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Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS Wii U Shulk.png

The star of Xenoblade Chronicles, Shulk joins the battle wielding the Monado, a blade unlike any other. Shulk is notable for having the greatest physical range owing to his Monado, which can extend its reach to unheard of lengths, letting Shulk do big sweeping attacks that cover a lot of area. More importantly, the Monado also gives Shulk access to his Monado Arts, special buffs that temporarily alter Shulk's attributes. With clever management of his arts, Shulk can be a very versatile character, quickly responding to any given situation with the suitable buff. Compared to other sword-wielders, Shulk does suffer from having mildly sluggish attacks, and his recovery is below average, with all variants covering poor horizontal distance. Despite these drawbacks, the heir to the Monado is one of the most interesting characters in the game, and a capable fighter in the hands of anyone who can master the Monado Arts.

Basic Attributes[edit]

Shulk has some pretty intermediate stats, probably due to the nature of his Monado Arts. As a human swordsman, he leans very slightly toward the heavy side. He has average dash speed, above average jump height and moderate movement speed in the air. His evasive options are nothing out of the ordinary either. Of course, Shulk's attributes will often change radically throughout the match, so don't get too used to his default statistics. As a general note, the Monado is slightly stronger if opponents are hit at the body of the sword, while hitting with the beam of light that extends from the sword usually results in slightly less damage and knockback. That doesn't mean you should try to strike with the blade itself, as the long range of the beam is more than a good tradeoff for reduced power.


Moveset Analysis[edit]

Standard Attacks

Control Attack Info
Wii U GamePad / Pro Controller Wii Remote + Nunchuk Wii Remote (sideways)
Wii Classic Controller GameCube Controller Nintendo 3DS
A button(+A buttonA buttonA button) A button(+A buttonA buttonA button) 2 button(+2 button2 button2 button) Monado Combo Shulk does a punch, then a kick, and finally an upward slash. The final hit is weaker when hit with the beam. This move, like every character's standard attacks, is quick and good for racking up damage. It is a pretty good option at close-range to interrupt attacks and knock opponents further away, where you can utilize the Monado's range more effectively. It has relatively poor range compared to Shulk's other moves, so you won't need it often in a neutral situation.
A button(+A buttonA buttonA button) A button(+A buttonA buttonA button) A button(+A buttonA buttonA button)
(Left lstick or Right lstick)+A button (Left nunchuk or Right nunchuk)+A button (Left dpad or Right dpad)+2 button Monado Swing Shulk does a side slash, dealing more damage when hitting with the Monado rather than its beam. This attack is quick and has increased range from the short beam the Monado emits. While it is not exceptionally long, its speed and reach make it a good spacing move for Shulk on the ground. Use it to keep foes at a distance, and to poke at enemies safely. Its status as a Strong Side Attack also lets you use it to pivot cancel, giving you a quick and ranged option out of a dash.
(Left lstick or Right lstick)+A button (Left control or Right control)+A button (Left cpad or Right cpad)+A button
Up lstick+A button Up nunchuk+A button Up dpad+2 button Soaring Monado Shulk does an upward slash, dealing slightly more damage when hitting with the Monado rather than its beam. This move has pretty good range, as you might guess from observing the animation. Naturally, this attack is a good anti-air, but it does have a blind spot behind Shulk, and it is also fairly sluggish, making it punishable if it misses. The move is too slow to juggle, but it can get foes into the air, although Strong Down Attack might be better for this purpose.
Up lstick+A button Up control+A button Up cpad+A button
Down lstick+A button Down nunchuk+A button Down dpad+2 button Monado Sweep Shulk does a crouching slash, dealing more damage when hitting with the Monado rather than its beam. This attack is similar to Shulk's Strong Side Attack, with more range but taking slightly longer to execute. It is still fairly fast and has very good reach for such a quick attack, so you can use it as a poke or spacing tool to keep your distance while pressuring your enemies. It can be combo'd from at low percentages into Shulk's aerial attacks, but they usually end after one or two hits.
Down lstick+A button Down control+A button Down cpad+A button
A button while dashing A button while dashing 2 button while dashing Monado Lunge Shulk does a running side slash. This move is a pretty mundane Dash Attack and possesses most of its common qualities, such as moving Shulk forward a bit, dealing moderate damage and knockback, and being fairly punishable if you use it carelessly and cause it to be shielded or miss. Of course, Shulk's Dash Attack has better range than average, although it is still inadvisable to use this over his Strong Attacks. Save this for tight punishes where the short lunge comes in handy for striking a vulnerable opponent barely within reach.
A button while dashing A button while dashing A button while dashing
A button while hanging A button while hanging 2 button while hanging Shulk does a low slash as he climbs up.
A button while hanging A button while hanging A button while hanging

Smash Attacks

Control Attack Info
Wii U GamePad / Pro Controller Wii Remote + Nunchuk Wii Remote (sideways)
Wii Classic Controller GameCube Controller Nintendo 3DS
Smash (Left lstick or Right lstick)+A button Smash (Left nunchuk or Right nunchuk)+A button (Left dpad or Right dpad)+1 button+2 button Monado Stab Shulk stabs forward, initially stunning opponents before launching them sideways. When the Monado activates, its center will hit slightly harder than the beam that is created. You can angle this attack slightly with the control stick, minutely increasing or decreasing its power when angling up or down respectively. This is one of Shulk's KO moves, although it is rather slow. You must use the sheer range of the attack to your advantage. Catching an opponent rolling away from you if a good way to do this, as if nabbing a foe approaching sideways from the air. Angling your attack also helps a lot, and the effect is more significant due to the length of the sword.
Smash (Left lstick or Right lstick)+A button Smash (Left control or Right control)+A button Smash (Left cpad or Right cpad)+A button
Smash Up lstick+A button Smash Up nunchuk+A button Up dpad+1 button+2 button Upward Monado Stab Shulk slams the Monado into the ground, blade straight up, and activates it, causing the blade to extend upward. This attack functions similarly to Side Smash, with one stunning attack followed by the actual smash that launches foes up. However, this move does not have a sweetspot, unlike Side Smash. This is also one of Shulk's KO moves, and it's not particularly fast as well. Its range makes it a good anti-air, and punishing careless opponents approaching from above will the main way to nab KOs with this attack.
Smash Up lstick+A button Smash Up control+A button Smash Up cpad+A button
Smash Down lstick+A button Smash Down nunchuk+A button Down dpad+1 button+2 button Monado Spin Shulk spins with the Monado out three times. The move consists of three different attacks in front of Shulk and two attacks behind him. Hitting with the front part of the slash does more damage and knockback than the back parts, and the blade of the Monado is stronger than its beam. Each strike also gets progressively weaker as well. This move is not much of a KO move, but it has a lot of utility owing to its duration and reach. This attack is awesome at punishing rolls and keeps your foes from being too roll-happy. It is also nice at striking recovering foes near the ledge. While the attack is slow, its multiple hits will shift foes away when they shield it, making it pretty safe on shield as well.
Smash Down lstick+A button Smash Down control+A button Smash Down cpad+A button

Air Attacks

Control Attack Info
Wii U GamePad / Pro Controller Wii Remote + Nunchuk Wii Remote (sideways)
Wii Classic Controller GameCube Controller Nintendo 3DS
A buttonControl-Modifier-Air.png A buttonControl-Modifier-Air.png 2 buttonControl-Modifier-Air.png Monado Circle Shulk slashes counter-clockwise in a wide arc. Unlike most other of Shulk's Monado attacks, this move is stronger at the energy blade than the hilt of the Monado. This move is one of Shulk's best attacks, owing to its ridiculous range and low landing lag, making this move a great tool for racking up damage and spacing against your opponents. You'll generally want to end this move early by landing, as it is a bit sluggish otherwise. It is great for striking foes on the ground or just generally below you, and you can usually follow-up with grounded attacks once you land.
A buttonControl-Modifier-Air.png A buttonControl-Modifier-Air.png A buttonControl-Modifier-Air.png
Right lstick+A buttonControl-Modifier-Air.png Right nunchuk+A buttonControl-Modifier-Air.png Right dpad+2 buttonControl-Modifier-Air.png Front Swing Shulk slashes downwards in a wide arc, hitting slightly harder with the hilt of the Monado than the blue blade. This move is similar to Shulk's Neutral Air Attack, but its alternate direction gives it a different function. Shulk's Forward Air is still used for damage racking and spacing, but it's better against aerial opponents or foes moving around on platforms. It doesn't send foes too far sideways, and you can often pursue and pressure foes with more Forward Aerials if you can predict their airdodges. Offstage, this attack can serve as a KO move when used close to the edge of the screen, and it is quite difficult to avoid for a recovering opponent due to its huge arc.
Right lstick+A buttonControl-Modifier-Air.png Right control+A buttonControl-Modifier-Air.png Right cpad+A buttonControl-Modifier-Air.png
Left lstick+A buttonControl-Modifier-Air.png Left nunchuk+A buttonControl-Modifier-Air.png Left dpad+2 buttonControl-Modifier-Air.png Backward Stab Shulk stabs behind himself, striking foes harder at the base of the attack than at the tip. This attack doesn't have a wide arc, but it still possesses the Monado's extreme range, so it could still be used to space against opponents. However, it has good horizontal knockback, which lets it set up edgeguards or even KO near the ledge as well. Granted, there is a short delay before Shulk thrusts the Monado behind him, so you must exploit the attack's range to land it.
Left lstick+A buttonControl-Modifier-Air.png Left control+A buttonControl-Modifier-Air.png Left cpad+A buttonControl-Modifier-Air.png
Up lstick+A buttonControl-Modifier-Air.png Up nunchuk+A buttonControl-Modifier-Air.png Up dpad+2 buttonControl-Modifier-Air.png Sky Thrust Shulk stabs straight upwards, hitting harder with the Monado than with its beam. This attack functions like his Up Smash, with one initial stunning hit followed by a strong hit that launches enemies up. While the range of the move makes it a decent anti-air, it is usually overshadowed by Forward Air, which has a sweeping arc that lets it land hits more reliably. One trait that Up Air has over Forward Air is its strong knockback, so you can potentially use it for KOs when near the top of the screen. Like Shulk's Up Smash, it is a bit slow, so you must catch your opponent off-guard with the attack's reach to get the KO.
Up lstick+A buttonControl-Modifier-Air.png Up control+A buttonControl-Modifier-Air.png Up cpad+A buttonControl-Modifier-Air.png
Down lstick+A buttonControl-Modifier-Air.png Down nunchuk+A buttonControl-Modifier-Air.png Down dpad+2 buttonControl-Modifier-Air.png Ground Thrust Shulk stabs straight downwards, with the first hit locking foes in place for the second, full-power strike. Like many of Shulk's other moves, this attack is stronger at the Monado's body than at the beam it creates, and will meteor smash if you connect with the sweetspot. This attack would be inferior to Forward Air as an edgeguarding move, if not for its meteor smash. You have to get up close to land the meteor smash, but once you do, you are all but guaranteed the KO on a moderately wounded foe.
Down lstick+A buttonControl-Modifier-Air.png Down control+A buttonControl-Modifier-Air.png Down cpad+A buttonControl-Modifier-Air.png

Throws

Control Attack Info
Wii U GamePad / Pro Controller Wii Remote + Nunchuk Wii Remote (sideways)
Wii Classic Controller GameCube Controller Nintendo 3DS
A button after grab A button after grab 2 button after grab Pommel Pummel Shulk hits the opponent with the Monado's pommel. As a grab attack, this move does average damage but has relatively poor speed. As a result, you won't rack up as much damage as other characters off of a grab. Still, it is never a bad thing to use this move once or twice every time you get a grab just for that minute extra damage.
A button after grab A button after grab A button after grab
Right lstick after grab Right nunchuk after grab Right dpad after grab Front Slash Shulk does an upwards slash to knock the opponent forwards. This move is pretty quick and can be followed up upon at low percentages, especially with a combo-centric art active such as Speed or Buster. It can also be used to set up edgeguards by throwing foes offstage, but try to use Back Throw for this purpose instead, since that throw has better knockback.
Right lstick after grab Right control after grab Right cpad after grab
Left lstick after grab Left nunchuk after grab Left dpad after grab Turnaround Stab Shulk tosses the opponent behind him and stabs them. The stronger of the two sideways throws, Back Throw is pretty standard in its function. It does pretty good knockback, so its good for getting opponents offstage. It can even be used as a KO move when close enough to the edge, especially if Shulk is currently boosted by the Smash art.
Left lstick after grab Left control after grab Left cpad after grab
Up lstick after grab Up nunchuk after grab Up dpad after grab Sky Stab Shulk heaves the opponent above his head and stabs upward to send them flying. This move has pretty weak knockback and is tied with Down Throw for Shulk's least damaging throw. It also does a bit too much knockback to combo properly, but Shulk can usually get a Strong Up Attack or two at low percentages. It is also good for getting foes into the air. Although Shulk doesn't have the best options when facing a foe directly above him, he can still use his many long-ranged air attacks to predict and punish the opponent's response.
Up lstick after grab Up control after grab Up cpad after grab
Down lstick after grab Down nunchuk after grab Down dpad after grab Topple Strike Shulk slams the opponent into the ground, knocking them sideways. Despite its poor damage, this move has great knockback. It serves a similar function to Back Throw, just in the opposite direction. However, this move isn't often used, since Back Throw does similar knockback and much more damage.
Down lstick after grab Down control after grab Down cpad after grab

Special Attacks[edit]

Control Attack Info
Wii U GamePad / Pro Controller Wii Remote + Nunchuk Wii Remote (sideways)
Wii Classic Controller GameCube Controller Nintendo 3DS
B button B button 1 button Monado Arts Activates one of Shulk's five Monado Arts to change his properties in various ways. Each Art will enhance one stat and reduce another. Tap the button repeatedly to cycle between the Arts. The symbol that appears behind Shulk and the color of his aura indicate which Art is selected. While an Art is active, press the button again three times to cancel the Art, and keep pressing the button further to select a new Art. Each Art also has a cooldown time before you can use it again. Get into the habit of cycling between Arts while moving around, so that you aren't an easy target while choosing an Art. Using the right Arts for the current situation is the key to playing Shulk effectively.
  • Jump: Green aura. Increases Shulk's jump height and the vertical distance of Air Slash, but also increases damage taken while reducing his weight. The obvious use of this Art is for recovering, letting Shulk move further with his jumps and Air Slash. You can also use it during a neutral scenario, using Shulk's ranged aerials and improved aerial mobility to space more effectively and land combos. Finally, Jump lets you be more daring when edgeguarding, as you are more likely to return to the ledge after the deed is done.
  • Speed: Blue aura. Increases Shulk's movement speed significantly, but decreases damage dealt and jump height. Even though this Art reduces Shulk's damage output, it is still a good offensive Art as it helps Shulk land hits and combos more often. The increased speed lets you chase down foes and pressure them with attacks, or to punish enemies when they expose the slightest opening. You'd want to cancel this Art is you get knocked off stage, as the reduced jump could impact Shulk's survivability offstage.
  • Shield: Yellow aura. Increases Shulk's weight and shield vitality while decreasing damage taken, but reduces damage dealt and weakens general mobility. As its name implies, this Art is primarily defensive, used to extend Shulk's life a bit longer. Your reduced mobility and power forces you to play more conservatively, and you definitely do not want to get knocked offstage with your worsened jump. Interestingly, Shield does not have a major effect on the knockback of your moves, so you can go for a desperate KO before you get KO'd yourself, especially if you're powered-up by the Rage effect due to your high percent.
  • Buster: Purple aura. Increases Shulk's damage dealt significantly, but increases damage and knockback taken as well while reducing the knockback of Shulk's own attacks. The Buster Art is a potent double-edge sword, in that you can gain the upper hand or even out a disadvantage, but will take a lot of damage if you're too careless with it. It is still vital to maintain your distance and exploit the Monado's range. The reduced knockback is both a benefit and a drawback. While it lets you combo more effectively, it is actually harder to chain moves on fast fallers and heavyweights early on because your knockback is just too low.
  • Smash: Red aura. Increases the knockback of Shulk's attacks, but reduces Shulk's weight and damage output. This Art has an opposite effect to the Buster Art, and is more useful for landing early KOs than for racking up damage. However, like the Buster Art, you are more easily KO'd yourself, so it pays not to be too aggressive. You can usually attempt KOs with the Smash Art at relatively early percentages, such as around 70%-90%. You may also use it to edgeguard, and Forward Air becomes a really dangerous attack offstage with Smash active.
B button B button B button
Decisive Monado Arts Shulk's Monado Arts last longer and has a slightly stronger effect, but he cannot change the active Art until it expires. The selected Monado Art also takes slightly longer to activate to reduce the likelihood of a mistaken button press locking you to an undesirable Art. There is certainly merit in specializing, as you can focus more on using your current strengths rather than constantly adapting to the situation. Arts for general combat such as Jump, Speed or Buster are better as you will benefit from their effects a majority of the time, while working around their drawbacks.
Hyper Monado Arts All of Shulk's Monado Arts increase his stats more, but their drawbacks are also greater as well. For instance, his Speed art makes him faster than both Sonic and Lightweight Palutena, but severely weakens his attacks. Additionally, Hyper Monado Arts also expire more quickly. This variant is very high-risk, high-reward. With the Jump Art, Shulk can quickly reach just about anywhere on the stage. With the Speed Art, he is very slippery and very hard to defend against. With the Smash Art, even the most innocuous attacks turn into KO moves, and normal KO moves are frighteningly powerful. The lower duration gives you a smaller window to make use of the buffs, so you must learn to fully exploit each Art while it is active. As the recharge time for each Art doesn't change much, remember that you will be fighting without an Art more often.
(Left lstick or Right lstick)+B button (Left nunchuk or Right nunchuk)+B button (Left dpad or Right dpad)+1 button Back Slash Shulk jumps forward and slashes. This attack greatly increases in damage and knockback if it hits from behind. Shulk will not stop until he hits the ground, so using it off the ledge will result in a self-destruct. After initiating the attack, quickly input the opposite direction on the control stick to have Shulk Back Slash in that direction. This feature can be used to catch enemies off-guard. Shulk's Back Slash is somewhat slow, so it's hard to fit in in one's playstyle. It isn't necessary to go for the back attack, as the move itself does enough knockback to keep you safe. Generally, the move is more effective the more opponents there are, since you can have other players draw attention away from you, letting you land more critical hits with Back Slash.
(Left lstick or Right lstick)+B button (Left control or Right control)+B button (Left cpad or Right cpad)+B button
Back Slash Leap Shulk jumps up high and slashes downward. This variant has reduced horizontal distance in exchange for more height. This move has a very awkward arc that doesn't make it very good at landing its sweetspot, but it is minutely faster, so it might catch foes by surprise. You will have a slightly easier time hitting from behind after using a weak launcher move, but keep in mind that this mechanic is still rather gimmicky, so rely on it sparingly.
Back Slash Charge Shulk jumps lower to the ground and slashes a bit further. Shulk gains super armor while moving forward, but the attack is weaker when hitting at the front. The super armor is the main draw of this move, letting Shulk counter projectile camping by charging straight through them. You are moderately vulnerable if you hit your foe from the front, but you can still close the distance against someone playing overly defensive. This variant is also the best for recovery, with increased horizontal distance and being hard to interrupt due to its super armor. Missing the ledge will still result in a self-destruct, so use it with care.
Up lstick+B button Up nunchuk+B button Up dpad+1 button Air Slash Shulk jumps into the air and does a rising slash, which he can follow up with another slash that barely gains any height. This doubles as Shulk's recovery move, functioning similarly to Marth's Dolphin Slash. However, this move has virtually no horizontal movement and can often miss the ledge grab, leaving Shulk with a somewhat limited recovery. You can also use it as a direct attack, usually to follow up after a Strong Up Attack chain. The move can potentially KO if you do it high up enough, but it is an impractical attack since you are put into a helpless state after using it.
Up lstick+B button Up control+B button Up cpad+B button
Advancing Air Slash Shulk does a rising slash, follow by a slash that moves him diagonally downward. This variant's knockback trajectory is a bit more horizontal. It also lets Shulk move forward a bit while using the second strike, although he will also lose height as well. This move is more horizontally-oriented. The movement of the second strike can help or harm Shulk depending on his position relative to the ledge. It does make it safer to use it as a direct attack on stages with platforms, as the second hit will help you move closer to a platform, minimizing your time spent helpless.
Mighty Air Slash Shulk does a higher rising slash that can be followed up with a second strike, each with more power. However, the reach of the Monado's blade is reduced. While it is a power-based variant, this move is instead mainly used due to its increased vertical recovery. Of course, you can still use it as a direct attack, and it is certainly a KO move, but it's a bit harder to strong both hits together. The reduced range also leaves Shulk a bit more vulnerable to edgeguarders, as you need to be closer to the edge in order to ward off aggressors.
Down lstick+B button Down nunchuk+B button Down dpad+1 button Vision This is a counter special. Activate this right before an enemy attack hits and Shulk will dodge the attack, then retaliate with a slash. If you're on the ground, holding in the direction of the countered attack at the moment the counter lands will let Shulk counter with a faster and more powerful attack. The duration of Vision is initially a bit higher than the average counter, but its active duration decreases the more you use it, so utilize this sparingly. As far as counter specials go, Vision is above average due to its good duration and power. As with any counter, you do not want to spam it or use it too predictably, as opponents can easily work around it with grabs or just good timing. Note that
Down lstick+B button Down control+B button Down cpad+B button
Dash Vision Shulk rushes forward whenever he foresees and counters an attack, letting him cover more distance but do less damage and knockback. This variant of Vision is more for utility than power. It is better against projectile campers as it lets Shulk close the distance after countering a projectile. However, note that countering a projectile does not slow down the user of the projectile, and they might be able to shield or evade your counterattack. Additionally, Dash Vision can be used to help you recover horizontally if you manage to counter an edgeguard attack near the ledge.
Power Vision Shulk counters with greatly increased power, dealing heavy knockback with each successful hit. However, the counter duration diminishes more severely when used repeatedly. This is basically a stronger Vision with stricter timing, so it is practically a straight upgrade if you've mastered the default Vision. The increased duration decay from repeated use will punish any player that tries to spam it or use it incorrectly, so stay away form this move if you're a novice. If you are experienced enough to land Visions consistently, the strength of Power Vision is incredible, and you can nab KOs extrmely early by countering the right attacks, even without the Smash Art on.

Taunts

Control Info
Wii U GamePad / Pro Controller Wii Remote + Nunchuk Wii Remote (sideways)
Wii Classic Controller GameCube Controller Nintendo 3DS
Up dpad 1 button Up dpad+A button Shulk shrugs smugly and says: "Now it's Shulk time!"
Up dpad Up dpad Up dpad
(Left dpad or Right dpad) 1 button+2 button A button Shulk does a fist pump while saying: "I'm really feeling it!"
(Left dpad or Right dpad) (Left dpad or Right dpad) (Left dpad or Right dpad)
Down dpad 2 button Down dpad+A button Shulk activates the Monado and shows it off, saying: "This is the Monado's power!"
Down dpad Down dpad Down dpad

Final Smash - Chain Attack[edit]

Shulk makes a ball of light appear in front of him. If any enemy players are struck by this light, Shulk summons his teammates Dunban and Riki in a cinematic cutscene while the surrounding action is paused. The three of them then attack the trapped foes together, with Shulk doing the finishing strike that launches his victims diagonally upward. This is a conventional trapping Final Smash that requires Shulk to hit at least one opponent with the initial ball of light for the rest of the attack to occur. The power of the Final Smash is average, capable of KOing from the center of most stages at around 30%-50%, provided that no Monado Arts are active. Try to hit multiple enemies with the ball of light by activating your Final Smash whenever you see many players clumped together. This will let you maximize the use of one Final Smash, and can even nab you several KOs.