Super Smash Bros Ultimate Shulk Guide – How to Play, Moves List, Counters

This guide makes up a part of our series of detailed character guides for Super Smash Bros Ultimate. In our Super Smash Bros Ultimate Shulk Guide, we talk about what changes have been brought on board for the character including the animations, moves and counter picks.

Super Smash Bros Ultimate Shulk

Shulk is a unique character in the sense that he is capable of switching between five different stances or modes: Jump, Speed, Shield, Buster, and Smash. He gains different abilities and moves under each of the five modes. You will have to unlock the character first though before you can start playing him.

Unlocking Shulk

There are three ways of going about for this unlock. The first involves reaching Waterfall Peak in the World of Light game mode at which point Shulk will join your team. Alternatively, you can also clear the Classic Mode with Pikachu to unlock Shulk.

Finally, multiple matches of Versus Mode can be played as Bowser Jr to unlock Shulk. Note that the last two methods will first require you to defeat Shulk on the Gaur Plain stage before you can add him to your roster.

Changes in SSBU

When it comes to the animations, Shulk’s idle stance, his victory pose, and second jump freefall have all received some tweaks. The second hit of the character’s neutral attack is now a roundhouse kick. The animation for up tilt also received some tweaks.

The Final Smash attack now sees Fiora accompany Shulk as well. Changes to Shulk’s attributes include a faster jump squat animation and boost to his dash speed.

When it comes to his neutral attacks, Shulk now deals way less damage but can be combo-ed into a follow-up attack much quicker. There has been a buff to Shulk’s dash attack and it also comes out much faster and has low ending lag. However, the change has been reduced by a tad. The Forward tilt now has more strength while the up tilt received a damage buff.

The forward and down smash attacks are now able KO much quicker. When it comes to the aerial attacks, they come out much faster and cover the full 360 degrees. Furthermore, neutral air has less ending lag and can be combo-ed into other aerial attacks. The forward aerial attack is less start-up while the back aerial comes out slightly slower. The up aerial has less ending lag while the down aerial now has more range.

In the grabs department, pummel has received a damage nerf but will now come out much faster. While Shulk is in his Smash art mode, his forward throw can KO opponents much easily. The back-throw has reduced damage with its second hit, however, just like the forward throw; the Smash stance will enable him to KO enemies much easier.

The Smash art mode will also grant Shulk more combo opportunities (Monado Purge etc.) with his up throw. The stance will also allow the down throw to combo into down tilt and forward tilt.

You can now switch into the Monado Arts stance much easier thank to a new button mapping system where you can hold the Special button and then choose a direction by moving the stick in the corresponding one. This causes the switching into the Monado Arts much faster and has utility for combos.

All the moves under the Monado Arts have long cooldowns and are active for a shorter duration. The same is true for Jump Arts and Speed Arts though the latter even allows Shulk to utilize a slower ground speed and a shorter jump. The Buster Art and Smash Art also now have shorter durations and longer cooldown times. Shulk’s aerials, however, have less landing lag under this mode.

The Speed Art also reduces Shulk’s damage. The Shield art though will nerf the damage potential of the character, it will increase strengthen his defenses and damage resistance.

The knock-back effect of Buster attacks has been lowered but the freeze frames are higher for combo potential. The opposite is true for Smart Arts that carry a greater knock-back this time around, though the overall damage output is reduced.

The Back Slash attack is faster and its heart-box has been altered so it can KO opponents earlier. The former effect is true for Air Slash as well however the second hit of the attack now has reduced range. The Vision attack has reduced damage and knock-back.

Recommended Spirits

Judging closely by the playstyle of Shulk, you are advised to choose the following Spirits by decreasing precedence. Overall, they’ll grant you with more damage potential with your sword attacks, air based moves and will allow all Arts to come out a little bit faster.

  • Alucard
  • Victini
  • Rathalos
  • Shine Sprite

Counter Picks

It can be difficult to keep guessing how Shulk will utilize his Arts and which one will he exactly go for. Moreover, most of the offensive options at his disposal carry astounding knockback, so some characters will find it hard to avoid getting KO’d. Here are some recommendations for picking a counter character to play against Shulk.

  • Inkling
  • King K Rool
  • Pikachu
  • Samus or Dark Samus