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Shao Kahn

Move List


INPUT COMMANDS
Face Smash
1
Dragon Fist
Down+1
Hammer Slam
2
Tenderizer
Back+2
Rage Strike
Forward+2
Rising Wrath
Down+2
Brutal Kick
3
Dragon Toe
Back+3
Shao Shimmy
Forward+3
Knee Shatter
Down+3
Petty Kick
4
Hammer Slammer
Back+4
Kahn Kick
Forward+4
Side Spike
Down+4
JUMPING ATTACKS
Hammer Poke
1
Final Strike
2
Double Dragon Kick
3or4
HOP ATTACKS
Quick Slam
Up,1orUp,2
Breaking Dragon Claw
Up,3orUp,4
GETUP ATTACKS
Fatal Warning
Up+2
Deadly Swipe
Up+3
FLAWLESS BLOCK ATTACKS
Fatal Warning
Up+2
Deadly Swipe
Up+3
THROWS
Toward Throw
Throw+ForwardorForward+1+3
Back Throw
Throwor1+3
ROLL ESCAPES
Forward Getup Roll
Forward+Stance
Backward Getup Roll
Back+Stance
AIR ESCAPE
(Air) Breakaway
Down+Block
MOVE DATA
DAMAGE BLOCK DAMAGE F/BLOCK DAMAGE
N/A N/A N/A
MOVE TYPE
N/A
PROPERTIES
N/A N/A
DESCRIPTION
N/A
FRAME DATA
START-UP ACTIVE RECOVERY
N/A N/A N/A
CANCEL
N/A
HIT ADVANTAGE BLOCK ADVANTAGE F/BLOCK ADVANTAGE
N/A N/A N/A

Version 1.28
Last Updated: January 27, 2021

Strategy


Shao Kahn is a large body, mid-ranged footsie character with high damaging combos and long-reaching normals. Shao Kahn is able to attack enemies from a distance with his hammer which can lead into huge damage. He also has decent pressure and mix-up options to threaten his opponents up-close, as well as quick movement and multiple advancing attacks making him difficult to keep out.

Strengths Weaknesses
  • High damage
  • Long-ranged normals
  • Fast movement
  • Great anti-airs
  • Unsafe
  • Slow punishes

Key Moves

Name Input Description
DIE 1,2,1+3 High, +4 on block (1st hit), hit confirmable, can be Flawless Blocked on 3rd hit, triggers a Krushing Blow if at least 3 Merciless Spear attacks have landed already
Will You Fail Forward+2,1 Slow 21 frame advancing high, great range, hit confirmable
Fear Me Forward+2,4 Slow 21 frame advancing high into overhead, great range, +2 on block, can be interrupted on 2nd hit
Last Breath Forward+3,4,1+3 Fast 10 frame mid into low, command grab (3rd hit), can be Flawless Blocked on 2nd hit, triggers a Krushing Blow if the opponent is debuffed by Ridicule or Humiliate
Hammer Slammer Back+4 Advancing low, great range, -2 on block
Kahn Kick Forward+4 Slow 28 frame advancing mid, great range, +6 on block
Merciless Spear BackForward1 Mid projectile
Scum Grab DownBack1 Fast 7 frame anti-air, Armor Break
Shoulder Charger BackForward3 Fast 16 frame advancing mid, great range, combo starter, unsafe on block, Armor Break
Hammer Lunge DownBack4 Slow 36 frame overhead, -7 on block

Combo Starters

  • Shoulder Charger
  • Hammer Lunge
  • Spear Charge

Shao Kahn’s combos are started by using his Shoulder Charger (BackForward3) move and Amplifying it. In the corner, Hammer Lunge (DownBack4) can be used after 1,4 and Forward+2 to combo without having to spend meter. Equipping the Spear Charge (BackForward3) ability will replace Shoulder Charger as a combo starter, which will also launch the opponent up for a combo while dealing slightly higher damage.

Combo Enders

  • 1,2,1+3
  • Down+2
  • Shoulder Charger
  • Scum Grab
  • Annihilation

Shao Kahn’s combos are generally ended with 1,2,1+3 or Down+2. Combos ending with 1,2,1+3 will deal maximum damage while sending the opponent away. Down+2 will deal slightly less damage but will keep the opponent nearby. To switch positions with the opponent, combos can be ended with Scum Grab (DownBack1) which will also deal maximum damage. In the corner, Shao Kahn’s combos are ended with his Shoulder Charger move. By equipping the Ground Shatter (BackDown4) ability, Shao Kahn can restand the opponent at the end of a combo, leaving himself at +7 on hit. If the Annihilation (DownBack3) ability is equipped, it can be used as a combo ender, slamming the enemy down and leaving them close on knockdown.

Will You Fail

Shao Kahn’s main attack is his Will You Fail (Forward+2,1) string. Forward+2,1 is a long-reaching high attack that can be safely hit confirmed into a combo. Although slow at 21 frames of start-up, this string has amazing range and is safe on block. Due to being a high, the 1st hit can be avoided if the opponent is ducking so it should be used deliberately. In order to counter ducking opponents, use low attacks such as Back+4 or Down+4.

As an alternative, Shao Kahn can use Forward+2,4 which ends with an overhead. Forward+2,4 cannot be linked into a Special Move, but will leave Shao Kahn at +2 on block and allow him to continue his offense. This string however can be interrupted by 7 frame attacks or Flawless Blocked, so it’s advised to mix up both Forward+2,1 and Forward+2,4 to prevent from being punished.

Note: Forward+2,4 is much safer against characters without a 7 frame attack. It can however still be punished via Flawless Block.

Hammer Slammer

Another great footsie tool is Shao Kahn’s Hammer Slammer (Back+4) attack. This is a 13 frame advancing low sweep. Unlike other sweeps, Shao Kahn’s Back+4 leaves him at a mere -2 on block. Once blocked, using Shao Kahn’s 7 frame Down+1 afterwards will stop any attack that is slower than 9 frames. Using Back+4 is a very easy and safe way for Shao Kahn to approach opponents from mid-range without having to worry about opponents ducking underneath his attacks.

Face Smash

Face Smash (1) is a 9 frame high attack, best used for pressuring opponents at close-range. 1 is +4 on block, which will create a frametrap with Shao Kahn’s Down+1,Down+3,Down+4 and Forward+3. Shao Kahn’s 1 is a very strong pressure tool as he can guarantee any of these attacks afterwards. Once the opponent is conditioned to block after 1, Shao Kahn will then be able to go for a throw.

1 can also lead into 2 strings: 1,2,1+3 and 1,4,2. Shao Kahn’s 1,2 is -7 on block and can be confirmed into a combo. 1,2,1+3 is -5 on block but can be Flawless Blocked. On hit, it will trigger a Krushing Blow if at least 3 Merciless Spear attacks have landed already. Make sure to keep track of how many Merciless Spears have hit the opponent. Once 3 Merciless Spears have landed, 1,2,1+3 becomes a great punisher due to its Krushing Blow.

On the other hand, 1,4 is only -3 on block. It’s usually recommended to use 1,4 over 1,2 because it is less disadvantageous on block. 1,4,2 ends in an overhead, leaving Shao Kahn at -9 while creating very good pushback on block. Using either 1,2,1+3 or 1,4,2 comes with the risk of being punished by Flawless Block, but will allow Shao Kahn to stagger his 1,2 and 1,4 on block for pressure.

Last Breath

Last Breath (Forward+3,4,1+3) is a fast 10 frame mid into low attack and is one of Shao Kahn’s best attacks to use at close-range. The final hit of Forward+3,4,1+3 is a command grab, granting Shao Khan a mix-up. If the opponent continues to block during Forward+3,4,1+3, finishing the string will grab them out of blocking. To counter opponents trying to escape the command grab, use a Special Move such as Shoulder Charger after the first 2 hits. Although Shoulder Charger is highly punishable on block, it will grant a full combo if the opponent attempts to escape the grab. Keep in mind that the 2nd hit of Forward+3,4,1+3 can be Flawless Blocked and punished, so it should be used with caution. In order to counter opponents attempting to Flawless Block the string, use Shoulder Charger after Forward+3.

Konquer All

Shao Kahn’s Konquer All (4,4) string is a high that leaves him at +6 on block. 4,4 is mainly useful for pressuring opponents up-close. Once blocked, Shao Kahn can guarantee a Down+1,Down+3,Down+4 or Forward+3 which can be mixed with a throw. 4,4 is best used in the corner where the opponent will have less room to escape Shao Kahn’s follow-up attacks.

Kahn Kick

Kahn Kick (Forward+4) is a slow 28 frame advancing mid attack. Forward+4 is +6 on block and is a great move for getting in and starting Shao Kahn’s offense. Once blocked, it will create a frametrap allowing Shao Kahn to guarantee a Down+1,Down+3 or Down+4. If the opponent blocks low, Shao Kahn can also frametrap into his Forward+3.

Throws

Shao Kahn’s Toward Throw will trigger a Krushing Blow if it is done as a Reversal Punish. After blocking any unsafe move that leaves the opponent at -10 or greater, use a Reversal Toward Throw to punish and trigger its Krushing Blow. Unlike most throws, Shao Kahn’s will launch the opponent for a combo after the Krushing Blow, granting huge damage.

Merciless Spear

Merciless Spear (BackForward1) is a 26 frame mid projectile. Despite being slow on start-up, it has very fast travel speed. On hit, Merciless Spear will temporarily stun the opponent before knocking them down. This is mainly useful for trading with enemy projectiles as Shao Kahn gain the advantage after a trade. Additionally, landing 3 Merciless Spears will allow Shao Kahn to trigger his 1,2,1+3 Krushing Blow.

Anti-airs

Shao Kahn is able to grab opponents out of the air using his Scum Grab (DownBack1) move. Scum Grab is a quick 7 frame anti-air grab. Shao Kahn may also anti-air opponents using his Down+2. Although it is slightly slower at 9 frames of start-up, it is a weapon attack with a large hitbox, making it great for countering aerial approaches.

Armor Break

Shao Kahn has multiple Armor Breaking moves to stop opponents from safely using a Breakaway in his combos. Scum Grab will break the opponent’s armor and is also a decent combo ender. Opponents may also use a Breakaway immediately after being hit by Shao Kahn’s Shoulder Charger move, however Shoulder Charger can be Amplified downwards (Down+AMP) which will break the opponent’s armor and relaunch them up for a combo. If the opponent does not use a Breakaway though, then Amplifying Shoulder Charger downwards will not launch the opponent. Because of this, Armor Breaking must be done on a read to an opponent’s Breakaway.

Hammer Lunge

Hammer Lunge (DownBack4) allows Shao Kahn to leap into the air and strike the opponent from above. Hammer Lunge is completely safe at -7 on block and can be directed close, mid or far. This can be used on occasion for approaching enemies from afar. On top of that, Hammer Lunge makes for a decent counterzoning tool as it will go over certain projectiles.

Abilities


Skewered
DownBack1
Replaces Scum Grab. Stab upward, impaling airborne opponents.
Spear Charge
BackForward3
Replaces Shoulder Charger. Lunge forward with the spear.
Annihilation
DownBack3
Adds Annihilation Special Move. Slam the enemy down with a heavy hammer swing.
Ridicule
DownForwardStance
Adds Ridicule Special Move. Taunt the opponent, reducing their damage for a short time.
Ground Shatter
BackDown4
Adds Ground Shatter Special Move. Smash the ground with the hammer.
(Air) Wrath Hammer
BackForward2
Adds (Air) Wrath Hammer Special Move. Throw a large hammer.
Wrath Hammer
BackForward2
Adds Wrath Hammer Special Move. Throw a large hammer.
Seeking Wrath Hammer
DownBack2
Adds Seeking Wrath Hammer Special Move. Throw a hammer backwards, looping around the fightline.
Up Wrath Hammer
DownBack2
Adds Up Wrath Hammer Special Move. Swing a hammer upwards. It crashes down a short time later.
Dark Priest
DownDown1
Adds Dark Priest Special Move. A Dark Priest increases damage dealt with the hammer for a short time.

Skewered

The Skewered (DownBack1) ability replaces the Scum Grab move, allowing Shao Kahn to stab his spear upwards and hit airborne opponents. Skewered has a start-up of 11 frames, making it a bit slow to use consistently as an anti-air. However if it hits, it can be Amplified and launch for a combo. Skewered is also a weapon-based attack with a large hitbox, allowing Shao Kahn to stop opponents who are diagonally above him. Additionally, Skewered has the Armor Break property and can be used to counter opponents attempting to break out of Shao Kahn’s combos. This is a more effective Armor Break move than Shao Kahn’s Scum Grab and Shoulder Charger because it will continue launching the opponent even if they try using a Breakaway to escape the combo.

Spear Charge

The Spear Charge ability (BackForward3) replaces Shao Kahn’s Shoulder Charger move and instead allows him to charge at the enemy with his spear. Unlike Shoulder Charger, the opponent cannot use a Breakaway before being launched. This gives Shao Kahn slightly higher damage before an opponent can break out of his combos. It also allows Shao Kahn to use Scum Grab after launching the opponent to Armor Break their Breakaway. Another perk to equipping Spear Charge is that it can be thrown out much more freely than Shoulder Charger. Despite being -17 on block, it can be difficult to punish if done at maximum range as it will create decent pushback on block. Using Spear Charge from a distance is a viable strategy and will stop opponents from moving about due to the threat of being launched.

Ridicule & Humiliate

Shao Kahn can taunt his opponent by equipping the Ridicule ability. Ridicule (DownForwardStance) temporarily halves the opponent’s overall damage dealt, while Humiliate (DownBackStance) temporarily causes the opponent to take increased damage on hit. Due to the tremendous amount of time it takes to safely use either taunt, it’s best to taunt the opponent at fullscreen while Shao Kahn is at an advantage. This can usually be done after hitting an opponent with Shao Kahn’s Merciless Spear. In addition, if the opponent is debuffed by either Ridicule or Humiliate, Shao Kahn’s Forward+3,4,1+3 will trigger a Krushing Blow. This makes Shao Kahn’s command grab much deadlier as he’ll be able to grab the opponent out of blocking for huge damage.

Dark Priest

The Dark Priest (DownDown1) ability causes Shao Kahn’s hammer to glow green, temporarily increasing the damage on all hammer attacks. These attacks include:

1
2,1
2,3,2
Down+2
Forward+2,1,2
Forward+2,4
Back+2
Back+3
Down+3
Back+4
Up Wrath Hammer
Annihilation
Hammer Lunge

Combining Dark Priest with the Annihilation (DownBack3) ability is ideal for gaining the most damage out of Shao Kahn’s combos. While Annihilation is mainly used as a combo ender, it can also extend combos if the Dark Priest buff is active. After using Dark Priest, hitting with Annihilation will trigger a Krushing Blow, launching the opponent up for a combo.

Ground Shatter Restand

The Ground Shatter (BackDown4) ability is a 26 frame low projectile attack. When used at the end of combos, Ground Shatter causes a restand, leaving Shao Kahn at +7 on hit. This is typically done in the corner as restanding will leave Shao Kahn close enough for a follow-up attack. After restanding with Ground Shatter, Shao Kahn is able to guarantee a Down+1,Down+3,Down+4 or Forward+3. Restanding with Ground Shatter also gives Shao Kahn the opportunity to throw the opponent after conditioning them to block.

Up Wrath Hammer

With the Up Wrath Hammer (DownBack2) ability equipped, Shao Kahn can throw his hammer upwards, striking the enemy from above. Up Wrath Hammer can be anywhere from -8 to +4 on block depending on the distance. If using the Close Up Wrath Hammer, it will leave Shao Kahn at -1 if blocked standing, and +1 if blocked crouching on the way down. Up Wrath Hammer can be done after blockstrings, keeping Shao Kahn at a low disadvantage. After an Up Wrath Hammer, Shao Kahn and stop opponents from immediately attacking by poking his Down+1.

It’s important to note that some characters will be able to punish Up Wrath Hammer by backdashing, using an advancing attack or Flawless Blocking the hammer, so it should only be used against opponents with poor defense. Up Wrath Hammer is much stronger against characters who cannot backdash or use an advancing attack to punish, however they will still have the option to Flawless Block.

Variations


True Kahn
Ridicule
DownForwardStance
Adds Ridicule Special Move. Taunt the opponent, reducing their damage for a short time.
Ground Shatter
BackDown4
Adds Ground Shatter Special Move. Smash the ground with the hammer.
Wrath Hammer
BackForward2
Adds Wrath Hammer Special Move. Throw a large hammer.
Risen Emperor
Annihilation
DownBack3
Adds Annihilation Special Move. Slam the enemy down with a heavy hammer swing.
Up Wrath Hammer
DownBack2
Adds Up Wrath Hammer Special Move. Swing a hammer upwards. It crashes down a short time later.
Dark Priest
DownDown1
Adds Dark Priest Special Move. A Dark Priest increases damage dealt with the hammer for a short time.
Realm Destroyer
Skewered
DownBack1
Replaces Scum Grab. Stab upward, impaling airborne opponents.
Spear Charge
BackForward3
Replaces Shoulder Charger. Lunge forward with the spear.
Seeking Wrath Hammer
DownBack2
Adds Seeking Wrath Hammer Special Move. Throw a hammer backwards, looping around the fightline.

Extra Guides


Fighting Shao Kahn

★ Fighting Shao Kahn


Gaps & Punishes High attack consisting of 3 hits. The final hit can be Flawless Blocked and punished with an . Note: If Shao Kahn has landed ...