In Shang Tsung’s Soul Eater variation, he has the ability to morph into various ninjas. This gives him access to Ermac’s Force Lift, Smoke’s Shake, Rain’s Superkick and Reptile’s Slide.
On block, Superkick () is -9. However, this can be difficult to punish for many characters due to its pushback. Some characters will need to block the Superkick either standing or crouching to reduce the pushback and punish. Superkick can also be Flawless Blocked, which is a much more consistent punish.
At the cost of 1 bar of Defensive Meter, Superkick can be cancelled out of. If Superkick is cancelled after +, Shang Tsung will be at -7. This is a safe cancel that cannot be punished. If your opponent starts to attack after the cancel, they will be susceptible to being hit by the Superkick.
This will allow Shang Tsung to pressure with Superkick. You will want to mix up + Superkick and + Superkick Cancel so that your opponent won’t know when you will release the Superkick or cancel out of it.
The following lists the block advantage for Shang Tsung’s Superkick Cancel:
, = -19
+ = -7
+, = -15
+ = -23
, = -8
+ = -10
+ = -9
+, = -12
,+ = -13
+ = -13
+,+ = -14
+ = -21
+ = -18
Up-close, + can be hit confirmed into Superkick. In order to hit confirm +, you must slightly delay the Superkick. If you see that + is blocked, immediately cancel out of the Superkick. Otherwise, release the Superkick to combo off of +. This works because Superkick still combos even if it is delayed, which gives you enough time to hit confirm any single hit with it.
Superkick can also be used within other strings for pressure. For example, after + your opponent will want to block low because of +,. If your opponent is not ready, then you will be able to use Superkick after +. Although Superkick cancels are punishable outside of when it’s used after +, they can be difficult to react to when mixed well enough. If your opponent reacts too late and tries to interrupt the cancel, they can be hit by the Superkick.
Another option to counter opponents trying to interrupt Superkick is to use Shake (). When Amplified, Shake will parry any attack that isn’t a low. If your opponent thinks that you will use Superkick after +, then using Amplified Shake after + will parry their attack. While risky, this can be a good option if Shake becomes a Krushing Blow.
Slide () is an advancing low attack. After +, Shang Tsung has a 50/50 mixup between +,+ and + Slide. Since the overhead in +,+ has a start-up of 18 frames, and Slide has a start-up of 20 frames, this can be very difficult to defend against. Your opponent must guess whether to block high or low after +. This is especially strong because +,+ becomes a Krushing Blow if the overhead chop hits by itself.
+,+ will also counter opponents attempting to Flawless Block after + if they think you will use Superkick.
Other forms of pressure include Shang Tsung’s ,, and +,,. On block, ,, leaves Shang Tsung at +6. After ,,, you can use Force Lift () to catch opponents trying to move. This will stop everything besides backward jumps, backdashes, and armored attacks. Against characters with little range on their attacks, this can be pretty safe due to the pushback on ,,. Once your opponent respects the Force Lift, you can then approach with +.
Shang Tsung’s +,, is +4 on block, but can be Flawless Blocked on the last hit. Although you can use +,, to counter Flawless Block attempts, it does not yield much damage. For a bigger punish, you can opt to use Force Lift. Not only will this punish your opponent for a full combo, it will also become a Krushing Blow because the timing to Flawless Block Shang Tsung’s +,, occurs after the Force Lift. Your opponent will automatically block late causing the Krushing Blow requirement to be met.
Between Superkick cancels and Slide mixups, as well as using Shake and Force Lift to counter your opponent’s attempts at defending, you will want to mix up all of these options in order to successfully pressure opponents with Shang Tsung.