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Kuai Liang (奎良 or 快涼), also known as Sub-Zero (絶対零度, "Absolute zero")[1], formerly known as Tundra and the cyborg LK-52O, is a Lin Kuei assassin in the Mortal Kombat fighting game series. He is the younger brother of Bi-Han, who was the original Sub-Zero in the MK series.

About Sub-Zero Edit

There are in fact two incarnations of Sub-Zero, and they are siblings; older brother Bi-Han and younger brother Kuai Liang. Both are blue garbed warriors who at different times have used the codename "Sub-Zero", and both have served the Lin Kuei. Both descended from Cryomancers, an Outworld race possessing the ability to generate and control the powers of ice. However, they were born in Earthrealm and only the younger Sub-Zero would discover his heritage. Kuai Liang bears a scar on his right eye which he received between the events of MK3. However, as seen in Deception, the scar has faded away. This may have been caused by the Dragon Medallion's power.

In their biography, both Sub-Zero brothers were sons of a Cryomancer father and a human mother. It is known that the father of both brothers was a secret operative for the Lin Kuei in the United States. He married an American woman and together they had two sons. Against the will of their mother, the father took the sons with him to move back to China, and as such both brothers were trained as Lin Kuei assassins. This was later retconned as both brothers being kidnapped by the Lin Kuei when they were still children (this was revealed in Sub-Zero's trailer in Mortal Kombat).

Bi-Han appeared as Sub-Zero in the first Mortal Kombat, while Kuai Liang went by the codename "Tundra". After Bi-Han was murdered by Scorpion during the tournament, Kuai Liang swore revenge on him. He mastered the art of Ice and Cold, and took his brother's former code name: Sub-Zero. Driven by anger, Kuai Liang entered The Mortal Kombat Tournament with one goal: To destroy his brother's killer, and anyone else that gets in the way.

Kuai Liang replaced him as Sub Zero for the rest of the games - Bi Han later was resurrected by Quan Chi and became the undead Netherrealm wraith Noob Saibot. The younger Sub-Zero clearly shares many traits with his older brother, and was perhaps too similar to his brother upon his introduction. Like the elder, the younger Sub-Zero gives the impression of being a stern, distant and cold man who goes about his business silently, without attracting unwanted attention. However, as time progressed, Sub-Zero evolved - from what fans labeled a "carbon copy" of his brother - into a man of great integrity and self-discipline. The disparities between the brothers, who were once neutral and almost indistinct from each other, have now grown so large that one could speak of the evil twin syndrome.

While the younger Sub-Zero was depicted as a young Lin Kuei warrior who was living in the shadow of his older brother, he has since changed and grown into a warrior who has progressed towards the more humane sides of moral issues. This change in characteristics has not only strengthened him as a man, but has also set him apart from his former Lin Kuei counterparts. This included leaving his clan in disgust and breaking the sacred codes of honor, joining the rebellion against Shao Kahn and assisting Raiden and Liu Kang (along with Earthrealm's other chosen warriors). More recently, he defeated the cyborg assassin known as Sektor after the events of Mortal Kombat Gold to gain the leadership of the Lin Kuei and become the Grandmaster, where he has grown even stronger and more powerful. He is a dependable ally of Earthrealm who is willing to assist when needed, especially when Raiden gives the call. He is, without question, one of the greatest and most powerful warriors that Earthrealm has to offer. He, like much of the MK cast, follows a character archetype. In his case, he is the enigmatic hero that shows up to aid the main hero(es) when needed.

Appearance Edit

Sub-Zero dresses in the familiar blue-garbed ninja-like uniform. Originally, Sub-Zero was depicted with Asian facial features as revealed in the ending when unmasked, due to a Chinese-American heritage.

Around Mortal Kombat 3, Sub-Zero was given a scar over his right eye to help differentiate himself from his older brother. Sub-Zero was the first ninja-like character in the series to go on without a mask and wore a less-concealing version of his outfit. In MK4, he wore the traditional uniform his brother wore, but again wears an updated version of his MK3 outfit in Deadly Alliance featuring Chinese characters. His alternate costume from Deadly Alliance and beyond is more of a stream-lined version of his original costume featuring the Dragon Medallion on the right side of his chest. In Deception, Sub-Zero dons an ancient armor once worn by his Cryomancer ancestors.

Bios Edit

  • Mortal Kombat "An assassin of the Lin Kuei clan, Kuai Liang commands the power of ice and cold. Unlike other members of his clan, he and his older brother, Bi-Han, were abducted as children by the Lin Kuei and trained in the techniques of assassination throughout their lives. Though his codename is Tundra, he has now assumed the mantle of Sub-Zero to honor his brother after Bi-Han's mysterious death. With the help of his fellow Lin Kuei Smoke, Sub-Zero tirelessly hunts the one who killed his brother."

Kombat Characteristics Edit

Power and Abilities Edit

Having descended from a race of Outworld inhabitants known as Cryomancers, Sub-Zero has the innate ability to control ice in many forms. Throughout the span of the series, Sub-Zero's powers have continued to evolve. Aside from flash-freezing opponents, Sub-Zero also has the ability to instantly conjure up an ice statue of himself to act as both a scapegoat and a 'landmine' of sorts as any who touch it instantly flash freeze. Since having taken possession of the Dragon Medallion, the scope of Sub-Zero's powers and abilities has increased significantly. As a member of the Lin Kuei, Sub-Zero has attained a great degree of skill in many forms of hand-to-hand combat. The Dragon Medallion and his ancestral armor increased and amplified his martial arts and ice-related abilities, as shown in his Deception Arcade ending. Throughout the Mortal Kombat series, Sub-Zero's abilities have grown more powerful; he can even transform his body into a liquefied state, solid state or transform his body into solid ice at will. Raiden has commented that Sub-Zero is more powerful than his brother.

As a cyborg, Sub-Zero's natural strength is further enhanced through cybernetics. While he has a noticeably lighter frame, he appears to easily be the strongest and most capable of the cyborg ninjas, not only for soundly defeating his former Lin Kuei brethren Sektor and his older brother, but both Shokan champions, Kintaro and Goro single-handed at the same time. He still retains his old cryomancy powers and wields the same skill he had when he was human, but these have been translated into a fighting style especially suited for his unique frame, taking attributes from both his original form and Cyrax.

While he can fire ice blasts in an instant from his chest cavity, he still performs the charging motion subconsciously to help focus his power. He still retains the ability to shape the cold around his body into solid weaponry and thus, regularly uses an ice sword in battle, albeit with a different, much larger shape featuring a hand guard. Like Cyrax, he has the ability to teleport by separating his limbs and reconfiguring at a different location. While he has lost the ability to make ice clones, he is instead given the ability to flash-freeze himself temporarily, passing the freeze to melee attackers for a quick counterattack.

Movelist Edit

Signature Moves (As Sub-Zero) Edit

  • Ice Blast: Sub-Zero sends a blast of ice directly towards the opponent to temporarily freeze them in place for a free hit. He could also freeze opponents in midair, if timed correctly. In the earlier Mortal Kombat games, if Sub-Zero were to freeze the opponent twice, the second ice ball would defrost the opponent and freeze Sub-Zero, setting him up for a free hit. Like Scorpion's Spear, it has had different depictions. In MK, it is depicted as frozen liquid while in MKII to MKT, it is depicted a series of ice shards; From MK4 onward, it is an energy blast of ice condensed into a spherical form, but in Armageddon, it is depicted as a strong beam of energy. In Shaolin Monks, the Ice Freeze can also perform a small bit of damage, even to enemies who are immune to being frozen by the move. In MK II, this is called Iceball.
    • The enhanced version is called Ice Beam. Instead of a single ball of ice, Sub-Zero will shoot a beam of ice, making it easier to hit opponents in the air. The opponent is also frozen for a longer amount of time.
    • In MK:D, it is a much larger, faster-moving projectile rather than a beam, and is armored.
  • Slide: Sub-Zero slides across the floor, knocking the opponent off their feet. It is assumed Sub-Zero slides by freezing the soles of his feet. This move was later given to Frost. In Shaolin Monks, Sub-Zero can perform an uppercut or throw a snowball-like projectile after executing the Slide. In MK II, he leaves a trail of ice behind.
    • The enhanced version is called Power Slide. After Sub-Zero hits the opponent, he will follow up with an additional attack (twin palms).
    • In MKU, the enhanced version is called Icy Slide and has Sub-Zero follow up with a blast of ice to the opponent's back.
  • Ice Burst: Sub-Zero sends out a pulsing wave of ice, knocking the opponent off their feet.
    • The enhanced version is called Frost Bomb and launches the opponent into the air.
  • Tombstone Teleport: Sub-Zero's body becomes ice, falls backward into the ground, and reappears behind his opponent.
  • Slide: Sub-Zero slides across the floor, knocking the opponent off their feet. It is assumed Sub-Zero slides by freezing the soles of his feet. This move was later given to Frost. In Mortal Kombat: Shaolin Monks, Sub-Zero can perform an uppercut or throw a snowball-like projectile after executing the Slide. In MK 2011, he leaves a trail of ice behind. 
    • The enhanced version is called Power Slide. After Sub-Zero hits the opponent, he will follow up with an additional attack (twin palms).
    • In MKII, the enhanced version is called Icy Slide and has Sub-Zero follow up with a blast of ice to the opponent's back.

Cryomancer Edit

Gains the ability to create Ice Weapons. Arms illuminate in a blue aura.

  • Frost Hammer: Sub-Zero summons a large warhammer made of ice and pounds the opponent into the ground with it.
    • The enhanced version is called Crushing Hammer and bounces the opponent.
  • Air Frost Hammer: Sub-Zero summons his Frost Hammer while in the air and slams the head into the ground, knocking the opponent off their feet.

Unbreakable Edit

Gains defensive Frozen Aura and Barrier of Frost. Mask is covered in a layer of ice.

  • Frozen Aura: Sub-Zero covers himself in an armor-like layer of rock-hard ice, rendering him immune to chip damage. He can also detonate the armor to deal a burst of damage around himself.
    • The enhanced version is called Ice Aura and reduces all damage taken.
  • Barrier of Frost: Sub-Zero forms a large barrier of ice in front of him that cancels projectiles and freezes opponents who touch it.
    • The enhanced version is called Barrier of Ice and lasts for a longer time.

Grandmaster Edit

Gains an Ice Clone that can be thrown or used as a shield. An illuminated Lin Kuei medallion is fixed onto the right of his torso.

  • Ice Clone: Sub-Zero creates an ice clone of himself anywhere he chooses, and anyone who touches it will freeze.
    • The enhanced version is called Ice Statue. The clone will stay for a longer period of time.
  • Klone Toss: Sub-Zero grabs his Ice Clone and throws it at the enemy, freezing them if not blocked. 

Signature Moves (As Cyber Sub-Zero) Edit

  • Ice Ball: Cyber Sub-Zero sends a ball of ice directly towards the opponent to temporarily freeze them in place for a free hit. This move is similar to his freeze in human form, except it's smaller, slightly slower, and is fired directly from the chest.
    • The enhanced version is called Ice Beam. Cyber Sub-Zero shoots a beam of ice instead of a ball, and the opponent stays frozen for a longer amount of time.
  • Ice Bomb: Cyber Sub-Zero drops an ice bomb from his chest compartment. When the bomb explodes, it damages the opponent. It will freeze the opponent if the bomb is in very close range to them. There are short, medium and long range variations of the attack. This move is similar to Cyrax's Bomb.
    • The enhanced version is called Cryo Bomb and sends out three bombs at once. It is unblockable.
  • Slide: Cyber Sub-Zero slides across the floor, knocking the opponent off their feet. This move is taken directly from his human form.
    • The enhanced version is called Cyber-Slide. Cyber Sub-Zero travels further and faster, and follows-up with a flying kick.
  • Teleport: Cyber Sub-Zero's limbs detach from his body with a flash of blue-white light. Then they reattach behind his enemy. This move is very similar to Cyrax's Teleport.
    • The enhanced version is called Bangport. Cyber Sub-Zero's detached limbs hit the opponent while teleporting, damaging the opponent.
  • Ice Parry: Cyber Sub-Zero flash-freezes himself in a sheet of ice. If he is touched by melee attacks while in this state, he will pass the freeze to his opponent and hit them with his Kori Blade. This does not work when hit by low attacks.
    • The enhanced version is called Frozen Parry. Cyber Sub-Zero completely freezes his opponent without a counterattack.
  • Divekick: While in the air, Cyber Sub-Zero dives down in a diagonal kick. This can be done in close and far proximity.
    • The enhanced version is called Powerkick and it makes him kick the opponent three times.

Other Moves Edit

As Sub-Zero Edit

  • Throw: Sub-Zero freezes his opponent solid, then punches them with an ice-covered fist, knocking them to the ground.
  • Reverse Throw: Sub-Zero creates an icicle and stabs the opponent with it, then twists it, breaking it.

As Cyber Sub-Zero Edit

  • Throw: Cyber Sub-Zero grabs his opponent and freezes them. He then punches them in the face, knocking them to the ground, or steps behind them and kicks them in the back, knocking them to the ground.

X-Ray Move Edit

As Sub-Zero Edit

  • Deep Freeze: Sub-Zero charges at the opponent with a cold shoulder and punches into the stomach, proceeding to freeze and crush the opponent's stomach, also cracking their ribs. He recoils and headbutts the opponent in the side of the head, shattering their skull and jaw.

As Cyber Sub-Zero Edit

  • Cool Down: Cyber Sub-Zero does a Dive Kick to get behind his opponent, dizzying them, then creates a ball of ice and slams it to the back of their head, damaging their skull. Then he creates a Kori Blade and stabs upward through their back before pushing his opponent to the ground.

Finishing Moves Edit

Fatalities Edit

As Sub-Zero Edit

  • Have an Ice Day: Sub-Zero freezes his opponent from the feet up to the waist. He then rips the opponent's torso off and holds the victim's bleeding torso.
  • Spinal Smash: Sub-Zero rips the opponent's spine and skull out through his/her chest. He then freezes the opponent's body and smashes it with the spine.

As Cyber Sub-Zero Edit

  • Kold Fusion: Cyber Sub-Zero enters a code on his arm and then jumps on his opponent, freezing himself with them. After that, they both explode into shards of ice, leaving only the opponent's legs. This Fatality resembles the Hara-Kiri Fatalities of Mortal Kombat: Deception as well as Cyrax's MK3 Self-Destruct Fatality (further giving him resemblance to Cyrax, along with a similar teleport and ranged bombs).
  • Brain Freeze: Cyber Sub-Zero fires 2 shurikens from his chest, one into each of the opponent's eyes. After that, he charges an ice blast and fires it while shooting a third shuriken. Both get into the opponent's brain, where they spin, shredding it, which is shown in a fashion similar to the X-Ray moves. As the shuriken spins, the opponent enters rigor mortis, freezes in a comedic pose and falls to the floor, dead, their limbs twitching in awkward ways.

Brutalities Edit

  • Snow Ball: Sub-Zero freezes his opponent and sends an ice blast into them from across the screen, smashing their torso to pieces.
  • Frozen Dinner: Sub-Zero freezes his opponent and shatters their head with an uppercut.
  • Pick Your Brain: Sub-Zero grabs his opponent and stabs them three times with an ice dagger before creating another one and stabbing them through the head. (Cryomancer Variation)
  • Ice Cubed: Sub-Zero activates his Ice Aura and performs an enhanced Ice Slide; the ice blast obliterates the opponent save their head. The camera pans down and zooms in on the head, now encased in an ice cube. (Unbreakable Variation)
  • Splitting Image: Sub-Zero creates an ice clone of himself and shatters it with an Ice Burst, sending ice shards in the opponent's direction, impaling them through the head and body. Their corpse then freezes into ice. This Brutality can also be done by throwing the clone on the opponent. (Grandmaster Variation)
  • Ice Skulpture: Sub-Zero performs his throw, freezing the opponent and then thrusting his palm through their chest so hard that it shatters, taking their spine along with it and causing their head to fall off and shatter. (Secret)

Sequences Edit

Battle Intro Edit

An icy humanoid figure is formed and then bursts into pieces, revealing Sub-Zero. Sub-Zero says, "Yow will feel the chill of despair!"

Victory Pose Edit

Sub-Zero says, "You are not so fearsome after all." and creates a sword out of ice and then thrusts it to the ground and looks at the sky.

Endings Edit

  • Mortal Kombat - "Badly injured in the melee with the otherworldly invaders, Sub-Zero had no choice but to be converted into a cyborg in order to save his own life. He underwent massive robotization, replacing his flesh and blood with a mechanized, fully armored appearance. Sub-Zero is now more powerful than ever, but at the cost of his humanity." Became has been meeting Nano-Gun, which contains battle together against Infamous Resistance."

Trivia Edit

As Sub-Zero Edit

  • During Sub-Zero's Mortal Kombat arcade ending, a warrior in shadow can be seen performing the infamous Spine Rip fatality on another warrior. This is likely depicting Scorpion's death by the original Sub-Zero, Bi-Han, in the Shaolin Temple.
  • In Defenders of the Realm, Sub-Zero is shown to grow weak and debilitated in hot environments. It is unknown if this applies to other depictions.
  • The Pinyin translation of Sub-Zero's Chinese name (奎良), going by the first name-last name standard (the second character represents the person's first name), can be translated as "Liáng Kuí". While "Liáng" is a fairly common first name in mainland China (direct translation = "Good"), "Kuí" as a last name/surname establishes the person as a "foreigner from another kingdom" to China (as the name originated from either Mongolia or from the Manchu). Whether this character's naming convention was chosen to represent Sub-Zero's status as an Outworlder that was born in the Earthrealm or, alternatively, is merely a happy coincidence to the character is unknown.
  • The alternative Chinese characters for his name are "快涼", literally meaning "Fast and cool". In addition, "涼快" (Liang Kuai) means "cool".
  • In an episode of Malcolm in the Middle, Reese mentions the fact that nobody believes that he beat the last level of Mortal Kombat, to which Hal responds "Because that's just ridiculous; no one beats Sub-Zero."
  • Sub-Zero inspired the professional wrestling character known as Glacier in World Championship Wrestling. Ray Lloyd, a regional Karate champion, played the role for several years.
  • His weapon is called the "Kōri-Blade". Kōri (or hyō) is Japanese for "ice" (Chinese bīng), hyōten (bīngdiǎn) is "freezing point", and hyōtenka (bīngdiǎnxià) is "below freezing" - or, "sub-zero".
  • Despite not being a playable character in MK:TE, he is still involved in Sareena's ending.
  • Ed Boon stated that Sub-Zero was originally going to be called "Tundra", which canonically was Sub-Zero's original codename before changing it to Sub-Zero, honoring his fallen brother.
  • The game Mortal Kombat: Shaolin Monks has a small Easter egg when two players select Sub-Zero in versus mode; his player 2 outfit is recolored black and resembles Noob Saibot.
  • In the television show Mortal Kombat: Conquest, it is mentioned that Sub-Zero had a sister, Lisa (who was murdered by Peron), but this seems to be the only universe where it shows he had a sibling other than Noob Saibot. Of course, the series takes place hundreds of years before the events of the movie, so the Sub-Zero in Conquest could be the ancestor of the character in the games.

As Cyber Sub-Zero Edit

  • In Mortal Kombat: Unchained, Cyber Sub-Zero appears as a fourth variation for Tri-Borg.
  • Cyber Sub-Zero is only secret character, that players can find in Kombat Kodes.
  • Cyber Sub-Zero is the only character whose ending is mute.
  • The "Cyber" part of his name is not said by the announcer.
  • He has the lightest frame of all cyborgs, going as far as to have his brain shown after a few punches.
  • He is the only character with a Fatality that puts his opponent into a "Rigor Mortis" state.
  • The shurikens used in his Brain Freeze Fatality have the Lin Kuei symbol on them.
  • Unlike the other cyborg ninjas, Cyber Sub-Zero has a unique tint of blue for his blood.
    • Cyber Sub-Zero, along with Blaze, is one of the only two characters to have a very rare blood color. In his case, it is presumed to be some kind of specially designed coolant or antifreeze to accommodate his freezing abilities.
    • If Freddy Krueger does his Tell 'Em Freddy Sent Ya Fatality on Cyber Sub-Zero, the blood that spews out will be blue instead of red.
  • The Ice Parry special move, previously known as Icy Counter, is one of his human form´s special moves in Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe.
    • Originally, his human form was going to have the Icy Counter, but it was given to his cyborg form in later development.
    • This move could also be considered a variant of Freeze on Contact, a move his older brother displays in later levels of Mortal Kombat Mythologies: Sub-Zero.