Hi guys, I just wanted to do a little rant on why Phoenix is still good and definitely viable with the right team.
With air X-Factor, if you get 5 bars and they’re not on their last character (you should instead just go for the kill if they are, since you should be able to kill their character off a touch, especially if you have 5 bars) you can bring Phoenix in (going for TACs while assist 1 is recovering can work well, you can even try risking a down TAC when you have ~4 bars), let her eventually die and then tag out (depends on your situation). When you come back in you can do an air x-factor if you’re afraid of their mixup, or even better if you’ve stocked a meter, you can go straight into Phoenix Rage and x-factor that (gets you a kill if they pushed anything, maybe even a happy birthday).
Air x-factor gives you a nice easy combo which I’ve been using which kills 90% of the cast with XF1. Just a simple launch into B,B,C xx Phoenix Rage xfc fly, airdash, Phoenix rage, airdash S, otg l tk shot, h tk overdrive xx Phoenix Rage. If you bring Phoenix in on them and then kill their second character, you have no excuse not to finish the match by touching their last character.
I’m trying out a team of Dante, Wesker, Phoenix atm and the thing is, all of them are good with/without meter and all are really good as XF3 characters.
I can do a dante combo into grapple (forces a roll forward no matter what direction they hold), then do an unblockable with airdash over H + wesker otg assist and do the combo again, netting me about 2 meters and around 1000000 damage (can go for the kill into million dollars if they’re still alive). They can either try a hard tag, invincible special/super (though they’re getting crossed up) or try and hope you screwed up the timing and block it/cross counter out.
But even still, if I want to, I’m not afraid to use meter. Even if I have phoenix as my last character, it’s essentially just like having someone like Magneto last. If they hit Phoenix, she will die. The same applies to most characters. If you have either x-factor or a decent amount of meter left, you should be able to kill someone’s last character off a touch, or else your team is pretty shit or it’s a good keepaway team (these teams I tend to avoid using a phoenix team against). Throws would probably be an exception, where airthrowing phoenix would allow you to kill her in much more situations than say magneto.
So if it comes down to it and you don’t have 5 bars, just play Phoenix, even x-factor her she gets pretty fast. She’s still got lots of tools, she has fast teleports, lots of different mixups, trijump h has a great hitbox (for crossups as well), infinite airdashes in flight, can easily kill with lk trap loop in XF3, overdrives break projectiles (l version is safe under x factor or in DPh mode, h version is fast and goes fullscreen).
You can play a normal team and have phoenix on the back, instead of say Akuma. You can use the overdrive assist in the same way (though for wesker, it’s alot easier to relaunch or cobra strike after overdrive, than tatsu assist is) and it just gives you more options. For instance, my opponent might drop their killing combo on Wesker, just to snap in Phoenix. This is good for me, because my Wesker lives, so if Phoenix dies to the mixup, I still have the amazing Dark Wesker; if she survives, then Wesker comes back in and I continue on as normal without losing a character. Just putting her on the team makes your opponent think twice about killing your point character (most of the time Wesker) or taking the risk.
I always found in vanilla, I won most of my phoenix games, before Dark Phoenix. Half of that reason is because I learnt the character Phoenix moreso than DPh. I can play her as both an offensive and defensive character (though with air tk shot nerf, it essentially means you should be playing her more offensively rather than defensively, which she is actually really good at).
And of course once you get DPh, she’s still a beast. Without x-factor she can still do over a million in a combo. With x-factor you’re gonna die from a crouching a and then she’s gonna mix your next character up with traps.
In terms of teams, I still find the good old Viscant team (Wesker/Haggar/Phoenix) to be my best. Simply because it was a team I probably put the most time into practice with towards the end of vanilla. Haggar has a worse hitbox, on lariat assist and half the invincibility and no hard knockdown, but I still can use it in practically the same way. Just have to react faster and hit them while they’re falling. It’s far worse, because Haggar should be easy to keep out, so once Wesker dies, you’re in a bit of trouble. I just find I can still land a hit with Haggar against the level of players I play against, New Zealanders offline and Australians online and have won matches with x-factorless solo Haggar, but then again against top players I don’t know how far landing a hit with Haggar can go. He does have nice new relaunch combos now, which means attempting a TAC into him now and again isn’t too bad of an idea to try imo. Also if they try and run from Haggar, just bring Phoenix in and play her on point. It’s very hard to run away from a Phoenix for a long time, especially when it comes down to x-factor at 10 seconds or whatever. Heck play an XF2 phoenix and use meter if you have to.
I’ve tried Wesker/Hulk/Phoenix which was better when Hulk had his infinite, cause I was essentially having a 2/3 chance to kill a character and gain lots of meter off of a Wesker hit into TAC (carry them to the corner). But the assist really only gets them off you and you don’t get any combos off of it. Plus my hulk is ass, so I find I can play a solo Haggar, better than a solo Hulk if it comes down to it. He can take a lot of damage which is good for meter building though.
I liked Wesker/Nemesis/Phoenix for a bit, because I felt Nemesis was a lot better at getting in (jump h, deadly reach), but the assist didn’t have super armor at the start which kinda sucked, though it gives that nice reset in the corner.
And I’ve dabbled a bit with Wesker/Phoenix/Morrigan. Basically play a semi-defensive wesker while calling Morrigan whenever you can (ie run and call Morrigan but be ready to go on the offense, especially when they start thinking all you’re doing it run away, kinda like when someone x-factor rushes you down, they stop blocking because they think all you’re doing is blocking). People will occasionally snap in Morrigan by mistake as well. And she’s a decent XF3 character as seen by players like Dieminion and I think Chris G at one point.
But Dante/Wesker/Phoenix or Wesker/Dante/Phoenix has a lot of potential in my eyes. Since both are great point characters even without needing assists, though weasel shot assist greatly helps weskers mixup game. I personally have never used Dante in a tournament or too extensively, so I’m still only doing long combos, but not getting in properly or using the right buttons in different situations. Just spamming j.S/hammer and fullscreen stinger lol.
Yeah Phoenix does have a lot of cons now, such as less meter building and the whole TAC metagame giving your opponent free down TACs alot of the time, though it still also benefits you, since if you want to, in the same way you can get free side TACs and take their meter away, but it means now you have to use her as a specialized character, not just a “I build meter and get Dark Phoenix, if I don’t then oh well I lose” attitude.
OK, I’m done now. I probably wrote a bit too much and talked a bit too personally (I’m not trying to call myself a god or anything like that, I’m trying to talk about Phoenix, sorry if it comes off as the former), but I hope some of you guys have a read and we can discuss aspects of Phoenix’s game. I still think she’s strong and since she is so uncommon now, it means people are alot less prepared to fight her.