With eleven main entries and a few spin-off titles across multiple timelines, Mortal Kombat still goes strong after over twenty-five years. Mortal Kombat is actually so famous that it received a 2021 reboot movie; that shows the impact of the many characters and lore.
Speaking of which, there are a lot of characters good, evil, and some in between when it comes to Mortal Kombat. As a result, some characters are more powerful than others. Some ascend to their powerful status later in the franchise while others did not appear until the latest games of the series.
Updated on June 16th, 2021 by Melody MacReady: Mortal Kombat is a contender for one of the biggest video game franchises of all time. A reason for that is the series’ tendency to always innovate and introduce something new with each new title; whether it’s lore, new graphic fatalities, or new skins for iconic characters. Also with each new entry, there is always at least one new character added to the roster, or an old character is rebooted, leading to shifts in power. This gives the players new and unique ways to test their might and see who is the most powerful character in all of the many realms of Mortal Kombat.
20 Quan Chi
The necromancer Quan Chi never quite gets a chance to shine by becoming emperor, but he’s always close at hand to those in charge. He flourishes in his work behind the scenes, being the one who manipulates the animosity between Scorpion and Sub-Zero and using his powers to resurrect Earthrealm’s fallen allies as revenants in Mortal Kombat X.
While he may be best known for his alliances with Shang Tsung and Shinnok, Quan Chi isn’t afraid to get his hands dirty either. He played a big role in the death of Liu Kang in Deadly Alliance, and, helped in bringing Shinnok back to Earthrealm. Quan Chi is a big power player whenever he’s entered into the equation.
19 Noob Saibot
Noob Saibot isn’t just an excuse for Mortal Kombat’s creators to name a character after themselves. Before he became the shadow ninja we know and love, Noob was the original Sub-Zero, whom Scorpion has long viewed as a nemesis. That rivalry came to a close pretty fast, as Scorpion killed the elder Sub-Zero during Mortal Kombat 1. Like Scorpion, however, Sub-Zero refuses to stay dead and returns as the newly dubbed Noob Saibot.
This is the warrior who introduced us to the cryomancy of the Lin Kuei ninja clan, reinvented himself with the dark powers of the mysterious Brothers of Shadow, and, along with Scorpion, is one-half of one of the most iconic rivalries in video gaming.
Of all the characters introduced in the second timeline, D’Vorah would have to be the most brutal. Watching her pierce opponents in a fight with her ovipositors is enough to make you wince, and she’s not one for mercy either. D’Vorah gained infamy among fans, having killed both Scorpion, Baraka, and Mileena rather brutally.
Unlike other violent characters in the franchise, D’Vorah doesn’t act like some rabid dog. She’s dangerous, yes, but she’s also calculating and clever. Throughout most of Mortal Kombat X and Mortal Kombat 11 she acts as a double agent between Kotal Kahn, Shinnok, and Kronika; only revealing her true allegiance when she’s ready to strike.
Kitana grew up as an assassin working for Shao Kahn, who she believed was her father. Eventually, she found out that Kahn wasn’t related to her, and was betrayed by him. Kitana’s heritage undoubtedly makes her a powerful political figure in the franchise, but she’s no slouch as a fighter either.
In her first appearance in Mortal Kombat II, she was capable of some of the best combos in the game, and her signature fan blades have decapitated quite a few heads over the years. Later on, Kitana was able to defeat her evil adoptive father and became the new Kahn of Outworld.
It’s easy to see why this character is so powerful since his power is that he technically cannot die. Geras is a fixed point in time and a construct created by Kronika to be her perfect slave. With each death and resurrection, his strength and durability grow stronger, making him a tank in battle.
Even Raiden and Shang Tsung struggle against Geras. Geras was only able to be defeated when Raiden was able to trap him in an anchor chain, forcing him to forever sink in the bottomless Sea of Blood. Geras also features power over the sand of time to not only manipulate but forge weapons out of hardened sand.
15 Shang Tsung
Looks can be deceiving, and deception is one of Shang Tsung’s most useful weapons. He can transform himself into whoever he chooses, even gaining their powers while in their form. He uses this ability to strong effect throughout the series, even using it to get close enough to Liu Kang to finally kill him.
His ability to steal souls allows him to remain eternally young and restore himself, even after death. He’s almost always been subservient to another ruler, but that’s simply allowed him to learn from their mistakes and bide his time, waiting for his own chance to take control. Also, Shang Tsung has one of the most dangerous minds that allowed him to rise to near godhood in Mortal Kombat 11: Aftermath.
Like her daughter Kitana, Sindel’s status as royalty makes her someone to rally to in the worlds of Mortal Kombat. And with the ability to fly and emit supersonic screams powerful enough to rip the flesh from an opponent, Sindel’s voice is definitely one that makes a difference, depending on who she speaks in favor of.
Sindel really proved her strength and prowess when she fought and killed the majority of Earthrealm fighters in Mortal Kombat 9. Then in Mortal Kombat 11, it was revealed that she was always evil and helped in killing King Jerrod and merging Edenia with Outworld.
In response to the destructive power of all the kombatants in the world, Blaze was created by the Elder Gods to destroy as many of them as possible and prevent Armageddon. The fact that the gods of the universe had that kind of confidence in Blaze speaks to how powerful he must be compared to most of the characters.
Ironically, one of the things that makes Blaze so dangerous is that any fighter who is able to defeat him will absorb his power, making them the strongest character on the planet. Raiden’s altering of the timeline basically happens to avoid ever unleashing Blaze on the world. Blaze has a huge target on his back and is practically destined to be defeated.
Whether it’s Bi-Han or Kuai Liang, Sub-Zero is a very powerful cryomancer. Bi-Han is the darker, more villainous Sub-Zero who will relentlessly kill anyone for his clan. This is why Bi-Han would end up becoming Noob Saibot after Scorpion murdered him.
Meanwhile, Kuai Liang has a more kind heart and actually proves to be even more powerful than his brother in many cases. He reforms the Lin Kuei clan to their former honor and proves to be the true Grandmaster Sub-Zero and fans love him.
11 Cassie Cage
Across two games, Cassie Cage has proven her strength as a warrior. The daughter of Sonya and Johnny Cage serves in Earthrealm’s Special Forces, leading her into direct conflict with Outworld’s most dangerous figures. Cassie definitely inherited some confidence from her father, though, because not only does she take on all challenges while making some jokes along the way.
By Mortal Kombat 11, Cassie is Commander of Special Forces and proves to be one of Earth’s greatest fighters and leaders all in her twenties. On top of that, she inherited her Mediterranean war cult blood, granting her the power to fight Shinnok and beat him thus earning the title of Champion.
At this point, everyone knows who Scorpion is. He’s the poster child of the Mortal Kombat franchise due to not only his iconic design, one of the most iconic weapons of Mortal Kombat, and catchphrase; he also features the best origin story of Mortal Kombat.
Hanzo Hasashi, who was killed with his family and clan, now seeks revenge against Sub-Zero. His story has become so famous that it became a heavy focus of both an animated and live-action movie. Scorpion’s power comes from his will, as he’s willing to overcome any obstacle to avenge his family. This leads on a path of villainy to one of the most iconic heroes of the series.
9 Kotal Kahn
Kotal’s power lies not just in his strength, but his diplomacy. He’s one of the most honorable rulers of Outworld and tries on numerous occasions to cooperate with Earthrealm and its defenders. In stark contrast to Shao Kahn, Kotal genuinely seems to want to restore peace.
Of course, even honor has its boundaries, and Kotal is shown as extremely unforgiving to traitors. Mileena’s treachery leads to Kotal ordering her killed, in what has to be one of the most gruesome deaths in the history of the series. Kotal nearly rivals Shao Kahn in terms of strength and his powers of the sun make him an Emperor to be respected and feared.
There is a reason why Shinnok always waits until Shao Kahn is out of the way before he invades. Shinnok fears Shao Kahn but that does not mean he is a weakling. Shinnok is a fallen Elder God of death and darkness and the ruler of the Netherrealm. He commands legions of undead and demons in an army.
He is not to be trifled with and he knows it, which is why he is so cocky and arrogant. This ends up also being his downfall in many ways, leading to characters like Cassie overcoming him. Shinnok is capable of corrupting anyone and his bone constructs can kill gods. When fused with Earthrealm’s jinsei, he transforms into a powerful demon, earning him near Elder God status again.
The Dragon King was actually the ruler of Outworld before Shao Kahn, with Kahn serving as his underling. But just because Shao Kahn usurped Onaga, don’t think that makes Onaga the weaker of the two. Shao Kahn only took Onaga’s place after poisoning him, perhaps because Kahn doubted whether he could defeat his master in a direct confrontation.
Onaga’s introduction in Mortal Kombat: Deception certainly shows off why his opponents fear him. Even the combined efforts of Quan Chi, Shang Tsung, and Raiden couldn’t repel Onaga. Out of desperation, Raiden destroys himself and everything around him in a final attempt to kill Onaga, but when the dust clears, Onaga is still standing without a scratch. Now that’s power.
The sister of Shinnok who happens to be the Elder God of light and virtue. Need more be said? Cetrion was the first time fans could play as and fight a true Elder God. Cetrion has power over all elements, leading to her being able to defeat anyone with ease when combined with her godly strength.
Only other gods, those of similar power levels, and those wearing Kronika’s crown were able to defeat Cetrion. She was first introduced in Mortal Kombat 11, making fans wonder if other Elder Gods including Argus will be playable in future titles.
5 Shao Kahn
Every group of heroes needs a great villain to go against, and the longtime emperor of Outworld no doubt lives up to that role. What other final boss is so arrogant that he’ll take the time to taunt you in-between smashing your head with his giant hammer?
Shao Kahn has had a hand in so many big moments in the series, from creating entities like Mileena and Ermac to resurrecting Sindel. As such, he is often ranked as one of the franchise’s most powerful villains. And the beginning of Armageddon shows us that if not for Raiden altering time, Kahn would have become the ruler at the end of the world.
4 Liu Kang
He might not have any extra limbs or blades coming out of his arms, but Liu Kang has proven time and again why he is the champion of Earthrealm. From Mortal Kombat 1 to Mortal Kombat 4, Liu Kang is the one who saves the day, defeating the likes of Goro, Shang Tsung, Shao Kahn, and Shinnok.
Even as an undead villain in the second timeline, Liu Kang proves to be a powerful character. He even became a temporary ruler of the Netherrealm. However, it was the good Liu Kang that earned the chance to ascend into Godhood.
The original Earthrealm protector, Raiden is a thunder god. This leads to him being granted immense power, though he is not all-powerful at all times. He can be killed by Shao Kahn and other beings of godlike strength. He is an honorable warrior and servant of the Elder Gods.
With all his power and responsibility, it can be too much at times. Raiden has turned evil in both timelines, technically making him even more powerful. From his lightning abilities to his strength and even immense willpower, Raiden has remained a leading figure for so many games for a reason.
What is higher than an Elder God? That is Kronika, one of the Titans that created all realms of existence. Kronika is the Titan of Time, who seeks to reshape the timeline to fit her idea of perfection. Kronika’s mastery of time and knowledge of the many outcomes already makes her powerful.
She can manipulate the flow of time: reversing it, pausing it, or even breaking it. This made her quite the villain for Earthrealm in Mortal Kombat 11. When equipped with her crown fueled with souls, her power is nearly unstoppable if it weren’t for a certain champion.
1 Fire God Liu Kang
When Raiden, Revenant Liu Kang, and Liu Kang merge into one being, it creates Fire God Liu Kang. With mastery over lightning and fire along with martial arts, this demigod uses his power to destroy Kronika and become the new Keeper Of Time, ascending far above anyone else in Mortal Kombat history.
Liu Kang also battles Shang Tsung after he ascends to godhood in Mortal Kombat 11: Aftermath. Being a combination of Liu Kang, Raiden, and Kronika is going to be difficult to beat.
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