Sheik throws slim, almost-invisible needles to attack.
These needles travel extremely fast, hitting opponents in range almost instantaneously. They are thrown straight forward if the move is used on the ground, or at a 45 degree angle downward if used in the air. In Super Smash Bros. Melee, each needle does 3% damage regardless of distance. In Super Smash Bros. Brawl, they still do 3% to nearby opponents but only deal 2% if used from a distance. In Super Smash Bros. 4, the damage has been reduced to 1.9% close up and 1.2% at a distance. Needles have transcendent priority in Brawl and SSB4, allowing Sheik to outcamp many characters.
Needle Storm can be charged to add more needles to the attack, up to a maximum of six. When the move is used after charging, Sheik throws all the needles in rapid succession. It is charge-cancelable; Sheik can shield or roll out of a charge and keep her stock of needles. If she is attacked while charging she will drop her needles on the ground and thus lose the charge. In Melee, the move has an odd quirk compared to other auto-charge specials: the button must be held to charge, and Sheik will continue charging even after stocking all six needles, only stopping when the move is canceled or the special button is released to make her fire.
In Brawl and SSB4, the move acts like any other auto-charge-cancelable move, where it starts automatically charging after one button press then stopping at maximum, with a second button press mid-charge required to launch the attack early.
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.
In Melee, if thrown after the apex of the jump and below the maximum height of Sheik's single jump, in a technique called needle canceling, 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.
Special Move customization was added in Super Smash Bros. 4. These are the variations: