Roy (ロイ, Roy) is a secret character in Super Smash Bros. Melee. Roy is voiced by Jun Fukuyama. He is a clone of Marth, differentiated primarily by his sweetspots being located near the hilt of his blade rather than the tip.
Roy is currently ranked 20th on the tier list, in the F-tier. Roy's advantages include an above average approach due to having one of the best SHFFLs in the game, as well as a good grab game, and among the best reaches in the game thanks to his sword. However, Roy's flaws are significant, which include having poor flexibility in his combo game, attacks that are difficult to properly land, generally possessing significantly laggy attacks, possessing few moves that can KO reliably and only one of which (side smash) that is an adequate finisher, and among the worst recoveries in the game while being a light character that is heavily susceptible to combos; as a result, Roy has significant KOing problems while being easy to KO himself. These flaws overpower Roy's strengths, leading to numerous matchups hard countering him, especially against those who are higher ranked than him on many tier lists.
How to Unlock
To unlock Roy, the player must complete either Classic or Adventure Mode as Marth without using a continue, or play 900 VS. matches.
Roy is fought on Temple, with the track "Fire Emblem" playing.
Overall, Roy does not fall into any specific archetype of characters; while having a slew of powerful attacks, Roy himself is rather nimble, with a relatively fast dash, a good dash dance and a very high falling speed. However, Roy has a relatively below average air speed. A combination of a fast falling speed and a low traction gives Roy a decent wavedash.
Among Roy's primary strengths is his overall power in most of his ground based attacks. Roy's forward smash is a fast attack and is his primary KO move. Additionally, Roy has a powerful but laggy down smash and an up smash with multi-hit properties, decent knockback, and, when tipped, spike properties, though the lattermost property is rather situational. Roy's specials are also powerful; his Flare Blade is a deadly edgeguard tactic, almost guaranteeing a OHKO if fully or almost fully charged, his Double-Edge Dance naturally combos into itself and can act as a reliable finisher, and his Counter varies in power against other attacks. Against smash attacks, Roy's Counter can quickly become his most powerful move; its pseudo-semi-spike properties also makes it useful when the opponent's back is to the ledge.
Roy also has a decent ground-based approach. Despite his only average wavedash, Roy still has a disjointed hitbox with his Sword of Seals, as well as a rather fast dash. Additionally, a combination of low-lag, fast aerials and a very high falling speed gives Roy a useful SHFFL. Roy's SHFFL is among the best in the game due to its extreme speed, and it is potentially faster and stronger than even Marth's. Roy's down tilt also sends opponents directly upward, with decent hitstun, giving Roy a very good method to start combos. Additionally, while Roy's wavedash is not as long as Marth's, it can still aid his approach, aided by his disjointed hitbox and long grab range. As a result of his approach, Roy's reach is one of the best in Melee, with only Marth having a superior reach.
Roy's grab game is also good. Roy has the second highest grab range among characters who do not have extended grabs (such as Link), behind only Marth in this regard. His throws can easily chain into each other, as their low knockback and Roy's high grab range allow him to decently tech chase and chain grab. His up throw is also the second strongest in the game and can chain grab other fast fallers. Roy's grab game comprises a good deal of his edgeguard game. A common tactic is to force opponents off the stage with a down or forward throw and immediately intercept their recovery with a forward smash or Flare Blade.
Roy's primary flaw is his disjointed hitboxes. Unlike Marth, who can safely attack opponents from a distance, Roy must go into close proximity with the opponent to deliver strong damage and knockback, as the sweetspot on his sword is closer to the hilt than tip. While attacks can become incredibly powerful at this close of a range, this causes Roy to become very vulnerable, especially against characters with powerful close range attacks or grabs, such as Fox, Falco or Mewtwo. While Counter can potentially mitigate against physical attacks, it requires particularly good reads from the player to avoid punishment, and the attack is completely ineffective against grabs. Roy's sourspot is also weak compared to Marth's; while Marth still has some KOing potential in his sourspotted attacks, Roy's sourspotted attacks have very poor knockback and damage in comparison. As a result of this very close sweetspot, Roy himself lacks a particularly reliable KO move. With the exception of his forward smash and potentially his down smash, Roy has few options to quickly KO, and even these two attacks need to connect in close ranges in order for them to have any reasonable KOing power. Further compounding Roy's problems with KOing are his aerials; even when sweetspotted, none of these aerials can reliably KO under 200%, they require good setups in order to properly connect, and none of them can easily inflict damage in the first place. Roy also lacks any quick KO options. While he has two meteor smashes (the third hit of his "up" Double Edge Dance and his down air) and one spike (his tipped up smash), all three are highly situational, requiring particularly lucky or skilled setups in order to properly connect. Coupled with poor offstage options as a result of high-lag aerials that are all of high risk off the edge and a poor recovery, Roy is almost completely dependent on attempting to rack up damage with short combos, culminating in a reliance on wavesmashing and edgeguarding to garner KOs.
Roy also has poor comboing ability, in stark contrast with Marth. Roy has slightly below average air speed like Marth, but Roy's sweetspot once again hurts him. Roy cannot move fast enough in the air to hit with the hilt of his blade, causing primarily sourspotted attacks, resulting in low hitstun and hitlag attacks, hurting Roy's comboing game. Roy himself, however, is easy to combo; like other fast falling characters, his high falling speed harms him by making him extremely vulnerable to chain-throws and potentially even the space animal slayer. Even with fast falling speed, Roy's vertical survivability from the upper blast line is average due to either his lighter weight than characters such as Captain Falcon or much slower falling speed than characters like Falco, despite him being slightly lighter than Roy.
Like Marth, Roy also has a non-stellar recovery, though his faster falling speed and higher gravity make it far worse than Marth's and one of the worst in the game; adding to this, his high falling speed makes him extremely vulnerable to edgeguarding, as well as being easy to gimp. While Roy's Blazer is slightly more effective than Marth's Dolphin Slash, due to its greater horizontal distance, multi-hit properties that can aggravate edgeguarders, and its ability to be controlled to an extent, Roy still has high ending lag in his Blazer. Additionally, while Roy can still use Double Edge Dance to recover horizontally, it is not as effective as Marth's Dancing Blade due to his higher falling speed.
Differences from Marth
Roy is overall a considerably less effective character than Marth. All of his sweetspots are placed at the hilt of his blade, making it hard for him to space, and his down aerial's spike is a meteor smash hitbox that is difficult to hit with. Many of his attacks are slightly slower and his KO potential is much worse. Additionally, his wavedash and moonwalk are both shorter than Marth's, resulting in him being less mobile.
However, Roy does have some advantages. His up smash hits multiple times and can spike, making it more reliable than Marth's, and Flare Blade is much stronger than Shield Breaker, being a one hit KO when fully charged. Additionally, unlike Dolphin Slash, Blazer has multi-hit properties and can OHKO most lightweight fighters, like Mewtwo and Jigglypuff.
However, these advantages are not enough to alleviate his significant weaknesses, and it results in him having far less successful tournament results and a much smaller playerbase in comparison to Marth.
Grabs and throws
For a gallery of Roy's hitboxes, see here.
All of Roy's attacks are at their strongest when they hit with the center of the Sword of Seals; if an attack hits with both the sourspot and sweetspot hitboxes, then the sweetspot usually takes priority but sometimes sourspots do occur.
In Competitive play
Roy has a below-average matchup spread. According to the matchup chart, he has the 21st weighted total (tied with Yoshi). He counters only Pichu, soft counters two characters, and has two even matchups. On the disadvantageous side, he is soft countered by four characters (including a losing matchup to Kirby, despite Kirby being at the very bottom), countered by twelve characters, and is hard countered by four. His poor comboing ability, awful recovery, and vulnerability to combos have resulted in him struggling against most of the cast, with his matchups against those who can exploit his latter two problems (like Sheik and Jigglypuff) being especially terrible. The need to get up close in order to hit with his blade's sweetspot has also been cited as a major problem, as he cannot strike from afar without losing a heavy load of power in his attacks; such a detrimental property gives him trouble against characters with more favorable hitbox placement (like Marth and Falco). Although modern players have shown that his punish game against Fox and Falco is very similar to Marth's, implying that Roy's matchup against them is not as bad as the spread indicates, such punishes are very stage-dependent, and can only come about after Roy wins the neutral game, something that is more difficult to consistently perform as Roy than Marth at top-level play due to his inferior approaches and move safety.
Tier placement and history
On the current tier list, Roy ranks 20th, in the F tier. Roy as a competitive character has been ranked very low on most revisions of the tier list, with his highest rank being fifteenth on two separate occasions. Despite boasting some decent attacks and a good SHFFL, Roy has ranked low primarily because of his risky, unsafe approach, stemming from the poor sweetspot placement of his sword; Roy's physics also harmed his tier placing, as his high falling speed makes him easy to combo, creating poor synergy with his risky approach that favours close-ranged fighting, and it also causes his recovery to become considerably worse than most other characters. Roy's metagame also did not boast the potential creativity of other characters, especially Marth, owing to his over-reliance on his smash attacks; a lack of Roy mains have also prevented his metagame from potentially evolving, and most of Roy's previous mains have either become inactive in the tournament scene or have elected to use other, higher-tiered characters. Roy himself does not place well in tournaments, even in low tier tournaments, and arguably Roy's only notable representation ever has been NEO, because of his top 8 placings. His only arguable results in the current Melee metagame have been via Mew2King and PewPewU, who occasionally use him in games against lower-leveled players or in smaller-scale tournaments as a weaker substitute for their usual Marth.
The "Tier Wars" and comparison to Marth
Marth's and Roy's differences became the center of controversies on GameFAQs' tier list debates, specifically in 2003 and 2004, when the competitive scene was picking up. Marth players who generally supported the tier list claimed Marth had overall better attributes, in terms of speed, weight, and recovery capabilities. They also cited tournament results as proof for his superiority, with a multitude of professional Marth users such as Ken placing extremely high in major tournaments, while Roy lacked any such representation to back up the anti-tiers' arguments. Roy players who generally opposed the tier list, however, claimed that Roy's different attributes, such as his larger sweetspot in the center of his blade and general "superiority" in power, were enough to allow him to be as efficient of a character as Marth was; they also argued that professionals needed to learn how to use Roy as a different character from Marth in an attempt to disprove the tournament results.
Owing to the fact that these debates took place before extensive testing of Melee's engine, the debates were plagued by numerous inaccuracies that have since been disproven. The point about Marth's extra weight, for instance, is now considered moot; his extra weight is decidedly negligible, and can even be interpreted as a disadvantage, considering his extra weight makes him susceptible to Fox's shine combos, while Roy's lighter weight makes him immune to such combos. More importantly, pro-tiers made a common assumption that Marth is faster than Roy. While Marth indeed has a faster dashing speed, this claim is questionable, considering that Roy's SHFFL is faster than Marth's due to his falling speed and lower short hop. Similarly, some points brought up about Roy's viability are also now considered inaccurate. For instance, Roy's "superiority" in power has been disproven, as many of Marth's attacks, tipped and non-tipped, deal more knockback and damage than Roy's respective centered and non-centered strikes. The sweetspot in the hilt of the blade is now considered a disadvantage and one of the main reasons for Roy's poor tier placing; while Marth can attack from afar and still deal respectable damage, Roy cannot do so, lest his attacks hit with extremely low knockback; Roy's sourspot on the entire length of his blade, besides the hilt, is also much weaker than Marth's sourspot on the hilt of the Falchion.
Overall, the prime reason for Roy's named inferiority is precisely the one that anti-tiers tried to refute: Roy has too much trouble trying to KO his opponents. Marth has far more creative and flexible ways to string together moves, deal damage, KO, and edgeguard (especially due to his down aerial spike). Roy, however, lacks the same flexibility in his comboing and KOing games, and is instead heavily reliant on predictable and repetitive chaingrab and down tilt setups, with almost all of his viable combos ending in a forward smash. Roy's edgeguarding game is also considerably worse than Marth's; while Roy's down tilt is more useful for combos, it is not at all useful for intercepting the majority of recoveries (unlike Marth's). Additionally, Roy has a notoriously poor off-stage game due to his falling speed and ineffective aerials, which hinders his ability to perform gimps without SDing. The current metagame for Melee reflects these differences: Marth ranks in the S tier at 3rd place and features numerous dedicated mains, while Roy ranks in the F tier at 20th, and has very few dedicated mains.
Perhaps in spite of his inferiority to Marth, Roy still has a notably large fanbase in the Melee community, partially stemming from his notable roles in some machinima. In an unofficial poll held by NinBuzz, Roy was actually voted the fifth favourite Melee character amongst viewers, gaining 9% of the vote.
In single-player modes
In Classic Mode
Unusually, Roy does not appear at all in the Classic Mode when unlocked, neither as an ally, nor as an opponent, making him the only fighter who never appears at all; the reason for this is unknown. Despite this, Roy does have an introduction image for the "Now Loading..." screen between matches programmed into the disc.
In Adventure Mode
The Adventure Mode makes no concessions to Roy when he is unlocked. Like Marth, however, music associated with him can play in the Underground Maze stage.
In All-Star Mode
In All-Star Mode, Roy and his allies are fought on Final Destination, as Roy was not designated an official home stage. Final Destination has the unusual property of playing the Fire Emblem music track when accessed this way.
In Event Matches
Roy appears in two Event Matches:
Roy's four victory lines are:
When using Counter, he either says:
In addition to the normal trophy about Roy as a character, there are two trophies about him as a fighter, unlocked by completing the Adventure and All-Star modes respectively with Roy on any difficulty: