Official Shang Tsung Strategy & Combo Superthread!
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Official Shang Tsung Strategy & Combo Superthread!
07/11/2012 06:22 PM EST


Celebrating twenty years of Mortal Kombat, we've been eliminating the fighting ranks in search of our first Supreme Mortal Kombat Champion!
Making it to the Round of Sixteen (Round 3), Shang Tsung is the original Mortal Kombat boss!

Taught the dark arts by the Emperor himself, Shang Tsung is a sorcerer who consumes souls to sustain his powers and youth. Responsible for corrupting the Shaolin Tournament in favour of Outworld, he rules over the island tournament as the master of its Shokan Champion.

Basic Attacks
Elbow Poke - Away + 1
Forearm Strike - Away + 2
Elbow Blast - Toward + 2
Shin Attack - Toward + 3
Quick Knee - Toward + 4
Uppercut - Down + 2
Sweep - Away + 4

Chain Combos
Bad Omen - 1, 2, 1
Soul Stain - 1, 2, 2
Soul Torment - 1, 3
Reserved Pain - Away + 1, 2, 1, 4
Death Walker - 2, 2, 1
Restored Youth - 2, 2, Away + 4
Play Time - Toward + 3, 4
Deadly Truth - Toward + 4, 3, 4

Fast Tags (Tag Mode)
Side by Side - Away + 1, 2, 1, Tag
Ruthless - 2, 2, 1, Tag

Tag Combos (Tag Mode)
Soul Stealer - 1, 2, Tag
Burning Evil - Away + 1, 2, Tag
B-Trade - 2, 2, Tag
Two of a Kind - Toward + 4, 3, Tag

Special Moves
Fire Skull - Away, Away, 1
Up Skull [Above] - Down, Up, 2
Up Skull [Behind] - Down, Toward, 2
Up Skull [In Front] - Down, Back, 2
Ground Skull [Close] - Down, Up, 4
Ground Skull [Medium] - Down, Back, 4
Ground Skull [Far] - Down, Toward, 4
Soul Steal - Toward, Down, Back, 3

Finishing Moves
Bang Bang! - Away, Down, Toward, 3 [Sweep]
Identity Theft - Down, Down, Away, Down, 2 [Jump]
Stage Fatality - Up, Up, Away, 1 [Varied]
Babality - Down, Away, Down, 3 [Jump]

Key: [1 = FP] :: [2 = BP] :: [3 = FK] :: [4 = BK]

Threads for all the other characters will be available soon.
Please do not create new threads for other characters. Official superthreads will be easily accessed via the sticky menu!

These are the basic spells. Time to train in more deadly sorcery by sharing your best tips, tricks, strategies and counters. Become Shang Tsung and do your worst!

Supreme Champion 2019: The annual voting tournament is back!
Help pick a Mortal Kombat 11 champion in daily polls and review the latest versions of characters on the forum!
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RE: Official Shang Tsung Strategy & Combo Superthread!
07/11/2012 10:39 PM EST
Shang Tsung is like Liu Kang, in a sense. As he can play both ranged and close-kombat, but he is a difficult character to become good with. But once you do, it's quite satisfying, at least for me anyway.


-----Enhanced Specials-----
---Triple Skull (EX Fire Skull)
Not very useful, as it has no Armor, so it can be interrupted before Shang fires all three. But it did give me a win when my opponent was trying to jump towards me from full-screen and got caught in a juggle with the Triple Skulls.

---Enhanced Up Skull
No Armor as well, but this is good for winning the round when your opponent is about mid-screen away. Fires the Up Skull above, in front and behind at once. No escape, and the opponent will be forced to block, take chip damage.

---Enhanced Ground Skull
Launches all three Skulls, starting with the far GS to close GS. Similar to his Ground Skulls in MK3. Good for extending GS juggles and for getting the opponent close to start the blockstring pressure.

---Soul Capture (EX Soul Steal)
This is Shang Tsung's best Enhanced special, it has armor, faster startup, and Shang will stay morphed as the opponent for 8 seconds as opposed to the normal version's 5 seconds. Soul Capture is Shang Tsung's only good wakeup move and blockstring pressure escape.
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-----Ranged Kombat-----
---Ground Skulls
Ground Skulls are your best specials against a ranged opponent, but they require a bit of reading to get the GS placement effectively and catch the opponent. If you catch the opponent with a medium GS, you can follow-up with a double far GS, or an EX far GS on the second far GS to bring them close.

If the opponent is close by, you can launch a Close Ground Skull, if it catches them, you can proceed to dash in and juggle the opponent.

---Up Skulls
Up Skulls have quick recovery but slow startup, they are useful when the opponent is trying to jump in on you, but try not to launch an Up Skull when the opponent is jumping close by you, slow startup and all. Up Skulls puts a bit of tension on your opponent, they don't know if it's gonna fall in front or above them, they don't ever expect it to fall behind them.

After catching the opponent with a Ground Skull, you can choose to launch an Up Skull to catch them as they get up. If they don't block, they'll get hit by the Up Skull. Gotta time the Up Skull after a GS or it'll pass right through the opponent.

---Fire Skulls
Fire Skulls are good to mix things up and keep the opponent on edge. Fire Skulls have a big hitbox, similar to Scorpion's Spear in the fact it hits an area bigger than it appears.
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-----Close-Kombat-----
Shang Tsung does have a good up-close game, similar but a bit less-effective than Johnny Cage's.

---Blockstrings
Shang Tsung's 1,2 is good for blockstringing unless your opponent crouches under that. F+4,3,4~Ground Skull is a good blockstring. A blocked CGS leaves Shang Tsung at very minor frame advantage.

An example blockstring:
1,2>>F+4,3,4~Close Ground Skull. Eating away at your opponent's health through chip damage and building your Super Meter in the process.

---Mixups: F+3, it's a low hitting move. B+2, an overhead.---

---F+4xxClose Ground Skull
F+4xxCGS is a great asset for Shang Tsung. Might be a bit hard to input, but you can press F+4, keep holding 4 and input down, up quickly and the CGS will come out. I haven't been able to do this consistently so I don't try this even though lots of Shang players say it's good. But my Shang Tsung is still successful without it, sooooo........yeah.

F+4xxCGS~MedGS~FarGS~FarGS is an unbreakable combo for Shang Tsung, good for ending a round or for gaining the life lead. Ground Skulls cannot be breakered, and since the second hit of the combo is a GS, your opponent can't break out of it unless you started with a Jump In Punch.

---Soul Steal
Shang Tsung's morphing special. He will transform into the opponent for 5 seconds with a damage boost. Because of this opponent-specific morphing ability, it makes Shang Tsung the hardest character to use at his highest possible level. Throwing out a random Soul Steal every once in a while will keep the opponent wary and blocking.

Soul Steal deals chip damage, so if the opponent has barely any health left, it may be wise to throw out a Soul Steal. Be careful if they try to jump at you! Soul Steal can be jumped over.

Using Soul Steal to end a blocked combo will leave Shang Tsung at safety and at a good distance to play footsies.

---Pokes
Shang Tsung may have one of the best D+3s in the game. It's fast and lowers his hurtbox drastically in a way similar to Mileena's D+4. Good against crossups.

Shang's D+4, while not as good as Mileena or Sonya's, has long reach and can use it to connect a blocked CGS and begin blockstring pressure.

D+1 is a great tool for Shang, it's very quick, has great recovery, and can be used against jump ins and crossups. From an Anti-Air D+1, Shang can dash forward and juggle the opponent.

---Juggles
From an AA (Anti-Air) D+1, Shang can dash in and use 1,2>>1,2xxSoul Steal. Or AA D+1>>1,2>>1,2xxAbove Up Skull.

AA 1>>1,2>>1,2xxAbove Up Skull.
AA 1>>1,2>>1,2xxSoul Steal.

---Up Skull Stun
If the opponent is hit by an Up Skull, they will be put into a stunned state and unable to block. Use this opportunity to combo them.

---Some combos
F+4,3,4~MedGS~FarGS~FarGS
F+3,4~MedGS~FarGS~FarGS
2,2,1~CGS~FarGS~FarGS
B+1,2,1,4~Soul Steal

F+3,4~MedGS>>Soul Steal.
2,2,1~CGS>>Soul Steal.

F+4,3,4~MedGS~FarGS~EX FarGS~In Front Up Skull~Soul Steal.
(Might be hard to get the timing down)
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Shang Tsung has been my main throughout most of my MK9 life. I think his ability to play ranged, close, and as his opponent is great.
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RE: Official Shang Tsung Strategy & Combo Superthread!
07/11/2012 10:47 PM EST
Good shit ^ Unknown!
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