- This article is about Shulk's appearance in Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS and Wii U. For other uses, see Shulk.
Shulk is a newcomer in Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS and Wii U. He was confirmed in a Nintendo Direct on August 29. He was the last character to be officially confirmed before the release of the 3DS version.
Shulk currently ranks 35th on the tier list, being placed at the middle of the D tier. He is very versatile due to his Monado Arts, and has attacks that have disjointed hitboxes and amazing reach. However, many of his moves have lots of startup and ending lag along with not have good recovery options, since his only recovery is Air Slash.
- Heavyweight character, being tied with Mega Man.
- Can enhance his abilities with Monado Arts to improve his performance and adapt to different situations and opponents.
- Shulk can move (walk, run, jump) while cycling between the Arts, and can continue to cycle between powers even when being attacked. He can even cancel the animation of the Art activation and reduce its lag.
- Monado Arts: Jump can greatly increase his recovery potential.
- Monado Arts: Shield makes Shulk the heaviest character in the game.
- All his attacks save for the first two hits of his Neutral Combo are disjointed hitboxes.
- High range on most attacks, with the Monado's energy blade extending and retracting.
- In fact, Shulk's Monado grants him the second highest overall range of all swordsman in the game, losing to few of Corrin's moves.
- Powerful KO moves with good variety of uses.
- Good combo potential, with some of his aerial attacks having low ending lag, being able to string together with his ground attacks.
- Long duration of hitboxes on most attacks.
- Has a Meteor Smash: Down Aerial.
- Has a powerful counter-attack: Vision.
- His tall frame makes him an easy target for juggling.
- Considerably hard to master due to micromanagement of his Monado Arts.
- Has a sluggish frame data due the considerable startup for many of his moves.
- Considerable lag for some moves, mostly for his Smash Attacks and some aerials attacks.
- Cannot auto cancel any of his aerial attacks.
- Many of his attacks require precise timing and accuracy, or require opponents to be in a specific position in order to hit effectively.
- Using Monado Arts has drawbacks; while it increases a parameter, it decreases another one.
- Additionally, Shulk becomes vulnerable and can't use his recovery moves while the power is being activated. He also cannot activate Monado Arts while on a revival platform.
- Each Art also has its own cooldown once the effect finishes, meaning Shulk cannot use the same art repeatedly.
- It requires awareness from the player, as using an Art at the wrong moment can be dangerous for Shulk.
- Predictable recovery moves with big drawbacks; Air Slash doesn't sweetspot the ledge as much and Back Slash can't sweetspot the ledge at all.
By standard, Shulk is a character with very balanced stats, with average movement speed, however with a somewhat slow mobility in the air, as well being a heavyweight. His Monado grants him the highest overall range of all characters in the game. Additionally, the Monado deals more damage and knockback if it hits from the middle of the energy blade rather than the tip. This is more noticeable in his Smash Attacks.
Shulk is Dynamic, having a lot of versatility, being able to play on different roles during the fight. The core of his game is his standard special move, Monado Arts, which bestows upon him a massive degree of modularity, allowing him to cover many of his weaknesses and/or further improve his strengths.
For example, Monado Arts: Smash raises his knockback but lowers the damage of his attacks, while Monado Arts: Shield makes it harder for Shulk to be launched but makes him very slow. While this move is great, it can leave Shulk wide open to attacks when he is selecting a different art so it is best used when he has some space from the opponent.
Monado Arts: Jump is fantastic for recovery, as it greatly boosts both his jumping height and Air Slash's height. If one finds themselves off-stage and stuck in another Monado Art, press the special button three times to break out of that art and switch to Jump, and then using Air Slash. There aren't really any outstanding or notable attacks with Jump, since it doesn't effect Shulk's damage output. However, Jump allows Shulk to go deeper for off-stage kills and return to safety. It can also be used in order to jump high above the stage and dodge enemy attacks as well. Shulk can also use it to get over opponents that are spamming projectiles to hit them from above.
Monado Arts: Speed grants Shulk one of the fastest walking and running speeds, as well aerial speed. Even though Shulk's damage output suffers, he is fast enough that he may be able to get some quick combos in before an opponent can react. The Speed Monado Art can be great at the beginning of a match if a player wants to get some really quick combos in on the opponent. Since it grants Shulk increased horizontal movement in the air as well, Shulk can approach enemies easier. While in the Speed Monado Art, dash attack can be useful as an approach option since opponents will have little time to react. Down Tilt to Forward Aerial is a reliable combo in Speed. Neutral Aerial is another excellent attack since the momentum from speed gives the move an extremely wide attack range when short-hopped.
Monado Arts: Shield makes Shulk the heaviest character in the game and reduces his damage taken, but also greatly reduces his movement speed, jumping height and damage output. It also increases the amount of shield damage he can take. This Art is useful if Shulk is at a high percentage and trying to stay alive, but otherwise should not be used often at all. It only serves as a survival tactic; almost everything else about Shulk is decreased. There are no notable attacks that can be used with Shield, however, because of the increased weight and decreased jump height, short-hopping is almost the default, so he may be able to get in some aerial attacks close to the ground with this Art activated.
Monado Arts: Buster greatly increases Shulk's damage output (including shield damage), at the expense of taking extra damage as well. In addition, Buster decreases the knockback Shulk's attacks deal, but this only makes it easier for Shulk to perform combos with the Buster Art activated. Activating Buster is useful at the beginning of a match, so Shulk can deal quick damage early in the match. If Shulk is behind in the match, Buster can be useful to put damage on an opponent so that Shulk can regain the lead. Under the effects of Buster, Shulk's Forward Smash is capable of breaking enemy shields if both hits connect. Backslash does a lot of damage even in front.
Monado Arts: Smash sharply increases Shulk's launch power for all his attacks, but also increases the knockback received. In addition, Shulk's damage output is greatly reduced as well. This art can be risky, but it can pay off since it can finish opponents off with one hit if they aren't careful. Smash should be used when the opponent is above 100% so that a kill is ensured to happen. However, don't use it if Shulk is above 60%, or Shulk could be killed just as easily. All of Shulk's Smash Attacks have deadly results with Smash activated. Backslash and the second attack of Air Slash become deadly as well. His throws also become very potent, with Down Throw becoming a kill throw against opponents above 120% near the ledge.
His Side Special, Backslash, can be a good mix-up move, edge-guarding tactic, and damage-dealer in general. As the name suggests, this move deals more damage and knockback when hitting opponents from behind. Jump over the enemy and go past them a bit, then Backslash in the opposite direction so that the attack is directed towards the enemy. This can be a good surprise attack since many opponents won't expect it, but don't overdo it or they'll catch on. If Shulk is spaced properly on the edge Backslash can be used to keep opponents away from the edge and off stage. Back Slash can also be used to punish edge rolls.
His Up Special, Air Slash, is Shulk's only recovery move, and is a good combo finisher, with the second slash capable of hit opponents edge-guarders waiting by the ledge. It is also a good killing move at mid-height of the stage on most characters at around 135% (with no Monado Arts activated). It can also kill off-stage, though this is a riskier option.
His Down Special, Vision, is one of the most powerful counters attacks in the game. Opponents will nearly always be hit by the attack unless it is something that moves in a set direction, like Wario's Bike, or a projectile like Falco's Blaster. It moves Shulk forwards a bit when it is triggered so it can help with recovery as well as foiling edge-guarding attempts. On the ground, Shulk can move past the opponent and hit them from behind. This deals more damage and has more kill power behind it, so this is a good option for this move. Quickly pressing the special button again when Vision is triggered causes Shulk to quickly stab the opponent, resulting in an even stronger counter.
Beyond his Special Moves, his Standard Attacks and Smash Attacks mix power and range, but require a degree of precision. Shulk's Neutral Attack is an excellent move because it comes out fast and the combo deals decent damage. Shulk's Forward Tilt is a good spacing move thanks to its range, and can KO opponents at higher percentages. Down Tilt is a good combo starter, while Up Tilt combos with itself on certain characters and is great for fending off assaults from above. His Dash Attack is a decent approach option, made better in tandem with Speed. It has ending lag so it is easy to punish though.
Shulk's Smash Attacks are all potent and have high range, but require specific sweetspotting in order to reach full potential. Forward and Up Smashes are both very strong, but possess extremely linear hit-boxes. He can scoot in and Forward Smash an entire hairball of opponents on the ground, but it will completely whiff any behind or above him. This is especially evident with his Up Smash; it covers a lot of vertical ground but requires him to be directly below his opponent to land. This requires Shulk to attack intelligently and precisely to minimize these vulnerabilities. Up smash has similar attributes Forward Smash, having awesome damage and launch on it, being specially useful when used below fall-through platforms in stages such as Battlefield to score easy ceiling KOs. Additionally, all his Smash Attacks have very long hitboxes in terms of duration, specially his Down Smash. Shulk's Down Smash has great range on it and hits multiple times, being useful to catch side rollers.
Shulk's air game is quite powerful, as his aerials also have large hitboxes, specially his Neutral Aerial. With a very long duration, high range and low landing lag, it's the bread and butter of Shulk's combos, giving him a lot of options to follow ups. Paired with Monado Arts: Buster, which increases his damage but decreases his knockback, it gives him more guaranteed combos. Forward Aerial can keep opponents off-stage and continue combos; at low percentages, this move combos with itself. Back Aerial is his strongest aerial, being great for edge-guarding; it is useful with short-hops as well and has good damage and launch on it. Up Aerial is great for ceiling kills, but because of its narrow range it can be hard to juggle with. Down Aerial will only Meteor Smash connects, though it can still put some good damage on opponents.
While not having any notable throws, Shulk's Forward and Back Throws are good for getting opponents off-stage. The Back Throw can combo into a Backslash at low percentages. His Down Throw is a great combo starter at low percentages, and his up throw is good for setting up some aerial combos.
Shulk has some notable flaws, however. He has a very sluggish frame data, with a lot of startup on his nearly all his attacks, making Shulk very easy to punish and forcing him to space his attacks very well. He is also the only character in the game incapable of auto-canceling his aerials, resulting in landing lag everytime. Back Slash is also very flawed as it cannot grab the ledge, making it very risky if used off-stage. Shulk's Monado Arts, while boosting his parameters, also decreases another one. Jump makes him very vulnerable to damage, while Speed lowers his damage output and reduces his jump force to the point of hindering his vertical mobility. Shield drastically reduces his mobility and noticeably reduces his damage output, making it hard to get a percentage lead, as well as making his recovery one of the worst in the game. Buster increases his vulnerability to damage (although not to the same extent as Jump) and the lower knockback makes it nearly impossible to KO opponents without smash attacks, even well over 150%. Finally, Smash severely reduces his survivability, hinders his combo game, and his attacks become the least damaging in the game.
The key to excelling as Shulk is to play defensively and react to opponents as opposed to charging in. Use his Monado Arts to control the battlefield and apply the right tool for the situation at hand; and learn all the pros and cons of each Art. Use his Monado Arts to their full potential. While his assets are powerful, failing to intelligently utilize them will result in a lot of frustration.
- Neutral Attack: Does a punch, then a kick, and finally slashes the Monado in an upward arc.
- Dash Attack: Slashes forward with the Monado.
- Side Tilt: Does a stronger Monado slash.
- Up Tilt: Slashes upwards with the Monado. Has considerable range.
- Down Tilt: Sweeps the ground in front of him with the Monado.
- Forward Smash - Powerfully thrusts the Monado forward, causing an initial attack before a second pulse of energy causes knockback. It can also be tilted. The blade gains extra range at the time of its sweet spot (when it appears).
- Up Smash - Slams the Monado's hilt into the ground facing up, causing an initial attack before extending the laser blade to a considerable distance. As the slamming causes upward knockback, this is a good combo move.
- Down Smash - Spins the Monado around, low to the ground, three times. Launch power decreases with every spin. The last spin will have a longer range.
- Get-Up Attack - Swiftly swings the Monado at both his sides, then stands up.
- Ledge Attack - Swings the Monado at the feet of his opponent as he is climbing up.
- Neutral Aerial: Slashes the Monado upwards with beam activated. It's a slow attack.
- Forward Aerial: Slashes the Monado in front of him.
- Back Aerial: Thrusts the Monado beam behind him. Decent launch potential at higher damage.
- Up Aerial: Points the Monado upwards and activates the beam.
- Down Aerial: Stabs downward with the Monado's beam. It is a Meteor Smash at the second hit, when the beam comes out, with the first hit dealing very low knockback. This is useful as it traps the enemy for the Meteor, since it is the center of the blow that meteors, with the sides of it dealing horizontal knockback.
Grabs and Throws
- Pummel: Hits opponent with the brunt of the Monado.
- Forward Throw: Slashes opponent with the Monado.
- Back Throw: Hurls opponent behind him and stabs them with the Monado.
- Up Throw: Hurls the opponent into the air and stabs them with the Monado beam.
- Down Throw: Slams opponent into the ground.
|Shulk's Special Moves|
|Standard Special||Monado Arts|
|Side Special||Back Slash|
|Up Special||Air Slash|
|Final Smash||Chain Attack|
|Shulk's Custom Special Moves|
|Custom 1||Custom 2|
|Standard Special||Decisive Monado Arts||Hyper Monado Arts|
|Side Special||Back Slash Leap||Back Slash Charge|
|Up Special||Advancing Air Slash||Mighty Air Slash|
|Down Special||Dash Vision||Power Vision|
This is a table showing the damage percents each of Shulk's attacks deal when on each different Monado Art.
|Shulk's Damage Percentages|
|Jab||3%, 4%, 5%||3%, 4%, 5%||2%, 3%, 4%||2%, 2%, 4%||4%, 5%, 8%||1%, 2%, 3%|
|Neutral Air||7%, 8% when sweet-spotted||7%, 8% when sweet-spotted||5%, 6% when sweet-spotted||4%, 5% when sweet-spotted||9, 10% when sweet-spotted||3%, 4% when sweet-spotted|
|Forward Air||7%, 8% when sweet-spotted||7%, 8% when sweet-spotted||6%, 7% when sweet-spotted||4%, 5% when sweet-spotted||10, 11% when sweet-spotted||3%, 4% when sweet-spotted|
|Pummel||3% each hit||3% each hit||2% each hit||2% each hit||4% each hit||1-2% each hit|
|Side Special||8-10% in front, 14-16% from behind||8-10% in front, 14-16% from behind||7-8% in front, 12-13% from behind||6-7% in front, 9-11% from behind||12-14% in front, 17-19% from behind||4-5% in front, 7-8% from behind|
|Down Special||10% regular, 13% dash||10% regular, 13% dash||8% regular, 10% dash||7% regular, 9% dash||14% regular, 18% dash||3% regular, 6% dash|
- Up: Holds out with his left arm half way from his body, saying "Now it's Shulk time!"
- Side: Holds the Monado's hilt with his right hand, while holding his left hand out in front of him to get himself pumped up, saying "I'm really feeling it!"
- Down: Holds the Monado and activates its beam, saying "This is the Monado's power!"
To be added
In competitive play
Shulk is a character that is very hard to master. Between mixing up Monado Arts and having to deal with laggy attacks, you might not get used to him the first time around. The key to being a competitive Shulk player is to be patient and strategize. As mentioned, Shulk has very laggy moves, so do not throw out smash attacks or Back Slashes randomly. Predict your opponent's moves, and use the best move for the job. For example, instead of using a Forward Smash against a roll-heavy character, use Down Smash. Also, do not spam his counter, Vision. If you are unware, his Vision counter-window (amount of frames active) will decrease. In addition to his counter, use the "Back-side" version instead by moving the Control Stick to the same direction as your opponent.
The Monado Arts are what sets Shulk different from your usual swordsman. You must know how these Arts work, how long each Art will be active, which Art to use in various situations, and which Art you will choose as soon your current one ends. It all depends on how you strategize and how well you know your opponent. If you are able to know when an Art gets activated, take advantage of the Monado Art Landing Lag Cancel (or MALLC) technique. If used properly, it will negate all landing lag of an aerial attack, and will allow you to follow up with an attack right after. Executed similarly to the MALLC, Arts can be B-Reversed, allowing for insane mix-ups.
- In Xenoblade Chronicles, this young lad's colony is attacked by the Mechon, so he and his friends set off to take them down. In Smash Bros., his Monado Arts let him change his specialization during battle. You can choose to boost a stat—his jump or attack, for example—but other stats might drop as a result, so choose wisely.
- Xenoblade Chronicles (4/2012)
- Shulk (Alt.)
- Shulk's up special Air Slash is an upward slash done during a jump. Press the button again quickly to launch opponents sideways. His side special Back Slash, on the other hand, is a downward swing with a very wide range, though using it leaves Shulk wide open. Try hitting foes from behind with this!
- Xenoblade Chronicles (4/2012)
- Chain Attack
- In Xenoblade Chronicles, building up the party's team spirit would let them unleash a chain attack, using multiple Arts in a row to deal massive damage. In this game, Shulk's Final Smash calls party members Dunban and Riki to help obliterate an unlucky target... or multiple targets if you catch more than one in the circle of light!
- Depending on the position of the enemy, Shulk's Final Smash will be different. Trapping them from the front will cause him to call Dunban and trapping them from the back will cause him to call Riki.
- If Shulk's Monado Arts fade away while he is inside an egg, he will have the powers of all five at once.
- Shulk's alternate costumes are based on the color pattern of his friends from Xenoblade Chronicles. His last costume is based on his swimsuit armor or his looks when he is not wearing any armor at all.
- Shulk's reveal trailer is titled "Looks Like We Don't Have A Choice!" referencing a quote from Xenoblade Chronicles that is said by Shulk when the party engages a red level enemy.
- This phrase was thought to be a reference to when he, along with the entire roster, was leaked. Similar to how Lucas's introduction timeline "Lucas Comes Out of Nowhere!" was possibly both a pun on where he lives and how some players believed Lucas would not return for Super Smash Bros. for Wii U & 3DS.