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.
How to unlock
Complete one of the following:
With the exception of the third method, Shulk must then be defeated on Gaur Plain.
Changes from Super Smash Bros. 4
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.
Throws and other attacks
Shulk has been buffed via game updates. One of his most notable buffs are to his already good range. Neutral attack 2, floor attack, and edge attack all have more range. Up smash connects better, forward aerial auto-cancels earlier, and up aerial now grabs ledges after the move.
For a gallery of Shulk's hitboxes, see here.
Note: All numbers are listed as base damage, without the 1v1 multiplier.
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.
In competitive play
While many pro players placed Shulk as a high tier or even occasionally a top tier character in their own tier lists, Shulk lacked the strong results and representation of many other high tiers and top tiers. 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 meta. Shulk players have recently 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. Overall opinion on Shulk's placement in the game's tier list has been slowly shifting into a unanimous high tier with some thinking he's top tier and ESAM and Dabuz in particular think this character is top 5.
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.
Classic Mode: Witness the Monado's Power
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.
Role 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.
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
As the main opponent
As a minion
Character Showcase Video