Who is your number one Mortal Kombat character?
Mortal Kombat is one of the most important fighting game series in history. The team at Midway and now NetherRealm Studios have created expansive lore, an iconic collection of characters, and lots of gore. While many acknowledge Mortal Kombat for the excessive use of blood, the unique characters and backstories helped carry this franchise for over 30 years. What better way to rank those than with a list of the top 10 Mortal Kombat characters?
Some of these decisions may shock you, but there is no denying that each of these warriors has earned their spot. With no further delay, here are our complete rankings.
#10 Shang Tsung
The Mortal Kombat universe does not contain a more diabolical villain than the sorcerer Shang Tsung. Sure, Shao Kahn may possess more brute force, but Shang Tsung has the souls of fallen warriors in his favor. He was challenging to defeat in the first game — primarily to ensure players would part ways with their quarters. Shang Tsung became a mainstay from the outset, and his legend has grown.
Somehow, the 1995 Mortal Kombat movie made Shang Tsung even better, thanks to the performance of Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa. Shang Tsung returned in Mortal Kombat 1 and has become a fan-favorite over the series' duration.
#9 Sonya Blade
The first female character in Mortal Kombat deserves a spot on this list without question. A Special Forces member, Sonya Blade's move set includes energy rings, cartwheels, and the kiss of death — all staples in the series.
Let's not forget her ongoing feud with Kano of the Black Dragon clan. Kano killed her partner, giving fans one of the most fleshed-out conflicts in Mortal Kombat history outside of Scorpion and Sub-Zero. Sonya appeared in a healthy number of games and is arguably the female face of Mortal Kombat.
Ermac began his Mortal Kombat journey as a hoax, with many fans believing he was a hidden character in the first Mortal Kombat game. Unfortunately, only Reptile held that title, but that did not stop Ed Boon and Midway from running with the rumor.
Eventually, Ermac debuted in Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3 as a red ninja with telekinetic powers. From an appearance standpoint, Ermac checks all of the boxes. While some of his looks could have been better, everything about him is excellent.
His line "We are many, you are but one" is referenced constantly by the fandom, making Ermac a character that fans require in all Mortal Kombat installments.
#7 Johnny Cage
What began as a hopeful collaboration with Jean-Claude Van Damme spawned one of the most iconic Mortal Kombat characters. Johnny Cage oozes charisma, and his arrogant attitude makes him stand out from the other intimidating forces in the series.
His move set includes the patented nut punch, shadow kick, and, of course, we have to mention some of the best Fatalities and Friendships the series has ever seen.
While he's usually comic relief, he has moments with less levity. He even landed Sonya Blade, which spawned Cassie Cage — another standout character in the series. The Hollywood superstar has it all.
Choosing between Kitana and Mileena was tough, so we chose the one that stood out a little more. Kitana represents grace and royalty, while Mileena is either a failed experiment or a victim of Tarkat, depending on the timeline. Overall, Mileena's brutality represents what Mortal Kombat offers.
She has some of the most violent Fatalities and a move set that is as memorable as her deadly purely whites. A top 10 list wouldn't be complete without Mileena, who is one of the most beloved characters in Mortal Kombat.
The God of Thunder is a constant in Mortal Kombat — similar to Scorpion and Sub-Zero. He provides a source of wisdom while managing to impact every title he inhabits profoundly. Raiden has appeared in every game except Mortal Kombat 3 and Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3. Furthermore, he is one of three characters to venture into the DC Comics fighting game series "Injustice."
There is not much we can say about Raiden that has yet to be said. His lightning attacks, torpedo, and look have remained consistent through all entries in the series. A Mortal Kombat game does not feel the same without him, earning him a spot in the top 10 Mortal Kombat characters.
#4 Liu Kang
From the beginning, Liu Kang assumed the role of the default main character, which felt a bit forced. However, he has earned his stripes over the years. Like Raiden, a Mortal Kombat game would only feel right with him. Liu Kang's legendary bicycle kick and fireball properly represent the insanity of Mortal Kombat.
Every story needs a hero, and Liu Kang carries the burden well. It's also worth mentioning that he possesses one of, if not the, most memorable Fatalities of all time. You know, the one where he transforms into a dragon and consumes his opponent.
The developers recognize Liu Kang as an imperative character, considering his title as "The Fire God." His position in Mortal Kombat should be forever.
Putting Smoke at number three might be controversial, but this ninja is outstanding. He first debuted in Mortal Kombat 2 as a secret character. Players had to uppercut their opponent on the Portal stage to battle him and execute a button combination when the famous Dan Forden "Toasty" appeared.
Smoke was not playable in Mortal Kombat 2, but how could we not revel in his glory? He had smoke clouds surrounding him and Scorpion's spear in his bag of tricks. You felt fine when Smoke destroyed you because his presence was just that effective.
As the series progressed, Smoke emerged as a secret playable cyborg in Mortal Kombat 3. To unlock him, you had to enter the correct Kombat Code before using him, and those who did would ultimately find one of the best Fatalities ever created. What better way to end a match than blowing up the planet?
Smoke's human form became an option in Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3, and the rest is history. While Midway and NetherRealm would only make Smoke playable in a few titles, he made an impact every time.
Sub-Zero is a Mortal Kombat character that transcends the game in more ways than you could imagine. Even non-fans know Sub-Zero and what he brings to the table. He will likely freeze you, uppercut you, and potentially perform an impromptu spinal surgery.
As a concept, Sub-Zero holds up to this day, which explains his appearance in every Mortal Kombat game and even in the Injustice series. Whether you're on team Bi Han or Kuai Liang, the end result is usually the same.
NetherRealm Studios and previously Midway struck gold with Sub-Zero. He is the perfect counter to his sworn enemy, Scorpion, and his move set of ice ball, ice clone, slide, and ground freeze are perhaps the most iconic in the game's storied history.
Unfortunately, even Sub-Zero couldn't save the Mortal Kombat Mythologies game, but we won't hold that against him.
There is no chance the number one spot could go to a character other than Scorpion. This vengeful undead ninja embodies Mortal Kombat through and through. Apart from his iconic yellow battle attire and flame-breathing Fatality, Scorpion sports unquestionably the most quoted Mortal Kombat line of all time: GET OVER HERE!
The line echoed throughout time, making its way into pop culture, and is constantly referenced in all media. Beneath the surface, Scorpion is an empathetic character, having lost his entire family and Shirai Ryu clan to the necromancer Quan Chi.
However, Scorpion believed Sub-Zero and the Lin Kuei clan were responsible. Ultimately, this dispute led to the most memorable rivalry in Mortal Kombat history, with the series' two most iconic characters on either side.
Scorpion is the total package, explaining his appearance in every Mortal Kombat game... except for Mortal Kombat 3. Regardless, there is usually one character that people think of when referring to the series, and it's usually Scorpion.
What are your thoughts on our top 10 Mortal Kombat characters list? Who would you remove, and who would you add?
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