Shulk 101


Community Rating:
0 (Even)

Professional Rating:
-0.7 (Slight Disadvantage)
ABK: After Burner Kick (aerial SideB)
dABK: Downward After Burner Kick, or sometimes called Dive Kick (aerial SideB)
WT: Witch Twist
WTime: Witch Time


  • Jump, Speed (Start; best), Shield or Buster Art (Start; best).
    • Mobility Arts can easily intercept her reckless approach options, with Speed Art being the best Art in the neutral.
      • Once Shulk gets the lead, Jump Art (or Speed Art) + Shield Art camping is best used against a campy Bayonetta.
      • Speed Art walking is great for bait and punish.
    • Shield Art disrupts her combos as it does not change Shulk’s “weight”, but instead the KB Shulk receives.
    • Buster Art combos/strings are excellent in this MU. Pummels (at mid-high %) and throws (especially Bthrow) give Shulk the lead and reset her poor neutral. No follow-ups are necessary until she drops her guard again.
  • Shulk’s most important goal is to prevent and minimize loss during the exchanges while learning the opponent’s playstyle. Even a light hit against her is good progress.
    • Even though learning how to SDI her moves helps, it is vital for the player to know and optimize the neutral and advantage states.
    • Respect her options a lot.
    • Do not press too many buttons, throw attacks too recklessly, overcommit, use a panic air dodge, etc.
    • Find her defensive habits.
    • Play very patiently, but be unpredictable.
    • Play a heavy bait and punish game.
    • Play a grounded height (shield a lot, walk a lot and use tilts, empty hops, and Dash/Pivot Grabs). Excessive SHs will get Shulk punished by moves like ABKs.
      • Use Jabs and grabs a lot (for grabs, use them in Buster and Speed Art the most).
      • Hold center stage against her.
    • Limit or never land with aerials (except MALLC) due to WTime.
  • At mid-range, one of her weaknesses is being forced to approach due to her weak approach options.
    • Shulk should always bait and punish her Nair and Heel Slide.
      • Some Bayonetta players have a habit of excessive Nair camping.
        • Shulk’s Fair and Nair can beat it, especially in Speed Art.
        • Utilt and Air Slash also works if she gets too close.
        • Dtilt upon her landing.
      • Against Heel Slide:
        • Shield-grabbing is the best consistent answer.
        • FF from above her with Nair or Bair.
        • Air Slash OoS.
    • Her Bair is a strong kill move while also safe if spaced (except perfect shield → shield grab).
      • Vision, Air Slash OoS, or Back Slash will work against excessive Bair usage.
    • Visualizing her threat zones is key to bait and punish. ABK is her surprise attack, but it can be shielded.
  • Although Jabs, grabs, and Dtilts are recommended, staying close to her is risky due to Witch Twist (OoS).
    • Shulk can continue to abuse his shield bubble because even if she grabs him, she cannot combo off a throw when Shulk DIs away.
    • With fast reaction, (Smash Art) Air Slash OoS can hit/kill her upon prediction.
  • Against WTime:
    • True combos are highly useful, usually from Nair. Buster Art extends his true combo range.
    • After Shulk passes 60%, he must play very carefully and use more grabs. A fully charged Usmash will kill after he passes 70% (112% in Shield Art).
    • She can be forced to use it on reaction to Shulk’s actions (e.g. empty hop bait, whiffing an attack on purpose, dash in shielding, etc.). Once she whiffs, she can be punished hard with Buster or Smash Art.
  • When both players are in their last stock, even if she is about to lose the game, Bayonetta with Rage can make a shocking comeback with her traditional combos. All characters must treat her as if they are in their last hit.


  • Bayonetta’s simplified weaknesses:
    • Below average frame data for a top tier (but makes it up when most of her moves have low risk; high reward).
    • Somewhat slow for a top tier.
      • Being forced to approach, hindering her weak approach game even more.
    • Weak against shields.
    • Grabs and true combos.
    • The more she uses her aerial specials, the more time she suffers in landing lag.
    • Featherweight character.
      • Killing Bayonetta reliably (in Smash Art unless otherwise):
        • Jump Art Monado Purge (after she passes 82%).
        • Dthrow/Bthrow at the ledge.
        • Air Slash when her guard is down.
        • Utilt
        • Dash Attack as a surprise attack or Bayonetta’s aerial specials landing lag.
  • Juggling
    • Assuming that Shulk got out of her aerial combos, a Shulk player MUST pay attention whenever she uses her aerial specials. Using them makes her feel a bit more pressure. Speed Art and shielding a lot are great to baiting her aerial specials and punishing it (usually with grabs to be safe).
      • However, she has ways to negate landing lag:
        • WTime
          • Grabs are the safest punish if case she uses Witch Time. Hard punishes is great as well.
        • Autocancel Dair
        • Bullet Climax
        • Grabbing the ledge
          • At mid-high %, even if she is about to land, WTime is a dangerous threat if Shulk overextends. Grabs are the best bet, but if Witch Time whiffs, Shulk can go for a hard punish.
    • dABK is a good retreat option for her.
      • If she tries to escape away:
        • Speed Art Dash Grab / Usmash (best consistent punish)
        • Dash Attack, especially in Smash Art (best consistent punish)
  • Offstage
    • Edgeguarding her is risky because she has too many mixups, has one of the best recoveries in the game, and can gimp Shulk back, even if Shulk has Jump Art. However, Shulk’s range can reach her as long as the player visualizes WTwist and ABK.
      • Air Slash ledge guard is a great gimping and killing option in Smash Art.
      • Ledge-drop → Bair against WTwist or ABK recovery.
      • Fair/Bair stage spike against WTwist from below the ledge
  • Ledge
    • Bayonetta about to reach the ledge:
      • WTwist and Uair can poke through the ledge.
      • Shulk’s Fair is the best consistent tool to 2-Frame her.
    • Bayonetta hanging onto the ledge:
      • Vanilla Air Slash, with at least 60%, will connect both hits.
      • Jump Art Air Slash, with at least 125%, will connect both hits.
    • Bayonetta choosing her ledge options:
      • Due to her great offensive recovery, Shulk’s ledge game (especially in Buster Art) is highly recommended to punish her. Holding shield is the best option against her since she is now forced to approach.
      • Smash Art Dthrow/Bthrow is safe to kill.
      • Grabbing her ledge getup, attack, or roll in Jump Art sets up the Monado Purge
      • One common tactic from Bayonetta players is that she can ledge-drop → ABK. For Shulk to counteract this:
        • Depending on the spacing, Shulk can crouch down and use Utilt (or Usmash since Shulk lowers his hurtbox).
        • If he shields it, Bayonetta players then commonly use Bair to hit/kill back. By shielding it again, Shulk can turn around and dash grab, or Air Slash OoS (assuming Bair was unspaced or perfect shielded).
        • Retreat back with a SH, then use Fair, RAR Bair, Air Slash, etc.


For full detailed information on DIs and SDIs against Bayonetta, click the “How to DI” above this page.
  • Juggling
    • Shulk being above her is dangerous due to WTwist and Uair. Once he is safe, he can jump away and stay in front of her (so that he will not challenge her Bair). Then he can follow her landing due to using her aerial specials.
      • Her Uair and Nair can cover air dodges, frame trap, and combo into kill aerials (Uair or Bair).
      • ABK is also dangerous with its wide threat zone. A well-timed FF air dodge can avoid it.
    • For Monado Arts:
      • Shulk should deactivate Jump or Buster Art.
      • Shield Art can minimize the damage when being dragged upwards. However, Shield Art may not work at high % since Shulk can still get carried to his death (usually she ends it with an Uair kill).
      • Jump Art, while holding down and away, can allow Shulk to escape if Bayonetta does not realize that Shulk becomes a fast faller.
  • Offstage
    • Bayonetta can jump up, then use Bullet Climax shoot while descending down. This can cover air dodges more easily while having the potential to kill/gimp at higher %. A FF air dodge toward the stage can avoid this.
    • Her Nair is great to gimp or stage spike Shulk’s Air Slash recovery. At high %, it can kill. Bair and WTwist are also a great walling tool.
      • Shulk should only use his DJ as a last resort due to her strong edgeguarding game. Jump Art's DJ and air dodge can bypass her wall.
      • Fair and Air Slash can beat her Nair/Bair.
    • Shield Art can be risky to use because Bayonetta can use Fair1 combos all the way to the side blastzone. If she has no Rage (80-110%), Shulk can hold away while deactivating it and air dodge.
  • Ledge
    • Shulk about to reach the ledge:
      • Bayonetta’s Dair is a powerful kill aerial when edgeguarding. A well-timed air dodge can avoid it.
      • Her Witch Time and Dtilt → combos can intercept if Shulk does not snap to the ledge with Air Slash.
        • Just like offstage, Shulk should save his DJ and use it wisely.
        • Against WTime, Shulk could face the other way and use Air Slash to avoid hitting WTime.
          • Alternatively, she can drop down and use WTime after predicting Air Slash. Then she can quickly punish with a Dsmash or Dair.
    • Shulk hanging at the ledge:
      • She can ledge trump → Bair.
      • If he hangs too long, her Dsmash will most likely kill him.
    • Shulk choosing his ledge options:
      • Being unpredictable is the only way for Shulk to bypass her ledge guard due to her great covering options
        • Her Fthrow is a kill throw at the ledge.
        • Her Dtilt can lead into combos.
        • Her Nair, Uair, and WTwist can cover ledge jump, including Jump Art.
        • Her smash attacks are more dangerous if she reads Shulk’s option correctly (even Jump Art air dodge forward).

Other Notes

  • Notable characters against Bayonetta: Diddy Kong, Sheik, Cloud, Marth/Lucina, Pikachu, Corrin, Toon Link, Luigi, Lucario, Sonic, Mewtwo, and Lucas
  • Best Bayonetta slayers to study: ZeRo, MkLeo, Nairo, Dabuz, Mr.R, Tweek, VoiD, Fatality, KEN, ESAM, Elegant, and Cosmos
  • Unlike the cast, she actually has three jumps, which was programmed intentionally. This is to alleviate the problem for tap jump users. It allows Bayonetta to have a superb recovery that almost guarantees her to recovery back to the stage and extend her deadly combos.
  • Vision Slide is effective against Bullet Arts.
  • Switching one of the face buttons to shield or grab helps the player to mash out her combos. GameCube triggers is super inefficient.
  • Jump, Shield, and Smash Art affect Bayonetta’s combos.
  • Notable good attributes:
    • Can wall cling and wall jump.
  • Notable bad attributes:
    • Air Dodges: Intangible 5-27 (Bat Within: 1-4); FAF 37 [58th]
    • Ledge Roll: Intangible 1-21; FAF 50 [57-58th]
    • Rolls: Intangible 6-19 (Bat Within: 3-5); FAF 37 [58th]
    • Spot Dodge: Intangible 5-19 (Bat Within: 1-4); FAF 30 [58th]
    • Weight: 84 [Featherweight 45th]
Author: TrueSapphire
Sources: Shulk Discord (including Sandfall, Sirknight, Tru4, Nach, GetShulked, and more), JK, Blank’s anti-Bayo guide, Beefy Smash Doods’ SDI guide, ESAM's Stage Select ft. Child, and public information from the Bayonetta community.

Bayonetta (84)-

Credit to the OP [Smashboards]
  • To SDI effectively, use the left thumb and right finger to wiggle like crazy with all power (the thumb alone is not enough).
    • SDI up toward her at low %.
    • SDI down and away at high %.
  • Shield Art, with proper DI, is an alternative SDI substitute during her combos. He can DI down at low % and escape because he does not get launched that far. ABK is a single hit, so it does not have much hitlag.
  • While SDI is important, it does not completely negate her combos. A good Bayonetta player will follow the opponent’s DI and SDI to continue the combos, and have plenty of combo variations. Taking a lot of damage is better than death by no SDI.
  • Throws (DI down and away)
    • Fthrow (Kill)
      • DI away and jump
      • At high %, DI in.
    • Bthrow
      • DI away and jump
    • Uthrow
      • Can mix it up with WTwist at poor DI, but at low %.
      • DI away and jump
  • Bayonetta's Uthrow DI Options:
    • Do not air dodge against her UpB (low-mid %) or Uair (high %)
  • Bayonetta's Dthrow DI Options:
    • Low % – DI away and jump from her ground options (like Dtilt).
      • Against Dtilt, DI up.
    • High % – DI away from her DJ Uair kill.
  • Up Throw (C)
    • The most common follow up for this is an up b at low-mid percent, and up air at high percent. If you get baited into air dodging then that can be punished with a Ryu-side b which destroys stocks so don’t do that.
  • Down Throw (C)
    • Common follow ups are d tilt, f tilt, jab, or grounded side b at low percent or an aerial/jump side b at mid percent. If they go for d tilt then DI upwards but otherwise you can go with old reliable, DI away. At higher percent they may go for down throw into double jump up air which kills so be wary of that. I didn’t really go into detail here because you can just watch this video which explains throw follow ups pretty well.
  • Forward Throw (K)
    • Kills at about 120% from the edge of the stage.
    • Kills at about 200% from the middle of the stage.


Information from this guide on Smashboards

Note: No bad stages for Bayonetta. The stages are entirely based on her playstyle.
Preferred Starters: 1) FD, 2) T&C, 3) SV
Counterpicks: 1) FD/Omega Palutena’s Temple, 2) T&C, 3) SV
Ban/Strike: 1) LC, 2) BF/DL64. Also avoid Omega Wily Castle and Suzaku Castle

Bayonetta's Best Stages:

  • Lylat Cruise
    • One of Bayonetta’s best stages.
      • Her ceiling combos will kill early.
      • Can platform pressure effectively with Utilts, Uairs, and WTwist.
        • Since the platforms and slants are a little low, Bayonetta can land a bit more safely with her specials.
      • The slants and the tilting significantly benefits Bullet Climax and Bullet Arts camping, and Usmash.
        • If both players have the same stock number, Bayonetta has no reason to approach, which forces the opponent to approach.
        • Tilting does not affect her too much because her combos are in the air. She can still snap to the ledge.
        • Fsmash can hit the opponent standing on the platform when the stage tilts.
      • Even if a character like Shulk is good at this stage, Bayonetta still has Witch Time, which can slow down the game to control the pace.
      • Her edgeguard game is strong.
    • The small blastzones will make her die early.
    • If Bayonetta uses WTwist on the turbine, she will teleport offstage (but she can still recover back).
  • Town & City
    • One of Bayonetta’s best stages.
    • Early kills for both characters.
      • Bayonetta’s signature air combos to the ceiling will kill the earliest out of all stages.
        • If a character is on the platform, Bayonetta’s WTwist combos will kill that character extremely early.
        • Utilt does not reach the platforms, but she has to use Uair and WTwist for platform pressure.
      • Bayonetta’s Bair and Fair1 combos to the side blastzone (plus her recovery back) are more effective.
    • Can easily camp on the platforms.
      • Lands with Nair, Dair, ABKs, etc. before shielding.
      • If she is attacked, she can easily use WTime or WTwist OoS to start her combos and get an early kill.
    • The stage does transition to Final Destination, which is her stage weakness (see Final Destination notes below).
  • Smashville
    • Bayonetta does not get punished much on the moving platform.
      • Early kills when on the edge
        • Bayonetta’s Dair.
        • Extremely early Fthrow kill for her. However, Shulk’s kill moves, throws and Dthrow combo can also kill early as well.
      • Can pressure the opponent who is on the moving platform with Utilts, aerials or specials.
        • Can WTwist through the moving platform and be fine most of the time.
      • Grants her an additional landing option when the platform is at either side.
    • Bayonetta’s Fair1 combos to the side blastzone (plus her recovery back) are more effective.
    • The small length of the stage makes it easier to chase Bayonetta.

Bayonetta's "Worst" Stages: 

  • Final Destination
    • Bayonetta’s “worst” stage.
      • Without platforms, and due to big blastzones, Bayonetta does not get an early ceiling kill (assuming the SDI is not too bad) and has to become more “honest” to get a kill. Kill moves will KO for both characters.
        • WTwist OoS is less safe.
        • Her landings are more susceptible unless she grabs the ledge to avoid her landing lag. Even so, her escape option to the ledge is predictable. These vulnerable moments are great for Shulk to rack up damage.
      • Even if the stage’s length is long, the lack of platforms make it easier to chase Bayonetta.
      • Cannot control the pace of the game that much compared to other stages.
    • However, her grounded moves are more effective without platforms since her opponent does not have a platform to land against Dtilt and Heel Slide.
      • Shulk’s landings are still effective with Jump Art and B-Reverses, but he should watch out for Utilts, Uairs, and ABK.
    • A great stage for Shulk to camp with mobility Arts.
  • Battlefield
    • Later kills out of all stages.
    • Can easily camp on the platforms.
      • Lands with Nair, Dair, ABKs, etc. before shielding.
      • If she is attacked, she can easily use WTime or WTwist OoS to start her combos and get an early kill.
    • Can cover the landings of platforms with SH aerials and WTwist. Utilt does not hit the opponent on the side platforms.
      • Her WTwist from below to one of the side platforms will allow her to land on it instead of the ground.
    • Her grounded moves are a bit less effective, especially Dtilt and Heel Slide. Shulk’s best bet is to stay grounded and avoid being on a platform too much. Bayonetta will try to force her opponent up with Uthrow or combos.
  • Dream Land 64
    • Early kills than Battlefield.
    • Can easily camp on the platforms.
      • Lands with Nair, Dair, ABKs, etc. before shielding.
      • If she is attacked, she can easily use WTime or WTwist OoS to start her combos and get an early kill.
    • Wider blastzones makes Bayonetta’s Fthrow, Bair, and Fair1 combos a bit less effective. However, the wider space does not hinder her recovery.
    • Her grounded moves are a bit less effective, especially Dtilt and Heel Slide. Shulk’s best bet is to stay grounded and avoid being on a platform too much. Bayonetta will try to force her opponent up with Uthrow or combos.
    • Wind hazard might mess up her recovery, but if her opponent are pushed to the ledge, she can use Dsmash.

Other Stages:

  • Omegas
    • Palutena’s Temple
    • Wily Castle
      • Can wall cling, boosting her low recoveries and deep edgeguards.
    • Suzaku Castle
      • Can wall cling, boosting her low recoveries and deep edgeguards.
  • Duck Hunt
    • Bayonetta’s best stage.
      • Can easily camp out of all stages by using the wide space and the tree. Shield Art gameplay is worse.
        • Better Bullet Climax and Bullet Arts usage.
        • If she is attacked on the tree, she can easily use WTime or WTwist OoS to get an early kill. SDIing is a lot less useful in this scenario.
      • More usage of ABK.
        • Hitting a duck grants Bayonetta 2-in-1 direction to get away from the opponent and land more easily since landing after her specials is one of her main weaknesses.
    • The only counterplay is to get a lead and maintain it at all cost.
    • Can wall cling, boosting her low recoveries and deep edgeguards.
Hide tableSee full table

Hide tableSee full table

Hide tableSee full table

Hide tableSee full table

Hide tableSee full table

Hide tableSee full table

Hide tableSee full table

VideoPlayer 1Player 2P1 CharactersP2 CharactersStagesDate
NowtempAlebbGame 1: Bayonetta
Game 2: Bayonetta
Game 3: Bayonetta
Game 1: Shulk
Game 2: Shulk
Game 3: Bowser
Game 1: Smashville
Game 2: Smashville
Game 3: Final Destination
NickoJKGame 1: Shulk
Game 2: Shulk
Game 3: Shulk
Game 1: Bayonetta
Game 2: Bayonetta
Game 3: Bayonetta
Game 1: Smashville
Game 2: Smashville
Game 3: Battlefield
MewserTralosGame 1: Shulk
Game 2: Shulk
Game 3: Shulk
Game 4: Shulk
Game 1: Bayonetta
Game 2: R.O.B.
Game 3: R.O.B.
Game 4: R.O.B.
Game 1: Smashville
Game 2: Town and City
Game 3: Battlefield
Game 4: Town and City

Last updated by TrueSapphire on November 24th, 2018 at 07:10 PM