Monado Art Landing Lag Cancel
The Monado Art Landing Lag Cancel (abbreviated MALLC) is an advanced technique for Shulk in both Smash 4 and Ultimate. It allows Shulk to remove part of the landing lag of his aerials or air dodge by using the animations from selecting Monado Arts, which lets him apply safer pressure with his aerials, escape from juggles, perform longer combos or strings, and even take advantage of the few frames of intangibility during art activation to land safely onto stage.
MALLC has been refined by the Shulk community since its discovery in Smash 4: Erico9001 first explained the timings of MALLC in his YouTube guide. Later, Jerm provided a more in-depth video guide on the timings and added details of the technique. Finally, Paradigm/Erico9001 uploaded a video providing the exact frames to successful Art Cancel different moves on varying stages with their video guide.
To perform the technique, the player should start the activation of any Monado Art while in midair, use an aerial attack, and land with the aerial just before the Art fully activates. Shulk performs a pose after any Art activates (provided he isn't in a non landing lag animation), and this pose will replace the landing lag animation. The pose can be immediately canceled as if Shulk is standing still, allowing him to bypass the landing lag of his aerials and use any other action. As Shulk cannot act out of an Art's pose for 6 frames, this technique does not fully eliminate landing lag, but reduces it significantly.
This technique allows Shulk to make use of the 14 frames of intangibility gained right when he poses. Simply doing nothing leads to the longest possible intangible window (14 frames), while buffering an option allows Shulk to act out earlier at the cost of having a smaller window of intangibility (only 6 frames).
MALLC's timings are affected by what the player hits: if Shulk misses or clashes against a shield (even if perfect shielded), he will cancel successfully, but if Shulk hits an opponent, it will cause more hitlag and cause him to land slightly later, making the Art activate during hitlag and failing the MALLC.
In Smash 4
This technique is the most widely known Shulk technique and is extremely beneficial in Smash 4, due to Shulk's aerials having high landing lag; the lag reduction allows Shulk's high-ranged aerials to space more effectively, and makes him less open when attacking against shields. This technique also grants intangibility, which can act as a controllable and interruptible pseudo-sidestep, granting him a chance to dodge possible punishes from his opponents. If Shulk puts up their shield during these 14 frames, it will always be a perfect shield. Finally, it gives Shulk an accessible B-reverse while in midair, which gives opportunities for unique combos or a quick getaway. However, MALLC is used sparingly in top-level play due to the benefits of having an active Art, and is generally used as a mixup option.
MALLC sees much less use in Ultimate due to Shulk's landing lag being significantly reduced like all fighters, which mostly eliminates the need of reducing his lag further. Monado Arts (selected manually instead of the dial wheel) also activate significantly faster, which heavily affects MALLC timings. However, it is still useful for its other properties, such as B-reversing in midair or using the intangibility for mixups and unique movement options. The new dial method for selecting Arts also allows Shulk to access the brief intangibility from changing Arts at any moment. MALLC's offensive purposes have mostly been replaced by a new advanced technique, Dial Storage.
Examples of Beneficial Art Cancels
All his aerials have varying benefits from MALLC: back aerial benefits the most from this, as it suffers from high landing lag while having the longest range and good KO power. Neutral aerial and forward aerial benefit slightly less due to their speed, while up aerial and down aerial benefit the least, since connecting both hits of these moves cause too much hitlag to land at the correct time.
These are examples of some Art cancels in Smash 4:
Due to the changes to shield mechanics made in version 1.1.1 of Smash 4, cancelling a back air into Buster, and immediately following with a forward smash can instantly break a full-health shield without giving the target a chance to drop shield, provided the initial attack isn't perfect shielded, or aimed at another Shulk or Kirby with the Shield Art active.
Via copy ability, Kirby himself is able to make use of all Monado Art advanced techniques as well; while he can enhance his combo game with MALLC in theory, he benefits less due to his already fast attacks. Like Shulk, Kirby's down aerial suffers from significantly higher hitlag akin to his up and down aerials, making it the least optimal aerial for the technique. However, due to his quicker aerials and different aerial movement speeds, Kirby's timings for the MALLC vary a lot more, though the general principle is the same.