Shinnok is considered one of the most evil beings in Mortal Kombat. A vengeful and powerful fallen Elder God, Shinnok appeared in Mortal Kombat 4, Mortal Kombat Gold and Mortal Kombat Mythologies: Sub-Zero as the main villain. He has also made an appearance in Mortal Kombat: Armageddon. He is seen to be seemingly leading the side of evil. His Street Fighter rival is Oni.

Unlike Shao Kahn, Shinnok relies less on brute strength and fear-mongering, but more on magical powers and ancient artifacts. He is the ruler of the Netherrealm, possessing millions of years' worth of knowledge and power, including the ability to perfectly impersonate any other beings of his choosing, as well as to transform into an immense demon. He also possesses extreme cunning, as well as the ability to manipulate events through others. For example, he had Quan Chi convince Shao Kahn to merge Earthrealm with Outworld against the Elder Gods' will. As a result, both realms were severely weakened and left vulnerable to invasion by the Netherrealm.

Shinnok demands unwavering faith and loyalty from his followers and will not hesitate to kill anyone who doubts, challenges, or even represents a potential threat to him. He is even more brutal, heartless, and powerful than Shao Kahn The Konqueror.

Only Delia, Shao Kahn, Shang Tsung, and Quan Chi can match Shinnok's skills as a sorcerer.