A powerful, deadly sorcerer and a primary villain in the Mortal Kombat series, Shang Tsung is a shapeshifter who needs to consume souls in order to sustain his health and life. In the Mortal Kombat series, he is the epitome of cunning and decadence, as symbolized by his preference for lavish parties, grand palaces, and stylish clothing. Unlike the crude Shao Kahn, this bombast is a facade, disguising Tsung's true intellectual and mental sophistication. His nemesis is Liu Kang, but throughout his unnatural lifespan, he has earned the hatred of many others, including Kung Lao and Kenshi. His Street Fighter rival is Gen.
Shang Tsung's early allegiance to Shao Kahn granted him the status of a free roaming sorcerer. As such, he is able to move between realms without detection by the Elder Gods or local deities an ability which has granted him many opportunities to commit atrocities over the centuries. Only Delia, Shinnok, Shao Kahn, and Quan Chi can match Shang Tsung's skills as a sorcerer.