Monado Arts

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SSB4 Icon.png SSBU Icon.png
Monado Arts
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Activating the Buster art in Ultimate.
User Shulk
Universe Xenoblade
Press B to cycle through Arts. Arts increase particular stats.
Smash for 3DS's foldout
Switches Arts—each has a different advantage. Can be switched by holding or pressing repeatedly.
—Description from Ultimate's Move List

Monado Arts (モナドアーツ, Monado Arts) is Shulk's neutral special move. Shulk has access to five Arts: Jump, Speed, Shield, Buster, and Smash, with each Art acting as a buff-type move that temporarily enhances certain abilities in exchange for weakening others.

Arts[edit]

Each of the five Arts is indicated by a colored kanji character. When the special button is pressed, a character will appear behind him, beginning with Jump and following the order of Speed, Shield, Buster, and Smash for each consecutive button press. In Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, it can also be "quick-selected" by holding down the special button then the directional stick to the Art, then releasing the special button. While an Art is active, several of Shulk's attributes are modified for the duration of its effect, which vary based on the Art chosen.

Kanji Monado Art Color Affected stats Activation pose
* Jump (ジャンプ) Green Buff Increased jump height, air speed (1.5× faster), and Air Slash height
Nerf More damage taken (1.22× more)
Change Increased falling speed (1.22× faster)
Change Increased sustained freeze frames

An Art focused on aerial mobility, at the cost of lowered defense. Monado Jump makes Shulk significantly faster and more mobile in the air while granting extremely high jumps, allowing Shulk to edgeguard offstage efficiently since he can safely chase recovering opponents. It opens up several KO combos, such as an approaching neutral aerial followed by forward aerials ending with Air Slash, which is a KO confirm at certain percentages with rage (known as the Fair Slash combo). Another KO combo is a 50-50 in which Shulk utilizes the buffer period when canceling the Jump Art during his up throw to follow up with an up aerial (a combo known as the Monado Purge), though this combo is not as consistent as the former. Monado Jump comes at the cost of giving Shulk the most damage vulnerability out of all other Arts, including Buster; however, while it does reduce his horizontal survivability, Monado Jump's drastic falling speed boost actually provides Shulk with the second-best vertical survivability of his Arts, only behind that of Monado Shield. In Ultimate, this Art lasts for 6 seconds with a cooldown time of 18 seconds.
ShulkJumpActivationPose.JPG
Holds his hand in the air
* Speed (スピード) Blue Buff Increased movement speed (1.7× faster) and air speed (1.3× faster)
Nerf Less damage dealt (0.8× less)
Change Lower jumps, lower traction

An Art that improves Shulk's approach and spacing options, short hops, and overall combo ability, but lowers his overall damage output. More efficient short hops allow Shulk to space much more effectively, and a better approach speed makes this Art a good combo starter against slower characters. Decreased damage means more attacks have to land to compensate for the speed boost, but Speed's overall mobility allows the player to trap opponents with barrages of covering short-hop aerial attacks, approach quickly to punish with a grab, as well as weave in-and-out of attacks in order to bait reactions. Lowered traction significantly improves his pivot grab range (becoming the third longest in the game, tied with Meta Knight), but it also leaves him highly punishable when coming to a stop. Lowered jump height can be an issue if recovering vertically, but the speed boost applies to Shulk's air speed as well, allowing him to quickly get close to the stage before either getting in the proper distance/height for Air Slash to sweetspot the ledge, or changing to Jump to help his recovery. Like Jump, the Speed Art can initiate a Fair Slash combo at certain percentages. In Ultimate, this Art lasts for 8 seconds with a cooldown time of 16 seconds.
ShulkSpeedActivationPose.JPG
Leans forward, ready to run
Shield (シールド) Yellow Buff Less knockback taken (0.78× less) and damage taken (0.67× less), higher shield health (1.5× more)
Nerf Lower jump height, air speed, and movement speed (all 0.67× less), less damage dealt (0.7× less)
Change Reduced sustained freeze frames

An Art focused on defense and survivability, but it cripples movement speed, damage output, and recovery. Monado Shield is considerably useful to retain a percentage lead or stall matches, as Shulk can survive to extreme percentages. The reduced knockback Shulk takes can potentially mess up the opponent's combos (such as Sheik's aerial combos), but makes him more vulnerable to multi-hitting attacks, notably juggling moves like Kirby's up tilt. Monado Shield also increases Shulk's shield health, making it more durable (being able to survive shield-breaking attacks such as both hits of Bowser Bomb). As this Art reduces knockback, it has some beneficial gimmicks in certain situations, such as being able to airdodge out of Mewtwo's forward throw at low percents, and reducing the amount of time Shulk gets stunned by Disable even at high percents. Shield's reduced damage and mobility makes it difficult to gain a percentage lead, but this is compensated by Shield reducing damage and knockback taken, allowing Shulk to chip at cornered opponents with a lower concern of damage taken, while even being capable of escaping percent-specific combos. However, it is highly advised to switch out of Shield while recovering, as it significantly hiders his aerial movement. In Ultimate, this Art lasts for 6 seconds with a cooldown time of 18. It can also lose time should Shulk take damage during its duration.
ShulkShieldActivationPose.JPG
Crosses his arms in a defensive pose
* Buster (バスター) Purple Buff More damage dealt (1.4× more)
Nerf More damage taken (1.13× more)
Change Less knockback dealt (0.68× less)
Change Increased sustained freeze frames

An Art that allows Shulk to deal high damage in a short amount of time while lowering his KO power and damage defense. His throws open up highly-damaging combo opportunities (especially on heavyweights), and the increase in damage output also makes his attacks deal increased shieldstun and shield damage, making him less prone to shield grabs and allows him to more easily break shields. A notable shield break combo is a MALLC back air into reversed forward smash. However, his KO power becomes extremely low, and this Art makes Shulk incredibly vulnerable to damage, which can easily send his percentage up significantly if he is careless, discouraging reckless use. In Ultimate, this Art lasts for 10 seconds with a cooldown time of 14 seconds, giving it both the longest duration and shortest cooldown time of all five Arts.
ShulkBusterActivationPose.JPG
Holds the Monado in front of him, much like his down taunt
* Smash (スマッシュ) Red Buff More knockback dealt (1.18× more)
Nerf Less damage dealt (0.5× less), more knockback taken (1.07× more)

An Art generally used to improve Shulk's KO options and edgeguarding potential, which reduces Shulk's damage output, but also makes most of his moves viable KO moves at under 100%. Shulk's down throw becomes the strongest down throw in the game and his smash attacks can KO as early as 70% even when uncharged. Smash also allows Shulk to mess up certain throw combos at lower percents (e.g. Sheik and Diddy Kong) by launching him slightly further than normal. However, due to the reduced damage, shieldstun and hitlag are reduced as well, and thus makes all of his attacks even more punishable on shield, while Shulk's survivability becomes as low as Mewtwo's for the Art's duration. In Ultimate, this Art lasts for 8 seconds with a cooldown time of 16 seconds.
ShulkSmashActivationPose.JPG
Points the Monado to the sky
*Barring "shield", all of the Japanese kanji are stylized in different English translations than what they actually translate to.

When an Art is activated, colored auras appear in areas of Shulk's body that pertain to the effect of the Art itself. For example, Jump and Speed have an aura around Shulk's shoes, while Buster's aura will appear around the Monado. Shield's aura will appear around Shulk's body and Smash's aura appears around Shulk's hands. Also, in the Wii U version, the Art's kanji appears at the top left corner of Shulk's portrait (which blinks faster and faster when the Art is almost ready to deactivate), and Shulk additionally gains a colored trailing aura effect while he moves.

Also, for all Arts in the Japanese version, Shulk yells out for each respective one: 跳ぶ! (Leap!), 走る! (Run!), 守る! (Protect/Defend!), 叩く! (Thrash!), 打っ飛ばす! (Fly away!)

Overview[edit]

Activation, Duration and Effects[edit]

All of Shulk's Monado Art options as shown by a Skill Preview in Ultimate.

To activate an Art, the special button must not be pressed for a few frames until the colored aura appears on Shulk. While scrolling through the Arts, he will be unable to perform any other special moves until one is activated, although Shulk can still move, dodge and attack normally. In Ultimate, it can also be "quick-selected" by holding down the special button, holding the directional stick mapped to the Art, then releasing the special key. The "quick select" wheel is mapped to the following: up for Smash, upper left for Jump, lower left for Speed, upper right for Buster, and lower right for Shield. If Shulk activates an Art while staying still, he poses and announces the activated Art's name upon activation.

In SSB4, each Art lasts for 15 seconds before stats return to normal. In Ultimate, all Arts last for less time, with Buster lasting for 10 seconds, Speed and Smash lasting for 8 seconds, and Jump and Shield lasting for only 6 seconds. The Arts can be cancelled by pressing the special button three times in succession, or, in SSB4, by holding down the special button for about one full second. In SSB4, once an Art activates or is canceled early, it cannot be activated again until 10 seconds has passed. In Ultimate, each Art has its own cooldown time, with Jump and Shield taking 18 seconds, Speed and Smash taking 16 seconds, and Buster taking 14 seconds. Before then, its corresponding kanji will be grayed out when selecting another Art. The cooldown on all Monado Arts resets when Shulk is knocked out. No two Monado Arts can run at the same time; if one is active, and a different Art is chosen, the previous Art is overwritten and enters cooldown.

Each Monado Art also affects Shulk's attacking power with battering items like the Beam Sword (eg. Smash reduces hitlag and damage while increasing knockback). However, they do not affect firing weapons like the Ray Gun or thrown items such as the Capsule.

Shulk's Final Smash, Chain Attack, is also affected by the Monado Arts. With Buster, this attack becomes highly damaging, often likely sending the opponent into KO percents if the Art lasts the duration of the full attack, but cannot KO as effectively. With Smash, Shulk can KO at significantly earlier percents but should the attack not clear the stock, Shulk will have hardly done as much damage to the opponent as desired, making it arguably riskier than with Buster. Speed and Shield will only reduce its effectiveness while Jump has no effect whatsoever. Interestingly, the Arts can run out in the middle of the Final Smash, so awareness of their durations and the situation is advised.

Technical Data[edit]

Arts can be cancelled, scrolled through, or changed several frames after hitstun occurs, and can be buffer-canceled during an action such as a throw, jump, landing lag and landing from helplessness.

The animation of Shulk announcing the Art's name grants 14 frames of intangibility (unless canceled into another action), and Shulk will perfect shield any attack that connects with his body during that period should he raise his shield. It will also replace landing lag animations (reducing it to 5 frames). These factors make it possible to perform multiple advanced techniques, most notably the Monado Art Landing Lag Cancel.

Kirby's Copy Ability[edit]

Kirby is able to copy the Monado Arts with his Inhale and can receive effects from these Arts when he uses this Copy Ability. This can give Kirby incredible benefits and new previously-unseen options, as Jump gives him high jumps that can easily pass the upper blast line after three jumps and, as a result, can extend his throw combos to pursue his opponent. Buster can trap opponents in a string of attacks far past realistic KO percentages; particularly his up tilt which can juggle most characters for longer than usual to rack up large amounts of damage. Speed also gives Kirby the longest perfect pivot in the game. Conversely, both Speed and Shield make Kirby's jumps the most ineffective in the game, and Smash makes him the lightest fighter in the game. And unlike Shulk, Kirby's up special moves gain no benefit from the Jump Art.

Like Shulk, Kirby's Ultra Sword Final Smash can be affected by the Monado Arts in all of their respective ways to alter its damage and knockback properties. Despite having his own version of the Monado, Kirby does not use it to directly attack his opponent whatsoever, nor does he gain a unique hat from it.

Even though Kirby's Monado Arts only gives him massive versatility against a Shulk in 1v1 matches, a Kirby/Shulk team in Doubles with Team Attack turned on can easily allow both characters to use such versatile techniques in tandem.

Customization[edit]

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

1. Monado Arts 2. Decisive Monado Arts 3. Hyper Monado Arts
ShulkNeutral1-SSB4.png
ShulkNeutral2-SSB4.png
ShulkNeutral3-SSB4.png
"Activate one of five different Arts, each of which provides a different advantage." "Activate stronger Arts that last longer. However, they can't be canceled once used." "Your Arts are much stronger, but the drawbacks are too. Doesn't last as long."
  1. Monado Arts: Default.
  2. Decisive Monado Arts: Arts last for 5 more seconds, recharge 5 seconds sooner, and boosts positive effects of Arts, but once an Art is activated, it cannot be canceled or changed for another Art. A slightly longer pause is added before an Art becomes active, allowing the user to consider whether they want to be temporarily stuck with an Art. This allows the user to take advantage of a specific art for much longer, at the cost of the inability to switch Arts once it becomes disadvantageous. As a side effect, the inability to change Arts also prevents effective usage of Art-based techniques, namely the ones mentioned in the section above.
  3. Hyper Monado Arts: Both positive and negative effects of Arts are amplified, but the Arts have a shorter duration of 5 seconds. Recharging will also take 5 seconds longer. Becomes a short-duration, high risk and reward ability, as the strengths and weaknesses of each Art become some of the most extreme in the game: an example is Hyper Buster, which makes Shulk's moves immensely more damaging than even Ganondorf's, but reduces his KO power to almost nothing even at high percents.

Origin[edit]

Shulk using Monado Buster during a cutscene in Xenoblade Chronicles. Here, the Art is one single, giant slash with the beam blade, in contrast to its status as a damage buff in Smash Bros.

In Xenoblade Chronicles, all special attacks and abilities are categorized as Arts, and the term is used as such to describe both playable and enemy character abilities. The wielder of the Monado has access to two additional Arts that are accessed by using their signature ability (or "Talent Art"), "Activate Monado", with more being unlocked as the story progresses for an ending total of eight, three of which return for Super Smash Bros. Unlike what SSB4 depicts, not all Monado Arts are buff-type moves, as several are status-inducing skills or powerful attacks. In addition, two Monado Arts, Jump and Smash, were tailor-made for the Smash Bros. series and as such do not exist in the original game.

  • Monado Buster is one of the Arts available from the start, acting as a single powerful slash attack with an extended purplish beam that deals additional damage to Mechon (the antagonists of the game, which cannot be damaged by normal weapons without support from the Monado). The Smash 4 behavior of raising attack power is more akin to Monado Enchant (both ability and color-wise), the second starter Art which improves damage and allows other party members' normal weapons to damage Mechon. Buster's original color is blue in its game of origin.
  • Monado Shield creates a barrier around all three party members that blocks a single enemy's Talent Art, as long as Shulk has upgraded the Art to a level that matches or exceeds the enemy's Art. The SSB4 behavior of decreasing damage taken is more akin to Monado Armor, an Art that raises the party's defenses.
  • Monado Speed greatly increases the agility of one party member, raising both accuracy and evasion for physical attacks. This is somewhat modified for Smash 4 as it gives Shulk increased movement speed instead of evasion and accuracy, although the Art's attributes are reflected in this game as it does give Shulk much more agility, making dodging much easier, and allows him to approach and retreat quickly, mimicking the increased evasion that the Speed Art grants in Xenoblade Chronicles.
  • As mentioned above, the Jump and Smash Arts are unique to Smash 4, although both use a color that matches an existing Art in his origin game: Jump uses the green shade of Monado Purge (or Monado Breaker in Japanese; the English name being the origin of the aforementioned kill-combo with the said Jump Art), which applies a status called "Aura Seal" on opponents, removing any existing auras and preventing them from activating any auras or spike abilities for the duration (coincidentally, Shulk does a jump before activating the Art in his origin game), while Smash uses a lighter shade of red of Monado Eater, an Art that removes enemy buffs and inflicts Bleed on victims, causing damage over time.

Battle Arts in Xenoblade Chronicles have cooldown times, with different Arts having differing cooldown times. However, this only applies to Battle Arts; Monado Arts are part of Shulk's Talent Art, "Activate Monado", and instead require Shulk to use part of his Talent Gauge to activate them, which can only be refilled by auto-attacking enemies.

Gallery[edit]

Trivia[edit]

  • This is the only neutral special move that cannot be performed while on a revival platform, and the only special move that cannot be performed from a revival platform that can be performed in the air.
  • Monado Arts are the only neutral special Kirby can copy which can affect a move other than his neutral special.
  • Monado Arts effects do not affect projectiles. While Shulk is not affected by this, Kirby is, and so are items used by them which generate projectiles.
  • Although subtle, each Monado Art has its own separate activation sound.
  • The attribute effects of Monado Arts reach several extremes:
    • The Hyper Jump Art gives Shulk the fastest air speed of all fighters, surpassing even Giga Mac's air speed.
    • The Hyper Speed Art gives Shulk the fastest walk speed of all fighters, walking faster than Little Mac's run speed.
    • The Hyper Shield Art gives Shulk the lowest walk speed and run speed of all fighters in Super Smash Bros. 4, with his run speed being slower than Ganondorf's walk speed.
    • In terms of knockback, Hyper Monado Arts gives Shulk the most knockback resistance, makes his throws the strongest in-game while in the Smash Art, and gives him the hardest-hitting counter if in Hyper Smash while using Power Vision, with power only rivaled by Lucario's Double Team at maximum Aura.
    • Kirby becomes the lightest character in SSB4 with the Smash Art activated, as well as the character with the longest vertical recovery with the Jump Art, surpassing even Villager's.
      • Also, when using the Shield Art, Kirby has the lowest air speed of all fighters, being slower than even Shulk's Hyper Shield Art air speed value.
  • While most of Shulk's Monado Art poses are unique to Smash 4, he uses a pose reminiscent of the Shadow Eye Art from Xenoblade Chronicles when activating Speed.
  • Even if Shulk is KO'd while selecting Arts, the sound effect of his last selected Art being activated will play after his KO sounds.
  • In Smash 4, Shulk's mobility does not reset when an Art expires unless he lets go of a directional key, meaning that he will keep his high dash speed even when the Speed Art expires so long as he keeps dashing, and no increased air speed is granted if Shulk holds down the forward key and switches from the Shield Art to the Jump Art. This was fixed in Ultimate.
  • In Ultimate, a pre-patch 2.0.0 glitch allowed Shulk to retain all Monado Art effects at once. This only appears to occur if Shulk is hit by King K. Rool's Blast-O-Matic and a Monado Art expires right when the laser hits. This also works on Kirby and the only way to exit this powerful glitched state without getting KOed is equipping any kind of transformation item. [1]
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