Sign in to follow this  

Ssbm: An Analysis Of Marth Vs Roy

Recommended Posts

I originally made this for another forum I visit, but I figured there are still tons of people who have a skewed idea of how Marth and Roy are really played, so I'm posting it here.




Now, I could just throw the statistics at you to begin, but I?ll start with an introduction. The Marth vs Roy debate is probably the biggest divider between the minority of "pros" and the majority of "newbs" at SSBM. The newbs see Roy as one of the best, if the not the best, character in the game. The pros know better, though, and realize that when you take into account every aspect of the character, Marth is far better. Let's find out why.


Isn?t Roy essentially a stronger, slower version of Marth?


No, he isn't. The surprising thing about Roy is that he is actually weaker and faster than Marth, in real terms. This seems to defy logic at first, but bear with me. The more powerful character, in essence, is the one that can KO the enemy the easiest. Roy touts some of the most powerful attacks in the game: his fully charged B attack has the capacity to kill an enemy from 0%! But it takes so long to charge Roy will never be able to use it to KO an enemy in a real battle.


Roy, instead, should KO his enemies primarily with forward smash, forward B, and uncharged B attacks. His forward smash is extremely powerful - it can kill enemies at as low as 40% - and his forward B and uncharged B are significantly weaker, needing well over 100% just to knock the enemy off the edge. Roy's problem is that his forward smash is highly difficult to hit the enemy with - it's a slow attack with plenty of lag, and Roy will be painfully punished if he whiffs a forward smash! On the other hand, his other killers are too weak to kill at low damages. Considering how risky forward smash is for Roy, good Roy players opt for the weaker but much safer finishers. This leaves Roy, however, much weaker than average, and it can take over 200% for him to KO some tenacious enemies like Peach.


Marth, on the other hand, has much less of a problem. His forward smash is even more powerful at its tip, and about average strength at its center. Marth excels, however, at comboing enemies into the range of a tipped forward smash - which extends over his head and slams a sword's length in front of him. His forward aerial, up tilt, forward throw, up throw and up aerial are all excellent tools for setting his foes up for a tipped forward smash, and Marth can also graze platforms above him with the tip of his blade, allowing him many more opportunities to connect. Not to mention that although Marth's forward smash is fairly laggy, it is faster than Roy's and thus can be used more frequently without fear of being punished.


Additionally, Marth's other killers are more effective than Roy's - Marth's up tilt is more powerful than Roy's forward B or uncharged B attack, and Marth can edge-guard better, due to a down tilt that sends enemies downwards and forwards, and Marth's ability to jump far off the edge to hit the enemy with aerial attacks, something Roy cannot do because he falls too quickly and his aerial attacks are too slow.


All in all, Marth is the more powerful character - at a high level - when it comes to KOing his opponents - which is where it matters.


OK...Marth is more powerful, but didn?t you say that Roy was faster?


I did, although that's not a stance that's set in stone. Many players claim that Roy is faster because his playstyle is reliant on short hop aerials - and because Roy's short hop is lower, and he falls faster, he can perform short hop aerials a good deal faster. However, it isn't totally accurate to say this makes Roy faster - Marth's attacks are, as a whole, faster and much less laggy than Roy's, and Marth is slightly faster in maneuvering on the ground, such as in running and wave-dashing. Marth and Roy are fast in much different ways, so it's difficult to make a comparison. It is worth noting that high level Roy is much more intense than high level Marth, because of Roy's reliance on fast short hop aerials and Marth's more relaxed reliance on spacing tip hits and dashdancing for grabs.


Even if Marth is more powerful, does that justify such a great difference?


Marth is considered the third best character in the game - Roy is considered fifteenth. Why the huge difference? Much of it IS explained by the difference in power - namely, Marth can KO easily at low damages and Roy can barely KO at high damages. There are other aspects in which Marth is superior, though - his sweet spot is better placed, allowing Marth to use his range to the fullest; and while both characters excel at comboing, Marth's forward aerial, which links to itself and forward smash, puts him head and shoulders above Roy, who relies on chains of weaker attacks and cannot lead into a strong killer like Marth can.


The better character just depends on the person?s playing style.


This is right?to an extent. Like I said before, most newbs just spam smashes and tilts with Roy without any regard to the sweet-spot or his aerial game, so in their case Roy would be better. But for people who play Roy to his maximum potential and Marth to his maximum potential, then Marth would easily win. Let me further emphasize the fact that Marth?s aerial game is so much better than Roy?s that he completely leaves Roy in the dust. If you and your opponent never use aerial attacks, then Roy wouldn?t be much worse, but once you face an opponent that does, you?ll lose badly. Note that this isn?t about what character YOU?RE good with, but what character is better if you use each one to his potential.


Here are the stats of each character taken from their respective sweet spots. You can check these yourselves in training mode.


A moves


Neutral A

Marth: 6%

Roy: 5%


Tilt Forward

Marth: 13%

Roy: 10%


Tilt Up

Marth: 12%

Roy: 8%


Tilt Down

Marth: 10%

Roy: 10%


Neutral Air

Marth: 13%

Roy: 11%


Forward Air

Marth: 13%

Roy: 8%


Back Air

Marth: 13%

Roy: 9%


Up Air

Marth: 13%

Roy: 6%


Down Air

Marth: 13%

Roy: 10%


Smash Forward

Marth: 20% uncharged, 27% charged

Roy: 20% uncharged, 27% charged


Smash Up

Marth: 18% uncharged, 24% charged

Roy: 16% uncharged, 22% charged


Smash Down

Marth: 16% uncharged, 21% charged

Roy: 21% uncharged, 28% charged


Who has stronger A moves?

Marth: 9

Roy: 1


B moves


Neutral B

Marth: 7% uncharged, 28% charged

Roy: 6% uncharged, 50% charged


Forward B*

Marth: 4% 5% 10% 14%

Roy: 5% 6% 9% 11%


Up B

Marth: 13%

Roy: 13%


Down B

Marth: 7%

Roy: 1.5x attack countered


Who has stronger B moves?

Marth: 1

Roy: 2



Forward Throw

Marth: 4%

Roy: 5%


Back Throw

Marth: 4%

Roy: 5%


Up Throw

Marth: 4%

Roy: 5%


Down Throw

Marth: 5%

Roy: 6%


Grab Attack

Marth: 3%

Roy: 3%


Who has stronger throws?

Marth: 0

Roy: 4


Who has stronger moves overall?

Marth: 10

Roy: 7


* - Each number corresponds to ONLY the attack of the Forward B for its position. For example, the third hit of Marth's Forward B does 10%. Also note, this is only using Forward B repeatedly, other variations were not tested, but feel free to check it for yourselves.


All right, I?ll admit Marth is a better character...But I want to stick to Roy. How can I begin to use him at a high level?


Here's an introduction posted by MaskedMarth on another message board:


?What do I mean when I say Roy is a controversial character? He, more than any other character, represents the divide between high-level players and low-level players (the vast majority). Low-level players tend to consider Roy one of the best characters in the game, and are quite vocal about this. High-level players, on the other hand, know the disadvantages that bring the fiery swordsman into the middle of the rankings. The issue of Roy's prowess, particularly in comparison to Marth, leads to a lot of friction between the two ranks.


The ironic thing is, Roy is considered a top character by low-level players because of his overwhelming strength, and is considered middle by higher-level players because of his overwhelming *lack* of strength. Roy is actually almost a counter-image of what more people see him as. He's a fast, weak, combo-based character, not a heavy hitter!


Anyways, I won't go through an essay on what Roy is about. I'll do a very general overview...basically, Roy is best played when up close and dealing pressure (another irony - this leads to a faster playstyle than how Marth is usually played. Thus, the newbie belief that Roy is stronger and slower than Marth is at least partially untrue on several levels). He likes jumping in with short hop aerials and l-cancelling them into down tilts, grabs and forward B's initial attack. In terms of combos, Roy is all about the weakness of his aerials - he l-cancels them and is still in range to use some of his ground attacks (or short hop into another aerial). Down tilt is also one of the best launchers in the game and leads into everything from grabs to aerials to forward smash (!!) at some damage. Of course, the faster the opponent falls, the more deadly the attack is . For the most part though, Roy's best chance is a medium knockback attack (like an uncharged Flare Blade) to knock the foe off the edge and finish by edgeguarding.


In terms of killing, Roy is pretty lacking. Going for the lucky forward smash can net you kills at as low as about 40%, but it's a risky business and you'll often wind up losing more than you would've gained by throwing around forward smashes indiscriminately. The third hit on his forward B combo is also one of Roy's main killers, and is a little easier to land. He has some leadins to forward smash, by the way, but they're hard to promise (back throw never seems to work when you want it to, and his aerial attacks usually give the enemy too much time to dodge the incoming forward smash). Unfortunately, edge-guarding is kind of tough for Roy and he'll have trouble keeping opponents from reaching the edge if their name is not Fox, Falco, Captain Falcon or Ganondorf. Unless I'm not privy to Roy's edge-guarding secrets . Roy can try to pop up the opponent with down tilt and follow with uncharged Flare Blade or some other attack, or he can try to Forward Smash the edge of the stage. Sometimes through edgehogging you can force them on-stage for a forward smash - take full advantage of this!?


Since Marth?s playstyle differs so much from Roy?s, how should I play Marth?


In case you?ve read this analysis and have decided to switch to Marth, you?re probably wondering how to use him, since spamming smashes whenever you get the chance won?t win you matches.


Marth?s strategy revolves greatly around his aerial game, and getting the sweet-spot hit when you need to. Unlike Roy, Marth has the ability to juggle using short hop, fast falled, l-canceled (shffl, for short) aerials or a double short hop (sh) forward A while in the air (fair). At lower percents Marth?s aerial attacks have major combo potential, being able to combo from 0 to death, but you have to be careful when using Marth and make sure you combo into your forward smash as soon as you know it will kill, because after your opponent gets above 100% or so, it becomes incredibly hard, if not impossible, to combo aerial attacks because they knock the opponent back too far. In the situation that ever happens the best way would be to use a neutral A while in the air (nair) or a forward tilt to hit your opponent off the stage and edgeguard from there. Like I said, throwing around forward smashes whenever you get the chance will get you killed, so avoid using it unless you combo into it.


Marth has arguably the best grab game in SSBM, as well. He has the 4th longest grab range behind Samus, Link, and Young Link (that's right, it's longer than Yoshi's grab!), but he doesn?t have the lag that comes with throwing the grappling hook/hookshot out. This means you must shield grab often with Marth. He can shield grab after blocking almost every physical attack in the game, so use if often. A back/forward throw by can lead into a tipped (sweet-spotted) forward smash at lower percents allowing Marth to get some low percent kills, or an upthrow can lead to an easy tipper against a fast faller like Fox or Falco. At lower percents Marth can continuously grab-up throw Fox and Falco from about 0-35%. This is called a chain throw, and is essential to win against these fast falling characters.


So why did HAL make Marth such a better character than Roy?


The best answer is that HAL simply did not imagine the way the highest level players would play the game. Though it's hard to imagine that the game designers would not be masters at the game, remember that they simply put in the data to make the game happen - they did not put in nearly as many hours playing the game as do most competitive players, and they did not have the bank of information the competitive community has gathered about how to best play the game.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Wow, a very well thought out and insightful post. I know many people have opposing feelings on Marth and Roy, but I believe Marth a superior character simply because he looks so much cooler. Roy is a lame purple prince, while Marth looks like an Elegant king. His colour scheme fits much better for his character than Roy's does. Roy's colors clash, purple and red don't go well together, and his alternate costumes are lame. On the other hand, Marth's colors are wonderful and he has great alternate costumes, like snow and black flavors. Additionally Marth is a much more powerful and easier to use. Plus he sounds cooloer. Overall Marth is much greater than ROy.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

I also agree that marth is better than roy, but I have always liked roy. I played with him way before marth came out. I always thought of marth as a hyper clone of roy. I like using Roy the most though, he reminds me of chrono from chrono trigger. :P

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

When it comes down to it all, you sir, are right.However, say one Roy's playstyle Countered a Marth's playstyle, allowing Roy to win? Sure I've seen the analytics, and I've seen your reasons, but just because Marth is better in terms of damage and combos does not mean that a "Highly-skilled player" of Marth can DEFINITELY overcome a "equally skilled" player of Roy, correct?

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this