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. I enjoyed the unique roaster, as 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. 

Key Takeaways

  • 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 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.

Johnny Cage
Liu Kang
Shang Tsung
Kung Lao
Very Good
Li Mei
Sub Zero
General Shao

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.


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

Kenshi is one of my favorites and 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.

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 tier list. Moreover, this spirit is called through your special sword, Sento, and allows you to have two fighters 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. 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.

Scorpion has a solid move set, which makes him an ideal choice for ranged and close combat.  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.

One of my favorites, 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 an arrogant yet honorable fighter. Playing with Cage has made me realize how difficult it is to block his attacks.

Additionally, this time in the franchise, I found Cage to be better than ever. His move sets are easy to learn and quickly break your opponent’s spirits. 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 of the Earth’s greatest defenders and a fan-favorite character returning to this franchise reboot. Moreover, this time, the God of Fire is a Titan and the creator of this new timeline. 

I was worried that Liu Kang might receive some moves that reflected his god status, but he is still the same fire-punching fighter. All of his iconic activities also make a return in Mortal Kombat 1. 

You can always hit the opponent with a fireball and then close the distance to land a powerful kick combo. 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.

I did not care about this character much in the last game. However, Geras received a significant buff this time and joined the good guys’ side. 

His abilities may seem complicated as he is the only character to play with time. I recommend you learn a few of his combos to realize this character’s full potential. Geras is mainly a grappler and brawler, so you are required to be close to your opponent.

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, I would not recommend these fighters if you are just starting. 


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. I was disappointed that Raiden was primarily given a side role in Mortal Kombat 1. 

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.

Shang Tsung

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

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 be one of the most versatile characters on the roster, but I believe he is a little tricky to master. Moreover, 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.

Even though these are some of the best abilities in the game, I still felt overwhelmed by the plethora of choices. 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.

Not only that but like Raiden, I was a little disappointed to see Kung Lao being reduced to a side character. 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 while playing as her, I was excited to find almost everything that made the character great returns here. Most players pick Mileena for her speed and quick attacks. Her swift 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. 

Important Note: Mileena works best when you are on the ground and close to your enemies. 


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. I did find this revised role for Baraka a step in the right direction. 

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


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.

This is also what adds so much variety to the character. I was surprised that the shift from light to dark or dark to light had no significant impact on the fight. 

This move allowed her only to land one or two of the same moves of different glows. However, this shift in style can take up a bit of time. Therefore, I recommend only shifting when you are far from the enemy.

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


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

Reiko is another of the central antagonists and one of the 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. I often scratched my head whenever I missed my grapple, but once you grab an enemy, they will feel the damage.

Reiko is incredibly capable of closing the gap between the opponents. 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.


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

Smoke receives a significant facelift and a different backstory in this series reboot. As a result, 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. However, I found his basic attacks to be rather too basic. Yet, his other abilities related to stealth and teleportation give him a significant advantage.

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. 

I believe that any fighter can become a S Tier fighter with enough practice. Moreover, I do not consider these fighters completely unusable, but I would not recommend them to players just getting into Mortal Kombat.


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

Kitana is the younger sister of Mileena and a fierce fighter. Her ranged attacks are significant for stunning enemies and can always be followed by a powerful kick from the air.

However, my only problem while playing with Kitana was her limited moves set. It felt like most of her actions had the same effect and lacked variety. This can often lead to fights that are often not as exciting.

This may also mean that opponents can read your moves more often and counter frequently.

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. I have always loved her unique fighting style, which has improved significantly this time. 

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. However, Li Mei might become easy to counter as the multiplayer meta develops.

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.


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

Havik is often 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 activities, 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. 

Havik may require players to practice slightly more, but I still consider Havik’s fatalities among the best in the game.

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. Sub Zero is a very viable fighter for all sorts of combat. 

However, since the game’s release, Sub Zero has received significant debuffs. I already considered him a problematic fighter to master, and ever since he was nerfed, he has become even more challenging to play.

Sub Zero uses his ice powers to stun and freeze opponent fights in their place. Therefore, I recommend him to players who play multiplayer mode to frustrate their opponents.

I have always found Sub Zero 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 melt before facing their end.

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. Even though he is not the Shao Kahn we have all loved to fear, he is still an imposing figure on any battlefield. 

Shao may seem too big to handle himself, but this is untrue. I was surprised to find General Shao is not only quick, but he also puts his entire strength into every move. This does mean that every hit your opponent faces is every bit menacing. Getting settled on this fighter’s unique fighting style requires practice.

I was often frustrated by the lack of any significant ranged attack. Apart from that, General Shao is still 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. Her levitating move is slightly gimmicky and does not help during fights against experienced players.

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. Again, this does make her incredibly useful, but only if you master the Kameo System.


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, I still struggle to use his teleports to this day.

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. 


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

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. In my opinion, this makes this rendition of Reptile somewhat unique and sympathetic.

All of Reptile’s significant fighting moves are present in the game. This allows you to throw poison bubbles at your enemies or dash into them like an alligator, twisting and turning.

However, I found it difficult to use his vanishing move in combat. In my experience, other characters can do more than Reptile. Therefore, if you want a fighter with a relatively complex set of moves, you should try playing the Reptile.

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. 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.

I hope these characters will receive upgrades and buffs as the fighting meta evolves. 


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

Nitara is part of the vampire species in Mortal Kombat. 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.

I was frustrated that this move cost you significant time during a fight and even drained 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.


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

Tanya is another returning character to the 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.

My Opinion On Best Characters

I think 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, I do understand 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: 

Was this helpful? 🎮

Good job! Please give your positive feedback ☺️

How could we improve this post? Please Help us. 🤔