Mortal Kombat X Beginner's Guide to Game Modes, Combat, Variations, and More

Check this guide for everything you need to know to get started in Mortal Kombat X!

Mortal Kombat X is out, and a new wave of brutal fighting has begun. This time around there are different variations of each character, adding more fighting options. Brutalities have also come back in this generation, and some are very hard to pull off.

Veterans and beginners alike can use help getting started with the changes made to the game, and I'm here to help you. This guide is only the beginning so be sure to keep an eye out for more Mortal Kombat X content.

This guide will cover the basics of Mortal Kombat X including:

  • Game Mechanics - Basics on how this fighting game works.
  • Game Modes - The different games modes and what you can do in them.
  • Kombos - Tips on completing and making your own. What is Mortal Kombat without spelling something with a "K"? 

Game Mechanics

The tutorial mode does a great job at introducing you to the controls if you are new to Mortal Kombat X; even veteran players should give it a look. I won't go over the basic controls in this guide, but I will give an overview on the fighting system and some advanced techniques.


Each character has 3 variations to choose from that change the play style of the character. This gives you even more options when choosing a character.

  • Each character will have many attacks available in each variation.
  • Each variation will have unique special moves, and sometimes combos and attacks.
  • Try out each variation to find which you like best!

Mortal Kombat X

Meter and Meter Burn

This game has a meter at the bottom of your screen that you use for different things. 

  • 1 bar - Enhance. This lets you do a stronger version of your special moves. 
  • 2 bars - Breaker. This lets you stop, or "break," the opponent's combo.
  • 3 bars - X - Ray. This is a very strong attack that shows a cut scene in battle.
    • Each character's X-ray is unique and may require different positioning to use it.

When you fill up you meter bars, you can do the above techniques. You also can do lower techniques if you have more than the required amount of meter.

  • For example - If you have 2 bars, you can still use and Enhanced super attack. It will use 1 bar and you will have 1 bar left.

It is a good idea to save at least 2 bars if you can so you can always break out of a combo.

Advanced Techniques

  • Reversal Attack - Perform a special move right after blocking.
  • Wakeup Attack - Perform a special move after being knocked down.
  • Tech Roll - Press any punch or kick button on knock down impact.
    • This allows you to roll away and create distance when you get up.
  • Delayed Wakeup - Hold down when you get knocked down.
    • This delays your character from getting up to throw off the opponent.
  • Finishing Moves - These are done after you've won the match or as you are winning.
    • Fatalities - After the match is over, input a series of buttons to complete the finishing move.
    • Brutalities - Each one has special conditions. They involve using a special move in a certain way on the last hit of the match. Check out my Brutality guides, Part 1 and Part 2, for details on doing them.


Factions are pretty important in Mortal Kombat X. There is a constant war going on between all 5 factions and you gain faction points for playing the game.

  • When you level up your faction, you unlock Faction Kills, which are special finishing moves only available to your faction.
  • You can unlock special rewards if your faction wins, so be sure to contribute to you faction by playing a bunch.

The game has built-in videos for each faction and you can change at anytime. When you do, you lose your faction progress and start over. Below are the 5 factions in the game.

  • Lin Kuei - Formed by Sub-Zero, they now focus on protecting Earthrealm. Only the strongest fighters can call themselves Lin Kuei.
  • Black Dragon - a Criminal organization that is very violent. All members of Black Dragon are wanted by the Special Forces.
  • Special Forces - the Military group that now fights to defend the world. They use advanced technology to neutralize threats.
  • White Lotus - Secret order formed by Raiden and the Shaolin for the best martial artists in the world. They train for the Mortal Kombat tournament.
  • Brotherhood of Shadow - Secret organization from the Netherrealm that give up free will to serve Shinnok. They use dark magic to revive fallen warriors.

Mortal Kombat X

Game Modes

Single Player

  • Story - Play through the campaign. You play as different characters depending on what is happening in the story.
    • There are quick time events, so pay attention during cut scenes.
    • Complete story to unlock Shinnok.
  • Towers - Play through a series of fights with different challenges.
    • Living Towers has towers that change hourly, daily, and weekly.
  • Single Fight - Simple fights one at a time. You can change characters/ variations and stages at any time. 
  • Test Your Luck - Single fights with modifiers.
    • Some modifiers include shortening the fighting space, adding ice to your attack, and disabling throws.
  • Training - Hone your skills and learn your character.
    • You can do simple practice and change what the A.I. does.
    • Fatality Practice lets you practice using each character's Fatalities.


  • Kustom Kombat - Two-player offline mode only that is similar to Test Your Luck, but you can choose the modifiers.
  • Test Your Might - Another Two-player mode that lets you break objects with the difficulty rising each time.
  • Team Battle - Fight against a team of fighters. You can invite friends to form your own team or search for them in matchmaking.
    • They come in 3v3 or 5v5 versions.
    • Faction Battles are team battles that pit players of the same faction against players of another faction.
  • King Of The Hill - When playing multiple people, the winner stays until defeated.
    • Klassic resets health after every match and Survivor does not.
  • Tower Battle - Same as offline Towers but you compete for the highest score.
  • Krypt - Interactive first-person area where you can spend Koins to unlock various things.
    • This includes fatalities, concept art, character skins, and more.


This a huge part of fighting games, in general, so it is important to get on it soon. Some variations actually center around doing "chunk damage" instead of combos to get you started, but if you are serious at getting better, you'll still want to learn how to combo.

First thing you want to do no matter what is go to practice. It is hard to learn a character in the limited time you have in normal matches.

  • Look through the move list of your character and try out everything. This includes special moves, combos, and basic attacks.
  • Learn the moment of your character and all their attacks. This help you know what will happen when you use it in a real fight.
  • Start by learning the basic combos given to you in the game.

This will give you a great start at learning your character, but it is just the beginning. Part of the fun in Mortal Kombat X is learning custom combos. These are combos that you link together yourself.

  • Custom combos can involve linking two or more combos listed in-game by using basic attacks, special moves, x-rays, and more.
  • You'll need to practice all of your characters moves to find out which moves/combos can be linked together. That's why practice is so important. 

There are many things you can do with combos, so watch the below video for an example of a custom combo I found when using Kitana.

This wraps up my Beginner's Guide to Game Modes, Combat, Variations, and More for Mortal Kombat X. Let me know if you have any questions.

Guide Editor

After gaming for 25 years, Synzer leveraged his vast knowledge of RPGs and MMOs into a job as a games journalist, covering the games he loves. Five years later, he's still writing about Kingdom Hearts, Pokemon, and Knights of the Old Republic. Synzer has a bachelor's degree in English and creative writing. You can see him in action on his YouTube channel ( and Twitch (

Published Apr. 18th 2015
  • KingRaj
    Hi guys, will anyone tell me how to play online MK10 on PC as i tried everything, even i got 60+ fps but still not able to play online. Is there any special patch I need, to play online or I should spend my real money to buy this game? Bcoz i downloaded it twice (different modes) from torrent and I am stuck to play single only.
    I can help everyone to get better speed and Higher FPS if needed but I am not getting what I just said.
    I wish to get help on this. Thanks in anticipation. KingRaj
  • larry_5647
    How do I use the meter, I don't know what buttons to press
  • Cristian Barron
    How do I play 3v3 team battle with my friends
  • Synzer
    Guide Editor
    When you go to team battle, you get the option to invite friends to a team before you select it.
  • NickNack_5077
    I've completed the tutorial and still can't play the story tower and etc and I have lost all my maps what do I do?
  • Synzer
    Guide Editor
    Is everything downloaded an which platform are you playing on? I have experience with Xbox one and if you aren't finished installing, you can't play the other modes.

    I've also heard that some people needed to uninstall the game and reinstall after the last patch came out.
  • Omar_6921
    I am a vet tekken, SC, SF, and MvC gamer. I have only played MK in the arcade at the theater waiting on my show to start when i was younger.
    I just picked this up because of it being the first fighter on PS4 asides from the bad injustice game(story was epic, fighting... not so much.) And to my sadness this game is a lot like injustice.. Im not really a fan of map interaction.

    Anyways asides from that issue (not a very big one as i can ignore that if the play is good) I just can't do jack shit in this game.
    I start off not really knowing any combos or anything. i start as my LEAST favorite, even most HATED character in MK... Johnny Cage. ALL i can do is mid jab as anything else is too slow and will let the fucking NPC steam roll me. if i get a little 4 hit combo off it sends th dude flying to the other side of the map, and then i crawl over with my slow ass speed.. when THEY combo me its a fucking 20 hit combo and they seemingly teleport across the map and start another 2 hit combo..

    This game is not at all new player friendly. Even Bloodborne was cake next to this.

    I spent 2 hours just sitting with one character in training learning their move sets and some tiny ass combos that are given. but then i turn the AI on and none of what i just memorized does shit to them. the AI on very easy just goes fucking HAM and hits with 20 hit combos left and right while my 4 hit combos get blocked.

    Ready for the new SF to come out.
    hoping for MvC4.
    Looking forward to another SC.
    Too many tekkens. hold off on that shit.

    Not having any fun with this one.

    Maybe when i wake u tomorrow ill be better or in a few days.. but right now i want to slap so many babies... so many more than what bloodborne made me want to slap, and that game wasnt really all that hard (easier than DaS/DaS2
  • Matt_1020
    Great guide. Thanks for the help!
  • Game Oracle
    Have to play this one. thanks

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