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Shulk (SSBU)

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This article is about Shulk's appearance in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. For the character in other contexts, see Shulk.
Shulk
in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate
Shulk SSBU.png
Shulk Swimsuit SSBU.png

XenobladeSymbol.svg
Universe Xenoblade
Other Smash Bros. appearance in SSB4


Availability Unlockable
Final Smash Chain Attack
ShulkHeadSSBU.png
He is the only fighter that can change his status during battle. His sword, the Monado, allows him to switch between five modes—Jump (Green), Speed (Blue), Shield (Yellow), Buster (Purple) and Smash (Red)—which change his abilities for a short time. Fun fact: Shulk's eighth color variation puts him in a pair of swimming trunks!
Super Smash Blog, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate Official Site

Shulk (シュルク, Shulk) is a playable character in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. He was confirmed on June 12th, 2018. Shulk is classified as fighter #57.

Adam Howden and Shintarō Asanuma reprise their roles as Shulk's voice actors in the English and Japanese versions of the game through mostly recycled voice clips from Super Smash Bros. 4.

How to unlock[edit]

Complete one of the following:

With the exception of the third method, Shulk must then be defeated on Gaur Plain.

Attributes[edit]

Shulk is a middleweight, with his walking speed, his dashing speed, falling speed, and gravity are average, his air speed is above-average, and his air acceleration is below-average. As such, Shulk overall has average mobility, although they do not grant him too many obvious advantages or disadvantages.

Shulk's greatest strength is his disjointed range: thanks to the Monado, Shulk possesses the longest overall disjointed range in the game. Shulk's excellent range allows him to punish careless moves by retaliating at a distance, or create space by challenging his opponent with his disjointed attacks. His most useful grounded moves are his up tilt and smash attacks, each of which possess distinct perks. His up tilt boasts outstanding vertical range, can cover multiple get-up options from the edge, and can KO at very high percentages, whereas his smash attacks boast high power and long ranges.

Shulk also boasts a powerful aerial moveset, which plays a key role in his approach and spacing games. Both his neutral and forward aerials possess wide-arced ranges with low landing lag, making them Shulk's best approach options. The former is useful for anything from starting combos to covering landing options thanks to its long-lasting hitbox and low landing lag, while the latter's wide range and dependable speed makes it a very good edge-guarding and spacing option. His back aerial is a capable KOing option due to it being Shulk's most powerful aerial, with its high horizontal range also allowing it to space or poke from a distance. Lastly, his up and down aerials are, like his back aerial, thrusts instead of slashes. As such, they have minimal horizontal ranges, but can KO surprisingly early should they hit, with the former being potent near the upper blast line, whereas the latter is capable of meteor smashing.

Much like in his home game, Shulk is a character who revolves around adapting to different situations with his attribute-enhancing Monado Arts. Each Art tweaks his attributes considerably for 6 seconds and can be manually canceled at any time, even immediately after hitstun ends or during landing lag. With this freedom, Shulk can activate an Art to open up options for virtually any situation while still being able to switch or cancel them if he is in a challenging position. Jump grants him significant aerial mobility by making his jumps the highest in the game while improving both his air speed and Air Slash's height. This allows him to recover from almost anywhere off-stage, edge-guard more aggressively and even perform several KO combos, such as a wall of pain leading to a sacrificial Air Slash at medium percentages.

Speed amplifies his usually average ground speed while reducing his jump height, making his ground-to-air transitions more efficient for aerial combos and spacing, while allowing him to approach and retreat noncommittally. It also lowers traction, making Shulk's pivot grab amongst the longest in the game for its duration. These two Arts grant him outstanding mobility, and when combined with the large hitboxes of his attacks, Shulk can effectively space opponents out of a specific side of the stage with either Jump or Speed, making him very difficult to approach on stages with platforms.

Shield bolsters Shulk's defensive game by reducing both damage and knockback received, which allows him to survive for a much longer period of time and resist getting trapped in combos. His shield also becomes much more durable, making it harder to break with shield-breaking attacks such as Bowser Bomb. Buster reduces his overall knockback, but increases his overall damage output, allowing him to rack up damage extremely quickly. Buster also makes up and down throws effective and damaging combo starters at 0%, while the increased damage and shieldstun make Shulk's moves both safer on shield and capable of pressuring shields. Lastly, Smash boosts his entire moveset's knockback, making almost all of Shulk's attacks KOing options (especially with rage), and his down throw becomes the strongest in the game while it is active.

Thanks to the Monado Arts, Shulk is highly adaptive, and usually has an easier time mixing up his playstyle compared to other characters so long as his Arts are used effectively and in tandem with his powerful air game. Such an example would be constantly switching from Jump and Shield to stall a losing match, or activating different arts while being juggled to affect Shulk's falling speed, and hence mess up an opponent's combo. It also allows him to use rage effectively, especially when combined with Shield in order to survive and accumulate rage, or with Smash for a risky, yet powerful boost in knockback.

Due to the technical aspects of activating Monado Arts, Shulk also has access to multiple unique advanced techniques, the most notable of which is known as Monado Art Landing Lag Canceling. By jumping and timing the activation of an Art just before landing, Shulk can reduce the landing lag of his aerials to 5 frames while gaining intangibility for 14 frames (1 frame less than the length granted by his sidestep). While difficult to perform, it allows Shulk to avoid punishment before immediately responding with a punish of his own, or start shield break combos, such as an Art canceled back aerial to forward smash. It can even let him retreat by pivoting in midair, or extend the invincibility of air dodging via an aerial Art activation. This technique is the only viable way to make some of Shulk's moves (such as back aerial) safe on shield against faster characters.

Several other techniques include the Monado Purge, a 50/50 KO set-up consisting of an up throw to up aerial at high percentages, and Monado Art Edge Snapping, which bypasses edge get-up animations while protecting the user with brief intangibility. When mastered, Shulk's Monado Art techniques can be very effective and unpredictable mix-up options that are inaccessible by any other character.

Excluding his Arts, Shulk's special moveset shares his overall high range, and all have their own forms of utility. Back Slash is very powerful when striking the opponent's back and has long range regardless, making it a great surprise attack as well as a decent spacing tool. Air Slash grants a good amount of vertical distance, comes out quickly, and has strong knockback growth, making it a good recovery move and an even better out of shield option. The distance and knockback of Air Slash can additionally be affected by the Jump and Smash Arts respectively, allowing the move to gain even more vertical distance, or be used as a combo finisher in the air or a KO option out-of-shield. Lastly, Vision is tied with Double Team for having the longest lasting counterattack window in the game when fresh while also having the longest range, both of which give Shulk one of the most effective counters of any character. Its alternate counterattack, which is performed when Shulk inputs the direction from which the triggered attack came from, also rivals Counter Surge as the strongest counterattack in the game.

However, Shulk has some glaringly exploitable weaknesses. Despite his outstanding range, his moveset is sluggish. Despite being buffed in Ultimate, his moveset is still slightly sluggish. Aside from his neutral attack, standing grab and Vision, the remainder of his attacks do not hit before frame 9, and majority of his moveset has more than 25 frames of ending lag. Like the aforementioned heavyweights, this means he has to rely on careful reads to land a hit, as a missed attack can easily be capitalized upon. This is made worse by the low shieldstun of his attacks (unless Buster is active), making his attacks inherently unsafe up close and on shield, while still unsafe if spaced against faster characters prevalent in the metagame. Additionally, despite his excellent range, most of Shulk's moves deal more damage with the Monado's blade rather than its beam blade, while several of his strongest combos (such as a landing neutral aerial to a grab or a forward aerial wall of pain) rely on him being extremely close to his opponent/affected by rage to be inescapable, due to his beam blade's lower hitstun. As a result, Shulk is sometimes required to take risks before he can start performing any significant combos.

His sluggish frame data also extends to his aerials. While he is uniquely the only character who can interrupt the ending lag of his aerials with a jump, air dodge or another air attack, all of Shulk's aerials have disproportionately high ending lag, with neutral aerial in particular having 40 frames of ending lag. In addition, Shulk is the only character who cannot auto-cancel any of his aerials, forcing him to endure landing lag every time he starts an aerial attack, even from a double jump (with the exception of forward aerial). While Monado Art Landing Lag Canceling can negate this, it is considerably more complicated to perform compared to auto-canceling, making it very difficult and unwieldy to perform consistently. Essentially, this makes every attack very committal, and makes it important for Shulk to space his attacks carefully as he can easily be punished for missing. Additionally, moves such as back aerial or up aerial are unsafe to use upon landing; unlike many other characters' aerials, their hitboxes only appear after a pause, making it possible to land before an attack even comes out while causing Shulk to suffer from landing lag.

Due to his weight and stature, Shulk is an easy target for combos and juggles, as his tall height, slow air acceleration, and lack of quick combo breakers (with his fastest aerial, neutral aerial, hitting on frame 13 and beginning behind himself) makes it difficult to break out of combos. His lack of a projectile and anti-projectile options also makes it difficult to pressure his opponent from a distance, while making it hard for him to approach against projectile users as well. Even pressure on the ground can be hard to escape from, as Shulk has the fifth lowest traction in the game. This gives him a poor out of shield game without Air Slash, which is punishable when missed. Shulk's special attacks are also flawed in some ways. Back Slash's knockback is exceptionally weak if hitting the opponent's front, has considerable ending lag, and is notorious for its inability to edge sweetspot. Air Slash provides very little horizontal momentum and does not sweetspot edges immediately unless the second slash is inputted right beside an edge, thus making his recovery predictable, even with Jump. Lastly, Vision's counter window decays upon consecutive use, which discourages frequent usage.

The Monado Arts also have debuffs to compensate for their buffs: if an Art is active, it causes some of his other attributes to drop, weakening some of his abilities. A careful opponent can potentially take advantage of them to gain the upper hand, making his Arts a double-edged sword due to his reliance on them to approach and/or perform combos. Jump makes him very vulnerable to damage, and when combined with his slow moveset, makes it even riskier to whiff a move. Speed lowers his damage output, requiring him to deal more hits for the same amount of damage and reduces his jump force to the point of hindering his vertical mobility.

Shield drastically reduces his mobility and damage output to the point of making his recovery and offensive potential among the worst in the game. When coupled with his worsened mobility, Shield's increased knockback defense also leaves Shulk heavily susceptible to combos and juggling. Buster increases his vulnerability to damage, albeit not to degree of Jump, while its lower knockback drastically lowers Shulk's KO potential to the point that his smash attacks will not KO until past 150%. Finally, Smash drastically lowers his endurance, hinders his combo game, and makes his attacks the least damaging in the game.

Even having no Arts active is disadvantageous, as Shulk's balanced attributes do not allow him to easily approach or catch up with opponents. Having no Arts active also hinders him offensively: very few of Shulk's moves possess combo potential past low percentages, and all his smash attacks are punishable because of their high ending lag. This forces Shulk to be reliant on edge-guarding and spacing while waiting for an Art to refresh, and requires him to capitalize on the duration of a needed Art to the fullest in order to perform certain techniques (such as combo strings or approaching), compared to other characters who may have the ability to do so at any time.

Overall, Shulk's optimal playstyle consists of warding off pressure and having extensive knowledge of his opponent. While his weaknesses are exploitable when fighting head-on, his adaptability allows him to excel when played patiently and while exploiting openings. Regardless, Shulk has an extremely high learning curve because of a combination of sluggish attacks and very demanding techniques, as extensive knowledge of Monado Arts, reads and patient play are each required for him to thrive. Shulk also has a notable player base, and is considered by some of the world's top players to be a high tier character, with a few considering Shulk to be the best character in the game.

Changes from Super Smash Bros. 4[edit]

Shulk was considerably buffed in his transition to Ultimate. His infamously sluggish moveset has been sped up in several ways, most notably from the universal reduction of landing lag and lag reduction for some of his most commonly used moves, alongside the ability to autocancel some aerials, a trait he was previously notable for lacking. This eliminates his biggest weakness in Smash 4, as his aerial landings were notoriously punishable. In addition, his KO moves are now stronger, the implementation of canceling a dash with any ground move allows him to approach with his high-ranged tilts, and the addition of pseudo-dash dancing alleviates his previously low traction and turnaround time.

Shulk's defining Monado Arts have also been altered significantly, now performing much like Hyper Monado Arts from Smash 4. Their benefits have been boosted: Speed and Buster now grant Shulk true followups and throw combos, Shield allows him to stay grounded even after withstanding smash attacks at high percents, and Smash now buffs Shulk's KO potential to such an extent that he is capable of KOing extremely early with throws and tilts. Moreover, Shulk retains the ability to switch Monado Arts while in hitstun, which can allow him to disrupt or outright escape true combos and KO setups, mainly by switching to Shield. However, his Monado Arts also last significantly shorter, have much longer recharge times, and their drawbacks have been amplified, making each Art even riskier to use but much more rewarding.

Shulk's nerfs were noticeable however. His previously heavy weight has been reduced, his very damaging and long-reaching neutral attack has been significantly toned down, his back aerial has lost its large early body hitbox, and his throws are all less damaging except up throw, with down throw no longer being the strongest in the game. His infamous Vision had its knockback reduced, making it less effective for KOs at at high percents, and it is no longer unblockable. The changes to his Monado Arts improve its strengths but also its weaknesses. Lastly, Shulk still has most of his noticeable flaws, such as poor approach, an awful frame data, and poor out of shield options.

As a result, Shulk's playstyle revolves less around taking advantage of Monado Arts at all times, and he now depends on using his improved kit to make use of his stronger, shorter-lasting Monado Art abilities. Despite his continued issues with frame data, and the changes that his playstyle has received and the loss of many advanced techniques, Shulk’s results in Ultimate’s competitive scene are much stronger than in Smash 4 due to the benefits he gained from engine changes and his own buffs. This has resulted in him having relatively low, but strong representation from players such as Nicko and Salem. This has led to the perception of Shulk by the community to be that of a high tier character instead of the low-mid tier he was in Smash 4, with some pro players even arguing he has top tier potential. Conversely, some players have began doubting how much "potential" Shulk truly has, as he lacks significant tournament results and representation of other high tiers. However, as of recent, his tournament results have started to reflect that of a high and top tier character, with Kome placing 1st at Sumabato SP 10 and 2nd at EVO Japan 2020. Overall, it's clear he is significantly stronger than he was in Smash 4, but whether all these changes are enough to place him as a high or top tier is still up to debate.

Aesthetics[edit]

  • Change As with all veterans returning from SSB4, Shulk's model features a more subdued color scheme. In addition to losing most of the glossy sheen from his clothes and hair, Shulk's clothing now features simple detailing, his face is more defined, and his hair is somewhat less tousled.
  • Change Shulk's alternate costumes now alter his hair color to match each party member they represent.
    • Change His hair colors are now dirty blonde, black, auburn, black, silver, and orange for the palette swaps of Fiora, Dunban, Reyn, Sharla, Melia, and Riki respectively.
  • Change Shulk's muscles are more prominently defined in his shirtless alternate costume.
  • Change Shulk's idle stance has been slightly altered, as his chest now visibly moves as he breathes.
  • Change The Monado's blue glow during certain moves (such as the first hits of up smash and up aerial) has been made brighter and more noticeable.
  • Change Shulk's second jump freefall animation has been altered, with his limbs no longer being straightened out. This brings it closer to how Shulk jumps in Xenoblade Chronicles.
  • Change During Shulk's hip-posing victory pose, the Monado now glows with a sword trail when swung, and Shulk gives a wide grin at the end.
  • Change Shulk now grins when applauding the winner after a match.
  • Bug fix The Monado's beam blade no longer becomes misaligned on stages with a 2D effect, like Flat Zone X.
  • Bug fix Shulk's armorless costume no longer causes his neck to extend during certain animations, although it still causes the Monado Arts' symbols to flash above Shulk's neck during hitstun.

Attributes[edit]

  • Buff Like all characters, Shulk's jumpsquat animation takes 3 frames to complete (down from 5).
  • Buff Shulk walks faster (1.1 → 1.155).
  • Buff Shulk runs faster (1.52 → 1.672).
    • Buff His initial dash is much faster (1.5 → 1.87).
  • Buff Shulk's air speed is faster (1.06 → 1.113).
  • Change Shulk falls faster (1.5 → 1.58).
  • Change Shulk's gravity is higher (0.085 → 0.098). This improves his vertical mobility and leaves him less vulnerable to juggles, but worsens his vertical endurance and reduces his jump height.
  • Buff Shulk's traction has been increased (0.044 → 0.94), improving his ability to punish out of shield.
  • Nerf Shulk is lighter (102 → 97), worsening his endurance.
  • Buff Forward roll has less ending lag (FAF 31 → 30).
  • Nerf Forward roll grants less intangibility (frames 4-17 → 4-15).
  • Nerf Back roll has more startup with less intangibility (frames 4-17 → 5-16), and more ending lag (FAF 30 → 35).
  • Buff Spot dodge has less ending lag (FAF 28 → 26).
  • Nerf Spot dodge grants less intangibility (frames 3-18 → 3-17).
  • Buff Air dodge grants more intangibility (frames 3-28 → 3-30).
  • Nerf Air dodge has significantly more ending lag (FAF 34 → 50).

Ground attacks[edit]

  • Neutral attack:
    • Change The first hit has an altered animation where Shulk doesn't lunge forward as far, and the second hit has been changed to a full roundhouse kick.
    • Buff The first and second hits have altered angles (70°/60°/88° → 361°/180° (hit 1), 66°/70°/80° → 361° (hit 2)) to keep opponents on the ground, akin to other neutral attacks. They also no longer use set knockback, but deal less knockback until very high percents (40 set/100 scaling → 35/25 base/10 scaling (hit 1), 52 set/100 scaling → 40/35 base/10 scaling (hit 2)), and have gained hitstun modifiers (0 → 2 (hit 1), 5 (hit 2)). This allows them to connect much more reliably and jab lock.
    • Buff The first hit transitions faster into the second hit (frame 12 → 11).
    • Buff The third hit has less startup (frame 12 → 6). In combination with the aforementioned changes, this allows it to connect much better from the second hit, no longer requiring specific timing against floaty or highly-damaged opponents.
      • Nerf However, its total duration remains the same, increasing its ending lag.
    • Buff The third hit is placed farther horizontally (Z offset: 12.8u-7.8u → 14u-10u (clean), 12.8u → 14u (late)) and higher (Y offset: 9u → 10u), with the late hit also stretching more vertically (Y offset: 15u-12u → 16.5u-12u), increasing its range.
    • Nerf All hits except the late third hit deal less damage (3.5% → 2% (hit 1), 3.5% → 1.5% (hit 2), 5.3% → 5% (hit 3, clean)). This greatly reduces the move's total damage (12.3% → 8.5%), no longer being the most damaging non-infinite neutral attack in the game.
    • Nerf The first and second hits have a shorter hitbox duration (frames 5-6 (hit 1), 5-7 (hit 2) → frame 5).
    • Nerf The first and third hits have a higher hitlag multiplier (1× → 1.4× (hit 1), 2× (hit 3)), making the former easier to SDI and the latter easier to DI.
    • Nerf The first hit uses four hitboxes instead of three, which are smaller (3u/2.5u/3.5u → 1.8u/1.8u/2u/2u). In combination with its altered animation, this noticeably reduces its range.
    • Nerf Consecutive uses of the first hit are slower (12 frames → 15).
    • Nerf The second hit's middle hitbox is larger (3u → 3.2u), but the farthest hitbox is smaller (4u → 3.4u), reducing its range overall.
  • Up tilt:
    • Buff Up tilt deals more damage (8.5%/7.5% → 10%/9%), with knockback scaling compensated (90/85 → 80/75).
    • Change The move's ending animation has been altered, with Shulk crouching lower.
  • Dash attack:
    • Buff Dash attack has less startup (frame 15 → 12) and much less ending lag (FAF 53 → 41).
    • Buff It has a sweetspot near the base of the Monado, much like Shulk's other moves that use it, which deals more damage (11.5% → 12.5%) and is larger (3.2u → 3.7u).
    • Buff It launches at a higher angle (60° → 65°), improving its juggling ability.
    • Buff Due to the changes to jostling, the move can no longer miss opponents at point-blank range.
    • Nerf It does not propel Shulk as far forward, reducing its range.
    • Nerf The sourspot deals less damage (11.5% → 11%) and is marginally smaller (3.2u → 3.1u).
    • Nerf It has less knockback scaling (80 → 68), hindering its KO potential despite its higher launch angle and the sweetspot's higher damage.
  • Up smash:
    • Buff The first hit launches at angles more towards Shulk (92°/105° → 92°/95°/112°) and is weight-independent, with the ground-only hitboxes also having lower set knockback (110 → 92). This allows it to connect more reliably into the second hit.

Aerial attacks[edit]

  • Buff All aerials have less landing lag (10 frames → 6 (neutral), 16 → 10 (forward), 19 → 11 (back), 15 → 9 (up), 23 → 14 (down)).
  • Buff All aerials auto-cancel earlier (frame 80 → 54 (neutral), 57 → 42 (forward), 79 → 43 (back), 79 → 53 (up), 78 → 52 (down)). This allows back aerial to auto-cancel in a full hop, and all aerials except forward aerial to auto-cancel before their interruptibility frames.
    • Buff Additionally, all aerials have gained initial auto-cancel windows (frames 1-2 (neutral, back, down), 1-4 (forward), 1-3 (up)).
  • Neutral aerial:
    • Buff Neutral aerial has significantly less ending lag (FAF 71 → 60), making it safer to use offstage.
    • Buff The animation executes faster with no change in hitbox duration. This allows the move to hit more effectively around Shulk and cover a full 360 degrees, no longer possessing a blindspot directly behind him.
    • Change The sweetspot and sourspot's placements has been swapped, with the former being located on the Monado's base instead of the beam blade, much like Shulk's other moves. This increases the move's damage output at close range, but reduces it from a distance.
  • Forward aerial:
    • Change Forward aerial can no longer send opponents behind Shulk. This improves its consistency for edgeguarding, but removes some of its combos and situational stage spiking ability.
  • Back aerial:
    • Nerf Back aerial has more startup (frame 18 → 19). Coupled with the changes to the Speed Monado Art, this makes short hop back aerials more timing-specific in the Speed Art, as Shulk has to perform the back aerial immediately out of a short hop.
    • Nerf The hitbox is set to a static position behind Shulk instead of following the Monado, and is smaller (5.5u → 3.6u (clean), 4u → 2.6u (late)). This reduces its horizontal range, and removes its ability to hit in front of Shulk.
    • Change The hitbox has been adjusted to be parallel to the ground instead of slanted upward, making it less likely to overshoot grounded opponents, but easier to avoid by jumping.
  • Up aerial:
    • Buff Up aerial has less ending lag (FAF 60 → 55).
    • Buff Both hits have a longer duration (frames 14-15 → 14-16 (hit 1), 24-25 → 24-26 (hit 2)).
    • Buff The first hit has received an additional hitbox on the Monado, with the previously existing two being larger (6.2u/6u → 6.5u/6.3u), and they launch at angles more towards Shulk (100°/96° → 102°/111°/104°) with lower set knockback (80/60 → 60/60/40). This allows it to connect more reliably into the second hit.
    • Nerf The second hit's sourspot stretches a slightly shorter distance vertically (Y offset: 40u-15u → 39u-15u), reducing its vertical range despite the hitbox being larger (3.8u → 4u).
  • Down aerial:
    • Buff Both hits have a longer duration (frames 14-15 → 14-16 (hit 1), 23-24 → 23-25 (hit 2)).
    • Buff The first hit's hitboxes are larger (5u → 5.3u), and the aerial-only hitbox launches at a lower angle (172° → 215°) with lower set knockback (20 → 15). This increases its range and allows it to connect more reliably into the second hit.
    • Buff The second hit's meteor hitbox and sweetspot have more base knockback, especially the latter (10 → 15/50), improving the move's KO potential.
    • Buff The second hit's sourspot is larger (3.5u → 3.7u).

Throws and other attacks[edit]

  • Grabs:
    • Nerf All grabs have more ending lag (FAF 30 → 37 (standing), 37 → 45 (dash), 35 → 40 (pivot)).
    • Nerf They have reduced horizontal range (Z2 offset: 9.5u → 9u (standing), 11.5u → 10.7u (dash), -16u → -15.3u (pivot)).
    • Nerf Dash and pivot grab have more startup (frame 9 → 10 (dash), 10 → 11 (pivot)).
  • Pummel:
    • Buff Pummel deals more hitlag (8 frames → 14), but has less startup (frame 5 → 1) and significantly less ending lag (FAF 27 → 7), noticeably shortening its duration. This makes it much more reliable for racking up damage.
    • Nerf It deals much less damage (3% → 1.3%).
  • Forward throw:
    • Nerf The throw portion deals less damage (8% → 5%; 11% total → 8%), with knockback scaling not fully compensated (70 → 95), slightly hindering its KO potential.
  • Back throw:
    • Nerf The throw portion deals less damage (9% → 6%; 12% total → 9%), with knockback scaling not fully compensated (63 → 83), slightly hindering its KO potential.
  • Up throw:
    • Nerf Due to the new knockback speed up effect decreasing hitstun for higher knockback values, up throw has lost its KO setups into up aerial at high percents with the Jump Art active.
  • Down throw:
    • Buff Down throw launches at a higher angle (50° → 60°), allowing it to combo into a forward tilt at mid percents with the Buster Art active.
    • Nerf The throw portion deals less damage (4% → 2.5%; 7% total → 5.5%) and knockback (75 base/115 scaling → 85/105), making it significantly weaker overall. Notably, it is no longer the strongest down throw in the game by a large margin with the Smash Art active.
    • Nerf Due to the new knockback speed up effect, it has lost its true combos into forward aerial at low to mid percents with the Speed Art active.
    • Change It has a snappier animation, with Shulk physically thrusting the Monado into the ground with both hands and performing a short jump before the main hit.

Special moves[edit]

  • Monado Arts:
    • Buff Monado Arts possess a new feature, where all Arts appear in a wheel around Shulk if the special move button is held, then can be selected by tilting the control stick in the appropriate direction and releasing the button. The Arts are mapped to the following directions: up for Smash, upper left for Jump, lower left for Speed, upper right for Buster, and lower right for Shield. The previous method of selecting Monado Arts can still be used by tapping the button.
      • Buff This new method allows Shulk to select and activate Monado Arts significantly faster, as well as switch them without needing to cancel the current one. This opens up more flexibility in using the different Monado Arts, making them an even more important aspect of Shulk's moveset. Additionally, if the original method to select Arts has been initiated, it can be canceled by activating the wheel without tilting the control stick in any direction, preventing accidental activations of Arts.
      • Buff Due to Monado Arts being usable out of hitstun, this faster method allows Shulk to escape combos and disadvantage much more effectively by using the intangibility from activating the Arts, then he can select either the Shield Art to survive potential KOs or the Buster/Smash Art to punish the opponent.
    • Change Arts that are on cooldown have a gradually regenerating bar under them to indicate how much time is left until they can be used again. Likewise, a gradually depleting bar appears below the active Art in Shulk's damage meter to indicate how much is left until it deactivates.
    • Buff Monado Arts activate significantly faster when selected individually.
    • Change Monado Art Landing Lag Canceling can still be performed, though it has a different window due to the faster activation time. Additionally, its usage to reduce landing lag is negligible due to the universal reduction to landing lag.
      • Buff The addition of selecting Arts through the Art wheel allows Shulk access to MALLC at any time, without having to time landings with his jumps. It also grants access to the Dial Storage technique.
    • Change The kanji graphics are stylized and shown in solid colored, thick-outlined text. Upon activation, the kanji flashes with a cartoon-styled burst.
    • Change Highlighted Arts display their name in addition to the kanji, like in Shulk's damage meter.
    • Bug fix Switching or deactivating Arts immediately resets Shulk's movement attributes. For example, he no longer has increased run speed if he is running when the Speed Art expires.
      • Nerf This removes some advanced techniques such as Monado Art Run Cancel, Monado Art Buffered Deactivation, and MonaDACUS.
    • Change Monado Arts have significantly amplified strengths and weaknesses, alongside much shorter durations and longer cooldowns, making the move similar to one of Shulk's previous custom moves, Hyper Monado Arts.
    • Jump Art:
      • Buff It grants higher air speed (1.5× → 1.7×), falling speed (1.22× → 1.4×), and gravity (1.3× → 1.4×), making it far more effective for aerial movement.
      • Nerf It lasts significantly shorter (16s → 6s) and has a longer cooldown (10s → 18s).
      • Nerf It increases damage taken even more (1.22× → 1.3×).
    • Speed Art:
      • Buff It increases Shulk's gravity by 1.2×, giving him an even lower jump as a result. It also grants higher initial dash and run speeds (1.7× → 2×), and a higher air speed (1.3× → 1.4×). Combined with the reduced landing lag of Shulk's aerials, Speed is a more effective aerial rushdown and spacing tool.
      • Buff It fully preserves knockback dealt by using the final damage the opponent would have had without the Art's damage reduction when calculating knockback.
      • Nerf It lasts significantly shorter (16s → 8s) and has a longer cooldown (10s → 16s).
      • Nerf It lowers damage dealt even more (0.8× → 0.7×).
      • Nerf The reduced jump height makes it even worse for recovering vertically.
    • Shield Art:
      • Buff It further reduces damage taken (0.67× → 0.5×) and knockback taken (0.78× → 0.5×). This allows Shulk to survive almost any KO move even at high percents, and punish opponents more effectively after getting hit at low percents.
      • Buff Due to the new selection method for Monado Arts, it can be activated inbetween most multi-hit moves and combos. This allows Shulk to break out of a variety of situations, including potential game-ending strings.[1]
      • Buff It has increased shield health and shield regeneration rates (1.5× → 2×).
      • Nerf It lasts significantly shorter (16s → 6s) and has a longer cooldown (10s → 18s).
      • Nerf It lowers damage dealt even more (0.7× → 0.5×), and reduces knockback dealt by 0.8×, considerably hindering Shulk's KO potential while active.
      • Nerf On top of the Art's reduced duration, its meter depletes faster if Shulk takes damage. This removes its ability to stall matches for a noticeable period of time.
    • Buster Art:
      • Buff It lowers knockback dealt even more (0.68× → 0.65×), allowing combos for longer.
      • Buff With the usage of Dial Storage, it grants Shulk KO setups, such as a Buster neutral aerial into Smash Air Slash.
      • Nerf It lasts significantly shorter (16s → 10s) and has a longer cooldown (10s → 14s). However, it is the longest-lasting and quickest-charging Monado Art.
      • Nerf It increases damage taken even more (1.13× → 1.3×).
      • Change Opponents hit by Shulk with Buster active glow briefly with a purple tint.
    • Smash Art:
      • Buff It further boosts knockback dealt (1.18× → 1.25×), improving Shulk's KO potential even more.
      • Nerf It lasts significantly shorter (16s → 8s) and has a longer cooldown (10s → 16s).
      • Nerf It lowers damage dealt even more (0.5× → 0.3×).
      • Nerf It further increases knockback taken (1.07× → 1.2×), giving Shulk the worst endurance in the game while Smash is active.
      • Change Opponents hit by Shulk with Smash active glow briefly with a red tint.
  • Back Slash:
    • Buff Back Slash's distance can be adjusted slightly by tilting the control stick after it is initiated.
    • Buff It can grab ledges from frame 49 onward, giving it situational use offstage.
    • Buff Due to characters no longer turning around when hit from behind with high enough knockback, the back-hitting sweetspot is easier to land.
    • Nerf The front-facing hitboxes have less knockback scaling (100 → 80).
    • Change Back-hitting Back Slash causes a yellow burst effect, similar to the graphic shown when a party member successfully lands an Art's bonus effect in Xenoblade Chronicles (in this case, hitting the back of an enemy).
  • Air Slash:
    • Buff The first swing grabs ledges earlier (frame 41 → 21 (front), 31 (back)), improving its safety for recovering.
    • Buff The second swing has less startup (frame 15 → 9), allowing it to connect more reliably from the first swing.
    • Nerf The first swing can no longer grab ledges before the hitboxes come out, preventing Shulk from grabbing them out of a rising jump.
  • Vision:
    • Buff Both counterattacks have noticeably larger hitboxes, especially their sweetspots (8.5u/5.5u → 12u/7u (normal), 11u/7u (forward)).
      • Change They do not stretch as much horizontally (Z offset: 24u-5u/31u-2u → 28u-20.5u/33u-9.5u (normal), -29u - -12u / -37u - -8u → -24.5u - -15u / -28.5u - -3u (forward)), greatly improving the normal counterattack's range in front of Shulk, but reducing both variants' horizontal range behind him.
    • Buff The normal counterattack has a longer hitbox duration, with the aerial version having less startup (frame 45-46 → 45-47 (grounded), 40-42 (aerial)), and both versions have less ending lag (FAF 97 → 88 (grounded), 83 (aerial)).
    • Buff The normal counterattack's sourspot deals more minimum damage (7% → 9%).
    • Nerf The counterattacks are no longer unblockable.
    • Nerf Both counterattacks have less knockback scaling (84 → 70 (normal), 94 → 80 (forward)), noticeably hindering their KO ability. However, the forward-held version is still the strongest counterattack in the game with the Smash Art active.
    • Change Vision's backdrop is significantly brighter.
    • Bug fix Vision Sliding has been removed.
  • Chain Attack:
    • Change Mecha-Fiora appears during Chain Attack, attacking with Shulk in addition to Riki and Dunban. Camera angles have been adjusted to accommodate for her, and Shulk has gained an additional voice clip that calls out her name. Additionally, Riki and Dunban have more detailed models.

Update history[edit]

Shulk's changes via patch updates have primarily been buffs and glitch fixes. One of his most notable buffs are to his already good range. Jab 2, floor attack, and edge attack all have more range. Up smash connects better, forward aerial autocancels earlier, and up aerial now grabs ledges after the move.

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate 1.1.0

  • Change The second victory pose's animation has been adjusted.

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate 2.0.0

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate 3.0.0

  • Buff Floor attack has more range.
  • Buff Edge attack has more range.

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate 3.1.0

  • Buff Neutral attack's second hit has more range above Shulk (Y2-offset: none → 9.2 (middle hitbox), none → 9.5 (foot hitbox)).
  • Change Up smash's hits connect more reliably in some instances, but also less reliably in some others.

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate 4.0.0

  • Bug fix Fixed a glitch that allowed Shulk to cancel the revival platform immediately by using Back Slash after self-destructing while choosing Monado Arts.
  • Bug fix Fixed the aforementioned glitch where the Monado Arts would actively display the previous art on player screen after Shulk self-destructs.
  • Bug fix Fixed a glitch where throws with insufficient knockback to trigger a Finish Zoom with Buster Art.

Moveset[edit]

  • Shulk's damage outputs and knockback can be manipulated by Monado Arts. The following moveset list details the properties of his attacks when he has no active Monado Arts.

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

Note: All numbers are listed as base damage, without the 1v1 multiplier.

  Name Damage Description
Neutral attack   2% A jab, followed by a full roundhouse kick then an upward slash. It now connects consistently compared to the version in Smash 4, and the first two hits can now jab reset, though its slim hitbox makes this difficult on most prone characters. It also has very low range compared to his other moves, but is very fast in comparison (frame 5). Its second hit loosely resembles Dive Sobat, one of Reyn's Physical Arts, albeit being an inward kick instead of outwards.
1.5%
5% (clean), 4.1% (late)
Forward tilt   13.5% (blade), 12% (beam) An inward slash. Its impressive damage output and high knockback growth make it powerful for a tilt attack. While near the edge of Final Destination, its blade hitbox KOs at roughly 97%. It also deals high shield damage when Buster is active. However, its range is shorter than Shulk's other moves, while its narrow hitbox allows smaller characters to crouch under it. It is based on one of Shulk's basic Auto Attacks.
Up tilt   10% (blade), 9% (beam) An overhead arcing slash. It wide hitbox and sheer range make it a useful move overall, since it can almost reach the top platform of Battlefield and function as an anti-air attack, limit edge get-up options, pressure shields, or trap landings. With Buster active, it is a useful damage racking option from under platforms. Without Arts, it can also function as a situational KOing option thanks to its high knockback growth: it can KO grounded opponents at 160% without rage, and functions as one of Shulk's strongest KO moves with the Smash Art, KOing within the 105% range. However, it only hits in front of Shulk at its beginning, and has moderate start-up and ending lag.
Down tilt   9.5% (blade), 7.5% (beam) A kneeling inward slash. Moderately slow for a tilt attack, but it has good range and the lowest amount of ending lag out of his entire moveset. As a result, it is a good combo starter while Jump, Speed, or Buster are active. Unlike the version in Smash 4, the hitbox now covers the end of the beam blade. When spaced correctly, it is also able to hit edge-hanging opponents once their invincibility ends.
Dash attack   11% (beam),12.5% (blade) A braking inward slash. Somewhat short-ranged but can connect easily. When coupled with its decent damage output, it can function as a situational KOing option. While near the edge of Final Destination, it KOs middleweights at around 160%. However, it has high ending lag (28 frames). With the Speed Art, it becomes a more effective burst option with more horizontal range thanks to Shulk lunging further forward, but the Shield Art instead reduces his burst range during the move.
Forward smash   5.5% (hit 1), 13% (hit 2 blade), 11.5% (hit 2 beam) A thrust, which causes the Monado to reveal its beam blade. It consists of two hits: the first is from the Monado's blade, which leads into the second hit from its beam blade. It is one of the longest ranged non-projectile forward smashes in the game; when coupled with its ability to be angled, it can hit opponents attempting to grab the edge. The Buster Art grants the move good shield-pressuring potential, as it can deplete half a shield. While near the edge of Final Destination, the non-angled blade/beam KOs at 74%/86%. However, the first hit's low priority makes it easily canceled by weak attacks, while the move's high ending lag (44 frames) makes it completely unsafe on shield. As a result, it is best used as a punishment option, or a high-risk high-reward mixup against approaching opponents. It is based on Slit Edge, one of Shulk's Physical Arts.
Up smash   4.5% (hit 1), 13.5% (hit 2) Squats and slams the Monado's hilt onto the ground, causing its beam blade to thrust upward. An overall effective move for punishing, as the first hit's deceptive horizontal range launches opponents into the second hit. This allows it to punish rolls, landings, and edge get-up options. The second hit's vertical range, high knockback and transcendent priority allow it to KO reliably. Unlike forward smash, it does not possess a sweetspot and sourspot, which also gives it consistent KO potential at around 109%. The move has considerable start-up (hits on frame 18) and ending lag (37 frames), making it punishable.
Down smash   Hit 1:14% (blade), 11% (beam)
Hit 2: 12% (blade), 10% (beam)
Hit 3: 10% (blade), 8% (beam)
Hit 4: 8% (blade), 6% (beam)
Hit 5: 6% (blade), 4% (beam)
A crouching spinning slash with the Monado, with Shulk spinning in a full circle thrice. It is capable of hitting during any of its five hitboxes (three at Shulk's front and two at his back), with its first hit being strong enough to KO reliably near the edge at 78%/85% (blade/beam). Each spin quickly loses power, but the final spin has slightly more range. The Smash Art grants the later hits KO potential, despite their weak power without any Monado Arts. It is usually impossible to connect more than one hit together unless Buster is active, in which case it will break full shields if an opponent is cornered at an edge and the first three hits land. Extremely useful for punishing rolls and sidesteps thanks to its multiple hitboxes and range, but suffers from the most overall lag out of Shulk's smash attacks because of its considerable start-up (hits on frame 18) and ending lag (41 frames). It resembles War Swing, one of Reyn's Physical Arts.
Neutral aerial   8.5% (blade), 7.5% (beam) A circular slash around himself. It is one of Shulk's most useful approach options, thanks to its wide range, full 360 degree coverage, low landing lag (6 frames) and long duration. Unlike the Smash 4 version, the hitboxes now match the trail until the end where the Monado retracts its beam blade. Its hitbox begins slightly behind Shulk's toes and continues all the way over his head, allowing the initial frames to start combos if an opponent misses a tech, the later frames being able to punish air dodges, and the final frames having approach-deterring utility. Overall, it is one of Shulk's defining moves, as it can start combos while Jump, Speed or Buster are active, which can lead into a grab, neutral attack, forward tilt, up tilt, aerials or Air Slash. It can also neutralize weak projectiles, such as those from Toon Link or Diddy Kong. However, its long-lasting hitbox and very high ending lag (46 frames) make it a very unsafe move to use off-stage when fast falling, as Shulk will be in serious danger of self-destructing.
Forward aerial   8% (blade), 6.5% (beam) A downward slash. It has the lowest amount of ending lag out of his aerials (24 frames) and low landing lag (10 frames), while its range grants it excellent coverage for an aerial, which makes it great for interrupting approaches and spacing. It is also a dependable combo option with either Speed or Buster active, and a powerful edge-guarding move, as it can easily cover their options (in Jump) or KO them outright while offstage at percents as low as 50% (with Smash). In Jump/Speed/Buster, it can allow Shulk to perform a wall of pain ending with Air Slash; this is a damage/KO combo at certain percentages, which has been dubbed the "Fair Slash" combo by players.
Back aerial Behind Thrust 12.5% (blade), 8.5% (beam) A delayed reverse gripped thrust. The Monado's blade deals respectable damage with high knockback growth, making it a powerful KO move; it KOs at the edge at roughly 94%/137% (blade/beam) without Arts, and 65%/85% in Smash which makes it the second most powerful back air, only doing less than Zelda's. It has lost its initial blade hitbox near Shulk's body from Smash 4, but is no longer as punishable due to its reduced landing lag (11 frames). Hence, it is a useful spacing tool due to its high horizontal range, but only if spaced spaced correctly or alongside Jump/Speed's aerial drift. However, it has slow start-up (19 frames) and a narrow, brief hitbox, making it very difficult to time; a few consistent methods are to perform it at the peak of short hop before fast falling without Arts, or immediately out of a short hop in the Speed Art.
Up aerial   5.5% (hit 1), 10.5% (hit 2 blade), 8% (hit 2 beam) An upward thrust, which causes the Monado to reveal its beam blade. Like his forward and up smashes, the first hit from the Monado's blade leads into the second hit from its beam blade. It has tremendous vertical range that is capable of reaching through the main platform of Town and City; however, it has very minimal horizontal range and each hit only lasts 2 frames, which can make it difficult to connect with, especially if Shulk has too much momentum. It is one of the most damaging up aerials in the game if both hits connect (sweetspot only); coupled with its second hit's high knockback growth, it is a fearsome (albeit difficult to land) KO option near the upper blast line. It also has the second lowest landing lag out of Shulk's aerials (9 frames), giving it some spammability if under a platform. If the second hit of an up aerial lands, Shulk can land, switch into another Art, and combo into another up aerial; this is a KO confirm known as the "Monado Cyclone" that can work at a wide percent range with the right Arts active, though it is quite difficult to set up. Except for the Buster Art, if the second hit is sweetspotted, it's the strongest up aerial in the game, KOing slighly earlier than Zelda's.
Down aerial   7.5% (hit 1 blade), 6% (hit 1 beam), 11.5% (hit 2 blade), 10.5% (hit 2 beam) A downward thrust, which causes the Monado to reveal its beam blade. Like his forward and up smashes, the first hit from the Monado's blade leads into the second hit from its beam blade. The second hit meteor smashes if the blade hitbox connects. Like his up aerial, it has minimal horizontal range, each hit only lasts 2 frames, and its first hit might not connect into its second hit if Shulk is moving too fast. However, it has excellent range and high knockback, making it a decent edge-guarding option, as it can stage spike edge-hanging opponents, reach distant offstage opponents, or even KO outright at the edge starting from 108%. The first hit can also drag opponents offstage for a meteor smash if they are standing right next to a ledge. It has high landing lag (14 frames), making it punishable if missed.
Grab   Reaches out with his left arm.
Pummel   1.2% Hits the opponent with the Monado's pommel. It is moderately fast and has middling damage for a pummel, but it becomes the strongest pummel in the game (in terms of damage-per-hit) with Buster active, as it will deal 1.8%.
Forward throw   3% (hit 1), 5% (throw) An upward swipe. It lacks true follow-ups because of its base knockback, but it can lead into a dash attack or a forward aerial at low percentages with Speed or Buster active. With the Smash Art active, it is a powerful KOing option, doing so at about 110% at the edge of Final Destination. It is also capable of locking nearby floored opponents, a trait shared with all of Shulk's throws.
Back throw   3% (hit 1), 6% (throw) Pulls the opponent behind himself and performs a reversed gripped thrust. Shulk's most damaging throw and causes the opponent to suffer back-facing knockback, which allows it to be used as a set-up for a Back Slash. With Smash active, it is one of the strongest back throws in the game, as it KOs around 90%, surpassing Ness's back throw.
Up throw   3% (hit 1), 4% (throw) Heaves the opponent in the air and performs a kneeling upward thrust. It is mostly used for aerial mixups since it cannot true combo into most attacks: at low percentages and/or with Buster active, it can lead into up tilt or Air Slash, or a ground attack if the opponent air dodges. With Jump active, it can lead into a neutral aerial or forward aerial, the latter of which requires the opponent to DI away. At high percentages, it can act as a set-up into the "Monado Purge" combo, which is an up throw to up aerial, though this is extremely situational since opponents can air dodge out of it in any direction.
Down throw   3% (hit 1), 4% (throw) Pins the opponent to the ground and thrusts the Monado into them via a jumping stab. With no Arts active or any Art active aside from Buster, it lacks combo or KO potential because of its throw hitbox's base knockback and very low damage output. However, it is an excellent combo throw with Buster active, as it can follow up with down tilt or forward tilt at low to mid percents, forward smash, forward aerial or Air Slash at mid percents, and even start a KO combo into Air Slash or other attacks if Buster is buffer-canceled during the throw's animation.
Floor attack (front)   7% Slashes around himself while getting up.
Floor attack (back)   7% Slashes around himself while getting up.
Floor attack (trip)   5% Slashes around himself while getting up.
Edge attack   7% Performs an inward slash while climbing up.
Neutral special Monado Arts Jump: 6s duration, 18s cooldown
Speed: 8s duration, 16s cooldown
Shield: 6s duration, 16s cooldown
Buster: 10s duration, 14s cooldown
Smash: 8s duration, 16s cooldown
Activates one of five Monado-based Arts: Jump, Speed, Shield, Buster, or Smash. Each Art significantly enhances particular attributes at the cost of significantly hindering others, and all last for varying durations unless manually canceled. A wheel can be used by holding the Special button, selecting an Art, and then releasing the Special button, which instantly activates an Art even while in hitstun; alternatively, the special button can be pressed once to cycle through each Art manually, and pressed thrice to cancel a current Art. Each Art has varied cooldown times and durations. Shulk poses and announces an Art's name if it activates when he is not attacking or dodging; this grants 14 frames of intangibility and can be used to replace landing lag animations or change directions in midair. This is pivotal for several Monado Art-based advanced techniques, including the Monado Art Landing Lag Cancel and Dial Storage.
Side special Back Slash 10% (blade), 9% (beam), 16% (back hit blade), 14% (back hit beam) A leaping downward slash, with Shulk occasionally yelling “Back Slash!” during the move. The Monado's blade beam glows red during the move, referencing Physical Arts in his home game. Shulk takes a small leap forward upon start-up, giving it slightly more range and allows him to jump over small projectiles. The distance of the leap can be adjusted by holding left or right during the leap. True to its name, it deals more damage and has higher knockback if it hits the opponent's back: the blade/beam hitbox will KO at around 74%/88% at the edge. Conversely, the front hitbox is incapable of KOing until excessively high percents, unless in the Smash Art. It has recovery potential since it snaps to the ledge if started at a height slightly higher than the top platform of Battlefield, though it is risky since the move cannot be canceled.
Up special Air Slash 6% (hit 1 blade), 5% (hit 1 beam), 5.5% (hit 2) A jumping upward slash, similar to Dolphin Slash, with Shulk occasionally yelling “Air Slash!”. The Monado's blade beam glows pink during the move, referencing Break Arts in his home game. It is a natural combo: its first hit has set knockback, while pressing the attack button again will result in a second hit, which is an outward slash that grants a small vertical boost, especially if used late. Its second hit has extremely high knockback growth, which makes it a useful KOing option, especially from out of shield; its second hit KOs approximately at 106% near an edge. The Jump Art increases vertical distance gained by the first slash. However, the Jump Art can cause the natural combo to whiff due to the additional vertical distance. The first slash will automatically snap to ledges during its ending frames.
Down special Vision 10% (normal minimum), 13% (forward-held minimum) A counterattack involving Shulk using the Monado to foresee an attack. If he is hit, Shulk retaliates with a slow, powerful, and long-ranged slash that launches opponents forward. Alternatively, holding forward while counterattacking on the ground causes a fast dashing slash that deals more damage and knockback growth in addition to launching opponents backward, but its speed and Shulk's momentum can cause it to occasionally miss its target. Previously one of the strongest counters in Smash 4, its knockback scaling has since been lowered and it has lost its unblockable properties, lowering its notorious power. Despite this, it now has no sweetspot or sourspot, making its damage consistent, and Monado Arts can affect the KO potential of the counterattack. As a downside, Vision loses counter frames if repeatedly used over a short period of time, making it and Witch Time the only counterattacks that lose effectiveness if spammed. Counter frames are regained over time or once Shulk is KO'd. The counterattack resembles Stream Edge, one of Shulk's Physical Arts.
Final Smash Chain Attack 3% (hit 1), 2% (hits 2-12), 12% (hit 13), 5% (hit 14) Traps opponents in a bright ball of light. If it hits, Shulk summons Dunban, Riki, and Fiora to perform a Chain Attack on the opponent, which he then concludes with a powerful slash. Chain Attack's damage output and knockback are also affected by Monado Arts. However, it has a short range, as Shulk needs to be close to the opponent in order for its first hit to land. In addition, Arts can expire during the Chain Attack's cutscene, which affects its damage output and knockback.

On-screen appearance[edit]

Jumps down onto the stage while performing a downward slash using the Monado. Shulk then quickly turns his back to the screen and places the Monado on his back while Buster's symbol flashes briefly.

Taunts[edit]

  • Up taunt: Holds his right hand out and says while shaking his head, "Now it's Shulk time!" (穏やかじゃないですね?, Not being gentle, huh?). The animation itself resembles the one Shulk performs when engaging in a conversation in Xenoblade Chronicles. The English phrase is a reference to Reyn, his best friend and one of his party members, who utters the phrase "Now it's Reyn time!" whenever his Talent Art gauge is completely filled during combat. The Japanese phrase similarly references a popular phrase in Japan; in this case, a line Shulk commonly says when accepting quests.
  • Side taunt: Grips the Monado's handle with his right hand while triumphantly pumping his left fist and announcing "I'm really feeling it!" (だんだん乗ってきたよ!, Gradually getting the hang of it!). This is one of the lines Shulk may announce in Xenoblade Chronicles when his tension level increases in combat.
  • Down taunt: Grips the Monado with both hands, activates it and poses similarly to when he activates Buster while saying "This is the Monado's power!" (モナドの力よ!, The Monado's power! / The power of the Monado!). If timed correctly, it can dodge certain projectiles, such as Blaster, Bow and Arrows, and Palutena Bow. This is one of the lines Shulk may announce when he uses his "Activate Monado" Talent Art in Xenoblade Chronicles.

Idle poses[edit]

  • Taps his foot while thinking about something. It is based on his idle animation from Xenoblade Chronicles.
  • Tenses and quickly looks behind himself, then in front of himself before easing up.

Victory poses[edit]

  • Left: Raises the Monado, activates it, and swings it in an outward, downward arc. He then deactivates it and places it on his back, saying either "I got through that pretty good!" (よかった、これで解決ですね。, All good, it's been quite resolved.) or "This is a good result!" (結構よい仕上がりだね?, It was a splendid completion, huh?).
  • Up: Swings the Monado twice while it is active (the first swing is inward with both hands, and the second is an outward swing with his right arm). Then he holds it level to his head (horizontally lengthwise) as it deactivates, saying either "The future is ours to decide." (みんなの気持ちが伝わってきたよ!, Everyone's feelings have been coming through!) or "I've got a good rhythm going!" (ほんと、いい流れがつくれているよ!, For real, this makes it a good flow!).
  • Right: Bows down with the Monado held lengthwise, with the Monado activating before Shulk holds it in a reverse grip, saying either "I can feel the power!" (うん、力を感じる。, Hmm, I feel the power.) or "I can change the future." (未来は…変えられるんだ!, The future… I can change it!).
The second half of the riff of You Will Know Our Names, the battle theme used in Xenoblade Chronicles when fighting a unique monster, slightly sped up.

In competitive play[edit]

Early in Ultimate's lifespan, many pro players placed Shulk as a high tier or even occasionally a top tier character in their own tier lists; however, Shulk lacked the strong results and representation of many other high tiers and top tiers at the time. Part of this could be attributed to his high learning curve and usage of advanced techniques such as Dial Storage, resulting in fewer players using the character. As such, Shulk remained a rare yet dangerous character in the early meta. Shulk players have gradually seen more success, with Kome placing 2nd at EVO Japan 2020 and Nicko winning Play With Heart and placing 2nd at Port Priority 5. Due to these results, Shulk now has the some of the best results out of any sword wielding character in the game along with Roy and Lucina, with some considering him as the best swordfighter in the game. Players often cite his large disjoints and usage of Monado Arts to escape combos or kill confirms as some of the character's best strengths. Overall opinion on Shulk's placement in the game's tier list has been slowly shifting into unanimous high tier or top tier status, and ESAM in particular think the character is top 5.

Notable players[edit]

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.

Active[edit]

Classic Mode: Witness the Monado's Power[edit]

Shulk's congratulations screen.

Each of the opponents represent one of Shulk's Monado Arts and are fought in the cycling order of each art in Super Smash Bros. 4. The penultimate battle against Mega Man, continuing the theme, represents Monado Enchant from Xenoblade Chronicles (represented by the kanji for "Machine"), which shares the Monado's ability to damage Mechon armor with his party.

Round Opponent Stage Music Notes
1 Falco FalcoHeadSSBU.png Lylat Cruise Space Armada Represents Shulk's Jump art.
2 Sonic SonicHeadSSBU.png Windy Hill Zone Windy Hill - Zone 1 Represents Shulk's Speed art.
3 Giant King K. Rool KingKRoolHeadSSBU.png Jungle Japes Crocodile Cacophony Represents Shulk's Shield art.
4 Cloud CloudHeadSSBU.png Midgar Let the Battles Begin! Represents Shulk's Buster art.
5 Little Mac LittleMacHeadSSBU.png Boxing Ring World Circuit Theme Represents Shulk's Smash art.
6 Mega Man MegaManHeadSSBU.png Wily Castle Metal Man Stage Represents Shulk's Enchant art.
Bonus Stage
Final Master Hand Final Destination Master Hand (Less than 7.0 intensity)
Master Hand / Crazy Hand (Intensity 7.0 or higher)
On intensity 7.0 and higher, Crazy Hand fights alongside Master Hand.

Credits roll after completing Classic Mode. Completing it as Shulk has Xenoblade Chronicles Medley accompany the credits.

Role in World of Light[edit]

Finding Shulk in World of Light

Shulk was among the fighters that were summoned to fight the army of Master Hands.

After the Master Hands begin turning into energy for Galeem to absorb, Shulk experiences a vision of the future, where all of the fighters are annihilated and the universe engulfed in light. Shulk turns back attempting to warn everyone, but remains speechless. Unfortunately, his vision comes true when Galeem unleashes a shower of light that vaporizes Shulk off-screen and imprisons him with the rest of the fighters except for Kirby.

In the mode proper, he can be found right over a cliff that leads to a waterfall. The area Shulk can be found at is rocky and grassy with many water features, reminiscent to the appearance of Gaur Plain. The Camilla spirit must be defeated right before he can be challenged.

Fighter Battle[edit]

No. Image Name Type Power Stage Music
57
Shulk SSBU.png
Shulk
Attack
Attack
8,200 Gaur Plain (Ω form) Xenoblade Chronicles Medley


Spirit[edit]

Shulk's Fighter Spirit can be obtained by completing Classic Mode. It is also available periodically for purchase in the shop for 500 coins. Unlocking Shulk 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[edit]

As the main opponent[edit]

Spirit Battle parameters
No. Image Name Series Enemy Fighter(s) Type Power Stage Rules Conditions Music
253
Beedle Spirit.png
Beedle The Legend of Zelda series Shulk ShulkHeadTrunksSSBU.png
Toon Link ToonLinkHeadBrownSSBU.png
Neutral
2,600 Gaur Plain (Battlefield form) •Item: Beetle •Items will be pulled toward the enemy Dragon Roost Island
915
Protoman exe Spirit.png
ProtoMan.EXE Mega Man Battle Network series Shulk ShulkHeadLavenderSSBU.png
Shield
9,300 Mute City SNES (Battlefield form) •Item: Swords •The enemy has increased melee-weapon damage and move speed Zero (Theme of ZERO (from Mega Man X))
966
Rexspirit.png
Rex Xenoblade Chronicles series Shulk ShulkHeadBlueSSBU.png
Lucina LucinaHeadWhiteSSBU.png
Shield
9,900 Kongo Falls (Ω form) •Hazard: Lava Floor •The floor is lava
Stamina battle
•The enemy starts the battle with a Fire Bar
Battle!! - Xenoblade Chronicles 2
1,148
Satoru.png
Satoru Trade & Battle: Card Hero series Shulk ShulkHeadBlackSSBU.png
Mewtwo MewtwoHeadBrownSSBU.png
Ridley RidleyHeadMetaSSBU.png
Bowser BowserHeadBlackSSBU.png
Grab
1,700 Pokémon Stadium 2 •Move Speed ↓ •Defeat the main fighter to win
•The enemy's melee weapons have increased power
•Reinforcements will appear during the battle
Worthy Rival Battle
1,158
Ryota Hayami Spirit.png
Ryota Hayami Wave Racing series Shulk ShulkHeadOrangeSSBU.png
Attack
1,800 Wuhu Island (Jetski starting line) •Slippery Stage
•Buoyancy Reduced
•You can't swim
•The stage's platforms are very slippery
Wii Sports Resort
1,165
Spirits isa jo.png
Isa Jo Sin & Punishment series Shulk ShulkHeadBlueSSBU.png
Mii Gunner MiiGunnerHeadSSBU.png (Moveset 2222, Saki Amamiya Wig, Saki Amamiya Outfit, Normal Voice Type 1)
Shield
3,600 Midgar (hazards off) N/A •The enemy starts the battle with a Ray Gun
•The enemy starts the battle with a Rocket Belt
Opening Stage
1,221
Satoru Amatsubo Spirit.png
Satoru Amatsubo Project Hacker: Kakusei Shulk ShulkHeadOrangeSSBU.png
Mega Man MegaManHeadBrownSSBU.png (×3)
Attack
1,500 Wily Castle (hazards off) N/A •Reinforcements will appear during the battle Shooting Star
1,271
Allenn.png
Allen Culdcept series Shulk ShulkHeadBlackSSBU.png
King K. Rool KingKRoolHeadBlackSSBU.png
Ridley RidleyHeadRedSSBU.png
Neutral
3,500 Arena Ferox •Item: Assist Trophy •Defeat the main fighter to win
•Reinforcements will appear during the battle
Worthy Rival Battle

As a minion[edit]

Spirit Battle parameters Inspiration
No. Image Name Series Enemy Fighter(s) Type Power Stage Rules Conditions Music Character
952
Fiora2.png
Fiora Xenoblade Chronicles series Lucina LucinaHeadYellowSSBU.png
Shulk ShulkHeadWhiteSSBU.png
Shield
9,300 Gaur Plain (Battlefield form) •Defense ↓ •You have reduced defense after a little while Time to Fight! - Xenoblade Chronicles Shulk
953
Mechafiora.png
Mecha-Fiora Xenoblade Chronicles series Corrin CorrinHeadFemaleSSBU.png
Shulk ShulkHeadWhiteSSBU.png
Neutral
13,200 Reset Bomb Forest •Assist Trophy Enemies (Riki) •Hostile assist trophies will appear You Will Know Our Names Shulk
956
Dunban Spirit.png
Dunban Xenoblade Chronicles series Mii Swordfighter MiiSwordfighterHeadSSBU.png (Moveset 3123, Dunban Wig, Dunban Outfit, High Voice Type 1)
Shulk ShulkHeadWhiteSSBU.png
Shield
9,200 Gaur Plain •Sudden Final Smash •Defeat the main fighter to win
•The enemy will suddenly have a Final Smash
•The enemy's melee weapons have increased power
You Will Know Our Names Shulk
957
Melia.png
Melia Xenoblade Chronicles series Palutena PalutenaHeadBlueSSBU.png
Shulk ShulkHeadLavenderSSBU.png
Neutral
4,200 Gaur Plain (Battlefield form) •Hazard: Poison Floor •The floor is poisonous
•The enemy's magic attacks have increased power
Time to Fight! - Xenoblade Chronicles Shulk
958
Riki Spirit.png
Riki (Xenoblade Chronicles) Xenoblade Chronicles series Roy BowserJrHeadRoySSBU.png
Shulk ShulkHeadYellowSSBU.png
Neutral
8,000 Gaur Plain (Ω form) •Earthquake
•Flowery
•Assist Trophy Enemies (Riki)
•The enemy's special moves have increased power
•Hostile assist trophies will appear
•You constantly take minor damage after a little while
Gaur Plain Shulk
967
Pyra.png
Pyra Xenoblade Chronicles series Lucina LucinaHeadWhiteSSBU.png
•Curry Shulk ShulkHeadBlueSSBU.png
Attack
13,900 Halberd (Battlefield form) •Item: Fire Bar
•Hazard: Lava Floor
•The floor is lava
•The enemy's melee weapons have increased power
•The enemy starts the battle with a Fire Bar
Still, Move Forward! Rex
968
Mythra.png
Mythra Xenoblade Chronicles series Corrin CorrinHeadFemaleSSBU.png
Shulk ShulkHeadBlueSSBU.png
Shield
13,500 Gaur Plain (Battlefield form) N/A •The enemy will charge up a powerful Final Smash
•The enemy starts the battle with an enhanced Beam Sword
Still, Move Forward! Rex
1,376
AstralChainFemale.png
ASTRAL CHAIN Hero (Female) ASTRAL CHAIN Zero Suit Samus ZeroSuitSamusHeadSSBU.png
•Metal Shulk ShulkHeadBlueSSBU.png
Attack
9,500 Final Destination •Item: Black Hole •Defeat the main fighter to win
•The enemy favors special moves
Main Theme - METAL GEAR SOLID PEACE WALKER Sword Legion

Alternate costumes[edit]

Shulk Palette (SSBU).png
ShulkHeadSSBU.png ShulkHeadWhiteSSBU.png ShulkHeadBlackSSBU.png ShulkHeadOrangeSSBU.png ShulkHeadBlueSSBU.png ShulkHeadLavenderSSBU.png ShulkHeadYellowSSBU.png ShulkHeadTrunksSSBU.png

Gallery[edit]

Character Showcase Video[edit]

Trivia[edit]

  • Shulk's pose in his official render resembles the pose he performs when selecting Monado Arts from the move's menu.
  • Shulk's artwork was one of the three that have been updated on the official site, alongside Falco and Palutena. In his case, the lighting on his hair and face have been modified, making his features appear less flat.
  • In the Gourmet Race section of the World of Light, a visual glitch occurs when the "New Record!" announcement appears. After it shows, Shulk will run with the Monado in hand until he performs another action.
  • Excluding use of a Boss Galaga, Shulk is one of the few fighters to spin differently in their Star KO: he spins forwards instead of away from the screen, similarly to how Star KOs acted in Smash 4. He shares this trait with Cloud, Corrin, Incineroar, Inkling and Joker.