Shulk is notorious for being one of the most misleading Figure Players in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. You would think you’d need to train it to use its Monado Arts, but that’s actually not the case! The AI sometimes mixes up its Arts and swaps them out at inappropriate times, and all this really does is leave it vulnerable to incoming danger. As a result, Shulk is actually a rather weak Raid Boss, as his AI cannot properly utilize what makes him unique as a character. If you’d like to learn more about Shulk’s metagame history, feel free to read his wiki page! Otherwise, let’s jump right into today’s training!
Special thanks to JoKe07 for contributing Shulk’s training information!
If you don’t want to equip your Shulk amiibo with Spirits, feel free to skip this entire section. But if you do want to give it some Spirits, try doing so when the FP is still at Level 1. For whatever reason, Spirits add and subtract from FP training data, so if you tack them on after you’ve already trained it, it’ll behave differently than how you originally taught it. We have a full Spirits guide available if you want to learn more! In the meantime, here are some setups that work well on Shulk:
- Banned bonuses: The strongest bonus combination for Shulk is Armor Knight alongside Trade-Off Ability ↑ or Move Speed ↑. We can’t train Shulk to consistently use his Shield Art, so Armor Knight’s defensive boost comes in handy! Great Autoheal and Super Armor work well too; feel free to choose the bonus that suits your fancy.
- Tournament-legal bonuses: If you’re looking to enter a Spirits tourney that follows our ban list, your go-to Spirit should be Weapon Attack ↑. In fact, tacking on a second Weapon Attack ↑ works well since every useful move you’ll need is buffed by it. As for your third and final Spirit choice, you can go with Trade-Off Ability ↑ due to its insane stat increases, or you could pick Move Speed ↑ or Air Defense ↑ to bolster his recovery.
- Raid Boss bonuses: Since Raid Boss-formatted FPs prefer to focus on mobility skills, Move Speed ↑ and Landing Lag ↓ are solid choices for Shulk. Use Weapon Attack ↑ to fill the last slot and you should be good to go! You can also use the aforementioned Armor Knight, Great Autoheal, or Super Armor Spirit effects if you like.
Regarding stat distribution, Shulk’s point spread can either be kept balanced (2100 / 2100) or more offensive (2500 / 1700). You don’t have to match these exact numbers, by the way — they’re just a ballpark range. Make sure your FP’s Spirit-type is Neutral before you start training it.
You might know the drill by now: for the best possible results, don’t run and don’t go off-stage. We’ll mention this again in the next section, but consistency is a very important trait for strong FPs to have. Walking gives them faster access to blocking and dodging, and staying on-stage reduces the chance that Shulk gets gimped. Mirror match your FP all the way to Level 50, and use the following moves during training:
- Forward smash should be used almost all the time. It’s by far and away Shulk’s strongest move to use against AI opponents, and this is thanks to its high power and multi-hit nature. Any time the opponent is within forward smash’s range, use it. Mixing in a bit of forward tilt at point-blank range can be helpful as well, as it’s quick and helps unstale Shulk’s forward smash a bit.
- Down smash is best used at the ledge. When one of your forward smashes or forward tilts have launched the FP off-stage, walk up to the edge and intercept its recovery with down smash. It’s also great at catching rolls from the ledge! It’s okay if your FP uses down smash on-stage, since it’s a multi-hit that stays out for ages; just make sure to place a higher priority on forward smash.
- Neutral air can be used to secure a safe landing — forward air can also be used for the same purpose. You should use them both equally as often, as they have a large range and tend to keep you fairly safe while airborne.
There are a lot of moves to avoid here, and each one is rather disappointing. No Monado Arts, no Back Slash, no Air Slash, no Vision, and no grabs or throws. Fortunately, Shulk performs well enough against opposing FPs thanks to his excellent forward smash. One good move is all it took to make him high-tier in this game! If you’d rather train a Raid Boss FP instead of a tournament-ready one, check the section below instead.
Raid Boss Training
As mentioned before, Shulk is nowhere close to the strongest Raid Boss available. As you go down the list of moves to use, you’ll probably become more and more disappointed — and rightfully so. The AI doesn’t properly use any of its special moves, so we have no choice but to avoid them for the sake of consistency. Most of our Raid Boss guides suggest that you remain on-stage, but an exception is sometimes made when the character’s grounded and aerial options aren’t strong enough to pose a significant threat. This is the case with Shulk, so feel free to leave the stage as you see fit. Here are all the moves to focus on:
- Neutral air covers a wide arc around Shulk, making it one of his best aerials. Use it to land or out of a short hop. If you’re going to go off-stage, forward air works well to edgeguard recovering opponents; back air can be used in this instance as well, though its vertical range makes it a bit inaccurate. And finally, down air can meteor smash its victims — just be mindful of its high startup lag.
- Shulk’s throws are a shame because, with Monado Arts active, they’re actually quite useful. Without them, their power and combo utility is decreased. You should still teach your FP to grab, and when you do, simply toss it near the nearest ledge or use an up throw to start an up air juggling combo.
- Use up tilt to scoop up your opponent when they’re trying to land. You can then follow up with another up tilt or even an up air or two!
- Forward tilt can be used at close range while grounded. Down tilt serves as a decent combo starter that can lead into an aerial move.
Just to be clear, don’t use any special moves during training. This means no Monado Arts, no Back Slash, no Air Slash, and no Vision. We’re aiming for consistency, and forgoing special moves helps to achieve that goal. You can mix in a small number of smash attacks too; down smash is best used at the ledge, up smash can be used after a parry, and forward smash can just be used on its own to KO. Shulk’s a finicky FP, but feel free to experiment if you want!
Shulk is kind of a strange case. By all accounts, his AI is disappointing, and it can’t correctly use its central Monado Arts gimmick. But Shulk has still found a place in the competitive metagame! If you have any questions that we didn’t answer here, join our Discord server and ask away! If you’d like to enter a tournament, you can check our entry guide to learn how to participate. We also appreciate donations to keep the site up and running, plus we’ve got a Patreon page with special benefits. Until next time — happy training!
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