Ultimate Fighting Arena 2023 is one of the major fighting game tournaments happening this weekend. Though there were less than 100 entrants registered to compete at the Mortal Kombat 1 tournament taking place at the event, there were a number of heavy hitters present at the event such as NASR|TekkenMaster, PAN|A Foxy Grampa, DF|Grr, and more.
TekkenMaster was the only Baraka user in the top 8 portion of the bracket. Within the top 8, TekkenMaster managed to 3-0 every opponent he came across to secure his spot in the grand finals where he would then 3-0 PAN|Kanimani.
This victory with Baraka came shortly after a couple of balance patches. Among these balance patches, Baraka was arguably the most nerfed character. Even his best Kameo, Cyrax, was nerfed pretty heavily in that first balance patch.
Prior to the balance update that especially nerfed Baraka, character usage stats for East Coast Throwdown showed that Baraka was only used by one player within the top 32 portion of the first major Mortal Kombat event, and only as a secondary. Compared to other notable top tiers at the time, this suggested that Baraka was beginning to fall off.
Following the nerfs, many players opted to switch from Baraka. It would appear that Baraka was no longer believed to be the top tier threat that he once was.
Though SonicFox’s recent tier list was optimistic in suggesting that every character was viable in Mortal Kombat 1, Baraka’s placement as the fourth worst character was telling. Needless to say, most players would probably prefer to play characters in the higher portions of tier lists at tournaments.
Regardless, TekkenMaster opted to stick with Baraka, though he switched to using Stryker as his Kameo. While this lowered Baraka’s health to 950 compared to the 1,000 that Cyrax provided for Baraka, Stryker’s ability to throw grenades so long as the point character wasn’t in hit stun gave Baraka amazing coverage for strings that are normally risky or unsafe to use.
In the grand finals of Ultimate Fighting Arena 2023, Baraka’s forward lunging strings really came in handy during the Johnny Cage match up since they made Baraka difficult to punish even when Kanimani was able to sneak in a counter (which causes Johnny Cage to dash through his opponent) between the gaps of Baraka’s strings.
Check out TekkenMaster’s big moment in the clip below: