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Mortal Kombat 11 guide - beginner's tips and tricks, how to Mercy

Blood spill in isle three

Mortal Kombat 11 has certainly garnered some attention, mostly due to the controversy of its rather piecemeal distribution of resources to unlock the Krypt chests. On top of that, there's also a brand new "Kustomise" mode that gives you the ability to customise your own loadouts. As you delve deeper into Shang Tsung's island of trinkets, and thwart Kronika's schemes, let us be your guide.

Mortal Kombat 11 guide

This guide to Mortal Kombat 11 will go over a few of the steps to unlock the game's unlockable stuff, as well as some pointers about Mercies, Brutalities, and why you should spend quite a lot of time in the Tutorial mode, even if you think you know everything about Mortal Kombat 11.

Mortal Kombat 11 guide contents

Mortal Kombat 11 fatalitiesAll of the character's fatalities in one place.
Mortal Kombat 11 KryptAll of the heart chest locations for the Shao Kahn head chests, plus other information about Mortal Kombat 11's Krypt mode.
Mortal Kombat 11 farmingHow to farm Hearts, Koins, and Soul Fragments for use in the Krypt.
Mortal Kombat 11 brutalitiesAll of the brutalities discovered so far.
Mortal Kombat 11 forge recipesAll the forge recipes for the Krypt discovered so far.
Mortal Kombat 11 charactersAll the tournament legal character variations, as well as some of the best AI fighter builds.
Mortal Kombat 11 Kombat PassDetails on the Kombat Pass, including DLC characters.

Mercy triggered by Scorpion at Cetrion.

How to Mercy

Mercy is a returning "finishing move" from Mortal Kombat 3, though this time it doesn't have a corresponding "Animality" finishing move. In fact, there does seem to be little point in using it at first glance.

However, there are several reasons why you would consider using one. If you wanted to perform a specific Brutality and accidentally reduce an opponent's life bar to zero, triggering the announcer to demand that you finish them, you can perform a Mercy to give the opponent some life once more. This will then give you another opportunity to perform that Brutality. If the opponent is reduced to zero on their life bar again, you can't perform a second Mercy. Some Brutalities even require that you perform a Mercy first.

To perform a Mercy, all you need to do is:

  1. Stand in the mid range (roughly two full back-dashes away from your opponent).
  2. Press and hold the "Stance change" button. This is LT (Xbox), L2 (PlayStation), or U (PC keyboard).
  3. Press down roughly four times and you should trigger the "Mercy" screen.
  4. Mercied opponents will recover 20% of their health bar.

Scorpion and Sub-Zero are fighting in the Prehistoric Hourglass stage. Dinosaurs are in the background.

How to unlock the hidden stages in Mortal Kombat 11

When selecting an arena to fight in, you may have noticed that some are locked. To unlock them, you'll need to beat story mode. This means you'll need to beat the final boss, which is easier said than done. Thankfully you can do this on any difficulty setting and you'll then get the arenas you'll be fighting in during the final fight as your reward. They're also tied to certain endings in the game, one for losing against the final boss, one for letting them take a round before beating them, and one for beating them without losing a round.

The tutorial mode screen in Mortal Kombat 11.

Top tip - Go through Mortal Kombat 11's tutorial mode

Ugh, learning things, am I right? Normally this kind of mode rolls the eyes of any non-professional fighting game player who wants to get stuck into the combat, but trust me when I say that this is one game you most definitely want to go through tutorial mode. Not only do you unlock Shao Kahn's announcer voice for use in the game for completing the regular training lessons, you'll also learn a thing or two about the many defensive manoeuvres you can execute.

There will be a few stumbling blocks, particularly with certain actions such as Flawless Blocking, certain hard-to-do combos, and one lesson that involves doing a combo after a Flawless Block, but stick with it. There's also lessons about frame data, which if you're serious about taking on the game competitively, you'll want to know about each of the different frame timings. It does also teach you a little bit about "footsies", though it never quite explains the concept properly. YouTube user "JTCircus" has put out a video going into just why this is such a core thing to learn about Mortal Kombat 11.

Once you've done the regular tutorial mode lessons, you should look at individual characters in a tiny bit of detail. When you're just starting out, go through these and find a character that works for you, before taking that character through training mode to learn everything else. Spend some time trying to work out some combos and the special moves. This will prepare you at the very least for when you'll inevitably go through story mode, as that mode switches your characters during each chapter.

Scorpion has just incinerated Sub-Zero which his flaming mask.

How Brutalities work in Mortal Kombat 11

Brutalities return from Mortal Kombat X, and they work in very much the same way. Each one has a specific set of conditions that need to be met, which include how the final hit is performed. You can learn more about them in our Mortal Kombat 11 brutalities guide.

Everyone has one Brutality automatically unlocked which is character specific, as well as the "Klassic" Brutality that every character has. To perform the "Klassic", you need to ensure that you don't block for the round. Your finishing blow is an uppercut, which is performed by pressing and holding Down+2 (Y on Xbox, Triangle on PlayStation, and I on keyboard). If you did it correctly, their head should pop straight off.

There are plenty more Brutalities for each character, but you need to unlock them before you can execute them. This is the tedious part. We will be producing a guide that will show you the exact chests you need to open to obtain each of the character's Brutalities and Fatalities, but while Fatalities don't require the chest to be unlocked, Brutalities do. We have a couple of guides dedicated to making this process a little less time-consuming, so check out our Mortal Kombat 11 farming and Mortal Kombat 11 Krypt guides respectively to learn more.

Once you've unlocked a Brutality, you'll then need to visit the "Kustomise" mode, find the Brutality under the "Kosmetics" tab for the variation you're creating. There you'll find a corresponding move you'll need to equip. Find the move in your abilities and equip it.

Frost is highlighted in the character selection screen.

How to unlock Frost in Mortal Kombat 11

You may have seen a tirade of angry people complaining about how WB Games are offering a way to purchase an unlockable character named Frost. Now I for one don't agree with what WB Games are doing here, but it is easily avoided. All you need to do is play the story mode and reach the end of Chapter 4 - Fire and Ice. You will be fighting against four opponents and Frost is unlockable after beating the final opponent. This can be done on any difficulty setting.

That's all so far for Mortal Kombat 11, but there are going to be more updates for the Krypt, the ways to farm the resources, and more as the game evolves.

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Mortal Kombat 11

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About the Author
Dave Irwin avatar

Dave Irwin

Former Guides Writer

Dave was a guides writer for Rock Paper Shotgun from 2018-2020. He previously worked as a freelancer for TheSixthAxis, Tech Advisor and Kotaku, producing hundreds of guides to help people get better at their favourite games. He now writes guides for PCGamesN.