|Status|| Deceased (Original Timeline)|
Deceased (New Timeline)
|In Mortal Kombat|
|Games|| Mortal Kombat|
Mortal Kombat II
Mortal Kombat 3
Mortal Kombat: Deadly Alliance
Mortal Kombat: Deception
Mortal Kombat: Armageddon
Mortal Kombat (2011)
|Portrayers|| James Kyson-Lee (old)|
Andrew Kishino (young)
Shang Tsung's past remains shrouded in mystery, with his exact origins never specified and unclear at best. According to some sources, he was originally a human from Earthrealm. He participated in the Mortal Kombat Tournament, but he cheated in one of the battles. Breaking the sacred rules is considered treason against the represented realm and the Elder Gods, and so Shang was sentenced to death by the tournament judges. The Dark Emperor Shao Kahn took advantage of the evil in his heart and made a deal with Shang Tsung; that he would be spared if he swore allegiance to him. Tsung agreed and was taken to Outworld and was trained by the Emperor in the Black Arts.
When Tsung committed the atrocity of taking a soul, Shang Tsung was cursed by the Elder Gods not only to kill his enemies, but to take their souls as well. Only in this way would he hold off his grim fate: to age rapidly and die prematurely. As a side effect of his consuming the souls of others, Tsung was able to access their memories and knowledge, a happenstance which would greatly benefit him years later. Tsung entered the Mortal Kombat tournament, quickly overcoming all competition and becoming Grand Champion. How long he retained the title is unclear; however the overconfident Tsung would eventually have it taken from him by the legendary Shaolin warrior monk, the Great Kung Lao.
Shang Tsung returned years later, now appearing far older, after the "mysterious" death of one of the tournament's three Grandmasters. He brought with him his greatest student: the Shokan prince Goro. He had been ordered by the ruler of Outworld, Shao Kahn, to finally bring about the winning streak in Mortal Kombat necessary to unbalance the Furies and weaken the dimensional gates, thus allowing the Outworld Emperor to conquer Earth. After a valiant but doomed fight, Kung Lao was defeated by Goro and killed. Tsung consumed his soul, and the Outworld's domination of the Mortal Kombat tournament had begun.
Shang Tsung made contact with another sorcerer, Quan Chi. He had become aware of Quan Chi's quest for Shinnok's amulet, the location of which was known only to the Shaolin Monks. As a result of consuming the Great Kung Lao's soul, Shang Tsung had learned of it. In exchange for Quan Chi's, and Shinnok's, aid in completing a task for the Emperor Shao Kahn, he gave the location of the Map of Elements – but failed to inform Quan Chi that no sorcerer could enter the Temple of Elements where it was stored.
Over the next 500 years, as Goro remained undefeated, the tournament fell further into Tsung's depraved hands. He became the sole Grandmaster, and the tournament came to be held on his private island – in reality, a zone in between Earth and the Outworld.
Near the end of this time period, Tsung hired gunslinger mercenary Erron Black to assassinate a warrior that he saw as a threat. As payment, Black was given the secret to long life, making him virtually immortal. He also learned of the swordsman Kenshi. Realizing that Kenshi's pride could easily be exploited, Tsung disguised himself as an old man named Song. He praised Kenshi for his ability, telling him that he deserved a sword worthy of his skill. He then led Kenshi through an ancient underground labyrinth, and stopped before a deep well, covered by a large stone. Tsung informed Kenshi that the sword lay within. Once Kenshi removed the lid, the souls of the swordsman's warrior king ancestors were released, blinding Kenshi.
Tsung revealed his true self, proceeded to consume the souls, and left Kenshi to die, not knowing the swordsman would survive to become a bitter enemy. Tsung also sparred with Shujinko to determine whether or not he would allow him to enter the tournament. The spar ended in a draw with Tsung granting Shujinko permission to enter. Shujinko did not do so, as he was on a quest.
During the tenth Mortal Kombat tournament, the final victory that would enable Shao Kahn to conquer Earth, Liu Kang, a Shaolin Monk, defeated Goro, breaking the winning streak. Liu Kang then challenged Shang Tsung in Kombat to restore the honor of the once-sacred tournament; Liu Kang prevailed, and Shang Tsung fled to Outworld.
Mortal Kombat IIEdit
When Shang Tsung returns to Shao Kahn, he is almost executed for his failure. However, Shang Tsung proposes a new idea for a single tournament to be held in Outworld. Shao Kahn agrees to the concept, and rejuvenates Shang Tsung.
Meanwhile, the tournament served as a diversion, Shao Kahn could continue with his own scheme, after 10,000 years in the making: the restoration to life of his beloved former Queen, Sindel.
During the tournament, despite having his youth restored and after a long brutal fight, Tsung lost to Liu Kang, this time in front of Kahn.
Mortal Kombat 3Edit
After Shao Kahn's defeat at the hands of Liu Kang, Shang Tsung finished the process of Sindel's resurrection with the aid of his cult of Shadow Priests. Thanks to the help of Quan Chi and Shinnok, her soul would indeed be resurrected – but in Earthrealm, and tainted by evil. When Queen Sindel was revived in Earthrealm, Shao Kahn could reach across the realms and reclaim her, forcefully merging Earthrealm with Outworld. Shang Tsung led one of Kahn's extermination squads to hunt down the fighters that Raiden had protected. Despite being granted more power than ever before, Tsung lost to Liu Kang again.
Between Mortal Kombat 3 and Mortal Kombat: Deadly AllianceEdit
Upon Kahn's defeat, Shang Tsung retreated with him back to Outworld, when the merger was reversed. Tsung would then be imprisoned and tortured for his failure to help his master merge Earthrealm into Outworld. He was periodically released to do Kahn's bidding, but was only released after regaining Kahn's favor.
Mortal Kombat: Deadly AllianceEdit
A few years later, Shang Tsung found Quan Chi in his palace courtyard, fighting Scorpion. When Quan Chi defeated him, he gave Shang an offer: if Tsung helped him revive the lost army of the Dragon King by means of his ability to transplant souls, he would open a "Soulnado" to the Heavens, giving him an endless supply of souls to feed on. Tsung accepted, and together, they formed the Deadly Alliance. In order to carry out their scheme, however, they first needed to remove the two largest obstacles in their way: Shao Kahn and Liu Kang.
Shang Tsung introduced Quan Chi to Shao Kahn, vouched for his loyalty, and then they attacked and apparently killed him. However, the Shao Kahn they killed was a clone. After killing him and accepting Kano's offer to serve them, they traveled through a portal, known only to sorcerers and deities, to Earthrealm and headed to the Wu Shi Academy. There, Shang Tsung disguised himself as Kung Lao and approached Liu Kang. As Liu practiced his kata, Shang revealed his true form and attacked. Although Liu had the upper hand, Quan Chi struck from behind, giving Shang the opportunity to finally take his revenge on Liu Kang by breaking his neck and taking his soul.
Shang Tsung did not fully trust Quan Chi. Upon returning to Outworld, he gave the Oni Drahmin and Moloch, who had escaped from the Netherrealm, an offer: after Tsung performed his part in the plan, Quan Chi, who the two despised for abandoning them in the infernal pits after promising to free them, would be theirs to do with as they wished.
The Deadly Alliance soon commanded Kano's troops to force a small Outworld village to construct a new palace around the tomb to house the Soulnado. When one of the citizens, Li Mei, attacked Kano, they offered to free her village if she could win a tournament they would hold. About the same time, they had Erron Black and Tanya as their enforcers. They also approched Mavado, offering him a deal as well; he could earn the right to fight and kill Kano in exchange for eliminating Kenshi, who had been spying on Tsung. Mavado accomplished his mission, and the Alliance granted him his wish. Li Mei, having won the local tournament, demanded her reward, but instead Shang Tsung started transferring her soul to a mummified soldier of Onaga's army. It was at this time that the forces of Earthrealm, led by Raiden, attacked. Li Mei was rescued by Bo' Rai Cho, who escaped with her, but the remainder of the warriors assaulted the Alliance.
With the deaths of Jax Briggs, Johnny Cage and Sonya Blade at the hands of the Tarkatan army, Shang Tsung faced Kung Lao in the Soulnado, while Quan Chi faced Kitana. Although he was initially defeated by Kung Lao, Tsung was able to overwhelm and kill Kung Lao. Quan Chi would also kill Kitana. Shang Tsung and Quan Chi eventually triumphed over Raiden as well.
Mortal Komabt: Deception prologueEdit
Their victory, however, would not be savored. Shang Tsung's lust for power and Quan Chi's suspicion finally came to light. The two fought, and Quan Chi emerged the victor. But immediately after defeating Tsung, he was confronted by a reborn Onaga, who seemed to shrug off his most powerful blasts with ease. Tsung regained consciousness, and recognizing the Dragon King to be an immediate threat, assisted Quan Chi in attacking him. Bare moments later, the thunder god did as well, but their combined efforts could not stop the former Outworld ruler, who had come to reclaim Shinnok's amulet and his ancient army. In Raiden's ensuing last-ditch attempt at victory through a self-sacrificial blast, Shang Tsung was caught in the blast, killing him. The thousands of souls he had consumed over the years were released, including the soul of Liu Kang.
Mortal Kombat: ArmageddonEdit
Tsung's own soul was magically drawn to Outworld, where he was delivered to Shao Kahn. Tsung pledged his soul to the emperor ages before; this agreement was binding, even beyond death. Kahn provided Tsung with a host body and then allied with him in taking his kingdom from Mileena. Although Tsung is bound to serve Kahn, an opportunity to free himself arises when he discovers Quan Chi is alive. Quan Chi brings word from Shinnok of a plan to take a great power for the Forces of Darkness, and Tsung realizes if he were to take the power for himself, he could sever his bond with Shao Kahn. U
ntil his opportunity arises, Tsung continues to feign loyalty to the emperor while redirecting suspicion to other members of the alliance. Shang Tsung forms an alliance with Onaga, Shao Kahn, and Quan Chi, so the group may prevent the Forces of Light from obtaining the power that Blaze possessed.
While fighting against the Forces of Light, Shang Tsung was the one to almost reach to the top of Pyramid of Argus, only to be confronted by Liu Kang's corpse. Despite gaining the upper hand and throwing him off the pyramid, Liu Kang's corpse eventually caught up with Shang Tsung and held him in place with his hooks before he could reach Blaze. This caused Shang Tsung to revert back to his elderly form. He dies near the top of the Pyramid.