Mortal Kombat 11 has been out now for a little over two months, and in that time, we have seen a meta develop among the best of the best in the competitive scene, with tier lists clearly indicating that some players are head and shoulders above the rest. However, as the Kombat Pack 1 slowly releases we are now getting more characters drip fed into the game, starting with everyone’s favorite soul-stealing sorcerer, Shang Tsung.
Although Shang Tsung has only been in the game for a few weeks, he has made quite an impact, giving us a huge list of Easter eggs from the 1995 film Mortal Kombat to enjoy, as well as some creative "kombos." So, how good is Shang Tsung, now that the top players in the world have had some time to experiment with the fighter? Well, it depends a bit on who you ask. Well known player and streamer MK REO recently updated his own personal tier list and comfortably placed Shang Tsung in the top ten of all fighters.
Shang Tsung Boasts Powerful Attacks And Effective Zoning
Much like Cetrion, Shang Tsung could be considered a candidate for the fighter with the best zoning in the game. Tsung also has a great Mid attack that takes only 10 frames to execute, excellent poke with D3, and his Ground Eruption is a 15 frame launching tool that can reach opponents halfway across the screen. All of these features make the character terribly dangerous in the hands of a master.
Those fast moves combined with his range of attack options make Shang Tsung deadly. The Fire and Brimstone variation provides power and long-range together, and the previously mentioned Ground Eruption can be used to great combo potential if enhanced.
We have also seen good use of the Soul Taker variation. Scatter Souls is good to push opponents away, while Screaming Soul is the projectile used. The big question here is how useful Soul Well can be for competitive formats, as one needs to create an opportunity to engage with it properly.
Popular Mortal Kombat 11 streamer "Super" has also been spending quite some time testing how best to utilize Shang Tsung in online mode with varying degrees of success.
Shang Tsung In Competitive Tournaments
Of course, we can also talk about tournament potential for a player who wants to both zone and work the mirror match with a little soul stealing. Dominique “SonicFox” McLean, for instance, won the CEO 2019 this past weekend using Cassie Cage in the final match. However, we have seen SonicFox in the past play specifically using an opponent’s character against them as a psychological mix up, forcing a mirror match and often dominating as a result.
While we did not see a Shang Tsung in the Top 8 finals portion of the tournament, there is absolutely the potential for him to become a hit in competitive play. SonicFox has been playing Shang Tsung quite a bit over the past week, and the VODs look promising for the future of the sorcerer.
Note how at these high levels of play, Shang Tsung seems to have no issue zoning, as is evident in the battle against Kotal Kahn.
So How Good Is Shang Tsung?
Unfortunately, this appears to the most definitive answer to the question of how good Shang Tsung is as a character. We have some outstanding footage of people playing online and practicing their "kombos," with pros like SonicFox investing heavily into practice with the new character, but we have not yet seen him prove himself at the highest levels of competitive play. TrueUnderDawgGaming has posted an outstanding and thorough analysis of Shang Tsung’s almost entire move and kombo set in an attempt to consider the overall ability of the character, and it is certainly worth a watch.
For now, we can simply wait and see if Shang Tsung makes any notable waves in the competitive scene as time goes on. As zoning has been one of the most important aspects of previous games in the Mortal Kombat series, we are likely to continue seeing Shang Tsung more and more over the coming months.
We can say, however, that Shang Tsung is at least a strong character. He is by no means the "Kirby" of the game like from Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, but his potential for top tier play has yet to be seen.
For players who may want to dive deep into the history of Shang Tsung, check out this great informative video made by YouTube content creator, "History Behind the Warrior."