Marvel vs Capcom 3 Online: A Guide To Exploitation

Since writing my review of Marvel vs Capcom last month, I’ve been playing plenty of rounds online via Xbox Live. For the most part, I’ve been getting my ass kicked by Dante, Sentinel, Wesker and other characters that tell me a lot about the player’s lack of self esteem. But recently, I sat down with my good friend Bryan, who taught me some fundamentals. And when I say fundamentals, I mean how to exploit the game. When Bryan saw my play style and character selection, he told me that playing MvC 3 is all about exploitation and unlike Street Fighter or Tekken, has little to nothing to do with technical knowledge.

Bryan exploiting Marvel vs Capcom 3


Here’s the breakdown. Each team needs their three characters to have very specifically defined roles.

The first character on the team is always the Pointman. The Pointman is pretty much your go-to guy for all your close combat related needs and should have a fairly good balance between speed, attack damage, and durability, although they should be on the fast side. To start the match, the Pointman should walk up to their opponent and mash heavy in an attempt to get off a quick throw. They should then put on the pressure with jabs and jumping heavier attacks in an attempt to get the opponent into a massive combo. Standard combos are light, medium, heavy, launcher, repeat, but this can vary from character to character

Examples of effective Pointmen include Wolverine, X-23, Captain America, Spider-Man, Taskmaster, Dante and Zero. They can also be played as a heavier variation although this can oftentimes be less effective, as the primary objective of the Pointman is to get in there as quick as possible and put on constant pressure. Heavier characters that can be effective Pointmen are Hulk and Haggar.

What a Point Man Should Be Doing

My personal preference is Captain America, although Bryan recommends Wolverine as the most effective Point Man, as he has the perfect balance of speed, durability and damage.

I probably only play Captain America though because I’m such a Cap fanboy.

Me being a Cap Fanboy

The second character on your team should be the Throwaway. The Throwaway is the least important character on your team, and should be the character that soaks up the most damage and will be the first character to die. It is often beneficial to have your Throwaway character be someone that players online are unfamiliar with, as they’ll have a much harder time fighting them. This character can be either shooting or close combat oriented. What specialty you choose for the Throwaway character should define the orientation of your third character. Examples of Throwaway characters include the majority of the roster, but we found some of the more effective ones are Arthur, Iron Man, Amataratsu, Magneto, Storm, Chris Redfield, M.O.D.O.K, She-Hulk and Nathan Spencer.

I prefer Arthur or M.O.D.O.K, although Arthur is a little more effective, but Bryan is adamant that She-Hulk is most effective in fulfilling this role.

My Favorite Throwaway Characters

The final member of your team is what is called the Anchor. The Anchor should be someone that is easily spammable and one of the more ‘broken’ characters in the game. They should have a great assist that can be spammed while the Pointman is putting on the pressure. Examples of effective Anchor characters include Sentinel (only if you have low self-esteem), Taskmaster, Dante, Tron Bonne, Dr. Doom, Wesker and Phoenix. This character needs to be someone you can switch to in a pinch and is extremely easy to play. Their special also needs to be ranged and should ideally do some chip damage.

I found that Taskmaster was most effective in fulfilling this role, as he combos particularly easy and his arrows are extremely effective as an assist. Bryan prefers either Tron or Phoenix, as Tron’s flamethrower assist takes zero frames (meaning that she cannot be hit while performing her assist) and Phoenix in Dark Phoenix Form with X-Factor is nearly unbeatable, as she can just chip you to death with fireballs.

She Can't Control It

There are three other features of the game I’d like to cover briefly, X-Factor, Snapbacks and Advancing Guard.

First intuition would make you logically think to only use X-Factor when you have one character left, as the health regenerating and damage increasing effects last longer. However, X-Factor is also really effective as a spirit breaker while playing online. For example, if the Pointman uses X-Factor in the middle of a combo to finish off your opponents first character, you will effectively break their spirit, rattling them and decreasing their performance for the rest of the match. It’s ultimately up to you when to use the X-Factor, as it really depends on the situation.

Magneto Using X-Factor

Snapbacks, on the other hand, are very useful for bringing out your opponent’s Anchor. If you find that your opponent is spamming assists at you, then it would be a good idea to force your opponent to bring out offending character so that you can punish them. People often forget that the simple quarter circle, assist is the way to perform a Snapback, as I rarely if ever see them used in online play.

Finally, Advancing Guard is a variation of blocking that, by hitting two attack buttons while blocking an attack, will physically push your opponent away. This is particularly effective when used against an opponent’s Point Man and will give you some breathing room.

As stated above, MvC3 is a game all about exploitation. You don’t need to be good at fighting games, you just need to know the workings of the game and take advantage of them. A person that is terrible at fighting games can likely beat a veteran using this set up, as it’s simple and takes advantage of the strengths of the characters. While I only mentioned certain characters for each role, I’m sure there are others that can fill these roles, although not as effectively. Let us know if there’s anything in this guide that you found helpful, or if there are any points you would like to contradict.

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  • I see what you are saying but I think using “exploitation” is the wrong word. I agree with alot of your strategies but when you say a newcomer could beat a vet using this strategy, then I don’t know what “vets” you have played because that’s just simply bull. When you say exploitation it makes it sound like you don’t even want to play the game, just win at it. Lucky for me you have said you played on 360, ugh, sorry. Your favorite character is Captain America, ugh, sorry. So we will probably never be able to fight and put your explanations to the test since I am on PS3. Anyway good luck with your “exploitation”.

    • Daniel Horowitz (HavenDan)

      Thanks, what I’m trying to say though is that MvC has little to nothing to do with skill, it’s all about character selection and exploiting the strengths of your team. You don’t need to know moves, use cross-ups or utilize other technical aspects of the game like in Street Fighter or Tekken.

      MvC 3 is essentially the fighting game for people who don’t play fighting games, kind of like how RIFT is an MMO for people who don’t play MMO’s.

      When I say vets I’m referring to veterans of fighting games in general, not veterans of MvC3, which would be impossible given that the game is pretty new.

      If you have a PS3, I can give you my friend Bryan’s Playstation name. He’s a lot better of a player than me.

  • i wouldnt call this exploiting id just call it a good strategy because there are always diffrent ways to beat an opponent this is just one of the most profitable ways. Its like roofing on assassins creed brotherhood its not bad but instead of people trying to find away around it they just complain.


    P.S. please add me if you play on xbox as i am not good at this game either my gamertag is RFNX Rambo Man

    • Daniel Horowitz (HavenDan)

      Well I guess that’s really just a matter of perspective, you could call it exploiting or just playing to the strengths of the game. But it’s a pretty sound strategy and I’ve found that it’s helped me enormously online.

      My gamertag is HavenDan, I’ll add you and maybe we can get in some rounds tonight or tomorrow.

  • I agree wholly with your article sir. And I enjoyed the quip about Sentinel. There must be a ton of players online with low self-esteem, because most of them employ Sentinel. After reading your article on exploitation, this simply reminded why I play Marvel vs Capcom 3. I play it to have fun. I’ve been harping about the game and how imbalanced it is since the first installment but as a die-hard Marvel fan and a die-hard Capcom fan, I gain great pleasure out of seeing some of my favorites on-screen. M.O.D.O.K in particular took me by surprise. I expected to see the usual “popular” Marvel characters in the game, but it pleased me to see characters like him and Taskmaster in the game, other than the usual wolverine/gambit/venom route. Although I was a little saddened that cyclops wasn’t in the game, seeing as he’s one of my favorite Marvel characters. And it I would’ve been overly pleased if Doctor Strange was added alongside Dormammu. But nonetheless, those who play this game shouldn’t get discouraged. Just sit down and play with your friends, rather than complain about the “tactics” that these people employ online. Challenge them to a game of KOF or Super Street Fighter IV, then you’ll see these “skills” of theirs come crashing down once you’re playing in a structured game. That’s my little rant. Thanks for listening! πŸ˜€

    • Daniel Horowitz (HavenDan)

      I definitely agree, Ken. The reason that I picked up the game in the first place is because I’m a huge Marvel fanboy and I also love Street Fighter.

      Although I think the roster could have been overall better, I do like some of the more unusual Marvel selections such as M.O.D.O.K and She-Hulk. Especially M.O.D.O.K though, I feel like he’s becoming my favorite Throwaway by far.

      As far as Cyclops, I remember hearing that Capcom wanted him, but Marvel didn’t I think the decision to include certain characters had to do with marketing and promoting certain characters for upcoming series. Cyclops is probably not getting his own series anytime soon.

      I’d like to see Doctor Strange come as DLC, along with Strider, Frank West and Phoenix Wright. I doubt Strider will make it though because of licensing issues.

      I usually play with my friends, I actually held a tournament the weekend MvC3 came out, but after starting online I realized you really need to exploit the game to win online. So I figured I’d just write about all the knowledge I’ve gained through my friend Bryan and my own experience online. Playing MvC3 certainty has little to do with technical skill in other real fighters like KOF, Tekken or Street Fighter.

      • Ken

        Thanks for agreeing with me. And I also agree about your DLC choices. In fact, I’ve already heard that Frank West may be headed to DLC. He and Zero were both in Tatsunoko vs Capcom, and they played really well. I think that game was more of a fighter than Marvel vs Capcom 3, but I’ve waited 10 years for this game so I know I’m going to get a ton of fun out of it with my friends once I get home after the semester ends. And I’m glad you’re hip on the “technical” fighting games. I’m actually awaiting the release of King of Fighters XIII this summer, and I’m also incredibly excited about Street Fighter vs Tekken. From what I’ve seen of the gameplay, it’s going to play similar to Super Street Fighter IV. I’m glad they’re going that route, because it wouldn’t do either series justice if their first meeting were treated like any other cross-over. And I’m hoping this may possibly open up capcom to a cross-over involving its Soul Calibur franchise. It seems Capcom has single-handedly revived the fighting game community, and I’m loving every minute of it.

        • Daniel Horowitz (HavenDan)

          Frank West was actually originally supposed to be in the game, but he was taken out due to an issue the development team had in rendering his zombie special in the new engine. Maybe they just changed his special and then called it a day.

          I feel the same way, it’s definitely the nostalgia factor that sold me on MvC 3. I can’t tell you how many times I went to the bowling alley only to play the Marvel vs Capcom machine instead of bowling, select Iron Man, hit all the buttons and keep performing Photon Cannon. Yes, I felt like a badass then, and to a a lesser degree, I still do now.

          But technical fighting games are really where it’s at. In High School, I played such a variety of fighting games with my friends, from Soul Caliber, to Guilty Gear, to Samurai Showdown. For multiplayer, the fighting genre is where it’s at.

          I believe that Soul Caliber is actually owned by Namco-Bandai, who also do Tekken, not by Capcom. But I would like to see a Tekken vs. Soul Caliber franchise, although there are already announcements for a Street Fighter X Tekken and Tekken X Street Fighter run in both engines. Although I really can’t see Street Fighter characters transitioning well to Tekken’s engine.

          King of Fighters XIII looks great, and is definitely on my list, along with the upcoming Mortal Kombat, which I had the opportunity to play last week (not at PAX) and was fantastic. They really went back-to-basics on this one.

          • Ken

            Thanks for correcting. I know that it’s owned by Namco-Bandai, but since I was thinking about Capcom, that must’ve been what I typed. And I’m not entirely sold on Tekken X Street Fighter either. I remember playing Street Fighter EX3 , and everything just felt a little off to me. And as soon as you mentioned Guilty Gear, I knew you were true fighting game player. I’m a huge fan of the Guilty Gear series. My best friends and my brothers play a bunch of fighting games when we get together, including Guilty Gear. Have you had the cahnce to play BlazBlue? Everyone praises it, and although it has awesome graphics, I feel like its far to easy to just spam the drive button with certain characters. The game has balancing issues, but once they’re worked out I’ll definitely be on the bandwagon. And now that Capcom and Namco are sending cross-over products overseas, I’m hoping they’ll release Namco X Capcom as an english port on the Playstation Network (I’m a PS3 user) and the Xbox Live. I’ve seen gameplay, and it looks rather fun.

          • Ken

            By the way, I don’t know if your friend in the photo is trying to be Dr. Doom or not, but she’s doing a super-cute job

        • Daniel Horowitz (HavenDan)

          No problem, Ken. I have played some Blazblue, and it’s a lot less broken after the Continuum Shift update, although I really don’t like it nearly as much as Guilty Gear. It just doesn’t have the same style and isn’t nearly as sexy, and also doesn’t have a bad guy that has the word Badguy in his name.

          I don’t think a Namco X Capcom will happen, at least not until Street Fighter X Tekken is released and its sucess can be measured. Although I would love to see Sigfried fight against Ryu, even if he does have a giant sword.

          What other fighting games do you play?

          Also, I’m pretty sure my friend Tori was not attempting to be Dr. Doom, she’s actually my roommate’s girlfriend and doesn’t even know what Kyrptonite is. That’s really funny that you mention that though, I wasn’t even thinking that when I uploaded the picture.

          • Ken

            I haven’t been home in a while, and I didn’t get my PS3 until this past November, but so far I have Super Street Fighter IV, and Marvel vs Capcom 3. And forgive me for not mentioning Mortal Kombat earlier. I’ve seen the gameplay, and going back to basics was a smart move. It’s not one of those games where you want to remember combos as much as special moves. I can see Mortal Kombat getting me as excited as it used to in the 90’s and early 2000’s. My best friend owns Blazblue, and at home on my PS2 I have King of Fighters XI, KOF Maximum Impact 2, Capcom vs SNK 2 (one of my all-time favorites which I see getting a new installment rather soon if MVC 3 is any indication), the Samurai Shodown Anthology, and Guilty Gear X2 reload. I’m also pretty excited about the Super Street Fighter IV aracde edition DLC that’s supposed to release pretty soon. I’ve seen the gameplay videos for Yun and Yang. They look pretty awesome. Do you play any fighting games that I missed? I’ve been playing Soul Calibur since it was Soul Blade on PS1 (which I still have a copy of, and will never sell), and of course I’ve played the Tekken series. My favorite of which is Tekken Tag. Not just for the gameplay, but the music as well. It has some rockin tracks.

          • Daniel Horowitz (HavenDan)

            Oh man, that’s one heck of a list! I think the only you haven’t mentioned that I play (not regularly though)is Garou: Mark of the Wolves. And Tatsunoko v Capcom if it hasn’t been mentioned already. I remember playing a lot of Tekken Tag in the arcades, and my cousin owns it, but it’s sort of been a while. I’ve played Tekken 6 recently though and it’s pretty great.

            Yun and Yang do look pretty awesome, although I was a little disappointed that Alex didn’t make the cut.

            If you want to check out my Mortal Kombat preview you can do so below.


  • NSN

    I agree to a certain extent. I’ve only played MvC3 in a limited capacity – a few times with friends, etc. I don’t have a system myself, so it really depends on availability. I prefer FPS to fighting on the whole, so you could say I’m relatively new to fighting games. I pick three strong characters (including one that I can throw away pretty easily), and I roll with it. It’s been my tactic since the get-go. You’d be surprised how well some of these techniques actually do work when playing against people who play Street Fighter-MvC-esque games often, though I never really looked at them from this perspective.

    • Daniel Horowitz (HavenDan)

      I’m glad that’s been working for you. Of course, playing Sentinel or Wesker among friends is a surefire way tot lose them, but this is really only the way to play online if you’re tired of getting your butt kicked.

  • Brian Heitzenrater (FrehleyzComet)

    Thanks for the tips Dan. I am such a button masher when it comes to fighting games, it’s not even funny. I can’t pull off a huge combo to save my life (on purpose anyway). I will give your tips a try and see what happens. πŸ™‚

    • Daniel Horowitz (HavenDan)

      No problem, Brian. I hope some of these helps. If you need some additional pointers I’d be happy to assist. I’m learning more every day about this game.

  • A really interesting insight on the online world of MvC3 Dan; I really enjoyed reading it. When playing I tend to play as characters I like, which often leads to me getting a horrendous beatdown. Thankfully I’m a huge fan of the Resident evil series, so my team currently has Wesker and Chris, who I think fit into the category of Point man and Throwaway, I’m just missing an Anchor, as my third is often Haggar from Final Fight. I still remember the day I squeed with glee over his inclusion in the game.
    After reading this I’m not inclined to change my play style, as I have fun enough the way I play, though it may not always lead to victory. However, reading this has given me the knowledge of a method of fighting games I am not used to, and hopefully I can counter it from time to time when I recognise the playstyle you’ve gone into such depth on here πŸ™‚
    Add me as Tedworld if you fancy a brawl sometime! Can you withstand the comical power of team moustache?! (Haggar, Arthrur and Spencer. I know Spencer doesn’t actually have a moustache, but his stubble was the closest thing!!!)

    • Daniel Horowitz (HavenDan)

      Glad you found it helpful, Ted! You could actually make a decent team out of Haggar, Chris and Wesker, as long as you utilize Haggar’s pipe and air throws effectively. Keep having Chris or Wesker spam assist ranged specials, and as long as you can play a good Haggar you should be good to go. Remember your Pointman should be the one taking the brunt of the damage early game, and he needs to be your most competent character. Wesker is pretty easy, so he’s good to use late game and punish your opponent. Chris is a decent at zoning, but he’s pretty slow and other characters can do it better.

      The online community is often unforgiving, so I’ve found this is the most effective way to wind without being a dick and running Dante, Wesker, Sentinel or some unfun team like that.

      If you want to get in some rounds tonight, add me as HavenDan on Xbox Live, I’ll send you a request. Team mustache sounds threatening! Arthur can actually be pretty effective, as he’s one of my two main Throwaways and people generally don’t know how to fight him.