Smash Bros Melee: Fox vs. Sheik Guide featuring Lucky
Wed 18th Sep 2019 - 7:11am
With players grinding out the Fox matchup on the daily, Fox players need to keep their own gameplay clean and well-practiced. With a range of characters starting to break through into Top 8 brackets, it's best to keep each of the top tier character in mind and to be prepared. Sheik can be a tricky matchup for Fox so Lucky is going to take us through the basics of planning your matches against Sheik and your best options against her.
Like any character, much of the gameplay can rely on the style of the player. It can be highly dependent on whether or not the Sheik is very defensive or has an aggressive way of approaching. Some Sheik players can be grab heavy or may opt for dash attack to start their combos. As the Fox player, you have to be able to understand the type of playstyle of your opponent. Once you have figured out patterns or bad habits, you can adapt to Sheik's neutral game with your speed. For example, Sheik will struggle with how fast Fox is, and you can easily overwhelm her with this. Many Sheik players will struggle to get the grab on you and it's relatively easy to punish the gamble that'll she'll take to be able to start her combos.
Lucky says: "Sheik really has to gamble at times to try and slow down your pacing. If you can stay aware of these gambles, it becomes very easy to punish her for overextending."
Shielding her dash attacks, spotdodging her desperate grabs or simply dashing away is just basic ideas but you can mix up your options. Hopping over approaches and hitting her on the way down with an aerial could be an option as would grabbing her whiffed attack or grab. Another fantastic option against Sheik is down-tilt. If the Sheik is grounded and more grab dependent, this can be an ideal option in the neutral. Sheik can crouch cancel down-tilt at 0% so opting to get more percent on her with lasers would be recommended. Following this up with an aerial such as up-air or back-air will be a great start to get some damage on Shiek or even an edgeguard situation.
Lucky says: "Down-tilt's long range can really catch Sheik players off-guard and if they are fishing for a grab, they won't be crouch canceling."
Despite the praise we shower on Fox, he does have his downsides. The ability to throw out aerials at high speed and move like the wind can have its downfalls. Against Sheik, a little bit of patience is key and this will stop you running in with too much aggression and being punished for it. Sheik is an unforgiving character and it doesn't take much for her to be able to take out your stock following a grab. Adding grab and down-tilt to the neutral will help a lot. Sheik has the options to crouch cancel and ASDI certain moves and this makes her a slightly scarier opponent than most characters. Sheer tech skill and overwhelming techniques will not always pay off.
Lucky says: "Running at them blindly with neutral-air or down-air comes to mind. Crouch cancel and ASDI really make Sheik a defensive monster if you aren't mixing up your timings and game plan. If you become predictable, she pretty much gets a free grab on you just for you attacking her. Mix up your timings and always remember to add in grab and down-tilt to keep her guessing."
In most matchups, players will have a bread and butter combo or at least, a 'go-to' option they have versus a character. With Sheik, waveshining is an absolute must. Without this, Fox can lose the ability to punish to his full potential against Sheik.
Lucky says: "Waveshine into up-smash or waveshine in to grab are Fox 101 versus this character. The same goes for being able to consistently land up-throw into up-air. If you can't do any of these, then I seriously recommend grinding them out before trying anything else."
Watching top level players will confirm that most of Fox's punish on Sheik comes from a grab or waveshining. Occasionally, there is pressure put on Sheik from elsewhere in a mixed up aerial like back-air, just to keep her away but ultimately, these will be your most important tools. You can even start the waveshine by fullhop down-airing and then getting the drill shine and starting the waveshine that way. Mixing up how you start the waveshine or grab will help you in the long run.
Lucky says: "Her defensive game is amazing, like I said before, if you attack her wrong then you're going to get grabbed. These days, all a Sheik player needs is a single grab to land monstrous percentages on you with tech chases, or you purposely tech to a position where you end up off-stage preventing damage, but now you're being edgeguarded. You really just need to mix up your timing, move selection, and never forget that you can not CC a grab. So grab them when you can!"
Beware! Sheik also has a crazy punish game against Fox and can tech chase your stock away. Movement and reactions in neutral are abilities that can separate the greatest Sheik players from the low level Sheik players. Tech chasing is part of today's meta game and without it and when you pair both good movement and reaction, you have to be prepared for an insane amount of damage that tech chasing puts on Fox.
Edgeguarding and Recovering
Sheik has some cool mixups with her recovery. Sheik is a character that will make you guess her positioning, right up to the last second. It's not so easy for Fox to jump out and shine Sheik in the same way he does with other opponents. Though it's possible, it's tricky and there are other ways to secure the stock a little more safely. Guessing wrong can cause a stock loss but there are ways to combat this efficiently. At the beginning of her up-B animation, she isn't invincible right away. Many Sheik players will up-B near the ledge and will be vulnerable during that time! If you can recognise this, you can shine or back-air her before she makes it back.
Lucky says: "Ideally the first thing you want to learn versus Sheik's recovery is the regular get-up trick. You should try and refresh your invincibility as close as possible to when Sheik starts her up-B move, but if you time your regular get-up correctly, you avoid getting burned while preventing her from grabbing the ledge with your get-up animation."
Recovering against her can be just as tricky! Not only does she have the stall on the ledge to refresh her invincibility but her back-air really sticks out and she can easily catch your firefox recovery if you start it in an unideal area. Her forward-air and back-air are scary and her ledge hogging is incredible. So how can you deal with this? Sheik can cover so many of Fox options but she cannot read minds. Going for as many mixups as you can will help a lot. Going for the same option time and time again will lead to your stocks bleeding away. Practice different angles back to the stage and different timings for your jump if you still have it. Try landing on the platform, stage and grabbing the ledge.
Lucky says: "You really have to be careful about going below the ledge against her. If you don't mix her up with your recovery, she is easily one of the best characters in the game at covering firefox below the ledge. More often then not, it's usually really good to test the Sheik's reactions by recovering high at first to get them to be aware of it. Then you can try mixing it up with sweetspots or quickly dropping below the ledge."
Sheik is definitely one of Fox's trickier matchups but with a set game plan, you have the tools to defeat her. Watching the high-level players against Sheik will also help and there is also near unlimited information on Fox on multiple Smash sites. YouTube tutorials and tournament vods will help massively. Take note of the percents in which the top players hit Sheik and where they opt to grab instead. What works? What doesn't? Does Sheik crouch cancel certain moves at certain percents? A little research will help you. Picking the right stages and being aware of your advantages on each of those stages will help massively.
Lucky says: "For good Fox stages, Stadium and FD come to mind immediately with the lower ceilings and easier edge guarding. Final Destination not having any platforms means that if you cover the ledge, she has to go on stage, no platforms means she is going to land right on stage for you to waveshine her. For stages I might avoid, Fountain of Dreams comes to mind right away since the platform heights traditionally mess with Fox's aerials. Although it isn't the worst thing since it can also apply to Sheik."