When performing the Black Tornado, Shadow uses the Spin Dash to circle around an opponent in midair at high speed while leaving a yellow aura trail. The resulting slipstream creates a tornado effect that forms a black cyclonic vortex of air around the opponent.
The effect of the Black Tornado depends on the type of enemy it is used on. If used on unprotected Egg Pawns, Egg Knights or opposing playable teams, the Black Tornado sucks the opponents off their feet and flings them into the air, before they fall back down to the ground. Upon landing, they will take damage and be potentially stunned for a short time - for someenemies, this can even reveal their weak spots. If used on Egg Pawns or Egg Knights wearing shields, the Black Tornado will permanently blow off their shields, thus leaving them with a weaker defense. If used on larger or airborne enemies, the Black Tornado will make them disorientated at most, but will deal no damage.
Besides affecting enemies, the Black Tornado can also be used in conjunction with some of the gimmicks in Sonic Heroes, such as enabling the player to scale Poles or activate propellers.
To perform the Black Tornado in gameplay, Team Dark must be in Speed Formation with Shadow as the leader. The player then has to press the action button (//) during a jump to use the Black Tornado. When using this attack, Shadow will automatically home in on the nearest enemy within a reasonable distance to use it on. Unlike the Homing Attack, the Black Tornado will also home in on enemies that are above Shadow.
The Black Tornado allows for an additional height boost if the player holds down // during or after the move. This essentially allows for a double jump.
While airborne enemies are affected by the Black Tornado, they become temporarily invulnerable.