Recently, I saw an epee match between two quite different fencers, who nonetheless were reasonably equally matched.

The fencer on the left was quite short for being an epee fencer. To make up for that, he was very explosive, and he was quite good at scoring toe hits. I assume that he has learnt the latter in order to take advantage of the former.

The fencer on the right was a much more typical epee fencer. He was somewhat larger than the average fencer at this level, and a bit more technically proficient also. However, there was no specific aspect of his fencing that really stood out from the rest.

They started fencing (a 5-point poule match) and the FotR readily gave territory, without doing much with his superior arm reach and arm strength. As a consequence, the FotL could advance, and soon the FotR found himself in a position where his front foot was pinned between the back line and the FotL weapon. From there, the FotL could utilize his biggest strengths.

It got a bit hairy for the FotR until he go his act together. He won, but he would have done so faster, and with much less risk, if he would have used the best strategy from the beginning. With the limited arm strength and reach of the FotL, FotL would have been quite susceptible to long fencing phrases in which the FotR would have spent a lot of time initiating blade contacts by strong beats. Then the FotL would have had his hands full with holding his weapon were it can be used defensively, and he would not have gotten time to launch explosive attacks, to the foot or anywhere else. Instead, the FotR could have ground down the FotL until the weapon of the latter sagged out of position, and from there the FotR could have launched a decisive beat-attack. In so doing, the FotR would have used his strengths to the utmost, while negating the strengths of the FotL.

Takeaway: If you use the right strategy from the get-go, you will maximize not only your chances of winning, but also of winning in a manner where the outcome is in your favor throughout the whole match. No point in making it a nail biter!