Predator has a relatively high learning curve. It's not as high as Tanya's learning curve, but it's much higher than Jason's. He's not a very straightforward character and requires a bit of time to understand what his options are and how he should be played. He doesn't have a general overhead/low setup like many other characters, but he has a lot of tools to setup opponents for various attacks. The Warrior variation is the most offensive variation, while Hunter gives him more setup options and Hish-Qu-Ten adds a variety of projectile attacks for players who wish to zone.
1 - Square/X
2 - Triangle/Y
3 - X/A
4 - Circle/B
Notation: Down, Down+1
Enhanced: Yes, but no armor.
Stealth is a good defensive tool for Predator. When activate Predator takes 50 percent less chip damage (block damage) for a short time. The enhanced version (Cloaking) gives Predator immunity to all chip damage for a short time. Both activate almost instantly, but it's best to use them after knocking down the opponent. Predator has a lot of recovery when activating Stealth, which means he can be punished if you activate when you're opponent isn't on the ground or capable to attacking when they see you activate. Luckily, even if you're hit during the activation, Predator still retains the invisibility.
Notation: Back, Forward+2
Enhanced: Yes, but no armor.
The Smart-Disc can be used on the ground or in the air to extend combos, break armor, knock an opponent out of the air, and give Predator a safe approach from a distance. Predator throws a disc into the air that heads straight for the opponent after hovering for a short time. The enhanced version (Dual Smart-Disc) throws two discs instead of one. It is possible for the opponent to avoid the disc, but the closer you are to the opponent when the disc is throw, then harder it is to avoid. If it hits an airborne opponent they will hang in the air for a moment allowing for an easy juggle follow-up.
This is best used after knocking an opponent into the air in order to extend a combo. If the opponent is airborne there's no delay between throwing the disc and the attack. This is also what makes it a good anti-air attack as it can knock an opponent out of the air from almost a full screen-length away. You can also use it after knocking an opponent down or from a full screen-length away, then run toward the opponent. After a knock down, even if the opponent uses an armored attack as they get up, if you attack just as the disc connects, it will be two hits and go through most armored attacks.
The primary downfall of this special move is that it disappears if Predator blocks an attack or gets hit. This makes it very easy for an opponent to get rid of the disc before Predator can make much use out of it. While this limits when it can be used, it still works well in the previously described situations.
Notation: Back, Forward +4
Enhanced: Yes, with armor.
The Scimitar Stab covers almost the entire length of the screen and works well to end combos. The normal version throws the opponent forward, but if you hold Back during the animation, Predator will throw the opponent to the back instead. The attack is not safe if the opponent blocks, so make sure to use it at the end of a combo when you can guarantee it will connect. The enhanced version (Scimitar Slam) bounces the opponent off the ground and allows Predator to follow with a juggle combo for additional damage.
What The Hell (X-Ray)
Predator's X-Ray can be used like most other X-Ray attacks in the game, but the main concern is that it doesn't have much range at all. While you can combo into it to guarantee it connects, you can't use any combos that knock the opponent away or the X-Ray will miss. For example, if you try to land the X-Ray at the end of the Come On combo (1,2,2), the X-Ray will miss because the last hit knocks the opponent away. However, if you only use the first two hits, which is the Knock-Knock combo (1,2), the X-Ray will connect. In most cases it's best to just save your meter for Breakers and enhanced special moves, but if you can finish off an opponent with the X-Ray, go for it!
Predator doesn't have a built-in overhead/low mix-up like many of the better characters in Mortal Kombat X. He's a character that bases a lot of his offense on setting up an opponent using the Smart-Disc, and finding opportunities to use Stealth.
For low attacks, Predator has the Shin Splint (Back+3) and Flick Kick (Down+3). Shin Splint leads into several combos, but none of them are safe if the opponent blocks. Flick Kick has deceptive range and executes quickly. It's also safe if the opponent blocks.
You can use the Get To The Chopper (Back+3, Down+2) combo as a good way to setup for a Stealth activation or Smart-Disc. The combo consists of three hits that are low, overhead and low again. That makes this moderately difficult to block. It doesn't lead to any guaranteed follow-ups and you can't cancel it into a special move, but it does work well with Stealth and Smart-Disc to follow for a setup. If it is blocked, the combo is very easy to punish, so be careful when using it. The in-game frame data is incorrect for this combo.
Predator's Crouching Klaw (Down+1) is one of the faster attacks in the game and gives Predator plenty of advantage if it connects. While the game currently lists the attack as +1 advantage when blocked, this is not correct.
The Brutal Kick (Forward+4) covers about half the screen and leaves Predator at a slight advantage if it's blocked. It also pushes the opponent back a little bit so be careful what you follow with. For example, if you try to follow this with a quick Crouching Klaw the attack will miss due to the push back.
When it comes to Predator's basic combos, Come On (1,2,2) is a decent punishment combo that is safe if the opponent blocks and can be canceled into special moves if it connects. You can follow Come On with the Scimitar Stab for an easy 22 percent combo.
CONTAAAAACT (Forward+1,2, Up+2) is a great combo that has a similar function. It's safe if the opponent blocks, and if it connects you can follow it with a juggle combo. For example, you can use You're One (Back+2,2) then end the juggle combo with a Scimitar Stab or extend the combo even further with a Scimitar Slam (enhanced version).
The Pleasure Kill combo (2,1,2) is a good combo to use for punishment situations when it's guaranteed to connect, or if you're good at hit-confirming the first two hits before you commit to the third attack (this requires good reactions). The last hit in the combo knocks the opponent into the air and allows you to follow with a juggle combo, but it's easily punished if the opponent blocks, so be careful when using it.
Bleed Bastard (Forward+2,1,2) is a similar combo but you have more time to confirm the first two attacks connected before committing to the third attack. The final hit of the combo bounces the opponent off the ground and allows Predator to follow with a juggle, but it's easily punished if the opponent blocks.
Use the I'm Here combo (Back+2,2, Down+2) to extend most of these combos that allow for a juggle follow-up. The first attack in the combo covers almost half the screen making it easy to reach an opponent after they've been knocked away by the CONTAAAAACT combo or something similar. The last hit is an overhead attack that's safe if the opponent blocks. However, this is risky to use as a standalone combo because an skilled opponent can use an armored special move to interrupt between the second and third attacks. In addition, while the in-game move list says the overhead is +2 advantage when blocked, this is incorrect.
Payback Time (Back+1,2) also has good reach and the last hit is a low attack. While the low can be punished if blocked, this is not easy to do and many characters have no way of punishing it. For the most part you can safely use this combo without fear of punishment.
Finally, the Ugly Mother combo (3,2,1+3) is a good way to end juggle combos. You should use this in place of the Scimitar Stab when you want an opponent to be farther away from you for positioning purposes.
The Warrior variation gives Predator three additional special moves. The first is the Yautja Strike (Down, Back+2), which is a leaping overhead attack that can be performed in the air or at three different distances on the ground. Hold Back after the initial input to attack right in front of Predator, hold Forward to stop just shy of a full-screen attack, and the default version is a little longer than half a screen-length.
The aerial version can be done as soon as Predator if off the ground, and alters Predator's jump arc. This can be very useful when trying to throw off an opponent's anti-air timing. The normal Yautja Strike is relatively safe if the opponent blocks, but it can be punished by some faster attacks such as Kung Lao's Spin. The enhanced version (Yautja Pounce) has armor and bounces the opponent off the ground so you can follow with a juggle combo, but it's very easy to punish if the opponent blocks.
Unfortunately, you can't use the Yautja Strike as an overhead/low mix-up with Predator's mid-combo low attacks. In every combo that has a low attack in the middle or at the end, the Yautja Strike will not combo and the opponent can block the attack or interrupt with an armored special move.
The Dread Slam (Back, Forward+1) is a moderately decent attack that is difficult to punish for some characters. The normal version just knocks an opponent down, but the enhanced version (Dread Launch) has armor and knocks them high into the air so you can follow with a juggle combo. As a semi-safe launching attack, the Dread Launch isn't bad, but in most cases the enhanced Scimitar Stab (Scimitar Slam) is a better choice. The main benefit of the Dread Launch is that it's harder for most characters to punish if it's blocked.
Self-Detonate is the third and final new special move in the Warrior variation. It's an interesting attack that causes Predator to create an explosion around him. The attack inflicts 10 percent damage to Predator, but if the opponent is close enough to Predator when it explodes, it knocks them into the air for a juggle combo follow-up. It does take a few seconds for the explosion to occur, and if Predator is hit during this time the explosion will not happen. However, Predator can block attacks and still retain the explosion. This is a great setup to use in situations when you would normally use Stealth. The enhanced version (Self-Destruct) only inflicts five percent damage to Predator.
While the in-game move list stats that Self-Detonate is +199 when blocked, this is incorrect. It is safe from punishment if the opponent blocks, and has quite a bit of push back, but the advantage listed is not correct.
The Hunter variation adds two special moves to Predator's arsenal. The Medi-Kit (Down, Down+3) heals Predator for five percent. The enhanced version (Quick Healing) heals Predator for 10 percent. Both special moves can be interrupted, but the heal replenishment is instant even if you get hit in the process. This should only be used from a distance or after you've knocked an opponent down. Otherwise you're asking to get hit as it's relatively easy to punish Predator for using this special move at the wrong time.
Predator's other addition in the Hunter variation is the Snag (Down, Back+4) which lays a trap on the ground in one of three locations and can be performed on the ground or in the air. Hold Back after the initial input to lay the trap directly in front of Predator. Hold Forward to lay the trap a full screen-length away from Predator. The default version throws a trap around the middle of the screen. If a trap connects it hangs the opponent in the air for a short time allowing Predator to follow with a juggle combo.
Once a trap is on the ground it will activate after a short time, and remain activate on the ground for a few seconds unless Predator is hit (blocking is okay). You can set off the trap manually by pressing Down, Back+4 again, or use an Armored Explosion by pressing Down, Back+4+Block. Keep in mind, the Armored Explosion does not actually have armor, but it has a wider attack radius and knocks the opponent into the air instead of placing them in a trap. Predator can still be hit out of the attack. When the trap goes off it hits low, meaning it has to be blocked in a crouching position.
This variation is a setup-based Predator. In the situations when you would normally use Stealth or Smart-Disc, you should be using Medi-Kit or Snag.
The Hish-Qu-Ten variation adds projectile attacks to Predator's arsenal. The Plasma Shot (Back, Forward+3) is a standard projectile that hits high and can be ducked under. The Up Plasma Shot (Down, Forward+3) is used to knock an opponent out of the air. The Ground Plasma Shot (Down, Back+3) hits the ground about half a screen-length away from Predator and will not hit an opponent standing right next to you.
The enhanced versions of these attacks all fire a barrage of shots at the opponent that can be followed by a juggle combo depending on the situation. For example, the enhanced Ground Plasma Shot (Ground Plasma Barrage) is fairly easy to run after and follow with a combo. However, the enhanced Plasma Shot (Plasma Barrage) requires a bit more timing to follow with a juggle combo unless the opponent is in the corner.
The Plasma Caster (Back, Forward+Hold 3) allows you to target the Plasma Shot where ever you like. Whole holding 3 a red laser site appears. You can press Down or Up to move the site from the ground, to the opponent's head or up into the air. Release 3 to fire the shot to follow the red laser.
This variation is meant for people who like to zone out opponents. It works well against characters that can't close in on Predator quickly or that don't have teleports. Even at close range, if you land a hit you can cancel into one of the enhanced Plasma projectiles and knock the opponent back to full screen.
26 percent - 2,1,2, Run Cancel, 2,1,2, Back+2, Scimitar Stab
30 percent - 2,1,2, Jump Forward Kick, Air Smart-Disc, Run Forward Slightly, 1,2,2, Scimitar Stab
40 percent - Forward+2,1,2, Back+22, Scimitar Slam, Jump Forward Kick, Air Smart-Disc, 3,2,1+3
Note: If you can't connect the last hit of the 1,2,2, combo at the end of the 30 percent damage combo, you can exclude the last hit and the combo becomes 27 percent.
Ghostin' Us - Down, Down, Back, Forward, 1 (Close)
Certain Death - Down, Forward, Back, Up (Mid-Screen)
Anytime - Finish the match with the What The Hell X-Ray and hold Down during the final hit.
Time To Bleed - Finish the match with a throw and hold Up during the attack.
Final Kountdown - In the Warrior variation, end the match with Self-Detonate (Down, Back+4) or Self-Destruct (Down, Back+4+Block).
Skinned Alive - In the Hunter variation, end the match with Snag (Down, Back+4) or Trap (Down, Back+4+Block).
If It Bleeds - In the Hish-Qu-Ten variation, finish the match with the Plasma Shot (Back, Forward+3).