While some people might have been hoping for something a bit different from NetherRealm’s first mobile game based on their homegrown Mortal Kombat property, the iOS version of Mortal Kombat X (Free) is still a pretty fun game in its own right. Like its predecessor Injustice: Gods Among Us (Free), the hook of the game is more in collecting the various characters and powering them up as opposed to mastering intricate combat mechanics. It has enough in common with that game that most veterans will come into Mortal Kombat X with a pretty solid foundation of skills, but there are a few differences here, particularly with regards to developing your roster in the early stages. This guide serves to help complete newcomers get started and to give some strategies for working your way around some of the curve balls it throws to longtime players.
Round One: An Overview
The overall goal is still the same as in Injustice and WWE Immortals (Free). You’ll want to get together a strong team of Gold characters as soon as you possibly can, then power them up so that you can take on any challenge and farm the rest of the characters you want. But while that remains the desired ending point, the road to get there has been rendered quite different by changes to the way card packs are distributed. Most of the Gold characters are only accessible using a somewhat rare premium currency called Souls. On top of that, stamina refills are also only possible through Souls, and it goes without saying that you shouldn’t use them for that purpose. The end result of that is that you can’t grind battles without having a ton of characters, and even if you could, that doesn’t necessarily get you what you need.
What you can get at the pace of your choosing is a solid silver team. Silver characters can be earned both with Alliance Points and Koins, both of which can be farmed up if you have the stamina to fight. That’s our first goal, and the game will help you out with it by giving you enough Koins upon completing the first tower to buy a 30,000 Koin card pack. Depending on who you get, you’ll either need to do two more random pulls or save up for particular ones. As for which characters are best, you’ll need to consider a few more factors than were necessary in previous games like this.
Every character has several different things you need to pay attention to. The most obvious is their statistics. The higher the better, of course, and you’ll especially want to keep your eye on that new defense stat. Having lots of health doesn’t mean much if the enemy can strip it away from you quickly. You’ll also want to check their special moves. High damage attacks are great, of course, but you’ll want to keep your eyes open for moves that drain enemy power or stick useful debuffs on the enemy. Grapples are also worth spotting, as they’re essential unblockable in Mortal Kombat X. The next thing you’ll want to consider is the character’s passive skill. You can check this by tapping on any character card in the shop. Characters who can perform actions, buffs, or debuffs when tagging in and out are pretty useful, since you can abuse that to your advantage. Many of the passives in Mortal Kombat X are tied to the factions of the other team members, though, which brings us to the next point.
Round Two: Assemble Your Team
You’ll want to make sure your team is built from members that compliment each other. Using a character when you don’t plan to exploit their passive ability is not a great idea unless you have no other options. This is why your initial Koin pack is important. If you get a character that buffs Outworld faction members, then you’ll naturally want to fill out your team with them. If you get Cassie Cage, you’re going to want to get Johnny Cage and Sonya as soon as possible to take advantage of her passive buffs. I’d hesitate to recommend an Outworld team drawn from Silver characters at this point, however. The Spec Ops faction is the clear leader of the Silver tier, with the Martial Artists not too far behind.
With all of that in mind, the best teams for each faction in the Silver tier are as follows. The top team is composed of Spec Ops characters and includes Kenshi, Jax Briggs, and Johnny Cage. Kenshi can double as Spec Ops or a Martial Artist, offering a different passive stat boost depending on who he’s teamed with. His stats are high, and with his Spec Ops health boost he’s a great anchor for a team. Jax Briggs brings a defense boost to all Spec Ops characters with him, has high all-around stats, and his level one special attack is a grapple, which means you can regularly make use of an unblockable. Johnny Cage rounds out the team with his ability to drain his opponent’s power using his special attacks. As an added bonus, he gives a health bonus to his fellow Spec Ops members.
If you’re more interested in the Martial Arts faction, your team once again starts with Kenshi, this time with an attack bonus in tow. Your next choice should be Scorpion, who brings a useful level one special that stuns the enemy, good all-around stats, and an attack bonus for his fellow Martial Artists to the table. Plus, it’s Scorpion. He’s awesome. That desire for awesome may lead you to want to include Sub Zero in this bunch, but I would actually recommend Kung Jin over him. His passive gives the whole team a whopping 30% boost to their critical hit chance, and that is damage that seriously adds up over the course of a fight.
Finally, if you’re really committed to that Outworld team, you’ll find Ermac to be your best character, but not the one you should put in front. Why? Because Ermac becomes stronger when a teammate is taken out, but only once per fight. He’s best used as the second member you call in. Instead, Kotal Kahn should be your front man. He has decent stats, he buffs the attack of his fellow Outworld members, and his level one special buffs his attack power even higher. Send him out to do as much damage as he can, then follow him up with Ermac to mop up. For the third member of your team, you can either choose Kano or Reptile. The latter gives the team a buff, which makes him a useful support character, but he’s greatly hindered by his miserable stats. On the other hand, Kano offers no support whatsoever for his team, but gains a serious attack boost if the enemy is low on health. If you need someone extra to mop up, Kano does a decent enough job of it, but he’s not much support.
What about that Gold Cutthroat Kano, the one that you can buy with Koins instead of Souls? Personally, I don’t think he’s worth it. While his stats offer a clear improvement over the Silver tier characters, compared to other Gold characters he’s almost entirely worthless. If you buy him, you will almost certainly be tossing him aside in the long run, and that’s 99,000 Koins you could have spent on something much more useful, like ranking up a useful Silver character. Fully ranked up, he’ll be stronger than Silver characters by a good margin, but by the time you have enough Koins to do that, you’ll hopefully be well into better Gold characters.
Whichever way you go, once you’ve decided on your team, you need to build it. You can take your chances with random packs, but it’s probably more useful in the medium term to just save up your Koins and buy the ones you want. If the Silver character the game gives you at the start isn’t going to be part of your final team, they’ll at least serve their purpose in helping you win tougher battles and earn more Koins in the meantime. Provided they’re not in your ultimate plan, I wouldn’t sink much into upgrading them, but you’ll want to at least unlock their second and third level specials as they become available. With your next goal all sorted out, it’s time to fight.
Round Three: Fight!
Unfortunately, there’s no way around this. You need Koins, and you need lots of them. Progress as far as you can with your team until you hit a tower that you can’t beat. Hopefully you’ll have enough coins by this point for a second Silver character. Now, go back to the tower before the one you can’t beat, and field a team composed of one Silver character and two Bronze characters. Hopefully, your Alliance packs have been fruitful, leaving you with at least four Bronze characters. If not, you might want to pick up the cheapest character you don’t have. Send your first Silver/Bronze/Bronze team through the tower, accumulating Koins and Alliance Points. Then put your other Silver character in with two other Bronze characters and send them up. At least early on, this will probably level your main account up, refilling the current team’s stamina and allowing you to do it all over again. This is a slow but reliable way of earning Koins and improving your existing characters.
Keep your eyes open for special event battles, viewable on the main menu, that award you with Koins. These battles won’t give you any experience, but they will help you build up money fast. Drop everything else you’re doing and spend all of your stamina on these. Cycle through every character you have to get as much as you can out of these events. Even after you have your team put together, you’ll still want to run these as much as possible. Koins are useful for ranking up your existing members, filling out your overall roster, and powering up special moves. This is also as good a place as any to mention the daily Bonus Missions, which give you a chance to earn some easy Souls. The missions vary but are always quite clearly marked. If you can’t finish one of them for whatever reason, you can switch one mission out once per day. These are very high priority, so if you don’t do anything else in Mortal Kombat X each day, make certain you do these.
As for the battles themselves, there’s not much to them. In most cases, you’ll want to balance between offense and defense. Give the enemy a few pokes, then block to reduce the damage from their reprisal, then poke back again. If the enemy has a special cued up, stand there blocking until they waste it. The only exception to that is if you’re facing characters with grapple specials, such as Jax or the Bronze Monk. In those cases, you might as well keep attacking, since you can’t avoid their specials anyway. Use your specials whenever they’re ready, then tag out after you’ve emptied your meter. This allows the character to recover a bit while bringing in a character who has more special move power and is thus closer to being able to launch their powerful attacks. After you have some level 20+ characters in your group, you’ll want to conserve your power meter for your third level special attack, since it’s typically powerful enough to take out most enemies you’ll be facing.
As you power up your Silver team, make the occasional attempt at the tower that had you stuck. Once you can beat it, move the whole operation forward a stage. While most of your Koins should be going into your main team, it’s also beneficial to fill out the cheap Bronze characters, if only to make finishing daily Bonus Missions with specific requirements easier. Hopefully, through a combination of leveling up your main account, finishing towers, and doing those daily missions, you’ll have enough for your first Gold Kombat Pack within two or three days. After that, you’ll want to focus on powering up that precious first Gold character and thinking about what your Gold team is going to look like. I’ll talk more about the Gold tier in the next guide, which will also cover the Faction mode and the first Challenge. Good luck, Kombatants!