Sheik (シーク, Sheik) is a playable character in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. She was officially confirmed on June 12th, 2018 alongside Zelda and the rest of the returning roster. Sheik is classified as Fighter #16.
As with Zelda, this is the first time in the series to not have Sheik voiced by Jun Mizusawa since Melee; as a result of Zelda's The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds-based recast, Ayumi Fujimura now also voices Sheik, continuing the trend from Mizusawa voicing both characters in the previous games.
How to unlock
Complete one of the following:
With the exception of the third method, Sheik must then be defeated on Gerudo Valley.
Sheik is a character that, like a ninja of sorts, fits the "hit-and-run" character archetype. One of Sheik's greatest strengths is her overall mobility, being among the best in the game both grounded and aerial. She also has the 4th highest gravity, which makes her mobility better, but leaves her more vulnerable to horizontal knockback. Her crouch is also very low, making her difficult to hit when doing so. Sheik can also wall cling and crawl. However, she is the 6th-lightest character in the game, which when coupled with her gravity and tall height, these traits collectively make her very susceptible to combos and KO's, thus giving her very frail survivability overall.
Aside from her excellent mobility, another one of Sheik's greatest strengths is her extremely quick frame data. Her moves have generally negligible amounts of startup or ending lag, making her extremely difficult to punish properly; this is supplemented by the good range of her moveset. She also has an excellent projectile in Needle Storm, with the needles charging and traveling fast, being long-ranged (covers about half of Final Destination), possessing transcendent priority, causing hitstun, and having overall low cool down (especially when used in the air or on landing). These traits collectively give Sheik a strong camping ability and as well as allowing for versatile follow-ups off of her needles. Overall, her mobility, projectile game, range and frame data all combined form her greatest strength: her outstanding neutral game. She can play both defensively, by pressuring and zoning from afar without much trouble, or aggressively, with her fast attack speed giving her an unpredictable approach. Sheik can poke and pressure her opponents with her aerials and tilts, all of which are safe options. If they choose to drop their shield, they are wide open to these attacks. At the same time, holding shield presents her with an opportunity to grab and use her throw set-ups.
Sheik's excellent frame data, combined with the low power of many of her moves, give her among the best combo abilities in the game. Her throws can easily lead to other attacks, with her forward and down throws being particularly effective at starting combos, as they can set up long chains of forward aerials, with her up aerial and Bouncing Fish being useful combo finishers. Her combos are not limited to her air game; all of her tilts can start and extend combos since they send opponents into the air, and can confirm into aerials; her forward tilt particularly has reliable follow-ups all the way into KO percents. Down tilt, while not chaining into itself as effectively, has even lower power, giving her access to KO confirms as well.
All aspects of Sheik's moveset are solid overall. The majority of her aerial moves possess great versatility; forward aerial, in particular, has a fast startup, decent ending lag, auto-cancels in a short hop fast fall, and has slightly disjointed range, making it an all-purpose move: it can be used to approach, pressure, combo and set up edge-guards. Up aerial similarly possesses great utility as its looping hits can be used to drag down opponents to extend combos or lead into KO's depending on positioning, much like Joker's own up aerial. Additionally, it is her strongest aerial, and also sends opponents into a great angle for juggling, both of which give it good utility at both KO'ing and finishing combos. Her back aerial is also versatile to an extent, as it can be used to extend or finish combos as well. When sweet spotted (at the foot), it can KO at high percents near the ledge and is even safer on shield than her forward aerial. Lastly, neutral aerial is her fastest aerial, allowing her to break out of combos and extend or finish hers, notably into Bouncing Fish.
Outside of her Needle Storm, Sheik's special moveset also possesses good utility: her up special, Vanish, grants her intangibility and invisibility, making it hard for the opponent to predict where she will appear. It also has a hitbox on disappearance that is moderately strong, and another one and a windbox when she reappears, making it difficult to punish. Meanwhile, her down special Bouncing Fish, is famous for being her primary KO move, being similar to Flip Jump on some regards: it deals good damage with high knockback scaling, can finish combos from her neutral aerial, forward aerial, back aerial, and aerial Needle Storm, and is safe on shield when retreating. Sheik can perform consecutive stronger kicks after the first, although this sees almost no use in normal gameplay. Both Vanish and Bouncing Fish also conform Sheik's last strength in her recovery, as they make it versatile and extendable, both of them can be used in tandem with each other, and they are difficult and risky to intercept, as they both deal high knockback enough to interrupt an edge-guard. Combined with her wall jump, this makes Sheik hard to edge-guard or gimp, without disabling her midair jump, and enables her to reverse edge-guard effectively.
However, despite having immense strengths, Sheik has polarizing flaws. The most notable of them is her frailty: despite the fact that her recovery is amazing, in a similar vein to Fox, her on-stage endurance is very weak due to her very lightweight (being lighter than characters such as Kirby), succumbing to even decently strong blows, whereas her above average height, high falling speed and gravity make her easy to combo. This is further compounded by her notoriously poor damage output overall: despite her strong damage racking ability, she requires extremely long strings of attacks just to do the same amount of damage that the vast majority of the cast can inflict in noticeably far fewer hits, making her arguably the weakest fighter in the game in terms of general damage and knockback in her moveset. While the low damage and power on her moves grant her an awesome combo game, Sheik also struggles to secure her opponent's stock. She has a few moves with high knockback, but she has difficulty landing them; her up smash has a powerful first hit on her arms as she raises them, but it is hard to land outside of a read or confirm, is hampered by its much weaker second hit as she lowers her arms and is very punishable if missed, her forward and down smash are among the weakest smash attacks of their kind, and they have punishable ending lag as well, while Vanish's hitbox when Sheik disappears is hard to land. In the air, she is limited to using her up aerial, back aerial, or Bouncing Fish to KO, and even then, the former two require to be used close to the blast lines due to their relatively weak knockback, whereas the latter is susceptible to DI and is predictable without a setup on top of Killing considerably later center-stage compared to the ledge. Furthermore, her aerial KO setups are difficult to pull off due to Ultimate's faster pace and launch physics, re-addition of directional air-dodges, and the weakening of her neutral and back aerial's combo potential. Her other aerials are otherwise only useful for edge-guarding and gimping characters with particularly weak or linear recoveries due to their abysmal KO power or sacrificial use. Her overall below average grab game has no throws that can KO at realistic percents, and her aforementioned forward and down throws have too much knockback for truly reliable KO set-ups. With all of this working against her, it is not uncommon for her opponents to survive in excess of 150%, which combined with her frailty makes her notoriously vulnerable to comebacks, even against fighters with generally mediocre KO power. Lastly, the rage mechanic hinders Sheik: without rage, she often has trouble KO'ing, though as her rage increases, her combo game slowly dwindles, which when combined with her poor damage output, can make bringing an opponent to KO percents difficult. Additionally, this brings opponents to a high level of rage enough to KO Sheik herself.
Other weaknesses include a few moves that have very low utility, despite Sheik's moveset versatility. These include her down aerial, which is the slowest of her aerial moveset, has the highest landing lag and is a stall-then-fall, giving it the lowest utility of Sheik's aerial moveset despite it meteor smashing an opponent. Her dash attack, while it comes out very quick, is unsafe on shield due to its inability to cross-up and does not KO at realistic percents. Her up throw similarly does not KO at realistic percents and is her least useful throw as it lacks the utility her other throws have. Her smash attacks are unsafe and difficult to land overall, although they are fast enough to work as combo finishers. Lastly, Burst Grenade is powerful but has a slow explosion, which limits it to situational usage on edge-guarding predictable recoveries, extending the damage of a hard punish, or a situational mix-up to deter edge guarders.
Altogether, Sheik's strengths slightly outweigh her weaknesses. While she has an outstanding neutral game owing to her excellent frame data and mobility, as well as having Needles, she often has to play a very long game due to how long it usually takes to get her opponent to a KO percentage; at that point, Sheik has to play an entirely different playstyle and try to look for openings to land her KO confirms. As a result, many top players have an overall positive view on Sheik's viability, especially compared to the early meta when she was commonly considered a low-tier character. While her playerbase is small, her best player from Smash 4, VoiD, has considered picking up the character again for tournament use, proving that she has potential.
Changes from Super Smash Bros. 4
Like most top-tier characters, Sheik in Smash 4 was considered one of the most potent characters (and the best character in the middle of the game's lifetime), due to her nearly uncontested neutral game. Sheik went on to receive the most nerfs from game updates, and while they did somewhat reduce her effectiveness, she remained a top tier character. Possibly as a result, while Sheik has received a large mix of buffs and nerfs, the latter is more prevalent since they have worsened her strengths while amplifying her weaknesses from the previous game. Thus, Sheik has been greatly nerfed overall in her transition to Ultimate, although buffs from game updates have remedied this a bit.
Sheik's most notable nerfs are to her already weak damage output and to her poor survivability. Her main combo moves like her tilts and neutral and forward aerials (most notably the latter), in addition to Needle Storm and Bouncing Fish, all deal less damage. This gives Sheik a notoriously harder time racking up damage, requiring her to string much more hits just to deal any noticeable damage; this is exacerbated by her lack of KO ability. Although the weakening of rage has slightly improved her survivability and, most importantly, her combo consistency, this is counterbalanced by her weight getting decreased to the point of being lighter than small characters such as Kirby and Pikachu, now being the sixth lightest character in the game, while also making her lack of KO power even worse. As a result, she is still unable to take much advantage of rage, much like in Smash 4.
The universal changes to the game's engine have brought both positive and negative changes to Sheik, but have hurt her overall. The game's faster launch physics, changes to jostling mechanics (which prevent cross-ups and instead pushes characters away), and the reintroduction of directional air dodges hinder many of Sheik's combo strings and KO setups. Furthermore, the prevalence of the newly introduced short hop multiplier on aerial attacks (which causes them to deal less damage) means Sheik doesn't benefit as much from the new 1v1 multiplier as the rest of the cast due to her semi-reliance on aerials done out of a short hop; this, combined with the lower damage on her combo moves, further exacerbates her worsened damage racking ability. While Sheik does benefit from the universally faster jumpsquats, mobility and lower landing lag like the rest of the cast, she already had highly impressive mobility and the overall fastest frame data in Smash 4, which causes the rest of the cast to benefit more than her from their buffs in those aspects, allowing them to keep up with her.
However, Sheik has received some useful buffs besides the universal changes. Her running speed is much faster, now being the 4th fastest runner in the game. Her rapid jab connects more reliably and its finisher has less ending lag, making it more effective for damage racking despite its individual hits dealing less damage. Her up and down tilts, and Needle Storm (especially the aerial version) also have less ending lag, improving their combo potential. Her generally least useful moves in Smash 4 such as her dash attack, down smash, down aerial, and up throw deal more damage. Her smash attacks as a whole have also been buffed, with forward smash and down smash's hits connecting better, and up smash's first hit having more range and power. Burst Grenade has less ending lag and no longer causes helplessness, while Vanish grants more intangibility when used on the ground. Sheik has a new pummel that has gone from one of the slowest to one of the fastest, allowing it to be used more safely and rack up more damage. Finally, and most notably, her back aerial now deals more damage and knockback, improving its previously lacking KO potential when sweet spotted (though it is still a relatively weak aerial).
In the end, Sheik's nerfs noticeably outweigh her buffs, as the former have both worsened her key strengths and exacerbated her main flaws, while the latter was not significant enough to compensate despite giving her more consistent options. This makes her worse than her Smash 4 iteration, and one of the most nerfed characters in the transition to Ultimate. Initially, Sheik's overall perception was extremely negative, with many top players claiming her to not be a viable character, since she has to work much harder to rack up damage and score KOs than the vast majority of the cast. As such, her initial representation in Ultimate was poor, with many notable players such as Vinnie and Nietono dropping her in favor of other characters, and others like Mr. R and k9sbruce reducing her to a secondary. Game updates gave her improvements, including more consistent options alongside new combos and kill confirms; while they have done little to address her minimal damage output, she has received better representation (although it remains rather mediocre) and results since then from players such as VoiD (using her as a co-main to Pichu), Kameme, Kirihara (both using her as a secondary), Shachi and Sylph; combined with advancements to her metagame, this has caused some top players to reassess opinions on her to a much more favorable one. For now, Sheik's viability remains questionable, with the general consensus being that she is a high tier, in contrast to her top tier performance in Smash 4.
Throws and other attacks
Sheik has been buffed via game updates. Update 2.0.0 made her KO potential slightly more consistent by enlarging up smash's first hit, allowing it to catch landings better and hit a larger number of tall and/or large characters when they are standing right next to Sheik. In addition to these changes, Burst Grenade had its ending lag decreased, which slightly improved its safety as an edgeguarding option, while down smash's hits were modified to connect more reliably. Update 3.0.0 brought a few more noteworthy buffs, increasing the range of down tilt's tipper hitbox and slightly improving her neutral game, as forward aerial gained the ability to hit smaller characters beneath her, while Needle Storm charges slightly faster.
Update 7.0.0 further buffed Sheik in a number of ways. Most notably, Needle Storm has less landing lag, improving its safety and combo potential. A handful of her untoned moves have also been noticeably improved. Down smash has less startup and connects even better than before, while Vanish's explosion KOs noticeably earlier. Burst Grenade's ending lag was decreased even further, its explosion has a longer duration, and it can no longer be cancelled out by attacks; altogether, these buffs addressed the move's primary flaws that have plagued it since SSB4. Lastly, standing grab has more range, which somewhat restored one of her former out of shield options, and her shield itself was enlarged as part of a near-universal buff to shield sizes. Update 8.0.0 makes her forward smash connects better and the move's second hit has more range.
For a gallery of Sheik's hitboxes, see here.
Note: All numbers are listed as base damage, without the 1v1 multiplier.
In competitive play
During Ultimate's early meta, Sheik's representation was almost nonexistent due to the significance of her nerfs. With the reduction of her overall damage output, it was common for Sheik players to pull off a lengthy string of combos that only amounted to the equivalent of 2-3 stray hits that their opponents dealt. As a result, much of her playerbase dropped her entirely due to the sheer amount of effort required when using her compared to the vast majority of the cast (for the same or potentially even weaker result). Her weak damage output became notorious within the community, with players and commentators alike pointing it out during matches. As such, Sheik was commonly seen as a mid or even bottom-tier character by most professionals.
Patch 3.0.0 gave Sheik a handful of buffs, most notably improving the effectiveness of staple moves like down tilt, forward aerial and Needle Storm. As a result, some of her former players, most notably VoiD and Mr.R, began representing her in tournaments again, and her perception within the community has improved somewhat as some players such as ESAM believe that Sheik has potential and could make a great secondary character. VoiD has been using Sheik much more often and has seen impactful success with her. Sheik was buffed once again in 7.0.0, and as such, VoiD has placed even higher with the character, most notably at Frostbite 2020 and Smash Ultimate Summit 3 while Eim got 2nd at Seibugeki 8, a Japanese national. While not quite as strong as her previous iteration, players have gradually began considering Sheik as an high-tier character with some such as Tweek, Pink Fresh and Abadango thinking the character is top tier.
Most historically significant players
Any number following the Smasher name indicates placement on the Fall 2019 PGRU, which recognizes the official top 50 players in the world in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate from July 13th, 2019 to December 15th, 2019.
See also: Category:Sheik professionals (SSBU)
Classic Mode: Masquerade
Sheik's opponents are characters who wear masks or other forms of headwear to conceal their identity.
Role in World of Light
During the mode itself, Sheik can be unlocked early on shortly after rescuing Mario, where the player arrives at a crossroads and has the choice to rescue her, Marth or Villager. If one of the others is rescued first, Sheik's path will be blocked by a force field created by Master Hand, which will disappear upon defeating a boss or can be circumvented by looping back to the other side.
Sheik has a separate awakening battle from Zelda, who appears in the opening cutscene.
Sheik's fighter spirit can be obtained by completing Classic Mode. It is also available periodically for purchase in the shop for 300 Gold, but only after Sheik has been unlocked. Unlocking Sheik in World of Light allows the player to preview the spirit below in the Spirit List under the name "???". As a fighter spirit, it cannot be used in Spirit Battles and is purely aesthetic. Her fighter spirit has an alternate version that replaces it with her artwork in Ultimate.
In Spirit battles
As the main opponent
As a minion
Fighter Showcase Video