Mortal Kombat 9 Tier List by Tom Brady

By on December 2, 2011 at 3:52 pm

In the latest episode of the Bradycast, Tom Brady discusses his thoughts on Mortal Kombat’s tier list. Obviously tier lists aren’t set in stone, especially for a game that constantly changes, but it should give you an idea of where some characters fall.

S+: Jax
S: Raiden, Kitana, Kabal, Kung Lao, Cyrax
A+: Smoke, Mileena, Reptile, Liu Kang, Ermac, Johnny Cage, Sonya, Sektor, Sub-Zero, Kano, Quan Chi, Shang Tsung, Kenshi, Freddy, Rain, Scarlet
A: Sheeva, Sindel, Stryker, Cyber Sub-Zero, Scorpion
B: Nightwolf, Baraka, Noob Saibot
C: Jade

Most people who don’t keep up with MK9 probably think he’s crazy for placing Jax so high on the list. After all, Jax is a character that everyone bashed. It wasn’t until Crazy Dominican Jr. started using him that people even realized his potential, especially after all his buffs. Brady argues that he hopes this teaches NRS and the MK community a lesson when it comes to balance. He goes on to say that the game shouldn’t have been patched less than three months into its lifespan (with exceptions to infinites and block infinites).

What’s interesting is how Tom Brady puts the MK community on blast. He says that, unlike the Street Fighter community, you can’t really have a logical discussion about the characters in the game because people get offended for some reason.

Here’s a summary of Brady’s breakdown of the top six.

S+ Tier


Jax received the following buffs since the game was released:

  1. Ground pound can be canceled.
  2. Faster recovery on projectiles.
  3. Forward 3 turned into an overhead.
  4. Enhanced elbow smash got armor.
  5. EX Dash covers more distance and has armor properties.
  6. Full armor on X-ray.

It’s pretty obvious that these changes shouldn’t be taken lightly. It doesn’t help that he has an infinite combo in the corner either. One piece of tech that Brady talks about involves a string that leaves him at a ridiculous advantage against certain characters. Basically, Jax can jail characters with a high hitbox during a certain block string. It won’t work against low hit box characters unless they’re in the corner. His d4 also jails into an overhead and it can be used in tricky mixups that are pretty much impossible to counter.

Tom Brady thinks that Jax just has so many options. He has one of the best anti-air jabs in the game, he can jump kick into air throw, and you can’t even react to a ground pound because he can block immediately afterwards. If you get launched, Brady just flat out says that you’re dead. He can continuously push opponents to the corner and it’s unstoppable unless they use a wakeup attack, which Jax can either avoid or punish. Even his dash punch has advantage if you space it correctly. Due to his projectile buff, he can even outzone the best zoners in the game.

S Tier


According to Brady, Raiden doesn’t have a good comeback factor. He’s not quite as mobile because of his nerfs but his footsie game considered to be one of the best in the game. Although his teleport has more recovery time now, it’s still good for wakeups and Superman keeps players on check. Raiden’s EX teleport was buffed and it gives good mixup opportunities that can lead to big punishes. He also has good anti-zoning capabilities due to his teleport and Superman.


Kitana is good in the air and she deals great (unblockable) damage. Brady feels that people aren’t using her correctly and underrate her offensive capabilities. The only exception to this is Crazy Dominican. In order to beat Kitana, Brady says that you have to turtle her out. She simply can’t deal damage if she’s throwing fans all day because they won’t hit you. This will force her to start chasing people down and that’s when she puts her own life at risk.

Brady goes on to put Kitana players on blast. He feels that people think that her bad matchups are bad simply because they refuse to change their play style based on the matchup.


Brady feels that one of the biggest misconceptions within the community is that Kabal wins all his matchups. Apparently, that’s not the case at all. Instead of talking about his strengths, Brady goes on to explain what you should do against him. Players need to deal with the fact that he can zone on the ground and in the air. You shouldn’t attempt to outzone him and you shouldn’t dash in at him when he’s chucking fireballs. Brady’s formula to beating Kabal involves allowing players to corner themselves. You have to keep attack him and take a risk once he’s knocked down. Kabal doesn’t have the best wakeup game and it’s risky for him to just throw out dashes since they’re punishable. You should be able to handle Kabal as long as he doesn’t land a juggle.

Kung Lao

Despite the nerfs, Kung Lao is still the most mobile character in the game. Brady compares him to Storm from MvC2 in that regard. He feels that Kung Lao is made to fight in the air and that spin is one the best anti-airs. Overall, he just has a lot of options. His X-ray is really good, teleports can be done in the air, whiffed dive kicks can be used to get close to the opponent, EX leaves him at an advantage, and low hat is still a fast projectile. Brady says that his vertical hat projectile is underutilized and only Perfect Legend puts it to great use.

Some of Kung Lao’s weaknesses include low hitbox characters. Some of Lao’s tactics simply won’t work against them.


According to Brady, Cyrax’s position on the tier list is based on his damage potential. Even if NetherRealm decides to patch him one day, Brady thinks that he’ll still be S tier since he has so many resets. There’s always a 50/50 chance that he’ll kill you. Good players make use of zoning with bombs instead of relying on the net. Cyrax’s weaknesses include fast projectile characters and the fact that his teleport can be punished by full combos.

Head over to Test Your Might for Tom Brady’s thoughts on the rest of the cast (starts on video 6). He doesn’t go in as much detail but it’s still interesting nonetheless.

Isaac, also known as Delriach in the gaming community, is a member of the Chicago fighting game scene and regularly attends weekly gatherings at the Galloping Ghost Arcade in Brookfield Illinois. Although he is a fan of all fighting games, he primarily focuses on Mortal Kombat and has competed in numerous tournaments since its release. When he's not playing fighting games he's usually writing about them and has been doing so for the past three years for publications such as TheSixthAxis. Isaac tends to travel with a mini Chun-Li toy and frequently takes pictures of her on epic adventures.