Shulk 101
 Shulk 101
General Tips

Shulk players often tend to forget that you don't have to approach if you're in the lead. It doesn't matter if your art runs out; it's not worth risking to lose the neutral. You're always in a better position if your opponent is the one who has to approach.

Depending on the MU, it can be helpful to think about the neutral by splitting it into three different "heights":

  • Grounded game: walking and using tilts, empty hops, dash grabs/pivot grabs  
  • Short hop game: short hop aerials and cross-ups, retreating Bair, etc.  
  • Full hop and higher: "safer" Fairs (using full hop fair's FAF frames to input another action before landing: usually a double jump, a nair or another fair. Works with SH Fair in Jump Art), using double jump in the neutral a lot for baiting, etc.

For each MU, every one of these "heights" has a different degree of effectiveness and it can be interesting to figure out which one you want to use most in every MU (and which one gets you punished the most, such as short hop against Diddy).

Shulk actually has one autocancel window: air dodge out of SH.

Not only can you deactivate arts while in hitstun, but you can also buffer deactivate the current art in other situations, such as being thrown.

Always be mindful of your arts after successfully KOing your opponent. Remember that they can choose to camp out a few more precious seconds of the art on the recovery platform if you activate it before they come down.

If you go for a hard read (like Usmash at the ledge), activating Shield Art can prevent you from getting killed if you miss, allowing you to go for hard reads even when you're at high percentage.

One of Shulk's biggest strengths as a character is his powerful tools for dominating opponents once they are offstage. This can be achieved both by directly going offstage and challenging their recovery, or by staying onstage covering their options once they are hanging on the ledge. 

Going Offstage

An illustration of using a "Barrier Nair", also viable in Monado Speed.

Using Slip Edge Bair to catch the 2 frames of invulnerability an opponent has while recovering to the ledge

Covering Ledge Options

When at the ledge, your opponent has six main options to choose from. While some characters might have additional ledge options (i.e. using a special move or aerial), these are the six options to keep in mind when looking to punish ledge options:

  • Neutral getup
  • Roll
  • Ledge Jump
  • Getup Attack
  • Ledge drop + double jump (or other recovery move)
  • Nothing (wait)

Knowing this, there are two approaches to ledge guarding: covering multiple options (usually resulting in a weak punish), or hard reading a particular getup option (usually a much harder punish). Typically, at low percent and early in a game, it is much better opt for a more conservative ledge game– for example, using a low risk option, like SH nair, that could potentially cover several ledge options. You could aslo simply attempt to bait out a ledge option by shielding by the ledge, or with your own movement, or threating to hit below the ledge with a move like dtilt or forward air.

Doing this allows for you to observe your opponent's habits from the ledge under different situations. Try to observe their most common habits when under pressure (i.e. after fairing the ledge) and when they think they are safe (i.e. after you dash away from the ledge). This is a crucial step if you are going to go for a hard read– by knowing your opponent's go-to option in those two basic scenarios (when in danger and when safe), you have a better chance at reading the correct option. 

Some of the best options (i.e. hardest punishes, not necessarily the saftest option) for covering each option include:

  • Neutral getup
    • Usmash– incredibly large, strong, and lingering hitbox is by far the deadliest and most consistent move for covering this option
  • Roll
    • Usmash– again, just incredibly strong, large, lingering and reliable. Can even catch the opponent during the rolling animation 
    • Back Slash– characters who roll onto the stage leave their back exposed to the ledge, which makes this a potent kill option if you fake going offstage (or failed to trump your opponent and they buffered a roll). Doesn't kill as early as usmash. 
  • Ledge Jump
    • Uair– hard to time, but well worth the reward if it lands. Also rather low risk due to its low landing lag.
    • Utilt– easier to time than uair, and kills at decent percents when in Smash Art (although not as early as uair).
    • In both scenarios, be wary of opponents who immediately airdodge after a ledge trump, as you should aim to hit them after they airdodge
  • Getup Attack
    • Just shield and do whatever you want.
    • Vision isn't really a great option, as outside of Smash at high%, getup attacks are too weak to KO when countered
  • Ledge drop + double jump (or other recovery move)
    • Character dependent, but typically similar to ledge jump

An opponent who does nothing (i.e. waits) at the ledge can be easily punished, so long as you react before they can buffer an option. The following moves can hit below the ledge on any opponent who has lost their ledge intangibility:

  • Dtilt
  • Fair
  • Dair
  • Angled down Fsmash
  • Dsmash (hits 2, 3, 4 and 5)
  • Air Slash (first hit)


DACIT (Dash Attack Cancel Item Throw), sometimes referred to as the "Super Glide Toss," is a tech that only certain characters in the Smash 4 Roster are able reap the benefits from.  If executed correctly, Shulk will throw an item while receiving a huge forward boost in speed.  Shulk has one of the furthest "glides" from DACIT in the game.  

Due to their rather item-centric style of play, DACIT could be useful against the following characters:

  • Diddy Kong
  • Link
  • Megaman
  • Pac-Man
  • Peach
  • ROB
  • Toon Link
Ledge Trumping

Ledge trumping is the act of grabbing the ledge after the opponent, forcing them to "pop off" the ledge and leaving them in a very vulnerable position. This includes:


  • Putting them into a frame disadvantaged state (depending on how quickly the ledge trump occured), allowing for them to be hit before they can double jump or airdodge.
  • Leaving them without ledge invincibility, so the next time they grab the ledge they can be punished immediately.
  • Forcing them to quickly return to the stage with a double jump / recovery move, something that can be easily predicted and punished.


Video Tutorials