Sheik (シーク, Sheik) is a character in Super Smash Bros. Brawl. Sheik was originally hinted to return as a playable character when Eiji Aonuma, director of The Legend of Zelda stated he had sent the Twilight Princess designs of Sheik and Ganondorf to Sakurai. She was ultimately revealed on January 16, 2008.
Sheik saw a large drop in her tier position, from being rank 4th in the top tier of Melee, to being currently ranked 25th in the Middle tier of Brawl, her worst placement in the series. Sheik retains her blinding attack speed from Melee, possessing some of the fastest movement, and frame data only rivaled by Meta Knight. Additionally, Sheik possesses a transcendent and fast projectile with high damage potential in her Needles, as well as great combo ability, and a lock in her forward tilt that can rack up over 50% in damage on most characters. Her power was significantly nerfed from Melee however. She possesses few attacks that can KO under 150% outside edge guarding, and of those few potential finishers, only two can be considered reliable in KOing (her sweetspotted up smash and the explosion in Vanish), both of which are difficult to land. Sheik also has very poor endurance; suffering from the combination of being tall and light, causing her to sustain high knockback while being rather easy to hit, which is exacerbated by her poor momentum cancelling, and her short distanced and easily edge hogged recovery. Additional problems Sheik has include her fast falling speed leaving her vulnerable to some juggles and chain throws, as well as short reach in the majority of her attacks. This has resulted in average matchups and below average tournament results for Sheik. Despite ranking significantly higher than Zelda, who rests at 37th on the tier list (second to dead last), her Zelda/Sheik form is considered a better character and is ranked slightly higher than Sheik alone (currently 24th), mainly as transforming into Zelda can help alleviate the very severe KO problems Sheik has in some matchups (such as against King Dedede).
Sheik is one of the fastest characters in the game, having the fourth fastest running speed, high attack speed, and a quick, long and deadly DACUS. She has one of the best comboing abilities, as her attacks have very little start up and ending lag, with overall low knockback, allowing them to chain effectively. The best example of this is Sheik's forward tilt. As in Melee, the forward tilt can smoothly follow after her up tilt, down tilt, neutral aerial, forward aerial, back aerial, down smash, and jab cancel; it can also repeatedly link into itself to easily rack up 50% or more, especially on fast-fallers or heavy characters, such as Fox. Sheik's up tilt can combo into itself very low percentages, and at slightly higher percentages, it leads well into a forward tilt. It has a very large hitbox in terms of size and duration, making it a powerful defensive move.
As for stronger moves with greater KO potential, Sheik's down smash has multiple hits and has long range. Her up smash can KO easily at around 100%, but only when it is sweetspotted, which is not always easy. Her forward smash isn't very powerful, but it is a two hit combo and has fairly good range.
Sheik has a fairly powerful air-game that really only lacks in one area: versatility. Her back and neutral aerials have very similar knockback and speed and negligible landing lag outside of auto-cancel. If hit in the initial few frames, they have decent knockback, making them useful for edgeguarding, and they have good range. Her up aerial has some landing lag and has less knockback. Her forward aerial is a quick swipe with low knockback but a great semi-spike trajectory, low lag, but sub-par range. This makes it a great move for KO'ing at higher percentages. Her down aerial is a stall-then-fall, negating all vertical knockback, but unfortunately, it has high landing lag.
Sheik does have versatility amongst her special moves, however. Needle Storm is a fast projectile that can be very hard to dodge and can be charged for increased damage. Sheik's up special is somewhat low in terms of recovery distance, but it has the second highest knockback of any of Sheik's moves. Combined with the invulnerability it grants, this can occasionally be used against some moves as a powerful counter, but it's also one of the hardest moves to hit with unless used in this way: it can also be used to edgeguard through Vanish Gliding. Sheik's forward special is the Chain, which can be used for a tether recovery and the Chain Jacket, which can be used to insert the knockback of the last attack into the Chain, giving an advantage over characters without attacks that cannot outrange or clank with the Chain. It is slow coming out and returning, however, and leaves her vulnerable from behind, a problem that can be capitalized on. Sheik's down special transforms her into Zelda, which allows use of two different characters in the same match, which can help to balance some of Sheik's weaknesses. Sheik also can wall jump, wall cling, and crawl.
Sheik is not a character without any weaknesses, however. Above all, Sheik does not have much KO'ing power on most of her moves, as a majority of her KO'ing moves in Melee were severely nerfed. Her two most powerful KO'ing moves are her sweetspotted up smash and Vanish, which are hard to connect with compared to Sheik's other moves. Sheik can use techniques such as DACUS and forward tilt to help connect her up smash, to an extent, but nothing else KO's reliably below 150%. This makes Sheik very reliant on getting numerous hits to rack up damage and edgeguarding. Additionally, Sheik's best chain of attacks (the forward tilt-lock) often stops working before the opponent reaches KO percentage (stops at about 50%, depending on the match-up of course: lasts to later percentages on fast-fallers and heavy characters like Wolf and Bowser, but stops sooner on light and floaty characters like Kirby and Jigglypuff). Because of this, it may be best to turn back into Zelda to KO the opponent. Sheik also has poor attack range on a good number of moves. Sheik is also very light-weight and tall for her weight class, making her easier to defeat than many characters (though this is not without its advantages, as it allows Sheik to escape some chaingrabs, including Dedede's infamous Chaingrab), and her poor recovery often comes up short. Sheik is also one of the fastest-falling characters in the game, making her vulnerable to any chaingrab that is effective against fast-fallers.
Changes from Melee to Brawl
Sheik has received a mix of nerfs and buffs in her transition from Melee to Brawl. Her KO'ing ability is much worse though: up smash, neutral air, forward air, and up air have had their damage and knockback significantly reduced, and with the changes to hitstun, they cannot be comboed into as effectively and are thus much harder to land. In addition to that, she is more vulnerable to KO's herself, as her weight and fall speed have been lowered while her gravity has been increased. Her grab game has been worsened as well: all of her throws deal less damage (except for back throw), and she has lost the ability to chain-grab and set-up other moves with her down throw, which played a major role in her success in Melee. The reduced damage on many of Sheik's moves, the removal of much of down throw's follow-up potential, and the general changes to hitstun and fall speeds have limited Sheik's ability to rack up damage, though it is still quite good relative to the rest of the cast. Transform takes longer to execute, and so transforming into Zelda to make use of her superior recovery is now impractical.
Sheik has received some notable buffs. Her down aerial is now a stall-then-fall, allowing her to make good use of vertical momentum cancelling, aiding her vertical endurance. Due to the more severe effects of stale-move negation, forward tilt's combo potential has been improved, especially on fast-fallers, as Sheik can now lock them with her forward tilt for as much as 50% damage. Chain can be used as a tether recovery, and Vanish is faster and more powerful. Needle Storm has been given transcendent priority, which overall improves her camping ability, and she is also one of the biggest benefactors of the DACUS technique.
However, such buffs do not compensate for the nerfs to her damage output and KO'ing ability, resulting in her being considered a below-average character relative to the cast, a far cry from her top-tier status in Melee, in a similar line to Jigglypuff.
In competitive play
Sheik's match-up spread is overall average. She hard-counters three characters, counters two, and soft-counters seven, and has one near-unloseable match-up. She goes even with eight characters, is soft-countered by eleven, is countered by two, and is hard-countered by two. She is at a general advantage against characters with poor recoveries, such as Captain Falcon and Wolf, as her ability to gimp them with her above average edge-guard tools partially alleviates her otherwise weak KO power. She can make good use of her frame data, mobility and camping ability against characters who have laggy attacks and/or lack safe approaches, with Ganondorf being the most notable. Sheik is notable for hard-countering a character above her, Fox, as she can exploit her forward tilt lock for massive damage in addition to being able to edge-guard his recovery efficiently. However, Sheik's poor KO'ing ability plays a major role in her losing match-ups, with Lucario in particular being able to make great use of Aura. Her high falling speed leaves her susceptible to chain-grabs, giving her poor match-ups against Pikachu and Ice Climbers, both of whom possess reliable zero-to-death combos on her.
Role in The Subspace Emissary
If one chooses to rescue Zelda from Petey Piranha in the Subspace Emissary, the player can still transform into Sheik, despite her not technically being introduced until much later. Thus, Sheik is the only character in the Subspace Emissary to be playable before she is introduced. After Peach and Zelda are rescued by Lucario, Meta Knight, and Snake, the two princesses are ordered to stay where they are until the Halberd is under their control. Zelda transforms into Sheik and walks out with Peach, opening a window to the outside of the ship. Both princesses then make their way to the front deck of the ship. There, they witness Fox's Arwing attacking the Halberd, and his lasers meant for the Halberd's turret nearly injures Peach. In response, Sheik leaps into the air and uses Vanish onto the Arwing, striking the windshield and forcing Fox to jettison. They fall back to the Halberd, and begin to fight, but Peach offers them both tea, ending any erroneous hostilities.
As they drink their tea, several Mr. Game and Watches fall from the bridge and turn into shadow bugs that coalesce to form the monstrous Duon. The three prepare to fight, but are joined by Lucario, Snake, and Falco. They then proceed to defeat Duon, and it turns into the trophy of Mr. Game and Watch, who Peach revives. Then she and the other heroes journey into subspace for the final battle against Tabuu. Sometime when the Halberd was retaken, but before the Isle of Ancients was consumed by Subspace, Sheik transformed back into Zelda.
Sheik is always playable in any level Zelda appears in. If Zelda is rescued in Midair Stadium, after The Lake Shore is completed, she along with her alternative form Sheik will be removed from the team until Battleship Halberd Exterior.
In Event Matches
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