Marth (マルス, Marth) is a playable character in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. Like all veterans, he was officially confirmed as a playable character on June 12th, 2018. As in his appearances prior to Super Smash Bros. 4, he is unlockable, instead of being available from the start. 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. In overseas versions of the game, Marth is voiced in English by Yuri Lowenthal, who reprises his role from Code Name: S.T.E.A.M. onwards. Hikaru Midorikawa reprises his role in the Japanese version, providing new voice clips that mimic the ones he recorded in Super Smash Bros. Brawl.
How to unlock
Complete one of the following:
With the exception of the third method, Marth must then be defeated on Castle Siege.
Marth is considered to be emblematic of swordfighters; his playstyle revolves around spacing utilizing his unique signature tipper mechanic to deal high damage and knockback at a distance from his opponent. He has his remaining present attributes; he is a low-middleweight swordfighter, 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 a 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.
Marth maintains above-average KO potential in addition to his speed and maneuverability, with his sweet spotted attacks boasting impressive damage and knockback. His forward tilt is one of his most reliable tools on the ground, possessing a good range and a sweet spot that is easy to hit with, especially above Marth. It is good for closing out stocks as it can KO as early as 95% near the edge while remaining relatively safe. His down tilt sets up a tech chase situation starting at 60%, and his up tilt covers a relatively wide area around Marth himself. His aerials also possess high damage and knockback when sweet spotted, combined with his aerial maneuverability, grant him a respectable air game. When tippered, his forward smash can KO before 40% next to the ledge while uncharged, making it one of the most deceptively powerful forward smashes in the game. The meteor smash of his down aerial, while requiring exact timing, can not only gimp recoveries but also bounce opponents off the ground in such a way that it can immediately chain into tippered grounded attacks such as forward smash at medium percentages and up smash at higher percentages. His tipper mechanic benefits greatly from stages with low platforms such as Battlefield, allowing Marth to tipper with much more ease against opponents using forward tilt, up tilt, and especially his forward smash by covering said platforms with mostly the tipper areas of said attacks. Higher platforms follow a similar pattern except with his aerials, most notably up aerial. If Marth himself is standing on a low platform, he can combo the first hit of neutral attack, which pulls his opponent inward and downward, into a falling down aerial, though this requires some setup and his opponent to be airborne. He may also combo down aerial into itself once, provided his opponent is of average height or taller.
While Marth's tipper is the most optimal, the larger hitboxes of his sour spots provide benefits as well; they allow him to effectively combo into attacks one after another at a wider range of percentages. Most commonly, a sourspotted up tilt sets up into aerial-based juggles if it connects late. His neutral aerial's first hit also acts as an effective combo starter and extender when sourspotted and autocanceled, requiring Marth to start the move as he's about to land. This is also true for his up aerial. 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 some 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 considerably strong. His combination of good speed and range give him powerful 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 fast and disjointed hitboxes also allow him to challenge the opponent's falling attacks safely, and his tipper only further complements this. Because of this, Marth has an easy time keeping opponents in the air and racking up damage with his up tilt and powerful up aerial. These traits also grant him strong edgeguarding abilities, as his wide aerials can cover enemy movement well, and his tipper 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, the aptly-named Shield Breaker, deals very high shield damage, even when uncharged, and is useful for covering rolls and landings. Its best used while descending from the air when the opponent is most likely to expect a simple aerial and shield accordingly, and can even be used off-stage to challenge opponents that shield next to the edge intending to cover Marth's ledge recovery options. Dancing Blade is a four-hit combo that can be used to punish sidesteps and rolls, as well as effectively rack up damage. The final upward hit immediately puts the opponent into a disadvantaged state, and the final downward hits deal high damage. The final neutral hit can serve as an effective KOing option at higher percents, but if it successfully tippers, it can KO as early as 70% at the ledge with no rage. In a more advanced application of the move, the first hit of Dancing Blade by itself can be used to extend combos if used in the air, and chains particularly well into the first hit of neutral aerial. 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, whilst also giving him an easy and reliable combo finisher and KO option. It is also Marth's primary method of recovery, as its speed can make it difficult to intercept, and it can stage spike reckless edge guarders. 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 Pikachu, Olimar and Fox. On the other end of the spectrum, larger characters like Donkey Kong or King K. Rool, while easy to hit, can also cause attacks to sour spot more often due to Marth's blade hitboxes taking priority over the tipper hitting such big targets. 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 and understanding of his effect ranges (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 with scarce few setups. Additionally, unlike in past iterations, Marth can have a fairly difficult time consistently landing his tipper sweet spots to begin with as a result of the faster engine and alterations to his hitboxes that made his tipper smaller.
Compounding the difficulty Marth experiences trying to land his tipper, the increased knockback granted by tippered attacks can actually conflict with moves that consist of multiple hits, causing them to fail to correctly sweet spot or even connect on all hits unless at very specific percentages and ranges. These include his neutral attack, neutral aerial, and most notoriously Dancing Blade; Due to the changes to Dancing Blade, it is much harder for an opponent to fall or DI out of the sequence but it is also harder for Marth specifically to land more than one tipper in any use of the move. Should he tipper any earlier hits of these aforementioned attacks, it's highly likely that the opponent will be knocked too far away for the later ones to even connect. This means that Marth must initiate each of those moves from the sourspotted areas in order for them to function correctly, and properly time the strikes of Dancing Blade to tipper the finishers. As a result, Dancing Blade's high KO potential is offset by not only the difficulty of landing the tippered finisher, but also by it intrinsically having lower damage output than other characters' version of the move.
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% when 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 miss. Marth also has little defense against juggling, as his aerials are ineffective at relieving such pressure; though his attacks have a 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 edge guarders 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 a very dangerous situation if offstage without it.
Overall, Marth's strengths outweight his weaknesses. While his reliance on spacing and overall safety hinders him in many ways, his high overall mobility, long and disjointed range, above-average frame data and good damage output make up for it, his punishes are decently strong overall even if the stronger ones are fairly inconsistent. In general, he is usually considered a good character, but is weaker and more difficult to use than his Echo fighter Lucina and his former clone Roy and his Echo Fighter Chrom. Marth has received lackluster results and representation in the metagame of Ultimate, even if he is not weak, he is considered outclassed by Lucina competitively, who shares many of Marth's strengths with lesser weaknesses. As of update 8.0.0, the gap between Marth and Lucina is debatable due to the former receiving buffs.
Changes from Super Smash Bros. 4
Marth has been a high-ranking character in all of his appearances in the series, with both Melee and Brawl ranking him as a top tier character, and although SSB4 initially heavily nerfed him, he was significantly buffed in-game updates, allowing him to be ranked as top tier once again. Possibly as a result of this, Marth has received a mixture of buffs and nerfs in his transition to Ultimate, but has been predominantly and significantly nerfed overall, although with some compensations. Marth benefits from some of the changes to the game's engine. The ability to dash cancel into any attack improves his grounded spacing ability (especially for his tilt attacks), and allow him to bait attacks with fox-trotting; this is all further compounded by his fast running speed and greatly improved initial dash. The reduced landing lag on his aerials also make them safer for spacing and approaching, while also enhancing their combo ability. The changes to air dodge mechanics also enhance his juggling and edge guarding capabilities, as they provide less leeway for opponents to recover against his wide aerials, further improving his edge guarding game. Additionally, Dancing Blade has been sped up greatly, making its hits link into each other much more consistently.
However, Marth has received some noteworthy, direct nerfs. His neutral attack, previously an excellent combo starter and neutral tool due to its first hit, has been altered as with most neutral attacks so that it can only follow up into the second hit from the first, completely removing its powerful jab cancel from SSB4 that was a great strength to Marth's gameplan. His specials have also been slightly nerfed, with Dolphin Slash and Counter being a bit more punishable than before, and Dancing Blade dealing less damage. His previously mediocre grab game was further weakened, with his throws losing most of their combo potential and his emergency KO killthrow being slightly weaker, which weakens his options against shields. Marth's biggest direct nerf, however, is to his KO ability; a good number of Marth's sourspotted attacks (most notably forward smash and Dancing Blade's untippered fourth forward hit) and tipper forward aerial now deal less knockback, whereas his forward and back aerials have had their hitbox positionings worsened, making landing the tippers more difficult. This makes it much more imperative for Marth to carefully space his attacks in order to land his tippers as often as possible.
Furthermore, despite benefitting from some of the changes to the gameplay mechanics, Marth is overall harmed by gameplay mechanics, due to his defensive playstyle. Particularly, Marth is harmed by the universal increase in mobility; while it further improves his already fast mobility, it has made landing his tippers more difficult, as the game's faster pace fosters more aggressive playstyles than in Smash 4. The removal of perfect pivoting and lack of quick, safe, and reliable grounded micro spacing options only further magnifies his spacing troubles. All of this is further exacerbated by both the weakening of some of Marth's front-hitting attacks and his weakened grab game, as both make his defensive playstyle much less effective and significantly harder to properly execute. On top of it, Marth's already linear recovery was also made less safe by the changes to air dodging as well as the reduction in edge sweet spot size, making him easier to edge guard and thus worsening his survivability. Lastly, the weakening of rage also weakens Marth's ability to close out stocks at ludicrously low percentages.
Overall, the benefits Marth gained from the engine do not compensate at all for the nerfs he received and the large hindrances the engine has also indirectly given him, as Marth now has a harder time landing his tipper sweet spots, while his already weak and less effective sour spots were only nerfed. The spacing nerfs he received were extremely detrimental, as he relies on spacing the most out of any swordfighter to be used at his best. In addition, the knockback nerfs he received have made it very difficult for him to consistently KO his opponents. Thus, Marth is now generally agreed to be inferior to all three of his derivatives; particularly, his Echo Fighter, Lucina, is widely regarded as much easier and lenient to play, and superior to him on top of being considered as the best swordfighter in the game, whereas Marth is more difficult to use properly as a result.
As a result of his nerfs, Marth's tournament representation is very poor, and he has hardly achieved any results in Ultimate's early metagame; notably, both MkLeo and Mr. E, his two strongest players from SSB4, have dropped him in favor of Lucina, though MkLeo has since occasionally returned to using Marth in low-profile tournaments. Due to Lucina's dominance and Marth's almost non-existent results, his competitive perception has been poor, with many players ranking him noticeably lower than Lucina, often ranking him as a mid tier character (VoiD in particular puts him as a low tier), whereas Lucina is consistently regarded as a high- or top-tier. However, some other players claim that Marth is underrated, with players such as MkLeo, Meru, and Leffen acknowledging Marth's strengths over Lucina and even Roy still being significant enough to keep him from falling too far behind them and considering him a low-high tier character. Due to this, Marth's current competitive viability is highly debatable, and it is unknown how he will fare in the long run.
Throws and other attacks
Unlike his three derivatives (Lucina, Roy, and Chrom), Marth has mostly remained the same since Ultimate's release, except a small but important buff to his dash grab in 3.0.0 that fixed an issue with grabbing some opponents who were shielding. Like his derivatives, he benefits from the projectile shield damage nerfs implemented in update 3.0.0.
After a long absence from patch notes, Marth was given a few substantial buffs in update 8.0.0. Most notably, the update altered the non-tipper positions of his forward, back, and up aerials, making the tippers easier to hit; this substantially improves some of his staple moves, and primarily benefits both his aerial game and his edgeguarding. His down smash also sports more knockback and thus more KO power when the tipper hitbox is landed.
For a gallery of Marth's hitboxes, see here.
Note: All numbers are listed as base damage, without the 1v1 multiplier.
In competitive play
In stark contrast to pre-release Ultimate, where it was speculated that Marth could for the first time ever be the best character in a Smash game and possibly even broken, Marth has hardly received any results, with much of his player-base quickly pocketing or dropping him in favor of other characters (especially Lucina, who is widely considered to be more effective and easier than Marth as a character), and his perception rapidly fell. For the first time since the heyday of SSB4, he has been considered an "irrelevant" character in tournament play. Members of the PGStats team found that among over 3000 PR Ranked players around the world, there are only 5 active Marth mains, making him the 3rd least popular character as of April 2020 . Some of the big reasons in the character's decline include the smaller tipper hitboxes and the removal of perfect pivoting to space tippers consistently.
MkLeo, known for popularizing Marth in SSB4, has occasionally used Marth in a few tournament sets, notably at 2GG: Prime Saga and Smash Ultimate Summit 2. However, most pro players agree that while Marth may not be a bad character, there is no reason to play him in Ultimate when Lucina’s attributes are widely considered to be more effective and consistent than his. Though Leo initially used Marth to achieve a notable degree of success, even he has acknowledged the character's shortcomings in comparison to Lucina, especially since he hasn't used Marth since Smash Ultimate Summit 2. Patch 8.0.0 buffed Marth's tipper hitboxes on some of his aerials; whether these buffs were significant enough to increase his viability has yet to be seen, although players tend to agree that his tier placement is his worst iteration overall.
Any number following the Smasher name indicates placement on the Fall 2019 PGRU, which recognizes the official top 50 players in the world in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate from July 13th, 2019 to December 15th, 2019.
Classic Mode: A Kingdom of Dragons
Marth fights draconic opponents on various medieval-themed stages, referencing the prevalence of dragon enemies in all his games. The Mii Fighters sport dragon-themed costumes. As a reference to how Marth fights a dragon as the final boss in his own games, he fights Rathalos, a wyvern (clearly labeled as a dragon in the original Japanese), as the boss of his route. The name is also likely a reference to Dohlr, a former Kingdom of Manaketes (Dragon shapeshifters).
Note: All stages Marth travels to are Fire Emblem and The Legend of Zelda stages.
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]." ("一人で十体ぐらい倒せばいけるか?", Maybe we can win this by taking about ten 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