There may not be another fighting game as popular (and controversial) as Mortal Kombat. The series has spanned decades, and the games have been played on numerous game systems, each time evolving to be more intense, more violent, and stacked with even more characters than before. Of course, there are the classic characters like Scorpion, Sub-Zero, and Sonya Blade. However, there were later characters who became well known as well, like Kano, Triborg, and Shinnok. Each character has their own strengths and weaknesses, but there are obviously some clear choices for characters who are the strongest in the Mortal Kombat Universe. Sure, it's easy to debate the strength of characters, considering that a great gamer can make any character unbeatable, but what about when the characters stand on their own?
There are certain characters that demonstrate more strength and power than others. They do not have to rely on weapons to beat their opponents. Instead, they use their fighting skills, as well as their inherent magic abilities (such as Sub-Zero's cryomancing). There are some characters who are definitely weaker than others, though. Often these characters have to rely on weapons or the environment to beat other characters that are far stronger than they are. Sure, they might be cool characters who are memorable and have been in the game series since the beginning, but the fact of the matter is that they are the weakest beings in the MK Universe. These are the ten most powerful Mortal Kombat characters (and ten that are actually really weak).
20 POWERFUL: SUB-ZERO
Ever since the very first Mortal Kombat game, Sub-Zero has always been there. The character became an instant hit with gamers, due to his signature blue ninja outfit and his ability to wield control over ice and freeze his opponents. In Mortal Kombat mythology, there are actually two Sub-Zero's: the original was taken out by Scorpion and came back as Noob Saibot.
The second Sub-Zero is the younger sibling of the original character, who took up the mantle out of respect for his fallen brother. Sub-Zero has proven time and time again that he is a powerful character. His cryomancing abilities give him a major edge over most of his opponents, whether he is freezing them solid or firing dangerous ice projectiles at them.
19 WEAK: KANO
Kano is another character who has appeared in Mortal Kombat games ever since the beginning. However, unlike Sub-Zero, Kano has not really garnered the same kind of attention and love from fans. That might be because he is kind of pointless. He is little more than a henchman at the end of the day, and he doesn't really have any power beyond that.
Sure, Kano has that laser eye and laser heart (which was a characteristic taken from Hsu Hao after the developers decided they hated the character), but so what? There are plenty of powerful heroes and villains in the Mortal Kombat Universe who can easily take Kano down without a second thought.
18 POWERFUL: KENSHI
Normally, a blind man would have no business entering a fighting tournament (unless it's someone like Daredevil or Stick), but Kenshi proves that there is more to some fighters than meets the eye. Kenshi may be blind, but he is a highly accomplished swordsman and fighter, which puts him above many of the other fighters in the Mortal Kombat tournament.
Not only does Kenshi have great fighting skills, but he also has powerful psychic abilities which lend him an edge in most fights. He might not be able to see what is right in front of him, but he can sense other fighters by their energy or by utilizing his super-heightened senses. He is also invulnerable to attacks the depend on sight to work.
17 WEAK: REIKO
Remember Reiko from Mortal Kombat 4? No one would blame you if you didn't. The character was added to pad out the game's roster, and he just cloned Noob Saibot's fighting style. Ultimately, Reiko is relegated to the status of forgotten characters within the game because he could never even demonstrate any power, let alone purpose to the overall story.
Reiko was billed as being one of Shinnok's generals, but how he got the job is anyone's guess. In addition to being a fairly straightforward fighter, Reiko had no characteristics that made him stand out from the pack. He was even taken out almost immediately in the Mortal Kombat X prequel comic.
16 POWERFUL: TRIBORG
There have been robotic characters in Mortal Kombat ever since Mortal Kombat 3, which introduced both Cyrax and Sektor as playable characters. Triborg is the combination of these two characters, along with the powers of Sub-Zero and Smoke. He made his first appearance as DLC in Mortal Kombat X, and he immediately became a fan favorite.
There's a good reason that Triborg would be such an intimidating enemy, and it is mainly due to the fact that he combines so many different fighting styles into one robotic being. Triborg can switch between the powers of all the characters that combined to create him, which makes him an efficient and adaptive fighter in any circumstance.
15 WEAK: BO' RAI CHO
Bo' Rai Cho might just be one of the silliest characters ever to grace Mortal Kombat. This large, old man can often be seen stumbling around the fighting field, defeating his enemies with a style that pertains directly to his favorite thing to do. He may have trained Liu Kang, but he seems to have lost a lot of his skill over time.
As far as Mortal Kombat characters go, Bo' Rai Cho might just be the grossest. that's saying a lot, considering what these characters do to each other on a regular basis, but this guy is so dependent on flatulence and other bodily functions for his fighting style that you might think a bottle of Pepto would render him entirely useless.
14 POWERFUL: SHINNOK
Shinnok is the main villain who first appears in Mortal Kombat 4, and although he started his life as one of the lesser villains of the game series, he has quickly worked his way up into legendary status. When he first appeared as a boss, his whole thing was being able to steal moves, but he soon became a great fighter in his own right.
Beyond being an elder God, Shinnok derives a lot of power from just how incredibly evil he is. fighting against him is like trying to beat up the actual devil. Plus, in his final corrupted form, Shinnok becomes a massive demon who could intimidate almost anyone, making him one of the stronger fighters in the game.
13 WEAK: TANYA
Tanya was first introduced in Mortal Kombat 4, where she was just a clone of Kitana. Since then, she has been featured in numerous Mortal Kombat games but has never made that much of an impression. She is the kind of character whose defining trait is that she is evil, and that is about it.
As a fighter, you can do a lot better than Tanya. She wasn't even originally featured in Mortal Kombat X, coming into the game only as DLC. Her fatalities are not really all that impressive, and even her regular move sets leave a lot to be desired. For a game with so many great female characters, it's disappointing that they dropped the ball so much with Tanya.
12 POWERFUL: JOHNNY CAGE
Johnny cage remains one of the most iconic fighters in the entire Mortal Kombat series for many reasons, including his self-assured but easygoing attitude and his signature fighting style, which is better than you might think for a movie star who played the lead role in a film called Mime Ninja.
Despite the fact that he is only human, Johnny Cage is constantly proving himself to be a great fighter. He easily goes up against demons from other worlds without losing any of his resolve or charisma. He can also channel shadow powers which enhance his strength and speed, making him a formidable opponent for any other fighter.
11 WEAK: BARAKA
Baraka, who was introduced in Mortal Kombat II is the kind of character that is trying just a little too hard to be cool and intense. With his big sharp teeth and spikes protruding from his forearms, you might be forgiven for thinking that he was thought up by a focus group of 14-year-old boys trying to make the scariest character possible.
However, Baraka is in no shape or form intimidating, despite his monstrous appearance. He has always just served whomever he calls master, which makes him pretty weak-willed. As far as being a great fighter, Baraka is not that. That is why he is one of the first fighters to be taken down in the story mode of Mortal Kombat X.
10 POWERFUL: SHAO KAHN
Shao Kahn is pretty much the original Mortal Kombat villain. Since his debut in Mortal Kombat II, he has served as the main antagonist in one way or another. He is a formidable foe for many of the fighters in the tournament, and his conquering drive knows no limits.
Shao Kahn has a bit of an ego on him, but who could blame him? He is so powerful that even after he was defeated in the second game, he was immediately brought back in the next one. Shao Kahn has served as a great villain for the series, and the fact that he can take on any fighter that comes his way is an impressive feat on its own.
9 WEAK: ERRON BLACK
Somebody honestly thought that putting a cowboy character in the Mortal Kombat games was a good idea, and that's how we got Erron Black. This "gunslinger" character is not only one-note, but he was also clearly inspired (and maybe even straight up ripped off of) Roland Deschains, the main character (who is also known as a gunslinger) of Stephen King's Dark Tower series.
So what does Erron Black bring to the table? Guns. That's it. The guy is really good with his guns. It kind of seems like this guy could pull off the Indiana Jones move of just shooting his opponent instead of fighting them, but then again, he's fighting against people who have their necks broken and get back up, so that just won't work.
8 POWERFUL: GORO
Goro is one of those characters that just looks intimidating as soon as he walks into the ring. Who wouldn't be afraid of a dude with four arms? Right from his first appearance in Mortal Kombat, it was clear that Goro was going to be a force to be reckoned with.
Goro is a powerful fighter, and it goes beyond the number of limbs he has. He was the Mortal Kombat champion for nine generations before fighters from Earthrealm were allowed to compete. Not only is he incredibly monstrous in appearance, but his move set is strengthened by the power of his two extra arms (which are just as strong as the other two).
7 WEAK: NIGHTWOLF
Nightwolf is one of those Mortal Kombat characters that everyone is aware of, and yet when they pick up the controller, they pass right over him in favor of literally almost any other character. Why? Because honestly, Nightwolf is kind of lame. Sure, he has some interesting attacks, but overall he just can't hold a candle to other classic characters.
Nightwolf brought a little bit of culture to the game by being the only Native American character, but it's unfortunate that he couldn't be more memorable. He's not exactly the most powerful fighter, and his mover set is depressingly small. He's done some cool things throughout Mortal Kombat history, but he still doesn't quite cut it.
6 POWERFUL: SCORPION
Scorpion and Mortal Kombat are like peanut butter and jelly: they just belong together. Scorpion has been there since the beginning, and almost more than any other character, Scorpion is the face of Mortal Kombat. Beyond essentially being the mascot for the entire franchise, Scorpion is also a formidable fighter.
Scorpion has the power of the netherworld at his disposal. He may look human, but underneath that mask is a world of horrors, and his signature weapon (the ol' "get over here!" harpoon) is one of the most famous weapons in all of video game history. Scorpion was always a good choice when choosing a great fighter.
5 WEAK: JAREK
Jarek is so lame, that he has never even had his own move set -- he was just a copy of Kano for Mortal Kombat 4. The only thing that people might remember about Jarek is that he wore a vest. Big deal! Jarek is one of the most irrelevant characters in the entire franchise, and it goes beyond his jaunty little vest.
As we have already discussed, Kano is also a weak character. Logically then, Jarek is also a weak character. Since he has the exact same move set, there's not even anything that makes him stand out as being unique. To no one's surprise, Jarek was largely left behind in Mortal Kombat 4, only appearing in very small roles in future games.
4 POWERFUL: LIU KANG
Liu Kang is yet another mainstay of the Mortal Kombat series. In the beginning, he was essentially the main character of the story, serving to tie the whole thing together so that it was more than just a bunch of people from all different realms punching and kicking each other into submission.
Liu Kang is one of the more powerful people in the MK universe, despite the fact that he is human. He was trained by Bo' Rai Cho (before he became a total mess), and he continues to be one of the strongest fighters in the game. However, he has made the turn from being a hero into being a more complicated character, one who resides in a moral gray area.
3 WEAK: JACQUI BRIGGS
Jacqui Briggs is the daughter of Jax, the metal-armed mercenary who has also been a mainstay in the Mortal Kombat franchise. However, unlike her father, Jacqui does not possess any metal body parts. What she does have is a pair of wrist bands that have guns and some other cool gadgets on them.
As we've discussed previously, guns mean absolutely nothing in the Mortal Kombat Universe. If that is all that Jacqui can bring to the tournament, then she is not going to do very well. She is going to have to work pretty hard to live up to her father's legacy, and it doesn't seem like she would have the skills or weapons to do that.
2 POWERFUL: RAIDEN
Raiden, just like many of the other characters on this list, is one of the most enduring and beloved Mortal Kombat characters of all time. He has always been the leader for the forces of good, and after defeating Shinnok, he became an elder God. He may not entirely understand humans, but he does empathize with them.
Raiden is the god of thunder. That means that this guy is extremely powerful. Aside from being a master of martial arts, Raiden also has complete control over thunder and lightning, which can be used to absolutely fry his enemies. Any of the villains who go up against Raiden know that they are in for a challenge.
1 WEAK: SONYA BLADE
Is Sonya Blade a popular character? Of course she is! She has been around since the very first Mortal Kombat game, and she was one of the very first cool female characters in video games. However, when talking about the individual strength of characters, Sonya has to be pretty low on the list.
She is a skilled special forces soldier, and she can certainly hold her own in a fight, but she is still only human. she often has to rely on her weapons more than anything else. As we've said before, guns mean nothing in Mortal Kombat. Sonya has come a long way from the blue spandex of her first incarnation, but she is still not quite as strong as other characters.