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[Melee] The "Rock, Paper, Scissor" nuance of Spacies, Marth and Sheik

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Posts : 43
Join date : 2015-09-29
Age : 22
Location : California

PostLinty on Sun Jan 31, 2016 8:49 pm

While the order in which how someone places the top 4 may be different, a majority of people can agree that the top 4 best characters in Melee are Fox, Falco, Marth and Sheik.

The reason I titled "Rock, Paper, Scissor" nuance of these 4 characters, is because they all have their own little advantages and disadvantages against one another which makes it very debatable who is considered the best. I will refer to both Fox and Falco as "Spacies" since they're both side-grades of one another.

In a typical scenario when talking about who counters what match-up, the most typical scenario is:


On a technical sense, they're all 50/50 match-ups, although what top players would describe as "Hard 50/50" not to the point where the match-up difference can change such as a 55/45 or 60/40 match-up. Typically when people say "Hard 50/50", it means that the match-up is even although they have a technique or specific attribute that garners an advantage, but not enough to be more than an even match-up.


The advantage that Marth has against Spacies is that he is able to chaingrab them from around 15% to death in the most optimal scenario. Marth likes to kill from the side blastzones and the floor blastzone. Which is relevant since the tip of Marth's sword is the strongest part of his sword, and his forward smash on spacies is very devastating when combined with chaingrabbing. And this mostly has to do with their fall-speed and weight. While Spacies are fast-fallers, they are actually light weight. Spacies' weight is very close to Kirby's weight. So strong moves send them further away. Although on the other hand, being that they are fast-fallers, they live up to higher percents from strong moves that send them upward.

This type of chaingrabbing does not work for Sheik, which is why in lower level tournaments, Sheik is very dominant. In the highest level of play, the match-up between Sheik and Marth is considered dead even. However in a lower level of competitive Melee, this match-up is extremely hard for the Marth player.


Marth is extremely fragile in this match-up. A lot of Marth's moves are laggy while very many of Sheik's moves are very quick and have very little lag. Her down throw combos work very well on Marth. And actually has a small chaingrab on Marth at lower percentages. Sheik combos Marth extremely easy. And Marth combing Sheik is not very easy to do at low level. Combined with the fact that Marth's recovery is a liability against Sheik, if he gets needled or interrupted when doing his dancing blade recovery or double jump, he has lost the stock. Even in the highest level of play, when it is called dead even, professional Marth mains such as PPMD states that Sheik has the very slight advantage over Marth.

Downthrow combos do not work as effectively on Spacies as they do with Marth because they are "fastfallers", who as the name implies, falls too quick for Sheik to regrab. Sheik has what I like to call "Sheik Syndrome" on Spacies where she has trouble approaching against Spacies when they are under 40%, because of their weight and fall speed, Fox and Falco are the fastest characters in the game and having 1 frame move that interrupts anything Sheik can do.


Because of this "Sheik Syndrome" and the fact that a majority of what she can do in neutral gets beat by crouch cancelling or shine, and a mix of both. The most Sheik can do at the neutral is go for a raw grab or spaced aerials that would distance herself from the shine. She doesn't have very many approach options against spacies. Having a good match-up against spacies is the most important match-up in the game which is why a majority of people who regarded these 4 characters as the best have Sheik listed as the 4th.

That being said, Sheik is not even close to a bad character in the slightest. Her infinite chaingrab is what defined the early on metagame: "What character cannot be chain-grabbed by Sheik?". Before Fox was regarded as the best, Sheik held the title for years and for a very good reason. But as the metagame evolved, Sheik's recovery has gotten worse and worse. Out of all of these characters, Sheik has the worst recovery. It goes very little distance, it's passive, it's a huge liability especially against strong edgeguarding.



Now on the flip side. Sheik has a long boost grab so Spacies might not be susceptible to chaingrabbing from Sheik, although they're susceptible to tech chase grabbing. And as said before, Spacies are light so they get sent further to the side blastzones from Sheik's Forward-Air. These are some of the only advantages that Sheik has. Her Forward-Air can very easily be crouch-cancelled and still a majority of her moves get beat by shine. She might not be able to be comboed by Marth but she gets combed very easily from Spacies.

Spacies and Marth is an extremely volatile match-up. There are 2 major catagories of weight in this game. Fastfallers and floaties. Marth falls somewhere in the middle so he is a somewhat light character and is vulnerable to shine combos, jab up-smash from Fox and laser forward-smash from Falco. That being said Spacies still get outranged from Marth's sword. Falco has laser which can pseudo-extend his range although the lasers don't do much on their own, the danger is the move right after laser since Falco laser stuns. Although, Falco's recovery is much worse. He has no active flames when the move is starting and goes less of a distance than Fox so he gets gimped ridiculously easy from Marth.


As said before, this match-up is considered dead even on the highest level of Melee, as such Marth does have a couple things to counter Sheik. His down-smash covers a huge variety of tech options Sheik has (except roll to the right). Sheik is a character that fights with CQC, so she has to get in close to Marth to attack him, which Marth's sword can cover. Although, Sheik does have one of the best projectiles in the game and her air game and ground game are much more solid since a majority of her moves are not laggy while Marth's moves tend to be very laggy.

These are some of tiny advantages that these match-ups have on their "hard 50/50 counter".

If you have any criticisms or questions, I'd like to hear them.

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