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 attack. 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 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 on Spirits after you’ve already trained it, it’ll behave much differently than what you taught it. We have a full Spirits guide available if you want to learn more!
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 pick whichever bonus suits your fancy. Just keep in mind that most tournaments keep these bonuses banned (with the exception of Trade-Off Ability ↑ and Move Speed ↑).
Other options for a competitive Shulk FP include Weapon Attack ↑, Hyper Smash Attacks, and Move Speed ↑. If you’d prefer to train a Raid Boss, you’d be better off replacing Hyper Smash Attacks with Landing Lag ↓. You could also use a more fun setup such as Critical Healing & Metal and Transformation Duration ↑. For stats, you can either keep them balanced (2100 / 2100) or lean more heavily into attack power (2500 / 1700). Make sure the FP’s Spirit-type is Neutral!
You might know the drill by now: for the best possible result, 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 amiibo 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: You’re going to want to attack with forward smash 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. It can be angled, but it’s okay to just use the neutral (non-angled) version all the time.
- Forward tilt: Extremely rarely, you can mix in a forward tilt instead of a forward smash. Think of it this way, then: 95% of your attacks should be forward smash, and the other 5% should be forward tilt.
- Down smash: When one of your forward smashes or forward tilts have launched the FP off-stage, walk up to the ledge and intercept its recovery with a down smash. Don’t use this move in any other scenario.
- Up smash: When your FP is above you and trying to land, smack it with a powerful up smash. This attack isn’t useful in any other situation — aerial punishes only!
- Neutral aerial: If you’re launched into the air, you can use neutral air to land. Don’t go out of your way to use this move; only use it if you were launched and need to secure a safe landing. You can also use some landing forward aerials instead.
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 use any of its specials well, 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 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 often as you want. Here are all the moves to use during training:
- Neutral aerial: Covers a wide arc around Shulk, making it one of his best aerials. Use it to land or out of a short hop. Don’t use it off-stage, though!
- Forward aerial: Use this one off-stage instead. It’s also good to use above-stage.
- Grab & throws: Shulk’s throws are a shame because, with Monado Arts active, they are 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.
- Up tilt: This move boasts a large vertical range. Use it 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!
- Back aerial: Incredibly powerful, and best used off-stage. Its vertical range is extremely small, so try your best to be accurate when using this move.
- Forward tilt: When grounded, you can use a little bit of forward tilt. Neither its range nor speed is anything spectacular, but it’s an important move nonetheless. When used at the edge, it has high KO power!
- Down tilt: A downwards swipe with below-average speed. It launches foes slightly upwards, so you can follow up with an aerial attack of your choice.
- Down aerial: When your FP is launched off-stage, you can follow up with a down air to meteor smash it to oblivion! Just remember that this move has a good bit of startup, which means you’ll need to nail the timing.
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 anyway, if you want!
Shulk is kind of a strange case. By all accounts, his AI is disappointing, and it can’t 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! If you want to enter a tournament, you can check our Powersaves guide or mobile backup guide to learn how to participate. We also appreciate donations to keep the site up and running. Until next time — happy training!
If you would like to read more amiibo training guides, please follow this link.