More fighting games nowadays use the numerical system for quicker reference in game. Mortal Kombat is no different.
1 = Square
2 = Triangle
3 = X
4 = Circle
1 = X
2 = Y
3 = A
4 = B
Most guides and players will use this when they talk about notation in this game and most other fighters.
jp = Jump Punch
njp = Neutral Jump Punch
jk = Jump Kick
njk = Neutral Jump Kick
jip = Jump in punch
(For all of the above, see "Jump Punch and Kick")
6f; 10f; 12; = 6 Frames; 10 Frames; 12 Frames (See "Frames")
xxTeleport = Cancel into Teleport (See "Cancel")
AA = Anti Air (See "Anti Air")
EN = Enhanced (See "Enhanced")
AtoA = Air to Air See (See "Anti Air")
BnB = Bread and Butter (See "BnB")
iA = Instant Air (See "iA")
Air Throw - Some characters can throw their opponents in the air by pressing the throw button when near their opponent. This throw, unlike the other kind, cannot be teched and will throw the opponent in one direction only, while you can change the direction of the universal throw. 90% of the time it can be used after a successful jk or jp.
Anti Air - An attack that stops opponents from jumping in on you. It can be a regular normal attack or combo, or a designated special attack. A special move like Nightwolf's Choke (D, F, 2) or Sub-zero's combo (2, 2) counts as an anti air. The uppercut (D+2) counts as the universal anti air for all characters, but the timing is difficult and some uppercuts are not as good as others. Just because a move doesn't exactly fit these terms, it doesn't mean that move isn't an anti air. Some characters can use their Standing 1 as an anti air!
Though not exactly an Anti Air traditionally, Air to Air attacks knock your opponent out of the air and allow you to combo them afterwards. Usually a jp, but some characters can do full combos off of their jump kicks.
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Baiting - Baiting an opponent is to force them to use a certain tactic that you can easily counter, by doing another, most likely safer move. It's a dangerous mind game, but if pulled off well, can lead to big damaging punishment.
Block String - A series of attacks or a set combo performed on a blocking opponent. These can be done to cause chip damage, create spacing, or to set the enemy up for a mix up.
BnB - Bread and Butter. BnBs differ from basic combos (the combos in the character movelist). They are the most damaging and most available combos that your character has. For example: Sub-zero has a basic combo which is 2, 2, 2. One of his BnBs are 2, 2, Ice Ball (D, F, 3), 2, 1, 4, Slide (B, F, 4)
Buffing - Making a character or technique stronger through a patch, update, etc...
Buffering - Starting a command in the middle of another or readying a move. Similar to canceling.
Cancel - There are different kind of cancels. We're going to focus on a couple.
a. Many combos and normals can be canceled into special moves, by quickly doing the input after or during the attack animation. For example: Scorpion's basic spear combo is 1, 1, Spear (B, B, 1) The final 1 must be pressed during or at the end of the final punch animation and very quickly. Canceling combos into special moves is very important for your most basic BnBs.
b. Dash Canceling is when you cancel a Stance or a Special Move with a dash. Sonya's Military Stance (D, B, 2) can be canceled by dashing out of it, if necessary.
c. Another form of Dash Canceling is dashing, then canceling the dash with a block. Then repeating. It's a much safer approach than just dashing.
Chip Damage - Damage taken on block.
Command Throw - A throw not like the regular throw done by pressing 1+3. Usually a throw more damaging and done by inputting a direction like a special move. Technically, Mortal Kombat doesn't have these, since traditional Command Throws are unblockable, but special throws do still have special properties as it is impossible to break them, unlike most other special moves.
Of special note: Cyrax does have an unblockable command throw that can lead into special mix-ups, but it can be broken like a regular throw.
a. When an attack hit an opponent, and they do not block it. Is a projectile hits an enemy who could not block it, the projectile connected with them.
b. Certain combos can be connected into other combos. Usually they are launcher combos, but others exist.
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Dash - Pressing forward, forward or back, back will result in a short dash. This allows you to get in on your opponent or way from them quickly.
Frames - Mortal Kombat (like all video games) is displayed through frames. Each frame is a still picture, but when many of them are linked together, animation is formed. Attacks are broken into three parts:
a. Start-up Frames: The frames before the attack is active. An 11f (11 frame) attack takes 11 frames from the moment that you press the button to become "active"
b. Active frames: The frames in which the opponent can take damage. If the hitbox of the attack connects with the hitbox of the opponent in the active frames, the opponent takes damage.
c. Recovery frames: After the active frames, your character is vulnerable until the recovery frames are over.
Frame Advantage - Will keep you safe on block.
Frame Trap - Combos and attacks that keep the enemy in blockstun and keep them from reacting with anything that doesn't have armor. There are types of frame traps that can be low poked out of, but these are not true frame traps. Frame traps themselves usually have low pokes in them.
They are meant to lure your opponent into trying to attack you between strings or moves when it is actually impossible for him to do so because of the Frames.
ie: you finish a string that leaves you at +2 advantage and do a move with a 6 frame start up. This would only leave a 4 frame window for your opponent to counter or poke out. but it would look to him like he could get out of it.
Say your opponent's characters fastest move has 6 frame start up as well. If they tried to do this move your move would hit them before there start up finished, thus the trap.
Not alot of moves are advantage like that in Mortal Kombat though.
Fuzzy Guarding - While blocking a combo, if you release or press the down button (for ducking or standing block respectively) at the moment just before an attack that would hit overhead or low, again respectively, you can block that attack even though it doesn't look like you've moved. Somewhat difficult to do, but very useful. If you know a mix up is coming, you can stop it there and punish the enemy.
a. The area of your character where they can be hit by an attack, basically the entire body. If an enemy attack connects with these parts, then the hit will register.
b. Alternatively, the area of an attack that can hit as well. A projectile has a hitbox and if its hit box connects with yours, you will be hurt.
Hit Confirm - Safely confirming to see if your attack has hit the enemy. Usually a type of poke, that allows you to make sure if you have hit your opponent, then allows you to go into another attack. It isn't as damaging as most techniques, but it's much safer. if it turns out your opponent has blocked the hit, then you can choose to end the combo with a safe attack instead of going for more damage, that will end up blocked and you being punished.
In Mortal Kombat, connecting a low poke into a special move is the most common way, but it takes specific timing that does not work similarly to most other combos.
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iA - Instant Air. Some characters can shoot projectiles in the air, allowing them to perform Instant Air Projectiles. Somewhat difficult to do, it allows you to blast a projectile as soon as you jump, keeping a steady stream of projectiles on the screen and making an approach for the enemy extremely difficult.
Jail - To Jail your opponent is to trap them in a combo string that they can only block or use an armored move against.
Juggle - Juggling your opponent involves keeping them in the air with multiple combos and specials.
Jump Punch or Jump Kick - Pressing either punch buttons (1 or 2) or kick button (3 or 4) will result in a jump punch or jump kick, respectively. These are referred to as jp and jk. There are two different types for each character in Mortal Kombat.
a. JP or JiP jumping toward the enemy and pressing punch. It will usually make any combo more damaging and can be followed by a combo. It is an overhead attack.
b. JK or JiK is jumping towards the opponent and pressing any kick. It is a high attack, and will knock your enemy down. Deep Jump Kicks (jump kicks that hit at the opponent's ankles) allow you to recover quickly enough to combo. These can, 9/10 times, be connected into an air throw.
c. NJP is a Neutral Jump Punch, it will make the enemy bounce into the air for a combo and is an overhead attack It is done by jumping straight up (no directional buttons) and pressing any punch. It can be done up to three times in the corner, before the opponent stays on the ground and only once midscreen.
d. NJK an overhead attack, done by jumping straight up and pressing any kick.
Kara Throw - Using a specific attack to extend the range of your throw
Launch - A Launcher is an attack that throws the enemy into the air for more combos. This can be a combo (Sonya - B+2, 1, F+2) or a special move like Skarlet's Up Slash (D, F, 2). Launchers are really important for juggles. If the character is knocked to the ground before being launched, these are sometimes called Pop-ups or Bounces.
Loop - A loop is a combo string that can be connected into itself, multiple times. Usually easier combos and usually launchers. In fact, in MK almost everyone who has a launcher has at least one loop.
Mix ups - A game of pressure against your opponent where they must guess and react differently to your technique. Attacks and specials in this game hit high (can be blocked by anything), overhead (can only be blocked by standing), low (can only be blocked by ducking), and throws (unblockable grab, that will always grab a blocking enemy, but will fail against an attacking enemy or one in hitstun).
By mixing attacks that hit in different ways, you force your opponent to guess how to defend. H/M/L mix ups are just one type of mix up, but it's the main type we will focus on at the beginner's level. Basically, Mix up is a type of pressure that keeps your opponent guessing.
Nerfing - Making a character or technique weaker through a patch, update, etc...
Normal - A normal is an attack accessible without doing another attack first and isn't a special. Basically 1, 2, 3, and 4 are normals.
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Parry - A counter move. It's a special move (or in one case, Xray) that is used to counter certain attacks and deal back damage, while not taking any.
Pokes - A relatively safe attack that extends from your character and keeps enemies at a distance. Similar to footsies, where crouching 1, 3,and 4 are used to keep spacing. They are practically synonymous in this game. Low pokes are, obviously, pokes that hit low, which are primarily crouching 3 and 4 (D3 and D4).
Priority - An attack with more priority, will win out over an attack with less if they are done at the same time.
Punishment - There are moves in this game that are not "safe". There is a bit of time in an attack after the part where the hit should connect, where you cannot do anything with the character. During this moment, if the unsafe move is blocked, the character can be punished.
Reset - There are different types of resets. Going to focus on a few main ones for now
a. An attack that will end a combo, but still keep the opponent staggered or in stun for long enough time that another combo can begin. This will reset the combo counter and the damage scaling allowing another full combo to occur and gaining more damage than usual.
b. Standing resets are attacks that stop an enemy from being in their "hit in air" animation and forces them to stand up and be on the defensive. It takes away their chance for a wake up and allows you to follow up with a mix up.
c. Vortexes are a type up mix up that combines mind games that can be looped to do extra damage on an enemy.
Rushdown - Keeping your enemy within sweep distance and attacking with waves of powerful combos and attacks. The main difference between rushdown and zoning is that zoning uses pressure and spacing to keep your opponents far, while rushdown uses pressure and spacing to keep the opponent close.
Scaling - A device used to keep combos from getting to strong. The more hits in a combo, the less damage it will do as it goes on. 1% is removed from every hit per hit in Mortal Kombat.
Super Armor - If a move is armored, then the character will not flinch from attacks while performing it. They will still take the damage of an attack, so they can still be defeated while armored, but the attack will still win over other attacks. Most Enhanced moves have armor on them and are usually worth the meter to get in on an enemy.
Tech Roll - When you land on the ground, you can press back in the time that you are supposed perform a wake up and you can roll backwards to escape pressure.
Tick Throw - Replacing an attack in a blocked combo with a throw, the moment the enemy is out of block stun. The throw will whiff, if the enemy is still in blockstun.
Trade - When both players hit each other with an attack where neither are at a significant advantage and both take damage. There are physical trades, but more often than not you will see projectile trades.
Turtling - Turtling involves staying far away from your opponent and using projectiles or other kind of attacks to keep them away. Similar to zoning, but not exactly. A very defensive playstyle.
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Wake Up - In most fighting games, after being knocked down, you have the opportunity to wake up, or get back up using a special attack. Normally this is a much safer or strategically smarter option than regularly getting up off of the ground. In Mortal Kombat, Wake ups are done by inputting the special move as you get up of of the ground or right after a tech roll. The face button (1, 2, 3, 4) must be pressed during the getting up animation.
Not all special moves can be used to wake up and not all wake ups are generally good for a character.
Since the 1.05 patch, all wake ups have better invincibility frames. From 10-12.
Whiff - When a move is missed. Some special moves gain meter so purposely missing attacks can be a good idea, but only if it keeps your safe.
Zoning - A tactic used to keep you and your opponent in certain parts of the screen to strategically benefit yourself. Note this move isn't simply mindless projectile firing, knowledge of your opponent's abilities and prior planning is important for this too work well.
There is a lot of argument over the difference between Spamming and Zoning. This isn't the topic for that. If you have a better definition or example please share it, but petty fighting is not necessary here.
(See: "Numerical System")
Most combos are translated using the above information to look like this.
2, 1, xxBlade Spin (16%, 4 hits)
First you press 2, and then 1, canceled (See "Cancel") into Baraka's Blade Spin special move. (D, B, 3)
The combo will do 16% damage and consists of 4 hits, not to be confused with 4 inputs.
A more advanced combo for Baraka would look like this.
B+1, F+2, xxChop Chop, (buffer FF), D+4, xxX (50%, 14 Hits)
First you input B+1 at the same time, followed by F+2 cancelled (See: "Cancel") into Chop Chop (b, b, 1), one of Baraka's specials. Right before the special ends, buffer a dash (see: "Buffering" and "Dash"), and input D+4, hitting down and 4 together, and cancel the D+4 into the Xray, by immediately hitting the Xray command after the D+4. (See: "Xray")
This combo will do 50% damage and consists of 14 hits, not to be mistaken with 14 button presses.
Mortal Kombat Character FAQ Here!
Types of Hits
High - High attacks can be blocked by anything and most attacks in the game are high. They will not hit a character who is ducking.
Medium - Medium attacks will hit a character who is ducking. Some mediums will hit high and some will be overheads.
Overhead - These will hit enemies blocking low, but not high. Usually slower attacks, but more damaging.
Low - These will hit an enemy who is blocking high, but fail against low blocks.
Unblockable - Usually a slower attack, higher damage attack, but cannot be blocked obviously.
Throw (1+3, R1, or Right Bumper) - Throws are attacks that cannot be blocked, but can be broken by 1 or 3 for the forward throw and 2 or 4 for the back throw. Outside of a couple special circumstances, they always do 12% damage.
Throws can be escaped in this game, by pressing a certain button at the same time you are grabbed if you aren't blocking during the throw. Forward throws can be escaped by pressing 2 or 4 and backward Throws can be escaped by pressing 1 or 3. If necessary you can just mash the button to escape the grab.
Mortal Kombat Specific
Uppercuts - D+2. Every character has an uppercut. Some uppercuts are extremely fast, while some are very slow. These will not hit ducking opponents. Similarly, Standing Uppercuts are like an instant uppercut, done without ducking by pressing D+2 simultaneously.
Sweeps - B+4. Everyone can sweep as well. It's a low attack and will cause knockdown. Some sweeps are better than others.
Enhanced - Enhanced (EN) specials are the upgraded special attacks. Everyone in the game can perform EN at the cost of one bar of meter. By pressing the block button at the same time you press the face button of your special, you will enhance it.
With certain teleports, the input is D, U. Press D, Block, U for these.
Breaker - With two bars, a character can break a combo by pressing Block+F or towards the opponent. These are dangerous to use, you must know when is a good time to break a combo. Too soon and you may break a weak combo and waste meter, too late and you may have already taken the brunt of the combo and you just threw meter away on a bad trade.
X-ray - Your "super move." After collecting 3 bars, pressing Stance and Block (R2+L2 or L Trigger+R Trigger) your character will do their special technique that will cause high damage to your enemy. These are not always a good move to use though, most can be blocked or avoided in some way, so it's best to be careful and know what you're doing. Don't ever randomly throw these out.
Fatalities - Fatalities are your finishing move, that can only be done after winning the match. The Announcer, Shao Kahn, will shout "Finish Him/Her!" And you will be able to do your fatality. They are all done at different ranges.
Some are difficult to do, hold block while inputting the directions, then release and pres the face button for the best effects with these.
Stage Fatalities are all done up close to the enemy, and can only be done on certain stages.
Babalities - Babalities can only be done at the end of a match as well. The difference is that you must not have blocked at all during the winning round. You can use Enhanced moves and Xrays, but you cannot have been hit while in block. All Babalities are done while a jump away.
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The fighting game community has created their own slang. Some of this may be confusing. This is simply to explain what these terms mean and actually have no effect on gameplay.
Salty - When someone is upset over a loss, they are referred to as "salty"
Ragequit - or RQ, when someone quits mid match.
Scrub - Someone who is new at the game and refuses to learn how to play effectively, yet complains at their losses/blames others.
Noob - Pretty much the same as Scrub
Special Thanks to ErrorMac, AnimasPain2006, Rampage, Archiantagonist, Nafzger, KeJo6, ELC, Alaster_Angelo, b1argh, AresWarrior, briguy77, Wartimelabor, JimmyPotato, minion72508
Mortal Kombat Character FAQ Here!
Well, now it's time to sticky this babe...+1
Great job, Dragon! You just got my first sticky request ever :D
You're gonna call me tomorrow, right?