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..
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.