Shulk 101

Zero Suit Samus

Community Rating:
-0.5 (Slight Disadvantage)

Professional Rating:
-0.3 (Slight Disadvantage)
ZSS: Zero Suit Samus

Neutral

  • Jump, Speed or Buster Art.
    • Speed Art helps to match up against ZSS’s great mobility.
    • Shield Art can reduce the paralysis effect. When ZSS starts a combo, switching to Shield Art will reduce her kill combo.
    • Buster Art can still be good against combo characters like ZSS. Defensive plays wil allow Shulk to rack up more damage than ZSS can (unless ZSS hits him too many times). It is also great if Shulk combos her.
  • ZSS is a zone-breaker and setup character. ZSS has a dominant air game: Nair and Bair are safe and reliable setup and kill options, and her Uair is a fantastic juggling that boosts her kill potential. Her punish game is one of the greatest because of her fast mobility, a paralyzing projectile in Paralyzer, and a dangerous combo game that can quickly rack up damage or kill. She has a great long-distanced and varied recovery: two tether recoveries, a third jump in Flip Jump, and Boost Kick. This means that it is difficult to edgeguard as they can be unpredictable and deadly, if overextended. Her aerials are good kill moves that can kill early as if she was a heavyweight. However, ZSS’s ground game is inferior compared to her air game. Her grab game’s weaknesses are the huge amounts of startup and ending lag, and her Fthrow, Bthrow, and Uthrow having minimal utility outside of dealing damage. Most of her ground moves lack kill potential, with her Fsmash being her best kill option out of them. Yet with all that, it is one of the weakest smash attacks in the game. The rest of her ground moves require very high % or rely on edgeguarding to kill. While her air game is excellent, none of her aerials are effective combo breakers, so she can be susceptible to combos. With these weaknesses, she has a weak neutral.
    • Shulk has to play campy and be patient. She has little to no mid-to-long range options. Her options are Paralyzer and Zair.
    • MALLC, shielding to bait, and spot dodging are Shulk’s key tools in this MU, especially to avoid ZSS’s grab game.
    • Shulk should not press too many buttons. He needs to mix up his defensive options so that ZSS will whiff her grabs. He can still stuff out her approaches with his own spaced moves.
    • On platforms, Shulk should avoided getting grabbed between 20-40%.
  • Shulk’s reckless Nair approach or getting too close can get him punished by Usmash or Utilt.
    • Shulk’s Nair  Jab against ZSS’s shield can beat her shield grab attempt.
  • ZSS players never use rising SH aerials, but they use aerials when landing. Shulk can perfect shield her aerials since the timing is always the same. Crouching makes it even easier for Shulk.
    • Shulk can try to punish her SHs with SH Bair.
    • If Shulk shields an aerial, he can keep his shield up. Her Utilt can kill Shulk if Shulk tries to shield grab, jump, roll, or other options.
    • But against her Nair, if Shulk does not perfect shield, he cannot punish it unless he has fast reaction to use Air Slash OoS or shield grab if her Nair is not spaced. Shulk’s proper punish is to punish her next action by analyzing her habits (ex: ZSS’s Jab 1, grab, etc.)
  • ZSS’s Zair is longer than Shulk’s Bair. Shulk must anticipate the Zair with a perfect shield. Shulk can also try to hit her with his Bair.
  • It is important for Shulk to shield her Dsmash. Shulk can try to to use Bair front to kill her at high %.
  • Against her Paralyzer, Fair, Bair, Jabs, Back Slash, Speed Art Pivot Grabs, etc. can stop it if Shulk is quick. Rolling in should be avoided.
  • At high %, Shulk has to avoid getting too close or he will die to Boost Kick OoS. Against her Boost Kick OoS, Nair → shielding or spacing with Shulk’s Nair will make Shulk safe.

Advantage

  • Juggling
    • ZSS can use her Flip Kick to escape Shulk’s juggles. Shulk’s SH air dodge makes her Flip Kick into a punishable animation.
    • Shulk can use combos to rack up damage. Buster Art racks up damage even more.
    • Monado Purge is effective (67-110% with 1st Progression and no Rage). ZSS’s Flipkick gets caught at the same & as a perfect “DJ + air dodge”. Purge catches ZSS’s Flip Kick at all %.
  • Offstage
    • Shulk edgeguarding ZSS is difficult because of her versatile and fast recovery options. He can safely choose to stay at the ledge for ledge trapping. Smash Art Fair can be used as a mental attack.
    • Against Plasma Whip's recovery, Shulk’s Fair in front of the ledge can intercept or stage spike the other way. Nair (facing her while dropping down next to the ledge) also works, but Shulk should be in Jump Art.
    • If she tries to land back with Flip Kick, Shulk’s Air Slash, Utilt, or shield can counter it.
  • Ledge
    • Shulk can use Buster Art for more damage or Smash Art for early kills.
    • ZSS’s Flip Kick is a great escape option. In a worse case scenario, she can bury him, paralyze, and use her Boost Kick to kill. Shielding at the ledge is a safe option for Shulk, then he can try to punish after the Flip Kick.
    • If she hangs onto the ledge and uses Flip Kick, a well-timed Usmash can work.

Disadvantage

  • Juggling
    • When Shulk tries to land, good ZSS players will try to dash grab his landing after Shulk uses a DJ. Resetting the neutral is not necessarily the best option. Shulk can try to land with a spaced aerial (since ZSS cannot shield grab easily), but he should always try to be unpredictable and careful with his DJ usage.
      • MALLC's intangibility frames can help avoiding the dash grab, and using Back Slash as a mix-up when Shulk is about to land can also avoid the Dash Grab while punishing ZSS.
    • Regarding ZSS’s Dthrow, Uairs, and Boost Kick ladder combo:
      • If ZSS has high Rage, Boost Kick can still launch Shulk up and kill without using its finishing hits. However, ZSS has to grab with its high startup and ending lag, making her tactic a high-risk, high-reward option. Shulk can go for a hard punish (Air Slash, Bair, etc.) if ZSS whiffs her grab.
      • Against her Dthrow, Shulk should mix up his DI, but he can DI up and in (at low %) or DI up and away (at high%). Sometimes, DI in and using Uair1 can disrupt her.
      • Against her Uair strings, Shulk can switch to Shield Art during ZSS’s ladder to avoid death by a grab.
        • Dthrow → 2 Uairs → Boost Kick is where Boost Kick really shines. Against it, Shulk should not DI away from the ledge because he will be too close to the side blastzone. DI into the stage is better, then DI down after the Boost Kick finisher. Even at the ledge, this will not kill at mid %. If Shulk has a bit more % where he could die, Boost Kick will not connect, especially when he DIs up to escape out.
        • On Smashville’s ledge, if Shulk is not on his last stock, he can DI to the side blastzone behind him. Even when she uses Boost Kick to kill Shulk, she will also die by falling down. But it is possible the Boost Kick may not connect and will cause her to fall to her death, so most ZSS players do not take this risk.
        • On Town & City, Shulk can die to the ceiling earlier. If Shulk gets grabbed anywhere else and close to the ledge, he can DI away.
        • On platforms, this is where ZSS can easily kill her opponents by extending her combos. Shulk has to mix up his DI or tech a platform. One example is that he can DI in to a top platform, then tech it to avoid the Uair.
          • DI away is usually better, especially when Shulk is grabbed from the center.
          • If ZSS grabs from below a side platform, Shulk should DI in to prevent ZSS extending her combos by using the top platform to replenish her DJ.
      • During the Boost Kick kill finisher:
        • Boost Kick has eight hits, but the sixth hit determines everything.
          • If Shulk is very high above ZSS, Boost Kick will not connect and Shulk will fly upwards without the finisher. But if ZSS has Rage, the upwards launch will still kill.
          • If Shulk is a bit close above ZSS, the finishing hits may not connect if Shulk DIs up.
          • If Shulk is close above ZSS, Boost Kick will always connect unless ZSS moves forward or backwards.
          • If Shulk is right next to ZSS, Boost Kick will always connect, even without Rage. However, Shulk has options to DI out.
        • ZSS can move forward or back with Boost Kick.
          • If she holds forward or makes no input, Shulk can DI in. But she can catch that DI if she moves backwards. If Boost Kick connects from far away, she will get Shulk as long as she does not hold forward.
          • If Boost Kick is about to be used from far away, Shulk can DI away from the first hit. But she can hold forward to catch the DI.
        • High Rage can factor it:
          • If ZSS is slightly above the opponent, Boost Kick will connect unless ZSS fails to read the DI.
          • If ZSS is roughly even level to the opponent, Shulk will drop or launch out if he DIs up or away.
            • Grounded Boost Kick will always connect against Shulk’s heavyweight if ZSS reads the DI correctly.
          • If ZSS is below the opponent, Shulk will always be launched out, regardless of both characters’ input.
      • Against her Boost Kick kill finisher (DI):
        • At the ledge (aka near the blastzone), Shulk can DI down and in until after ~121%.
        • If Shulk gets sent from one side of the stage to the other side, Shulk can DI down until after ~147%. This is only if Shulk’s death to the ceiling is bigger than to the side blastzone.
        • If Shulk is far away from the side blastzone while being on an upper platform, Shulk can DI down and away.
        • After a Boost Kick, Shulk can DI down to escape, then use DJ Uair (or Air Slash) to kill her early.
  • Offstage
    • ZSS can use aerials, Paralyzer or Flip Kick spike, so Shulk has to avoid her options. Jump Art will help to weave in against her edgeguarding game.
  • Ledge
    • ZSS can ledge trump → Bair. Shulk can try to recover on the stage instead of grabbing the ledge.
    • If Shulk gets hit by Dsmash near the ledge, ZSS can follow it up with a Flip Kick spike kill.
    • ZSS’s Fsmash will kill after ~120%. Shulk can DI down and in.

Other Notes

  • Notable characters against Zero Suit Samus: Diddy Kong, Pikachu, Cloud, Bayonetta, Sheik, Greninja, Fox, and Ryu.
  • Notable good attributes:
    • Air Dodge: Intangible 2-25; FAF 31 [2nd-10th]
    • Air Speed: 1.2 [6th-7th]
    • Can crawl.
    • Can wall jump.
    • Rolls: Intangible 4-15; FAF 28 [6th-13rd]
    • Run Speed: 2.1 [5th]
    • Spot Dodge: Intangible 2-14, FAF 25 [2nd-9th]
    • Traction: 0.07 [3rd-5th]
    • Walk Speed: 1.4 [5th-6th]
  • Notable bad attributes: N/A
 
Author: Scarhi, TrueSapphire (Notes from author: Due to Ultimate replacing Smash 4, this MU guide is not in-depth, and some tips may become outdated and/or inaccurate. As such, this guide should serve as a general guidance of the MU.)
Sources: Shulk Discord (including Scarhi, Nach, Sandfall, Ben, FTP), ZeRo, ESAM’s Stage Select, Beefy Smash Doods, Dealing with Boost Kick by Trifroze, Smash Wiki, and public information of the Zero Suit Samus community.

Zero Suit Samus (80)-

  • Against Fsmash, DI down and in.
  • Against Dthrow → Fair, SDI down the final hit of Fair.
  • ZSS’s Boost Kick cannot be SDI.
    • At the ledge, DI down and in.
    • From one side of the stage to the other side, DI down.
    • On a top platform, DI down and away.
  • Down Throw (C)
    • Alternate between DI'ing up and in and up and away because while this throw does have a confirmed follow up if your opponent isn't used to dealing with DI or you succeed and fake them out, you can even get a free punish if they whiff an up b trying to kill you. You can also DI down and away but typically only at low percent. At low percent ZSS players will usually use fair since up air isn't safe even on hit, and at kill percent they will go for rar bair or up air. Also, if you try to air dodge a second up air after a first one they can 50-50 you with down b which is devastating if used by the ledge so be aware of that. This combos into a footstool as well, but this is rarely seen and only leads into a dair. If they do land it though, DI the footstool to ZSS' back to try to avoid the dair.
  • Forward Throw (K)
    • Kills at about 200% from the edge of the stage.
  • Up Throw (K)
    • Kills at about 225%, less situational than forward throw.
  • Honestly don't know why people would go for ZSS's kill throws since her down throw to up air is confirmed and kills way before the 200's.


Information from this guide on Smashboards

Note: Low ceiling stages make it easier for her ladder combo to kill early.
 
Preferred Starters: 1) FD, 2) SV, 3) BF, 4) T&C
Counterpicks: 1) FD, 2) SV, 3) BF, 4) T&C
Ban/Strike: 1) DL64, 2) LC

Zero Suit Samus' Best Stages:

  • Dream Land 64
    • Arguably ZSS’s best stage.
      • Platforms extend her combos and greatly increases the kill potential of Uair strings → Boost Kick finisher due to a lower ceiling than Battlefield. It is also hard for DI out of her Uairs after the grab/stun.
      • The low floor allows her to go deeper edgeguards and Flip Kick spike.
  • Town & City
    • ZSS’s second best stage.
      • Platforms extend her combos and greatly increases the kill potential of Uair strings → Boost Kick finisher due to this stage having the lowest ceiling.
      • Larger stage for retreats on both characters, though she is a fast character. Shulk should take more center stage instead of being at the ledge to avoid the Flip Spike setups.
    • On the middle platform where it raises up and down, she can use Dsmash when it raises up. Using more Dsmash can lock the opponent like on Lylat Cruise. She can then finish it off with Usmash.
    • A good ZSS player will Uair the ducks to stale it, which becomes easier to link Uairs and counteracts Rage later.
    • According to ESAM, only Cloud, Bayonetta, or Mewtwo can combat her easily.
    • If Shulk gets grabbed anywhere else and close to the ledge, he can DI away the Uair strings and Boost Kick finisher.
  • Battlefield
    • ZSS’s third best stage.
      • Despite the high ceiling, ZSS can still extend her combos and kill with Uair strings → Boost Kick. ZZS will look for a panic air dodge to continue her Uair combo.
        • If the opponent still has high % and evades her ladder combos, ZSS may use more Dsmash, Flip Kick, and Bairs.
      • Can Flip Kick under the stage.
    • With ZSS having a lackluster neutral, her opponent has more opportunities to hit her back. Shulk should take more center stage instead of being at the ledge to avoid the Flip Spike setups.
      • It is better for Shulk to take the hits and live at high % instead of being setup for a kill.

Zero Suit Samus' Worst Stages:

  • Final Destination
    • No platforms will slightly weaken ZSS’s vertical combos and kills.
      • She also struggles with landing, making her landing options worse because she has no reliable hitbox below her. Flip Kick is her only best landing option, but Shulk can juggle on reaction to Flip Kick. Her Dair is also punishable if she misses.
    • Wide space for the opponent to take center stage to avoid alternative kill setups from her.
  • Lylat Cruise
    • While it has platforms, the slants and tilts can cause her to whiff her grabs, Nairs, Dsmash, and Fsmash.
    • When the stage tilts up, she can use Dsmash more so than in other situations before finishing the opponent with Boost Kick. This happens because the victim is “landing” when the stage tilts up, allowing Zero Suit Samus to Dsmash again [Twitter].
    • According to ESAM, only Cloud, Bayonetta, or Mewtwo can combat her easily.
  • Smashville
    • If Shulk is not on his last stock, he can DI to the side blastzone behind him. Even when she uses Boost Kick to kill Shulk, she will also die by falling down. But it is possible the Boost Kick may not connect and will cause her to fall to her death, so most ZSS players do not take this risk.

Other Stages:

  • Omegas
    • Palutena’s Temple
    • Wily Castle
    • Suzaku Castle
    • Midgar
  • Duck Hunt
    • Platforms are at awkward positions when she combos with Uairs, allowing opponents to DI easily (except toward the tree and bush as that will extend her combos and potentially kill).
      • The dog and ducks may mess up ZSS’s combos. However, a good ZSS player will Uair the ducks to stale it, which becomes easier to link Uairs and counteracts Rage later.
    • Wide space for the opponent to take center stage to avoid alternative kill setups from her.
    • Can wall jump with Flip Kick, but cannot swing under the stage due to the wall.
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VideoPlayer 1Player 2P1 CharactersP2 CharactersStagesDate
AlebbSr. FailGame 1: Shulk
Game 2: Shulk
Game 3: Shulk
Game 1: Samus
Game 2: Samus
Game 3: Samus
Game 1: Town and City
Game 2: Lylat Cruise
Game 3: Town and City
2017-09-02

Last updated by TrueSapphire on November 24th, 2018 at 06:47 PM

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