Shao Kahn
Shao Kahn Destroyer


Mortal Kombat


Mortal Kombat II (1993)

Console of origin









January 23, 1983

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


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.


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 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.

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. 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, wherein he defeated Kung Lao with relative ease. Armed with his Wrath Hammer, however, 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 he has managed to do so to avoid assassination at the hands of the Deadly Alliance. After escaping into the wilderness, he was able to revive a severely injured Goro and recruit him back to his cause.

Signature movesEdit

  • Light Spear: Shao Kahn crouches down to his knees and throws a large light spear at his opponent. (MKII, MK 2011)
  • Mystic Choke: Shao Kahn engulfs his foe in a force field and slams him/her twice in the chest. (MK:A)
  • 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 9 dancing strikes and 1 final strike. (MK:SM)
  • Ridicule: Shao Kahn would often taunt, mock, and of course 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, though it can be performed eternal times in a battle, 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 smash 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)
  • 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, 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)


  • 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)


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