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.
in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate
Shulk SSBU.png
Universe Xenoblade
Other Smash Bros. appearance in SSB4

Availability Unlockable
Final Smash Chain Attack
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.

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 3rd at 2GG: Switchfest 2019 and 2nd at Sumabato SP 8. 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.


  • 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 sports a grin at the end when performing the Monado-swinging victory pose.
  • 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 the "extended neck" bone error, although it still causes the Monado's Art symbols to flash above Shulk's neck during hitstun.


  • Buff Like all characters, Shulk's jumpsquat animation now takes three frames to complete (down from 5).
  • Buff Shulk dashes faster (1.52 → 1.672).
  • Buff Shulk's traction has been increased (0.044 → 0.94). This improves his ability to punish out of shield, and also improves his overall mobility as well.
  • Buff Shulk's air speed is faster (1.06 → 1.113).
  • Change Shulk is lighter (102 → 97), reducing his endurance substantially, however, this change makes him less susceptible to combos.

Ground attacks[edit]

  • Neutral attack:
    • Change Neutral attack's first hit animation has been altered, and the second hit is a full roundhouse kick.
    • Nerf Neutral attack's first hit has a smaller hitbox and less range due to its animation change.
    • Nerf Neutral attack deals significantly less damage (3.5%/3.5%/5.3% (clean)/4.2% (late) → 2%/1.5%/5% (clean)/4.1% (late)), no longer being the most damaging non-infinite neutral attack in the game.
    • Nerf Neutral attack's consecutive jab is slower.
    • Buff Neutral attack transitions faster.
    • Nerf Neutral attack's third hit has the same FAF while having less startup, giving it more ending lag.
    • Nerf Neutral attack's first and second hit have less active frames (5-6 (hit 1)/5-7 (hit 2) → 5 (both).)
    • Buff Due to neutral attacks dragging opponents to the ground, neutral attack is no longer timing-specific against floatier or significantly damaged fighters. The first two hits can also jab reset.
  • Up tilt:
    • Buff Up tilt deals more damage (8.5% (blade)/7.5% (beam) → 10%/9%), with the clean hit's knockback scaling somewhat compensated (90 → 80).
    • Buff Up tilt has more horizontal range at the beginning.
    • Change Up tilt's ending animation has been altered, with Shulk crouching lower.
    • Nerf Due to changes to the Buster art, up tilt's freeze frames and higher horizontal launch angle makes it difficult to follow up itself.
  • Down tilt:
    • Buff Down tilt has more range, with the hitbox matching the beam blade.
  • Dash attack:
    • Change Like his other sword-based moves, dash attack has a sweetspot and sourspot which makes the move no longer deal consistent damage (11.5% → 12.5% (blade)/11% (beam)).
    • Buff Dash attack has less startup lag (frame 15 → 12).
    • Buff Dash attack has significantly less ending lag (FAF 53 → 41).
    • Nerf During dash attack, Shulk does not slide as far. This reduces the move's range slightly.
    • Nerf Dash attack has less knockback scaling (80 → 68).
    • Buff As characters no longer slide through other fighters, dash attack will no longer whiff against opponents that are very close.
  • Up smash:
    • Nerf The removal of MonaDACUS significantly hinders Shulk's up smash approach potential, as Monado Arts cancel the increased momentum immediately.
  • Down smash:
    • Nerf Down smash now pokes shields in Buster art, removing a shield break option.

Aerial attacks[edit]

  • Buff All aerials have less landing lag (Neutral: frame 10 → 6, Forward: 16 → 10, Back: 19 → 11, Up: 15 → 9, Down: 23 → 14).
  • Neutral aerial:
    • Buff Neutral aerial executes much faster.
    • Buff Neutral aerial's hitbox timing is unchanged despite the faster animation speed, meaning the ending frames can connect with opponents, and the full move covers 360 degrees.
    • Buff Neutral aerial has significantly less ending lag (FAF 71 → 60) , making it safer to use offstage.
    • Buff Due to its landing lag being reduced, neutral aerial can true combo into several aerials depending on Shulk's active Monado Art.
    • Change Neutral aerial's sweetspot has been reversed, with the beam blade dealing less damage instead of more. While this increases the chance of the blade hitbox hitting at the beginning, this also makes the larger beam hitbox more likely to land after the initial startup .
  • Forward aerial:
    • Buff Due to its landing lag being reduced, forward aerial can true combo into itself or other aerials depending on Shulk's active Monado Art.
    • Change The final frames of forward aerial no longer send opponents behind Shulk. This removes its niche stage spike and combo abilities, but makes it more consistent.
  • Back aerial:
    • Buff Back aerial can auto-cancel in a full hop.
    • Change Back aerial's hitbox has been adjusted to be parallel to the ground. This makes it easier for the attack to hit grounded opponents without going over their heads, but makes it easier to avoid it by jumping.
    • Nerf Back aerial's early hitbox has been removed, preventing the Monado's blade from hitting opponents in front of Shulk. This also makes it more difficult to use back aerial as a landing option.
    • Nerf Back aerial starts slightly later (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.
  • Up aerial:
    • Buff Up aerial has less ending lag (FAF 60 → 55).
  • Down aerial:
    • Buff Down aerial's autocancel window now occurs much sooner (frame 78 → 52), now being before the move is interruptible.
    • Buff Down aerial has more range.

Grabs and throws[edit]

  • Pummel:
    • Change Pummel deals less damage (3% → 1.3%) but is much faster.
  • Forward throw:
    • Nerf Forward throw's second hit deals less damage (8% → 5%), with knockback scaling compensated (70 → 95).
  • Back throw:
    • Nerf Back throw's second hit deals less damage (9% → 6%), with knockback scaling compensated (63 → 83).
  • Down throw:
    • Change Down throw 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.
    • Nerf Down throw's second hit deals less damage (4% → 2.5%).
    • Nerf Down throw has altered knockback (75 (base)/115 (scaling) → 85/105), which combined with the reduced damage makes it significantly weaker overall. Notably, it is no longer the strongest down throw in the game (with the Smash Art active) by a large margin.
      • Buff The changes to down throw's knockback allow for true combos in the Buster Art, such as forward tilt at low percents and forward aerial at higher percents. A Buster Art down throw can also be canceled into a Smash Art move for a KO combo, such as into Air Slash.

Special Moves[edit]

  • Monado Arts:
    • Buff Monado Arts can be selected quicker by holding the Special button, holding the stick in a direction, then releasing the Special button. His Monado Arts are mapped to the following: 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 has still been retained.
      • Buff This new method of switching allows the user to switch Monado Arts without needing to cancel the current one, opening up more combo potential and flexibility through switching from certain Monado Arts.
      • Change Arts that are on cooldown have a bar under them to show how much longer until they can be used again. A timer bar also appears to show how long until the active Art deactivates.
    • Buff Monado Arts can be activated immediately during hitstun.
    • Buff Monado Arts activate significantly faster when selecting Arts individually.
    • Change Monado Art Landing Lag Canceling is still capable of being performed, though the faster activation time means the timings require quicker reflexes. 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 Monado Arts's kanji graphics are stylized and shown in solid colored, thick-outlined text. Upon activation, the kanji flashes with a cartoon-styled burst.
    • Change Monado Arts displays the name of the art in addition to the kanji, like on the HUD.
    • Bug fix Switching or deactivating Arts immediately resets Shulk's movement attributes (e.g. he no longer keeps his high dash speed if he is dashing 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 his previous custom move, Hyper Monado Arts.
    • Jump Art:
      • Nerf Jump Art lasts significantly shorter and has a longer cooldown (16s → 6s duration, 10s → 18s cooldown).
      • Buff Jump grants higher air speed (1.5x → 1.7x) and falling speed (1.22x → 1.4x), making it more effective for aerial movement.
      • Buff Short hops in the Jump Art will automatically go through platforms (such as the ones on Battlefield), allowing Shulk to use his short hop aerials without interruption.
      • Nerf Jump Art increases Shulk's damage vulnerability even more (1.22x → 1.3x).
    • Speed Art:
      • Nerf Speed Art lasts significantly shorter and has a longer cooldown (16 s → 8s duration, 10s → 16s cooldown).
      • Buff Speed Art grants an even lower jump and higher run speed (1.7x → 2x) than before. Combined with the reduced landing lag of his aerials, Speed is a more effective aerial rushdown and spacing tool.
      • Buff Much like the Jump Art, full hops in the Speed Art will automatically go through platforms, allowing Shulk to use his full hop aerials without interruption.
      • Buff Due to the altered dash mechanics, Speed grants Shulk an excellent dash dance.
      • Nerf Speed Art lowers Shulk's damage even more (0.8x → 0.7x).
      • Nerf Speed Art's shorter jumps make the Art even worse for recovering vertically.
    • Shield Art:
      • Nerf Shield Art lasts significantly shorter and has a longer cooldown (16 s → 6s duration, 10s → 18s cooldown).
      • Buff Shield Art grants a higher damage resistance (0.67x → 0.5x) and reduces knockback taken (0.78x → 0.5x) even more. As a result, Shulk can survive almost any KO move even at high percents. He can also interrupt throw combos or tilts by retaliating with an attack while Shield is active, since he can usually react faster than his opponent.
      • Buff Due to the new selection method for Monado Arts, Shield can be activated during most multi-hit moves. This allows Shulk to break out of a variety of situations, including potential game-ending strings.[1]
      • Buff Shield Art has further increased shield health and shield regeneration rate (1.5x → 2x).
      • Nerf Shield Art lowers Shulk's damage (0.7x → 0.5x) and knockback even more.
      • Nerf Shield Art's Meter goes down upon being hit. Alongside the reduced duration, this removes Shield's ability to stall matches for a noticeable period of time. [2]
    • Buster Art:
      • Nerf Buster Art lasts significantly shorter and has a longer cooldown (16s → 10s duration, 10s → 14s cooldown). However, it is the longest-lasting and quickest-charging Monado Art.
      • Buff Buster lowers Shulk's knockback even more (0.68x → 0.65x) and grants significantly higher freeze frames. This gives Shulk true combos while it is active, significantly improving his damage racking potential.
      • Buff The new method for selecting Monado Arts give Buster KO confirms, such as a Buster down throw into Art-canceled Air Slash or Buster back throw into Art-canceled Back Slash.
      • Nerf Buster Art increases Shulk's damage vulnerability even more (1.13x → 1.3x).
    • Smash Art:
      • Nerf Smash Art lasts significantly shorter and has a longer cooldown (16 seconds → 8s duration, 10s → 16s cooldown).
      • Buff Smash Art further boosts Shulk's knockback (1.18x → 1.25x), allowing his fully charged smash attacks to KO as early as 22%.
      • Nerf Smash Art increases Shulk's launch rate even more (1.07x → 1.2x). This makes his survivability the worst in the game while Smash is active.
      • Nerf Smash Art lowers Shulk's damage even more (0.5x → 0.3x).
  • Back Slash:
    • Buff Back Slash's back-hitting blade hitbox deals more knockback (79% → 74% from the edge of Final Destination).
    • Buff Shulk can snap onto ledges while using Back Slash, after enough travel time.
    • Buff Back Slash can travel three different distances depending if the player holds down left, right, or no buttons.
    • Buff Back Slash is less situational because characters do not turn around after being hit from behind.
    • Nerf Front-hitting Back Slash has lost its stronger hitboxes. As a result, it KOs later.
    • 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 Air Slash's second hit deals more knockback.
    • Buff Air Slash's second hit has less startup lag, making it easier to connect both hits of the move.
    • Change Air Slash snaps to the ledge during the first swing instead of the second swing.
      • Nerf Air Slash has a smaller edge sweetspot, making the entire move harder to snap to the ledge with.
  • Vision:
    • Change Vision's backdrop is significantly brighter.
    • Buff Vision no longer has a sourspot. As a result, its minimum damage is 10%/13% (normal/forward-held), improving its consistency.
    • Buff Except for the forward-held version, Vision’s counterattack has a longer duration, with the aerial version having less startup (frame 45-46 → 45-47 (grounded)/40-42 (aerial)) and both versions having less ending lag (FAF 97 → 88 (grounded)/83 (aerial)).
    • Buff Vision gains more intangibility frames during the start up frames which prevents opponents from canceling the counterattack by a move dealing knockback.
    • Nerf Vision is no longer unblockable.
    • Nerf Both versions of Vision have less knockback growth (normal: 84 → 70, forward: 94 → 80). This hinders its KOing ability and is no longer the strongest counterattack in the game without the Monado Arts.
      • Buff However, the changes to Smash Art can allow the attack to KO much earlier despite its decreased damage multiplier, making it the strongest counterattack variant in the game.
    • Bug fix Vision Sliding has been removed.
  • Final Smash:
    • 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]

Despite being regarded as a high-tier character, 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.

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 below 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.


  • 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.
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 it is 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).
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 the fourth longest ranged non-projectile forward smash in the game, surpassed only by Simon/Richter, Corrin, and the Mii Gunner. 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. 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 till 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.


  • 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]

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 3rd at Switchfest and Nicko placing 2nd at Port Priority 5. 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.

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.



  • USA Salem (#30) - One of the best Shulk players in the world before switching to Hero. Placed 7th at MomoCon 2019 using Shulk as a secondary, and 17th at Smash 'N' Splash 5 using mainly Shulk. Defeated Dabuz using the character.

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 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 Plains. The Camilla spirit must be defeated right before he can be challenged.

Fighter Battle[edit]

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


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
Beedle Spirit.png
Beedle The Legend of Zelda series Shulk ShulkHeadTrunksSSBU.png
Toon Link ToonLinkHeadBrownSSBU.png
2,600 Gaur Plain (Battlefield form) •Item: Beetle •Items will be pulled toward the enemy Dragon Roost Island
Protoman exe Spirit.png
ProtoMan.EXE Mega Man Battle Network series Shulk ShulkHeadLavenderSSBU.png
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))
Rex Xenoblade Chronicles series Shulk ShulkHeadBlueSSBU.png
Lucina LucinaHeadWhiteSSBU.png
9,900 Kongo Jungle (Ω form) •Hazard: Lava Floor •The floor is lava
Stamina battle
•The enemy starts the battle with a Fire Bar
Battle!! - Xenoblade Chronicles 2
Satoru Trade & Battle: Card Hero series Shulk ShulkHeadBlackSSBU.png
Mewtwo MewtwoHeadBrownSSBU.png
Ridley RidleyHeadMetaSSBU.png
Bowser BowserHeadBlackSSBU.png
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
Ryota Hayami Spirit.png
Ryota Hayami Wave Racing series Shulk ShulkHeadOrangeSSBU.png
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
Spirits isa jo.png
Isa Jo Sin & Punishment series Shulk ShulkHeadBlueSSBU.png
Mii Gunner MiiGunnerHeadSSBU.png (Saki Amamiya Wig, Saki Amamiya Outfit)
3,600 Midgar (Battlefield form) N/A •The enemy starts the battle with a Ray Gun
•The enemy starts the battle with a Rocket Belt
Opening Stage
Satoru Amatsubo Spirit.png
Satoru Amatsubo Project Hacker: Kakusei Shulk ShulkHeadOrangeSSBU.png
Mega Man MegaManHeadBrownSSBU.png (×3)
1,500 Wily Castle N/A •Reinforcements will appear during the battle Shooting Star
Allen Culdcept series Shulk ShulkHeadBlackSSBU.png
King K. Rool KingKRoolHeadBlackSSBU.png
Ridley RidleyHeadRedSSBU.png
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
Fiora Xenoblade Chronicles series Lucina LucinaHeadYellowSSBU.png
Shulk ShulkHeadWhiteSSBU.png
9,300 Gaur Plain (Battlefield form) •Defense ↓ •You have reduced defense after a little while Time to Fight! - Xenoblade Chronicles Shulk
Mecha-Fiora Xenoblade Chronicles series Corrin CorrinHeadFemaleSSBU.png
Shulk ShulkHeadWhiteSSBU.png
13,200 Reset Bomb Forest Assist Trophy Enemies (Riki) •Hostile assist trophies will appear You Will Know Our Names Shulk
Dunban Spirit.png
Dunban Xenoblade Chronicles series Mii Swordfighter MiiSwordfighterHeadSSBU.png (Moveset 3123, Dunban Wig, Dunban Outfit, High Voice Type 1)
Shulk ShulkHeadWhiteSSBU.png
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
Melia Xenoblade Chronicles series Palutena PalutenaHeadBlueSSBU.png
Shulk ShulkHeadLavenderSSBU.png
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
Riki Spirit.png
Riki Xenoblade Chronicles series Roy BowserJrHeadRoySSBU.png
Shulk ShulkHeadYellowSSBU.png
8,000 Gaur Plain (Ω form) •Earthquake
•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
Pyra Xenoblade Chronicles series Lucina LucinaHeadWhiteSSBU.png
•Curry Shulk ShulkHeadBlueSSBU.png
13,900 Halberd •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
Mythra Xenoblade Chronicles series Corrin CorrinHeadFemaleSSBU.png
Shulk ShulkHeadBlueSSBU.png
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
ASTRAL CHAIN Hero (Female).jpg
ASTRAL CHAIN Hero (Female) ASTRAL CHAIN Zero Suit Samus ZeroSuitSamusHeadSSBU.png
•Metal Shulk ShulkHeadBlueSSBU.png
9,500 Final Destination •Item: Black Hole •Defeat the main fighter to win
•The enemy favors special moves

Alternate costumes[edit]

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


Character Showcase Video[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.
  • 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.
  • Along with Mega Man, Shulk is the only other character to travel to Wily Castle in Classic Mode.