Vision's non-angled counterattack in Ultimate.
|Article on Xeno Series Wiki
Vision (ビジョン, Vision) is Shulk's down special move. It is a counterattack that is notable for having one of the longest counter windows in the game, along with being the only one to have two different counterattacks depending on directional inputs.
Types of attacks
The move involves Shulk getting into a countering stance, then retaliating with a slash from the Monado if he is hit. Shulk says "A Vision...!" ("ビジョン!", Vision!) or "I see it..." ("見える...") while retaliating, and a translucent blue background appears during the counterattack (which is the backdrop used for Visions in Xenoblade Chronicles).
If no directional keys are held down, Shulk performs a large, slow forward-sliding upwards slash, capable of hitting opponents a distance away from him; this has one of the longest horizontal reaches of any counterattack, along with Double Team, Substitute and Toad. If forward is held during the counterpose (only while Shulk is grounded), he will instead perform a dashing slice through the opponent. This variant is much faster, sends opponents behind him, and has higher knockback growth (84 → 94), but has the tendency to miss more often due to the attack's speed and Shulk's forward momentum.
The regular counterattack deals a minimum of 7%/10% (beam/blade), and otherwise deals x1.3 the damage of the move that it countered. The forward counterattack has the same multiplier, but with a minimum of 10%/13% (beam/blade) instead. This counter will one-hit KO when countering a hitbox that deals at least 35% damage, and is one of the strongest counterattacks in terms of knockback.
During the counterattack, Shulk gains intangibility right until he performs the slash. In addition, activating the counterattack slows the victim down for a brief moment (similar to a short-lasting Timer), and the slashes themselves are unblockable (only in Smash 4). However, opponents can sidestep or roll if a low-cooldown move triggered Vision, while projectiles and thrown items do not slow the victim down. Additionally, it is inadvisable to use the move offstage, due to the counterattack's slow startup and the fact that Shulk continues falling through the move.
Compared to other counterattacks in Smash 4, Vision begins countering on frame 7 (which is faster than most) and is tied for the longest counter window in the game when fresh (35 frames, the same length as Double Team). This makes it capable of countering attacks even when the readying animation seems to be complete, making the counter extremely effective when used unexpectedly, especially when considering its other strengths.
Vision's weaknesses include being one of the two counterattacks with a sourspot in Smash 4 (along with Palutena's Counter) due to the Monado's blade and beam hitboxes. Additionally, the counterattacking window becomes shorter (decreasing by 11, 8, 5, 4, then 2 frames) every time it is used in succession (regardless if the counterattack is triggered), eventually reducing Vision's counter window to a mere 5 frames if it is spammed, which does not happen to any other counter (Witch Time's effect when successful decreases, but the counter window itself remains the same). The window length is fully replenished when 15 seconds pass without using Vision, or once Shulk is KO'd and respawns.
Every Monado Art other than Jump has an effect on Vision's damage output, damage cap, and knockback. Speed and Shield will decrease damage (and Shield will also decrease knockback in Ultimate), Buster will increase damage and decrease knockback, and Smash will decrease damage and increase knockback. These changes are significant enough that they affect Vision's knockback at 0%, such that Vision will take longer to OHKO while any of these Arts are active, to the point of requiring a move that causes Vision to deal the counterattack damage cap.
Vision has a base damage value of 10% for normal Vision or 13% for forwarded Vision for weaker attacks, and scales with the damage of the move that counters it for stronger attacks (multiplying the damage of the triggering move by 1.3×). In Ultimate, however, the scaling damage begins to override the base damage when the attack deals more than 6%. This means that attacks that deal more than 6% and less than 7.7% for normal Vision (or 10% for forwarded Vision) result in a weaker counterattack than attacks that deal 6% or less.
|Predict an attack, prepare, and counter the attack.
|Evades an incoming enemy attack and delivers a swift counterattack.
Special Move customization was added in Super Smash Bros. 4. These are the variations:
|2. Dash Vision
|3. Power Vision
|"Evade an incoming enemy attack, and deliver a swift counterattack."
|"Counter enemies' incoming attacks while moving swiftly past them."
|"An extra-powerful counter that's much less effective when used repeatedly."
- Vision: Default.
- Dash Vision: Shulk takes a big step forward and the counter's range is extended. The move becomes significantly faster, and the dash turns Dash Vision into the longest-reaching counter in the game.
- Power Vision: Shulk counters with a much stronger slash, but the attack itself has increased startup and ending lag. Has extreme knockback, OHKOing upon countering an attack that deals 30% damage (the lowest OHKO requirement out of all counterattacks) and can even KO upon countering a jab if the opponent is at 60% or above on small stages. However, the counter window is shortened more drastically with each consecutive use, to the point where it loses the majority of its counter-frames on its second use, and essentially loses its ability to counter on the third use. Due to the move's only downside being the inability to counter after excessive use while still keeping its respectably long counter window when fresh, it is one of the most powerful counter moves in the game, and arguably the most feared.
In Smash 4, Vision has a few glitches accessed by using the move with frame perfect timing during specific transitive states, which can transform the move's properties. Though requiring buffered setups, frame perfect timing, or unusual control schemes to utilize consistently, exploiting these quirks allows Shulk to pull off advanced techniques that can revolutionize the way the move is used.
Shadow Eye is an advanced technique exclusive to Smash 4 which extends the duration of the intangibility frames at the beginning of Vision's counter pose to last until the end of the pose animation. This technique is an application of a phenomenon referred to as "shadow i-frames", which was discovered by Paradigm & Erico. The technique and phenomenon were named as a reference to a Battle Art by the same name in Xenoblade Chronicles, in which Shulk strikes a similar pose to his Vision counter's and reduces his current aggro.
Shadow Eye is triggered when Shulk lands on the 8th frame of the aerial version of Vision. When performed correctly, Shulk will visibly flash with intangibility throughout the entire duration of the Vision counter pose, and be fully intangible until the pose ends. As the pose animation's interruptibility frames start on frame 70 and last up until frame 79, this gives Shulk up to 10 frames of wiggle room at the end of the Vision pose to perform any action directly out of intangibility, including shielding (which will result in a guaranteed perfect shield if there are any active hitboxes in range of Shulk at that moment).
Though triggering Shadow Eye would otherwise require frame perfect timing, buffered setups exist to guarantee using Vision at the perfect time to trigger Shadow Eye.
Shadow Eye has a number of applications, including catching opponents off-guard when they try to punish Shulk's fully intangible counter, keeping safe after using certain attacks (such as a buffered full hop up aerial), safely setting up a Vision counter attempt, and stalling for time (such as when recharging Monado Arts, waiting out an opponent's respawn invincibility, or trying to time out the opponent).
Vision Sliding is an advanced technique exclusive to Smash 4 which allows Shulk to significantly amplify the distance he moves upon the activation of Vision's counterattack, along with the ability to have complete control of the counterattack's momentum. The bug that allowed this technique has been fixed in Ultimate and thus is impossible to perform in that game.
It can be triggered when Shulk activates Vision on the exact frame he transitions from air to ground. As the timing for Vision Sliding is very strict, buffering Vision out of aerials is commonly done to make this easier. It can also be triggered by doing a standing turnaround (or perfect pivot) and pressing down special for exactly one frame during the turnaround animation. Though extremely difficult to perform consistently otherwise, what would otherwise be a niche technique is extremely easy and practical to perform for Shulk players with their C-Stick/right control stick set to "Special Move", such as those using the Bidou control scheme.
If done correctly, Shulk will be able to slide a tiny distance forward or back during Vision's counter pose, and will be able to slide a very considerable distance during the counter attack, which can be done in both horizontal directions due to Vision's ability to be reverse inputted. All subsequent buffered Vision counterattacks used in a row will Vision Slide until the player stops using the move. The distance of the slide varies depending on air speed and air acceleration for the landing version, and running speed and acceleration for the turnaround version. The Monado Arts and methods with the longest to shortest slides are follows: Speed (turnaround), Jump (landing), Speed (landing), No Arts/Jump/Buster/Smash (turnaround), No Arts/Buster/Smash (landing), Shield (turnaround), Shield (landing).
The primary applications of this technique include punishing projectiles that would otherwise outrange Vision's hitbox (similar to one of Shulk's custom down specials, Dash Vision), as well as baiting opponents to attack Shulk due to his high landing lag, as special moves can be used before landing lag occurs as a way to defend himself. In teams scenarios, Vision Sliding can also be triggered by a teammate, allowing its large range to hit multiple opponents (even if shielding).
Visions play a key role in Xenoblade Chronicles; as the wielder of the Monado, Shulk occasionally foresees major events, usually those of a tragic nature. Once he learns how to handle these visions, he uses them as his guide, usually to prevent foreseen deaths. Visions also play two roles outside of cutscenes. One role is informing the player that a recently picked-up item is needed for an upcoming quest. When that happens, that item is marked, to alert the player to keep the item for the quest. The other role appears in battle when an enemy's attack may inflict major damage or status to the victim, in order to alert the player to take measures in averting the vision (via preventing the enemy from using the attack, redirecting the attack away from the intended victim, or improving the victim's defenses to ensure that they could survive it). The two lines Shulk can say when Vision activates in SSB4 are direct quotes he uses when Visions activate during combat, although re-recorded.
Both versions of the counterattack have animations similar to two specific arts in Xenoblade Chronicles: the regular slash Shulk performs is reminiscent of Stream Edge, one of his physical Arts in which he takes a step back and takes a large horizontal swing forward, capable of hitting multiple enemies with its range, while the faster-dashing slash resembles Dunban's ether art, Thunder, which forces daze on opponents who are behind him if he has an active aura. While either technique is ill-advised for situations in which a vision may appear, they could technically be used as a counterattack.
Vision as shown by the Move List in Ultimate.
Names in other languages
- If the Shadow Assist Trophy freezes Shulk while performing Vision, the counter hitbox will remain active and trigger if hit. The frozen Shulk will not attack until being unfrozen, but will remain intangible in the mean time.
- This creates an unintended side effect where the opponent is slowed for the normal amount of time after activating Vision, but Shadow usually freezes Shulk long enough for the opponent to endure their slowed state until returning to normal and moving out of range before Shulk is unfrozen and attacks.