Shulk 101
Aerial Moves

Clock Turn | Neutral air

Hitbox Frames IASA Base Damage Angle Base Knockback Knockback Growth Landing Lag Autocancel
13 - 30 71 7.5% (Blade)
8.5% (Ether)
50° 40 100 10 80
Notes:
  • Red visualization showcases percieved "lingering" hitbox due to the interpolation of hitboxes.
  • One of Shulk’s best moves, but can be easily overused to get punished. Getting shield-grabbed or getting punished in general are signs that the Shulk player is not using Nair properly.
  • Due to Nair’s large FAF, Nair FF offstage can be an SD [Clip 1]
Design Flaws
  • Despite being his fastest aerial, the move doesn't start in front of him; it starts from behind Shulk. Most characters have a quick aerial faster than at least frame 10. And while Nair’s disjoint goes below him, Shulk does not have a “get off me” aerial or an aggressive option when he is in a combo.
  • There are no active hitboxes after frame 30.
  • The first actionable frame is too long.
Ratings
  • 5/5: Jump/Speed
  • 4.5/5: Buster
  • 4/5: Vanilla
  • 3.5/5: Shield
  • 2.5/5: Smash
Competitive Applications
  • Primary tool for mid-range pressure. Nair is designed as a spacing move, not an approaching move.
    • Vanilla and Shield Art Shulk will only play defensively to stop approaches.
      • Speed Art can also be played defensively by retreating away. Great against characters that lack range like Mario.
    • Tipper Nair applies more shield pressure. Therefore, landing with the tip is better than the base hitbox. Buster Art Nair, when spaced, makes the move very safe on shield and can potentially rack up great damage.
      • FF with Jump Art will make Nair safe on shield.
    • F13 Nair (which is behind Shulk) is great defensively; vital to use against fast characters like Sheik.
    • Good pressure when the opponent is on the platform.
  • Shulk’s primary combo starter against grounded approaches, but easily beaten by defensive options (as well as against Shulk’s other aerials holding forward). It is not recommended to spam Nair (and other aerials), but only when the opponent is off-guard.
    • Space Nair when the Monado passes in front of Shulk’s head, not passing to the lower portion of Shulk’s legs. Never pass an opponent through this animation, as this is a common mistake to Shulk players.
    • Nair → Jabs/Grabs/Air Slash/tilts/Fsmash, either for more insane damage (Buster), pressure (Speed/Jump), or for a kill (Jump/Smash).
      • Great for Jump Art Nair (or Fair) → Fair → Fair/Dair/Air Slash kill [Clip 1] [Clip 2] [Clip 3]
      • Jump Art Nair → Uair can work against poor DI [Clip 1]
    • In his Mobility Arts, Shulk can cross-up with Nair through the opponent’s shield if he expects a shield-grab as a mixup. He can then punish against the whiffed grab.
  • Great anti-roll aerial below him since Nair goes under Shulk first.
    • Leads into a tech chase.
  • Great ledge-trapping move.
    • If spaced and well-timed, Shulk is mostly safe from any attempt from the opponent since it covers four common ledge escape options (getup, roll, attack, and jump).
    • Barrier Nair (by Tremendo Dude) [Clip 1] – Run off stage, FF, and DJ Nair back so that Shulk barely lands back on stage. Great edgeguarding tool to use such as Cloud.
  • Good frame trapping move, especially against air dodges. However, it is somewhat difficult to time.
    • SH Nair to bait a reaction, then punish with Utilt or other moves.
  • If Shulk uses his other aerials, Nair can be buffered to reduce to 10 frames of landing lag. It is also common for a Shulk player to land back with Nair.
Other/Situational
  • Can be used to edgeguard offstage; it can even kill (Jump or Smash Art).
    • When edgeguarding against tether characters, facing them while dropping down next to the ledge with Nair can stage spike, if timed properly.
    • Stage spike is possible by using the F13 behind Shulk, but it’s recommended to have Jump Art to be safe.
  • The hitboxes below Shulk’s feet can get opponents below. Can be used as a 2 Frame Punish,
  • Smash Art Nair is really unsafe on shield in the neutral.
  • Buster Art Nair → MABD Fsmash kill at the ledge.
    • Buster Art Nair → MABD Usmash against air dodge [Clip 1]

 

 

Wide Slash | Forward air

Hitbox Frames IASA Base Damage Angle Base Knockback Knockback Growth Landing Lag Autocancel
14 - 18 42 8% (Blade)
6.5% (Ether)
361° 46 100 16 57
  • Red visualization showcases percieved "lingering" hitbox due to the interpolation of hitboxes.
  • Best used defensively. Using it offensively in a reckless way (like overusing Nair) can lead into getting shield-grabbed.
  • Horizontal range is between Dtilt and Ftilt.
  • On rare occasions, Fair can send the opponent behind Shulk [Clip 1]
  • F18 can knock opponent at the opposite direction, making it an alternative option for a stage spike. Also useful for a 2 Frame Punish (like Shulk’s Air Slash in a ditto match).
  • [Design flaws] No active hitbox past his feet.
Ratings
  • 5/5: Jump
  • 4/5: Speed/Smash
  • 3.5/5: Buster
  • 3/5: Vanilla
  • 2/5: Shield
Competitive Applications
  • Great edgeguarding tool.
    • Great KO move in Jump and Smash Art.
      • In Smash Art, the normal fall speed allows Shulk to have an easier time in positioning, spacing, and timing with Fair.
      • Even in Jump Art, having Rage + Fair strings can kill early [Clip 1] [Clip 2] [Clip 3]
    • Can beat out most recoveries or air dodges when timed properly.
    • A follow up from mobility Arts Nair → Fair combos.
  • Good spacing tool.
    • To contest aerial approaches or dash attacks.
      • Fair is Shulk’s “fastest” aerial. While Nair comes out at F13, it starts behind him. Unless Shulk plans to use Back Nair, Nair when approaching are hitting at F18-21 commonly. Fair, on the other hand, can hit at F15-17.
    • Recommended to use retreating Fairs in the neutral to be safe on shield.
      • Jump Art retreating Fair shines the most out of all Arts. Fair’s coverage + increased jump height can create a wall. Speed Art can also work.
      • Even when using Buster Art, it may be unsafe up close due to suffering 16 frames of landing lag. Retreating Fair is the only way to be safe.
        • Due to weaker KB, Shulk can still apply Buster Art pressure at mid-range.
    • Safer Fair – Act out with SH Fair, DJ with Fair, then land with Nair. Makes Shulk safer on shield and combos easier. In theory, this makes certain MUs (like Fox, Sheik, Sonic, etc.) a bit easier. This is thanks to the lowest FAF out of all of his aerials.
      • With MABD, Shulk can become Melee Jigglypuff when edgeguarding, MABD retains Jump Art's aerial mobility, but without FF speed, so he drifts quickly without falling fast.
        • Ex: Fair → MABD → retreated Fairs → Air Slash back on stage.
    • The only decent autocancel aerial [Clip 1]
      • Vanilla: FH Fair without FF.
      • Jump Art: FH Fair OR SH Fair → DJ.
    • One of the best moves to attack back when trying to recover back.
  • Good tech chasing
    • Jump Art Dthrow/Uthrow → Fair.
    • Speed Art Dthrow → Fair at 0%.
  • Good ledge trapping.
    • Best used against ledge attacks, ledge jump, or ledge drop → DJ attack.
    • If the opponent runs out of ledge intangibility, Fair is the best and easy aerial to hit/kill.
  • Alternative Monado Purge (Uthrow → Fair).
Other/Situational
  • Buster Art Fairs can potentially be an edgeguarding tool. An example is against Fox’s vertical Fire Fox or those with poor recoveries. The minimum goal is to inflict more damage in this advantage state, even when the opponent manages to get back onto the stage.
  • In Jump Art, Fair → MABD DJ Fair will remove the increased fall speed, allowing Shulk to use 3-4 more Fairs in a similar fashion as Melee Jigglypuff before recovering back with Air Slash.
  • Buster Art Nair/Fair → MABD Fair kill at the ledge.
  • When recovering back, but want to snap to the ledge, head toward the ledge with Fair, then input the first hit of Air Slash right next to the next to autosnap.
  • MADC → Turnaround Fair.

 

Behind Thrust | Back air

Hitbox Frames IASA Base Damage Angle Base Knockback Knockback Growth Landing Lag Autocancel
18 - 22 55 12.5% (Blade)
8.5% (Ether)
361° 35 100 19 79
  • One of Shulk’s best moves and his most important spacing tool.
  • F18 starts within Shulk’s legs and in front of his knees. Not only this is a great sweetspot kill, but it can send the opponent forward to trick their DI.
    • [Design flaws] F17 is missing a hitbox.
    • [Design flaws] The late Bair only has two active hitboxes. The tip also deals less damage as a sourspot, meaning that spacing can be less effective (especially in Speed Art in the neutral). Combined with significant landing lag, Bair can be not safe in most situations (unless it has been MALLC).
    • [Design flaws] While Shulk has a unique weakness of having bad autocancel windows, his Bair is noticeably the worst autocancel windows in the game. Even when the Monado is back onto Shulk’s back, it can magically teleport back to his hands as he suffers landing lag.
  • Has the Sakurai Angle, a prime move to use for Edgeslip locks in Buster Art.
  • Bair's huge hitbox can clip below the edge of the stage [Clip 1] [Clip 2]
Ratings
  • 5/5: Jump/Speed/Buster
  • 4/5: Vanilla/Smash
  • 3.5/5: Shield
Competitive Applications
  • Amazing spacing tool.
    • However, spamming Bair will allow veteran opponents and fast characters to shield/powershield and punish its significant landing lag (19 frames).
    • Great against approaches and most attacks. Retreating Bairs can easily outrange or shutdown things.
      • In Jump Art, it is great to poke.
        • Good cross-up option thanks to Jump Art’s additional sliding effect.
      • SH FF Buster Art Bair excels at shieldpushing, making it very safe on shield (unless Shulk lands way too close to the opponent). Sometimes, it can be spammed if the opponent is unsure how to deal with Buster Art Bair.
      • Speed Art allows RAR Bairs and retreating Bairs to be much more reliable than usual because of the reduced jump height.
    • The most frequent used aerial when using MALLC. However, if Shulk lands too close, the opponent can punish back (unless they whiff through Shulk’s intangibility frames).
  • Amazing KO move in Smash Art (if not staled). Note that it is very unsafe on shield if Shulk tries to retaliate back against aerial/ground approaches.
    • Bair is usually used to space around. However, due to staleness, its great kill power decreases if Bair is overused. Shulk then has to use his other kill options.
    • Great against laggy moves when predicted (e.g. Fox’s Dash Attack).
      • Depending on the stage position, by using the front of Bair (F18), this can be a great kill move.
    • Jump Art Back Nair → Bair kill [Clip 1] [Clip 2] [Clip 3] [Clip 4]
  • Good anti-projectile/camper tool.
    • It can beat a projectile while also hitting the opponent.
    • In Buster Art, it beats out a lot more projectiles thanks to the increased damage output (e.g. Samus’s fully Charged Shot).
  • Good tech chasing.
    • With Buster Art Bair, it covers all tech options except one. Shulk can do 3-4 Bairs without sending the opponent too far away.
    • With Speed Art Bair, it is easier to catch opponents off their tech rolls/getups.
    • Anti-roll aerial (by prediction).
  • Good edgeguarding tool [Clip 1]
    • Can beat most recoveries and even stage spike, but requires timing and precision (even when using Jump Art). It is also easy for opponents to react to Bair.
      • If Bair is too predictable, Shulk can mix it up with his other aerials.
    • By edgeguarding right in front of the ledge, Shulk can hit slower recoveries and even some tricky ones (e.g. Sheik’s Vanish).
  • Decent ledge trapping.
    • Retreating Bair is the safest option as it can hit against ledge rolls, ledge getup, and ledge attack.
      • Can hit ledge jumps, but requires timing and precision with the slightly angled hitbox.
Other/Situational
  • Alternate Monado Purge (Uthrow → read air dodge → F18 Bair).
  • MALLC Bair → any attack.

 

Stab Up | Up air

Hitbox Frames IASA Base Damage Angle Base Knockback Knockback Growth Landing Lag Autocancel
Hit 1: 14 - 15 60 5.5% 100/96° W: 80/60 100 15 79
Hit 2: 24 - 25 10.5% (Blade)
8% (Ether)
88° 55
  • [Design flaws] Terrible autocancel windows.
  • [Design flaws] If Shulk attacks with momentum (e.g. Jump or Speed Art), Uair1 may not connect/drag into Uair2. Characters like Fox’s Uair or Mario’s Super Jump Punch have these auto-link angles while Shulk does not [YT Video].
Ratings
  • 4/5: Jump
  • 3.5/5: Speed/Smash
  • 3/5: Buster
  • 2.5/5: Vanilla
  • 2/5: Shield
Competitive Applications
  • Amazing KO move and great damage; the strongest Uair in the game when both hits connect in terms of KB (ignoring modifiers). Also a long lasting hurt stun. However, this is hard to land a hit.
    • Best used in Monado Purge (Uthrow → Uair).
    • In Jump Art, Shulk can anticipate a reaction and kill early near the top.
      • Smash Art Uair can also work.
  • Uair (and late Nair) is a good shield pressure against opponent on platform over Shulk’s Utilt.
    • Great shield pressuring in Buster Art.
    • A great kill option in Smash Art since the opponent is not on the ground. Even if Uair fails, Shulk only suffers 15 frames of landing lag.
  • Decent juggle tool, but requires much more precision than Utilt.
    • Can beat out attacks if timed properly, thanks to Uair’s vertical range.
Other/Situational
  • Can be a frame trapping move, but somewhat unreliable and hard to hit (due to having two frames per hit).
    • Can cover ledge jumps.
  • FH Uair → Shadow Eye against opponents who do not know this. However, this is predictable in the neutral/advantage, and once the opponent knows this, they will avoid their attempts to punish.
  • Uair1 has fixed KB. If Shulk manages to land this without the second hit, he can combo off from the first hit. He can also start his footstool combos. However, this is difficult to land a hit.
    • Smash Art Uair1 → Utilt kill at high %.
  • A sharking move. It is possible for Smash Art to kill at high %, but this move can be shielded easily.
    • Legal stages that can pierce the floor (sharking):
      • Final Destination (the tip of the ledge) [Clip 1]
      • Smashville
      • Town and City
  • Combos:
    • At the side platforms with ~45%: Jump Art SH Uair (then landing on the platform) → DJ FH Uair kill.
    • ~96% and higher: Speed Art Nair → Run → Sweetspot KO Uair (True combo in Training Mode. Only on bad DI and no air dodge.

 

Stab Down | Down air

Hitbox Frames IASA Base Damage Angle Base Knockback Knockback Growth Landing Lag Autocancel
Hit 1: 14 - 15 61 7.5% (Ground)
6% (Air)
160°  (Ground)
172° (Air)
W: 20 100 23 78
Hit 2: 23 - 24 11.5% (Blade)
11.5% (Base)
10.5% (Ether)
270° (Blade)
361° (Base)
361° (Ether)
10 (Blade)
10 (Base)
55 (Ether)
90 (Blade)
85 (Base)
85 (Ether)
  • A decent meteor smash move.
  • Dair’s damage output is dependent on whether the opponent is grounded or airborne.
  • [Design flaws] Terrible hitboxes, unlike Cloud’s Dair.
  • [Design flaws] Terrible autocancel windows.
Ratings
  • 3.5/5: Jump
  • 3/5: Speed/Buster/Smash
  • 2.5/5: Vanilla
  • 2/5: Shield
Competitive Applications
  • Offstage
    • Pseudo Ken Combo: Jump Art Nair → Fair → read an air dodge → Dair finisher [Clip 1] [Clip 2]
      • Speed Art also works [Clip 1] [Clip 2] [Clip 3] [Clip 4]
      • Other Monado Arts, except Smash Art, can accomplish this. Ex: Buster Art Fair → MABD DJ Dair.
      • Footstool may be necessary [Clip 1] [Clip 2]
    • To read a predictable air dodge or a laggy attack [Clip 1] [Clip 2] [Clip 3]
      • Can go for a raw FF Dair in Jump Art. Even then, it must be timed right for the 2nd hit to spike.
      • At low % offstage, Dair → FF Footstool can kill most characters except those with great vertical recoveries (e.g. Bayonetta, King Dedede, Zelda, etc.). This is similar to Fox’s Fair Footstool. [Twitter]
    • Even if it does not meteor smash, the angle can launch the opponent to the side blast line. An opponent who already used up their DJ is the best scenario. Having Smash Art can kill early [Clip 1]
    • Ledge drop → DJ Dair.
      • If the opponent recovers directly below him, DJ Dair can hit.
      • DJ Dair can hit opponents who are right at the edge. The 1st hit pulls them offstage, and the 2nd hit meteor smashes (assuming the % is high enough to kill). Rare to happen, but most useful if the opponent whiffs a punish. [Twitter]
  • Decent to those who do not snap onto the ledge (Shulk, Cloud, etc). Speed Art, with its lower jump, can somewhat speed up FF Dair. However, Shulk must be fast to react and punish with precision. Fair is a more useful tool than Dair.
    • It also can poke under the lip to potentially stage spike [Clip 1]
  • Buster Art spaced Dair on shield can be safe against shield grabs as an alternative Fsmash.
Other/Situational
  • Not much usage onstage:
    • Tricking the opponent.
      • FH Dair, then act out of FAF 61 with Nair, Air Slash, DJ, Back Slash, Vision, etc.
    • Vision Sliding (FH Dair) against projectile opponents.
    • Jump Art Nair → Dair kill at ~60% and against opponents with poor vertical recoveries.
    • FH Dair to bait a reaction. If they try to punish Shulk’s significant landing lag, Shulk can use Air Slash or Vision. But if the opponent adapts to this, then this method is no longer effective.
    • Buster Art Bthrow → MABD Dair [Clip 1]
  • Can poke below side platforms. More effective against taller characters.
  • Lock move on the second sour hit. Great for footstool combos, but most opponents can avoid it without realizing it [Clip 1]
    • Speed Art Dthrow → Dair (weak) lock [Clip 1]