Analyzing The Ultimate Mortal Kombat 11 Meta, Now With Mileena, Rambo, and Rain

With a new version of a fighting game comes a brand new meta, and Mortal Kombat 11 is no different.

Mortal Kombat 11 Ultimate adds new move adjustments, extra cosmetic skins, and most importantly a trio of brand new kombatants ready to kick some butt. 

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Those three new additions to the roster, Mileena, Rambo, and Rain, are looking to make a major splash in the competitive scene, but now that it’s been a month since Ultimate’s launch and a few tournaments have been decided, how has that panned out?

Analyzing The Ultimate Mortal Kombat 11 Meta, Now With Mileena, Rambo, and Rain

As we did with the Minecraft crew when they joined Super Smash Bros Ultimate, let’s take a look at the current Mortal Kombat 11 tier lists over at, one of the top fighting game websites on the Internet today.

As a reminder, the folks at EH create their lists, “By community voting, [which] requires an EventHubs account to vote, but anyone may browse the various pages to look up how the match ups and overall breakdown looks.”

First, let’s look at the full list of characters and see where the new fighters rank:

There is a clear pick for who is faring best of the new trio so far, as Rain debuts at 4th overall among the full MK11 Ultimate cast. Mileena finds herself 15th, more toward the middle of the pack, while Rambo is struggling to find his footing at 25th of the 37 characters in the game.

Note: this picture cuts off ranks 32-37, which are Kollector, Kano, Kotal Khan, D’Vorah, and Shao Khan respectively.

In order to analyze why this has shaken out this way, we’ll need to look at the individual matchups of each character to see where they excel and where they fall short. Let’s start at the lower end and work our way up, which means we’re going to begin with Mr. First Blood himself, Rambo. 

A quick side note: the “match average” statistic that decides the below rankings is based on a 10-match series where the two characters face off. For example, on Rambo’s list below, he is expected to win 5 of the 10 matches against most of the cast.

The first thing to note with Rambo is that he has no favorable matchups at all in the current meta; as the tiers look now the best he’ll do against the majority of the roster is an even 5-5 split. Just look at the above list, every entry is an even 5.0.

The rest of this list looks similar, with three exceptions:

Here we see the beginning of Rambo’s deterioration into unfavorable matchups, as Liu Kang, Scorpion, and Sub-Zero all have averages that drop below the even 5.0. With eight votes total, this means that of 80 matches Rambo is winning just under 40 of them, which doesn’t sound all that bad but pales in comparison to his Ultimate counterparts.

Speaking of those counterparts…

… it looks like Rambo’s worst matchups so far are the two characters he entered the game with, Mileena barely taking the advantage and Rain pulling significantly ahead. The data is still fresh and feedback is still coming in, but in the early going Rambo is lost in the woods. 

Moving on to Mileena:

The sadistic sai master has picked up a few favorable matchups in this first month, including one over her sister Kitana and all three of the 80s action hero guest characters. Her best matchup, in fact, is against RoboCop, which considering Robo’s slower movement and Mileena’s in-your-face approach makes a lot of sense. 

As for her unfavorable matchups:

Only two fighters are giving Mileena fits, the icy assassin Frost and the wind god Fujin. Granted these matchups aren’t completely out of reach, both scores of 4.8, but Mileena players should keep these two in mind when labbing strategies in the game’s training mode. 

Finally, let’s see what makes the Edenian half-prince so good in the early going, here’s Rain’s best matchups:

Seventeen favorable matchups for the purple ninja means he’s got the advantage against nearly half of the roster right now.

Most of these matchups are against lower-tier characters, but Sonya, Johnny Cage, and Cassie Cage are all in the top 10 (3, 9, and 10 respectively), so there’s definitely some promise for Rain to keep this placement up as more information comes in. 

Moving to his unfavorable matchups:

Erron Black makes sense, he’s currently #1 overall on the tier list, but Sindel and Spawn giving Rain issues is definitely interesting. The two of them fall closer to Rambo’s placement on the tier list, 21 and 22 specifically, and yet Rain struggles against them.

The idea of a top Rain player being thwarted by a crafty Spawn counterpick in a big tournament is certainly intriguing. While all of this data paints a picture of who the best MK11 newcomers are, there’s one small problem: there’s not enough of it.

Most characters on this list have around 400-500 votes from community members, while Rain has the most of the three Ultimate inclusions at 326. It’s interesting, but it’s not definitive, so let’s take a look at some match footage.  

This is taken from the recent WePlay Dragon Temple tournament in Kiev, Ukraine, where many top MK players gathered for a 14-player competition. MK_Azerbaijan, playing as Rain, shows this new character’s potential immediately against Infinitii’s Jade.

Effective use of Rain’s Water Ball keeps momentum on his side, while the quick three-hit combos and kick mixups keep Infinitii guessing. Before we know it Azerbaijan is moving on 2-0. 

Conversely, this match against Konqueror249 shows how Rain can be outmatched by certain characters, this time a Sub-Zero. Azerbaijan doesn’t win a single round as Rain, even with a considerable life lead in Round 2 forcing Konqueror to make a comeback.

Azerbaijan switched to Sonya in the second match of the set, which is not a vote of confidence. 

The only other match to be found with these new fighters is a Mileena match fought during the MK11 Pro Kompetition II Liga Latina event on December 6th. Baka takes her into battle against Sanguefrio’s Geras, and while Geras ultimately wins the series 3-1 Mileena shows off a lot of her abilities in these rounds.

The main takeaway from this analysis is simple: unlike the exercise with Steve, who seemed to find his place in the Smash Ultimate roster fairly quickly, the jury is still out on all three of these fighters. Rain has shown the most promise by far, but all three of them still have strategies to figure out that can impact the overall meta.

Hopefully with more tournaments we’ll have more opportunities to see these fighters in the hands of pros, giving us a clearer idea of who stands tall in MK11 Ultimate. 


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Prima Games Staff
The staff at Prima Games.