Game Guides
All 23 Characters in ‘Mortal Kombat 1,’ Ranked From Worst to Best

Let them fight!

Scorpion and Sub-Zero in Mortal Kombat 1
Warner Bros. Games

Mortal Kombat 1 is a fresh start for the long-running fighting franchise, but the game’s roster is full of familiar faces. With 23 fighters to choose from (not including Kameo Fighters), players have a plethora of options when it comes to picking a new main. While there are plenty of playstyles to choose from that can make you a powerful fighter in Mortal Kombat 1, picking the right character is still half the battle.

Our tier list ranks characters' skills as well as how difficult they are to master. Some characters may have massive potential, but have a high learning curve that makes them less appealing than a simple but reliable fighter.

Here are all 23 Mortal Kombat 1 characters, ranked.

C-Tier Characters

General Shao

The former emperor of Outworld has lost his charm.

Warner Bros. Games

General Shao is all about brute force with his axe. Playing Shao requires being aggressive, but does not require much strategy. This leaves him lacking for combos and potential on a competitive level.


Nitara's potential in combat is almost as bad as Megan Fox’s voice acting.

Warner Bros. Games

The reliance on air moves and combos that can easily be countered by most of the game’s roster, making Nitara one of the weaker additions to the roster.


The ice ninja is easy to master but lacks long-term potential.

Warner Bros. Games

Sub-Zero is a classic Mortal Kombat character and remains a great middle-of-the-road option for players looking for a fighter with a well-rounded skill set of normal and special attacks that aren’t too hard to pick up. The biggest downside is the lack of power when it comes to competitive play.


Tanya’s learning curve is her downfall.

Warner Bros. Games

Tanya isn’t inherently a bad fighter. In fact, her unique skill set has a variety of fun and practical possibilities, but it comes with a massive learning curve. It will take way too much investment for most players to effectively learn how to play Tanya properly to make her worth picking as your main.


Fancy swordwork isn’t fast enough to make Ashrah viable.

Warner Bros. Games

A reliance on slow blade attacks and stance changing that leaves her open to enemy attacks makes Ashrah one of the weakest choices currently available in Mortal Kombat 1.

B-Tier Characters

Li Mei

Li Mei is a great pick for beginners.

Warner Bros. Games

Li Mei is another great entry-level character. She has great anti-air moves and plenty of simple combos to get you acquainted with the flow of combat in Mortal Kombat 1 before moving on to a more powerful and complex fighter.


The green ninja is great for keeping opponents at a distance.

Warner Bros. Games

Reptile is mainly useful thanks to his long-range attacks that can chip away at an enemy from afar. While this tactic can work on some opponent, it won’t get you too far in competition due to his lack of more powerful combos.

Shang Tsung

A great character locked behind a pre-order bonus.

Warner Bros. Games

Shang Tsung is only available to those who pre-ordered Mortal Kombat 1, but if you have the option, he is a powerful fighter. Shang Tsung’s ability to mimic opponents creates so much versatility in fights but relies on the player having a familiarity with the majority of Mortal Kombat 1’s roster.


Keep the pressure on with Sindel.

Warner Bros. Games

Sindel is another strong zoner, focused on keeping enemies at a distance and chipping away at them with hair attacks. The ability to pressure enemies on the ground while reversing in the air is a nice addition, but overall, Sindel’s kit still isn’t enough to keep aggressive opponents at bay.


Speed is the name of the game for Smoke.

Warner Bros. Games

Smoke is all about incredibly fast combat that relies on ranged attacks. He is a strong fighter, but his moves demand a lot of precision on the player's part, which adds a level of difficulty that not everybody can handle.

A-Tier Characters


An aggressive fighter that puts himself in harm’s way.

Warner Bros. Games

Despite the chaotic behavior of Havik's self-harming moves, the damage output of his combos and Blood Bath grapple ability makes him a great option for aggressive play.


A powerful fighter, even without his godhood.

Warner Bros. Games

Raiden has excellent screen control thanks to his low and overhead attacks, as well as the ability to teleport around the field. However, Raiden has lost some of his overpowered attacks from past games since being downgraded from godhood.


Mileena gets up close and personal.

Warner Bros. Games

Mileena is a dangerous foe to face thanks to her incredible pressure abilities that focus on close-range combos and the ability to close distances with teleporting and dive kicks.


Kitana’s dangerous fan attacks put pressure on the opponent from a distance.

Warner Bros. Games

For players who like to keep aggressive enemies at a distance, Kitana’s fan moves are perfect for zoning. She isn’t particularly well-suited for close-range pressure, but if you can keep your enemies at a distance and then take advantage of openings, then Kitana is a great pick.

Kung Lao

The master of hat tricks returns.

Warner Bros. Games

Sadly, Kung Lao has lost his teleporting moves from past games. However, that hasn’t kept him down. With incredible hat attacks and a powerful dive kick, Kung Lao remains a reliable fighter.


Rain’s skillset dominates the screen.

Warner Bros. Games

Rain is all about keeping control of the screen with portals and ranged attacks. This arena dominance, combined with some powerful combos, makes rain an excellent choice for dominating the battlefield.


The perfect choice for anybody who loves grappling.

Warner Bros. Games

For players who love grappling enemies, Reiko is the fighter to choose in Mortal Kombat 1. He has plenty of ways to initiate grapples and punish opponents, making him perfect for those who want to keep close to the enemy and play aggressively.


The face of the franchise continues to be a strong fighter.

Warner Bros. Games

The face of Mortal Kombat remains an excellent fighter for everyone. Like Sub-Zero, Scorpion is an easy character to master, but unlike Sub-Zero he has an immersive amount of damage potential that keeps him viable in competitive play.

Liu Kang

A fiery upgrade makes Liu Kang a formidable foe.

Warner Bros. Games

Liu Kang is one of the best projectile-based fighters currently in Mortal Kombat 1. The new addition of fire powers lets his kick combos hit enemies at a further distance and makes him a dangerous foe to face.

S-Tier Characters


Baraka is a relentless fighter.

Warner Bros. Games

Baraka is all about keeping the pressure on your opponent by dealing out continuous chip damage. The second your opponent missteps, Baraka is relentless, making him an easy choice for anybody.

Johnny Cage

Johhny Cage is better than ever.

Warner Bros. Games

Mortal Kombat 1’s version of Johnny Cage may be the most dangerous yet. He doesn’t have complicated combos, which makes him easy to play, and these can be strung together for some incredible chains that put the pressure on your opponent.


The blind swordsman’s blade attacks and spectral support make him a dangerous opponent.

Warner Bros. Games

Despite having some complicated combos to master, Kenshi’s damage potential with long-range sword attacks makes him a powerful choice and worth the trouble of mastering his skill set. The use of his ghost samurai also adds the incredible ability to block while simultaneously attacking.


Geras’ time-based attacks leave enemies helpless.

Warner Bros. Games

Returning from Mortal Kombat 11, Geras stands out as one of the best fighters in Mortal Kombat 1 thanks to his dangerous skill set that prioritizes unpredictable grabs as well as unblockable combos and time-shifting attacks.

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