How To Play As General Shao In Mortal Kombat 1

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  • General Shao Special Moves

When you decide to explore the roster of Mortal Kombat 1, you will encounter a diverse range of powers and characters. Each one takes you on a journey of unique techniques and distinct playstyles that set them apart from the others.



RELATED: Mortal Kombat 1: Sub-Zero Guide

But there is one character that can always capture your attention, even if you’re not familiar with him, thanks to his extraordinary outer appearance that stands out from the ordinary and his unique design. General Shao is one of the most interesting characters that might draw you to try him. Fortunately, this guide will help you take General Shao to his height.

General Shao Overview

General Shao is holding his axe on his shoulder while he is standing in MK1.

Shao Kahn returns in this timeline as General Shao. However, he remains a formidable antagonist, introducing one of the best playstyles with a touch of complexity.

Shao introduces a new set of gameplay elements with his Axe, departing from his traditional Wrath Hammer. He is an excellent choice if you prefer starting with his Dark Energy as a buff to enhance the axe moves temporarily.

Although his moves sometimes transition away from the axe, you will continue to incorporate the axe into your playstyle in various ways.

You will witness the strength of Shao, which lies in his brute force, evident in all his special moves, both with the axe and without it. Regardless, you’ll see him hit with all his power.

The best part is the seamless integration of your special moves. For example, the Enhanced Devastator serves as an opening to extend with Power Strike.

If you prioritize speed, Shao might not be the ideal choice for you, as his moves tend to be slower than normal. This slight delay can create a gap between you and your opponent, potentially making it easier for them to evade your attacks.

General Shao Special Moves

General Shao hit Raiden using his axe in Mortal Kombat 1.

If you aim to defeat your opponents as a warrior, you will see this reflected in General Shao’s playstyle, particularly in his special moves. Take the time to recognize how to use his axe more effectively for maximum impact.

Special Move


What It Does

Dark Energy

Down, Forward, 1

You will swing the axe in front of you. This move is a buff to strengthen axe moves for a duration.

Enhanced Dark Energy

Down, Forward, 1, Block

Invest one bar of Meter to extend the duration of the buff for a longer period.


Down, Back, 3

Execute a quick pounce on your opponent, impaling them with the axe, a swift and effective move ideal for concluding your combos.

Enhanced Devastator

Down, Back, 3, Block

Spend one bar of Meter to reinforce with armor and gain an advantage, allowing you to extend your combo with Power Strike.

Death Quake

Down, Back, 4

You will hit the ground with full force, which sends a shockwave straight to the opponent, leading to their downfall.

Enhanced Death Quake

Down, Back, 4, Block

Spend one bar of Meter to launch the opponent and initiate combos. No more damage.

Power Strike

Down, Forward, 4

Perform an overhead attack, knocking the opponent to the ground and planting the axe into the ground. This move also triggers a change in the moveset to No Axe.

Axe Recall

Down, Forward, 4

The move, as described in its name, allows you to recall the axe when General Shao is without it, returning to the axe stance.

Enhanced Power Strike

Down, Forward, 4, Block

Spend one bar of Meter to deal more damage.

No Axe Special Moves

Klassic Kahn

Down, Back, 3

Perform an airborne knee strike to the opponent’s face, launching them and providing an opportunity to extend combos. This replaces Devastator while in the No Axe Stance.

Enhanced Klassic Kahn

Down, Back. 3, Block

Spend one bar of Meter to gain armor and deal more damage.

Reverse Treechopper

Down, Forward, 2

When near the axe, you will grab the opponent and knock them onto the axe, ending with a swift swing while the opponent is still impaled to the axe. You can hold Back after the last input to switch sides and this will be Reverse X2 Treechopper.

Enhanced Reverse Treechopper

Down, Forward, 2, Block

Spend one bar of Meter to increase damage and gain armor. Similar to the regular Reverse Treechopper, you can hold Back after the last input to switch sides. This is known as Enhanced Reverse X2 Treechopper.


Down, Forward, 1

When you are next to the axe, you will pick it up and deliver a quick and powerful swing.

Enhanced Treechopper

Down, Forward, 1, Block

It requires one bar of Meter to increase damage and gain armor.

Axe Quake

Down, Back, 4

While you are near the axe, you will levitate it briefly before slamming it on the ground. This action causes a shockwave across the screen, leading to the opponent’s fall. If the axe is close to the opponent during this attack, they will be struck by the axe as it descends to the ground, in addition to the shockwave, resulting in damage. Enhancing the attack launches the opponent even higher into the air. Costs one bar of Meter, although it may not be the most optimal use of Meter.

This universal input label will assist you in understanding the inputs for your controller during gameplay.

Forward = Toward the opponent

Back = Away from the opponent

General Shao Tips

General Shao standing while Raiden is attached with Shao's axe in Mk1.

When you play as General Shao, you wait for the perfect moment to grab your opponents with your axe and land powerful special moves. No mercy for those who let their guard down, especially if you can extend your combos with the right special moves at the right time.

For instance, if you aim to combine specific special moves like Enhanced Devastator and Power Strike to boost damage and create more opportunities for extending your combos, and conclude your sequences using Reverse Treechopper while you are not in the axe stance. These sequences will be perfect:

  • 2, 2 + Enhanced Devastator + Power Strike + 2 + Reverse Treechopper.
  • 1, 2, 2, 2 + Enhanced Devastator + Power Strike + 2 + Reverse Treechopper.
  • Back, 2, Back, 2, Jump, 1, 2, 2, 2 + Enhanced Devastator + Power Strike + 2 + Reverse Treechopper.

Using the Reverse Treechopper is consistently a great way to conclude your combos when your opponent is under your control. However, if you attempt to start with it, your opponent can easily avoid it by crouching down.

You can also effectively initiate your combos with the Enhanced Death Quake. For instance, try, Enhanced Death Quake + 2, 2, 2 + Enhanced Devastator + Power Strike + 2 + Reverse Treechopper.

Mastering Shao’s gameplay complexity revolves around his special moves. Hesitation brings challenges, and playing boldly is crucial. Attempt to corner your opponent to manipulate them. As you do, try 1, 2 + Power Strike + Back, 3, 2 + Back, 3, 2, 4 + Reverse Treechopper.

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General Shao Kameo Tips

General Shao is holding his axe in Mortal Kombat 1.

When discussing Kameos pairing with Shao, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all choice. It depends on what you want to add and where you need support. Here are some quick recommendations for you.

Sub-Zero is a good choice to depend on if you want to boost your damage by freezing your opponents and opening new opportunities to launch attacks, in addition to gaining ice armor.

Cyrax is consistently one of the best choices for applying pressure and reducing gaps. Similar to Sub-Zero, you can deal more damage by depending on his Cyber Net to immobilize opponents, creating opportunities to increase or launch your attacks.

Kung Lao complements Shao well with his ability to grab you and teleport behind opponents. This can be a good compensation for Shao’s slow attacks.

There are several choices, and each one would make a good addition to Shao’s abilities.

General Shao Fatalities

General Shao spinning his opponent in Mortal Kombat 1.

Now is the time to learn how to wield Shao’s axe, swinging it at your opponents, and concluding fights like a true warrior.




Fatality 1 (Spin Cycle)


Back, Forward, Down, 1

Fatality 2


Down, Forward, Back, 1

NEXT: Mortal Kombat 1: Geras Guide

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