Shang Tsung
Shang tsung render
Gender Male
Origin Earthrealm
Resides Outworld
Species Human
In Mortal Kombat
Weapons Straight Sword (MK:DA, MK:A, MKX)
Fighting Styles Snake (MK:DA, MK:D, MK:A)
Crane (MK:DA)
Mantis (MK:D), Mimics
Games Mortal Kombat (boss)
Mortal Kombat II (sub-boss and playable)
Mortal Kombat 3
Ultimate Mortal Kombat
Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3
Mortal Kombat Trilogy
Mortal Kombat Advance
Mortal Kombat Mythologies: Sub-Zero (cameo)
Mortal Kombat: Deadly Alliance (boss and playable)
Mortal Kombat: Tournament Edition (boss and playable)
Mortal Kombat: Deception (cameo)
Mortal Kombat: Unchained
Mortal Kombat: Shaolin Monks
Mortal Kombat: Armageddon
Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe
Mortal Kombat (2011) (sub-boss and playable)
Mortal Kombat X (cameo, DLC)
Portrayers Ho Sung Pak (MK)
Phillip Ahn, M.D. (MKII)
John Turk (MK3, UMK3, MKT, MKAdvance)
Jim Cummings (MK: TJB)
Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa (first film, MKL 2)
Bruce Locke (Conquest)
Neil Ross (DotR)
Richard Divizio (MKM:SZ)
James Lew (MKR)
Johnson Phan (MKL)
Sidney Liufau (Live Tour)
James Kyson-Lee (MK vs DCU)
Andrew Kishino(MK 2011)
Your soul is mine!


—Shang Tsung's Battle Cry in Mortal Kombat (2011)

Shang Tsung (尚宗)[1]; is a character in the Mortal Kombat fighting game series. He is one of the few original characters, debuting in the first Mortal Kombat arcade game, in which he served as the final boss.

About Shang Tsung

A powerful, deadly sorcerer and a primary villain in the Mortal Kombat franchise, Shang Tsung is a shapeshifter 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 Tsung's true intellectual and mental sophistication. His 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 is based off of Lo Pan from the 1986 film Big Trouble in Little China. Originally his name was intended to be Shang Lao. He used a staff and had the look of an ancient Chinese royal.


  • Shang Tsung's Battle Cry originated from the Mortal Kombat movie and the TV series Mortal Kombat: Conquest.
  • In Mortal Kombat: Deadly Alliance's Konquest mode, it is revealed that one of the souls he consumed during his tournaments was that of the samurai Muso Gonnosuke.
  • 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 used his Morphing and Flaming Skulls during the intro of Mortal Kombat: Armageddon, but they are not present in the game.
  • In Mortal Kombat II, Shang Tsung had 2 different win poses, in the arcade and earlier home versions of the game Shang Tsung had a normal win pose where he would just stand but in the Sega 32X (after completing the game) and Saturn versions it was found out that Tsung had a laughing animation during his win pose.
  • In Mortal Kombat 3, occasionally, Shang Tsung appears on the Master tournament ladder twice.
  • Tsung's alternate outfit from 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 MK 2011, Shang Tsung has his MK old man look as his alternate costume, to the point when his voice changes to his older tone when used in game.
  • Shang Tsung is the only character who appears in all of the 2-D games that is absent from Mortal Kombat 4. However Shinnok's Impersonate move shares some of Shang Tsung's abilities, though implying that Tsung is a sorcerer and Shinnok is an Elder God.
  • A recurring animal motif for this character is cobras. Shang Tsung's Animality in MK3 is a cobra, and in the MK Deception intro he unleashed a huge flame in the form of a cobra to knock out Raiden. His primary outfit in MK 2011 also has cobras designed in his shoulders, back and belt.
  • Shang Tsung appears on a movie poster during Johnny Cage's ending in Deadly Alliance.
  • Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe reveals that Shang is accompanied by two women, who appear to be lovers. However, the game isn't 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 headshot here being considerably more violent than the Joker's fatality. It should be noted that in the Fatality Trainer, when the fatality is introduced, it mentions Tsung having "picked up some tricks from an old foe". Officially, of course, Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe remains non-canon.
  • Up until MK 2011, Shang Tsung's elderly form remained unplayable as it was eliminated ever since MKII.
  • In his MK 2011 Ladder ending, Shang Tsung is taught a move to defeat Liu Kang, who has become villainous, reversing the roles of hero and villain, though Tsung's motivations are based purely on revenge.
  • In MKII there's a color palette swapping glitch which occur when there's 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 Tsung to morph into another character will reset the color palette back to default. If the second Tsung also morph into another character other than the one the first Tsung morph into, the palette will stay default. If the second Tsung morph into the same character that the first Tsung morph into, then that character palette will be the alternate color palette. Only the Tsung who had the default palette and the first to revert back to normal would be the default color Shang Tsung, the second Tsung to revert back would be the alternate color Shang Tsung. This minor glitch often cause 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.
  • In MK 2011's 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.
  • 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. Characters like Smoke, Rain, and Noob Saibot.
  • MK 2011 was the only game to mention Shang Tsung's origin. His bio states that he is originally from Earthrealm and discovered a portal to Outworld.
  • Shang Tsung is the only character in MK 2011 whose throw move heals him.
  • In a Top 10 list hosted by, Shang Tsung was placed at #7 of the bearded characters in video games.
  • In MK 2011, Shang Tsung appears to bleed red but whenever it stains on someone, it appears as a pitch black color. Whether this is intentional or a glitch is unknown.
  • In MK 2011, Shang Tsung frequently precedes many of his special attacks, including all his fatalities, with the phrase "你现在死!", which means "you die now" in Chinese.
  • Tsung was originally supposed to have a Fatality in the original Mortal Kombat where he beheads the opponent with the katana at his side. Due to recent hacking, it was discovered that the sprites for this still exists within the ROM.


  1. Japanese manual of SNES version Mortal Kombat))