Marth can be unlocked in three different ways in Melee:
- Playing 400 VS. matches
- Clearing Classic mode with all 14 starter characters
- Using all 14 starter characters as a human player in VS. Mode
Marth is generally considered a zoning character highly dependent on spacing, using the disjointed hitboxes from his sword to wall opponents out. All of Marth's attacks have the sweet spot at the tip of his blade (with the exception of his neutral air and get up attacks which have uniform strength throughout the hit), making spacing attacks well extremely important. He has one of the best dash dances in the game, complemented by his disjointed grab—the longest non-grapple grab in the game. Marth has an excellent combo game on fast-fallers, like Fox and Falco, because of his strong juggles which come mainly from his up-tilt, up-air, and f-air, as well as his up-throw chaingrab. His space-animal match-ups are generally considered a relative strength, while he struggles against Sheik.
Marth excels at comboing and killing opponents at low percentage, but has very few attacks that allow for follow-ups at high percent. His edge guard game is especially strong as well which further improves his ability to kill at low percent.
Marth generally falls under the character archetype of being fast, with the ability to easily outmaneuver most of his opponents; Marth has a very fast dashing speed, a long wavedash and rather good jumping speed, with average falling speed (floaty category), contributing to a good SHFFL. With a good dash dance and a disjointed hitbox, Marth has numerous approach options in the game, both in the air and on the ground. One of Marth's greatest strengths is his range in his normal attacks; Falchion grants Marth a disjointed hitbox that can allow him to safely attack from a distance. Additionally, the tip of Falchion, its sweetspot, is remarkably easy to land hits with, making Marth strongest when he is far away from his opponent. This long hitbox with a far away sweetspot also contributes to Marth's combo game.
In addition to his disjointed range, Marth has almost unparalleled combo ability against fast-fallers; despite a slightly below average air speed, with a combination of good jumping prowess, and an average falling speed, as well as quick, low lag, high ranged, easy to sweetspot aerials, Marth has among the best air games in Melee, and a great combo ability. Additionally, Marth's grab game is also good, due to a surprisingly good grab range (the highest grab range for non-grapple grabs). His throws possess low damage and knockback, allowing him to chain his throws into each other and combo into other attacks. In particular, his up throw can chain throw most fast fallers at low to mid percentages, and it can directly segue into an up tilt or an aerial. Marth's long dash dance also makes him a superb tech chaser.
Marth also has plenty of powerful attacks; some of these attacks are very fast and have high range, such as his up tilt, while others can KO at close ranges, such as the first hitbox of his Dolphin Slash. Marth's forward smash is feared due to its high speed and power; it also works well when wavesmashed, due to Marth's long wavedash. Marth's down tilt and Shield Breaker act as good edgeguarding options. Most notably, however, is his down aerial; it acts as a powerful spike in NTSC regions, and an equally powerful meteor smash in PAL regions; it can KO reliably even as low as 40%, and many of Marth's attacks can easily combo into his dair, most notably his forward aerial as part of the Ken Combo. Marth also has access to a grounded meteor, in the third downward hit of his Dancing Blade. While its uses for KOing are somewhat situational, it can set up tech chases due to the long amount of hitstun as well as free jab resets on a missed tech.
Marth's primary flaw is his rather linear recovery. His up special, Dolphin Slash, grants little horizontal distance and decidedly average vertical distance; its ending lag also makes it very easy to punish. Marth's average air speed also prevents him from moving far after entering a helpless state. However, Marth can greatly improve his horizontal recovery by using the first swing of Dancing Blade repeatedly to reset his vertical momentum. This requires precise timing to avoid initiating the second swing of dancing blade which will hurt his horizontal recovery.
Additionally, Marth has a slight weakness of lacking a projectile; while its effect on Marth is debatable, this limits his approach in comparison with other high tier characters, such as Fox. Marth is a large target for a character of his weight. Additionally, while he is vulnerable to Fox's waveshine combos in NTSC regions, his slightly lower weight in the PAL version makes multiple waveshines impossible and severely limits Fox's follow-ups. It should be noted however if good horizontal SDI is used upon being waveshined, Marth can avoid being comboed completely in all regions. Marth also has a notable weight because he is the lightest character that does not get knocked down by Fox's shine. Any characters lighter than Marth do get knocked down, whereas all characters heavier than Marth don't.
- The Moon
- Ken's Marth Tutorial [VIDEO GUIDE]
- Overswarm's Marth Tutorial [VIDEO GUIDE]
- Marth Trials [VIDEO GUIDE]
- Compilation of Matchup Guides [Incomplete] [MATCHUP GUIDES]
- Kadano's Advanced Frame Data Application [FRAME DATA]
- Compilation of Helpful Q&A Posts [MISC]
- Marth Matchup Guide - Covers Fox, Falco, Peach, Jiggs, Sheik, but not Marth and Falcon, and it hasn't been updated in a while, but it still has some good tactics and strategies
- Avoiding Falco's Lasers - Many Marths commonly ask for assistance when dealing with Falco's lasers, so this guide was created to help that issue