Mortal Kombat 1’s Kameos bring assist-based fighting to the franchise for the first time, replacing Mortal Kombat 11’s variation system. After many hours in the beta, we’ve assembled a Mortal Kombat 1 Kameo tier list filled with the people we have been able to use. This MK1 Kameo tier list will help you pick the best assist for your character.
These Mortal Kombat 1 Kameo Fighters add variety to what is sure to become one of the best fighting games out there. Now, instead of being able to equip your character with an array of special moves, you pick an assisting character to add to their existing move list. This differs from other assist-based fighters like Marvel Vs. Capcom or Dragonball FighterZ because you never play as the assist – Mortal Kombat 1 is still a one-on-one fighting game.
Mortal Kombat 1 Kameo tier list
The current Mortal Kombat 1 Kameo tier list for August 2023 is
- S-Tier – Frost, Motaro, Kung Lao, Sub-Zero
- A-Tier – Scorpion, Sareena, Shunjinko, Cyrax
- B-Tier – Sonya, Sektor, Darrius, Kano
- C-Tier – Goro, Jax
- D-Tier – Stryker
This tier list is based on our hands-on experience with the game for our Mortal Kombat 1 review.
The S-Tier Kameo fighters so far are at the top of the list. They are able to really excel and help you out in key moments.
Frost is one of the flashiest and strongest Kameos. With some strong moves like her freeze, and the ability to push enemies to the opposite side of the screen, she is also one of the most reliable Kameos in the game.
If you are a newcomer she is easily the most effective Kameo to get to grips with when you start playing Mortal Kombat 1 and for that reason we expect her to be used a lot online. Her effectiveness might wear away over time but for right now you can’t go wrong with Frost backing up your main fighter.
The single most insane thing about Motaro is his teleport – which is faster than Kung Lao’s teleport and an ambush attack, which will snap you out of any action. This alone adds so much threat to any character, creating openings that would otherwise not exist. It is close to a cancel that just places you next to your opponent; as such, this is an absurd ability.
Not to mention, Motaro also has an advancing projectile reflector to further pressure zoners as you advance and a triple-shot, hoping projectile that, thankfully, has a long cooldown because otherwise, it’d just be the best assist in the game. Motaro is, out of the box, the most obviously strong Kameo character, and that is why they’re up here on our tier list.
Kung Lao’s low hat toss is a low-hitting projectile that is plus-on-block from all ranges and delayable. It’s hard to talk about it in a way that doesn’t sound absurdly powerful. Other assists can give you safety in similar ways, but Kung Lao’s low hat toss pulls double duty on also just being good in neutral and also being a sneaky low that you can layer your offense in.
He also has an ambush assist teleport that can cancel you out of any action to help you complete combos, maintain pressure, and evade zoning. Kameo Kung Lao is another easy pick for a top-tier Kameo, so expect to see a lot of him as the game develops.
Sub-Zero’s ranking here is based on the limited playtime we have had with him so far. We will update this section with more detailed thoughts when we have spent more time as him in the game.
While A-tier Kameo characters are still powerful, they tended not too ubiquitous as Kano in S-tier. You might find some unique synergy with Kameos in the A-tier and your main – where a lot of the fun in assist-based fighters comes from.
The main thing Scorpion brings to the table is juggle potential. Off of basically any low-height juggle state, you can call Scorpion to hand you an easy juggle. This feature unlocks so much more of many characters’ offense as many strings end in small ground bounces that otherwise would just end there. Scorpion lets you turn those into full, serious combos.
Scorpion will also use his iconic spear toss on your point character and pull you out of danger. This is a powerful escape option as it is armored from when it starts to when it completes. It is perfect for any character that enjoys playing at a distance.
Sareena is an insanely easy Kameo to add to your game plan – if a bit unexciting. She’ll give any character easy access to extended pressure strings and grounded combos in the form of her double-boomerang toss. It is the kind of move that’s hard to find a reason not to do – even if it is a high attack.
Other Kameos can do what Sareena does – just in a more roundabout way. If you don’t know what Kameo to pick, choose Sareena. The only truly unique things she brings to the table are her safe-on-block reversal and meter-draining spell. The latter of which feels like more of a gimmick than anything game-defining.
Shunjinko’s ranking here is based on the limited playtime we have had with him so far. We will update this section with more detailed thoughts when we have spent more time as him in the game.
Cyrax’s ranking here is based on the limited playtime we have had with him so far. We will update this section with more detailed thoughts when we have spent more time as him in the game.
B-Tier characters are still solid options but they have their problems when used in fights and other options are definitely better.
Sonya helps a lot with combos; her leg grab and square wave assists are great for adding damage or extending combos. If you want to make impressive, high-damage combos, definitely pick Sonya out of the three here. Sonya’s leg grab in specific works great with adding damage to otherwise weak high-low mix-ups, turning something like Sub Zero’s Slip Slide low string into a proper combo starter to compliment his Artic Hammer overhead. The thing is, that’s not specific to Sonya. The other two assists can also extend combos or add damage just fine – Sonya’s especially nice for air combos because of how her square wave hits people.
She also has energy rings, a chargeable, plus-on-block, stance cancellable projectile that opens up some unique possibilities. This move was fun to use, but it didn’t ever feel oppressive enough.
Sektor’s ranking here is based on the limited playtime we have had with him so far. We will update this section with more detailed thoughts when we have spent more time as him in the game.
Darrius is a setup lover’s dream; you’ll mainly be using him inside of your combo strings to set him up beside your opponent, where he’ll follow up with an overhead launcher right as they get up. You can move freely while you’re using this attack too, so this gives just about any character an easy way to introduce a deadly high-low mixup.
Darrius is here not because of what he brings, it’s what he doesn’t. He doesn’t do much to open combo routes or improve a character’s defenses or neutral. He doesn’t help you get in on zoners and he doesn’t help you fight out of rushdown – he’s just an extra layer to your mixup.
Kano’s Kameo assist isn’t flashy; in Mortal Kombat 1, the black dragon leader lends the player his knives, eye laser, and the iconic, physics-defying Kano ball. What makes him a little more valuable than the others is how good his projectile assist is.
Kano’s knife throw assist is what Mortal Kombat 1 calls an Ambush Assist. Whenever you call Kano, you don’t lose control of your main character, allowing you to do whatever you’d like while he does his thing. The knives do everything – they grant combo extension, extend pressure, create safety, open mix-ups, and control space. Kano’s not nearly as flashy as some of the other assists.
Kano’s other assists, the ball, and the eye laser are also excellent – they‘re far less unique. The Kano ball, like the knife, is an ambush Kameo that creates a fun will-they-won’t-they mind game. You can use this to scare your opponent into not hitting buttons where they otherwise should.
C-Tier kameos still have some value. However, they are easily outbeaten by the majority of the roster and should only be used for specific combinations.
Goro’s ranking here is based on the limited playtime we have had with him so far. We will update this section with more detailed thoughts when we have spent more time as him in the game.
Jax’s unblockable ground pound is really his only useful assist capable of creating checkmate scenarios where your opponent is guaranteed to take damage. For instance, using it alongside Liu Kang’s air fireball makes a really cheap position where your opponent has to decide whether it’s better to get hit by the ground pound or fireballs.
Thankfully the damage on the ground pound is low, and it is an assist that affects both players. Otherwise, Jax’s assists give the player more ways to cash out damage rather than dealing it and he just isn’t as strong because of this.
D-Tier Kameos are really not worth using right now and you should be opting for something else in competitive and online.
Stryker’s ranking here is based on the limited playtime we have had with him so far. We will update this section with more detailed thoughts when we have spent more time as him in the game.
And that’s our Mortal Kombat 1 Kameo tier list. This roster will expand alongside the playable characters throughout Mortal Kombat 1’s lifespan. The fun in assist fighters is seeing all of the creative ways you can pair up characters. Some assists are meta-defining and used across the whole cast, and others are exceedingly powerful when paired up with a specific fighter. For even more on the game, check out an overview of the Mortal Kombat 1 Invasions mode and the Mortal Kombat 1 Kombat Pack to see which fighters could shake up this list.