A lot of people shy away from using Phoenix on point, and with good reason. She has the lowest health in the game at 375,000. That’s low enough for every character in the game to kill her in one combo. In some cases, only one hyper. Thus, it’s imperative for people to prioritize defense when using Phoenix, especially as a point character.
Believe it or not, Phoenix actually has a lot going for her, health aside. She has what is unequivocally the best level one hyper combo in the game. I know what a lot of you are thinking. “Using meter with Phoenix? Are you crazy? You should throw her in the anchor position and wait for level five!” Well, yes, that would be ideal… if Morrigan and air X-Factor didn’t exist. As it stands, there is a lot of technology that exists that makes Dark Phoenix unreliable in a competitive scenario. With this in mind, we need to find ways to work around it.
Phoenix Rage is the key.
On top of being her only real high-damage offensive option, it has excellent defensive properties. The move has total invulnerability at start-up and comes out instantly. If you land the first hit of the projectile, she gains full invulnerability for the duration of the animation. I didn’t even get to the best part:
Every one of Phoenix’s moves cancels into it.
Yes, everything. Including her teleports. You can stop them mid-animation to throw out a projectile, meaning as long as you have meter, you can make virtually anything safe. Of course, it isn’t perfect for everything. Hyper combos with projectile invulnerability will still get past it. Akuma’s Messatsu-Goshoryu, Crimson Viper’s Emergency Combination, and Sentinel’s Hard Drive will cut through it like a hot knife through butter. But for the most part, it’s an extremely solid defensive option that you shouldn’t be afraid to use.
Hell, even at the beginning of the match, it has excellent cross-up potential, as long as you aren’t afraid of burning X-Factor. TK Overdrive H to close the gap. If the opponent blocks? Phoenix Rage, X-Factor, and teleport behind them. If they don’t? Phoenix Rage anyway. It’s a win-win, most of the time.
Essentially, what I’m saying is:
Don’t be afraid to use meter.