Lucina (ルキナ, Lucina) is a playable character in Super Smash Bros. 4. She was revealed during a livestream on July 14th, 2014 on the official Super Smash Bros. website, during which Captain Falcon was announced and Robin was also revealed. Laura Bailey and Yū Kobayashi reprise their roles as Lucina's English and Japanese voice actors, respectively.
Lucina is currently ranked 14th out of 55 on the tier list. In addition to placing her in the B tier, this renders her as the second highest ranking high-tier character, as well as the highest ranking clone and unlockable character. Like Marth, her ancestor within the Fire Emblem series, Lucina has good overall mobility, which gives her reliable control in her movement for both approaching and retreating. Her Parallel Falchion grants her disjointed range, while the majority of her moveset has minimal start-up lag. By extension, Lucina has useful combo starters in the forms of her neutral attack's first hit, her neutral aerial's first hit and Dancing Blade, access to guaranteed horizontal KO set-ups unique to her, and respectable KO potential courtesy of her forward smash, up smash, back aerial and Shield Breaker.
The Parallel Falchion's lack of a tipper makes Lucina's attacks less polarized than Marth's and, in turn, grants her several benefits. These include Lucina inflicting higher shieldstun at close range (which makes her slightly more difficult to punish out of shield compared to Marth's sourspotted attacks), her being slightly better at defending against close-ranged pressure (most notably against rushdown-oriented characters like Captain Falcon), and her KO potential being more consistent at high percentages.
However, Lucina also shares Marth's flaws. Her attacks have short hitbox durations, some of which also have noticeable ending lag, which can make her susceptible to punishment if she does not space efficiently. She also has a poor grab game: her throws fail to combo reliably starting at medium percentages, while only her up throw has KO potential, and only at very high percentages. Lucina is also vulnerable to edgeguarding, due to Dolphin Slash's linearity making it fairly easy to gimp. Furthermore, she is vulnerable to combos and juggling, due to her lack of reliable anti-pressure options.
The Parallel Falchion's lack of a tipper hitbox is also a double-edged sword for Lucina. While her moveset is safer overall compared to Marth's thanks to her attacks having consistent knockback, low hitlag modifiers, and slightly higher shieldstun at close range, Lucina's attacks are more punishable than Marth's if not spaced well because of Marth benefiting from his tipper's higher shieldstun. Despite their consistent power, Lucina's strongest KOing options are also weaker than Marth's tippered attacks, preventing her from gaining an advantage by scoring early KOs. Lastly, her higher overall knockback removes several noteworthy sourspotted combos that Marth possesses at high percentages, while her unique KO set-ups are riskier than his.
As a result of these differences, Lucina has ultimately been viewed by many professionals as inferior to Marth. This has been reflected by their respective tier placements throughout SSB4's lifespan. Although Lucina has not achieved the breakout of impressive results that Marth has, several professionals, such as Mr. R, Dabuz, and ZeRo, believe that the gap between her and Marth is not as significant as it seems, if it exists at all. This has been most notably demonstrated by ZeRo having adopted her as a secondary as of late March 2017, as he had continued winning regional and national tournaments up until his retirement.
How to unlock
After completing one of the two methods, Lucina must then be defeated on Arena Ferox.
After completing one of the two methods, Lucina then must be defeated on Coliseum.
Lucina is a clone of Marth: her moveset and animations are primarily based off of his, while their attributes are identical. As such, Lucina is tied with Marth as the second lightest middleweight in the game, yet she boasts great overall mobility like he does: she has the fastest walking speed in the game, above-average dashing speed and air acceleration, average air speed and falling speed, and low gravity. Lucina is also slightly shorter than Marth, although this is largely inconsequential because of her overall range being equal to his.
The primary difference between Lucina and Marth is their swords: Lucina's Parallel Falchion has a consistent damage output throughout its blade, whereas Marth's Falchion is more powerful when hitting with its blade's tip, but is significantly weaker throughout the rest of its blade. By extension, the power of all Lucina's attacks is approximate to the weighted average of Marth's sweetspotted and sourspotted attacks, if not very slightly higher. These traits collectively grant Lucina a few advantages that help her set apart from Marth; in particular, her neutral game is overall safer because of the higher shieldstun on average her moves can inflict, which makes her moves safe on shield when spaced correctly. A prime example of this is her forward aerial, which is arguably her most useful spacing option, especially when utilizing the middle or tip of her Parallel Falchion's blade.
Another advantage that Lucina possesses is her consistent KO potential: unlike Marth, precise spacing is not required for all her moves to deal dependable knockback, whereas Marth's sourspotted attacks deal mediocre damage and knockback even at high percentages. Noteworthy examples include her up smash, down aerial and Dancing Blade, which are all more powerful than Marth's equivalents in any given case. Although Lucina does not have as many intricate sourspot combos or set-ups that Marth can utilize to set up his tippers, she gains more consistent damage off her own combos than Marth due to her lack of such sourspots. She also has her own KO set-ups into other moves different from those of Marth off the first hit of neutral attack, while sharing some of them with him, and those she shares being arguably easier to perform because of the Parallel Falchion's consistent hitboxes; the most prominent example is the KO combo consisting of the first hit of her neutral attack into forward smash, which is overall more effective when compared to Marth's thanks to her balanced hitstun and knockback.
There are also many strengths Lucina shares with Marth. Like him, many of her moves possess good range, fast start-up, and cover wide arcs, allowing her to pressure the opponent without leaving herself open to punishment. Her special moveset also possesses immense utility, and in two cases, more than that of Marth: Shield Breaker can break shields due to its high shield damage even when uncharged (breaking them much easier than Marth's version due to the lack of a sourspot), and is useful for punishing rolls. It also grants some horizontal movement, which is amplified when fully charged. Dancing Blade is a four-hit combo that has respectable utility, as it can be used to punish sidesteps and boasts combo, mix-up, KO and even recovery potentials. In comparison to Marth's version, it does not link as well due to each hit's higher knockback, but it has much better KO potential. Dolphin Slash has quick start-up, provides intangibility during its start-up, and is relatively strong upon coming out. These attributes make it Lucina's primary method of recovery, as its speed can make it difficult to intercept, especially from out of shield, while its power makes it capable of breaking combos and even stage spiking reckless edgeguard attempts. Lastly, Counter, is a counterattack with a 1.2× damage multiplier that can KO an opponent who uses a sufficiently strong attack.
The last strength she shares with Marth is her strong edgeguarding ability: her forward and back aerial's fast start-up and good range make them go-to edgeguarding options. Down aerial is relatively quick, and can strongly meteor smash opponents if it hits at the center of the arc. Forward smash's range makes it a good choice against opponents aiming their recoveries directly towards the edge, such as Little Mac and Falco, and down tilt's range and speed make it good at exploiting an opponent's 2 frame-long vulnerability when grabbing the ledge. Both have the ability to hit below the edge as well.
Nonetheless, Lucina also possesses notable disadvantages compared to Marth. The lack of a tipper is both a good and bad point: while the lack of a tipper does make her combos and rushdown tactics more consistently damaging than Marth's, if Lucina cannot land a KOing option, she is left with vastly inferior KOing options compared to Marth's tippered moves; she cannot secure early KOs with hard reads or gain as much positional advantage off precise spacing against approaches or shields. This makes her slightly less threatening in the neutral game; attacking opponents do not have to space their approaches relative to the Parallel Falchion's blade the same way they would with Marth's Falchion, and defending opponents do not need to adjust their spacing to avoid being hit by a tipper. As such, in order for Lucina's attacks to be safe on shield, she must still utilize her Parallel Fachion's range in order to space her moves at the middle portion or the tip of its blade. Opponents also do not have to worry about being KO'd early from a powerful and timely tippered attack, which in turn makes Lucina somewhat inferior at pressuring opponents in comparison to Marth.
She also shares some of the weaknesses Marth does: despite having below average weight and average falling speed, Lucina is susceptible to combos, and her slightly above average height makes her a rather easy target. She also has little defense against juggling, as her aerials are ineffective at relieving pressure. Though her attacks have quick start-up, many of them come with high ending and landing lag, and lack lingering hitboxes, making her attacks unsafe to use on shield up close despite their greater power. Her moveset also lacks a projectile, making her struggle against projectile-oriented characters.
While Lucina can pressure characters and force them to hold shield and block her attacks, she often struggles against shields, as improperly spaced aerials leave her susceptible to punishment, and Shield Breaker is highly punishable if predicted. This is further compounded by Lucina's fairly poor grab game, since her throws deal little knockback, fail to combo past medium percentages and fail to KO at realistic percentages, with the exception of up throw. Lastly, she is vulnerable to edgeguarding: Dolphin Slash is her only reliable recovery option, and despite being hard for edgegurders to outcome thanks to its speed and power, it has a linear path with fixed distance, making it predictable regardless. Due to its below-average horizontal distance, she is also vulnerable to semi-spikes. She does have options to mix it up, though: Shield Breaker can aid her horizontal recovery when fully charged, while Dancing Blade stalls her after a midair jump. Even so, she is also heavily reliant on her midair jump for mixing up her recovery, and she is in significant danger of being gimped if off-stage without it.
Overall, Lucina is a "lower-risk, lower-reward" version of Marth. She trades heavy power and range for more consistent spacing and damage racking abilities, as well as more consistent KO potential. Like Mario and Pit, she has a low learning curve thanks to her straightforward playstyle, since she benefits from spacing at close range while also having several fast and reliably strong KOing options. Despite this, and due to Marth's more rewarding KO and spacing potentials, she must play more defensively in order to utilize her moveset to the fullest, namely her moves' consistently high knockback, though without getting the extra reward Marth obtains by doing so. While she does possess some advantages that allow her to fare better in certain matchups compared to Marth, such as Pikachu and Captain Falcon, she still lacks the main advantages that Marth's tipper provides. Despite her flaws, Lucina's actual level of viability is debatable: although her playerbase is fairly small, she receives strong results from the players who do use her, with the most notable examples being ZeRo's numerous tournament victories upon adopting her as a secondary in 2017.
Initially a poorly regarded character like her ancestor, Lucina has been buffed significantly thanks to game updates. Updates 1.0.6, 1.0.8, 1.1.0 and 1.1.3 collectively improved her overall damage output, decreased the ending lag of several combo-oriented moves, and increased the knockback of many of her standard attacks.
However, the biggest buffs Lucina received were indirect. Originally, the low shieldstun used in SSB4 made her neutral game quite unsafe, and the fact that her moves (aside from neutral attack) lack hitlag modifiers resulted in them being less safe on shield than Marth's sourspotted attacks. The changes to shield mechanics brought about by updates 1.1.0 and 1.1.1 remedied this by making her moves safer on shield, especially when compared to Marth and Roy's sourspotted moves. Shield Breaker was nerfed as a trade-off, however, as its shield damage was decreased.
Lastly, update 1.1.4 increased all of the damage outputs for all of Lucina's aerials, which not only improved her aerial combo and juggle potentials, but further closed the gap between her overall damage output and Marth's. Her grounded attacks and aerial attacks' hitboxes were also increased to the point where, like Marth, her range now overreaches certain characters' ranges, such as Sheik's. When coupled with her multitude of buffs, Lucina is much better than she was during SSB4's initial release.
Technical changelist 1.0.8
Technical changelist 1.1.0
Technical changelist 1.1.3
In competitive play
Tier placement and history
Upon SSB4's release, Lucina was quickly compared to Marth due to her inheriting many of the flaws he had received in his transition from Brawl. Although her Parallel Falchion boasts consistent power, this strength has been viewed as less effective in comparison to Falchion's tipper, resulting in Lucina being widely regarded as worse than Marth, as well being poorly regarded early on. As time went on, however, game updates gradually improved Lucina, with the vast majority of her buffs being shared with Marth. These changes helped her mitigate some of the problems she initially had, although they were not sufficient enough in comparison to Marth's, who began developing a much more dedicated playerbase than her. As such, Lucina achieved much poorer results in comparison, which saw her ranked 47th on the first 4BR tier list, placing her in the bottom-tier and six places below Marth.
However, Lucina continued to improve over time, and gained some other significant buffs in update 1.1.4, with some of them once again being shared with Marth. These improvements allowed Lucina's offense to flow more consistently than before, giving her a niche over Marth in certain matchups. Although these buffs were still not enough to enable her to achieve significant results, even from her best players like C-Lu and Kogarasuma, they still improved her perception within the community. As a result, Lucina ranked 36th on the second tier list, resulting with her being reassessed as a mid-tier character, and gaining the fourth largest rise between the first and second tier lists. Even so, players such as ZeRo and Dabuz considered Lucina's position on the tier list as too low, due to most of her strengths being shared with Marth. To reflect the drastic improvements brought about by game updates, as well as her stonger, if rare, results, Lucina was then ranked 18th on the third tier list; by extension, this was the largest rise between the second and third tier lists.
Although Lucina was still considered to be inferior to Marth overall, some smashers claimed her placing to be somewhat low, especially considering the briefly improved results brought by ZeRo during the spring and summer of 2017 after picking her up as a secondary, as well as better results brought by other players like Kogarasuma and Mr.E. Thanks to these results, she has rised to 14th on the fourth and current tier list, and she is the only bottom-tier character to ever become a high-tier one.
In Event Matches
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