How To Play As Shang Tsung In Mortal Kombat 1

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  • Shang Tsung Special Moves

While Mortal Kombat 1 offers a diverse range of characters, there are times when we’re drawn to play as an antagonist. In such situations, our thoughts will often gravitate towards the iconic villain, Shang Tsung.




Mortal Kombat 1: General Shao Guide

Swing that axe like Shao with all your strength and beat your enemies with unstoppable force!

Shang Tsung, a formidable and iconic presence in the series, was among the first fighters introduced. He’s making a return once again with his iconic character as the main villain in this timeline. Choosing him requires spending some time to understand what makes him distinct and how to harness his power to defeat your opponents, especially considering the best Kameo choices.

Shang Tsung Overview

Shang Tsung is smiling in Mortal Kombat 1.

If you prefer characters that focus on zoning by throwing fireballs throughout the entire fight, Shang Tsung is the ideal choice. His versatility goes beyond that. If you can skillfully mix projectiles with other special moves and utilize his ability to switch forms, you’ll make it challenging for your opponent.

Playing as Shang Tsung reveals the qualities of a well-rounded character. His special moves are nearly perfect, allowing you to defend and attack effectively. Additionally, the ability to steal the opponent’s form through Form Stealer adds another layer to his versatility.

While Shang Tsung is close to being a perfect character, facing rushdown characters can still pose a challenge. However, in situations where there’s a weakness, you can cover it by utilizing Kameos. For this specific issue, characters like Kung Lao can provide a solution with his teleport ability.

As a zoner, it’s crucial to maintain distance from your opponents. Yet, Shang Tsung’s versatility adds a challenge to your opponents, even when they get close, particularly if they don’t plan their moves carefully.

Shang Tsung Special Moves

Fight intro: Left: Shang Tsung, Right: Kitana in Mk1.

When it comes to Shang Tsung’s special moves, We can tell you that they offer an advantage as a zoner, adding both fun and uniqueness to the gameplay besides his switching forms. Spend some time learning how to use each special move besides an enhanced version of each one.

Special Move


What It Does

Quick Age Morph

Down, Stance

You can switch stances between young Shang Tsung and old Shang Tsung, and this move works even in mid-air. Additionally, you can integrate this ability into the middle of a combo to change how special moves behave.

Form Stealer

Forward, Down, Back, 4

You will transform into the opponent’s form. Spending one bar of Meter to enhance it will boost the damage.

Perfect Form

Forward, Back, 4

You can revert to Shang Tsung’s form after changing into the opponent’s form.

Young Form

Straight Skull

Down, Forward, 1

You will attack your opponent using a fireball shaped like a skull, and you can also use it as an air attack. You can spend one bar of Meter to deal more damage with the enhanced version.

Double Skull

Down, Back, 1

Similar to the Straight Skull, instead of one skull, you will attack with two skulls, and you can enhance it.

Triple Skull

Down, Back, Forward, 1

You’ll launch an attack using three fireballs shaped like a skull, and you can also enhance it to deal more damage.

Spinning Spikes

Down, Forward, 2

Shang Tsung performs a spinning move while hitting the opponent with his Tekko-Kagi Claws. To access the enhanced version, you need to spend one bar of Meter, gaining armor and increasing damage.

Bed Of Spikes

Down, Back, 3

You will summon a bunch of spikes in front of you, moving backward. To increase damage, spend one bar of Meter for the enhanced version.

Old Form

Ground Skull

Down, Forward, 1

You will summon a fireball shaped like a skull under the opponent’s position.

(Close) Ground Skull

Down, Back, 1

Summon a nearby Ground Skull.

(Far) Ground Skull

Down, Back, Forward, 1

Summon a distant Ground Skull.

Close To Far Triple Ground Skull

Down, Forward, 1, Block

The enhanced version of Ground Skull, which deals more damage and widens its range, requires one bar of Meter.

(Air) Down Skull

Down, Forward, 1

Air attack, you will shoot a fireball into the ground, appearing under the opponent.

(Air Close) Down Skull

Down, Forward, 1, Back

A nearby Down Skull.

(Air Far) Down Skull

Down, Forward, 1, Forward

A distant Down Skull.

(Air) Enhanced Down Skull

Down, Forward, 1, Block

It requires one bar of Meter to boost damage and widen its range.

Vicinity Slash

Down, Forward, 2

You will attack your opponent using Shang Tsung’s Tekko-Kagi Claws. Spend one bar of Meter to gain armor and deal more damage, and this will be the enhanced version.


Down, Back, 3

You will inject your opponent before sending them flying with a powerful punch. The enhanced version provides an opportunity to deal increased damage while Shang Tsung is morphed.

To avoid confusion use the universal input label. This will assist you in understanding the inputs of your controller.

Forward = Toward the opponent

Back = Away from the opponent

Shang Tsung Tips

Shang Tsung is standng, photo mode in Mk1.

Even though Shang Tsung is considered a zoner, you’ll often find that he needs to get close to his opponent, and this will also appear in his special moves like Vicinity Slash or Injection.

If you depend a lot on your projectile moves, you become predictable in a fight. Spamming those moves makes you an easy opponent. It’s essential to blend your projectile moves with Shang Tsung’s combos and abilities. For example, try combining Back,1,2 with Forward, 4, 3, and throw in the Triple Skull for a more effective strategy.

Be cautious when facing rushdown characters like Johnny Cage. It can get tough for you as a zoner, and using your projectiles won’t be easy. Your focus should be on keeping the opponent at a distance. This is where using Bed Of Spikes can be handy to create some space and maneuver away from your opponent.

When playing as Shang Tsung, you will discover effective spamming attacks, like using Ground Skull, for example. Forward, 4 + Quick Age Morph to old + 1, 2, 1 + Ground Skull + 4 + Ground Skull + 4 + Ground Skull. However, depending too much on spamming can be a downside. If your opponent predicts your moves and knows how to avoid your attacks, you might end up being defeated.

The key thing to remember about Shang Tsung is that he’s one of the best characters, offering freedom in gameplay besides his various moves and switching forms during a fight. However, be cautious, as he can also trap you with his spamming moves.


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Shang Tsung Kameo Tips

Shang Tsung strikes a combat pose while Frost is behind him in Mortal Kombat 1.

When dealing with Kameos, you’ll frequently look for characters that can fill in your gaps and keep your opponent at a distance. Here, you’ll find some recommendations: Sub-Zero, Frost, Cyrax, and Kung Lao, especially for his special teleport ability.

  • Sub-Zero offers one of the best abilities by freezing the opponent, allowing you to launch attacks and deal more damage. It also creates an opportunity to reduce pressure, especially when dealing with rushdown characters. In addition, he adds a layer of defense using his ice armor.
  • Frost is a great addition, using her Ice Krash and Frosty’s Revenge to extend your combos and maintain a distance from your opponent while she attacks.
  • Choose Cyrax if you’re looking for a Kameo that blends elements of both Sub-Zero and Frost. Thanks to his Cyber Net and horizontal attacks, he becomes valuable, providing more opportunities to extend your combos and find an exit from challenging situations.
  • Finally, Kung Lao is an excellent choice for Shang Tsung because of his mobility. He provides a great opportunity to be behind the opponent, avoiding their attacks. In addition, his projectile move and his spinning are valuable for confusing your opponent during attacks.

Shang Tsung Fatalities

Shang Tsung pouring liquid in an opponent's belly in Mortal Kombat 1.

When it comes to Shang Tsung’s fatalities, the first thing to know is that for each fatality, you need to be in the right position. After that, you can use these inputs to finish the fight.




Fatality 1 (Side Effects)


Back, Down, Down, 4

Fatality 2


Forward, Down, Back, 2


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