Kung Lao was revealed in Mortal Kombat X via a recent trailer that also featured Kitana. Unfortunately this trailer didn't go into detail about Kung Lao's fighting abilities. We dissected the trailer as much as possible, but now we finally have a proper breakdown of Kung Lao's techniques thanks to a recent NetherRealm stream. We still don't know which Kung Lao this is within MK lore, but chances are it's the same person from Mortal Kombat 9 who has been resurrected somehow.

In Mortal Kombat X all characters have three variants to choose from before each match takes place. Kung Lao uses the Tempest, Buzz Saw and Hat Trick variants. In all three variants Kung Lao has access to his Spin, Teleport, Dive Kick and a version of his Hat Toss that he's had in virtually every other Mortal Kombat title he's been in. Like in previous games, the Hat Toss can be angled up or down after it's thrown to catch an opponent if they're in the air or crouching.



The Tempest fighting variant allows Kung Lao to make his hat spin around him and act like a shield. However, it doesn't make Kung Lao invulnerable to attack. A well-timed projectile or attack of any kind can hit Kung Lao if the hat is not between him and the incoming attack. It's probably safer to not attempt to thread the needle through the spinning hat, but if you get hit while the hat shield is up, you know why. In addition, Kung Lao's normal Spin attack can move slightly to the left or right, and the Enhanced (EX) version has considerably more range, pulling the opponent toward Kung Lao like a vortex.

If you select Kung Lao's Buzz Saw fighting variant, his Hat Toss is replaced by the Hat Grinder, which is a much slower version that looks similar to his Enhanced Hat Toss from MK9 (with the hat turned sideways). This allows Kung Lao to throw the hat, then run past it while the hat follows him. In theory this should make some unsafe attacks much safer to use. For instance, in most games you can attack Kung Lao after blocking his Dive Kick. However, if you use this slower Hat Grinder then immediately follow with a Dive Kick, the opponent should have limited punishment options because they have to wait and block the Hat Grinder.

The Enhanced version of the Hat Grinder can be held in place for a short time (by holding down the attack button), making it even more difficult for an opponent to attack recklessly. This version of Kung Lao allows him to use an Upward Hat Grinder to throw his hat into the air as an anti-air attack or combo setup, or a Low Hat Grinder which throws the hat into the ground where it moves across the screen like a buzz saw. It's somewhat similar to Kabal's Ground Blade attack from previous games.

Kung Lao's final fighting variant is the Hat Trick, which allows him to throw his hat and call it back to him at any point in time. A thrown hat will disappear if Kung Lao is hit, and you can't use any of his normal hat-based attacks once the hat has been thrown (until it returns to him). In addition, Kung Lao loses some of his normal attacks and some other attacks have limited range. The hat can be throw forward, backward or into the air above Kung Lao's head. Unlike the Hat Grinder from Kung Lao's Buzz Saw variant, you do not have to hold a button to make the hat stay in place, which makes it a little easier to fight while the hat is out.

So far Kung Lao is shaping up to be a very tricky character that has multiple ways to make it difficult to punish his unsafe attacks. You'll have to be very careful when fighting against a good Kung Lao player.

That's it for now. We'll be back with more on Mortal Kombat X in the coming weeks, including a look at Reptile and Kitana!