This week I discover for myself how Roy and his echo Chrom differ and why Chrom isn’t as bad as everyone makes him out to be.
Preconceptions on Roy and Chrom
Roy a character who debuted in Smash Bros Melee before he even had a game was gifted with an echo fighter in Chrom, the father of Lucina and great-great-great-great grandfather of Marth. Roy and Chrom only have two things that set them apart, the way their swords work and their Up-Specials. Roy has a unique property with his sword which makes it deal more damage closer to the hilt and less at the tip. Chrom has more of a club than a sword if since it works the same from tip to hilt. Chrom’s Up-Special has great vertical distance at the cost of horizontal range whereas Roy can mixup how he recovers but covers less distance overall. These are the only things that set these characters apart, yet their relationship regarding the tierlist has shifted significantly throughout Ultimate’s history.
At the beginning of Ultimate many players identified Chrom as one of the best in the game. His ability to swing his sword with little to no regard for his opponent was oppressive. With no sour spots to ruin his gameplan Chrom was at first considered to be a much stronger character than Roy. However, over time the communities opinion of Chrom shifted. His Up-Special is great for securing cheesy kills but is much easier to gimp compared to Roy. With the rise of Roy mains such as Kola and a comparable lack of results for Chrom players, his position on the tier list began to fall.
With the latest official Tierlist Roy sits in S tier while Chrom languishes in B tier. Public opinion on Chrom has shifted so much that the most notable Chrom player Mr. R. gets clowned on anytime he picks the character. With only two things separating them it’s surprising to see such a vast difference between the perceived strengths of Roy and Chrom. Before trying out these characters for myself, I agreed with public opinion and had Roy in top tier and Chrom in high tier. However, after dedicating a month to play both of these characters I’m no longer sure Chrom deserves the hate he gets.
Matchup Charts for Roy and Chrom
Something I like to do is compare matchup charts that I, a noob, have made against someone who actually plays the character. I find the differences can be helpful towards understanding the character. This time we have four matchup charts to look at so I’ll start with one character at a time.
Disclaimer, the best matchup chart I could find for Chrom is from 2020 by Goblin so it may be outdated. One of the first things that stands out to me is our different placements of Jigglypuff. I rated it as an even matchup but Goblin put it in Super Winning. After playing this character I can see how the edge guarding potential of Jigglypuff doesn’t matter as much, especially since she can die at 50% to a Forward-Smash from center stage. One of our biggest discrepancies is Mii Brawler with me rating it at -1 and Goblin putting it in Super Winning. I think opinions on Mii Brawler have changed a lot since 2020, but Chrom does keep up with Brawler’s frame data and having a sword that has no sourspots matters a lot in that matchup.
For Roy I asked our current #1 player in the state Kreeg for a matchup chart. He normally plays Marth but has recently been picking up Roy as a secondary again. Generally it seems that the trend for Roy is that he wins less matchups as convincingly as Chrom does, but also doesn’t have matchups which are impossible. Ironic considering he has the sword that has sourspots. Not having to deal with counters while recovering is a huge boon for Roy and lets him get back to the stage much more easily. As far as discrepancies between his list and mine, there really isn’t that much of a difference except for a few characters. Roy is a popular character in the metagame which informs his placing on a matchup chart more easily.
Training Mode as Roy and Chrom
Regardless of who you are playing as the first thing any Chroy player should learn is Jab into Back-Air. To perform this technique it is necessary to learn how to Reverse Aerial Rush (RAR). Start by dashing forward in one direction, flick the stick in the other direction to initiate the sliding animation, and then input a jump. If done correctly your character will be facing backwards while still maintaining forward momentum. This technique can be done very quickly which is what makes Jab into Back-Air possible. Roy and Chrom’s Back-Air kills very early and Jab is a fast move which can be used in neutral or ledge-trapping making this one of their best kill confirms
Another important thing to learn is how to tech chase. Chrom and Roy have many great moves that send the opponent into a tech chase situation such as Down-Tilt and Forward Throw. When you hit an opponent with one of these moves they’ll be sent at an angle that will have them hitting the ground in tumble state. Either they miss the tech and you can punish them. Or they can tech which gives them only three options to choose from. By sending an opponent into a tech chase situation repeatedly you can learn their habits which will set you up for an even greater punish once you figure them out.
When playing as Roy or Chrom the main thing you need to take advantage of is your speed. With some of the fastest ground and air speed physics in the game, playing these characters correctly means never giving your opponent space to breathe. I discovered that I was playing at my best whenever I would track my opponents movement. By relentlessly chasing them down when they were in disadvantage I could use my powerful disjoints to take their stocks very early.
Despite their differences, both of these characters struggle making it back to the stage. Roy’s main advantage over Chrom is that his recovery has more mixup potential which complicates edgeguarding him. That isn’t to say Chrom is lacking in mixups. There are multiple different heights Chrom can recover at, some of which can even avoid getting hit by a counter. Just be aware that Chrom has no hitbox above his recovery which can lead to you getting spiked. Thanks to their amazing air speed it’s important to remember that air dodging to the ledge is another viable option for them.
Roy and Chrom Combo Video
Getting knocked off-stage is scary for both of them, but as long as you have control of center stage you can easily destroy your opponents stocks. I hope you enjoy the combos I was able to land while playing these characters.
Roy and Chrom Tournament Report
This is my first time having to deal with echo fighters in this series. I decided the best way to handle it was by attending two separate tournaments to get a feel for each character as an individual. Since there is going to be two tournament reports instead of one, I’ll try to keep it quick unless I have something to say about it.
Chrom, Chrom, He’s our man! If he can’t do it no one can!
The first character I started with was Chrom since I felt that it would be easier to learn his moveset without having to worry as much about spacing.
My Round 1 paired me against Skrate, a Mii Brawler player who I’ve never played against. I found his Up-B out of shield to be very useful in this matchup. Combine that with some timely edge-guards and Forward-Smashes and it was a quick 2-0 in my favor.
[0.0]N11CHAN^.^ -A- WOW
My next opponent goes by, uh, [0.0]N11CHAN^.^ -A- WOW but I’m just going to call him SpeedyBlueDude. Speedy is a strong opponent and I have struggled playing against him, especially since Min-Min got added to the game. I won game 1 against his Aegis pretty convincingly (no footage found) and he counterpicks with Min-Min. At first things are dead even but I make one bad decision after another in disadvantage and before I know it I’ve lost the stock and the game. Game 3 I counterpick to Final Destination and he switches back to Aegis. I knew that this was my chance to finally beat him given how badly I beat his Aegis in game 1. However, after I let that thought get into my head it began to affect how I played. I SD’d twice due to nerves and bad spacing. Despite giving him two stocks for free I was still demolishing him and brought it to last hit last stock. However, he read my panic option and before I know it I lost the set. I’m not going to lie, I was pissed I lost this set and definitely had a gamer rage moment. I wanted to win so badly it got in the way of me playing the game.
This anger definitely carried through to my next set and I’m sorry Anomaly but it was not a good time to face me in bracket. I eviscerated their Robin and although it was closer with the Kazuya, I still took it 2-0.
Then I had to fight Elay again, the Sonic player who knocked my Incineroar into losers bracket last week. Game 1 was close but Elay clutched and was able to take it. However, in game 2 he smoked me thanks to some well-spaced springs and edgeguards. Thus ends my run with Chrom at 2-2. Not bad.
Roy’s our boy! Roy’s our boy! Roy’s our boy!
The next time I showed up at my local I had changed my ways and become a Roy main. However, despite my change of character I was still a masher at heart.
First up was against MrGamer24, a friend of mine who hadn’t entered a tournament in a while. Typically he beats me whenever we play but his rust was showing and I was able to take it 2-0. I’m looking forward to facing him again once he’s had more time to get back into the groove of things.
Then I had to fight Valor, the third best player in the state and also the third Sonic I’ve had to fight in tournament in a row. (Please end my suffering). Game 1 I got 3 stocked and it looked like I barely knew how to play the game. For game 2 I vowed to not let that happen again. I took a deep breath, focused on my opponent, and began to play. At first it was looking like a repeat of game 1 would happen again. But I kept my cool, brought it back to even, and then got a huge kill with a sweetspot Forward-Smash. I maintained the lead and had him at 100% on his last stock as I got off the angel platform. But by now my focus had slipped. I knew I was playing against one of the best in the state and I was so close to taking a game off of him. My hands were shaky and all it took was for him to win one neutral interaction for me to lose the set. I lost my composure and it cost me the game, but I’m happy with the changes I made and for bringing it that close in the first place.
Up next was iCarly.com, a Diddy Kong player who’s honestly just fun to be around. I feel pretty comfortable in this matchup in general and thanks to the skills I gained using items as a Link player, I was able to take this set pretty convincingly.
Finally I got to go up against Spark, a Terry player who hits me with combos that infuriate me as much as they inspire me. Game 1 was going well until he got GO and I honestly just panicked and let him take my last stock for free. In game 2 I was controlling the pace of the game and was on track to win until he hit me with Back-Throw into Down-Air at 11%. I was perhaps more infuriated than inspired by this particular combo but at least I have something to look forward to when it’s my turn to play Terry.
Playing both Roy and Chrom made me realize that I had a lot of preconceived notions about these characters who I hadn’t really played before. I was under the assumption that because Chrom’s recovery is worse it wasn’t worth investing the time in playing as him when Roy exists. But after experiencing both of these characters I learned that it is much more nuanced than Smasher’s make it out to seem.
I’m no longer convinced that Roy is strictly better than Chrom. I was expecting Roy to feel like a better character than Chrom given that he’s a whole tier higher than Chrom. But when I switched over there were many things I missed about Chrom despite playing the “better” character in Roy. His Up-B out of shield has more range than Roy and not having to worry about sourspots made my on-stage game much more consistent. Roy of course has things that are better than Chrom such as a more consistent recovery and Double-Edge Dance is honestly just a stupid move on Roy. I now perceive the Roy/Chrom argument differently and who you play is more of a matter of what kind of consistency you prefer, whether that’s on-stage dominance or having options to recover off-stage.
I’m happy that my opinions on these characters changed so much because I learned that I actually really enjoy Chrom. Going into this I expected Roy to be the clear favorite, but spacing a tipper F-Smash as Chrom hit differently so to speak. But my Character Crisis isn’t over yet which means that it’s time for a new character. I guess it’s finally time I learned how to play as Duck Hunt Duo. See you on Tuesday!