Sheik (SSBM)

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This article is about Sheik's appearance in Super Smash Bros. Melee. For the character in other contexts, see Sheik.
For information about Sheik's alter-ego, see Princess Zelda.
in Super Smash Bros. Melee
Sheik SSBM.jpg
Universe The Legend of Zelda
Alternate form Zelda
Other Smash Bros. appearances in Brawl
in SSB4
in Ultimate
Availability Starter
Tier S (4) (North America)
A (5) (Europe)
A mysterious warrior whose moves allow her to flow across battlefields.
—Description from Melee's manual.

Announced at E3 2001, Sheik (シーク, Sheik) is a starter character in Super Smash Bros. Melee. She transforms from Zelda by using her down special move (Transform), and can transform back. By holding the "A" button at the stage loading screen, Zelda will automatically transform into Sheik at the start of a match.

She used to be first on the Melee tier list until the eighth version of it, where Fox took top spot, and has continued to hold it. Sheik currently ranks 4th on the tier list, in the S tier primarily due to her chain throw on many of the lower tier characters, excellent combos, a great finisher in her forward air, a very good approach due to fast aerials and high jumps, and one of the best edgeguarding games in Melee. Sheik, however, suffers from a relatively short and predictable recovery, vulnerability to comboing, as well as a rather short but quick wavedash. She also is relatively weak to crouch canceling.


Sheik is a very agile fighter, possessing a fast dash, high falling speed, good jumping prowess, and very quick, combo-friendly attacks. While only a portion of her moveset can reliably KO to compensate for her speed, such options are very reliable combo finishers at most percentages, greatly offsetting her power loss. Sheik, however, has poor air speed(tied for 5th worst among the cast) and a rather high short hop. As a result of having high traction and a high falling speed, Sheik has a rather short, but fast, wavedash.

Sheik's main strength is her edgeguarding ability, which is among the best in the game. While she lacks a spike like Marth, or even a meteor smash, Sheik's good jumping prowess and fast, powerful aerials give her amazing options off the edge. Sheik's forward aerial is among the most feared in the game, due to its fast startup, high knockback scaling, semi-spike angle, and its ability to autocancel itself if used correctly, and is her main pressuring and edgeguarding tool, while also being an outstanding combo finisher. Her back aerial is slightly weaker(but still very powerful if sweetspotted) with a more diagonal angle, but has more reach and is safer to use, allowing for it to be used as a potent edgeguarding option as well. Sheik also has one of the best projectiles in the game, Needle Storm, which aids in her edgeguarding; the needles are quick to charge, can travel quickly when thrown, and can cut through or stop most other projectiles in the game, allowing Sheik to neutralize projectiles from characters who rely on them to cover their recovery, such as Samus. Needles also have high hitstun and low knockback, making them excellent for intercepting recoveries, especially more linear options such as Fire Fox. In addition, Needles travel in a diagonal downward path when thrown from the air, presenting the edgeguarder with more options. Sheik also has the means to force edgeguarding situations very easily, possessing a back throw that sets up edgeguards on fastfallers, and the speed to effectively corner opponents once they're close to the ledge.

Sheik is also notable for having among the best punishing abilities in the game. Her tilts, dash attack, and up smash all come out quickly and all send the opponents straight into the air, giving Sheik guaranteed aerial followup options, especially at lower percentages. Aside from the aforementioned forward and back aerials, Sheik's other aerials also possess amazing utility for punishing, despite her low air speed. Her neutral aerial is a quick sex kick that serves as a potent out of shield option that can dispel the opponent's shield pressure; her up aerial is a combo extender at lower percentages that can reliably KO at higher percentages, especially near the ceiling; her down aerial, while possessing the slowest startup out of all of her aerials, sends opponents upwards with a great deal of hitstun, allowing followups into her aforementioned up, back, or forward aerials, or even a sweetspotted up smash. Due to their low lag and high power, most are of relatively low-risk to use off the edge. Sheik's aforementioned Needle Storm also aids in her punishing game; when used in midair, the needles travel diagonally downwards, allowing them to hit grounded opponents. Due to the fact that Needle Storm has no landing lag after being used in midair, Sheik can use the hitstun or shield stun from her needles to immediately grab or attack the opponent upon landing. This is further compounded (in NTSC only) with Sheik's excellent down throw, which boasts a chain grab on many characters in the game at lower to mid-percentages, including Pikachu and Link, and sets up tech chasing situations on fastfallers such as Fox, Falco, and Falcon. Skilled Sheik players can convert a single down throw into potential stock losses for the foe by utilizing either chain grabbing or tech-chasing until the opponent is at combo-friendly percentages, where they will use Sheik's launching options to begin nearly inescapable combos that result in a KO or a fatal edgeguarding situation.

Sheik, however, has a mediocre neutral game, especially compared to other top tiers. Due to her high short hop, Sheik suffers from a poor SHFFL, which impairs some elements of her aerial approach. Sheik also possesses a short dash-dance, forcing her to rely on her short wavedash to adjust her spacing. While Needle Storm has no landing lag when used in midair, it does have significant ending lag when used on the ground; however, Sheik's needles will only travel straight if she throws them while grounded, impairing her ability to approach with her projectile from afar. Sheik also lacks universal disjoint, causing her to have a very small and concentrated "threat zone" where she can create openings by threatening the opponent with a forward aerial, her tilts, or an aerial Needle Storm into a grab. As such, high-level Sheik players will often look for openings to close distance and go into that "threat zone," a spacing where Sheik can threaten the opponent with her outstanding punish game. This is easier to do against characters with even worse neutral games, particularly low- and bottom-tier characters, as they lack the means to zone Sheik out of that ideal area. However, other top-tier characters have the tools to keep Sheik out, whether it be through projectiles or disjoint, and can similarly harshly punish Sheik if she unsafely attempts to close this distance.

One of Sheik's more universal weaknesses is her poor, predictable recovery. Despite her high midair jump and fast aerial attacks that can aggravate edgeguarders, Vanish does not give significant vertical or horizontal distance, and when she reappears, there is no offensive hitbox, allowing easy edgeguarding. Additionally, Sheik is horizontally locked after performing Vanish, disallowing her from drifting back to the stage from afar. In some situations where Sheik cannot recover at all, Sheik may be forced to transform and use Zelda's superior recovery, this is not without its risks however, as Zelda is much less viable in top level play, which is where Sheik performs. A common strategy is to DI upwards and use Zelda's superior air speed and lower falling speed to drift back to stage, or in worst case scenarios, use Farore's Wind to recover. Further compounding these recovery flaws are Sheik's fast falling speed and low air. Sheik can wall jump, but its use is situational, dependent on the stage, and is shorter than most others due to Sheik's fast falling speed. Sheik's low air speed compounded with her fast falling speed also makes her very easy to combo herself, especially against characters with reliable launching throws or attacks such as Marth, Falco, and Jigglypuff.

Overall, Sheik is a solid character with the tools to combat every other fighter in Melee. She is a very punish- and control-based character, relying on her excellent comboing abilities to rack up damage and force edgeguarding situations where she can intercept the foe for quick gimp KOs. Against characters ranked lower than her, Sheik usually has free reign over the match and can easily close distance and convert a single opening into a clear advantage. However, against most other top tiers, Sheik must play with the utmost caution and precision to create those same openings and succeed.

PAL differences[edit]

Like other characters, Sheik has received some changes in the PAL version of Melee, which nerfed her overall. This is due primarily to the changes to her down throw, which caused Sheik to lose her chaingrab, some tech-chasing options, and several KO setups. Along with the nerfs to her finishers, Sheik generally has a much harder time KOing characters that she had no trouble KOing in the NTSC version, such as Peach and Marth, resulting in much poorer matchups against them. This is reflected in the current PAL tier list, where Sheik is ranked 5th instead of her usual 3rd or 4th.

  • Nerf Sweetspotted up smash deals 1% less damage (17% → 16%) and has less knockback scaling (105 → 102).
  • Nerf Up aerial no longer has KO potential; it deals less damage (12%/9% → 10%/8%), and has less knockback scaling (120 → 110), making the move much weaker, making it more of a juggling/comboing-orientated move, rather than finisher.
  • Buff As a result of this change, Up aerial is a much better combo attack.
  • Nerf Down throw loses its practicality as a potential chaingrabbing or tech chasing option as the move sends foes at a horizontal trajectory instead of a vertical trajectory (80° → 60°). As a result, Sheik can no longer follow up with a smash attack or an aerial. The only possible option is a dash attack.


Sheik's aerial attacks

For a gallery of Sheik's hitboxes, see here.

  Name Damage Description
Neutral attack   4% Two fast swipes with good jab cancel potential followed by a series of rapid jabs.
1% (loop)
Forward tilt   7% A quick spin kick forward. Short range, but launches the foe directly up, leaving them open for aerial combos. Can be done repeatedly, and is very fast.
Up tilt   8% (hit 1), 4% (hit 2) Kicks up, and lets her leg down in an axe-like way. This attack is famous for its chainability against heavy characters such as Bowser.
Down tilt   8% A quick kick while crouching. Not particularly useful due to low range, but can disrupt attacks.
Dash attack   10% (clean), 7% (late) Slashes with her arms forward while coming to a stop. Excellent juggling due to little ending lag, sends opponents up and behind her.
Forward smash   5% (hit 1), 10% (hit 2) Kicks twice in front of herself. Both hits combined has moderate knockback. Decent for racking up damage, but not exactly easy to land both hits at higher percentages as the opponent can DI out of the first kick.
Up smash   17%/16% (sweetspot NTSC/PAL), 13% (sourspot) Raises her arms over her head, then quickly brings them down to her sides. Incredibly powerful when sweetspotted, being among the most powerful in the game(2nd strongest next to Pikachu's), but otherwise does moderate knockback when sourspotted. In the NTSC version, it can be a reliable KO move after a d-throw chaingrab or a d-throw on its own. Both of Sheik's arms and her head are intangible while the hitboxes are out.
Down smash   13% (clean), 10% (late) Gets on her back and does a break-dance style rotation. Can hit 3 times. Sheik's legs are intangible while the move is active.
Neutral aerial   14%/10% (clean leg/knee), 9% (late) A typical sex kick that gets weaker the longer it's out. Mostly used for its horizontal knockback, continuing combos, or potentially setting up an edgeguard game, or even using it to edgeguard alone. It is also a common OoS option.
Forward aerial   13% A quick swipe in front of her, great finisher/edgeguarder that semi-spikes with high knockback, and very deadly offstage against characters with poor recovery. Can potentially be done against an opponent repeatedly if Sheik can maneuver correctly.
Back aerial   Clean: 14%/10% (right foot/leg), 8% (left leg)
Late: 10%/9% (right foot/leg), 6% (hip), 7% (left leg)
A quick kick in behind her, good for edgeguarding. The sweetspot is located at the foot. It is also her 2nd most powerful aerial after her F-air, dealing high knockback which is enough to KO Mario around 100%
Up aerial   NTSC: 12% (clean), 9% (late)
PAL: 10% (clean), 8% (late)
A spinning kick upwards with high vertical knockback and KO potential (most notably near a ceiling). In the PAL version, the attack's knockback is considerably reduced, making it a better attack for comboing.
Down aerial   11% A downwards kick with long ending lag. This move has a lot of hitstun and can lead into her other aerials easily, or even her Up-smash/tilts
Pummel   3% Hits opponent with her elbow.
Forward throw   6% (hit 1), 2% (throw) Launches her opponent forward with low horizontal knockback and hitstun.
Back throw   5% (hit 1), 2% (throw) Throws her opponent behind and kicks them away. Better knockback and hitstun than her f-throw but otherwise weak, though it can force opponents offstage to set up edgeguards.
Up throw   6% (hit 1), 2% (throw) Launches opponent above her. Excellent for an aerial-attack follow up, but due to low hitstun follow-ups are difficult. Can chain grab the space animals at high percentages.
Down throw   5% (hit 1), 3% (throw) Throws opponent on the ground, then performs an axe-kick, knocking the opponent up into the air. Overall, this is the best of Sheik's throws because it can reliably chain grab or tech chase many characters to high percentages, with a reliable KO option being a u-smash. However, in the PAL version, it does more knockback and so it cannot chaingrab reliably.
Floor attack (front)   6% Gets up and kicks both sides of herself.
Floor attack (back)   6% Gets up and punches both sides of herself.
Edge attack (fast)   8% Climbs up and kicks onto the stage.
Edge attack (slow)   6% (body), 8% (arm) Slowly gets up and thrusts out her elbow.
Neutral special Needle Storm 3% (needles), 6 needles max Charges up needles, which can be fired by releasing the B button. The charge can be saved by pressing the shield button, and continued by pressing B again. They are quick to charge, travel fast and far when thrown, can cut through or stop most other projectiles in the game, and also have high hitstun and low knockback, making them good for distracting foes. They can even edgeguard characters easily and effectively. If used in the air, they travel roughly 45 degrees to the ground.
Side special Chain 3% (chain), 5% (tip) Pulls out a long metal chain and whips it around (controllable with the control stick). Does minor damage to opponents, and an electric effect at the tip of the chain. Due to the low damage and high lag, it is almost never used in competitive play. Despite this, it can be used for edgeguarding.
Up special Vanish 12% Vanishes into the air, then reappears further in one direction, which can be controlled with the control stick. Used for recovery. It does not travel as far as Zelda's Farore's Wind, though if Sheik is above the ledge and far away from the stage, transforming into Zelda to get back to the stage is possible, but this should only be done if Vanish absolutely can't make it to the stage. Vanish deals decent knockback and can be used as a risky edgeguard move as well.
Down special Transform 0% Transforms into Zelda.


  • Performs a threatening pose with her left hand before her face.

Idle pose[edit]

  • Shakes her hand in front of her face, then swings it to the side.
Sheik Idle Pose Melee.gif

Crowd cheer[edit]

English Japanese
Description Gooooooooooo Sheik! Shei-k! Shei-k!
Pitch Group chant Male

Victory poses[edit]

An orchestrated portion of the main theme from The Legend of Zelda series.
  • Uses one arm to hold up the other while she holds her other hand to her chin, as if in deep thought.
  • Throws two needles, then holds her right hand up to her mouth.
When the language is set to Japanese, Sheik says "貰った。" ("I got it.") during this pose.
  • Kicks two times, then holds her left hand in front of her while exhaling loudly.
Sheik-Victory1-SSBM.gif Sheik-Victory2-SSBM.gif Sheik-Victory3-SSBM.gif

In Competitive play[edit]


Super Smash Bros. Melee Character Matchups
  FoxHeadSSBM.png FalcoHeadSSBM.png MarthHeadSSBM.png SheikHeadSSBM.png JigglypuffHeadSSBM.png PeachHeadSSBM.png IceClimbersHeadSSBM.png CaptainFalconHeadSSBM.png PikachuHeadSSBM.png SamusHeadSSBM.png DrMarioHeadSSBM.png YoshiHeadSSBM.png LuigiHeadSSBM.png GanondorfHeadSSBM.png MarioHeadSSBM.png YoungLinkHeadSSBM.png DonkeyKongHeadSSBM.png LinkHeadSSBM.png MrGame&WatchHeadSSBM.png RoyHeadSSBM.png MewtwoHeadSSBM.png ZeldaHeadSSBM.png NessHeadSSBM.png PichuHeadSSBM.png BowserHeadSSBM.png KirbyHeadSSBM.png Avg.
SheikHeadSSBM.png -1 ±0 +1 Mirror match -1 +1 -1 +1 +3 +1 +1 +3 +2 +2 +1 +2 +2 +3 +3 +3 +2 +3 +3 +3 +3 +3 +2

Sheik has one of the best matchup spreads in the game. She is soft countered by three characters, has one even matchup, soft counters six characters, counters five, and hard counters ten.

She generally has an advantage against characters possessing

  • Sluggish movement speed/high lag movesets, such as Link, and Bowser, as they lack the tools to effectively counter her speed and pressure game.
  • Bad neutral and approach games, like Zelda, Ness, or Kirby, therefore giving her an even easier time taking a stock.
  • Vulnerability to chaingrabs and long combos, including characters like Pichu, Mr. Game & Watch, or Ganondorf, owing to their high hitstun and large hurtboxes.
  • Poor recovery/lack of edgeguarding moves, such as Luigi, Marth, or Dr. Mario, allowing Sheik to gimp with her high power aerials(especially f-air)

However, Sheik tends to struggle against characters with strong camping games, or good neutral games, such as Fox, Falco, and Jigglypuff, as they can wait for her to approach and avoid most of her attacks, while also punishing Sheik. She also has a difficult time fighting against those possessing chaingrabs on her, or tools exploiting her fast falling speed and height, like Ice Climbers. Lastly, her recovery is very poor and telegraphed, giving her a hard time against characters with better recoveries than her, most notably Peach.

Overall, Sheik's advantages give her amazing matchups over the majority of the cast, and she only loses against a handful of characters in Melee. Sheik also has the distinction of having the most hard-counters, and fewest even matchups in the top-tier

Notable players[edit]

Any number following the Smasher name indicates placement on the Summer 2019 MPGR, which recognizes the official top 50 players in the world in Super Smash Bros. Melee from February 1st, 2019 to July 7th, 2019.



  • USA DieSuperFly
  • USA DruggedFox - Mained Sheik before switching to Fox.
  • Japan Flash - Was considered to be the best Sheik in Japan before his retirement. Most notably took sets off SFAT and Silent Wolf.
  • Germany Ice - Mained Sheik before switching to Fox.
  • USA Isai - Played Sheik along with Captain Falcon before retiring to focus on Smash 64.
  • USA KDJ - Triple-mained Sheik, Marth and Fox before retiring. Was one of the best players before Brawl came out.
  • USA Lucien
  • USA Recipherus - The best Sheik in the 2002-2003 era.

Tier placement and history[edit]

Sheik has always been a high/top tier character, similar to Fox and Falco. For the first five years of the Melee metagame, Sheik was considered the best character in the game, ranking at the top of every tier list up until the eighth (July 2006). Her chain throwing ability was considered especially powerful in the early metagame. In fact, at some points, players believed Sheik was so good that they contemplated banning her. With the incredible potential of Fox and Falco eventually being realized, along with Marth and Jigglypuff rising up the tier list, Sheik dropped to third place in the high tier in the eighth tier list. However, she still remained around the third and fourth spots, and is still considered one of the best characters, being ranked fourth in the twelfth and current tier list (as of December 2015).

PAL viability[edit]

Like several other characters who would coincidentally become known to be top-tiered, Sheik was nerfed in the PAL version of Melee. Her up aerial was weakened, making it more of a juggling move than a KO move, and her down throw, which boasted a chaingrab on much of the cast in NTSC and gave Sheik follow-up options, now has a much more horizontal launch angle, removing those guaranteed chaingrabs and follow-ups. These changes make some of Sheik's winning matchups in NTSC much harder. For example, in NTSC, Sheik could KO Marth, Peach, and sometimes Jigglypuff reliably with down throw to forward or up aerial. In PAL, however, not only does down throw send those characters too far at KO percentages, up aerial is no longer a reliable KO move until much higher percents. Sheik must, however, still deal with Marth's range and more effective neutral game and Peach's edgeguarding and Vegetable projectiles.

Despite these nerfs, there were initially more Sheik professionals in PAL regions than in NTSC regions, namely Amsah, Aniolas, and others. Due to Sheik's nerfs, they adopted a playstyle that relied less on grabs and more on needle and forward aerial camping to create openings. This style was effective at that stage of the metagame, and for nearly 5 years (March 2010 - March 2015), Sheik was ranked 2nd on the PAL tier list, higher than she was in NTSC during that time span. However, Sheik's shortcomings over other top-tiered characters became more and more prevalent, and she is now ranked 5th on the PAL tier list instead. However, she still retains her powerful air game, punish game, and excellent combo ability despite her down throw nerf.

In single-player modes[edit]

In Classic Mode[edit]

Sheik's unused intro image.

Sheik herself can only be fought if the opponent is Zelda; animations left on the disc, however, suggest that she could have immediately began matches against the player, instead of having to wait for Zelda to transform.

In Adventure Mode[edit]

Sheik's sole appearance in the Adventure Mode is in the second portion of Stage 3, the Underground Maze. The player has to fight against Zelda on the Temple stage; Sheik can be fought if Zelda transforms.

In All-Star Mode[edit]

In All-Star Mode, Zelda/Sheik and her allies are fought on the Temple stage.

In Event Matches[edit]

Sheik is featured in the following event matches:

  • Event 9: Hide 'n' Sheik: The player is pitted against two Zeldas on Great Bay; to win, however, players have to wait for Zelda to transform into Sheik and then KO them. Upon getting KO'd as Sheik, the CPU will be removed from the game; KOs against Zelda, however, merely cause her to respawn as normal.
  • Event 15: Girl Power: The player, with two stocks, has to fight against Samus, Peach and Zelda, all of whom also have two stocks; the player, however, is tiny, and must KO all three, who are on the same team. Friendly fire is turned on in the match, easing it slightly for the player.
  • Event 20: All-Star Match 2:Zelda/Sheik is the third opponent the player must fight in this series of staged battles. Their character battles her on the Temple stage, and the player's character has 2 stock while Zelda/Sheik has 1. With a timer of four minutes, the player must defeat her and the other four characters with the overall time and life they have: Samus, Link, Captain Falcon, and Fox.
  • Event 29: Triforce Gathering: The player plays as Link with Zelda as their partner, both of whom have one stock. They face Ganondorf on the Temple stage, who has two stock. Clearing the event allows the player to unlock Ganondorf.
  • Event 44: Mewtwo Strikes!: In this event, the player is initially placed on Battlefield, against Zelda. After fifteen seconds, however, Mewtwo appears on stage and will fight the player. The player's goal is to KO Mewtwo; while Zelda can be attacked, KOing her will result in failure.

Ending images[edit]

Sheik and Zelda share ending images for the one-player modes, as well as the same cinematic; clearing the mode with one also gives the player both of their trophies.



This is Zelda's alter ego. Using a variation of the name of the ancient Sheikah tribe, she appears before Link and teaches him melodies instrumental to his success. It's believed that she's not just a quick-change artist, but rather that she is able to instantaneously alter her clothing and her eye and skin color by using her magical skills.

  • The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 11/98
Sheik [Smash]

Strategically switching between Zelda and Sheik is key. Compared to her Zelda form, Sheik is nimble and has gorgeous moves, but she lacks a strong knockout attack. The number of needles thrown in Needle Storm is based on how long you hold the B Button before releasing it. Use the Control Stick to wave the Chain after brandishing it.

Sheik [Smash]

The best strategy to use when playing as Sheik is to let her flow from one powerful attack into another, like a river of quicksilver. Zelda has some techniques with more punch, however, so in one-on-one battles, use Transform as needed. Sheik only travels a short way when using Vanish, but the move comes with a small explosion that damages foes around her.

Alternate costumes[edit]

Sheik Palette (SSBM).png
SheikHeadSSBM.png SheikHeadRedSSBM.png SheikHeadBlueSSBM.png SheikHeadGreenSSBM.png SheikHeadWhiteSSBM.png


  • Sheik's appearance in Melee marked the first time the character was playable in any game.
  • Sheik is the only playable character in Melee not to appear on the character selection screen.
  • Considering her appearance in the Japanese version of the game, Sheik is the only Legend of Zelda series character to speak (albeit only one phrase) outside of mainly various shouts and grunts like the other characters who represent the same series in-game.
  • Sheik and Diddy Kong are the only characters to have been ranked 1st on the tier list for a Smash game that have lost the position in a later tier list. This also happened to her in Smash 4.
    • Ironically, despite not being ranked 1st and having a slightly worse matchup spread than Fox (who has the best matchup spread overall in Melee), Sheik has the most hard counters in Melee, with 10.
  • Sheik's white costume changes her skin tone to a very pale color, as opposed to all of her other swaps which have a darker skin tone.
  • This is the only Smash game where Sheik uses her canonical design. Brawl and Smash 4 based her design off of unused concept art for Twilight Princess (which is the basis for Link, Zelda, and Ganondorf in those games), while Ultimate uses a completely original design based on the Stealth Armor set from Breath of the Wild (which is the basis for Link's design in Ultimate), although retaining her braid.
    • Because of this, Brawl had her canonical design appear as a sticker, while Ultimate has this appear appear as a spirit. This leaves SSB4 as the only game where Sheik's canonical design is not directly referenced.