Raiden's basic attacks and combos that cross all three variations aren't much to write home about. Unfortunately, this makes his Displacer and Master of Storms variants a little less appealing since you don't have much to work with. However, the Thunder God variation gives Raiden a ton of chip damage, lots of meter-building and basically everything he needs to be a solid and competitive character.

Notation Key

PlayStation/Xbox
1 - Square/X
2 - Triangle/Y
3 - X/A
4 - Circle/B

Electric Fly
Notation: Back, Forward+3
Enhanced: Yes, with armor.

Raiden's most iconic special move returns and it hasn't really changed much. What is commonly referred to as the "Superman" is now the Electric Fly. This is a great way to end most of Raiden's combos. It can also be used to punish attacks because it travels the length of the screen. If it hits it pushes the opponent halfway across the entire length of the stage, so if you're in the middle of the stage, one Electric Fly will send the opponent to the corner.

As you might have guessed, it's a very punishable attack if the opponent blocks, so make sure you only use it during a combo or when you know it will connect in a punishment situation (after ducking a projectile from mid-screen or something similar). The enhanced version has armor and both versions can be done in the air.

Lightning
Notation: Down, Back+1
Enhanced: Yes, but no armor.

The normal version of Lightning is a fairly standard projectile attack. You can duck under the normal version, but the enhanced version (Bolt) cannot be ducked. If Bolt hits the opponent, it shocks them leaving them suspended in the air for a short time allowing you to follow with at least Electric Fly. If you're close enough you can follow with a full juggle combo.

You can combo into the normal Lightning, but not into Bolt. However, if Bolt is blocked Raiden is left at advantage, meaning you can continue offensive pressure. If you have meter to spare and are trying to finish off an opponent, combo into Bolt. If Bolt hits you can continue the combo, and if it's blocked Raiden can still continue pressuring the opponent.

Vicinity Blast
Notation: Down, Back+2
Enhanced: Yes, with armor.

For the most part, Vicinity Blast is an anti-air attack. Unless you have very good reactions, it's difficult to connect this after you see an opponent jump, but if you can anticipate a jump it works very well. It will not hit to the left or right of Raiden, only above his head. The enhanced version (Vicinity Burst) hits to either side of Raiden as well as above his head, and has armor. If an opponent is applying pressure after knocking you down, this is Raiden's safest wakeup option. If it's blocked Raiden is safe from punishment, and the armor makes it a great anti-air and gives it the ability to go through attacks while on the ground.

Electrocute
Notation: Down, Forward+2
Enhanced: Yes, with armor.

Electrocute is the safest way to end combos if the opponent is blocking. While it can be punished by a skilled opponent, their options are limited because the attack pushes back slightly. It's much more difficult to punish than any of Raiden's other special moves. The enhanced version (Shocker) has armor and knocks an opponent into the air allowing Raiden to follow with a juggle combo. Shocker is much easier to punish than Electrocute so only use it when you know it will connect. It also works very well as an anti-air attack because it absorbs the jump attack and let's Raiden follow with a juggle combo.

Rising Thunder
Notation: Down, Back+3
Enhanced: Yes, with armor.

Under normal circumstances Rising Thunder would be the primary anti-air attack for a character. However, Raiden already has Electrocute and Vicinity Blast that work very well as anti-air attacks. Rising Thunder is best used to knock an opponent out of the air who would normally be too far away for Raiden's other anti-air attacks to reach. The angle at which is moves up makes it difficult to use as an anti-air attack in any other way, and it doesn't inflict as much damage as Electrocute meaning it's not Raiden's best combo ender either.

When an opponent is just outside of your general anti-air range, use the enhanced version (Thunder Strike) to not only knock the opponent out of the air, but bounce them off the ground so you can follow with a juggle combo. It even has armor making it ideal for this very purpose. There are many instances in which people think they're safe to jump when they're not close to you. Use Thunder Strike to prove that theory wrong.

Shock Therapy (X-Ray)

Shock Therapy covers about half the screen on either side of Raiden and is fairly easy to cancel into from most of Raiden's combos. Like most other X-Ray attacks in the game, it has armor and will go through most attacks, but it's best to combo into it to guarantee it will connect. With that said, Raiden has a lot of useful enhanced special moves, making his X-Ray much less of a priority. Use it if it will win the match for you, otherwise save your meter for enhanced special moves and breakers.

Basic Strategy

Raiden doesn't have a lot of safe attacks that are available across all variations. How you play Raiden will largely depend on the variation you've chosen. In all variations he can remain somewhat safe by canceling his combos into Electrocute, but some opponents will be able to punish that so be careful.

Hammer Fists (Back+2) is a two-hit overhead attack that is very easy to punish if the opponent blocks both attacks. However, if you cancel the first attack into Electrocute you can score the overhead and still remain safe. You don't have time to confirm if the overhead connects, which means the damage you can get off of this is limited, but at least it offers a safe overhead option.

You can mix-up Hammer Fists with the Shin Strike (3) low attack that leads into the Might of Mordulus (Back+3,3) or Quick Burn combo (Back+3,4). You'll need to end Might of Mordulus with Electrocute to stay as safe as possible, but Quick Burn is safe if the opponent blocks. The Supernatural combo (3,4) is also safe and ends with an overhead attack, but it's fairly easy to see coming and block accordingly. You can stop after the first hit (3) and throw the opponent instead.

Any aerial juggle combos you can end with the Lightning Storm combo (Forward+1,4) that will leave the opponent standing with Raiden at advantage. This allows you to continue offensive pressure at the end of a combo, but you will lose a bit of damage by not ending it with a special move. In many cases the loss of damage is acceptable because you can continue your offensive pressure.

Distant Thunder (2,1,4) is another decent poking combo that ends with a low that is safe if the opponent blocks. Almighty (Forward+2,4) and Godlike (Forward+2,4,4) are also good combos to use to cancel into a special move (Electrocute) or to apply safe pressure.

If you block an attack that's punishable, one of your best options is the White Lightning combo (2,1,3). It's not safe if the opponent blocks, but in a punishment situation (or if you're good at confirming the combo connects before the last hit) it's a great way to launch an opponent into the air and follow with a juggle combo.

Thunder God Variant

The Thunder God variant is aptly named because that is where Raiden, God of Thunder, truly shines. The biggest and best addition to the Thunder God variant is the fact that Raiden can end most of his basic combos with a multi-hit lightning attack that builds a good amount of meter, pushes the opponent far enough away to remain safe against most characters if it's blocked, and if it hits you can cancel into Electric Fly for additional damage and a potential corner position.

The best combo that ends with this multi-hit lightning attack is Divine Power (Forward+1,2, Back+Hold 2). This combo starts with Head Swipe (Forward+1) which is one of the fastest attacks in the game and cannot be ducked under. Any time you want to attack when you're not certain the attack will connect, this is the combo you should be using. Even without the ability to cancel into Electric Fly if it connects, the amount of meter it builds when it's blocked is enough to enable Raiden to use his enhanced special moves at will. It's a huge asset!

In addition to Divine Power, you can mix in the Elder Fury combo (Back+3, Hold 2) which starts with a low attack and ends with the multi-hit lightning attack. Raiden has other new combos in the Thunder God variant, but they're all punishable if the opponent blocks and they're aren't nearly as useful as the previously mentioned combos.

Raiden also gains a few additions to his special moves. When executing Lighting (Down, Back+1), you can hold 1 to charge the attack (and cancel the charge with Forward, Forward or Back, Back), delaying it slightly and giving it a bit more power. The enhanced version, Bolt, can't be charged but you can stop the projectile in place by pressing Down, Back+1 again after shooting it off. With the amount of meter you should gain while playing the Thunder God variant, you can use Bolt to maintain advantage if you need to pressure an opponent at the end of a match.

When it comes down to it, the other variations for Raiden are more for fun and games than anything else. If you're looking to offer serious competition with Raiden, Thunder God is the variant you want to go with.

Displacer Variant

The Displacer variant is all about teleporting. Raiden regains his trademark Teleport (Down, Up) and has far more versatility with it. Immediately after the Teleport you can press Forward to end up about a jump distance behind the opponent, Down to remain in the same position you started or Back to end up directly in front of the opponent.

Use the Teleport to move around the stage to get yourself out of bad situations. It's great to escape corner pressure and put the opponent in the corner at the same time. For the most part you want to use the Teleport that leaves you behind the opponent at jump distance (hold Forward). Any other Teleport is fairly easy to punish, especially if the opponent anticipates you're going to do it.

The enhanced version (Sparkport) has the same options as the normal Teleport, but is far safer. Using meter drastically reduces the recovery Raiden has on the Sparkport making it almost completely safe. Sparkport should be used to punish an opponent after they use an attack that would normally be safe from across the screen. For example, if Jax throws a projectile at Raiden from across the screen, the normal Teleport won't catch him in time to punish. However, using the Sparkport allows Raiden to punish this from across the screen.

The other addition to the Displacer variant is the ability to use meter to cancel Electric Fly and Thunder Fly (ground and air version) into an attack for additional damage. This is only useful if you need the extra bit of damage to finish off an opponent or move them very close to death. The meter isn't really worth it in most other circumstances.

Master of Storms Variant

The only attack Raiden gains in the Master of Storms variation is the Static Trap. This allows Raiden to place a ball of electricity on the screen that lasts a little over 10 seconds. When two balls are active a bolt of lightning shoots between them that will attack the opponent if they touch it. The bolt cannot be ducked, but it can be blocked.

You can place a ball a short distance in front of Raiden with Down, Forward+4, or a short distance behind Raiden with Down, Back+4. You can also angle them into the air by pressing diagonally Up-Forward or Up-Back immediately after the initial notation (Down, Forward+4, Up-Forward or Down, Back+4, Up-Back).

In theory this sounds like a great addition to Raiden's arsenal, but in practice it doesn't work as well. You can cancel combos into the Static Trap in order to place the balls of electricity, but if the combo is blocked you can be punished, and even if the combo hits, you're missing out on a lot of damage by placing the Static Trap.

Even with two Static Traps out, if the opponent blocks there isn't enough block stun to make the setup worthwhile. It doesn't really give Raiden any significant advantages, but it costs him damage to get the Static Traps setup. If the Static Trap does connect, it leaves the opponent in the air which partially limits the combos Raiden can use. In the end, it's just not worth the effort required to set this up, but it can be a fun variation to play if you're not trying to be as competitive as possible.

Sample Combos

24 percent - 2,1,3, Run Cancel, 2,1,3, Run Cancel, 1,1, Electric Fly
24 percent - 3,4, Run Cancel, 2,1,3, Electric Fly

Fatalities

Bug Eyes - Forward, Back, Forward, 1 (Close)
Conducting Rod - Down, Forward, Back, Forward, 4 (Full Screen)

Brutalities

Super Shocker - Kill the opponent with Electrocute (Down, Forward+2) and press 2, 2, 2 during the attack animation.

For more on Mortal Kombat X check out Prima's free guide or head directly to strategies for Jacqui Briggs or Cassie Cage!