For 30 years Mortal Kombat has been one of the top fighting franchises in gaming, with it standing out from other series’ due to its extensive gore and blood. Mortal Kombat has seen its share of highs and lows over the years, but today it is one of the most beloved gaming franchises and the recent Mortal Kombat 11 proves that the series still has a lot of gas left in the tank. Here are the top 10 best Mortal Kombat characters.
10. Erron Black
Erron Black is the newest fighter on this list, first making an appearance in Mortal Kombat X as well as the most recent Mortal Kombat 11. Black’s appearance is that of a 19th-century Wild West gunslinger, which is due to Shang Tsung slowing down his aging process. The character has been likened to Star Wars’ Boba Fett and is the best fighter to come to the game since the series was rebooted back in 2011.
Kano is one of the seven original characters that were playable in the original Mortal Kombat game back in 1992, as well as numerous other characters on this list. Kano became a popular choice in Mortal Kombat due to his aggressive playstyle. In later media and games, he is portrayed as a loud-mouthed Australian and the archnemesis of Sonya Blade. One reason why Kano has remained a popular character through the years is his iconic heart rip Fatality that was introduced in the first game and is often seen in other games he’s appeared in.
Kenshi is arguably the best character from the 3D era of games from Mortal Kombat 4 to Armageddon. Following the end of the 2D games after Mortal Kombat Trilogy, the series went into a lull when it came to developing new and exciting characters, with only a handful standing out across the multiple games developed. Kenshi was first introduced in Mortal Kombat: Deadly Alliance and has appeared in every entry since, Deception, Armageddon, 2011 (as DLC), Mortal Kombat X, and Mortal Kombat 11. The blind swordsman has a very unique playstyle thanks to his telekinetic abilities and could be described as Mortal Kombat’s answer to Daredevil. Many characters from the 3D era haven’t been seen since the series was rebooted in 2011, but Kenshi is one of the few to remain, and for good reason.
7. Noob Saibot
Noob Saibot was introduced to the Mortal Kombat series as a hidden character in Mortal Kombat 2, before becoming a playable fighter in Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3. His name is a combination of the surnames of the Mortal Kombat creators Ed Boon and John Tobias spelled backward.
Saibot was a very mysterious character with very little backstory given until it was revealed in Mortal Kombat: Deception that was the original Sub-Zero from the 1992 game before being killed by Scorpion. The fighter is often seen as the most overpowered character in the series and has been banned from numerous competitive tournaments.
6. Shang Tsung
Shang Tsung served as the main boss in the original Mortal Kombat game and has been a mainstay in the series ever since. His unique ability is that the sorcerer can transform into other fighters in the game, adopting both their appearance and moveset, making him a very versatile fighter. While he took a backseat in favor of Shao Kahn and other villains, he has still remained a key part of the franchise.
5. Shao Kahn
Speaking of Shao Kahn, the emperor of Outworld definitely belongs on this list. Kahn first appeared as the final boss in Mortal Kombat 2 and later Mortal Kombat 3. His role in the series did diminish over time in favor of Quan Chi and Shinnok, but he has still remained very popular with fans.
Shao Kahn was an incredibly cheap character in early games and is fun to use due to his giant stature and his ability to mock and taunt players.
Raiden is the God of Thunder and has been a mainstay in the Mortal Kombat series, having been included as a playable fighter in every game except Mortal Kombat 3, although he was later playable in Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3.
The Thunder God has played a pivotal role in the story and has often taken on the main role as well as the voice of reason and logic to the Earth Realm fighters.
3. Liu Kang
Influenced by Bruce Lee, Liu Kang was designed to be the ideal good guy, never straying from his morals and becoming the poster child for the series. In recent years Scorpion has become the face of the franchise, and plot armor wasn’t enough to save Liu Kang from death, but the Shaolin Monk has remained a key part of the story, even becoming a God during Mortal Kombat 11.
Sub-Zero is one of the most interesting characters in that there is two fighters named Sub-Zero. As mentioned previously, Noob Saibot is the original Sub-Zero, whose real name is Bi-Han. From Mortal Kombat 3 onwards the fighter is a different character and the brother of Bi-Han. This second Sub-Zero was also turned into a cyborg at one point, which only furthers the uniqueness and versatility of the fighter depending on the game.
Finally is Scorpion, one of the most iconic fighters in the franchise and the face of the series. Scorpion is a fighter that newer players gravitate to due to him being easy to get used to, although he is easy to learn and difficult to master. Like most characters on this list, Scorpion first appeared in Mortal Kombat 1, and like Raiden has appeared in every game except Mortal Kombat 3 but was included in Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3.
Scorpion has made appearances in numerous games outside of Mortal Kombat including NBA Jam Tournament Edition, The Grid, and Injustice: Gods Among Us, and has also been named as Ed Boon’s favorite character.