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Mortal Kombat 1 tier list - best characters

Our Mortal Kombat 1 tier list will give you an idea of who the best fighters are and what made them powerful picks in ranked versus mode.

Ashrah is one of the many characters who we'll see soon on the Mortal Kombat 1 tier list.

Who is on the Mortal Kombat 1 tier list? As willing participants of the Mortal Kombat reboot wade into the guts and gore of the ironic fighting game, it’s important to know which fighters stand out as the best. To answer that question, we’ve devised our own MK1 tier list to see how these fighters performed against each other.

This is our initial Mortal Kombat tier list, based on our time with the game around the release date of the fighting game. However, as we get to spend more time with each of the MK1 characters, continue to level them up, and unlock more Mortal Kombat 1 Fatalities and MK1 Brutalities, you might see some of these names move around.

MK1 tier list

Here is the latest Moral Kombat 1 tier list:

Tier Characters
S Kenshi, Sub-Zero,
A Johnny Cage, Li Mei, Liu Kang, Kitana
B Nitara, Reiko, General Shao, Sindel, Reptile, Havik, Ashrah, Geras, Tanya, Baraka, Smoke, Rain, Scorpion, Kung Lao, Raiden, Mileena, Shang Tsung


MK1 tier list - Kenshi is using a ghostly afterimage to stab Johnny Cage in the stomach. They are fighting inside Johnny's penthouse apartment.


Kenshi has some long-range melee attacks with tremendous damage potential, thanks to his sword. Some of his swings are pretty slow compared to the speed of the rest of the roster, but if you can get used to that and his relatively difficult combos, you may keep up with more nimble fighters.

MK1 tier list: Johnny Cage is frozen on the spot in the middle of his sliding kick, thanks to Sub-Zero freezing the ground. They're fighting on the walls of the Lin Kuei HQ.


Sub-Zero has a variety of ways to turn his foes into a popsicle using both normal attacks and special attacks. He’s agile with slides, and his combo extenders can launch opponents across the screen. We think Kenshi’s  raw power pips him to the top spot right now, but he’s a great alternative.


Johnny Cage, using Jean Claude Van Damme skin, putting his thumbs up as he ranks high on the MK1 tier list. Sonya is ready to fight.

Johnny Cage

Johnny Cage is a relatively versatile fighter, with flashy moves that send him across the screen, the signature nut punch, and plenty of ways to keep his opponent guessing. The thing about Cage this time around is that, instead of having green projectiles, his fighting style now has a risk-reward Star Power system. It builds up a little bit as you get hit in battle, so he’ll be sacrificing his health to fill it. When full, though, he can activate it to cancel special moves into special moves, meaning that multiple nut punches in a row are possible.

MK1 tier list: Li Mei is using her light powers to augment her aerial kick against Raiden. They are fighting inside the Outworld throne room.

Li Mei

Li Mei is one of those characters who must pair up carefully with another fighter to take full advantage of her talents. In the more recent beta, using Jax as her Kameo partner rather than Frost brought out the best in her. Using Jax’s ground pound as she throws a lantern gives her an almost unavoidable attack. She does as much damage as Liu Kang, does fantastically long combos, and may be easier to play than the Fire God. While the gap between Cage and S-tier is narrow, Li Mei does sadly fall short.

MK1 tier list: Liu Kang is kicking Mileena with fire with his hands behind his back. Trees with faces populate the background.

Liu Kang

Liu Kang’s new fire god powers give him flames to extend his already-powerful kick combos and a wide variety of special moves. He’s also relatively easy to learn and has the best projectiles in the game so far, which is enough to earn him the top spot.

MK1 tier list: Kitana is throwing her fan in an arch, winding up its power before it strikes a stunned Mileena.


Kitana can use her fans to execute larger combo strings, with vortexes to launch her enemies into the air. That said, her fans are no match for either Liu Kang’s volley of fireballs or Sub-Zero’s freezing capability. In the right hands, though, she can be quite formidable, but during the beta, she underperformed compared to the various betas and stress tests.


Every other fighter

Right now, every other one of the MK1 characters is unproven on the battlefield, so it’ll take some time for favorites to be established. That said, we’ll keep a close eye on the meta and see how everything pans out.

MK1 tier list: Frost is about to throw some frozen daggers at an enemy. Scorpion watches in the background.

MK1 Kameo tier list

Here are all the best MK1 Kameo characters:

Tier Characters
S Frost, Sonya Blade
A Kano, Jax
B Motaro, Shujinko, Sareena, Darrius, Classic Scorpion, Cyrax, Sektor, Classic Sub-Zero, Goro, Classic Kung Lao, Stryker

Frost has the most helpful assist ability out of all the Kameo fighters. She can send out a frozen orb that will freeze your foe on contact, allowing you to set up a combo or stop them from executing theirs. She can also freeze the ground or stab enemies with frozen knives. Sonya was the most-used assist in the first beta, thanks to the versatility of her techniques, with projectiles, aerial moves, and throws.

Kano is also pretty snappy, with lasers and cutters for projectiles, but he can also quickly steamroll an opponent with his spinning attack. The only issue is that he lacks the techniques to produce mix-up opportunities. Jax has some potential, but you must learn the timing to use him to extend combos, as it looks like his Kameo attacks take a long time to wind up. He is a perfect match for someone like Li Mei, who has aerial projectiles.

That’s our MK1 tier list for both regular characters and Kameo fighters. It’s worth checking out our MK1 system requirements guide to see if you need to upgrade your rig to keep a consistent 60fps at high screen resolutions. While you might not be able to use them to buy a new setup, Mortal Kombat 1 coins are pretty useful in-game, so find out how to unlock more.