Super Smash Bros. Ultimate (SSBU)

Shulk Guide: Matchup Chart and Combos

July 2022 Major Tier List Update!
13.0 Best Character Tier List

Patch Notes and Updates
All Update and Patch Note History
Ver. 13.0.1 Patch Notes and Balance Changes

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate Shulk Guide

This is a guide to using Shulk in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. Shulk's bread and butter combos, how to unlock, frame data, alt costumes and skins, as well as Shulk's matchups, counters, and tier list placement can all be found here.

Shulk Tier and Overview

Stats and General Info

Shulk Image
Game Series Xenoblade Chronicles
Smash Bros. Debut Super Smash Bros. for WiiU/3DS
Fighter Number 57
Unlock Order 22
Number of Jumps 2
Weight 97 Units (37/87)
Dash Speed 1.672 (48/87)
Air Speed 1.113 (32/87)
Fast Fall Speed 2.528 (45/87)
Special Attributes None

Tier List Placement

SSBU Shulk Icon A Tier Tier

A versatile fighter with 5 attributes to choose from

Smash Ultimate Shulk has the unique attribute of the Monado Arts, which allow him to change between 5 attributes: Buster (deals more damage), Smash (Deals more knockback), Shield (takes less damage and knockback), Speed (increased movement speed), and Jump (increased jump height). These allow for a unique playstyle where Shulk can choose the correct art for any given situation. His long range on his sword allows him to space his attacks, and thanks to Smash, he can reliably KO opponents before 100%. Shield also allows Shulk to cancel combos, giving him extreme survivability.

Shulk is a wonderful character, but rather high execution. Shulk players will really need to understand when to use the correct Monado Art in a given situation. Shulk also has poor frame data, meaning that correct spacing is essential to avoiding getting punished. His recovery is somewhat mediocre, so without the Jump art active, he may have a hard time getting back on stage. But, if you can properly manage use of the Monado, Shulk may just be the character for you.

See Our Tier List Here!

Shulk's Strengths and Weaknesses

Strengths ・Monado Arts allow him to change attributes
・Extremely long reach on his sword
Smash gives him some of the best knockback in the game
Shield allows him to escape combos
Weaknesses ・Monado Arts are very high execution
・Easily edgeguarded
・Poor frame data
・Can struggle to land

Shulk Matchup Chart

Matchup Chart

Shulk Image
ChromDiddy KongGreninjaInklingJokerLinkLucinaMarthPiranha PlantRobinSamus/Dark SamusSephirothSonicWolf
Banjo & KazooieBayonettaBowserBylethCaptain FalconCloudCorrinDonkey KongDuck HuntFoxHeroIkeIncineroarInklingIsabelleKenKing DededeKing K. RoolLucarioLucasLuigiMega ManMeta KnightMewtwoMii GunnerMin MinOlimarPac-ManPichuPit/Dark PitPokemon TrainerRidleyRosalina & LumaRyuSheikSimon/RichterSteveTerryToon LinkWarioWii Fit TrainerYoshiZelda
Bowser Jr.Dr. MarioFalcoGanondorfIce ClimbersJigglypuffKirbyLittle MacMarioMii BrawlerMii SwordfighterMr. Game & WatchNessPeach/DaisyVillagerYoung LinkZero Suit Samus

Notes About Matchup Chart

1. -2 = Disadvantage. -1 = Slight Disadvantage or Even. 0 = Even. +1 = Slight Advantage or Even. +2 = Advantage.
2. The matchup chart was based around both the opinions of professional players of each character, as well as our own experience through playing Shulk.
3. Characters within each tier are unordered
4. Pokemon Trainer's individual Pokemon (Squirtle, Ivysaur, and Charizard) as well as Echo fighters with no significant difference than their regular counterpart are not shown.
5. For other characters who are not shown here, we are still investigating the matchup.

Shulk Combos

Bread and Butter Combo
Nair → FTilt
Nair → Up Tilt
Nair→Side Special
Advanced Combos
Neutral Special「Buster」→ Nair(Fast Fall) → Down Throw → FTilt
Neutral Special「Speed」→ Up Air → Jump → Neutral Special「Smash」→Up Air

Bread and Butter Combo Explanations

Combo 1
Combo 2
Combo 3
Nair → FTilt
To use this combo, you'll want to use Nair while Shulk is falling. Using Nair while Shulk is still rising will cause the combo to break. Alternatively, you can also do a full hop and fastfall into Nair then forward tilt.
Nair → Up Tilt
It deals more damage than using forward tilt as a follow up from Nair but it is harder to execute. Furthermore, it can launch the enemy into the air allowing you to follow it up with more attacks.
Nair→Side Special
A combo using Shulk's side special, Back Slash. It deals considerably less damage than the first two combos but if the enemy that was hit is facing away, it will deal considerably more damage.

Advanced Combo Explanation

Combo 4
Combo 5
Neutral Special「Buster」→ Nair(Falling) → Down Throw → FTilt
Shulk's first combo is a solid 40% damage utilizing Buster mode. Before using the combo, switch to Buster mode then use falling Nair at the enemy, quickly grab the enemy then use down throw then follow it up with an forward tilt. This combo is possible due to Buster's increased damage and lower knockback effects.
Neutral Special「Speed」→Up Air→Full Hop→Neutral Special「Smash」→Up Air
A quick combo that can eliminate mid percentage enemies. It requires fast inputs especially when switcing to Smash while in the air for the follow up up air attack. Missing the timing for any of the inputs will make the combo fail. To practice this combo, we highly suggest practicing jump then neutral special (smash) mode first as this is the hardest part of the combo.

Shulk Frame Data and Moveset

Best Out of Shield Options

Move Frames
Up B 10 Frames
Shield Grab 11 Frames
Neutral Air 16 Frames
Release Shield > Jab 16 Frames

Shulk's aerials all have slow startup, which leaves him with poor out of shield game. The only good out of shield option he really has is his up special, which has good range and knockback, but is very punishable if whiffed. His shield grab is 11 frames and has decent range, but won't be able to reach opponents that are spacing their attacks.

Jab (Neutral Attack)

1v1 Damage (%) Startup Frames
Jab 1
2.4 5
Jab 2 4.2 5
Jab 3 6.0 6
Jab 3 - Late 5.04 8


Shulk's jab has a relatively quick startup. Since Shulk lacks a lot of moves that can come out quickly, this move can be used in a pinch to push out opponents that have broken Shulk's spacing.

Dash Attack / Tilts

1v1 Damage (%) Startup Frames
Dash Attack
(Dash + A)
15.0 12
Dash Attack - Beam 13.2 12
Forward Tilt
(← or → + A)
16.2/14.4 12
Forward Tilt - Beam 14.4 12
Up Tilt
(↑ + A)
12.0 11
Up Tilt - Lingering 12.0/10.8 13
Down Tilt
(↓ + A)
11.4 10
Down Tilt - Beam 9.0 10

Dash Attack

Shulk's dash attack has great damage output and range. By combining it with the Speed Art of his Neutral Special, the dash attack increases in range and mobility, making it a great tool for catching landings.

Forward Tilt

Shulk's forward tilt has great range but a slow startup. By combining it with the Buster Art of his Neutral Special, the attack becomes great for damage, while combining it with the Smash Art makes a powerful KO option.

Up Tilt

Shulk's up tilt has a wide vertical range, which makes it incredibly useful as an anti-air attack or to trap landings.

Down Tilt

Shulk's down tilt has great range, short startup and little end lag, but weak knockback. It's primarily used as a poking tool, but can also lead into aerial combos.

Smash Attacks

1v1 Damage (%) Startup Frames
Forward Smash Hit 1
(Smash ← or → + A
6.6 14
Forward Smash Hit 2
(Smash ← or → + A
15.6/13.8 23
Up Smash Hit 1
(Smash ↑ + A)
5.4 18
Up Smash Hit 2 16.2 30
Down Smash Hit 1
(Smash ↓ + A)
16.8/13.2 18
Down Smash Hit 2 14.4/12.0 23
Down Smash Hit 3 12,0/9.6 28
Down Smash Hit 4 9.6/7.2 35
Down Smash Hit 5 7.2/4.8 41

Forward Smash

Shulk's forward smash has amazing range and deals heavy knockback, but the lengthy end lag leaves Shulk completely exposed. Forward smash is normally only worth throwing out when combined with the Smash Art of his Neutral Special, which further increases his knockback and KO potential, thus making the move a high risk/high reward type attack.

Up Smash

Shulk's up smash is similarly great for range and knockback. Like Shulk's Forward Smash, the move is a bit risky, due to its lengthy end lag. It can be used to catch an opponent's ledge jump, or for reading an opponent's aerial approach.

Down Smash

Shulk's down smash is a multi-hit spin attack that covers a great distance. It does great shield damage, and can be used to catch an opponent’s roll or spotdodge, thanks to its long lasting hitbox. It has a very long endlag, so be careful not to throw it out recklessly.


1v1 Damage (%) Startup Frames
Neutral Air
(A + no direction while airborne)
10.2 13
Neutral Air - Beam 9.0 13
Forward Air
(Hold ← or → in the direction you are facing + A while airborne)
9.6 14
Forward Air - Beam 7.8 14
Back Air
(← or → Opposite of the direction you are facing + A while airborne)
15.0 19
Back Air - Beam 10.2 19
Up Air Hit 1
(↑ + A While Airborne)
6.6 14
Up Air Hit 2 12.6/9.6 24
Down Air Hit 1
(↓ + A While Airborne)
9.0 14
Down Air Hit 2
(↓ + A While Airborne)
13.8/12.6 23

Neutral Air

Shulk's neutral air covers the complete 360° range around him. It has a slow startup, but the excellent range and fact that it is -2/-3 makes it one of Shulk's primary poking tools.

Forward Air

Shulk's forward air similarly has a wide range, and can also be used as a poking tool. The main differences between Nair and Fair are the motions of the swings, and the fact that Nair covers a much wider range. Therefore, neutral air is good to use as a rising aerial, while forward air is good to use when combined with a fast fall.

Back Air

Shulk's back air has great range and knockback, but a slow startup. It's mainly used as a KO move that doesn't rely on use of the Smash Art from his Neutral Special, since its so strong without any Monado Arts equipped.

Up Air

Shulk's up air has a long vertical range. It attacks directly upward, which makes it good for attacking enemies on platforms above you, as well as for juggling opponents in disadvantage.

Down Air

Shulk's down air has a meteor hitbox and a long downward vertical range, which makes it good for edgeguarding.


1v1 Damage (%) Startup Frames
Neutral Special
- -
Side Special - Front
(← or → + B)
12.0/10.8 22
Side Special - Back 19.2/16.8 22
Up Special - Blade
(↑ + B)
7.2 10
Up Special - Beam 1 6.0 12
Up Special - Beam 2 6.0 15
Up Special 2 6.6 9
Down Special
(↓ + B) - Ground
- 7
Down Special - Ground, Forward Attack - 29
Down Special - Ground, Attack - 45
Down Special - Air - 7
Down Special - Air, Attack - 45

Neutral Special (Monado Arts)

Shulk's neutral special allows him to switch between the Monado Arts for effects that act as a trade-off, granting buffs to certain stats, while nerfing others in exchange. You can access the Monado Arts effect wheel by pressing and holding the special button, which then allows you to switch between them using the control stick. To end the current active effect, press the special button three times. The list of effects are as follows:

Monado Art Effect Remarks
Jump Strengthens Jump
Weakens Defense
・Increased height of Air Slash
・1.3x damage dealt multiplier
Speed Strengthens Movement Speed
Weakens Attack and Jump
・0.7x damage dealt multiplier
Shield Strengthens Defense and Survivability
Weakens Attack, Movement, and Jump
・0.5x damage dealt and taken multiplier
・ Increased shield durability and resilience
Buster Strengthens Attack
Weakens Defense and Knockback
・1.4x damage dealt multiplier
・0.5x damage taken multiplier
Smash Strengthens Knockback power
Weakens Attack and Survivability
・0.3x damage dealt multiplier

Side Special (Back Slash)

Shulk jumps and slashes his opponent in his side special. Slashing the opponent from behind will increase damage and knockback dealt. The move can be used as a recovery, but note that it does not sweetspot ledges. However, if used from about the height of a full hop combined with mid-air jump, it will be able to grab the ledge.

Up Special (Air Slash)

Shulk's up special is to perform an uppercut with his sword. The height of the special can be raised when combined with the Jump Art of his Neutral Special. There is no lateral movement, so be careful when trying to use it for recovery.

The special can also be used as a KO move, especially when used as an out of shield punish, thanks to its fair knockback. Combine it with the Smash Art of his Neutral Special, and you have a reliable KO move that can finish an opponent at around 100%.

Down Special (Vision)

Shulk's down special is a counterattack that launches the opponent forward. It has a lengthy counter window compared to other counterattacks, but if used repeatedly, it will gradually shorten. The window gradually recovers when not in use, so try not to spam it.

Holding forward on the control stick at the moment the counter is activated will result in a slash attack dealing greater damage and knockback. This attack launches the opponent backward as well, so it can sometimes lead to a one-shot reversal when used near a ledge.

Grab / Throws

1v1 Damage (%) Startup Frames
Pummel 1.56 1
Grab (Normal) - 7
Dash Grab - 10
Pivot Grab - 11
Forward Throw (Hitbox)
(← or → While Grabbing)
3.6 15
Forward Throw (Throw) 6.0 16
Back Throw (Hitbox)
(← or → While Grabbing)
3.6 18
Back Throw (Throw) 7.2 20
Up Throw (Hitbox)
(↑ While Grabbing)
3.6 20
Up Throw (Throw) 4.8 22
Down Throw (Hitbox)
(↓ While Grabbing)
3.6 23
Down Throw (Throw) 3.0 25

Forward Throw

Shulk slashes forward, launching his opponent. Even at a short distance from the opponent, it can't be used for combos. Use it when you want to throw your opponents off the stage.

Back Throw

Shulk jabs behind him, launching his opponent backward. Like the Forward Throw, it can't be used for combos, even at a short distance from the opponent. However, it does have a stronger knockback than the Forward Throw, and when combined with the Smash Art of his Neutral Special, it can KO opponents very early near the ledge.

Up Throw

Shulk launches his opponent upward. It's good for juggling or for connecting to a variety of aerial combos.

Down Throw

Shulk slams his opponent downward with his sword and sends them upward. It can be used as a combo starter when combined with the Buster Art of his Neutral Special.

Final Smash

Attack How to Use Effect
Chain Attack Press B after obtaining the Smash Ball Shulk calls in his allies and delivers several strikes on a single foe, followed by a powerful hit. Damage and knockback is effected by Shulk's active Monado art.

Shulk Balance Changes

Version 11.0.0 Balance Patch

General Matched the vulnerability with other fighters when falling in place.

Version 3.1.0 Balance Patch

Neutral Attack 2 Increased attack range.
Up Smash Attack Adjusted launch angle and made it easier to hit multiple times.

Version 3.0.0 Balance Patch

Edge Attack Increased attack range.
Get-Up Attack Increased attack range.

Version 2.0.0 Balance Patch

Forward Air Attack Shortened the landing time and the amount of time you cannot grab edges after using the move.
Up Air Attack Shortened the amount of time you cannot grab edges after using the move.

Major Changes From Smash 4

Neutral Special
Monado Arts can be changed out much more quickly and easily.
Monados now end much quicker.

How to Unlock Shulk

Unlocking Via Smash Mode
22nd Fighter Unlocked
After unlocking Isabelle, let 10 minutes pass OR play another battle in smash after soft-resetting OR return to the menu from World of Light
Unlocking via Classic Mode
Clear Classing Mode 2 times using Pikachu.
Unlocking via World of Light
Waterfall Peak

There are three ways to unlock Shulk. Completing any of these, then defeating Shulk when they appear in the “a New Challenger Appears” screen will allow you to use them afterward.

How to Unlock Characters Fast

Shulk Alt Costumes and Skins

Shulk Reveal Trailer

Smash Ultimate Character Guides

List of Fighters
Tier List
Tier List
Unlocking Characters
Unlocking Fighters

Character Stat Lists

Character Stats
Weights of All Characters Run Speeds of All Characters
Air Speeds of All Characters Fast Fall Speeds of All Characters


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