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A Beginner's Guide to Johnny Cage in Mortal Kombat 1

A Beginner's Guide to Johnny Cage in Mortal Kombat 1

Femi Famutimi
7 min

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The Hollywood actor has the moves to back up all his bluster

Input Table for Mortal Kombat 1

Short Name MK Move Xbox PC Switch PC
F Forward
B Backward
U Up
D Down
1 Front Punch X Square Y J
2 Back Punch Y Triangle X I
3 Front Kick A Cross B K
4 Back Kick B Circle A L
L1 Grab LB L1 L Switch Space
R1 Amplify Move RB R1 R Switch ;


Johnny Cage Introduction

Johnny Cage is one of the protagonists of the Mortal Kombat series. First introduced in the original game, Johnny is a Hollywood star and martial artist who is on the hunt for an engaging project. In the first game, Johnny meets Sonya Blade and is instrumental in Earthrealm’s victory in the tournament. 

He was absent for Mortal Kombat II owing to his being killed off over an issue with the actor playing Johnny Cage. He would return and we see quite a bit of development from him as he leaves behind his childish persona to become a responsible father and mentor to a new generation of fighters. 

In Mortal Kombat 1, he is an aging actor who longs for the glory days and will do whatever it takes to have it all back. 

Johnny Cage Playstyle

In earlier Mortal Kombat games, Johnny Cage was a good mid-range fighter with some decent buttons and projectiles. In MK1, his buttons are a bit stubbier and don’t have the same reach, but if he gets in on the opponent, he can do some serious damage. He has the fastest movement in the game and is the king of rushdown. 

Johnny Cage’s Best Buttons & Strings

Johnny is a pretty good character in this game all things considered. So let us look through the buttons you will want to be using with him the most. 

1 (Plot Fist) - This is one of those really fast buttons and the fact that it is plus on block allows Johnny to be nasty with it without suffering many consequences. It can be used to stagger the opponent and just annoy them to death. 

B3 (Footless) - This is Johnny’s main whiff punish tool and it is a reliable anti-air. It should be noted that you will have to get the spacing right, but once you can do that, you can hit B3 and knock the opponent out of the air and then launch into a combo. 

F3 (Dizzy Knee) - It’s a 9f mid…need I say more? In the world of mids, this is an incredibly fast button and is a great tool for opening up opponents.

F4 (Flipper) - This is a decent button that can catch your opponents and can lead to a mix-up as the string it is in, 4, 4 (Cagenado) is +15 on block which is great for pressure. But there is a gap in there and if you aren’t careful, you can get punished. So, decide on a safe time to use it and go wild. 

1, 1 (Rough House) - This is his common go-to string. It is +3 on block and is a great pressure option. It also has a mind game in that you can just hit 1 and grab the opponent. This makes them think twice before trying to block. 

F1, 2 (Elbow’s World) - Another great string that is good for pressure. It allows you to go into bigger combos on hit and is relatively safe on block. 

F1, 2, 4 (Back to the Footure) - This string finishes with a launcher which is a great tool for anyone using Johnny as it has such combo potential. So if the opponent blocks, you can stop the string at 1, 2, but if they get hit, you can do the full thing and lean into a more devastating combo. 

2, 1 (My Own Publifist) - With this string, Johnny can play mind games with his enemies as a hit could lead into a launched move which does heavy damage. 

F3, 2 (Elbow Before Me) - This is another of those strings that is relatively safe and introduces mix-up situations especially with a Kameo.

2, 1, 2 (Dunking on Haters) - This string is, as with most Johnny strings, relatively safe and ends with an overhead. It is a combo starter that most people will go for and can be varied to catch opponents unawares. 

Special Moves

BD1 (Ball Buster) - This is, as the name suggests,  a callback to Johnny’s popular Mortal Kombat move where he punches the opponent in the groin. In this game, it is typically a combo ender and leaves you at a great advantage. On hit, you are +40 and can safely jump in to continue pressure. The EX version also has invincibility and can be used with a Kameo. 

FDB2 (Throwing Shade) - This will not get used a lot in a fight, but it does help with Johnny’s ‘Hype’ meter which strengthens him. 

DB3 (Rising Star) - This is Johnny’s DP and with it he can combo in the air if you do the EX version that is. 

DF3 (Shadow Dash) - This is Johnny’s escape tool and it is a good option for a side switch and also the hype version goes even further. 

BF4 (Shadow Kick) - This is another combo ender like the Ball Buster move. It does have a lot of pushback, so it will usually pay you better if you use it as a round ender.

FDB4 (Hype) - Once the hype meter is full, Johnny can pull of Hype which enhances his moves and makes him an overall more dangerous customer to deal with. 

Best Kameos

Before the nerf, Cyrax would have been the best kameo for Johnny as the cyborg enabled Johnny to do as he pleases. But nowadays, the best for him is probably Kung Lao. 

Kung Lao is great as he also enabled Johnny to keep up his pressure and his Low Hat move can stop an opponent dead in their tracks. 

Other Notable Kameos

  • Stryker

  • Sonya Blade

Pros and Cons

What are the best and worst aspects of using Johnny? Let’s go over them


  • Incredible movement

  • Damaging rushdown potential

  • Strong anti-air tools


  • Lack of range

  • Susceptible to zoning

BnB Combos

Here are some of the combos you can do with Johnny Cage

  • 11, BD1, R1, J244

  • F32, BD1, R1, J244

  • F32, BD1, R1, J244

  • F124, FF, B3, FF, 212, F12, BD1, R1, J244

  • 212, FF, F3, 212, FF, S4, BD1

  • F34, B3, FF, 212, F12, BD1, R1, J244

  • 212, j2, 212, F12, BD1, R1, J244

  • 212, j2, 212, dash, F12 BD1, Kameo, j 244

  • F124, dash, B3, dash F1, dash, F12 BD1

  • F32, DB3, j2, dash 212, dash F12, BD1, R1,  j 244

  • F12, DB3, j2, dash 212, dash F12, BD1, R1,  j 244

  • 11, DB3, j2, dash 212, dash F12, BD1, R1, j 244

  • Forward throw, j 2, 212, dash F12, BD1

  • BD1 (EX), R1, dash 212, j2, 212, dash F12, BD1

  • 212, j2, 4BD1, R1, dash, 4FDB4, BD1, BD1, DF3, 214, BD1, BD1, R1, dash, 212, dash F12, BD1, BD1, BF4


Johnny Cage is a great character in Mortal Kombat 1 and is a lot of fun to use once you invest a little time. You could pick up the character and if you need to learn more, we have two excellent guides by Curbolicious and Chilean sensation, Nicolas. For more guides, you can check out dedicated guide section on the website.

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