'Mortal Kombat 11' Basics: How to Fight and Use New Features Effectively

Wondering how to fight in Mortal Kombat 11 ? The good news is the basics have gone mostly unchanged between Mortal Kombat X to Mortal Kombat 11, so if you're familiar with the franchise it's an easy transition. If not, we're offering some tips for how to get started.

The basic attacks, specials and combos are the same but some new features make fighting in MK11 more strategic. Unlike MKX, the attack and defense gauges are split into two gauges in MK11, and the game also adds Krushing and Fatal Blows. Both features give players more opportunities to make a comeback during matches.

There's a lot you can learn about fighting in Mortal Kombat 11 and NetherRealm has put an extensive tutorial that teaches the ins and outs of what you can do.

But if you're short on time and want to dive into some fights, here's a rundown of the basics and most important aspects of fighting on MK11.

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The fundamentals of fighting in MK11 are similar to MKX.

Players move using the D-pad or left analog. Dashing is simple, tap back or forwards twice, and is a great way to distance yourself from the opponent or to close a gap.

Here are the attack inputs for PS4 and Xbox One:

Front Punch - Square/X

Back Punch - Triangle/Y

Front Kick - X/A

Back Kick - Circle/B

You can string these inputs together to start a combo or special move. Refer to the characters move list (in the game menu) on how to perform them.

Players can also use an input while crouching or jumping to perform new attacks and get around blocks. (We'll get into blocking a bit later.) Tapping up instead of holding up will cause a hop. This can be used to avoid low attacks or to attack quicker while in the air.

Certain attacks can stun, which puts enemies in a state where they cannot defend themselves. Special moves like Scorpion's spear or Sub-Zero's Freeze specials make opponents vulnerable to attack.

Certain specials and attacks also send enemies into the air, which leaves them vulnerable to combos as well. This is called a juggle.


Blocking is done by holding R2. Mid attacks are the most basic, and can be blocked while standing or ducking. Low attacks can only be blocked while ducking.

High attacks can be blocked when standing or ducking. They can also be evaded entirely by ducking without blocking. Overhead attacks can only be blocked when standing.

Fighting in MK11 is all about prediction. Being able to anticipate the direction of attacks comes with practice, but offers huge benefits and is key to setting up combos and counters.

To get around your opponent's blocks, hit them with a low attack while they stand or an overhead attack while they duck.

Throws break blocks and can be used with the L1 button or Square/X and X/A. You can hold back while throwing an opponent to toss them in the opposite direction. This is great for getting opponents in the corner.

Throw escapes can be performed by pressing Square/X or X/A immediately after you have been grabbed.


Every stage has different interactions in the environment that can be used. They vary from platforms you can jump off of to get out of a corner, or weapons you can grab to attack the opponent. To interact with these items, simply press R1 when near one. However, half of your Defensive Gauge will be used. It will refill over time so use it when necessary.

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When your health is below 30 percent you can perform a powerful attack called the Fatal Blow. It can only be performed once per match so use it wisely.

If a fatal blow is blocked or misses, you will have to wait some time to try it again.

Fatal Blows deal a lot of damage so it's perfect for grabbing victory from the jaws of defeat.

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Some specials can be amplified. NetherRealm


Certain special moves can be amplified to give them more power or change their properties. By pressing R1 at a specific time when performing a special move - usually right after it lands - the attack will be amplified.

Some amplified special moves add more projectiles, others add another attack to a combo string to deal more damage. Be sure to practice the timing of amplified specials to see what they do and to learn the best ways to use each individual attack.

Amplified special moves cost half of your Offensive Gauge but like the Defensive Gauge it will refill over time.


The Defensive Meter allows players to perform moves that can help them escape in a pinch.

When you're being juggled by your opponent press Down and R2 to perform a Juggle Escape while in the air to get out of it before they can finish their combo. This depletes your entire Defense Gauge.

When you're knocked down, hit L2 and back or forward just as you're about to get up from the ground to Roll Escape. This is great to get out of the corner or to put some distance between you and your opponent. This also uses half of the Defense Gauge.

Mortal Kombat 11 is available now for PS4, Xbox One, PC and Nintendo Switch.

'Mortal Kombat 11' Basics: How to Fight and Use New Features Effectively | Gaming