**Some Vs. Game Basics (v1): **
Magic Series: For those who haven’t played a vs. game before the ‘magic series’ is what we call the autocombo system first introduced in Darkstalkers and Xmen:COTA. The basic idea is to make combos easier to execute and not have to worry about links and such.
The essentials of the magic series is that you can buffer stronger attacks from lighter attacks and they will combo. For instance, you can cancel A (light attack) into B (medium attack). These are general rules, and what will actually work varies from character to character (for instance A>B>C>E usually won’t combo for Viewtiful Joe for range reasons on his launcher, and Thor has to do A>B>E or B>C>E to launch)
As of now the general rules seem to be as follows.
A normal can be cancelled into:
a) A stronger normal in the order of A>B>C
b) A ‘command normal’ of equal or greater strength (so you couldn’t cancel C into a :d:B command normal)
c) A special move or hyper combo
These rules are general and may not work from character to character. Know the character you’re playing and what works!
Aerial magic series: In the current build, it seems that you can always attempt to do A>A>B>B>C>E in an aerial rave, and it will cancel. That being said, it will rarely if ever actually hit. The hitboxes and movement for each normal are different, so find out what aerial combos work for your characters.
The Exchange button and Launching:
The Exchange button is a new feature added to MvC3 that was lacking in previous Vs. games. Its function varies based on the situation, but it has 2 primary uses: Launching and Aerial exchange.
Launching is a familiar concept from a number of games, but is essentially shooting the enemy up into the air for a follow up combo. In previous games launching was generally :df::hp: or :df::hk:. In MvC3, exchange on the ground is always your launcher. After hitting with a launcher, hold up or up/forward to automatically follow up into the air to try to continue the combo. This puts you into ‘super-jump’ state (described elsewhere)
Aerial Exchange is an entirely new concept created for MvC3. In essence, after you launch, if you hit the ‘E’ button in the air, you’ll do a special tag and continue the combo. You push a direction and Exchange to hit the opponent that direction and tag out. Note that if you an attempt an aerial exchange, and your opponent matches your input, they do a counter, and knock you out of the combo while negating the tag A combo following an aerial exchange also generates substantially increased amounts of super meter. Hitting ‘neutral’ E hits the opponent to the ground in a ground bounce. If you’re at the lowest air level you can follow it up with any OTG combo. The neutral E cannot be countered/broken
X-Factor is another mechanic new to MvC3, but is based on the ‘Baroque’ concept from Tatsunoko vs. Capcom. X-Factor is activated by pressing all four attack buttons(A, B, C and E) at once. When X-Factor active, your point character regains ‘red life’ at an extremely rapid rate, your character is substantially sped up, and both normal and ‘chip’ damage are greatly increased. In addition, on activation, all of your cooldowns are reset (see XFC below) You get one activation of X-Factor per match, and the duration is linked to your life total; the less life your team has the longer X-Factor lasts. You can only activate X-Factor on the ground.
XFC is the term used for “X-Factor Cancelling”, the process of activating X-Factor to interrupt cooldowns and extend a combo. The most common use for XFC is to cancel one Hyper combo (vs-speak for super move) in order to immediately activate another. Since X-Factor increases damage and resets combo-scaling (check!) this significantly increases the damage of a combo. You can also XFC after an unsafe move or Hyper to avoid being punished.
Assisting and tagging
Assisting is calling one of the two characters you don’t have ‘on point’ in for a single attack or move. Assists can be various attacks, counters, or even charge your hyper meter. Each character has 3 assists you can choose from, ?, ?, and ?. As compared to MvC2, which had useful labels for the assists such as ‘anti-air’ or ‘combo extender’, in MvC3 the assists have a set of two descriptors, the ‘type’, and the ‘direction’.
The 'type is what kind of attack it is: ‘direct’ means a physical attack, ‘shot’ means a projectile, and ‘special’ means something weird. the ‘direction’ is more straight forward, ranging from ‘upward’ (straight up), ‘tilt up’, ‘front’, to ‘tilt dw’. The trick is that this second factor is largely meaningless, as an assist can be labeled ‘direct front’ and be either a low attack (X-23’s ankle cutter or Felicia’s rolling buckler) or a projectile antiair attack (Dante’s ‘jam session’). ** Know your assists and pick wisely. ** Some good assists to start with are the Dr. Doom Y (Molecular shield/‘doom rocks’) which is good to cover advancing on the enemy, Trish’s B “Peekaboo” (air trap), which is a good trap/zoning assist, or Dante’s A (Jam session) which is a good AA/combo extender.
There are some rules for assists, as well. You cannot call an assist during a special move or a superjump. In addition, during and briefly after an assist you cannot call the other one again (but the other assist is available more rapidly than the one you just used). You also cannot tag in during an assist, with identical lockout rules.
Tagging is the act of changing your character out for one of your assists. In the simplest mode, you tag via holding the appropriate assist button (A1 or A2) for a half-second or so. The tag can be buffered to some degree, but will not negate the recovery of the move in question, so if you do a hyper combo with a slow recovery while holding the assist button, you will not be automatically protected from a punish. (check!) You can alternatively tag through aerial exchanges (see above), Delayed Hyper Combos (DHC’s) and Cross-Counters, although the last two options take one or more bars of meter to execute. As a general rule, ‘naked’ or random tagging is a very bad idea, so use one of the alternative methods whenever possible.
Dashing, Wavedashing, And tridashing:
Dashing is pretty common to all fighting games, and is used to move quickly around the screen. The basic inputs to dash are either doubletapping a direction, or AB plus a direction. AB with no direction will dash forward. Dash speed and distance varies from character to character.
Wavedashing is using multiple dashes in order to cover ground quickly. The best way to do it is tapping AB repeatedly. It is a common misconception that you need to duck cancel (see below) to wavedash as in MvC2, but this isn’t true, dashes automatically cancel into dashes. You can’t wavedash backwards.
Dash Cancelling: You can cancel dashes with attacks or by ducking. Duck cancelling dashes just ends the approach early and is good for approaching the opponent safely and baiting, and attack cancelling is an important part of rushdown. It should be noted that in the current build, Ryu, Dormammu, Chris Redfield, Doctor Doom, and the Hulk cannot cancel dashes. This is a known issue for some characters, but may be intentional for others.
Tridashing should be mentioned as a function of airdashing. They work because nearly all air normals are overheads and cannot be blocked low (an air attack that isn’t an overhead is the exception rather than the rule, once again know your character). If you jump and then dash forward/downforward immediately you can get an almost instant attack that will catch ducking blocks, and can be continued into a combo. They are a very important element of most character’s rushdown game.
Hyper Meter and uses; Hypers, DHC, THC, and counter tagging
Your meter is an important part of your management and strategy, being used to power the most useful moves and techniques in the game. In general you gain meter by interacting with your opponent, and you can store up to 5 ‘stocks’ or levels of your meter. Unlike in previous games, intentionally missing (‘whiffing’ in the parlance) does not give any meter, but gains from successfully attacking are much greater than in previous games. The following things gain meter: Hitting with any move including hyper combos, having attacks blocked (note that this gives far less meter than hitting), being hit by an opponents attacks, and blocking opponents attacks (which again gives far less). In addition, Morrigan’s and Amaterasu’s Y assists each give a bit more than 1/3 of a bar of meter, and Felicia has a special move that charges meter over time. You also get a huge bonus to meter generation for any attacks after an aerial exchange. A post exchange combo in the current build can easily generate 2-3 bars of meter.
Hyper Combos are the name used for super moves in the Versus series, and use one or three stocks of meter. Hypers are usually extremely strong attack moves, but there are also ‘utility’ hypers with a variety of effects. In addition, attack hypers can be split into a few loose categories, that have slightly different effects. ‘Normal’ hypers do their attack no matter what. They do much more ‘chip’ than any other type, but will not stop on a miss or juggle a dead opponent and can leave you with increased vulnerability in some situations. The classic hypers of this type are probably Iron Man’s Proton Cannon or Ryu’s Shinkuu Hadouken, both of which shoot giant lasers. ‘Catch’ hypers generally have your character rush towards the enemy and on hit do a ‘canned’ combination (ie you cannot control it). These have the advantage of being more cinematic in general, and less vulnerable if you totally miss or kill your opponent in the beginning of the move, but can be blocked and do almost no ‘chip’. Most level 3 hypers are of the catch variety, but the classic examples are Morrigan’s Darkness illusion and Captain America’s Final Justice. The third category is throw hypers. Like the description says, they have the same properties as throws, having extremely short range but generally being unblockable. Otherwise they work like the ‘catch’ hypers. There are very few throw hypers in the game, but Thor, Tron Bonne and M.O.D.O.K. all have one. Finally there are Utility hypers. These do no damage, but have some other useful advantage. The best examples are Wolverine’s Berzerker Charge/speed boost, and Morrigan’s Astral Vision which makes a copy of her that can hit appear on the opposite side of your opponent.
DHC’s for Delayed Hyper Combos are a special technique in which you interrupt one hyper to tag out and perform your next character’s hyper. This is done by inputting the command for the next character’s move during the first one, and can be done more than once, involving your whole team. This is in general used to greatly increase the damage of a combo or as a fairly safe way to tag out opponents. DHC’s take one level of meter per character involved. It is worth noting that the tagged in character is not guaranteed to hit, even if the first one did. When you DHC the person coming in appears in about the same place as the person leaving, so if you’re doing a DHC after say a full-screen laser attack, a short-range physical attack will not reach the opponent before they can recover. You can DHC into level 3 hypers.
THC stands for Team Hyper Combo, and is utilized by hitting both assist buttons at once. Essentially as many people as as you have bars or characters left will come out and do their hyper combos, to a maximum of three. The hyper used in the THC is determined by the assist chosen.
Variable Counters are another maneuver that uses meter that are worth mentioning here. In essence, if you enter :f: + A1 or A2 while blocking you will tag out your character and permanently bring in the associated character with their chosen assist . This uses one bar of meter.
A moment to speak about “Pixel Rage”
Pixel Rage refers to the way characters seem to not die when they ‘should’ from looking at the bar. There are a lot of misconceptions about how it actually works, but it’s probably good to clear some of them up:
First, You do not have to start a new move or combo to finish someone after the one that ‘should’ have killed them. There are plenty of examples of this not being true, but it’s been said.
Second, You do not become actively invulnerable for any period of time after your health reaches ‘0’. There’s simply no evidence of this ever happening.
A far as we can tell, ‘pixel rage’ is actually an expansion of the ‘guts’ concept from SF4, where there is more health ‘packed’ into the bottom half of your life bar. In the same manner, you should think of the life bar in MvC3 as ‘offset’ somewhat. There’s a small amount of life ‘past’ the 0 mark on the bar that you can’t see. This primarily is a factor at the end of a long combo where extreme damage scaling has taken effect or in efforts to ‘chip’ someone out with block damage. Capcom has stated that the effect is intentional and isn’t going away, and it’s presumably in to make the game seem more exciting.
Negative Zer0 for the assist para.