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The Lunacy of Shao Kahn


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It's a pretty common consenus that Shao Kahn is not great, possibly even bottom 5. I'm quarantined and bored, so I took him into training mode to see if I could figure out any positive aspects of the character. While his sweep, j2, and d2 are possibly each top 5, here are the primary issues I see with the character (True Kahn variation):
  • Like other characters, he is reliant on high attacks. However, his d1 and d2 only give +10 on hit, making it a 1-frame link to jail into his standing 1. This would maybe be acceptable if he got some amazing damage off his standing 1, but nope. His d4 is +15 but pushes the opponent halfway across the screen.
  • Similar to Jade, his d2 usually does as much damage, if not more, than other kombo extensions. Not counting jump-in starters, his 1-bar damage output hovers around 25%, signicantly lower than other characters.
  • His amplified Shoulder Charge literally makes no sense. You can delay the amplify significantly, which would be an awesome mind game if it came out on block. But it doesn't. And if you delay it on hit, it will whiff. So literally no point in ever delaying. Similarly, you can press down+amplify to turn it into a safer non-launcing overhead...that also doesn't come out on block. So, whenever you hit with Shoulder Charge, you have the option of spending a bar to launch your opponent, or spending a bar to knock them down and deal 13% total damage...
  • He has access to a standing reset with bd4. However, midscreen, it pushes your opponent too far away for any followups. In the corner, most of the setups into the restand leave Kahn at -8... At best, he's +5, with only his 10-frame f3 to force his opponent to respect his plus frames.
  • His only cancelable mid-hitting non-poke normals are both gimped. b2 is a solid button, but it's 13 frames and at least -5 on block. It's cancelable but can't be confirmed. Same with f3, which is at least 10 frames, but is stubby as shit, and is almost impossible to hit-confirm.
  • He has two mid-hitting 26-frame projectiles that are both -16/-17 on block. Other than Merciless Spear whiffing non-stop due to its nonexistant hit box, Kahn basically has the same move twice.
I'm sure there's a lot more I could delve into, but that's enough for me to conclude that something was up with Kahn's development. He just seems unfinished. Like other members have pointed out, it seems like he was meant to be able to cancel his shoulder charge on block, but then that got taken away. Either way, I just want to know, wtf was NRS thinking with this character design!
I hate that it's almost a year since launch and Shao Kahn still has moves that are useless or just plain bad. NRS clearly understands how to make him better. Shao Kahn has moves that were OBVIOUSLY designed to be better. Shoulder Charge is an obvious example of a move that was designed to be delayed or amplified on block yet they removed it in beta and made him significantly worse as a result.

b2 is stubby and not hit confirmable ,f34- Not cancellable, Should Charge- No amplify on block, down amplify is useless, delayed amplify is useless, Spear Charge- worse than Shoulder Charge, Ridicule- unusable, Dark Priest- only usable on trade with spear or off of f21 or 212 (it should be as fast as Kotal's totem), s3- Useless, b3 is unsafe as fuck, annoying to combo out of, and scales like hell, s1 has a super high hitbox making it so some people's stun animations actually make them duck under the s1, f212 is death on block, f21 is hella negative, f2 is -3 so you can stagger it if you can get them to block it but more often than not you will eat a punch.

villainous monk

Terrible times breed terrible things, my lord.
As a day one Shao main I don't know how much I will get made fun at besides the fact of playing him but I wish some of these changes would've happened.

Here's my take on trying to fix Shao Kahn.

S1 should be 8f. It's his go too AA and one of his best starters.

S2 & f2 should be a mid. Why on earth & in Outworld is most of his standing normals high?

S3 is needs something special with it. It hits short of S4 but if I remember correctly S3 has faster starting frames. Even though S3 animation is same as S4. There's nothing unique about it and it is a direct refection of them not knowing what to do with Kahn in the first place.
If I could I would've changed it to his interaction mid kick like how he kicks the opponent after grabbing the interactable spear on Shang Tsung's island. Something, anything is better than that stubby, short, normal that for some reason moves him backwards when S3 is used. B3 needs adjustments on its hitbox. Otherwise I think it's ok.

S4 Should have a bigger hitbox.

All his strings needs to be more faster and have less of a gap. 21, 23, f2 4, 34 has gaps for days, super slow, death on block and hits high! 34 gap is brutal. It should also have the option to keep the same side of the screen or corner instead of side switching. I'll even settle for less recovery.

For 34 1+2 take away the grand canyon sized gaps or take away the double fb that means death for Kahn. Yes it's nice the 34 can be cancelled now but if that gap is still there + both flawless blocks... It still won't save him.

21 or 23, or should be a mid. Period. F2 NEEDS to be a mid. One of these strings needs to be a mid with less gaps, and faster start up.

All his buffs moves should be some what similar to Kotal's in start up. 66 frames??? Really??? One of these buffs should also be in Realm Destroyer. Again. Why not include such a move to begin with I'd like to know. The man screens PRIEST during the match. In this very same variation and the priest is M.I.A.! Brah.

Also for dark priest his spear move should also be included.

Hammer lunge should be able to the full max distance.

Ground shatter... -8 on hit. Doesn't connect once opponents in air or juggled. Mapped to db4 where's it could be mapped to db3. The amplified version gives a hard knockdown. K? Why not a lil variety and make it a pop up? At least it'll give his buffs time to activate?
It is extremely slow. This just needs to be fixed top to bottom. Its a very Kool re-standing move and you can see it's potential but -8¿?

Up wrath hammer also should be extended to hit max full screen as well. Don't really care if it's can be amplified but Reo was right in saying he needs more amplified specials. More damage on amplified up wrath hammer could be better. Same for wrath hammer and that useless backwards hitting hammer that hits high that obviously should've been a mid.

Merciless spear.... Like... Sigh This move needs a bigger hitbox. A amplified version and too not just plan wiff at all up close. I can't count how many times matches were lost because of random ass wiffs. An amplified version should have been a day one issue that should have been addressed. Also why doesn't it count for the buff increase in dark priest?

Annihilation is fine as far has I can tell. It ticks off on everything so there's that.

Shoulder charge needs adjustments on its hitbox & should be able to go max full screen. The same for his spear charge.

Skewered should have the option to keep the same side of the screen when amplified and a bit more of a damage increase.

His kb requirements should be re worked. Having it tied to what it is makes it pretty difficult to get most matches. It should also bring the opponents a bit more closer to really hit confirm off of like S1, 21, 23, S4 which is his go too or useless S3.
Even with the dash in it wiffs half the time & would composite for online play with the various lag spikes and whatnot. They did it with the August patch so why not completely fix the issue 9 months later.

A few changes is all that's needed like 2 spear's instead of 3. 34,1+2 should be universal even with Dark Priest added to it as it would greatly benefit Risen Emperor as you would not have to fish for his throw kb as much. This would be an asset to Realm Destroyer too as that variation is quite unique but lacking a serious punch.

Fatal blow should start at 21 frames instead of 25 or make more in line with Kotal's.

Just something similar to this would at least make him mid tier. I don't believe the down play that if he's buffed too much he'll be op. Joker, Kang, Jacqui, Johnny they are already in that class and that's just with them being a more well rounded and most importantly a completely finished character.

Where as Shao is still on the cutting room floor.

It took 1 full year to address some issues. A year. A full year.

I'm ready too be mocked.


casual kahnage
Still my boy! I have played his sorry ass since day 1. Can’t wait to try f34 into special. I haven’t played in a month or 2. I’m just waiting for the aftermath download.


Honestly I think he'd be better served with a rework than buffs to his current kit at this stage. I could see straight-up buffs making him broken (which is probably why they have avoided touching him for a while).
Honestly I think he'd be better served with a rework than buffs to his current kit at this stage. I could see straight-up buffs making him broken (which is probably why they have avoided touching him for a while).
Not in a million years will he be broken from simple buffs . Even if he does get most of the requested buffs , what stops u from crouch blocking all of his things and react to f24 / db4. Not to mention the titan size gaps in his strings that can be abused to no end.