Shang Tsung

Young Tsung

Old Tsung

Series Mortal Kombat
Age >1,000
Sex Male
Height 5'11" (180 cm)
Weight 210 lbs (95 kg)
Alignment Neutral Evil
Your soul is mine!
~ Shang Tsung

Shang Tsung is a powerful sorcerer and one of the main antagonists from Mortal Kombat. He is the series' first villain, appearing as the final boss in the original game.


Little is known about the earliest days in Shang Tsung's life, but at some point he was an Earthrealm human who was caught cheating in the Mortal Kombat tournament and sentenced to death. His life was saved by Shao Kahn, however, struck a deal with the young man to spare his life in exchange for eternal allegience. Shang agreed, and he was soon taught by the emperor in the ways of magic. Eventually Shang Tsung used his magic to steal a soul, in which the Elder Gods punished him by making him rapidly age to death unless he constantly sustained himself on the souls of his victims. Soon, Shang returned to the Mortal Kombat tournament under the banner of Outworld, where he easily took the title of Grand Champion. For 9 separate Mortal Kombat tournaments he would hold this title until he met the Great Kung Lao, who defeated Shang in combat and took the title as his own. Quickly, he would return as a master for the Shokan prince Goro, who soon took the Great Kung Lao's life and the title of Grand Champion 9 times in a row. Upon his 10th tournament, however, the young monk Liu Kang defeated Goro and Shang to fend off the Outworld invasion.

Upon defeat, an enraged Shao Kahn nearly killed Shang Tsung before he devised the idea to hold a new tournament in Outworld that would raise the stakes, where victory either meant the immediate conquer of Earthrealm or for Outworld to never attempt to take Earthrealm again. After Shao Kahn's defeat, Shang Tsung's soul was taken as a sacrifice to resurrect the deceased Sindel and begin an invasion of Outworld, ending the sorcerer's life.

Powers & Abilities

  • Supermortal Physique
  • Magic: Due to his training in magic, Shang Tsung has learned a variety of abilities to use in combat.
    • Morphing: Shang Tsung's most famous ability, he can transform into the shape of anyone he has seen in battle.
    • Soul Steal: By grabbing onto an opponent, Shang Tsung can magically absorb a portion of their soul and gain access to some of their memories and skills. With every soul he steals, Shang can partially heal his wounds and revert his body back to its physical prime. He also gains the ability to morph into the user, being able to use their abilities and skills at will with the same efficiency as the original owner.
      • Increased Longevity: With every soul Shang Tsung takes, his overall lifespan increases.
      • Soultaker: Shang Tsung takes the entirety of his opponent's soul, leaving them a shriveled corpse.
    • Pyrokinesis: Using magic, Shang Tsung can manipulate fire in a variety of ways.
      • Flame Skulls: Shang Tsung can fire explosive, flaming skulls at his enemies as projectiles to attack from afar. He can fire these skulls from the ground, raining down from the sky, or just straight at his enemies in up to groups of 3 skulls at once.
      • Fireballs:
      • Fire Ring:
      • Hot Escape: To traverse the battlefield quickly, Shang Tsung creates fiery portals to teleport in an instant.
      • Flaming Cobra: As seen in Mortal Kombat Deception's intro cut-screen, Shang Tsung can conjure a giant, flaming cobra which can incapacitate even Raiden.
  • Master Manipulator:
  • Master Martial Artist: Shang Tsung is a master martial artist capable of mimicking the fighting styles of every victim he's absorbed, though he normally specializes in the Crane, Snake, and Mantis variants of Kung Fu.


  • Straight Sword: A one-handed jian that Shang Tsung keeps hidden for surprise attacks.



  • Could lift someone as heavy as Jax Briggs with a single arm and steal his opponent's soul if ever allowed the chance.
  • In Mortal Kombat 9's Test Your Might game, Shang Tsung was only seen shattering Titanium upon focusing enough Ki it should be pointed out that he could shatter a steel anvil but wasn't ever seen doing so.


  • Shang Tsung's speed is at least on the supermortal level with supersonic reactions.


  • Managed to get back up to team up with Quan-Chi to fight Onaga despite bleeding heavily from his mouth after being incapacitated.


  • Has a knowledge of genetics, which allowed him to create lifeforms such as Ermac, Mileena and Meat.
  • Killed Liu Kang with the help of Quan Chi in the original Mortal Kombat timeline.
  • Held the title of Mortal Kombat Champion for 9 tournaments.
  • Managed to incapacitate Raiden by conjuring a giant flaming cobra in the original Mortal Kombat timeline.


  • Rapid Aging: As punishment for stealing souls, the Elder Gods have bestowed a divine curse upon Shang Tsung to rapidly age until his premature demise unless he regularly steals souls.
  • Rather Dependent: Because Shang Tsung wasn't used to doing things on his own, he needed the help of individuals such as Quan Chi in order to finally kill Liu Kang.

Fun Facts

  • According to, Shang Tsung is considered to be vicious beyond the standards of an really evil wizard due to impaling his opponent right on a bed of spikes as one of his fatalities.
  • Shang Tsung is based off the Chinese sorcerer Lo Pan from the film Big Trouble in Little China, which came to being in the year 1986.