Mortal Kombat 11

Mortal Kombat 11 (MK11) is a 2D fighter all about strings, high/low mixups, strong jumps, and broken bones. Running has been removed from the series to emphasize grounded footsies and fundamentals. Offensive and defensive gauges have been separated to give players more options. The new Flawless Block mechanic rewards the defender with a launcher for defending which perfect precision. Fatal Blow is a gruesome tool that helps the losing player turn the tide of battle for a comeback. Your favorite Fatalities have returned and everybody loves Fatalities.

Helpful Resources

Kombat Akademy.
Test Your Might Forums.

Notation

Attack Notation

1 Front Punch
2 Back Punch
3 Front Kick
4 Back Kick

Directional Notation

up-back up up-forward
back neutral forward
down-back down down-forward

UB U UF
B N F
DB D DF

High attacks are attacks that can be ducked under. Overhead attacks are attacks that must be stand blocked. Mid attacks are attacks that can be blocked with both stand block and crouch block.

Mortal Kombat 11 uses Modern frame data notation. If an attack has 7 frames of startup, it hits on the 7th frame. Attacks performed as reversals out of blockstun come out 1 frame later.

Instead of holding back to block, there is a designated block button. You have to make a conscious decision to block. There is no proximity guard in this game which means you can walk away from an attack without your character stopping. Blocking blocks in both directions but it takes a character 4 frames to turn around if their opponent ends up behind them. There is also no absolute guard in MK11 as there is a block button. Letting go of the block button, even during true blockstrings, will cause you to get hit by the following attacks.

Don't block too much because even normal attacks cause chip damage and there is a lot of chip damage in this game. If a string is blocked but the defender is too far away after pushback to "get their turn", it's considered a win for the attacker because it still inflicted damage.

High attacks and throws can be ducked under but holding the block button while crouching makes highs connect. You have to choose between crouch blocking or ducking, as you can't do both at the same time.

All normal attacks can chip kill because they inflict chip damage. When a player is on the verge of getting chip killed, blocking an attack uses a Defensive Gauge. This is called Last Breath. If the player then blocks an attack with no Defensive Gauges remaining, they get chip killed.

String heavy games typically do not have link combos outside of jump ins. Frame advantage is used for pressure instead. I hit this attack and it's +10 on hit. In other games I would be able to link an attack that is faster than 10 frames for a combo but that's not possible in MK11.

Jailing refers to locking the opponent in hitstun or blockstun to prevent them from ducking under high attacks. Hitting a crouching character forces them to stand and they will not be able to crouch/duck until they fully recover from hitstun/blockstun. I hit my attack it's +10 on hit and while my opponent can block during those 10 frames, they cannot duck. Good attacks for jailing are mid attacks that leave you close to your opponent and don't cause them to reel backwards in pain.

D1 is many characters' fastest mid attack. It's great for going under high attacks, starting offense, and interrupting attacks.
D3 is the fastest low attack. D4 is a slower low attack but more rewarding.
B4 is a sweep. It hits low and knocks down.

Throws are performed with 1+3 and a direction but most people just macro throw to a single button. There is a whiff animation if unsuccessful. Forward throws are teched with 2/4 and back throws are teched with 1/3. The defender still takes 2% damage after successfully throw teching. Throws cannot be teched while blocking. There's no way to see which throw your opponent is doing so throws are a true 50/50 mixup.

Unsuccessful throws in Mortal Kombat 11 have a whiff animation of 34 recovery frames. In comparison, in Mortal Kombat X it was 24 recovery frames. That's a whopping 10 more frames! Whiffing a throw is easily punishable and puts the character in a counter hit state. A good opponent will Krushing Blow you when you whiff a throw.

Throws are high and can be ducked under. After ducking any high, you can get a Krushing Blow with D2. D2 is a Krushing Blow on counter hit or after ducking a high. Don't do D2 too early as it might get thrown and don't do it too late as D2 is unsafe on block.

Quickly tap U to perform a short hop. Short hop can go over attacks. Throws have so much recovery that you can short hop, land, and still get a punish.

From short hop, you have a punch and kick attack. Both attacks are overheads and unsafe on block. The hop attacks are invulnerable to crouch punches.

New to the Mortal Kombat series is the addition of separate Offensive and Defensive Gauges. Every round starts with full resources. The gauges automatically regenerate with time and there's nothing you can do to help them regenerate quicker.

Offensive Gauge is primarily used for amplified attacks. Amplified attacks are enhanced versions of special attacks and cost half Offensive Gauge. Perform them with the special input and 1+2. Meterless launching special attacks don't exist in this game, which means you'll need to spend meter to get combos off of special attacks.

Defensive Gauge is obviously used for defense. It's for reversals, wakeup recovery, blocking, and combo breaking.

After a knockdown, there are two options available to you and they both cost half a Defensive Gauge. Wakeup U3 is an invincible reversal that does a little bit of damage. U2 is a launcher that is invulnerable to throws and air attacks.

U3 is unsafe on block but it has a lot of pushback, so it's safe in many situations. Your opponent can beat reversal U3 with a jump in.

If your opponent jumps at you, you can wakeup with reversal U2 to beat it. Be careful as it is very unsafe on block.

After a knockdown, press 3+4 (stance switch button) and a direction to quick recover roll. Roll costs half Defensive Gauge and is strike-invulnerable at the start. Rolls can be thrown at any time and strike-invulnerability runs out at the end.

At mid-screen, most players roll backwards to create distance from their opponent. When they're cornered they forward roll to switch sides to get out of the corner.

The attacker can punish backwards roll with a forward advancing attack.

If the defender predicts this, they can do a forward roll to go through them.

The attacker can neutral jump to cover both options. If the defender forward rolls under the attacker, the attacker turns around in the air.

After a knockdown, hold 3+4 to delay wakeup by 20 frames. You can tell when a wakeup is delayed as the character performs a different animation. There are no wakeup options (Roll, U2, U3) after a delayed wakeup.

Flawless Blocking is done by blocking a couple frames before an attack makes impact. When successful, the words "Flawless Block" appear on the screen. It negates the first hit of chip damage you would have received and reduces chip damage for any following hits.

When you press the block button and don't get a Flawless Block, you are locked out of getting another Flawless Block for 60 frames (1 second).

The wakeup reversals can be used out of Flawless Block. Reversal U3 is for beating tight blockstrings and multi-hitting attacks. Reversal U2 is for beating single hit attacks and strings with larger gaps.

You won't be Flawless Blocking in the middle of most strings. The string needs to have a gap that is large enough that you can let go off the block button then press it again to Flawless Block. Every character has strings with big gaps and these strings are rewarding on hit and block.

Jumping attacks are overheads only on the way down. Ascending jumping attacks hit mid. Jumping punches are for jump ins and starting combos.

Jumping kicks knockdown, which means you can use them farther away and higher in the air.

Jumping attacks can be difficult to anti-air. Most characters don't have reliable anti-airs and jumping kicks hit at an awkward angle. Flawless Blocking is one way to counter jumping attacks but it requires precise timing and costs meter. Flawless Block anti-air loses to empty jump throw.

Anti-airs are rewarding because characters are floated into a juggle after getting hit out of the air.

There is little invincibility in MK11 because it is a string heavy game. Instead, every character has access to armored attacks.

There are interactables around the environment. Press 1+2 when you're near one to use it. A regular Environmental Action costs half Defensive Gauge.

Positional or side switching interactables are useful to get away from the corner.

Throw interactables cannot be throw teched.

Projectile interactables and long ranged interactables let characters without fireballs zone.

Getting hit during an Environmental Action interrupts it and wastes the meter spent on it. Press the block button during an interactable action to perform an Amplified Environmental Action. This costs full Offensive Gauge and half Defensive Gauge. This amplified version adds a hit of armor to the interactable action. It seems expensive but it's one of the few attacks you have with armor.

When the health bar falls bellow 30%, Fatal Blow becomes available. You can only hit this once a game but if it whiffs or is blocked, it's stil available to you. Fatal Blow has armor but not immediately, so it loses to meaties. Fatal Blow breaks armor.

Armor breaking attacks beat armor. You usually get bonus damage and additional properties when this happens.

While you are getting juggled, you can break out of the combo with a Breakaway. Breakaway costs full Defensive Gauge and is done by pressing D and the block button. You are armored until you hit the ground.

If you're afraid your opponent will Breakaway from your combo and punish you, you can not launch them and keep the combo on the ground. Or you can launch them but don't use any attacks in the juggle with a lot of recovery. They will Breakaway from the combo but you will recover before they can punish you.

Counter hits don't have bonus properties in MK11. Krushing Blow gives certain attacks bonus properties after meeting requirements. For example, your character might have a string that will Krushing Blow if the first hit whiffed but the second hit hits. Or your character's throw will Krushing Blow if it catches the opponent rolling. You will know when you get a Krushing Blow when you see this cinematic. You get one Krushing Blow per attack per game.

This attack will Krushing Blow only on counter hit.