Mortal Kombat 11 has been out for a week now, and the competitive scene is starting to firm up. As players determine the tier rankings of each character, I have embarked on a ranking project of my own: figuring out which of the male characters of MK11 is most like my dad.
My dad has never fought in an Outworld tournament or been turned into a Cyber-Ninja, but he shares a number of qualities with the cast of MK11: perseverance, integrity, and a punny sense of humor. And so, while I debate diving into the game’s competitive scene (and coming to terms with the fact that the cowboy man is good), here is my ranking of every MK11 character based on how much they remind me of my dad.
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16. Kung Lao
Kung Lao’s whole deal in MK11 is that he’s Luigi and he hates it. He’s constantly comparing himself to Liu Kang and desperate to prove that he’s the equal of his more renowned Shaolin brother. I’m sorry, but I just don’t see my dad acting that way.
Plus, that hat is hardly sensible headwear — while it does protect Kung Lao’s decrepit zombie flesh from the harsh rays of the sun, it’s a real safety hazard. My dad wouldn’t let me dress as a Tusken raider for Halloween one year because the goggles restricted peripheral vision, so I sincerely doubt he’d wear a hat that’s also twelve knives.
14. Noob Saibot
Bi-Han, the original Sub-Zero, is all about the dark. When Simon and Garfunkel sang about talking with darkness, they were referring to Noob Saibot. I don’t know why anyone would want to talk to him, though — he’s such a bummer. Noob’s status as comedic black hole just doesn’t align with my dad’s values.
To be honest, I’m still not really sure what Kabal’s whole deal is. But he’s all scarred up and dual wields keyblades. Neither of those are characteristics of my dad.
12. Liu Kang
Mortal Kombat‘s chosen one, Liu Kang is a hero of Earthrealm and sometimes-god, sometimes-undead king. My dad isn’t any of those things. And as far as I know, he’s never worn a headband.
Let’s be real here: Kano is a dirty, nasty boy. My man begins every match by urinating in public and would sell his grandmother out for the right price. These are not qualities I associate with my dad. Kano is, however, an adventurous diner — he eats live lizards right off the ground. I’ve never seen my dad eat a lizard, but when I was a kid he used to make this soup full of baby octopuses whenever I had friends over.
10. Erron Black
One time, at an agricultural fair, my dad tried on a duster. I’m also pretty sure he’s worn a cowboy hat on more than one occasion. He likes country music, but he isn’t into guns. And I haven’t asked, but I think if I did he would agree with me that Erron Black is a terrible name and a cowboy doesn’t belong in Mortal Kombat.
Geras has the ability to create all kinds of things out of sand — he’s adaptable and resourceful, much like my dad. And while it may not seem like my dad has Geras’s powers over time, it sure used to seem like time was standing still when I was a teen and he asked if I’d been out drinking…
8. Shao Kahn
While my dad has been known to wield both sledgehammers and meat tenderizers, he just doesn’t share Shao Kahn’s lust for power. Also, he never created an evil and monstrous clone of me in something called a Flesh Pit. That I know of.
I’m pretty sure my dad was saying “Get over here!” before Scorpion was.
6. Johnny Cage
Being one of MK11‘s few Actual Dads boosts Johnny Cage’s ranking substantially. It also doesn’t hurt that the old Johnny of this game is actually a pretty down-to-earth dude. Sure, he still knows how to crack wise, but he also knows how to read the room. And while my dad definitely isn’t the Hollywood type, he is nearly always wearing sunglasses. Not only are they stylish, they protect your eyes from the harmful UV rays of the sun!
When you think about it, Raiden is kind of a dad to all of the heroes of Mortal Kombat. In MK11, he’s swung a little hard in the “my Earthrealm, my rules” direction. Thankfully, similar to my own father, he becomes easygoing during the events of the game.
Oh, and there’s this: Raiden is the god of thunder. My dad went to college to learn to be an electrician. Same thing!
4. Kotal Kahn
Kotal Kahn is a just ruler, but like most parents, he can also be a little stubborn. I’ve never known my dad to participate in blood sacrifices, but I’m not ruling the possibility out entirely. It was the 70s; things happened.
3. Jax Briggs
Much like my dad, Jax is big on family. Much like Jax, my dad has an extremely buff child. But unlike Jax, my dad also has a child who is not particularly buff — and instead spends most of her time writing lists about how her dad is like guys from a horror fighting video game.
The fan favorite ice ninja may not be a canonical dad in MK11, but he absolutely looks and acts like one. He probably looks more like my dad, physically, than any other character in the game. But what really seals the deal here are the ice puns. I have to imagine that if my dad got a hold of cryomancy powers, he’d immediately put Arnold Schwarzenegger as Mr. Freeze to shame.
This might seem unflattering to my dad, but let me explain my reasoning…
It seems to me that Baraka has three defining traits. First, he’s extremely proud. Second, he likes to work with his hands (I’m counting the two-foot bone blades that eject from his wrists). And third, he loves to cook and eat — he even has a recipe for human flesh! My dad is a consummate cook, has done all kinds of manual labor his whole life, and is definitely prideful.
Of all of the cast of MK11, Baraka is the one I can most easily see heating a nail and using it to pierce his smashed, blackened toenail to clean the wound. He is also the one I can most easily see at a grill, wearing a novelty apron. And he is definitely the only one who, if a Dairy Queen employee gave his child a mostly-melted wet mess of a Blizzard, would stare directly into their eyes and dare them to upend it until they relented and made a frozen treat that was, as per their promise, upside downright thick.