I have avoided Fire Emblem for so long, but there is only so much I can do versus the 3rd biggest franchise in Ultimate. That’s right, today we’ll be talking about swords, swords and even more swords with the fighter that started it all, #21 in the roster: Marth

Marth is the central protagonist of the original Fire Emblem game, Shadow Dragon and Blade of Light, first released in 1990. Now considered as the mascot of his franchise, he made his first appearance in the Smash Bros series in Melee, alongside the lesser known Roy. Whilst his friend may not have always made the cut, Marth appeared in every following Smash game and is now viewed as the signature swordfighter of the brawl. With a standard weight and decent speed, he uses his long blade to hack, slash and react to his opponent’s moves from a reasonably safe distance.

Even if he is still a close-combat character, Marth’s sword gives him an incredible range which allows him to have an edge on other melee fighters. Furthermore, his sword has a unique property: the tip of the blade deals more damage than the hilt. This means that with every normal, tilt, smash or aerial attack, you ideally want to hit your opponent from as far as possible. This allows you to inflict a large amount of damage whilst at a safe distance. Marth’s neutral-air is notably effective and powerful if you manage to hit this sweet spot.

Marth’s special moves complement his kit very well. His neutral-B is his Shield Breaker, a charged shield busting stab with great range. His up-special is the Dolphin Slash, a simple vertical recovery which cuts through anyone above him. Marth’s down-B is a crucial part of his kit, his Counter. If you get the timing on point, it blocks any incoming attack and counter-strikes with a matching force. Last but not least, the side-special Dancing Blade is a 4 hit combo with very useful versatility, as tilting the joystick changes the finishing move. Up will make Marth perform an upward slash, throwing the opponent in the air to follow up with an aerial. Down, mixes it up with multiple low jabs to have an unusual number of hits. And holding to the side is a great kill move, knocking back opponents with a powerful last blow.

The key to playing Marth is observing, positioning and reacting to your opponents. His unique sword rewards you for keeping your distance and hitting your enemies with just the tip of the blade. It is hence crucial not to get too close and to know the reach of each of your attacks to make the best of them. To do so effectively, you must keep a sharp eye on your opponent’s moves to punish them with a quick slash or Counter by swiftly moving in the correct position once they’ve missed or ideally, by predicting them. In general, this must be done for every fighter but it is particularly important for Marth’s quick and precise game style.

To conclude, Marth is an extremely powerful swordfighter thanks to his great reach but requires a skilled and precise player to lead him to victory. This makes Marth one of the hardest characters to master but brings him to high tier once you do. So if the difficulty doesn’t scare you then I suggest you take a stab at him and in no time, you’ll be spamming: “I won’t lose!”