Shang Tsung

    Character » Shang Tsung appears in 25 issues.

    Shang Tsung is Shao Kahn's arch sorcerer. Originally from Earthrealm, Shang Tsung absorbs people's knowledge and prolongs his life by stealing and consuming the souls of his victims, Shang Tsung has played host to the last nine Mortal Kombat tournaments in Earthrealm, stacking the odds in favor of his master.

    Short summary describing this character.

    Shang Tsung last edited by BadassBeck on 11/11/23 10:52PM View full history


    An earthrealm native that discovered a portal to Outworld, Shang Tsung was captured and brought before Shao Kahn. Kahn was able to play on the darkness in Shang Tsung's soul and turn him to his side. Shang Tsung was taught the dark arts at the foot of Emperor Shao Kahn. Tsung leanred the art of stealing souls for power though this would cost him dearly. He became cursed to forever steal the souls of his enemies otherwise he would rapidly age and die. Though this curse gave him the unique power to shape shift into his defeated enemies and whoever he was able to sample a soul from.

    Pre Mortal Kombat

    Shang Tsung learned his arts from Emperor Shao Kahn and became his main liaison outside of Outworld. Shang had developed into an amazing fighter and a deadly sorcerer. Shang Tsung was tasked with winning the Mortal Kombat Tournament against Earthrealm, his former home, so Kahn could acquire another realm to add to Outworld. Shang Tsung was able to win his first tournament in Outworld's name and became a champion. It is unknown how long he reigned has champion, but it is know that before he could win the necessary 10 consecutive wins he was defeated by the Great Kung Lao. Defeated and shamed by the Shaolin Monk Shang Tsung retreated to Outworld to lick his wounds and plot revenge. At the next Tournament Shang Tsung arrived older in appearance and instead was one of the three grandmasters hosting the tournament. He pitted his prized student the Shokan Prince Goro against he champion Kung Lao. Goro was victoriousand would go on to win nine consecutive wins in the Mortal Kombat Tournament. During this period of wins Shang Tsung mysteriously became the only Grandmaster to host the tournament and changed the original location to his private island home, which in reality was a common area in-between Outworld and Earthrealm. During this period Shang Tsung was contacted by the Netherrealm Sorceror Quan Chi who was trying to locate Shinnok's Amulet. The amulets location was only know to the highest of the Shaolin Order and Tsung had access to the Great Kung Lao's memories. Shang Tsung revealed the location of the amulet, but did not tell Quan Chi that no Sorcerer could penetrate the fortress. For this information Quan Chi was forced to work with Tsung under Shao Kahn.

    Once the 10th Mortal Kombat tournament was approaching Shang Tsung learned of a young fighter of Eurasian descent named Kenshi. Shang Tsung assumed the form of an old man named Song and promised the young warrior a powerful weapon if he was able to retrieve it from a well. Kenshi braved the cave to find the sword named Sento and opened the well. This act released the souls of Kenshi's ancestors which fueled Shang Tsung's power and blinded Kenshi in the process. Shang Tsung left Kenshi to die not knowing he would become a dangerous enemy later in life when he actually found Sento and trained himself to fight blinded. Shang began recruiting warriors for his final Mortal Kombat tournament and looked to the Lin Kuei who provided the original Sub-Zero, Quan Chi supplied his enforcer Scorpion, Sonya Blade of the US Special Forces was forced to participate after chasing a dangerous Black Dragon criminal named Kano onto Shang Tsung's boat. Kano would also enter the tournament, along with movie action star Johnny Cage. Raiden, Earthrealm's God of Thunder and protector brought the Monk Liu Kang as a represenitive of the Shaolin Order who was chosen by the masters of the Order. Unbeknown to both of them Kung Lao, the descendent of the Great Kung Lao and Liu Kang's best friend had stowed away on Tsung's ship and was impersonating a guard to keep close watch on his friend. Shang Tsung brought with him the current grand champion Goro, along with his personal assassin Reptile. Shang Tsung had invited another warrior named Shujinko after he fought Tsung to a draw though he failed to participate since he was on a quest at the time. With the fighters gathered and his champion ready Shang Tsung was ready to win the final tournament and merge Outworld and Earthrealm in Shao Kahn's name.

    Mortal Kombat

    Shang Tsung had invited or kidnapped all those he had wanted to participate in the tournament and set to stack the odds in Shao Kahn's favor. The island itself was a death trap with many warriors dieing from falling off of the fighting area's. Shang Tsung had ordered Reptile to make sure combatants were killed after their respective fights. During the course of the tournament Shang had pitted Sonya against Kano and enjoyed watching her defeat the thug though she would not let him arrest him afterwards. Kano became an ally to Shang Tsung, though was knocked from the tournament. Scorpion would go on to defeat Sub-Zero and killed him by dragging him the the Netherealm. Liu Kang would go onto defeat Goro forcing Shang Tsung to challenge Liu Kang for a final chance at victory. After a long battle the old sorceror was defeated

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    and Liu Kang was made the champion of Mortal Kombat. Shang Tsung had to again return to Outworld defeated. This time Shao Kahn was not as forgiving, he planned to kill Shang Tsung.

    Tsung begged for his life and proposed a final plan to gain Earthrealm in Shao Kahn's name. He would devise a tournament to be held in Outworld to nullify the previous one. In their own Realm Outworld would surely be victorious and this way Shao Kahn himself could participate. Once the plan was in motion Shang Tsung has Baraka and his Tarkatan hordes attack the White Lotus Society and slaughter the monks. Shang Tsung would also kidnap Sonya Blade as intensive. Shang was given more power by Shao Kahn witch rev erted him to his younger form. During this tournament Liu Kang would go on to defeat Shang Tsung again though this time in front of the Emperor. Again humiliated Shang Tsung retreted has Shao Kahn himself set to deal with Liu Kang. The dark emperor of Outworld was defeated as well and this act freed Earthrealm fro Outworld again. This time Shang Tsung was not alone in defeat as all of Shao Kahn's forces had tasted it.

    This is where Shang Tsung's alliance with Quan Chi came to frution. Quan Chi had devised a plan to resuurct Queen Sindel, the former Queen of Edenia and Shao Kahn's wife in Earthrealm which would allow Kahn to retreive her and forcibly merge the two realms together. Once Sindel was rasied from the dead and tainted with evil Shao Kahn began his invasion of Earthrealm. Shang Tsung was granted even more power and lead an extermination squad to Earth against Raiden's forces. Shang Tsung planned to overthrow Shao Kahn by harnessing te souls of Earthrealm for power though he never got the chance. Shang Tsung was once again defeated by Liu Kang who would go on to defeated Shao Kahn again and saved Earthrealm from invasion restoring the souls of almost the entire population, as well as freeing Edenia from Outworld . Once back in Outworld Shang Tsung was resinged to Shao Kahn;s dungeon for torture and punishment , only let out to do the emperors bidding.

    The Deadly Alliance

    Shang Tsung would go on to regain some of the freedom he had lost after helping Shao Kahn unify his hold on Outworld. Shang Tsung was awoken to in his palace one day to a fight outside in the courtyard. Scorpion had turned on his former master Quan Chi and was hunting him relentlessly. Once Quan Chi drove Scorpion off he asked Shang Tsung for an alliance. If Shang helped him ressurect the Dragon King's army using souls of long dead warriors then Quan Chi would open a soulnado from the heavens giving Shang Tsung the endless supply he would need to live forever. Shang Tsung agreed and the Deadly Alliance was formed. Their first goal was to elimante the two biggest obstacles from their paths, Shao Kahn and Liu Kang. Shang Tsung presented Quan Chi to Shao Kahn as a new warrior under his command. This allowed them to have an audience with Kahn and the Deadly Alliance struck and killed Shao Kahn. Then they traveled to Earthrealm using the same portal Shang Tsung used to discover Outworld to kill Liu Kang. Shang Tsung impersonated Kung Lao to get close and when the time was right he struck. The match was going in Liu's favor until Quan Chi struck him from behind. Shang Tsung

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    proceeded to break Liu Kang's neck and absorb his soul. Something he greatly enjoyed. Shang Tsung and Quan Chi needed allies if they were to succeed in their plans. Tanya am Edenian traitor served as an enforcer. mavado of the Red Dragon clan was asked to kill Kenshi who was spying on the Deadly Alliance's activities. If requested the Black Dragon Kano as his prize. The Deadly Alliance had already recruited Kano and his Black Dragon thugs who secured the tomb of the Dragon King along with an Outworld village nearby. This village was forced to build a fortress over the tomb to house Tsung's soulnado from the heavens. A villager named Li Mei struck at Kano in an attempt to fight back. Shang Tsung and Quan Chi proposed a tournament to Li Mei, if she could win they would then free her village. Once the tournament was underway Shang Tsung contacted two Netherealm Oni named Moloch and Drahmin. They were his insurance against Quan Chi since Quan had left them to rot in the Netherealm after promising to free them. Once Li Mei had won the tournament Shang Tsung wnt back on his word and proceeded to pull her soul into one of the Dragon King's mummified warriors. It was during this process that the Earthrealm warriors lead by Raiden attacked and Bo' Rai Cho resuced Li Mei from this fate. Most of the warriors fell to Baraka's Tarkatan hordes leaving Kung Lao to fight Shang Tsung and Quan Chi to fight Princess Kitana.

    Kitana and Kung Lao were no match for the Deadly Alliance and were killed in combat. Raiden then defied the Elder Gods and engaged both sorcerers in Mortal Kombat. The battle was exhausting for everyone and for a while Raiden seemed to hold the upper hand. Quan Chi was able to wound Raiden while Shang Tsung absorbs souls from the soulnado to replenish his strength. Quan Chi levitated Raiden and Shang Tsung delivered the final blow by creating a giant cobra composed of fire. With the Thunder God defeated Quan Chi and Shang Tsung engaged in battle over the Dragon King's forces and Shinnok's amulet. Quan Chi was able to defeat Shang Tsung though could not claim the prize since the Dragon King had been reborn. When Quan Chi failed to stop him Shang Tsung and Raiden joined the effort, but this still wasn't enough. Raiden attempts a suicidal blast to destroy Onaga though this barely harms the Dragon King, but kills Shang Tsung relaseing the thousands of souls he had enslaved including Liu Kang.


    Shang Tsung's lifeless spirit drifted in Outworld after Raiden killed him. His spirit would not rest and was pulled to an unknown location in Outworld. To Shang Tsung's surprise he was drawn to Shao Kahn. Shao Kahn had feinged death with a clone since he sensed the Dragon King's return. Tsung's packed with Saho Kahn for power was even true through death. He and Goro were preparing to assault Kahn's old fortress from his treacherous daughter Mileena. Shao Kahn constructed a body for the sorceror and they set about to give him the souls he needed to survive. Shao Kahn and Prince Goro slaughter the village of Li Mei and allowed Shang Tsung to absorb the souls as

    nourishment. Shang Tsung was embittered with his renewed connection to Shao Kahn though hope arose when he heard Quan Chi was still alive. Quan Chi brought word from Shinnok proposing an Alliance against the forces of light. The alliance was formed between Onaga, Shao Kahn, Shinnok, Quan Chi, and Shang Tsung. The group planned their course of attack in Shao Kahn's fortress and captured Shujinko to eliminate a potential threat. Taven, the half god son of Argus, would nearly attack this group during their planning stages though he was held of long enough by Reiko and Goro. Once the actual battle has started the Pyarmid of Argus

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    rises from the ground to offer godlike power to whoever can defeat Blaze at the top. Shang Tsung manages to fight off a majority of the fighters, even killing Kenshi. he allows Shao Kahn to be dragged away by Onaga, but then must face the zombiefied corpse of Liu Kang. Once he had fended off almost everyone Shang Tsung reached the top of he Pyramid where Liu Hang was able to use the chains he carried to hold him back from getting to Blaze. He reverted to his elderly form and died at the top of the Pyramid. The eventual winner was Shao Kahn who gained Blaze's power and used it agains the other realms freely. Raiden was the last survivng warrior and he sent a message back in time to prevent this from happening.

    Mortal Kombat 2011

    Once Raiden sent a message to his past self the event were altered creating a new timeline. Starting at the first Mortal Kombat tournamnet where Liu Kang is supposed to defeat Shang Tsung. It begins with Shang Tsung introducing the tournament to the fighters and having the first two rounds being Johnny Cage vs Reptile and then Baraka. Shang Tsung this time has more fighters participating as well as more under his command from Outworld including Reptile, Baraka, Sheeva, Quan Chi, Scorpion, Ermac, and Goro as well as Earthrealm fighters Kano, Sub-Zero, Cyrax, and Sektor. The torunament still ends with Liu Kang emerging victorious over Shang Tsung.

    Moving in the tournament held in Outworld Shang Tsung acts as Shao Kahn's advisor and as the announcer for the tournament matches. He is found in the Outworld forests with Kano by Smoke buying large amounts of RPG's and other modern weaponry for Shao Kahn's army. Shang Tsung this time was not defeated by Liu Kang in front of Shao Kahn, instead both he and Quan Chi were defeated by Kung Lao. This victory was hollw since Kung Lao was then killed by Shao Kahn fueling Liu Kang's rage who defeated Kahn.

    After his supposed "death" Shang Tsung attepmted to gain power in Outworld, but was stopped by Shao Kahn. Once Earthrealm's invasion had begun thanks to Sindel's resurrection, Shang Tsung was again assinged to lead an extermination squad. Shang Tsung was also revealed to be the one who healed Kabal and accidentally gave him his superspeed. Shang Tsung was present when Motoro's dead body was brought before Shao Kahn and Sindel was promoted to head General in Shao Kahn's army. Shao Kahn then ripped all the power from Shang Tsung, giving it to Sindel, killing him in the process.

    Mortal Kombat (2011): "A treacherous sorcerer who consumes the souls of his victims, Shang Tsung has played host to the last nine Mortal Kombat tournaments in Earthrealm, stacking the odds in favor of his master. Originally from Earthrealm, Shang Tsung's magical abilities led him to discover the realm of Outworld. There he fell in league with its ruler, Shao Kahn, and pledged his life to him in return for enhanced power. He is now bound to the emperor by powerful dark magic. For centuries he has submissively done Shao Kahn's bidding. Should he fail in his mission to secure Earthrealm, he will suffer the emperor's wrath."

    Mortal Kombat vs DC Universe

    At the start of the crossover Shao Kahn's invasion into Earthrealm has been thrawted and he was assumed destroyed by the Thunder God Raiden. Shang Tsung first shows up a the temple of the White Lotus to face Liu Kang after he had already killed the Shaolin monks masters. Liu Kang defeats Shang Tsung in combat though this puzzles the monk since he believed he had already defeated Shang Tsung earlier when he fought an unknown warrior which turned out to be Barry Allen aka the Flash. After Liu Kang was transported to the alternate earth when he tried to access Flashes chi, Shang Tsung awoke and escaped leaving Baraka behind to stall any pursuers. Shang Tsung starts to realize what his happenening with the merger when his private island becomes merged with one from the alternate Earth. Shang Tsung's Island and Themyscira had fused into one island leading to a fight between the Tarkatan hordes and the Amazons which saw the Amazons victory when Wonder Woman was able to hold of Shang Tsung.

    Once Shang Tsung, Baraka and Scorpion had located Quan Chi for information as to the merger they spied Captain Marvel who was searching for Superman. Quan Chi went with a brainwashed Kitana to find Raiden while he instructed Shang Tsung to kill the hero. Shang Tsung created a portal to the Netherealm and had Scorpion use his signature spear to pull the "worlds mightiest mortal" to that dark realm where he would be weak. in true Mortal Kombat style Shang Tsung had Captain marvel faces his challengers one on one. Captain marvel first bested the ninja spectre Scorpion then the savage Baraka. This earned him some amount of respect from the sorcerer who said he would have done very well in the Mortal Kombat tournament. Shang Tsung then faced the hero and lost. Captain Marvel then forced Shang Tsung to send him back to Metropolis. After their defeat they sought Quan Chi for more information. Once the forces were gathered Shang Tsung got into a fight with Kano since he insulted him then Raiden proposed they separate into teams of 2 rivals to help focus the growing rage against their enemies.

    Shang Tsung traveld with Liu Kang to the Fortress of Solitude where the faced Superman and Hal Jordan. Shang Tsung was able to defeat both and saved Liu Kang from Hal earning a quick thanks from the monk. Their attack was only partially succesful since Lex luthor was able to comendeer the Special Forces portal and transport himslef and the rest of the DC Cast to Apokolips. Aftger the warriors including Shang Tsung gathered they followed the heroes and villians and challenged them to Mortal Kombat. Shang Tsung again faced off with Captain Marvel. After the fight only Raiden, Liu Kang and Shang Tsung were left standing. Raiden who was blinded by the combat rage attacked Shang Tsung, believing he was working with the fused being Dark Kahn. After being defeated Liu Kang repaid his debt by fighting Raiden and breaking the rages hold over him. Shang Tsung then watched as Raiden went to face Dark Kahn alone. After Superman and Raiden teamed and defeated the monster Shang Tsung and the others were left in the now whole Outworld with a bewildered Darkseid. Raiden then took Darkseid to be judged by the Elder Gods who imprisoned him in the Netherealm

    MK vs DCU: (Non-Canonical) "Impressed with Captain Marvel's fighting ability but angered by his defeat at the hero's hands, Shang Tsung sought to create a race of super-warriors. They would have Captain Marvel's abilities, but would be a perversion of the hero's image. Through sorcery he combined blood from a torn piece of Captain Marvel's cape with the flesh of a Tarkatan corpse. Never before had his flesh pits echoed with the roar of such a monstrosity. With an army of Super-Tarkatans, Shang Tsung will be invincible!

    Mortal Kombat (2011)

    Shang Tsung hosts the first Mortal Kombat tournament in his elderly form. It is Tsung who decides who faces who for each match, and forces Johnny Cage to be the first of the Earthrealm fighters to fight first following insults made by Cage regarding Tsung's age. However, Cage overcomes the challenges thrown at him by Tsung. Later, after Sonya manages to free her superior, Jax, from imprisonment, Shang Tsung prevents them from leaving his island by having their rescue helicopter shot down. He also attempts to have the Lin Kuei Cyrax killed for speaking with Raiden. When the final Earthrealm competitor, Liu Kang, remains, Shang Tsung attempts to stack the deck against him. Each attempt, however, fails, as Liu Kang defeats all of his challengers, including Goro. Shang Tsung is the final opponent for Liu Kang, and is ultimately defeated, sparing Earthrealm from being merged into Outworld.

    When Shang Tsung returns to Shao Kahn, he is almost executed for his failure. However, Shang Tsung proposes a new idea for a single tournament to be held in Outworld. Shao Kahn agrees to the concept, and rejuvenates Shang Tsung. As Shang Tsung goes to the Wu Shi Academy to tell Raiden of the latest tournament, Tarkatans attack the academy when the Thunder God rejects. Raiden engages Shang Tsung in combat, with the latter managing to escape back to Outworld. During the attack, Sonya is captured by Shang Tsung, forcing Raiden to accept the latest rules and start the second tournament.

    At one point during the tournament, Shang Tsung is seen in the Living Forest striking a deal to buy Black Dragon weaponry from Kano. They are interrupted by Smoke. After Kano fails to defeat Smoke, Shang Tsung morphs into the elder Sub-Zero and partners with Reptile in an attempt to defeat Smoke, but they ultimately fail. Sektor then appears and attacks Smoke, allowing Shang Tsung to escape.

    After Kitana discovers and defeats Mileena in Shang Tsung's Flesh Pits, the sorcerer appears and reveals to Kitana that he is "perfecting" her by creating clones of her. The two then fight, and Kitana subdues him. When Kitana brings Shang Tsung to Shao Kahn for punishment for his experiments, she is shocked when Shao Kahn congratulates him instead, revealing that he knew about Shang Tsung's activities all along. As a result, Kitana is imprisoned while Shang Tsung is released and ordered to fetch Mileena. Later on, Shao Kahn has Shang Tsung team up with Quan Chi to face Kung Lao. Kung Lao proves victorious over both sorcerers.

    After Shao Kahn's defeat by Liu Kang, Shang Tsung is among the Outworlders deciding who should replace Shao Kahn as emperor. When Mileena is suggested, Shang Tsung argues that Mileena only exists as a result of his sorcery - implying that he should be the new emperor. Shao Kahn emerges, however, and thus Shang Tsung's apparent quest to become emperor is quickly ended. Shao Kahn is furious with Shang Tsung, as now Outworld can no longer absorb Earthrealm. Quan Chi, however, suggests that Outworld simply invade Earthrealm, convincing the Emperor that the Elder Gods are too weak to stop him.

    During the invasion, Kabal, a former friend and ally of Kano, is badly burned by Kintaro. Kano brings Kabal back to Outworld, where Shang Tsung uses his magic to heal some of Kabal's injuries. When Motaro is killed by Raiden during the Earthrealm invasion, the recently revived Sindel states that she will finish what Motaro has started. To ensure her success, Shao Kahn drains the souls from Shang Tsung's body and transfers them into Sindel, killing Shang Tsung in the process. However, when Raiden asks Quan Chi for assistance in the Netherrealm, Shang Tsung is not among the resurrected souls. It is possible that Quan Chi did not resurrect him purposely, since Shao Kahn allegedly only granted Quan Chi the souls of the fallen Earthrealm warriors for his service but not those of his own willing servants (hence explaining why Sindel was amongst those Quan Chi resurrected but Shang Tsung and Motaro were not).

    Mortal Kombat 11

    Kronika the keeper of time brings Shang Tsung from the past to the current timeline, and forces Shang Tsung to build a soul crown to contain massive soul energy thus she can safely rewrite timeline. She banished Shang Tsung outside space-time when the crown was finished, but Liu Kang destroyed Kronika, thus freeing Shang Tsung along with Fujin and Nightwolf.

    Shang Tsung teleported to Kronika's Hourglass while Liu Kang was trying to restart the timeline, he warned Liu Kang that without the soul crown's energy, he could risk destroying all creations while restarting history. Liu Kang already destroyed the crown along with Kronika during the previous fight, thus Shang Tsung suggested traveling back to the past and stealing the crown. With Liu Kang's permission, Shang Tsun, Fujin, and Nightwolf were sent to the past.

    When Shang Tsung successfully found the crown, he soon wore the crown himself and revealed his true intention, then allied with Shao Kahn and Sindel against the good sides. This action alters the outcome of the previous battle between Kronika's followers and the good sides, letting Shao Kahn and Sindel almost defeat everyone. He absorbs souls as many as he can to amplify his strength on the way to Kronika's Hourglass, then surprisingly attacks Shao Kahn and Sindel. By absorbing their souls, Shang Tsung filled himself with enough power to even best Kronika. However, Liu Kang showed up and stopped Shang Tsung from restarting history to his own will.

    It turns out Liu Kang already planned for this fight, intentionally letting Shang Tsung get the crown and preparing his solo fight with Shang Tsung to finish the job once and for all. This fight tore the timeline into two, with one timeline Liu Kang wins and wipes out Shang Tsung's existence, then successfully creates a new timeline and serves as keeper of time, while in another one Shang Tsung kills Liu Kang and becomes the conqueror of all realms.

    Mortal Kombat 1

    In the new timeline crafted by Liu Kang, to prevent Shang Tsung from becoming a threat to other realms, Liu Kang made Shang Tsung's life meaningless. Shang Tsung in this new timeline hasn't got the chance to learn his magic tricks, he becomes a deceiver who sells fake drugs in Outworld.

    One day, a mysterious woman claiming herself to be Damashi visited Shang Tsung, convinced him to serve her and earn his rightful place in this timeline.

    Shang Tsung quickly learned a few magic tricks, though not as powerful as his previous version. He also allied with Quan Chi, instigated General Shao (Shao Kahn of the new timeline) to overthrow Sindel and rule Outworld, and secretly crafted a soul crown according to Damashi's orders.

    However, Damashi then reveals her true identity, it turns out Damashi is Shang Tsung from the split previous timeline, he and Liu Kang both became Titans in their timelines, as beings even mightier than gods. He conquered all realms in his timeline and discovered Liu Kang's. He realizes his fight with Liu Kang has split the timeline into two, and he demands to conquer Liu Kang's timeline as well. Angered for being deceived, Shang Tsung of the new timeline joined Liu Kang's side temporarily against Titan Shang Tsung.

    Shang Tsung then suggests Liu Kang's battle with Titan Shang Tsung might not generate only one but infinite timelines, Liu Kang then followed Shang Tsung's advice and summoned Titans from other timelines to form a league against Titan Shang Tsung.

    Then Liu Kang, along with Titans and kombatants from other timelines, entered Titan Shang Tsung's timeline, challenging Titan Shang Tsung and his evil alliances. Titan Shang Tsung also summoned a Titan Quan Chi and evil Titans from other timelines to aid him, this battle turned out to be a clash between all realities. Liu Kang finally defeated Titan Shang Tsung with the help of another Titan, wiping him out of existence. Shang Tsung of the new timeline went missing then.


    Shang Tsung creates a Tarkatan with Captain Marvels powers
    Shang Tsung creates a Tarkatan with Captain Marvels powers
    • Height: 5'11"
    • Weight: 210 lbs
    • Nationality: Unknown (Earthrealm Originally)
    • Martial Art: Snake, Crane, Mantis
    • Weapons: Straight Sword

    Powers and Abilities

    Shang Tsung is a master martial artist mainly focusing on the snake, mantis, and crane forms of Kung Fu. He was able to win at least one Mortal Kombat tournament making himself a former grand champion, though he is not invincible since he was defeated by the Great Kung Lao, Liu Kang, and Quan Chi. Shang Tsung is a master sorcerer with power over fire. His most used projectile is some form of a flaming skull. He is able to shape fire to such a degree as to form a giant cobra of fire that had enough power to defeat the Thunder God Raiden. Shang Tsung knows many spells though it is his mastery over souls that is his true strength. He must consume the souls of his enemies or he will rapidly age and die, though this came as a benefit since it gave Shang Tsung the ability to shapeshift into anyone he has either seen fight or killed and absorbed their soul, and Shang Tsung gains insanely long lifespan as long as he keeps consuming souls, he already lived several thousand years so far. If Shang Tsung acquires someone's soul he gains all the knowledge and moves of that person. In the movie Shang Tsung can summon the souls of warriors to fight and outnumber an opponent. Shang Tsung also has a number of black magic abilities including spells to confuse, switch places with, or attack his enemeies. Shang Tsung can also create portals through the use of fire either creating a large portal to traverse dimensions or small lava pools to teleport around the battlefield.


    In his debut, Shang Tsung 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 katana 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.

    Signature Moves

    Morphing: Shang Tsung's main way to keep his enemy guessing is to morph into someone else or even his opponent during the fight. This is Shang Tsungs most well know power. He typically cannot morph into boss charcters for balancing issues, except into Kintaro for a fatality. Tsung can morph into anyone he has seen fight for a period of time and if he a\has stolen their soul then he has complete control over that identity. In MK 2011 this was limited to the opponent he was facing and only after he performed Soul Steal.

    Flaming Skulls: Shang Tsung's primary projectile attack where he launches a flaming skull at his opponent. Shang Tsung can fire anywhere from one to six at a time.

    Flaming Skull Eruption: Shang Tsung changes his game by fireing the skulls from underneath his opponent. This can be done at long, medium, or close range.

    Ground Skull: Shang Tsung fires a long range Skull Eruption, and the skulls work their way to close range setting the opponent for a juggling combo.

    Soul Steal: Using black magic Shang Tsung steals a sample of his opponents soul. This can serve one of two purposes depending on the game. It either restores a bit of Shang Tsung's health or to change him into the form of his opponent.

    Soul Capture: Shang Tsung steals a larger portion of his opponents souls so he can remain in his opponents form for longer.

    Forward Fireball: Shang Tsung shoots a standard Fireball at his opponent.

    Fire Ring: Shang Tsung fires two flaming skulls that intertwine before striking the opponent doing double the damage.

    Mysterious Magic: Shang Tsung glows with a green magic aura and charges his opponent. Before reaching them he teleports behind them and slide kicks them to trip them.

    Body Switch: Shang Tsung uses magic to switch places with his opponent and causes them some confusion, setting them up for a hit.

    Slide Launch: Shang Tsung performs a slide kick to trip the opponent.

    Hot Escape: Shang Tsung forms a pool of lava below his feet and uses this as a means of teleportation.

    Up Skull: Shang Tsung fires a flaming skull into the air which tracks the opponent.

    X-Ray Move - Your Soul is Mine: Shang Tsung buries his hands into his opponents chest removing a large portion of their soul which damages the muscle tissue on the way out. He then knees them in the head breaking the skull in the process.


    Soultaker: Shang Tsung absorbs the soul of his opponent. This can be done a number of ways. Shang Tsung usually levitates his opponent and then absorbs their soul leaving a withered husk behind. Another way is for him to telekineticlly slam them into the ground while simultaneously absorbing bits of thheir soul after each slam.

    Inner Ear: Shang Tsung possesses his opponent and makes them explode leaving only Shang Tsung standing where his opponent was.

    Kintaro Morph: Shang Tsung morphs into the Shokan warrior Kintaro and punches the opponents upper torso off.

    Bed of Nails: Shang Tsung summons a bed of spikes and flips his dazed opponent onto them.

    Back Breaker: Shang Tsung in typical fasion absorbs the soul of his opponent, but then stomps on their back breaking their spine.

    Bang Bang!: Shang Tsung morphs into a demonic looking clown and pulls out a revolver and pulls the trigger releasing a bang flag. He then drops the gun and proceeds to laugh. He then pulls out a real gun and blows his opponents head off. This fatality is an exact copy of the Joker's fatality from MK vs DCU and the description hints that Shang Tsung has actually met him.

    Identity Theft: Shang Tsung possesses his opponent and makes them rip off their own head.

    People Shang Tsung has or can transformed into

    Other Media

    Mortal Kombat

    Shang Tsung appears, palyed by actor Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa, as the main antagonist in the movie. As before he takes the participants aboard his boat and sails to his private island where the Mortal Kombat tournament his being held. Shang Tsung has Sub-Zero, Scorpion, Kano, Kitana, Reptile, and Goro as subordinates. After Johnny Cage defeats Goro Shang Tsung invokes his right to challenge anyone anywhere and kidnaps Sonya Blade to Outworld. When she refuses to fight him and both Johnny and Liu Kang come to rescue her, Shang Tsung challenges Johnny Cage to a match but Liu Kang fights him instead. Shang and Liu initially seem evenly matched till Shang gets punched in the face. He then summons long dead warriors to outnumber Liu Kang. When this fails Shang tries to win psychologically by tormenting Liu with the image of his younger brother. When this fails Shang Tsung summons spikes on the floor and tries to throw Liu Kang onto them though he sends up being sent flying by a fireball from Liu Kang instead and dying on the spikes.

    Mortal Kombat Annihilation

    Shang Tsung appears as a flash back due to his role in the previous movie.

    Mortal Kombat - The Journey Begins

    Shang Tsung appears in this animated movie, his role his identical to that of the games. This version possesses the ability to read minds to exploit his opponents weaknesses.

    Mortal Kombat Conquest

    Shang Tsung appears in the tv series from time to time as an antagonist to the Great Kung Lao. He is mostly kept in the Shokan Cobalt Mines for his failure during the tournament.

    Mortal Kombat Defenders of the Realm

    Shang Tsung makes a few flash back appearences and is the ressurected by Shao Kahn's Shadow Priests in the 9th episode. He later gains "The Orb" which is also seen in the Street Fighter cartoon and uses it to strip Raiden of his powers.


    • Mortal Kombat (boss)
    • Mortal Kombat II
    • Mortal Kombat 3
    • Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3
    • Mortal Kombat Trilogy
    • Mortal Kombat: Deadly Alliance
    • Mortal Kombat: Deception (cameo)
    • Mortal Kombat: Shaolin Monks
    • Mortal Kombat: Armageddon
    • Ultimate Mortal Kombat
    • Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe
    • Mortal Kombat (2011)


    Mortal Kombat: Rebirth

    James Lew portrayed Shang Tsung in Mortal Kombat: Rebirth. In the movie, Shang Tsung is the owner of an illegal underground fighting tournament. He hired Baraka and Reptile to fight for the tournament. His appearance closely resembles his attire in the 1995 Mortal Kombat movie.

    Mortal Kombat Legacy

    Johnson Phan portrays Shang Tsung in Mortal Kombat: Legacy. He appears at the end of episode 3, stopping time in a movie studio and approaching Johnny Cage. He then offers him a chance to change his life. Tsung later appears in the next episode featuring Kitana and Mileena, in which Kahn orders him to make a clone of Kitana that would not resent him, resulting in Mileena. He last appears at the end of episode 8, when Bi-Han Subzero kills Hanzo Hasashi, which is then revealed to be Quan Chi. Tsung claimed to have sent away the other Shirai Ryu members after the initial attack, which made General Hasashi and his family an easy target. This helped and allowed Quan Chi to revive and take control of what is now Scorpion.


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