Character Recommendations

As a Kitana main, I can certainly recommend Sadira. She has many of Kitana’s strengths as well as her weaknesses.

Sadira gets much of her damage off of resets and her nutty areal shenanigans. She is highly mobile, and thus is very hard to pin down.

To me, she is one of the most fun characters in the game, BUT there are some MUs that are terrible for her, namely Gargos, Raam, and maybe Eyedol.

So having a backup character is important especially at higher levels.


Don’t forget Thunder. Beegaw!

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Thunder can certainly be a difficult MU, but I don’t seem to have an issue with him as I do the other three.

Very good to know, thank you! I also don’t expect to reach higher levels, but that’s alright.

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The difficulty of the Thunder MU is directly proportional to how well said Thunder can DP on command. If he can sammamish at will he will smoke Sadira. If he’s a little iffier on the input she can do ok.


Riptor is the current free character, and I’m really enjoying her. She seems to be very aggressive, favours rushdown, has a stance, and there feels like a good risk/reward element with her.

In many respects, I get a strong “Mileena” feel from her gameplay. When I purchase the game, she might be one of my mains.


Arbiter is now the free character, and as I mentioned above, he was one of the three I was originally interested in. I am liking him. He’s fun to play, does feel very much like his FPS counterpart, save that his movement is insanely slow, but I know that was done for balancing reasons, which is quite alright.

Two things I’m finding challenging about him:

  • I have difficulty opening opponents up with him. Didn’t have that issue with Riptor, but with Arbiter I find the Hard AI can generally Block pretty easily. Trying MP and HP strings into D,F, P. Trying LP, LK, into D,F, P. Other options seem to be jump kicks.

  • His Energy Shield. Bar of Shadow Metre, and it’s D,F, 2 Punches. For some reason, I have such trouble getting this to actually come out. Other quarter circle moves, no problem, but this one doesn’t seem to like responding. There isn’t some trick to it, is there?

Also, his Prohpet’s Bane, that is a true command grab, correct?


I play a bit of Arby on the side, so I’ll give you my take on it.

Going from Riptor to Arbiter is a pretty jarring transition. Riptor’s speed and aggression are much different than Arbiter’s. Opening your opponent up as Arbiter can be tricky since his only mixup from neutral is the command grab or low (which leads to not much without setup). You’ll have to really on solid defense and footsies to put your opponent i an disadvantaged situation and begin your grenade setups. That’s where his mix comes in as the mental mindgames of having the grenade on them can lead to mistakes you can capitalize on. Stuff like using parts of target combos to react to jumps and shadow counters are pretty good to utilize in opening people up. It can be difficult to open up AI this way however.

Also, rather than using QCF to cancel blocked moves, use QCB. Its an overhead and can leave you with better frame advantage with proper spacing (although a good player who knows the MU will block the overhead most of the time).

Prophets Bane is a true command. It can be jumped, back dashed and avoided by moves with grab invul. It has a tendency of whiffing though when it was used after an attack with high blockstun (like a point blank Fwd.MK)

Can’t help you with Energy Shield. There is no trick to it for me. I always just use the designated PPP button to use my Shadow Moves.

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It’s interesting reading these. Both because a) it keeps me in the loop of who’s currently free, and b) it’s neat seeing a fresh perspective on characters I’ve already been familiarized with.


I’ve absolutely zero advice on how to open up the AI with Arbiter. Against a human, you tend to outspace and punish them for trying to move in or challenge your big buttons, and use the command grab to force them to not just sit still defensively. That, and nasty grenade setups on their wakeup. No idea how the computer responds to those though -shrug-

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@FallibleJoker14 Can you elaborate more on Plasma Grenade set ups? I’m confident I’m not using Plasma Grenades correctly at all, as I’m using them more as random damage against an opponent.

For using D,B, I’ve found it quite slow though. Is it safe on Block, or at least trickier to punish?

For Energy Shield, I’ve figured it out better. For some reason, using LT for all three kicks, it doesn’t like that and will almost never come out. If I press “A” and “B” instead at the same time, it almost always works. Odd, as I don’t have this issue with others moves that require such.

@Fwufikins Yeah, that’s something I like about both fighting games and real time strategy games. There’s so much depth to them which can lead to interesting perspectives depending on a player’s playstyle, experience level, and skill level. I personally find these two genres to be the hardest, but most rewarding to play, as a result.

@STORM179 I’m sure knowing match ups better will help me, as I still have very little experience there because I’m new. For example, I ended up playing Hard AI Omen, and just was not able to properly get in on him. I typically play best of three sets against the AI, but each of those matches I couldn’t get anything going. I also had lots of trouble with Aganos, though I ended up against him again and took the set in five matches, which was great.

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Yeah, more MU knowledge will help for sure. I more just meant that the AI behaves very differently than a human opponent, so what hits one very consistently doesn’t necessarily translate into valid strategies to hit the other. I remember there being a few forum people who did nothing but play the Kyle AI (which is an input reading SOB) who were pretty terrible generally when they finally went online - the skills required to beat that kind of computer were almost entirely non-transferable to playing against humans.

You’re very new so fighting the AI is likely to have a lot of value in terms of familiarizing yourself with your character’s tools and general gameplan, but specific strategies may or may not be applicable in either direction. Some of the stuff you learn won’t work on people, and some of the stuff we might suggest probably won’t work on the AI.


QCF may be slower, I believe it does have a small gap within it, but people are not going to be stuffing it 24/7 especially if you use the light version. QCF leaves you disadvantaged with the H version being punishable. But using QCB can leave you with some frame advantage. (Be careful however, the L version leaves you even and Arbiter doesn’t have the fastest buttons.) M and H versions have some advantage. Use QCF more for confirming (like of a air gunshot)

The thing is I don’t have setups for grenades like I do for Eagle. It’s more just remembering the timing of the grenades and trying to force certain reactions. You can also just use the grenade for extended pressure or combos.

One example could be conditioning your opponent to jump to avoid the command grab and just allow them to combo themselves. Or you can self detonate a grenade when you have shield to stop any attempts at a punish and begin your pressure.

It would be kinda difficult for me to explain everything without showing you in game, but if you haven’t yet I do recommend seeing this.

This is one the best guides you’ll find out there, not only for Arbiter but for any basic understandings of the game, player interactions, and characters. It’ll surely help you out.

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Also remember that KI is a pretty expressive game - no two players’ characters will tend to look the same. Fallible may not have any clear-cut grenade setups, but that doesn’t mean they don’t exist. @KevBones10 and @deltarayquaza are two Arbiter players who very much do have nasty grenade setups (especially Delta), while @SonicDolphin117’s control of space and neutral is probably the best amongst the Arbiter players.

I recommend taking a look at some of each of their matches - each player can show you something a little different about the character, and different approaches that you may want to incorporate into your game.


@STORM179 Absolutely, and it’s the same with the Mortal Kombat AI, especially of the last two games. The Very Hard AI is not worth playing against as it’s insane with its input reading and does not in any way play like a human opponent. The Hard does Input read as well, but not as much and it can sometimes (though of course not always) feel like playing against an opponent who’s good at making reads.

That’s the default AI I use in Mortal Kombat XL and Mortal Kombat 11, and you can indeed practice basic mechanics and fundamentals against it. At the end of the day though, nothing replaces a proper human opponent, and fighting against one is different than fighting against the other.

Out of curiosity, do you know why the hardest AI in Killer Instinct is called the Kyle AI?

I actually watched the Top 8 from Combo Breaker 2019, and got to see @SonicDolphin117’s Arbtier in action. That was very cool to watch!

@FallibleJoker14 Thanks man. Against the AI, using D,B,Punch for more overheads is helping to open it up more, and I’m doing much better in match ups I was struggling in!

I have also read Infil’s Guide, and refer back to it at need; it’s an excellent write up not just for this game, but for fighting games in general.

As I recall, Kyle was the name of the Double Helix programmer who made the AI for that difficulty setting. The rest of the team decided to just call it “Kyle” in honor of how BS he’d made it.


Kinda feel bad about not getting into this thread sooner. I barely look at the forums nowadays, but it’s nice to see someone new getting into it. If you come to the KI discord I’m considerably more active there.

As far as my style of Arbiter goes, I usually dedicate my resources to controlling my opponent’s actions in neutral/pressure rather than wacky setups, partly because it’s fun making people squirm and partly because I don’t feel like learning these weird and calculated setups. Usually when I try to open up AI with any character I rely on safe frame traps, which for Arby would be his plus on block normals like cl.MK, df.HK and st.HP. Then I just flip out loop them cause they never seem to block after getting flipped out.


No worries man, and thanks for replying! It was also great watching you play at Combo Breaker!

I’m still a novice at the game, but learning as I go and enjoying myself. I’ve only played against the AI to date, since I have the free-to-play version right now, but down the road I will be picking it up and I do want to play against people, likely starting with sets with a buddy of mine and then trying some basic public matches.

With the lingo you used, which I’m also still learning for the game, what does “cl” mean? MK is obviously Medium Kick. “df” I assume is down, forward, and “st” is standing?

cl = Close, in other words when you’re at point blank range and standing

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Cool, thanks for clarifying!