Mortal Kombat Wiki
Mortal Kombat Wiki

Mortal Kombat I Mortal Kombat II Mortal Kombat 3

Your soul is mine!


—Shang Tsung's famous Battle Cry

Shang Tsung (尚宗)[1] is a character in the Mortal Kombat fighting game series. A powerful, soul stealing sorcerer, Shang Tsung is a celebrated villain of the series and serves as the host for the traditional Mortal Kombat tournament. He serves as a major antagonist to the series.

Shang Tsung made his debut as one of the few original characters in the first Mortal Kombat arcade game, in which he served as the main antagonist and the unplayable final boss. He made playable debut in Mortal Kombat II, where he serves as the secondary antagonist and sub-boss.

Shang Tsung returned as a playable character and secondary sub-boss in Mortal Kombat (2011) before Kintaro and Goro in the game's Arcade while serving as the secondary antagonist of the game's Story Mode alongside Quan Chi.

Shang Tsung returned in Mortal Kombat 11 as the guide in the game's Krypt and as a DLC character, being the first character available in the Kombat Pack. He later serves as the main antagonist of the Aftermath Story Mode expansion.

About Shang Tsung

A powerful, deadly sorcerer and a primary villain in the Mortal Kombat franchise, Shang Tsung is a shape-shifter who needs to consume souls in order to sustain his health and life. In the Mortal Kombat series, he is the epitome of cunning and decadence, as symbolized by his preference for lavish parties, grand palaces, and stylish clothing. Unlike the crude Shao Kahn, this bombast is a facade, disguising Shang Tsung's true intellectual and mental sophistication. His arch-nemesis is Liu Kang, but throughout his unnatural lifespan, he has earned the hatred of many others, including Kung Lao and Kenshi.

Shang Tsung's allegiance to Shao Kahn granted him the status of a free roaming sorcerer. As such, he is able to move between realms without detection by the Elder Gods or local deities, an ability which has granted him many opportunities to commit atrocities over the centuries. Only Delia, Shinnok, Shao Kahn, and Quan Chi can match Shang Tsung's skills as a sorcerer.


Shang Tsung initially had the appearance of a decrepit old man. His skin was pale with long, balding white hair, a beard and mustache, with dangling thin fingers and long fingernails. He wore robes with shades of blue and yellow and had a sword holstered at his side at all times. Since MKII, he regains his youth, though with varying degrees. His skin returns to a natural tint and is depicted with long black hair. As with his older persona, he shares featureless white eyes. In both MKII and MK3, he wore yellow and black clothes. In Deadly Alliance and beyond, he wears a heavy red uniform. Interestingly, he is depicted with pupils, having brown eyes.

In MK 2011 during the first tournament, Shang Tsung wore a black kimono shirt with a golden accent, black pants, and black boots with a golden X decoration at the top. Above his kimono shirt, he wore a crimson vest-like robe, with a large golden trim at the edge of the robe and at the cuffs; black and gold decorations on the front of the robe, the robe has a long, single strip which falls down to around his boots; two, thin strips of black fabric protruding from the top of the pants; and a belt, with the middle colored black, the rest gold and a jade stone in the middle.

In MK11, he once again appears in his older and younger forms, the former being a slight redesign of his MK 2011 outfit with his younger form being a hybrid of his MK3 and MK 2011 appearances, sharing the similar design traits of the latter with the color palette of the former. Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa provides his likeliness for the character, his younger form in particular being based directly off of his physical appearance in the 1995 live action movie, sporting a near identical hair style and a complete lack of facial hair. One of his alternate costumes also grants him his look from the aforementioned movies. Interestingly, his old form has visible pupils rather than being pure white.

Character Development

Originally named Shang Lao during the production of the first Mortal Kombat game, Shang Tsung was envisioned as a shapeshifting antagonist[2] and based on a "Chinese sorcerer" archetype from martial arts films, including but not limited to the character Lo Pan from the 1986 film Big Trouble in Little China.[3][4]

The original idea was that Shang Tsung was a human traitor who had sold his soul.[5] Mortal Kombat art director Herman Sanchez said that as the series progressed, he decided to emphasize Tsung's air of "sinister regality."[6]

In the first Mortal Kombat game, Shang Tsung was given the morphing ability due to technical limitations as the arcade machines for the game had no memory left for his images.[7] Shang Tsung was originally envisioned as the one who would behead the losing fighter with the sword at his side, prior to the concept of character-specific Fatalities.[3] It later was discovered that the sprites for this move still exists within the ROM. Additionally, Daniel Pesina remembers playing with Shang Tsung's "plastic katana".[8]

A cut character named "Kitsune", which was later developed into Kitana, was going to fit into the story as Shang Lao's princess daughter —"the spoil of victory for winning the tournament", who would betray her father after she fell for Liu Kang.[9][10]

Game Information

Shang Tsung's name was hyphenated as "Shang-Tsung" in Midway's official press release for the original MK.[11] He first appeared as an elderly man in his mid-eighties, then became a younger man in his late-twenties to early-thirties. According to GamePro magazine in 1993, the Mortal Kombat II version of Shang Tsung was 19 years old. In an MKII feature by the magazine that same year, included was a rough sketch of Shang's "true form" – a twisted demon. Though it was drawn by MK co-creator John Tobias, this form has never actually appeared in canon.[12]

In Deadly Alliance, he is roughly 45. Tobias wanted Shang Tsung's long hair to hang loose in Mortal Kombat 3, but potential problems with it flopping about whenever he jumped resulted in it being tied back into a ponytail. There are at least two different origin stories for Shang Tsung. On Midway's Mortal Kombat Mythologies website (long since inactive), it stated Shang Tsung was originally from Earth. This however presents a problem: namely, it was revealed Bo' Rai Cho could not fight in the Mortal Kombat tournament as his victories would be in Outworld's name, hence his training of Liu Kang. Therefore, any victories by Shang Tsung as Grand Champion would be in Earth's favor. However, his Armageddon bio makes reference to Shang binding his soul to Shao Kahn, which may explain why his victories would count for Outworld. Shang Tsung's Mortal Kombat: Tournament Edition bio states his origin as "Earthrealm/Outworld". The 2011 game reaffirms that he was originally from Earth, and willingly bound his soul to Shao Kahn's in exchange for power.

In the original Mortal Kombat, Shang Tsung seems to be hovering above the floor, like his fellow Shadow Priests. Because of this, he is completely immune to sweep attacks and Sub-Zero's Slide. He can't transform into anyone in the GameCube, PlayStation 2, and Xbox versions of Mortal Kombat: Deadly Alliance due to problems between switching character models. However, he did assume the form of Kung Lao and Ermac in the opening cinematics of Deadly Alliance and Armageddon, respectively. He could actually transform into anyone in the Game Boy Advance version of Mortal Kombat: Deadly Alliance (and the second re-release called Tournament Edition). Oddly enough, he can't transform into Reptile in that game.

Shang Tsung appears in the Dead Pool arena in Mortal Kombat: Deception, watching on a balcony (in his MKII attire). He is not normally playable in Mortal Kombat: Deception without the use of a GameShark code or Xbox mod. However, when he is used in a battle other than the fight challenges in Konquest mode, he uses the voice samples of the younger Shujinko, many of which are, otherwise, never heard in the game. For an unknown reason, Tsung's alternate outfit from Deadly Alliance is used as his character model in Deception when he is in kombat; however, in Konquest he is actually shown in his standard outfit from Deadly Alliance. Shang's Friendship in Mortal Kombat 3 turns him into a sprite from the arcade game Joust. He also has a joke picture in Deadly Alliance that promotes a foot-odor killer.

Combat Characteristics

Powers and Abilities

As mentioned above, Shang Tsung was cursed by mysterious entities identified only as his gods. The curse forcibly decreases his lifespan, unless he takes the souls of others to replenish himself. Shang Tsung's primary objective is to find an infinite source of souls on which to thrive indefinitely. Without souls, his body will rapidly age, wither, and eventually die.

However, due to his ability to absorb souls, he has also discovered an unforeseen side effect, granting him the ability to shape-shift into the people whose souls he has taken. The change is more than skin deep as he has access to their memories, fighting prowess and powers as well. Shang Tsung is not required to steal a person's soul in order to morph into them, as he took on the form of Kung Lao to sneak up on Liu Kang. As a sorcerer, Shang Tsung wields incredible black magic, most of it provided by Shao Kahn though after the third and second tournaments, this is no longer the case. It would appear that he, when paired with Quan Chi, was able to defeat the Thunder God of Earth, Raiden.

Like his rival, Liu Kang, he is associated with the element of fire, able to fire flaming skull-shaped projectiles at his opponent. In addition to his projectiles, he has the ability to create a giant, flaming cobra of fire that easily defeated Raiden (as seen in Deception's opening cinematic) and can turn into said cobra in Mortal Kombat 11. In Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe, Shang Tsung could teleport using pools of fire. He can also use his element of fire for sorcery and black magic, such as his ability to create portals as seen in Mortal Kombat: Shaolin Monks. Early concept sketches of Shang Tsung for Mortal Kombat II revealed that he had a hidden demonic form, although it has since been established that Shang Tsung is a human of Chinese origin, having been granted powers of sorcery by Shao Kahn.

In Mortal Kombat 11, his sorcery is heavily expanded upon with his previous abilities having more combat application behind them and the addition of new abilities that revolves around the theme of a treacherous, serpentine sorcerer. Shang Tsung's cobra familiar can now banish opponents by crashing them down to a lava portal and it also has the ability to drain the souls of those caught in its magics. The extent of his ability to steal attributes via soul stealing has been increased as he can siphon abilities and permanently gain them rather than assuming the appearance of his opponent. While transplanting souls can give life to corpses, he can also use it take lives by resurrecting spirits inside live opponents, reforming their physical forms which tears them apart inside out. He now has access to phylacteries and ancient scrolls that act as catalysts for his soul magic and curse spells. He appears to possess forms of necromancy with his ability to summon undead monks and is able to easily summon Soulnados, something Quan Chi would take time to summon.

As revealed in Mortal Kombat 11 Aftermath's Story, he is revealed to have been the creator of Kronika's Crown and is fully aware of its workings. As such, he is the one of the few people who can use the crown's true power without straining himself, even in his elder form.

Upon wearing the crown of Kronika and gaining the powers of many powerful kombatants including the previous wielder of the crown, Shang Tsung becomes a being with power comparable to the Elder Gods themselves. The powerful elemental Gods Raiden and Fujin stand no chance against his new found power, with Shang Tsung becoming so powerful he easily kills both the immortal Shao Kahn and Kronika with little effort.

Additionally, Shang possesses knowledge of genetics, having created such biological abominations as Mileena and Meat in his Flesh Pits as well as an affinity for constructing and operating booby traps.

Signature Moves

  • Morphing: Shang Tsung assumes the shape of anyone in the game. In MKII and MK3 and its updates, Shang couldn't morph into the bosses. (Although in MKII, he could briefly morph into Kintaro as a Fatality) In Trilogy, he could morph into anyone in the PlayStation, Saturn, and PC versions only. In the Amiga versions of Mortal Kombat and Mortal Kombat II, Tsung's morph is limited to that of the character he is fighting against. In Deadly Alliance, he can morph into anyone on the Game Boy Advance ports only. In MK 2011, he uses the Soul Steal to morph into his opponent. As the sub-boss in MK 2011's Arcade Ladder, Shang Tsung can morph into two of the fighters the player has fought until him. (MK, MKII, MK3, UMK3, MKT, MK:DA, MK:TE, MK:SM, MK 2011)
  • Flaming Skulls: Shang Tsung sends a fiery skull flying at his opponent. In the first game, he could fire up to six. In the later games it is up to three only. In MK 2011 and MK11, this is called Fire Skull. In MK11, Shang Tsung send the flaming skulls higher at the opponent than usual projectiles, causing the attack to miss if the opponent is either ducking or even blocking while ducking. (MK, MKII, MK3, UMK3, MKT, MK:SM, MKvsDCU, MK 2011, MK11)
    • The enhanced version of this is called Triple Skulls and fires three skulls, one after another.
    • In MK11, amplifying the attack send another skull at the opponent for increased damage. The second skull is sent at the same height as the original, meaning it can miss opponents ducking or blocking while ducking.
    • Equipping Inferno Skull will modify the amplified effects of the attack: (MK11 - Equip Ability)
      • Amplifying the attack a second time has Shang Tsung send a third and much larger skull at the opponent, knocking the opponent down and dealing even more damage. The third skull can strike ducking opponents.
      • If only the third skull strikes the opponent, the attack turns into a Krushing Blow, where the skull's impact is greater and deals increased damage. The single skull itself deals more damage than if all three skulls strike the opponent.
        • This Krushing Blow damage can be increased slightly if the opponent is under the effects of Vile Inscriptions.
  • Flaming Skull Eruption: Shang Tsung summons his fiery skulls to burst out of the ground in a series of three, directed towards him. In MK 2011, this is move is called Ground Eruption and acts as the enhanced version of Ground Skull. In MK11, Shang Tsung only sends two bursts. The attack also has a far version, called Far Ground Eruption, respectively. This ability replaces Crashing Flames and requires two ability slots, and conflicts with Force Lift when equipped, disabling the option to select Force Lift. (MK3, UMK3, MKT, MK:SM, MKvsDCU, MK 2011, MK11 - Equip Ability)
    • Amplifying the attack has Shang Tsung create a third eruption that launches the opponent in the air for a juggle.
  • Ground Skull: Shang Tsung summons a single flaming skull out of the ground. Shang can summon the skull Close, Mid way, or Far away from him. (MK 2011)
  • Soul Steal: Shang Tsung steals a small portion of his opponent's life force. He also does this in Shaolin Monks in a manner similar to his Mortal Kombat II Fatality. The special attack version allows him to regain some health back. In MK 2011, he morphs into his opponent after using this move and gets a damage boost by 33%. If Shang Tsung uses this move on Goro, Kintaro, or Shao Kahn in the Ladder mode, the player will not morph, but will still get the damage boost. In MK11, after draining the opponent's life and morphing into them, Shang Tsung gains increased damage by 20%. Additionally, Shang Tsung gains access to the opponent's Krushing Blows and Fatal Blow, however they deal slightly less damage and Shang Tsung must still follow their requirements. Performing Krushing Blows while morphed as the opponent that are shared between Shang Tsung and the opponent, like Throw and Uppercut Krushing Blows, disable Shang Tsung from using his own version of the attacks. Additionally, if Shang Tsung successfully uses the opponent's Fatal Blow, he can no longer use his own. Also, if Shang Tsung can place a negative effect on the opponent, like Shao Kahn's Ridicule or Humiliate debuffs, the debuffs will still take effect and last on their original time limit, however if the effects are applied just before Shang Tsung morphs back into himself, the effects are immediately removed. Shang Tsung can remain morphed after the announcer says Finish Him/Her, however once Shang Tsung's combo ends, he returns to himself. (MK:DA, MK:TE, MK:SM, MK:A, MKvsDCU, MK 2011, MK11)
    • The enhanced version is called Soul Capture. Shang Tsung stays as the opponent for a longer time.
    • If Shang Tsung delivers the round-winning blow with Soul Steal, a glitch will cause him to have the damage boost for the rest of the rounds.
    • In MK11, amplifying the attack doubles the amount of time Shang Tsung morphs into the opponent. The damage bonus remains the same.
      • Equipping the Life Theft Jinsei Augment triples the duration of Soul Steal. This duration bonus is also applied to the amplified version of the attack. (MK11 - Jinsei Augment Bonus)
  • Forward Fireball: Shang Tsung shoots a fireball at his opponent. (MK:DA, MK:TE, MK:A)
  • Fire Ring: Shang Tsung shoots a fireball from each hand. The two fireballs come together in a circle-like process, hitting the opponent at close or far range. (MK:DA, MK:TE, MK:A)
  • Mysterious Magic: Shang Tsung glows with a green aura, and runs toward the opponent, suddenly disappearing just before reaching them, and reappearing right behind them to strike with a low sliding kick. (MK:A)
  • Body Switch: With a gesture of his magic, Shang Tsung will switch places with his opponent. In MK11, this attack is called Soul Swap and also deals a small amount of damage. Shang Tsung is vulnerable when casting the spell to teleport. Additionally in MK11, this attack can not kill the opponent unless they are not under the Malignant Sorcery or Vile Inscriptions effect. However, it can still trigger Chip Avoided and Last Breath effects on opponent. (MKvsDCU, MK11 - Equip Ability)
  • Slide Launch: Shang Tsung does a slide kick that trips the opponent, then launches them into the air. (MKvsDCU)
  • Hot Escape: Shang digs into the ground and erupts at his opponent as a means of teleportation. (MKvsDCU)
  • Up Skull: Shang Tsung throws a skull upwards, which then falls above the opponent's head. The skull can strike a mid-air opponent while it is rising. The skull can be made to fall at three distances: Above, Behind, and In Front of the opponent. (MKvsDCU, MK 2011)
    • The enhanced version is called Skull Storm and fires three skulls, one for each of the three distances and they all come down at the same time.
  • Crashing Flames: Shang Tsung sends two fireballs towards the opponent's legs, causing them to stumble backwards on each successful hit. (MK11)
    • Amplifying the attack has Shang Tsung send a third fireball that knocks the opponent down and further away from the sorcerer for increased damage.
  • Corpse Drop: Shang Tsung pulls out his scroll and summons an overweight corpse to fall from above the opponent, dealing damage. The attack can be used at different ranges, called Close/Far/Very Far Corpse Drop, respectively. (MK11)
    • Amplifying the attack has Shang Tsung destroy the corpse right after it lands, causing a fiery and bloody explosion that knocks the opponent off their feet and deals increased damage.
    • Equipping Explosive Corpses will modify the amplified effects of the attack, causing the explosion of the corpse to launch the opponent in the air for a juggle. (MK11 - Equip Ability)
  • Sorcery Rush: Shang Tsung slides across the ground with a wall of green energy in front of him and slides into the opponent, knocking them a considerable distance away from the sorcerer. (MK11)
  • Vile Sorcery: Shang Tsung gains two effects using his scroll. Only one effect can be active at a time: (MK11 - Equip Ability)
    • Malignant Sorcery: Shang Tsung opens his scroll in front of the opponent, placing a red aura around them. During this time, the opponent's damage dealt is reduced by 25%. Connecting or being struck by a Krushing Blow or Fatal Blow ends this effect prematurely. Additionally, this effect ends if Shang Tsung successfully connects Soul Steal. Only the initial strike or strikes of the opponent's Fatal Blow have reduced damage.
    • Vile Inscriptions: Shang Tsung opens his scroll next to himself, placing a purple aura on the opponent. During this time, all of Shang Tsung's damage dealt to the opponent is increased by 25%. Connecting or being struck by a Krushing Blow or Fatal Blow ends this effect prematurely. Additionally, this effect ends if Shang Tsung successfully connects Soul Steal. Only the first strike of Shang Tsung's Fatal Blow gains the damage bonus.
      • Equipping the Nefarious Wizard Jinsei Augment doubles the effects of Vile Sorcery, increasing the damage dealt to the opponent and reducing the damage they deal to 50%. (MK11 - Jinsei Augment Bonus)
  • Inferno Barrier: Shang Tsung pulls out his scroll and summons a small fire tornado trap on the fightline behind his opponent. If the opponent makes contact with the trap, they will take damage. Shang Tsung can also place the trap in front of himself, called Close Inferno Barrier, respectively. Only one trap can be placed at a time, and can only placed again once the previous trap either deals damage, is blocked, or disappears. This ability conflicts with Soul Well when equipped, disabling the option to select Soul Well. (MK11 - Equip Ability)
    • Amplifying either version alters the attack, causing it to travel towards the opponent after being created, but offers no extra damage. The Close version of the attack can travel a majority of the fightline, but does not reach full-screen distance.
  • Soul Well: Shang Tsung levitates his vial of souls above the fightline. After every attack, with the exception of Krushing Blows and Fatal Blows, Shang Tsung absorbs a portion of the opponent's soul. Inputting the attack again has Shang Tsung absorb what was collected, healing him for 25% of the damage collected. If no damage was dealt, Shang Tsung will heal himself for 4% health. This 4% is also applied to the health returned if damage was successfully dealt. If the attack's inputs are not done again to collect the soul essence in time, the vial will vanish and Shang Tsung will not gain any health. Connecting or being struck by a Krushing Blow or Fatal Blow ends this effect prematurely. Additionally, this effect ends immediately if Shang Tsung successfully connects Soul Steal. This ability conflicts with Inferno Barrier when equipped, disabling the option to select Inferno Barrier. (MK11 - Equip Ability)
  • Shake: Transforming into Smoke, Shang Tsung stands in place and surrounds himself with smoke, where he parries any projectile that makes contact with him. Upon successfully parrying, Shang Tsung counter attacks the opponent by teleporting above and knocking them down before returning to normal. The attack can be delayed. The counter attack from the parry is unblockable and unavoidable. This ability is borrowed from Smoke. (MK11 - Equip Ability)
    • Amplifying the attack allows Shang Tsung, still as Smoke, to parry basic attacks, in addition to parrying projectiles. Unlike other parries, Shang Tsung cannot parry Throws, Getup Attacks or special attacks, unless the specials are projectiles. The amplified version can still be delayed like the original. As with the original, the counter attack from the parry is unblockable and unavoidable.
    • If Shang Tsung successfully parries two attacks twice in a row, whether this being two projectiles, two basic attacks or a combination of either, the second parry turns into a Krushing Blow, with the counter attack resulting in Shang Tsung landing on the opponent with his palm, crushing the opponent's spine, various organs and shattering the rib cage and dealing almost three times the original damage. Triggering the Krushing Blow with the amplified versions offers no additional damage.
      • This Krushing Blow damage can be increased slightly if the opponent is under the effects of Vile Inscriptions.
    • Equipping the Sorcerer's Menace Jinsei Augment triples the delayed time Shang Tsung stays morphed as Smoke to parry projectiles. This bonus also applies to the amplified version. (MK11 - Jinsei Augment Bonus)
  • Superkick: Transforming into Rain, Shang Tsung performs a powerful roundhouse kick that sends the opponent to the complete opposite side of the screen. The attack can be delayed or canceled, however canceling the attack requires and spends a bar of Defensive Meter. This ability is borrowed from Rain. (MK11 - Equip Ability)
    • Amplifying the attack allows Shang Tsung to transform back into himself before the opponent lands on the other side of the screen, allowing for additional attacks after. The amplified version offers no extra damage and just simply has Shang Tsung recover much faster. The attack cannot be amplified if blocked by the opponent.
    • If Shang Tsung cancels the attack, then successfully performs it again right after, the attack turns into a Krushing Blow, with the kick shattering the top half of the opponent's skull for almost double the original damage. Shang Tsung must still amplify the attack in order to use additional attacks after.
      • This Krushing Blow damage can be increased slightly if the opponent is under the effects of Vile Inscriptions.
    • Equipping the Fast Magician Jinsei Augment modifies the regular version of Superkick, reducing the time it takes Shang Tsung to recover from using the attack, allowing him to attack the opponent in a similar manner when amplifying the attack. (MK11 - Jinsei Augment Bonus)
  • Slide: Transforming into Reptile, Shang Tsung slides across a section of the arena with a green slime trail under him, knocking the opponent in the air and to the opposite side of the sorcerer, halfway across the arena. Unlike Reptile's original version of the attack, the attack takes slightly longer to activate and Shang Tsung travels a shorter distance. This ability is borrowed from Reptile. This ability replaces Sorcery Rush when equipped. (MK11 - Equip Ability)
    • Amplifying the attack has Shang Tsung, still as Reptile, follow up with a drop kick identical to Reptile's enhanced version of Slide in Mortal Kombat (2011) to the opponent's back while they are in the air, knocking them full-screen distance away and deals increased damage.
    • If Shang Tsung travels the maximum distance he can when sliding, the attack turns into a Krushing Blow when amplified, with the drop kick shattering the opponent's spine and several ribs while dealing over double the original damage. The knockback effect remains the same.
      • This Krushing Blow damage can be increased slightly if the opponent is under the effects of Vile Inscriptions.
  • Force Lift: Transforming into Ermac, Shang Tsung lifts the opponent up with telekinesis identical to how Ermac performed the attack in Mortal Kombat (2011), however he does not bounce the opponent off the ground but instead slams them onto the ground. This ability is borrowed from Ermac. This ability replaces Crashing Flames when equipped and conflicts with Ground Eruption, disabling the option to select Ground Eruption. (MK11 - Equip Ability)
    • Amplifying the attack has Shang Tsung, still as Ermac, slam the opponent two more times, slamming them behind the sorcerer, then a final time in front, dealing increased damage and bouncing them off the ground for a juggle. Shang Tsung can only use this juggle effect once per combo.
    • If the opponent fails to block at the right time when Shang Tsung lands the attack, the attack turns into a Krushing Blow when amplified, where the first slam has much more impact, causing the attack to deal increased damage and retaining the same effects. If this effect is successful, Shang Tsung can amplify a second Force Lift during his combo.
      • This Krushing Blow damage can be increased slightly if the opponent is under the effects of Vile Inscriptions.
  • Screaming Soul: Shang Tsung clutches his fist with energy and sends a fast moving Soul Ball at his opponent which knocks them away on contact. This ability replaces Fire Skull when equipped and conflicts with Inferno Skull, disabling the option to select Inferno Skull. (MK11 - Equip Ability)
    • Amplifying the attack has Shang Tsung create an energy beam above him by levitating his scroll, where the beam is shot from to deal increased damage. The beam is shot at the middle of the arena and travels down the fightline until it is off screen, but the opponent will take damage regardless of where they are struck when the beam is created.
  • Scatter Soul: Shang Tsung takes his vial of souls and shatters it into a small explosion of energy, knocking the opponent away. The attack can be delayed or canceled. Delaying the attack increases the damage of the explosion, which when fully charged deals double the original damage and retains the same properties. This attack has armor breaking properties, ignoring the armor granted by specific abilities and Fatal Blows. If this attack is used to break armor from a Break Away, it will re-stand the opponent. This ability replaces Corpse Drop when equipped and conflicts with Explosive Corpses, disabling the option to select Explosive Corpses. (MK11 - Equip Ability)
    • Amplifying the attack has Shang Tsung grab the vial instead of crushing it and throw it at the opponent, which if it successfully hits them, will stun them and set them up for a free hit. The attack can not be amplified if it is delayed, nor can it be canceled once amplified.
    • Equipping the Ethernal Rupture Jinsei Augment modifies Scatter Soul, granting Shang Tsung armor as he delays the attack. When Shang Tsung takes damage from attacks while armored this way, the damage and radius of the explosion of Scatter Soul is increased by 2%. This effect stacks for every hit Shang Tsung takes while delaying the attack. (MK11 - Jinsei Augment Bonus)

X-Ray/Fatal Blow

  • X-Ray - Your Soul is Mine: Shang Tsung magically drains a portion of the soul out of his opponent, showing only the muscles due to the soul taken from the skin (and the ribs broken due to his hands inside the opponent's chest), then delivers a skull shattering knee strike, knocking them away. (MK 2011)
  • Fatal Blow - Shapeshifter's Barrage: Shang Tsung stuns the opponent with a burst of green magic, then transforms into Sub-Zero and slides into them and, before they fall, creates an icicle to pierce one of the opponent's eye, which freezes his opponent. He kicks his opponent away and transforms into Scorpion to use a Spear to reel the opponent back in and stabs them before slashing the opponent's throat. He lastly transforms into Noob Saibot to grab the opponent and flies up, then slams them headfirst into the ground. (MK11)

Other Moves

  • Free-Fall Super Move: Shang Tsung floors his opponent with a massive fireball. (MKvsDCU)
  • Throw: Shang Tsung grabs his opponent by the throat and drains a portion of their life force. He then flings the opponent away either forwards or backwards. This attack restores a very small amount of Shang Tsung's health. (MK 2011)
  • Throw (Forward): Shang Tsung thrusts his hand into his opponent's chest and drains a portion of their life force. He then sends them away with a palm strike. This attack is slightly weaker than a usual throw, but in return restores 2% of Shang Tsung's health. Shang Tsung is always returned 2% health back, regardless if his Throw (Forward) deals increased damage. (MK11)
  • Throw (Backward): Shang Tsung opens a fiery portal beneath the opponent's feet that they fall into, and Shang Tsung stomps on their head, sending them in. Once the opponent is thrown out of the portal, Shang Tsung opens his scroll and strikes them with a fireball. (MK11)
    • If this is performed shortly after Shang Tsung morphs back into himself after a Soul Steal, the attack turns into a Krushing Blow, with the stomp to the top of the opponent's head shattering the top of their head, forcing them through the portal, but this time he does not unleash a fireball. This version offers no extra damage, but launches the opponent in the air for a juggle.
  • Death Trap: Shang Tsung surrounds himself with Soul energy then summons a Soul Ball that strikes the opponent three consecutive times with the final strike knocking the opponent away full-screen distance. This combo can be used from anywhere in the arena. The Soul Ball and the combo as a whole are not considered projectiles. (MK11)
  • Rising Chest Kick: Shang Tsung runs forward and kicks the opponent in the chest, knocking them away. This attack can miss ducking opponents, however Shang Tsung is very safe if this attack is blocked by the opponent. (MK11)
    • If this attack is used as a Kounter or Punish to a Getup Roll, the attack turns into a Krushing Blow, with the kick to the chest now being a kick to the face that crushes the upper half of the opponent's skull inward and deals over three times the original damage. This Krushing Blow can not be performed if Shang Tsung has already successfully performed the Krushing Blow version of Tipping The Scales.
      • This Krushing Blow damage can be increased slightly if the opponent is under the effects of Vile Inscriptions.
  • Reversed Pain: Shang Tsung delivers a chop to the opponent's stomach then a second, spinning, overhead chop to their head, knocking them down. (MK11)
    • If the second chop is the only one of the two to connect when starting a combo, whether the opponent successfully blocks the first hit and not the second or the second strike lands on its own, the combo turns into a Krushing Blow, where the chop shatters the top of the opponent's head and bounces them off the ground for a juggle and increased damage. This Krushing Blow can not be triggered on opponents left open for a free hit by interactables or by specials used by Shang Tsung after morphing back into himself.
      • This Krushing Blow damage can be increased slightly if the opponent is under the effects of Vile Inscriptions.
  • Shapeshifter: Shang Tsung performs a chop to the opponent's head, a kick to the shin. This combo has follow-up attacks with different effects; (MK11)
    • Burning Evil: After kicking the opponent's shin, Shang Tsung strikes the opponent with a rising fist engulfed in Hellfire, knocking the opponent away. When used in the corner of an arena, Shang Tsung can continue combos. Shang Tsung is very safe if this final attack is blocked by the opponent, however, this final strike is capable of being Flawless Blocked by the opponent, leaving Shang Tsung vulnerable to Flawless Block Attacks.
    • Tipping The Scales: After kicking the opponent's shin, Shang Tsung kicks the opponent in the chest, knocking them away. Unlike Burning Evil, this combo can not be Flawless Blocked. (MK11)
      • If this combo is performed on an opponent as a Kounter or Punish, the combo turns into a Krushing Blow, with the kick to the chest now being a kick to the face that crushes the upper half of the opponent's skull inward and dealing over double the original damage. This Krushing Blow can not be performed if Shang Tsung has already successfully performed the Krushing Blow version of Rising Chest Kick.
        • This Krushing Blow damage can be increased slightly if the opponent is under the effects of Vile Inscriptions.
  • Shapeshifter's Training: Shang Tsung gains access to Shake, Slide, Superkick, and Force Lift without the need to select them individually. When this is selected, Shang Tsung can no longer use Soul Steal and Corpse Drop. This ability requires three ability slots when equipped. (MK11 - Equip Ability)
  • Spirit Flame: The size of Shang Tsung's fire-based projectiles are increased by 50%. This allows Flaming Skull to hit ducking opponents. (MK11 - Jinsei Augment Bonus)


  • Soultaker: Shang Tsung consumes his opponent's soul, leaving behind a shrunken corpse. In MKII, he would grab his opponent, whilst in MK3, he would levitate them instead. In MK:DA, he would levitate his victim and slam them onto the ground several times before jumping on top of them, each time extracting a part of their soul. In MKvsDCU, he transforms into his victim first, picks them up by the back of the neck, consumes the soul, then throws them to the floor before reverting back to normal. In MK 2011, this move has been downgraded to his throw attack. (MKII, MK3, UMK3, MKT, MK:DA, MK:TE, MKvsDCU)
  • Inner Ear Explosion: Shang Tsung enters his opponent's body. The body violently shakes until it explodes as Shang appears in the opponent's place. (MKII)
  • Kintaro Morph: Shang Tsung morphs into Kintaro and punches the upper half of the opponent's body clear across the stage. (MKII)
  • Bed of Nails: Shang Tsung makes a bed of spikes rise out of the ground and he slams his dazed opponent into them. (MK3, UMK3, MKT)
  • Back Breaker: In a variation to his Soultaker Fatality, Shang Tsung grabs his opponent and consumes their soul before throwing their body to the ground. He then stomps on their back, breaking their spine. (MKvsDCU)
  • Bang Bang!: Parodying the Joker's first MKvsDCU Fatality, Shang Tsung transforms into an evil looking clown, takes out a gun and fires, but it is fake and instead a flag with the word 'Bang!' comes out of the gun. He drops it and starts to laugh. With the opponent in a bit of shock, anger and confusion, the clown then pulls out a real gun and shoots the opponent in the head, blowing the head to pieces, and proceeds to laugh maniacally. (MK 2011)
  • Identity Theft: Shang Tsung enters his opponent's body and has them rip their own head off. Tsung then leaves the opponent's body and laughs maniacally in satisfaction. This Fatality is nearly identical to Liu Kang's Soul Invasion Fatality in Deception, but here Tsung simply leaves his victim's body once the deed is done. (MK 2011)
  • Kondemned To The Damned: Shang Tsung summons glowing chains on each of his opponent's limbs. The chains lift the opponent up and Shang Tsung summons a firey portal below them. Two undead shaolin monks appear from the portal and start clawing at the suspended opponent, tearing their guts out. One undead monk rips off the opponent's face, whilst the other pulls their skeleton out from their suspended body through their open stomach. (MK11)
  • Shokan Reborn: Shang Tsung throws a soul orb at his opponent's chest, tearing a hole and exposing their ribcage. A pair of arms break out from their lower sides and rip off the opponent's arms. A second pair of arms sprout in the place of the ripped arms and pull at the opponent's chest, tearing it apart with enough force to blow them into pieces, and emerging from the opponent's body is Kintaro who roars at the camera. (MK11)


  • The Klassic: Shang Tsung performs an uppercut, decapitating the opponent with a rising uppercut with their spine still attached. This Brutality is shared with every character. (MK11)
    • Must not block for the entirety of the final round.
    • A button must be held.
  • Essence Thief: Shang Tsung performs his Throw (Forward), but, in true fashion of his Soultaker Fatality, picks up the opponent and steals their soul, leaving behind a shrunken and dry corpse. (MK11)
    • Certain buttons must be pressed repeatedly.
  • Visceral Punt: Shang Tsung performs his Throw (Backward), but instead of stomping on the opponent's head, he kicks their head off with their spine still attached. (MK11)
    • Must connect a number of Throws during the match.
    • Will not trigger on Krushing Blow, if it has not been activated during the match.
  • Walk It Off: Shang Tsung performs a Slide as Reptile, completely destroying the opponent's shins in the process. This is similar to Reptile's Knee Kapper Brutality in MKX. (MK11)
    • A button must be held.
    • Can not be performed on a juggled or airborne opponent.
  • True Fifty Fifty: Shang Tsung performs a Force Lift as Ermac and vertically rips the opponent in half from the head down. This is identical to Ermac's Gluttony Brutality from MKX. (MK11)
    • A button must be pressed repeatedly.
  • Fountain Of Blood: Shang Tsung performs a Superkick as Rain that decapitates the opponent with their spine still attached. Shang Tsung quickly morphs back into himself and catches the opponent's head as it flies in from the opposite side before dropping it. (MK11)
    • Must connect a number of Superkicks during the match.
    • Can not be performed on a juggled or airborne opponent.
    • Will not trigger on Krushing Blow, if it has not been activated during the match.
  • Spatial Override: Shang Tsung performs a Soul Swap, disappearing and then reappearing in the opponent's place, causing them to explode. (MK11)
    • Must connect a number of Soul Swaps during the match.
    • The opponent must be under the effects of Vile Sorcery.
  • Inclement Weather: Shang Tsung performs a Corpse Drop, only this time when the body lands on the opponent, it destroys and replaces their entire upper body. (MK11)
    • A button must be held.
    • Must not be Close to the opponent.
  • I Put A Spell On You: Shang Tsung performs his Throw (Backward), blasting off the opponent's body with the fireball from his scroll. (MK11)
    • Certain buttons must be pressed repeatedly.
  • Hot Head: Shang Tsung performs a Fire Skull, replacing the opponent's head with the fire skull. (MK11)
    • A button must be held.
  • Brutality Steal: After morphing into the opponent he is currently fighting by performing Soul Steal, Shang Tsung can perform his opponent's Brutality, so long as the requirements for the Brutality are met and the opponent has the finisher unlocked. (MK11 - Secret)
    • Stolen Brutalities will not trigger on Krushing Blow, if it has not been activated during the match when Shang Tsung performs them as the opponent.

Other Finishers

  • Friendship #1 - Rainbow Konnection: Shang Tsung casts out his hands and makes a rainbow. In MK11, he performs a short kata-like movement before making the rainbow. (MKII, MK11)
  • Friendship #2: Shang Tsung turns into the main character from the video game Joust and hops offscreen. (MK3, UMK3, MKT)
  • Animality: Shang Tsung turns into a cobra and swallows his opponent whole. (MK3, UMK3, MKT)
  • Babality: Shang Tsung turns into a baby, takes out a teddy bear and steals its soul. Afterwards, he sits down contentedly and puts his fingertips together as if he were plotting. (MK 2011)

‎Appearances in Other Media

Mortal Kombat (1995 film)

Shang Tsung, played by Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa, serves as the primary antagonist in the 1995 film Mortal Kombat. Although a powerful warrior, Shang Tsung regularly resorted to intimidation and trickery when dealing with his enemies.

Before the Mortal Kombat Tournament began, Shang Tsung went to the temple of Order of Light to fight and killed Chan Kang and sent a message to Liu Kang, telling he will be the next, via dream.

He then hired Kano, telling him to go to his island in order to lure Sonya Blade to participate in the Tournament (as he wanted to make her his queen). However, he warned Kano that if he did so much as to touch her, he would apparently make Kano need a seeing-eye dog.

Later, he impersonated Master Boyd to visit Johnny Cage, inviting him to the Tournament as an opportunity to prove his on-screen martial art was not fake as the media claimed.

After the trio boarded Shang Tsung's ship, they encountered Shang Tsung, who had his henchmen, Scorpion and Sub-Zero to attack them but Raiden showed up and stopped the fight.

As the former Champion of the Tournament, Shang Tsung showed a particular interest in Sonya as he planned to face her in the final battle of the tournament, seeing her as an easy prey. (This interest is later referenced in the story mode of Mortal Kombat (2011), as shown in several scenes.) Additionally, Shang Tsung intended to make Sonya become his queen once Earthrealm was conquered by Outworld.[13]

Shang Tsung also harboured suspicions of Princess Kitana, so he tasked Reptile to watch over her and keep her away from Liu Kang. He expressed disappointment with Kitana after she deliberately failed to defeat Liu Kang in the tournament.

Following the defeat of both Scorpion and Sub-Zero, Shang Tsung unleashed Goro upon the Earthrealm kombatants. After Art Lean was killed, Shang Tsung allowed Johnny Cage to challenge Goro on the condition that he might challenge anyone of his choosing, in any place. After Cage killed Goro, Shang Tsung kidnapped Sonya Blade and took her to Outworld, where he intended to challenge and defeat her in the final battle of Mortal Kombat Tournament— thereby securing Outworld's victory.

After imprisoning Sonya in the Black Tower, Shang Tsung tried to trick her into fighting him. He told her that unless she accepted his challenge, Earthrealm would forfeit the tournament and lose. (In truth, the rules of Mortal Kombat stated that no final battle could take place unless a challenge was accepted.) Sonya defiantly declared that her friends would come for her. At that moment, Liu Kang, Johnny Cage, and Princess Kitana revealed themselves. Kitana berated Shang Tsung for attempting to use treachery and deceit to win the Tournament. Shang, despite knowing where her loyalties truly laid, stood down and then formally challenged Johnny Cage. Liu Kang, however, stepped in and challenged Shang Tsung to Mortal Kombat, telling him to either fight or yield. Shang accepted Liu Kang's challenge and ordered his guards to leave.

When Liu Kang gained the upper hand, Shang Tsung summoned an army of phantom warriors— the enslaved souls of those he had defeated in the past. After Liu Kang managed to defeat his minions, Shang Tsung then attempted to trick Liu Kang into letting his guard down by morphing into the image of Chan, Liu's murdered brother. Liu Kang was not fooled, though Shang Tsung temporarily gain upper hands. However, Liu Kang managed to fight back. During this time, the captured souls of Shang Tsung's victims rose up against him, weakening the sorcerer as parts of them began to leave him. Liu Kang finally knock Shang Tsung off a platform and into a pit of spikes. Shang Tsung was impaled on the spikes and died, his corpse then rapidly decaying into a skeleton. Then, all the captured warrior souls, including Chan, were released and went to the Heavens.

In Mortal Kombat: The Journey Begins, the unofficial tie-in and prequel to the 1995 film, Shang Tsung also appeared as the main antagonist that had an army of Tarkatan minions as well as the loyalty of Goro, Sub-Zero, and Scorpion. Shang Tsung had his appearance from the 1992 game Mortal Kombat.

Mortal Kombat: Defenders of the Realm

Shang Tsung made several appearances in the animated series Mortal Kombat: Defenders of the Realm.

In the 9th episode "Resurrection", after being defeated by Liu Kang back in the first film, Shao Kahn's Shadow Priests found Shang Tsung's bones and used their dark magic on them to bringing the sorcerer back to life. Now reborn, Shang Tsung was able to serve Shao Kahn, his emperor whom he loathed the most, as well as to seek revenge on Liu Kang who had killed him. He was given the "Orb" (also featured in the Street Fighter, Savage Dragon, and Wing Commander Academy cartoons), a mystical artifact that enabled the user to manipulate the very elements of Earth, and even strip Raiden of his godly powers.

Mortal Kombat: Conquest

In the television series, Mortal Kombat: Conquest, Shang Tsung, played by Bruce Locke, was portrayed as a sorcerer eager to take revenge on the Great Kung Lao, who had defeated him in the previous Mortal Kombat Tournament.

Four centuries ago, Shang Tsung and his then lover, Omegis, studied under the teaching of Master Cho until Shang Tsung's betrayal.

Shang Tsung was confined to the Cobalt Mines of Shokan for his failure in the Tournament, although he occasionally escaped as his powers was unaffected by the cobalt in the mines, thanks to his human heritage. He kept Vorpax, the Kreeyan princess, in the Cobalt Mines as his personal slave and henchman until she was freed by her sisters. He was later chosen by Vorpax to be her mate after she obtains Queen Kreeya's powers.

Mortal Kombat (Malib Comics)

Shang Tsung plays his original role of main villain in Blood & Thunder, the first series of the comic book series Mortal Kombat published by Malibu Comics. Shang Tsung appeared in his old self, with his back story mostly unchanged (serving Shao Kahn to open the portal through 10 consecutive wins on Mortal Kombat Tournament). He and Raiden shared a bitter relationship, usually ending in either verbal assaults or draw fights. While Shang Tsung hosted the tenth tournament, he secretly planned to gain the powers of the mystical book Tao The Zhan, which granted immense strength to whoever resolves its seven riddles. Unfortunately for him, Kano stole the book and later Goro vanished in thin air, forcing him to hold the tournament endlessly, making Shao Kahn quite disgusted. During the final issue of Tournament Edition, Shang Tsung and Raiden joined forces to stop Goro after he took the power of the book, since he could not be trusted with such strength.

During the Battlewave series, it is implied that Shang Tsung resumed the tournament after his plans were foiled and lost it alongside Goro at the hands of Liu Kang. He is seen in the first pages of issue 1 being pursued and punished by Shao Kahn, Kintaro, and Gorbak (Goro's father). Even though Shao Kahn supposedly punished him, he later appears in the last page of issue 5 completely rejuvenated and still under Shao Kahn's servitude. Shang Tsung would later serve as leader of Shao Kahn's team during the tournament he prepared in the last issue of the series Tournament Edition II.

Shang Tsung's last appearance is during the 1995 one-shot comic Mortal Kombat: Kung Lao, in which he serves as an antagonist, attempting to kill Kung Lao through deceptive tricks using his shape-shifting abilities to use Lao's friends (Kitana, Baraka and Sub-Zero) and later his ancestor, the Great Kung Lao.

Mortal Kombat (1995 novel)

Shang Tsung was originally a tax collector named Paipu, who married Chen Lao, the sister of Wing Lao and aunt of the Great Kung Lao and Chan Lao in the fifth century.

At a certain point, Paipu left his position as a tax collector and feigned his death in the village of Amiko by killing and disfiguring another man, and changed his name in order to do what Wing Lao had done: experiment... quest... seek knowledge.

For as long as he could remember, Shang had tried to do the same, driven by his earliest memories, recollections of tormented dreams, of nightmares that told him to get up, to study, to explore, to understand. Visions of what seemed to be previous lives spent inhaling fumes of potions, poring over candlelit writings, digging in graves and killing for fresh souls.

Afterward, he went to an island in the East China Sea, where the Mortal Kombat Tournament would be held.

Mortal Kombat: Rebirth

Shang Tsung is portrayed by James Lew in the short film Mortal Kombat: Rebirth. His appearance closely resembles his attire in the 1995 Mortal Kombat movie.

Shang Tsung, an owner of an illegal underground fighting tournament, hired Baraka and Reptile to fight for the tournament.

Mortal Kombat: Legacy

Shang Tsung was portrayed by Johnson Phan in the first season of Mortal Kombat: Legacy as one of Shao Kahn's servants and a sorcerer of unrivaled power, going so far as to call himself a demigod. He fulfills many of the same roles he did from the games.

Chronologically appearing for the first time in the fourth episode, Shang Tsung was summoned by Shao Kahn to create a clone of Kitana when Kahn feared that Sindel would raise her to hate him. Shang Tsung eagerly agreed to the task with a devious smirk, a flashback in the fifth episode revealing he stole some of Kitana's blood to create Mileena, though he mixed in Tarkatan blood to truly make her Shao Kahn's daughter.

In the eighth episode, Shang Tsung aided fellow sorcerer Quan Chi in framing the Lin Kuei for the slaughter of the Shirai Ryu and the murder of Hanzo Hasashi's family. He then witnessed Quan Chi resurrect Hanzo as the spectre Scorpion to fight for Outworld in Mortal Kombat Tournament.

In the third episode, Shang Tsung stopped time around Johnny Cage before appearing from the shadows in front of the disgraced action star. He offered Johnny a "Way out of everything" and presumably attempted to recruit him to the side of Outworld for the Mortal Kombat Tournament, though the next season reveals that he failed to recruit Johnny.

Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa reprises the role in season two of Mortal Kombat: Legacy.

Shang Tsung in his new form first appeared in the first episode, as all the Kombatants gathered together on the island. He then uttered, "It has begun."

In the ninth episode, Shang Tsung came to Liu Kang with a proposal to join the forces of Outworld. He justified accepting such an offer since Kung Lao and the rest of Kang's friends had abandoned him. Shang Tsung further took advantage of this by saying joining Outworld in the Tournament would provide excellent payback. He also hinted that he himself was once an Earthrealm warrior, but was left behind by his comrades, as was Liu Kang, further enticing him. It would seem that Liu Kang accepted Shang's offer as Liu Kang came to the island in the first episode and fought Kung Lao in the tenth episode.[14]

Mortal Kombat Legends: Scorpion's Revenge

Shang Tsung was one of the two main antagonists in Mortal Kombat Legends: Scorpion's Revenge along with Quan Chi.

Mortal Kombat (2021 film)

Main: Shang Tsung/Film

Shang Tsung appears in the 2021 film Mortal Kombat and is portrayed by actor Chin Han.


Mortal Kombat (film)

  • "Your brother's soul is mine! You will be next!" (Points to Liu Kang, in a dream.)
  • "You killed her partner, didn't you? She'll follow you into Hell. Just make sure she's on that boat. Sonya Blade must be at the tournament." (to Kano)
  • I'm impressed. But it is my boat and if you'd like a tour, I'd love to give it to you myself. (to Sonya Blade)
  • "If you so much as touch her, Kano... you're going to need a seeing eye dog."
  • "Scorpion and Sub-Zero. Deadliest of enemies. But slaves under my power."
  • "Lord Raiden. How good of you to grace us with your... presence..."
  • "You've been chosen, Sonya. Much to my... delight."
  • "It has begun!" (He looks up towards the sky as he says these words.)
  • "Princess Kitana... She's our most dangerous adversary. Watch her carefully, Reptile. Keep her away from these humans."
  • "Welcome. You're here to compete in Mortal Kombat. Tomorrow morning, the great Kombat begins. Some of you will even have the distinct honor... and pleasure... to face Prince Goro, our reigning champion. You are all witnesses to one of the greatest turning points in the history of your planet. Treasure these moments... as if they were your last. And now for a taste of things to come..." (Welcoming the kombatants to the tournament)
  • "Flawless victory." (After Sub-Zero easily kills one of the guards by freezing the guard.)
  • "It's true, Prince Goro. Why else would I have chosen such a disreputable looking cretin? Look at him. No dignity. No manners. Yet in the realm of Earth, men like him can amass great wealth and almost god-like power." (to Goro, about Kano)
  • "After you've fought the girl. But remember. She's not to be harmed. Only humiliated. I have plans for my beautiful Sonya." (To Kano)
  • "The emperor will not tolerate failure. And neither will I." (To Goro)
  • "From this moment on, my Island will be your battleground. Liu Kang, you will be first! Let Mortal Kombat begin!"
  • "Your soul is mine!" (Before taking the defeated Fighting Monk's soul away as the Monk begs for his life.)
  • "Fatality." (after taking the soul of the Fighting Monk)
  • "Sonya Blade, I have something for you, my dear..." (Sonya looks towards him, and says she doesn't want it.)
  • "On the contrary, I have something you want very much. You can thank me later." (just before Kano enters the arena)
  • "Yessss." (as Sonya gains the upper hand against Kano)
  • "Kitana! That's enough! You disappoint me... Not very wise." (when Kitana deliberately allows Liu Kang to defeat her)
  • "We've let these humans win enough." (to Goro)
  • "Finish him!" (Ordering Goro to kill Art Lean, to which his does by bashing Art's head with a closed fist.)
  • "Flawless victory. Your soul is mine." (Taking Art Lean's soul.)
  • "Are you that eager to die?" (Response to Johnny Cage's demand to fight Goro.)
  • "As you wish. As absurd as your request is, I shall grant it. In return, I reserve the right to challenge the winner myself. Or another of my choosing. In a place designated by me for the final battle of the tournament." (to Johnny Cage)
  • "Finish him, quickly. Pay me my tribute." (To Goro)
  • "You imbecile! Follow him! Finish him!" (To Goro)
  • "I hereby exercise my right to challenge. I challenge... her!" (about Sonya)
  • "We had a deal, remember? Mortal Kombat continues. I am simply changing the place. As we agreed." (taking himself and Sonya to Outworld)
  • "Sonya. My sweet Sonya. There's no one else. If you don't fight, the Realm of Earth will forfeit the Tournament and its portals will open to out great Emperor."
  • "One last chance, Sonya. Fight me in Mortal Kombat."
  • "How dare you speak to me of treachery!" (To Kitana)
  • "Johnny Cage! I challenge you!" (Liu Kang, cuts in and demands that Shang Tsung, fights him instead.)
  • "I accept." (To Liu Kang's challenge)
  • "Leave us! I will take care of this impudent mortal myself."
  • "You fool!" (After Liu Kang drops an elbow, knocking him to the ground, he then spits on the floor.)
  • "Liu Kang! I can see into your soul. You - will - die!" (He points at Liu Kang.)
  • "You're mine!" (To Liu Kang)
  • "They are mine... forever!" (When Liu Kang orders him to free the souls)
  • "Save your pity for the weak!" (To Liu Kang)
  • "NEVER!" (Final stand against Liu Kang, in which he charges towards him and gets punched around.)

Mortal Kombat: Shaolin Monks

  • "Do you trust me?" (Posing as Raiden, approaching Liu Kang and Kung Lao as they spar)
  • "Listen to my words as you continue your exercises, for you will need to remember them later. Shang Tsung is not as defeated as we had hoped. I faced him while you fought the attacking mutants. More, I believe he now defies the Elder Gods themselves. Baraka could not have come with a legion of mutant scum had Shang Tsung not been aiding him. With his defeat in the Mortal Kombat tournament, he will be anxious to prove himself superior to you, and take his vengeance. This will make him reckless and more dangerous than ever." (Posing as Raiden, speaking to Liu Kang and Kung Lao)
  • "I had hoped you had time to heal your wounds in the tournament... but I was gravely mistaken." (Posing as Raiden, speaking to Liu Kang and Kung Lao)
  • "You must go to Outworld. We must take the battle there if we are to save Earth." (Posing as Raiden, luring Liu Kang and Kung Lao to Outworld)
  • "You waste my time. Your souls aren't even worthy additions to my power. Kill them! (To Liu Kang and Kung Lao, before ordering Shadow Priests to kill them)
  • "Thank you. Thank for serving me so well...!" (Posing as Raiden, before attempting to execute Liu Kang with Raiden's staff)
  • "Ah! To be myself again! It is only right that this victory will be mine and mine alone."
  • "Is that what your master, Raiden told you to do?"

Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe

  • "Because they no longer draw breath."
  • "And soon, neither will you!"
  • "Leave this island at once, or pay with your lives."
  • "Arrogant fool. I am Shang Tsung, and this is my island!"
  • "Fight!"
  • "What were you doing with her?"
  • "And now, you will suffer the same fate!"
  • "Flattery will get you nowhere."
  • "Captain Marvel wins. Now, finish him!"
  • "You disappoint me. Still, your mastery over the supernatural is exceptional."
  • "Your challenge is not over. Let us see how you fare against the savage fury..."
  • "...of Baraka's blades."
  • "Impressive. You would've fared well in my tournament. But I'm afraid you could never have been champion of Mortal Kombat."
  • "In the end, you would've face Shang Tsung!"
  • "As you wish."
  • "We must return to Quan Chi. He may have the answer."
  • "What is this?"
  • "Leave him. He is defeated."
  • "Now you face the most opposing adversary!"
  • "A clown? You were defeated by a clown?"
  • "We shall see."
  • "Fatality?"

Mortal Kombat (2011)

  • "Your soul is mine!" (Battle Cry)
  • "Kombatants. I am Shang Tsung! In the coming days each of you will fight. Some are here of their own volition, others were brought here by chance."
  • "You participate in the most important Mortal Kombat in history! This tournament, the tenth after nine Outworld victories, will determine Earthrealm's fate. If you defeat all of your opponents, you will face one final challenge... me."
  • "Appearances can be deceiving." (after appearing near Johnny Cage)
  • "Our first kombatant will be Mr. Cage!"
  • "Reptile!" (Summoning Reptile as a challenge for Johnny Cage)
  • "Your second challenge, Mr. Cage. Baraka!"
  • "Congratulations, Mr. Cage. Now, FINISH HIM!" (after Johnny Cage defeats Baraka)
  • "Very well. The tournament will resume at dawn." (when Johnny Cage refuses to kill Baraka)
  • "Miss Blade. You do not disappoint. I have been expecting you."
  • "On the contrary, you are very much a kontestant. You will face Sub-Zero, of the Lin Kuei clan of assassins." (to Sonya)
  • "You aided their escape." (to Raiden, after Sonya and Jax escape)
  • "They will not get far." (to Raiden)
  • "You have a challenger - Kano." (to Sonya)
  • "Kano is not your prisoner." (to Sonya, after she defeats Kano)
  • "Scorpion! Specter of the Netherrealm! Resurrected by the sorcerer Quan Chi! Who among you is worthy of this challenge?"
  • "An impressive start." (after Scorpion defeats Kung Lao and Nightwolf)
  • "You will fight Sub-Zero soon enough." (to Scorpion)
  • "A challenge! Scorpion versus Cyrax and Sektor!"
  • "You were speaking with the Thunder God. Your indiscretion has jeopardized my plan." (to Cyrax)
  • "Kombatants! I present this latest creation of Shao Kahn. He is many warriors, their souls fused into one being. Behold... Ermac!"
  • "Kombatants! Only one Earthrealm warrior remains: The Shaolin Liu Kang. Is he ready to bear such a heavy burden? Earthrealm's fate is in his hands. Your opponent will be... Scorpion!"
  • "Fighting with Scorpion... the sorcerer Quan Chi!"
  • "Liu Kang... it has been years since an Earthrealm warrior has progressed this far. But the reigning champion is far beyond your ability. To the Lair with you!"
  • "So be it!" (when Liu Kang challenges him to Mortal Kombat)
  • "I concede." (after being defeated by Liu Kang)
  • "My lord! All is not lost!" (to Shao Kahn)
  • "But what if the rules were changed?" (pleading with Shao Kahn to spare his life)
  • "The emperor has an offer, Raiden. A new tournament."
  • "The emperor proposes a single tournament, to replace the current system of ten. It will be held in Outworld. If Earthrealm does not win, Outworld will absorb it. But if Earthrealm wins, Shao Kahn will abandon his claim to it forever."
  • "Ah! The Earthrealm delegation has arrived. And we have a volunteer for First Kombat!"
  • "Jackson Briggs! You will face... Baraka!"
  • "Tell me, Major Briggs, do you and she do anything other than rescue one another?" (when Jax demands to know where Sonya is)
  • "Your next opponent will be... What is it? Excellent. It seems I have a pressing matter to attend to. With the Emperor's permission we will re-convene later." (To Jax but Reptile interrupts baring important information)
  • "You may tell your fellow Black Dragon that I am very interested in your merchandise." (to Kano)
  • "Despite his failure at my tournament, I'll wager he was more powerful than you, Lin Kuei." (to Smoke, after assuming the form of the elder Sub-Zero)
  • "Let us see if smoke can freeze." (in the form of the elder Sub-Zero)
  • "No one makes demands of the emperor! Reptile!" (when the younger Sub-Zero demands he be allowed to challenge Scorpion)
  • "Who now interrupts the emperor's tournament?!" (when Lin Kuei cyborgs teleport into the arena to capture Sub-Zero)
  • "That is no way to treat your sibling." (after Kitana defeats Mileena)
  • "I am merely perfecting you, princess. As difficult as that might be."
  • "On that we agree." (to Quan Chi)
  • "I cannot believe... Earthrealm has won." (after Liu Kang defeats Shao Kahn)
  • "Mileena? She exists only because of my sorcery." (when Baraka states that Mileena should be the new ruler of Outworld)
  • "Emperor, I-" (when Shao Kahn unexpectedly shows up alive)
  • "Invasion?!" (reacting to Quan Chi's suggestion)
  • "Yes, Emperor?" (last words before Shao Kahn sacrifices him to increase Sindel's power)

Mortal Kombat 11

Story Mode

  • "Cease, Liu Kang, before you doom us all!" (Alerting Fire God Liu Kang after escaping the Void)
  • "Cease your magic, before the Hourglass shatters."
  • "In defeating Kronika, you destroyed her Crown. Without it, you can't restart history."
  • "The Hourglass will shatter. All realms will be lost."
  • "But then you killed Kronika. The Void's seal was broken open, permitting our escape via the Hourglass."
  • "With the Crown."
  • "Only in our present. Not in our past."
  • "You can send travelers back into the current timeline."
  • "That leaves too much to chance. Kronika must never possess the Crown. Otherwise you cannot guarantee victory."
  • "That you send me into the past, to steal the Crown from my Island before Kronika sends Cetrion to claim it."
  • "I'll then deliver it to Lord Raiden, and together we'll defeat Kronika."
  • "With the Crown and the Hourglass under our control, we can restart history safely."
  • "Because I am a snake whose toiled beside Kronika, learning her secrets. I know them. Do you?"
  • "She wanted me to be her pawn, not her partner. She sculpted my entire existence to serve her, to collect souls for her Crown."
  • "When my purpose was served, she betrayed me, casting me into the Void."
  • "Then trust that we have a shared interest in breaking Kronika's stranglehold on our destinies."
  • "This alliance is temporary. Have no illusions otherwise."
  • "I welcome the assistance."
  • "When have we arrived?"
  • "Then we are almost out of time."
  • "We must escape quickly. Changing this battle's outcome could cause Cetrion to claim the Crown earlier than expected."
  • "We escaped the battle undetected."
  • "He always had more ego than skill."
  • "Our rather public arrival at the Koliseum makes that impossible. Kronika's Outworld allies will inform her of our presence."
  • "Go to my island now, we could be ambushed by Cetrion herself."
  • "Sindel."
  • "Who can be restored to life. And who plays no major part in the battles that lie ahead."
  • "We can safely recruit her without disrupting events. It's a tactic Kronika is unlikely to anticipate."
  • "Because he had her bewitched. Returning Sindel to life will restore her original, more heroic self."
  • "That is the power we need to assure victory against Cetrion. Sindel is the key."
  • "Anything but. We can use Earthrealm's Jinsei to heal Sindel's body."
  • "But to break Quan Chi's spell and revive her soul, we will need access to Outworld's Soul Chamber."
  • "Earthrealm, to acquire the Jinsei."
  • "That would be sufficient."
  • "These traps are excellent. Who knew the Shaolin were so diabolical?" (Admiring the traps in Shaolin's dungeon)
  • "Indeed."
  • "Fujin, summon the wind!"
  • "Chaosrealm. Havik will keep him entertained." (After sending Geras through a portal)
  • "Not entirely unexpected, given that she did not aid in the Keep's defense."
  • "Shinnok's Bone Temple."
  • "Sindel, you look well. Death becomes you."
  • "He wounded me. If I die, we fail." (To the past Nightwolf about absorbing the present Nightwolf's soul to heal himself)
  • "I'm healthy, Nightwolf. That should be your concern."
  • "Then let us hurry. And hope Sheeva is as eager to aid us as I anticipate..."
  • "Yes." (replied to Sheeva)
  • "This request is far below your present station, your highness. But defeating Kronika depends on us reaching that chamber."
  • "Because we must restore Sindel."
  • "Together. Fujin and I can restore her to life."
  • "As I recall, you were blood-bound to Empress Sindel..."
  • "How it must have pained you when she died."
  • "That was not your fault. You could not save her, then. Now you can."
  • "Kitana never appreciated my contributions to the Empire."
  • "Yes." (replied to Nightwolf about Mileena)
  • "True. They won't take to me kindly."
  • "My sincerest apologies."
  • "You always were perceptive."
  • "I promise, we will not disturb him." (To Jade)
  • "It has begun!" (prepares to resurrect Sindel)
  • "Welcome back, your highness..." (after resurrecting Sindel)
  • "It pleases me to see you, too."
  • "They couldn't go on."
  • "I am touched by their own devotion."
  • "Have neither of you any compassion?"
  • "Cetrion must be on her way."
  • "I find your lack of faith amusing."
  • "Always so generous..."
  • "Of course it did."
  • "Correct. No one can predict what happens next. Not even me."
  • "Thank you, Fujin."
  • "I'm here to save you, Raiden."
  • "Our only hope was to return here, steal the Crown, and make use of its power."
  • "Be rational, Raiden-"
  • "I see no harm in confirming your suspicion."
  • "Had I told you, we would still be marooned at the beginning of time bickering among ourselves."
  • "Fujin, the Crown!"
  • "Truly, my finest work." (Admiring the design of the Crown after secretly taking it from Fujin)
  • "I will instruct you in its way." (Handing the Crown to Raiden after admiring it)
  • "Kronika came here to retrieve the Crown. We forced her to retreat."
  • "We will rendervous at the Isle of Kronika. The fools believe victory is at hand."
  • "Their misplaced confidence will be their demise."
  • "Having second thoughts, Sindel?"
  • "One can only imagine."
  • "The Isle...Do not be late. An eternal empire awaits you..."
  • "Now, Fujin."
  • "Fujin, the Crown! I must wield it against Sindel and Shao Kahn!" (Posing as Raiden, requesting the Crown from Fujin)
  • "No, brother. The Crown is our burden to share." (Posing as Raiden, when Fujin says that he will use the Crown against Sindel and Shao Kahn)
  • "Thank you." (Posing as Raiden, upon being handed the Crown)
  • "You should be more vigilant, Fujin."
  • "Now, bear witness, as the power to decide destiny becomes mine."
  • "Kronika was wise to banish me."
  • "With this Crown, I am her equal!"
  • "All too easy."
  • "How does it feel? Knowing that you will be the last Nightwolf?"
  • "Fool. The mantle dies with you." (After defeating Nightwolf)
  • "His soul, and yours, are mine."
  • "The path I choose ends with your souls sworn to my service. That future is now undeniable."
  • "Now, I choose your destiny." (After defeating Fujin and Raiden)
  • "No. Keep them alive. We can siphon their powers for eternity."
  • "The Hourglass awaits."
  • "Please, allow me."
  • "Killing Kronika is my destiny. Yours to serve me."
  • "My obedient subjects, projecting my influence throughout the realms."
  • "My service to you is over." (After defeating Shao Kahn and Sindel)
  • "Now yours to me begins." (When absorbing Shao Kahn and Sindel's souls)
  • "Concede, Kronika, while you have time. I'll let you live, to serve me in my New Era. Or would you prefer to be wiped from history?"
  • "Destiny is mine." (After defeating Kronika)
  • "You should have accepted my offer, Kronika. I would have allowed you to wield great influence. Surely service is better than death."
  • "You were, Kronika."
  • "Time and destiny are now mine to command. Every realm will bend to my will." (Prepares to use the Hourglass)
  • "Liu Kang. I thought your duties required that you stay behind."
  • "I see now. The Hourglass showed that only I could wield the Crown against Kronika, successfully. You let me win."
  • "And to ensure victory, you sacrificed the lives of your friends. How deliciously cold-blooded."
  • "Your New Era? You underestimate my prowess, Chosen One."
  • "I have the Crown. I have absorbed Kronika's power."
  • "You may have attained godhood, but I am the Keeper of Time. You are no match for me."
  • "My only chance? This is my triumph, and your final moment!" (After the player chooses Fire God Liu Kang)
  • "Your worthless existence is at its end." (Last words before being erased from existence)
  • "Long have I had visions of this moment. I will savor your death for eternity." (If the player chooses Shang Tsung)
  • "Breath deeply in your final moments, Chosen One. For now your existence ends in shame!"
  • "All the power that was once yours is mine... Forever."
  • "Speak, minions."
  • "It has begun."

The Krypt

  • "Welcome, traveler."
  • "I am Shang Tsung, and this is my island."
  • "I bid you welcome to explore."
  • "Hidden among the Island's ruins are treasure, magic, and very special artifacts."
  • "Take what you want, within reason."
  • "You will find the time spent here is well rewarded."
  • "Sorcery isn't my only vocation. I'm also an inventor. While a modest endeavor, this forge is my finest. It can transmute collected items into new items you might find more useful." (upon entering the Forge)
  • "As a child, I prayed to earn the gods' favor. As an adult, I have learned that gods prefer tribute. Share your wealth, and be rewarded..." (upon entering the Shrine)
  • "This shrine is where I fought Liu Kang. Rather than taste final victory, I was force-fed defeat. If that monk thinks I've forgotten, he is sorely mistaken." (upon entering the Warrior Shrine)
  • "Do heights frighten you? If so, I recommend you turn back. Mind the edge. Fall and you will be impaled on the spikes below." (upon entering The Pit)
  • "Of all my champions, I miss Goro most. You're lucky he's dead. He would have eaten you for daring enter his lair uninvited." (upon entering Goro's Lair)
  • "Behold the final resting place of Kenshi Takehashi. Valiant and brave, he was an excellent warrior. Which made feeding on his soul most enjoyable..." (upon entering Kenshi's Last Stand)
  • "You exceed my expectations." (admiring the Descendant)
  • "I would have thought you smarter." (when the Descendant dies)
  • "How much time do you need?" (when the Descendant dies)
  • "You disappoint me." (when the Descendant dies)
  • "Your time would be better spent elsewhere." (when the Descendant dies)

Mortal Kombat Legends: Scorpion's Revenge

  • "In the beginning, where the Elder Gods. In their wisdoms, they created the tournament, to safeguard each realm from the threat of invasion."
  • "Once a generation, the finest warriors must do battle to decide their fate of the realm. The winner will be granted long life and great power."
  • "If one realm wins the tournament ten times, they will have the right to merge with the other... and rule as they seeth it."
  • "I, Shang Tsung, emissary of the great Shao Kahn, Emperor of Outworld, winner of the last nine tournament against Earthrealm, welcome you... To Mortal Kombat!"
  • "Now, as host of this tournament, I think it'll only fitting that I provide you with some... entertainment."
  • "Really, Goro? You shouldn't play with your food."
  • "That's the idea. Finish him."
  • "You forget yourself, Lord Raiden. You are not to interfere in the tournament."
  • "As you wish."
  • "Goro! Playtime is over."
  • "Who dares!?"
  • "Finish him."
  • "It would seem I underestimate your champion, Quan Chi."
  • "You are Scorpion of Netherrealm, yes?"
  • "You have killed Goro, thus you must take your rightful place as the champion of Outworld."
  • "Interesting. Defeat Liu Kang and you can have Quan Chi to do it as you wish."
  • "Defeat Liu Kang and my emperor will give you what all that you dream of."
  • "Of course it is. And it yours. All you have to do is kill him."
  • "Good. Good."
  • "What choice did you really have, Lord Raiden?"
  • "Now... fight!"
  • "Wh-what are you doing?"
  • "You fool. Shao Kahn will hear about this and kill you!"
  • "No!"
  • "I will kill you all!"
  • "You have made a mistake, Lord Raiden. Emperor Shao Kahn will have his revenge."
  • "I'm sorry, Master. It was that old fool, Raiden. He--"

Mortal Kombat Legends: Battle of the Realms

  • "Welcome to the Fortress of Shao Kahn."
  • "You're next."
  • "I've been waiting a long time for this, boy."
  • "I expected better."



  • Shang Tsung's Battle Cry "Your soul is mine!" originated from the 1995 film Mortal Kombat movie and the TV series Mortal Kombat: Conquest.
  • Responding to player queries about how Shang Tsung's last name is pronounced, Acclaim Entertainment stated in 1994 that there is no one definitively correct way of pronouncing the character's name.[15]The 1995 film and Ed Boon[7] pronounce his name as Shane Song (Sien Sung).
  • Shaolin Monks, Deadly Alliance, Armageddon and Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe are the only games where the Soul Steal allows Shang Tsung to regain health.
  • Shang Tsung's shapeshifting went mostly unused in Deadly Alliance, Deception, Armageddon, and Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe. Ed Boon explained this was due to a lack of sufficient memory.[16] It returns in the 2011 game, but its use is more limited; a player-controlled Shang Tsung can only morph into his current opponent. In Mortal Kombat 11, aside from morphing into the current opponent, Shang Tsung can also morph into several ninja characters performing special moves as his variation abilities.
  • A recurring animal motif for Shang Tsung is cobras.
    • Shang Tsung's Animality in MK3 is a cobra.
    • In the intro of Deception, he unleashed a huge flame in the form of a cobra to knock out Raiden.
    • Shang Tsung's primary outfit in Mortal Kombat (2011) has cobras designed in his shoulders, back and belt.
    • Shang Tsung transforms into a giant cobra made of Hellfire for an intro in Mortal Kombat 11, and even uses it in the Aftermath Story Mode expansion to fend off Cetrion.
  • Up until Mortal Kombat (2011), Shang Tsung's elderly form remained unplayable as it was eliminated ever since Mortal Kombat II. This trait is carried over to Mortal Kombat 11.
  • In a Top 10 list hosted by, Shang Tsung was placed at #7 of the bearded characters in video games.[17]
  • Shang Tsung's Friendship, Rainbow Konnection, could be a reference to the song "Rainbow Connection" that originally debut from The Muppet Movie.
  • Shang's alternate outfit from Deadly Alliance is based from the time he was champion of Mortal Kombat Tournament before the Great Kung Lao defeated him, as seen in the official Mortal Kombat comics. His MK 2011 outfit in his young appearance also shares some of the feature with his costume in the official MKI comic.
  • The Great Kung Lao's surname may have derived from Shang Lao, Shang Tsung's original name in early production stage of Mortal Kombat (1992).

Mortal Kombat II

  • In the game, Shang Tsung's physical age is 19 years old.[18]
  • According to a rough sketch by John Tobias, it shows Shang Tsung's "true form" — a twisted demon, which has never actually appeared in the video games.[19]
  • Shang Tsung had 2 different win poses, in the Arcade and earlier home versions of the game, Shang Tsung's win pose would have him simply stand still while facing the screen, holding his hands at his waist. However, in the Sega 32X, Saturn, and PlayStation versions, it was found out that Shang had an unused laughing animation during his win pose.
  • There is a color palette swapping glitch that occur when there is a Shang Tsung Mirror Match. The glitch start out that if both players or CPU choose Shang Tsung as their character, while in battle the first Shang to morph into another character will reset the color palette back to default. If the second Shang also morphs into another character other than the one the first Shang morphed into, the palette will stay default. If the second Shang morphs into the same character that the first Shang morphed into, then that character palette will be the alternate color palette. Only the Shang who had the default palette and the first to revert back to normal would be the default color Shang Tsung, the second Shang to revert back would be the alternate color Shang Tsung. This minor glitch often caused confusion to players during a multiplayer battle due to the palette swap when morphing, this was fix in the sequels. In MK3, Ultimate MK3, and MK Trilogy, if Player 1's Shang Tsung morph into another character, he would use that character's default color palette, if Player 2's Shang Tsung morph into another character (whether if they are the same character as the one Player 1 morph into or not), that character would appear in their alternate color outfit regardless which solved the problem of the palette swapping glitch.

Mortal Kombat 3

  • Tobias wanted Shang Tsung's long hair to hang loose in Mortal Kombat 3 (in which his actor was John Turk), but potential problems with it flopping about whenever he jumped resulted in it being tied back into a ponytail.[15]
  • In Mortal Kombat 3, occasionally, Shang Tsung appears on the Master tournament ladder twice.
  • Though Shang Tsung could not morph into a hidden character until that character was unlocked, the Sega Genesis and Saturn versions of MK3 and UMK3 allowed him to morph into characters that many other versions lack, such as Smoke, Rain, and Noob Saibot.

Mortal Kombat 4

  • Shang Tsung is the only character who appears in all of the 2D games that is absent from Mortal Kombat 4. However, Shinnok's Mimicry move shares some similarities to Shang Tsung's abilities.

Mortal Kombat: Deadly Alliance

  • Shang Tsung serves as one of two titular main antagonists in the game as well as one of the two titular final bosses alongside Quan Chi.
  • Shang Tsung appears on a movie poster during Johnny Cage's ending in Deadly Alliance.
  • In Konquest mode, it is revealed that one of the souls he consumed during his tournaments was that of the samurai Musō Gonnosuke.

Mortal Kombat: Armageddon

  • Shang Tsung uses his Morphing and Flaming Skulls during the intro, but they are not present during gameplay.

Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe

  • Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe reveals that Shang is accompanied by two women, who appear to be lovers. However, the game is not canon.
  • Minus the clown model, his "Bang Bang!" Fatality in MK 2011 is identical to, and could be perhaps perceived as a parody of the Joker's "Killing Joke" Fatality from Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe, due to its censorship in North America, such as the head shot here being considerably more violent than the Joker's Fatality. It is worth noting that the Fatality Trainer mentions Shang having "picked up some tricks from an old foe". Officially, of course, Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe remains non-canon.
  • His Back Breaker Fatality is a reference to the opening scene of 1995 film in which he killed Chan Kang by stomp on his back, breaking Chan's spine.

Mortal Kombat (2011)

  • MK 2011 was the only game to mention Shang Tsung's origin as his bio states that he is originally from Earthrealm and discovered a portal to Outworld.
  • Shang Tsung has his elderly look from Mortal Kombat as his alternate costume, to the point when his voice changes to his older tone when used in game.
  • In his Ladder ending, Shang Tsung is taught by Bo' Rai Cho with a move to defeat Liu Kang, who has become a villainous God, reversing the roles of hero and villain, though Tsung's motivations are based purely on revenge.
  • In Story Mode, after Quan Chi tells Kung Lao that "no Earthrealm boy could stop this Deadly Alliance", Shang Tsung said that "on that we agree". This implies that they normally do not get along.
    • In some background material, however, their disagreements have not stopped their dealings with one another from being mutually beneficial. In the instruction manual for Mortal Kombat Mythologies: Sub-Zero, there is a reference to Quan Chi learning of the location to the Map of Elements from none other than Shang Tsung. As it turns out, Shang Tsung gained the knowledge from consuming the soul of the Great Kung Lao.
    • In Mortal Kombat 11, Shang Tsung's interactions with some characters reveal Shang Tsung despises Quan Chi, even to the point of him wanting to kill the demon himself.
  • Shang Tsung is the only character whose throw move heals him in the game.
  • Shang Tsung appears to bleed red. However, whenever it stains on someone, it appears as a pitch black color. Whether this is intentional or a glitch is unknown.
  • Shang Tsung frequently precedes many of his special attacks, including all his Fatalities, with the phrase "你現在死!" (WG: Ni3 hsien4-tsai4 ssŭ3; PY: Nǐ xiàn-zài sǐ), which means "You die now!" in Chinese.

Mortal Kombat X

Mortal Kombat Mobile

  • Shang Tsung appears in Mortal Kombat Mobile on Erron Black's and Shao Kahn's support cards as well as having a Faction Wars item in the Faction Wars shop.
  • Shang Tsung’s MK11 card is currently the only character with no additional buff or debuff on his X-Ray/Fatal Blow.
  • Shang Tsung can also perform a Brutality, provided that he has Soul Reaver’s Servant and King Kobra Belt from the Sorceror’s Tower.

Injustice 2

  • In Injustice 2, Sub-Zero mentions Shang Tsung in some of his interactions. This may occur if Sub-Zero faces himself, in which he suspects his double is actually a shape-shifting Shang Tsung.
    • It may also occur if he fights the Enchantress who, like Shang Tsung, feeds on souls.

Mortal Kombat 11

  • In addition to being a DLC character, Shang Tsung introduces the player at the beginning of the Krypt, which is located in his island.
    • He is later given a role in the Aftermath Story Mode expansion along side his Kombat Pack counterparts, serving as the main antagonist in the expansion.
  • Shang Tsung is the second of two original final bosses that are playable characters in MK11. The first was Shao Kahn. Coincidentally, both are DLC characters.
    • Additionally, despite both being DLC characters, each have unique roles in the game;
      • Shao Kahn is a secondary antagonist in the Story Mode and in the Aftermath Story Mode expansion while also being an announcer for the game's Arcade.
      • Shang Tsung is the guide in the Krypt, where the character find treasures on his island and later serves as the main antagonist of the Aftermath Story Mode expansion.
  • One of Shang Tsung's intros, which is called Infusion of Souls in-game, has him enter the fight with his opponent's appearance before he turns into his original form. The in-game intro is different from the almost-identical intro shown in his official gameplay trailer, as he will assume the form of his older self before turning into his younger self, rather than copying the appearance of his opponent, Raiden.
  • When engaged in a Mirror Match interaction, Shang Tsung apparently had a brother named Shang Lao, whose name apparently references to Shang Tsung's original name during the early production of the first Mortal Kombat game.
  • It is revealed that Shang Tsung's nature of collecting and feeding off souls is actually a trait designed by Kronika herself in order to keep a powerful backup of it in case she needed, as souls contain raw temporal energy of a lifetime each, essential for time craft.
    • According to the Lore Minute in Shang Tsung's Kombat Kast, Kronika trapped Shang Tsung in a time void during the time quake due to his duplicitous nature and could not be trusted.[21] This is later confirmed in Aftermath.
  • Shang Tsung is the third of three characters that are primary wielders of Kronika's Crown, the other two being Kronika herself and his arch nemesis Liu Kang.
    • While Kronika reveals that she crafted Shang Tsung's destiny in collecting souls, it is further revealed that he is the actual creator of her Crown.
  • Through interactions, Shang Tsung seems to be aware of events after his apparent death at the hands of Shao Kahn in MK 2011. Due to this, he appears to not be too fond of Shao Kahn.
    • Additionally, he seems to be aware of who Kronika and Cetrion are, in addition to the defeat of Shinnok by both Johnny and Cassie Cage.
  • Despite having a connection to Erron Black, during interactions, nothing between the two is mentioned or discussed. It is unknown if this idea was retconned by the makers or nothing was made to be mentioned.
  • Shang Tsung is one of the few characters that actually refers to Noob Saibot as Bi-Han as shown in an interaction where Shang Tsung is impressed that Noob Saibot survived a Soulnado, a reference to his apparent demise in MK 2011.
  • Shang Tsung claims he killed Ermac during an interaction with Kitana. This may be a reference to Ermac's MKX Arcade Ending, in which Shang Tsung consumed the souls within Ermac, killing the construct, and returning to life.
  • Shang Tsung can morph into the seven original klassic male ninjas as part of his moveset and Fatal Blow. These include Scorpion, Sub-Zero, and Noob Saibot as part of his Fatal Blow, while Rain, Smoke, Reptile, and Ermac as individual special attacks borrowed from each ninja.
    • Due to this, Shang Tsung's play style can be compared to that of Chameleon.
    • However, only one klassic character who is not an original male ninja within Shang Tsung’s move list, this being Kintaro, who is part of his Shokan Reborn Fatality.
    • The klassic male ninjas who are unconfirmed from being playable but confirmed only as part of Shang Tsung’s moveset, namely Smoke, Rain, Ermac and Reptile, including Kintaro who reuses the voice clips from MK 2011, despite the three latter ninjas' in-game battle appearance in MKX (Rain was only an NPC enemy, while Smoke was cutscenes only in the game's story mode).
  • Similar to Shinnok in MKX, Shang Tsung can steal his opponent's Brutalities through his Soul Steal.
    • Due to this, in a technical sense, Shang Tsung has the most Brutalities out of any character in the game.
  • Shang Tsung is one of three characters that are assisted by another character during a Fatality, this being his Shokan Reborn Fatality where Kintaro rips the opponent apart from the inside. The other two are the Terminator and RoboCop.
  • He is the only character in the game with an Equip Ability that requires three ability slots to use.


  • In MK 2011, if Shang Tsung wins the round with his Soul Steal, he keeps the damage bonus for the remainder of the match.
  • In Shang Tsung's official gameplay trailer for MK11, he wears a different outfit during the beginning of the trailer and the end, an outfit that is different form his default attire. However, once his intro Infusion of Souls ends in the trailer and "FIGHT" announcement is heard, the outfit changes to his default outfit.
    • This happens again during the climax of the trailer, where Shang Tsung wears his default outfit when he performs his Fatal Blow, however once he changes from Bi-Han to himself, the outfit changes to the alternate outfit.
  • In MK11, during his Infusion of Souls intro, his arms and hands will clip through any accessories the opponent may have when walking forward as them.
    • This is easiest to see with Scorpion and D'Vorah.
  • In MK11, during his Kondemned To The Damned Fatality, after the zombie monks pull the opponent's skeleton out of their body, one of the monk's hand begins to phase through the opponent's skeleton before the frame freezes.
    • Additionally in MK11 during his Kondemned To The Damned Fatality, even though the opponent's entire skeleton is ripped out, it is still possible to see their skull as being inside their head, along with being ripped out.
    • The same happens when the Fatality is performed on the Terminator, as it duplicates his endoskeleton skull.
  • In MK11, if Slide is selected instead of Shapeshifter's Training, an error occurs in the move list. The move itself is absent in the Special Moves List and lists its amplified version and Krushing Blow as being a part of Corpse Drop. The move can still be performed, but its indication and information in the Special Moves List are absent. This will not occur if Shapeshifter's Training is selected.
  • In MK11, if Shang Tsung uses his Soul Steal on a fighter summoned by Kronika, he keeps the damage bonus despite not morphing into them. This can happen in both the Arcade and Story Mode.
  • During his cutscenes in Aftermath, his arms completely clip through his accessories on his hips.
  • In MK11, during Shang Tsung's alternate Brutality Victory Pose, there is a chance his scroll will glitch into his hips and glitch around in his body.
  • When fighting Kronika in Aftermath as Shang Tsung, she will call upon a fighter to fight for her in the Story Mode, she calls upon someone from the roster. However, this in turn can result in a non-canon character appearing in the Story Mode such as the Terminator, the Joker, Spawn, and RoboCop fighting Shang Tsung. The chances of this happening are low, but this result can in fact happen despite these characters having nothing to do with the Story Mode.
    • This can also happen in the original Story Mode, where Liu Kang will fight a guest character depsite them being non-canon and havbing nothing to do with the Story Mode.


  1. 尚宗 (WG: Shang4 Tsung1; PY: Shàng Zōng), earliest seen in Japanese manual of SNES version Mortal Kombat; 尚琮 (WG: Shang4 Ts'ung2; PY: Shàng Cóng) in Mortal Kombat: Conquest.
  2. John Tobias' sketch for Mortal Kombat (1992)
  3. 3.0 3.1 ARGpodcast (2018-06-26). ARGcast Mini #14: Making Mortal Kombat with John Tobias (en-US).
  4. John Tobias on Twitter: "I haven't seen that Shang Lao sketch in at least over a decade. Real obvious influence from Big Trouble in Little China's Lo Pan..." / Twitter
  5. ]{0MBAT interviews John Tobias - YouTube
  6. Mortal Kombat- Shang Tsung bio card - YouTube
  7. 7.0 7.1 Every Mortal Kombat 11 Character Explained By Ed Boon | WIRED - YouTube
  8. An Oral History of ‘Mortal Kombat’ (en-US) (2018-11-26).
  9. John Tobias on Twitter: "Lots of questions about both #Kitana and #Mileena ."
  10. Concept art for Kitsune and Liu Kang for Mortal Kombat (1992)
  11. The Arcade Flyer Archive - Video Game Flyers: Mortal Kombat, Midway Mfg. Co. WMS
  12. Mortal Kombat II in Development - Mortal Kombat Secrets
  13. Official magazine for Mortal Kombat
  14. Web Series Mortal Kombat: Legacy 2 Hitting February 17th. Latino Review. Retrieved on 2012-12-03.
  15. 15.0 15.1 "Fightin' Words"; page 12, issue 59 of Game Pro, 1994.
  16. Deering, Justin (July 2008). 2008 MKO Fan Interview. MortalKombatOnline.
  17. Top 10 Beards - Rooster Teeth
  18. GamePro magazine in 1993 [Issue needed]
  19. Mortal Kombat II in Development - Mortal Kombat Secrets
  20. Mortal Kombat X - Reptile All Interaction Dialogues - YouTube
  21. Kombat Kast | Your Soul is Mine | Mortal Kombat - YouTube

This page uses content from the English Wikipedia. The original content was at Shang Tsung. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with the Mortal Kombat Wiki, the content of Wikipedia is available under the GNU Free Documentation License.


Ashrah | Baraka | Blaze | Bo' Rai Cho | Cassie Cage | Cetrion | Chameleon | Cyrax | D'Vorah | Daegon | Dairou | Darrius | Drahmin | Ermac | Erron Black | Ferra/Torr | Frost | Fujin | Geras | Goro | Havik | Hotaru | Hsu Hao | Jacqui Briggs | Jade | Jarek | Jax Briggs | Johnny Cage | Kabal | Kai | Kano | Kenshi | Khameleon | Kintaro | Kira | Kitana | Kobra | Kollector | Kotal Kahn | Kronika | Kung Jin | Kung Lao | Li Mei | Liu Kang | Mavado | Meat | Mileena | Mokap | Moloch | Motaro | Nightwolf | Nitara | Noob Saibot | Onaga | Quan Chi | Raiden | Rain | Reiko | Reptile | Sareena | Scorpion | Sektor | Shang Tsung | Shao Kahn | Sheeva | Shinnok | Shujinko | Sindel | Skarlet | Smoke | Sonya Blade | Stryker | Sub-Zero | Takeda | Tanya | Taven | Tremor | Triborg

Alien | Freddy Krueger | Jason Voorhees | The Joker | Kratos | Leatherface | Predator | RoboCop | Rambo | Spawn | The Terminator
Batman | Captain Marvel | Catwoman | Dark Kahn | Darkseid | Deathstroke | The Flash | Green Lantern | The Joker | Lex Luthor | Superman | Wonder Woman