ESL announced last month that it would hosting a professional league for the latest edition of the popular Mortal Kombat fighting game franchise. The series saw a resurgence in competitive play with 2011’s Mortal Kombat reboot, and developer NetherRealm has partnered with ESL to take the next step forward.
17-year-old Dominique “SonicFox” McLean has been on a tear across multiple games of late, and he managed to carry that superior form into ESL’s Fatal 8 exhibition tournament. McLean emerged victorious in the eight-player invitational, sweeping opponent Malik “MIT” Terry in the final five games to none.
McLean’s dominance didn’t start there. Playing through a single elimination bracket with first-to-five matches, McClean won a cumulaive 15 games while allowing only one game to his opposition, a single round won by EJ “Tyrant” Williamson in the semifinals.
Few of the matches were particularly close. The tightest was a back-and-forth semifinal battle between Terry and former Mortal Kombat Evo champion Carl “Perfect Legend” White, which swung on the use of a mechanic new to the Mortal Kombat series.
Each character in Mortal Kombat X has three unique fighting styles which alter their moves and abilities, making them stronger in some areas in the game but weaker in others. Using series stalwart Scorpion, Terry switched his style midway through the series with White and found new success. It’s a tactic players are likely to use extensively as fighting styles are further developed.
A variety of characters were on display in the game’s competitive debut. McLean utilized new character Erron Black in attaining victory. White stuck with his Mortal Kombat main Kung Lao, and fourth semifinalist Williamson used Jax. The only repeat choice was Kung Jin, played by both Ryan Hart and Christian “Forever King” Quiles. Both players lost their opening bouts.
While competitive players are already practicing, Mortal Kombat X will release to the public on Tuesday.