Mortal Kombat 11: A Beginner’s Guide to Kompetitive Play

Mortal Kombat 11: A Beginner’s Guide to Kompetitive Play

Test your might with these tips for NetherRealm Studios' latest, Mortal Kombat 11.

Are you afraid to take your Mortal Kombat 11 skills online? Are your friends continually beating you every single round? Has your constant failure hindered your ability to continue on with NetherRealm Studios’ best game yet? Well, fret not mortal! Here are some tips to get your acquainted with the latest entry in the long-running fighting game franchise.

Play the Tutorial

Mortal Kombat 11 has one of the best tutorials in a fighting game. It starts you off with the basics allowing you to familiarize yourself with the controls. It then eases you into more advanced techniques, like using your defense meter for “getup” or “breakaways” or executing special moves. Eventually, if you decide to go through all of the tutorials, you’ll learn about frame data and the pros and cons of just about every move you make.

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This isn’t unlike other fighting game tutorials. However, what makes Mortal Kombat 11′s tutorial so special is how it explains everything in a way that is both incredibly detailed and easy to understand. Everything learned, especially when reading frame data, isn’t specifically tied to Mortal Kombat 11; this knowledge can be used across all fighting games, making it a very useful tool for anyone wanting to dive deeper into the competitive scene.

There are also character specific tutorials that provide you with the basics of the entire roster. It also gives a detailed but brief breakdown of the character’s advantages and disadvantages are. I do recommend playing the advanced tutorial as it highlights terms like hit advantage, unsafe on block, etc. that may not be user-friendly to those who aren’t fighting game aficionados.

Pick a Fighter That Suits Your Play Style

Just because a character is considered S-Tier, doesn’t mean you’ll win matches automatically. When choosing your “main” or the character you decide to commit to on this journey to Mortal Kombat greatness, choose one that flows with your playstyle. There are 25 characters to choose from. Surely, there is one that will click for you.

Tier lists are good tools when deciding to choose your main, but it shouldn’t be the end all and be all. Sure, you can probably pick up Geras, Erron Black, or Kollector and pick up a few wins if you learn some combos, but there is potential that you may be better with a character like Liu Kang or Sub-Zero. Try everyone out and see which character feels right. Not only will it feel more satisfying, but it’ll be more fun.

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Get in the Lab

Once you do decide on a main, it’s time to start practicing. Mortal Kombat 11′s practice mode has a lot of great tools to help you build a strategy against your supposed opponent.

If you aren’t sure where to begin, I suggest going to the move list and tagging some combos. This allows you to pin combos and special moves on the gameplay screen so you don’t have to pause after every attempt to read the combo again. A combo doesn’t have to be a long string of moves to be effective. A lot of those huge combo strings begin with simple combos.

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For example, one of Kabal’s most basic combos is hitting triangle (PS4) or Y (Xbox One) and cross (PS4) or A (Xbox One) in succession. I then found out I could finish that combo with a Nomad Dash which gives me time to start another combo and do even more damage.

That is probably one of the most rudimentary examples I could give, but it’s how I started familiarizing myself with larger combo strings. Get in the lab and mess around with your character moves, both in the middle and at the corners of the playing field. You never know what crazy combos you may come up with.

Play Against People

Once you’ve really familiarized yourself with a character and found a strategy, start playing against actual people. Playing against CPUs may give you an idea of how to implement your strategy in certain scenarios, but you won’t get better until you play with actual people. So grab a friend or go online and start fighting.

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It’s important to play with people as it helps build your strategy. When I played CPUs, I never had a reason to really use grabs, find overhead hits, or really mix up anything since my strategy seemed to always work. That was not the case against other players. Because I didn’t have strategies against players who would zone me out or punish me for those reckless Nomad Dashes with Kabal, I never knew how to overcome those obstacles. Now that I have, I am aware of those problems. I can go into practice mode and figure out ways to implement strategies to those obstacles.

It also familiarizes yourself with other character advantages and disadvantages. It’s one thing to know your own moves, let alone another character’s moves, but it is imperative. Even having a rudimentary knowledge of a character’s special moves can go a long way.

Don’t Be Afraid to Lose

I like that Kabal has a pretty decent range in close-range combat with his hook swords, as well as decent zoning capabilities with his projectiles. However, I found out the hard way that a lot of his special moves, especially his Nomad Dash, are incredibly punishable.

I’ve lost. A lot. Like, more than I would really want to, but that is part of the process. You won’t “git gud” unless you lose a bit. Take it as a learning experience rather than a failure. Reflect on what you did wrong and figure out what you could have done to win. If you’re not sure, Mortal Kombat 11 has a neat feature that records your matches. Look at those replays and analyze it. Learning from your mistakes will only make you better and lead you to more wins.

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