Roy (ロイ, Roy) is a playable character in Super Smash Bros. 4. Initially leaked through data mining of update 1.0.6, Roy was formally revealed after Lucas and released alongside him and Ryu on June 14th, 2015, making him the third downloadable character released and the final downloadable veteran. Jun Fukuyama reprises his role as Roy's voice actor and provides new voice clips and ones that mimic those from Super Smash Bros. Melee.
Roy is currently ranked 50th out of 58 on the SSB4 tier list, placing him at the bottom of the G tier. This is a very slight improvement from his previous placement in Melee, where he was ranked 20th out of 26, and makes him both the lowest ranking low-tier character and the lowest ranking DLC character. Two of Roy's greatest perks are his overall mobility and attack speed: his ground and air speeds are among the fastest in the game, while his attacks also boast quick start-up overall (with the exception of forward smash and down aerial), allowing him to react quickly to an enemy's openings. This complements Roy's inverse tipper mechanic, with large, easy-to-land sweetspots near the hilt of his Sword of Seals, while his fast maneuverability provides him many opportunities to deal powerful hits by simply being close to the opponent.
His combo game at low to medium percentages is also extremely damaging due to his throws, neutral attack and first hit of neutral aerial being able to set up into his other moves. Coupled with the power of his sweetspotted attacks, most of which are capable of KOing at realistic percentages despite their quick speed, Roy's throws and attacks are generally very rewarding to land, and he has no trouble sending damaged opponents off-stage.
However, Roy's playstyle is extremely risky due to several factors. Despite his speed, he has an ineffective approach due of his lack of a projectile. Furthermore, despite his very fast air speed, he has very slow air acceleration, forcing him to be committal to his approaches in general, and makes him very open to retaliation if he whiffs a move since he is unable to retreat once he begins an approach. Roy's inverse tipper also inadvertently gives him poor range for a swordsman, which is further compounded by his attacks having considerable ending lag and his aerial attacks being incapable of autocanceling from a short hop. Altogether, these traits render his moveset very punishable and unsafe on shield despite his overall power.
His throw combos are also inconsistent due to his throws' low hitstun, and his combo game past low percentages is poor, largely due to the knockback of his sweetspotted moves being too high to allow follow-ups. This makes him heavily reliant on reads and thus giving him few KO set-ups apart from his neutral attack and neutral aerial at high percentages. Finally, Roy has what is considered one of the worst recoveries in the game: Blazer's predictability and low vertical distance makes him vulnerable to semi-spikes, which is made worse by his very quick falling speed also making him an easy target to combo.
Overall, Roy is a "high-risk, high-reward" character who relies on finding openings using his speed before converging into highly damaging close range combos, while walling opponents out with fast attacks. However, he provides just as many openings to his opponent due to his attributes and laggy finishers, forcing to player to limit his approaches without being overly aggressive. As a result, while he has improved since Melee, buffs to other Melee veterans arguably offset these improvements.
Due to these factors, Roy has infamously low tournament representation and lackluster competitive success, but his tier placement is highly debated within the community due to the recent appearances of several noteworthy results. Most notoriously, Ryo managed to win two games against Abadango's Mewtwo, who is considered the best player of Mewtwo, at Super Smash Con 2016; this resulted in Abadango choosing Rosalina & Luma as a counterpick despite the wide tier gap between the low-tier Roy and top-tier Mewtwo and Rosalina & Luma. While this instance has not been sufficient enough to significantly raise Roy's tier placement as of the second official tier list, several professionals believe that Roy's abilities are underrated and that he deserves a higher placement on the tier list, such as Mr. R and ZeRo ranking him 33rd and 44th on their respective personal tier lists. Recently, three Roy players achieved noteworthy results at Smash the Record 2016 and along with other results, Roy's placement is heavily debatable.
Roy is a semi-clone of Marth, sharing a handful of moves with him; however, Roy has an individualized playstyle thanks to certain mechanical differences, the most notable of which is his inverse tipper: the Sword of Seals deals more damage and knockback near its hilt, and much less at the blade's tip. Like Marth, Roy is a middleweight, but his other attributes are entirely different: Roy has better mobility, thanks to an above average walking speed, the eleventh fastest dashing speed, the fourth fastest air speed, and the fifth fastest falling speed. His fast movement speed also gives him an effective extended dash-dance, allowing him to read and punish opponents accordingly. However, Roy is tied for the longest initial dash animation (17 frames), giving him a poor shield buffer out of his dash, and his air acceleration is among the slowest in the game, forcing him to commit to any aerial approaches and makes his aerial movements significantly less fluid compared to Marth, who's air acceleration allows him to attack and retreat at the same time.
Roy's attacks generally have quick start-up, and his high speed allows him to easily get close to his opponent. Once Roy finds an opening, he has several ways to rack up damage. His neutral aerial is perhaps his most versatile move, thanks to its low start-up and landing lag, long-lasting hitbox, and utility as a combo starter. His neutral attack is quick and can easily lead into other moves, including his throws and tilts. He also possesses a good spacing and shield stabbing move in his down tilt. His down and forward throws launch opponents at favorable angles, opening up combo opportunities for his neutral attack, dash attack, forward tilt, neutral aerial, and Double-Edge Dance. His inverted sweetspot also benefits him. Since it is much larger than Marth's sweetspot, he on average deals higher damage more reliably from his combos (and in general) than Marth, who requires meticulous spacing for the same effect.
Despite his speed, Roy boasts an array of KOing options, with many of his sweetspotted attacks capable of KOing below 130%. His attacks are also less polarizing than Marth's, as most of them include an additional hitbox that is between both the sweetspot and sourspot, and so Roy does not require precise spacing to reliably land a KOing blow. While on the stage, his best KOing options are his forward tilt, forward smash, up tilt and Blazer, due to their fast start-up and high power. Blazer is additionally an excellent out of shield option, granting him super armor on start-up, and can stage spike careless opponents who attempt to edgeguard him. His disjointed hitboxes lend themselves to an effective off-stage game. His forward and back aerials are quick and cover wide arcs, while his down aerial is a reliable meteor smash. Flare Blade is deadly against opponents who try to sweetspot the edge, courtesy of its charging ability, incredible power, huge hitbox, and deceptively low ending lag. His Counter is also one of the strongest in the game, as its 1.35x damage multiplier makes it devastating if used against a powerful attack. Roy's average weight and fast falling speed give him strong on-stage endurance, and he can make great use of rage, which further enhances the knockback of his already powerful moves.
However, Roy is greatly hindered by a slew of flaws. While his hilt mechanic is one of his greatest strengths, it also forces him to fight extremely close to his opponent in order to be utilized to its fullest. This is made unsafe by his range being decidedly short for a sword fighter, resulting in a whiffed move on Roy's part leaving him heavily open to punishment. His moves have high ending lag, and so when combined with his need to fight close, Roy cannot space out his opponents as effectively as other sword-wielding characters, while also being unable to safely rush down his foes. He also suffers from a predictable approach despite his good mobility, since he has no quick options with which to close in and pressure the opponent outside of his neutral aerial, and this is made worse by his lack of a projectile. His very fast air speed is offset by his very slow air acceleration, making his aerial approach highly committal in general, much like Ryu's.
Roy's combo game is dangerous early on, with his follow-ups being strong and versatile at low percents. He has many decent combo starters, like his neutral attack, neutral aerial, up aerial, down throw and forward throw. However, unlike Marth, the sourspots of Roy's moves are not as reliable at creating combos; although they are still possible to perform, the sourspots require a lot of emphasis on precision in Roy's combos and can cause them to quickly lose their effectiveness. The high ending lag of Roy's moves and the low hitstun of his forward and down throws, the former of which is further compounded by the fact that most opponents can reliably tech out of its follow-ups, all hinder Roy by opening holes in his combo game due to them occasionally making it so that he has to attempt to read what his opponent will do. While Roy can combo decently past medium percents and up to high percents, most of these combos are limited.
In spite of his high maneuverability, Roy's recovery is somewhat notorious for its ineffectiveness. Although Blazer offers excellent protection, can be angled, and grants decent horizontal distance, it gives little vertical recovery and can be easily predicted. When combined with his high falling speed, this leaves him highly susceptible to meteor smashes, while even a sufficiently strong semi-spike can launch him too far away to recover. Additionally, players unaccustomed to his falling speed will quickly find that any misused aerial off-stage will send him too far off-stage to recover.
Roy's high falling speed causes another problem: he is very susceptible to combos while on-stage. His unsafe moves offer opponents many opportunities to punish him, and none of his moves are generally reliable enough to consistently break combos. Because of this, many characters with reliable combo moves can rack up large amounts of damage and easily force him off-stage, where he could potentially lose his stock if dealt with accordingly. Finally, due to his status as a DLC character, Roy does not have any custom moves, significantly hurting him in tournaments allowing them; while this is a problem shared with other DLC characters, it arguably affects Roy the most due to the comparatively low utility of his special moves.
Overall, Roy has as many weaknesses as he has strengths. While commonly viewed as falling under the rushdown and/or glass cannon archetypes, Roy instead relies on limited aggression, playing around an opponent's shields and reactions using his excellent speed, and finding a single opening in which to capitalize on. From there, he can dominate opponents with his decent combo game and threatening finishers, although he cannot be too overzealous due to his own vulnerability to combos from faster characters, as well as a poor recovery and short range for a swordsman.
Despite initially being viewed as a viable high-tier character and possibly the best swordsman in the game, Roy has become infamous for his poor tournament representation, as he sees little use from professional players aside from All Might, Ryo and Sethlon. However, due to the recent appearances of several results, Roy's overall tier placement is debatable.
Changes from Melee
Roy is frequently placed within a group of characters (Bowser, Dr. Mario, Charizard, King Dedede and Pit) that are the most noticeably reworked veterans in SSB4. In Roy's case, several of his moves were de-cloned from Marth, to the point that he is now a semi-clone instead of a full clone. Roy is generally considered to have been buffed from Melee, however, changes to game physics as well as other nerfs have also harmed him.
Among Roy's buffs are his greatly improved mobility, now having a faster dashing speed and one of the fastest air speeds in the game, as well as his moveset being notably more rewarding than in Melee: most of his moves are different from Marth, such as his new neutral attack, forward and up tilts, dash attack and down aerial, all of which improve his up close and combo games, and many of which are more reliable KO moves. His damage output is higher, and his sweetspotted attacks are considerably more powerful, giving him a bevy of new KOing options, which generally alleviates his main weakness from Melee. His attack speed is faster overall, with his aerials in particular having significantly reduced ending and landing lag, L-canceling notwithstanding. Lastly, the addition of rage, along with his heavier weight, boosts his KO power even further should he survive to high percents. Roy's recovery is generally better, thanks to Blazer's improved horizontal distance, his faster air speed and the introduction of edge trumping.
However, Roy has also received significant nerfs. Roy now stands at Marth's height, which enlarges his hurtbox, though his attacks have much shorter reach and hitbox durations in spite of this, forcing him to fight even closer to the opponent, exacerbating one of his key weaknesses in Melee. For the most part, Roy is also harmed by the post-Melee gameplay changes: the loss of wavedashing and L-canceling, as well as the weakening of dash-dancing, noticeably worsen his approach. The general increase in range for other characters since Melee, such as with Donkey Kong and Bowser, also indirectly hurts him. Double-Edge Dance's first hit has almost completely lost its ability to stall his descent due to Roy's increased falling speed, which hurts his recovery. Along with the removal of meteor canceling and the improved recoveries of the rest of the cast, Roy is arguably easier to edgeguard than in Melee, despite his improved recovery. Finally, despite the slower falling speeds in the game compared to Melee, Roy is still easy to combo, since he is heavier than in Melee. As a result of the previous two changes, Roy's overall survivability is slightly worse than in Melee.
Overall, both Roy's strengths and weaknesses are more pronounced than in Melee. While his sweetspotted attacks are more rewarding, he has to fight even closer in order to rack up damage due to his decreased range, while his sub-par survivability makes his playstyle highly risky. Due to this, it is difficult to say how much Roy has improved from Melee, and while he has been improved since said game, other returning veterans were also buffed to varying degrees.
Roy received some minor buffs from game updates. Update 1.1.0 gave Blazer additional hitboxes, making it easier to land. However, the same update reduced the damage outputs of its first and last hits, which slightly weakened its KO potential. The changes to shield mechanics brought about by updates 1.1.0 and 1.1.1 have made Roy's sweetspotted attacks much safer at the cost of his sourspotted attacks being unsafer, to the point where his semi-clone, Lucina, has safer attacks than both him and Marth. Lastly and most prominently, update 1.1.4 decreased the landing lag on all of his aerials and improved Double-Edge Dance's start-up and ending lag.
In competitive play
Tier placement and history
Roy's initial perception among the community was very positive; players almost immediately recognized his powerful offense due to the prominent strengths of his sweetspotted attacks, heavily damaging throw set-ups, and significantly improved mobility. These views were especially noted because his semi-clone, Marth, as well as Lucina, were considered poor characters at the time. Despite his extremely low representation, which is unseen of a perceived high-tier character, most of the community believed that Roy was a viable character, with ZeRo notably going as far as saying he was the best sword-wielding character in the game.
Even so, his viability was then disputed due to his poor tournament representation and results; furthermore, characters considered worse than him received a variety of buffs in later updates, with a corresponding increase in tournament results and representation than Roy, while his weaknesses were made much more apparent to the community. As such, opinions on Roy quickly started to change due to his vulnerability to combos, weak recovery, and how his playstyle forces him to approach as close as possible despite having a weak approach. In spite of these flaws and his poor representation and results, Roy was ranked 32nd on the first tier list, placing him at the top of the F tier and making him the highest ranked low-tier character.
However, update 1.1.4 granted Marth and Lucina major buffs that significantly increased their effectiveness, while Roy only gained minor landing lag decreases to his aerials. This resulted in them, especially Marth, achieving improved results from professionals and saw their opinions reassessed as those of a high-tier and a mid-tier character, respectively. Conversely, Roy remained a low-tier character due to the minimal effectiveness of his buffs from update 1.1.4. His position relative to the cast, however, was still disputed; some professionals like ZeRo reconsidered him to be on the lower end of the mid-tier, whereas others like Abadango considered him one of the worst characters in the game. In spite of his poor tournament representation, he received some results from the few professionals who do main him. The biggest upset occurred at Super Smash Con 2016, where Ryo used Roy at in an impressive, yet ironical two-game win streak over Abadango's Mewtwo, with Abadango later counterpicking Ryo's Roy with Rosalina & Luma and winning by a slim margin. These results, however, were not enough to repair Roy's negative perception, and subsequently saw Roy being ranked 50th on the second tier list, placing him at the bottom of the G tier and resulting in him plummeting from the top of the low-tier to the bottom of the low-tier.
All in all, Roy's standing relative to the cast remains among the most contentious of all characters. While his tournament representation and overall results still remain minimal overall, three Roy players (Spark, VoiD and ScAtt) managed to place 4th, 7th and 25th, respectively, at Smash the Record 2016 with the former two having played against each other in a Roy ditto. Ryo also managed to win grand finals at Kill Roy: Volume 2. When coupled with the aforementioned performances, Roy's overall viability has become debatable, to the point that he could possibly achieve a higher ranking on the subsequent tier list.