Fundamental Strategy (Specifically MvC 3, but probably universal)


I was never a huge fighting game buff, save for a brief spell when Soul Calibur 2 was popular amongst my friends. As far as I could tell, I was decent at that game, though I’m sure my group of friends was not exactly a good standard of measurement.

I recently got MvC 3, and I am obviously missing something fundamental about the way fighting games are played. My win/loss record is something like 8/40. I don’t lack the techincal dexterity to pull off moves and combos, as I can pull of many of them with no trouble in training mode. But the second a fight starts, I usually get destroyed without having any real idea what just happened. I’ll occasionally be able to spot a pattern in what some of the weaker players are doing and stop them, but for the most part I get thrashed.

In other competitive endeavors where I started out getting destroyed and gradually was able to hold my own, there were a few fundamental strategic ideas that helped me jump from “hopeless thrasing about” to “beginner who has something of a clue.” In chess, it was basic pawn structure controlling the middle. In Go, it was learning watch my corners and the “corners > sides > middle” and “protect > attack > expand” priorities. Are there some fundamental strategy ideas for fighting games along these lines, or do I just need to keep playing and looking for patterns?

Oh, and, if it helps, my team has been Chun-Li/Wesker/Hsien-Ko


The most appropriate analogy I can think of to your chess/Go example is the concept of rushdown vs. keep-away. That is, keep-away teams try to keep the opponent away (go figure) and excel at dealing damage from a distance, while rushdown characters try to get in close on their opponent and stay there to deal their damage. When you have a rushdown character/team vs. a keep-away character/team, you get a struggle of one character trying to keep the other out via zoning while the other tries to find a way in. This is a fundamental aspect of many fighting games.

[media=youtube]d0cFs5mHQC4[/media] go a bit into the concept of controlling space, and some fundamentals that can be applied to many fighting games. You might want to check those out.

As far as winning more, I’d say that in my opinion the three most important things that contribute to overall success are 1) being intimately familiar with your characters and how to succeed with them, including habitual combo practice; 2) matchup experience, simply gained by playing the game a lot; and 3) learning to “think ahead” in a match and have a plan in mind rather than just winging it. Basically, don’t just try to deal damage randomly – try to force your opponent into situations where you can predict what they’ll do in response, which you can be ready for and punish them accordingly. This concept definitely has some parallels to chess, I think.


Here’s my two cents. I come from a tekken background with little experience with marvel, but i have about an 80% winrate online. Not great, but a lot better than i expected having no experience in the game. Most of those wins come from people like you Skip. The number one problem new players seem to have in this game is trying to constantly attack and deal damage with whatever they learned in mission mode, training mode, youtube, etc…

To add on to #3 of what keres said, you need to have a purpose for everything you do. Don’t just run in and start attacking, create(or wait for) an opportunity. Is your opponent blocking low constantly? Try to come in with an over head. Is your opponent rushing you down? Depending on your team, you need to have a way to handle this. Push block and punish, or use an assist like haggar or tron to punish their over aggressiveness. This is what the game is all about. Learning the matchups, how to punish people for making mistakes, and using the tools your character has to create openings for damage. It takes a lot of time.

Two suggestions on top of that. Change your team to something a little more noob friendly until you start to understand the game more. And find people offline in your area to play with. Playing matches online with people who have horrible habits won’t really help you improve your game. Or, if you can’t find anyone, find someone on the forums who’s willing to play you online and give you tips. I’ll do it if you’re on PSN, but like I said, i’m fairly new to the game myself.



there are universal things like safe/unsafe moves, mix-ups, keepaway char, rushdown char, pressure and stuff like that that’s pretty universal across all FGs. these can be executed differently depending on what game you’re playing.


The biggest universal fundamental, in my opinion, would be defense. You have to understand, defend/punish and ways to get out of a rushdown. Also, understanding the other players defense options when you are attacking so you don’t get punished.

I had some trouble with MvC3 at first, mostly the same as you. I could do all the crazy stuff in training mode but could not get anything to work in actually matches. My friends pointed out my defense was lacking and it was the main reason issue. So, I work on defense techniques quite a lot, like advanced guards and such. It’s approved my game a lot and it really opened up opportunities for me to do the crazy stuff I practice in training mode.


Check out the article on controlling space in domination 101. It is a pretty universal concept in 2D fighters.


In my opinion, this is the most useful thing Sirlin has written, and probably some of the best advice for someone learning Marvel: Game Design, Psychology, Flow, and Mastery - Playing to Win Book - 4) Attacking by?Fire

I see too many new players who never use assists outside of combos, and then end up not using those assists at all because they can never land those combos in the first place.


Sorry for the late response; I suddenly got crazy busy until right about now.

This is all great advice and I think I’m starting to understand a bit more. Thanks to everyone for their input.