Kotal Kahn: How Mortal Kombat's New Emperor Conquered Outworld

When fans were first introduced to Kotal Kahn in Mortal Kombat X, his name left fans wondering if he was related to the fallen Emperor Shao Kahn. Despite being the new ruler of Outworld, Kotal couldn't have been further from that, as he was actually an Aztec-like warrior who was obligated to save Outworld from Shao Kahn's tyranny.

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His principles were way different to that Emperor and while he wasn't necessarily a hero, Kotal wasn't really a villain either. With that in mind and Mortal Kombat 11's looming release, let's look at Kotal's rise to power and how he took charge of Outworld.

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Kotal belonged to the Osh-Tekk, an ancient race who fell under Shao Kahn's rule as part of Outworld. However, Kotal felt that Outworld deserved more and when his father Kotal K'etz didn't want to rebel, a disillusioned Kotal came to Earthrealm and became the Mayan god of war, Buluc. He felt it was destiny to save them, but after killing conquerors and colonizers time after time, Kotal returned home when disease ravaged the Mayan with a new understanding for what it truly meant to be a liberator.

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When Shao Kahn died, Kotal embraced his duty and seized the opportunity to go after his successor, Mileena, as he foresaw dark times under her. Eventually, with the likes of Reptile and D'Vorah at his side, Kotal was able to defeat Mileena and take control of Outworld, unifying it as a more benevolent ruler. His aim was to ensure it would become the strongest legion out of all the realms.

However, his hunt for Shinnok's amulet ran him afoul of Earthrealm's forces, which included heroes like Cassie Cage and Jacquie Briggs, and the relic ended up being taken by D'Vorah, a double agent working with Quan Chi. Against his better judgement, Kotal had to ally with Raiden's forces to stop Shinnok from being resurrected and later on, he'd end up back in Outworld with Raiden and the Elder Gods monitoring his situation closely. They knew he was a wild card but his army could still prove to be a powerful tool if used correctly in the wars ahead.


Kotal harnesses the power of the sun, using it to heal his wounds in battle. He was also able to use it as a source of energy which he can channel as a laser. Another major asset is he can conduct blood sacrifices, allowing him to power up to the point where he's more or less as strong as a god.

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MKX also showed him using teleportation abilities, but most mysterious aspect of his skillset remains his use of relics and totems which grant him power upgrades. He also can perform quick rituals to gain even more strength and vulnerability. Coupling this with his speed and overall military acumen, Kotal is one of the few Mortal Kombat fighters who's big and bulky (standing over seven feet tall), and keeps a high intellect when it comes to kombat strategy.

To top it off, he also rocks the Macuahuitl, a long club with blades on the edge that allows him to excel at limited range kombat. In MK11, Kotal seemingly uses a power we've never seen before, where he transforms into a black jaguar and mauls his opponents. This indicates Kotal has a lot more abilities than we first assumed, or that he's continued to evolve drastically since the last chapter.


In MK11's story mode trailer, Kotal has been approached by Raiden's forces for an alliance in order to defeat the time-goddess Kronika. We know Kronika will be bringing Shao Kahn back from the dead to lead her team with his expertise, so  Kotal will naturally be opposing them as he hated everything about the ex-Emperor's philosophies.

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But it's interesting to note how Kotal's easily swayed by Raiden, especially since they didn't trust each other in the last game. Kotal wanted to keep Shinnok's amulet in his care and felt that Raiden, and the rest of Earthrealm, weren't strong enough to watch over it themselves. This led to brutal disputes between both parties, so it appears they've now patched things up and are working towards a greater good. This uneasy alliance will see Kotal using his scouts to track Shao Kahn.

That said, they'll never trust each other so expect a betrayal to come soon. Kotal wants the best for Outworld, but since none of these other groups have ever show the same interest, his apprehension makes sense. For now, it does seem like he'll put aside his differences with his former enemies aside for now, since he doesn't want Kronika's minions to have a say in Outworld's politics. After Kotal helped take out Mileena, it'll also be interesting to see if, or more likely when, Shao Kahn jumps at a chance for retribution and a shot at his old throne.

Mortal Kombat 11 releases on April 23 for PlayStation4, Xbox One, PC and Switch.

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