Mortal Kombat 1: Characters Tier List

Here is everything you need to know about some of the best fighters in Mortal Kombat 1.

Tier List [Best Characters]
Tier List [Best Characters] - Mortal Kombat 1: Image by Gamesual

The impressive array of fighters in the series defines Mortal Komat 1. Like always, the character roster is quite diverse, with a good mix of new and old characters. However, with every release of a new title in the franchise, fans often debate some of the best feelings. Therefore, this guide will give you a tier list for all of the characters in Mortal Kombat 1.

Key Takeaways

  • The tier list for Mortal Kombat 1 characters can be broken down into four tiers.
  • Therefore, the S-Tier characters are overall best, and the C-Tier characters may lack in some areas.
  • There are 23 fighters on the roster, all with unique fighting styles.
  • Moreover, some characters are ranked higher based on how hard they hit and how easy it is to master the move set.
  • Most fan-favorites, such as Sub-Zero, Scorpion, Johnny Cage, and Liu Kang, are still outstanding, making them some of the top choices.
  • Although characters ranked lower, such as Tanya, are because of how complex they are to learn, some of their abilities disadvantage players.

These Mortal Kombat 1 characters will be divided into four tiers for this tier. Firstly, we will characterize the very best, the S-Tier characters. Then, the list will move down to the A, B, and C tiers character. Deciding what makes the character best for every player is impossible. Therefore, the list could vary from person to person.

Johnny Cage
Liu Kang
A-TierSub Zero
Shang Tsung
Kung Lao
Li Mei
Very Good
General Shao

However, the list below tries to identify characters based on their move set and ability to master. Moreover, the characters who can land the most potent combos will rank higher. It is also important to remember that certain fighters work better in certain situations depending on the opponent. Moreover, the meta may change drastically once the game is released.

S – Tier Fighters 

The S-Tier fighters are the very best of the bunch. Most old and new series players will agree on some of these picks. Moreover, most of the characters in the S-Tier are returning and fan favorites. These fighters have impressive move sets and can be quickly learned by most new players.


Kenshi Mortal Kombat 1
Kenshi – Mortal Kombat 1: Image by Gamesual

The blind swordsman is an absolute badass in Mortal Kombat 1. Kenshi is an old fan-favorite character returning for this chapter in the series. Moreover, he wields an imposing sword, Sento, with the mystical powers of his ancestors. This allows Kenshi to summon his ancestor’s powers during every fight.

Whether your opponent enjoys fighting from a distance or likes getting up close, Kenshi has all the right moves. However, a few players may find him slow in the beginning. This is where I recommend practicing a few of his actions from the list of moves given. You will be unbeatable in most situations once you combine a few combos.

Your ability to summon a spirit makes Kenshi this high on the Mortal Kombat 1-tier list. Moreover, this spirit is called through your special sword, Sento, and allows you to have two fighters simultaneously. It may be overwhelming at first to manage two fighters. However, soon, you will be able to block and land attacks simultaneously.


Scorpion Mortal Kombat
Scorpion – Mortal Kombat: Image by Gamesual

There may be a slight bias here, but the name is enough to land Scorpion on the S tier of the Mortal Kombat 1 list. Scorpion has been part of the franchise since the very start. Moreover, Scorpion has some of the game’s most iconic moves and voice lines. Most of his iconic moves make a return for this entry in the franchise.

Scorpion has a solid move set, which makes him an ideal choice for ranged and close combat. Moreover, most players can pick and learn Scorpion’s moves quickly. Additionally, if you are a franchise veteran, you will soon realize that Scorpion plays like he always has, despite the combat being further fine-tuned.

The iconic ‘Get Over Here’ move is still present, which may be enough for most players to pick him as their fighter.

Johnny Cage

Johnny Cage Mortal Kombat 1
Johnny Cage – Mortal Kombat 1: Image by Gamesual

This movie star, one of Earthrealm’s greatest defenders, is one of the series’ favorite characters. Johnny Cage returns for Mortal Kombat 1, and he’s still the arrogant yet soft-at-heart fighter. However, what makes Johnny Cage the best are the absolute best move sets he comes with.

This time in the franchise, Cage is better than ever. His move sets are easy to learn and quickly break your opponent’s spirits. Moreover, Cage is one of the fastest fighters in the game. Most of his move sets are designed for close-range combat, so you must keep your enemies close.

Johnny Cage has various moves that players can string together to land some of the meanest combos. Furthermore, adding a Hype Meter allows players to not only taunt their opponents but also chain together more special moves.

Liu Kang

Liu Kang Mortal Kombat 1
Liu Kang – Mortal Kombat 1: Image by Gamesual

Liu Kang is another fan-favorite character returning to this soft reboot of the franchise. Moreover, this time, the God of Fire is the creator of this new timeline. Even after being all-powerful, Liu Kang still plays very much the same. This is great; veteran players can easily pick him back up without worry.

All of his iconic moves also make a return in Mortal Kombat 1. As a result, Liu Kang is still a great all-rounder, taking control in close and long-range combat. You can always hit the opponent with a fireball and then close the distance to land a powerful kick combo.

Therefore, if you are looking for a quick fighter with great combos, then Liu Kang is an obvious choice.


Geras Mortal Kombat 1
Geras – Mortal Kombat 1: Image by Gamesual

Geras is a relatively new character in the Mortal Kombat franchise. His previous appearance was in Mortal Kombat 11, where he was the story’s antagonist. However, this time, Geras is on the side of good guys. Moreover, Geras is even more fine-tuned this time around.

His abilities may seem complicated as he is the only character to play with time. Nevertheless, once you learn a few combos, you can realize the full potential of this character. Geras is mainly a grappler and brawler, so you are required to be close to your opponent. However, his abilities allow you to close the gap and hold your opponent in their place.

You can use his abilities to cause complete confusion and chaos during the fight so your opponent won’t see his attacks coming.

A – Tier Fighters

This tier list of fighters is still some of the best fighters in Mortal Kombat 1. However, these fighters are not as easy to learn, and you need to practice a few combos before you take them in a fight. That still does not mean that these fighters are any less good. It would be best if you had some practice before you start doing significant damage.

Sub Zero

Sub Zero Mortal Kombat 1
Sub Zero – Mortal Kombat 1: Image by Gamesual

Sub Zero’s name is as iconic as the game itself. This blue-suit ninja returns with his ice powers and a slightly altered backstory. Moreover, all of Sub Zero’s diverse moves appear in Mortal Kombat 1. This makes Sub Zero one of the best fighters for all sorts of combat. 

Sub Zero uses his ice powers to stun and freeze opponent fights in their place. Therefore, this makes it an extraordinary ability that can be used for some potent combos. Moreover, Sub Zero is relatively easy to master, with all his moves having simple inputs.

Sub Zero may seem slow and ineffective if you have not practiced with him. However, once you have mastered all the moves, your opponent will not even get a chance to move and face their end.


Raiden Mortal Kombat 1
Raiden – Mortal Kombat 1: Image by Gamesual

The God of Thunder and Lightning is back for this reboot. However, this time, Raiden has a reduced role of being Earth’s champion and not the protector of Earthrealm. Moreover, at the beginning of the campaign, Raiden is an ordinary human with no powers.

However, Raiden still gets his lightning powers later on, which grants him all of his iconic moves. This is not an easy character to master due to his complex combos, and he requires players to learn a few of his combos. Raiden has all the moves necessary, whether you are trying to aim low or high.

Moreover, if your opponent is standing on the other end of the screen, use your lightning teleport to dash into them.


Reptile Mortal Kombat 1
Reptile – Mortal Kombat 1: Image by Gamesual

The Reptile is another classic character in Mortal Kombat. As the name suggests, this character is a reptile or a lizard. Moreover, the Reptile gets an updated story and can transform into a human anytime he wishes. This makes this rendition of Reptile somewhat unique and sympathetic.

All of Reptile’s significant fighting moves are present in Mortal Kombat 1. This allows you to throw poison bubbles at your enemies or dash into them like an alligator, twisting and turning. However, one ability that still makes the Reptile unique is the ability to disappear or vanish right in the middle of combat.

This can cause your opponent confusion and may open them up for combos. Therefore, if you want a well-rounded fighter with a relatively complex set of moves, you should try playing the Reptile.

Shang Tsung

Shang Tsung Mortal Kombat 1
Shang Tsung – Mortal Kombat 1: Image by Gamesual

The big bad of the Mortal Kombat franchise makes his return in this series entry. Shang Tsung is one of the central protagonists of the Mortal Kombat universe and a powerful sorcerer. However, during the events of this game, Shang Tsung’s fate is altered by Liu Kang, who makes him an ordinary human.

Shang Tsung may very well be one of the most versatile characters on the roster. However, you need to get the game on early access to get him as a playable character at the start. The sorcerer can transform into his older and younger form. This completely changes his move set and fighting style, making him an ideal fighter for most situations.

On top of that, Shang Tsung can also transform into an opponent fighter, leading to some exciting opportunities in a fight. However, Shang Tsung is not in the S Tier because managing multiple characters and their playstyle can be overwhelming and requires practice.

Kung Lao

Kung Lao Mortal Kombat 1
Kung Lao – Mortal Kombat 1: Image by Gamesual

Kung Lao still has his iconic razor-sharp hat in Mortal Kombat 1. This hat can be thrown towards your opponents and be a very effective ranged attack. Moreover, most of Kung Lao’s iconic move set returns in this game, still making him a favorite for most players.

However, it is disappointing that Kung Lao does not have his classic teleporting ability this time. This is one of the significant reasons Kung Lao is ranked lower on this Mortal Kombat 1 tier list. Also, most players can pick and play with Kung Lao easily.

Using the Kameo system instead of his teleportation may require a bit of practice.


Mileena Mortal Kombat 1
Mileena – Mortal Kombat 1: Image by Gamesual

Mileena returns for Mortal Kombat 1, and almost everything that made her character great is here. Most players pick Mileena for his speed and quick attacks. Her speedy attacks are back in this game and are fine-tuned to perfection. Moreover, using the Kameo system with her combos will keep your combo streak going long.

Mileena is also an expert in attacking from directions, which keeps your opponent on their toes and constantly guessing where the next move will come in. However, it is essential to remember that Mileena works best when you are on the ground and close to your enemies. 

Therefore, she uses her speed to close the gap and land quick attacks.


Baraka Mortal Kombat 1
Baraka – Mortal Kombat 1: Image by Gamesual

Baraka also receives a revised story in this version of the Mortal Kombat timeline. As a result, Baraka is a good guy in this version, helping our heroes to stop Shang Tsung’s evil plot. He still has all his basic fighting moves and wields long blades on his arms.

Moreover, Baraka may not be the first choice for most players as he is strictly a close-ranged character. However, he is still incredibly effective and quick in a fight. Your opponent won’t see his powerful blades coming; it will be too late before they react. 

Therefore, if you want to pick an intense brawler with an attack variety, then Baraka will be your top choice.

Li Mei

Li Mei Mortal Kombat 1
Li Mei – Mortal Kombat 1: Image by Gamesual

Li Mei is a highly underrated character in the Mortal Kombat franchise. She always had a unique fighting style, which has improved this time. Moreover, very few fighters in the game have strong kicking combos, and Li Mei tops that list.

Li Mei is an expert on the battlefield, and all her moves put her at an advantage. She has some of the best kick moves in the game, which not only hit hard but can also hit a longer distance. Therefore, just spamming these moves may be enough to win a fight.

It just gets better that her ranged attacks are also great and easy to land. These ranged attacks seem slow, but they can stun your enemy for a second or two, making them worth it.

B – Tier Fighters

The B Tiers fighters in Mortal Kombat 1 are still some fantastic fighters. Nevertheless, better fighters are still on this list, with a slightly better move set for combat. However, some players may still prefer fighters from this tier due to their unique abilities. Moreover, any fighter can become a S Tier fighter with enough practice.


Smoke Mortal Kombat 1
Smoke – Mortal Kombat 1: Image by Gamesual

Smoke receives a significant facelift and a different backstory in this series reboot. However, Smoke is still as great a fighter as always. His unique move set allows players to teleport and attack from many angles. Playing with Smoke is all about the element of surprise during combat.

It is important to remember that Smoke has a complex move set. His attacks are pretty basic and lack variety. Yet, his other abilities related to stealth and teleportation give him a significant advantage. However, this requires plenty of practice and losses before you get the hang of it.


Kitana Mortal Kombat 1
Kitana – Mortal Kombat 1: Image by Gamesual

Kitana is the younger sister of Mileena and a fierce fighter in Mortal Kombat 1. She still is the quickest fighter on the field and will be behind the opponent before they even react. Moreover, her ranged attacks are significant for stunning enemies and can always be followed by a powerful kick from the air.

However, the only problem with Kitana is her limited moves set. Most of her actions have the same effect and lack variety. This can often lead to fights that are often not as exciting. Moreover, this also means that your opponents can read your moves more often and counter frequently.


Havik Mortal Kombat 1
Havik – Mortal Kombat 1: Image by Gamesual

Havik is mainly on the wrong side of things in any timeline of Mortal Kombat. His frightening appearance makes him an imposing fighter with a few surprise moves. Moreover, Havik has a few mighty moves, such as his grapple hook, similar to Scorpion.

This grappling hook is excellent for pulling the enemies towards you, opening them up for other attacks. The grapple can also sometimes stick to your enemies and stun them. However, Havik is still relatively unpolished, and his looks remain way more exciting than his actual moves.


Reiko Mortal Kombat 1
Reiko – Mortal Kombat 1: Image by Gamesual

Reiko is another one of the central protagonists of the Mortal Kombat series. He is one of the very few grapplers on this roster. This makes him a tricky character, as you need to be very close to your opponent to land a successful grapple.

However, if you prefer a grappler fighting style, Reiko has plenty of variations to make that possible. Reiko mainly has two grapples, one significantly more potent than the other. Therefore, once you master this unique fighter’s move set, you won’t let your opponent getaway.

General Shao

General Shao Mortal Kombat 1
General Shao – Mortal Kombat 1: Image by Gamesual

The General also received a significant story update in this series chapter. However, he is still an imposing figure on any battlefield. General Shao towers over any opponent Mortal Kombat has to offer, and his large, trusty axe is still as hard-hitting as ever.

Shao may seem too big to handle himself, but this is untrue. General Shao is not only quick, but he also puts his entire strength into every move. Still, getting settled on this fighter’s unique fighting style requires practice, as you lack any significant ranged attack. 

Therefore, this makes Shao great for close-range fights, as his axe can come in from any angle.


Sindel Mortal Kombat 1
Sindel – Mortal Kombat 1: Image by Gamesual

Sindel has been chiefly a protagonist in the Mortal Kombat series. However, this timeline wipes the slate clean and shows Sindel as one of the good guys. Sindel comes with a variety of unique ranged and stun attacks. Moreover, she can levitate on the battlefield, which may make her a hard target to hit.

However, most of her special attacks are designed to keep the Kameo system in mind. One of her moves allows you to reduce the Kameo recovery time, while the other only works if the opponent’s Kameo player is on the screen. This does make her incredibly useful, but only in certain situations.


Rain Mortal Kombat 1
Rain – Mortal Kombat 1: Image by Gamesual

Rain is another incredibly versatile character in this roster. He has some fantastic abilities that all hinder the opponent’s movement in the arena. Moreover, his portals allow players to teleport between different battlefield areas.

However, this is also what makes Rain a complicated fighter to master. Not only are his abilities complicated, but they are not designed to do damage but open up the opponent for further attacks. This makes him a unique fighter and can often catch your opponent by surprise.

Therefore, if you enjoy frustrating your opponent before you defeat them, then Rain is the character to master.

C – Tier Fighters

This is where we come to the bottom of the barrel. These characters are not in any way terrible, but they do lack variety in combat, and they may not hit as hard. The characters have a basic move set that brings no significant surprises to a fight. Moreover, some of these characters have some abilities that can put the player at a slight disadvantage.


Nitara Mortal Kombat 1
Nitara – Mortal Kombat 1: Image by Gamesual

Nitara is part of the vampire species in Mortal Kombat, and Megan Fox plays this rendition of her character. This winged character can fly during combat, which may be the only redeeming quality. Her special moves need to be unlocked using the power Dark Sacrifice.

This may cost you extra time during a fight and even drain a chunk of your health. On top of that, even after being unlocked, her special moves do not hit as hard as you would think. This makes Nitara a relatively unfinished character, and she may receive some updates as the meta develops.


Ashrah Mortal Kombat 1
Ashrah – Mortal Kombat 1: Image by Gamesual

Ashrah is a demon trying to redeem herself in this timeline of Mortal Kombat. This means that she can wield both dark and light abilities. Moreover, she comes with a mystical sword that can be switched to different auras during battle.

However, this is also what ultimately dooms the character. The shift from light to dark or dark to light takes away all variety from the surface, allowing her only to land one or two of the same moves of different auras. Moreover, this shift also takes up significant time, which leaves your fighter completely open for attacks.

Still, if you enjoy spamming one move until you defeat your opponent, this character may be able to help you.


Tanya Mortal Kombat 1
Tanya – Mortal Kombat 1: Image by Gamesual

Tanya is another returning character to the Mortal Kombat 1 roster. This fighter has plenty of moves and different tools in her arsenal. However, this makes her incredibly complex to learn as most of her moves require another action to execute. 

This will keep you primarily occupied in learning her special moves and combining a valid combo. Her attacks are pretty basic, and her special moves require a significant learning curve. Therefore, if you want to pick up a tricky character that pays off late, Tanya should be your choice.

This is all for our Mortal Kombat 1 best characters tier list. The Mortal Kombat franchise has some of the genre’s most diverse and unique fighters. Most of these iconic characters return in this chapter of the series. However, some fighters may be better than others. Meanwhile, some characters require practice to master.

Therefore, what makes a character great is how good their special moves are and how easy it is to master them. You must create impressive combos to win most fights, which requires you to learn a character. However, it is still important to remember that some people may like a character that others won’t, and it is all about how comfortable you feel playing with a fighter.

Read More: Mortal Kombat 1 How To Do Brutalities?

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