If you’re a Mortal Kombat novice, the sizeable roster present in the franchise’s latest installment might prompt a difficult decision of which character to focus on — and even veterans might be thrown for a loop by some of the changes made to their fan favorite fighters.
If you’re struggling to find a character that fits, look no further than the five Kombatants listed below. They’re all great choices if you’re still getting the hang of the mechanics of Mortal Kombat X, but they’ll still give you a fighting chance when you head out of practice mode and onto the online battleground.
The tortured soul of Hanzo Hasashi is a great first step into the world of Mortal Kombat X, and is likely the first character most players will take on. With a straightforward selection of special attacks and combos, Scorpion an ideal conduit to help novices understand the game’s basic mechanics.
Use Scorpion’s Spear technique as an easy way to set your opponent up for a combo — they’ll be brought within range and staggered upon a successful hit, even if they’re halfway across the screen. Then, it’s just a matter of executing a sequence of moves to take advantage of their weakened state.
Scorpion’s other best asset for beginners is his Teleport. The input for the move is a standard quarter-circle-back movement — an essential technique for anyone wanting to get into fighting games — which causes him to switch the side of the screen he’s attacking from, and dive in to strike out at the enemy.
An experienced player will be able to punish flippant use of Scorpion’s basic strategies quite easily, but as you’re learning the ropes, he’s a great stepping stone. When you’re comfortable with Scorpion, try out his rival Sub-Zero for a slightly more defensive playstyle.
Cassie Cage is one of several newcomers to Mortal Kombat X, and as you might expect from the daughter of Sonya Blade and Johnny Cage, she has a few moves inspired by her pugilist parents. That said, she’s no palette swap — Cassie has plenty to offer in her own right.
New players will take to Cassie because she’s fast — it’s much easier to dodge attacks when you’re starting out if you’re an agile, responsive character. She’s a difficult character to play against because many of her combos contain both high and low attacks, which calls for more considered blocking.
Moreover, there’s plenty of variety to Cassie’s special moves. Single Shot is a standard projectile that’s useful in a variety of situations, while Glow Kick is a strong anti-air attack that doubles as an exclamation point to tag onto the end of a combo.
If you’re looking to extend a combo further, experiment with Getaway Flip, but practice makes perfect. However, be careful when using the move as an escape method — if it’s blocked, you can leave yourself open for a hefty bit of damage, courtesy of your opponent.
While the one-eyed Kano might not be the most commonly used character online at the moment, that might well change before too long. The Australian fighter is a great option for players looking to become acquainted with the fighting game staple of cancelling moves, thanks to one of his techniques.
That move is the Kano Ball, a long-range attack that will be familiar to anyone who’s played as Blanka in the Street Fighter games. It’s a great tool for putting pressure on your opponent and attacking from a distance, but it’s particularly potent when used together with one of his combos.
Input the command for Kano Ball just after the last strike of a combo sequence — not all of his kcmbos listed on the pause screen will work, but most of them will — and he’ll immediately transition into the special move without breaking the combo. Mastering this technique will drastically improve the amount of damage you can deal on a sequence of moves.
Every character in the game can make use of this mechanic, but Kano’s a good option if you’re just getting to grips with it. This is a crucial technique in a host of fighting games, so it’s a very useful thing to learn — the timing might take some practice, but it’s well worth the effort.
4. Erron Black
Gunslinger Erron Black is a fun character to play as in Mortal Kombat X. He may be a newcomer to the series, but his unique design and engaging play style will likely make him a staple in future installments.
As you might expect, a huge part of Black’s move set centers around his use of guns, which makes him a particularly potent choice for anyone looking to play keep-away with zoning-based tactics. While the gameplay of Mortal Kombat X is largely focused on close ranged combat, with proper use the cowboy can prove to be an effective exception to that rule.
The essence of zoning is to keep your opponent where you want them. Black can use his Caltrops to do this — drop them on the ground and they’ll deal minimal damage when stood on. The damage itself is less important than the fact they can be used to shepherd your enemy into a position that’s most beneficial to you.
Depending on the variation you’re playing as, Black will have different ranged attacks. Gunslinger gives him the flexible Stand Off stance, which can transition into a range of different types of gunshot. Meanwhile, his Marksman variant provides the best tools for players wanting to get serious about zoning strategies.
While building distance might be key to your strategies with Black, he has some very potent tools to quickly make up distance to catch your opponent off guard. The Sand Trap command throw and the Sand Slide dropkick are both essential parts of any player’s arsenal.
If all else fails — and, of course, if you’ve purchased the DLC — it’s worth trying out the raw power of Goro. The four-armed fighter was a boss in the original Mortal Kombat, and used correctly he can be just as much of a challenging opponent in Mortal Kombat X.
Goro’s patented Punch Walk technique is a powerful move that can be used to great effect if you’re looking to simply beat your opponent down. It’s not pretty — and it’s perhaps not the best way of making strides in terms of skill — but it can be very effective.
To add a bit of maneuverability to the plodding Goro, make sure to take advantage of his Stomp. The only input you’ll need to pull off is a quick crouch to jump movement on your stick, so it’s perfect for pulling out suddenly to catch your opponent off guard.
The main drawback to playing as Goro is his limited agility, so that’s something to keep in mind. However, if you can master his capacity for dealing large amounts of damage, the Shokan warrior can be a very frustrating character to meet in Kombat.
What character are you having the most success with in Mortal Kombat X? Do you have any tips to share with players starting out? Let us know in the comments section below.