The blade of two fates - Marth/Lucina guide

The blade of two fates - Marth/Lucina guide

Applicable Games
Smash 3DS, Smash Wii U
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Greetings everyone. As I am looking for players to help me learn the competitive scene as best as possible, I want to see if what I had come up with will be of any help to Marth/Lucina players like myself. I'll appreciate any feedback I can get on these ideas (which, for the record, I had posted this elsewhere first, but there seems to be a good amount of active Marth players here to warrant a second posting xD). Some of these have carried over from previous smash games, so do keep that in mind. If there are other techniques around, do let me know and I can add it to the main post with credits and all that. Anyways, let's get started.

To cut the long story short, I'm looking into ways that Marth can push his potential in terms of set ups and possibly combos. Slowly but surely, Marth's current meta is taking form (though honestly not that different from his previous iterations it seems, just different tools and such). Now that this guide is at a very good point, I felt it was time to start branching out towards the Lucina community with this (as I have seen, alot of it applies to them too). With everyone's help, I'm sure we will find out exactly what makes Marth and Lucina tic for this new iteration of smash and push this character forward.

Note that some of these have been present in previous iterations in smash, but they've been divided up into subsections so you can read what you don't know about. Also until I have edited the guide to reflect Lucina's aspects, just note that every time I say Marth, I am also referring to Lucina. Though I'll flesh out the differences in due time, but this still is primarily a Marth guide.


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UPDATE (18/12/2015):

With the patch having hit the shelves, we are treated to a lowered knockback for Dancing Blades. As such, I went through the guide, and thankfully, the percents mentioned still work (as weight plays a key roll on when these work). Other than having to wait a bit more for the setups (which does sting a bit for me :/), some of the true DB combos work earlier now.

This isn't to say there isn't anything to update though. I have looked through and updated some of the DB setups/combos for clarification + new combos, the DThrow section now has its general percentage for the UAir true combo, as well as added new videos to the video section (took me long enough xD)



Older updates below:
UPDATE (11/10/2014):
Abbreviations have been added, more on SH DB in strategy section have been added, as well as some info on ground DB. Also, minor additions and credits given to those suggestions people have put in.

UPDATE (10/10/2014):
short hops added to strategy section. As well as the link to the foxtrotting, perfect pivot, etc post has been put in.

UPDATE (12/10/2014):
New off stage subsection added to the re-termed Air Dancing Blades (which includes a setup to Spike), as well as a new strategy called Fair Assault added.

UPDATE (13/10/2014):
Added Emblem Lord's guide on Marth's translation to Smash 4 and other helpful tips as a link above. Also updated Fair Assault in the strategy section below.

UPDATE (15/10/2014):
Added a new subsection called DB Up B setup, as well as added a new section called putting everything together. The latter will talk about the strings I follow with Marth, as to perhaps give some ideas to you guys on what to use and where.

UPDATE (17/10/2014):
Small update on DB Up B setup, SH DB, and putting everything together.

UPDATE (18/10/2014):
New combos for the SH DB (check Uair and Dolphin Slash). Also added info on DB Up B setup. Also another main section added for videos that display some (if not all) of the stuff seen here.

UPDATE (19/10/2014):
added Dodge cancels to the strategy section, thanks to CT_DeLux and res0smash for the discovery

UPDATE (24/10/2014):
Out of shield options added to strategy section, as well as some minor updates to Fair setup, SH DB strategy, down throw setup/combo, and the dodge cancelling subsections. Also a new section has been added to the beginning, called "the Basics". This post is becoming more of a guide at this point, so I figured to go over the basics from a beginner Marth's perspective. Please note that some of the stuff from the strategy section has been moved here due to it's general application purposes. Also, it is not fully completed, and will update again when it is finished.

UPDATE (25/10/2014):
At long last (not really much of a wait was it?) the basics section has been completed. Hopefully this will help all beginner Marths (from a beginner Marth's perspective) on what to do and where. Will be adding basic tactics subsection soon, so look forward to that. Either that, or just more added to the strategy section, since I plan to do an edgeguard subsection soon.

UPDATE (2/11/2014):
Now that school life is getting more busy, finding time to edit and add will be limited. But that aside, Dash Assault has been added to the Basics section, and DB Up Setup has been changed to simply the DB setup, along with some added content to that subsection. Also throws has been added to Basics section.

UPDATE (4/11/2014):
Small formatting change, with larger spoilers encompassing the smaller spoilers within each section, like that of the basics section. The section titles have been enlargened, spaced out a bit more, as well as recoloured to make it easier to see from the walls of text.

UPDATE (10/11/2014):
The setups/combo's section has been edited to make the information more consice. A new followup has been added to the onstage A DB subsection (special thanks to Senshu for finding this), and the A DB subsection in general has spoilers added within to divide it further for easier reading. Also, edgeguarding and recovery options have been added to the strategy section.

UPDATE (15/11/2014):
Big news! Now I will be uploading videos that will show gameplay of the stuff seen here. Already got two videos up in a playlist for my "new style" Marth against old school Marths. Please do check em out if you want a visual representation of the stuff talked about in this guide.

UPDATE (20/11/2014):
New additions to the NAir/UAir combo section, as well as the Dthrow combo section have been posted. New videos scheduled to be uploaded by this Saturday (22/11/2014)

UPDATE (21/11/2014):
The SH DB loop has been further explained in the Nair/Uair combo and SH DB sections. Additions to the DB setup have also been put in. I have 2 new videos for Marth up on YT thats more recent (just before the 1.04 patch actually). Also attack strings updated to reflect recent discoveries, particularly with the SH DB loop. Special thanks again to Senshu and Raiden_Kage with their help with the recent discoveries

UPDATE (22/11/2014):
Additions to the NAir/UAir combo section has been put up, thanks to Crawfish for catching one other followups to the UAir. Also, I will be editing the guide with Lucina players in mind as well, and hopefully it will be of help to them too. A new subsection under Basics is being planned to reflect this, and alot of the main post will be edited as well over the course of the next couple of weeks. I also realized that I am yet to put in the Fthrow setup in here, so I will do that as soon as I am able.

UPDATE (23/11/2014):
We now have a new section tilted "General MU pointers" to address common problems Marth players (or even general Smash players) may be going through. Please feel free to post questions or answers to the problems so we can all learn to deal with it using all of the tools at our disposal. I've only got one on there for now, but I'll continue to write as I get more time to do so.

Also, we've now moved into the guide section! Now more updates will be much easier for me to do and notify others of, and now we have a representation for Marth in the guide section. Now hopefully this will serve people well just as before, and I will work hard to keep it going like before xD

UPDATE (24/11/2014):
The FThrow setup has now been added to the Setup/Combo section. Full Hops have been added to the Basics section under the title "Short Hop vs Full Hop" in the other options sub section. Another followup option has been added to the Air DB and ground DB setups, which is the double jump DB setup. Finally, a new topic titled "Little Mac - Big Problem" has been added to the General MU pointer's section.

UPDATE (28/11/2014):
New additions to the Old vs New Marth videos have been added, as well as a new video playlist for all you Lucina players out there, which demonstrates how all these setups and such translate to Lucina. Minor change/addition to the Attack String section also done.

UPDATE (29/11/2014):
Minor update to the doube jump DB setup under the Setups and combo's section > Air DB setup subsection. Under the NAir/UAir combo subsection, an additional followup has been added to the UAir part, which is also an actual combo. Also, the Utilt setup/trap/combo has been added to where it obviously belongs - Setup and combos section xD

UPDATE (5/12/2014):
A new set of videos has been added, and this playlist will be for matches/tutorials I do in the future that cover the stuff talked about on the guide. Hopefully I continue to make time to keep this going, but with exam times nearly over, I'd say I'd have a lot of time to make more material in the coming weeks xD

UPDATE (9/12/2014):
The anti air Jab setup and the pummel setup has been added to the setups/combos section. Also, I've edited the basic's section to reflect Lucina reality when using them, and I will slowly work on the other sections to reflect Lucina's role if it is any different from Marth's in those regards.

UPDATE (12/12/2014):
Oh boy, here comes two new videos, but this time against one of Marth's tougher MUs - Yoshi. Hopefully this small update may be of some help for those working against that MU

UPDATE (15/12/2014):
The setups section has now been edited to reflect Lucina, though really, both characters do the same setups and combos about the same, just keep an eye for the tipper/sour spots for Marth. Also, one new option for the DTilt setup was added

UPDATE (21/12/2014):

Two new Lucina videos against Robin has been added to the playlist in the videos section. Also, the Lucina and Marth playlists will now show the MUs they cover in the order they are fought in on the playlist for convenience.

Also a personal update is that I will be away from the 22nd to 25th of December, so I will be unable to respond or update the guide until I have returned from my trip xD I may be around to answer questions, but no promises

UPDATE (31/12/2014):

Here we are ladies and gentlemen; the day before New Years Eve. Hopefully everyone has enjoyed the year xD anyways, I have now updated the stategies section to reflect Lucina, which really isn't much that needed to be changed to be honest. The SH air dodge approach has been elaborated on a bit in the strategies section, and 4 new videos have been added to the Marth video playlist: one as a ditto (X-ian) who has taken the stuff from the guide and made it his own, and one of the great Ike main's from Brawl, Waldo.

UPDATE (14/01/2015):
After a bit of a hiatus, I'm back with new updates to the guide. So first up, there has been some additions to the UAir and DAir descriptions in the basics section. Additions to the Air DB setup and the Pummel setup have been made too. Lastly, I've finally continued typing in the general MU section; the new topic is called "Speed characters and slowing them down", along with additions to the "Little Mac - Big problem" topic.

Hopefully I'll get back to making more Smash videos soon, but in the meantime, I'll do what I can for improving the guide's presentation and content.

Happy New Years to everyone!

UPDATE (21/01/2015):
Slight change to the subtitles under setups/combos to indicate where the true combos for Marth/Lucina are. Updated the jump cancel for out of shield options in the basics section (as I forgot to add something there). Also, an edited entry in the Air DB setup, which is also a true combo, along with a new addition thanks to Gregore's video on the DS followup off stage (funny that I missed it, since I wrote it for on stage xD).

UPDATE (15/06/2015):
A lot of stuff for NAir (in regards to the basics section and setups) have been updated, FAir Assault, DB setup in strategies, FAir/BAir setup/combo has also been updated a bit, as well as Jabs in general due to the new property change as of June 14th.

I probably don't need to say it, but updates are gonna be scarce due to life taking priorities and me not having as much time/interest in working on the guide. I will still do what I can when I come up with anything, but as it stands, there isn't too much left to cover in terms of base Marth/Lucina

UPDATE (6/08/2015):
Thanks to the new 1.1.0 update, a number of the aerial based setups and combos have been updated and added to. The Marth side was the focus today, as Lucina may have more exclusive combos due to her slight property differences. Either way, what has been written here should be applicable to both

UPDATE (10/12/2015):
Direct is coming in 5 days guys, so I did a reread of my favorite DB setups, and updated a tiny bit. There is a true combo from DB > NAir I had held off of listing till I had more stuff to type, but since the update is near, may as well get it out in case something changes that. Also, some minor text updates on the rest of A DB section. Don't remember all that I wrote, but do check it out xD

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Section 1: The Basics
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For those looking for understanding on the basics of Marth and Lucina, this will be the place to read on it (or Emblem Lord's guide xD). Remember that knowing the setup tricks are only part of the deal; you will still need the basic principles of Marth, which is proper spacing and tipping. Emblem Lord's guide outlines how old school Marth translates into Smash 4. Since I got no objections to putting the link here, I'll place it here for your convenience:

http://smashboards.com/threads/prom...h-lucina-strategy-notes.370731/#post-17771690

As for this section, I will be writing this section from a beginner Marth's point of view, so hopefully those looking to understand a bit more on the neutral game of Marth/Lucina can learn a thing or two. This section will start with the individual move analysis, then will go into other advanced techniques that applies to all characters (out of shield options, running up Smash, pivoting, etc). This basics section is also assuming you're familiar enough with standard fare fighting game terms to keep with the topics being discussed (though feel free to ask questions if any arise.

Those of you who know this already can skip to the next sections for the more advanced stuff xD Special thanks again to Emblem Lord, Kanjo, Leon_Magunus, Hukster, Senshu, Kratos, Raiden_Kage and everyone else for all the matches and info that helped me understand more for the basics of Marth. Without further ado, let's get started:

Marth, as we all know, is a spacing type character who herald from Melee (as his first smash appearance) as one that could also pressure hard due to his speed and range. Lucina is also heralding from the same series, making her first appearance on Smash 4, following Marth's fighting style but with different properties - and thus follows the same spacing principles. To space with either of these characters follows that a player tries their best to keep their opponent at a sword's length away as much as possible.

If spacing is done very well with Marth specifically, you can initiate in what is known as a tipper, which adds additional damage and knockback to Marth's moveset.

Lucina on the other hand has an overall balanced damage and knockback across all of her attacks. She doesn't need to space as carefully, but her fundamentals function the same as Marth does. Now it is possible for Marth to get up close and personal, but you will need to learn how to work with the lower knockback and damage. That is gone into after this section, so don't need to worry about it for now.


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Sub Section 1: Attacks
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This is for the fundamental applications of Marth's/Lucina's attacks, so I will talk about each move assuming you're not entirely sure what they are used for:
ground A attacks
ground A attacks are typically used for purely spacing purposes. You general aim with these is to pressure your opponents with your speed and range, especially when edge guarding. All of your tilts are great for keeping your opponent worried when they are at the ledge, due simply to how much of their options you cover. Dtilts are for those who recover at the ledge or short hop onto the ledge, while Ftilts, Utilts, Fsmashes are ideal for any other recovery options. You are relying on your range to beat out opponents, even if they trade or clash, as long as you stay outside of their ledge poking range as much as possible.

1) Jab
The neutral A and it's two quick but light swings make for a decent anti air. It also helps with stopping some opponents when they try to run at you, but remember to space this carefully. It can be punished via block to another attack (usually grab), but as long as you know this, you may have just enough time to get out of the way. Your safest bet is to use it when you reset your opponent from an air attack or hit as close to the tip as possible to keep yourself safe.

Thanks to the recent changes as of July 14th, Jab1 (otherwise jabbing once rather than twice) now lifts targets off the ground, and Jab 2 is a definite combo after that on percents below 120%. After that point, Jab 1 will send them too high to followup with Jab 2. Because of this lift property, this becomes a great setup too which will be explained in a later section.
2) Forward Tilt (FTilt)
The FTilt functions as another anti air, but with a bit more force behind it. Unlike Neutral A, it comes with additional damage, knockback, and block stun from hitting with the tip. This comes at the price of having more commitment when you throw out the move. Being careful on how you use this, as well as spacing properly is important for this move. Too close and you won't knock them far enough to not be punished for it until higher percentages (around 60% and higher). This move can also kill when tipped with Marth at high percentage around 120%, so this option is one worth practicing. This will also be one of your go to's for setups later described in this guide.
3) Up Tilt (UTilt)
The Utilt, like the two above, is a great anti air option. Utilt and Ftilt share very similar properties except for the key difference that it functions as a setup. A setup means that if used correctly, it can lead into another attack with a chance of your opponent being able to get out. Utilt is typically followed up with another Utilt, due to how it hits the opponent above you (and how they may DI), but once at higher percents, this functions more as a single hitting anti air move. Tipping again makes this a possible kill move, and it is also quite abusable against opponents who are on a platform above you (places like Battlefield are ideal).
4) Down Tilt (DTilt)
Probably one of Marth's/Lucina's strongest spacing/poking tools is the Dtilt. For aiming at the feet, its reach and speed make it a very safe punishing move against your opponents. The name of the game is usually interruption, so keeping your opponent from trying anything with too much commitment will usually end with a dtilt to the foot. It follows the principle that it should be used to interrupt your opponent's attack as soon as possible, so rely on that speed and reach to stop opponents from randomly throwing out attacks. Marth's sour spot specifically at lower percents and a close enough range allows him to reach his opponents with dancing blades without moving forward for it This also functions as a setup for followup attacks, but that's covered in the next section xD
5) Forward Smash (FSmash)
The FSmash is your first resort killing move for Marth/Lucina. It's great reach both infront and slightly overhead makes this move overshadow the other smash moves by a longshot. Of course, this sort of move comes with committment, so it can't be just thrown wherever you feel like it. You will want to rely on the range and speed to wall your opponents out, and if you can get the tip, the blockstun or knockback will keep you safe. Ideally you use your range to your advantage, especially when edgeguarding. Let me stress again that this will likely be your first resort for killing, as I will explain for the other two Smashes why they are not as ideal.
6) Up Smash (Usmash)
The Usmash is rather interesting, as it pulls your opponent from both sides of you into your blade that you point straight up. The pull comes from opponents that are grounded, so keep this in mind when you try to pull them in. You would think that this was incredibly useful, and it is to an extent, but there are weaknesses to this move as well. The commitment is probably the highest of all three smashes, the pull in hitboxes are rather small (as expected of an Usmash), and you are only hitting one percise point with your blade. Usmashes tend to get punished hard if you don't get the hit, so this should only be used sparingly (Utilt/Ftilt/Neutral A is typically better for anti airs).

There are pluses with using this move though. It should be first clarified that Lucina's version of this move is much better, can is ideal for tech chasing if you read them well. Because the blade is aimed straight up, it can hit targets at a very safe distance from any counter based moves. Since a good number of the cast have a counter, it makes for a good mindgame if they are directly above you.
7) Down Smash (Dsmash)
The Dsmash functions like you would expect it to; hit infront then hit behind. To be honest, I rarely if ever use this move, so my knowledge on it is a bit limited. But with that said, it gives decent range and hits where it should, but commitment makes this move very risky unless you know they will roll or hesitate. Your chances of tipping with it are also slim (unless you practice your spacing with it), but due to how Usmash and Fsmash works, you're more likely to use those instead.
8) Dash attack
Special thanks to Tsukihi Araragi for reminding me to do this. Almost missed this one if not for the reminder xD Anyways, Marth's/Lucina's running attack is one that is not too oftenly used personally, but its properties are worth talking about. When using this attack, they slide with a sword swing infront and slightly above him, which can make for another anti air of sorts. Though what you will more likely use this for is a quick punish option when you can't think of much else in the spur of the moment. According to Emblem Lord's guide, this has transendence (i.e. higher priority over other moves), and is more likely to hit than trade. That said, This should be used when you know your opponent will try to roll away or retaliate via air attacks that your sword can outrange. The tipper version of the hit comes with standard fare stuff; it can't kill, but it can sure knock opponents well enough away to keep the spacing game going.
air A attacks (airs)
Here is where Marth/Lucina excels; fighting with air attacks. They both have the speed and the range to make this approach one of his most viable and most deadly. Most, if not all Marths/Lucinas will go on the offensive using these attacks.

1) Neutral Air (Nair)
Nairs are one of Marth's/Lucina's many great air moves that lets him space and approach with ease. The move comprises of three hits; the first infront with a light stun, second behind with a slight knockback property, then the finishing swing back infront to knock your opponent away. The swing is angled towards the ground for this reason of approach, but there is more to it than that. This is also one of the two moves that has the least landing lag, so feel free to throw it out often. Knowing this is vital towards how this move is used, as it allows for not only spacing, but combo ability. This is gone into more detail in the setup/combo section, so check it out if you're curious. Short Hopping in combination with this move and spacing make this really hard to deal with, and will more likely be your go to against fast characters as you swing infront of you twice.
2) Forward Air (Fair)
Fairs are Marth's/Lucina's second most used air approach tool, as it covers the best amount of space infront of you. Keep in mind that it does come with a decent amount of landing lag, so you need to make sure to use this at the start of your jump, and not when you're about to land if you can help it. Full Hops (FH) or Short Hops (SH) can both be used with Fairs with relative safety, as long as you back off when you know you're in trouble. It is also one of your main tools for gimping opponents off stage from the amount of knockback it has. Tipping with this only makes it have more kill potential than normal, so embrace using this move when you can. But heed that warning about it's commitment, as there is too much to double jump out of it into another unless it were a FH (but it does have enough time to go into your B attacks, which is covered in the Fair Assult subsection under strategies).

Granted, in order to do stuff like the FAir wall, you can do a second FAir upon perforimg the first after a Full Hop (FH) and simply read your opponent with another FAir till they're off stage. Just keep it in mind in case the opportunity rises
3) Up Air (Uair)
Uairs are typically used against opponents above you, and have a great hitbox for doing just that. This tool also has the least amount of recovery like Nairs, so this one is also safe to throw out when the situation presents itself. Because of it's small recovery, this one also combos like Nair, though much better at early percents 45% and lower. It can also function as a combo ender in the Short Hop Dancing Blades (SH DB), but check the actual section for more details for that. When the Uair clashes too, it is relatively safe, so use it if you think your opponent will try to spike, and hopefully it will clash like how it has for me on occassion.

Also when targetting opponents behind you, you'll need to hit where the hilt is in order connect well (especially against grounded opponents). UAir auto cancels once grounded, so you can protect yourself a bit more with the UTilt, but be careful of the commitment (thanks to LoreLes for this bit of info).
4) Down Air(Dair)
Dairs are your spikes, as well as a general spacing tool when your opponent least expects it. The hitbox starts from infront and goes behind, so keep that in mind. This also has a lot of landing lag like Fairs, so this move is not used often (especially when your opponents can read it). In order to spike with this, the target must not only be below you, but must also be tipped (credits to InfinityCollision on clarification on where to hit). Spiking can be quite satisfying, but even if you miss, the space it covers still makes it a hard move to recover from if your opponents don't see it coming. You still have the opportunity to Meteor smash your opponent if they are just generally below you when you throw out the attack, so keep that in mind.

As a tip for landing the spike, take a look at Marth/Lucina's animation. The foot that is stretched downwards is the point that you want your opponent at. If you hit anywhere at the start before the blade reaches the angle the foot is pointing, it will (unfortunately) hit your opponent upward. Anywhere past the foot will launch the opponent more forward, but still at an upward angle. If you can get use to the timing, aim for the latter two as much as possible, since very likely the first section will save the target rather than beat them.

Spiking/Meteor smashing can also function as a setup, but its a high risk, high reward sort of setup. Simply popping your opponent in the air does make the situation advantageous to you, but unfortunately it comes with a lot of landing lag to make it sorta not worth going for over other options. it does provide a good knockback when it comes in contact with a shield, and typically Marth and Lucina will duck too low for any jump canceled followups (perfect shield will be more likely be the point where its easily retaliated). Another trick worth mentioning is the fact that you can reduce some of the landing lag by fast falling as you perform the attack. The game will register the fast falling landing lag over the Dairs, which makes it slightly safer to use. Another thing is that the hitbox immediately starts behind you, so you can use this to protect yourself (just be aware of the landing lag, even if you Fast Fall [FF] to cut it down a bit).
5) Back Air (BAir)
BAirs function like your FAirs, where it is used to go on the offensive. Due to the way the sword is swong, you can use this at the start of a full hop to get a good range for walling out opponents (credits to Ken on his Melee Marth guide in regards to that). The landing lag is actually slightly worse than FAirs, so it can still be punished, so use it at the beginning of your jumps, and not at the end if it can be helped.


B attacks
Now time to cover all of Marth's/Lucina's special attacks and the kinds of properties they hold. Currently this only covers the default moves, and perhaps I will update in the future regarding the other moves. In this iteration specifically, I find myself using them much more than before, so hopefully this will be of some help to you guys.
1) Shield Breaker/SB (Neutral B)
SB's have recieved a very useful buff since its original appearance, but for now, we'll go over its basic uses. SB does as the name states - break shields. When your opponent doesn't perfect guard it and regularly guards, it takes off a great amount of the shield. This is a great tool to pressure opponents that either block too much or don't expect the kind of reach it has. Of course if you tip with it using Marth, the effect is greatly increased along its greater damage and knockback if unblocked. Though some have argued that Lucina's is much better for damage and shield damage, so this is another option for her finishing moves.When on a ledge, you can also fast fall, double jump, then poke those on stage with this as a means to get back on or just to poke them and retreat to the ledge again.

The range of it is great, but it has an even better application in the air. The buff on SB allows a brief push forward when in the air, and can push a great amount forward. Now with this buff, the true reach of the attack extends a bit more, and can be quite decieving to those not in the know. This also means that Marth can recover great distances like Ike horizontally. It can be used to approach or be defensive with it, though do be careful of the commitment that comes with it's usage.

This move can be thrown in the opposite direction that a character is facing both in the air and on the ground. On the ground, this is done by first entering the SB move, then quickly tap the opposite direction to change where the attack is thrown (this is known as reverse B). When in the air, the opposite is done, where the direction you want to throw the attack is tapped first, then once the circle pad goes back to the center or neutral position, enter the SB move. The mind games this allows for makes any player feel ansy about excessive blocking. Mix it up with various charge times, and the SB will become a favorite in the tools at your disposal.

Before moving on, I want to go over the very interesting difference between Marth's and Lucina's SB. Marth's SB is thrown towards the kneecap of a humanoid height opponent, while Lucina's is aimed towards the upper torso. This allows their SB's to cater towards aiming at grounded opponents and against aerial opponents respectfully. This miniscule difference can make a difference in how both characters use the move, so keep it in mind.
1) Dancing Blades/DB (Side B)
DB has gotten a debuff since its initial appearance, but personally I've found it as one of my best tools with Marth and Lucina (which are explained more in the setup/combo section). DB is your main combo tool, and also one means of a good number of setups. The attack can be altered via tapping either up or down on the circle pad, just like before. Which version you use is all dependent on how you hit your target, as some could be hit too high or too far to follow up (use the Up B and Down B respectfully for those cases). DB comes with its commitment on the ground, but it should be used as punishes or trying to outprioritizing your opponent's attacks.

The air version is about what you would expect out of it; you cancel your vertical momentum a bit, then fall down at normal speed with your attack as you continue. Like before, keep an eye on where your opponent goes, and change the attacks to follow after them (though you're not likely to be able to hit them with all of the attacks of the DB, so keep that in mind). Remember as well that the direction can easily be changed through tapping the other direction and performing the DB that way. This sounds simplistic, but this is a great option for misleading your opponents when you're in the air. You're likely to use this if you practice the Fair Assult tactic as mentioned in the strategies section below.

Another thing to note is which attacks have the least recovery out of them. The ground version is least committed after the second swing (Side B or Up B is generally the same), so if you wait just enough, you can act into something else out of it. The air version, surprizingly enough is less committed after the first swing, and is key for the SH DB setup (again, in the setup/combo section).

Lastly, when using this move in close proximity to either character, it will cause a bit more knockback than usual. Be careful of this if you're trying to use the Air DB at all, as it may push the opponent too far for the followups to reach.
1) Dolphin Slash (Up B)
Dolphin Slash is Marth's/Lucina's primary means of recovery, and probably one of his fastest attacks he has. It is mostly a vertical recovery (which has been boosted since its previous iterations), with typically a high priority especially at the starting frames (keep in mind, this can be used as an out of shield option, but not against every attack like some multihit moves). At low percents, this move is usually not safe to hit with unless you hit with the tip or hit the target at the end of your attack. But at higher percents, it is a scary option that can be used offensively and defensively. That being said, edgeguarders will learn to fear this move, as you can use it to poke from under the stage, lip spike targets hanging on the ledge with no invincibility, and it generally covers a wide range for protection purposes. Its strongest point is at the start of the attack, and can kill at roughly 120% at the ledge. Keep this in mind as that can really help close out the stocks when being forced to be defensive. One important thing to note when using this is that you can fast fall once the attack is over, so make use of this if you wiff with it.
1) Counter (Down B)
The counter move functions as it always has, so there is not much to say in terms of changes. The counter has a small window that if hit during it, will allow Marth to be briefly invincible and retaliate. Of course, there is commitment to using this move, so your timing needs to be spot on if you plan to use it. One ideal moment to use it is against opponents that are recovering or you are recovering yourself. Your opponent's recovery may come with a physical attack alongside it, so typically they are also counterable (extremely effective on Little Mac, poor guy). When recovering yourself, your opponent could try to gimp you (to hit your opponent in the air while they are trying to recover), so counter is one option to keep yourself safe. When on the ledge too, you can use this to fake out your opponents as counter is safe even if trigger offstage near the ledge (you'll be able to Dolphin Slash back up anywho).
Throws
Throws are standard fare for all characters, with very similar applications across the board. Marth's/Lucina's throws in this smash is not as abusable as it once was, but since this is focused on beginner Marths, I'll skip over talking about those tactics, since those won't help you here. A general practice all Marths should get into is pounding the grabbed target a few times before throwing (works best at higher percents). At around 60% is the safest bet of throwing in 1 - 3 pounds before throwing the target, and only gets better as it goes higher. Though if you've played other characters, this applies to all of them just as much as Marth.
1) Forward Throw
Here is one of your two setup throws that you will use with Marth. Due to how short the recovery is from performing this, you will have enough time against targets of low percents to hit them (typically Fair or your Short Hop Dancing Blades if you want to get more technical). Now keep in mind that this is not a true combo of any sort, but it positions them ideally for a followup. Marth/Lucina specializes on spacing, so getting the target offstage is typically ideal with this throw so you can immediately take control.
2) Down Throw
The second of your two setup throws, Down Throw forces the target to bounce off the ground, so they do not go too far up. At early percents, there is the assured combo of Bair, Nair, or Uair, though you can read more on this in the setup and combos section. Like Forward throw, this one does not have much recovery after throwing, so make good use of it when you can. Once I cover a section on platform based combos, then I'll return to the down throw as part of the setup. So look forward to that once I get to it xD
3) Back Throw
The primary function for the Back Throw is slightly better knockback than Forward Throw, but with more recovery at the end. Like Forward Throw, you will use this mostly to get your opponents off stage, but don't expect to follow up as well as Forward Throw. Unfortunately, this doesn't kill as well as other character's Back Throws, but as long as you use it for the purpose said above, then you'll get the stock by your other tools (which will be covered in the edgeguarding section when it's finished).
4) Up Throw
Despite my initial assessment, Up Throw is actually a pretty good killing tool for extremely high percents. Once the opponent is around 150% or so (depending on weight class), an Up Throw is strong enough to send them completely off screen for a kill. Keep this in mind if the opponent's stock last's longer than you want it to.

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Sub Section 2: Other Options
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This will cover the other options that are open to not just Marth, but to all characters. These moves will build the principles of advanced play, and hopefully lead to a better mastery for your characters.
1) Out of Shield options
Now this has carried over from previous iterations of Smash (and some have listed some of the options somewhere I imagine), but if you're new to competitive play like I am, this may be something worth discussing - particularly pertaining to Marth/Lucina.

The techniques you should remember are listed below:

a) Perfect shielding
This one I believe has been in since Melee, but let's just go over what it is generally for. Perfect shielding or power shielding is when you block on the frames just before an attack hits you, which allows quick recovery out of the block to retaliate. This one I personally struggle with using, but from my observations it is a tool truly worth practicing. Think of it as the equivalent of parrying, where you can almost freely act into any other attack out of it. Here are your options when you've perfect shielded:

I) dtilt (this can lead into the setup, but this is the safest option in case you miss)

II) grab (a good option against air attacks if they land near you)

III) Fsmash (if the opportunity presents itself like a long commitment move, this will deal the best damage)

IV) DB/DB Up B setup (Standard fare stuff here, you know what to do and it can outprioritize certain attacks

V) Utilt/Ftilt (In the case your opponent tries to back off or is floaty when you perfect shield the attack)

This is the high risk, high reward approach that as a beginner will happen more on accident then on purpose. But this is something that should be practiced more, as high level play relies on this and spot dodging quite a bit.
b) Jump cancel
This one I am not entirely sure where it started, but I can tell you that this is a great option when you don't get the perfect shields. It is as the name suggests, where after blocking, you can cancel the recovery via jumping. You cancel shield stun by jumping, but not necessarily the momentum you get from the pushback. But this can be used to quickly retaliate via air approaches

Another application of this is to cancel your shield stun and go into an Air Smash (or at the very least, allow the fastest possible reaction to the block). Just try jumping then immediately going for a UAir and you'll see that you'll go for an USmash if you do it fast enough. This is another form of parrying into an attack for this game, so this will be vital for the running shield approach.
c) Dash cancelling shielding
By holding the direction you are moving towards then press the block button, you are able to go into your shield without having to come to a complete stop before going into a shield. This allows a safer approach for any character really, and does give some choice opportunities to do Jump cancels or Perfect shieldings.​
2) short hop vs full hop (SH vs FH)
Borrowed from Gawain who suggested the idea, short hops are another means to enter the Uair/Nair combo. By doing a couple of empty hops, you bait your opponent into a point where you're able to approach and use the said combo. Keep in mind that it comes with its own risks, so you need to pick a good time to go in and do this. Use Fairs, SH DBs, and SH SBs to keep your opponents on their toes, and you may just spot an opportunity to punish. The best possible punish I would think is after knocking an opponent to the ground, run up to them to make them believe you try to dash attack so they use a get up attack. On that note, you should be able to short hop over it and punish them accordingly.

But do keep in mind of where you hit with Marth, as tippers may send your opponent to high or leave you stunned for too long, and it can be punished hard if you're not close enough, whiff or get thrown off on the timing by tipping them. I'll still have to test this myself, but if it works for C.Falcon and Diddy, it should still work for us xD

As for the full hop, this option is what you will use more as your FAir wall option. FAir covers a very good area, and often when it is started just as you initiate the FH, you are able to hit some medium to tall grounded characters with this. I have a video preped to show that off in the future, in case any of you guys want a visual representation for this technique.
3) Pivoting
Pivoting is the process by which a character turns around when moving one way and performs an action. There are 3 options that can be used out of Pivoting:

a) Ftilts
Pivot Ftilts are what is the easiest to get, as all you do is perform an A attack just as you make your character turn around. It reduces the turn around recovery time and also makes this a great defensive tactic due to how its an anti air with great reach. You're also in the process of moving too, which helps with spacing and keeping your opponent from getting too close to you.
b) Fsmashes
Pivot Fsmashes are a little tricky at first, but by allowing your circle pad/analog stick to return to neutral then quickly entering the FSmash command will allow you to do this. It functions as the Pivot Ftilt does at being a defensive manouver, and it may be needed to secure the kill. This can also be used as a mixup or tech chase option like the one above, so once you can learn to use this on the 3DS, it'll be a great tool (or just wait for the WiiU version or get the converter for the 3DS you c-stickers xD).

Just to note, it has also become even easier with the addition of the a+b smash button. As long as you input this command correctly (since its a bit finicky at times), you can easily pivot into this with no difficulty.
c) Grabbing.
Pivot grabbing allows to grab targets you run past with a greater grab reach than normal. Now for 3DS users, what I typically do for this is I tap the grab button with the direction I want to grab to ensure that the grab will come through instead of just a tilt. This follows suit with all the other pivots in their functions, as it adds another means of getting into your opponent's head with it. The grab reach too will be benefitial towards punishing targets that try to rush you down. It particularly helps that Marth's down throw and forward throw setup into pressure/combo tactics, so learn to make use of this when an opportunity presents itself.​
4) Short dashes/foxtrotting
Here's something that may be more my personal playstyle, but here's a small tidbit for how I play Marth. Running is good and all, but I noticed if I only do short dashes, I can slowly approach and fsmash when I need to. It's simply just taping the circle pad forward once then wait. Waiting 1 second (approximate) allows enough time for Marth to return into Neutral stance. But anytime before that, it looks like Marth is coming to a stop. You could wait till you return to neutral and fsmash, or you can mess with opponents a bit and go into a dashing attack that gives slightly more range. Running usually forces you to either dash attack or short hop into something; a staple from what I have seen of Smash. But by doing this short dash strategy, its sort of me following what some people said about Marth being more ground based instead of air based.

Turns out I was right on track, as now we have what has been deemed as fox trotting as of Oct 8, 2014. Here's the link for those interested.
http://smashboards.com/threads/perfect-pivot-foxtrotting-dashdancing.371139/

This link also covers perfect pivoting and such, which will quite useful for Marth and Lucina
5) Running Up Smash
This option allows for characters to go out of a dash into an Up Smash. This is typically done by, well, quickly entering the Up Smash command while running/foxtrotting. Marth's Up Smash is situational in its usage, as mentioned earlier, so you will need to carefully pick your times of when and where to use it. Please read its subsection above for more details on Up Smash usage.


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Section 2: Setups and Combos
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Here's where things get interesting (hopefully xD). This will cover all of the setups and potential combos Marth has at his disposal. Credit is given where credit is due, but where there are none, assume that I found this out on my own without prior knowledge of anyone before me doing it.

1) DTilt setup
Marth and Lucina's dtilt is quite the excellent spacing tool, but it also seems to work rather well at low percents as a set up to another attack. I believe this carried over from previous iterations, but either way the recap ought to help. When the opponent is close and is around 0 - 40% (also dependent on the opponents weight), Marth and Lucina has just enough time and space to either use:

a) Dancing Blades (highest damage output, may have to finish with side b or up, or enter the DB setup. You'll likely need to dash forward, especially for Lucina as her knockback and reach throw of the sourspot timing that Marth has)

b) short dash and grab (mind game to any opponent who likes to block)

c) dtilt (safest approach in case the opponent rolls behind)

d) Shield breaker (most commitment, it relies on your opponent to block, and haven't really tested this approach as yet)

e) FAir/NAir (A really good followup I have been using as of late, as its a safer poke and can go as the FAir assault for the former).

The reason this (and most of the other techniques listed here) are called a setup is simply due to that opponents can get out of it. But this becomes a guessing game as to which will be best viable. You're capitalizing on your opponent's hesitation to followup well. Also be weary of those who try to attack or grab after they land, as they can beat you to the grab if they know they can. Either way, you are relying on outspeeding and out ranging your opponents as Marth, so as long as you know where to mix things up, this setup will not be easily punished. Not to mention that it builds off the basic principle that you interrupt your opponents with the dtilt, which you will find yourself using more often as you practice it.
2) FAir/BAir setup/combo

No, no... it's not the old fair Marth once called his, but it doesn't make it a bad move to use either. Though a quick note here is that the FAir wall is still somewhat possible (please see the video example in the later section, or check the SH vs FH subsection in basics for more information).

Asides from its usual spot of spacing, it also can lead into another attack at around 30 - 50%. When it is used on a standing target, it can hard knock them to the ground. They will fly back a bit, then be forced to tech. The typical means of doing this is to ensure that you keep forward momentum when you attack with Fair, letting you land in the position you need to be in for the followup. If the opponent doesn't tech out, they bounce off the ground, which will give enough time to either:

a) fsmash (forward recovery rolls may put you at risk if you throw it out too early)​

b) complete dancing blades (potentially does more damage, sort of carried over from Brawl)​

c) ftilt/dtilt (safer than the first two options, pivoting may also make this interesting. This can also work when you land while using FAir and will true combo as well)​

d) DB (when using a landing FAir, it true combos from 30 - 50%, but you're likely to get the setup version instead since you have to be really close to get this combo to work)​

e) Jab (due to the property changes, Jab locks are no longer possible, but you can still go into a jab setup from here. It true combos when landing with FAir from 10 - 60%, but this again, requires you to be as close as possible).​

f) SB (You can read it more in the strategies section, but FAir can setup into a shield breaker situation)​

Though know that this setup will also depend on the weight of the opponent. Probably around humanoid weight (link, marth, etc) and up. Anyone lighter than that, its very likely not going to work or at least getting in position for it will be more difficult. Either way, I can say it works rather well from personal experience.

BAir works similar to what you can do with FAir, but keep in mind its not as safe if you're going for the landing combos like the FAir > DTilt.

3) NAir/UAir setup/combo
Ever since the game was shown off at E3, I wanted to think hard how to make Marth work without the need of the FAir walls and setups he was once known for. After a bit of dabling in the air attacks, NAir and UAir had the most potential for going into setups and even true combos.

NAir Setup/Combo
As mentioned earlier in the basics section, NAir has 4 different kinds of hit properties. For your convenience, I’ll list them as follows:

1) First hit – lifts target off the ground a bit but no knockback

2) Second hit – hits target away from you

3) Both hits – lifts target then hits them away

4) Behind – hits target away as well

We will cover each section regarding each hitbox and how to follow up after them. Starting with first hit NAir, it relies on using the first hit possible from the nair and not the second. This makes it quite hard to hit with mind you, but with Marth's other air options, the mindgame can be played quite well. Once you can land that first hit, you can follow up to any of these options:

N.B. Some of the really early percent true combos requires to hit with first NAir as close to the ground as possible. It of course gets easier the higher the percent you go

a) grab (good to go into another setup and usually difficult to escape. In a sense, this is a true combo due to how fast you recover out of NAir and followup - similar to the true combos below)

b) ftilt (not as safe and may rely on higher damage percentage to perform, but its an option. True combos from 90%+)

c) dancing blades (here it becomes more a setup usually, unless you can hit with the NAir just before you touch the ground. This true combos as early as 50-140%, then only DB1 true combos from here till 180%).

d) Fsmash/Usmash/ (This is a bit of a hard read, but can pay off if your opponent can't react fast enough. FSmash in particular can true combo as early as 130%+. Credit to Hilmbleep for the setup idea, DarkLink401 for the true combo discovery)

e) Utilt (thanks to Raiden Kage for finding this, especially effective against floatier characters or those trying to escape by jumping. This true combos as early as 50%+)

f) Dtilt (thanks to Raiden Kage for the inspiration, as well as later execution of this followup, works about as you'd expect. This true combos from 60 - 130%, but note that for 120 -130%, you have to DTilt a little bit after the hit instead of instantly.)

g) SH DB setup loop (It works on medium to tall characters, and this is used to anticipate any attempts to jump to escape, though the UAir version is slightly safer depending on the target)

h) jab (relatively a safe true combo from 50%+ and setup to another attack)

i) DS (This is a fast followup best used at higher percents of 60% and up, and this will combo as low as 100% when aiming for the tip of the first hit on NAir, the combo more guaranteed at 130% and up. To note, Lucina can do this straight from 100% and up, and the combo itself can kill at 150% and up. Also note that as the percents go higher, you may need to jump to make the true combo be an actual killing move)

j) DSmash (true combos from 50 - 120%)

k) NAir (true combos from 130%+)

Since its hitting with only the first hitbox of the nair, the height the opponent is launched is relatively short. In uair's case, you need to begin the hitbox near the ground to give enough time to continue into another attack. The two means of getting the hit in with Uair is by either short hopping into it, or entering via air dancing blade setup. Best part about this is it will work



Special thanks to Muramishi’s combo video for covering a lot of the following options from here on:

(Here is the :4link: for those interested: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-8O1Ib-bsFM)


Next up is the last hit Nair, where this essentially knocks the target back. What is interesting about this is from 0-40%, the opponent slides on the ground instead of flying in the air. This can either be done from descending or FF to hit them, but keep in mind that with FF, you have more ground to cover for the followup. Keep in mind as well that this is not very safe to go for, but knowing the options is always good.

DTilt – it does require that you’re up close to your opponent to follow this up well, but it does combo at extremely low percents (0 – 40% range)

a) FTilt – similar conditions as above, and can combo on heavies

b) SH FAir/NAir – A safe followup no matter the spacing

c) Running grab – Particularly useful on heavies, since they don’t slide as far

Any other followup you choose to make here is a hard read, as they’ll be too far away and will reset to neutral from it. You have to act quickly to make the most of this when you can, but again, this is very situational.



We now have the both hits section, where setting up requires that you’re descending with this attack and falling towards your opponent. You can FF, but it has to be on the second hit (which basically means it’s not important for this). Do note that this really only works at low percents (0 – 40%), as anywhere after that will push the target too far away. This places you at an advantage if you can land this (and that’s a big if as you’ll land infront of your target if you miss/blocked) no matter the spacing, and gives you the following options:

a) SH NAir/FAir – true combos

b) Running grab – the setup is enough hitstun where they return to neutral aerial stance, which means you can grab them out of the air if they don’t expect it.

c) Jab setup – due to the new jab changes, it no longer jab locks, but it will put them into setup situation once more (please refer to the Jab setup for more details). It can also combo if setup is done up close/against heavies

d) FTilt/UTilt – its just fast enough to true combo as well

e) DS – will combo too, but this really won’t do too much compared to the other options (though Crescent Slash may benefit from this)

f) SH DB setup – The SH DB part will combo, but you can also go into the DB setup from here since you’ll only get 1 – 2 hits max as part of the combo

Since its hitting with only the first hitbox of the nair, the height the opponent is launched is relatively short. In uair's case, you need to begin the hitbox near the ground to give enough time to continue into another attack. The two means of getting the hit in with Uair is by either short hopping into it, or entering via air dancing blade setup.

UAir setup/combo
Moving on, you have the following options after landing the uair:

a) utilt (true combos from 0 - 60%, overall a good followup)

b) FSmash or USmash (Combos at around 40%, while USmash continues to combo till 60%)

c) jump and air dancing blades (which actually does combo off of uair, though that may depend on the weight of the opponent).

d) ground dancing blades (which also combos, but at lower percents and the timing to get it to combo is strict and character specific)

e) grab (works better at lower percents, though you're just better off using Nair for this combo for less commitment)

f) SH DB loop (Thanks to Senshu for figuring this base loop out for future reference. This relies on catching your opponent right out of the UAir, and this will be your most common starter for the loop. Try to stay as verticle as possible when doing this)

g) Dtilt (From this, it is a setup in itself to continue, thanks to Crawfish for catching it)

h) Jab (From this, you enter the Jab setup if done correctly)

i) Dolphin Slash (use this option once they are too high to hit with anything else, which is usually at high percents. You may also need to double jump to reach them, but it will still count as a combo if you're fast enough)

j) FAir/BAir (This can true combo as early as 20% all the way till 120%. For the higher percents, you will need to double jump to reach the opponents)

Further note on this particular followup, Marth and Lucina combos extend past this, but their percents are different. Here is the list of true combos thus far from my testing:

Marth 50%, Lucina 40%, UAir > BAir > FAir

Marth 60%, Lucina 50%, UAir > FAir > UAir

Thanks to Muramishi again for the combos listed here.

k) DAir (This true combos from 50 - 80%, but you'd likely go for the setup option to spike them off stage instead. To get the spike though, you are giving up the true combo aspect to land it)

l) Air DB (this combos from 20 - 120%. Once you reach around 50%, you will have to cut the Air DB to 2 or 3 at best).

Having initially been suggested by a user by the name of Kanjo on using uair to setup to something, I gave it preliminary tests and thought it to be not usable by Marth due to the speed difference and the timing for the uair to work. Marth has to be mindful of his spacing especially when going for this, as the sour spot or tipper can lend to being able to combo better depending on the opponent (typically tipper for heavier enemies, and sour spot for lighter enemies)

4) down throw (DThrow) setup/combo
Thanks to Bengals, he told me that it does actually combo. But it can be used to play more mind games on your opponents from this setup. When the throw is performed, it places the opponent above and slightly behind Marth. At lower percents (0 - 40%), you have the following options:

a) Tipper Uair (This true combos from around 0 - 30%, outside of this is simply adding pressure to make them either double jump or air dodge for landing trap purposes - unless you actually hit them of course)

b) dancing blades (completing the combo when your opponent dodges immediately traps them into whatever combo you want to use. Down B variant being my personal favorite).

c) Dolphin Slash (This true combo works as early as 0%, but its not really safe until around 50-60% where you hit your opponent far enough with DS to land before they do.)

d) Bair (similar to Uair, but thanks to Kanjo and Raiden Kage, it is possible to follow up with a falling FAir. This also opens up to the possibility of a DB as well, but you're pretty much trying to FAir setup the target)
Just to talk on the second option a bit more, staying vertical when using it is ideal for the trap. Any bit of momentum will push Marth too far forward/away to properly followup, so keep that in mind. Should the DB hit, you can get about 3 hits which has a 1 - 3% damage higher than the Uair/Bair/Nair followups, but your best payoff is if they fall for the trap. If they don't go for the Uair/Bair/Nairs.
5) Forward throw (FThrow) setu/combo
With the lack of vectoring in this version of Smash 4 (as of 1.04), the FThrow setup has become much more viable as an option. This option is best used at percents lower than 50%, as anything higher they will fly a little to far for a proper followup (though still a good tactic to go for afterwards just for the scare factor or messed up recovery xD) The FThrow has little recovery after tossing your opponent, and you are quickly able to run after them and follow up with any of the following options:
a) FAir (Probably the most commonly used followup by Marth's since the Brawl days, and this true combos only if your opponent DI's towards you. Percentage for this is around 0 - 40% as past this, typically the opponent will be too far to followup in true combo form)
b) Air DB (It can setup into nearly all options that the Air Dancing Blades section covers below. Also this can go into the same trap as highlighted in the DThrow setup, though it will also ride on where your opponent recovers, so keep a careful eye on it).​
6) Air dancing blades (A DB) setup/combo
Here's something interesting I found when messing around with dancing blades in the air. When you use the first swing, there is a little less recovery than when you perform the second swing onwards. So from this brief stall in the air, it can easily go into Fair, Nair, Bair, Uair, any of the B specials, and can even double jump to other mixups. Keep in mind that the hitbox is only good against opponents of humaniod height or opponents that try to go in the air, but you could use it for intimidation purposes too. Another point of importance is percentage, as it is preferable that your opponent has taken a bit of damage before performing some of the followups (when you know you've hit with the initial DB that is). It isn't safe to proceed if your opponent is continuously blocking, so know when to pull back. But once the initial hit has landed, it is difficult to get out. Your opponent has to have really good frame data (i.e. really fast aerials with little commitment), or they know how to escape them. This setup has its risks, but it can slowly pile up damage if done correctly.

After recently messing with wavebouncing at the suggestion of Lycanthropy and Halfminded, I have concluded that using it with DB can stop your forward momentum completely. This I believe to be an opening towards optimising DB, as you can preserve your spacing and still be within reach for the setups. I will have to do a lot of testing for this in the future, so if I find more on this, I will be sure to update.

Thanks to the question posed by Senshu, I realized that there's more to the air dancing blades than how I had been using it initially. Now to cover all of it, I will divide this into two subsections:


On stage:
Remember the ideal position for this to work is off of a SH for any of the followups. Based on where you hit with the blade will not only determine hitstun, but also what options you have for followups. It is either you hit with the tip that has extended stun but limited followups, or with the rest of the sword, which has the most followups but has a risk of being hit during it.



Knowing when to use each followup is also important, so here is how I use them:
a) Fair - when knockback against the opponent is needed or defense against opponents that dash attack after the initial slash

b) Nair - setup to grab, also possible to go into an Fsmash (credit to Hilmbleep again for figuring this out). This also starts to true combo from tipper SH DB at around 120 - 170% depending on the target. The window is short to do this, but you can combo off of NAir to a FSmash, making this important to note.

c) Bair - punish opponents that are behind you and possibly below you.

d) Uair - combo startup and defensive against aerial approaches (see nair/uair section above for combo details). At around 130% you are able to combo from the SH DB into Uair, and well positioned can lead to a tipper as well. Once the target goes too high for you to hit by a Uair alone, the stun should be enough to go into a double jump Uair and it still counts as a combo. This is a great tool for taking a stock when your opponent is at a high percent and doesn't seem to fall for your usual tactics.

Another great thing to note about this is at early percents, you can go into another A DB > Uair. This was discovered by Senshu, and currently him and I are gonna be testing to see how well it works against human opponents. So I'll post the findings once more testing is done.

e) continuing dancing blade - if the first strike hits, then go for the up b version to keep the chain going and prevent punish. This also will punish your opponent for trying to run in after the initial swing if you delay the timing just right.

f) second dancing blade - this can be used either in front or behind you to capitalize on hesitation on your opponents part. At higher extremely high percents (170% +), the DB1 can combo into another DB1 and can combo once more into an aerial of your choice. By this point, you should be going for a UAir to finish the job, or DS if you can't reach them.

g) shield breaker - remember to use the air version of changing the direction of this attack, and of course, use it for spacing. Can also be used to hard read counters

h) counter - know when your opponent will try to exploit the brief opening between the attacks and make em pay

i) Dolphin Slash - really risky and would advice against using it unless you know it will hit. Advisable to use as a true combo after 130%, similar to Uair

j) double jump - if it seems too risky to continue, back off with this. You can also add to this a second DB to cancel your vertical momentum and go into one of the options above once more.

k) SH DB loop - Decided to put it here once more just to explain the process of doing this. Once you hit with a NAir or UAir, your opponent will only have a few seconds to react. If they don't see it coming and are tall enough, you can short hop and do the same string again. At 0% this can be looped up to 3 times before you need to running up Smash or side Smash. Of course, you can loop into other combinations as well, so get experimenting xD

l) Double jump DB setup/combo - same principle as if you only did the first one, and ideal for chasing opponents trying to jump away. Keep in mind though that you are using your second jump for this, so use it in anticipation of your opponent jumping to rob them of their best option to escape the followup.

This also true combos at the extremely high percents (around 160%), and can also true combo followup to DS or UAir depending on the target. The timing for this is extremely strict, so do keep this in mind.

This can also be used in anticipation of your opponent reading the setup and they try to beat your option to the punch. Your best option when reading this is to jump in any direction and cancel your upward momentum with a single swing of DB. After which, you will have all of your options available to you as shown above. But your objective at this point is to distance yourself from your opponent as you know its no longer safe (it is possible to go into the NAir/UAir combo, but timing will all depend on you at that point). If you want to use NAir to space when jumping back, it will be ideal to jump backwards and throw the DB swing in the direction you intend to face with it. Also, the most efficent form of this setup is to cancel your vertical momentum as soon as possible. You know you have the timing down if you do not hear the double jump sound.

J) Up B DB setup - Like the ground DB version's setup except with the startup being in the air. This will most likely push targets rather high in the air, while you are still able to follow up like you normally would once you land. Keep in mind that due to the height, you'll be resorting to either UTilt/FTilt or jumping after the target. It is advised to do this at higher percents of around 40% + so your opponent gets lifted high enough from the first hit to be hit with the second.


Off stage:
Considering that the DB is sort of like a fair, why not use it to hit targets who are off stage too? One of the initial tests with using this method is that you can sorta do the ken combo with it. From my initial tests, it does not truly link, but it does position your opponent ideally in a spot for you to double jump and spike him. Even if you don't, you still hit the opponent away from you and serve your purposes of keeping them off. But remember the risk you are placing yourself in if you should choose the spike option. Other options like Fair and Uair are much safer.
Now there are two situations you're likely to face where it will be ideal to use this:

I) Overhead towards the ledge:
This is the ideal situation in order for you to go into that Sorta Ken Combo, but starting from the basics, you need to ideally hit from the tip of the DB, as high above your head as possible. This places them at just the right height to be spiked. But here's a general list of options out of hitting with the DB:

a) Double jump Dair: Your Sorta Ken Combo, can be used simply knock opponents away, but there are better options for that

b) Uair: a reset read that has the potential to tip if timed right

c) Fair: Best when your opponent is likely to try and retaliate after the initial hit.

d) Counter: just in case if your opponent can outbeat your swing

e) Double jump DB setup: same principle like onstage

f) DS: This is another means to prevent your opponent from escaping in the case they attempt to beat you to the punch. This is especially useful when you run off stage then DB the opponent behind you whose trying to reach the ledge. Thanks to Gregore for the idea.
Outside of those options, it isn't safe to do any more as you are off the ledge. Should the need arise, just back off and no harm no foul. But knowing that this is an option is good in the case that your opponent doesn't see the weakness of it (which is to either air dodge or fast fall. Granted, you have your Fair/Uair to catch them with a delayed swing if they try going for those options. That's what a setup is all about.

II) Below the stage to the ledge:
Here your options become a bit more limited, as you will be forced to jump with the second hit no matter what you try. It follows the options from the one above, and the timing is a bit strict as you are falling and not canceling momentum with your DB. I believe it may still be possible to go into a spike from here, but as of this moment, I have been unable to successfully do so. Also keep in mind that your Uair will protect you from certain aerials that your opponent may pull in retaliation, but this needs to be tested out more, as I've only saved myself once with this (granted, there was only one who actually tried to hit back xD).

Another thing you can try is performing the complete dancing blade movement out of a SH off stage. I'm still testing the viability myself, and it does incur a lot of risk, but it is possible to even do a down B variation to completion and still recover back on ledge. I would recommend using this for light gimping, or if you can get the last side B variation, send them straight to the blast zone/stage spike.

In closing, you should treat it like you would a Fair. After the initial swing, you can react to how your opponent reacts and use whatever seems most appropriate. This makes the Nair to grab combo or the Uair slightly easier to land. However, this approach has it's weaknesses as well, especially when your opponent knows to block fairs often. Should you be blocked, you are best to back off with a double jump. Use more DBs in the air to stall, based on your opponent's reaction times; coming down with a DB isn't too bad either if they don't expect it.

It is a great tool, but if abused can be seen through. Though I, along with anyone who's willing to test it, will continue to use it till we can make it work well. Till then, take the approach as part of the Marth gameplay, but remember the fundamentals of what makes Marth tic. I'm still in the process of learning it even xD

Also tidbit here, but Hilmbleep also came up with the base concept around the same time I did xD Props to the dude once more for the discovery for SmashBoard's side of things
7) Dancing Blades setup
After messing around with dancing blades some more, I noticed that there was a small window to follow up if using the first up swing that dancing blades provides. As the testings have gone on, DB setup works at any step after the first swing and before the final swing. This techique is ideal against a number of opponents who get easily flustered or are heavy/slow, as they will not have enough time to get out of the next hit fast enough outside of blocking. Now this setup relies on where you hit with the blade of course, and is effective starting from lower percents all the way through. Due to the current patch 1.1.3, you may need to wait until you see a visual lift off the ground due to the lowered knockback. If they're able to touch the ground once you've about finish your swing, you'll likely not get the followup you desire unless you read them well enough to believe you can get them still. Once you can fulfil those conditions, then the following options are open to you:

a) grab/dash to grab (Best at low percents where your opponent gets a tiny lift and you started the DB at near hilt range)

b) dtilt (leads to second setup options, as is safe on block should your opponent get the time to do it)

c) ftilt/fsmash (when the opponent starts getting launched higher in the air and grabbing is not an option. Remember this is a hard read, so don't use this too often. Can be used alongside backstepping and pivot tilting/Smashing to help with spacing)

d) counter (if there are opponents that can throw an attack fast enough and reach far enough to hit you)

e) second DB Up B setup (if your opponent messes up their recovery, this not only punishes, but sets up once more to any of the mixups

f) shield and avoid (if the situation gets too risky, holding shield will prompt you on when you can act out of it and retreat as necessary.)

g) Fair assault (Should your opponet like to escape by jumping, chase them down with a Fair and proect your fall if its a SH Fair)

h) A DB setup (This is the least likely to chase well, but it is an option to your FAir assault).
Another option for you is to use the side B of the second slash, to push your target back a bit. This can also lead to the options above, but Up B is better due to lifting your target off the ground and leaving them a bit helpless if they don't know how to get out AND you've spaced the move properly. Heavy characters in particular can be hit by this and setup into the Up B version if done right, but like all setups, they can get out and punish if you're not careful.

As suggested by Random4811, the DB can also stop after the third side hit and go into SB specifically. From initial testing, it does not seem too practical due to the timing of the attack (as you're more likely to complete the combo over going into SB) and the time you wait gives substancial amount of time to roll out of the way or perfect shield. Another suggestion recieved from Waldo brought up the idea of using the third swing as the Up B version, then go into an Utilt (which this one suffers from similar issues from the recovery time of its usage). This is not to say that this cannot be used however, as this stresses an important point about DB - learning when to stop.

Picking the right times to stop inbetween and following up into something else is the key to fully mastering the DB in combat. Capitalize on your opponent's hesitation by stopping midway through, but don't do it too often that they will get an idea of what to do. Percentage and getting into your opponent's head is essential towards making these work, but mostly you will be relying on your opponent's hesitation for these setups to work.

There is also something rather curious about performing the air DB to ground DB, particularly when using the 3rd Up B version before touching the ground. The animation skips from the air Up B to the rest of the ground Up B, and it seems to give an interesting coverage over the usual air Up B. But it seems to be just a visual thing only, so don't worry about it.

One final note is be very careful not to use this at early percents against fast falling characters and be careful around floaty characters. Fast falling characters can usually land and quickly retaliate before you have a chance to go into another attack (which at that point, you should just go for the third hit and setup or complete DB). As for floaty characters, they can easly move forward and hit you with a fast move out of the initial setup. The best advice at this point is to either tip them with the setup to get better stun, or space the swings so they don't have too much space to act out of it. Frame 1 attacks are also a point to be cautious about, as any that are too close can hit you out of the setup or push you too far away.
8) UTilt setup/combo
Now this one is actually Marth standard fare since his first appearance on Melee, but I wanted to take some time to speak on how it currently is used here. The UTilt setup/trap is simple in principle; keep throwing out UTilts until the opponent is able to escape. But there's more application to it than just that. UTilt often places your opponent at a compromised position of being unable to act without getting UTilt again, so that property can be used to setup into other things.

Now its applications for the other options all have a risk factor involved more than other setups, so you may not get to use this often. But knowledge is power, and knowing what to do when the opportunity shows itself will be key to making the most of it.

Another point of interest is where you hit with the UTilt affects where they will fly, and it is crucial to understand the general direction they will fly when using this. As such, I'll generally outline where they normally will fly and what options you have in response to it.

front:
This is more common to find yourself in, and this is actually the more restricted of the two forms. The opponent usually will be sent straight up, away from you (which usually only happens at point blank range), or will be swatted behind you. Here are your options:

a) UTilt (Should the opponent be sent straight up, UTilting again is your safest option)

but if they get into the habit of trying to air dodge (which usually isn't enough to escape the second UTilt at low percents), you could go into these options:

b) DB/DTilt (This is only if they air dodge to the ground, and ideal for pressing for another setup. Note that this will be very risky to go for)

c) FTilt (This is an option, though you're better off just UTilting again)

d) grab (Just a mixup option from the DB/DTilt option, and due to how it can pull the opponent towards you at times)

e) Jab setup (The first swing can be used as a trap to have people react a certain way, and you respond according to their action)

f) reverse UTilt (If you can land this, which is pretty risky in of itself, you open up the other options that the below subsection will talk about. Though it is useful for that final hit if your opponent gets launched behind you)

g) chase with your air attacks (The purpose of this is to add pressure, but if you hit, that's great too)

Behind:
Now here is where things get interesting, as instead of hitting with the start of the animation, you will be hitting with the end of the animation. As such, you'll be able to act out of it a little sooner and thus setup into another setup xD You have the following options:

a) SH DB setup (at around mid percents of 20-50%, you have just enough time to try for this and all of its options that are layed out in its section above)

b) DB setup (Since the opponent is lifted off the ground a little bit at early percents, they can be caught off guard and placed into this setup).

c) Reverse jab setup (similar principle as above, to catch opponents on hesitation and react based on their choice)

d) UTilt (works only at low percent, and only if your initial one was at point blank range).

e) Reverse UTilt (If you want to be sure that you catch them on the second hit at mid percents of 30 - 60%)

f) FTilt/FSmash (This is extremely risky, so its not recommended to go for this at all unless you know your opponent will try to jump away or air dodge to the ground)

g) BAir (This will be the best option to chase in the air with, and can lead to the DB trap situation like that from the DThrow setup)

h) Dolphin Slash (at higher percents of 100%, this is considered a true combo as long as you're quick to follow up. Can still link even if you're forced to Double jump until around 140%)
Please keep in mind that the range is significantly shorter, and this version can very likely be interrupted by the same things that make the other setups hard to get. But again, it is important to get these out so you know what to do should the opportunity present itself.
9) Jab setup
upon practicing the defensive style with Marth more, I found that the jab can also setup situations similar to the DB setup. As long as your opponent is in the air, if you can hit with this move, you can lightly interrupt your opponent's moves for a brief second and force them into another trap situation. Thanks to the change on Jab's properties, it now doesn't matter if your opponent is grounded or in the air. From sucessfully landing the first jab swing, here are your options:

a) jab2 (A simple and safe push off follow up, and will usually protect your other A options since it true combos especially)

b) FTilt/UTilt/UAir/FAir (To read any attempts to get away via jumping)

c) DTilt (A safe option if your opponent falls to the ground, and its a trap situation)

d) Dolphin Slash (If your opponent tries to frame 1 NAir you, but only used at higher percents)

e) grab (this is a harder read if your opponent commits via air dodging or a slower air move. And generally it shouldn't get punished)

f) DB (This is particularly useful if you do not wish to mess up into the second jab and may outprioritize certain moves. Also going into the setup is always fun)

g) SB/FSmash (This is the most unsafe of your reading options, but will have the most payoff if you can land it. It is also ideal to use this in conjunction with pivoting, so you can move back and swing your sword. The distance might be the deciding factor from being attacked while your opponent lands or not).

h) jab1 reset (you can pause for a moment then do the same hit again. You'll likely use this to fish for an air dodge rather than hitting again, but it can juggle if your opponent is insistant on trying to do something else other than jump/air dodge/DI out)
This option is best used against fast characters or those that you can outrange. If they can match your range, this option will typically be unsafe.
10) Pummel setup
Now this one only came recently from Emblem Lord's guide, as well as from my own experiences against Dracoyoshi16. Essentially, when grabbing and pummeling your opponent until you are forced to let go, it can lead to an ideal position of your opponent being within range of your sword.

You have the following options once the opponent breaks away from the grab:

a) Jab Setup (this will be more ideal when the grab release has the opponent in the air and they try to immediately retaliate, though you can catch opponents offguard from the grounded version)

b) DTilt (A relatively safe option to force a reaction or hit them away. Your typical go to alongside Jab)

c) FTilt/UTilt (You can use this to catch the floatier opponents that break away from the pummel into the air, but be warned about the commitment from this

d) Smash attack/SB (Any of the smashes can be used, typically FSmash for all, DSmash for Mid to heavy, and USmash for heavy only. But all of these are a hard read on your opponent's hesitation, so don't use this often otherwise you will be perfect shielded and hit back. Thanks to Breadloaf and Senshu for bringing up the DSmash followup).
Even when the opponent does know you're going for this, it is rather handy overall since there's minimal time to react before your blade reaches them. Just be careful on who you are facing and how it stacks with Marth/Lucina's MU
[/spoiler]


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Section 3: Strategies
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This section covers what kinds of moves should be used at what moment. Some of the above setups and moves require some explaining as to when is the most ideal moments. Now these topics are speaking from personal experience, so how they will effect your style of play will be entirely up to you.

1) short hop shield breaker (SH SB)
Thanks to that buff given to the shield breaker, Marth and Lucina push a bit forward when performing the shield breaker in the air. Of course, this aids with Marth's recovery from off stage, regardless of the small landing lag it gives. But this also presents Marth with a new means to approach opponents via short hop into shield breaker. Though not often did I see it in Brawl, I liked using this strategy quite a bit, and now it is worlds better thanks to that small buff. That small push forward can play up to opponents looking for means to get closer by blocking. Every bit of chip on the shield helps Marth greatly I find, and now the blade's range is extended in a sense by doing this.

It can be used both defensively and offensively, as even jumping backwards still gives that slight push forward to cancel the momentum. I'm sure not everyone can perfect guard every time an attack is thrown, so using this to break shields is a great option for Marth. Just, be careful not to miss, as the hitbox is narrow. Also for Lucina players, it seems the air shield breaker tactic works best in their hands, as it seems to push her farther in the air (though I could be mistaken). Now since I had posted this elsewhere initially, so I had not seen what Smashboards specifically had to offer on Marth (Not too many Marth's on the forum I'm visiting from xD). But still, I saw Rajing Clue on here who posted something similar, so shoutouts to you dude for seeing the potential in this move xD

One more thing worth mentioning is that Marth can change the direction of his air shield breaker when facing the opposite direction. By that I mean, when you jump, its typically expected that you can only shield break in the direction you are facing. Thanks to another user called Chestnaught for bringing in a more efficient method to my attention (didn't realize this was already a thing), but if you flick the circle pad in the opposite direction and wait until it returns to neutral position, you can do the same trick as above. Still is much to learn for me xD

2) short hop dancing blades
From testing this against many human opponents, it is ideal to mix up between FAir, NAir and Dancing blades, as to keep that hesitation there with your opponent. It also makes it hard for your opponent to approach if you mix it up properly. If your opponent escapes via jumping instead of teching, you can double jump and start Dancing blades once more, or chase them with one of the nairs. Air dancing blades is also a decent way to stall or cut vertical momentum from a jump. But you need to select the times you use it, as opponents can take advantage of that brief moment you are open from the initial recovery. Pick and choose the correct times to use it, and let experience guide you.

As a general principle, know how your opponent plays. I have trained with a very defensive player (and a good friend at that) who very much liked blocking to punishes. Shoutouts to Hukster, now that I know he has an account here too xD though I should have added this earlier. Anyways

The SH DB is a tool of approach and intimidation, but it can be subject to punish if you read the opponent wrong. Should the initial swing miss and your opponent likes to grab punish, try performing the second jump in the air and cancel the momentum with another single DB. Afterwards you can go into a charged shield breaker or Fair/Bair/NAir/DB reset to punish their commitment or simply scare them off. You could from here continue the DB attack instead of SB, so you fall down towards your opponent for a punish. Just remember that you will commit too by doing this. Jumping backwards is also a good choice to keep yourself safe, also keep a SB ready in case they try to approach. That deceiving range comes into play and even by just throwing it out randomly, as long as you're aiming to hit with the tip, it isn't punishable from my experience. Lets just hope that the active hitbox actually remains long enough that an opponent can't just run in and grab after its over xD

If you should hit with the SH DB, it seemed rather difficult for opponents to get out (unless its another Marth/Lucina). Once they're caught in the initial slash, your opponent cannot escape your reach I believe. If they try to jump away, a good called fair should tip them on the way out. If they try to attack back, Uair or a second DB is waiting. If its a counter, a charged SB ought to do the job. Remember that it all depends on how you read your opponent. One mistake and they'll make you pay for it - but that's just part of the joy of using Marth now xD

Also, short opponents are the bane of this tactic, but don't be scared of using it because of that. A wiffed SH DB can be protected by a counter followup or a second DB depending on where your opponent is. But be wary not to overuse this move, as it can be punished via dash attacks or low standing overheads (like Ike's Usmash). Pick your moments and it'll keep your opponents guessing xD

One more option to talk about is just the general property of air DBs, which is to cut off rising vertical momentum. Because of this, you can mix up how you jump around your character via double jumping then canceling your momentum once more. It can sometimes confuse your opponents when they're expecting you to land sooner. The double jump can really get you out of sticky situations, and combining it with the DB momentum canceling, you can make opponents have to guess well on how to punish you.

These are only a few examples on what to do. If I type them all, its gonna be a bigger wall of text (and I'm not sure you all want to read all that ^^"). If you guys think otherwise, I can detail the situations I run into with this along with what you guys find.

3) Ground dancing blades
This is probably standard fare Marth stuff at this point, but I figured I'd go over it a bit, based on my usage of it in Smash 4. Some opponents like to hop alot, and sometimes they're able to just beat you out of your Fairs or Bairs. But if they will be like that, a grounded DB is perfect. The reach of the move seems much better on the ground, and running up and performing at least the first two swings tends to intimidate quite well. Now what is also possible is to stop in the middle of it and go into something else, like a counter or just jumping away. The third and fourth hit are what add more commitment I find, and usually your opponent will out of shield roll behind you after the second hit. Now I say second hit, as out of all of the slashes in DB, this second one is the least committed. This should give you just enough time to move should your opponent try to get out of the way and hit/grab you back.

To go over quickly the attack variations of dancing blades, I go with the up b or down b versions. down b is perfect for punishing opponents who spot dodge/dodge in the air, and up b for catching your opponents in the slash. The up b version at lower percentage come with the benefit of placing your opponent in a setup position similar to the down throw setup. You can also ground utilt/ftilt to catch them, grab them when they hesitate, or try to jump after them to scare them off. I'm still in the process of experimentation on this, and I'll update once I have a better idea of what to do from here. Unfortunately Side b has some problems of wiffing due to the knockback and vectoring that can occur, but it can be alleviated through careful stalling between slashes.

Another thing I have noticed is that if you roll backwards as your opponent tries some sort of attack and lands where you were standing, you are at the perfect distance to punish with DB. Done this a few times against that defensive player I mentioned earlier, so I figured it'd be worth mentioning.
4) Fair Assault
As you all know, Fairs were Marth's bread and butter, and still sort of is today (just not as abusable). What started as a discovery for Lucina translated to Marth as well, who I thought could not do this trick.

Basically by SH Fairing, you have just enough time to pull out a SB or DB from it. But to focus on the SB specifically, when you Fair and perform the SB, you carry some of the momentum with you and slide back a bit as you perform the attack. What that means for us is we can punish those who shield our Fairs with relative safety.You can either perform the SH Fair and back off, or perform it and go overhead. If you use the overhead version, use the grounded reverse b tactic (done by pressing b then tapping in the opposite direction to throw the attack that way). By doing this, you keep your opponent away from you, regardless if they block it or dodge it. If the opponent should try to roll past you, you have the DB to catch them from either side. Just as always, you need to read your opponent carefully, as there's only so much this approach can protect you from.

Because there is just enough time to followup with DB/SB, there is also enough time to FF or double jump with the right timing. This also allows for another quick Tilt followup or FAir/DB via double jumping. You control the spacing as long as the opponents aren't fast enough to punish. So keep this in mind.
5) Dodge cancel approach
after a recent discovery CT_DeLux and res0smash, the ability to jump air dodge and cancel its recovery is looking to be a great tool for Marth. Now this is another means for Marth to time his Nair and Uairs into a combo situation. Here's the link below describing how the move is done:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VmDkNkNPWYY

Essentially, you do a short hop and air dodge as soon as possible, then perform an attack to cancel the landing lag. After recent testings, it's not the most practical approach in the world, even though it sets up at the right height for your Nairs and Uairs. In fact, a lot of your air moves works well out of this approach, as X-ian helped greatly with making me realize the potential for this approach. Your FAirs, BAirs, or your B moves can come out at just the right moment before landing, so you can make this work to your advantage alongside the Air DB setup.
6) Edge guarding and Recovery options
Now this isn't anything new in terms of Marth gameplay in general, but I thought it best to talk about this to help people out with edgeguarding as Marth/Lucina. With Marth and Lucina's range, you are fully able to punish any recovery option as long as you read them well enough. The ideal position for Marth to stand is just outside of their get up attack range. You're open to any of your tilts and smashes, but the dtilt, fsmash, SB, DB and either utilt or ftilt will be your main options when you stay on the ground. Spacing, once more, is essential to making your opponents fear being on the ledge, as you will outrange and outspeed most recovery options.

Edgeguarding is all about reading your opponent's recovery options, and most of them involve getting up near the edge. Remember your fundamentals and punish with any of the options mentioned above to rack up the damage. Another important note is that if you tip fsmash against opponents that lose their invincibility while hanging on the ledge, it can hit them still. Now this may be on a case by case basis, but keep this option in mind. You can also shield to be safe and just punish when your opponent comes in range. Really, the option you need to watch out for is ledge camping and roll recoveries, as well as getup to shield options. It is at that point where you mix things up a little by using your SB or DB to catch them into a compromising position of being shield pressured or back onto the ledge again.

The next thing is when the roles have been reversed, and now you're at the ledge. Here, you still have your range and speed to properly space out opponents trying to edgeguard you. Outside of the standard options, you can also use SB to effectively poke at opponents onstage. You need to keep opponents away and guessing at your recovery options. Use a certain recovery so many times, then when it seems like they're starting to learn, switch it up. But it goes without saying really.

One more thing is the unique property of SB, which is if it is fully charged in the air, you will be launched farther forward than normal. When offscreen, it is essential to remember you have this option to get back on stage. It can also be used offensively if you've been knocked high in the air and you want to quickly get back in and pressure. Remember that when you do this, the hitframes are only active for the first few bits of the slide, and the rest is recovery. Of course, not everyone can tell when that is, so do your best to use this sparingly if you're using it for offensive tactics.

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Section 4: Attack strings
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Now in this section I will go over the kind of patterns you can follow for putting these skills into use. This is based off my own testings and thoughts, so do give them a try and tell me how they work for you guys. It'll give an idea too of what you can do with them to follow up with your own ideas, so let the experimenting begin!

1) SH DB setup > Nair > Grab and down throw > Uair
2) Fair > DB Up B setup > UAir
3) SH DB setup > Uair > DB/SH DB (Up B version)
4) Fair > DB Up B setup > Ftilt
5) SH DB setup > DB Up B setup > Dtilt setup > ftilt
6) Dtilt setup > DB Up B setup > Grab and forward throw > Fair Assault
7) DB Up B setup > Dtilt > DB Up B setup > Fsmash
8) SH DB > UAir > SH DB > Nair > DThrow > BAir > FAir
9) SH DB > UAir > SH DB loop 2 more times > Running Up Smash
10) SH DB > NAir > DTilt > Running grab
11) SH DB > FAir > Running grab
12) DB Up B setup > Utilt > Utilt > BAir
13) Pummel setup > DTilt > Air DB setup > grab
14) DB setup > Jab > SH DB Setup > NAir > repeat > FSmash

I will continue to add, remove, and edit this section as I continue to test, so hopefully these will work out for all of us in terms of figuring out what to do.


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Section 5: Video examples
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Here in this section, there will be videos on Marths displaying some of the combos listed above. When I am able to locate someone who can help me record, I will do a video guide for everything seen here; probably split into chunks for each subsection to explain what they all do and how they work.

Gawain's Combo + Tips for Marth
Here's a good video explaining some of the tips and combos for Marth

Old vs New style Marth series
Check this out if you want examples of my playstyle vs veteran Marths/Lucinas

Infinity Blades - Marth and Lucina Montage
This video will show off the extent the DB setups can be done with proper payoff. Hopefully the visual aid will help you guys with understanding how exactly these all work:

Live FG runs
This playlist will be for all the live plays I do with Marth and Lucina specifically, so do check it out if you want to see current gameplay with the setups incorporated.

Marth video playlist (UPDATED 12/12/2014)
This will be just general gameplay footage of my Marth in action. Hopefully this will help you guys out to understand how all the setups and gameplay works.

Currently covers these MUs:
:4ness::4yoshi:

Lucina video playlist (UPDATED 21/12/2014)
This will be just general gameplay footage for Lucina now, just showing how the setups and playstyle transfers over. enjoy ^^

Currently covers these MUs:
:4luigi::4robinm:

Marth/Lucina Tech matches
This series of videos will have specific examples for some of the stuff talked about here.
Currently covered in this playlist and in this order:
  • FAir wall
  • Air DB spike setup,

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Section 6: General MU pointers
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After seeing sections often asking for help on certain match up problems popping up repeatedly, I've decided to now address questions like those and give some general gameplans that could help make it a bit easier for you guys. It will be here I will need feedback from others the most, as I as well am limited in my MU experience (part of why I'm making it a general MU pointers, and not character specific xD). Also, getting questions would be very well welcomed so it will help others going through the same troubles.

Now I will be using the terms throughout this guide assuming that you've already read it, so if there's anything unfamiliar, it should be somewhere above. Whenever not credited to anyone, this will be coming from my own experience, so results may vary xD Anyways, let's get crackin'
1) VS the average projectile spam + roll spam strategy
Marth and Lucina lack any sort of projectile of their own, so obviously this will force them to approach when they face characters like DHD or Samus. The average Projectile spam + roll spam often relies on:

a) Use projectiles that keep you back and stay far away

b) Rolling alot (usually to the opposite end of the field) and rinse and repeat.​
Kinda obvious from the name I know xD Regardless for their reason to do so, it will still come down to you to get up close and personal. First addressing the projectiles themselves, the best tool at your disposal is the running shield, or what I called the dash cancel shield. You can try to time it to perfect shield when you use this, but either way just block the projectile and keep running forward. Once the projectile is blocked, you can either continue to rush forward, or cancel the shield stun by jump cancelling it and go for an air attack or empty hop for the sake of it. You may be able to even grab them if you block a move they use point blank, but I'm expecting them to run as you as you're within a sword's length of them. You want them to feel pressure of being unable to just have their way, so they'll start to resort to retreat.

Rolling alot is quite a bad habit for players to have, and it is this you should exploit till they learn better. You want to throw attacks where you expect them to stop, and the window to hit them inbetween rolls is rather narrow. Either way, you have to get use to the timing as best as possible. Remember your FAir assault and SH DB setup especially, as they need to be lulled into a false sense of security and be punished for that mistake. So if you wiff, you still have one attack hidden behind to snag them; you may even want to wiff on purpose just for the pressure. They need to stay cool to keep you away, and if they lose it, mistakes a plenty will be found.

Another important trick is pivot grabbing/tilting, since you can just run past them as they roll away and you can potentially catch them with it. Your DB is best used when you get use to the timing of their exposed frames inbetween rolling, and once you have the timing, you have your DB setup at your disposal to really make their day. Remember your spacing, but keep the pressure going. As long as you give them no room to breathe, you should have no problem dealing with their shinanigans xD

Remember, better projectile users know how to deal with you up close, but that will be an entirely different topic to write on xD But what was talked about here is the principles you need to deal with them all the same.
2) Little Mac - Big problem
Little Mac use to be a point of issue for a lot of players to deal with when the game first came out. I also struggled in this matchup until I learned the key to dealing with it as Marth or Lucina - counter. Little Mac's recovery is very very poor, and the fellow unfortunately is weak in the air. That being said, the strategy seems simple enough, but getting him in the air is the problem.

Little Mac has super armor up the wazzu with all his Smash attacks, and his tilts are fast and devistating. You know that running shield is good against projectiles, but I say you can also use this as one of your approaching tools against any character. Little Mac will try his hardest to Jab you or tilt you, and force you to a position where he could super armor smash you. This is especially true when they try to landing trap you instead through running below you and hoping to Smash their way through your landing attack. Your range easily outclasses his, so be careful with how you poke. NAirs will be more likely your option against Little Mac just on the principle that his speed is much better than yours. But when you think it's safe, put a FAir assault in between the NAir pressure and keep him on his toes. Throws will also be one of your go to's, especially backthrow and fthrow. You want Little Mac off stage as soon as possible, as that KO punch is much harder to avoid when the Little Mac knows how to setup into it. Competing with him on the ground is rather difficult, but it is still possible with well chosen DB setups and grabs, but always have your primary objective clear.

Once they are off stage, your objective changes to gimping or just keep him from reaching the center stage. Remember your edgeguarding tactics well, and keep him off as best as you can. Ideally you want him at a point where he's forced to use his side b recovery, and that is your que to finish him off. All you have to do to end this is counter his Side B, and typically by this point, he would have exausted his second jump option, and will simply plummet to his doom. He's hard to kill by Up Smashing due to his weight, but on the same point, he can't recover well enough to survive that counter. Another thing to note is that neither his Side B or Up B recoveries auto snap to the ledge (thanks to Reynith for providing the info). This is important as you should be able to DTilt/FSmash him out of it from on stage.

Because Little Mac excels on ground, stages with platforms will be your saving grace in a sense. FH attacks or DS will be much easier to protect using them. Not to mention, Little Mac struggles in the air, so these platforms will make it harder for him to escape being put in the air. Of course, this is just general Marth tactics at this point xD
3) Speed characters and slowing them down
Having fought characters like Yoshi and Shiek a bit more, we've all seen that it is much harder to play the agro strategy against them. All of their attacks will come out faster than yours, and their landing lag is near non existent, making a lot of your setups much more difficult to use effectively. Though we may not all like this, but it is much better to take this from a defensive approach.

Defensive in this sense does not mean simply standing there and waiting, as the above examples both have projectiles at their disposal. What you aim to do in MUs like these are to approach and bait out fast retaliation from your opponents. More likely than not, their primary means of approaching will be their fast NAirs or their primary knockback moves (Dashing attack, FAir/BAir, etc) to set you up into their attack strings. Each character is slightly different on how they start it up, so learn their setups quickly so you can choose your times to retaliate.

Most of the fight you will be relegated to using your DTilt/Jab/grab for interruption > setups. Both of them are setups in their own rights, so choose the right one for which situation they belong to (as outlined in their sections). Your DB setups (air or grounded) can work, but you can't use it often nor rely on it at earlier percents. Their objective is to outspeed you, and since their landing lags are minimal, they can continuously Jab till a result is gained. Its at this point where you need to be most consious of your spacing when going for this setup (and in this case, will favor Lucina over Marth due to Marth's tipper pushing targets too high too early to follow up as efficiently). As you won't be the one actually doing the attacking first, try getting pivot attacks in more often in MUs like these, and if they get too happy with agro, grab/interrupt and reset it to neutral or occassionally pressure with well spaced attacks. If you must approach, SH NAirs and FH FAir/Bairs will help out greatly here. But remember that the higher you jump, the more likely they will go for jump cancelling out of shield, then try to chase you down.

You want to slow them down to your pace, because you won't be able to outspeed them if they know what they're doing. But once you start to slow them down, add the pressure occassionally, then you can turn the tables and go agro on them for a short time. Most good players will keep their cool, so you need to get into their heads with your attacks (and not your taunts =.=).
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If anyone else has some good ideas for combos and such, feel free to post them and I'll update the post. I'm hoping to learn from other Marth players too by doing this, so hopefully this will gather some steam and help press the Marth train forward.

Also, this is my first post technically for Smashboards, so hopefully this isn't too bad of a first impression xD
Author
EternalFlame
First release
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Rating
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Latest updates

  1. UPDATE (18/12/2015):

    With the patch having hit the shelves, we are treated to a lowered knockback for Dancing Blades...
  2. UPDATE(10/12/2015)

    Direct is coming in 5 days guys, so I did a reread of my favorite DB setups, and updated a tiny...
  3. UPDATE (6/08/2015):

    Thanks to the new 1.1.0 update, a number of the aerial based setups and combos have been updated...

Latest reviews

I'm grateful for making this from a beginners view because it helped me at that time when I was a beginner
I'm a melee Marth main, needed a guide to see where he's at now since I'm considering playing more sm4sh. This did the trick, great job man. Really in depth coverage on all the moves, helps to know how they've changed from what I'm used to.
Essentially the Marth main Bible. I think this is a must read for anyone who plays Marth. Excellent job!
This is awesome!
I have Lucinda as my secondary and the videos helped with the combos I am able to pull off
Very helpful and provides a lot of depth
Visited and joined smashboards because of this guide. It's amazing not only for a smash 4 beginner but anyone wanting to learn how to effective improve ones marcina game. Plenty of strings to try, strategies, and even some match up tips which help a lot! Overall, this guide has been very helpful!
This is an amazing help. I recently got Sm4sh on wii u and I since the days of mele, lost my touch. But i was reading this, went into a match )still against a much better player (who was using capt falcon)) and didnt do as badly as i normally would have given the skill gap. I am bookmarking this for reference too, this is an amazing guide and I thank you sincerly for it.
So much content! That is a good thing because it shows how much research was dedicated. I may not be a consistent Marth player, but now I know when are the appropriate times to use one of Marth's throws (and technically Lucina's, too).
A lot of info, a bit too much but necessary. i read bits and pieces of it that i didn't know about smash 4 marth which helped me a lot. the 1.1.0 buff helped him a bit, but not enough to make a big impact

just a suggestion, but maybe it would be easier to just have a video of the basic moves and such, like a TL;DR. then just keeping the info you have already there for people who like going in depth; the ones who are really taking it seriously, would make the basics part a lot easier to go through haha

anyway amazing guide, from a marth player to another marth player
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