crisp. He’s a Kameo fighter for now. His fatality is also among the more memorable ones in the game. You can use Sektor to fire off rockets and distract your opponent.
A homing missile lets you put the pressure on a defensive opponent. Pair that with a flamethrower and an uppercut and you’ve got a versatile companion. Extend your combos with this A-Tier Kameo option.
A-Tier – Cyrax (Kameo)
A personal favorite of mine from the previous Mortal Kombat entries, Cyrax is back in Mortal Kombat 1. He deals devastating explosive attacks alongside Smoke in the game’s latest gameplay trailer. He’s got a particularly devastating fatality.
His net returns and can still catch enemies for a while. This lets you whack them into a combo of your choice. And while Cyrax still has his self-destruct attack, this can damage your main fighter too. His spinning attack can hit airborne targets, making it another nice tool to have. This versatility places him in our A-Tier category.
B-Tier – Jax Briggs (Kameo)
With a classic look and a beloved fatality, Jax is back in business. While his growing in size is a crazy feat, some gags just need to be experienced without looking into the lore. He makes short work of an opponent with his boot, now aptly massive.
Jax is a good option if you want to keep combos going, based on our experience in the game. Just remember that his attacks take some time to wind up. Ground Pound is a good unblockable attack but remember that it can damage you as well. He’s a good B-Tier pick as a Kameo Fighter.
B-Tier – Sonya Blade (Kameo)
Sonya Blade from Special Forces is an interesting addition. As a Kameo fighter, she retains her classic costume and even performs an all-time favourite fatality, a kiss that burns an enemy to ashes. She’s a confirmed Kameo fighter.
Sonya remains versatile as ever, with her projectiles, aerial attacks, and throws. But other Kameo characters can do those things better. She gets a B-Tier in our rankings.
B-Tier – Shujinko (Kameo)
Shujinko was also revealed at the Gamescom event. He can be seen unleashing a flurry of blows onto an opponent as a Kameo Fighter. It remains to be seen if he has the same versatile skillset as before, ranging from Scorpion’s Spear Throw and Sub-Zero’s Icy Breeze to Raiden’s Flying Jinko back from Mortal Kombat: Deception. His fatality is a homage to a move from Kill Bill Vol. 2.
Shujinko needs to meditate on-screen to fill his Kameo meter. He can then copy two moves of the enemy. Since this is highly dependant on the situation, we wouldn’t recommend Shujinko unless you’re playing for fun. That unpredictability lands him in B-Tier territory.
B-Tier – Stryker (Kameo)
Curtis Stryker makes quite the Kameo appearance by disabling the Fire God with his flashlight and taser. While he shows up in his white-and-blue outfit, I hope we get to see some more customization options like the red vest he’s wearing here.
His grenades are neat and Stryker has two melee attacks too, a low and an overhead. You can also use his Kuffed ability to temporarily disable the enemy, giving you an advantage. But he doesn’t stand out from the others on the list, placing him in the B-Tier.
That covers all the Mortal Kombat 1 characters and Kameo fighters. This list was created from the information we have from MK1 so far. The Mortal Kombat 1 beta gave us further context that informed our tier lists and ranked character list. We’ll add more characters here so stay tuned for the latest updates regarding the wide-ranging case of legendary fighters. With unique gameplay opportunities in the form of its Kameo system, Mortal Kombat 1 has a lot going for it.
Who are the characters in Mortal Kombat 1?
Mortal Kombat 1 has confirmed characters Liu Kang, Scorpion, Sub-Zero, Shang Tsung, Raiden, Kitana, Johnny Cage, Kenshi, Kung Lao, Mileena, Smoke, Rain, Li Mei, Tanya, Baraka, Geras, Reptile, Ashrah, Havik, General Shao, Nitara, Reiko, and Sindel.
Who is Sub-Zero in Mortal Kombat 1?
The Mortal Kombat 1 variant of Sub-Zero is Bi-Han.