Mortal Kombat 9: Basic Gameplay FAQ


Pre-FAQ: A notation write up by Azuro:

I posted this on, but I thought it could be a good idea to post it on SRK as well to help people new MK9 (like myself) get to know the basics.

I’ll update with more questions/answers as the topic progresses.

Q: What are the controls for MK9?

A: The game works on a 5 button set up: Front Punch (FP), Back Punch (BP), Front Kick (FK), Back Kick (BK) and a Block (BLK). For Tag-Team Kombat, there is an additional Tag Button (T).

On a standard controller, there is also a Grab Button and a Flip Stance Button. Grab is done by hitting FP+FK, and Flip Stance is preformed by hitting BP+BK.

Q: What does Flip Stance mean?
A: Flip Stance will make your character turn towards the camera or away from it. It is unknown at this time what added benefits or disadvantages Flip Stance allows. (More information to come)

Q: What is that yellow bar below the characters?
A: That is the super bar, which is broken into three segments. Your meter is built in three ways:

  • Dealing block (chip) damage.
  • Using special moves (that hit or are blocked)
  • Being hit by your opponent.

At the start of a round, each player starts with 1/3 of their gauge built. You can score an additional free segement by being first to land a clean hit on your opponent in the first round.

Q: How is meter used?
A: You can use your meter in three ways:

-With Enhanced Moves (which take 1/3)
-A Kombo Breaker (Which takes 2/3)
-An X Ray move (which takes all three segments).

Q: What is an “Enhanced” move?
A: An enhanced (EX) move is the simple act of preforming your character’s Special move (for example, Sub Zero’s Slide with :b::f:BK), but in conjuction with the block button. (:b::f:BK+B).

Q: What makes the Enhanced move worth the meter?
A: Enhanced moves, like their name implies, is an enhanced, suped- up version of that characters special move. The properties differ from character to character. For instance, Sub Zero’s Enhanced Ice Ball becomes the Ice Beam, which stays active longer than the Ice Ball. Mileena’s Enhanced Ball Roll will make her charge forward faster and leaves the enemy launched higher for more combos.

Q: What is a Kombo Breaker?
A: Kombo Breakers (or simply Breakers for short) are done by preforming :f:+B when in hitstun (pretty much when you’re in a big combo). They freeze the combo and knock back your opponent.

Q: What makes a Breaker worth the meter?
A: Simply put, a Breaker allows you an easy way out of a big combo or if you just need some breathing room. Be warned; your opponent can counter Breaker your breaker and allow them to move back into a favourable position.

Q: What is an X Ray move?
A: An X Ray move is preformed by hitting Flip Stance and Block at the same time.The most devestating attack you can preform on your opponent in combat. When your opponent is hit by an X Ray attack, the camera zooms in dramatically to show all the internal damage you’ve done; shattered bones, fractured skulls, crushed livers, punctured eye sockets… all sorts of brutally brutal brutal things.

Every character has their own unique X Ray move that each function differently. Some character’s X Ray’s work as counter moves, others can be comboed into easily, some work as anti- airs. Experiment with your desired character to see how their X Ray works and find a way to use it in combat.

Q: How does Tag- Team work?
A: (will be covered later)

Q: How does blocking work?
A: Blocking, as mentioned earlier is preformed by holding the block (BLK) button. Simply hold the button to gaurd against high/mid attacks, and hit :d:+Block to defend against low attacks.

Note that even when blocking an attack, you’ll take still take a fractal of the damage from that attack (chip damage). Knowing when to block and when to counter will key if you want to survive.

Q: How do Throws work?
A: Grabbing, as mentioned earlier, is done with FP+FK or the grab button if you’ve got one/prefer it. Hit Grab for a back throw that will usually send your opponent tumbling behind you, or hit :f:+Grab to throw the opponent forward.

Some characters, like Scorpion, Kano or Jax can even grab in the air. Air grabs are preformed the same way as grounded grabs, but cannot be broken out of, and (depending on the character) can be comboed into. For instance, Scorpion can do jumping foward BK>Air Grab.

Q: How can I escape or counter Throws?
A: You can escape a regular throw by hitting FP during the beginning of your opponent’s throw. To break a back throw, do the same but with BP. Be warned: Crouching can allow you to sucessfully evade your opponent’s grapple, but if you block low you can still be thrown.


Ah, so you did end up posting the FAQ. Well written I must say. This should be very useful to newcomers.


Thanks man. I figured this subforum could use it since MK9 is turning out to be serious business.


I’d like to add a little tidbit I may have stumbled upon.

If you dash, and hold down immediately, you do sort of a “dash that lowers into a crouch while moving”

I accidentally found this in play having, Sub-Zero AirIce Clone while I was dashing into him, I tried to duck, I didn’t get frozen, but when I stood (without moving) I got frozen.

I tried this again, in 2 player trying to replicate the scenario, which seemed to work a few times. If you dash straight into the is clone you freeze, but a duckdash, will get you under, and frozen if you stand. Then again, maybe this was just caused by different Ice clone heights, or odd hit boxes.

Not sure is this would ever be useful, just something to add.

Am I just tripping or is this something?


That’s called a wavedash, broham.


I’ll be honest, I never thought a wavedash would be in MK9. Thanks HellBroke.


Since people are pretty all over the place as far as notations go, here’s a write-up of the general MK9 notations. Much of the notations are based on the ones used for the 2D MKs.

f = Forward
b = Back
d = Down
u = Up
FP = Front Punch
BP = Back Punch
FK = Front Kick
BK = Back Kick
BLK = Block
EX = EX/Enhanced Special
XR = X-Ray Attack
JP = Diagonal Jump Punch
JK = Diagonal Jump Kick
nJP = Neutral Jump Punch
nJK = Neutral Jump Kick
xx = Cancel
aa = Anti-Air

When it comes to writing out combos, here’s the general guidelines.

-Specials are just notated with their respective names.
-When multiple buttons or a button and direction are pressed at the same time, a plus sign connects both inputs. (ex: d+FP)
-Strings are written out by separating the inputs with dash. (ex: FP-FP-FP, FK-d+FP-BP)
-Commas separate different attacks linked into each other (ex: b+BP, BP-FP, JK)

Here’s an example of what a combo would be written as…let’s take a basic Scorpion combo.

BP-FP xx Spear, nJP, b+BP, BP-FP xx Leg Takedown

Hope this makes writing up combos easier. :slight_smile:


Just want to give a huge thanks to Azuro for writing this up. This is the culmination of a lot of MK heads talking about making MK notation easiest for MK9 and for the general(casual) public, as well as the hardcore SF players who want to transition to MK for MK9.

The reason we feel this is the best notation is because:

  1. The in-game names for the buttons are Front Punch/Back Punch/Front Kick/Back Kick, and 1234 don’t work as well for this game as they did for the previous 4 games…where the buttons WERE called 1234.

  2. Button configurations may change on a player to player basis. 1234 assumes that the buttons are not individually configured by a player and stay configured as default. FP/BP/FK/BK notation will never change the order of the input commands, and adjusting to button location based on a personal configuration is up to the player.

  3. To my knowledge, this is the first time “xx” is being used to notate a cancel in MK, and kudos to the SF players who came up with the notation, because it just works for any game that has a cancel, including MK9.


Co-signed. These are the notations the competitive MK community will be using.


Thanks, friend. I updated the first post with the your write up.


Well, it’s kinda like a wavedash, since you can actually do moves out of dashes I guess, but your standing height seems to decrease AS you move forward, so at the first frames of the dash you are standing height, and in the middle you’re half crouched.

Might be good as a mixup entry, dash in while ducking a high attack (purely on a good guess) then counter. Or really I supposed there is no reason NOT to do a ducked entry. Could be used to advance against projectiles, like Johnny’s maybe.

But then again this might only be a demo thing.