Mortal Kombat X brought with it a newcomer, Kotal Kahn.  This Osh-Tekk warrior turned ruler of Outworld was my main in MKX because of his personality, his aesthetic, and his moveset which fit very well with my own playstyle; I opted to use his “Sun God” variation for the sole purpose of his “Sun God Choke”.

Mortal Kombat 11 I find that Kotal is not nearly as strong as he was back in MKX.  I am someone who believes in the “shut up and adapt” mentality, and while I normally silently wait for buffs for any character I play that may happen to be low/bottom tier (Beerus in Dragon Ball FighterZ for example), I legitimately feel like the Osh-Tekk needs some improvements.

Something that also needs to be said is that I am basing my statements on his current tournament variations, he may be much better if kustom variations were allowed.

 NONEXISTENT MID/LOW-GAME 

Kotal Kahn’s D1 hitting Jacqui Briggs

I feel that having rewarding mids and lows in Mortal Kombat 11 is significant; they stop people who attempt to crouching jab out of everything, crouching uppercut, and force opponents to fear taking big damage once all of their defensive meter is gone.  Kotal Khan really suffers in his ability to start combos with mids/lows, stopping crouching jab pressure, capitalizing on crouching jab hits, and successfully applying pressure during okizeme because of it.  

 Mid/Low Starters 
  • D1
  • F2
  • F3
  • D3
  • B4
  • F4
  • D4
 Mid/Low Kombos 
  • F24
  • F243
  • F34

Those are all of Kotal’s Mid and Low starting moves and kombos, yet none of them are positive, meaning that you have to immediately block if you are just poking.  Honestly, that is par for the course, so I cannot be mad at all about this part.

What I am mad about when it comes to Kotal is the fact that if you actually connect a D1, you cannot pressure someone afterwards like you can with Jacqui or Geras for example; none of his mid-starting kombos begin earlier than 17 frames (the only other one starting up in 22).  While a few of his mid/low starters start up relatively fast (D1 in 7, D3 in 9, and D4 in 10), they cannot be used as a combo starter for bigger damage since any special move canceled into them can be blocked.  Your best bet is going for either a command grab (Huehhueyi) if they are going to block, throw them, or going for a D1/D3/D4 to continue pressure IF you believe they will keep pressing a button (leading back to the same situation).

Jailing someone with D4 can help Kotal out because it FORCES your opponent to block high and allow his strings to be blocked; the only problem is that all of his High attacks and kombos are either negative or 0 (2 and 3,4) on block.  The only exception is 3 which is +1, but they can duck and punish any other move he does or simply take any of the crouching moves you do with no fear of big damage repercussions. 

After jailing with D4, your best cause scenario is to either mix-up with throw/command grab or go for 221(in the corner) since the pushback makes it relatively safe, but you are still negative.  Midscreen you can rely on D4 into F24 and then combo if it happens to connect since they will be punished no matter what they do (not even Geras’ 6 frame D1 will beat it).

The reason I am so aggravated about his low/mid starters is because his highs are not even good and can be punished severely.  Geras has a High/Mid/Overhead (111) string which starts up in 6 frames and can be canceled on the second hit for a 50/50 mix-up to make opponents guess; he can also capitalize on conditioning them blocking low to finish the string and get a krushing blow for his troubles.  Oh, did I mention that on block this string is only -7?  While Kotal Kahn also has a High/Mid/Overhead string (F122), but his starts up in 11 frames and cannot be canceled into anything for a mix-up (command grab would whiff and all special attacks of his hit mid).  Oh, and the overhead part is an astonishing -16 frames, which allows it to be punished by anything nearly, it also cannot be canceled for a mix-up after conditioning.  Yes, he can also get a krushing blow with his string, but it has to be a counterhit or a punish, meaning you had to be paying attention for this to connect in the first place.

 SPECIAL MOVES 

Kotal Kahn summoning an Etzil Totem

For me, Kotal also has issues with some of his special moves; however, I am not going to go over every single thing, but rather some choice ones from his two currently available tournament variations; ASCENDED and TOTEMIC. 

 Ascended 
  • Huehhueyi — One of his best special moves as far as dealing damage and conditioning your opponent to open up or to punish an opponent who overly blocks.  The biggest downside to this command grab is that it side switches.  Side switching itself would not be an issue if you did not already have this option with Mehtizquia Cut for the cost of 1 bar, there is no reason to make this special move do it automatically.  Not being able to stay on the same side hurts Kotal Kahn’s damage in the corner (as you have to throw them out of it) and does not allow you to “throw loop” them as Geras is able to with his command grab.
  • God Ray — Replaces Tonatiuh Beam, and it does a horrible job at it.  This special move still does damage-over-time and still only takes 100 from an opponent; not having it gain the ability to heal Kotal as soon as you summon it or amplify it to follow your opponent makes this a waste of a slot.  Sure, you can use this to space control once your opponent gets low, but the slow recovery means you cannot act quickly.  I feel like this should just not be a special move and definitely should not be part of a tournament variation.
  • Kahn-Cut — This angers me as a special move since it was a standard move in Kotal Kahn’s kit in Mortal Kombat X.  Also, it replacing  Mehtizquia Cut means that you can not end combos for maximum damage in the corner because the only thing you have is the side-switching Huehhueyi command grab.  However, this does add more damage to his standard combos because you get additional hits in where you could not, this definitely needed to be part of his standard arsenal which cannot be switched out to give him more meaningful damage.
 Totemic 
  • Tecuani Maul — Very good corner carry and keeps the opponent on the same side; amplifying this also allows you to go through projectiles which can help you in the neutral after you have used the krushing blow from Yeyecame Disk.  I think this is definitely one of his best special moves, should really replace Yeyecame Disk as his standard kit because of its corner carry ability and projectile invincibility amp.  
  • (Air) Tecuani Pounce  — Besides trying to get out of the corner, I do not see the benefit of this move.  Incredibly punishable, minimum damage, and does not help Kotal Kahn’s weak okizeme, mid/low game.  Definitely a bad choice for this variation and a bad move overall.
  • Eztil Totem — In theory, this should be absolutely amazing, but the proof is in the pudding as far as how it is executed.  Eztil Totem gives you life back dependent on the amount of damage you deal and the amount of totems you have summoned; an example is how much life you get back off of your forward throw which does 140 damage (1-Totem (37.5%): 52.5  ; 2-Totems (75%): 105 ; 3-Totems (112.5%): 157.5).   However, the way this mechanic is implemented is disappointing.

    If the totem you summoned is off screen because you knocked your opponent away and you summon another one, both will be active but you will only get credit for one.  If you summon two totems while the offscreen one is still active, you will only get credit for two and cannot stack a third on the existing totem until the offscreen one disappears.

    Totems will also disappear due to a fatal blow or krushing blow without regarding whether it was you or an opponent that initiated it.  This means that the best ways to get massive damage and get the most life back in a limited window of the totems being active is unavailable to the player.  Also, I have noticed that often when you are getting hit while the totems are vanishing, you will not receive any health back.

    Eztil Totem also has a start up of 1 (meaning it comes out near instantly), but it has a whopping 58 frames of recovery, meaning you are going to give up your okizeme, neutral pressure, or sacrifice actually getting hit to begin stacking totems.
 Coatl Parry 

I needed to address this since this move is a part of his standard kit and is simply awful.   This is a parry which stops High, Mid, Projectiles, Lows, and Grabs but is susceptible to Jump-ins and Fatal Blows.  If your parry is successful, Kotal gets a very brief damage buff (usually about 20-40 extra damage), which is not very big at all. 

Unlike some others who have parrys (Liu Kang, Jade, etc.), this does not stop an attack once it is successful and retaliates automatically.  Unfortunately, Kotal successfully parrying the beginning of a string will get him hit without even giving him a chance to at least block; a good example is Kung Lao’s F44 which the first hit will get parried but the second hit will connect or how Baraka’s amplified projectile will have the first one absorbed but the second will hit.  This is best used for Getup Attacks and when you feel a throw is coming (which can be punished by 1,2 into any special move of your choice).

To improve this move we need to be able to immediately act after parry, the start-up frames need to be fast enough to threaten between strings, or we need it to automatically retaliate to at least reset the neutral.

 MISCELLANEOUS 

To be fair, there are also a number of other things I would like for Kotal Kahn; brutalities that did not require totems or sunbeams to be out, better skins that featured his original greenish tone rather than the human fleshtones given to him in this game however, I feel I addressed the things needed in order to make him a more worthwhile character.

NetherRealm Studios introduced someone that has quickly become my favorite Mortal Kombat character back in MKX, but they did him dirty with no real reason considering the host of tools they gave to characters like Erron Black, Scorpion, and Geras.  There is no reason his command grab should not be a standard part of his kit seeing as he is mostly negative on block with no real mix-up, not to mention that Kahn-Cut should have also been standard.

I will play this character because he is my favorite, but I am not liking how I have to completely outplay my opponent every single time with fewer options and less rewards for reading correctly.  NetherRealm, please fix my character!