Keeping an Eye on the Sky - A Marth vs. Jigglypuff Neutral Guide through the Eyes of ARC



Wed 21st Aug 2019 - 6:23pm

In Super Smash Bros. Melee, Marth vs. Jigglypuff has long been a heavily debated matchup. Common opinion has been going back and forth for years as to which character wins the matchup. In more recent times, the opinion seems to be swinging in favor of Marth. One player who shares this opinion and has believed more heavily than almost anyone else in Marth’s ability in this matchup is top Texas player ARC.

For people who are unaware who ARC is, ARC has long been a top-level threat in the Texas scene. He’s been off and on with his activity as of recent years, but this year he’s looking to start to make his come back and has already started strong with a placement of 13th at Low Tier City 7. This included wins on Mike Haze and Magi.

As I discussed before, one matchup ARC is particularly confident in as Marth is the Jigglypuff matchup. ARC’s dedication to developing pivot tech and studying of this matchup has allowed him to create a strong neutral game plan backed up by some of the most, if not the most, developed and consistent punishes in the matchup.

Now it’s time to look at what the breakdown of the rest of this article is going to look like. We’re going to be going through what Arc believes are the essential aspects to know about for staying safe and getting openings in this matchup. We’ll be taking a look at the neutral aspects of the matchup. This will be separated into how to punish landings, how to punish jumps, and knowing when to grab.  Finally, we’ll look at some bonus information that could definitely help you out in some of those stickier situations.

Punishing Jigglypuff’s Landings

According to ARC, punishing Jigglypuff’s landings is arguably the most important part of the Marth vs. Jigglypuff matchup. By paying attention to where Jigglypuff drifts to, you can catch her landings effectively. You can use Jigglypuff drifting back as your cue to go in and try to catch the landing of Jigglypuff. We will be looking at three important ways of dealing with Jigglypuff’s landings. First, we’ll look at dealing with Jigglypuff’s landings with down-tilt. Then we’ll look at Marth’s forward and upward aerials to catch Jigglypuff trying to land on platforms.

Starting with catching Jigglypuff’s landings we have the use of down-tilt. ARC believes that it is crucial to be able to hit Jigglypuff for landing on the ground with a move that allows Marth to stay safe. By hitting her landings, you can convince the opposing Jigglypuff player to be more restricted with where she drifts in to and how she protects herself when she lands. This can lead to situations where you’re able to more reliably get your more rewarding neutral openings. A common situation that arises a lot against Jigglypuff is Jigglypuff short hops and approaches with a back aerial and then fades back and lands. In the previously described situation, by dashing back as Marth when Jigglypuff approaches and then dashing in and then going into a wavedash down-tilt when you see Jigglypuff drift away, you can put out a down-tilt to catch Jigglypuff’s landing preemptively.

The way that Jigglypuff beats the down-tilt is by drifting back slightly less far and then crouch canceling to attempt to get a rest. There are two ways to beat this. The first way is to wavedash and not commit to the down-tilt. The second way is to use a slightly shorter wavedash to get a down-tilt.

Finally, for catching Jigglypuff’s landings as Marth, we have the use of Marth’s forward and upward aerials to catch Jigglypuff’s landings on platforms. The concept here is similar in idea to beating Jigglypuff landing on the ground by using down-tilt and often this situation will arise as a result of the down-tilt. Often in this matchup, Jigglypuff will try to avoid landing directly on the ground where Marth is in order to avoid big neutral openings from Marth. This will lead Jigglypuff to try to land on a platform. By using a preemptive forward or upward aerial when you think Jigglypuff will come down and land, you can intercept her for landing on the platform and potentially lead to more direct damage or just continue a juggle.

Punishing Jumps

The next important aspect of neutral in the Marth vs. Jigglypuff is Marth’s ability to punish Jigglypuff’s jumps. The more you punish Jigglypuff for landing, the more she’ll jump and the more she’ll try to stay away from you. It’s important to note that you can’t always punish jumps, but the times you can are crucial. There are two main parts to punishing Jigglypuff’s jumps as Marth. The first part is punishing jumps from the ground. Then, the second part is punishing jumps from the platform.

First, we have punishing Jigglypuff’s from the ground as Marth. As I mentioned the more you punish Jigglypuff’s landings the more you’ll get her to jump and stay away. At this point forward and upward aerials become stronger. The reason for this is that Jigglypuff jumping more leads to your full hop and double jump forward and upward aerials to becoming more powerful. Forward aerial especially becomes more powerful at this point in neutral due to its ability to catch Jigglypuff retreating.

Next, we have punishing Jigglypuff’s jumps from the platforms. For this, you’ll want to position yourself on the side platform. By taking this position and going off the platform you can threaten a backward or upward aerial against Jigglypuff playing further away while being too close to or just away from the stage. There are two ways you can threaten aerials in this position. The first way is to run off the side platform and double jump back-air. This will allow you to position yourself to potentially either get an upward aerial on Jigglypuff if she tries to jump over you or a backward aerial if she tries to jump into you. The second way is to turn your back to Jigglypuff and then from there, you can jump towards Jigglypuff which allows you to threaten or just directly hit a backward aerial on Jigglypuff.

Knowing When to Grab 

Finally, for neutral in the Marth vs. Jigglypuff matchup, we have knowing when to grab. Grab leads to your most rewarding punishes and is where the most important kill setups come from. Grabbing in neutral in this matchup can be divided into three important parts. The first part is using pivot grabs to get openings on Jigglypuff. The second part is using pivot grab aggressively to beat Jigglypuff falling down. The final part is how to use dash grab to open up Jigglypuff.

First, for getting grabs in neutral, we have the use of pivot grabs from Marth. This grab is the most safe and what ARC believes is the most important type of grab in the matchup. Specifically, you’re going to be dashing away and using a delayed pivot grab. The purpose of this grab is to beat Jigglypuff drifting into you with your most rewarding opening. Also, as a bonus, in order to beat this grab, Jigglypuff is forced to drift away which leads to her punish on the grab being much less severe. Now, for how to use this pivot grab. The idea is you dash back and throw out a delayed pivot grab when Jigglypuff drifts in then if she uses a backward aerial your grab will grab her foot and if she doesn’t do a move your grab will just win.

Next, for getting grabs in neutral we have the use of dash through pivot grab. The idea here again is that you’re going to be directly beating Jigglypuff jumping into you with a grab. There are two main scenarios to keep in mind for using aggressive grab for this purpose. The first scenario is Jigglypuff is around full hop height and then she drifts into you with a neutral aerial, so to beat that you dash underneath Jigglypuff and as soon as you dash through her you start a dash back and immediately pivot grab. In this scenario, you’re using your grab to essentially anti-air Jigglypuff.  

Finally, for getting grabs in neutral we have knowing when to dash grab. For a lot of Marth players crouching Jigglypuff is the bane of their existence. Very often when Jigglypuff lands she’ll go straight into a crouch to protect herself. Often, it’s better to just not deal with this situation directly, but other times it’s important to be able to get a direct opening to prevent her from being able to land so freely. By using a dash grab you can beat Jigglypuff landing and going into a shield or crouch. It’s important to note though that you need to be pretty close to Jigglypuff to get the dash grab against Jigglypuff crouching.

As an added bonus to the dash grab it can be used to beat Jigglypuff trying to jump into you and then delaying an aerial. In this situation you will being grabbing her in the first few frames of her jump.

Some Bonus Information

Now let’s take a look at some more specific information that can help you out. We’re going to be looking at three different pieces of information that aren’t as broadly applicable as the neutral concepts mentioned before but are definitely worth knowing about.

First, for our bonus information, we have some mix-ups to deal with being in a close against Jigglypuff where she’s crouching while you’re in shield. To start out in this situation you have short hop neutral aerial out of shield. By using neutral aerial in this spot, you can beat Jigglypuff jumping at you. In order to beat this neutral aerial, Jigglypuff will need to use a shield or crouch. At this point, you’ll need to mix this in with short empty land grab and short hop down aerial to beat shield and crouch respectively. The grab is pretty self-explanatory in that grab beats shield, but there are two different ways to do the down aerial in this situation. First, you have delayed down aerial which can be safer if Jigglypuff decides to shield and then second you have your rising down aerial where you drift away from Jigglypuff to beat the crouch preemptively.

Next up for our bonus information we have getting off the ledge as Marth against Jigglypuff. There are four main mix-ups in this situation. First, we have ledge hop forward aerial. This will beat Jigglypuff playing too close to you. To beat this forward aerial Jigglypuff will often use crouches and jumping back. From there, ledge jump or tourney winner as it’s commonly referred to can allow you to get back on safely, especially if the stage has a top platform. Next, we have the use of ledge hop to go above the stage and then re-grab the ledge. This stall will help you mix in your tourney winners more safely as the visual is very similar. This stall will also often get your opponent to stay further away from the ledge and then you can add in ledge hop to no impact land which allows you to quickly get onto the stage with zero lag.

Finally, for our bonus information, we have avoiding Jigglypuff’s side special otherwise known as pound. This option is a common answer for Jigglypuff trying to beat Marth moving away. It’s important to be visualizing that range to avoid this move. In addition, it’s important to note that after a dash away you don’t need to dash in to continue your movement and instead you can just dash away again to move further back and avoid the pound.


A Conclusion to Marth vs. Jigglypuff

As I stated at the beginning of this article the Marth vs. Jigglypuff matchup has been one of the most debated matchups throughout the history of Melee. It’s important to remember though that getting better on this matchup isn’t dependent on whether you agree or disagree with ARC’s opinion on the matchup. In order to improve your neutral in this matchup you just need to be aware of those concepts that can allow you to win neutral effectively and consistently and then you need practice using those concepts. With that, all in mind, get back to the grind.

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