Shulk 101


Community Rating:
+0.5 (Slight Advantage)

Professional Rating:
+0.5 (Slight Advantage)

Quick Guide

  • Neutral/Advantage
    • Charizard’s four main ways in neutral:
      • Great ground movement with empty hops, Pivot Grabs/Ftilt, and Jabs.
      • Spacing and attacking with Jabs, SH AC Fairs, FH Nairs, Dtilts, and Flamethrower.
      • Grabbing for Dthrow combos.
      • Killing with sweetspot Bair or Uthrow.
    • Shulk must exploit Charizard’s size, bad air physics and awful evasive options.
      • Patience and letting Charizard overcommit.
      • Good spacing and positioning to avoid Charizard’s Dthrow combos (until mid to mid-late %), Jab OoS, and Fly OoS in front of Charizard.
      • Walking in Charizard’s general zone to bait and react to Charizard’s jump squat, air speed, and grab attempts. Speed Art Dash Grab game and Buster Art’s retreating Fairs/Bairs help.
      • Crossing up with Nair or Bair, especially in Jump or Speed Art, while also punishing Charizard’s bad rolls.
    • Against Flare Blitz, Shulk should shield it, then punish with Dash Attack, running smash attacks, or Dair lock.
    • Charizard struggles to land against Shulk’s juggles (Uthrows, Speed Art walking/running Utilts, frame trap Nairs, etc).
      • For Charizard to land safely, he has two jumps, Rock Smash, and AC Nair. Shulk can bait the Rock Smash landing option within his own Utilt range.
    • Shulk can cover Charizard’s tech rolls with Dtilt.
    • Monado Purge does not work because Charizard can jump out and air dodge, but can kill after 76%.
  • Edgeguarding
    • Shulk can edgeguard deep with Jump or Smash Art and aim to take away all of Charizard’s jumps.
    • If Flare Blitz goes over Shulk, he can punish with running Usmash or Back Slash. If Flare Blitz head toward the ledge, Shulk must respect it.
    • Charizard is most vulnerable to ledge trapping, so Shulk should focus on killing him here effectively while maintaining his advantage. Shulk can use Utilt (or any other moves) once Charizard loses his ledge invincibility or Usmash at the ledge.
  • Disadvantage
    • Charizard will try to catch Shulk’s landings with Nairs, Utilts, and Usmash. Shulk must not challenge Charizard’s OoS options and must land away safely with Jump Art or MALLC.
    • Shulk should conserve his DJ. Flamethrower is great to catch Shulk’s Air Slash, so Shulk must stay calm or else he will accidentally misinput to death.
    • Charizard’s moves like Usmash can kill Shulk at the ledge.
    • Against Dthrow, DI away. At high %, Shulk must DI up and in to avoid the Fair kill.
    • Against Uthrow, DI down and away.


  • Speed or Buster Art
    • Mobility Arts are great against Charizard’s good mobility on the ground. They are also good for cross-ups because Charizard cannot deal with cross-ups.
      • Despite its great cross-ups, Jump Art can be risky as Charizard is good at catching landings.
        • With Shulk at 0%, Jump Art Air Slash does not work on Charizard. With Rage, it will work at ~47%.
    • Shield Art should be limited as Charizard can easily juggle Shulk.
    • Like the Luigi MU, Buster Art is great since Charizard has the second poorest traction speed. Retreating Bairs, Fairs, Dtilts, and even a well-spaced Fsmash will stop Charizard from approaching recklessly. Non-Buster Art Ftilt will allow Charizard to counterattack.
  • Charizard will play defensively, usually with Flamethrower and Jab spams. While Shulk can jump over or space, he must not overextend. Regardless, patient is needed so that Charizard will overcommit first. Shulk cannot hold forward and hit Charizard’s shield because Charizard has strong OoS game with grab, Usmash, and Jabs. He also has to be careful of jumping too much or else Charizard will catch that.
    • Instead, Shulk should:
      • Maintain his spacing while threatening Charizard with his huge disjoints. With good spacing, Shulk also avoids Charizard’s Dthrow combos.
      • Walk into Charizard’s general zone of control because Charizard’s jump squat, air speed and grabs are slow, allowing Shulk to bait and react to these options. However, Charizard’s ground game is better than Shulk’s.
      • Cross-up with Nair and Bair.
  • Four main ways in neutral
    • 1. Using his great ground movement while mixing with empty hops for baiting.
      • This will his primary way in neutral. With the combination of good walk speed, run speed, fast skid, and good turnaround, Charizard can punish whiff opportunities with Pivot Grab, Pivot Ftilt, and Jab. Any other moves are rather laggy for him, but Dash Attack can catch retreats, empty jumps, and whiffs.
      • Countering it
        • Charizard cannot roll so much because his rolls are bad.
        • If Charizard relies on dashing into shield to approach, Shulk can use:
          • Speed Art to Dash Grab on reaction as soon as Charizard puts up his shield.
          • Buster Art with retreating Fairs or Bairs, especially when Charizard spot dodges.
    • 2. Spacing and attacking with Jabs, Fairs, Nairs, Dtilts, and Flamethrowers.
      • Charizard’s Jabs is one of the best Jabs in the game as it can be used as an OoS option, have good range, deals great damage, and is a good anti-approach move that negates Shulk’s ground game. Jab3 also has little endlag.
      • SH Fair is Charizard’s best aerial as it is fast and can win exchanges. It also effective against slow front aerials like Shulk’s. SH Nair is only good at reading empty jumps because Charizard’s Nair starts too late. Nair is not meant to space at ground level, and Fair needs to AC, so Charizard cannot FF it.
      • FH Nair and multi-jump FF Nair are only good when it hits as late as possible to be safe. Charizard will space and retreat with this, but Nair can only FF late.
      • Dtilt has a windbox that is also a ground spacing option.
      • Flamethrower is a great mid-range zoning tool in the neutral. It will force the opponent to be in the air, allowing Charizard to use his anti-air moves to gain advantage.
      • Countering it
        • Against Jabs, Shulk must be careful of his spacing and positioning while spacing with Fair and Bair. If his Jab1 is not spaced, Shield Art Shulk can shield Jab2.
        • Against Nair and Fair, Shulk should shield and punish, or space his moves. Charizard’s SH FF aerials are too slow.
        • Against Flamethrower, Jump Art cross-ups can avoid this. Shulk can also simply jump over and punish. If Shulk is in Jump/Speed Art, Nair (including Back Nair)  various combos is effective.
    • 3. Grab opportunities.
      • Charizard’s grabs are more rewarding and quick (while Jab has more range). Charizard’s Dthrow has guaranteed follow-ups, regardless of DI, until mid to mid-late %. He usually combos with Fair, but Nair, Uair and Usmash may be used.
    • 4. Killing his opponent in the neutral (depending on Rage).
      • Around ~60-90%, Charizard may start to outspace Shulk because the sweetspot of his Bair will kill very early, especially with Rage. Bair is also safe on shield, if spaced, and can trade against Shulk’s aerials. But SH FF Bair is sluggish and is only used after attempting to bait with empty jumps.
      • Around ~110-135%, Charizard will try to bait in order to use his Uthrow kill, especially with platforms. If he knows his opponent are aware, then Charizard can use his anti-air moves like Fly.
      • Countering it
        • If Charizard uses Bair and whiffs while Shulk is close, Shulk will be in range to punish Charizard. If Charizard misspaces, Shulk’s best option is his shield grab.
        • Shulk can bait Charizard’s shield grab with his DJ and walling out with aerials.
  • While Flare Blitz has two hitboxes, it damages Charizard by 5%, and the successful hit (except reading a kill at high %) does not help him that much. Flare Blitz is only used if Charizard reads Shulk in his vulnerable moment.
    • Shulk’s best bet is to shield it, then Dash Attack, running smash attacks, or Dair lock. Any character should not get hit by Flare Blitz. However, Vision does not work because the 2nd hitbox will hit Shulk.
    • Unlike Fly, Flare Blitz’s heavy armor can be overwhelmed by 15% damage. In Buster Art, this includes Ftilt, Bair, and the first hit of Dsmash.
  • If Shulk overextends and lands in front of Charizard, Charizard can Fly OoS. However, it only hits in front of him, meaning that cross-ups can counter it. If Charizard whiffs completely, Shulk can punish him.


  • Juggling
    • Charizard struggles with landing, so Shulk should abuse his juggles as much as possible with Uthrows, Utilts, frame trap Nairs, and Air Slash. Speed Art running and walking further boosts Shulk’s chance at catching Charizard’s landings. Juggling is even more effective if Shulk catches all of Charizard’s jumps and force him offstage or wait for Charizard to overcommit when landing. But overall, Utilt is the best tool against Charizard’s landings.
      • Charizard still has two jumps in the air, which is helpful as a landing mixup.
      • Even when juggling Charizard, Shulk must watch out for Rock Smash because it has super armor. It is a great landing option for Charizard if he reads Shulk’s anti-air moves like Utilt. The hitboxes of rock shards do scatter on random.
        • Shulk can bait it once Charizards gest close of Shulk’s Utilt range. If Charizard uses Rock Smash and misses entirely, Shulk can punish heavily.
        • Rock Smash cannot punish Shulk’s Usmash if he is hit on F18, even if Shulk has no Rage. If Charizard was crouching, then he can definitely be punished by Usmash.
      • Charizard’s last reliable landing option is AC Nair. Bair, empty landing → Jab, and rarely Fly (on platforms) may be used as a mixup, but Shulk’s Utilt will beat these moves.
    • Jump Art Uair is good to intercept Charizard.
    • Jump Art Uthrow → Air Slash only works if Charizard DIs behind at 76-84%.
  • Offstage
    • Shulk can edgeguard deep with Jump or Smash Art as Charizard’s safe options are Fair and air dodge. If Shulk manages to take all of Charizard’s jumps, then Charizard is force to use Flare Blitz.
    • Regarding Flare Blitz:
      • If Charizard uses Flare Blitz above the ledge and Shulk, Shulk can simply punish the high endlag with running (Speed Art) Usmash or Back Slash. Shulk’s Utilt can add extra damage when Flare Blitz passes over Shulk.
      • If Charizard uses Flare Blitz to grab the ledge, Shulk should respect it because it can snap to the ledge Charizard aims slightly below the ledge.
    • Challenging Charizard’s Fly is not recommended because it as super armor. But if Charizard plans to go low the ledge, Shulk could jump down and use Air Slash to stage spike
  • Ledge
    • Charizard sticks his head out the most. If he loses his ledge invincibility, Shulk’s angled down Fsmash, Utilt, and Dsmash are effective.
    • If Charizard hangs on the ledge:
      • Flare Blitz may be used, so Shulk should simply shield and punish the high endlag a charged Usmash or Dair. However, Flare Blitz can blow up Shulk’s Vision with the second hitbox.
        • Fsmash is also effective as only Fsmash2 will connect.
      • Charizard can let go, hold away, jump to turn around and Bair. Not only Bair is disjointed, but it is also a powerful kill move.
      • Fair may be used as a counterattack if Shulk stands too close to the ledge.
    • Charizard is also vulnerable to ledge trapping due to his large stature, so a good Charizard player will immediately choose a ledge option.
      • Shulk can easily cover Charizard’s ledge options and possibly kill. Shulk’s Usmash is the best kill option since Charizard’s ledge roll does not have that much distance.
  • Buster Art combos.
    • Dthrow → slight delayed Jab1 (0%).
    • Dthrow  Dtilt (0-26%).
    • Dthrow → Fsmash (10-19%).
    • Utilt → Utilt (20%)
    • Dthrow → Air Slash (0-32%). From 38-39%, Charizard will be in a tumble fall after Air Slash 2.
    • Utilt → Air Slash (90%).
  • With Charizard having terrible rolls in general, when he is forced to tech, Shulk can use Dtilt and still have time to punish Charizard if he tech rolls.


  • Juggling
    • A good Charizard player will remain grounded, does not commit to chasing his opponent too high, and read the jumping habits. Charizard is good at using his anti-air moves against Shulk’s landings (and if Shulk is aggressive). His Nair and Utilt can cover the landings, and Usmash is a great killing move and an OoS option (though it does not work from behind). If Charizard wants to mix it up, he can use Nair and Bair, but it can be risky for Charizard to jump in general.
      • Shulk must not stay above Charizard. Jump Art and MALLC will help.
    • Charizard’s Dthrow  Fair or Uair combo. If Shulk DIs in, Charizard can use Uair.
  • Offstage
    • Shulk should conserve his DJ because Charizard’s edgeguarding game is good. Since Shulk’s recovery is linear, Charizard can edgeguard with Fair, Nair, or Bair (although they have endlags).
    • Charizard will use Flamethrower to interrupt Air Slash, resulting Shulk getting hit by Fsmash, Nair, Fair, or Dair.
      • Shulk can still use Air Slash to get through eventually, but Shulk must stay calm or else he accidentally input Back Slash SD or Vision SD. Setting the “Z” button on the GameCube controller for Air Slash’s 2nd hit can avoid this.
      • Jump Art DJ air dodge can get through and Back Slash Charizard.
    • Charizard’s Bair (the low angle on the first active hitbox) can 2-Frame while being faster than Shulk’s Bair. Since a sweetspot Bair is strong, it can potentially kill very early at +70% [Twitter].
    • Angled down Ftilt can 2-Frame and kill at +109%.
    • Dsmash hits below the ledge and can 2-Frame and stage spike, but it does have a lot of endlag.
  • Ledge
    • Charizard’s Usmash covers ledge getup, which can kill at high %.
    • Charizard’s fresh Jab with the right angle can kill at +144% with best DI (in and up)
    • Charizard’s Bthrow will kill +165% with best DI (in and up).
    • Charizard’s Dthrow → Fair can be a kill combo unless Shulk DIs up and in.
  • Despite Uthrow being one of the best Uthrow kills, Charizard’s Uthrow will kill +160% with best DI (down and away), but on platforms, it can kill +137%. This is due to the poor angle of Uthrow.

Other Notes

  • Notable characters against Charizard: Bayonetta, Diddy Kong, Zero Suit Samus, Sonic, Rosalina, Ryu, Sheik, Mega Man, Robin, Corrin, Fox, Meta Knight, Lucas, Samus, Cloud, Pikachu, Greninja, Captain Falcon, Olimar, Yoshi, Wario, Mario, Lucario, Peach, Ness, R.O.B., Duck Hunt, Palutena, Villager, Bowser, Luigi, and Donkey Kong.
  • Notable good attributes:
    • 3 max jumps (2 in air)
    • Fast Skid. Charizard has quick access to his ground options out of his fast run without having to commit to shield.
    • Good Turnaround
    • Run Speed: 2 [9th]. Faster than any heavy characters.
    • Walk Speed: 1.2 [15-16th]. Helps Charizard’s overall micro-spacing and approach.
    • Weight: 116 [Super Heavyweight 4th]
  • Notable bad attributes:
    • Air Physics (poor air mobility, low mid-air jump height, and his large size)
    • Gravity: 0.11 [10-12th]. With a high gravity and low fall speed, he dies earlier off the top than his weight.
    • Ledge Hanging Hurtbox Vulnerability: Bottom Tier (easy to connect the punish)
    • Ledge Roll: Intangible 1-25; FAF 50 [48th-52nd]
    • Head hurtbox is larger than it should be. Characters with bad standing grab range can grab Charizard because of this oversight.
    • Rolls: Intangible 4-18; FAF 33 [50th-52nd]
    • Traction: 0.04 [56-57th]. Due to this, it hurts his OoS game when pushed far.
Author: TrueSapphire
Sources: Shulk Discord (including Virum and his Smashboards guide, FTP, Sandfall, GetShulked, Masonomace, Ben, Mr. Hen, Sirknight, and Wildstar7), Frenzy Light’s competitive guide ft. Virum, and public information of the Charizard community.

Charizard (116)-

  • Down Throw (C)
    • DI away. At very low percent, DI in as a mix up.
    • At the ledge while Shulk is in mid-high %, DI up and in to avoid a Fair kill.
  • Back Throw (C)
    • Combos to fair/side b/dash attack so DI up and back and jump away.
  • Up Throw (K)
    • Since this throw has Charizard jumping high and then slamming back down, it kills earlier if you use it below or on a platform. Kills at about 100% on the middle platform on Battlefield and at 120% for either of the side platforms. Kills at 125% without any platforms on FD and 130% on BF. Against Uthrow, DI diagonally down and away.
  • Forward Throw (K)
    • Kills at about 120% from the edge of the stage.
  • Back Throw (K)
    • Kills at about 130% from the edge of the stage.

Information from this guide on Smashboards

Note: Charizard is more MU dependent, but he prefers platforms as he can platform pressure and use Uthrow to kill early.
Preferred Starters: 1) LC, 2) FD, 3), SV
Counterpicks: 1) LC, 2) FD, 3) SV, 4) DL64
Ban/Strike: 1) BF/DL64, 2) T&C

Charizard's Best Stages:

  • Battlefield
    • Charizard’s best stage
      • Charizard’s Nair covers a lot of space.
        • He can also FH Nair and Fair while landing on the side platforms to AC, helping his pressure game.
      • He has more landing options with platforms
        • However, being at the top platform is risky because he will struggle at landing down against Shulk’s strong juggles. Shulk should focus on taking center stage and juggle Charizard.
      • Great at sharking and pressuring underneath the platforms, particularly Utilt.
      • Wide blastzones will increase his survivability.
      • Early Uthrow kills on platforms.
  • Town & City
    • One of Charizard’s best stages
      • Platforms give Charizard additional places to land and move.
      • Early Uthrow kills on platforms, especially with the stage’s lowest ceiling.
      • Lots of space to move around while the platforms make it easier for Charizard to get around the opponent’s camping attempts (although Shulk’s Jump Art camping game is superior).
      • He can recover under the stage with Flare Blitz.
    • Transitions into Final Destination temporarily.
  • Dream Land 64
    • Despite being similar to Battlefield, the small differences does not favor Charizard.
      • Zoning and platform pressure are less effective because he cannot AC FH Nair and Fair on the side platforms.
      • The wind disrupts his ground game.
    • Early Uthrow kills on platforms, even earlier with the stage’s low ceiling than Battlefield’s.

Charizard's Worst Stages:

  • Smashville
    • Neutral stage for Charizard.
    • Charizard can FH Nair AC on the platform, and empty FH will allow him to quickly land on the platform.
    • Charizard’s Fthrow and Bthrow will kill early if done at the edge of the moving platform.
    • The moving platform allows both characters to have an additional landing option.
    • He can recover under the stage with Flare Blitz.
  • Lylat Cruise
    • One of Charizard’s bad stages.
    • Good platforms heights for SH and FH Nair pressure and sharking with Usmash and Utilts.
      • However, the tilts affect the ACs of Nair and Fair. If he lands while the stage tilts up, he will not AC and become less safe in the neutral.
    • Tilting can disrupt Charizard’s recovery as he is can get caught under the lips of the stage when he uses Fly.
  • Final Destination
    • Not too great, but not a terrible stage for Charizard.
    • Without platforms, Charizard will focus on his good ground game.
    • Large flat space means that Shulk can camp Charizard easily as Charizard has fewer methods of approaching.

Other Stages:

  • Omegas
    • Palutena’s Temple
    • Wily Castle
      • With a wall, Charizard can Flare Blitz to bounce off and use his jumps before using Fly to the ledge.
    • Suzaku Castle
    • Midgar
  • Duck Hunt
    • One of Charizard’s best stages.
      • The wide space benefit Charizard’s space and ground game.
      • When Charizard gest the lead, he can camp under and near the tree to bait the opponent. Charizard’s Uthrow is the best out of all stages if Charizard lands on the top tree, killing very early.
    • Despite Charizard’s options against camping opponents, Shulk’s camping game with Jump Art outweighs that. Charizard has to move more and the air space will allow Shulk to camp in the air.
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Last updated by TrueSapphire on August 9th, 2018 at 12:33 AM