Shulk 101
MALS

MALS (Monado Art Ledge Snap) is a Shulk-specific tech on certain stages which allows Shulk to nigh-instantaneously snap on top of a ledge while double jumping towards it, essentially making it Shulk's very own "lagless ledge get-up." 

MALS with each of Shulk's Monado Arts

How To

The inputs for this tech are very simple and straightforward:
Step #1 - Cycle to an art
Step #2 - Grab the ledge
Step #3 - Perform a ledge drop (recommended that you pressed down instead of away)
Step #4 - Double Jump towards the stage

During your double jump towards the stage, you want to time your inputs so that the art activates sometime before Shulk passes over the lip of the ledge.  Although very simple, the timing can be quite strict and precise, making this a difficult tech to perform consistently. 

Depending on the art used to MALS, the timing and difficulty can vary.  In order of least difficult to most difficult: Jump → Shield → Speed → Smash → Buster.  

Since MALS works through the art activation stance effectively 'clipping' Shulk into the stage (because of the suddenly changing hurtbox) and eventually snapping him on top of the ledge, the difference in timing and difficulty can be explained by the fact that each activation pose is different (i.e., each pose shifts Shulk's hurtbox in a different way). Thus, it's important that for each art's respective MALS, you must time it so that it activates sometime when Shulk's double-jump puts him in direct contact with the stage wall beneath the ledge.


A brief tutorial on each art's respective MALS will be listed below by using the Smashville stage as an example (a list of all the possible stages to MALS on will be given at the bottom of this page):

JUMP  ---  This is by far the easiest MALS to perform successfully.  As long as some part of Shulk's body between his neck and his knees is contact with the stage wall when the art activates as he's double jumping towards the stage, you should have no problem in correctly executing the MALS

SHIELD  ---  You want to time your inputs so that the art activates sometime when a point of Shulk's body between his feet and his chest is in contact with the lip of the stage (where the Smashville ledge tapers to a point).

SPEED  ---  To perform this flashy look MALS, you want to have the art activate sometime when a point between Shulk's feet and his knees are in contact with the lip of the stage

SMASH  ---  This one is quite difficult to perform, but you want to time the MALS so that some point around Shulk's waist-line is in contact with the lip of the stage when the art activates

BUSTER  ---  Honestly this one is still kind of an enigma to me...  But the timing is such that some point around Shulk's chest and shoulders are in contact with the ledge while the art activates (you want to time this one earlier).  Though sometimes other timings seem to work as well (somewhere along Shulk's legs I think).  An interesting thing to note for buster MALS, however, is the fact that an "Br" art activation (press opposite just before art activates to turn Shulk around) will snap Shulk on top of the ledge much more consistently than otherwise.  This obviously, complicates the inputs, however.

It might be very helpful for you to visualize exactly how each art stance distorts Shulk's hurtbox.  Knowing that MALS 'clips' Shulk into the stage, try to think which part of Shulk's body in each pose protrudes forward the most so as to clip Shulk into the stage.


Applications and Other

 

The fact that Shulk goes through his art activation pose while performing this tech means that you're able to take advantage of the 1-14 intangibility frames Shulk gets with the art activation.  This can allow him to 'phase through' certain common ledge-traps or lingering hitboxes, such as Palutena's Up Smash, ROB's gyro, Ike's Eruption, Etc.

When in disadvantage, MALS becomes a powerful tool to regain stage control.

You will most likely find that Speed and Smash art MALS will be the most useful. SPEED art allows Shulk to regain stage control very fast from the ledge, whereas SMASH art MALS allows you to potentially catch your opponent off-guard with a surprise back throw or U-tilt for the kill. Since JUMP art is so easily performed, however, it might be a better idea to resort to jump art MALS in times of intense stress or jitters. Messing up a MALS can put Shulk into a very bad and potentially fatal position. SHIELD art, however, is the quickest MALS out all of them, as it requires the most minimal "ledge drop down" distance compared to the others (can MALS within 3 frame of letting go of the ledge).  This can set up for some very sudden and surprising grabs to put your opponent off-stage and regain stage control. BUSTER MALS, on the other hand, has no real redeeming features besides the fact that it's.... Well.... Buster. And the MALS is nice too.  Although it might be useful in certain situations, the fact that it's the hardest to perform makes it a high risk, semi-low reward, especially since it's typically the 'slowest' MALS to perform (usually takes about 10 frames after the art activation comes through to snap Shulk on top of the ledge).

MALS is a very effective counter to opponents shielding at the Ledge

Ledge Trump → MALS is by far the area where MALS shines the absolute most, as it allows Shulk to cover every option the opponent may choose on the ledge.  U-tilt can catch the buffered ledge-jump option, and in smash art this can kill incredibly earlier.  A running U-smash (most reliably done in speed art) can catch the buffered ledge-roll option.  For the buffered ledge-attack option (which is typically the least chosen 'anti-trump' option), Shulk can simply shield or use his intangibility frames to phase through the attack, and then punish with a smash attack.  If the opponent gets bumped off the ledge, you really can just react to them re-grabbing the ledge (hence having no ledge invincibility) or react to them jumping back onto the ledge.  No matter what the opponent decides to do, ledge trump → MALS puts the opponent in an absolutely terrible position.

 

MALS coupled with ledge trumping allows for Shulk to cover nearly all of his opponent's options when edgeguarding.

Available Stages

  • Competitive Legal Stages:
    • Battlefield
    • Smashville
    • Suzaku Castle (Omega)
  • Normal Forms:
    • Umbra Clock Tower
    • Castle Siege (last transformation)
  • Omega Forms:
    • Battlefield
    • Midgar
    • Umbra Clock Tower
    • Luigi's Mansion
    • Jungle Hijinxs
    • Skyloft
    • Temple
    • Halberd
    • Kalos Pokemon League
    • Pokemon Stadium 2
    • Onett
    • Castle Seige
    • Gamer
    • Town and City
    • Boxing Ring
    • Duck Hunt
    • Windy Hill Zone
    • The Practice stage online before doing a match in "With Friends".

Clips in Actual Matches

Proficient in this tech: GetShulked (pioneer)

 

Methods
Practice Drills

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Video Tutorials