Armada’s Matchup Guide to Peach vs. Marth

by Armada
Follow him on twitter, @ArmadaUGS, and watch him on Twitch!

Introduction

This guide will explain in detail the MU between Peach and Marth and how it currently works at the highest level of play. I focus on the neutral game, defensive play, offensive play, and edgeguarding. Keep in mind throughout this guide that some things I say that are “wrong” can be good if used wisely, and anything that’s “good” can be bad if it’s predictable.

Neutral

The neutral game in this MU is VERY different, depending on one simple factor: if Peach is holding a turnip in her hands. The main goal for Peach in this MU is to have a turnip. For Marth, it all comes down to not letting her get one often.

This MU is so much about the neutral, one of the MUs with the most important neutral game in the entire game I would say, so this is the part you really should focus on.

What are the most common mistakes from Peach players in the neutral game?

Mistake #1 – Pulling turnips at the wrong times
From Peach’s point of view, you have to be extremely careful of when to pull your turnips. Pulling a turnip puts you in a lot of lag, and if you try to pull a turnip when Marth is in the range where he can REACT to you pulling the turnip, then he can punish you. Reaction is not everything though – you simply have to be careful and pull turnips when Marth can’t reach you at all.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jpVO92R0ygo (1:46)

This clip is showing exactly what I’m talking about. Ken may not have gotten a huge punish, but the important part is that he got an entire opening just because MacD pulled a turnip when Marth was too close. Keep this lesson in mind, and be very careful pulling turnips.

Mistake #2 – Relying on Peach’s dash attack
Peach’s dash attack is great, don’t get me wrong, but this move cannot be spammed in the MU, especially if the Marth has a great dash dance game. You should use dash attack at a range close enough that it’s hard for Marth to know if you’re going to dash attack, FC nair, or grab.

This mixup is powerful because Marth beats dash attack with shield and with good dash dance spacing, but FC nair gives you an advantage if Marth shields in many cases because Marth’s shield is easy to shield poke. Grab also straight out beats shield in this situation.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iBMgkr-s4jI (2.04)

Here it is very easy to see why dash attack should not be spammed with Peach. Marth has such a long dash, if you place the dash attack anywhere near where Marth’s current location, you can end up in a lot of trouble. Be very careful to not throw it out if you are very far away from Marth while he is grounded.

Mistake #3 – Floating at fulljump height trying to approach Marth
Floating at a high height is dangerous because Marth’s moves are both faster and have better range than Peach’s. Do NOT stay in the air too much. At the very least, throw a turnip in front of you, but in general, don’t float at a high height at all. Good Marths will destroy you for it.

What should Peach be doing instead?

There are lots of things you can do instead of pulling turnips when you don’t have the time for it. Again, keep in mind that some things that are commonly viewed as “wrong” can also be good if you use them at the right moment.

Peach’s neutral game while not holding a turnip is way trickier, but is very important to learn since it will be something you have to deal with a lot.

Space bairs! (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2GDs_3ubpDM 06:03-06:07)

The tactic shown in the video above is extremely good against Marth. Compare this with floating TOWARDS Marth where he is the one defending himself with more range. It actually is very tricky for Marth to land a hit against this tactic, since Peach’s bair has a great hitbox, the move is pretty fast, and Peach also has decent mobility in the air.

What is also shown in this clip is the fact that if you do hit Marth when he’s at around 40%, he flies far enough that you can pull a turnip (though he can prevent this with CC).

Remember, the entire plan is to get the turnip. Bair protects you very well, and you can buy enough time to pull a turnip, even at early %s.

Use dash attacks wisely!

Yes, I did state that relying on dash attack is one of the most common mistakes with Peach. However, I do think you have to mix it up with dash attacks. Here are some things to keep in mind while doing it.

  1. You are not the one having advantage in the neutral. It is not an option to throw out dash attack without a purpose. The risk reward is not in your favor.
  2. Peach is not a very fast character, so if you wanna use dash attack when Marth is grounded, you should do it at a very close range so he can’t possibly react with a shield.
  3. If you only space bairs you will be predictable – switching to offense sometimes by mixing in dash attacks and low FC nair can really catch Marth off guard. This is especially effective if you do it right after he dashes AWAY from you, because if he continues the dash dance, he will soon enough be close to you.
  4. If you start landing dash attacks, there is a high chance that the Marth will start looking out for them. This can buy you more space, which helps you achieve your goal of pulling a turnip.

What should I be doing while holding a turnip?

This is actually super important. I recently discovered a lot about this MU and how important it is to not over-extend once you’re holding a turnip.

Throw GROUNDED turnips from a defensive point of view!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GXzb3wMgsj0 (12:11 – 12:16)

As we can see here, when Peach is throwing a turnip from the ground, she has a lot of options. Marth is trying to get around the turnip and safely punish Peach. So I will explain a few pretty common outcomes from a scenaio like this.

1: Marth tries to shield the turnip and afterwards WD towards Peach and F-smash

If Marth is doing this and the distance from Peach and Marth is close to max range (in other words, the turnip hits Marth’s shield right before it hits the ground) Peach will ALWAYS have enough time to turn around and bair (at least in my experience vs severall of good Marths).

2: Marth stays in shield, WD in place, or WD slightly forward
The turnip is gonna bounce on the shield and might be a potential threat afterwards, shown here: (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GXzb3wMgsj0 09:05-09:10)

If Marth doesn’t move away from his shield (by WD or roll, for example), the turnip bounce is always gonna be a threat.

3: Marth rolls away or WD backwards
Peach is allowed to pull another turnip, which at least is okay for her, since that’s the tool she wants to use in neutral.

Should I always throw grounded turnips from a defensive point of view?

As with most things in Smash, nothing is “always the best” or “always bad”. I do think the grounded turnips are very good to keep Marth away from Peach, and as explained above she has tools afterwards, and she is a living wall defending herself.

However, every now and then, you should jump towards Marth with a short hop turnip throw into FC nair, or fulljump turnip throw into FC fair. I would mostly recommend this kind of thing when Marth is close to the edge. This is because his dash dance game becomes weaker as he has less room to work with.

Offense

Once Peach gets a good opening and has a chance to attack Marth’s shield, we need to keep in mind what kind of options Marth has from shield, and simply how to beat them.

1: Marth stays in shield
Marth doesn’t really have any very fast aerials from shield, so staying in shield is a common option for many players. Shield literally only loses to grab in most scenarios. If you predict that the Marth player will stay in shield, you should go for a grab and d-throw. If they DI into you, you have a free nair. If they DI behind you, you have a free dash attack from around 30-90%.

Other than this, you also can do d-smash on Marth’s shield, which often results in a poke. Note that the better the Marth, the more likely they will angle their shield and use shield DI to prevent getting shield poked.

2: Marth rolls away
Another kinda common option will be to roll away from you. You have to predict the roll to punish. A “guess” might not sound too tempting to you, but you do have to go for it once in a while.

3: Marth grabs
Not a very common option, but it does happen. If you do a bair, try to space it so Marth can’t grab out of shield. If you do a fair on his shield, your grab is gonna beat his grab.

Edgeguarding

Edgeguarding Marth is rather tricky, and I would also say it’s clearly not as “flowchart” as it is vs many other characters. I do have some tricks I would like to point out, though.

1: Trade with the up-B
Pretty tricky, but it does work as shown here:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GXzb3wMgsj0 12:55

The things I usually look after is to be very close to Marth when going for it, and aim for the strong hit OR wait until the move is almost finished.

2: Drop a turnip while going for the edge
This strategy works really well when Marth only has the up-b left and barely will make it back on stage.

You should also try floating out a bit further so that you drop the turnip and BARELY make it to the edge. This way, you give Marth way less room to work with, and in many cases he has to die cause the turnip covers the only good area for him. This approach forces him to be further away from the edge than if he had gotten hit by a turnip close to the edge.

3: Throw turnips upwards when Marth is recovering from a distance
This is good if you have great timing. You want the turnips to fall down around the time Marth is in the area for the turnip.

4: Dair the ledge when Marth up-b
If Marth is going for the up-b, you can actually dair close to the edge and you will hit Marth before he grabs the ledge. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iBMgkr-s4jI 14:09

In this example, the theory in showed. Marth can smash DI down to avoid the nair, but the dair option is at least okay.

Recovery

Against a Marth that is very solid vs Peach, I would not go for the ledge often at all. Peach’s options from the ledge are way too limited, and Marth can punish everything on reaction kinda easily. Recovery comes down to how good you can trick Marth with your movement from above. This area is actually one of the more “braindead” ones. Peach has to mix it up with random fairs/airdodge and that’s basically it.

General notes

1: You don’t want to be above Marth. The speed/range advantage is a nightmare. Respect his uair.

2: Turnip out of shield is good vs d-tilts on shield.

3: Crouch Cancel is very good vs Marth, he has a lot of stuff you can CC (including side b at higher %).

4: Peach’s shield is not bad against Marth (in fact, shield is pretty good vs Marth regardless of character). Marth usually throws out a lot of moves, trying to defend himself. If you get close to him and he spaces one of his moves incorrectly, you can often punish him for it with a grab or something like that.

On Rotations

by Noah “Theftz” Gordon

Introduction

japanese arcade

Winner stays on

This mantra is at the heart of every fighting game culture and is a practice that has become the standard for rotations in the smash community. You can trace its roots back to the arcade days, when slipping a quarter into a Super Turbo machine bought you the right to take on all challengers until you were dethroned. However, the CRT is a very different beast than the arcade machine, and it’s time for us as a community to put aside this tradition.

When you insert a quarter into an arcade machine, you are purchasing the right to play time with real capital. A smasher who walks up to a friendly station has made no such purchase. Unless he owns the set-up, he is no more entitled to play time than anyone else sitting at the station. Each player should have the right to equal amount of practice opportunity, regardless of skill.

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Trying to Make a Splash in a Big Ass Pond

By JJLinyard.

About the Author

JJLinyard has been playing been playing competitive melee for 5 years on (consider myself just above the ‘average’ smasher) and commentating for over a year now. You may have seen him on the Saltyplayground stream a few times.

Background

After my recent trip to the United States (shout outs to the players of NYC and everyone I met at Nebulous), I realized how much passion there is over in The States for smash. This passion is unique and is what has driven the game to where it currently is in the US. Through this article, I hope to share my passion for my local scene, the United Kingdom (UK) smash scene, a smaller community than the typical US sub-region’s community. Recently, in the UK smash scene, we have been running a smash equivalent to The Football League Championship (for you Americans reading, the minor leagues) and how this will lead into an upcoming major, ‘Heir to the Throne’ (HT3).

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Lemme Axe You a Question

by MIOM|Tafokints

Introduction

totem

Assessing where players are in the Melee totem pole has always been fraught with uncertainty. Unlike other e-sports, the top 25 players might only play each other in a tournament setting once or twice a year. Outside of the big 5, many of these players have very inconsistent placements at nationals, ranging from as high as 5th place to as low as 97th (e.g. s2j at Apex 2014). There are also several cases in recent history where a player’s stock has been elevated over-zealously after one extraordinary tournament performance, only for them to falter at the next major (e.g. aMSa, Leffen, Westballz, etc.).

So it seems we need to be more conservative with our reactions to tournaments, which leads us to ask the more general question: how do we know when one of these players truly deserves to be placed at a higher tier relative to the rest, perhaps a ‘demigod’ tier? As I’ve mentioned previously, I don’t think we can elevate players after 1 to 2 solid performances, but, at the same time, how many performances should it take? How should a player perform against other players around the top 25? How consistent should a player be against lower-tier players? Even if we can’t answer these general questions with absolute certainty, perhaps we can see if someone’s performances stand out. Let’s take a look at where we’re at right now:

The “5 gods”

1. Mango
2. Armada
3-5. PPMD/M2K/Hbox

These 5 players rarely lose to players outside of their own tier and have been doing so for years now. Some have questioned whether Hungrybox belonged here, but his stellar Evo performance has quieted the naysayers (including me). Even before Evo, Hungrybox losing to anyone outside of the “big 5” would have been considered an upset, and the only one who could have challenged his spot, Leffen, didn’t do enough over the summer to justify his inclusion in the pantheon.

Beyond the “5 gods” lies a huge cluster-mess of about 30 players that could all arguably make the top 20 cut. As we’ve said, the general perception of players tends to be very fickle, varying dramatically based on the latest major tournament result. In one week, player X can be #6 and, in the following week, be #30 or “grossly overrated”. Simply put, for most of these players, the skill level is too close to definitively say that one person is better than another in the top 30.

In the past few months, players such as Hax and Leffen have made their stand over the rest of the rat race with great performances at nationals and upsets against the “5 gods”. However, the player that benefited the most from the “summer of smash” was definitely Axe.

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Weekly Wrap Up (8/18/2014)

Another Weekly Wrap Up! If you’d like your tournament to be featured, fill out this form in the future.!

Carrollfest 5 (103 Singles Entrants) – 8/16/2014, Pittsburgh, PA

An incredible venue with an amazing turnout definitely puts Carrollfest 5, at one of the best one-day tournaments of the summer. Almost doubling the attendance from the previous installment, Pittsburgh ran yet another 100+ entrant event smoothly and efficiently. PGH Carroll, the host, had enough time to run Melee doubles, singles, an amateur bracket, AND set aside enough time for TWO separate crew battles. It shouldn’t surprise anyone that Cloud 9’s very own Mango won both the pro bracket and doubles with fairly minimal back-breaking effort with Juggleguy. After an incredible upset in round 2 of Melee singles, KJH took the win over VaNz. I’m sure you can tell that didn’t sit well with him as VaNz made a losers run through Nakamaru, Moose, Juggleguy, Vist, KJH, and Duck to secure a top 2 position. As for the crew battles, PGH Carroll designated time before Melee pools for “The PGH Mean Foxes,” consisting of himself, Taki, S1 the God, and Machiavelli vs. “Team Ben,” coming strong with Wife, Husband, Silence, and Oro. Despite a valiant effort “Team Ben” was able to clutch out the victory and win the crew battle. Happening later in the day, and likely the highlight of the tournament for most was the PGH vs. Michigan crew battle. Fighting for bragging rights on their own turf were Taki, Green Ranger, TheLake, PGH Carroll, and Nakamaru. Michigan brought many good players such as KZhu, KJH, Moose, Beach, and Duck. This crew battle had everyone on the edge of their seat, and I’m sure it will put you there too, so check it out here.

Singles Results
1. C9 Mango
2. VaNz
3. Duck
4. KJH

Full Results here
Videos here

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Is the Year 20XX?

By OMD

Background

20xx

Hax prophesied it a year ago. A post-apocalyptic future where Fox is the only viable character. It started out as a joke, until Hax himself ushered in 20XX as the real deal.

He started it and turned the joke into a reality. Just last week, we watched him ride the Fox McCloud train all the way to the finals of Zenith 2014. Until Game 5 of Winner’s Finals. Hax had just lost his 2-0 lead against Mew2King. He had won the first of their many games on Final Destination, a stage where nearly every Fox player says that playing a Marth equals death. Hax had the momentum to that point and looked to down the only “Smash God” in attendance.

Then Mew2King ran it back at Final Destination. A two-stock win to slowly swing the momentum. Hax countered to Pokémon Stadium. M2K with another two-stock win to mash his foot on the throttle. Hax took M2K back to Final Destination, this time abandoning 20XX for just one game at Zenith (to my knowledge). Hax’s Falcon was back. The Falcon that every Falcon dreamed of becoming. The Falcon who had only been released this year during The Next Episode Round Robin.

And within four minutes, this happened:

He took one stock before Mew2King ended the set and sent him to losers. Whether it be that his Falcon was rusty or he was just outplayed during that game, he lost in a matchup that D1 said, “Hax still believes that Captain Falcon counters Marth on Final Destination” as Hax began Grand Finals. He abandoned the character he believed to be the best just for a split second, lost convincingly and went right back to Fox, where he beat Zhu in Loser’s Finals. He then reset the bracket in Grand Finals against Mew2King before he lost the second set, taking second at Zenith 2014.

The question now: Is 2014 the beginning of 20XX?

Scar and Toph recollect the story of 20xx

Once again, Hax is the model of why 20XX might be valid. He was no question the best Falcon at the time he dropped the character, but Fox better fit his mind set and playstyle. “For Jeff (Silent Specter), he just loves those hard reads and getting hella rewards from it. So Falcon’s a good character for him,” Scar had said at CEO 2014. “Hax has always wanted to find the optimal punish and execute it. That’s not Falcon. It’s not Falcon.”

Looking at it that way, it seemed as if Hax’s switch to Fox was inevitable.

Tourney Statistics

Let’s look at the major tournaments of this year to decide, including Apex 2014, RoM 7, SKTAR 3, Super SWEET, MLG Anaheim, CEO 2014, Kings of Cali 4, EVO 2014 and Zenith 2014. From there, let’s take the Top 16 of each tourney and display the number of that character. We’ll compare those numbers to the numbers of six of the major tournaments from a year ago.
For the record, the way I recorded the graph goes as follows: if a player plays/played multiple characters, each character will be counted. I only displayed the characters that finished in the Top 16 at least 5 times in the six tournaments I picked from.

2013 Stats
Character Apex 2013 BEAST 3 Zenith 2013 Evo 2013 RoM6 Big House 3 Total
Fox 4 3 1 4 4 3 19
Falco 3 6 6 2 2 2 19
Sheik 3 4 3 3 3 2 17
Marth 3 0 3 2 3 2 13
Puff 1 1 1 1 2 3 9
Captain Falcon 1 2 1 2 1 2 9
Peach 2 1 1 1 0 0 5

 2013 Top 16 Stats

 2014 Stats
 Character Apex 2014 RoM 7 SKATAR 3 MLG Anaheim KoC4 Evo 2014 Total
Fox 6 8 5 7 7 6 39
Falco 2 3 5 3 2 3 18
Marth 3 2 3 3 2 3 16
Sheik 2 2 3 1 2 1 11
Puff 2 2 1 1 1 1 9
Peach 1 0 1 1 3 2 8
Captain Falcon 0 2 1 1 2 1 7
Samus 1 1 0 1 1 1 6

 2013 Top 16 Stats

So it’s obvious that the number of Foxes that have placed Top 16 has skyrocketed from last year to now. But that’s not to say that players are switching to Fox.
Let’s also look at the six players who placed in the Top 16 at Evo 2014: Mango, Silent Wolf, Chillin, Leffen, Hax and Fiction. Of those six players all have been longtime Fox mains, the only player switching to him being Hax.

Conclusions

Smash-Bros.-Melee

Thus question remains: Is the year 20XX? To be honest, I don’t think 20XX will ever fully be here. We’ve see two of the other “Smash Gods” take a dip in the Fox pool. Armada openly admits to playing Fox and we’ve seen him dabble with him when facing another Fox. Yet during the Summer of Smash, in every time he has faced Mango, he has opted to go with Peach.

We also saw Hungrybox, who has struggled against Armada’s Young Link counterpick, stay with Fox for two sets at CEO 2014. That brought an end to Hungryfox (Thank you /r/smashbros).We’ve seen two of the five best players give Fox a run and back off for their main. We also have players like S2J, Plup and Fly Amanita stay true to their mains, even if they aren’t a Star Fox character.
The closest thing I can think of comparing this to is the NFL. As of right now, the National Football League is a pass heavy league. The days of pounding the ball up the middle aren’t as prevalent anymore. Yet, we’ve seen in recent years teams still find success in running the ball (2011 Broncos and last year’s Seahawks and Chiefs).

Fox is Melee’s best character and it’s his world. That’s pretty undisputed. But we’ll never see a day when he’s the only viable character. 20XX isn’t a time period to wipe out other characters. It’s just a statement that Fox is good.