Mk2ii Mku3 IconDeceptionMK IconArmageddonMK Mk9ii Outworld Kamidogu

Shao Kahn


862148-shaokahn white

Status Unknown (Original Timeline)
Deceased (New Timeline)
Origin Outworld
Resides Outwoeld
Species Outworlder
In Mortal Kombat
Weapons Wrath Hammer
Games Mortal Kombat II
Mortal Kombat 3
Mortal Kombat: Deadly Alliance (cameo)
Mortal Kombat: Deception
Mortal Kombat: Armageddon
Mortal Kombat (2011)
Mortal Kombat X (cameo)
Portrayers Brian Glynn (MKII, MK3,
UMK3, MKT, MKAdvance)
Steve Ritchie (voice) (MKII, MK3, UMK3, MKT)
Frank Welker (voice) (first movie)
Brian Thompson (second movie)
John Vernon and
Michael Des Barres/Ramon Campos (Brazilian version) (DotR)
Jeffrey Meek (MK Conquest)
Aleks Paunovic (MKL)
Patrick Seitz (Mortal Kombat: Deception - Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe)
Bob Carter (Mortal Kombat 2011)
I am Shao Kahn! And you will bow to me!


—Shao Kahn in Mortal Kombat: Armageddon.

I am Shao Kahn! Konqueror of worlds! You will taste no victory!


—Shao Kahn to Liu Kang in Mortal Kombat 2011.

Shao Kahn is a character in the Mortal Kombat fighting game series. He made his debut in Mortal Kombat II as the final boss, a role he also served in Mortal Kombat 3. He serves as the primary antagonist of the series in many instances.

About Shao KahnEdit

Shao Kahn the Konqueror is represented as the embodiment of evil. In many respects, he resembles a large Asian warrior, and is well known amongst the roster of Mortal Kombat Kombatants for his godlike strength which rivals, if not outright exceeds, that of Raiden, the God of Thunder. He is also known for his extreme callousness, brutality, ferocity in battle, and his fondness of personal executions, though he has occasionally spared the lives of his subordinates, if they prove their worth, and his victims such as Sindel and Kitana, raising the latter like his own daughter and treating the former like his own wife. However, his true power that has served him well and allowed him to rise above the image of a mere warlord is his high intelligence and profound knowledge of the black arts. Like his subordinate Shang Tsung, he has the power to consume other souls.

Perhaps Shao Kahn’s greatest strength lies in his ability to work towards his goals with great tenacity and his ability to organize. However, his greatest weakness is his arrogance and overconfidence. Shao Kahn has often underestimated mankind, and therefore tried to conquer Earthrealm many times, with or without a queen (consort), to no success. He also possesses a blinding lust for conquest that can sometimes overwhelm his better judgment, allowing him to be manipulated by those that are cunning enough to exploit this weakness.


Shao Kahn is one of the few non-ninja characters whose appearance has stayed consistent throughout the years. He is easily recognizable by his intimidating stature; his apparent height varies between appearances, but he is always significantly taller than regular characters. He is almost never seen without his trademark warlord helmet which features a skull-like design with a long crest at the forehead. His attire usually consists of spiked shoulder pads, similarly designed kneepads and gauntlets, and a skull medallion embedded in two straps that intersect across his chest. When his helmet is removed, he appears to be bald with a slightly demonic face featuring red eyes and small spikes protruding from his head.

Combat characteristicsEdit

Powers and abilitiesEdit

Shao Kahn is shown to be an immensely powerful being throughout the series. He is able to utilize magic and has superhuman strength and durability. He is also able to charge at the opponent with considerable speed and power. His kombat abilities were demonstrated during the events of Mortal Kombat 3, where he defeated Kung Lao with relative ease. Armed with his Wrath Hammer, Shao Kahn can send opponents flying with one swing. During the events of Armageddon, he was able to smash through Mileena's magic barrier with his hammer. Like Shang Tsung, he can absorb the souls of others to increase his own power, often through the usage of soulnados.

Apart from his projectile attacks, Kahn's knowledge of magic seems to include cloning, as this is how he managed to avoid assassination at the hands of the Deadly Alliance. After escaping into the wilderness, he was able to resuscitate a mortally wounded Goro and recruit him back to his cause.

Signature movesEdit

  • Light Spear: Shao Kahn crouches down to his knees and throws a long light spear at his opponent. (MKII, MK 2011)
  • Charging Spikes: Shao Kahn shoulder rams his opponent with a shadow trail following behind him, much like Johnny Cage's Shadow moves. All three games (MKII, MK3, UMK3), "Charging Spikes" had white trailing shadows and in Trilogy was replaced to green, however in N64 version, the shadows were blue. (MKII, MK3, UMK3, MKT, MK:D, MK:U, MK:SM, MK:A, MKvsDCU, MK 2011)
  • Wrath Hammer Attack: Shao Kahn summons his Wrath Hammer, seemingly from thin air, and smash his opponent over the head with it, setting them up for a free hit. In Deception and on, the Wrath Hammer became a weapon style and thus was no longer needed as an individual special move. (MK3, UMK3, MKT, MKvsDCU, MK 2011)
  • Explosive Ball: Shao Kahn fires a green star like fireball, seemingly from his mouth or eyes. (MK3, UMK3, MKT, MK:D, MK:U, MK:SM, MK:A, MKvsDCU)
  • Uplifting Knee: Shao Kahn performs a rising knee attack with a streak following behind him, much like Johnny Cage's Shadow moves. Between two games, "Uplifting Knee" had white shadows, but in Trilogy they were replaced by green, however in the N64 version, they were blue. (MK3, UMK3, MKT, MK:D, MK:U, MK:SM, MK:A, MK 2011)
  • Hammer Dance: Shao Kahn swings his hammer at an alarming rate, causing his foe to fly. He makes nine dancing strikes and one final strike. (MK:SM)
  • Ridicule: Shao Kahn would often taunt, mock, and ridicule his opponents with insults, mockery, or just plain laughter. It is a trademark of Shao Kahn's and is what makes him one of the more memorable bosses in fighting game history. In Deception, performing a Ridicule could heal Shao Kahn, though only a tiny sliver of health would be recovered and could only be performed three times a match before it was automatically disabled. Same goes for Armageddon; however, in Armageddon there is no limit to the amount of times this is used. It heals him once for a rate above 10%, and decreases the more it is used. (MKII, MK3, UMK3, MKT, MK:D, MK:U, MK:SM, MK:A, MK 2011)
  • Grab and Punch: Shao Kahn lifts his opponent up by the throat with one hand and then smashes his fist into their face, sending them sailing back. In Deception, this is simply his throw, and if performed next to death traps could automatically knock opponents into them. (MKT, MK:D, MK:U, MK:A, MKvsDCU)
  • Emperor's Shield: Shao Kahn creates an energy shield to either reverse attacks or to shatter the opponent. (MK:D, MK:U, MK:A, MKvsDCU)
  • Mystic Choke: Shao Kahn engulfs his foe in a force field and slams him/her twice in the chest. (MK:A)
  • Hammer Throw: Shao Kahn throws his hammer at an opponent, stunning and setting them up for a free hit. This move is only blockable with Nightwolf's Absorb, Kratos's Golden Fleece, and Kenshi's Blade Absorb, or dodgeable with Freddy Krueger's Nightmare Stance and Jade's Shadow Flash. (MK 2011)
  • Hammer Swing: Shao Kahn uppercuts the opponent with his hammer, also allowing a possible juggling combo if the move connects. (MK 2011)
  • Hammer Cut: Kahn sweeps the foe with his hammer. (MK 2011)
  • Upward Shoulder: Shao Kahn charges upwards, juggling the opponent. (MK 2011)
  • X-Ray Move - It's Official: Shao Kahn hammers his opponent to the ground and grabs their arm. He then stomps on their head (breaking the whole skull), lifts the opponent up by the arm, and delivers a skull-shattering headbutt. (MK 2011)

Other MovesEdit

  • Throw: Shao Kahn slams his fist down on his opponent's head, forcing them to their knees, and then summons his Wrath Hammer to strike them with. (MK 2011)


  • Headcrusher: Shao Kahn hammers his opponent into the ground leaving only their head sticking out. He then laughs before hammering his opponent into a bloody explosion. Only available in the Nintendo 64 version of the game. (MKT)
  • Home Run: Shao Kahn uppercuts his opponent into the air, and smashes them to pieces with his hammer as they fall. In MK 2011, he grabs the opponent by the neck and flips them in the air before delivering the killing blow. (MK:D, MK 2011)
  • Fore: Shao Kahn hammers his opponent into the ground and then, when they are buried up to their torso, smashes their head off with a golf swing. (MK:D)
  • Emperor's Bash: Shao Kahn boasts out to the crowd then pounds his opponent with his hammer several times, eventually breaking their neck. (MK:SM)
  • Double Down: Shao Kahn jabs his hands into the middle of his foe's torso and slowly rips their body down the middle. (MK 2011)

Other finishersEdit

  • Hara-Kiri: Hammer Throw: Shao Kahn launches his hammer into the air, and it comes back down and crushes his head. (MK:D)
  • Babality: Shao Kahn is turned into a baby and still standing on his feet, points at the opponent and says "You suck!" (in a high-pitched voice). He then starts to laugh (in baby giggles) in his laughing taunt pose. (MK 2011)


Pre-Mortal KombatEdit

Shao kahn alternate by mawnbak-d6ku8td

Shao Kahn during his youth.

Long ago, Shao Kahn once served as an adviser to Onaga when the latter ruled Outworld as the Dragon King. Onaga's Empire had become the most powerful among all of the realms, and so he began searching for a way to become immortal. Before this goal could be realized, Shao Kahn made his move by poisoning Onaga and taking his kingdom. Leading whatever troops that remained loyal to the Dragon King, Kahn continued many of the former emperor's plans.

Before Shao Kahn invaded Edenia, Shao Kahn invaded the realm of Osh-Tekk, slaughtering the warrior race alongside his champion, Goro. When the ruler of Osh-Tekk, Kotal K'etz, surrenders, Shao Kahn allows him to keep his realm's treasure, the Portal Stone, in recognition for the Osh-Tekk's obedience. Shao Kahn would then merge Osh-Tekk into Outworld.

Sometime later, Shao Kahn, joined by Goro and his general, Reiko, would invade the Arnyek Islands before the Kytinn's could mount a proper defense. While other Kytinns ran at the sight of the emperor, one did not, and Shao Kahn demanded to know why she did not, at first believing her to be the queen of her people. The Kytinn declared herself the Kahn's humble servant and knelt before him. Shao Kahn ultimately spared this Kytinn, D'Vorah, from her people's fate and allowed her to serve him. He continued to add lesser realms to Outworld, either through direct conquest or through Mortal Kombat.

A milestone in his military victories was the merging of Edenia with Outworld. After his warriors had won ten consecutive victories in Mortal Kombat, Kahn invaded the realm. On the battlefield, Kahn killed King Jerrod, and took Queen Sindel as his own queen through (forced) marriage, raising her daughter, Princess Kitana, as his own. He had the young princess trained as his personal guard and assassin. Unfortunately for Kahn, Sindel took her own life in an attempt to escape what she believed was eternal subservience to the Emperor. However, Shao Kahn held her soul in Outworld, stopping her transition to the afterlife, not willing to let his beloved queen go so easily.

Many years later, Kahn chose Earthrealm as his next conquest. He sent Shang Tsung and eventually Goro to Earthrealm to prepare it for an invasion via Mortal Kombat. A turning point came when Prince Goro defeated the Great Kung Lao in Mortal Kombat and initiated a winning streak that would last for 500 years. Shang Tsung, a shapeshifter, supervised the tournament.

Original TimelineEdit

Mortal Kombat IIEdit

The tenth Mortal Kombat, however, saw the defeat of both Goro and Shang Tsung by a Shaolin monk, Liu Kang, thereby ruining five hundred years of Kahn's investment. Shang Tsung begged Shao Kahn to spare his life, and came up with a plan to lure Earth's chosen warriors to Outworld for a new tournament. Kahn agreed to this plan, spared Tsung's life, and restored his youth. If Earthrealm's champions could be killed, they would no longer be able to interfere with Kahn's plans.

After kidnapping Kano and Sonya Blade in the Living Forest, ambushing Johnny Cage on the set of his new movie, and enraging Liu Kang by sending Baraka and his Tarkatan hordes to destroy the Shaolin temples, they waited for the Earthrealm warriors to arrive in Outworld. Despite Kahn's vast power, Liu Kang's determination saw him through, and he defeated the despot. Unwilling to accept defeat, Kahn called his armies to destroy the Earthrealm warriors. They fled back to Earthrealm and out of Kahn's clutches.

Mortal Kombat 3Edit

Shao Kahn later enacted a 10,000 plan and Quan Chi had Queen Sindel resurrected in Earthrealm, and Kahn would be able to cross the border and claim his beloved wife, allowing him to conquer Earthrealm. Nearly every living being in Earthrealm had their souls stripped from their bodies by Kahn, claiming them as his own. He then had his extermination squads hunt down and kill the remaining survivors. However, Lord Raiden had protected the souls of a handful of warriors. It would be their task to stop Shao Kahn, and liberate Earthrealm from its new Outworld rulers.

In the ensuing fights, Kahn was confronted by Kung Lao, another Shaolin monk and descendant of the warrior Goro defeated to become champion of Mortal Kombat, but Kahn had blasted him away, seemingly killing him. Enraged, Liu Kang attacked Shao Kahn and defeated him once more. Worn down from the battle, Kahn recalled his squads and retreated back to Outworld.

This stopped the merge with Outworld, and restored Earthrealm to its original status. To make matters worse for Kahn, many of his loyal soldiers had abandoned him, and Kitana had succeeded in turning Sindel to her side, restoring Edenia as an independent realm.

Between Mortal Kombat 3 and Mortal Kombat: ArmageddonEdit

The emperor was now greatly weakened, and would remain so for a period of several years, gradually recovering his strength during Shinnok's war against the gods. The Edenians had in the meantime made peace and military treaties with the Shokan, on whom Kahn had always heavily relied, and were ready to attack Outworld a few years later. It was only through his new commander Kano's ingenuity, and the stealth of his assassin Noob Saibot (who critically wounded Goro) that Kahn able to repel the Edenian army and force them into a draw. Soon afterward, the sorcerers Quan Chi and Shang Tsung entered his throne room, swearing false allegiance to the emperor.

Quan Chi and Shang Tsung caught Shao Kahn off guard and seemingly killed him. This would appear to be the demise of the mighty Kahn. However, it was revealed that Kahn did not die, and that it was a clone that Quan Chi and Shang Tsung killed. The real Kahn appeared to the wounded Goro and, using what little power he had left, revived him, thus gaining Goro and the Shokan as allies once again.

Mortal Kombat: ArmageddonEdit

Making alliance with Goro and Shang Tsung, Shao Kahn had mounted an offense against the fortress to re-instate his rule over Outworld from Mileena. He was able to defeat Mileena's mages and took the throne from Mileena, after he accepted her defeat. He then commands her to capture Shujinko, who would be used as a bargaining chip in gaining Onaga as an ally.

With the plan worked, he would go on to form an uneasy alliance with Quan Chi, Shang Tsung, and Onaga in the hopes of defeating Blaze and seizing his god-like powers. Shao Kahn soon found himself fighting his allies and was carried off by Onaga after an unsuccessful attack on Shang Tsung. After Taven defeated defeated Blaze, the energy released through his death passed through Taven and later passed into the other kombatants.

Now empowered with the power Taven gave him, Kahn was able to kill Onaga and return to the Pyramid. He would then challenge Taven, but the demi-god was no match for Shao Kahn. After Taven's death, Kahn faced against Raiden in the pyramid, but the Thunder God was no match for Kahn. Shao Kahn became the ultimate victor of Armageddon by killing Raiden.

Character RelationshipsEdit

  • Former adviser of Onaga until he poisoned him and took control of Outworld.
  • Was opposed by Edenia's protector Argus and his sons, Taven and Daegon.
  • Adopted Reiko and took him as his general of his armies.
  • Killed King Jerrod during his invasion of Edenia. Claimed Sindel as his wife/queen and Kitana as his daughter by right of conquest.
  • Ordered Shang Tsung to create a successor of Kitana, which led to the creation of Mileena.
  • Rain joined his forces who betrayed the Resistance when they refused to make him their leader.
  • Destroyed the realm of Zaterra and manipulated Syzoth to serve him.
  • Invaded Nitara's realm of Vaeternus.
  • Invaded Kotal Kahn's realm of Osh-Tekk.
  • Invaded D'Vorah's realm of Arynek and took D'Vorah as his servant.
  • His minions fought with Hotaru's Seidan Guardsmen.
  • Ordered Shang Tsung to win the Mortal Kombat tournaments.
  • Created Skarlet and Ermac.

Original TimelineEdit

  • Ordered Shang Tsung to be executed for failing to win Mortal Kombat but then spared him after he hatched a plan, and also restored his youth.
  • Ordered the attack on the Wu Shi Academy.
  • Defeated and seemingly killed by Liu Kang at the end of the Outworld tournament.
  • Shao Kahn's wounds were healed by Quan Chi.
  • Ordered his Shadow Priests, Shang Tsung and Quan Chi to be resurrected in Earthrealm.
  • Merged Earthrealm with Outworld and instantly stripped billions of their souls.
  • Defeated by Liu Kang and retreated to Outworld.
  • Created a clone to distract his enemies.
  • His clone was killed by the Deadly Alliance.
  • Healed Goro and allies with him to remove Onaga from his throne.
  • Created a substitute body for Shang Tsung whose soul appeared in front of him by an old pledge.
  • Regained his throne with the help of Goro and Shang Tsung from Mileena after defeating her.
  • Along with Shang Tsung, he allies with Quan Chi and Onaga.
  • Joined the Forces of Darkness in the final battle in Armageddon.
  • Was attacked by Onaga in the Battle of Armageddon.
  • Empowered by Blaze's essence given by Taven.
  • Killed Onaga and Taven.
  • Fought Raiden after Armageddon and killed him.
  • Driven into madness with nothing left to conquer and destroyed Earthrealm.
  • Finally killed by Kitana after she united the realms against him.

New TimelineEdit

  • Ordered Shang Tsung to be executed for failing to win Mortal Kombat but then spared him after he hatched a plan, and also restored his youth.
  • Ordered the attack on the Wu Shi Academy.
  • Killed Kung Lao when he was celebrating his victory over Kintaro.
  • Defeated and seemingly killed by Liu Kang at the end of the Outworld tournament, after witnessing Kung Lao's death.
  • Shao Kahn's wounds were healed by Quan Chi.
  • Had Kitana be executed for conspiring with the Earthrealm warriors and killing Mileena.
  • Ordered his Shadow Priests, Shang Tsung and Quan Chi to be resurrected in Earthrealm.
  • Merged Earthrealm with Outworld and instantly stripped billions of their souls.
  • Defeated and killed by Liu Kang with the help of Raiden.
  • Eventually replaced by Mileena and Kotal Kahn as rulers of Outworld.


  • Kahn started out unmasked and with large gnashing teeth similar to Baraka, since everyone from Outworld was originally to be of Baraka's race. The idea of all inhabitants of Outworld being Tarkatans was later dropped.
  • In MKII, Kahn was digitally re-sized to a taller height to make him tower over the playable characters. Ironically, the actor who played him, bodybuilder Brian Glynn, was not nearly as imposing in comparison; a photograph published in GamePro magazine of Glynn and Ed Boon standing side-by-side, which was snapped during production of the game, showed that Boon was taller.
  • In many official depictions of Shao Kahn made by Midway, he is shown wearing a cape, which he takes off before starting a fight. Mortal Kombat: Deception was the first game in which he wore the cape in-game.
  • In Mortal Kombat: Deception, in Konquest Mode, his costume is based on his MKII appearance.
  • Kahn was never seen unmasked in a game until Mortal Kombat: Shaolin Monks, where once he loses half his health, a scene plays in which he pulls out a hammer and throws it at the player, which the player throws back at him and smashes the mask to pieces. His face is based on the MKII comic depiction.
  • His height changes considerably between depictions. In the 2D games, he was scaled to be even taller than the Shokan Goro and Kintaro, yet he was depicted as only half a head taller than the regular characters in Mortal Kombat: Deception and Mortal Kombat: Armageddon. In Mortal Kombat: Shaolin Monks, he appeared to stand around seven-and-a-half feet, with Liu Kang and Kung Lao only coming up to his chest, but he was not quite as tall as either Shokan character. He appears to be around the same height in Mortal Kombat (2011) as he was in the 2D game, about a head taller than the playable characters, but Goro and Kintaro are again taller than him.
  • Shao Kahn's voice is an ever present sound in the Mortal Kombat games. Even when he isn't present, he can be heard in the form of an announcer with phrases such as "Outstanding", "Well Done", "Incredible", "Superb" and "Excellent". He also orders you to finish your opponent at the end of a match (supporting his character type). His voice can be heard in Unreal Championship 2: The Liandri Conflict, which featured Mortal Kombat themes. Starting in Mortal Kombat II, he narrates the match. He would often laugh when a kombatant was low on health. He was the announcer for all games from MKII until MK4, where Quan Chi was the announcer. Kahn resumed being an announcer afterward, even when you fight and kill him as an opponent.
  • A 1993 UK-published strategy guide for Mortal Kombat II described Kahn as being "dressed like a '70s disco queen."
  • Kahn's name was accidentally hyphenated in the closing credits of Mortal Kombat: Annihilation ("Shao-Kahn").
  • Though Kahn has no official Animality in the games, in Mortal Kombat: Annihilation, Kahn is given the Animality of a Five-Headed Hydra.
  • Though Shao Kahn was initially shown to be well over 10,000 years old, Mortal Kombat: Armageddon places him as being even older. Shao Kahn was shown to be highly infamous before Taven and Daegon were sealed, which happened before Shinnok's fall from grace. In Shinnok's ending in Mortal Kombat 4, he states that Raiden had imprisoned him for "millions of years." Contrarily, Raiden states in the intro of the game that it was only some thousands of years ago. The fact that Shinnok's ending is non-canon may mean that it was in fact not millions and only an exaggeration. This also indicates that Shao Kahn had been attempting to conquer Edenia for a very long time, since Taven stated that Shao Kahn had launched an unsuccessful invasion before he (Taven) was sealed.
  • Although Shao Kahn holds a staff in Mortal Kombat II and Mortal Kombat: Shaolin Monks, he has never been seen using it.
  • In UMK3, Shao Kahn is the only character who bleeds from Robot Smoke's teleport.
  • Shao Kahn's "mask" or "Skull mask" is actually a Kabuto, a Japanese Samurai helmet with a Menpō, a facemask commonly worn with the Kabuto.
  • Despite being the "announcer" for most games, Shao Kahn will have a different voice actor in-game then when commentating.
  • In MK 2011, when he is performing his Ridicule, some of the classic taunts throughout the game returned, such as "It's official, you suck!", "Don't make me laugh!", and "Prepare to Die!"
  • In an MK 2011 trailer, Shao Kahn uses his Double Down Fatality on Raiden.
  • Shao Kahn has been the final boss in more Mortal Kombat games than any other character (MKII, MK3/UMK3/MKT, MK:SM, and MK 2011).
  • In his MK 2011 victory pose, a slave girl is shown crawling to and hugging his thigh as he proudly stands. This could imply that he has female slaves of his own.
  • In Mortal Kombat (2011), Shao Kahn's Hammer Throw can be avoided by the female character by simply crouching while the male characters cannot do this. This is due to the hitbox being smaller for female characters in comparison to the male characters.
  • In a Top 10 list hosted by, Shao Kahn was placed at #4 of the best Mortal Kombat Characters in the Mortal Kombat Series.
  • In the start of MK 2011's story mode, Shao Kahn appears in his MK vs DCU costume, but is not present in the game. As his MK vs DCU outfit is similar to what he wore during the last leg of the 1st timeline, it was possibly a deliberate decision on the development team's part.
  • Although, during Shao Kahn's X-Ray, the combo announcement says it does 52% damage, it does more damage, about 60%. This is because the first part, Shao Kahn's hammer slam, is not counted into the combo.
  • Shao Kahn makes a cameo appearance during Scorpion's intro in Injustice: Gods Among Us.
  • In the Parody fighting game "Divekick", In Kung Pao's story; she's the daughter of Theodore Khan and he's an evil dictator. Theodore Khan is more likely a parody of Shao Khan.