A Comprehensive Competitive Guide to Chrom: Ultimate's Melee Character

TheDMatch

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#1
TL;DR Read the bold text/around the bold text.
:ultchrom::ultchrom::ultchrom:
Sakurai is somehow so amazing (r/smashcirclejerk) that Chrom being a canon descendant of Marth:ultmarth: was put into Ultimate as a feature! And by that I mean that, quoting Mang0 "Chrom belongs in Melee" -- he feels like Ultimate's Melee Marth. This is due to his quick movement, combos, flow, and kill options that make a sword character great. Chrom is, potentially, the best sword character in the game in fact. What some newbies may be asking is how is he different from Roy? Isn't he an echo?

Differences from Roy:ultroy:
Chrom is the least echo-ey echo there is, in that he plays a lot different from Roy, as he plays more similarly to Lucina. This section of the guide isn't going to be a literal list of differences you can find on a wiki or youtube tutorial, but more applications in actual competitive play.

Nevertheless, Chrom's main difference is consistency across the sword rather than a hilt sweetspot. Now, consistency is not always better than the "peaks" given by Roy's hilt-er, it certainly is in this scenario. See, sword characters most important tools are, well their swords, who have massive disjoint hitboxes, which means swordies rely on spacing as a primary tool of attack, something which Roy lacks due to his sourspots being at the edge of his sword, severely limiting his spacing options. Chrom takes advantage of Roy's disjoints which Roy himself cannot use due to his 'special' attribute.

Essentially, Chrom is a better character because he effectively has longer reach and more consistent kill options than Roy.

Roy does have some merits and someone with a certain playstyle could definitely play Roy better than Chrom. Roy's Up-B has multiple angles and is definitely a better recovery. In addition, Roy's sourspots can be used for some kill confirms. Lastly, Roy can kill a lot earlier than Chrom due to the hilt sweetspot. Chrom, however, kills a lot more consistently, still has a multitude of kill confirms, and has one of the best moves in the game: HIS UP B.
With this in mind, Chrom's moves become a lot better in practice. For example, forward tilt becomes a much better move and an early kill option, which I'll get into more later.

Why He's Good
From a frame data perspective (all of this is true of Roy as well), Chrom has the 11th best initial dash, 4th best air speed, and is comfortably a heavyweight. With all this combined, you get a fast character who can rush you down, hit you with multiple low-lag aerials, and beat you with plenty of kill confirms.

Speaking of which, ALL HIS AERIALS HAVE LIKE NO LAG. 9 frames on Nair and 8 frames on Fair and Uair means Chrom can throw these out with little to no repercussions.

The proof is in the pudding

Ground Moves
While Chrom is excellent in the air, he is also a menace on the ground as well.
Jab, first of all, is an amazing move. It's quick and has a large hitbox. At low percents, jab can combo into his tilt attacks, and at medium percents it can combo into side B. Most of all, however, with the angle that jab sends the opponent, mixups can be done in which you can trap the opponent into a Fair, Nair, or just a run up grab. At higher percent, jab --> ftilt/FSmash can combo and potentially kill as well.

Ftilt is one of Chrom's best moves. Running Ftilt, while not the fastest, is a good approach tool that covers a lot and can even function as an anti air. Ftilt amazingly can also sometimes hit into platforms, which can net some early kills/throw opponents offstage unexpectedly. Ftilt is also one of Chrom's best ledgetrapping tools; Ftilt not only covers a large amount of recoveries, but also can hit under the ledge. Drop shield --> Ftilt is a decent option if the opponent does a get up attack or rolls behind you as well. Lastly, Ftilt is one of Chrom's main kill moves. It can kill as early as 100% at the ledge and can comfortably kill at ~120%+.

DTilt is a decent and quick move. It's main use is for either poking or for mixups on approach options. While Running Ftilt or Jab is better, Dtilt can sometimes poke shields or catch the opponent off guard.

Utilt is a combo starter and anti air. It's pretty slow (compared to his other fast af moves), and in most situations a SH UAir is a better option. However, at low percents, it can start juggles easily and can shark platforms from below.

Dash attack is very interesting. It's like a mini F-smash; it's super powerful but soo laggy. Dash attack should be used mainly as a kill option/punish if you know that this move will hit, otherwise it's not worth it. In most cases, running Ftilt is a better option.

FSmash is Chrom's best kill move and holy hell is it quick and powerful. This move can kill most of the cast at around 80%! That's insane. A legitimate option in this game is to literally dash dance or foxtrot into FSmash, as it is just that quick and hard to react to. This move should be the go-to punish or read move.

USmash and DSmash are not nearly as good as FSmash in terms of kill power, range, or quickness. They are entirely situational, with DSmash in particular being close to obsolete as there are quicker options to hit an opponent behind/below you. USmash can be used as an option after a read or to hit opponents above you on a platform.

Specials
Neutral B can is situational and is not as good as Marcina's shield breaker. The best use for Neutral B is for edgeguarding, as some opponents may fall into the giant hitbox this move has. It could potentially be used to change your momentum mid air to catch your opponent by surprise.

Side B is a good move and approach option. It can be done out of dash and can be used to mix up with your other approach options. However, it is somewhat easy to punish on a whiff or on shield. Also, opponents can sometimes DI out of the hits making it so that you're left easy to punish. Regardless, it's still a good tool to use.

As per the angles, I'd say you'd be using the "downward" angle the most, as it does the most damage and is multi hit so it can catch spot dodges/dropped shields. The "forward" angle is better for kills, and if the final hit connects it can be used as a decent kill move. The "upward" angle is not as useful as the other two and also is generally slower and laggier, but can be used as a mixup as an anti air to start juggles. Generally, use the low angle for damage and the medium angle to kill.

Counter is a decent move, it's pretty standard. It's not very spammable and is mostly good if you're expecting a powerful attack to net some quick kills. Mainly, it can be used for edgeguarding against characters who have Up Bs with hitboxes, like Mario's, Ike's, Marth's, etc.

Up B :GCU::GCB:
Yes this deserves its own category; that's how vital this move is to the character. Now Up B serves two purposes: as a recovery, and as an offensive tool. Sometimes these may overlap.

In terms of recovery, Chrom's recovery is not as bad as purported to be. With Chrom's insanely high airspeed, recovering low is not that difficult and Up B can actually be moved slightly horizontally to allow for a little more control. However, his recovery is still on the bad side and can be exploited/easily deal with, especially with characters with good edgeguards like :ultjigglypuff:, :ultinkling:, :ultmegaman:, etc. However, there are some ways around this.

As an offensive option, Up B is most likely Chrom's best move. First of all, the first of the move is massive and can catch any opponent in the general vicinity in front of you. The move also has super armor on startup, in addition to doing massive damage if all hits connect, at around 23%. Lastly, the move is one of Chrom's fastest out of shield options, and can even hit opponents behind him by simply performing a turnaround-b. And ULTIMATELY, the move is an excellent kill option, being a suicide kill and actually killing the opponent first.

Now there's a section later for kill confirms, but I cannot talk about Chrom's Up B without mentioning the sacred Chrombo. The Chrombo is any combo that ends with a Up-B kill confirm. The most effective one being:

Nair --> (offstage) Fair --> (offstage) Up-B

or any variation thereof, which can include UAir. This is actually so effective that it can take stocks at 0%. Here is a vod of Zero doing the Chrombo twice in a row

Aerials
Chrom's best moves and neutral revolve around his aerials, all of which are pretty amazing (except maybe Dair, he's the black sheep of the family).

Nair is a standard Marth-like spacing tool, and is Chrom's second fastest out of shield option. Niar can be used for two things: "get away from me" or "bread and butter combo starter". Short hop Nair can easily follow up into Fair or another SH Nair, and other moves like Dair or Up B. In addition to that short hop Nair is one of Chrom's best approach options and is relatively safe on shield. Combos at low % include:

Nair --> Nair
Nair --> Nair --> USmash/FSmash
Nair --> Nair --> Fair --> Fair

From mid percent:
Nair --> Nair --> UAir --> UAir

You can get a lot more creative with the combos, especially on triplats like Battlefield where you can use the stage to your advantage. In fact, single hit Nair also has some set ups for kill confirms, like into forward tilt or forward smash which I'll touch up on later. But you get the idea.

Fair is another fantastic aerial, approach option, and combo extender. Fair, more so than Nair, is generally safe on shield as well. Fair is a great move mostly because it literally covers a large area in front of Chrom's body and can be used to cover a lot of options for opponents in front of you. Auto-cancelled Fair an be used as an approach option or just to threaten your opponent. Lastly, Fair is also a good edgeguarding tool; you don't even have to go that far out on the ledge to actually kill with it, and it covers a lot of vulnerable recoveries.

Bair is similar to Fair, except with shorter range and much higher knockback and damage. It's quick, and one of Chrom's best kill moves. RAR Bairs can be used to threaten high% opponents. It can also is one of Chrom's best edgeguarding moves, probably more so than Fair, as it can kill much earlier. Uniquely, as with all Marths, it turns Chrom around in the air, which is useful if you want to follow up with Fair or UpB.

UAir is on par with Nair and Fair as one of the best aerials in the game. Not only is UAir excellent at juggling, but falling UAir functions as a combo starter. For example, Falling UAir --> UAir. Falling UAir almost always sets up for juggles, which Chrom excels at. Furthermore, UAir is Chrom's fastest out of shield option, punishing those who attack on shield swiftly. Falling UAirs can follow up into multiple Nairs and Fairs.

Dair is situational and overall much riskier than all other aerials. Dair can be used after a hard read to spike an opponent, or to spike them on stage to continue follow ups with either Falling UAir or Nair.

Throws
Down Throw is Chrom's only relevant throw and can lead to combos at low %:
DThrow --> Up B
DThrow --> UTilt --> UAir
DThrow --> Fair -->UAir

You can take advantage of Battlefield platforms for extending combos as well. For example, after a DThrow-->Fair, you could land and FTilt or Up B.

Kill Moves and Confirms
Chrom's main kill moves are his FSmash, FTilt, Bair, USmash, and Up B. Lucky for him, a lot of his moves can combo into these moves and can kill confirm. These are listed below:

At ~80-125%: Falling UAir --> USmash
At ~60-100%: Single Hit Nair --> FSmash
At ~125%+: Single Hit Nair --> UTilt
At ~65-100%: Jab --> Bair
At ~70-115%: Back hit Uair-->Bair
Starting at 45%: Falling UAir --> (offstage) Dair

And of course, all the variations on the Chrombo starting at 0%, some of which include:
Nair --> Nair --> (offstage) Up B
Falling Uair --> (offstage) Up B


As you can see a lot of these are busted, kill really early, and are actually pretty easy to use.

Flaws
Chrom does have some flaws, of which the pros for the character greatly outweigh.

Mainly, Chrom can have trouble getting in with characters that like to spam projectiles. Working around this by rushing them down and not giving them breathing room is generally the go to strategy, but sometimes it's hard to get past a ton of **** flying at your face, especially when you're offstage and easy to gimp.
Speaking of which, and what should be obvious, his recovery isn't great. It's actually half decent, but its largely exploitable against a player who knows what they're doing.

Lastly, Chrom can have trouble hitting smaller characters as they're generally really fast in some form and duck under a lot of his aerials and slither out of a lot of his combos and confirms. A way to combat this is to perform more falling aerials rather than rising ones, or to throw out strong moves at mid-high percents, which threatens smaller and lighter characters.

Characters like :ultyounglink:and :ulttoonlink:, :ultpichu:and :ultpikachu:, and :ultness:, for example, may be harder to play against due to having a combination of all the tools to beat Chrom. Playing smart pays off though, and learning to beat projectile spam will help a lot.
All in All

One last thing is that most of Chrom's combos follow a basic flowchart, if you've noticed some of the combos I've listed.
:ultchrom::ultchrom:Here is my cobbled together flowchart of Chrom combos:ultchrom::ultchrom:
Even though this flowchart is useful, it should be like a thing in the back of your mind. Don't play memorizing exact combo combinations, just use what flows/what makes sense in the moment in the game.

All in all, Play Chrom if you like sword characters, fast characters, rushdown characters, of any combination thereof. If it weren't for the glaring weakness in his gimpability, Chrom would potentially be the best character in the game. I'm sure as the meta develops Chrom is only going to get more developed; I can only see this character as top tier unless Nintendo hits him with a nerf hammer. He really feels like a Melee Marth and it would be sad to see him be nerfed. Nevertheless, enjoy the fun that is Chrom while you still can!
 

Haden

If life is so fair, why do roses have thorns?
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#2
Nintendo wont nurf Chrom as there are little to no reasons to do so. Even with his strong on stage neutral, he can't consistently kill like the top tiers, his combos are 2-3 hit enders that don't kill, and let's be real, if a Chrom is offstage, even within airdodge to ledge range, he's as good as dead. The only other character with this issue is literally Little Mac. Chrom is comparable to Little Mac. That's all the more reason to never play him.

I'd also like to strongly refute your statement that Chrom is like Melee Marth. I'm a Melee Marth main, and Chrome is ABSOLUTELY NOT like Melee Marth. Melee Marth is a hard spacer with 0 to death combos and actual movement options. Chrom is a Rushdown character with no 0 to death combos, that are bread and butter anyway. Huge difference between neutral spacer and neutral rush down. They are literally opposite playstyles.
 
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Broom

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#3
You're really overexaggerating how bad his recovery is. Little Mac has a plethora of issues that make him an absolutely terrible character, moreso than his recovery. Little Mac has no kill confirms, no way to approach zoners, no landing options, no combo game, and no airgame. The lack of airgame is one of the huge reasons his recovery is so bad and he can't act with side b twice even after getting hit out of it. He only has a counter for an aggressive option when returning. He also can't recover high because he lacks a landing option. His jumps in general are also bad.

Chrom can recover high quite frequently and snap to ledge because of his airspeed and higher jumps. The only characters that can actually safely punish it are sword characters or counters. He also has huge disjoints for defending himself and, like mentioned before, an actual airgame. He is absolutely not comparable to Little Mac because he actually has OPTIONS for recovery and more pros outside of that topic.

Edit: This is meant for Haden, but trying to quote his post is putting my entire comment as a quote too for whatever reason.
 
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Haden

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#4
You're really overexaggerating how bad his recovery is. Little Mac has a plethora of issues that make him an absolutely terrible character, moreso than his recovery. Little Mac has no kill confirms, no way to approach zoners, no landing options, no combo game, and no airgame. The lack of airgame is one of the huge reasons his recovery is so bad and he can't act with side b twice even after getting hit out of it. He only has a counter for an aggressive option when returning. He also can't recover high because he lacks a landing option. His jumps in general are also bad.

Chrom can recover high quite frequently and snap to ledge because of his airspeed and higher jumps. The only characters that can actually safely punish it are sword characters or counters. He also has huge disjoints for defending himself and, like mentioned before, an actual airgame. He is absolutely not comparable to Little Mac because he actually has OPTIONS for recovery and more pros outside of that topic.

Edit: This is meant for Haden, but trying to quote his post is putting my entire comment as a quote too for whatever reason.
I guess the guaranteed downtilt into X smash attack or downtilt into KO Punch kill confirms aren't kill confirms for mac but okay LMAO
I'm well aware of Macs airgame being nonexistant. I compared Chroms recovery, which YES, is JUST as exploitable as Macs. If you have a Chrom offstage and it doesn't die, it's because you're bad and need to learn the most basic level of edge guarding, because you don't even have to try. In fact, his recovery is SO bad, I can edge guard him with most the cast without even leaving the stage just by hitting him at the apex of his up special. "Well what if he recoverys low" you say? It's called dropzone arials. He's still dead. That's how bad his recovery is. It's not overexagerated, in fact, I was being generous. Chroms disadvantage state is comparable to Little Mac off stage, period. There is a reason that Chrom will never be able to top a major.
 

~?~

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#5
You're really overexaggerating how bad his recovery is. Little Mac has a plethora of issues that make him an absolutely terrible character, moreso than his recovery. Little Mac has no kill confirms,

Edit: This is meant for Haden, but trying to quote his post is putting my entire comment as a quote too for whatever reason.
Little Mac has kill confirms at some of the lowest percents in the game with KO punch and ledge smash attacks out of both downtilt and uptilt. Chrom's recovery is like the second worst in the game, and barely behind Mac. No one tried to argue that Chrom doesn't have a strong neutral, just off the fact he has a disjoint, and strong hits with a good juggle game if you can read air dodges. The argument was his consistency and his disadvantage state, both of which are pretty bad, almost to the degree of Mac. Chroms never return to stage once I have them off of it, and if they try to use counters to prevent edge guards, well, GG because now I can bait those for an even easier edge guard. I can literally counter pick a better sword character for 1 move, counter, and beat Chrom off of that factor alone just be standing at the ledge. Chrom was mostly hype and was heavily represented, yet he never got anywhere because that's that, hype. He can have a disjoint all he wants, but if it isn't a consistent character, then what does it matter? I also know that Chrom is absolutely nothing like Melee Marth at any degree other than ground speed specifically when running, as the OP suggests.

EDIT: You also mentioned that only swords can safely edge guard him. Yet... I kill Chroms (and Roys) below 40% on a regular basis with double nair offstage using Link.... you know.... his foot. Not a sword. Nudge a Chrom an inch off stage and it's like nudging him a mile because his up special has almost no drift. Out of all the Characters I have the easiest time gimping with no effort, Chrom is easily the one I've gimped the most, effortlessly. It's actually free, which is why I like playing Chroms. Free W is a free W. While yes, he has SLIGHTLY more options than Mac off stage, they're all still bad and predictable options, and nobody can objectively argue against that, not even at a mid level of gameplay, let alone high and top level, where Chrom doesn't exist consistently, and for good reasons. A character that dies consistently below 40% to Links Nair off stage is a character with a terrible disadvantage and recovery state. It's not something that can even begin to be argued against.

Second EDIT: I'll put it this way. Chrom is a high tier in neutral (not top tier neutral, don't confuse them) but a bottom tier in disadvantage. No one can deny that Chrom is one of the stronger characters in center stage, but his recovery is so bad that he commonly sits comfortably on the higher end of the Mid Tier section of many players tier lists, and with good merit. The majority of major games that take place aren't only decided by neutral on stage play, but who ends stocks in crucial moments and as early as possible, generally these come from gimping and edge guarding, something Chrom likes to die to. On stage, 8/10 character, off stage, 1/10 character....
There are a great deal of reasons why people tend to use Lucina or Roy over Chrom, even Marth got the shaft to Lucina, which is mind blowing to me, even tho Marth is still considered extremely viable if you know how to space. All I can say is, if you want to prove me wrong, only the future will tell, because as of now, no Chrom is performing at a consistent level like Lucina and Roy. Roy barely tho. I guess Chrom players need to step it up. If his exploitable weaknesses are being over exaggerated by people, surely a Chrom will prove me wrong and top 8 a major with a high pound for pound roster in the brackets. I'm going to ef around with Chrom. In fact, I need a new character for my next "Two Weeks of (name)" combo videos. So I'll play him between 1-2 hours a day when I have time and "get gooder" with him. I'll see what I myself can do and find other people who play Chrom to come join and show to their general basic utilities so I can quick learn, then I'll add my own flavor like any player would... a giant nuisance offstage, and I'm learning Link Bomb and Diddy Banana combos with him to, because duh.
 
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BSD

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#6
does anyone know how to momentum cancel with chroms side b please im struggling and everything time Shoyo James does I become increasingly erect someone please help.
 
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