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|“||Your soul is mine!||„|
|~ Shang Tsung's most famous quote.|
|“||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.||„|
|~ Shang Tsung speaking at the beginning of the first Mortal Kombat tournament.|
|“||After losing control of the Shaolin tournament, Tsung promises his ruler Shao Kahn to shape events that will lure the Earth warriors to compete in his own contest. Convinced of this plan, Shao Kahn restores Tsung's youth and allows him to live.||„|
|~ Shang Tsung's fighter description in Mortal Kombat II.|
He is a powerful, manipulative and deadly sorcerer, virtually unmatched in his mastery of sorcery, and a shapeshifter who consumes souls in order to sustain himself. He is also an ambitious traitor who prefers planning behind other's back instead of direct conflict.
In the original timeline he served as the main antagonist of the first Mortal Kombat game, the secondary antagonist of Mortal Kombat II and Mortal Kombat 3, a cameo character in Mortal Kombat Mythologies: Sub-Zero, the titular secondary antagonist of Mortal Kombat: Deadly Alliance, a minor antagonist in Mortal Kombat: Deception, the central antagonist of Mortal Kombat: Shaolin Monks, a supporting antagonist in Mortal Kombat Armageddon, and a supporting protagonist in Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe.
In the alternate timeline he served as the secondary antagonist of Mortal Kombat (2011), a posthumous antagonist in Mortal Kombat X, and the Mortal Kombat X comic series, a mentioned/DLC character in Mortal Kombat 11, and the main antagonist of its DLC story mode, Mortal Kombat 11: Aftermath.
He also served as the main antagonist of the first movie, a posthumous antagonist in Mortal Kombat: Annihilation, a minor character in Mortal Kombat Rebirth, the main antagonist of Mortal Kombat: The Journey Begins, a major antagonist in Mortal Kombat: Legacy, Mortal Kombat: Defenders of the Realm and Mortal Kombat: Conquest, one of the two main antagonists (alongside Quan Chi) of Mortal Kombat Legends: Scorpion's Revenge and is set to appear in the upcoming 2021 live-action film presumably as the main antagonist.
Shang Tsung initially had the appearance of an old man. His skin was pale with long, balding white hair, a beard and mustache, with 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 Mortal Kombat II, however, after being given a second chance by Shao Khan he gives Shang Tsung his youth. His skin returns to a natural tint and is depicted with long black hair. As with his older persona, he shares white eyes. In both Mortal Kombat II and Mortal Kombat 3, he wore yellow and black clothes. In Deadly Alliance and beyond, he wears a heavy red uniform. he is also depicted with pupils, having brown eyes.
In Mortal Kombat 11, he once again appears in his older and younger forms, with his older appearance being a slight redesign as his one in the reboot and his younger form being based directly off of his physical appearance in the 1995 live-action movie, sporting a near-identical hairstyle 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.
Shang Tsung is infamous for his sadism and greed. Even before joining Shao Kahn, he was a heartless sorcerer who gleefully took advantage of his punishment after the Elder Gods cursed him to die unless he consumed the souls of those he defeats. Using his polite facade as a means of tricking opponents, Tsung shows he is willing to do anything that will help him gain more power. All of this proves that he is nothing more than a heartless coward who would do anything to ensure his survival.
During the events of Mortal Kombat 11, Shang Tsung despite helping the heroes against Kronkia, shows how treacherous he can be after he betrays them and later Shao Kahn and Sindel. Furthermore, although he remains as pragmatic as ever, he barely even tries to hide his true intentions nor convince his allies that he isn't using them.
Powers and Abilities
Shang Tsung has the power to steal the souls of those he defeats and must do so to continue living. He can shapeshift into the people whose souls he steals, giving him their combat abilities and memories. However, he can shapeshift into someone without their soul. Shang is highly skilled in black magic and sorcery, and his attacks are mainly fire-based, much like his archenemy Liu Kang. Like with most other kombatants, he also has superhuman strength, speed, and endurance with him becoming more powerful after each soul consumed. When transformed into someone else, he also gains their abilities. Even without transforming, however, he is powerful enough to stand up to the likes of Liu Kang even in his elderly form.
He mainly got these powers from Shao Kahn, but in later games, this was no longer the case. Shang Tsung can fire flaming skull projectiles, which can also be summoned from the ground, that are believed to be the souls he has collected. He can create a giant flaming cobra, though he only used this ability in the opening of Mortal Kombat: Deception, which is a reference to his Animality in Mortal Kombat 3. Shang can also create portals between realms and teleport in bursts of fire. Furthermore, he can also engulf his hands with fire to increase the power of his attacks as shown in Mortal Kombat 11.
Souls That Shang Tsung Possess
- Kenshi Takahashi and his powers from- new timeline
- Drahmin and his powers- from another timeline
- Goro and his powers- from the new timeline
- Moloch and his powers- from another timeline
- Ermac and his powers- from the new timeline
- Jerrod (Kitana's father) trapped in Ermac- from the new timeline
- Kintaro and his powers- from another timeline
- Rain and his powers- from the original timeline
- Tremor and his powers- from the original timeline
- Smoke and his powers- from the original timeline
- Chameleon and his powers- from the original timeline
- Shao Kahn (killed by Shang Tsung)
- Prince Goro (dead)
- Kintaro (killed by Sonya Blade, Cassie Blade and Jacqui Briggs in MKX comics)
- Reptile (formerly)
- Ermac (formerly)
- Sheeva (formerly)
- Saurians (formerly)
- Shokan (formerly)
- Mileena (killed by D'Vorah in MKX game)
- Motaro (killed by Raiden in MK 2011)
- Tarkata (formerly)
- Current Baraka (killed by D'Vorah in MKX game)
- Sindel (killed by Shang Tsung)
- Quan Chi (killed by Scorpion in MKX game)
- Black Dragon Clan
- Jarek (MIA)
- Smoke (MIA)
- Past Skarlet (MIA)
- Reiko (killed by Havik in MKX comics)
- Lord Shinnok
- Current Sektor (killed by Sub-Zero in MKX comics)
- Noob Saibot (MIA)
- Current Cyrax (killed himself in MKX comics)
- Current Skarlet (died from her wounds in MKX comics)
- Red Dragon Clan
- Mavado (killed by Cassie Blade and Jacqui Briggs in MKX comics)
- Liu Kang
- Kung Lao
- Current Sonya Blade (sacrificed herself in MK 11)
- Earthrealm heroes
- Kotal Kahn (former leader)
- Current Johnny Cage
- Kurtis Stryker
- Current Jax Briggs
- Li Mei
- Past Scorpion
- Bo' Rai Cho
- Current Kenshi Takahashi (body found on Shang's Island in DLC)
- Elder Gods (lost their powers and were defeated by Kronika)
- In Mortal Kombat: Shaolin Monks, his death is very similar to Liu Kang's death in Mortal Kombat: Deadly Alliance and likewise his death in Mortal Kombat: Armageddon and at the beginning of Moral Kombat (2011) is also similar as well:
- In Mortal Kombat: Shaolin Monks, he's killed in a similar manner to how he killed Liu Kang in Mortal Kombat: Deadly Alliance. If the player performing this fatality is controlling Kang, there appears to be a perfect swap of roles.
- Mortal Kombat: Shaolin Monks, Mortal Kombat: Deadly Alliance, Mortal Kombat: Armageddon and Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe are the only games where the Soul Steal allows Shang Tsung to regain health.
- Shang Tsung used his Morphing and Flaming Skulls during the intro of Mortal Kombat: Armageddon, but they are not present in the game.
- In Mortal Kombat 3, occasionally, Shang Tsung appears on the Master tournament ladder twice.
- Shang's alternate outfit from Mortal Kombat: Deadly Alliance is based from the time he was champion of Mortal Kombat before the Great Kung Lao defeated him (Mortal Kombat official comic).
- In Moral Kombat (2011), Shang Tsung has his classic outfit as his alternative costume, to note this further, his voice changes to that of an older tone.
- Shang Tsung was also inspired by the character Lo-Pan from "Big Trouble In Little China."
- Shang Tsung is the only character who appears in all of the 2-D games that is absent from Mortal Kombat 4.
- Mortal Kombat (2011) was the only game to mention of Shang Tsung's origin. His bio states that he is originally from China in Earthrealm.
- Shang Tsung is the only character in Mortal Kombat (2011) whose throw move heals him.
- In Annoying Orange videos, he appeared in Annoying Orange Vs. Mortal Kombat after successfully defeating Shao Kahn to become champion, but was interrupted by Orange who annoys him, however, Shang Tsung was later killed by Orange who has summoned Knife which kills Shang Tsung.
- In SidLexia's second page of the Mortal Kombat Fatality Extravaganza, he mentions that when Shang Tsung uses his bed of spikes fatality upon his opponent further describes him as utterly vicious even by the standards of an evil wizard.