Character Recommendations

Hello all,

I plan on picking Killer Instinct up when next it goes on sale, as I’m really enjoying the free-to-play version.

I’m a veteran of the Mortal Kombat franchise, and Killer Instinct plays very differently and I’m enjoying the mechanics and concepts behind it.

I’m curious for some character recommendations. Typically I look at the roster and pick characters to learn based on who I overall like the look of, and who looks fun; I’m not one to pick based on Tier placement.

In Mortal Kombat 11, for example, I main Fan-Fare/Highborn Kitana and my secondary is Dead of Winter Sub-Zero. I plan on learning Jaded Jade, and want to pick up Shao Kahn (not sure the Variation yet) because he looks crazy fun.

Back in Mortal Kombat XL, I mained Ravenous/Piercing Mileena, and Assassin Kitana, and my secondary was Smoke LK-7T2 Triborg.

Who do you think would be a good Killer Instinct fit for me? I was thinking of trying out Fulgore, Sadira, and Arbiter. Fulgore was who I toyed with back in 1995 on the Super Nintendo Entertainment System, Sadira just looks great and crazy fun, and the Arbiter is my favourite character from the Halo franchise.


Hey man! Glad you’re picking the game up. I guess it depends on what types of characters you enjoy.

If you’re looking for good entry characters, Jago and Sabrewulf fit the bill. Jago is your mostly standard shoto character, but if you want some crazy fun twists, Shadow Jago has a ton of different stuff and plays rather differently than Jago. Shadow Jago is harder to use and does less damage, but he’s a fun show-off character (to me, anyways).

Other more showy characters, and again this is more just my opinion, are Cinder, Kan Ra and ARIA.

As a Sadira main, I’d say she’s very fun, and while her move list is slightly limited versus the three I mentioned above, she still has a fun overall kit, especially if you like juggling. It just takes a good amount of practice and some really quick reflexes to get the timing down on her juggles. Some feel rather easy, and some are definitely not.

Kan Ra, to me, is like a more fun, Killer Instinct answer to MK11’s Geras (I know, Kan Ra came out years before). Both use a lot of sand in their movesets, but while Kan Ra has a nice distance command throw, he also has several other uses for sand and he’s a pretty fun character to use to control space.

Cinder, to me, has some of the most stylish looking combos in the game. Just check out some high level play of him on Youtube if you haven’t already and prepare to be amazed. It’s also fun to burn people’s arms or legs and watch the potential damage drain, or put the sticky orbs on opponents and explode them when they least expect it. He’s heavy combo, light damage, but overall a fun one to use.

One other character I might mention that to me feels as though she might kinda be in the Mileena mold is Mira. Not sure how much you know about her but she’s a glass cannon character that can do a ton of damage at the expense of her own potential damage. She has some cool moves, such as an air gliding dash, mist, a cannon drill and a silver blood scythe. She has a similar attitude to Mileena, has some cool outfits (love her Jack of Blades from Fable mask look) and she’s just all around fun.

Hope that helps! Honestly, there aren’t many characters you can go wrong with. Some are harder than others. Cinder, ARIA, Shadow Jago and Kan Ra are amongst the hardest to use at a high level, but at low and mid-levels they have some fun stuff. Honestly all of them have fun stuff. I love how TJ’s combos look, Maya has some awesome juggles, Fulgore has some fun mixups and yeah, nothing beats repeatedly stomping on the opponents head as Sadira lol.

But yeah, Jago, Sabrewulf, Orchid and Tusk all feel like fun starter characters to me. Ah, I forgot to mention Gargos and Eyedol! They’re also harder to use, but also have some really fun stuff that they can do. Mind you, when I say hard stuff for any of these, none of them have difficult moves to perform, it’s more just timing, strategy, and making the best of what you have.

My one biggest suggestion would be to go watch high level play for the characters and see what interests you. If you see Gargos putting out minions and doing his psycho crusher and beating the crap out of the opponent from across the stage and that looks fun to you, then give him a shot. I think Maya’s really hard to train with, but people obviously do that. Otherwise, good luck! Hope you find a character you enjoy.


It’s hard to get a feel for what you like in a character from your lists above, as it seems it’s likely more about the character themselves as opposed to kit? Your MKX characters all had mix, for instance, while your MK11 roster is generally more about strong spacing and punish options I’d say (mixed with “eff it I like Kitana so I’m running her :triumph:”).

I think Fulgore and Sadira are fine starter characters if that’s who you’re interested in right now. Arbiter is fine too, but as a giant character you’ll need to take care yourself on defense a fair amount with him (his wakeup options are better than Sadira’s actually, but his size means it’s pretty easy to hit him with some ambiguous stuff). He’s got great buttons and his carbine is a fantastic projectile, but he can be a little tough to open people up with sometimes.

I’d actually caution you against learning Shadow Jago as a starter character though. He’s basically ■■■■■ neutral the character™”, so he’s liable to give you some really bad habits if you start off with him, especially since your FG experience to date has all been with NRS. Better to learn the game with someone who has to run at least a marginally conventional game plan to work.


As a Sadira main… my recommendations are… Sadira, Sadira, Sadira, and I might add Sadira. :joy_cat:


Welcome to KI! I think those 3 give you a really good trio of characters. It covers the 3 basic food groups: Shoto/Balanced (Fulgore), Rushdown (Sadira), and Zoning (Arbiter). They’re also 3 of the more unique characters in the roster.

Fulgore is one of if not THE strongest generalist character(s) in the game, since he has access to basically every tool available outside of wacky specialist stuff. There’s a lot you can utilize with him. He has both nasty up close strings and some incredible zoning abilities. The special meter mechanic is going to be your biggest weakness, but since he’s so flexible it’s not the biggest problem.

Sadira is a really great rushdown who has some of the best air game of any character. Her defense isn’t the best, but her offense is nutty. Her unique juggle mechanics can make her really tricky to Combo Break, and her myriad of air mobility options make her very hard to keep out when she gets going.

Arbiter is one of the more specialized characters. He’s not the most impressive in terms of general raw damage or rushdown, but he’s one of the best space control/lockdown characters in the game. He doesn’t have much defense without meter, but when he gets the momentum he doesn’t need to be defensive. If he can get you in a loop with his pokes, grenades, bullets, and grabs he can be one of the most oppressive characters in the game. If you find yourself short of resource or on the back door however, it can be very difficult.

All of these characters are fun and powerful to play in their own ways. Kinda momentum heavy, but they cover a lot of bases and should be fun to start out with.

I highly recommend however that you put time into EVERY character in the game. The combo system means you don’t need to do a whole ton of work to get similar combos and damage across the cast, and every character is not only fun to play but tournament viable. You might be surprised to find a new main you didn’t consider before (I never realized how much I like Glacius till I played him on a whim and played 60 Ranked matches in a weekend). If nothing else, it will give you a peak into other characters game plans and help you remember the rhythm/animation of their moves so you can break them easier.

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