AntiPhoenix Strategies

There’s all this talk of phoenix and how she changes the game, and there’ been a lot of saltiness over phoenix winning. Truth be told, though, there hasn’t been a solid gathering of effective anti-phoenix strategies.

So I’ll start with why phoenix works, and why our current mentality is wrong.

Having phoenix as your anchor hamstrings your team…x factor management and super management is even more important than on a normal team. That is because to get dark phoenix, you need to have 5 super bars, and when dark phoenix is on point, she loses life quickly. What makes her great is that dark phoenix is so powerful, that people focus solely on killing her. There are already many vids of level 3 xfactor phoenix chewing through entire teams on her own. The most obvious answer is to kill her before she gets 5 super bars, but people haven’t really set this up well.

First and foremost: The snapback.
There are 3 things that the current marvel players are doing wrong when they snap phoenix in. First, the typical snap combos I see right now hamstring the current snapping player’s super meters. I typically see ABC -> snap. First off, that combo didn’t do any damage. Against a normal player, you would have done a big combo into super that did 50-70%. ABC snap does nothing, doesn’t gain you any super meter, and puts you at a super disadvantage. You’ve essentially spent one meter to get phoenix in. In this situation, especially early in the match when both player only have 1 super bar, you can’t effectively punish random tag. Heck, i’ve seen people keep randomly tagging after snapping, because they recognize that you aren’t doing damage and are wasting your bars. Before you know it, you can’t snap anymore OR do damage because you’ve run out of super.

That leads to my 2nd point: positioning. Where you snap is as important as when you snap. The correct combo would get you another super bar and snap the character out after you’ve pushed into the corner.

3rd: Guardbreaking. I’m not really sure why this has developed slower in MvC3. Maybe because it’s harder. There was that guardbreak video with magneto using ironman beam. There are unblockable setups with taskmaster and trish. X23 has a guranteed guardbreak using her level 3. Spiderman does too. I think the real key, combining the first 2 points, is here…in guardbreaking. It’s not guranteed, but it doesn’t need to be, because if you get it, you win.

But what if she does become dark phoenix? Yes, she’s the most powerful character in the game when she comes out. But…

  1. If you have your back to the corner, she cannot cross up behind you with teleport.
  2. If she wishes to get in and throw you, she incurs great risk to herself.
  3. If she lands a hit you die, but block damage only hurts and it buys you time.

When xfactor runs out, dark phoenix loses life really fast. She only heals with her healing super if you’re near her. So…you start winning against dark phoenix if you WAIT long enough.
This is counterintuitive…but at a fundamental level, since she kills her own life, you get rewarded for defense with natural offense.

Don’t run away from normal phoenix. Run away from Dark phoenix. Go ahead and rush normal phoenix. If you can’t kill her before 5 bars, then the sooner dark phoenix is on point the better it is for you. The more life your characters have, the better the chance you can withstand her onslaught.
Heck, she turns into darkphoenix and has xfactor on? Go ahead and make her block a super. You’ll be rewarded later when xfactor runs out. You don’t need to chip her then. She’ll chip herself later.

It’s almost backwards from what people have been doing. Stop trying to fight her headon. Block and make her come get you. Wait for that time she tries to throw you (you can hit her then) or xfactor runs out. Unless she gets greedy, stop trying to random level 3 her. Be patient, random supers don’t work against good players watching for it. But when her life starts draining down, then the game changes. It’ll naturally open her up.

Lastly, the spiderman trick on the front page is but one template for killing her. With the plethoras of unblockables and assists in the game, I am certain there are other guranteed setups after killing normal phoenix you can use. Heck, I know X23 has one that people haven’t been doing. People need to go to the lab and work on them. Think: When I damage phoenix, I dhc into this character and do the setup.

Magneto’s Gravity Squeeze level 3 normally does 400,000, but against phoenix it does something like 473,000 without x-factor - enough to one-hit-kill her 420,000. I’m pretty sure that is the developer telling you to Gravity Squeeze the crap out of her.

Save bars with Magneto on anchor, do a random non-x-factored lvl 3, x-factor and block while she is x-factoring so you build your bars back up while not taking chip (stay ready for a punish though), then when x-factor runs out for both of you go to town with the constant threat of an insta-kill lvl 3 or chipping her out with lvl 1s. It also insta-kills her if she has to come in early with 4.999 bars since the damage comes in one hit.

-Or x-factor and do 5 random Ultimate Web Throws with spiderman.
-Or lame out the 2nd character on the team (hello ironman, haggar, sentinel, etc. assist character who is easier to lame out than phoenix)
-I don’t agree with the people who say to snap her in, it seems like an immediate dash up-back makes most setups whiff, leading you to block 3 tracking fireballs while she lands and hard tags.

You could try making high chip damage teams(zero + skrull + just about anybody) and saving 4 bars for the snap and x-factor/team hyper combo the chip kills her even if she advancing guards. Also Zero’s Rekkoha x-factor Rekkoha + DHC into a high chip super.

Basic stuff, some good pointers… but you can’t really run away from XF3 Dark Phoenix… I’m sorry. If you give her the oppurtunity to lay traps, you’re dead. M trap+teleport is way too good.

Also, your tip about snap combos is just plain fucking wrong. Long combos increase the liklihood of execution errors (drops) as well as giving the phoenix team more meter.

Remember: combo damage scales, but meter gain from being hit is based on unscaled damage.

The longer your combo, the ratio of damage to meter you’re giving phoenix goes way down.

Justin did ABC snap for a reason.

shrug ppl seem to forget to make her block something/land before running w/e mixup they’re attempting.

also no one seems to chase her when she does dash u/b… seems kinda obvious to me to sj airthrow or something, since 99% of phx players will try and fly away as soon as they get a chance.

edit: I agree w/ Renegade. #1 rule vs phoenix: keep it simple.

From what I’ve seen the number one way to beat Phoenix is to snap her in and just have a REALLY good mix up. Whatever characters you use go into training mode and come up with the nastiest mix up you can after a snap in. This is imperative in order to beat Phoenix teams with any sort of consistency. You have to have mix ups good enough to make them fear the snap back. If your snap back mix up can be dealt with by just blocking in the air and throwing fireballs it’s not good enough. Some characters have auto pilot mix ups like Wolverine’s dive kick that can cross up and his left right berserker slash shit but definitely come up with the sickest mix up for whatever characters you use. Before people didn’t have really good mix ups during the snap but now people are getting better mix ups for the snap so snapping is starting to get more viable. Especially for characters with auto pilot mix ups like Wolvie.

If you have to fight regular Phoenix with 5 bars or in general just remember some basic things. If you’re using a character that can obviously fight her head on like Dorm, Akuma etc then definitely do so and either lame her out if the time is low (like 20 seconds low) or lame her out for a bit to buy yourself time and then pop dark phoenix before you lose too much health. If you’re like a lot of the cast that has very limited options vs. Regular Phoenix then the strategy I use now is the “play offense against offense and runaway against runaway”. Basically means if the Phoenix is trying to go for Mag style offense to try and blow up your characters you might as well just press buttons back and get into a fight with her. With her low health anything can happen really.

The other strat that most smart Phoenixes will employ (considering most of the cast has no offensive answer to it) is to just go for the fireball runaway to keep themselves out of danger. A lot of people tend to go try and rush down Phoenix when she’s throwing out H shots and that will just do you no good most of the time. Once she has more than one homing shot on the screen you can’t do anything that wont get you hit and put in a combo. Instead it’s better to take advantage of the fact that she needs the fireballs to amount a safe offense and the fact that the fireballs dissapear after a few seconds. Which then the gameplan would be if you see her trying to go for the jump back fireball game just start jumping backwards away from her and force the fireballs to move away from her and/or dissappear. This puts a lot of pressure on Phoenix because if you move too far away for too long the fireballs will dissapear and then the fireballs that normally lock people down if they stay close become a liability if she tries to teleport.

Once you get to Dark Phoenix…you know the drill. Run to the corner unless you’re playing Dorm or Akuma or die. That’s about it.

I’ve been using a few of these strategies.


For some reason recently, people have gotten in their heads that it’s pointless to snap in Phoenix if she’s already got 5 bars or if she’s already Dark Phoenix. This is complete bullshit. I’ve been using this strategy for a while, and I just saw Justin Wong use it at NCR to great effect. First of all, people need to stop thinking that using a bar to snap in Phoenix is a “waste of meter”. It isn’t. Think about it: in all likelihood, you’d be spending a meter or two (depending on your team and their team) to kill one character. Against Phoenix, this usually won’t even be necessary. Phoenix dies so easily that, economically, you’re not losing anything–you’re spending a bar to kill a character. Yeah, the suck part is that the snapback isn’t guaranteed death like an actual combo would be, but that’s really the only problem. As long as you have a meter and score a hit, snap her in. If you can build two or three bars before doing so, even better.

Furthermore, people also need to stop believing that snapping is redundant if she’s already Dark. There’s a REASON Phoenix players immediately tag her out the second she transforms. Dark Phoenix is not good as a point character in a two or three-man team. Most players (Job and a few others being an exception) want Dark Phoenix as their Lv 3 X-Factor anchor, so your job is to deny them this at all costs. By snapping Dark Phoenix in, you A) put their best character in jeopardy, B) guarantee that you have a more healthy team to fight her with, C) make her lose red health (if you keep snapping her, she’ll just get weaker and weaker) and D) deny her Level 3 X-Factor. Yeah, Phoenix is still scary with only Lv 1 or 2 XFC, but not nearly as much as Level 3.

Sure, you might end up blowing your entire meter to kill Phoenix, but at least then, you’ve gotten rid of the random factor of the match.

  1. Contrary to what scuddman said, I don’t actually agree with rushing down normal Phoenix, depending on your characters, of course (Wolverine/Zero players don’t have much of a choice, for example). Normal Phoenix has some of the best normals in the game. Better, arguably, than even Dark Phoenix. Yeah, Dark Phoenix does crazy damage,has better frames, and makes projectiles from basic normals, but Normal Phoenix doesn’t blow up her own combos or attacks with the Gradius feathers and is still crazy good. Having messed around with her for a bit now, I honestly think Phoenix is up there with Mags, Wolverine and Zero in the rushdown capacity once her user stops being scared. Normal Phoenix by herself can take out a few of your characters by herself if the person playing her is smart about how they approach and press buttons. In this matchup, my honest opinion is that how well you defend and react is more important than trying to out-button-press her. All you really need is for a Phoenix player to get sloppy once.

This is just my opinion, though. Personally, I’m with Clockw0rk when he says that the potential for Normal Phoenix is even greater than Dark Phoenix. I just think people are so busy thinking about “oh shit, I could die from one random attack” that they just don’t use her to her fullest.

Unless you have a good midscreen guard break, I don’t see what’s the point of snapping phoenix in midscreen. In some cases, like wolverine, you have mixups midscreen. Most characters do not. I’m not saying make the combo hard or go for big damage. I’m saying get yourself a bar (in case she randomly tags) and push into the corner, snap, and go for a guardbreak. Doesn’t have to be some big crazy combo into snap. That’s asking for trouble.

If you snap midscreen and she runs, you’ve accomplished nothing. Most of the time I see people snap phoenix midscreen and fail to kill her. That means they wound up facing dark phoenix anyways.

Yeah not everyone gets the hurp durp mix up that Wolverine gets whenever he snaps in Phoenix. His berserker slash is ideal for killing Phoenix because he can just be in a random place on a screen and then do berserker slash and it comes out really fast and sometimes crosses up and sometimes doesn’t. That kind of mix up you can’t react to and it’s either just she somehow blocks the right way and survives or dies. Some other characters have solid mix ups for when she comes in but are harder to set up mid screen. Wolverine just happens to have the perfect mix up for killing off a character like Phoenix especially with a dive kick that crosses up and ground bounces into death combos on hit and drill claw specials he can mash on her keeping her from pressing buttons which goes into said dive kick.

With other teams it’s generally more of a liability to be constantly snapping Phoenix in. Especially if you end up just taking hits and losing a character. By that time they’re probably close to the 5 any way. You should definitely keep the threat of the snap back there but once she gets the 5 it’s kind of a waste of time unless you got some serious left right or up down going on with your snap mix ups. It’s just something you’ll have to guage as a player.

snap rarely works either fight phoenix/dark or kill the team quickly snap 9 out of 10 time only give phoenix time to build meter and runaway

I saw Mike and Filipino Champ constantly run away, tag out and their Phoenixes kept getting snapped in. One of those guys (Mike was it?) raw tagged on purpose just to get the snap back punish. I like it because it drains their meter while giving the Phoenix user meter. The only thing you have to worry about is not losing Phoenix when she’s snapped in.

Unless you’re playing as, like, a solo Dormammu that can afford to wait and then chip her to death with 2-3 Stalking Flares, I don’t see how it’s a waste to snap in Dark Phoenix. Like I said, this is the general strategy that I use with any team which has problems keeping up with a Level 3 X-Factor Phoenix. (I’d MUCH rather have Jenny fight an X-Factorless/XF1 Dark Phoenix than kill her other characters and allow her access to Level 3 AND meter.) If, for example, the only character you’ve got left against her is Felicia, I’d much rather snap her in and deal with her without the edge which REALLY makes her a problem.

Yes, but when Justin bodied most Phoenixes, it was largely because he never stopped snapping in Phoenix. No matter what it took, Justin kept bringing her in just to kill her, even when she was already Dark. I clearly remember a game in which the commentators claimed that Justin was on “auto-pilot” for snapping in a Phoenix with 5 bars already, but Justin proved it was part of his game plan when he forced her to go Dark and then snapped her in AGAIN after she transformed.

Like I said, it’s really a question of which you think you’re better at fighting: Dark Phoenix while she has meter and X-Factor and you have a less healthy team, or the rest of the team after she’s dead and you’ve drained most of your resources.

pick spiderman (which wont happen)

I know this is super risky, but if you are feeling frisky LvL1XF is not a bad idea if you get the first hit. You kill the first character, and get a chance to kill the second one before they even get 3 and a half bars from getting beat up. Then you should be ok, but then you loose your xf if you don’t kill her.

(I think phoenix will still continue to be a problem.)

Yeah if you’re just talking about snapping in Dark Phoenix to mitigate her power then that’s obviously a good strat. Anything that stops DP from coming in with XF3 is good. People will probably start getting better at landing that one mix up to kill her before she lands on the ground if it comes down to it but once she touches ground if you haven’t killed her you know you’re in for a ride. A character like Felicia can easily snap in D.P. and use kitty helper super if she has enough meter to lock down Phoenix and pretty much kill her off with her basically inescapable mix up at close range.

If I Pop Dark phoenix with teammates left, and you get hit by the blast, I’m damn sure laying down a couple of traps maybe a salty ball and see if I can make something happen. It’s just smart business.

Specificity is needed here.

Gravity Squeeze does not do character specific damage to any base character, including Phoenix. Therefore, Gravity Squeeze will not instant kill her.

Dark Phoenix, however, does take addition damage for whatever odd reason, and it can kill her.

Also… my personal best tech is just using Taskmaster’s unblockable string.

Taskmaster’s unblockable string + team super w/ super longer than Taskmaster’s or Unblockable string + team super + x-factor = dead Phoenix.

No need to mix her up. Only need to lock down so the string can hit.

For that matter, some assists last long enough for you to do the unblockable string if you fast enough to “block confirm” it.

I’ve started using Chris lately and I’ve been debatng how to deal with phoenix with chris since point to point its worthless and he does not have good mixups. Instead I’ve found a relatively effective strat. With a second char like dante or deadpool IM etc you can do Team super, xfactor grenade grenade gun gun or soemthing like that and it is basically a chip death since they are locked down by your number 2’s super. Of course their are plenty of downsides to this like need 3 meters when you snap or that phoenix could use lvl 1 xfactor to live but its deffinently a strat to know. Realize with some characters you do the same trick but instead of chipping after x-factor use it to get free high/low mix ups.

I would only recommend running away from dphx unless you are corner bound, putting some hold on those teleports. I do agree in rushing regular phx down and preventing those homing tk shots. Snap ins are generally useful at the start of the match, but become less and less useful as the match prolongs and the opponent is building meter.

I posted this thread two months ago and the mods moved it into the phoenix forum. It’s still in there. I guess now this is considered general marvel 3 discussion lol