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By Spike, Regular Contributor
If you often read our guides (if you don’t, you should), you know the drill. First, I’m going to establish my credibility with the character I’m writing about. I have three Shulk wins, which I earned with three different Shulks. I’ve trained almost a dozen of them, and recently found success with a new set of strategies. Credit where credit is due- the base strategy that you should use for Shulk, the NakedLad strategy, was invented by Blank.
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The main strategy with Shulk is to use his long-ranged, multi hit smash attacks to control the battlefield and prevent offstage opponents from making their way back up. However, this strategy does have variants, and I’m going to quickly go over each one. Aside from the NakedLad strategy, they’re all named after the Shulk I taught it to.
Strategy One: The NakedLad strategy
I recently won a tournament with my Shulk, Byakuya, using this exact strategy. For this strategy, the only attacks the Shulk should use are forward, down, and occasionally up smash. Shulks using this tend to do quite well, especially those who use down smash to edgeguard. However, I’m not convinced that it’s the best strategy for Shulk.
Strategy Two: The Ukitake Strategy
I’m going to start by saying- this is a cool, flashy strategy, but if you want a super competitive Shulk, I’d advise against it. It’s also super difficult to get right. Shulks using this strategy rely heavily on forward smash to get the opponent offstage. Once the opponent is offstage, the Shulk stands at the ledge using forward tilt to constantly knock the opponent back. When the opponent eventually grabs hold of the ledge, the Shulk waits for them to jump up and immediately uses down special, which is a counter. If the opponent attacked from the ledge, this is usually an immediate kill.
Strategy Three: The Hitsugaya Strategy
My first Shulk win was with this strategy, but it isn’t an optimal strategy. Using this strategy, Shulk relies on a mixture of forward and down smash. Once the opponent is offstage, he turns his attention to edgeguarding with forward tilt. Using this strategy, it’s also recommended to teach the Shulk to be heavily defensive.
Strategy Four: The Kenpachi Strategy
This is more than likely the best strategy. I have a win and numerous top placements using it, more top placements than my other Shulks combined, which says a lot. Basically, this strategy involves using forward smash. A lot of forward smash. Once the opponent is offstage, Shulk alternates down smash and forward tilt to keep them there until they die. When the opponent is near the ledge, these Shulks use forward tilt instead of down smash.
Now that you’ve gotten through that, here’re my training recommendations:
First of all, you should be mirror matching your amiibo if Learning is set to Learning On. Matchup Experience (teaching your amiibo how to fight differently against different characters) does not exist. Sorry. There’s no point in using other characters to train your amiibo, and doing so can mess the amiibo up. Once you hit Level 50, or once you’re happy with how your amiibo plays, you should turn Learning Off. Don’t worry about any issues until level 50.
Shulk amiibo should rely heavily on forward smash. It’s long ranged, it’s powerful, it comes out relatively fast, and it’s multi hit. On stage, your Shulk should be taught to run (or walk, which is slightly easier to teach) up to the opponent and unleash a raw forward smash. Over and over. Never charge any of your smash attacks, and don’t worry too much about spacing, the amiibo learns that on its own. You may want to add in a forward tilt or down smash on occasion, just so Shulk has some variety, but that’s up to you.
You should also teach either up or down smash to catch landing opponents. I personally prefer up smash, because if your Shulk decides to get jumpy, up smash beats it out of him quicker, but down smash has a wider range and leaves Shulk less vulnerable if it misses.
If the opponent is offstage, Shulk should be standing at the ledge, alternating down smash and forward tilt. Down smash covers a wider range than forward tilt, but forward tilt deals a lot of knockback and can kill opponents with bad recoveries (Incineroar, anyone?) much, much faster.
However, Shulk also comes with a few moves you shouldn’t use. First of all, you shouldn’t touch the special move button unless you are recovering or using down special to punish him for charging a smash attack. Side special causes him to self-destruct, he can and will use up special randomly, and he already knows how to use Monado Arts. After an AI update in early 2020, Shulk automatically knows how to use his Monado Arts, including Jump Art to recover, and using them only messes him up.
You should also never use Shulk’s aerials or go offstage. It just brings no benefit to his playstyle and can cause him to SD.
Really, that’s it! Shulk is a surprisingly nuanced amiibo for one that uses so few moves, and if you don’t find success at first, don’t worry. Just keep trying and remember,
Never Stop Training