Marth Mastery: Stage 4
You can remove the landing lag from landing on a surface by performing a No-Impact Land. A NIL is performed by timing your jump such that the center of your character is roughly even with the center of a surface at the apex of your jump. If timed correctly, you will instantly stand up instead of experiencing landing lag. Although not always useful or practical, there are some situations where it's a nice offensive tool, especially when tech chasing onto platforms.
To quote Kira, who is well known as a player as well as for his SSBM Tutorials Youtube Channel: "shield-Dropping is the absolute best option out of shield in the entire game." Basically, shield-Dropping is a technique that allows you to drop through a platform while in shield. There are multiple methods for shield Dropping, but sadly the difficulty of all methods is largely dependant on your controller.
The first method is done by DI'ing your shield downwards to within a very specific range of angles. Hitting the angle directly is extremely difficult, and a more consistant method is to tilt the analog stick towards down at a specific speed. You're looking to tilt just slow enough to not trigger a Spot-Dodge. Keep in mind that this angle can be buffered during hitstun.
Shai dropping is a type of Shield Droping used to fall through a platform quickly during a dash. The most common method of doing so is buffering down between 1 to 3 frames before pressing a shield button while dashing.
There are a few different methods for Shai Dropping as well. What I do personally is rolling the analog stick from holding full left or right towards the 45% downwards angle on that side. This requires you to either be already holding Left or Right when initiating your shield, or for you to buffer Left or Right during Hit-Stun. Conveniently enough, you'll often already be holding either Left or Right on a platform while shielding, because shielding out of a Dash is common.
One of your useful options for recovering from the Ledge is a Ledge Dash. As soon as possible after grabbing the ledge to gain brief invulnerability, release from the ledge and quickly jump, then finally perform a Waveland onto the stage. The more perfectly everything is timed the more invulnerability you will have when Wavelanding on stage. With good timing, each of the following options can be performed while still invulnerable: Spot Dodge, Roll, Jab, Dolphin Slash, and Grab. Note that doing an invincible Ledgedash grab is entirely infeasible for a human, and is TAS only.
Both named after and popularized by a famously mechanical player Hax$, Hax Dashing is a method for stalling safely while holding ledge. Primarily this is a Falcon Technique, but Marth's is also useful even if it can't be repeated with the same degree of safety. To do a single Hax-Dash: Release the Ledge, jump while drifting towards the stage, Waveland backwards towards the Ledge, Fast-Fall and Re-Grab the Ledge. This process can be repeated any number of times, but unless you are perfect with your inputs there will be at least one frame during which Marth is vulnerable.
Marth can Moonwalk out of his walk animation or after a Wavedash, and here are the steps required: Dash backwards while walking or immediately after a Wavedash, quickly move the analog stick to ~45% down and away from the direction you dashed without passing through the center of the analog stick. Whether you rotate the Analog-Stick across the bottom notches to get to the angle, or make a more direct line, the key is to get there as fast as possible.
Slightly after starting a moonwalk, you can hold the analog stick in a diagonal down and toward the direction you're facing to perform a Sticky Walk. If done quickly enough Marth will stop in place and slowly begin a running animation. Beyond being deceptive and stylish, this technique has added usefulness because a Boost Grab or running attack can be done while sticky walking.
If you Bair quickly enough after short-hopping there is just enough time to input a jump. In fact, jump is the only input that can be done before landing in this case. Immediately after jumping you can then Air-Dodge into the stage to do a Toy Dash. By Toy Dashing, you can make Bair safer in neutral while also positioning yourself.
PC-Drops can be used to quickly grab the ledge out of a walk animation. The timing is a bit specific, but all that is needed to PC-Drop is to turn around while walking towards the ledge when close enough to slide off backwards with your walking momentum. Be sure to turn around and not dash backwards, and also try to optimize your Fast Fall to grab the ledge as quickly as possible.
- Perform 5 shield Drops into an aerial attack.
- Perform 10 Shai Drops out of a Dash Dance into an aerial attack, 5 in each direction.
- Use Hax Dashes to ledge stall, regrabbing 3 times.
- Grab the ledge from on stage 3 times by Moonwalking.
- Grab the ledge from on stage 3 times by PC-Dropping.
- Perform 3 Sticky Walk Boost Grabs.
All regular aerial attacks can be Edge Cancelled by landing very close to an edge/ledge and sliding off of it. This cancels the landing lag from the attack and allows you to act again immedietely. This is useful in a huge variety of situations, and is worth practicing extensively. An added benifit of practicing Edge-Cancels is that you'll gain confidence with controlling Marth's aerial drift.
By Fast-Falling at the correct time during Marth's Nair, you can perform only the first of the two slashes before landing. This is rarely useful but is a mixup option while grounded to get a quick followup, and situationally useful for juggling opponents.
- Perform a single "Triple-Dair" on battlefield. This is much more difficult than it may seem.
- Perform 3 Edge Cancelled Dair ledgegrabs.
Triple-Dair Example on BattlefieldEdge Cancelled Dair Ledgegrab Example
Although I disagree with the name it's given, Shield-DI refers to your ability to tilt your shield in any direction while it is active. This can be used to block attacks that would have shield-poked you otherwise. Keep in mind that you have to be careful not to tilt your shield too fast/far, or else you will spot dodge or roll. To avoid this you must either tilt slightly, or somewhat slowly.
Pressing shield to shield an attack very briefly before being hit will trigger a Powershield. The effects of a Powershield are different for projectiles than other attacks. Powershielding projectiles has a slightly more unforgiving timing than for regular attacks, but Powershielded projectiles are reflected back at your opponent. Powershielding a regular attack will grant you brief invulnerability, during which you can counterattack your opponent.
Implementing deliberate Powershields into your gameplay is extremely difficult. However, there is a specific type of Powershield we'll call a Stand-up Powershield that is far easier to consistantly perform. The technique is unique to Marth and Sheik, and is as simple as releasing crouch and instantly shielding while an attack's hitbox is above you.
The reason this works is because a powershield is triggered when an attack's hitbox is inside your Shield-Sphere when your shield is raised, but before it collides with your character's hurtbox. Marth and Sheik are both tall characters that crouch very low to the ground, and shielding while crouching instantly forces you to standing height. This gives them a large area of space above them that can be powershielded while standing up from crouch.
When you're grounded and are hit by an attack that sends you at a low enough angle, DI and/or ASDI can be used to cause you to connect with the ground before being launched. Since you collide with the ground, the attack can then be teched. For some attacks DI'ing down is enough to collide with the ground, but there are many others where holding the c-stick down to ASDI down as well is necessary. Holding both sticks down works in most realistic cases. This technique is most commonly referred to as Amsah Teching and will help you survive a variety of otherwise lethal situations.
Fittingly named, the Marth Killer is an Edgeguarding technique that works particularly well against Marth. Performing a Marth Killer is relatively easy: roll into the ledge, hold light-shield, and angle your light-shield down and towards the ledge. A recovering Marth that is low enough offstage has no option but to Dolphin Slash to the Ledge, or onto the stage. Unless they space and time their Dolphin Slash to sweet-spot the Ledge absolutely perfectly, then attempting to do so will cause it to connect with your light-shield. Due to the properties of light-shield you will then fall off the stage backwards and very quickly grab the ledge, making the recovering Marth fall to their death. If they choose to land on the stage, you will still grab the ledge and usually will have enough time to punish them with a quick aerial from the edge.
Surviving Marth Killer
The Marth Killer is particularly dangerous because it is easier to execute than to defend against. The first and most direct way to avoid a Marth Killer is to perfectly Sweet-Spot the ledge with your dolphin slash, thus avoiding their light shield. If you're high enough in the air, you can also hit their light shield with an attack before using Dolphin Slash, forcing them to grab the ledge early. A third method is recovering with an Air-Dodge onto the stage, bypassing their Light-shield completely. Which method you should use is situational, unless you can consistantly Sweet-Spot with Dolphin Slash in reaction to seeing your opponent setting up a Marth Killer, in which case it is often the best method for surviving this edgeguard.
Ledge Mechanics Challenge
- Perform 5 Upair regrabs from the ledge.
- Perform 2 Shield Breaker regrabs from the ledge.
Upair Regrabs ExampleShield Breaker Regrabs example
End of Stage
Congratulations! You've reached the end of Stage 4. At this point we've covered a lot of techniques, as well as some strategies, that will help you to become a Marth master. All that's left are the most reaction-speed heavy and technicaly demanding techniques I'd consider worth practicing.