Mortal Kombat X - How to Play Alien, Combos and Strategies - Prima Games

Mortal Kombat X – How to Play Alien, Combos and Strategies

by Bryan Dawson

The Alien is an interesting character addition to Mortal Kombat X with unique strategies and combos that have built-in overhead/low mix-ups, along with what is essentially a Baraka variant in the Tarkatan variation. It can attack from full screen and in the Acidic variation it gains and acid pool to add more damage to combos. In the Konjurer variation the Alien can stun opponents with a Facehugger and even delay the hatchling attack to apply additional pressure or mix the opponent up. It is very difficult to face off against a skilled Alien player.

Notation Key

1 – Square/X
2 – Triangle/Y
3 – X/A
4 – Circle/B

Tail Flip
Notation: Back, Forward+4
Enhanced: Yes, with armor.

The Alien’s Tail Flip covers almost the entire length of the screen, can be performed on the ground or in the air, and hits overhead which means it cannot be blocked by a crouching opponent. The aerial version works well to punish projectile attacks, simply jump to avoid them then immediately use the aerial Tail Flip to punish. The normal version is relatively safe at -7, so you don’t have to worry about punishment from most of the cast, while the enhanced version (Tail Slam) has one hit of armor and knocks the opponent into the air, which allows for a juggle follow-up. Unfortunately, the enhanced version is much easier to punish compared to the normal version, so be careful when using it.

Xeno Strike
Notation: Down, Forward+3
Enhanced: Yes, with armor.

Alien’s Xeno Strike covers about half the screen, even though the animation makes it seem as though it has longer reach. The enhanced version (Xeno Pounce) has armor, inflicts a bit more damage and knocks the opponent across the screen, but otherwise there isn’t a significant difference between the two. This special move is not safe if the opponent blocks, so stick to using it as a way to end combos instead of just tossing it out randomly.

Tail Snag
Notation: Down, Back+3
Enhanced: Yes, with armor.

The Tail Snag is a good mid-combo mix-up for the Tail Flip and reaches approximately half a screen length away from Alien. While the Tail Flip hits overhead, the Tail Snag hits low. This gives Alien a built-in overhead/low mix-up during any of his combos. Unfortunately, like the Tail Flip, the Tail Snag is not safe if the opponent blocks. In addition, even the enhanced version (Tail Grab) doesn’t really give you anything other than armor and some additional damage. It does knock the opponent across the screen if you need some space, but otherwise be cautious when using this one.

Low Krawl
Notation: Back, Forward+1
Enhanced: Yes, but no armor.

The Low Krawl is another low special move for the Alien that can be mixed with the overhead Tail Flip for a mid-combo overhead/low mix-up. If the attack connects, Alien moves to the other side of the opponent. However, if the attack is blocked the Alien is left open to severe punishment. If you time it well you can use the Low Krawl to cross-up an opponent immediately following a knock down. The enhanced version (Quick Dash) can be used to start or extend a combo because you can follow it with a variety of attacks. This makes it extremely useful in the overhead/low mix-up with the enhanced Tail Flip since they both lead to combos if they hit.

Acidic Variation

The Acidic variation gives Alien two new basic attacks and several special moves. The first basic attack is Sizzle Strike (Up+3) which is a great anti-air attack that can hit an airborne opponent from across the screen. If you’re close enough you can combo as the opponent falls back to the ground, but even from across the screen you can stop an opponent from jumping, which gives you a huge advantage.

Corrosive Sting (Down+4) hits low and leaves acid on the ground for a short time following the attack. If the opponent comes in contact with the acid they take a small amount of damage over a short period of time. This is very similar to the new special move, Exo Sting (Down, Back+2), which leaves a puddle of acid on the ground that inflicts damage over time if the opponent gets hit by the attack or steps on the puddle.

There are several versions of the attack depending on the distance you want. Hold Back immediately to get an acid pool directly in front of the Alien, or hold Forward to get a full screen version. If you don’t press either direction the pool sits around the center of the screen. You can also use the enhanced version (Exo Splash) which attacks a full screen length away, but leaves a puddle in the middle of the screen.

The normal version can be punished at close range, but the enhanced version leaves Alien at advantage so you can continue offensive pressure. Both versions can also be performed in the air, although the Forward and Back versions are limited to the ground version. If you have the meter to burn, you can use the enhanced version in a combo and then continue to apply pressure with a throw or another combo string.

Rounding out the Acidic variation is the Acid Blood special move (Down, Back+4). This is essentially a short range version of the Exo Sting that gives you a bit more advantage when it hits. Be careful comboing into this attack as it can miss due to its limited range. In addition, the attack inflicts a small amount of damage to the Alien, so don’t use this if you have no health left. The enhanced version (Erosive Blood) inflicts more damage, takes a bit more health from the Alien, and provides a lot of advantage so you can continue your offense. It won’t give you a guaranteed follow-up attack, but you can continue to apply pressure.

Konjurer Variation

The Konjurer variation has two unique special moves. The first is Ovomorph (Down, Back+1), which spawns an egg near the middle of the screen. Hold Back to spawn the egg close to you, or forward to spawn the egg at full screen. When the egg appears you’ll notice a blue circle on the ground surrounding it. If the opponent steps into this blue circle, the egg hatches and a Facehugger attacks. Alternatively you can manually make the egg hatch by pressing Down, Back+1 again.

If the Facehugger hits the opponent, they are stunned for a considerable amount of time (similar to Scorpion’s spear) and you can follow with a combo. The enhanced version (Advanced Ovomorph) has a wider attack radius for the egg and executes slightly faster. With both versions you can spawn the egg, then move around the stage and call the Facehugger even when it’s off-screen (it to fly toward the opponent from anywhere).

The second special move in the Konjurer variation is the Drone Drop (Down, Back+4). This causes a Xenomorph drone to fall from the sky, landing on your opponent. You can press Forward or Back to cause the drone to land directly behind or in front of the opponent, respectively. The enhanced version (Drone Slam) inflicts slightly move damage and knocks the opponent into the air so you can follow with a juggle. You can also hold 4 to delay the Drone slightly with the enhanced version.

The drone is considered an overhead attack, but it can be interrupted early in the animation. If you’re hit anytime after the start of the animation the drone will still fall, making this a decent setup if the opponent is blocking a combo string and doesn’t have the reaction to realize you’re using the Drone Drop and interrupt it. You can even setup a difficult situation to block by delaying the Drone Slam and attacking with a low attack as it falls.

Tarkatan Variation

Alien’s Tarkatan variation is about as close as Mortal Kombat fans are going to get to playing as Baraka in MKX. In this variation the Alien gets two new basic attacks, one new combo and a few special moves. His basic attacks are fairly straightforward. Cross Swipe (2) is a new high attack that leads into a combo, and Blade Krush (Back+2) is an overhead attack that bounces the opponent off the ground. You can follow Blade Krush with an attack if you’re fast enough. The Zeta II combo (Forward+1,3,4) is an easy way to follow Blade Krush if it connects, but be careful because Blade Krush is not safe if the opponent blocks.

Deadly Splinters (2,1) is a new combo that’s safe if the opponent blocks and leads into the Kane’s Son combo (2,1,4) and can be canceled into special moves. While it’s a safe block string, the first attack is high which can cause problems if you reply on it too much.

The first of Alien’s new special moves is the Tarkatan Rush (Back, Forward+2). This is a series of attacks that has a variety of options. First you must follow the Tarkatan Rush with the Straight Slice (1). After Straight Slice connects, you can follow with the Painful Slam (2), Blade Sweep (4), or Nail And Impale (Throw). Painful Slam is an overhead attack that should be mixed up with Blade Sweep, which is a low attack. Nail And Impale is a throw (that can be blocked if the previous attacks are blocked) that can be enhanced to bounce the opponent off the ground for a combo if you have meter to burn.

While all of the various options that stem from the Tarkatan Rush are unsafe if the opponent blocks, you can use the enhanced version (Tarkatan Fury) which has armor and the same follow-up options as the normal version. It’s best to combo into the Tarkatan Rush so you can guarantee the Nail And Impale will connect, then you can use your meter to enhance it and follow with a juggle combo. Be warned, if you use the full combo attack into Nail And Impale after having knocked the opponent into the air, the enhanced Nail and Impale will knock the opponent away, making it much harder to follow with a juggle combo.

Chop Chop (Down, Back+1) is Baraka’s trademark special move from previous Mortal Kombat games. It has limited range and it’s not safe if the opponent blocks, but the enhanced version (Chop Chop Shop) has armor and is a little bit safer (although still not safe). This should be used to end combos.

Alien’s final new special move in the Tarkatan variation is the Blade Spin (Down, Back+2). What’s different about this attack compared to Baraka’s old version is that the Alien attacks with its tail after the initial spin. This increases the range of the attack considerably, allowing it to connect from almost a full screen length away. Unfortunately, it’s not safe if the opponent blocks, but the enhanced version (Spinner) has armor and knocks the opponent into the air so you can follow with a combo.

Sample Combos

29 percent (Acidic) – Back+1,1, Up+4, Run Cancel, Back+1,1, Run Cancel, Up+4, Forward+2,3, Exo Sting
32 percent (Tarkatan) – Forward+1,3,4, Enhanced Low Krawl, 2,1,4, Tarkatan Rush, Straight Slice, Blade Sweep, Low Krawl
37 percent – Forward+1,3,4, Enhanced Low Krawl, Back+1,1, Up+4, Run Cancel, Forward+2,3,4,3,4, Xeno Strike


Killer Queen (Fatality 1) – Down, Down, Back, Forward, 3 (Close)
Deadly Hybrid (Fatality 2) – Back, Forward, Down, Forward, 1 (Mid-Screen)


Slash And Bash (Brutality 1) – Kill the opponent with Tail Grab (Down, Back+3+Block).
Little Head (Brutality 2) – Kill the opponent with a throw, while holding Forward throughout the animation.

Acid Burn (Brutality 3) – In the Acidic variation, kill the opponent with an Air Exo Sting (Down, Back+2 in the air) or Air Exo Splash (Down, Back+2+Block in the air).

Alien Baby (Brutality 4) – In the Konjurer variation, hit the opponent with a Facehugger (Down, Back+1) during the first round of the match, then kill the opponent in the final round with the Ovomorph (Down, Back+1) or releasing a Facehugger from the Ovomorph.

The Slicer (Brutality 5) – In the Tarkatan variation, kill the opponent with a Chop Chop (Down, Back+1) or Chop Chop Shop (Down, Back+1+Block).

For more Mortal Kombat X goodness, check out Prima’s free guide and explore the Krypt!

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