Shulk 101


Community Rating:
-0.5 (Slight Disadvantage)

Professional Rating:
-0.8 (Disadvantage)


  • Speed or Buster Art.
    • In Jump Art, after over 150%, Shulk should not jump too predictably or else Sheik can react and kill with Uair. Sheik’s damage output, however, will increase against Jump Art's defense nerf.
    • Speed Art is great to start off against Sheik’s commitment and Needle Storm game while getting in. This is his only Art to keep stage control.
    • Shield Art is really good at high % because Sheik struggles at killing. Bigger stages help Shulk, but a smart Sheik can run away and use Needle Storm a lot.
      • Sheik’s Fthrow → Tipper Usmash kill on Shield Art.
    • Buster Art is the most rewarding Art, but it can be difficult against Sheik’s defensive plays. It is still a good option against combo characters like Sheik. Even if Sheik hits Shulk a lot, as long as Shulk manages to hit back with defensive attacks and repeated throws, he will gain the lead. Basically, one hit against Sheik is worth around 5-7 of Sheik’s hits.
      • Against aggressive Sheik, Shulk can use Buster Art Bairs.
      • Trading attacks can still be good.
    • Smash Art at 0% can escape Sheik’s combos, but with the reduced damage output and being even less safe on shield, it is not recommended. Instead, one of Shulk’s most viable kill options in this terrible MU is to use Smash Art Rage to kill very early after Sheik is over 70 or 100%.
  • Sheik is a zone-breaker and rushdown character. Sheik’s extremely fast frame data gives her an amazing neutral and potent combo game, along with a long-ranged Needle Storm and improved grab game. Her Uair and Bouncing Fish deal good damage and can kill at high %. With fast air speed, good horizontal distance from Bouncing Fish, and great travel distance from Vanish’s intangibility, she has a great overall recovery. But even she has some weaknesses, starting with the overall low damage output that offsets the very high knockback scaling of her smash attacks and Uair. This means that her kill potential are actually not that great at high %. By lacking kill setups at high %, Sheik is forced to rely on hard reads to get a kill. Since Rage alleviates her kill potential, it also offsets her combo game. Due to that, Sheik cannot use Rage effectively, and by having above average height and being a featherweight, Rage playstyle hurts her endurance the most.
    • Patience and not holding forward too much are important for Shulk.
    • Shulk must not play at SH height too much because Sheik controls that height easily with Fair. Shulk should play at FH height or stay grounded by walking. Shulk can use his DJ only if she cannot reach him.
      • Against her Fair, Shulk’s FH retreating Fair can bait and beat it. Pivot tilts, pivot Fsmash, or retreating Bair also works. Crouching when Sheik's Fair is above Shulk's head avoids the Fair.
        • Sheik’s rising Fair will allow Shulk to Air Slash OoS or grab in some situations.
        • But if she lands with Fair, it is unpunishable OoS. Shulk will have to roll to escape.
      • Sheik will try to attack Shulk's legs. SH retreating Bair might work from afar to beat her SH game.
      • If Sheik jumps too much, Shulk can use Utilts.
      • If Sheik dashes toward Shulk, Shulk can use Dtilt.
    • Shulk has to play midrange. If he is too close, Sheik can attack first while being safe. If he is too far away, Sheik will camp with Needle Storm.
      • Shulk’s key attack is Back Nair (not approaching with Nair). It is safe, his fastest aerial option (F13), and has enough disjoint to beat out her attacks, if spaced well.
      • MALLC plays are also essential.
    • Shulk’s stray hits are still good for Shulk to win the MU. Buster Art will help (if he lands more hits than Sheik).
    • Skilled Sheik players will keep attacking, even when they hit Shulk’s shield and avoid choosing defensive options due to outspeeding Shulk. Rolling is one of Shulk’s best defensive option in this MU, but shielding and spot dodging are less effective. Vision is also less recommend due to Sheik’s speed.
      • Despite the huge disadvantage in the neutral, Shulk’s greatest strength is outranging Sheik.
    • Regardless, Sheik overwhelms Shulk.
      • If she is campy, it is difficult for Shulk to hit her.
      • If she is aggressive, her superior frame data will beat out Shulk’s poor startups, greatly hurting Shulk’s most glaring weakness.
  • When Sheik crouches, she avoids Shulk’s Jab 1 & 2 and Ftilt.
  • Needle Storm allows Sheik to easily win neutral. Needle Storm are unsafe on hit from up close if Shulk is at low %, so Shulk does not need to shield them in that case. Shulk can bait a reaction at midrange and punish. But Shulk cannot be predictable when shielding or else Sheik will cancel the charge and Dash Grab. Landing away from the Needle Storm range is a safer option.
    • If Sheik tries to Dash Grab very close to Shulk, Shulk may use Back Slash to hit/kill.


  • Juggling
    • Her escape options are her DJ + Bouncing Fish. Shulk should space himself when punishing her landing. Sheik will often land with Fair or dash super close to shield grab. Shulk’s juggle options are Utilt, frame trap Nair, grabs on landings, aerials, raw Air Slash, etc.
    • Monado Purge is effective (63-100% with 1st Progression and no Rage). It is highly recommended for Shulk to kill with this, especially with Rage. JABD progressions is not recommended if Sheik DIs away because she will be too far away for Uair1 to connect, so Fair is a better option. Bouncing Fish is just as viable as “DJ + air dodge” for Sheik.
  • Offstage
    • Edgeguarding is risky because of Vanish. However, her Vanish is only intangible F19-53 (hitbox explosion F36-38). When she hops in the air, Shulk can use Smash Art Fair to kill early before F19. Shulk’s Bair can also hit Vanish if he edgeguards right in front of the ledge.
    • Bouncing Fish's endlag is punishable, if Shulk predicts it and abuse Smash Art run off → Air Slash to kill after around ~71% (this should be Shulk’s common kill option in this MU). Shulk using Fair is a safer option. If Sheik uses Bouncing Fish to attack Shulk at the ledge, Shulk’s Forward Vision (Rage + Smash Art) can work. Shulk moves just enough for Sheik to be in the Forward Vision’s hitbox.
  • Ledge
    • Shulk’s best hope to win is preventing Sheik from getting back, despite Sheik having great ledge attributes. Buster Art can quickly rack up damage if Shulk reads Sheik’s escape options well. Smash Art can lead to mental pressure and early kills.
      • Smash Art's reliable and fresh kill moves: Utilt (after ~96%), Air Slash (after ~102%), and Dthrow (after ~122%). Fully staled Fair will kill after ~129%.
    • Sheik can attack back with ledge drop → DJ Fair. Shulk’s best spacing is just out of Sheik’s DJ Fair range to cover her ledge options.
    • Shulk’s Usmash at the ledge is not recommended because Sheik can shield the second hit up close, then punish Shulk.


  • Juggling
    • Shulk must land as far away as possible with Jump Art's fall speed, retreating aerials, MALLC aerials, or MALLC air dodge. However, Sheik’s high mobility and Needle Storm may catch up to Shulk, which is why MALLC aerials and MALLC air dodge are Shulk’s best defensive options to weave around Sheik’s pressure.
    • When Shulk is at high %, Sheik's Usmash is another quick kill option, especially on platform stages and if Sheik baits Shulk’s air dodge. Against it, Shulk can DI down and away.
    • Regarding Sheik’s combos:
      • If Shulk gets caught, he must not panic and accept the damage until he can escape safely without wasting his DJ. Then he can use MALLC (aerial or air dodge) while landing as far as possible.
        • Shulk should usually DI away (except on Smashville’s platform).
        • But Shulk has to mix up SDI and air dodges.
      • Against Dthrow, Shulk should DI down and away. But at high %, Shulk must not air dodge Sheik’s Dthrow 50/50s if Uair will not kill or he might die to a Vanish/tipper Usmash mixup.
      • Sheik has a 50/50 from Uthrow:
        • 139-238% – Jump. Sheik has to use an instant DJ.
        • 212-362% – Shield. Sheik has to slightly delay the DJ until about 250%, then use instant DJ until 362%.
      • Against Uair:
        • Shulk can DI down and away.
        • He can also SDI up/out. SDIing at the tip of Sheik’s feet makes it easier to get out.
  • Offstage
    • Sheik can footstool Shulk, even in Jump Art  where Shulk already used his DJ.
    • Sheik can use Rising Needles, hitting Shulk diagonally down. This will sent Shulk up and allow Sheik to follow it up with Bouncing Fish. Shulk must always snap the ledge with Air Slash.
    • Against Bouncing Fish, Shulk can DI in and up.
    • Against Vanish’s explosion, Shulk can DI down and in.
  • Ledge
    • Sheik’s ledge trapping makes it difficult for Shulk to reset neutral. Ledge MALLC is one way to bypass her, but Shulk should always mix up his ledge options to be unpredictable.

Other Notes

  • Notable characters against Sheik: Rosalina, Sonic, Pikachu, Bayonetta, Diddy Kong, Mario, Pikachu, and Ryu.
  • Glide toss is possible (Burst Grenade).
  • Notable good attributes:
    • Air Dodge: Intangible 2-25; FAF 31 [2nd-10th]
    • Can crawl.
    • Can wall jump and wall cling.
    • Ledge Attack: 21-23 (Intangible: 1-18); FAF 55 [9th]
    • Ledge Hanging Hurtbox Vulnerability: High Tier
    • Ledge Roll: Intangible 1-33; FAF 50 [1st-2nd]
    • Rolls: Intangible 4-15; FAF 28 [6th-13rd]
    • Run Speed: 2.016
    • Spot Dodge: Intangible 2-14, FAF 25 [2nd-9th]
    • Walk Speed: 1.4 [5th-6th]
  • Notable bad attributes: N/A
Author: Scarhi, TrueSapphire
Sources: Shulk Discord (including Tremendo Dude, Scarhi, Nicko, and more), Blank, Sheikah Encyclopedia by Contrary and the Sheik community, Smash Wiki, and public information of the Sheik community.

Sheik (81)-

  • Against Usmash and Uair, DI down and away.
  • Against Bouncing Fish, DI in and up.
  • Against Vanish’s explosion, DI down and in.
  • Down Throw (C)
    • This move got severely nerfed, but the DI stayed mostly the same. DI up and away, switch to up and back or back only as a mix up. Also don't air dodge at higher percent since you typically don't need to in order to avoid a follow up.
  • Forward Throw (C)
    • If they follow up with bouncing fish (down b), it is typically confirmed at low percent but at 30% or so you can DI up and in to avoid it. Certain characters like Luigi can avoid a forward throw to bouncing fish by DI'ing up and in even when they are at 0%. Smart Sheik players will typically only go for fair or up air after they know bouncing fish is not confirmed, so I would DI away or up and away, DI up and in for a mix up and up only at mid percents since this makes bouncing fish much harder to land.
  • Up Throw (C)
    • Not used too often, but can combo into an up air sometimes. Just DI up and away or up and in for a mix up.
  • Back Throw (C)
    • Sheik's use this as a mix up when they've conditioned you to DI forward for forward and down throw. DI up is safe for all throws, but if you predict they will use this then DI up and back to avoid a follow up. Typical follow ups are bouncing fish, up air, and fair.
  • Kill Throws for Sheik are so bad, seriously if you ever get a kill with a throw using Sheik record it and show me.

Information from this guide on Smashboards

Note: No bad stages for Sheik, but she is also MU dependent (the stages below are ordered from best to worst, objectively). Sheik loves stages where she can control neutral, charge Needle Storm without being punished, and killing early. She does not like platform combos because she is a featherweight character. Unless the Shulk player can counter the Needle Storm campy playstyle (usually on flat stages), they can choose the stage they are comfortable with.
Preferred Starters: 1) BF, 2) LC, 3) SV, 4) T&C
Counterpicks: 1) BF/DL64, 2) LC, 3) SV, 4) T&C
Ban/Strike: 1) FD

Sheik's Best Stages:

  • Smashville
    • Sheik’s best stage. It is notably called Sheikville.
      • The moving platform allows Sheik to camp with Needle Storm or go for deeper edgeguards. She can also pressure heavily and kill very early with Fairs, Ftilt, Nair, Bouncing Fish, or run-off Vanish diagonal retreat [Clip]
      • Shulk must DI in if Shulk gets caught on the moving platform or he will die to Bouncing Fish.
      • Sheik’s edgeguarding is better because the main stage is stable and has clear, definitive ledges.
      • The platform’s height is perfect for Sheik’s tipper Usmash kill.
    • Both characters can use the moving platform as an additional recovery option during a ledge trapping state.
    • Since combos are more effective on Shulk, he must use Rage Jump Art, Smash Art, and Monado Purge to win.
    • As long as Sheik does not combo Shulk into the blastzone, this stage is actually fine for Shulk than on Final Destination.
  • Final Destination
    • Sheik’s 2nd best stage.
      • Needle Storm camping is more available to pressure from afar. Out of all stages, this hurts Shulk a lot because he will struggle approaching and landing against Needle Storm.
      • Sheik’s retreating Fair and tilt conversations are more simple.
      • As the stage is more neutral heavy, it is easier to reset neutral.
      • Rising Needles → Bouncing Fish is easier to use.
      • Sheik can easily juggle and punish landings without platforms. Tipper Usmash only works in her advantage state.
    • Sheik’s retreating Nair, when ledge trapping, is slightly less effective because there is no platform for Shulk to land on.
  • Town & City
    • Sheik’s 3rd best stage.
      • Various platforms and the flat stage (especially the Final Destination phase) allows her to camp with Needle Storm, hurting Shulk temporarily. Platforms also help her retreat options.
      • Sheik can kill earlier than all other stages, both vertical and horizontal. On a platform, Sheik’s 50/50 Dthrow → Uair will kill much early (but the timing is very strict).
      • Sheik’s edgeguarding is better because the main stage is table and has clear, definitive ledges.
      • Overall better combo game.
    • Without platforms, Sheik can struggle getting early kills, even with a boosted advantage state. But her ledge trapping game becomes simple.
    • With platforms, Shulk has an easier time having more landing options in disadvantage states, but he still has to be careful of Sheik’s early kill setups.
    • No tipper Usmash under a platform for Sheik.
    • Shulk must use Jump Art, Smash Art, and Monado Purge to win. This is important because Sheik can die earlier than usual than in other stages.

Sheik's "Worst" Stages:

  • Battlefield
    • Sheik’s 4th best stage. One of her “bad” stages.
      • Out of all stages, Sheik struggles the most when trying to kill, especially against Shield Art at high %. It is possible for Shulk to live over 200%.
      • Shulk can combo her a bit more reliably. Buster Art is more favorable to Shulk than Sheik’s combo game (even more favorable if Sheik has Rage), and Monado Purge is fantastic if Shulk grabs her on a platform.
      • Ledges do not favor her because they are thin.
      • Monado Purge is great against Sheik.
      • Sheik can struggle to land against Shulk’s good juggles.
    • Decent Needle plays, and her neutral is short due to retreat options on the platform.
    • Sheik can still extend her vertical combos.
    • On a platform, Sheik can use tilts to get an early kill off the top.
    • Sheik’s Usmash read can connect the side platform perfectly, making it one of her few reliable kill move on this stage. When ledge trapping, she can condition Shulk to ledge jump on the side platform and use tipper Usmash.
    • When edgeguarding on the left side, Sheik can trap characters, use vertical stage spikes or drop-down Vanish.
    • When edgeguarding on the right side, Sheik gets better horizontal stage spiking, ledge snapping, wall jumping, and Bouncing Fish rebounds.
  • Lylat Cruise
    • Sheik’s 5th best stage. One of her “bad” stages.
      • The tilting of the stage can mess up Needle Storm camping game.
      • Platforms are low, meaning she cannot kill early with the assistance of high platforms. Sheik is forced to kill at the side blastzones.
      • Platforms and the stage tilting also “hinder” her combo game, even with good aerial mobility and FF.
      • Sheik may SD if she recovers incorrectly against the tilted ledges. Her most reliable way is to go all the way under the stage and ride the lip of the ship. She can fail to snap the ledge when recovering directly upward or diagonally downward.
      • Teleport characters that teleport on Lylat’s engine can go opposite directions, even offstage.
    • The platform layout is good for Shulk because Sheik does not have room for platform camping or relief.
    • But this is still a double-edged sword because Shulk may not recover easily, and Sheik’s Usmash is great to use under the platforms.
  • Dream Land 64
    • Sheik’s “worst” stage (same as Battlefield’s notes unless otherwise).
      • The wind can interfere Sheik’s micro-spacing, stage control, and sometimes trapping. If she jumps while edgeguarding with Burst Grenade, the wind can push and put her in a free fall state.
      • Sheik’s platform pressure is harder because the platforms are slightly higher up. Tipper Usmash under a side platform cannot connect, and the upper platform requires a little more time to jump.
    • Sheik’s only advantage over Battlefield is early vertical kills. At certain %, Uair ladder combos can kill. If Sheik gets a 50/50 setups on the top platform, she can kill even earlier.

Other Stages:

  • Omegas
    • Palutena’s Temple
    • Wily Castle
    • Suzaku Castle
    • Midgar
  • Duck Hunt
    • Despite being a campy stage, it favors Sheik more than Shulk’s Jump Art camping playstyle.
      • As the stage is mostly flat, Sheik can camp with Needle Storm.
      • The layout of the platforms favor Sheik more, especially when she camps on the tree.
      • Shulk’s combo game is hinder when the dog appears.
    • Shulk can try to hit Sheik to the bush, then kill with an Usmash read from below.
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VideoPlayer 1Player 2P1 CharactersP2 CharactersStagesDate
NickoVoiDGame 1: Shulk (L)
Game 2: Cloud (L)
Game 3: Cloud (L)
Game 4: Cloud (L)
Game 1: Sheik (W)
Game 2: Sheik (W)
Game 3: Sheik (W)
Game 4: Sheik (W)
Game 1: Smashville
Game 2: Dream Land
Game 3: Town and City
Game 4: Smashville
NickoK9sbruceGame 1: Shulk
Game 2: Shulk
Game 1: Sheik
Game 2: Sheik
Game 1: Smashville
Game 2: Smashville
VoiDNickoGame 1: Sheik
Game 2: Sheik
Game 3: Sheik
Game 4: Sheik
Game 5: Sheik
Game 1: Shulk
Game 2: Shulk
Game 3: Shulk
Game 4: Shulk
Game 5: Shulk
Game 1: Smashville
Game 2: Final Destination
Game 3: Final Destination
Game 4: Final Destination
Game 5: Final Destination
NickoDynamoGame 1: Shulk
Game 2: Shulk
Game 1: Sheik
Game 2: Sheik
Game 1: Smashville
Game 2: Smashville
K9sbruceNickoGame 1: Sheik (L)
Game 2: Sheik (L)
Game 3: Sheik (L)
Game 1: Shulk (W)
Game 2: Shulk (W)
Game 3: Shulk (W)
Game 1: Smashville
Game 2: Smashville
Game 3: Battlefield
NickoVoiDGame 1: Shulk
Game 2: Shulk
Game 3: Shulk
Game 4: Shulk
Game 1: Sheik
Game 2: Sheik
Game 3: Sheik
Game 4: Sheik
Game 1: Smashville
Game 2: Final Destination
Game 3: Dream Land
Game 4: Final Destination
K9sbruceNickoGame 1: Sheik
Game 2: Sheik
Game 3: Sheik
Game 1: Shulk
Game 2: Shulk
Game 3: Shulk
Game 1: Smashville
Game 2: Battlefield
Game 3: Battlefield
K9sbruceNickoGame 1: Diddy Kong
Game 2: Diddy Kong
Game 3: Diddy Kong
Game 4: Sheik
Game 1: Shulk
Game 2: Shulk
Game 3: Shulk
Game 4: Shulk
Game 1: Smashville
Game 2: Smashville
Game 3: Final Destination
Game 4: Final Destination
NickoVoiDGame 1: Shulk
Game 2: Cloud
Game 3: Cloud
Game 4: Cloud
Game 1: Sheik
Game 2: Sheik
Game 3: Sheik
Game 4: Sheik
Game 1: Smashville
Game 2: Dream Land
Game 3: Town and City
Game 4: Smashville

Last updated by TrueSapphire on December 10th, 2018 at 06:26 PM