Table of Contents
- Section 1: Guide Introduction
- Section 2: Amiibo Overview / Pros & Cons
- Section 3: Recommended Equipment
- Section 4: Leveling up your Amiibo
- Section 5: Post Level-50 Training
- Section 6: Conclusion & Credits
Welcome to Amiibo Dojo’s Shulk training guide!
To start off, I’d like to thank you for taking the time to read this guide – your support is very much appreciated.
A handsome young man and a budding scientist, Shulk is the main protagonist in the Xenoblade Chronicles game. After his home colony is attacked by the Mechon, he and his friends set off to take them down. Shulk wields the Monado, a legendary blade imbued with a curious power that allows it to effortlessly slice through Mechon armor.
Shulk is one of the most powerful characters in the amiibo metagame. He has a unique (and rather unorthodox) moveset that sets him far apart from the rest of the cast. Between his versatile Monado Arts, godlike attack power, and incredible range, Shulk is a true force to be reckoned with. Let’s kick off the guide by outlining Shulk’s in-game abilities – his strengths, weaknesses, and tendencies, so that you know what to look for during training!
Please note: Although all of the information in this guide is 100% accurate, it may be revised in the future if there are further game updates to Super Smash Bros.
Much like in Xenoblade Chronicles, Shulk excels at adapting to different situations with his attribute-enhancing Monado Arts. He can select from one of five Arts: Jump, Speed, Shield, Buster, or Smash. Each Art significantly tweaks his abilities, making him a flexible fighter who can thrive in any situation. Shulk also benefits from a great set of smash attacks: his forward smash in particular has excellent range, and is disjointed, meaning that it can’t be interrupted by Explosive perfect shield (the most commonly-used bonus effect). It also hits twice, which can trip up unsuspecting foes. His recovery is quite decent, too – it works as advertised, and can even be improved with the Jump Art active. Finally, Shulk possesses the most effective and fearsome counter in the game, Vision – it’s strong, has a lot of range, and is very easy to use in comparison to other characters’ counter moves.
However, Shulk suffers from several weaknesses. In spite of his incredible range, his attacks are horrendously slow, being on par with the likes of Ganondorf and King Dedede. Additionally, Shulk’s AI is somewhat flawed: it will generally only activate the Jump and Speed Monado Arts, and prioritizes them over the Shield, Buster, and Smash Arts (even in situations where the latter three would be optimal). He will not cancel an active Art under any circumstance, and sometimes even becomes indecisive when choosing one; endlessly cycling through his options instead of settling on just one. Due to the low overall speed of Shulk’s moveset, he tends to overuse his jab, as it is the fastest attack available to him. He also doesn’t have any kill throws (unless the Smash Art is active, but again, your amiibo won’t activate it very often), which relegates his grab to a damage-racking tool rather than a direct KO option.
Because of his complex moveset, Shulk takes a bit more effort to train than other top-ranked amiibo fighters. With proper training, however, he can become very strong. If you can teach him to play defensively, rely on his forward smash as an out of shield option, and utilize his Monado Arts and counterattack effectively, you should have no problem tapping into the endless potential found within this character.
Shulk – Recommended Stats & Bonuses
Now that I’ve given you a general outline of Shulk’s strengths and weaknesses, it’s time to begin the training process by setting him up with equipment! When feeding your amiibo, it’s important that you know what you’re doing – if you carelessly slap random stats and bonuses onto your amiibo, it’s not going to work very well. That being said, feeding an amiibo can be kind of complicated to someone who hasn’t done it before – that’s why this section is dedicated to telling you how to properly equip your amiibo. Here’s my recommended setup for Shulk:
Point Distribution: +40 Attack / +70 Defense / +10 Speed
Many amiibo trainers use this point distribution – in fact, I’d say this is the most common stat spread. It focuses on defense, which goes a long way in enhancing your Shulk’s in-game endurance. In addition to a great defensive boost, your amiibo’s strength and mobility will be respectably increased, too.
- Critical-hit capability
- Explosive perfect shield
- Improved escapability
Shulk is unique in that he can work with just about any setup, but the Rock-Paper-Scissors build is agreed to be his best option. It’s the most popular bonus combination in the game – this is because the three bonuses here work together to create a well-rounded fighter with enhanced abilities. The centerpiece is Explosive perfect shield, which allows your amiibo to damage opponents just by blocking! This capability will encourage your Shulk to use his shield more often, which is a good thing. Eventually, though, opposing amiibo will take note of how often Shulk is blocking, and go for grabs instead of direct attacks. That’s where Improved escapability comes in – with this bonus equipped, your amiibo will be able to escape grabs almost instantly! Critical-hit capability rounds out the set, giving all of your amiibo’s attacks a 20% chance of dealing three times as much damage as usual!
If you would like to see some other bonus combinations that work well with Shulk, check out this post, which goes over several equipment setups you can use on your amiibo.
Shulk – Recommended Custom Moves
Shulk has a unique set of custom moves that can give him brand-new options. Even so, not all of them are good trade-offs: a few of his custom moves are flat-out inferior to their originals. To a new trainer (or one unfamiliar with the character), it can be tough to decide which versions to use, so I’m going to list each special move, and which choice will work best for your amiibo.
Neutral special (Monado Arts): Decisive Monado Arts / Hyper Monado Arts
- In addition to the default Monado Arts, Shulk can use either the Decisive Monado Arts or the Hyper Monado Arts. Both custom move versions have their own uses – which one you choose depends on what kind of amiibo you want to train. The Decisive Monado Arts last longer and recharge faster, and are more powerful, but can’t be cancelled – your Shulk amiibo will never cancel them anyway, so this is a solid trade-off. The Hyper Monado Arts, however, significantly bolster the effects of each Art (both benefits and drawbacks). During my training with Shulk, I noticed that he did not use the Hyper Monado Arts as often as the other two custom versions. Again, the choice here is up to you: if you want a Shulk amiibo that will use its Monado Arts during battle, go with Decisive Monado Arts. If you don’t want your Shulk to be distracted by the Arts, choose Hyper Monado Arts.
Side special (Back Slash): N/A
- There are two custom versions of this move: Back Slash Leap and Back Slash Charge. To be honest, I don’t think it’s necessary to worry about this move – your Shulk amiibo will not benefit at all from using it, no matter which custom move version you give to him.
Up special (Air Slash): Air Slash
- Along with the default Air Slash, we also have Advancing Air Slash and Mighty Air Slash. The first one, Advancing Air Slash, has more horizontal movement, but less vertical movement. Mighty Air Slash is more powerful, but has less overall range. Your best bet here is the default Air Slash, as it is better for recovery than the other two options.
Down special (Vision): Vision / Power Vision
- In addition to Vision, the default version of the move, there’s also Dash Vision and Power Vision. The former has increased range and speed, at the cost of damage and knockback. The latter, Power Vision, is the strongest counter move in the entire game, boasting extreme KO capability. However, consecutive uses make it harder to activate. If you want your Shulk amiibo to be able to consistently counter the attacks of opponents, go with the default Vision, but if you want him to only use it every once in a while, but deal insane damage, choose Power Vision.
Feeding Your Amiibo
Now that you know all of your options, it’s time to start feeding your amiibo equipment! Please be aware that, for this part, I’m assuming that you’re going with my recommendations for stats and bonuses. Once you’re ready to begin, open the game, navigate to Games & More, and then to the amiibo section. Scan in your Shulk amiibo, and you’ll see a status screen that details his stats and bonus effects.
There are a few things I want to mention before we continue. First, don’t worry about your amiibo’s current level. If it has already been trained, don’t reset it just to use this guide. Like an old dog can learn new tricks, an amiibo is more than capable of adapting to newly added or changed equipment. It doesn’t matter what level your amiibo is at – the feeding method I’m about to explain will work just fine.
Step 1: Equipping Bonus Effects
The first thing we’re going to do is give your amiibo its three bonus effects. Click the “Feed Equipment” option from the menu, and sort your equipment stash alphabetically. You’re going to be searching for three specific “prefixes” on your equipment pieces: “Critical Hitter”, “Escape Artist”, and “Shield Exploder”. You can look at the image above for a visual example. If you realize you don’t have one of these bonuses, leave one of the slots blank, and you can feed your Shulk the missing bonus later (if you want, you can always check out the equipment farming guide).
Step 2: Rounding Out Stat Values
For many people, this is the most difficult step: rounding out your amiibo’s points. The goal is to give your amiibo 40 points attack, 70 points defense, and 10 points speed. Don’t worry if you end up with, say, 36 points attack, 76 points defense, and 8 points speed. We’re aiming for a ballpark range here.
If you don’t know this already, each piece of equipment has a different color: orange, blue, or green. Orange pieces will increase an amiibo’s attack power, but decrease its defense. Blue pieces will increase its defense, but lower its speed. A green piece will increase its speed, but lower its strength.
Step 3: When Your Amiibo Gets Full
At some point as you feed your amiibo, it’ll become full and won’t be able to eat any more equipment. Normally, you’d have to battle your amiibo to continue the feeding process, but luckily, there’s an exploit of sorts that was brought to light by Amiibo Trainer. If you take your full amiibo into a 1-stock match and immediately run off the stage and KO yourself when the game begins, you’ll be able to feed it again once the match ends. Now, as you may know, an amiibo can’t learn to KO itself – and since that’s the only thing you’re doing in this kind of match, your amiibo learns nothing. It has no effect on its tendencies, no matter how many times you repeat it.
Why is this trick relevant, you ask? Well, when your amiibo does become full (it’ll happen eventually), you probably won’t yet be done adjusting its points. If you were to play a legitimate match with your amiibo at this point, it would start to adapt to its new spread, only for it to be changed again the next round. That’s why we KO ourselves – the match will have ended too quickly for your amiibo to adapt. Oh, and it saves time, so there’s that too.
Completing the Feeding Process
Once your amiibo is all set with its points, bonuses, and custom moves, you’ll be ready to begin your training (or continue it, if your amiibo is already Level 50!) If you run into a problem of some sort that you can’t resolve, I can help you out! Don’t be shy: you can send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org anytime explaining your issue, and I’ll give you personal advice to correct it. Emailing me is free, and I don’t get annoyed by repeated messages, so you don’t need to worry about that.
Note: If your Shulk amiibo is already Level 50, and you want to further improve his abilities, please skip to Section 5. If your amiibo is not yet Level 50, keep reading this section!
Raising your Amiibo to Level 50
Raising an amiibo to Level 50 is simple in concept, but in practice, it takes a lot of time and perseverance. You will be mirror matching your amiibo until its level maxes out. A “mirror match”, also known as a “ditto”, is when you play as the character that is your amiibo – in this case, you’ll be playing as Shulk. I recommend playing timed matches (3 to 5 minutes will do) on Ω-form stages only.
I want to be as specific as possible in this section so that you know exactly what steps to take here – to help you out, I’ve put together a big list of tips you can use to maximize your amiibo’s potential.
Amiibo Training Tips (Defensive)
As I said before, you should be mirror matching your amiibo all the way to Level 50. I’ve talked about defense a lot in this guide, but you might not know how to properly play defensively. This list of tips will help you – as long as you’re faithful to them, your amiibo will start off strong.
- Do not jump or use aerials. I say this very often, but it utterly confuses some people. Many amiibo trainers have aerial attacks incorporated into their playstyles, and can’t understand why they shouldn’t be used. Simply put, in a metagame where shields can do damage, aerials are too big a risk to take. As many tournaments have shown, amiibo who rely on air attacks leave themselves vulnerable, which leads to their demise. If you disagree, and need further convincing, head over to this post.
- Play defensively. Like I said, a Level 50 amiibo can react within 1/60th of a second (which is one frame). Why throw out attacks when you can just shield instead? In fact, if you followed my equipment recommendation and gave your amiibo Explosive perfect shield, all it needs to do is use its shield. If you can, try to perfect shield your amiibo’s attacks (equip yourself with Easy perfect shield and/or use slow motion settings if necessary) and immediately counterattack with forward smash after the block. This is an important concept that often decides which amiibo emerges victorious.Want more information on why defense is the most effective playstyle? Click here.
- Don’t make any attempt to combo. At the end of the day, amiibo are beefed up CPU characters. As trainers, we can teach our amiibo a general philosophy to play by – we can’t necessarily teach them to string certain moves together. Additionally, amiibo will not use combos that aren’t coded into their AI (for example, Ness is programmed to use down throw to forward aerial), so even if you do successfully land sweet 10-move combos, your amiibo likely will not learn to do the same. You’re better off focusing on attacking with powerful moves instead of linking several weak attacks.
Amiibo Training Tips (Character-Specific)
In addition to the aforementioned defensive tips, you should be playing be the following ones as well. They’re all about moves, habits, and tendencies that work best for Shulk, and are specific to him as a character.
- Rely on smash attacks to rack up damage and KO. With Shulk, your go-to move should be his forward smash. It’s an effective, powerful attack that might even be considered “spammable”. His up smash isn’t very good at catching aerial enemies due to its limited range – you’re probably better off using up tilt or an upwards-aimed forward smash for that. Down smash, meanwhile, is a quick spin with a lingering hitbox, but don’t use this move too often, as your amiibo may end up spamming it.
- Utilize the Monado Arts. It might be hard to get used to them at first, especially if you’re unfamiliar with the character, but here’s a general outline of when you should use each Art. Activate Buster when your amiibo has taken 50% damage or less, Smash when your amiibo has taken 80% damage or more, and Shield when you have taken 80% damage or more. Don’t worry about using Jump and Speed. Shulk’s AI is programmed to activate his Jump Art whenever he’s off-stage, and will go for Speed instead if his Jump Art is still on cooldown.
- When grabbing your amiibo, throw towards the ledge. This means you’ll only ever have to use forward and back throws. If the Smash Art is active, these both become kill throws, but that doesn’t mean much since your Shulk amiibo won’t activate the art very often.
- Do not use Back Slash at all. It won’t benefit Shulk at all, and your amiibo might even self-destruct by using it near an edge and falling.
- Use Vision to counter your amiibo’s attacks. If you gave your Shulk the default Vision, feel free to use it as often as you’d like. If you gave him Power Vision instead, only use it every once in a while: as you keep using this custom move version, it will become harder and harder to land. This doesn’t happen with the default Vision. If you want, slow mode might help you to more accurately counter your amiibo’s attacks.
If you started reading this guide with a Level 1 amiibo, it will take some time for it to reach Level 50. If your amiibo started anywhere in between, it shouldn’t take too long depending on how much it was trained prior to this guide. As long as you play by these tips, you will be creating a strong foundation for your amiibo to build on. Keep in mind that you can refer back to this list at any time.
When your Shulk amiibo does reach Level 50, don’t think your training is done. In fact, it will have just begun. When you are finished leveling up your amiibo, we will move onto the most important section in the guide – honing your Level 50 amiibo’s skills and turning it into a true champion!
Post-Level 50 Training
Your Shulk amiibo should now be Level 50, meaning your journey has officially just begun! You see, you can’t take a fresh Level 50 amiibo, enter it into a tournament, and expect it to do well – just like a real player, your amiibo needs additional practice and match experience in order to truly become strong. Here are some tips, tricks, and training methods you can use to further enhance your amiibo’s abilities:
Your Amiibo’s Match Experience
One of the most important things your amiibo needs to succeed is match experience. It needs to know how to handle certain characters, attacks, and mechanics – some examples are Little Mac’s effortless shield breakers, Bowser’s infamous Flying Slam attack, and Lucario’s aura skill. If you have other amiibo, train them up with my guides and have them all fight each other in 1v1 matches. You will want to expose your amiibo to as many other amiibo as you can.
I also have a detailed and in-depth article on your amiibo’s match experience. It talks about the characters you need to prepare for, and the skills your amiibo can learn to overcome any fighter. Follow this link if you are interested in reading more!
It’s also important for your amiibo to play defense, and my defensive training session outline will help it do just that. It only takes a few minutes, and can be used multiple times in a row to great effect.
As your amiibo plays matches against other amiibo, its defensive capability will wear down over time. To keep your amiibo “fresh” and at its best, repeat the defensive training session as needed.
Amiibo Trainer’s Guides
Along with the Amiibo Dojo, Amiibo Trainer is one of the main amiibo training sites. They have some very helpful training guides (and a long-running podcast, too) that I recommend you use in conjunction with the ones I have here.
First is the Amiibo 15, a 15-minute training session that hundreds of amiibo trainers around the globe have used. Its concept and goal are similar to my defensive training session that I mentioned earlier, and is another great option for quickly improving your amiibo.
And then we have Amiibo Trainer’s monthly guide series. Each month, a new training guide is released that talks about a specific bonus combination you can use on your amiibo, and training sessions that will maximize your amiibo’s use of its three bonus effects. I use these guides as a supplement to my own methods, and I think you should, too.
The road to amiibo superstardom is long and hard, and it isn’t as simple as this guide might suggest. At some point, your amiibo might develop a bad habit. Or maybe you’ll become stumped on what to do next. It doesn’t matter what problem you run into – I’m here to help. If you have any questions regarding amiibo training or the site, you can send an email to email@example.com. If you don’t like sending emails, you can also fill out the Amiibo Dojo contact form or shoot me a message on Reddit or Twitter.
Thanks so much for sticking with me to the end! Like the vast starscape of outer space, amiibo training is endless – there’s always a way forward, even if you can’t see it. You’re never truly “done” training. Again, if you run into any roadblocks along the way, I’m here to help you. You can easily ask me a question by filling out the contact form, sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org, or getting in touch on Reddit or Twitter.
If your desire to read amiibo training guides and articles hasn’t been entirely fulfilled, there are some more posts I think you might like. The official amiibo tier list ranks every amiibo’s overall capabilities, and you might learn something new if you take a look at it. The FAQ and the Amiibo Dojo forums are other good resources that are worth checking out. Alternatively, you can head to my master list of guides for even more amiibo training methods!
I trained my Shulk amiibo extensively in order to prepare for this guide, and I did the initial writeup as well – but I had some help from a few others, such as grammar checks and training tips. This part is dedicated to thanking them for their assistance!
- Grammar checks: Unoriginal Username and hihahaba
- Xenoblade Chronicles References: Megasparker
- Training: Trainer Blue, Tilin, Roflcopter, TheEleh, and hihahaba
- Images: Official Super Smash Bros. website