Shulk's "Monado Purge" or "Purge" is the 50/50 situation that occurs when Shulk performs his U-Throw → U-air while in Jump Art. It's a 50/50 because the opponent can either anticipate the immediate U-air and airdodge, or double jump out in anticipation of the falling U-air airdodge read. Shulk, however, can cover both these options and kill very early in both of them. There are five different versions or "progressions" for Purge which, when combined together sequentially, can extend the Purge 50/50 over a very long percent range depending on the character.
The five progressions of Monado Purge are:
- Buffered U-air during Jump-Squat
- JABD U-air
- Double Jump U-air
- U-air2 buffered during jump-squat
- JABD U-air2
The Percents where each of these progression work are chronicled in the following google doc:
PURGE PERCENTS (google doc)
(Credit for data goes completely to GetShulked: special thanks to Nach for the pretty formatting)
As an example, here are the Purge percent ranges on Cloud:
- U-air Buffered during Jump-Squat → 77% - 125%
- JABD U-air (input U-air 1-4 frames after leaving the ground) → 125% - 144%
- Double Jump U-air → 144% - 186%
- U-air2 Buffered during jump-squat → 152% - 193%
- JABD U-air2 → 193% - 209%
In total, this adds up to an amazing total range of 77% - 209% where Purge is a 50/50 on Cloud.
Out of whole [standard] character cast totaling 55 characters, Shulk's "Purge" works on all but 14 characters– that is, the U-air is able catch the frame perfect "Double Jump → Airdodge" after the U-Throw.
As can be seen, the Purge can be executed most of the time without buffer deactivating his art, meaning that he will be able to create that 50/50 situation whilst retaining his jump art for the majority of the time. This is super good, since it allows Shulk to rapid fire his U-throw → U-air 50/50 on an opponent (so long as he gets the grab) over and over again until his jump art wears out. Now that's not to say that the JABD version of the purge is bad, but it is inferior in the sense that it's a "One-shot deal."
Now, just to go over the concept of 50/50, it's a 50/50 essentially because the opponent is able to airdodge before he is able to double jump out of hitstun, because of the nature of hitstun. A way to look at it is to imagine the amount of hitstun Corrin takes after being U-Thrown at 80%. Because of the mechanics of hitstun, his double-jump is able to come out on frame 70, whereas he's able to airdodge on frame 55. If Shulk's U-air is able to connect between those two numbers (let's say frame 65), then it will catch any option that the opponent tries to do except for the immediate airdodge. This is essentially what the 50/50 entails: an attack that hits an opponent between the frame window of being able to double-jump and airdodge.
Another important thing to note is that Purge is NEVER true, unfortunately. The opponent is always able to airdodge in time to escape the immediate U-air follow-up. But the Purge is still amazing because of the devastating percent range at which it is a 50/50 and KILLS.
Purge with rage can be absolutely devastating. Looking at Sheik's purge percents, Shulk can start catching her in the Purge at 74%.
With Shulk at 50% rage, Purge starts catching her at 69%.
With Shulk at 100% rage, Purge starts catching her at 53%.
With Shulk finally at max rage AKA 150% rage, Purge starts catching her at 38%, and it will also kill at 38% as well, which is incredibly early.
Considering that proper use of Shield Art will allow Shulk to consistently live to 150% and higher (especially in match-ups like Sheik), Purge with high rage is something that is both completely viable and completely devastating.
DI (Directional Influence)
DI is an interesting topic with regard to the Purge. It's important to know, however, that this 50/50 will work regardless of DI (with the one exception being Greninja, who can escape the purge by DIing away). Fast-fallers like Fox, Sheik, and Bayonetta can escape the JABD progressions of the purge by DIing away, but they're still susceptible to the Double Jump Progression of the purge at the same percentages (though it's harder). For the rest of the cast, DI away will actually typically extend the range of the purge by 4%, whereas DI behind Shulk will extend the Purge by about 2%. DIing slightly towards Shulk (so you're directly above him) will decrease the range of the Purge by about 2%. DIing away is still probably the best decision to escape the Purge, however, as it makes it more difficult on the Shulk's part to connect with the Purge (plus it usually makes you survive it 1-2% later), but it's still completely doable. To connect with the Purge when the opponent DIs away, Shulk will want to jump as fully forward as possible, but almost immediately he will need to start fading back.
Clips in Actual Matches
Proficient in this tech: GetShulked (pioneer), Nicko, Dragonbrain
1. Buffered U-air during Jump-Squat
As the title implies, the first progression of Purge requires Shulk to buffer his U-air during his Jump-Squat (the grounded animation every character goes through after inputting the jump button, but before the character leaves the ground). For the GameCube controller layout, this is most easily achieved by setting the C-stick to tilts or "attack" and inputting ↑ on the C-stick during Shulk's jump-squat animation. This will result in Shulk performing his U-air the very first frame after leaving the ground, thus granting him the highest possible frame advantage over the opponent. If using the "tilt stick" method, however, it's recommended that one should have one of the triggers/bumpers (L, R, or Z) set to jump, as this will make following the opponent's DI after the U-throw much easier.
The first progression of purge can still be achieved when the C-stick is set to "smash," but the Purge will not connect as early and it will not be be as consistent. Shulk can perform U-air as soon as possible after leaving the ground, but the timing for that is quite precise, and you won't end up connecting with the purge until 3-12% later (or not at all), depending how frame perfect you are. This is because the soonest Shulk can input his U-air after the U-throw will be frame 6 (after the 5 jump-squat frames), and since the input registers on frame 6, then the U-air will start coming out on frame 7. As such, this method will always be at least 1 frame slower than the "tilt stick" method, and so it's not recommended.
2. JABD U-air
To perform a Jump Art Buffered Deactivation Purge, or simply a "JABD Purge," Shulk must do exactly that: buffer the deactivation of his jump art while performing his U-throw. To do this, the Shulk player needs to press the special button three times near the latter half of his U-throw animation, and then perform a FH U-air. If performed correctly, Shulk will deactivate his jump art upon jumping and his jump will actually carry him further up than normal. This is because he will retain the same jumping 'power' that he has in jump art, but with a reduced fall-speed associated with his vanilla form.
There are two important things to remember when performing the JABD U-air:
1 - Do not input the U-air during your jump-squat as you would with the first progression. This because buffering the U-air during the jump-squat will 'override' the buffered deactivation. This means that Shulk will not execute the JABD Purge, but rather just his regular 1st Progression Purge (he will not get any extra jump height)
2 - If trying to jump forward or backward to adjust the JABD Purge for the opponent's DI, then be careful not to dash even slightly before jumping. Doing so will deactivate your jump art during the dash, and not your FH. This will result in Shulk performing a FH U-air at his regular vanilla jump height (not very high). To avoid this, be sure to input a buffered jump before attempting to move left or right.
Shulk not only retains his regular vanilla fall-speed during his JABD purge, but also his regular vanilla air-speed. This means he will not be able to jump forward or backward as far as with his typical 1st Progression Purge. Unfortunately, this means that certain fast fallers who DI away cannot be hit with the JABD Purge. Instead, you should attempt a double-jump Purge, but the timing for doing so during the typical "JABD" range is generally quite strict. This list is made up of the following characters:
- Little Mac
3. Double Jump U-air
Shulk's Double-Jump Purge typically works at the greatest % range out of all the Purge progressions. Its execution is quite straightforward: perform a FH and then a quick DJ U-air. The only difficulty lies within the timing. You must input the U-air as soon as possible after the double jump, and you must aim to time this double jump U-air so that the U-air will hit the opponent with the tip of U-air1.
The timing for DJ purge is somewhat dependent on the opponent and their % relative to their purge %. Characters like Ike and Corrin, for instance, have a frame window of about 5 frames from the beginning to the middle-ish % of their "Double Jump Purge" range. Towards the latter end of their % range, the timing will get more and more strict, until eventually become nigh-frame perfect
Some characters, such as Mario and Sonic, the timing for DJ purge requires about 1-3 frames of precision
4. U-air2 Buffered during Jump-Squat
Input-wise, this 4th progression of purge is exactly identical to the 1st: Shulk must buffer his U-air during his jump-squat using the same method prescribed in the earlier section of this Page ("1 - Buffered U-air during Jump-Squat"). If done correctly, the second hit of U-air "U-air2" will connect with the opponent before they're able to DJ → AD away.
This progression of purge has certain uses. Some opponents, such as Cloud, Corrin, and Metaknight, have fast, disjointed, downward hitobxes that can interrupt the double-jump Purge if Shulk doesn't time it optimally. This 4th progression, given the massive disjoint that U-air2 has, is a safe way of purging the opponent if Shulk reads that the opponent is just mashing their respective down-ward facing hitboxes. And of course if fthe opponent tries mashing double jump.
5 - JABD U-air2
Input-wise, this 5th progression of purge is identical to the 2nd progression "JABD Purge"; Shulk needs to buffer deactivate his jump-art during his U-throw to gain a higher jump height. The difference here, of course, is that the 5th progression will only hit with the 2nd hit of U-air.
Similar to the 4th progression, this progression's advantage lies in the fact that it's a very "low-risk" 50/50 for Shulk to attempt on certain characters like Cloud, Corrin, and Metaknight who have fast down-ward facing hitboxes.
If the opponent DIs away, the 5th Progression of Purge typically stops working at about 4-5% lower than listed in the Purge Percents Document.
There are multiple punishes Shulk can execute if he successfully reads the airdodge during a Purge.
The best airdodge punishes are typically the following:
- FF U-air
- SH U-air → DJ U-air (2nd U-air is another 50/50)
- Backslash (harder to connect with if opponent DIs away)
- U-Smash (Against fast-fallers at lower-percents)
- B-air (Usually near the ledge)
- D-air (If opponent near the ledge DIs off the ledge)