Marth (マルス, Marth) is a playable character in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. He was officially confirmed as playable on June 12th, 2018. Marth is classified as fighter #21.
This is the first time in the Super Smash Bros. series where Marth is not left voiced in Japanese in all regions. Yuri Lowenthal, Marth's English voice actor from Code Name S.T.E.A.M., Fire Emblem Fates, Fire Emblem Heroes, and Fire Emblem Warriors, reprises his role in overseas versions of the game while Hikaru Midorikawa continues to voice Marth in the Japanese version of the game, this time with new voice clips.
How to unlock
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Marth is considered to be emblematic of swordfighters; his playstyle revolves around spacing—utilizing his unique tipper mechanic to deal high damage and knockback at a distance from his opponent. He has his remaining present attributes; he is in the middleground of lightweight and middleweight, boasting high overall mobility, notably sporting the fastest walking speed in the game (tied with his Echo Fighter, Lucina), a fast dashing speed, average air speed, above-average air acceleration, moderate falling speed, and low gravity.
Marth's playstyle revolves around effective spacing, as in all of his other playable appearances, due to his aforementioned tipper mechanic; his sword attacks do the most damage and knockback near the tip of the sword. His frame data is overall above-average, with many attacks having low startup and wide range all-around, allowing him to space efficiently. Because of this, Marth aims to fight a step away from danger, without leaving himself too open to punishment.
While Marth's tipper is the most optimal, the larger hitboxes of his sourspots provide benefits as well; they allow him to effectively combo into attacks one after another at a wider range of percentages. He also benefits from being one of the few characters in the game who can outright KO through playing his neutral and spacing game; essentially, while Marth's neutral reward is not as rewarding or damaging as other characters, Marth has the ability to win neutral exchanges with relative ease and safety, as well as having consistent set-ups and follow-ups.
Marth's advantage state as a whole is somewhat strong. His combination of good speed and range give him reasonable juggling capabilities, as he can easily dash to where a falling opponent might land and catch them with his wide attacks, especially his up tilt and up aerial. His disjointed hitboxes also allow him to challenge opponent's falling attacks safely. Because of this, Marth has an easy time keeping opponents in the air and racking up damage. These traits also grant him strong edgeguarding abilities, as his wide aerials can cover enemy movement well, and his tippers can outright KO offstage opponents thanks to their power. Moreover, his general floatiness also allows him to recover back to the stage after edgeguarding attempts fairly safely.
Marth's special moveset provides interesting options as well; his neutral special, Shield Breaker, deals very high shield damage, even when uncharged, and is useful for covering rolls and landings. Dancing Blade is a four-hit combo that can be used to punish sidesteps and rolls, as well as effectively rack up damage. At higher percents, it can serve as an effective KOing option. Dolphin Slash has quick startup, provides slight intangibility during its startup frames, is relatively strong when it first comes out, and has high knockback scaling. These attributes make it an excellent out-of-shield option and combo breaker. It is also Marth's primary method of recovery, as its speed can make it difficult to intercept, and it can stage spike reckless edgeguarders. Lastly, Counter provides him with the capability to reverse attacks with 1.2× the damage, KOing if the attack was strong enough; it can also be used against opponents with easily predictable recoveries.
Despite his strengths, Marth has some notable weaknesses. The most severe of these is his extreme reliance on tippers and spacing ability, which gives him a subpar up-close game at higher percents, and makes it more difficult for Marth to KO and threaten faster/smaller characters, such as Pichu, Olimar and Fox. The low shieldstun and hitstun generated by non-tippered moves make it possible for opponents to act out quicker than he can, causing Marth to struggle against shields if his aerials are improperly spaced, and Shield Breaker is highly punishable if predicted. His tipper mechanic can equally disadvantage him when attempting to KO, as his attacks do not generate much knockback if not spaced properly, making his KO potential very inconsistent without proper spacing (most notably with forward smash, forward tilt and aerials). Lastly, his edgeguarding ability, though strong, is flawed, both due to the need for tippers and the moderately high ending lag on his aerials. As a result, Marth is reliant on being in a certain distance for his moves to be safe while retaining the neutral, and to KO effectively without setups. Additionally, unlike in past iterations, Marth can have a fairly difficult time consistently landing his tipper sweetspots to begin with, which is harmful for him due to his heavy reliance on spacing, even when compared to other swordfighters in the game.
Marth's weak throws tie into his polarized KO power. Except for up throw, they have low knockback scaling, preventing them from KOing at realistic percents, while up throw can only KO starting at 170%, if Marth has no rage. His other throws are somewhat lackluster; aside from having a fairly fast pummel, Marth's throws deal low damage and have high base knockback, making them poor for combos and damage-racking outside of down throw leading into an aerial until high percents. However, it should be noted that the high base knockback of his throws allow Marth to take advantage of his good edgeguarding capability, especially at the edge.
As a solely sword-based character, Marth's neutral also suffers from a lack of a projectile, and he can struggle against projectile-heavy characters and playstyles. This ties in with his vulnerability once he loses the neutral; despite having below average weight and only average falling speed, Marth is susceptible to combos, and his tall hurtbox provides an easy target. Dolphin Slash is his only reliable combo-breaker, but as it leaves him helpless, it can inadvertently put him in an even worse position. Also, while Counter can be used defensively, it leaves Marth extremely vulnerable to punishment should it whiff. Marth also has little defense against juggling, as his aerials are ineffective at relieving such pressure; though his attacks have quick startup, many of them come with high ending lag, and also suffer from short hitbox durations.
Marth himself is somewhat vulnerable to edgeguarding, though he has options for mix-ups with his recovery. Dolphin Slash is his only reliable vertical recovery option, and while it is still a threat to edgeguarders due to its speed and high stage spike ability, its path is linear and its distance fixed, making it fairly predictable. Additionally since this move grants little horizontal distance, Marth is vulnerable to semi-spikes. While Shield Breaker can aid his horizontal recovery, it covers little distance without charging. Marth is also heavily reliant on his double jump for mix-ups in his recovery, and is in significant danger if offstage without it.
Overall, Marth's strengths are outweighed by his weaknesses. While he has high overall mobility, long and disjointed range, and above-average frame data, his close-range game is not ideal due to the relatively high ending lag on his moves, and his sourspotted moves dealing a low amount of knockback. Additionally, Marth can have a very difficult time consistently landing his sweetspots, which is harmful due to his heavy reliance on spacing. Marth has received lackluster results and representation in the early metagame of Ultimate, implying that he is a competitively unviable character unlike his fellow Fire Emblem representatives Roy, Ike, Lucina and Chrom.
Changes from Super Smash Bros. 4
Marth has received a mixture of buffs and nerfs, but has been moderately nerfed overall. Some of the gameplay changes have benefitted Marth; his high dash speed complements the ability to dash cancel into any attack, allowing him to bait attacks with fox-trotting, and use his tilts as more effective spacing tools. The reduced landing lag on all aerials also makes them safer for spacing and approaching, while also enhancing their combo ability. The new limits on the air dodge also greatly enhance his juggling and edgeguarding capabilities, as they provide less leeway for opponents to recover against his wide aerials. Additionally, Dancing Blade has been sped up greatly, making its hits link into each other much more consistently.
In the transition, however, Marth received a few noteworthy nerfs. His jab, previously an excellent combo starter and neutral tool, has been altered as with most jabs so that it can only follow up into the second hit from the first, completely removing its powerful jab cancel from SSB4 that was vital to Marth's gameplan. His already linear recovery is made less safe by the limits on air dodging as well as the reduction in edge sweet spot size, worsening his endurance. His specials received some small nerfs, with Dolphin Slash and Counter being slightly more punishable than before, and Dancing Blade dealing less damage. His sourspotted attacks (most notably forward smash) and tipper forward aerial deal less knockback. Furthermore, the faster engine makes landing tippers much more tricky, indirectly encouraging the use of Marth's clone and semi-clones, Roy, Lucina, and Chrom, over him.
Overall, the benefits Marth gains from the engine are largely outweighed by the nerfs he received, as Marth has a considerably harder time landing his powerful tipper sweetspots, while his already weak and largely ineffective sourspots were only nerfed. This is detrimental for him due to his heavy reliance on spacing, more so than any other swordfighter in the game. As a result of his nerfs, Marth has hardly achieved any results in Ultimate's early metagame, and his aforementioned counterparts have all done significantly better than him, due to being significantly more consistent and being much better at close-quarters combat than he is; in particular, both MkLeo and Mr E, his two strongest players from SSB4, also dropped him in favor of his more consistent Echo Fighter. Marth is generally agreed to be inferior to all three of his clones by top-level players, with Lucina being generally regarded as vastly superior to Marth overall on top of her being considered as the best swordfighter in the game. Due to Lucina's dominance and Marth's almost non-existent results, he is almost viewed as an "irrelevant" character with many top players ranking him noticeably lower than Lucina on their tier list. Komorikiri who used Marth in Smash 4 went as far as claiming that he's one of the worst characters in the game. This, however, is widely debatable as Marth still has several of the tools that help Lucina be dominant.
Throws and other attacks
Note: All numbers are listed as base damage, without the 1v1 multiplier.
In competitive play
Ever since the beginning of Ultimate’s metagame, Marth has hardly received any results with many of his player-base vanishing in favor of other characters (including Lucina who is widely considered to be much more effective than Marth as a character). This is due to the severe nerfs he received from Smash 4 in which Marth has a considerably harder time landing his tippered sweetspot attacks, while his already weak and largely ineffective sourspots were made even weaker. This has led players to believe that Marth is generally an "irrelevant" and possibly unviable character in tournament play.
Classic Mode: A Kingdom of Dragons
Marth fights draconic opponents on various medieval-themed stages. The Mii Fighters sport dragon-themed costumes. Similar to he fights a dragon as the final boss in his own games, the boss of his route, Rathalos, is the draconic opponent.
Role in World of Light
Marth was among the fighters that were summoned to fight the army of Master Hands.
During the opening cutscene, Marth took notice of the massive number of Master Hands, telling the other fighters that they would "need to take down about ten [Master Hands each]." He was present on the cliffside when Galeem unleashed his beams of light. He was vaporized offscreen and placed under Galeem's imprisonment along with the other fighters (excluding Kirby).
During the mode itself, Marth can be unlocked early on shortly after rescuing Mario, where the player arrives at a crossroads and has the choice to rescue him, Sheik, or Villager. If one of the others is rescued first, Marth's path will be blocked by a force field created by Master Hand, which will disappear upon defeating a boss or can be circumvented by looping back to the other side.
Marth's Fighter Spirit can be obtained by completing Classic Mode. It is also available periodically for purchase in the shop for 500 coins. Unlocking Marth in World of Light allows the player to preview the spirit below in the Spirit List under the name "???". As a Fighter Spirit, it cannot be used in Spirit Battles and is purely aesthetic. Each Fighter Spirit has an alternate version that replaces them with their artwork in Ultimate.
In Spirit battles
As the main opponent
As a minion
Character Showcase Video
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