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Back Slash

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Back Slash
Shulk Side B SSBU.gif
Back Slash in Ultimate.
User Shulk
Universe Xenoblade Chronicles
Article on Xeno Series Wiki Back Slash (XC1)

Back Slash (バックスラッシュ, Back Slash) is Shulk's side special move.


Shulk performs a small leap, announces "Back Slash!", and does a wide downwards slash attack with the Monado. The amount of knockback and damage inflicted varies depending on the direction the opponent is facing; a successful attack on an opponent's back will deal bonus damage and put them into a different knockback animation - the same one triggered by bouncing off a wall after suffering knockback, while facing away from Shulk. Back Slash's damage ranges from 9 to 10% with negligible knockback from the front and 16% with considerable knockback from the back. A successful back-hitting Back Slash becomes one of Shulk's most damaging attacks in Buster mode, dealing 22% with massive shield damage, and is also one of Shulk's reliable KO moves with the Smash art, KOing at around 90% at the back (middle of stage) and 118% at the front (near the edge). Aesthetically, a front-hitting Back Slash makes a typical slashing sound, while a back-hitting one makes a deeper, stronger slash sound, the same sound used when Ike's Ragnell attacks connect.

The small jump that Shulk performs when using the move can jump over small projectiles, and the slash can catch opponents off guard with its wide range, giving it some use as a surprise approach option. It is useful for punishing laggy attacks, specifically those that cause the opponent to end with their back facing Shulk, for tech or roll chases if the player reads an opponent's dodge, and can be used after a back throw to hit an opponent who attempts to jump back after being thrown. However, the attack has high ending lag, making it unsafe if shielded. In Ultimate, the jump distance can be increased or decreased by inputting right or left during the jump respectively.

Shulk cannot cancel out of the move when he has initiated it: as a result, careless use of it can result in opponents punishing the attack's lag, and it can also result in a self-destruct if used too close to a ledge. In Smash 4, utilizing Back Slash as a recovery is risky and ineffective as the move does not sweetspot ledges, while in Ultimate, Shulk can grab ledges after around a second of initiating the move, granting Shulk a niche recovering while putting out a large lasting hitbox.

It is also one of the few moves in Smash 4 with a back-hitting hitstun animation, as the opponent does not automatically turn around when receiving a hit from this attack.

Something to note is that Back Slash's unique property works on more than just playable characters. It also behaves correctly on Smash Run enemies, Sandbag, Master and Crazy Hand, stage bosses, entities summoned from an Assist Trophy, Pac-Man's Fire Hydrant (which matches which direction Pac-Man was facing when he deployed it), and even Smash Balls, among other things.

Instructional quotes[edit]

Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS case foldout ShulkHeadSSB4-3.png A powerful slash. Strike from behind for more damage.
Super Smash Bros. Ultimate Move List ShulkHeadSSBU.png Leaps forward and delivers a powerful slash. Deals massive damage to an enemy attacked from behind.


Special Move customization was added in Super Smash Bros. 4. These are the variations:

1. Back Slash 2. Back Slash Leap 3. Back Slash Charge
"Leap forward to deliver a powerful slash. Attack from behind for massive damage!" "Leap high into the air, and deliver a powerful descending slice." "Leap forward, shrugging off foes' attacks, to deliver a powerful slash."
  1. Back Slash: Default.
  2. Back Slash Leap: Shulk leaps up before slashing downward towards the ground. Has reduced horizontal movement and hence reduced horizontal reach, but has lower startup lag and more vertical reach, making it safer to use near ledges. Ending lag is increased slightly.
  3. Back Slash Charge: Shulk leaps forward, gaining super armor for the slash. This move has increased horizontal movement, but has harshly reduced damage and knockback if not striking the back, making it imperative to hit an opponent's back to do any good damage. Ending lag is heavily increased, making this version highly punishable if missed. Makes the move more dangerous to start near ledges, but it can be used as a rather risky recovery move due to it providing decent horizontal distance, but the move cannot auto-sweetspot ledges.


Shulk using Back Slash in Xenoblade Chronicles.
Shulk using Back Slash.

Back Slash is one of Shulk's physical Arts in Xenoblade Chronicles, and is one of the two Arts (excluding his Talent Art) in his arsenal when he is introduced, being his main physical art. It does the most damage out of all the physical arts in his complete moveset, and as a bonus effect, it deals double damage when hitting the enemy from behind. Its low cooldown makes it one of the most potent Arts Shulk has, though this is hampered by needing to be behind the opponent for maximum effect, meaning other party members have to draw the aggro away from Shulk (such as Reyn, whose main skill increases enemy aggro towards himself). Otherwise, this attack deals standard damage if hit anywhere else, although the damage is still higher than an auto-attack. The difficulty of landing the move in Smash mirrors this behavior, as opponents need to be caught offguard for a Back Slash to land and rewards Shulk for hitting backs with either increased damage (Buster) or a reliable KO move (Smash).

The red color of the Monado's beam is a reference to the red color which identifies physical Arts in menus. Ultimate adds a yellow starburst visual effect when Shulk successfully gets an opponent in the back with the move, which references the starburst icon displayed alongside damage numbers for attacks that succeeded in their bonus effect (such as being used from behind).


Names in other languages[edit]

Language Name
Japan Japanese バックスラッシュ, Back Slash
UK English Back Slash
France French Lacération dorsale
Germany German Rückschlag
Spain Spanish Ataque dorsal
Italy Italian Colpo proditorio
China Chinese 背砍
South Korea Korean 백 슬래시, Back Slash
Netherlands Dutch Rugslag
Russia Russian Удар сзади

Update History[edit]

Super Smash Bros. 4 1.1.0

  • Buff Back Slash startup decreased: 31 → 22.