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Sheilda Strategy Guide:

RevEvolution

Smash Rookie
Joined
Jul 10, 2011
Messages
13
Location
Lawrence, KS
Table of Contents:

  1. The Basics (Pros and Cons)
    1. Sheik

    2. Zelda

    3. Tier List
  2. Move List
    1. Sheik

    2. Zelda
  3. Advanced Techniques
    1. Universal Advanced Techniques

    2. Sheik Specific Advanced Techniques

    3. Zelda Specific Advanced Techniques
  4. Maximizing Your Moveset
    1. Sheik
      1. Abusing Your Shield and GTFO Options

      2. Utilizing Your Jab Cancel

      3. Ftilt Lock Setups

      4. Using the Air/Chain Jacket

      5. Abusing Your Needles

      6. List of Grab Release Information

      7. DACUS Setups

      8. Gimping Opponents

      9. Throws and Setups
    2. Zelda
      1. Abusing Your Shield/GTFO Options

      2. Utilizing Your Dtilt Lock

      3. Utilizing Din’s Fire

      4. Utilizing Farore’s Wind

      5. Utilizing Nayru’s Love

      6. Short Hop Double Aerials

      7. Usmash Lock

      8. Abusing Your Fsmash

      9. Glide Tossing

      10. Throws and Setups
  5. Learning to Recover
    1. Mix Up Your Recovery/Understanding Your Return Options

    2. Directional Influence

    3. Momentum Canceling
  6. Walking, Running, Rolling, and Air Dodging
    1. Learn to Walk

    2. When to Run at Your Opponent

    3. Rolling/Spot Dodges

    4. Air Dodging

    5. Bringing it All Together
  7. Knowing Your Environment
    1. Stage Positioning

    2. Utilizing the Ledge

    3. Utilizing Platforms

    4. Utilizing Stage Transformations

    5. Utilizing Walk Offs

    6. Utilizing Walls
  8. Getting the Kill
    1. Stale-Move Negation

    2. Your Strongest KO Options

    3. Gimping

    4. DACUS

    5. Yomi
  9. Yomi- The Art of Reading Your Opponent
    1. Reading Opponents

    2. Conditioning Opponents

    3. Baiting Opponents

    4. Punishing Opponents
  10. Offensive and Defensive Play
    1. Offensive Play

    2. Defensive Play
  11. Utilizing Two Characters
    1. Transforming Safely

    2. Spending Time with Both Characters

    3. Maximizing Your Invincibility

    4. Creating One Character/Wrapping Up

Sheilda Strategy Guide:

Sheilda (Sheik and Zelda) is a very unique character in Super Smash Bros. Brawl. She is one of three characters that can transform in the middle of a match, drastically changing her play style in the process. Of the three characters, she is the only one who can toggle between both characters and not be punished for staying in one form for prolonged periods of time. While Sheik is considered the superior of the two characters, both are quite useful in their own ways; learning both characters allows a player to strengthen certain MU’s and improve their game. This guide is going to be a comprehensive guide to everything you would need to know between the two characters when competing at high level play. While neither of the characters is deemed as tournament worthy, hopeful this guide can help some avid players take Sheik/Zelda further than I ever could.

Author Note: The purpose of this guide is to help strengthen the Sheik and Zelda metagame. Any feedback from other users is greatly appreciated and will be added to this guide if applicable. Most people tend to go with Higher Tier characters so that they can win tournaments. As a Sheik and Zelda main my goal is to try and become one of the top Sheilda players and improve other player's understanding of these characters. I not only want to win but to push these two characters as far as humanly possible. This is a learning process for me as well and I am by no means one of the best players in the country. What I am is a dedicated Smash player who wants to create something for the community. Let's make this happen.

I. The Basics (Pros and Cons):

Sheik

Sheik is a fast a nimble character that excels at racking up damage and gimping opponents. While her fast speed is a blessing, she lacks reliable KO moves and thus has to rely on her DACUS or gimping skills to beat opponents. To make matters worse, she struggles against characters that prevent her from doing “Sheik things” against opponents. If an opponent can cut through her ftilt lock or give her a hard time approaching, Sheik will be in for a tough match. Thankfully, she can transform into Zelda to help mitigate some of her problems, but many times going strictly Sheik is more beneficial to a player.

Pros:

  • A fast and nimble character; she has quick moves, excellent damage racker, and strong gimping tools.

  • Her Ftilt is one of the best damage rackers in the game and provides many setups for other moves.

  • She has a fast, long, and powerful DACUS that can easily sneak in KO’s against opponents.

  • Her needles are one of the few projectiles that can be charged and saved for later. They also rack up 18% damage fully charged, providing quick and painless damage.

  • Has an excellent pivot grab and dash grab.

  • Has the glitch known as the Chain Jacket, allowing her to copy her final hit of her Fsmash to her chain for a powerful killer.

  • Has an excellent ledge game and many tools to plank.

  • She has two jumps, an Uspecial, and a tether grab to reach the ledge, giving her many options to mix up her recovery.

  • Her Fair/Bair are great gimping moves, with quick speed.

  • She has a very low crouch, allowing her to duck under most projectiles, such as Falco’s double laser technique.

  • She has quite a few strong MU’s, especially against the Space Animals.

  • Her Usmash can kill as low as 70% if you hit with the tipper.

  • She is very fast on the ground and can chase opponents who are trying to safely land.

  • Has excellent Out of Shield (OOS) options.

  • Her grab release to DACUS provides her a solid KO option on close to half the characters (although only a fourth are guaranteed).
Cons:

  • She has suffered a serious nerf from her Melee counterpart, completely removing many of her main killing moves.

  • Her KO potential is one of the worst in the game and will have a very hard time killing many characters before the 150%-200% mark.

  • She is tall, light, and has poor momentum cancelling.

  • Has to rely on many different advance techniques in order to be competitively viable.

  • Ironically, she is easily gimped and can have a very hard time making it safely back onto the stage. Her tether and Uspecial are worthless if an opponent is holding onto the ledge.

  • Most of her MU’s in the high tier are a -1 at best, meaning you are almost always at a disadvantage.

  • She is hard countered by two characters: Ice Climber’s (IC) and Pikachu.
As you can see, there are many perk s to playing Sheik but she will require a lot of effort in order to show promising results. If you want an easy character to pick up and play, Sheik is not for you.

Notable Players- Judo, Izaw, ScaryLB59

Zelda

For a brief time, Zelda was considered the stronger of the two characters, even ranking 20th on the first tier list (compared to Sheik’s 26th position). However, as the metagame developed, Zelda’s flaws became apparent and she was eventually left towards the very bottom of every tier list. While Zelda possesses strong KO moves, she struggles against nearly the entire cast and has to rely on out playing her opponents to win matches. For Sheilda players, Zelda tends to serve two roles: 1. To KO the opponent at much earlier percentages and 2. Helping Sheik deal with large and heavy characters.

Pros:

  • Some of the strongest killers in the game.

  • A long recovery that hits at the end of the move, making it hard to edge hog.

  • Powerful locks that can rack up some pretty high damage.

  • A reflector that can throw pesky items/weapons back at the opponent.

  • A decent projectile that has high knockback and can KO opponents.

  • A useful Nair that can help lead into other moves.

  • Useful throws which aid in opponent placing.

  • A very fast and strong Dsmash.

  • Two very powerful aerials, Fair and Bair which can KO opponents at less than 100%

  • Many disjointed attacks.

  • Many attacks have transcendent priority.

  • Her floatiness helps her avoid many chain grabs and combos.

  • Down tilt can cause tripping.

  • Has a long range tether grab..
Cons:

  • Many of her best KO moves can be SDI’d through, making them unreliable against skilled opponents.

  • Her recovery takes nearly 2 seconds to start, making her a sitting duck against aggressive opponents offstage.

  • She is easily juggled and struggles in the air.

  • Her Fspecial is blocked when an opponent attacks the fireball from the attacking side.

  • Her reflector is very slow and leaves her wide open, it is almost always better to power shield then to try and reflect an attack.

  • She is tall, light, and floaty, which is a terrible combination.

  • Unlike Sheik, she cannot duck under any projectile.

  • She has no wall jumping.

  • Her throws aren’t going to be killing anyone unless the opponent DI's towards the blast zone.

  • She has to rely on baiting and punishing opponents and has very few options to perform this duty, making her very predictable.

  • No reliable way to force opponent’s to approach.

  • Her recovery is very picky and requires high precision.

  • Has high lag on many of her moves leaves her wide open.
Zelda is a tough character to play. She has a huge list of negative attributes which only a skilled player will have any sort of success with her. Still, she does provide a way for Sheik to KO opponents so learning her can be beneficial for several MU’s.

Notable Players- Riot, ScaryLB59

Tier List:

Many players who do not play competitively tend to bash tier lists but for most competitive players they understand the importance of these lists. This does not mean that a character is not worth playing but to showcase which characters are the most successful in high level play. Why am I including this information? Well for one, both Sheik and Zelda are considered poor characters for high level play so this list is useful to understand what you are getting into if you choose to play Sheik and Zelda. Anyway, here's the list:

SS Tier: Metaknight

S Tier: Ice Climbers

A+ Tier: Olimar, Diddy Kong

A- Tier: Marth, Snake, Falco

B Tier: Pikachu, Zero Suit Samus, Wario

C+ Tier: Lucario, King Dedede, Toon Link

C Tier: Wolf, Fox, Mr. Game and Watch, Pit

C- Tier: R.O.B., Peach

D Tier: Kirby, Donkey Kong, Sonic, Ike, Sheilda, Sheik, Ness, Yoshi

E Tier: Luigi, Pokemon Trainer, Lucas

F Tier: Mario, Samus, Bowser, Captain Falcon, Link, Jigglypuff, Zelda, Ganandorf

As you can see Sheik and Zelda are positioned from the D tier and lower which shows that these two characters are currently not deemed as tournament worthy. Should that stop you from playing them? Hell no. The whole point of referencing the tier list is to show you that it will take a cunning and top player to get the most out of these two characters. They have many weaknesses and exploitable flaws so learning how to overcome these obstacles will take much practice and effort.

Thankfully, there are only three match ups which are considered as hard counters to Sheilda players, that bad news is that they are all high tier characters (which are the most common in tournaments). Be wary of Metaknight, Pikachu, and Ice Climber players. You will need to utilize both characters at high levels in order to stand a chance against them.

II. Move List:

For a more detailed guide on Sheik’s frame date, I suggest going here:

http://smashboards.com/threads/sheik-frame-data-repository-1-1-incomplete.301721/

Sheik:

Jab 1- Description-Sheik sticks out her arm and prods the opponent. Take that! Information- Hits on frame 2. Sheik’s jab is useful for leading into other moves and is also a solid GTFO move. Sheik should be using her jab quite a bit as it is one of her quickest attacks. Rating 4/5

Jab 2- Description- Sheik has decided one prod simply wasn’t enough, so she goes in for a second one. Information- Hits on frame 3. This is a slightly slower version of the first jab but the first jab combo’s into it so you might as well use it. Typically, Sheik’s jab is useful for jab cancelling into other moves or leading into a rapid jab. It’s a decent option that you will probably use several times a match. Rating 3/5

Rapid Jab- Description- Sheik uses her ninja powers to unleash a wave of prods just begging the opponent to walk into. Information- Hits on frame 9 and each additional hit adds 4. This is sheiks rapid jab and it is quite useful for racking up quick damage against opponents who are against a wall or trying to recover back on stage. It is also useful for punishing spot dodges when you aren’t quite sure of the read. Be warned- this is an easy move to be punished for if your opponent isn’t getting attacked.

Dash Attack- Description- Sheik dashes at the opponent and performs a ninja swipe. Information- Hits on 5 and 7. This is a very useful move for punishing landings on your opponent or to quickly attack a distanced area. As with most dash attacks, you don’t want to rush in blindly with this move due to its ease of punishing but it can be a solid option given the right moment. Rating 2.5/5

Forward Tilt (Ftilt)- Description- Sheik swipes her leg forward, trapping the opponent in her ample bosom. Information- Hits on frame 5. This is Sheik’s bread and butter damage racker and should be used to rack up a lot of damage, quickly, against the opponent. This move is stupidly good in many match ups and even in the ones where you can’t lock the opponent, you can still get in 2-3 solid hits. Use wisely, it is one of her best moves. Rating 5/5

Up Tilt (Utilt)- Description- Sheik rides her leg up an invisible pole and then swipes it at the opponent. Information- Hits on frame 5. While often underused, Sheik’s Utilt is a great move to throw the opponent in front of you. You can use this move to lead into more Ftilt’s or simply punish a spot dodge. The move doesn’t have a high knockback making it a perfect combo starter. Rating 4/5

Down Tilt (Dtilt): Description- Sheik crouches on the ground and swipes her leg under the opponent, knocking them up, or perhaps tripping them altogether. Information- Hits on frame 5. This move isn’t used a ton and is outclassed in many areas by Sheik’s other moves but it does have some uses. This move is an excellent damage racker when the opponent is off stage, trying to get back on. You can usually string 2-3 together for some easy damage if the opponent is at low percent. It also knocks the opponent upwards, allowing you to try and get in an aerial or something. You’re usually better off using another move but this is useful move given the right circumstance. Rating 2/5

Forward Smash (Fsmash)- Description- Sheik lunges forward and swipes her legs twice, hoping to hit the enemy. Information- Hits on 12 and 26. This move is probably Sheik’s worst smash. It is easily shielded and opponents can SDI backwards to avoid the second hit. This move is very hard to use successfully but there are a couple of situations you may want to use it. If your opponent is rolling backwards you can chase them with this move, hitting them as they roll back. This also works as well hit an opponent who spot dodges. You can also use it near a ledge to prevent an opponent from easily SDI’ing away. The two hits are also very slow and easy to block. Thankfully, the second kick is quite strong and gives you a solid killer if you are good at reading your opponents. This is also Sheik’s best attack to attach to her chain jacket (more on that later). Use your brain and only use when you are acting off a read on an opponent. Rating 2/5

Up Smash (Usmash)- Description- Sheik praises her Lord and Savior as she raises her arms above her head and then swipes them to her sides. Information- Hits on frame 11. This is Sheik’s best killer, bar none. It is insanely powerful and can kill opponents at less than 80%, if you hit with the tipper. Sadly, the move is normally very hard to hit with as the opponent has to be literally on top of Sheik in order for it to land. However, you can use this move to punish landings, pressure shields, poke through platforms, punish spot dodges/rolls and more. Even if you don't hit with the tipper the move can do upwards of 30% damage. Also, there is one more application of the Usmash and that is to use it in a Dash Attack Canceled Up Smash (AKA-DACUS). There will be a whole section going over this move and how it plays into Sheik’s game, but for now let me just say it makes Sheik very deadly in the right hands. Rating 5/5

Down Smash (Dsmash)- Description- Sheik break dances on the floor, twirling her legs in the air and hit opponents in every direction. Information- Hits on frame 4. Sheik’s Dsmash is an excellent GTFO move as it hits every side and can serve as a backup KO move at 150% (or less if you are close to an edge) if fresh. This move also works very well from a double jab cancel. This is an excellent move, if only it would have been a little bit stronger it could have really helped Sheik’s game. Warning, this move stales very quickly. Rating 4/5

Neutral Air (Nair)- Description- Sheik jumps in the air and goes all Liu Kang on her opponent’s ass. Information- Hits on frame 3. This is Sheik’s fastest aerial and it also sticks out for quite a while making it a useful GTFO move. Also, the initial kick is very powerful, if fresh, and can KO opponents around 130% . This move stales very quickly and you can kiss its KO potential goodbye after one shot. Still, this move Is an excellent Out of Shield (OOS) option and has many uses. Rating 4/5

Forward Air (Fair)- Description- Sheik jumps in the air and swipes her hand in the air, attempting to ***** slap her opponent. Information- Hits on frame 5. This is one of Sheik’s most useful moves as it has one primary purpose, hit the opponent forward as far as possible. This is Sheik’s best gimping move due to its fast speed (for an aerial) and the trajectory it hits the opponent. It is quite easy to string an unaware opponent 2-3 times with this as they are trying to recover and it is an excellent move to hit opponent’s right out of their jump. The move quickly stales and shouldn’t be used as a KO move, rather as a positioning tool and an aid to gimping opponents. Rating 4.5/5

Back Air (Bair)- Description- Sheik kicks her leg backwards, at a 45 degree angle, and attempts to knock the opponent away. Information- Hits on frames 4 and 7. This move looks faster than Fair but the move stays out much longer so it usually is only used once on an opponent. Still, this is Sheik’s most disjointed aerial (horizontally) and should be used not only to space but to try and KO off stage opponents. Fair is typically used to hit an opponent far enough from the ledge so you can edgehog, while Bair is used to completely KO an off stage opponent. This is another vital move for Sheik and can serve as a backup killer move if the situation calls for it. Rating 4.5/5

Up Air (Uair)- Description- Sheik thrusts her legs above her head and does a deadly twirl at her opponent, knocking them upwards. Information- Hits on frames 4 and 7. This move is semi-useful but there is one problem, it simply doesn’t have enough knockback to vertically KO most opponents. Still, the move is useful from a short hop to try and juggle opponents in the air or racking up damage. It is also somewhat disjointed allowing Sheik to be relatively safe while throwing it out. Rating 3/5.

Down Air (Dair)- Description- Sheik stalls then falls like a meteor towards the ground. Information- Hits on frame 15. This is Sheik’s worst aerial and has very limited uses. Thankfully, the move auto cancels in the air after a few seconds so if you use it while you are towards the top of the screen it will cancel itself before you hit the ground. If this move is used, be warned that it has insanely high lag after use and it leaves you wide open. The move is best used as a mix up option to change your air speed while an opponent is chasing you in the air. Even then, you are leaving yourself completely trapped in the move after use. This is probably Sheik’s worst move. Rating 1/5

Neutral Special (Nspecial/Needles)- Description- Sheik charges a set of needles that she can unleash on her opponent at will. Information- This is Sheik’s charged projectile that she can unleash. The move can be used right away or after a charge. The longer the charge the more needles she throws out. It does up to 18% damage if all the needles hit. This is a solid move for stopping opponents in their tracks and is an easy way to rack up free damage. If the needles are thrown in the air they go in a downward arc, if on the ground they go straight. Learning to use the needles correctly is imperative and they can be used for all sorts of things. Whether it is to interrupt a glide toss, aid in gimping an opponent, helping lead into a DACUS, or just for simple damage racking, the needles are extremely useful. Rating 5/5

Side Special (Fspecial/Chain)- Description- Sheik throws out her chain and whirls it around herself. Information- The chain is a highly underrated move that is most often used as a tether recovery but it can also be used as a damage racker or a defensive wall against opponents. There will be an entire section dedicated to this ability, so for now… This rating is going to be based on the entire applications the chain provides- tether recovery and all. Rating 5/5

Up Special (Uspecial/Vanish)- Description- Sheik spontaneously combusts and reappears moments later away from the blast. Information- Vanish is Sheik’s #2 KO move and is a fairly strong attack by itself. The move has unique properties in that it hits during the explosion but provides a wind hitbox when she reappears. This move is one of the largest reasons that Sheik is easily gimped, as the second part of the attack does nothing to knock opponents away who are edge guarding. Still, the move gives Sheik some needed firepower and can KO opponents around 120% if fresh. The move does have many unique properties that can be worked into Sheik’s game, such as Vanish Gliding, edge hogging, KO’ing, and more. Learning the ins and outs of Vanish is important and will be covered later. Rating 3.5/5

Down Special (Dspecial/Transform)- Description- Sheik uses voodoo magic and transforms into a princess. Information- Transform is a move that allows Sheik players to swap to the much stronger, yet worst, princess Zelda. There isn’t much to say about this move as it allows you to swap between two characters on the fly. Still, learning how long the move takes to finish is imperative as you are leaving yourself open to an attack if you do it at a poor time. Fun fact, Transform finishes moments before your invincibility frames wear off (during a new stock) so you can quickly Transform, KO the opponent who charges you, then transform back before the opponent respawns. Also, your moves refresh between transformations, so use wisely. Rating 5/5

Standing Grab- Description- Sheik swipes her arm forward, bringing in her opponent for a kiss. Information- Grabs on frame 6. This is a fairly fast grab but with very short range. Usually, you will use this grab Out of Shield (OOS) or to punish spot dodges, fairly average. Rating 3/5

Dash Grab- Description- Sheik lunges at her opponent, going in for her grab. Information- Grabs on frame 7. This is a very useful grab as it has a pretty long range and is fairly quick. Rating 4/5

Pivot Grab- Description- Sheik runs back and then grabs her opponent. Information- Grabs on frame 8. This is a fairly decent pivot grab and is useful for punishing rolls or used to punish reads. It has a fairly short range though so make sure you are accurate with it. Rating 3.5/5

Pummel- Description- Sheik pummels the opponent, racking up some free damage. Information- Hits on frame 9. This is a standard pummel. Not too fast or too slow. Usually you want to pummel at higher percentages when your opponent cannot break free as easily. Great for free damage and remember, the first pummel helps refresh other moves. Rating 3/5

Back Throw (Bthrow)- Description- Once grabbed, Sheik kicks the opponent behind her. Information- Hits on frame 15. Fairly standard Bthrow; its useful for placing the opponent in a disadvantageous position. The throw is very easy to DI though, so opponents will typically go behind and upwards. Rating 3/5

Forward Throw (Fthrow)- Description- Once grabbed, Sheik hits the opponent forward. Information- Hits on frame 20. This is very similar to Bthrow, except this time in front of Sheik. Same rules apply. Rating 3/5

Up throw (Uthrow)- Description- Once grabbed, Sheik throws the opponent above her. Information- Hits on frame 19. This is probably Sheik’s worst throw. It combos into very little and doesn’t place the opponent anywhere important. Only use if you are trying to get the opponent above you, even then it is outclassed by Bthrow and Fthrow. Rating 2/5

Down Throw (Dthrow)- Description- Once grabbed, Sheik throws the opponent straight into the ground, bouncing the opponent into the air. Information- Hits on frame 26. This is probably Sheik’s most useful throw and places the opponent in a position where a follow up attack is possible. Rating- 3.5/5

Zelda:

Jab- Description- Zelda sticks out her arm and shoots sparkles at the opponent. Information- Hits on frames 11 and 13. This is a fairly weak attack but serves as a decent GTFO move. This is one of Zelda’s moves that can be DI’d out of. Use sparingly. Rating 2/5

Dash Attack- Description- Zelda dashes forward and shoots magic sparkles at her opponent. Information- Hits on frames 6 and 8. This is a fairly decent dash attack and can kill at very high percentages. Like most dash attacks, it should be used sparingly as it is very easy to punish. Still, it is one of Zelda’s quicker attack options and has some uses punishing spot dodges and landings. Rating 3/5

Forward Tilt- Description- Zelda does a magical bitchslap to her opponent, causing them to fling behind her. Information- Hits on frame 12. This serves as a decent killer at higher percentages but it also has quite a bit of ending lag. The move is also useful for leading into an Usmash at lower percentages. The move also tilts upwards or downwards depending on how you hold the control stick. The move should be used primarily as a spacing move or for opponent placement. If tilted upward, it is also fairly useful for hitting opponents in the air. It has its uses but use it wisely as it can be easily punished. Rating 3/5

Up Tilt- Description- Zelda swipes her arm in an arc above her head, leaving a strong residue of sparkles behind her. Information- Hits on frame 10. This is a strong finisher and can be pseudo combo’d after a land canceled Nair. It is best used to punish spot dodges or rolls. This move has a lot of ending lag so make sure you use it wisely. Also, the move hits the opponents at an arc so it should be used as a backup to Zelda’s Usmash if the other is stale. Rating 3/5

Down Tilt- Description- Zelda crouches down and sticks out her leg to poke the opponent. Information- Hits on frame 5, this move is one of Zelda’s best damage rackers and combo starters. It can lock opponents at mid percentages (although it can be DI’d around it) and followed up with other moves. This is one of Zelda’s best moves so make sure you understand how to use it. Rating 5/5

Forward Smash- Description- Zelda kamehamehas a charge of sparkles at her opponents. Information- Hits on frame 16. This is one of Zelda’s staple moves and can be a devastating finisher if the opponent doesn’t DI out of it. With proper spacing the move can connect with just the tip, making knockback much more consistent. The move also lasts quite a while and can shield poke so use it wisely. Rating 4/5

Up Smash- Description- Zelda swirls her arms above her head and creates a wall of sparkles. Information- Hits on frame 6. This move is either great or fairly worthless, depending on the DI abilities of your opponent. If your opponent doesn't know how to DI the move (they have to hold the control stick at a down angle right at the start of the attack) then you can use the move as a solid damage racker or finisher. The move stales incredibly quick but if saved for the finale, Zelda should have no problem killing most characters by the 100-120% mark. The move also chains into itself, if the opponent doesn't DI out, thus giving Zelda another option for racking up damage beyond the usual Dtilt. If your opponent does know how to DI out of the move, then saving the move as a finisher is preferred and you will want to try and hit with only the last few moments of the attack. Rating 4/5

There are 3 categories of characters that can break through Zelda’s Usmash. Here they are:

  • Characters that can break through easily with minimal DI:
  • Lucas

  • Marth

  • Ness
  • Characters that can consistently break through with solid DI:
  • Diddy Kong

  • Ice Climber (single)

  • Lucario

  • Pit

  • Samus
  • Characters that cannot break through consistently without perfect DI:
  • Bowser

  • Captain Falcon

  • Donkey Kong

  • Falco

  • Fox

  • Ganandorf

  • Ike

  • Jigglypuff

  • King Dedede

  • Kirby

  • Link

  • Luigi

  • Mario

  • Meta Knight

  • Mr. Game and Watch

  • Olimar

  • Peach

  • Pikachu

  • Pit

  • Pokemon Trainer

  • R.O.B.

  • Sheik

  • Snake

  • Sonic

  • Toon Link

  • Wario

  • Wolf

  • Yoshi

  • Zelda

  • Zero Suit Samus
Down Smash- Description- Zelda does a twirling kick, covering both her front and back. Information- Hits on frame 4. This is one of the best Dsmashes in the game. The move is far more disjointed then it first appears and can be a solid kill option. Like most of Zelda's smashes the move stales very quickly, but if saved for the end of a stock, this should have no problem killing around 100-120%. The best part about this smash attack is its incredible speed. The move hits both Zelda's front and back very quickly and acts as a great GTFO move. Rating 5/5

Neutral Air- Description- Zelda twirls in the air, unleashing a wave of sparkles to daze and confuse her opponent. Information- Hits on frame 6. This is Zelda's most well-rounded aerial and the only one that doesn't require a sweet spot in order to work to its full potential. The move hits quickly and from both sides, allowing Zelda to not only rack up damage but to knock opponents off of her. If the move is auto-canceled then the move can help lead into some of Zelda's quicker attacks. You have to land at the perfect angle and the opponent must be positioned correctly in front of you. Overall, probably Zelda's best aerial. Rating 3.5/5

Forward Air- Description- Zelda jumps forward like Jackie Chan, stabbing the opponent with her forward kick. Information- Hits on frame 8. This is one of Zelda's strongest moves and can kill opponents as low as 65-80%. The aerial has one catch, it must be sweet spotted perfectly otherwise it hits no harder than a paper ball. The move also has a unique property- if you land the sweet spot, then the opponent is briefly stunned before being shot in the direction of the kick. This allows the opponent more time to prepare their DI, thus making the move less deadly then it should be. This move is easiest to land as a get up attack from the ledge, easily sweet spotting the kick if the opponent is trying to edge guard you. Rating 3/5

Back Air- Description- Zelda jumps backwards and does another kung fu kick in the air. Information- Hits on frame 5. This move is identical to the Fair but has a few small differences. For one, the move is much easier to land due to the positioning of the kick (it is closer to Zelda thus overall easier to hit) and comes out slightly faster than the other kick. If possible, this should be your primary response when an opponent hits your shield, as you can easily short hop and Bair the *******. The same stun rules apply for this kick as the Fair. Rating 4/5

Up Air- Description- Zelda jumps up and magically creates a puff ball of fire above her. Information- Hits on frame 14. This move is perhaps Zelda's strongest attack but it is also incredibly hard to land. The move works best when an opponent is trying to land on a ledge as you can hit them during their brief vulnerability. This move is really slow. Thankfully, there is not a stun property like Zelda's Fair, Bair, and Dair, thus making any hit an instant kill. Rating 3/5

Down Air- Description- Zelda jumps in the air and kicks her leg downward, spiking her opponent. Information- Hits on frame 14. Zelda is bless with one of only a handful of spikes in SSBB but unfortunately hers is probably the worst spike in the game. For one, the spike is probably her hardest attack to land, due to the very tiny sweet spot beneath her thrusting leg. Once again, this aerial has the same stun property of her other two aerials thus giving the opponent time to prepare a meteor cancel (Uspecial) to try and stop the kill from happening. Thankfully, the most is much easier to land against larger characters, which should be the primary targets Zelda should be facing if you are playing Sheilda. Rating 2.5/5

Neutral Special- Description- Nayru's Love. Information- Hits on frame 13. This is Zelda's reflector and it is a very risky move to use due to its high delay upon using. The move can be very useful for reflecting back large projectiles but if the opponent is spamming a massive amount of them then the move doesn't do a whole lot. The move is also useful for throwing the opponent towards your front, thus getting them off of you. Be careful of the high delay, the move is almost not worth using due to how long it leaves you wide open. Rating 2/5

Side Special- Description- Din's Fire. Information- Hits on frame 3. This is Zelda's standard opening move. The move can be very powerful but it is easily stopped when an attack hits the direction of the explosion. If the opponent does an attack that covers all sides then the explosion will be completely canceled. Due to this reason, the move can be risky to use, especially since Zelda cannot move until the attack explodes. The best use of this attack is to force the opponent into a position where you can punish them. With this in mind, the best time to use this move is from a medium distance- long enough that you won't get hit with their attack, but close enough where you can punish them for avoiding the blast. Even though it is easily stopped, the move is completely controllable and can help KO the opponent. Rating 3.5/5

Up Special- Description- Farore's Wind. Information- Hits on frame 11. This move is Zelda's third jump and it absolutely sucks. While the move covers a very long distance, there is a huge delay with the attack and it leaves Zelda wide open when she is trying to recover. To make matters worst, the move requires very specific precision otherwise you fall to your death. The move does have several strong points though. The move attacks when it lands, thus making edge hogging a harder task for the opponent. The move can also leave you anywhere so your opponent will never know where you are going to end up. Finally, the move has a powerful advance technique which allows you to safely escape a second attack after you are hit. While the move isn't perfect, it does have its uses. Rating 3/5

Down Special- Description- Transform. Information- This is a the same as Sheik's information. Rating 5/5

Standing Grab- Description- Zelda stands still and uses her magic to grab the opponent. Information- Zelda has one of the longest non-tether grabs in the game but it is also very slow. When you grab it is imperative that you throw right away unless the opponent has high damage. You will usually use this grab from your shield. Rating 2.5/5

Running Grab- Description- Zelda sprints forward and grabs her opponent. Information- Zelda's running grab is okay except it doesn't increase the range of her grab by too much. It's a standard running grab. Rating 2.5/5

Pivot Grab- Description- Zelda sprints backwards, turns around, and grabs the opponent. Information- This is a standard pivot grab and it useful for grab opponents who try and roll behind zelda or are approaching aggressively. This grab is made much better by the fact that it is a solid follow up after a Din's Fire. Rating 3.5/5

Pummel- Description- Zelda sparkle attacks an enemy trapped in her grab for some extra damage. Information- Unlike, Sheik, Zelda has a very slow pummel and it is easy to break from. You will usually want to save this for higher percentages so that you have more time to add on some extra damage. Rating 2/5

Back Throw- Description- Zelda twirls the enemy and chucks them behind ber. Information- Hits on frame 29. This throw has the strongest knockback of all her throws but it has lousy KO potential. Useful for positioning the opponent and getting in some extra damage. Zelda's best positioning throw. Rating 3/5

Forward Throw- Description- Zelda twirls the opponent and chucks them in front of her. Information- Hits on frame 33. This throw is only useful for positioning the opponent. Has lousy knockback and will never kill anyone. Rating 2.5/.5

Up Throw- Description- Zelda twirls the opponent and chucks them above her head. Information- Hits on frame 30. This throw just sucks balls. The throw has little knockback and provides zero ways for Zelda to follow up the attack. Her worst throw and should never be used unless you are close enough to the ceiling of the stage where you can force a star KO. Rating 1/5

Down Throw- Description- Zelda chucks the enemy below her and uses her magic to set them on fire. The opponent is then launched into the air. Information- Hits on frame 25. This is a solid setup option even though the opponent can easily DI away from you. Depending on where the opponent ends up you should be able to hit them with something. The move can also stage spike a small number of characters if performed on the ledge. More on that in the advance techniques section. Rating 3.5/5

There you have it. That is a complete list of all of Sheik and Zelda's moves (except for the get up attacks from the ground and ledge, will possibly add that later), so now it is time to discuss some of the advance techniques for both of the characters so you can learn how to incorporate those into your game play.

III. Advanced Techniques:

If you are still reading at this point you obviously have some interest in the two characters. Good! I'm glad. I love these two characters and I hope that this guide encourages more people to try and pick them up.

We already discussed the move sets of the characters and now it is time to talk about the advance techniques that are necessary to turn these characters viable in competitive play. This list will discuss common advanced techniques that any character cam use as well as specific advance techniques for these two characters. Let's get started.

Universal Advanced Techniques: These advance techniques are eligible for most (if not all) characters in Brawl. I will specify how these work with Sheik and Zelda.

Auto-Canceling- This technique allows a character to remove most, if not all, ending lag from their aerial as they land onto the ground. To perform this technique you must land at the beginning or ending frames of your aerial attack, thus canceling the lag. This is a pivotal part of competitive play as leaving yourself wide open after an attack is very risky. Learn the timing of your aerials so you can start auto-canceling them. Useful for: Sheik and Zelda

B-DACUS- This is a variation of the DACUS technique but has different button input. The main perk of this technique is that you can perform the DACUS much quicker and has a slightly longer reach. This means that Sheik's Grab Releases are far more consistent to use but this is much harder than the original DACUS. To perform this move you must input the buttons during the end frames of the previous attack. The attack must be on the ground and have a normal ending lag of 10 frames (or use a spot dodge). During this time you must tap the control stick forward and then returned to the neutral state, then have two upward tapes on the C-Stick. The BDACUS has zero frames and will come out as an Usmash with greater momentum. Insanely hard. Useful for: Sheik.

B-Reverse- This technique allows a character to turn around while performing their special moves. To perform the move you must use your special and then immediately hit the control stick in the opposite direction. This will turn you around. For Zelda this technique isn't too useful, but for Sheik this allows her to bait opponents into her Needles. This move is highly recommended for Sheik players to mix up your needles and increase your character's speed. Useful for: Sheik and Zelda.

Crawling- By holding down on the control stick and moving forward, some characters can crawl along the ground. This is a very useful move for Sheik as she has one of the lowest crawls in the game. Sheik can duck under Falco's lasers, grenades, and so much more. Unfortunately, Zelda does not have a crawl. Useful for: Sheik.

Crouch Cancel- By hitting crouch when hit by a move, you reduce the freeze frames invoked by 33%. This allows you to counterattack moves you normally wouldn't be able to. Not super useful for either character but could come in handy. Useful for: Sheik and Zelda.

DACUS (Dash Attack Cancel Up Smash)- This is an advanced technique that any character can use but only a select few characters get any real benefit from it. What you do is: Run in a direction, then push down on your C-Stick, then hold up on your control stick while hitting your attack button. By doing this very quickly (very small window) your character should slide a much further distance while charging their Usmash. While Zelda gets zero benefit from this advanced technique, Sheik has one of the best DACUS's in the game and is an integral part of her game. Useful for: Sheik.

Dash Cancel- By pressing your special button, Usmash, shield, or jump command you can cancel your dash. This technique allows moves such as the hyphen smash to work and allows characters such as Sheik to run and then turn around- throw needles at the opponent. Very useful move. Useful for: Sheik and Zelda.

Dash Dance- Dash Dancing is an advance technique that is solely used for playing mind games with the opponent. To perform you simply keep pushing the control stick back and forth very quickly, causing your character to dash back and forth very quickly. The theory for this move is to confuse the opponent so they are unsure of what you are going to do next. This used to be a lot easier to perform in Smash 64 and Melee and was made significantly harder in Brawl. There is also tripping in SSBB which can be exasperated if you are making unnecessary movements. Despite these nerfs, the technique does have some merit and can confuse opponents when used correctly. Useful for: Sheik and Zelda.

DI (Directional Influence)- This is a technique that every character should do. This technique allows you to control the angle of your knockback so you can live till much higher percentages. To perform, you just need to hold the control stick in a direction while you are getting hit. Basically, you are moving your character to a better spot so you can live longer. Don't understand it? No problem, there will be a whole section devoted to this. Useful for: Sheik and Zelda.

Edge Hogging- By grabbing the ledge as your opponent is trying to recover, you can stop them from coming back onto the stage. Every time you grab the ledge you are granted a small window of invincibility frames. The point of edge hogging is to use those frames so your opponent cannot grab the ledge when you do. This technique is imperative for Sheik players to understand. Sheik has many options to edge hog and this can help make up for her lack of KO potential. There are several ways you can do it with Sheik and Zelda, but that will be covered later. Useful for: Sheik and Zelda.

Edge Hopping- By far, the fastest and most useful way of getting back up from the ledge. Edge hopping is when a character is on the ledge, drops (by either holding down or back) and then immediately jumping back onto the stage. This allows a player to perform any aerial attack from the ledge and is the safest way to get back on. Use this. It is easy to use and can really help your game. Useful for: Sheik and Zelda.

Fast Falling- Like it sounds, fast falling is when you fall to the ground quickly. All you do is tap down when you are in the air and descending, thus you speed up your fall. This is very useful for stringing together attacks. Useful for: Sheik and Zelda.

Glide Toss- Glide tossing is when you are holding an item (in competitive play that equals bananas, turnips, wheels, gyros, suit pieces, and grenades) and you glide while you throw the item. To perform this technique you need to initiate a roll and then throw the item afterward. You can glide forward or backward and you can also throw the item in any direction with the C-Stick. Very useful and a vital part of Zelda's MU's with certain characters. Sheik unfortunately doesn't receive a good glide toss. Useful for: Zelda.

Hyphen Smash- This advanced technique is performed by holding Usmash once you are in the running animation. This allows you to slide a small distance and cancel your run with an Usmash. This is useful for both characters as a way to perform their Usmash while running. Useful for: Sheik and Zelda.

Jab Cancel- By tapping down on the control stick you can cancel your jabs and lead them into other attacks. This is very useful for Sheik but Zelda receives no benefit from it. There will be a whole section devoted to this as it helps Sheik's close up game drastically. Useful for: Sheik.

Meteor Cancel- When you are spiked, you can immediately hit your Uspecial to try and recover from a spike. Depending on the strength of the spike you still may not be able to return. Unfortunately, a Sheik player who is Meteor Smashed will likely not return due to the second half of Sheik's Uspecial not having any knockback, thus making it impossible for her to hit edge hogging opponents. Still, this is an important advanced technique to know as set up spikes are common in competitive play. Useful for: Sheik and Zelda.

Momentum Canceling- Like it sounds, Momentum Canceling is when you slow down your momentum, allowing you to live to much higher percents. To perform, you must throw out an aerial while you are in knockback. This is a great technique and everyone should use this move. When combined with DI this can greatly increase the lifespan of your character. Useful for: Sheik and Zelda.

Out of Shield- Other than rolling and spot dodging, you can do two additional things from a shield- grab and jump. The shield grab is one advanced technique which is discussed a few paragraphs down. The second option (jump) allows a character to either do a jump attack from their shield or cancel the jump and perform an Usmash or Uspecial. This is a great way to basically “counter” an opponent's move and counterattack with your own. To perform you just hit the jump button and attack. If you want to do an Usmash or Uspecial there are two ways you can do it. If you have tap jump on then all you have to do is hold Up and then the corresponding move. If tap jump is off, you must first jump, and then immediately follow with the corresponding move, canceling the jump. Useful for: Sheik and Zelda.

Pivot Grab- If a character is dashing they can quickly hit the control stick in the opposite direction and then perform a grab. This will give the character a slightly extended grab with an invisible grab box. This is very useful for predicting rolls and spot dodges on opponents as well as stopping several attacks by the opponent. Sheik and Zelda have solid pivot grabs and should use them when you need to punish the opponent for poor moves. Useful for: Sheik and Zelda.

Platform Canceling- If you perform an aerial right as you are crossing through a platform, and press down on your control stick, you can immediately end up on the platform, ready for another attack. This is a very hard advance technique and requires a lot of practice but it is useful for both characters as it speeds up their game play on platforms. Useful for: Sheik and Zelda.

Power Shielding (Perfect Shield)- This is a technique that is similar to countering in other fighters. To perform, you must press the shield button right as you are about to get hit by whatever, if you do it right you will hear a clink. Once the move has been performed you can basically “counter” the opponent by using another technique. This also helps from wearing down your shield and can save you from your shield getting broken; very useful. Useful for: Sheik and Zelda.

Reverse Aerial Rush- While running at the opponent, you can smash the control stick the other direction and then Bair at the opponent. This allows you to turn around while approaching thus allowing you to use your Bair. This is very useful for both Sheik and Zelda as they both have solid Bair's. Useful for: Sheik and Zelda.

Shield Grab- This is one of the easiest Advanced Techniques to perform and is one that every character in the game should use. All you do is hold your shield button and then press your attack button to grab the opponent. It is that easy and it allows all characters a way to punish close up attacks. Learn it, live it, enjoy. Useful for: Sheik and Zelda.

Short Hop fast Fall (SHFF)- Like it sounds, Short Hop, Fast Fall is a technique used to string together attacks. Referred to as SHFFL in Melee, this version cuts out the L-Canceling since that is no longer a technique in Brawl. To perform, you short hop, perform an aerial, and then immediately fast fall after performing the move. This allows for quick strings of attacks. The easiest way I have found to do this is what I refer to as the “flick” technique. You briefly brush your finger over the jump button and then brush your finger over the attack button. This allows a consistent way of performing your aerial as fast as possible without requiring insane button mashing skills. If your jump button is set to X or Y, you brush over that button into the attack button, all in one motion; very useful. Useful for: Sheik and Zelda.

Shield Stab- Have you ever been hit while you were in your shield? If so, this is exactly what happened. Your opponent hit one of your vulnerable sides, poking out of your slowly shrinking shield. There are certain combos you can do to try and break someone's shield, and then there is purposely attacking exposed sections of an opponent's shield so you can hit them. Zelda has some strong moves for poking through shields (Fsmash is the big one). Useful for: Sheik and Zelda.

Shield Tilting- While you are holding up your shield you can actually maneuver the shield around you by lightly tapping the control stick around. This is very useful for both Sheik and Zelda players as they are tall and lanky characters (thus, easily shield poked). Useful for: Sheik and Zelda.

SDI (Smash Directional Influence)- I highly recommend you read this article: http://smashboards.com/threads/dual...-breaking-momentum-cancelling-and-sdi.315154/ to get an in depth look on this technique. SDI is something that you will see in almost all high level matches as it allows you to adjust the way an attack hits you. By tapping the control stick or C-stick in a direction when you are being hit, you can slightly alter the way the attack hits you, thus changing the knockback or allowing you to completely escape the attack altogether. Read the article, it goes much more in depth and provides solid ways to improve your SDI. Useful for: Sheik and Zelda. Also see these videos:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SyEa_zUXjp8

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cgDF4YyFUBI

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ND-yi3IPKXM

Spike (Meteor Smash)- Spiking is when you use certain aerials (Zelda's Dair) to knock the opponent straight down off the ledge, thus getting essentially a free kill. Useful for: Zelda.

Stage Spike- Stage Spiking is when an opponent is hit against the side of a stage, spiking them to their horrible death. The only way to stop this is to tech the side of the stage when stage spiked. Typically, Sheik and Zelda players will stage spike an opponent by running off the stage and using Bair against opponents holding onto the ledge. Useful for: Sheik and Zelda.

Stutter Step- This technique is when you hold the control stick in one direction and then press the C-Stick in a direction as well. While this technique is often performed by tapping both sticks in opposite directions, it works if both control sticks are hit in the same direction as well. The result of this technique is slightly maneuvering your Fsmash backward or forward, thus increasing the range of your attack/avoiding counterattacks. This is mostly used for Zelda players as Sheik's Fsmash isn't too useful. Useful for: Zelda.

Tech- By tapping the shield button, when you are hit against the stage/on the floor, your character will immediately get up. If you hold left or right as you tech, you will roll in the direction that you held. This is a simple and easy way to avoid being punished for laying on the floor after being hit. Useful for: Sheik and Zelda.

Tether Ledge Grab- This advanced technique allows a character with a tether recovery an additional option for grabbing onto the ledge. For Sheik this is her Fspecial (Chain) and it allows her to mix up her recovery options. All you do is throw out your chain while you are off stage and if you are close enough Sheik will auto grab the ledge. Useful for: Sheik.

Wall Cling- When jumping against a wall, certain characters can hold the control stick in the direction of the wall and stay “clinged” to the wall. Sheik is one of the few characters that can perform this move (Zelda cannot). This is useful on stages with walls to aid in your recovery or avoid attacks. Useful for: Sheik.

Wall Jump-When jumping into a wall, you can tap the control stick the other direction and get an additional jump off the wall. This is something about half the characters can do in the game and is very helpful in aiding Sheik's predictable recovery and aiding in gimping opponents. It's simple and easy, try to incorporate it into your Sheik's game play (Zelda cannot Wall Jump). Useful for: Sheik.

Sheik Specific Advanced Techniques:

Air Jacket- I am honestly not sure on the exact name of this technique so I've been calling it the Air Jacket. There is a way to attach the aerial properties of the chain while you are on the ground. To perform this technique, you must short hop and pull out your chain and then keep your chain out while on the ground. Until you retract your chain, your chain has the aerial properties. Why would you want to do this? Well, for one, the aerial chain has much more knockback thus allowing you to trap opponents off stage with your whip. This technique leaves you wide open so use it wisely but you can rack up a ton of free damage when used intelligently. This is much easier to perform then the Chain Jacket since the whip can be pulled out anytime during the short hop.

Chain Jacket- Another chain technique, this one allows you to attach your last used move to the chain. This means that your Fsmash suddenly has more uses and allows you to create a deadly kill option with an extended reach. Not all of Sheik's moves work on the Chain Jacket but the two best ones are the Bair and Fsmash. To perform, you must input a move (typically Fsmash) and then do a short hop and pull out your chain. The catch is that you must pull out the chain at the peak of your short hop otherwise the Chain Jacket will not work. This is a glitch and is very hard to do consistently, be warned that this can crash your Wii if used too often. There is another way to perform the Chain Jacket. On stages with platforms (typically Battlefield), you can perform your move and then pull out your chain right as you walk off the platform. This allows you to pull out the whip at just the right time so you can still perform the Chain Jacket.

Chain Snare- This technique uses the grounded Chain to trap opponents for massive damage. This is incredibly hard to do but to perform you must use a low angle, rocking motion when you have your chain out and it will allow you to completely trap opponents from getting out of your chain. You can rack up past 100% damage with this technique but you have to be very close to the opponent when you pull out the chain.

DACUS Ledge Cancel- This advanced technique is something that I made up myself. In order to perform you need to perform a DACUS against an opponent who is close to the edge of a stage. If the opponent shields your DACUS you will continue past them and go off the ledge. If you perform this move from a certain distance you will end up auto-grabbing the ledge and you if perform this closer to your opponent you will just go flying off the ledge. Either way, this technique has a lot of practical uses. The most common strategy is to prevent your character from being punished after doing a DACUS. This doesn't stop your opponent from using Fair or something to hit you out of your DACUS but this technique makes you very hard to punish if the opponent only has time to pull up their shield during your DACUS.. The best part about this is that Sheik gains invincibility frames when she grabs the ledge, making her invulnerable for a little bit after performing this technique.

Ftilt Lock- Sheik's bread and butter damage racker. To perform this technique you simply string together multiple Ftilt's (start around 25-50%). Depending on the character Sheik can do massive amounts of damage from her Ftilt.

Grab Release to DACUS- This is one of Sheik's most reliable killing option against about a fourth of the cast. To perform, your opponent must air release after you have grabbed them, leaving them at an angle where you can guarantee a DACUS on them. This is a very deadly technique but requires a lot of precision. There will be a whole guide to this later on.

Rising Transform- This technique only works for Sheik and Zelda. To perform you must be hit with an attack and then follow it up with a jump plus Transform. When you do this you receive a large jump (vertical when transforming to Sheik and horizontal when transforming into Zelda) and the time it takes to transform between both characters is reduced.

Swan Combo- This combo is when Sheik strings together 2-3 Ftilts and then hits the opponent with an Usmash. This is very useful on characters that cannot be Ftilt locked for long periods of time (Marth, Kirby, Jigglypuff, etc).

Tether Drop- This advanced technique is used to drop your tether recovery. To perform this technique all you need to do is tap down once you have tethered the ledge, to drop your chain. This is very useful for Sheik as she can attack opponents who thought they could intercept her tether recovery; she can also use this technique to mix up her return options.

Vanish Gliding- By running off the ledge of a platform or the stage, you can hit your Uspecial (Vanish) to perform a Vanish Glide off the edge of the stage (you'll perform your Vanish horizontally off the edge of the stage). This is a solid edge guarding option against opponents but can be easily stopped by characters with disjointed attacks. You must use your Vanish right as you are running off the edge of the stage.

Vanish Glide Jump- A similar technique to the Vanish Glide. This time you must perform your Vanish after you have already stepped slightly off the ledge. This will allow you to pop up with your Vanish and edge guard opponents who are trying to recover higher up. A good mix up option with the Vanish Glide.

Zelda Specific Advanced Techniques:

Dthrow Stage Spike- This is a very specific technique so it is unlikely to come in handy too often. In certain stages and certain match ups, Zelda has the ability to stage spike opponents who are grabbed at the very tip of a stage with her Dthrow. Here is the data:

Castle Seige (3rd transformation):

  • Kind Dedede- right ledge
Frigate Orpheon (1st transformation):

  • King Dedede- left ledge
Battlefield:

  • Falco-right ledge
  • Ganandorf-right ledge
  • King Dedede-right ledge
  • Lucario- both ledges
Smashville:

  • King Dedede- right ledge
  • Lucario- right ledge
Dtilt Lock- Zelda's Dtilt can lock most opponents from around 30% to 100%. To perform, you simply need to Dtilt the opponent and keep spamming the move. After the opponent is around 80%-110% they will be popped into the air making the lock end. The Dtilt also forces tripping so you can follow up with a Dsmash after the opponent has tripped. The opponent can SDI out of the Dtilt lock so don't just spam it continuously.

Farore's Boost- After Zelda has been hit, you can quickly hit jump and then follow it up with her Uspecial. This gives you a slight vertical boost to help space your Farore's Wind. This is a great way to avoid follow ups after Zelda has been hit into the air.

Farore's Wind Ledge Cancel- By performing Zelda's Uspecial, she can completely cancel the lag of the attack by teleporting slightly off the ledge of a stage. This allows her to immediately follow up with a jump or an aerial. This is a technique that is very easy to kill yourself with, so if you plan on using it practice on the stages. The easiest way to do this is to enter training and find points where you can consistently teleport to the ledge of the stage. Some practical applications would be to hit opponents by surprise as they are hanging on the ledge, and if you hit them during their invincibility frames, you can follow up with a Bair which should hit them rigth after. You can also do this off platforms so stages like Battlefield can make for some tricky mindgames.

Nayru’s Love Jump- Once Zelda has been hit she can jump and immediately follow with hit her Nspecial. This allows her to get a boost in the air for her Nayru's Love. This has limited applications but can be handy in avoiding follow ups on opponent's attacks or aiding in your recovery. This move can also be performed Out of Shield if Zelda’s shield takes a fairly strong attack. Pretty much anything stronger than a jab or projectile will allow you to perform the Love Jump OoS. This is fairly useful to avoid follow ups on attacks or to get out of tight situation.

Reverse Nayru's Love Momentum Cancel- Have you heard of Mr. Game and Watch's bucket brake? Well this is pretty much the same thing. Zelda has the ability to completely stop her momentum by performing a B-Reverse Nayru's Love (Nspecial) while being hit. To perform you must be hit facing the opponent, then you will want to throw out a quick aerial (typically her Bair), followed by a B-Reversed Nspecial. This completely stops her knockback and allows her to live to much higher percents. The reason you throw out the aerial is so you can pull out your Nspecial quicker. If you don’t B-Reverse you will fly much farther than normal so make sure you practice this move before using it in competitive play.

Rising Transform- This technique only works for Sheik and Zelda. To perform you must be hit with an attack and then follow it up with a jump plus Transform. When you do this you receive a large jump (vertical when transforming to Sheik and horizontal when transforming into Zelda) and the time it takes to transform between both characters is reduced.

(from this point forward expect that advance techniques be referenced in the guide, if you didn't read that section I highly advise and go back and make sure you understand each of the moves)

IV. Maximizing Your Moveset:

Now that you know a bit more about the characters, it is important to discuss the different aspects of both characters that will come into play in competitive matches. This section will cover everything from set ups to stringing together attacks.

Sheik:

Abusing Your Shield and GTFO Options-

As a Sheik player it is vital that you learn how to play out of your shield. Sheik is a character that fights best up close and personal and if you don't use your shield correctly, getting close can be a daunting task. The first step is realizing that you can cancel your shield with the jump and grab button. The combination of these two moves allows you to perform several moves from inside your shield. The most basic technique is the shield grab. By using your shield grab Sheik can easily grab enemies when she is up close or an opponent doesn't space their attack. You can also use your jump to not only to perform an aerial from your shield but to charge an Usmash or use your Uspecial. By combining these two options you can utilize many effective “counter” strategies against your opponent. The most effective OOS options are: 1. Nair (best used to punish quick attacks), 2. Grab (just make sure the opponent is close), 3. Usmash (if the opponent uses a laggy move since this move takes a while to get going), and 4. Uspecial (a solid kill option against slow smashes or aerials the opponent might use).

Another important strategy is to utilize your running animation to quickly get close to an opponent. You can even run right from standstill by holding all the way to the right or left and skip the dash animation. This allows you to quickly approach enemies and it is highly recommended that all Sheik players learn how to do this. If you go to training and practice pulling up your shield from a dash versus pulling it up from a run, you'll notice that if you skip the dash animation you can pull out your shield much faster. This allows you to abuse the living &$#^ out of your shield and quickly approach enemies without getting hit. Once you are up close you can utilize any of the options from the previous paragraph and unleash your fury on the opponent. It isn't as fast as an OOS but you can also drop your shield and then jab the opponent and start a jab cancel combo or Utilt which is very fast and hits both sides. Power Shielding is another useful strategy but requires precise timing. If you can cling with the opponents attack you are given a small window to attack the opponent free of charge.

The final piece of advice is to learn how to tilt your shield and watch your shield size. Sheik is a tall and slender character making her easily shield stabbed, as her shield doesn't cover her full body, after small use. By slightly tilting the control stick around you can move the shield upward or downward helping guarantee you will not be attacked. If you had to pick one direction to tilt your shield, tilting your shield upward is usually the best strategy (especially against opponents in the air) while neutral position is all around effective against most ground attacks. Downward can protect you from low attacks but most of the time the Neutral option will be sufficient.

Utilizing Your Jab Cancel-

Sheik has a terrific jab cancel that should be utilized in most match ups. The jab cancel is easily performed by tapping down after you have jabbed once or twice. There are many different combinations that a Sheik player can utilize depending on the MU and condition. The jab cancel is not usually guaranteed but is a way that Sheik players can catch opponents off guard. Here is a breakdown of the different ways a Sheik player should use the jab.

  • Jab, Jab, Continuous jab- Sheiks basic jab combo. Useful for edge guarding or trapping an opponent against a wall. This can rack up a lot of damage very quickly.
  • Jab, Jab Cancel, Grab- Sheik will jab the opponent once and then follow up with a quick grab. Many characters can utilize this option but Sheik has one of the best Jab then grabs in the game. Very useful to pull off a grab release against opponents or just to rack up more damage.
  • Jab, Jab, Jab Cancel, Ftilt- This option is a great way to get opponents trapped in Sheik's Ftilt lock.
  • Jab, Jab, Jab Cancel, Nair- Sheik does two jabs then Nair's right in the opponent's face. This is one of Shiek's best jab cancel options. It is very quick and a true combo on many characters. Nair stales very quickly so you will either want to save this for KO'ing or use this in place of the next jab cancel.
  • Jab, Jab, Jab Cancel, Dsmash- This is another solid jab cancel option and is a true combo against many characters. If the Dsmash is fresh this is a great KO option at higher percents. Like the previous option this is a great option for placing an opponent off stage.
  • Jab, Jab, Jab Cancel, Jab, Jab, Jab Cancel, etc- Sheik's damage racking jab cancel. This can be brutal against some opponents and a great way to rack up damage. Once you are done Jab, Jab, Jab Canceling you can lead this into another jab cancel setup.
  • Jab, Jab, Jab Cancel, Utilt- Against certain characters this is a great way to shove the opponent ahead of you and then follow up with a DACUS.
  • Jab, Jab, Jab Cancel, Dtilt- Good for hitting opponents low and knocking them up. If the opponent's shield is low you can use this option to knock the opponent up.
There are many other combinations that you can use as a Sheik player but the most effective ones have been listed. Try and be creative and mix up your options so your opponent doesn't know what Jab Cancel to prepare for.

Ftilt Lock Setups-

Sheik's Ftilt lock is one of her most defining traits in SSBB and all Sheik players should be using the move. The Ftilt lock is deadly and can rack up anywhere from 20%-100% depending on the MU. In some MU's it completely neuters her opposition (*cough* Fox *cough*) and for others it can be broken out of without too much hassle (curse you Marth). The Ftilt lock is simple enough to use, you simply spam Ftilt in a consistent rhythm and keep piling on the damage. There other other tricks you can perform such as using a Jab then Jab Canceling to keep the opponent in front of you, or simply rotating between forward and backward while using the Ftilt lock. Still, the Ftilt isn't exactly her fastest move so finding ways to setup the move is necessary to get the most out of it. Note: Ftilt doesn’t start locking opponents until somewhere around 20-40% damage, depending on how fresh the move is and the character’s weight.

There are several ways to setup the Ftilt lock. Your options include.

  • Jab/Double Jab, Jab Cancel, Ftilt- This is one of the most effective ways to help lead into the Ftilt. Some characters cannot do anything to stop this while others are quite difficult to trap. Find out which characters this works with and which ones can escape this.
  • Fair to Ftilt- This option works very well at low to mid percents due to the angle that the Fair knocks the opponent. You can even Fair out of a Ftilt and lead right into another set of Ftilt hits.
  • Utilt to Ftilt- Another strong option is using Sheik's Utilt to hit the opponent directly in front of her, allowing for a few more strings in the Ftilt lock. You can use this to lead into a Ftilt lock or to continue a chain of hits.
  • Dtilt to Ftilt- This option is easier to escape but it has some key traits that make it worthy of a mention. The biggest selling factor on this option is the drastically different timing the move creates. The move takes slightly longer to perform then the other options and knocks the opponent right back up into another series of Ftilts. This can surprise opponents and allow you a hit when they are least expecting it.
There are also some other ways that you can help lead into your Ftilt. One of the best ways is to simply throw out a random Ftilt against the opponent. If you slowly approach and wait for your opponent to react, you can punish their attack with a Ftilt. The most important thing to remember while doing this is not to simply stand there and spam Ftilt hoping to hit. If you miss once (twice at most) then you better stop and try something else. By spamming Ftilt your opponent can easily punish you while you are twirling your leg around. Be intelligent, use your brain, and try to throw out the Ftilt once you see an easy punish.

Another option that Sheik can use is Air Dodging an obvious attack and landing next to the opponent. While the opponent is stuck in the lag of their last move you hit them with a Ftilt and rack up as much damage as possible. These last two scenarios will be further discussed in the section Yomi: The Art of Reading Your Opponent.

Using the Air/Chain Jacket-

The Air/Chain Jacket is a very useful, and underused, option for Sheik players. The mechanics are explained in the Advanced Technique section so this discussion will be about how to use it. The Air/Chain Jacket is best used for edge guarding against characters with short range. This technique is easily stopped by characters with long attacks, such as Marth's Fair, or spammable projectiles, such as Falco's lasers.

Despite all the ways to stop this move, this move is absolutely brutal in certain MU's. The most famous example of this is Judo's match against Logic's Olimar. With Olimar's low range in his aerials, Judo was able to rack up massive damage against Logic who was trying to get back onto the stage. The only way for Olimar to stop this move was to throw a purple Pikmin, but without it he was trapped off ledge. This move's use doesn't stop with simply Olimar. It is effective against a large cast of the characters. The opponent needs a projectile they can pull/fire while on the ledge or an aerial that can cut throw the chain. Characters like Marth can Uspecial goright through the move; however, other characters have fewer options.

The Chain Jacket is even more devastating since you can attach a Fsmash or Bair to the chain and really cause problems for opponents trying to recover. The best part about the Chain Jacket is that it only takes one hit to really hurt the opponent yet this is offset by the difficulty of performing this glitch. You can make the Chain Jacket easier to perform by pulling out your chain immediately after you walk off the ledge (such as Battlefield) giving you the perfect height to use the move. Be warned that the Chain Jacket has a decent chance of completely crashing your Wii, so every time you do the move, you risk crashing your Wii and ending the match.

The Air/Chain Jacket works best against the following characters:

  • Olimar- As mentioned earlier, this technique is brutal against Olimar players who are trapped off the ledge. The only method of Olimar to break out of this move is to throw a purple Pikmin, which they cannot pluck Pikmin while on the ledge.
  • Diddy- Due to Diddy's range this is a solid method of trapping him off the ledge. Diddy's best option is pulling a banana off the ledge and throwing it at Sheik. If the Diddy player doesn't realize this, you can rack up quite a bit of damage. Also, if Diddy pulls the banana you should have enough time to retract the chain and prepare for your next attack.
  • Snake- This technique can work against Snake however all it takes is a simple grenade to blow up Sheik and end his pain.
  • Wario- This can be brutal against Wario due to the short range of his aerials. However, he can pull out his bike and jump over you quite easily. Also, Wario has the third highest air speed in the game, allowing him to quickly get back on the stage and power shield the chain.
  • Lucario- Lucario can be beat up pretty badly by this move but he can break through if he either quickly throws a Nspecial or performs his Double Team, which is a rarely used move for most Lucario players.
  • Kirby- This move works quite well against Kirby players who are on the ledge. However, Kirby has five jumps so he can jump right over the move.
  • Donkey Kong- Donkey Kong has a very hard time against the chain. Use it when he is trying to recover. Be careful because Donkey Kong players will often use the super armor on their Uspecial to break through attacks.
  • Sonic- Sonic has few options to break through the chain yet he can jump over it with his Uspecial.
  • Ike- Due to Ike's slow attack speed, you can usually rack up quite a bit of damage while he is off stage. Be careful about standing too close because his Uspecial can break right through the move.
  • Sheik- Sheik has a very hard time recovering through her own chain. Sheik has very limited recovery options so this makes it pretty easy to trap her on the ledge.
  • Pokemon Trainer- All three Pokemon have limited options breaking through Sheik's chain. Abuse this move while they are on the ledge.
  • Bowser- Bowser has a very hard time breaking through Sheik's chain for the same reasons as Donkey Kong. However, his Uspecial allows him to break through the move fairly easily once he understands what he needs to do.
  • Captain Falcon- This move completely shuts down Captain Falcon. His recovery options are very limited and he will have a hard time breaking through Sheik's chain.
  • Jigglypuff- This can be quite hard for Jigglypuff to break through however, she can easily jump over the move.
  • Zelda- This can be a hard technique for Zelda to break through due to the amount of time it takes for her to use any of her moves that could break through this.
  • Ganandorf- This move completely destroys Ganandorf.
This technique works against other characters as well but they have many more options on breaking through the chain.

The Chain Snare is the last Chain Technique that Sheik can use. However, this move is best used to punish spot dodges and trap the opponent. The chain snare can rack up huge damage but is insanely hard to use. There aren't too many examples of the Chain Snare so if anyone has a tutorial on how to perform this it would be appreciated.

Overall, Sheik's chain has some very useful applications so Sheik players should definitely put in the time to see how they can incorporate it into their game. While they are not useful on every match up, they can be the difference between a win and loss in certain ones.

Abusing Your Needles-

Sheik’s needles are a powerful tool to dedicated Sheik mains. They provide great hit stun and deal 18% damage if fully charged. The needles can be charged and saved for later. Even if a Sheik player transforms to Zelda, Sheik will retain her needles if she transforms back during the same stock. The nice part is that a Sheik player can hit an opponent with a fully charged set of needles, perform a jab cancel combo into Ftilt, and start going to town on an opponent. Still, with all these advantages it is important to understand the strengths and weaknesses of the needles to get the most out of them.

First of all, Sheik’s needles have several limitations that you need to be aware of. Sheik’s needles are highly predictable and easily blocked via shield. The needles can also only be shot in a straight line (on the ground) or at an angle (in the air), making the needles even more predictable. Finally, the needles do take time to charge and leave you open briefly while you are charging. Still, all these limitations can be played around, so fear not; the next few paragraphs will discuss all the things you can do with the needles.

One of the best ways to abuse Sheik’s needles is to learn how to utilize them while running. There are two ways you can do this. The first way is to run at the opponent and then cancel your run with a Nspecial. The second way is to run backwards, B-Reverse, and then hit the opponent with needles. Since Sheik is a highly offensive character most opponents will expect Sheik to constantly charge at them. By utilizing your needles while running, it allows Sheik to develop mind games with her opponent and also add some much needed defensive play into her arsenal.

Another way to use Sheik’s needle is by utilizing a fully charged set of needles into a DACUS. Note, this is not a guaranteed combo but for opponents caught off guard, this is a great way to grab a surprise KO. If you can B-DACUS it is the preferred method on this technique but the normal DACUS works as well. You can also grab release to needles against several opponent’s, like Meta Knight, allowing you to land a guaranteed 18% against them.

Needles are also a great way to gimp opponents. Due to the hit stun caused by being hit by the needles, Sheik can throw out her needles and then quickly run off stage and attempt a gimp on the opponent. Characters like Marth are given much fewer options if you can hit them off stage with a needle, forcing them to solely rely on their Uspecial for recovery, especially if you can hit them mid-jump with even a single needle. Don’t forget that you can also throw needles in the air, helping hit opponents who are not at a straight path towards the stage. While on the ledge, Sheik can even drop down, jump, and then B-Reverse needles at an opponent. This allows you to hit opponents who are recovering low with a needle and then immediately grabbing back onto the ledge.

Finally, Sheik’s needles allow her to mess with several characters that rely on items. The best example of this is against Snake. Sheik can blow up Snake’s grenades by carefully tossing needles while Snake either tries to cook the grenades or toss them at you. Sheik can also prevent Diddy Kong from Banana Locking her by tossing a needle at Diddy on the ground. By throwing a banana at a glide tossing Diddy, Sheik’s needles prevent Diddy from following up after you are tripped by the banana. Sheik can then quickly approach, grab the banana, and then regain control the stage. While Diddy can definitely play around this strategy, it does limit several of his options making him easier to control.

List of Grab Release Information-

Explanation of Grab Release- a grab release is the simple action of an opponent breaking out of a grab. There are two types of grab releases- air and ground. If an opponent is shorter then Sheik, and his or her feet do not touch the ground while they are grabbed, you can force an air release. If the opponent is taller than Sheik, or his or her feet touch the ground while grabbed, you will force a ground release. You can also quickly pummel an opponent in order to force a ground release, regardless of their height, or your opponent may tap jump while struggling to break out of a grab thus causing an air release, even if they are taller than Sheik. If an opponent is grabbed while off the ledge, and you don’t pummel, they will always air release since their feet are not touching the ground. Why am I telling you all this? Well there is a simple answer.

As a tall, quick character, with a powerful DACUS, Sheik has several powerful weapons against the vertically challenged. Grab releasing allows guaranteed combos against a large portion of the SSBB cast. Sheik can guarantee DACUS setups against almost half the cast if they air release from a grab, guaranteeing nearly 30% of free damage while also guaranteeing KO’s on opponents at much lower percentages than normal. Grab releasing also has the benefit of allowing free aerial hits, regrabs, and even guaranteed gimps on opponents.

Do note, that grab releasing is a very tricky process and many top Sheik players struggle with this due to mastering the timing of the follow ups and having to adapt to opponent’s struggling habits. There is also one other thing to point out. There are three characters that have different grab release rules then the other characters. Wario, Ness, and Lucas all have additional frames of vulnerability after being grab released, allowing Sheik to perform even more devastating combos against them.

The following is a list of all the things that Sheik can do from a grab release. Each section will point out whether or not the grab release is guaranteed due to the character’s height.

Bowser- (not guaranteed air release)- Air Release-> DACUS (not tipper)

Captain Falcon-(not guaranteed air release)- Air Release-> DACUS (not tipper)

Charizard- (not guaranteed air release)- Air Release-> DACUS (tipper)

Diddy Kong- (guaranteed air release)- Air Release-> DACUS (tipper)

Donkey Kong- (not guaranteed air release)- Air Release-> DACUS (tipper)

Game and Watch-(guaranteed air release)- Air Release-> DACUS (tipper). This only works on a slope going uphill. Air Release-> Fair.

Ganandorf- (not guaranteed air release)- Air Release-> DACUS (tipper)

Falco-(not guaranteed air release)- Air Release-> DACUS (not tipper); (guaranteed Air Release, off ledge) This isn’t a true combo but you can full hop Needle Storm Falco as he is air released off a ledge. This creates a frame trap where he has to jump-> air dodge or Sheik’s needles will hit him. If Falco decides to air dodge then you simply punish the air dodge. Falco does have the option to SDI the needles and Phantasm but if he doesn’t then he is forced to use his Uspecial. You can then use Fair to trade hits with his Fire Bird but Bair allows you to land a solid hit. Do not let him recover from this point.

Fox- (guaranteed Air release, off ledge)- This isn’t a true combo but you can short hop Needle Storm Fox as he is air released off the ledge. This creates a frame trap where he has to jump-> air dodge or the Needles will connect. If Fox air dodges then you simply punish the air dodge. Either method forces him to use his Uspecial. From that point you use Fair to trade hits or Bair for the spacing. Do not let Fox recover. You have the advantage if you get in this situation. Fox can also use his reflector as a last ditch effort. Be patient and hit him while he jumps. If Fox tries to do the Foxcopter then stage spike him to his horrible death.

Ice Climbers-(guaranteed air release)- Air Release-> DACUS (tipper) Popo only.

Ike-(not guaranteed air release)- Air Release-> DACUS (tipper)

King Dedede-(not guaranteed air release)- Air Release-> DACUS (tipper)

Link-(not guaranteed air release)- Air Release-> DACUS (tipper)

Lucas-(guaranteed air release)- Air Release-> DACUS (tipper); Air Release-> Dash grab; Ground Release-> Dash Grab; Ground Release-> Ftilt;

Mario-(guaranteed air release)- Air Release-> DACUS (tipper)

Meta Knight-(guaranteed air release)- Air Release-> DACUS (not tipper); Air Release-> DACUS (tipper); Air Release-> Dash Grab; Air Release-> Needlestorm;

Ness-(guaranteed air release)- Air Release-> DACUS (tipper). This only works on a slope going uphill; Air Release->Fair; Ground Release-> Dash Grab; Ground Release-> Ftilt;

Pikachu-(guaranteed air release)- Air Release-> DACUS (not tipper); Air Release-> DACUS (tipper); Air Release-> Needlestorm;

Pit-(not guaranteed air release)- Air Release-> DACUS (tipper)

Sheik-Ground Release-> Dash Attack;

Snake-(not guaranteed air release)- Air Release-> DACUS (tipper)

Sonic- (not guaranteed air release)- Air Release-> DACUS (tipper)

Squirtle-(guaranteed air release)- Air Release-> DACUS (tipper); Air Release-> Dash grab;

Toon Link- (guaranteed air release)- Air Release-> DACUS (tipper). This only works on a slope going uphill.

Wario- You can do any aerial except Dair to Wario but you have some better options:

  • Infinite: Grab->Pummel->Air Release-> Pivot Grab, you need to pummel to do damage.
  • If you grab him before 40%: Air Release->Footstool->Bair->Needles->Single Needle, then start first chain.
  • Once in kill percent-> (guaranteed air release) Air Release-> Usmash tipper.
Wolf- (guaranteed Air Release, off ledge)- You can full hop Needle Storm or wait and attempt to remove his second jump. By doing this you create a frame trap, he is forced to jump-> air dodge or the Needles will connect unless you true combo it. If he air dodges then you simply punish the air dodge. Either method forces Wolf to use his Uspecial. You can then use Fair or Bair and make sure he doesn’t recover.

Yoshi-(not guaranteed air release)- Air Release-> DACUS (tipper). This only works on a slope going uphill.

Zero Suit Samus-(not guaranteed air release)- Air Release-> DACUS (not tipper)

The following list is for characters in jab range after a ground release: Bowser, Charizard, IC’s, Ivysaur, Kirby, Link, Lucario, Luigi, Mario, MK, Ness, Olimar, ROB, Toon Link, Wario. What this means is that you can jab right out of a grounded grab release but your opponent can powershield it. This does allow you to create mind games with your opponent and grab instead of jab, then mix it up and roll behind them and punish.

As you can see, Sheik has many options that she can use when grab releasing her opponents. Practice and learn how to use these techniques because it can drastically help your Sheik game.

DACUS Setups-

It is no stretch to say that Sheik has limited KO’ing options. However, despite her limitations she does have one technique that allows her to KO opponents at much lower percentages. This option is her DACUS. Sheik’s DACUS is by far the best DACUS in the game. Due to the speed and power of the move, Sheik can KO unsuspecting opponents with fast approaches and brutal power. Sheik’s Usmash has several different hit boxes and each can be used in different circumstances. To the sides of the Usmash, an opponent will be hit hard in an upward angle, to whichever side the move hits. If you land in the very middle (directly on Sheik) you will deal massive damage (over 30%) but have limited KO potential. However, the best place to hit the Usmash with is at the very tip, above Shiek’s head. At this spot, Sheik knocks the opponent straight up and can easily kill at 70%-100% depending on the opponent. Normally, this tip is very hard to land but with a quick DACUS, Sheik can easily approach opponents and get into the perfect location to land her killer. Still, despite its massive potential, Sheik’s DACUS can easily be stopped by the opponent throwing out a disjointed attack or projectile and interrupting her.

Thankfully, there are many ways you can help set up Sheik’s DACUS, although none of these are guaranteed. There are very few true combos in SSBB, so instead, you will have to focus on creating opportunities to land your DACUS against opponents. This section’s focus is all about learning how to create opportunities to land Sheik’s best killer.

The grab release- This has already been discussed in the previous section and if you haven’t read that section, scroll up and see what is written there. Sheik’s grab release allows her to create many guaranteed opportunities to KO certain opponents.

The random DACUS- This strategy is to immediately DACUS at an opponent for no reason whatsoever. This strategy is obviously better if you are in an advantageous situation or are in need of a quick kill. Do be warned that this usually doesn’t work in high level play but even the best players will fall for this once in a while. The reason this works is because Sheik is so fast at DACUS’ing that many opponents won’t have time to put their guard up and react to the move. If you are going to perform a random DACUS you better only use it if you have not DACUS’d at all or very sparingly. Don’t expect this trick to work more than once, but oftentimes, that is all you are going to need to seal the set. You can also start creating mind games with the opponent by conditioning them to react a certain way when you run in or approach. See the section IX: Yomi for more information on how to condition your opponent.

Under platforms- On stages such as Battlefield many opponents are unaware how high Sheik’s Usmash reaches. If an opponent is dancing around on the bottom platforms, Sheik can quickly DACUS in and KO an opponent with the very tip of Sheik’s Usmash. Not really a setup but it is something worth mentioning. Play around on different stages and see which ones Sheik can Usmash through.

The setups- Okay, it is time for actual strings up moves that you can use to lead into your DACUS. Remember these are not guaranteed but a lot of these moves can be adjusted depending on how your opponent DI’s their hits. The purpose of this section is to help you recognize common moves that you can follow up with a DACUS. Pay attention to the direction that they go in and adjust accordingly. Here we go:

  • DACUS->Utilt->DACUS (no more then 10-15% damage when you start this)- I have performed this many times on long stages (namely Final Destination) and it allows you to quickly rack up ~70% on an opponent. It also happens very fast.
  • Dash Attack->DACUS (35%-55%)- This is a very solid set up for landing a DACUS. Depending on how the opponent DI”s your attack you should be able to land this move. This is an easy way to lead into some quick damage.
  • Dash Dance-> DACUS (any percent)- This is not necessarily a set up but more like a dirty trick you play on your opponent. You can actually DACUS out of a Dash Dance, which will often surprise opponents who aren’t paying close attention.
  • Dsmash->DACUS (40%-60%)- This is an okay option to harass opponents after you Dsmash them away.
  • Fair->DACUS (50%-70%)- This usually works when you are spacing with a Fair and an opponent steps in a little too close. You smack them back with the Fair and then follow up with a quick DACUS.
  • Fthrow/Bthrow->DACUS- Sheik hits the opponent forward/backward then approaches with a DACUS. This is probably one of the most viable options at low level play but once opponents recognize how to DI this isn’t such a great option. However, you will almost always have an opponent DI upward, thus you can chase them down while they are landing, just be careful of them attacking you with a disjointed attack.
  • Ftilt->Ftilt->Utilt->DACUS (perform the Utilt around 40-50%)- Have you ever thought about finishing your Ftilt lock with style? Well this is the option for you. You can quickly take many opponents from 30% to 80% with this setup. This is dependent on an opponent’s SDI/DI but you can get a lot of mileage out of this setup. The nice part is that opponents who can normally escape from Sheik’s Ftilt lock are quickly knocked away with her Utilt before they can counter, thus allowing you to land the next hit. The lower the percent, the easier it is to land the DACUS follow up.
  • Fully charged needles->DACUS (any percent)- This set up works well against heavier characters that do not have access to a quick attack. Characters like Ike are destroyed by this setup while others seem to have little problem with it. However, the best part about this set up is the fact that it isn’t expected, allowing you to land this move when you need it most, as long as you aren’t throwing it out all the time.
  • Nair->DACUS (25%-50%)- Sheik’s Nair is a great out of shield option, thus this works quite well at hitting opponents back and then following up with a nasty surpsie.
The best option for setting up a DACUS is obviously to go with the Nair, Utilt, dash attack, and Fair, depending on the percent. Watch the opponent’s habits carefully so you can adjust the moves to go along with their DI. Also, to get opponents at the right percent you can mix in some jab cancels to lead into the other moves. This allows you to get opponents at the percentage you need to land her DACUS.

Gimping Opponents-

While Sheik lacks any notable killers (besides Usmash), she can somewhat make up for this with her devastating gimping potential. When it comes to preventing opponents from recovering, Sheik is one of the best characters in the game. Her lightning fast speed, needles, quick aerials, and edge hogging ability give her the edge on many recovering opponents. This section will discuss these techniques to guarantee opponents do not make it back onto the stage.

Sheik’s primary gimp option is hitting opponents off the stage with her Fair. While her Fair is not very strong, the move is extremely fast and can combo string into itself against many opponents. The trajectory of the move knocks opponents at a downward angle, perfect for preventing opponents from recovering. The move’s main downfall is its short range, which makes it easy to block with an opponent’s own Fair. Still, the move is very quick and is one of Sheik’s primary gimping options.

Sheik’s next gimping option is her Bair. While Bair is not as desirable as Sheik’s Fair, due to the angle being slightly higher than her Fair and taking more frames to come out, the move does offer a more disjointed attack; this makes Bair preferable against characters such as Marth, who can easily Fair right through Sheik’s primary option. However you have to perform a Reverse Aerial Rush so that Sheik will face the correct way when attacking her opponent.

In addition to her two favorite off stage moves, Sheik has many other attributes that make her deadly off stage. While she is no Meta Knight, she is quite beastly off stage. Due to her high speed, she can run off the stage and Bair an opponent who is hiding out on the ledge. While any character can do this, Sheik’s speed makes her one of the most deadly characters for this strategy. If an opponent is hit by your Bair, they will stage spike, causing them to lose their stock. In addition to simply running off the stage and Bair’ing an opponent, Sheik can also simply run off the stage and Fair an opponent who is recovering low. Finally, she can utilize her Wall Jump to mix up her gimping options. On certain stages, Sheik can jump against the wall below the ledge (ex: Battlefield) and then Fair an opponent who is recovering low.

Additionally, Sheik can utilize her Chain to gimp. Her most basic trick is to perform her Fspecial while offstage, quickly grappling the ledge moments before an opponent is about to grab the ledge. She can then choose to dangle, quickly grapple the ledge, or drop the whip altogether (by tapping down) after the opponent has been edge hogged by her whip. She can also run off the stage, short hop, Fspecial towards the ledge, drop the whip, and then Bair jump at the opponent. This is a great way to get out a Bair much further off the stage (compared to a Reverse Aerial Rush) then would be normally possible. By doing this, Sheik not only mixes up her options, but helps extend the length of her attack, allowing her to hit opponents past the blast zone at much lower percentages. However, there are a couple of things that Sheik players should be cautious of. For one, Sheik does not deal any damage while retracting her whip on a ledge, making her easy prey against smart opponents who attack her during this time. Second, if Sheik uses her whip to turn around, she must jump off the ledge, instead of running off of it, otherwise she does not get the extra jump she will need to Bair.

Another option for Sheik is to use her needles to stun opponents who are off stage. By shooting a fully charged set of needles, little prediction is needed in order to hit opponents who are off stage. Sheik can either shoot the needles in a straight line, from the ground, or she can shoot them at a downward angle, if done in the air. Even one needle is enough to mess up opponents, limiting their options for recovering. If Sheik is holding onto the ledge, she can short hop and B-Reverse her needles at an opponent, landing a needle against an unsuspecting opponent.

Sheik’s final option is to edge hog her opponent. She can do this a few ways. The first method is to run off the ledge, turn around, and grab the ledge. She can also drop from the ledge and then short hop back to the ledge. Her second option is to use the first part of her Uspecial to regrab the ledge. If Sheik drops from the ledge and then immediately Uspecial’s she will grab the ledge from the first part of the Vanish. The third option is to utilize her roll animation from the ledge, which still counts her as on the ledge for a brief moment. This option is useful against characters such as Ike who would otherwise knock her off the ledge. Her final method is to drop from the ledge, use her chain, and regrab the ledge. This method is the fastest of her three options but she can only tether the ledge 3 times before the chain no longer works, so use it wisely. All these options are great for regaining your invincibility frames on the ledge, allowing you to block recoveries. With all these options combined, Sheik has many options to refresh her invincibility frames, which in turn allows her to edge hog better than almost any other character in the game.

Throws and Setups-

To put it simply, Sheik doesn’t have very good throws. They don’t really throw an opponent any noticeable difference; they will never KO and opponents can easily DI away from ideal landing positions. Still, Sheik loves grabbing opponents for the free damage it causes so most Sheik players will be grabbing their opponents a lot so her throws need to be discussed. Sheiks throws can be divided into three categories- placement, setups, and worthless.

The first category, placement, refers to throws that position opponents in specific areas. The two throws for this category are Fthrow and Bthrow. The two throws are easy to use since they have little application outside of this category. They are often used simply to position the opponent in a disadvantageous area. The topic of stage positioning will be discussed in depth in a later section, but for now know that opponents close to the edge of the stage have less options then you do. If they have fewer options it helps place you in what’s known as an advantageous position. You will have more options than your opponent, allowing you to apply some serious pressure to their game.

The second category, setups, is all about leading your throw into another attack, hopefully letting you string together several hits and do more damage than you would do normally. Sheik’s best throw for this scenario is her Dthrow. Her Dthrow hits the opponent into the ground and then bounces them up into the air. By doing this, Sheik has placed her opponent slightly above her head, allowing for her to try and follow up the throw with a Fair, Bair, Uair, etc. Usually her best option is to go for the Bair, due to its disjointed range, in case the opponent tries to attack before you can reach them. Still, this is all a matter of personal preference.

Sheik also has a couple of more options that she can do. She can Fthrow or Bthrow an opponent and then chase them along the ground in hopes of grabbing them again, or counterattacking whatever option they pick. Due to Sheik’s speed she can often grab an opponent 3+ times while quickly racking up damage. All characters cannot stay in the air forever, they have to touch the ground at some point; the idea behind this strategy is that you chase opponents along the ground, shield when you get close, and then shield grab or attack out of your shield depending on what the opponent does. If you are chasing an airborne opponent, you have the advantage due to the limited options they have while they are trying to land.

The final category, worthless, is exactly as it is described. This section is solely for her Uthrow as very few Sheik players use it at all, if ever. As a setup move, it is completely outclassed by her Dthrow. Her Uthrow is far easier to DI then her Dthrow, making it easier for opponents to evade your follow up attacks. It also will never KO an opponent, despite the percent, and has no benefit at all in placing an opponent in a desired position (due to being the easiest of her throws to DI). Overall, the move sucks and is completely outclassed by her other options.

Zelda:

Abusing Your Shield/GTFO Options-

The shield is a wonderful tool for Zelda and it will often be used in different ways then Sheik. Sheik often charges headfirst at the opponent but that is not always the best strategy for Zelda. Ideally, Zelda is all about spacing and not letting people into her bubble. Zelda will often use her shield to punish approaches from her opponent.

The shield is Zelda’s primary response when an opponent gets too close to her. From her shield, she can then perform several different moves. Zelda can go for a grab, although it’s quite slow. She can also cancel her shield into an Usmash, which can be quite useful due to the vacuum like effect that move creates. Even if the opponent DI’s out of her Usmash you can at least get them off of you. Her final option is to utilize her Bair and Nair. Her Nair is great for shield poking or attacking quickly, while her Bair is great for quickly countering attacks and landing a surprise KO. Overall, her best option from the shield would often be her Bair. You can also attempt a Fair but that is quite tricky due to having to jump slightly backward to land it.

Zelda has a few more options that she can do after shielding an attack. While her Out Of Shield options were described above, the following are a list of possible strategies you could attempt by dropping your shield the old fashion way. Do be warned that these moves take considerably longer to pull off since they are not cancelling her shield. Zelda’s first option is to drop her shield and jab. Zelda’s jab shoots out a spark and is a decent GTFO option. She can also drop her shield and go for a Dsmash. Her Dsmash is one of the best GTFO’s in the game. Finally, she can drop her shield and attempt to lock the opponent with her Dtilt. However, this is unlikely to work unless the opponent is stuck in a lot of hit lag. Other than that, she really doesn’t have any viable options for this strategy. The rest of her smashes and tilts are too slow to be of any real use when she shields an attack. Honestly, going with her Out of Shield options, in the paragraph above, are almost always the better option for Zelda.

However, all of this is fine and dandy except for one large problem- Zelda has no real way of making opponents approach. Zelda tries to get her opponents to charge her by spamming her Fspecial, but in high level play most opponents will be smart enough to not fall for this trick. Her Fspecial is easily blocked by either shielding the move or attacking with an aerial that covers the side of her Fspecial’s explosion. An opponent can easily block her Fspecial if they use an aerial that covers both sides of their character. Due to this reason, Zelda is often forced to approach opponents with her lackluster offensive abilities. At this point, using the strategies outlined in Sheik’s Abusing Your Shield section is recommended.

For information on tilting your shield or rushing opponents with your shield, see Sheik’s section.

Utilizing Your Dtilt Lock-

Zelda has only one solid option for combo starting and that is her Dtilt. Her Dtilt is brutal and is easily one of her best moves. How the move works, is that at lower percentages the opponent gets stuck in her Dtilt, allowing you to string together several other Dtilts in a row. From that point you can then follow up with several other moves. You can use Fsmash, grab, Usmash, Dsmash, and Ftilt to follow up on a Dtilt lock. Zelda’s Dtilt lock lasts from around 20-30% to 80-100%, depending on how stale the Dtilt is and the opponent’s size and weight. Opponents can also SDI out of the Dtilt lock but you can usually follow up with another attack as long as you don’t get greedy.

After a certain percent, the opponent will no longer get stuck on the ground, but instead thrown into the air. This is usually no earlier than 70-80%, depending on if the opponent is using a very floaty character. For heavier characters the percent can go up to 110% depending on several factors. However, the fun doesn’t stop there. When the opponent is knocked into the air you can follow up with several moves. Most Zelda players tend to go for the Utilt or Usmash at this point due to their speed or KO potential. These are great options but be warned that opponents can SDI out of the Usmash and DI after being knocked into the air. These factors make these moves not necessarily kill options against savvy opponents .It’s a good idea to test out how good the opponent is at SDI’ing through the Usmash before trying to use it as a kill option when you really need it to land. Another thing that you can do is follow up the Dtilt with a Fair/Bair, depending on where the opponent DI’s to. By the time opponents are getting hit into the air by her Dtilt, Zelda’s Bair/Fair should be able to KO her opposition. There are other options you can use, such as an angled up Ftilt or Nair but the ones listed above tend to be the most useful.

One thing to note is that the Dtilt is going to have different results depending on several factors. The first factor is how stale the move is. After the Dtilt has been used several times, it works much better at locking opponents. If the move is fresh, it will have more power and knockback, causing opponents to be kicked into the air at much earlier percentages. Another factor that determines how the Dtilt works is the size/weight/floatiness of an opponent’s character. Characters like King Dedede or Donkey Kong will be locked far longer than characters like Jigglypuff who can break away at much lower percentages. Also, be wary of characters that have attacks that can cut through almost anything (Marth’s Dolphin Slash, MK’s Shuttleloop, G&W’s Fire, and Mario and Luigi’s Super Jump Punch). Those characters can break through Zelda’s Dtilt lock if the move isn’t locking 100%. For those characters it is usually best to not Dtilt more than twice before following up with another attack.

Now that you understand how the Dtilt locks there are a couple of ways you can perform the lock consistently. The first way is randomly throwing out a Dtilt when you get close enough. You don’t want to risk throwing out more than one Dtilt. If you fail, charge a Fsmash, pivot grab, spot dodge, or do an aerial depending on what your opponent does. The second way is punishing spot dodges. You can condition opponents to spot dodge by throwing out the same move over and over again (like her Dsmash) and then when you really need the Dtilt lock to land, you can mix up your options and throw out a Dtilt, which is much slower than Zelda’s Dsmash. The final method is to practice using Zelda’s Nair. While this isn’t guaranteed and is fairly hard to do consistently, you can knock opponents towards the ground with her Nair if done a certain way. From there, you throw out a Dtilt at the right time and go to town.

Honestly, there aren’t any guaranteed setups for Dtilt, Zelda doesn’t really have the options. You will have to rely on your prediction skills to land the Dtilt.

Utilizing Din's Fire-

Zelda’s Din’s Fire (Fspecial) seems like an unstoppable move upon the first glance. It has KO potential, is spammable, and you can control the direction of it. However, once you get to high level play, the move makes you wish Zelda had access to Falco’s lasers instead. Despite being spammable, the move can easily be cancelled by her opponent throwing out an aerial that covers both of their sides (such as their Nair) or at least on the side that the explosion hits. Due to this reason, Zelda’s only option on forcing opponents to approach doesn’t actually work. Opponents can sit there twiddling their thumbs and Zelda is forced to rush the opponent.

There are a few things to be warned about while using Din’s Fire. For one, if the move is done in the air, Zelda starts falling and is helpless until she lands. She won’t grab the ledge and will plummet to her death if she is off stage. Also, the move leaves you wide open until you detonate your fireball. You must always keep these things in mind while using Zelda. It is very easy to try and perform Zelda’s Reverse Nayru's Love Momentum Cancel and kill yourself by throwing out a Din’s Fire by mistake. If you try and return with her Uspecial and you are slightly off with the angle you choose, you could accidentally throw out Din’s Fire.

Despite these flaws, Zelda’s Fspecial has quite a few uses. Almost always, you will see Zelda players throw out a Din’s Fire as their opening move in a game. There is no reason not to use the move, it may hit. Due to the flexibility of the move, you can also start playing mind games with opponents by choosing when to detonate. You can choose to have the move explode closer to the opponent’s feet or head if they are more vulnerable there. As long as Zelda is not in any danger, she should always be shooting off this move at her opponent. If the opponent messes up, it is free damage.

A useful strategy for Zelda is starting her run animation to move one direction, immediately smash the control stick in the opposite direction, and perform her Din’s Fire. This allows her to space with her Din’s Fire and makes it harder for her to be approached while she is shooting off fireballs. If the opponent gets too close then she can go for things like a pivot grab or Fsmash.

Probably the most important thing about using Din’s Fire is learning how to control your opponent’s options with the move. While the move is easily dodged, you can start making the opponent move around or limit options if they get too close. Watch how the opponent reacts to the move. Whatever the opponent does, you are forcing them to react to what you are throwing out at them. Either they will shield, air dodge, or throw out an attack to try and evade the move. Try to position yourself in places that allow you to punish opponents for the option that they have chosen. This takes a lot of practice and you are definitely not lag-free after using the move, so you only have a small window of opportunity to punish opponents if a hole in their defenses arises.

Utilizing Farore's Wind-

Farore’s Wind’s primary purpose is to be used as a third jump for Zelda. The move travels a long distance and provides no indication to the opponent on which way you are going. Once you have teleported to your destination, the move also can hit opponents with the second half of the attack. Despite these perks, the move has quite a long list of limitations. Farore’s Wind requires that the player be very precise. If you try and sweet spot the ledge and you miss your target, you won’t grab on. The move also has quite a bit of delay while you are starting up the move, making you a sitting duck while preparing to teleport. Also, Zelda’s aerials are, overall, absolutely terrible and leave her a sitting duck while she is in the air. Finally, Sheik and Zelda’s transformation time has been increased meaning that Sheik players cannot easily transform to Zelda to increase their recovery.

Once a player understands the limitations of the move he or she can start working on learning to utilize it to its fullest potential. There are several ways that a player can do this and many of these scenarios have been touched on in the Advanced Techniques section, under Zelda. If you need explanations on how to perform these techniques, please go to that section to find that information.

The first way to increase the viability of Farore’s Wind is to learn to perform the Farore's Boost. This technique allows a Zelda player to move in one direction before teleporting. This is very useful in order to prevent opponents from hitting you while you are trying to teleport. Many times, players will try and hit you from the perfect distance while you are trying to land on stage, this move screws with that strategy. By slightly jumping before you teleport, you move about a body’s length out of the way, helping you barely dodge the opponent’s attack. This makes landing on the stage much easier and oftentimes teleporting from the air to the stage is Zelda’s safest option for recovery.

Zelda’s next option is to learn to utilize her Farore's Wind Ledge Cancel. This is a very risky technique but can have strong benefits if pulled off successfully. By directing Zelda’s teleport to end right at the ledge of a stage, Zelda can immediately cancel the lag of Farore’s Wind, allowing her to immediately attack. If the opponent is dangling on the ledge and you hit them with your explosion (Part 2 of Farore’s Wind) then they are going to die. If you teleport right at the tip of the ledge and the opponent was invincible during the explosion, you can perform any aerial to try and take them out. Usually Nair is her best option since it is likely to drag the opponent down below the stage and hit in all directions. Only utilize this technique if you feel confident that you can teleport to the tip of the ledge on command, otherwise you risk killing yourself.

The rest of Zelda’s options don’t really require advanced techniques to use. Option one is learning how to drop from the ledge and teleport and regrab the ledge. This is a great way to deal damage to the ledge while leaving you invulnerable. This is tricky and is easier on some stages compared to others but it has its uses. This is a great way to safely clear the way for Zelda to get back on the stage. Option two is using Farore’s Wind as a retreating and approaching option against opponents. Since the move can teleport wherever you want, mixing up your attacks with a teleport here and there can allow you to break through an opponent’s defenses or help you escape an attack. Once again, be warned that the startup for this move is high so only use it if you have room to pull it off successfully. Also, don’t always teleport directly at opponents or they will start shielding the attack and then punishing you with their Out of Shield options.

The last option is solely for recovery and is a very niche option but deserves a mention on the guide. There are times that you are Sheik and are hit too far to reliably recover with her Vanish or Chain but a Farore’s Wind could save your life. If you are good at predicting these moments and acting instantaneously you have one option and that is to perform a Transform Jump and then immediately perform Farore’s Wind with Zelda to recover. The reason that this works is that Sheik’s Transform Jump decreases the time needed to transform, gives you a little height, and then allows you to immediately teleport. The times that this is useful are very, very rare but I have done it with success a few times and it can save your stock. The best part about your option is that if you have been playing Sheik, many opponents don’t expect Zelda’s second half of Farore’s Wind to actually hit them, which allows you to surprise opponents who are trying to edge hog you.

Utilizing Nayru's Love-

Once again, please see Zelda’s Advanced Technique section to see how to perform several of these moves.

Nayru’s Love is Zelda’s trusty reflector; although in high level play, the move is rarely seen due to having several problems. Zelda’s reflector is very slow and leaves Zelda wide open. Also, there is no way to auto cancel the lag that this move generates thus utilizing it to repel items is usually more trouble than its worth. Zelda players are almost always better off shielding or dodging a projectile then trying to reflect attacks back at the opponent. The move is easily played around and you will be punished if you try and spam this move. However, that is not to say that Nayru’s Love is completely worthless because it isn’t. There are several situations where Nayru’s Love can be a useful move and this section will try and cover those scenarios.

Let’s start with the basics. Nayru’s Love can be useful in some non-advanced technique kind of ways. The first thing that people think of when they see this move is that it’s a reflector and if the situation calls for it by all means reflect an item back at the opponent. Since the move has such large lag, you will only want to use this move when you are confident that it will surprise the opponent. This means that you shouldn’t be spamming the move left and right, otherwise your opponent will be watching out for it. Save her reflector for a big projectile, something that is going to hurt the opponent severely if they get hit by it. Things such as Lucario’s Aura Sphere, Zero Suit Samus’s Suit Piece, Diddy Kong’s Banana are all going to cause quite a bit of trouble if the opponent is hit with their own attack.

Another option for the move is punishing rolls and spot dodges. While it is almost always better to charge a Fsmash, there are times where the opponent will try and roll behind you and Nspecial can solve this problem. The move will drag them to the front of you and throw them out a ways. Do not try and use this move to stop characters like Falco from shooting lasers at you. They may get hit with their own laser but it won’t really slow them down. You will end up taking more damage than your opponent and leaving yourself open for a DACUS or something.

Another option that Zelda has is performing her Nayru’s Love Jump. After being hit, Zelda can perform this move and jump high, out of the way from her opponent. She can also perform this move from her shield after an attack with decent power hits her shield. The latter is much more useful and has many applications to avoid follow up attacks and place her in a better position. Either way, these techniques are basically an escape button that Zelda can perform when an opponent is getting too far into your zone.

Her final option is solely for staying alive at high percentages and that is her Reverse Nayru's Love Momentum Cancel. As it sounds, the move’s purpose is to completely stop her momentum, when she is hit with an attack, and allows her to live much longer. However, the move is very risky as you can kill yourself by not B-Reversing her Nayru’s Love, which results in you being thrown much further than normal. Also, if you end up hitting too far to the left or right you might perform her Din’s Fire by mistake, causing you to enter a helpless mode where you will just fall to your death. I highly recommend that you practice this move as often as possible to make sure that you can do it on command as Zelda’s momentum cancelling isn’t that great without this technique.

Short Hop Double Aerials-

Zelda is one of a small handful of characters that can perform a double aerial while doing a short hop. This has a few noticeable applications. For one, Zelda can throw out a double Bair which is great for doubling your chances of landing the attack. She can also Bair then Nair which is useful for covering yourself if she missed the original Bair. Really, this isn’t super important compared to other characters that get this technique, since they have better spacing moves, but it is useful for applying pressure on the opponent.

Usmash Lock-

Against a large portion of the cast, Zelda’s Usmash is something to be feared. The move has a vacuum like effect and drags opponents into it; the move also stales very quickly which allows her to trap opponents several times. To perform this lock, all you need to do is Usmash and trap the opponent. If you are unsure about which characters struggle to get out of the move, see the Usmash section of Zelda’s move set analysis. Against most characters, you should be able to land at least three to four Usmash’s in a row. Be wary of opponents who have excellent SDI skills. If the opponent is good enough, the lock doesn’t work and you will have to resort to other options.

The best way to lead into Zelda’s Usmash is with her Out of Shield (OoS) options. If an opponent goes in for an attack you can shield it (or even power shield it) and then cancel her shield with an Usmash. This is a great way to get in there and deal some hefty damage. She can also use the move to defend herself against aerials or characters that are on higher platforms. The lock works from 0% until 30-50% depending on the characters weight, size, and falling speed.

Do be warned that if you perform this lock your Usmash will be completely stale and you will have to find another move to KO the opponent. Still, Zelda has a ton of KO options but very few damage rackers, so personally I would rather take the free damage then worry about KO’ing the opponent. The move is also useful for rushing in against a slow attack, like Ike’s Fsmash, and trapping the opponent before they have a chance to unleash the attack. This is a great move to combine with Din’s Fire spam, as it is quick enough to get you in against an opponent who has chosen to commit to a move to dodge the fireball. You can also Dtilt into Usmash, but you might as well stick with the Dtilt lock in most cases (has a few uses though).

Abusing Your Fsmash-

Zelda’s Fsmash is an excellent spacing tool due to its disjointed range and high power. Due to this, Zelda becomes much harder to approach when utilizing this move. You can save this move for a finisher if you want to kill as early as possible, but that can be risky since the move can be escaped through SDI. A much more practical option is to utilize the move to keep space between Zelda and her opponent.

The best way to use this move is through stutter stepping. In order to stutter step you need to move the control stick in the direction you want to move and then immediately hit the C-Stick in the direction you want to attack. You can move backwards, forwards, turn around, and all kinds of shenanigans. You can also hit the attack button, when you hit the C-Stick, to charge the smash (I set the attack button to Z to make this easier). Due to the disjointed range of her attack, stutter stepping allows Zelda to either avoid attacks or extend Fsmash’s reach. The movement doesn’t seem like much but it can make a big difference when it comes to keeping opponents out of your reach.

Also, like all smash attacks, you want to mix up your moves between charging and not charging the attacks. You don’t want your Fsmash to be predictable otherwise it is much easier to play around. By charging your Fsmash, you are helping yourself punish spot dodges. Sometimes, opponents may even approach to attack, thinking the attack won’t last as long as it does, netting you free damage or a KO.

Glide Tossing-

Zelda is one of the few characters in SSBB that gets a glide toss; thank god. With one of the longest Glide Tosses in the game, Zelda can utilize items to approach/retreat opponents. While items are always turned off in competitive play, there are characters that can spawn their own items, which really helps Zelda’s options in these match ups. The characters that allow you to steal their own item are Snake, Peach, ROB, Wario, Link, Toon Link, Zero Suit Samus, and Diddy Kong.

There are several ways you can go about Glide Tossing. The first way is an offensive approach. For this method, you are going to want to charge at the opponent with a forward Glide Toss. You can also choose to throw the item straight at the opponent, onto the ground, or into the air. Depending on the item, tossing it into the ground allows you to bounce the item up so you can pick it up later. This is useful for items like ZSS’s Suit Pieces. Tossing the item above you is for covering a higher distance above you, which will lead to a higher bounce. Both of these methods are great to prevent the item from actually being tossed at the opponent, allowing you to instead try and surprise the opponent with a sliding attack. Also, throwing items into the ground makes them hard to catch, or simply cam create a wall between you and your opponent. You can also go for broke and simply glide toss the item straight at the opponent. This is very useful for items like Diddy Kong’s bananas where you want to force a trip so you can guarantee a follow up with another attack.

The second method is going on the defensive. For this method you want to Glide Toss away from the opponent. You can either Glide Toss backwards or perform a turnaround Glide Toss, where you Glide Toss forward but you turnaround and throw the item. For these methods, you will just want to throw the item at the opponent, as you are trying to distance yourself from them. This method is good for regaining your stage position or simply surprising the opponent.

For more information and to learn how to perform this technique, see the advanced technique section of the guide.

Throws and Setups-

Like Sheik, Zelda’s throws are simply average. She has two throws that are great at positioning opponents and one throw that is useful for potential setups; her final throw has little to no purpose and should probably be avoided except in very niche circumstances. Zelda also has a surprisingly good pivot grab due to her long grab range and defensive characteristics. Learning to utilize her throws in the appropriate circumstances can greatly improve Zelda’s gameplay.

For positioning, Zelda has two options- her Fthrow and Bthrow. Both of these throws are very unlikely to KO an opponent with good DI but are pretty decent at positioning her opponents in unfavorable stage locations. The Bthrow could possibly KO if you are close to the edge of a stage or the blast zone. Usually you will want to use these throws to toss the opponent off the edge of the stage to give yourself the best possible stage advantage. Once the opponent has been tossed off the ledge you can start spamming Din’s Fire or simply try and prevent them from making it back on stage.

In regards to setups, Zelda’s best throw is her Dthrow. The throw just so happens to place the opponent within reach of a follow up attack, usually her Nair or Bair/Fair. You can even attempt to get an Usmash in on the opponent and punish them for their dirty ways. Usually you will want to use this throw if you want to tack on a little bit of extra damage against the opponent.

Zelda’s final throw is her Uthrow and it is fairly worthless. The throw can be useful for placing opponents into the air but there is one large problem with this, Zelda is terrible in the air. Zelda players should always be trying to do their battles on the ground or through short hops; jumping high into the air leaves you to get punished. In addition, the throw allows opponents to pretty much DI wherever they want, so you have no control on positioning the opponent in a favorable circumstance.

Finally, Zelda has a pretty decent pivot grab that tends to work well with the way that she is played. If Zelda is spamming her Fsmash and Din’s Fire, she can also start throwing in random pivot grabs to try and catch opponents who try and approach her. In this way, she plays very similar to Olimar, in a less godlike kind of way.

V. Learning to Recover:

Sheik and Zelda's recovery are some of the worst in SSBB but both characters have ways to utilize their recoveries to their full potential. This section will discuss different ways to recover safely.

Mix Up Your Recovery/ Understanding Your Return Options-

Whether you play Sheik, Zelda, or both you need to learn how to mix up your recovery. Both characters can be very predictable with their recovery options, which lead them to be easily intercepted by savvy opponents. Zelda is left wide open while performing her Uspecial while Sheik is always going to be using her Uspecial or Fspecial to reach the ledge. Learn to mix up your recoveries as much as possible.

For Zelda this can be quite hard but you can rotate between using her Farore’s Boost and not. Also, learn to attack if opponents approach you. Nothing says “don’t approach me” like a Fair to the face. Also, you can vary the times that you choose to Uspecial, sometimes up high while during other times you can recover lower. You can also use her Nayru’s Love Jump, after being hit; in order to give you more space to safely make it back to the stage. If you want to be really tricky, you can utilize Zelda’s Transform Jump to change into Sheik. When you do this technique you are thrown into a long, horizontal jump which can be hard to intercept. This can be a great way to not only transform into a character with much better aerials, but safely escape an opponent who is pursuing you in the air. Other than the options listed, there aren’t really any of viable options that Zelda has to recover safely. Regardless of the method you choose, Zelda’s options in the air are pretty pathetic, and opponents are going to try and take advantage of this fact.

For Sheik, she has many more options at her disposal. Sheik can utilize the first potion of her Uspecial (Vanish) to grab the ledge without ever having to perform the second potion of the attack, the explosion. This is a safe ledge grab option and if you can I recommend using it. Another option is utilize her to use her chain. There are three different ways you can chain the edge of the stage. The first option is to chain the ledge and immediately drag Sheik to the ledge (Chain the ledge and then hit up). The second option is to chain the ledge and then dangle for a while before dragging her up (Chain the ledge and do nothing). The final option is to chain the ledge and then immediately drop the chain (Chain the ledge and then hit down). These three options give you a lot of variation and after a few chain drops followed with an aerial, your opponent will think twice before trying to intercept you. Sheik’s absolute worst option for recovery is when she is so far away she has no other choice but to try and complete a full Vanish. If the opponent is quick enough, there is no way you are making it back onto the stage as he or she can simply grab the ledge.

Another good rule of thumb is to remember that Zelda hits at the end of her Uspecial while Sheik does not. Opponents are not always aware of this rule so if you rotate between the two characters, opponents may get out of the way of Sheik’s Uspecial while others will take the hit from Zelda’s, knocking them off the ledge.

Other than the above ideas, make sure you don’t make it easy for an opponent to try and gimp you. If they get close, throw out an aerial and at least make it dangerous for them to approach. Also, vary your air dodges so that it isn’t always so easy to predict. Until the opponent starts attacking, conserve your air dodge. Don’t let opponents bait you into committing to an action that will then leave you open. Air dodging is a relatively safe option except right after it is used. Opponents can take advantage of this and attack after you have finished air dodging.

Directional Influence-

Directional Influence (DI) has been discussed briefly several times, in this guide, but this section will break down all you need to know about it. When it comes to recovering there are two basic rules- if you are hit vertically you need to hold left or right and if you are hit horizontally you need to hit Up on your control stick. If that seems too cryptic, follow this rule instead- always hold up after you are hit off stage. 90% of the time, holding up will be enough to keep you alive till much higher percentages. How does this work? It is quite simple. You are using the direction you are holding on the control stick to influence which direction the attack hits you.

Imagine that the line is the stage, the box is the blast zone around a stage, and the x is you.







X O




Now imagine that you have been hit towards the very right of the box towards the “O.” The whole point of Directional Influence is to move yourself to a blast zone that is further away than the one you are being hit towards. The side of the box, right next to the “O” is the closest instance where you can be hit out of the blast zone. Now, if you hold up or down, while you are moving, you will position yourself at a slightly higher/lower arc from the direction that you have been hit. In result, this leaves you with more room away from the edge of the box, thus extending the percentage that you can live till.

The goal of DI is to position you as close as possible towards the very corner of the box. The corner of the box is always the furthest distance you can be thrown that you can survive. Thus, if you are hit vertically, you should hold left or right, depending on the direction you are hit upwards. If you are hit horizontally you should hold up. You may ask why you can’t hold down. Well it is fairly simple. By holding up, you are giving yourself more room to make it back to the stage and allowing yourself to conserve your jumps. If you are hit downward, you have fewer options to recover and are easily gimped.

There are a couple of other things to consider as well. For example, if you are hit almost straight up, slightly to the right, you do not want to DI to the left because you are moving yourself closer to the blast zone. Even though you are moving away from the stage, you would want to hold away from the stage, towards the right because that is the closest edge that you can reach. This can prevent you from killing yourself with bad DI. Another scenario would be, if you are hit downward with an attack off the side of the stage, you would want to hit up anyway unless you are a character like Zero Suit Samus who has the ability to recover from that low of a distance. Characters like Sheik and Zelda have more options the higher you are positioned, so regardless, 90% of situations that you would be hit that low you should still DI upwards regardless. In addition, most stages have higher blast zones above the stage then below, thus you should still be able to live longer while holding up then down on most stages.

Momentum Canceling-

Momentum Canceling is another useful technique that allows a character to live until much higher percentages. The point of Momentum Canceling is exactly how it sounds- you are slowing the momentum you have been thrown so you don’t travel as far. Each character has their own move that works the best for slowing down their momentum. Some characters, like G&W, can completely stop their momentum with special moves, which in return make them live until much higher percentages.

To Momentum Canceling there are two different steps:

  1. If you are knocked into the air, a character is going to want to use their aerial attack as soon as possible, to end their tumbling or reeling. If a character is knocked horizontally, the characters fastest aerial is usually the preferred method.

  2. If a character is hit up vertically, then a character is going to want to perform a fast fall and a down aerial. The best way to do this is usually hitting the C-Stick down, which does both moves at once.
  1. There is one very important factor to remember, and this affects all Sheik players. Stall-then-fall attacks do not aid in vertical momentum canceling. For Sheik players, you will have to perform a different aerial and then hit the C-Stick down immediately after, to fast fall.
For Sheik and Zelda, their best moves for Momentum Canceling are their Fair (Sheik) and Bair (Zelda). Unfortunately, both Zelda and Sheik are considered some of the worst Momentum Cancelers in the game. Both characters die pretty early regardless. However, Momentum Canceling should always be used, even if it is only to survive a few extra percent; that could be all you need in order to win a match. When a player combines both DI and Momentum Canceling, Zelda and Sheik live quite a bit longer than they could without it.

VI. Walking, Running, Rolling, and Air Dodging:

Learn to Walk-

When players start trying to get into tournament level play one of the biggest mistakes they tend to make is to rush at the opponent. While this can work against your friends, this is unlikely to work against players who know the ins and outs of Brawl. Rushing at opponents often leaves you in the perfect spot for opponents to punish you. Brawl is a game that is all about reading opponents, punishing bad habits, and performing moves that counter what your opponent is doing. This isn’t to say that pure offense isn’t the way to go for some players, but more often than not, you will need to learn to save your rushes for more appropriate times, when you are likely to put the hurt on your opponent. The best players don’t create opportunities for their opponent to punish them free of charge. They create walls that their opponent has to break down in order to reach them. This is a big reason why certain characters are ranked much higher than others on the tier list- they have far more options than other characters.

Unlike in real life, most Brawl players have to learn to walk after they have learned to run. Walking is a great way to approach opponents as it makes it much easier to anticipate their next move. Sheik also has one of the fastest walks in the game which can be very useful as she doesn’t even have to dash at opponents to approach them. Walking is a great way to gather Intel on the opponent. You also minimize the risk of approaching the opponent while keeping yourself properly spaced.

Another important feature of walking is that you retain the ability to use tilts and smashes. Compared to dashing, this is a large advantage as you are giving yourself more options in the small window of opportunity you will have to react towards opponents. You always want to position yourself in a way where you have as many options as possible. Walking is a great way to insure this and should be thought of as a defensive approach option.

When to Run at Your Opponent- (2nd paragraph taken from Abusing Your Shield section)

Like I mentioned in the last section, high level players have to train themselves to not always rush foolishly at opponents. However, Sheik needs to get up close to do most of her damage and walking isn’t always the best way to do this. Take advantage of Sheik’s high speed and get in when you find an opportunity. If an opponent commits to a move, dash at them and shield the move, allowing you to counterattack. Walk towards the opponent to find opportunities to get in there.

Another important strategy is to utilize your running animation to quickly get close to an opponent. You can even run right from standstill by holding all the way to the right or left and skip the dash animation. This allows you to quickly approach enemies and it is highly recommended that all Sheik players learn how to do this. If you go to training and practice pulling up your shield from a dash versus pulling it up from a run, you'll notice that if you skip the dash animation you can pull out your shield much faster. This allows you to abuse the living &$#^ out of your shield and quickly approach enemies without getting hit. Once you are up close you can utilize any of the options from the previous paragraph and unleash your fury on the opponent. It isn't as fast as an OOS but you can also drop your shield and then jab the opponent and start a jab cancel combo or Utilt which is very fast and hits both sides. Power Shielding is another useful strategy but requires precise timing. If you can cling with the opponents attack you are given a small window to attack the opponent free of charge.

The whole point of running is to break through opponent’s defenses. While running at opponents is beneficial for Sheik, Zelda tends to benefit from walking far more. Zelda’s options are limited so she usually doesn’t want to restrict herself with running recklessly. Usually the only time you will want to run at opponent is to perform her Dash attack, which is pretty useful move and can possibly KO her opponent at high percentages. On the other hand, Sheik prefers to fight opponents up close, so charging at opponents works quite well.

Rolling/Spot Dodges-

Rolling is a great evasive technique but many players abuse the move without realizing how vulnerable it leaves them. When it comes to rolling, there is a period, after the roll is performed, where you are completely defenseless. Many times, players will do what is called a “pressure roll’; this means that the player feels pressured by the opponent and instinctively rolls out of habit to try and escape the situation. This is very bad and this habit needs to be broken. Good players will punish you by taking that opportunity to either get free damage or KO you. Many times you are better avoiding rolling altogether because of how vulnerable it leaves you.

Another common mistake among newer players is to replace walking and running with rolling. This is ******** and should never be done. Players who roll around a stage to move are begging to be hit. Think of it like this, by rolling you are leaving exact blueprints to where you are going and putting a giant sign on yourself saying “Please hit me.” When you walk, you are giving yourself the option to shield, perform a tilt, smash, or even do an aerial. The whole purpose of rolling is to be evasive and dodge moves, but in reality, rolling doesn’t actually do this.

The only time you should roll out of the way is when your opponent has committed to a move. This means that if your opponent is charging a smash, of course you can roll out of the way. You can even try and roll behind them so you can try and punish them afterwards, but for the love of Bob, don’t roll when you are not in a vulnerable state. You are creating free opportunities to attack you each and every time you roll. This also means that you should watch how your opponent plays and if they are a compulsive roller, you should punish them whenever they try it.

Spot dodging is fairly similar, although it is a little harder to punish. Every time you spot dodge you are leaving yourself open but thankfully, the window that opponents can punish you is a little bit smaller. If you are a compulsive roller you really need to work hard to avoid rolling in most instances. By watching your habits you can help limit the move to the bare necessities and make it much harder to punish you.

Air Dodging-

Air Dodging is the act of dodging in the air. In Brawl, you can air dodge as many times as you see fit, making yourself much harder to hit. Well, at least that is the theory of air dodging. In reality, air dodging has similar problems with rolling and spot dodging. Every time you perform an air dodge you are giving yourself small periods of vulnerability where you are unable to do anything. The biggest difference between the problems with air dodging and rolling is that you have far fewer options when you are in the air. On the ground, you can perform almost all your moves, but in the air you have to option to perform an aerial, special, or air dodge. This means that you have to rely on air dodging to make it safely back onto the stage.

Unfortunately, being in the air is one of the worst possible positions Zelda and Sheik players can be in as both characters have very limited options. As Sheik and Zelda players, we don’t have too many options to deal with these situations. Sheik falls quickly and has fast aerials, but Zelda is a giant target in the air. Zelda can attempt to mix up her Farore's Boost and air dodging to make it harder to predict which option she will use. Sheik can be quite crafty, with her needles she can attempt to stun opponents, she can use her whip to grab ledges, she has a Stall-Then-Fall in her Dair, and really isn’t too terrible when she is above her opponent. Still, both characters are worst off in the air and should do their best to stay close to the ground as often as possible (or at least be below the opponent in the air).

Sheik and Zelda’s air dodge is 49 frames long and they are only invincible between frames 4-29, meaning they are vulnerable for 23 frames each time they air dodge. However, savvy opponents will try and bait you into air dodging so they can punish you as you during these frames. In these situations you are basically playing a game of chicken. Whoever moves first is going lose. Still, don’t forget that the opponent is in the advantageous position whenever you are above them, as they are unlikely to be hit regardless of what you do, while you are simply trying to survive. If an attack is thrown at you, oftentimes you have no choice but to air dodge, but do try and weigh your other options before you do. If you have the chance to attack, do it.

Also, watch out if you habitually air dodge every time you have been hit. Many players will do this, leaving them wide open as they are approaching the ground. If an opponent is approaching you in the air, try and throw out an aerial every once in a while. Throwing out an aerial tends to be a pretty safe option when opponents are waiting for you to land.

There are a few techniques you can use while air dodging as well. Air dodging can Momentum Cancel a little bit but it isn’t too useful for Sheik and Zelda players. Air dodging can also allow you to grab items without having to commit to any other moves. This is quite useful in certain match ups, like Diddy Kong.

Bringing It All Together-

In summary, you want to limit the number of things that you do that create openings for your opponent. The less opportunities that you provide, the harder you will be to kill.

VII. Knowing Your Environment:

Learning how to use your character on each stage is very important in competitive play. This section will not only cover information on stages but discuss the importance to stage positioning. Different strategies can be applied to the stages that you select as well as your location on the stage.

Stage Positioning-

Stage Positioning is something that is not discussed very often but it is a very important topic for players to understand. A lot of the things discussed in this section may or may not be the actual terms used by players. This section will have some figures to demonstrate what each position looks like. “X” represents you and “O” represents your opponent.

Neutral Position-

^ ^ ^

\ | /

\ | /

____<----------------------------X-----------------------_O___________________________


Neutral Position is when both characters are situated so that they have the most options available to them. The characters can move forward, backward, up, and down (sometimes). As you can see, this is the standard position for SSBB play. In this position you want to apply pressure to your opponent and hopefully move into an Advantageous Position. Furthermore, this position is where a lot of the mind games occur against opponents. Since both characters have a ton of options, you want to bait the opponent into opening up their defenses so you can get in there and deal some damage.

Advantageous Position-

^ ^ ^

\ | /

\ | /

________________________________<----------------------------X-----------------------_O


This position is where you have more options available then your opponent. The most common placement for this position is when your opponent is backed up against the ledge. In this position you have all your options available to you, while your opponent really only has two, trying to go above or through you. The perks of this position are that you will have an easier time punishing opponents since you have fewer variables that you have to prepare for. Also, due to his or her restricted movement, it allows you to apply pressure in situations you normally couldn’t. Some characters have an easier time getting out of this position than others. Characters with a great ledge game or the ability to easily get above you aren’t affected too poorly by this. Still, regardless of the character, no one wants to be in this position because your options are much smaller. This is also another reason why you never want to run back and let an opponent back onto the stage. If you do something like that you are allowing your opponent to get back to Neutral Position, where all their options are restored.

Disadvantageous Position-

^ ^

| /

| /

X-----------_O______________________________________________________


In this position your back is up against an invisible wall. While your opponent has you either trapped on the ledge or against the ledge, your options are much smaller than his or hers’. As you can see, you really don’t have too many options available to you and this is where you will have to play mind games to break through your opponent. Also, even though you have fewer options, you can utilize the space off the edge of the stage if needed. Be warned, that if you jump off the ledge, to get more space, you will eventually have to go back to the ledge. Your opponent can wait you out and try and punish you during this time. This is also a time where you need to be very cautious of your opponent throwing out their kill moves. Snake players love it when you are in this position because they can finish you off with their Utilt. The same thing goes for quite a few characters so you will want to pay close attention if you are in kill percent.

Grounded Position-

O

/ | \

/ | \

V v v

^ ^ ^

\ | /

\ | /

____<----------------------------X-----------------------__________________________


In this position, you are on the ground while your opponent is above you, in the air. This is a wonderful position to be in as you know one thing- your opponent can’t stay up there forever. This is where Sheik’s speed comes into play. It is extremely easy to chase an opponent who is in the air. As mentioned before, a grounded player has far more options than a player in the air. You can walk, run, jump, pull up your shield, do any of your attacks, etc, while your opponent can only air dodge, attack, or perform a special. This gives you many opportunities to punish whichever option that the opponent chooses. Remember to tilt your shield upward to prevent your shield from being poked.

Aerial Position-

X

/ | \

/ | \

V v v

^ ^ ^

\ | /

\ | /

____<----------------------------O-----------------------__________________________


This is the exact opposite of the Grounded Position, so the same things that I mentioned for your opponent, now apply to you. From this position your best bet is to be Sheik. Sheik is much harder to catch in the air and has better aerials to utilize. Zelda is SOL while she is the air so be careful. Check Section VI: Walking, Running, Rolling, and Air Dodging, Chapter- Air Dodging for more information on what to do in this position.

Edge Hog Position-

^ ^ ^ ^

\ | / \

\ | / \

____<----------------------------X - -> _ <------- O

/

/

V

This position is when your opponent is off the stage and trying to reach the ledge. This is another advantageous position as you know your opponent has to reach the ledge in order to keep their stock. While you have a ton of options your opponent once again only has three (air dodging, aerial, special). In this position your primary goal is to make sure your opponent doesn’t recover. You can do go for a meteor smash and knock the opponent straight down (Zelda’s Dair), or you can attempt to gimp your opponent by pushing him or her further back so they cannot reach the ledge (Sheik’s Fair, Bair, or needles). Another useful tactic is using Sheik’s chain to edge hog the ledge and letting you dangle below the stage once the tether is complete. Opponents who have only enough room to attempt to grab the ledge won’t be able to knock your chain off, thus guaranteeing a stock. Due to Sheik’s limited KO potential, this is one of her best options to KO an opponent at low percentages. This is the worst position your opponent can be in so you should always take the opportunity to push your opponent into this position if given the chance.

Off Stage Position-

^ ^ ^ ^

\ | / \

\ | / \

____<----------------------------O - -> _ <------- X

/

/

V

The Off Stage Position is a very hard place to be in. Sheik and Zelda’s recoveries are terrible and very predictable so learning to mix up your options is one of best things you can do to prepare for this moment. When you are playing against a knowledgeable opponent, your opponent will either sit at the ledge to try to guard it, or he or she will attempt to gimp you. Zelda only has a few options to escape this position, such as using a Farore's Boost or relying on her Farore’s Wind to knock opponents off the stage. Sheik has several other options although the length of her recovery is quite a bit shorter than Zelda’s. Sheik thankfully has her chain, which allows her to perform a Chain Drop, quick tether, or a dangling tether. She can also utilize the first part of her Vanish to auto grab the ledge. Mix up your options so you can avoid getting gimped. Once you are on the ledge, you will have to try and get back on. See the next chapter, Utilizing the Ledge. Always DI upward when hit off the stage to allow you to conserve your jumps and increase your odds of making it safely back onto the stage.

Under Platform Position-

^ ^ ^

\ | /

\ | /

____<----------------------------X-----------------------_O___________________________


Hiding underneath a platform is one of the best positions for a defensive player. While you are under a platform you effectively limit the options that your opponent has to approach. If the opponent tries to attack from above they are limiting their options because opponents cannot attack and drop through a platform at the same time, giving you opportunities to punish opponents from this direction. Also, items like Snake’s grenades and Diddy’s bananas cannot be thrown downward through a platform, once again limiting an opponent’s options. While you are in this position, you really only have to worry about opponents approaching from the front, thus giving you better opportunities to read what they are trying to do. Thankfully, if an opponent is in this position it doesn’t limit Sheik or Zelda players too much since both characters tend to rush on the floor at opponents from the front anyway.

Above Platform Position-

^ ^ ^

\ | /

\ | /

---------------X----------------

|

v


____ _O___________________________


In this final position, you are on the platform, right above your opponent. This position is usually considered a disadvantageous position due to the limitations you face while above your opponent. If you decide to drop from the above platform you cannot immediately attack, allowing your opponent to land one on you. Your best option is to get off the platform as soon as possible to avoid getting punished. However, there is one advantage to this position, platforms make landing onto the stage much safer as you can use those to avoid opponents who are waiting on the stage for you to land.

Utilizing the Ledge-

The ledge can be a powerful tool for Sheik and Zelda players. While on the ledge, the main purpose is to make it safely back onto the stage. There are several different strategies that can be employed to utilize the ledge to its fullest. However, the best part about being on the ledge is the invincibility frames that one gains whenever he or she grabs onto it. This can be used in many different ways, to make being on the ledge a defensive or offensive maneuver. The various aspects of utilizing the ledge will be discussed in this section.

Edge Hogging-

The first purpose of using the ledge is to edge hog opponents. For either character, hogging the ledge is as simple as walking off of the side of a stage and grabbing it. If your timing is right you can grab the ledge moments before your opponent does, preventing them from recovering. Both characters have different speeds so the timing is a bit different for each one. Practice this method as it is one of the quickest ways to grab the ledge in a hurray.

If you are already on the ledge, you have the option to drop which gives you many different options to re-grab the ledge. One method includes dropping and then jumping back onto the ledge. However, this option should really only be used for Zelda since Sheik has better maneuvers to work with. As Zelda, you can throw out an aerial to try and hit opponents away, Nair works especially well.

Both characters can also drop from the ledge (by tapping down) and immediately perform their Uspecial to re-grab the ledge. For Zelda, you will typically want to fall at an angle so you can Uspecial right back onto the ledge. This is also a great maneuver to knock opponents standing above the ledge, as the explosion still hits people close to it. For Sheik, she can drop from pretty much any direction and immediately regrab the ledge with the first half of her Uspecial. This is a great strategy for Sheik and it allows her to regain her invincibility frames fairly quickly.

Other options include using Sheik's chain to quickly regain invincibility frames by dropping and immediately chaining again. If you are both trying to recover, you can even use the chain to beat opponents to the ledge. If your chain is attached to the ledge the only way your opponent is going to grab it is by hitting you; to prevent this, dangling is a great option which allows you to dodge their attack while you edge hog.

Getting Back Onto the Stage-

There are several different options that a player has to get back onto the stage when they are on the ledge. Most new players will rely on their character's get up attacks or try and do a jump from the ledge. While these can be useful mix up options there is a far better strategy that a player can use. From the ledge, any character can drop by tapping down on the control stick. From that point, you can short hop and perform any aerial of your choosing. This is the superior strategy on the ledge because it is less predictable and harder to punish. When you perform a get up attack from the ledge, all your opponent has to do is shield and punish your attack. When you do an aerial from the ledge you can maneuver around as well as pull out your moves quicker.

Getting back onto the stage against a strong opponent can be really difficult. You have to rely on mixing up your ledge options and trying to find an opening on your opponent. If you are on the ledge and your opponent is attacking you, you need to find the breaks in their attacks and get in there. Sheik's high speed helps her tremendously in these situations and she can try to interrupt her opponent by doing an aerial or jumping back onto the ledge and shielding the attack. Sheik's Nair works really well for spacing and can get through a lot of different scenarios. You should drop from the ledge and then use her Chain or Uspecial to regain her invincibility frames when needed. Remember you can only use the chain three times until you reach solid ground.

The hardest situation is when you are facing an opponent who doesn't do anything until you commit to an option. These opponents will sit and wait and react appropriately to anything you do. In these situations you need to bait your opponent into attacking; there are several methods to do this. One option is to drop from the ledge and short hop slightly above the ledge and re-grab the ledge. If your opponent falls for this option you can react to their move and making it back onto the stage safely. Another option is to keep regaining your invincibility frames by dropping and using Sheik's chain or Uspecial. You can also throw out Fairs to try and get the opponent to react. Finally, if the stage has any moving platforms, like Smashville, you can wait for one to come around and then jump from the ledge onto the platform.

Once your opponent has committed to a move you can use several options to get back onto the stage. You can drop from the ledge and do a full hop to jump back onto the stage. You can also do your get up attack or crawl up from the side. On stages with platforms you can use Sheik's Uspecial to explode slightly above the ledge and teleport behind the opponent and auto cancel your lag by appearing slightly above the ground. You best option will almost always be to drop and then jump back onto the stage because you can pull up your shield faster as well as attack opponents while in the air.

Grabbing Items-

While this is only useful in certain match ups, you can actually grab items from the ledge. If the item is close enough to you, you can jump slightly above the ledge, throw out an aerial, and grab the item, and land back safely on the ledge. For Sheik, throwing out a Fair is usually your best option while Zelda typically uses her Nair. Once you have the item you can use it to help you get back onto the stage. This only works if the item is within one character space from the ledge and you will probably have to jump a little forward and then move back, after you have the item. Still, this is a useful strategy to help give you a few more options on the ledge.

Turning Around-

With the combination of the ledge and your chain, you have the ability to turn around off stage so you can use your Bair. To perform this move you need to jump off the side of the stage and then chain the ledge, tap down on the control stick, and then you can jump and Bair. This is a useful option to extend the range of your aerial and to mix up the timing on your attack. If you end up running off the ledge you will not get that extra jump.

Another option to turn around is to utilize the walls of the stage to drop down, wall jump, and to attack an opponent. This is a useful option to quickly pull out your Fair while your opponent is trying to recover. This tactic only works on stages that allow you to wall jump off the sides, such as Battlefield.

Utilizing Platforms-

There really isn’t any additional information to be discussed here except to utilize Platform Cancelling on stages with moving platforms. The most frequent stage that you will have a chance to platform cancel on is Smashville. On common tournament stages, you can also perform this on Lylat Cruise, Rainbow Cruise, and Yoshi’s Island. See the Advanced Techniques section to find out how to Platform Cancel and the Stage Positioning chapter to see how to take advantage of platforms.

Utilizing Stage Transformations-

While only a handful of stages in SSBB transform, there is one advantage that you can exploit caused by a transformation- messing up chain grabs that opponents may use. The main match up where this is relevant is against an Ice Climber player, our worst match up. The IC’s are notorious for their ability to 0 to death you with their chain grab, and stages like Pokemon Stadium can give you a few possible escapes against the IC’s chain grab. Normally, Sheik and Zelda are completely shut down by the wonder twins so giving yourself a possible escape button helps ease the pain (a little). As a stage transforms it is likely that you may break free from a grab as the platforms move around. Does this make a huge difference in the match up? Not really. However, anything that helps that match up is appreciated and should always be considered when you are picking stages.

Utilizing Walk Offs-

While rare, walk offs can be a useful tool for certain scenarios. Walk offs are when a stage has land that connects all the way to the blast zone. For tournament stages, this is usually limited to Castle Siege (2nd transformation) and Delfino Plaza. The benefit of Walk Offs is that you can get closer the blast line then what would normally be possible. This allows things such as Zelda’s Fthrow and Bthrow, to KO at much lower percentages. However, Walk Offs is a double edged sword and you could find yourself easily KO’d if you aren’t careful. Characters like King Dedede can change grab opponents straight to their death, as well as Falco, Pikachu, and others. Always be careful when you are battling close to the blast zone, it is a high risk, high reward option.

Utilizing Walls-

For Shielda players, there are several options one can utilize while next to a wall. If you are Sheik you have the ability to Wall Jump which can be useful on several stages. Utilizing a wall allows you several strategies for gimping opponents so if you haven’t you might want to read the last section’s Utilizing the Ledge. Walls also allow several ways to rack up a lot of fast damage. Sheik’s continuous jab can rack up huge damage if you can trap an opponent against a wall. Zelda also can fully utilize her Dtilt lock because her opponent won’t be able to SDI backwards, making it much harder to escape. However, these strategies can be employed by many characters so be careful if you are the one who has your back against the wall. Once again, walls are a double edged sword so use them wisely.

VIII. Getting the Kill:

Stale-Move Negation-

The Basics:

Stale-Move Negation (SMN) is a mechanic in SSBB that reduces the damage and knockback of your move as you use it multiple times in a row. As your character performs other moves, the original move will slowly regain its strength. Every time an attack is used, the move is placed in a queue of the last nine moves a character has used, with the move’s damage being reduced by how often the move is in the queue as well as how recent the move was used.

Queue position

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

9

Reduction factor

0.1

0.09

0.08

0.07

0.06

0.05

0.04

0.03

0.02


Once a move is not in the queue is regains a freshness bonus of 1.05x damage. SMN affects all areas of an attack so whether you hit with the strong or weak hitbox, the whole move will lose power. Once a character loses a stock all of his or her moves will be reset. If Sheik or Zelda uses Transform then all of her moves will be refreshed.

Now that you understand the basics, it’s imperative for Sheilda players to always keep Stale-Move Negation in mind when you are performing an attack. Both characters are heavily influenced by this game mechanic and learning to keep your best killers fresh is vital if you want to KO the opponent as soon as possible.

Sheik:

Being a character that focuses more on speed then strength, Sheik has a tough time dealing with Stale-Move Negation (SMN). Moves such as Sheik’s Dsmash, Nair, Fair, Vanish, and Usmash are all viable killers but every move, other than her Usmash, is heavily influenced by SMN. If you miss with her attack once, the power will be cut drastically and her limited KO potential will be even more apparent. The most effective way to manage this is to vary your moves and to utilize jabs, pummels, and Ftilt locks. Learn to throw in Jab Cancels, a pummel (only the first pummel counts towards SMN), or a Ftilt lock so you can refresh any move that has been weakened. The nice part is that these are all things that good Sheik players should be doing anyway. Throwing in a couple of jabs, jab cancelling, and then performing a Nair or Dsmash provides free damage and helps refresh your moves.

You can even learn to utilize SMN to your favor with Sheik’s trusty Ftilt lock. As her Ftilt gets more and more stale, the move racks up higher damage and becomes harder to escape. SMN allows Sheik to Ftilt lock spacies until KO percent and finish them off with an Usmash. Having a stale Ftilt also traps characters such as Marth and Snake who would otherwise be able to escape the lock with a Dolphin Slash or grenade. The staler your Ftilt is the higher the percentage you can lock opponents.

Zelda:

Despite being the exact opposite of Sheik, Zelda’s focus on power over speed doesn’t make dealing with SMN much easier. Some of Zelda’s best killers are heavily influenced by SMN and moves such as her Usmash become severely weakened after one use. To make matters worse, Zelda cannot utilize Jab combos, has a slow pummel, and her only lock can be easily be escaped through the use of SDI.

Instead of relying on Sheik’s options, Zelda has to focus more on spamming her Fspecial and rotating her moves to keep her killers fresh. Thankfully, her KO potential is much higher than Sheik so she has many more moves that can possibly KO an opponent. However, against an opponent with good DI and momentum canceling, Zelda players will need to make sure her moves are as close to full power as possible before attempting to KO a fairly healthy opponent. Like Sheik, Zelda also has the potential to lock opponents with stale moves. Zelda’s Usmash and Dtilt make excellent locks against opponents who don’t escape through SDI.

Your Strongest KO Options-

Sheik:

When it comes to KO’ing opponents, Sheik has two primary methods to KO opponents. Her first option is her DACUS and her second option is to gimp her opponent. Both of these sections have been discussed several times throughout the guide, so they will not be discussed here. This section’s goal is to familiarize players with Sheik’s other options, when a DACUS or gimp is simply not possible or safe.

When her two primary methods of KO’ing are unviable, Sheik has several other options that she can pursue. Moves such as Sheik’s Nair or Vanish are her best backup plans but are fairly weak even when fresh. To increase the probability of KO’ing the opponent it is important to use the moves as close to the edge as possible. Sheik’s Nair and Vanish could possibly KO your opponent when they are under 120% and next to a ledge. To land these moves, pressuring your opponent back towards the ledge is your best option. You can throw out a Fair, needles, Utilt, etc. to pressure an opponent towards the ledge. Once the opponent is there, performing a Vanish or Nair Out of Shield could possibly KO the opponent. Vanish should only be used against slow attacks while Nair works for pretty much anything. If Nair is stale and Vanish is too slow, Dsmash is the next best option; however, you cannot perform Dsmash OOS, so should instead use it from a jab cancel. Finally, Bair is also a decent option but the angle makes it hard to work with if the opponent is not already in the air.

If the opponent is off stage, you can go for a kill as well. Sheik’s Vanish Glide and Vanish Glide Jump make excellent obstacles to try and KO opponents. If opponents are high up, jumping up and attempting a Bair/Fair is always a solid option. Many opponents are not accustomed to Sheik’s speed and will be surprised as you hit them far sooner than expected. If the opponent doesn’t have a high enough percentage to kill, you can always attempt to gimp them, which will be discussed in an upcoming section.

Sheik’s final option is to land her Usmash. Her Usmash is one of her slowest attacks and can be difficult to utilize if not performed with a DACUS. The move has a very strange hitbox and the most powerful section of the move is when her arms are raised above her head. Without the sliding effect of her DACUS it can be insanely difficult to land. However, her Usmash can kill as low as 60% against floaty characters and around 85% for almost all other opponents. While the move can be hard to land it has so much power that Sheik players need to learn to spot opportunities to use the move.

Sheik’s first option is to utilize her Usmash below a platform. Stages like Battlefield have platforms that are at the perfect height to land the tipper of her Usmash. Many opponents do not expect the move to reach up that high so they will either get shield poked or they may not even try and dodge it. Battlefield is not the only stage that this works, stages like Castle Seige, Rainbow Cruise, Lylat Cruise, and many others all have platforms that you can utilize this option on.

Her second option is to try and punish air dodges, spot dodges, or moves that leave a person vulnerable (such as the end of Marth’s Dolphin Slash). During these periods, it isn’t too hard to get either directly below an opponent or to get inside of the opponent’s space to land the full power of the Usmash. To help land the timing, make sure you are charging your Usmash until your opponent is vulnerable.

Sheik’s final option is to perform her Usmash OOS. While you are unlikely to land the tipper of her Usmash, the sides of her Usmash still deal quite a bit of damage and could possibly KO opponents with percentages over 100% The problem with this option is how utterly slow the move is thus making it very hard to land without being interrupted. Still, occasionally this option works so to get a better understanding of how to land this, I’d recommend going to training mode and practicing the timing of the move so you feel comfortable in what situations you can throw the move out.

Zelda:

Zelda is one of the most powerful characters in the game and has many different moves that she can use to KO opponents. Her Usmash, Dsmash, Fsmash, Fair, Bair, Dair, Uair, Utilt, and Ftilt are all viable KO moves, and she can comfortably KO most opponents under 100%. However, as mentioned before, Zelda suffers from severe problems in her offense and defense which can make landing even a single move quite a daunting task against an experienced opponent. Even worst, most of her moves can be weakened or even avoided with good use of SDI, making her only reliable killer her Dsmash, which gets stale very quickly and doesn’t hold the raw power of her other KO moves. Still, despite these problems, experienced Zelda players have several methods for landing her KO options.

Zelda’s two most powerful killers are her Fair and Bair. Both moves are quick and powerful but require hitting their sweet spots in order to pose a threat. The easiest way to do this is by using it OOS as a sort of parry. When an opponent hits your shield you can cancel your shield with a short hop and then Fair or Bair in the opponent’s face. Hitting with Zelda’s Bair is the preferred option as the sweet spot is easier to land but both work with practice. Zelda can also use the Farore's Wind Ledge Cancel (see Advanced Techniques section) to cancel her Farore’s Wind at the ledge and then immediately Bair or Fair the opponent. This works by teleporting right as the opponent grabs the ledge, and then hitting them with the Bair/Fair as their invincibility frames wear off. Zelda can also use her Dtilt (at high percentages) and knock the opponent up, followed by a Bair/Fair. Her final option is to utilize a double Bair short hop, which gives you twice the opportunities to hit an opponent who is approaching.

For Zelda’s Fsmash, the move works as a great punisher to spot dodges and approaches. Learning to Stutter Step is imperative as it increases the disjointed range of her Fsmash. Also, make sure you are charging your Fsmash to make it easier to punish actions that your opponent takes as well as increasing the power of the move. The move also works well as an edge guarding tool to throw out as opponents are trying to get back onto the stage and can also be set up with Zelda’s Dtilt.

For Zelda’s Utilt, the move seems to be worthless at first glance. The move is incredibly slow and has an odd arc but underneath its unassuming exterior lays one of Zelda’s most powerful killers. Zelda’s Utilt is also one of her few killers which cannot be escaped through SDI making it a reliable finisher, if you can set it up. The best way to set up this killer is through Zelda’s Dtilt. Once the Dtilt starts knocking opponents into the air (around 90%+) Zelda can easily Utilt and finish the opponent off. This setup works great for opponents who do not DI away, once the Dtilt knocks them into the air. Other methods of landing the Utilt are to punish spot dodges, air dodges, and hitting through platforms.

The rest of Zelda’s killers are really dependent on the situation. Against a good chunk of the cast, her Usmash is a pretty reliable killer. About a fourth of the cast can reliably SDI out of the move (see the move description section for a complete list) and even if they can’t, the move becomes stale rather quickly. Zelda’s Uair is also a very powerful killer but its low speed makes it pretty easy to dodge, meaning you will have to bait opponents into air dodging in order to land it. Zelda’s Dair is also a powerful meteor smash but it has a tiny hitbox and is very hard to land. The move is usually only useful against large opponents. Her final kill option is her Ftilt but it doesn’t have much range and doesn’t kill until over 150%.

Gimping-

For a detailed explanation of her gimping options please look over the section:

  • IV. Maximizing Your Moveset: Gimping Opponents
DACUS-

For some detailed explanation of Sheik’s DACUS options please look over the sections:

  • IV. Maximizing Your Moveset: List of Grab Release Information

  • IV. Maximizing Your Moveset: DACUS Setups.
Yomi- this will be discussed next.

IX. Yomi- The Art of Reading Your Opponent:

What happens in a fighting game when your opponent knows every move you are about to make, even before you start the match? If that was the case, he or she could easily counter every move that you tried and it would be impossible to win. Yomi is such a strategy and it is a powerful technique that allows a player to seemingly appear as if he or she knows every move you are about to make. Yomi relies on learning how a player reacts to situations and then using that to your advantage. Due to the defensive nature of Brawl, learning how to read and punish opponents is the key to being successful in high level play.

Reading Opponents-

Reading opponents is all about learning how a player reacts to a specific situation. While many players will do this on a subconscious level, learning how to read patterns and abuse them is what separates good players from excellent players.

Confused? Here’s an example:

Say that you notice every time you run at your opponent, he rolls backwards. The first time that he does this you think nothing of it, but after a couple of stocks you realize that he does this every time you approach. With this knowledge you now have something to work with.

Many times, players will start noticing several large patterns in an opponent’s play style, whether it is an air dodging habit, a specific reaction to a specific move, or whatever. It isn’t necessary to understand ALL of the opponent’s reactions, but an excellent player will often look for outliers in an opponent’s strategy and then find ways that they can abuse it.

Reading your opponent isn’t easy and it is something that most people have to practice diligently at in order to be any good at it. If you are one of the lucky few who can do this automatically, good for you, most of us can’t. The more skilled an opponent is, the less opportunities that are present for you to take advantage of. This is where match up knowledge and learning to outplay your opponent comes in. If you’ve ever heard of mind games, this is where intense mental battles happen on the playing field, where two players try and drag out openings in the other player. If you are good at reading your opponent, you are increasing your odds of finding an opening in the opponent’s defenses.

Conditioning Your Opponent-

Once you have learned how to read an opponent, the next step is all about conditioning the player to respond a certain way to an event. For example, in the previous section I mentioned how your opponent would always roll backwards whenever you approached. By continuously approaching him and not doing anything to punish his actions, you are conditioning your opponent to feel safe, by rolling backwards, every time you approach.

This can also be done with other things such as spot dodge habits and air dodges. Once again, imagine that every time you jump from below against your opponent, he always feels a need to air dodge. You are conditioning your opponent to react a certain way to your move. Conditioning can be done in any number of ways, so don’t feel like the examples I provided are the only methods of doing so.

Baiting Opponents-

The next step is learning how to bait openings in the opponent’s play style. Baiting opponents is all about fishing for a specific response from your opponent. In the above example, say that your opponent is finally in a position where you can KO them, so you rush forward knowing the he will instinctively roll backwards in response to the action. Congratulations, you have successfully baited your opponent. Another example would be jumping below your opponent, knowing that they will think that you are going to attack them, thus they air dodge without thinking. Both examples have now set you up to punish their action.

Punishing Opponents-

The final section is the most important of the bunch, as the other steps are worthless unless you can do this. Punishing is all about taking advantage of that opening in the opponent’s defenses and hitting them as hard as possible. Going back to the two examples, on the first one, where the opponent had just rolled backwards. Now is a perfect time for Sheik to go in for a DACUS and hit the opponent as soon as their roll is over, when he is left wide open. On the second example, now that the opponent has air dodged, thinking you were going to attack; you now attack so he doesn’t have time to pull out another air dodge.

Yomi is all about learning how to read your opponent’s actions and manipulating them to your benefit. If you know exactly what your opponent is going to do, you can set up your own trap and react at the perfect moment. Due to Sheik and Zelda’s limited options, practicing Yomi is the absolute number one thing you should attempt to learn in order to improve in competitive Smash.

For more information, check out this article: http://www.sirlin.net/ptw-book/7-yomi-spies-of-the-mind.html

X. Offensive and Defensive Play:

It's time to discuss the differences between offense and defensive play for both characters and which strategies should be employed for each situation. This section’s purpose is to bring together the many different points of the guide and explain how it works.

Offensive Play-

Sheik

With her high speed, useful setup tools, and excellent close range options, Sheik is one of the most offensive characters in SSBB. All the tools that she has been given make her deadly up close against opponents and you will find that most of your time will be fought in this position. Sheik can apply a lot of pressure up close and has a fairly easy time getting inside an opponent’s bubble. Her speed is her best approach option and it can make dealing with her a challenging task.

When it comes to an in your face approach, it is all about using the speed of your attacks, your shield, and your fast running speed to get up as close as possible to the opponent. To do this, Sheik relies a lot on her shield. Remember to always run instead of dash so you can get your shield up ASAP. This allows Sheik to parry opponents’ moves and keep the pressure on. If you need a more controlled approach, using Sheik’s walking animation may be better than running since she can do any of her moves from walking, including smashes and tilts. She also has a very fast walking speed. Once you get in on your opponent’s face, you will need to utilize all her close range options such as her jab, Ftilt, grabs, and aerials. All of these options are quite deadly and allow her to rack up quite a bit of damage very quickly. She can also use grab releases on her certain opponents to setup KO’s.

Once Sheik is dealing damage you have many options to hurt the opponent. To see a full break down of all the possible setups Sheik has, see section IV. Maximizing Your Moveset.

Sheik also has the option to try a spaced approach against her opponents. She can do a short hopped Fair and space it so the move is right outside the opponent’s range. This is useful for approaching characters with projectiles or a very short range of attacks. Characters such as Pit will often try to roll behind you after spamming a projectile, thus you can throw out spaced Fair’s and try and get him to react. Sheik’s Ftilt is another spacing option and allows her to potentially trap opponents in a damaging lock. Unfortunately, the rest of her moves aren’t really built for a spaced approach which usually limits her to close ranged attacks.

The final thing to remember about Sheik is that she is very solid at punishing opponents who have committed to an action. This means that if you can bait an opening in the opponent’s defenses you have a much better chance of swinging the momentum in your favor. See IX: Yomi- The Art of Reading Your Opponent for more information on this.

Zelda

Zelda is a mediocre at best, offensive threat to most opponents. Unfortunately, due to her lack of a spammable projectile, or really any method that force an opponent to approach, Zelda is often required to rush at opponents. Still, this doesn’t mean that Zelda isn’t dead in the water. She has several methods of pressuring opponents but it does take a bit of creativity in order to do so.

Zelda’s best offensive tools are learning how to hit your locks as quickly as possible. Do note, that all of her locks can be escaped with excellent SDI but if opponents are inexperienced in the match up it can make racking up damage much simpler. If an opponent is experienced, you will have to out read them in order to do some heavy damage. Anyway, Zelda’s best two locks are her Usmash and her Dtilt. Zelda’s Usmash can chain into itself several times at the beginning of the stock. Since the move gets stale so quickly, it makes chaining the move repeatedly into itself fairly easy. Zelda’s Dtilt is another excellent lock and can start trapping opponents around 30-40% all the way until 80-110% depending on the character and how stale it is. If an opponent SDI’s away, you can still get a few Dtilts in and then follow up with a Dsmash, grab, hyphen Usmash, or stutterstep forward Fsmash.

Zelda also has an excellent glide toss which can help her approach in several match ups. Any character that can produce an item, gives Zelda a great approach option, if she can get a hold of it. Depending on the type of item it is, Zelda can force tripping (banana), hit then follow up with an attack (motorcycle wheel), or even bounce the item on the floor and use the momentum to approach with a Fsmash or something.

After those options, Zelda really doesn’t have much else that she can pressure opponents with. Thankfully, her KO potential is very high, so getting a kill isn’t too hard if you can land a hit. However, it can be quite hard to get to that point unless an opponent foolishly charges you. Zelda’s primary offensive option is to create baits in order to land her hits. She has to trick opponents into opening up so she can go in for an attack.

Defensive Play-

Sheik

When it comes to playing defensively, Sheik’s options are quite different than most other characters. While many characters rely on their aerials or smashes to space out opponents, Sheik doesn’t really have too many options on that end. Instead, Sheik has to set up traps and punish opponents. Due to her speed she can be quite hard to read and she should use this to her advantage.

In order to setup traps, Sheik players will need to learn how to read their opponents and find gaps in the opponents’ defenses. Sheik can use Pivot grabs to trap and punish approaches, B-Reverse Needle Storms to catch approaching enemies off guard, Running-Cancelled needles to fake out an approach, as well as using her shield to OOS a Fair, Nair, or Bair. To see the applications of these moves please check out the section IV. Maximizing Your Moveset.

Sheik also has a way to block opponents from reaching the stage with her Air Jacket and Chain Jacket. This doesn’t work on every character but on the ones that it does, it can make recovering a daunting task. This is Sheik’s most traditional defensive option, as her chain creates a wall that is incredibly hard to break. You will usually want to use this move semi-close to the ledge, blocking opponents from recovering off of it.

When Sheik is under fire, she can also utilize her low crouch to dodge projectiles like Falco’s lasers, as well as crawl forward to safely approach. Another nice feature of crouching/crawling is that it makes it easier to power shield attacks as the timing starts right at the front of Sheik’s crawl.

If an opponent is too close to you, Sheik has many options to utilize as GTFO moves. Her jab is one of her best options as it is quick and hard to interrupt. Her Utilt is another great move as it throws opponents in front of her and gets them off of her. She can also Dsmash which covers her from both sides.

While on the ledge, Sheik also has several defensive maneuvers to avoid being gimped. Her first option is to learn the many different ways that Sheik can regain her invincibility frames on the ledge. By using her Uspecial, the first part of the move grabs the ledge, allowing you to safely utilize the move to drop, than re-grab the ledge. Sheik can also use her whip to drop and then quickly retract, regaining her frames. This method is slightly faster than the former method, but you use one of your three tethers to do this. Also, Sheik’s tether is often a huge target when opponents are trying to gimp Sheik. Learning to mix up quickly retracting, and the dangling method (where you don’t retract and instead swoop in a downward arc towards the ledge) are great ways to avoid being hit mid-tethering. Another option is learning to safely drop your tether, by tapping down, so you can attack opponents who are getting too aggressive. This is a great way to get a surprise gimp on an opponent.

Finally, in high level play it is highly frowned upon to roll. The reason for this is rolling often creates unnecessary openings in your defenses and, with Sheik’s high speed, there are very few times where rolling would actually be advantageous. Instead, learning to utilize your walk, run, and jumps can save you from unneeded KO’s. This is a tough habit to break and requires a lot of mental effort to eliminate. For more information, see VI. Walking, Running, Rolling, and Air Dodging: Rolling/Spot Dodges.

Zelda

Zelda’s defensive capabilities are quite powerful, if only she had one thing, a spammable projectile. Her Din’s Fire simply doesn’t cut it in high level play. While, it is definitely spammable, it isn’t something that can force an opponent to approach. Despite this drawback, if Zelda can get an opponent to approach she has several great options.

Zelda’s bread and butter defensive move is her Fsmash. The move has a pretty solid disjointed range (even out spacing Marth’s Fsmash) and if you combine that with Stutter Stepping and it can be very hard for opponents to break through Zelda’s Fsmash. The move also is a great edge guarding tool and gives Zelda a way to apply pressure to opponents on the ledge without putting herself in any real danger. The move also stales quite a bit slower than Zelda’s other moves making it a fairly reliable move, assuming the opponent doesn’t SDI out of it.

Another defensive option for Zelda is her Din’s Fire. While the move doesn’t force approaches, the move does have quite a few uses. The primary defensive option for the move is to force opponents into unfavorable circumstances/positions which allow you to punish them. For example, say an opponent is rushing you and they jump to do a Fair. If you run back, cancel the run by turning around, and then throw out a Din’s Fire, your opponent suddenly has to take into consideration the move. After they hit through the move, are hit by it, or somehow avoid it, you can then follow with the next appropriate action. This move isn’t great, but it is a welcome addition in Zelda’s arsenal. Make sure you utilize with running forward or backward before using, as that can make it much harder to predict where Zelda will be standing after she uses Din’s Fire; it provides some nice extra space she can take advantage of to avoid an attack.

Utilizing platforms is another strong defensive strategy for Zelda. Stages such as Frigate and Yoshi’s Island have platforms that you can hide under to limit approach options from opponents. When Zelda only has to worry about her front and back, it makes tackling approaches much easier. Despite this, a lot of the stages with platforms to hide under are not great Zelda stages, so save this knowledge in case you are counter picked.

Finally, there are some odds and ends that we should cover. Zelda’s Out of Shield options are fairly useful as well, with her Fair/Bair acting as counters if opponents make contact with her shield. Zelda also has a reflector which is useful for reflecting big projectiles back at opponents, although quick spammable projectiles are too fast for her reflector to be of much use. Zelda’s Uspecial allows her to teleport pretty much anywhere, and doesn’t show the opponent where she will land, making it hard to punish. Zelda’s Nair is an all-around useful move which should be spammed when needed. Zelda’s Utilt is slow but it useful for hitting through platforms like on Battlefield. Zelda’s Also, Zelda’s Usmash is a nice spammable move which is useful in most situations even if the opponent escapes it.

XI. Utilizing Two Characters:

Transforming Safely-

Sheik’s KO options are much smaller than Zelda’s so it makes sense that you might be able to KO sooner if you switch to Zelda. However, this theory can come back and bite you if you switch to Zelda and aren’t prepared. Most opponents will not suddenly open up because you transformed. In fact, you may suddenly find yourself in a terrible position if your opponent is smart enough to force Zelda to approach. This section covers the many different variables a Shielda player has to consider/utilize in order to successfully toggle between two characters as needed.

Finding Time to Transform

Finding an opportune time to transform isn’t easy. Every time you transform you are leaving yourself wide open, so it is very important to start recognizing safe opportunities to switch as they are presented. Sure you could just perform her Dspecial at random, but no smart opponent would sit there and let you transform for free. Many opponents would walk right next to you and start charging a smash. If you are lucky, your opponent may misjudge the timing and allow you to safely switch, but that is unlikely and is not usually worth the risk of losing a stock. With that said, there are three opportunities where you can safely switch between the two characters and that is when you are on a brand new stock, when you are hit, and when you knock opponents away.

The first opportunity a Shielda player has to transform is at the start of a fresh stock. Whenever a character respawns he/she is given a small window of invincibility frames. Many players will take this opportunity to charge an attack or approach their opponent. Shielda players can use this time to transform free of charge. Transforming to the opposite character takes less time than your invincibility frames allowing you to safely transform without taking damage. Also, many opponents are not aware of this, thus you can take a hit and quickly retaliate with a smash of your own. This is a neat trick to score a free KO against unprepared opponents.

The second time a Shielda player can transform is after he or she has been hit. A player can then utilize the Rising Transform which allows you to get a nice vertical or horizontal boost (depending on the character that you are) and lowers the time necessary to transform. This is an all-around solid method to safely transform, however it requires that you take a hit to utilize, so the final option may be more beneficial depending on the situation.

The final option to safely transform is once you have knocked an opponent away from you. There are a multitude of options at your disposal to get off a transform. Really, any hit will work and, if you are Zelda, a throw will oftentimes give you enough distance between you and your opponent to safely transform.

Spending Time with Both Characters-

Using both Zelda and Sheik together requires that you take the time to learn the ins and outs of both characters. Many times, switching between the two characters is a judgment call and without a lot of experience it can be very hard to make the right decision, especially when you are under pressure. In order to strengthen your skills it is imperative that you spend time playing the same match ups with both characters.

It may seem odd that you would want to play both characters separately but this is a great training routine in order to develop both characters. Only with experience can you recognize moments where one character could solve the problem the other character is having. This requires a lot of practice and time dedicated to both characters. Once you have learned your style start incorporating transformations into your gameplay. Try to recognize opportunities where one character can help the other. Shielda players don’t always use Zelda solely for KO’ing. Find out what works for you and be creative.

Even though Zelda has worse matchups then Sheik, depending on your play style you may do better with Zelda in certain matchups. Taking the time to learn both characters allows you to be less predictable when you are going in for a kill. If you want specific examples of what to do in a match up, see the character match up section at the end of this guide.

Maximizing Your Invincibility-

As mentioned earlier, you can safely transform during your invincibility frames. Many players are unaware of this and may recklessly charge you thinking you will be vulnerable after the transformation. This trick only works once against an opponent, but that may be all you need. If you are playing friendlies this may be something you want to save in your bag of tricks until an actual tournament. The best part is that all your moves will be fresh so use this to your advantage to secure a KO.

Creating One Character/Wrapping Up-

The final thing to mention is that both characters take a lot of time and effort in order to be successful. To play both characters at high levels is a tough task and the hardest part is learning how to combine two drastically different characters into a one-stop shop, killing machine. There is not a set way to play these two characters although I listed the methods that I found the best to use. Take what you can from the guide and come up with your own ideas. Hopefully, you found this guide helpful and that it has given you a different outlook on two seemingly average characters. Playing Sheilda takes a lot of hard work but if you put in the time hopefully you will find a character that fits your style and that you enjoy playing.
 

RevEvolution

Smash Rookie
Joined
Jul 10, 2011
Messages
13
Location
Lawrence, KS
Hey thanks for the reply. If you have anything that you think I may have gotten wrong, or may need to reiterate, let me know and I'll update the guide. Obviously there is room for interpretation, I'm definitely not perfect. There are no other serious Sheik/Zelda mains in Lawrence, KS so I had to learn everything myself/reading guides/watching videos/working the streets/or something, so it's very possible I'm missing out on the big picture on several things. I know I have a pretty solid understanding of the characters but there is still lots to learn. I started this guide to kind of push myself to work on my personal game play. I did this off an on for the last few months and I never got around to proofing the entire guide. That's probably my next thing on my to do list.

Anyway, thanks for the input.
 

Dominic Jackson

Smash Rookie
Joined
Aug 18, 2014
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wow thanks that helped me a lot. I don't know anyone else he play sheet so I have to learn stuff myself like you do. This is really going to up my game.
 

DeLux

Player that used to be Lux
Joined
Jun 3, 2010
Messages
9,279
Actually an interesting read. Good amount I agree with, good amount I question a bit.

Not bad man!
Hey thanks for the reply. If you have anything that you think I may have gotten wrong, or may need to reiterate, let me know and I'll update the guide. Obviously there is room for interpretation, I'm definitely not perfect. There are no other serious Sheik/Zelda mains in Lawrence, KS so I had to learn everything myself/reading guides/watching videos/working the streets/or something, so it's very possible I'm missing out on the big picture on several things. I know I have a pretty solid understanding of the characters but there is still lots to learn. I started this guide to kind of push myself to work on my personal game play. I did this off an on for the last few months and I never got around to proofing the entire guide. That's probably my next thing on my to do list.

Anyway, thanks for the input.
Lemme find some free time and I'll try to add some opinions, to see what you think for sure!
Based off Ed's lack of reply, I can only assume he agrees to everything in this guide.

Silence is compliance, Rev for Top 5 Sheilda
 

RevEvolution

Smash Rookie
Joined
Jul 10, 2011
Messages
13
Location
Lawrence, KS
With everything going on in life lately I completely got out of the habit of checking this. Glad some people got something out of this.
 

DeLux

Player that used to be Lux
Joined
Jun 3, 2010
Messages
9,279
With everything going on in life lately I completely got out of the habit of checking this. Glad some people got something out of this.
Character MU specific guides please!
We should live stream a video version of this imo
 

RevEvolution

Smash Rookie
Joined
Jul 10, 2011
Messages
13
Location
Lawrence, KS
Character MU specific guides please!
We should live stream a video version of this imo
I'd be down for that. I originally had a character match up section but when I switched computers I lost my original guide. The information wasn t really out of date though so really it wasn't a huge loss.
 

Jaguar360

Smash Lord
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This was very detailed and enlightening. Thank you for making this guide RevEvolution!
 
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