|Real name||Shang Cheng Hong Tsung|
|Also known as||Tsung, Shangy, Snake, sorcerer, ally, Mr. Tsung, Shan, wizard|
|Status||Unknown (presumed deceased)|
|Birthplace||Beijing, People's Republic of China|
|Eye colour||White, brown|
|Hair colour||White, brown, black|
|Career, affiliations and family information|
|Affiliation(s)||Shao Kahn, Ermac, Mileena, Sailbot, Quan Chi, Sektor, Motaro, Reptile|
|Occupation(s)||Sorcerer for Kahn's Army, sorcerer by career, tournament holder, magician, collector of souls|
|Video Games, Movies and Cartoons information|
|Main appearance(s) (Video Games)||Mortal Kombat I, Mortal Kombat II, Mortal Kombat 3, Mortal Kombat Mythologies: Sub-Zero (cameo), Mortal Kombat: Deadly Alliance, Mortal Kombat: Return of The Dragon King; Konquest, Mortal Kombat: Armageddon, Mortal Kombat 9, Mortal Kombat VS DC Universe, Mortal Kombat X (cameo)|
- "Combatants: I am Shang Tsung. And very soon each of you will fight; Shang Tsung. At the end you will face one final challenge: Shang Tsung."
- — Tsung in the beginning of MK9
Shang Tsung is the secondary main villain of the Mortal Kombat tournaments. Specifically, he is the main villain of Mortal Kombat I (1992), one of the two main villains of Mortal Kombat: Deadly Alliance (the other being Quan Chi), as well as the secondary villain of Mortal Kombat 9s arcade mode, and the key villain in Mortal Kombat: Armageddon. He is Shao Kahn's right-hand-man and the nemesis of its de-facto hero, Liu Kang. He is a powerful, manipulative, and deadly sorcerer, virtually unmatched in his mastery over sorcery, and a shapeshifter who consumes souls in order to sustain himself.
Much of Shang Tsung's origins remain a mystery, but it is speculated that he was born in Beijing, China. He competed in the first Mortal Kombat tournament, but cheated in one of the battles. Because of this, the Gods sentenced him to death. However, Shang was saved by a timely alliance with the vicious Outworld Emperor Shao Kahn.
At the behest of his master, Shang Tsung took over the Mortal Kombat tournament, changing its rules to allow the emperor to conquer the Earth through it. If he achieved a winning streak of 10 tournaments, he would be allowed to conquer Earth. For this end, he used the half-dragon, half-man Shokan Goro, who defeated the former champion and Shaolin monk, the Great Kung Lao, remaining undefeated for 500 years. In the 10th tournament, the Thunder God Raiden decided to interfere, by summoning the Earth's finest warriors to defend their planet. Raiden gave up on his immortality in order to participate in the tournament as well. The Shaolin monk Liu Kang, one of the chosen warriors, defeated Shang, thwarting his plans.
After being defeated by Liu Kang, Shang Tsung begged his master Shao Kahn for one more chance to achieve the last victory on the tournament. Shao, out of pity, grants him his request, restoring the sorcerer's former youth and power, so he could attract the Earth's warriors to certain death at Shao's hands. However, Shang is defeated once again by Kang and his new partner Kung Lao, also a direct descendant of the Great Kung Lao.
Shang Tsung is once again revived by Shao Kahn, this time because he was the key on fulfilling a plan that Shao enacted over centuries before the last tournament. At that time, Shang had bound the soul of Shao's former queen Sindel to Earth, so when she was reincarnated, Shao could claim his queen and overthrow the rules of the tournament. Raiden choose new warriors to defend Earth against Kahn. Shang is once again defeated, as well as Shao for the first time.
Tsung found the demon sorcerer Quan Chi in his garden one day, fighting against Scorpion. After defeating Scorpion, Quan made Shang a tempting offer: help him revive the lost army of the Dragon King, Onaga, and he would open up a route to the Heavens, providing Shang with an unlimited supply of souls. Shang agreed, and this was the beginning of the Deadly Alliance.
In order to make their plan work, Quan and Shang would need to rid themselves of two sizeable obstacles: Shao Kahn and Liu Kang. Shao's clone who was at Kahn's palace at the time and was apparently eliminated by Quan Chi and Tsung (unknown to them, it was not the real Kahn), and the Alliance moved on to Kang. Disguising himself as Kang's ally Kung Lao, Shang attacked the warrior, and, with the help of his ally Quan Chi, defeated and killed the monk by snapping his neck.
The Alliance soon took over the troops of several other villains, including Kano, Drahmin, and Moloch, and used them to conquer Outworld. The Deadly Alliance defeated the champions that Earth sent against them, including Lao and the thunder god Raiden, but Shang's distrustful nature proved to be his downfall. His deception came to light, but Quan Chi fought and defeated him. When Raiden was defeated by Quan, Shang was caught in the thunder god's suicidal, but he ditched the attack the last minute, and survived.
Later, a great power, the fire elemental power of Blaze, would allow Tsung to sever his ties to Shao and regain his former power, so Shang continued to feign allegiance to Shao, waiting for the right moment to strike.
Like all the other greedy Mortal Kombat warriors, Shang desired the power of Blaze. He made an alliance with Onaga, Shao, and Quan Chi once again to prevent the heroes from obtaining Blaze's power. In his unique character ending, he obtained Blaze's soul, and gained unlimited power, among them the ability to change the appearances of others. After turning his former master Shao into his centaur slave, Shang used the power to conquer Outworld. However, that is just his non-canonical ending.
Again in the year 1992, Shang Tsung hosts the first Mortal Kombat tournament in his elderly form. It is Tsung who decides who faces who for each match, and orders Johnny Cage to be the first of the Earth fighters to fight first following insults made by Cage regarding Shang's age. However, Cage overcomes the challenges thrown at him by Tsung. Later, after Sonya Blade manages to free her superior, Jax, from imprisonment, Shang prevents them from leaving his island by shooting their rescue helicopter down. He also attempts to have the Lin Kuei Clan ninja Cyrax killed for speaking with Raiden. When the final Earth competitor, Liu Kang, remains, Shang attempts to stack the decks against him. Each attempt, however, fails, as Liu defeats all of his challengers, including Goro. Shang Tsung is the final opponent for Liu Kang, and is ultimately defeated, sparing Earth from being merged into Outworld.
When Shang returns to Emperor Shao, he is executed for his failure. However, before his death, Shang proposes a new idea for a single tournament to be held in Outworld. Shao Kahn agrees to the concept, but still orders his men and Kitana to kill Shang.
Shang Tsung is a prominent character in MK VS DCU, appearing several times and remains one of the few characters not influenced by the kombat Rage until the very end of the game.
Powers and abilities
Shang Tsung has the power to steal the souls of those he defeats and must do so to continue his immortal living. He can shapeshift into the people whose souls he steals, giving him their combat abilities and memories. However, he may also shapeshift into someone without their soul. Shang is highly skilled in Satanic black magic and sorcery, and his attacks are mainly fire based, much like his archenemy Liu Kang.
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 dammed souls he has collected. He can create a giant flaming cobra, though he can only used this ability once in a year, which is a reference to his Animality in MK3. Shang can also create portals between planets and teleport in bursts of fire.
Mortal Kombat: Film
Shang Tsung appears as the main villain in the 1995 Mortal Kombat film, portrayed by Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa. He develops an interest in Sonya Blade that borders on romantic feelings, calling her "my sweet Sonja", for example.
He regularly resorted to intimidation and trickery; for example, he allows Cage to challenge Goro on the condition that he may challenge anyone of his choosing, in any place, as the final battle for the tournament, thus setting the stage for Liu Kang and Johnny's desperate move to save Sonya and leading to the climactic battle between Shang and Kang.
In the end, Shang Tsung fights Kang and ends up being knocked off a platform onto a row of spikes, impaling him. With the soul power no longer intact, Shang disintegrates into his true remains: a skeleton. Upon his death, all of the captured warriors' souls escape either into the Heavens or Hell, including Kang's younger brother, Chan, so those warriors may rest in peace, but then Chan told Kang that he is sadly going to hell, but that his spirit would always be with him. Shang also has a flashback cameo in the 1997 sequel Mortal Kombat: Annihilation.
- Shang Tsung used his morphing and flaming skull abilities during the intro of MK:A, but they are not present in the game.
- Shang is the only character in MK9 whose throw move heals him.
- In MK 9, Shang 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 originally meant to use Katana as his weapon, however he changed it to a Straight Sword later.