Welcome to the third chapter of Amiibo Training Analysis! Both Marth and Lucina (commonly shortened to Marcina) are well known as powerhouses in the amiibo metagame. If you’re a trainer who wants to raise a great Marth or Lucina amiibo, you’re in luck: we’re going to take an in-depth look at what makes these characters work.
History of Marth and Lucina in the Amiibo Metagame
Marth’s amiibo was available from the get-go on November 21, 2014. Lucina was made available several months later on May 29, 2015. Both amiibo have always been top-tier contenders, but methods of training have changed along with the metagame itself. Lucina is considered to be slightly better than Marth, as Marth’s AI cannot space its tippers correctly, making its attacks generally weaker than Lucina’s. Marcina were some of the most popular amiibo sent to Amiibo Dan’s tournaments, but never saw much success due to a lack of knowledge on how to train them correctly. More recently, with the ban of the bonus Explosive Perfect Shield (EPS), Marcina’s side special has become one of the most powerful tools in the metagame, previously rendered useless due to its weakness to EPS.
- Neutral attack: Marcina’s jab consists of two alternating swings of the sword in front of the character. It is a fast and strong tool, but is rarely used on amiibo due to the superior damage-racking potential of Dancing Blade.
- Forward tilt: A quick sword swing in front of the character traveling upwards from the ground. With decent range and power, forward tilt can make for a strong tool. Once again, however, Dancing Blade’s power and speed are far superior.
- Up tilt: A sword swipe that travels around the character. Although occasionally useful as an anti-air tool, up smash is a faster and stronger option for the same purpose.
- Down tilt: The character crouches and jabs quickly with the sword. Rarely used on amiibo due to the fact that it’s easily dodged. It can be used for edge-guarding but forward smash usually does that job better.
- Dash attack: A lunging sword swing in front of the character. Marcina rarely use this move, so it’s best not to place any sort of priority on it.
- Forward smash: A powerful sword swing drawn from the air to the ground. Not only is it one of the strongest forward smashes in the game, but it’s one of the fastest as well. One of the best killing options in the entire metagame, it can be used to edgeguard or be simply thrown out due to its speed, range, and power. Marth and Lucina amiibo have no trouble learning to use this move, although Marth occasionally has problems spacing the move correctly.
- Up smash: A quick thrust of the sword above the character’s head. It is Marcina’s best anti-air tool, and it isn’t much weaker than their forward smash. It can be used to juggle opponents with proper training, and is important to teach for Marcina’s success.
- Down smash: A low sword sweep in front of and behind the character. The least useful of Marcina’s smash attacks, and should be generally avoided in favor of the other two.
- Neutral aerial: Usually, aerials should be avoided, as they encourage jumpiness in amiibo, which can be punished easily. Neutral aerial should be avoided due to its slow speed and low range.
- Forward aerial: A sword swing drawn around the character. It is Marcina’s best aerial due to its speed, and can be used occasionally out of a short hop as a quick get-off-me tool.
- Back aerial: A sword swing drawn upwards from behind the character. Rarely used on Marcina amiibo, as their forward air does its job better.
- Up aerial: A sword swing above the fighter. Rarely used on amiibo, and is generally inferior to up smash and u-tilt as an aerial punish.
- Down aerial: A swing below the character. This move should be avoided, as amiibo are usually incapable of spiking their opponents in the first place.
- Forward throw: Marcina’s throws aren’t very useful, especially with the popularity of the Improved Escapability bonus. Forward throw lacks power and range, and should be avoided.
- Back throw: Similar to forward throw, Marcina’s back throw is nearly useless.
- Up throw: Although technically Marcina’s most useful throw, this move should be avoided due to a lack of power, range, and useful follow ups.
- Down throw: Marcina’s worst throw. Cannot combo into anything useful, and should be avoided at all costs.
- Shield Breaker: Shield Breaker, even with its shield-breaking capabilities and high power, should be avoided at all costs. Marcina amiibo love using this move uncharged in the air, and they can be punished easily for this. Forward smash can be used to break shields, and can also be used to punish shield breaks with much more power than Shield Breaker.
- Dancing Blade: One of the best moves in the game for amiibo, period. Marcina amiibo use this move very well. A well-trained amiibo will rely almost entirely on Dancing Blade. It has incredible speed, making it very hard to block. Its utility is unrivaled by any move in the amiibo metagame, save for perhaps Bowser’s Flying Slam.
- Dolphin Slash: A strong recovery move usually capable of getting Marth or Lucina back to the ledge. This move should not be used as an attack, as Marcina have a tendency to use it on stage sometimes, leaving them vulnerable to punishes.
- Counter: One of the best moves in the game, and with good reason. Any amiibo with a counter (save for Palutena, who never uses it) is usually in a higher tier than it should be solely because of this move. Marth and Lucina have one of the best counter customs in the game: Iai Counter. It’s so good, in fact, that many tournament hosts have banned it entirely. Not only does the move have an insane damage multiplier (much more than the default counter’s), but it launches the opponent backward. This means that when this move is used offstage, it’s an almost guaranteed kill. Normal counter is also very powerful, usually able to kill any opponent that throws a strong attack your way, and it is Marcina’s secondary kill move.
Both Marth and Lucina have several specific tendencies coded into their AI that are shared across all Marth and Lucina amiibo. Usually, they can’t be changed or corrected with further training. Even so, it’s good to know what you’re working with when training your Marth or Lucina amiibo.
This was briefly mentioned earlier, but both Marth and Lucina like to use their Shield Breaker in midair. This leaves them open to attacks, and can cost your amiibo the game if the opponent capitalizes on this opportunity.
Marth amiibo have issues spacing their tippers; their AI simply isn’t complex enough to do this correctly, and Marth usually ends up hitting his opponent with the sourspot of his hitboxes. This is the reason why Marth is considered slightly weaker than Lucina in the amiibo metagame. Lucina does not have this issue, as her sword’s hitbox is uniform throughout.
Stats, Bonus Effects, & Custom Moves
Marth and Lucina amiibo usually benefit from a “first-aid kit” setup. This means that it has no attack- or defense-boosting bonuses in favor of running both Vampire (commonly referred to as Lifesteal) and Auto-heal capability (commonly shortened to just Auto-heal). Lifesteal gives your amiibo a 50% chance on every hit to heal half of the damage you dealt. This proves especially powerful on Marcina, as their forward smash usually deals a lot of damage to the opponent, and has the potential to heal a lot of damage off of Marcina. Auto-heal heals 2% every three seconds, allowing your Marcina amiibo to heal damage off passively. The third bonus should be Improved Escapability (usually just called Escape), to prevent your Marcina amiibo from getting thrown to its death by characters like Ness.
Marth and Lucina have the best matchup spread in the game, period. If you need to familiarize yourself with the current amiibo rankings, go ahead and do so now. Here are some of Marth’s and Lucina’s worst matchups – in other words, these are the characters you need to prepare for most of all.
- Bowser: Bowser is Marcina’s only unfavorable matchup, and even still, a well-trained Marth or Lucina can beat Bowser. Bowser’s side special, Flying Slam, can do nearly 50% with one hit. Bowser is easily trapped by Marcina’s Dancing Blade due to his large size, but if your amiibo misses (which is always a possibility) then Bowser will usually either go for a side special or a forward smash, either of which could spell doom.
- Luigi and Ike: These are not necessarily unfavorable matchups for Marcina; in fact, both Marth and Lucina have a favorable matchup against these two. Luigi and Ike are only mentioned here because they are strong contenders.
Given Marcina’s insane matchup spread, you’d think they’re invincible. They are not however; just like all amiibo, they have inherent AI flaws, and can lose on a whiff. Both Marth and Lucina have a very favorable matchup versus Cloud, Link, Ness… basically, any fighter that isn’t Bowser. That said, however, the vast majority of tournament victories are by either a Marth or a Lucina.
Thanks so much for reading! I’d like to thank SFPT for writing up this edition of Amiibo Training Analysis. It’s safe to say that she’s qualified to write this, as her own Lucina amiibo has won several tournament championships. If you ever need additional help training your Marth or Lucina amiibo, or want to ask a general question about the character, please don’t hesitate to fill out the Contact form or join the community Discord server. Happy training!