The Masked Guards are a group of (most likely human) royal protectors to Shang Tsung and later to Shao Kahn. They appeared in the background for Mortal Kombat, Mortal Kombat Trilogy, Mortal Kombat: Deception, and are more prominently featured in Mortal Kombat: Shaolin Monks. They also make an appearance in Mortal Kombat (2011).
In Shaolin Monks, they have the ability to block almost all of the player's attacks, causing the player to rethink how to defeat them. The Masked Guards fight with a bladed staff-like weapon (the naginata), and use a dagger as a secondary means of assault. Also a single Masked Guard appeared in the opening of the Mortal Kombat II and a dead Masked Guard is seen in the opening shot of the Mortal Kombat: Armageddon introduction video. John Vogel played the Masked Guards seen in the original Mortal Kombat arcade game.
In Mortal Kombat (2011) and Mortal Kombat: Shaolin Monks, Kung Lao disguises himself as a Masked Guard to gain access to the Mortal Kombat tournament. The Masked Guards can also be seen around the Courtyard.