Mortal Kombat X - How to Play Quan Chi: Combos and Strategies - Prima Games

Mortal Kombat X – How to Play Quan Chi: Combos and Strategies

by Bryan Dawson

Quan Chi is a character that relies heavily on momentum. His enhanced Ground Bursts help him maintain advantage so he can continue to pressure an opponent, and most of his variation-specific special moves are designed with corner traps and offensive pressure in mind. The Sorcerer variation is all about corner pressure and staying offensive, Warlock allows Quan Chi to punish opponents from a distance and continue pressure once he gets a hit, and Summoner is all about pressure with a deadly vortex.

Notation Key

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

Notation: Down, Back+2
Enhanced: Yes, but no armor.

Quan Chi’s Skull is a fairly basic projectile attack. The normal version hits high and can be ducked under. However, it can be done in the air which hits mid and cannot be ducked. The enhanced version (Demon Skull) is a bigger projectile that hits mid on the ground or in the air and cannot be ducked under. While most projectiles are used for zoning opponents, Quan Chi also had the Ground Burst for this, but the Air Skull can come in handy to keep Quan Chi in the air a little longer to avoid falling on a projectile or just to punish an opponent trying to knock Quan Chi out of the air.

Notation: Back, Forward+3
Enhanced: Yes, but no armor.

Trance is how Quan Chi extends his combos. It stuns an opponent long enough for Quan Chi to continue with a full combo. It reaches about halfway across the screen, while the enhanced version (Deep Trance) reaches the full length of the screen and can be used to punish attacks that would normally be safe due to distance. For example, if you duck under some projectile attacks, you can use a Trance or Deep Trance to punish the opponent. That said, the primarily use for Trance is mid-combo to extend your combo and get more damage. It’s not safe if the opponent blocks so be careful when using it.

Sky Drop
Notation: Down, Back+4
Enhanced: Yes, with armor.

One of Quan Chi’s big weaknesses is his wakeup game. Once an opponent knocks Quan Chi to the ground his only special move with armor is the Sky Drop. Unfortunately, it’s not safe if the opponent blocks it, and the enhanced version (Sky Crush) only has armor on the way up. As Quan Chi is coming down he can be hit out of the attack with ease. Luckily the attack is considered an overhead, which can catch some opponents off-guard. You can also perform the attack in the air to throw off your opponent’s anti-air timing. Since it lands on top of the opponent it can also be used to punish projectiles and other attacks from across the screen.

Ground Burst
Notation: Down, Back+1
Enhanced: Yes, but no armor.

The Ground Burst hits low and can be placed in three different positions on-screen. The normal notation places the Ground Burst about half a screen-length (on jump distance) away from Quan Chi. If you press Forward immediately after the notation it will hit on the far side of the screen, and press Back immediately after the notation to make it hit directly in front of Quan Chi.

The normal version of the Ground Burst isn’t much to write home about, but the enhanced version is very useful. The isn’t a normal enhanced special move, you must press Block right after it hits to get the enhanced version. While the normal Ground Burst is not safe if the opponent blocks, the enhanced version gives him significant advantage if it’s blocked. You can end most of Quan Chi’s combos with the enhanced Ground Burst to not only keep him safe, but allow him to continue offensive pressure. If it hits, you can get a second Ground Burst before the opponent lands for decent damage.

Skull Krusher (X-Ray)

The most unique aspect of Quan Chi’s X-Ray is that it’s a projectile. Most X-Rays in Mortal Kombat X are physical attacks. With Quan Chi having a projectile X-Ray, it makes it a bit more versatile. You can combo into it like most X-Rays, but you can also use it to punish an opponent who is zoning with projectiles from across the screen. For example, if use the X-Ray right as your opponent throws a projectile, the X-Ray will hit before they can block. This varies depending on the distance and the character you’re playing against, but it’s something that most other characters can’t do.

While the Skull Krusher is a useful punishment tool, Quan Chi is a character that relies heavily on enhanced special moves to keep him safe. It’s best to save your super meter for enhanced Ground Bursts and even Sky Crush and Air Sky Crush if you’re being pressured after getting knocked to the ground. Only use Skull Krusher if you know it will hit and it will end the match.

Basic Strategy

Your main focus as Quan Chi should be to get your opponent caught in a Trance so you can combo them or extend your combo. This is done by using his overhead and low attacks to mix-up the opponent and cause them to guess wrong. Unfortunately, that also means Quan Chi has to be unsafe in order to do this. Depending on which variation you use, the risk vs. reward on Quan Chi’s overhead/low mix-ups will be different, but in the end you want to get a hit in that leads to Trance and then continue your combo from there.

You can use the enhanced Ground Burst to keep some of Quan Chi’s combos safe if the opponent blocks. For example, the Darkness combo (1,2) is not safe if the opponent blocks, but you can tack on an enhanced Ground Burst to the end of the combo to keep Quan Chi safe from punishment and allow him to continue pressure with another attack or combo string..

Quan Chi’s main overhead attack is the Down Slash (Back+2). Normally the attack is not safe if the opponent blocks, but you can hold 2 to delay and charge the attack which makes it safe if the opponent blocks. It doesn’t have a natural combo extension like most other basic attacks, but you can cancel right into the Trance. This is a risk because you can’t confirm that the Down Slash hits before you cancel into the Trance, but when used after knocking an opponent into the air it’s a good way to get some damage in before you use Trance.

Your main low attack is the Krushing Kick (Back+3) which is also unsafe if the opponent blocks it. It leads into the Re-Animator combo (Back+3, 2,4) which launches your opponent into the air and allows you to follow with a juggle combo. However, if it’s blocked Quan Chi can be punished, so be careful with it.

The Straight Kick (Down+3) is safe if the opponent blocks and gives Quan Chi significant advantage if it hits. The Spin Kick (Down+4) is also a decent low attack that’s safe if the opponent blocks, although it’s a little slow.

Use the Annihilation combo (Forward+2,1,2) as a solid poking combo string that’s safe if the opponent blocks. If it hits you can continue into the Sinister combo (Forward+2,1,2,2) which launches your opponent into the air and allows Quan Chi to follow with a juggle combo into a Trance for even more damage.

The Pure Evil combo (Forward+1,4,2) is another good way to end juggle combos after knocking an opponent into the air. The last hit knocks your opponent to the far side of the screen which is a great setup to start using Ground Bursts.

Sorcerer Variant

The Sorcerer variation gives Quan Chi three new special moves, Black Magic (Down, Down+1), Final Hex (Down, Down+2) and Dark Curse (Down, Down+3). These create magic circles on the ground which have varying effects depending on the special move used.

Black Magic places a circle directly under Quan Chi and enhances his Skull and Ground Burst attacks while he’s standing in the circle. If you connect with either special move while in the circle it drains the opponent’s super meter by a small amount.

Final Hex places a circle below your opponent and causes them to take three times the normal chip damage. Meanwhile, Dark Curse places a circle under Quan Chi can gives him armor while he’s standing in it. Unfortunately, you only get one hit of armor every time Quan Chi enters the circle. If you remain standing in the circle you won’t get more armor until you leave the circle and then go back inside. Dark Curse can be useful after knocking an opponent down. Use it immediately and you’ll be protected against almost anything they do as they’re getting up.

These special moves work best when you have an opponent trapped in the corner. They only work when either Quan Chi or the opponent is standing in the circle (depending on which special move is used) and the simple fact of the matter is that you’re going to be moving quite a bit throughout the fight. Once you have an opponent trapped in the corner you can use a spell immediately after knocking an opponent to the ground, then gain the benefits of the spell the entire time you have the opponent trapped.

The corner strategy works especially well with the Final Hex special move. The increased chip damage works very well when your opponent has to worry about getting out of the corner. Use a combo that ends with the enhanced Ground Burst. This gives Quan Chi enough advantage to start another combo. If you have the meter available you can end the second combo with another enhanced Ground Burst and continue ravaging the opponent with chip damage.

Outside of using this during a corner trap, it’s difficult to setup these special moves and make them useful. As soon as you use Final Hex your opponent is going to try to move out of the circle, which means Quan Chi will get limited use out of it when the opponent isn’t trapped in the corner. If you use Black Magic, you may be able to pull off one or two Ground Bursts, but by then a smart opponent will have forced you to move out of the circle. The same goes for Dark Curse. You’ll get one hit of armor and then it’s unlikely you’ll be able to use it again before recasting the spell.

Warlock Variant

The Warlock variation gives Quan Chi the use of portals to enhance some of his attacks. He gains the Portal Kick (Forward+3) which is not safe if the opponent blocks, but it creates a portal behind the opponent that Quan Chi kicks through. This is great for punishing an opponent from across the screen when they throw a projectile or use another attacks that’s generally safe from a distance.

The Portal Slam combo (1,2,1+3) is a decent way to end a combo after knocking an opponent into the air, but it works best if you have meter to burn. By pressing block during the final attack, Quan Chi creates a portal that drops the opponent into the air and allows for a juggle combo follow-up. If you have meter this is a great way to follow a Trance or to punish an unsafe attack after blocking.

If you don’t have the meter to use on the Portal Slam combo, you can end a juggle combo with the Spellbinder combo (2,1,Forward+3) which keeps the opponent close to Quan Chi and allows him to go for an immediate overhead/low mix-up.

Finally, Quan Chi gains the Portal Grab (Down, Forward+2). While this isn’t an actual throw, it’s similar to the Portal Kick in that it can hit an opponent from across the screen. The enhanced version (Portal Stab) gives Quan Chi significant advantage so you can follow with another overhead/low mix-up. When used on an airborne opponent, then Portal Stab will leave them standing on the ground. This is a good way to end a juggle combo if you want to go for another overhead/low mix-up without having to worry about the opponent using an enhanced special move after getting up from the ground.

The Warlock variation works well against characters who like to sit across the screen and spam projectile attacks, but it requires a lot of meter to make it truly effective. In most cases you’ll get more out of the Summoner and Sorcerer variations.

Summoner Variant

Quan Chi’s Summoner variation and far and away his best variation at the moment thanks to the vortex ability it offers. He gains the ability to summon a Demon Spawn (Down, Back+3) in the form of a bat. The Demon Spawn has a variety of attacks that can be very beneficial depending on the situation at hand.

The Demon Grab (Down, Forward+3) is a throw that will miss the opponent is they’re crouching (and not blocking) just a like normal throw, and will go through their guard if they’re blocking standing or crouching. It also travels the entire length of the screen, but will not hit an aerial opponent like a normal throw.

The Demon Strike (Flip Stance button) is a mid attack that knocks an opponent back and allows you to run forward to get a juggle combo (easier in the corner). Demon Spark (Forward+Flip Stance) is a projectile attack, Rising Demon (Back+Flip Stance) knocks the opponent straight up for an easy juggle combo follow-up, and Demon Swoop (Down+Flip Stance) is a low attack that can be followed by a juggle combo.

All of these attacks except the Demon Grab give Quan Chi significant advantage if the opponent blocks them. If they hit Quan Chi can follow with a Trance if he’s close enough, or a Ground Burst. With the Demon Spawn out, almost all of Quan Chi’s attacks are safe because of the various attack options you have. For example, the Air Skull is normally punishable even if the opponent is hit by it, but follow it with the Demon Spark and suddenly Quan Chi has significant advantage.

The best use of the Demon Spawn is to setup Quan Chi’s vortex. After a Trance use Demon Spawn to summon the bat, then use the Demon Swoop in conjunction with a Down Slash (Back+2) or Neutral Jump Punch (jump straight up then press 1 or 2). The Demon Swoop is a low attack while the Down Slash and Neutral Jump Punch are overhead attacks. This forces an opponent to block overhead then immediately low or vice versa depending on how you timed your attacks with the Demon Swoop.

After a Trance, wait until you see Quan Chi’s hand move back down to his side. As soon as you see this summon the bat then immediately use Demon Swoop as you jump straight up. When you press 1 or 2 determines whether the Demon Swoop hits first or the Neutral Jump Punch. You can also use the Down Slash as an overhead, or even use a Straight Kick (Down+3) first, then follow with the Neutral Jump Punch and Demon Swoop.

No matter which connects first between the overhead and low attack, you can follow with a Down Slash into another Trance. You want to make sure you hit the opponent right as the first Trance wears off so that you can use a second Trance. If you hit the opponent too soon the second Trance can be blocked since it counts as part of the combo from the initial Trance (you can’t use two Trance special moves in a single combo). Using the Straight Kick before the overhead/low mix-up avoids this issue entirely.

If you time everything correctly, the only way an opponent can escape this looping Trance vortex is by using a special move with armor just before the Demon Swoop and overhead attack connect. If they don’t have meter they can’t do anything to escape, and if you connect with the Neutral Jump Punch second, you can perform a full combo into the next Trance for more damage.

At the moment nothing in Quan Chi’s other variations can match the potential of this vortex. Once you get it down, it’s the most efficient way to play the character.

Sample Combos

28 percent – Back+3,2,4, Back+1,2, Trance, Jump Forward Punch, 1,4,1

Summoner Only
33 percent – Forward+2,1,2,2, Back+2, Trance, Demon Spawn, Back+3,2,4, Demon Swoop, Forward+1,4,2

Warlock Only
32 percent – Back+3,2,4, Back+1,2, Trance, Jump Forward Punch, Forward+2,1,2, Portal Stab


Mind Game (Fatality 1) – Forward, Back, Forward, Back, 4 (Full Screen)
Both Ends (Fatality 2) – Down, Forward, Back, Forward, 2 (Close)


Kurb Stomp (Brutality 1) – Kill the opponent with Sky Crush (Down, Back+4+Block) and press Down, Down, Down before the last head slam of the attack.

For more information on Mortal Kombat X check out Prima’s free guide or head directly to our Kitana or Kung Jin strategies!

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