Needle Storm (仕込針 Shikomi Hari Prepping Needles) is Sheik's neutral special move. When the special button is pressed, Sheik will throw a slim, almost-invisible needle to attack. They can either travel straight or at an angle (roughly 45 degrees towards the ground), depending on whether Sheik is in the air or not. The special button can be held to add up to 5 more needles, and the needles can be saved for a short time later by pressing the shield button, grab button, or moving left/right. This is a very fundamental technique that should be applied to all Sheik players. It is recommended that right after the battle starts, after holding the special button to charge needles, to save the charged needles.
Each needle does 3% damage, allowing this move to deal a maximum of 18% damage. Sheik can also hold onto stored needles after losing a life by transforming into Zelda before being KO'd, then turning back into Sheik during the next life.
Needles can disturb your opponents while getting back to stage and can pass through opposing hitboxes in Brawl, as they have transcendent priority. In Melee, like Link's arrows, the needles have hurtboxes and can be attacked; this can be used to block other projectiles.
When used in midair, the needles will strike at roughly a 45 degree angle from Sheik's position towards the ground. Effective for disrupting and returning to the stage. If thrown after the apex of the jump and below the maximum height of Sheik's single jump, in a technique called needle canceling, the needle storm incurs no significant landing lag, allowing Sheik to combo aerial needles immediately into ground attacks, grabs, dashes, or even more needles. Reverse needle canceling refers to charging needles in the air, then tapping the shield or grab button to stow them. This too produces zero lag, and can be used to efficiently store needles, to grab the ledge, or to increase jump distance.
In Brawl, the move is nearly identical, except they now have hitboxes with transcendent priority as opposed to damageable hitboxes, and pressing the special a single time on the ground will cause it to start to charge, requiring the special button to be pressed a second time to throw (unlike Melee, where it charges if the special button is held until released, and throws right away). Therefore, in order to store, then later use a partial needle storm charge, the player must press the special button to begin charging, press the shield button when they have reached their wanted partial charge to store it, and then press the special button twice in a row to throw that partial charge, because pressing the special button again only once will resume charging. Finally, Needle Storm only produces 5 needles at most, compared with 6 in Melee. If Sheik is attacked while charging her Needle Storm attack, her needles fall out of her hand and scatter all over the floor.
Press the B Button to ready needles, then press it again to fling them. The longer you charge up the move, the more needles you'll fling.