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Tournament Variation Kompendium and Discussion


Up rock incoming, ETA 5 minutes
Here is a full list of all tournament legal variations along with the names of their unique moves and a short description of what you get. You can quickly make your variation a tournament variation by selecting "use a preset" in the character kustomization menu in the "Abilities" section. You can also select a tourney variation in practice mode menu options. When playing in ranked modes or "kompetitive" mode, the game defaults to tournament variations and your costume/gear will be whichever stuff you had equipped in the first slot or your default variation.

I'll try to make notes that give a nice little description of what the moves do and if there are any conflicts or the like. I will update the thread as DLC is released along with any extra variations or adjustments they may add. Feel free to use this thread as a place to discuss general tourney variation stuff.

A: Marauder​
Slot 1: Gutted​
Slot 2: Gutted​
Slot 3: Baraka Barrage​
Notes: Gutted is a big damage combo extender, Baraka Barrage gives him two extra pokes and a jump in that uses his arm blades. This is a very fundamental and honest variation but you are heavily rewarded for converting hits.​

B: Bone Picker​
Slot 1: Blood Lunge​
Slot 2: Blood Lunge​
Slot 3: Spine Burst​
Notes: Blood Lunge is a command grab with great range, though it is a high and(as of a patch) is susceptible to D2 krushing blows. Spine Burst is a fantastic anti air special that gives meterless combo potential in the corner and gives Baraka some more access to safety or to mixup block string options.​

Cassie Cage:
A: Digital Soldier​
Slot 1: (Air) Bullet Barrage​
Slot 2: Kneecappin'​
Slot 3: Flippin' Out​
Notes: (Air) Bullet Barrage is Cassie's air gunshots that have a third grounded hit from amplify. Kneecappin' is a mid hitting "low gun shot" that can be used as a combo extender for a big launch. Flippin' Out is this special move with three ranges where she jumps into the air and shoots a couple shots down. Flippin' Out hits mid and is unsafe, but perhaps you would use it as an approaching "fuck neutral" tool.​
B: Yaas Queen​
Slot 1: BLB-118 Energy Burst​
Slot 2: BLB-118 Energy Burst​
Slot 3: Shoulder Charge​
Notes: Glad this move made it in, BLB-118 Energy Burst is this special where she sends her drone forward to do a very large proximity burst. It's unsafe but with decent startup and 6 active frames. It doesn't knockdown and can be amplified for a grounded combo extension. Shoulder Charge is what is sounds like, a nice fast charge that is unsafe. Charge can be amplified to do considerable damage, but not on block. If the opponent is late to block Shoulder Charge it can trigger a KB on amplify.​

A: Force of Nature​
Slot 1: Earthquake​
Slot 2: Delay Boulder Rush​
Slot 3: Shattering Boulder (Replaces Natural Barrier)​
Notes: Earthquake is a double hitting, tracking low ground pound that works as a great zoning tool and grants Cetrion some overhead/low mixups. Delay Boulder Rush allows Cetrion to hold the boulder where she can switch to the other version(the ground can be switched to air if you see them jump, etc.) and she can cancel it for a bar of defensive meter to bait the opponent. Shattering Boulder is a mid explosion that can be aimed at three ranges and has an amplify extension, the move is slow but has a good hitbox and is plus on block. Shattering Boulder replaces her projectile reflect move.​
B: Spring Cleaning​
Slot 1: Geyser​
Slot 2: Geyser​
Slot 3: H2 P0rt​
Notes: Geyser is a range based puddle move that will grant combo extensions on amplify. A KB is attached if Cetrion whiffs is a few times before hitting. H2 P0rt is very similar to Raiden's Sparkport but can be used in the air. The teleport allows Cetrion to convert off of Geyser amplify at any range. Note that this is the only variation where she has Natural Barrier for projectile reflects. This variation seems well suited for counter zoning.​

A: Buzzed​
Slot 1: (Air) Ticking Time Bug​
Slot 2: Strepsiptera​
Slot 3: Parasite​
Notes: (Air) Ticking Time Bug is a unique move that is similar to Shang Tsung's up skull from MK9, but activating from the air and being slower moving. D'vorah shoots a larva on the ground at one of three ranges, which hatches into a wasp which flies into the heavens, hitting the opponent if they get in the way. The amplified version shoots a was at all three ranges at once, creating an obstacle course for the opponent. Strepsiptera is this weird setup where D'vorah drops out a big larva which hatches a mid hitting wasp tracking projectile that travels half screen. The amplified version shoots three wasps and can grant combos and strong pressure when used correctly. Parasite gives D'vorah three new enders that cause Krushing Blows under different circumstance. The 121+3 ender will KB on punish which is particularly useful and the F22D1+3 ender gives D'vorah a nice safe overhead from F22.​
B: Arachnophobia​
Slot 1: Widow's Kiss​
Slot 2: Widow's Kiss​
Slot 3: Deadly Swarm​
Notes: Widow's Kiss is a Bat-Girl style teleport that can be amplified for a combo extension. Deadly Swarm makes some of D'vorah's specials apply a wasp to the opponent. You can visually see the wasps and the Deadly Swarm attack allows D'vorah to use a bar of meter to have her wasps quickly do 30 damage to the opponent, up to 5 wasps can be on the opponent. Wasps reset whenever there is a cinematic animation. Her normal projectile Fireflies and her restand Swarm will apply one wasp each. Fireflies amplify will apply two and Swarm will apply five. Deadly Swarm is a good way to accumulate damage over the course of a round and to finish off the opponent in low health situations.​
Erron Black:
A: 52 Kard Pickup​
Slot 1: Enhanced Locked and Loaded​
Slot 2: Outworld Gunslinger​
Slot 3: Scud Shot​
Notes: Enhanced Locked and Loaded adds several new options to his gun stance. He gets a new low shot where he lies prone on the ground, avoiding plenty of attacks, and the move has an amplified version that will quickly fire three shots if you should have that many. Most importantly, he gets access to his Rising Stock launcher which allows him to hit confirm many strings into combos and it has a KB if the rifle needs to be reloaded. Additionally, the stance is given a slower overhead launcher and the ability to continuously reload bullets rather than one at a time. Outworld Gunslinger grants Erron several extra strings and an amplify option from his F4 on block. The string give Erron a little bit more mixup/combo potential but I think the main draw is the 32 string allowing you to do some goofy zoning with pistol shots. Scud Shot is a powerful stance that absorbs all moves considered projectiles and can be amplified for a fast mid shot. This move allows Erron stagger strings for safety and possible mixups, as it can be quickly cancelled.​
B: Barking Irons​
Slot 1: Cattle Toss​
Slot 2: TNT Toss​
Slot 3: Enhanced Rattle Snake Slide​
Notes: Cattle Toss is a high command grab with considerable range and can be amplified for a nice chunk of damage. TNT Toss is a slow special that throws TNT at different ranges which explodes and can hit both opponents and Erron. Enhanced Rattle Snake Slide allows him to cancel his slide for good mixups and combo potential.​

A: Frost-Byte​
Slot 1: Cryogenic Crown​
Slot 2: Cryogenic Crown​
Slot 3: Arctic Barrage​
Notes: Cryogenic Crown is similar to Cyber Sub's Ice Bombs in MKX, but they hit mid and are more strict when it comes to combos. Cryogenic Crown replaces Core Discharge. Arctic Barrage is unsafe but it's a charging overhead barrage that works as a nice combo ender and has a KB that occurs if you whiff punish a low attack and amplify the move.​
B: Ice Machine​
Slot 1: Auger Lunge​
Slot 2: Glacier Calving​
Slot 3: Microburst​
Notes: Auger Lunge is a fast charge-type move that can be used to punish and as an ender. When amplified, Auger Lunge will give much more corner carry and after 3 amplified Lunges, another Lunge will activate a combo Krushing Blow. Glacier Carving is a projectile absorb that stays on screen for a few moments which allows Frost to have better zoning and neutral control. This variation does have Core Discharge where frost shoots a high-hitting explosion at different ranges. Microburst is a proximity burst that can be amplified to freeze for combos.​

A: New Era​
Slot 1: Stepping It Back​
Slot 2: Stepping It Back​
Slot 3: Sand Pillar​
Notes: Stepping It Back allows Geras to cancel the startup of normal attacks to go back to where he was standing before startup for one bar of defensive meter. Sand Pillar is a mid projectile with a tall hitbox and can be used to extend combos in the corner. Sand Pillar Amplify is a delayed sand pillar which can be used for setups and for swaggy combos.​
B: Infinite Warden​
Slot 1: Quick Sand​
Slot 2: Gauntlet Of The Ages​
Slot 3: Bed Of Spikes​
Notes: Quick Sand upgrades Sand Trap's hit reaction into a teleport type move, allowing Geras to avoid trades and get close for pressure. If Quick Sand is a Kounter/Punish, it will Krushing Blow for a large chunk of damage. Gauntlet Of The Ages is an upgraded Big Fist that is a charge stance which increases the damage of Geras' next attack which uses his gauntlet, Geras can cancel the stance or go into History Lesson which is a mid that is plus on block and will Krushing Blow if the gauntlet is fully charged. It's like Donkey Kong's punch in Smash Bros. Bed Of Spikes replaces Geras command grab and works as an ender and combo extender when amplified.​

Jacqui Briggs:
A: 1st Round Ko​
Slot 1: Lethal Clinch​
Slot 2: Cybernetic Override​
Slot 3: Robo Grappler​
Notes: Lethal Clinch is a combo "grab" with different enders that can lead to a KB. Cybernetic Override allows Jacqui to cancel certain strings and her sweep. Robo Grappler gives Jacqui the unique ability to counter the opponent with a throw after you perform a throw tech.​
Next Gen​
Slot 1: Grenade Launcer​
Slot 2: (Air) Dive Bomb​
Slot 3: Tech-Dome​
Notes: Grenade Launcher is the blue fire projectile that hits mid, does DOT and leaves "caltrops" on the ground. (Air) Dive Bomb is a dive kick. Tech-Dome is a large area of effect damage reduction buff for Jacqui.​

A: Emerald Defender​
Slot 1: (Air) Razor Rang​
Slot 2: Upward Razor-Rang​
Slot 3: Edenian Spark​
Notes: (Air) Razor Rang is a very useful downward air glaive. Upward Razor-Rang swings down for some tricky zoning. Edenian Spark is a low projectile for zoning purposes and unsafe mixups.​
B: Jaded​
Slot 1: Pole Vault​
Slot 2: Pole Vault Cancel​
Slot 3: Amplify Blazing Nitro Kick​
Notes: Pole Vault with the cancel is essentially a run command that will cancel into "Pole Vault" which is a safe mid where Jade comes from above. The other option out of the run is the Pole Vault Cancel for a bar of defensive meter, this can be used to run in for pressure or for on block pressure, especially when mixed with regular Pole Vaults. Amplify Blazing Nitro Kick is MK9 style and pushes the opponent forward, which is valuable as this is a more rushdown oriented Jade and corner positioning is all the more important.​
A: Grinnin' Barrett​
Slot 1: Duck And Weave​
Slot 2: Briggs Barricade​
Slot 3: Ripped​
Notes: Duck and Weave(Dudley eat your heart out!) replaces his charge and has Jax move forward, lowering his hurt box and putting him into a stance. In this stance, he can do a mid punch with an amplified version that combos, a low "grab" and the Ripped overhead. Briggs Barricade is a projectile absorb that builds Jax arm heat. Ripped is a slow but safe overhead that can be amplified on hit for a combo, this move can be used in Duck and Weave stance.​
B: Hunker Down​
Slot 1: Quad Grab​
Slot 2: Burning Hammer​
Slot 3: Expert Grappler​
Notes: Quad Grab is a high command grab with interesting properties. First, Jax can turn the opponent around, choosing the ultimate side that he will end up on. Second, he has to dial in buttons to extend each hit from the Quad Grab, with the last two costing meter but getting the damage up to 180 when done raw. If you time the hit correctly, the final hit will activate a Krushing Blow that does massive damage. Burning Hammer is an air throw that can be used from the ground or in the air. Expert Grappler gives him access to Krushing Blows from his overheads when he's heated up.​

Johnny Cage:
A: Shock Jock​
Slot 1: Mime Time​
Slot 2: Brass Knuckles​
Slot 3: Caged Rage​
Notes: Mime Time is a Ninja Mime parry, which has a KB. Brass Knuckles is a timed buff that substantially increases Johnny's chip damage, which works well with his third ability. Caged Rage is hook punch that is a safe high and becomes an unblockable if the opponent blocks it twice.​
B: Show Stopper​
Slot 1: Say Cheese​
Slot 2: Say Cheese​
Slot 3: Throwing Shades​
Notes: Say Cheese replaces Nut Punch as a combo extension but leaved the opponent standing, allowing for a multitude of enders. Is Say Cheese completely whiffs 3 times in a row, the 4th one will KB on amplify for big damage. The idea is that Johnny is taking pictures of the opponent. You can also get a KB from Say Cheese if it's the first hit of a match, but that would have to be a Nomad Dash punish or something. Throwing Shades is a mediocre projectile that has a KB that activates when you use it as an ender in a combo with a Fatal Blow cancel or if the shades are the first hit of the match, the move can also grant nice hit advantage at the end of combos. This variation makes use of strong grounded combos to avoid the wakeup system and has super swaggy KB combos.​

A: Mean Streak​
Slot 1: Rolling Buzzsaw​
Slot 2: (Air) Straight Buzzin'​
Slot 3: Dash Cancel​
Notes: MK9 style. Rolling Buzzsaw is a low projectile and can be amplified for a second hit, enhancing Kabal's zoning and giving him some more mixup potential. (Air) Straight Buzzin' replacing the downward buzzsaw and it's a straight air buzzsaw. If you use it low to the ground and amplify it you can connect a nomad dash from max range. His Dash Cancel allows him to cancel his nomad dash for better frame advantage on strings and normals.​
B: Clean Cut​
Slot 1: Low Hook Grab​
Slot 2: Nomad Spin​
Slot 3: Extended Hook​
Notes: Low Hook Grab is an unsafe low special that gives Kabal better mixup potential, especially because Low Hook Grab can KB if it is used raw from neutral and the opponent is stand blocking. Nomad spin is a possible combo ender and anti air but has utility with it's very long active frames and great hitbox. Extended Hook is a nice restand that pulls the opponent in and gives +2 hit advantage. Extended Hook may be tough for some characters to punish due to the pushback.​
A: Ripper​
Slot 1: Lumbar Check​
Slot 2: Rack Off​
Slot 3: Manhandled​
Notes: Lumbar Check is a command grab with an amplified version for more damage. He has some tick throws with it from stuff like D1, 11 and 24. Rack Off is a parry that can be amplified for more damage, this parry is vulnerable to lows. Manhandled replaced the enders to the 22 and 24 string and adds a string to F4. 221+3 can be used to amplify for more damage, 241+3 can be amplified for a juggle and F43 can be used to add more damage to F4 on hit.​
B: Dirt Bag​
Slot 1: Vege-Mighty​
Slot 2: Molotov Cocktail​
Slot 3: Chemical Burn​
Notes: Vege-Mighty is a long lasting buff that gives the next Kano Ball one hit of armor, during the active frames. While buffed, Kano can do an anti-air armored Up-Ball by holding up after Kano-Ball. Molotov Cocktail is a "caltrops" esque that can be aimed at different ranges and does 10 damage per tick for 120 damage. Chemical burn is an unsafe mid that has Kano retreat, causes some DOT and doesn't cause a knockdown. Opponents who are affected with Chemical Burn's DOT will be hit by an unblockable 80 damage if they walk into a Molotov Cocktail. Note that this variation is the only tourney variation with 223 and 241, those enders become grab inputs with "Manhandled" and cause different reactions on hit.​

A: Fan-Fare​
Slot 1: (Air) Fan Flutter​
Slot 2: Ground War​
Slot 3: Royal Projection​
Notes: (Air) Fan Flutter is her classic float that allows her to change her jump arc and do things like two jump in attacks in one jump arc or to fake the opponent out. Ground War gives Kitana a grounded Square Wave which functions very similar to the air version. Royal Projection is a projectile absorb that lasts for a few frames.​
B: Highborn​
Slot 1: Half Blood Stance​
Slot 2: Half Blood Stance​
Slot 3: Edenian Razors​
Notes: Half Blood Stance is Kitana's "Mileena" stance. It has 4 options for each button. Gutted is a mid stab that is safe-ish and can be used as a combo ender. Seeking Sai is a "from the heavens" projectile that will track the opponent(only about 75% of screen distance) and hit mid, which could be used for zoning and possible setups. Dive Kick is Mileena's teleport and can be amplified into a fan throw for extra damage and possible air combos. Finally, you can cancel the stance for pressure. Edenian Razors is this move where Kitana has fans orbit around her. The fans hit high and it seems like a move that could be used to hit an approaching opponent with its long active frames. In my testing I was able to kounter all of Liu Kang's Wu Shi Legend teleport options with it. Note that Kitana does not have fan lift in this variation.​

A: Back in the Pack​
Slot 1: Up Demonic Mace​
Slot 2: Demonic Clutch​
Slot 3: Fade Out​
Notes: Up Demonic Mace is identical to the normal Demonic Mace except in that it is an anti-air, it is a high and it has no Krushing Blow attached. Demonic Clutch is a fast command grab that cannot be ducked and has a KB that launched for full combo if the move punishes a tech roll. Fade Out is a relatively slower teleport with no alternate teleport options but remains a strong tool for Kollector to get close or to convert off of his amplified Bola.​
B: Spare Change​
Slot 1: Bag Bomb​
Slot 2: Vial Of Sorrow​
Slot 3: Demonic Comet​
Notes: Bag Bomb is an arching projectile that can be thrown at different ranges. The projectile is slow but is good on block and grants Kollector some much needed neutral control. Vial Of Sorrow is similar to Erron Black's catrops/acid in a sense, Kollector throws down fire at one of three ranges. The fire won't last long, but it does 20 damage for four ticks in a quick spurt. You could potentially win projectile trades using Vial of Sorrow with that damage. If Bag Bomb us used almost immediately the vial, it can actually hit the fire and cause an explosion that will launch for a combo! There are some setups involving this but it could be tough to get a lot of mileage out of it. Demonic Comet simply allows Kollector to use Bag Bomb and Vial Of Sorrow in the air.​
Kotal Khan:
A: Ascension​
Slot 1: Heuhhueyi​
Slot 2: God Ray​
Slot 3: Kahn-Cut​
Notes: Heuhueyi is a command grab that gives Kotal a damage buff and can be amplified for more damage. God Ray is a more offensive based version of Sunbeam. Khan-Cut is a special move shoutout to his MKX F2 that gives him more combo opportunity and a possible neutral tool.​
B: Kitty Kat Totemic​
Slot 1: Eztli Totem​
Slot 2: Tecuani Maul​
Slot 3: (Air) Tecuani Pounce​
Notes: Eztli Totem is an upgraded version of Blood Totem from MKX. With three possible totems on screen at once, it will give back health to Kotal depending on the amount of damage he does during the Totem's duration and the number of totems. Kotal also gets the burst of health back when he summons a totem. Tecuani Maul is his kitty charge and can be used as a charge move to punish or check in neutral. (Air) Tecuani Pounce/Party Crasher is essentially a divekick that can be used to punish get more respect on Kotal's jump ins. Note that he doesn't have God Ray, so he has his normal Sun Beam which will summon on himself and can be amplified to follow the opponent around. The normal Sun Beam is more effective for turtling but probably less effective as an offensive tool then God Ray.​

Kung Lao:
A: Lotus Fist​
Slot 1: Orbiting Hat​
Slot 2: Orbiting Hat​
Slot 3: Omega Hat​
Notes: Lotus Fist's draw is all about the Orbiting Hat. Orbiting Hat returns from MKX but this time it's much more powerful and has longer range. It costs both a bar of defensive and offensive meter just to use Orbiting Hat, but it's a mid projectile that will orbit around Kung Lao and hit an opponent it touches. The will disappear if Lao is hit or blocks a move. Orbiting Hat looks to be a strong neutral tool that will have combo and pressure potential. When amplified, Orbiting Hat will throw a second hat(where the hell does he get two of them...) that will float higher on his body. Omega Hat is an alternate amplify that will increase the range of orbiting hat for its duration. Humorously, you can increase the multiple times if you put refill meter on in practice mode. This variation seems like it will be among the most difficult to master due to the awkwardness of Orbiting Hat but it seems like a very strong tool.​
B: Hat Tricks​
Slot 1: Guided Hat​
Slot 2: Z Hat​
Slot 3: (Air) Teleport​
Notes: Guided Hat is simply Lao's classic Hat throw where he can change the arc. Z Hat is unique projectile with long startup that travels in a "Z" pattern. The move can potentially hit three times, ending in a low. Z Hat is almost safe and the amplified version is fantastic on block. Z Hat can also be cancelled for a bar of defensive stamina. Air Teleport just allows him to use his teleport in the air. When he does it in the air, he doesn't do the throwing animation but he has travel time moving down so the Air Teleport may be faster or slower depending on the situation.​

Liu Kang:
A: Luohan Quan​
Slot 1: Shaolin Stance​
Slot 2: Low Fireball​
Slot 3: Dragon Parry​
Notes: Shaolin Stance is a stance Liu can cancel into that has a cancel for a bar of defensive meter, an almost safe low and a string of attacks that leads into an overhead. More on Shaolin Stance later. Low Fireball is a quality low fireball that can be amplified for a second high projectile that could be used for juggles in the corner as well as zoning. Dragon Parry is a parry that Liu can amplify for big damage. If Dragon Parry counters a wakeup attack it will Krushing Blow which can lead to massive damage if amplified.​
B: Wu Shi Legend​
Slot 1: Energy Parry​
Slot 2: Dragon Fire​
Slot 3: Dragon's Gifts​
Notes: Energy Parry is a nice little projectile absorb with Liu's nunchaku. Dragon Fire is a damage buff of 17% to all of Liu's moves for around 7 seconds. Dragon's Gifts is a teleport that can only be used when Dragon Fire is activated. The teleport has three different versions. The quickest version is Shaolin Strike, which is an almost sage high that can be used on either side of the opponent. Shaolin Trip is an unsafe low sweep Shaolin Stomp is an unsafe overhead from above.​
A: Motoka Warrior​
Slot 1: Rising Tomahawk​
Slot 2: Rising Tomahawk​
Slot 3: Spirit Of Kiba​
Notes: Rising Tomahawk is an unsafe combo starter that grants meterless combos in the corner and midscreen BNBs with one or two bars. The second hit is an overhead but it's unsafe both ways with a gap inbetween. Spirit Of Kiba is where he summons the wolf and gets a damage buff, on amplify it adds more recovery frames but grants armor.​
B: Ancestral Gift​
Slot 1: Tomahawk Swing​
Slot 2: Grappling Stalker​
Slot 3: Moonlight Reflector​
Notes: Tomahawk Swing is a high hitting command grab good for mixups and combo enders. It has a damage over time KB on reversal punishes, leaves the opponent close for more offense and has a amplify version which grants a super advantageous knockdown. Grappling Stalker gives Nightwolf two more combo enders on the end of strings in 221+3 and B341+3. 221+3 is a punish KB and B341+3 grants a side switch. Moonlight Reflector grants an amplified version of reflect that functions as a neutral teleport, Nightwolf can immediately teleport or do so right after reflecting a projectile.​

Noob Saibot:
A: Seeing Double​
Slot 1: Ghostball​
Slot 2: (Air) Tele-Slam​
Slot 3: Shadow Slide​
Notes: Ghostball is an unblockable projectile. (Air) Tele-Slam is merely his teleport in the air. Shadow Slide half screen range slide projectile. This variation is very straight forward, mostly being based around Shadow Slide and having a faster teleport in Air Teleport.(As Noob travels upwards to teleport.)​
B: Dark Sabbath​
Slot 1: Spirit Ball​
Slot 2: Shadow Portals​
Slot 3: (Air) Sickle Port​
Notes: Super fast high hitting Ghost Ball in Spirit Ball. Shadow Portals turns his teleport amplify into a combo extension for big damage combos. (Air) Sickle Port is an alternate teleport out of the air that hits mid and combos when amplified. Sickle Port helps make up for the lack of air teleport.​
A: Thunder Wave​
Slot 1: Sparkport​
Slot 2: Sparkport​
Slot 3: Storm Cell​
Notes: Sparkport is Raiden's teleport which can be done at different ranges and amplified for some double teleport trickery. Storm Cell is a combo starting special when amplified and the move has a large hitbox but is unsafe. Storm Cell conflicts with Summon Lightning, his anti air grab/combo ender. This variation doesn't override his base move, Lightning Strike.​
B: Raijin​
Slot 1: Electric Burst​
Slot 2: Quick Charge​
Slot 3: Electric Current​
Notes: Electric Burst is a proximity burst with good hit advantage and active frames, it may be tough to punish for some characters. Electric Burst overrides the base move, Lightning Strike, a good zoning tool. Quick Charge buffs Electric Current, causes Raiden to take 50% less chip damage and gives him access to Discharge(DB3, same input) after he blocks three attacks but during the duration of Quick Charge buff. Discharge is a 4 frame mid special that is the fastest reversal in the game as far as I know. Electric Current is a low with an amplify that does more damage.(Can you juggle this?) If Quick Charge is activated, Electric Current will shoot a low projectile on top of its normal attack. This variation has the anti-air/combo ender move, Summon Lightning as a base move.​

A: Reborn​
Slot 1: Hell Port Cancel​
Slot 2: Hell Port Cancel​
Slot 3: Demon Slam​
Notes: Hell Port Cancel allows Scorpion to cancel teleport backwards or after he teleports and has an air grab. Demon Slam is an air grab with a KB. The teleport cancels make Scorpion's teleport drastically more threatening, allowing him to pressure the opponent and make them antsy about blocking too much.​
B: Searing Rage​
Slot 1: Death Spin​
Slot 2: Death Spear Kombo​
Slot 3: Burning Spear​
Notes: Death Spin grants Scorpion a fast special where he spins his spear around. Although this move is unsafe, it comes out quickly and has a wide hit box while doing considerable chip damage, with the amplify adding additional hits. Death Spear Combo gives Scorpion two new string options that use his spear. His F32 string ends overhead/low, and while it is unsafe, it add more damage to punishes and increases the threat of F3 in neutral because the overhead can be special cancelled for combos. 212+4 is a safe mid that can be used for a combo ender and to get some respect for 212. Burning Spear merely buffs the damage and chip damage that spear attacks do for Scorpion for a short while, and it makes the chip from Death Spin deadly.​
Shang Tsung:
A: Fire And Brimstone (Warlock)​
Slot 1: Inferno Skull​
Slot 2: Ground Eruption​
Slot 3: Ground Eruption​
Conflicts: Crashing Flames​
Notes: Inferno Skull allows Straight Skull to be amplified a second time, which shoots a mid hitting skull that causes a Krushing Blow if it is the only hit that connects. Ground Eruption is this game's take on Shang's Up Skull, and it causes two fireballs to rise up from the ground in quick succession and can be aimed close or mid range. If amplified, a third fireball will rise from the ground and will launch the opponent on hit, giving Shang the ability to hit confirm in combos or to check the opponent in a similar way to Shinnok's Hellsparks from MKX. Ground Eruption is generally unsafe as the second hit can possibly be avoided or flawless blocked for more negative frames. Note that Ground Eruption replaces Crashing Flames.​
B: Soultaker (Spellmaster)​
Slot 1: Screaming Skull​
Slot 2: Soul Well​
Slot 3: Scatter Souls​
Conflicts: Corpse Drop​
Notes: Crashing Flames is a base move that Shang has that is great for getting damage, zoning and staying safe at the end of string with the amplified version. This move can be punished up close by some flawless block attacks but it is generally safe at range and it's a great tool for checking the opponent safely. Screaming Soul replaces Straight Skull, offering Shang a unique projectile. It's essentially a stance that can go into a slower high projectile that does good damage and knocks down, and when amplified the move will turn into a safe, mid hitting beam that will aim along the ground until it hits full screen. He can also delay the projectile options or even cancel the stance for a bar of meter, which could offer mixup opportunities. Soul Well is similar to Kotal's Blood Totem. Shang puts out a jar of souls which can then be input again(Called Absorb Souls) to heal Shang for 40 damage. The jar will last for about 10 seconds and as you do damage to the opponent, the jar will heal Shang for 20% of the damage you deal if Shang should Absorb Souls before the jar runs out. Scatter Souls is another stance type move, where he can delay or cancel a proximity burst that is safe on block. The cancel does not cost meter but does not appear to be very useful for pressure. Most significantly, Scatter Souls can be amplified to throw a slower mid projectile that may be impossible to combo into but it has massive hit advantage and can be converted into combos midscreen or into another projectile full screen. Note that Scatter Souls replaces Corpse Drop.​
Shao Khan:
A: True Khan​
Slot 1: Ridicule​
Slot 2: Ground Shatter​
Slot 3: Wrath Hammer​
Notes: Ridicule gives Shao two taunts with very high recovery, first we have Humiliate, which increases Shao's damage by 25%. Second, there is Ridicule which is slower than the other taunt but better because it decreases the opponent's damage by 50%. When the debuff is up, his F341+3 string will do a Krushing Blow for massive damage but the taunts are very slow and only last 7 seconds. Ground Shatter is an unsafe low that can be amplified for another low that looks nothing like a low. It can actually restand for with negative hit advantage. Wrath Hammer is Shao's classic Hammer Toss, with a Krushing Blow attached if you hit two in a row at full screen, but only if the first was a kounter/punish.​
B: Risen Emperor​
Slot 1: Annihilation​
Slot 2: Up Wrath Hammer​
Slot 3: Dark Priest​
Notes: Annihilation is a mid combo attack that can be used as a big damage ender and can be amplified for even more damage. Up Wrath Hammer is where Shao swings his hammer upward, hitting the opponent with a mid into the air only for the hammer to come crashing down. Shao can aim this at normal range or close in front by holding back. It's an interesting tool, with a big gap in the middle of the two hits, perhaps it is best used as a round ender where trades can't be afforded. Dark Priest is a minor damage buff of 10% but it gives Shao access to a combo Krushing Blow from Annihilation.​

A: Heart Pierce​
Slot 1: Dagger Dance​
Slot 2: Bloodport​
Slot 3: Blood Ritual​
Notes: Dagger Dance is a parry that Skarlet can amplify for damage and health regeneration. She can also hold the parry and cancel at will, if the parry is the third parry Skarlet has done, she can amplify it for a Krushing Blow. Bloodport is a strong teleport in the same vein as Raiden's teleport. It's not super fast, but she can use it to get close, in pressure and to control her positioning by using the alternate options. A good example is using the far teleport to keep yourself from being cornered. Blood Ritual is a slow channeling move that does damage to Skarlet and slightly less damage to the opponent, which is basically worthless until the opponent has low health in which case it's extremely powerful.​
B: Blood Drive​
Slot 1: Blood Flow​
Slot 2: Blood Flow​
Slot 3: Cell Siphon​
Notes: Blood Flow allows Skarlet to slow or speed up her Blood Ball at the cost of a bar of meter. Similar to Reptile's force balls, these can be used for mind games to catch the opponent jumping or otherwise not ducking. They can also be used for some pressure such as F1~Slow Blood Ball. She also gets access to Cell Siphon, a strong restand with great range which can be amplified to do some minor damage to the opponent and some self healing.​

Sub Zero:
A: Dead of Winter​
Slot 1: Deep Freeze​
Slot 2: Deep Freeze​
Slot 3: Cold Shoulder​
Notes: Deep Freeze grants an Ice Ball amplify version which absorbs projectiles and hits mid.(Ice ball is normally a high.) This amplified version moves faster, allowing a freeze combo from Sub's F2. Cold Shoulder is a mid charge that replaces slide and gives Sub access to more damage.​
B: Thin Ice​
Slot 1: Frigid Storm​
Slot 2: Death-Cicle Barrage​
Slot 3: (Air) Polar Axe​
Frigid Storm is a slow but fat mid projectile that can catch jumping opponents and is a solid zoning tool. Death-Cicle Barrage is a high projectile barrage that reaches only mid range but can be an effective keep out tool. (Air) Polar Axe is a nice downward air projectile with good frame data and damage. This move gives Sub a powerful tool in the air and a way to check the opponent at different ranges then normally allowed.​

A: No Holds Barred​
Slot 1: (Air) Ops Drop​
Slot 2: Krushing Kounters​
Slot 3: (Air) Marching Orders​
Notes: (Air) Ops Drop is an air to air throw with a KB that activates when done by itself. Krushing Kounters gives Sonya two counter specials, one for grounded overheads/mids/highs and another for low attacks. (Air) Marching Orders is a new jump attack that is an auto-double.​
B: Ring Master​
Slot 1: Energy Ring Charge​
Slot 2: (Air) Energy Rings​
Slot 3: K.A.T. Turret Drop​
Notes: Energy Ring Charge allows Sonya to to delay the amplified portion of her Energy Ring where she can cancel it or try to trick the opponent into eating a possible Krushing Blow. (Air) Energy Rings is a straight air projectile that has an amplify that can lead to a KB in combos, you can also amplify the move to shoot the second shot in a downward angle. K.A.T. Turret Drop is this turret dropping from the sky and causing a mid explosion at different ranges, but not quite full screen. Turret Drop could be used as a zoning tool or for possible oki situations.​
This is updated as of the Shang Tsung patch in June, 2019.
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Dead of Winter has its 2 worse moves in terms of utility/cost. Cold Shoulder removes Slide, costs 1 slot and is basically a much worse slide and even if it costed zero I wouldn't take it over Slide (as unsafe, way less reach, doesn't low profile, isn't low, 5 frames slower, only slightly more damage). Deep Freeze is ok but a move that basically you can only access with meter shouldn't cost 2 slots.

Thin Ice is his only usable variation. Air Polar Axe is the only good move. The others kind of have their uses but both are 36 freaking frames projectiles, and you'd think Iceball was slow at 28.


Up rock incoming, ETA 5 minutes

Dead of Winter has its 2 worse moves in terms of utility/cost. Cold Shoulder removes Slide, costs 1 slot and is basically a much worse slide and even if it costed zero I wouldn't take it over Slide (as unsafe, way less reach, doesn't low profile, isn't low, 5 frames slower, only slightly more damage). Deep Freeze is ok but a move that basically you can only access with meter shouldn't cost 2 slots.

Thin Ice is his only usable variation. Air Polar Axe is the only good move. The others kind of have their uses but both are 36 freaking frames projectiles, and you'd think Iceball was slow at 28.
Yeah I haven't really gotten to Sub too much but I wonder if Cold Shoulder gives you more with the ability to amplify it on block and the easier to access Krushing Blow. But it is a tough sell all together, but maybe the Ice Ball AMP gives you some better utility against certain zoning patterns then the Thin Ice kit.


Owner / Director
Are there any advantages to moving moves around in different slots or is it just preference? I've left mine alone so I'm just curious.
kabal damage is low a little bit ( tournament variations ) ... hope they buff his combo's damage from 22-26 to 30-31 and in exchange add a damage scaling to his combo extender ability for casuals ( more damage for competitive players and the same damage for casual players )


Slave to burgers
is there any way to change all of the presets at once, like a blanket option? i have no clue why the variations are not set to tournament by default....
I really dont want to take the time to change them one by one.. especially since the changes dont seem to save consistently
Does anybody here think that the whole preset variation thing is actually working? One of the main pieces of logic behind it was that it helps makes the characters more balanced, but I'm seeing a distinct lack of balance amongst the variations.
There are 25 characters in the game and if you want to play a viable character in Ranked mode, you seem to have less than 25 options, let alone a full fifty. Some characters have a good or decent variation and one that kind of sucks and others have two poor variations. I haven't played all the characters yet, but I haven't come across one which actually has two decent preset options.
The whole thing just doesn't seem to be implemented very well.


Up rock incoming, ETA 5 minutes
I didn't realize that EX Iceball is a mid, that's a pretty big deal. I don't play the character, but since people are talking about it I'll link this Tom Brady guide on Dead of Winter.

Are there any advantages to moving moves around in different slots or is it just preference? I've left mine alone so I'm just curious.
I'm sure you realized by now but it makes no difference.

is there any way to change all of the presets at once, like a blanket option? i have no clue why the variations are not set to tournament by default....
I really dont want to take the time to change them one by one.. especially since the changes dont seem to save consistently
Unfortunately no. Very questionable decision by NRS TBH. So much so that it makes me think they just ran out of time and had to ship with those base variations. If you want the right variation names, you have to edit them one by one too. It's kind of a joke.


Kollector main who plays Jacqui
Good post.

I did notice there were some typos, like in Geras' New Era variation it says he uses "Baraka Barrage"


Up rock incoming, ETA 5 minutes
Tweedy going over why he thinks Geras' Infinite Warden is the superior variation.

But imagine not having that command grab tho


Up rock incoming, ETA 5 minutes
As I find character/variation guides I like I'll try to post them in this thread.

Super glad to see consistent content coming from @Tom Brady



Up rock incoming, ETA 5 minutes
I added Nightwolf to the guide but I still need to update it for patch buffs. Though honestly the usefulness of this guide isn't as much as it was before when it was more cumbersome to select and find tournament variations.