Takeda was trained by Scorpion and the Shirai Ryu so many of his attacks will remind you of Scorpion, especially if you use the Shirai Ryu variation. However, no matter which variation you choose, Takeda is a long-range fighter first and foremost. If you're close to an opponent you'll be at a slight disadvantage because many of Takeda's basic attacks are slower than most of the other characters in Mortal Kombat X. Use combos and throws to knock the opponent away and then continue to assault them from a distance.

Notation Key

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

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

Takeda's Kunai is his most versatile attack and should be used at the end of almost every blocked combo string. You can throw the Kunai in one of three locations. The default notation throws it about mid-screen. If you press Back immediately after the notation the Kunai lands right in front of Takeda, and if you press Forward the Kunai travels the length of the screen.

The biggest advantage of the Kunai (other than the fact that it hits low) is that if the opponent blocks Takeda is safe from punishment. That means any combo that would normal be punished if the opponent blocks can be made safe by canceling the last hit into a Kunai. The Kunai used should depend on the opponent's position. Takeda is a long-range fighter which means some of his combos will need to end with the normal or Far Kunai to connect.

The Close Kunai leaves Takeda at a slight disadvantage, but still safe from punishment, the default Kunai gives Takeda a slight advantage, and the Far Kunai gives Takeda a bit more advantage if the opponent blocks. If any of the Kunai hit, Takeda has significant advantage and can do almost anything without having to worry about getting interrupted (unless the opponent has meter for an enhanced special move with armor).

Tornado Strike
Notation: Back, Forward+4
Enhanced: Yes, with armor.

The primary purpose of the Tornado Strike is to jump over a projectile attack and hit the opponent. It's very easy to punish if the opponent blocks, but if you can react fast enough to your opponent throwing a projectile, you can make sure it isn't blocked. The enhanced version (Tornado Kick) has armor and bounces the opponent off the ground so you can Run Cancel for a combo. If you're not good at Run-Cancel combos, you can use other special moves to catch the bounce, or follow with the Double Kick (Forward+3).

Just like the Kunai, Takeda can aim the Tornado Strike by pressing Forward or Back immediately after the initial notation. Holding Back will see Takeda land right in front of his starting position, while Forward will send him flying all the way across the screen. You can also perform the Tornado Strike and Tornado Kick in the air with the same distance options.

Fist Flurry
Notation: Back, Forward+2
Enhanced: Yes, with armor.

The First Flurry is a decent way to end combos that hit for an extra bit of damage. However, Takeda can be punished if the opponent blocks, so make sure the combo hits before you cancel into Fist Flurry. Use the enhanced version (Fist Whirlwind) to extend you combos. You still need to make sure your combo connected before you cancel into Fist Whirlwind, but if it hits the opponent gets knocked into the air and Takeda can follow with a Run Cancel combo, or one of his special moves, or the Double Kick (Forward+3) if you want something easier to pull off.

Air Whiplash (X-Ray)

Unlike most of the other X-Ray attacks in Mortal Kombat X, Takeda's Air Whiplash must be performed in the air. This makes it difficult to hit by itself as an opponent will know it's an option if you randomly jump with a full super meter. We usually recommend using a combo to guarantee your X-Ray connects and that's especially useful with Air Whiplash. Almost any combo that knocks your opponent into the air can be followed by a jump and immediate Air Whiplash. With that in mind, a lot of Takeda's damage comes from his enhanced special moves, so you should save your meter for those unless an X-Ray will finish off the opponent for good.

Basic Strategy

Takeda's basic strategy doesn't cover all three variations. Many of his combos and attacks change in the Ronin variation, which means the following basic strategy works primarily for the Shirai Ryu and Lasher variants.

While Takeda has a few options at close-range, he excels when fighting from a distance. Many of his attacks cover almost the entire distance of the screen and he has no problem pulling off full combos from a distance.

Your first order of business should be to hit-confirm your combos. That means you need to see if your combo hit or if the opponent blocked before you determine how you're going to end your combo. If any of your combos are blocked, you should end them with the Kunai. If the Kunai is blocked Takeda is safe from punishment, and if the Kunai hits Takeda is free to attack again without fear of being interrupted so long as the opponent doesn't use an enhanced special move with armor.

A good example of hit-confirming and using a Kunai to keep your combo safe is the Hellspawn combo (Forward+1,2,2+4). If the entire combo is blocked any skilled opponent will punish Takeda severely. However, the last input (2+4) consists of two hits. That gives you three hits to determine if the combo hit so you can cancel into something more damaging. If the opponent is blocking, cancel into a Kunai so it comes out after the last hit and your opponent will be unable to punish Takeda.

While the Kunai does well to keep Takeda safe, it also hits low. This gives Takeda mid-combo overhead/low mix-ups. The Old Grudges (Back+1,1,2) and Fallen Warrior (Back+2,1,2+4) combos end with an overhead attack. Before the last hit of either combo, cancel into a Kunai to get a low attack instead of the overhead. Keep in mind, the overhead at the end of the Old Grudges combo is not safe if the opponent blocks, so there is risk involved if you choose to go that route. It's always safer to end with the Kunai if the opponent is blocking, but you'll need to mix in the overhead occasionally.

A smart opponent will do everything they can to get close to Takeda and put a stop to his long-range shenanigans. At close-range use the White Well (Forward+1,2) and Strong Flow (1,1,2) combos mixed in with the Low Chop (Down+1), Side Step (Down+3) and a throw. Takeda isn't very fast at close range, but these attacks and combos should allow you to keep an opponent at bay. You can cancel the combos into a Kunai, which is especially useful to end the White Well combo unless you want to transition directly into the Hellspawn combo for an overhead/low mix-up.

Takeda doesn't have a projectile attack that covers all three variations, but he does have the Tornado Strike. If you're facing off against an opponent who likes to stand on the far side of the screen and throw projectiles over and over, just use the Far Tornado Strike to jump over the projectile and punish them. The enhanced version even leads to a combo making the punishment that much more damaging.

Shirai Ryu Variant

The Shirai Ryu variation is basically the Scorpion version of Takeda. He gains the Quick Phase (Down, Back+3), Spear Ryu (Back, Forward+1) and Air Spear (Down, Back+1) special moves. Quick Phase is a modified version of Scorpion's Teleport which can be done on the ground or in the air. If you hold 3, Takeda will delay the attack for a short time. During the delay you can cancel the special move by pressing Down, Down. You can cancel into the Quick Phase before the final hit of the two-hit ender to the Hellspawn combo (Forward+1,2,2+4), or simply use the enhanced version (Shirai Ryu Phase) which launches the opponent into the air for a combo, and is safe if the opponent blocks.

Takeda's Spear Ryu is a modified version of Scorpion's Spear. It doesn't reach the full length of the screen like Scorpion's (it stops just short), and you can't combo after the normal version like Scorpion can. However, Takeda can combo after the enhanced version (Double Spear Ryu) and can even perform the special move in the air. The aerial version is an overhead attack and the enhanced version (Air Spike) allows Takeda to follow with a juggle combo.

The Shirai Ryu should be your primary variation as Takeda. The special moves he gains in this variation allow him to add considerably more damage to his combos and give him a bit more mobility and versatility.

Lasher Variant

Most of Takeda's basic strategy comes from combos and special moves that are universal across all three variations. The variations add more utility to this basic strategy. While the Shirai Ryu variation gives Takeda more mobility and versatility, the Lasher variant adds to his ranged attacks. He gains the Low Slash basic attack (Diagonally Down-Forward+1) and the Whip Strike (Down, Forward+1), Whip Assault (Back, Forward+2) and Whip Trip (Down, Back+2) special moves. The enhanced versions of all three special moves have armor and they all serve a specific purpose.

The Low Slash is a great long-range poking tool. It hits mid (meaning it can be blocked standing or crouching), and while it's not safe if the opponent blocks, the range and the fact that you can cancel right into a Kunai make it virtually safe from punishment. This is a good way to open a match as it will reach an opponent from distance of the starting position and is fast enough to beat out a lot of other attacks in the game. Don't use this too much at the start of a match because an opponent can jump or backdash to avoid it, but it's a nice surprise from time to time.

The Whip Strike is an anti-air attack that can be used to knock an opponent out of the air from a moderate distance. With the enhanced version (Whip Thrash) having armor, this makes it a very useful anti-air attack when an opponent is trying to close in on Takeda. It's not particularly fast, but if you have good reactions or you use the enhanced version this is one of Takeda better anti-air attacks.

While Assault replaces Fist Flurry and serves the same purpose. It can be used to end combos, with the enhanced version (Whip Flurry) bouncing the opponent off the ground for a follow-up juggle combo. While it's not safe if the opponent blocks, this should be your main special move if an opponent is trying to pressure Takeda after knocking him to the ground. Be aware that smart players may act like they're applying pressure to make you use Whip Flurry so they can block and punish accordingly.

Finally, Whip Trip gives Takeda another low option to use in the middle of a combo just like the Kunai. While the Kunai is safe, Whip Trip is not. To make up for that fact, the enhanced version (Whip Flip) launches the opponent into the air so Takeda can follow with a juggle combo. This works as a great overhead/low mix-up at the end of the Old Grudges (Back+1,1,2) and Fallen Warrior (Back+2,1,2+4) combos. Both combos end with overhead attacks and you'd normal mix them up with a low-hitting Kunai. In the Lasher variation you can use the Whip Flip instead and continue the combo for more damage.

The difference between the Lasher and Shirai Ryu variations is that Lasher gives Takeda more options from a distance, and allows him to extend combos for more damage with the Whip Flip instead of the Kunai. You'll take a few more risks, but Takeda has a better overhead/low mix-up strategy in Lasher compared to Shirai Ryu. If your style of play centers around the overhead/low mix-ups instead of the increased versatility of the Shirai Ryu variation, then Lasher is what you should be using.

Ronin Variant

The Ronin variation is a very different kind of play style for Takeda. His Charged Energy Whips are replaced with Dual Pulse Blades, which means he loses his extended range and a lot of his combos, but gains some advantages in their place. Takeda gains three basic attacks and six combos that replace many of his attacks and combos from the other two variations. He also loses his Kunai, but gains a projectile special move and a few other new tricks.

Let's start with the biggest changes. Instead of a Kunai, Takeda now has the Blade Drop (Down, Back+1). This throws his Pulse Blade to the ground where he can summon it back at any point. If you use Blade Kall (Down, Back+1) to call the Pulse Blade back, it becomes a low attack that knocks an opponent into the air. The enhanced version of this (Blade Summon) allows Takeda to follow with a juggle combo, and if you just need your blades back as quickly as possible you can use Quick Kall (Down, Forward+1) to get them back without an attack.

You can still use the Blade Drop like you would the Kunai. It can be placed in the spots where you could place the Kunai (simply press Forward or Back after the initial notation), but the difference is that you need to already have the blade on the ground in order to keep your combos safe like the Kunai did. You can also surprise an opponent by using the Blade Kall or Blade Summon when they lease expect it. You need a bit more preparation and strategy involved to setup the Blade Drop attacks compared to the Kunai, but the Blade Drop can be more beneficial, especially in the corner where it's much easier to make an opponent stand on top of the dropped blade.

The Piercing Spark (Down, Forward+3) is a new projectile attack that works like most other projectiles in the game. The normal version hits high and can be ducked under, while the enhanced version (Piercing Beam) is a mid attack that cannot be ducked. The normal version is safe if the opponent blocks at close range, with the enhanced version giving Takeda a slight advantage if the opponent blocks. In situations where you would normally end a combo with the Kunai to keep Takeda safe, you can use the Piercing Spark in its place. You won't get the low mix-up opportunity, but your opponent won't be able to punish Takeda.

Takeda also gains the Shirai Ryu Kan (Down, Forward+1), which is a decent way to end combos and serves as an anti-air attack. The enhanced version (Double Shirai Ryu Kan ) has armor making it an even better anti-air attack. Unfortunately, while it does knock an opponent high into the air, you cannot follow it with a juggle combo. It's also not safe if the opponent blocks, so try to limit using it unless you know it's going to connect.

Rounding out Takeda's Ronin special moves is the Shirai Ryu Reflect (Down, Back+3). With proper timing this reflects projectile attacks back at an opponent, with the enhanced version (Shirai Ryu Absorb) stopping the projectile and replenishing five percent of Takeda's health in return. It will look as though Takeda is getting hit when using the Shirai Ryu Absorb, but if you timed it correctly he's actually gaining health.

When it comes to combos, Takeda gains the Rising Blade combo (Back+1,1,2), which replaces the Old Grudges combo. While Takeda loses the overhead/low mix-up from Old Grudges, Rising Blade is safe from punishment and launches an opponent into the air so Takeda can follow with a juggle combo. He also gets the Low Swipe combo (2,1,2), which ends with a low attack that's safe against most characters. Finally, he gains the Way of Hasashi combo (Back+2,1,2+4), which starts with an overhead and is followed by a low attack in the middle of the combo. While it's not safe if the opponent blocks, you can end it with the Piercing Spark to make it safe.

Takeda loses a bit of range with the Ronin variation, but the Pulse Blades still have longer reach than most other character's basic attacks. It requires more patience and setup compared to Takeda's other two variations, but it can be just as rewarding, especially in the corner.

Sample Combos

Shirai Ryu
24 percent - Forward+1,2,2+4, Quick Phase, 3,3, Spear Ryu
26 percent - Forward+1,2,2+4, Quick Phase, Neutral Jump Punch, 3,3, Spear Ryu
33 percent - Forward+1,2,2+4, Quick Phase, Neutral Jump Punch, 3,3, Double Spear Ryu, Back+2, Spear Ryu
37 percent - Back+2,1, Double Spear Ryu, Back+2,1, Quick Phase, 3,3, Spear Ryu

Lasher
30 percent - Back+2,1, Whip Furry, Neutral Jump Punch, Move Forward, 4,4, Whip Assault

Ronin
23 percent - Back+1,1,2, Back+1,1,2, Shirai Ryu Kan

Fatalities

Whip It Good (Fatality 1) - Down, Forward, Down, Back, 2 (Mid-Screen)
Head Cage Fatality 2) - Forward, Back, Down, Down, 1 (Mid-Screen)

Brutalities

Armless - Kill the opponent with a normal throw and pres 1 or 2 four times during the throw animation.

Kool Whip - Kill the opponent with the Quick Learner (2,1,2) or Low Swipe (2,1,2) combo.

For more information on Mortal Kombat X, check out Prima's free guide or head directly to our Scorpion or Sub-Zero strategy articles!