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In the Right Hands, MK 11’s Shang Tsung Has Potential to be Seriously OP (Hands-on Preview)

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In the Right Hands, MK 11’s Shang Tsung Has Potential to be Seriously OP (Hands-on Preview)

At E3 2019, we got a brief hands-on session with Mortal Kombat 11‘s first Kombat Pack character, Shang Tsung.

If you’re not aware Shang Tsung is particularly proficient in two things: stealing souls, and ruining the hopes and dreams of Reptile, Ermac, Rain, and Smoke fans that want those ninjas to make it into MK 11 as DLC.

This is because Shang Tsung can, as most hardcore MK 11 players know already, shapeshift into these ninjas and utilize some of their classic moves such as Smoke’s Shake and Reptile’s slide attack.

In addition, Shang Tsung can also just straight up steal the soul of the opposing character and become a mirror match-up for about 10 seconds or so complete with all of their moves.

On top of that, Shang Tsung has his own moves that don’t involve shapeshifting. Notably, he has a lot of great zoning moves that can hit mid, low, far, close, etc. very easily.

Even in the hands of the average player, Shang Tsung is going to be a powerful and versatile character that can be very unpredictable. You’ll need to worry about quick Reptile slides, getting punished with an Ermac Force Lift while trying to start an air combo, or getting nailed by a timely Shake. He’s going to be a frustrating kill for sure.

My time was too short to really start figuring out solid kombos that weave his basic attack strings with these special moves, but it’s not hard to to see that having access to what is effectively a greatest hits of ninja special moves, which can also be amplified, can lead to some really fun combinations.

I shudder to think what a pro, or at least just an extremely dedicated hardcore competitive player can do with Shang Tsung. I don’t really see your average player taking full advantage of the ability to steal souls and shapeshift into the opposing character. You need to have intimate knowledge of every MK 11 character to make that actually worth doing.

However, at the pro level where that is the case, I can see this being a game changer. Not only is there the obvious factor of seeing how skilled players can screw with people by literally switching characters mid-fight for a bit, but also there’s the mind games that can be played during character selection.

You have to factor in that whatever character you pick, the Shang Tsung player can potentially also play as them for a bit. Someone queuing up for ranked play isn’t going to know if some random player using Shang Tsung knows how to play the character they are picking, but you best believe that pros know the other pros very well and will likely need to consider that.

In any event, Shang Tsung is a very fun character to play with and is an exciting addition to the roster. Even if you don’t plan to main Shang Tsung in MK 11, the novelty of being able to shapeshift and use the classic ninja moves, for me anyway, is worth it. As a now ex-Reptile main, I’ll have to take what I can get.

If you’re very into competitive play, Shang Tsung should be a very satisfying character to learn to play properly and mastering him will reward you with some hilarious and nostalgic moments that truly is unique to Shang Tsung himself.

Shang Tsung will be available to Kombat Pack owners on June 18, and everyone else who decides to purchase him individually a week after that on all platforms, even Stadia eventually.

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