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Mortal Kombat 9 System Guide

Blocking (5)

Stand/Crouch Blocking

  • Blocking in Mortal Kombat is done by holding the Block Button. Stand block will defend against Mids and Highs and block crouching to defend against Highs and Lows.

Block Damage

  • Most blockable moves in this game deal guard damage. What this means is that even though you are successfully blocking an incoming attack, you will still take a fraction of that attacks damage on block.

No Block Damage

  • Certain blockable moves deal no block damage. One example of this would be Kabal’s Nomad Charge. This move starts combos but the move itself does no damage on hit. Therefore it does no block damage. Some moves that do very low damage also yield no block damage. Some characters have D+1s that do 1% damage on hit. These moves do no block damage.

Crouch Block Hit Box

  • When you are crouching, holding the block button raises your characters hit box higher than is you were simply neutral crouching. For example, if Kano throws his knife at you, you can only crouch under it to make it whiff if you are crouching and not holding block.

Attack Types


  • Highs can be blocked standing or crouching. In some cases you can neutral crouch to make them whiff. Some Highs will even whiff if you are crouch blocking. This property of High attacks is on a move by move basis.


  • Mids must be blocked standing; they are typically mixed up with Lows.


  • Lows must be blocked crouching. 

Throws (1+3)

Throw Height

  • Throws are unblockable Highs that can be neutral crouched.

When Throws Will Connect

  • You cannot throw the opponent while they are in hit stun. They can only be thrown during the animation and recovery of attacks or movements, or while blocking.

Throw Breaks

  • You can break a back or neutral throw with the 1 or 3 button and you can break a forward throw with the 2 or 4 button. Both throws look identical so the only real educated guess you can make on which throw they will do is based on where you are on the stage. You never want to get thrown into the corner, so break throws accordingly.

Flip Stance (3+4)

  • Completely useless.

Uppercuts (D+2)

  • All characters have some version of a universal High uppercut. Each characters uppercut is separated into categories based on speed of impact. The fastest uppercuts in the game are also the fastest all around moves in the game, being faster than any poke. Uppercuts can be used as anti-air attacks or for avoiding and punishing High attacks.

Sweeps (B+4)

  • Every character in the game has a semi unique universal sweep. All sweeps will knock down on hit and are Low. Some characters will recover faster than others while some will have longer range. It is important to note that during the animation of most universal sweeps, your character’s upper body hit box disappears. What this means is that at times, you can use sweeps as anti-airs.

Forward and Back Dash (F,F/B,B)

  • Every character has a unique forward and back dash. Things that vary are speed, duration and recovery. You can cancel a dash into any follow up command.

Block Dashing

  • In order to speed up movement across the screen you can cancel the recovery of a forward or back dash with guard, and then cancel the block animation with another dash. This is not only the fastest universal type of movement, it is also the safest.  


  • All characters have the same jump arcs and jump speeds. Jumping has quite a bit of start up in this game. If you are not careful, you will find yourself getting hit on the way up into a jump very often.

Jumping Attacks

  • All characters have generic jumping attacks. Neutral jump punches are over heads and cause bounce juggles on hit. They have a fairly high hit back and can easily be anti-aired. Neutral jump kicks simply knock the opponent away on hit but can be canceled into air special. These kicks have an extremely high hit box. It can be hard to even hit a standing opponent with these.
  • Offensive and defensive jump punches are overheads and are your standard jump in attacks. These are what you would use on a standing opponent to hope to continue with a landed string into a launcher. They can be cancelled into air special as well. Offensive and defensive jump kicks are high attacks which, means they can be blocked crouching. The good thing about these attacks is that they have sharp angular hit boxes so it can be very hard to anti-air them. If your opponent blocks a deep offensive jump kick, you land with frame advantage. You can also combo a standing opponent with jump kicks into air specials or air throws.

Super Armor

  • Some attacks in the game have a special ability to absorb incoming attacks and continue through them. This is called Super Armor. Keep in mind that even though you are able to go through incoming attacks with Super Armor, you still take the full damage of that attack. What this means is that if you do not have enough life to survive the Super Armors benefits, you will die.


  • Some moves in the game have a duration of complete invincibility. During this state, they will not collide with anything in the game. 


Enhanced Moves (Special+5)

  • Every special in the game has an Enhanced version. This version specials cost one bar of meter to execute. The benefits of Enhanced moves vary from more damage, to new hit or block properties, or even super armor of invincibility. This is on a move by move basis.

Breaker Attacks (F+5 while being comboed)

  • Breakers are Mortal Kombat’s combo breakers. They cost 2 bars of meter to perform and can only be done after the second hit of a combo. This is one of the most important parts of the game and meter management in general. Using breakers to prevent comebacks is essential in high level play.

X-Ray Attacks (3+4+5)

  • Every character in the game has a unique X-ray attack. This is MK’s equivalent of a super. These attacks require three full meters to execute. All X-Ray attacks have an initial duration of Super Armor. If attacked within this window, you can absorb up to three hits before the armor runs out.

Building Meter

  • You gain meter for whiffing specials, getting specials blocked, getting normals blocked or getting hit. You do not gain meter by hitting your opponent with normals.

First Attack

  • At the beginning of the first round of every match, both players start with one bar of meter. However, whichever character connects with the first attack of the match will be granted an extra bar of meter. This is very important as meter is fairly hard to build in this game and breakers are so useful. 


  • Most characters have extremely damaging corner combos and pressure in this game. For this reason you want to avoid being cornered. It can be difficult to see the corners in some stages as you don’t literally go all the way up to the wall. It can sort of seem like an invisible corner at times but this becomes less apparent the more you play.
  • When the opponent is cornered you can still jump over their heads and push them out of the corner with a jump in.

Wake ups/Okezeme

Recovery/Tech Roll

  • When you get knocked down, if you hit a button at the right moment, you will tech roll. This allows you to move backwards and get off the ground quickly.
  • During a Tech Roll, you are vulnerable to low attacks.

Wake Up Attacks

  • When getting off the ground, you have a small window in which you can perform certain special attacks. When done correctly, these specials will come out as a “wake up attack”. Wake up attacks have invincibility on startup and can be compared to Dragon Punches in Street Fighter.
  • You can also do Enhanced wake up attacks.
  • It is possible to do wake up attacks after a tech roll.

Stay Down

  • It is possible to stay on the ground after being knocked down. This lasts up to 2 seconds and you cannot perform wake up attacks after.
  • You are completely vulnerable to lows while you are in the downed position. 
  • While in the downed position, you can hit B and anytime to then back roll. After this back roll you cannot do a recovery attack.