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A Mortal Kombat 1 screenshot of Kung Lao performing a Klassic Brutality.
Screenshot by Prima Games

How to Perform Brutalities in Mortal Kombat 1

A knuckle sandwich and bone hurting juice combo meal.

Brutality attacks are back in Mortal Kombat 1, but they can be a little tricky to understand at first. While each Brutality has its own associated combo, there are some rules that apply to each of them that are important to know. The following guide to performing Brutalities uses PlayStation controls, although all menus in Mortal Kombat 1 will show the corresponding buttons for your version. 

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General Requirements to Perform a Brutality in Mortal Kombat 1

Brutalities aren’t like Fatalities. The Brutality has to be the final attack that KOs the opponent and wins the entire match. It cannot be performed during the “Finish Them” screen. If you KO the opponent and reach the “Finish Them” screen, the Brutality failed. If the Brutality succeeds, you’ll get a special “Brutality” win screen after the move’s animation finishes. Each Brutality has its own requirements to activate, just like any special move or combo. 

How to Perform the Klassic Brutality in Mortal Kombat 1 

A Mortal Kombat 1 screenshot of Scorpion after using the Klassic Brutality against Havik.
Screenshot by Prima Games

Simply put, The Klassic Brutality is landing a match-winning KO with an uppercut (Down + Triangle), while also making sure to hold down Triangle during the hit. Every character starts with this simple Brutality, making it a great choice to practice getting used to finishing matches with. 

How to Unlock Brutalities in Mortal Kombat 1 

To unlock more Brutalities than just The Klassic, you have to raise each fighters’ Master Rank to certain levels. The Master Rank levels that give new Brutalities are

  • Master Rank 3.
  • Master Rank 5.
  • Master Rank 7.
  • Master Rank 10.
  • Master Rank 15.

To raise a character’s Master Rank, you have to use them in Invasions or Towers (under Kampaign) or Online Matchmaking (under Versus). The better you perform in these modes, such as getting flawless victories and using special finishers, the more experience you’ll get with the character. 

Kameo characters also have their own Brutalities that can be unlocked through raising their Master Rank. Kameo characters’ Brutalities are unlocked at

  • Master Rank 2.
  • Master Rank 11.

How to Perform Specific Brutalities in Mortal Kombat 1 

The Klassic Brutality is simple, but some Brutalities can get complicated quickly. Once you’ve unlocked a new Brutality, press Start to pause the game, then press X to “View Full Move List.” Once you’re on your character’s move list, use the shoulder buttons to get to “Finishers,” then press Square to open up the Advanced View. On the right, you’ll see information such as “Move Data” and “Frame Data.” While these are important, what’s most important are the “Notes” at the bottom

A Mortal Kombat 1 screenshot of the finisher moves menu with the "Notes" section circled in red.
Screenshot by Prima Games

The Notes will tell you what button you need to hold to perform the Brutality, as well as extra requirements to pull it off. For example, Liu Kang’s “Pop Goes The…” looks just like his “Holding Back” combo (X, X, X), but it has two extra requirements: first, that you’re holding forward during the hit, and that the final hit comes from Holding Back—the third kick. It can’t come from a previous hit in the combo (X or X, X). If you KO the opponent before the third kick, you won’t activate the Brutality even if you hold forward and complete the combo. 

As you unlock more Brutalities, it’s important to check the specific requirements for each one. They can be fun, flashy ways to finish a match, but only if you perform them exactly. If you’re wondering how effective it will be to perform these attacks on a controller, you can check out our guide about MK1’s game-feel using a controller versus a fight stick.

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Niki Fakhoori
Niki’s love for video games encompasses a wide range of genres, but she is especially fond of RPGs, adventure games, visual novels, simulation games, and fighting games. Her favorite video game-related pastime is asking her unwieldy backlog why she doesn’t have any new games to play. When she isn’t playing or writing about video games, she’s playing with cats, journaling, painting, or obsessing over the latest news in the world of stationery and planners.