Maybe Scorpion Is A Little Too Popular In Mortal Kombat X

Maybe Scorpion Is A Little Too Popular In Mortal Kombat X

He’s on the cover of the latest Mortal Kombat game. He’s widely regarded as the one of the most iconic fighting game characters. Everyone knows the “GET OVER HERE” catchphrase. Despite being somewhat of a villain, Scorpion is well-loved by Mortal Kombat players.

And why not? Look at him. He’s an undead ninja with hellfire powers. He can do this, for crying out loud:

Picture: GhostRobo

Scorpion is cool. Fact! And yet, since the release of Mortal Kombat X I’ve seen one common complaint among some Mortal Kombat fans: too many people are playing as Scorpion online. Observe.

From r/MortalKombat:

From the official Mortal Kombat forum:

This round-up does not include the innumerable number of people online that I saw claiming they were choosing Scorpion as their main, for what it’s worth.

I couldn’t help but wonder: was Mortal Kombat X actually overrun with Scorpions online? Or were people exaggerating? This is hardly scientific, but I hopped into 10 online player matches recently, and at least half of them were Scorpion, yes. But obviously, that’s not enough data.

When I looked at the leaderboards for the PS4 yesterday, I didn’t necessarily see Scorpion everywhere. The only list that included Scorpion in the top ten was the ranked player list, and as you can see here, rdales doesn’t have more matches than most players represented on the leaderboard:

What about average players that aren’t tearing up leaderboards, though? Thankfully, Mortal Kombat X does give player stats. Annoyingly, they’re displayed only on the Online page in random snippets. You can’t control what the game shows you; it just throws trivia at you. I’ve stared at this screen for hours, hoping that it would tell me how often Scorpion has been used so far. Along the way, I learned how often other characters are selected, which is still useful!

While this isn’t every fighter in the game, it’s enough to give us a sense of how popular the average character tends to be. On the low end, we’ve got characters like Shinnok and Jason. On the higher end, we’ve got Raiden and Takada. How do these numbers compare to Scorpion, though? Glad you asked:

More than double than most of the characters I just highlighted. For real.

Now lets say for arguments sake that this still leaves a lot of other characters, which very well may be popular. But in my experience, most characters trail far behind Scorpion. The only character that comes close is Subzero, and he’s still trailing behind Scorpion by a few million.

This probably isn’t surprising, right? Scorpion has always been a popular character. Of course that didn’t change in the latest game. It’s just interesting to see the numbers stack up like this. It’s also interesting to consider within the wider range of multiplayer games out there. Most games have a character like this — someone that everyone likes to flock to. Smash Bros. had Diddy and Little Mac. Street Fighter 4 has Ken and Ryu. Mario Kart 8 has a ton of Links.

So why does something like this happen; why isn’t there a more even spread of popular characters? First off, that never happens. People always have their favourites in everything — have you taken a look at how the Faction War is playing out in Mortal Kombat? Nobody wants to be Special Forces. Everyone is picking Lin Kuei, and as a result, they’re steamrolling all the other factions.

When it comes to characters in video games specifically, my guess is that highly-picked characters occur thanks to a mix of good design and ease of use. The easier a character is to pick up, the more people will play that character, and the more that the fanbase will start to dislike that character. That’s just how things go…but this also means that negative sentiments around popular characters are sometimes rooted in elitism. Can you blame anyone, though? It’s hard not to get annoyed at anything you’ve overexposed to. Even the catchiest song will turn into the devil once you listen to it enough times.

To be clear, I don’t want to police the choices of anyone reading this. If you’re interested in Scorpion, play Scorpion! You do you. But this information about Scorpion interests me for two reasons. One, I love the personalities that characters in multiplayer take on based entirely on the people who play them. There’s always a character that everyone loves. There’s always a character that everyone hates. And there are characters in-between, all of which offer us a window into the soul of the person playing the game. You might be able to tell a thing or two from a person that likes to play, say, the Zeus in Dota 2, or Teemo in League of Legends. And everyone knows that the people who like to be snipers in shooters are kind of the worst. What might we say about a Scorpion players, the most common Mortal Kombat fans of them all? I’m curious to know.

The other reason why this information matters to me is because I’ve been agonising over what character to main in Mortal Kombat. Now that I know that everyone and their mum is playing as Scorpion, I’m probably gonna try picking someone else. No offence, Scorpion players. I just gotta pretend I’m some unique butterfly or some shit.


  • Maybe it’s just the people I’ve played against, maybe it’s just because they’re Australian, but the people I’ve played against haven’t used Scorpion more or less than any other character (although, they still spam the same moves over and over again and get whomped by me).

    Anyways, I main Ferra/Torr. I’m doing pretty good, people are afraid to fight me up close, so they try backing up and spamming range while blocking. Doesn’t stop me just tossing Ferra at them until they die.

    Last night I finally went up against a decent player using Kano. Had good zoning and good close range combos. When he backed me into a corner he could really lay down the punishment. But I stuck with it and started winning some matches against him.

  • I don’t mind Scorpion, but my favourites would be Ermac, Ferra/Torr and D’Vorah. Side note though, Sonya Blade’s garrote parry ability is amazing 😛 reminds me of being really attuned to Arkham City’s combat system and snapping whatever limbs come my way.

    I think one of the main reasons I’m not fussed by Scorpion is that he actually has a relatively small list of moves, and most of his combos are pretty straightforward and involve the same motions. Perhaps that’s just how I feel, and perhaps it comes from him also being in every MK I’ve played, with the same or similar movesets.

  • Sub-Zero has always been my favorite character, ever since the first time I saw his fatality in the original MK in the arcades. It’s not surprising Scorpion is the most used character in MKX though given you start the game with only access to Scorpion and Sub-Zero and the tutorial teaches you how to play the game with Scorpion.

  • Scorpions been my favourite since the start of the MK franchise, it’s annoying that everyone plays him 🙁

    • This^^ I’ve loved Scorpion since MK back on the Master System. I will be getting MK X this week now im going to feel cheap if I use him 🙁 Its funny tho I remember back in MK9 Ermac seemed to be the most popular choice.

      • Fuck everyone else, if he’s your favourite character then use him until you get sick of him.

  • I typically use Kung Jin, I used Scorpion a couple of times and it is tooeasy to spam his attacks.

    I fought against Sub Zero online and the person just used the ice slide all the time

  • Funny I’ve played maybe 20 matches online and I’m yet to encounter a Scorpion player. Granted that’s a small sample size, but even so I find it surprising.

    To be honest it’s been quite good for me online apart from the odd laggy match. Lots of variety in character selection, and no one spamming, everyone trying combos and specials where appropriate. Maybe I’ve just been lucky. Though I do only use rooms so I can find a good connection.

  • Scorpion is best. I say this with the authority of someone who last played MK with 3 on the MegaDrive.

  • The ninjas of Mortal Kombat are the equivalent of the shotokaners of Street Fighter.

    When did this become an issue?

  • My fav is sub zero, and scorpion is probably my second most used. I’ve been using them since i started playing MK though, not because they’re ‘easy’ but just because I liked those characters. There are heaps of characters with ‘cheap’ moves, scorpion just seems to be the one mainly used. In the end, its not all that hard to counter especially if they’re relying on the same couple of moves

  • I’ve always used Jax…but really can’t warm to him in this. Seem to have found my groove with Ermac and Takeda.

    • Have you spent some time with Jacqui? I used him as a secondary in previous games, but he’s not grabbing me in MKX either. But Jacqui both has some interesting variations on some of Jax’s moves while also feeling like a breath of fresh air.

      • Jacqui or Jax? Cz Jacqui is a she not a he right?

        I spent some time with Jax…but to be fair, only tried out one of his variations (Pumped Up.)

        • Sorry, I meant that Jacqui has some interesting variations on some of Jax’s moves without just being a clone character.

  • I always played any of the ninjas including Reptile, Smoke etc. They were just that little bit cooler than everyone else to me.

  • I don’t get it, so many of his moves that scrubs spam are block unsafe – he’s so easy to punish.

    • A lot of people aren’t prepared to block from range, believing they’re only at danger up close. They’re also not fully aware of which stance to block with.

  • From MK’s beginnings I’ve thought that Scorpion is usually popular because his harpoon attack is easy to pull off, can pull in enemies from across the screen, and allow the player to unleash that classic, devastating uppercut. It’s an easily spammable combination for players of any skill level.

  • I always used Sub Zero in the first MK, from 2 – 4 I preferred Liu Kang. Since then I really don’t have a favourite. Always loved Scorpion however, just never as my main.

  • I’ve played through Demon’s Souls, Darks Souls 2, and Bloodborne. Haven’t raged at all. I played one online match of Mortal Kombat X and never have I been so mad at a game. All the players are freaks! Endless supply of combos, and it feels like they move twice the speed you do.

  • I still remember when MK landed on the arcades. There was a crowd in front the coin-up machine and the first thing I heard was “GET OVER HERE!”. Was such a huge hit back then, but both scorpion and sub zero are well known. The difference is that Scorpion was louder. xD !

  • Always loved Sub Zero, but have been partial to Kano. Cybernetic Kano is my favorite thing in MKX.

  • I’m actually enjoying all the Scorpion players as all you need to do is block and it leaves them wide open for an attack.

  • I don’t own MKX but in older titles my main has always been raiden , Kano, kenshi, shao Kahn, and then the oddballs like Shujinko, meat, mokap

  • “And everyone knows that the people who like to be snipers in shooters are kind of the worst. ”


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