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.
Sheik is now voiced by Ayumi Fujimura, who voices her alter-ego in both The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds and Ultimate.
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Sheik is a character that, as 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 vertical 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 travelling fast, being long-ranged (covers about half of Final Destination), possessing transcendent priority, and causing hitstun. Coupled with her range, her needles give her a strong camping ability. 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 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, gives her among the best combo abilities in the game. Her throws can easily lead into 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. A sole few number of her aerial moves possess great versatility; forward aerial in particular, has little 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. Her back aerial is also versatile to an extent, as it can be used to extend or finish combos. When sweetspotted (at the foot), it can KO at high percents near the ledge and is even safer on shield than her forward aerial. Neutral aerial is her fastest one, allowing her to break out of combos and extend or finish hers, notably into Bouncing Fish. Up aerial 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.
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 decently 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, and aerial Needle Storm, and is safe on shield if it hits. Bouncing Fish can let you bounce on multiple players in a single move, although this is very rare 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 and 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 her recovery being amazing, in a similar vein to Fox, her on-stage endurance is very weak due to her very light weight (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 deal the same amount of damage that the vast majority of the cast can inflict in noticeably far fewer hits. 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 rises 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, forcing her to rely too much on up smash and Bouncing Fish to score a KO. Furthermore, her aerial KO setups are difficult to pull off due to Ultimate's faster launch physics, re-addition of directional air-dodges, and the weakening of her neutral 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. Furthermore, 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%. 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, it 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 smash attacks are difficult to land overall and outside of up smash, have little KO power. 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 edgeguarders.
Altogether, Sheik's strengths are on par with her weaknesses. While she has an outstanding neutral game owing to her excellent frame data and mobility, these traits are overall unrewarding due to her very frail survivability, abysmal damage output, and inconsistency at KOing. Her strengths are further overshadowed by the vastly buffed mobility, frame data, damage outputs, and combo and KO potential of many returning veterans and newcomers. As a result, many top players have a poor view on Sheik's viability, with her tournament representation matching her perception due to her playerbase from Smash 4 largely dropping her.
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, Sheik has been noticeably nerfed overall.
Sheik's most notable nerfs are to her already weak damage output and poor survivability. Her main combo moves like her tilts, neutral aerial and forward aerial, in addition to Needle Storm and Bouncing Fish, all deal less damage. This requires her to string even more hits in order to rack up notable amounts of damage, exacerbated by her lack of KO ability. Furthermore, Ultimate's faster launch physics, jostling mechanics (which prevents cross-ups and instead pushes opponents away), and re-addition of directional air dodges hinder many of Sheik's combo strings and KO setups. Although the weakening of rage slightly improves her survivability and combo consistency, this is offset by her weight being decreased to the point of being lighter than characters such as Kirby, making her the 6th lightest character. Lastly, while Sheik does benefit from the universally faster jumpsquats and lower landing lag like the rest of the cast, the universal changes have overall indirectly nerfed her, as she already had the overall fastest frame data in Smash 4, and most other characters have received more significant buffs in those aspects, allowing more characters to keep up with her.
However, Sheik did receive some buffs besides the universal changes. 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 tilt, down tilt and Needle Storm (especially the aerial version) also have less ending lag, improving their combo potential. Her generally least used moves in Smash 4 such as her dash attack, down smash, down aerial, and up throw deal more damage; while forward smash and down smash's hits connect better, and up smash's first hit has more range. Burst Grenade has less ending lag and no longer causes helplessness, while Vanish grants more intangibility when used on the ground. Most notably, her back aerial deals more damage and knockback, improving its previously lacking KO potential when sweetspotted (though it is still a relatively weak aerial) and her pummel has gone from one of the slowest to one of the fastest, allowing it to be used more safely.
Overall, Sheik's nerfs outweigh her buffs, as the former have exacerbated her main flaws, while the latter were not significant enough to compensate, making her worse than her Smash 4 iteration. Her overall perception has been extremely negative, with many top players such as ZeRo, ESAM, MkLeo and Dabuz have claimed that she is not a viable character, since she has to work notoriously harder to rack up damage and score KOs than the vast majority of the cast. As such, her current representation in Ultimate has been poor, with many notable players such as Vinnie, Mr. R and VoiD dropping her in favor of other characters. While she did receive some improvements in Patch 3.0, including a new kill confirm, they did very little to address her minimal damage output. Despite this, VoiD has done well with her as a secondary in tournaments. For now, Sheik's viability remains questionable.
Throws and other attacks
Sheik has been buffed via game updates. Sheik's KO ability is slightly more consistent — up smash's sweetspot is larger, allowing it to catch landings better and hit even more tall or large characters when they're standing right next to Sheik; while down smash connects more reliably at higher percents. Down tilt's tipper sweetspot is easier to land, improving its combo ability and allowing her to set up KOs more reliably. Her neutral game is slightly better, as forward aerial can now hit smaller characters beneath her; while Needle Storm charges slightly faster. Lastly, Burst Grenade and neutral infinite's finisher have less ending lag, leaving Sheik less prone should her opponent escape either attack.
Note: All numbers are listed as base damage, without the 1v1 multiplier.
Appears from a Deku Nut's explosion while briefly emanating blue wisps.
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 amount 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 even got notorious within the community, with players and commentators alike pointing it out during matches.
Patch 3.0.0 eventually gave Sheik a handful of buffs, most notably improving the effectiveness of some 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. However, it is commonly agreed that Sheik is noticeably worse than her Smash 4 iteration and while she may not be a bad character, she has glaring flaws that hinder her viability.
Any number following the Smasher name indicates placement on the Spring 2019 PGRU, which recognizes the official top 50 players in the world in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate from February 1st, 2019 to July 7th, 2019.
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 500 coins. 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. Each Fighter Spirit has an alternate version that replaces them with their artwork in Ultimate.
In Spirit battles
As the main opponent
As a minion
Character Showcase Video