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Kotal Kahn is a character from the Mortal Kombat fighting game series who makes his debut in Mortal Kombat X. The sole survivor of the ancient Osh-Tekk race, he has since become the current Emperor of Outworld following the death of his predecessor Shao Kahn.


Ko'atal, son of Kotal K'etz, was merely a boy when his realm of Osh-Tekk was invaded and plundered by Shao Kahn. The emperor allowed the Osh-Tekk to keep their treasured Portal Stone as they pledged their allegiance to him early on, though Ko'atal was outraged by his father's surrender. However, K'etz told him that he could take over as leader of their people if he could fulfill their ancient rite of "realmwalk" and survive the dangerous lands of Earthrealm.

Kotal ends up taking his father's challenge, travelling through deserts and snowy mountains in Earthrealm, until he arrives at the Amazon jungle. The Mayans' civilization reminds Kotal of his own home, and while the Mayans fear him at first, they begin to worship him after he brutally kills some invading conquistadors. Kotal then begins to consider that his destiny is to not conquer these people, but to save them: Kotal stays with the Mayans, helping them repel further attacks by the Spanish as his own powers grow. The Mayans begin taking after the maturing Kotal as they devour the hearts of their enemies, and name him Buluc, The War God.

Kotal spent a long time among the Mayans, but over the years he came to realise that his actions had doomed the Mayans to extinction. Having spent years eating the hearts of foreigners, the Mayans had contracted numerous diseases that slowly killed them off. Ashamed, Kotal returned to Outworld where he would later enlist in Shao Kahn's army. He had supposedly taken part in the invasion of Earthrealm, but had not encountered any of Earth's known defenders.

After Shao Kahn's death, his chosen successor Mileena became the new Kahnum and ruled Outworld for the next few years. However, Mileena's tyranny was worse than her father's, nearly bringing Outworld to ruin. Kotal confronted Mileena with Reptile by his side and declared that Outworld demanded new leadership. Mileena in her fury made a move to stab Kotal with one of her sai and Reptile, now fiercely loyal to the Osh-Tekk, took the blow for his commander. This act would inspire loyalty in the Kytinn D'Vorah and she too would join Kotal's side.

Kotal usurped Mileena's title of Kahnum and forced her into hiding for ten years. Kotal would stand before the people of Outworld after taking the throne and declared his intentions to defend the realm with his life, winning over the crowds. Kotal Kahn would work with Raiden and Earthrealm in the Netherrealm War, with Kotal hoping their realms would remain cooperative after the war despite their past history.

During the events of Mortal Kombat X, Outworld became embroiled in civil war as Mileena sought to reclaim her throne from Kotal Kahn. Having acquired the mystical amulet of the fallen Elder God Shinnok, Mileena had put it to use by destroying Kotal's soldiers in various attacks upon the Outworld capital of Z'Unkahrah and even attempting to assassinate the emperor himself. Kotal survived the assault and Mileena was forced to flee after being weakened from using the amulet.

A short time afterwards, Kotal Kahn was approached by Special Forces member Cassie Cage and her team. They inform him of the Outworld refugees in Earthrealm but the emperor suspects the team to be allied with Mileena, and he is angered when he hears that she stole Shinnok's amulet, when it was supposed to be under Earthrealm's protection.

Kung Jin tries to tell him that his team aren't against him and that they are only looking for the amulet. Kotal Kahn doesn't believe him, declaring that Kung Jin and his friends are allied with Mileena, and then sentences all four of them to death. Kung Jin challenges the emperor to a duel for the right of defence. Kotal Kahn is defeated and asks Kung Jin to take his life. But the Shaolin spares the emperor and asks for his cooperation in the search for the amulet. Despite D’Vorah’s protests, Kotal Kahn agrees with Kung Jin and they shake hands.

Upon learning of Mileena’s location from the criminal Kano, the team and Kotal Kahn’s army invade the Kuatan Jungle while D’Vorah and Cassie sneak into the rebel camp to reclaim the amulet. D'Vorah and Cassie are ambushed by Tanya, Rain, and Mileena herself, but all three are knocked unconscious by D'Vorah. Mileena is captured and brought to the emperor, who claims that she is not worthy to be killed by him. He instead allows D’Vorah to unleash her flesh-eating parasites, which kill Mileena by devouring her face. Cassie and her team prepare to leave with the amulet, but Kotal Kahn is unwilling to take any further chances by leaving the amulet in Earthrealm's care. He has them imprisoned and asks D’Vorah to hold onto the amulet. However, D’Vorah is actually a double agent working for Quan Chi, whose goal is to retrieve the amulet and free Shinnok from his prison.

After the team escapes from captivity, they defeat Ermac, Reptile, and Erron Black. As they come to, Kotal's allies proceed to inform Kotal Kahn of D’Vorah’s treachery, which saddens him. They are led to believe that D’Vorah is allied with Raiden and had rescued Cassie's team herself. In response, Kotal Kahn prepares his troops to invade Earthrealm and retrieve the amulet.

Sometime later, they arrive in Earthrealm, Kotal Kahn and his army find Cassie’s team, who are on their way to the Sky Temple. On his orders, Kotal's army chases them to the woods where they are ambushed. Kotal Kahn fights Takeda, who is trying to tell the emperor about Shinnok but to no avail. Jacqui then steps in and tells Kotal Kahn that Shinnok has the amulet and had infected Earthrealm’s life-force.

Seeing Jacqui speaks the truth, Kotal believes Earthrealm to be lost, and decides to kill the team to appease Shinnok so he can bolster Outworld’s defences before the fallen Elder God comes for his realm. Jacqui manages to defeat him, but his army surrounds her and her friends. However, they are attacked by the Lin Kuei, with Sub-Zero allowing the team to hurry to the Sky Temple. Kotal Kahn’s fate is unknown after Shinnok’s defeat, though it is presumed that he was pushed back to Outworld by Sub-Zero.

Powers and Abilities

  • Blood Offering - Kotal Kahn offers his blood to the gods in exchange for greater strength.
  • Sunstone - An enchanted discus that Kotal throws at his opponent.
  • God Ray - Kotal summons a beam of light from the Heavens. He regains health by standing in the light, but if an enemy enters the light then they will burn.
  • Macuahuitl - An ancient Aztec weapon resembling a club but lined with small prismatic blades, or "teeth". This is Kotal's weapon of choice in open warfare.
  • Crystal Totem - Kotal Kahn summons a crystal totem that gives him a temporary damage buff for as long as it remains on the field.
  • Obsidian Totem - Kotal Kahn summons an obsidian totem that causes him to take less damage as long as it remains on the field.
  • Blood Totem - Kotal Kahn summons a small totem with a blood red aura that depletes the opponent's super meter with each connected attack that restores Kotal Kahn's health and fills his own super meter after the totem times out.
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