Lucina's top tier status in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is overshadowing her counterpart Marth and making him appear worse than he is

Posted by Justin 'AdaptiveTrigger' Gordon • March 13, 2019 at 6:02 p.m. PDT

Throughout the history of the franchise, Marth has been a major top tier threat in Super Smash Bros. Having match up experience against this Fire Emblem swordsman was very valuable if you planned to compete in Super Smash Bros. Melee, Super Smash Bros. Brawl, and Super Smash Bros. 4 (after patches).

Although Lucina was introduced as a clone character of Marth in Super Smash Bros. 4, her potential was overshadowed by Marth's. The main difference between these two fighters is that Marth's blade is strong at the tip while otherwise weak, while Lucina's attacks are mostly balanced and consistent.

If you've been paying attention to top player tier lists, you'll frequently see that Lucina is widely considered to be superior to Marth in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate by a fair margin. In fact, the separation of Marth and Lucina's tier positions might be greater than any other character and their Echo Fighter as of this moment.

What exactly changed between Marth and Lucina that suddenly caused them to swap positions like this? The design philosophies of the two characters hasn't really changed much.

Marth's attacks are still superior to Lucina's at the tip, but Lucina still has balanced attacks. In terms of the animations and functionalities of their attacks, they're basically identical.

Lucina's sudden superiority actually revolves more around the game environment and how its changes have benefited her game plan more than Marth's.

Compared to the fourth iteration of the series, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is a faster game. Movement options require less commitment.

The ability to "perfect pivot" has also been removed from Smash 4. This allowed players to move a small space backwards while still facing the same direction. For Marth in particular, this kept him at just the precise distance for a tipper.

In general, defensive mechanics have been toned down in favor of dialing up the offensive tempo of the game. Engagements are more likely to be up close and personal since shield pressure is safer than previously. Fighting is more "down and dirty."

So what does this all mean for Lucina and Marth? It means that it's often more difficult to get that perfect spacing with both fighters.

In other words, Lucina's balanced blade offers a certain consistency that Marth's does not. An up close forward smash from Lucina will kill at percents where Marth's will not.

For the most part, landing a tipper with Marth isn't going to be that much more rewarding than doing the same with Lucina. The frequency, however, means that Lucina is probably going to be dealing more damage in a match.

Now, it's entirely possible that Marth's potential has yet to be untapped. But why bother playing him when Lucina is already perceived as a top tier that's easier to play?

The character doesn't require the same amount of mastery that Marth does in order to achieve strong results at major events.

Since Lucina is better than Marth in roughly 90% of situations, she is mostly regarded as just being superior to Marth. Therefore, most competitors that enjoy this finesse swordsmanship play style will often go with Lucina rather than Marth.

This doesn't necessarily mean that Marth is a "bad character." In fact, he might actually be a solid high tier.

Thanks to Lucina's status as an Echo Fighter, Marth is, unfortunately, overshadowed. Over time, we may actually see low tier characters show up at tournaments more often than Marth as a result of this.

Notably, the character was represented as much as Lucina at Genesis 6 top 128, Glitch 6 top 64, and Smash Conference top 64. Not surprisingly, top competitors at Ultimate Summit opted to use Lucina while Marth was completely absent.

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