Proposed UMvC3 changes


Competitive fighting games generally have 5 different phases.  Discovery, adaptation, matchups, refinement, perfection.  The phases are not linear; sometimes a discovery will come later on in a game and make players re-evaluate large chunks of what they thought they knew like A3 crouch cancels, CvS2 roll cancels or TAC infinites in Ultimate.  Sometimes development stops and starts.  Perfection of a tactic can change a matchup around and make players re-evaluate the metagame.  MvC2 Magneto infinites were “too hard”…and then they weren’t, which made Magneto rocket up the tier list, kicked Blackheart and Spiral down the list and settled MvC2 into the currently accepted metagame.  Oftentimes as players we assume something is “too hard for real play” until someone shows that it’s not.  Sometimes players will rocket right from discovery all the way to the end of the line.  Players tend not to like that but it happens.  Best example, SvC:  Chaos.


This brings us to how a simple comment from Capcom at SDCC drove the Marvel community batty.  Marvel players are unhappy with the current game and they’ve made their feelings heard.  I’ve read a lot of changelists and read a lot of bad ideas as well as some very good ones.  Nothing’s official yet but at this point I feel like the Marvel community will be unhappy and will feel let down if SOMETHING isn’t done.


Here’s the thing though.  UMvC3 is not that bad a game.  Without question this is the best balanced Marvel game Capcom has made.  It’s not arguable or really even that close.  UMvC3 is head and shoulders above the rest of the Marvel series.  Yes Doom is too useful and Vergil is too good and we’re going to get to that but the point is that Marvel games are very hard to balance and very easy to break.  Small changes create large waves.


Mostly people are just upset and disappointed that Marvel as a game is reaching maturity.  The Marvel 3 engine is a few days short of 2.5 years old and UMvC3 is almost 2 years old now.  We’re past the discovery and adaptation phase and moving right into refinement and perfection.  Almost everything big is already out of the bag, it’s just a matter of shaping what we know into what can win.  It doesn’t mean the game is over.  Maturity can be the best part of a competitive game.  But it’s natural for a lot of players to start to lose interest and that’s what’s happening to Marvel right now.  People aren’t clamoring for certain changes as much as they just want it to be different somehow.  It’s important to recognize this and not change UMvC3 from a well-designed game into a bad game just because some people are bored with a maturing game.


Having said that, let’s talk changes, in rough order from the big stuff to the smaller stuff.


System changes:


The most important thing to fix in an update is the TAC mechanic which is fundamentally broken.  I’m not just talking about TAC glitches like Japanese meter scam and I’m not just talking about TAC infinites although they certainly make my point more obvious.  Before we get more in depth let’s unpack the TAC mechanic.


A TAC is just a reset.  It’s designed to be a high-success reset; if you rely on pure randomness with no deception your success rate is 66.67%.  In reality the success rate is slightly higher.  Fake TAC setups like Magneto or Iron Man have will lead to your overall “reset” success ratio increasing (for Magneto the relevant reset options are up TAC, L/R TAC, down TAC, dash into air throw and finally HS dash H into full combo) to somewhere between 75-80%.


Now let’s look at damage.  With infinites the base potential damage is just R (remainder of health).  So your expected value of a TAC is (0.66 x R) – 16,500 (.33 x 50k TAC reversal penalty).   In a normal situation this is too much damage.  When you started your attack from a throw or from something that scales damage (missiles) it just becomes obscene.  Dedicated reset characters like Wesker or Felicia don’t have a reset that can touch this damage or even come close.  And even without infinites damage gets out of control.   The no frills corner Doom TAC (non-infinite) ending in rocks to sphere flame does 450k.  To make the math easier let’s assume that air throw and HS->dash H will do 450k (even though in reality it will do R).  So the expected value of a Magneto/Doom TAC is (.75 x 450,000) – 12,500 (penalty reduced) = 325,000.  Again this is a significant upgrade over what the expected value of a Felicia/Strider or Wesker/Haggar reset is.  And those are dedicated reset units whereas Magneto/Doom is versatile.  And Magneto/Doom build more meter (even assuming it ends in a super expended).  The current TAC mechanic has basically made dedicated reset teams obsolete.  Why make a reset team, TAC to Doom is just better in every possible way.  It gets even dumber when the point character is low damage by design, like Morrigan.  TAC to Doom is better than literally anything else she has even if you do an extremely low damage version of the TAC and TAC up so as not to affect the meter game.


That’s what’s wrong with TAC, the success rate and the expected value is simply too high.  TACs should not exceed real resets in expected value or success rate given that all characters have access to them and they’re too easy to execute.  Now any patch would obviously fix infinites but because Marvel players like silly situation specific combos to learn it’s probably not going to touch the TAC mechanic in a satisfactory way as far as damage reduction goes.  So in order to balance the TAC mechanic we need to increase the penalty.  Increasing the flat penalty doesn’t do enough; the positional advantage a character like Morrigan gets for getting reversed is worth virtually any gross increase in damage.


It goes without saying that TAC glitches and TAC infinites need to be fixed. You can fix those any number of ways.  Personally I’d solve the TAC meter scam glitch by having a TAC attempt that doesn’t connect reset the defender’s opportunities.  Currently the defender can’t successfully defend a TAC after missing a try within X number of frames (this is to prevent spinning the stick + mashing S from countering all TACs).  But having a missed TAC by the attacker not count against the defender it would solve the meter scam problem.  As far as infinites go, there are options.  You can leave TACs the way they are and simply patch the exploit that allows infinites (literally a few lines of code) or you could allow a successful TAC to reduce the hitstun decay either to zero or “current combo amount -20″ and allow combo freedom from that point on.  Either one would work.  I like the idea of changing hitstun decay.  Currently TAC favors characters who fly and/or airdash.  Marvel in general favors characters who fly and/or airdash.  They don’t need another mechanic to blatantly favor them.


More importantly though missing a TAC needs to open you up for a combo like in the beta version of the game.  This will reduce the EV of a TAC grossly while still keeping the combos in and the “fun” factor higher.  It will also provide real risk which will naturally reduce the usage of TAC, bring the reset game back and lower the randomness.  Overnerfing TAC is better than undernerfing TAC given that TAC revolves around pure randomness to be effective.  Outside of Phoenix and characters that can only reliably infinite off a down TAC, there is no real mindgame involved in TAC.  It’s only a “mindgame” in the same way that Twilight is literature.  It’s a bad mechanic in general and having so much of the UMvC3 metagame revolve around TAC is the single biggest problem in the game.


Incoming mixups:

You SHOULD be at a disadvantage on incoming.  The attacker has earned an advantage and in a game with a built in comeback mechanic giving the incoming character too many extra advantages isn’t a priority.  The problem comes with certain incoming setups that are TOO good.  Viper/Strider.  Firebrand/Skrull.  Taskmaster/Skrull.  X-23/Dante.  These range from “completely guaranteed on everyone but Sentinel/Morrigan” to “very hard to get out of even if you have air mobility options”.  Something needs to be changed.  Losing your whole team to one hit and then watching a repeating setup over and over is just bad design.


There’s no solution that’s going to fix everything.  Short of giving characters full invincibility until they touch the ground there’s no possible solution that’s going to get Hulk out of Viper/Strider or Firebrand/Skrull style unblockables.  In a game that has fully unblockable strikes, characters without air mobility options are going to be screwed somehow.  That’s just life.

The best idea I could come up with was to give characters with air mobility options a better chance to use them.  If characters dropped in slightly higher on incoming it would give more characters a chance to escape guaranteed death while still keeping the incoming mixups strong in general.



More specifically throw option selecting.  Completely unrelated actions should not overlap with throws given how lethal throws can be.  Air plink dash shouldn’t option select into a throw.  Random helm breakers and pipes shouldn’t option select into a throw.  Teching a throw shouldn’t keep you inside throw range.


This one is pretty easy.  F+H and B+H are the only valid throw inputs.  Multiple buttons = no throw.  D+H = no throw.  Force ground throw techs a little bit apart.  The mash throw, mash tech, mash throw exchange is stupid and won’t be missed.


Net play:

This isn’t that important to most competitive players but if I’m going to write this out in hopes that someone reads it I might as well address this.

The netplay experience for this game needs work.  Finding a game can be pretty difficult during off peak hours.  The player base is split up.  Searching for a game through quickmatch will give you a different set of players as opposed to searching for a game while doing training mode or arcade mode.  I don’t know why this is the case but it’s wholly unnecessary.  Lowering the player base also causes people to run into the same player over and over and people don’t enjoy that.  The best part of net play is the variety.





Ideally you don’t want to nerf anything.  Marvel is fun because the characters are all superpowered superheroes (in many ways) so just bring weaker characters up to the top tier.  That’s great in theory but how do you bring She-Hulk up to Morrigan’s level without doing something crazy?  Sometimes nerfs are needed for the sake of the game overall.

I’m not going to touch all the characters.  Some need more work than others.  For some I don’t know enough about them to know what they really need.  For some they’re just a lost cause.  It’s near impossible to balance some characters like Iron Fist for example.  He’s got so many serious problems that I don’t even know where to begin.  I’m just looking to touch on the big and important issues here.

And again character balance is better than it’s ever been in any Marvel game.  You can’t expect Street Fighter balance, that’s unrealistic.  Remember, the best player in the world playing the best team in the game lost in winners at Evo to a team that had Chris and Jill on it then lost in losers to a team that had Storm and Akuma in it.  So there you go.



I put Vergil up first not because he’s the best character (although if he’s not he’s right there in the short discussion) but because he’s going to be the most difficult to balance.  Here’s why.

Round trip glitch is obviously too good, letting Vergil hold the other side in place and build meter.  With some team setups he can be MvC2 Strider…except he builds meter.  While this is easy to set up, the spiral swords super (and rapid slash into spiral swords) gives you a free setup.

Vergil is a walking DHC glitch; no matter how low your damage is, if you can come up with a combo that gets the opponent to the corner and doesn’t use bounces, Vergil can turn it into a TOD through sword loop.  The sword loop itself is not really broken.  The meter used to damage dealt ratio is fine.  As a DHC though, spiral swords is simply too good.

Vergil is the single best anchor in Marvel and when loaded he has no natural enemies.  He’s basically vanilla Phoenix except you have to block when coming in as an anchor as opposed to just letting yourself die.  Spencer bothers him but not enough to matter since Spencer shouldn’t be an anchor anyways.  In addition, the spiral swords super negates other anchors by making the other side calm down for a few seconds breaking their momentum and burning their x-factor.


OK let’s start by fixing the obvious stuff.  Round trip glitch shouldn’t exist in the first place and neither should the dimension slash crossup/unblockable.  Taking away dimension slash unblockable indirectly nerfs anchor Vergil by not letting him scrub his way in.  I’d also reduce the size of the hitbox of the devil trigger round trip to make his incoming mixups less ambiguous.

Here’s the part some people might not agree with.  I’d turn spiral swords into a level 2 super with free form switches into crown and blistering swords.  Spiral swords serves all the same purposes as Ouroboros.  Except it’s better.  And only costs 1 meter.  Obviously this is a problem.  Devil trigger would still be a level 1 super so he wouldn’t be nerfed too hard.  In my opinion devil trigger is underutilized by Vergil players as is.

You can’t take everything away from Vergil.  Without his “broken” tools he’s really not that great a character.  You have to leave him something; I chose to let Vergil remain a dominant anchor and still somewhat dangerous outside the anchor position.  He wouldn’t be as easy to play though.  The incoming situation would be a little fairer on both sides.  It would also decrease the 1 player part of the game.  Vergil turning on swords and just grinding your x-factor out or cutting off your momentum as a zoning character isn’t fun or fair.  Making Vergil players rely more on devil trigger and less on spiral swords would increase player vs. player interaction making the game more fun for all involved.



Doom doesn’t need as much work as you would think.  Doom is the ultimate support character of UMvC3 because he has 2 top 10 assists (including the undisputed #1 assist), he has the best TAC options in the game and because he’s a relatively strong (although not dominant) character when he has to fight.  He has decent health and good evasion options so that he can get your anchor in safely if they have problems getting in (like Vergil).

TAC is getting a nerf in any patch and missiles are definitely getting a nerf.  So Doom already has two strikes against him and we haven’t even done anything yet.  There’s really not much left to do.  You can’t make him less safe as a DHC partner without completely reworking the photon super and I don’t think that’s necessary.  Lowering his health doesn’t make much sense either.  What lowering his health does is make his assist weaker and more of a target but if we’re already going to nerf the assist there’s no point in double nerfing.


So I think everyone agrees that missiles assist is too good but nerfing it is difficult.  The problems with the assist are that it has too much screen control and the fact that you can call it out and let it act as a combo breaker.  Having all the missiles disappear if he gets hit is a solution I’ve seen around and I really don’t agree with that.  It basically makes the assist completely worthless.  You can reduce the missiles from 6 to 4 but that might not do the trick either.

I want to keep the assist good and more importantly I want to keep the screen coverage aspect.  I just want to make it less effective as a combo breaker.  The fix I’d have is that when Doom gets hit, all the missiles that are currently on the way down to operate as normal whereas the missiles that are still going up will disappear.  Happy birthday-ing Doom teams will be more successful.  Missiles will go from being a tool to maintain keepaway/traps as opposed to a tool used to START keepaway/traps.

…And that’s essentially it.  I don’t want to touch foot dive too much.  Maybe make it less likely to cross up but I like Doom having more serious threats as a point character.  This may not seem like enough of a nerf to balance the single most common character in tournament play but changing the system around him is a big enough nerf as is.



There’s a lot wrong with Morrigan.  Let’s get all that out of the way quickly.  Each fireball has 5 points of durability which would be fine if she couldn’t have 8 on screen at once.  Each one does 25,500 on chip and is difficult to pushblock.  Again, that would be fine if she couldn’t have 8 on screen at once.  Astral vision lasts 590 frames, which doesn’t sound like that much until you compare it to something like spiral swords which only lasts 180 frames.  And she builds meter, Vergil doesn’t.  Shell kick has 5 frames of startup, is basically impossible to air throw from underneath and becomes a wall of priority in astral vision.  Also she has a legitimate infinite outside of TAC situations.  That’s what’s wrong with Morrigan in a nutshell.


Shell kick:  The move is pretty ridiculous but it was designed to be ridiculous.  The move was designed be a dominant air move but just like with her cr.A it was designed to artificially lower her damage.  She has a lot of moves like that like that including her stand C and her shadow blades.  Capcom wanted her to do no damage.  That was the whole point.  The problem is that you can die from it in Ultimate thanks to DHC to Vergil or TAC infinite.  Those are going to be fixed anyways so the move doesn’t really need much changing.  They could probably make her chest not an active hitting area but that’s about it.

Soul fists:  Here’s a problem with reducing her fireball durability.  If you lower it below 5 her zoning would fall apart against other projectile characters and would allow others to outzone her.  A character like Ryu would be able to throw a fireball, overpower a soul fist then advance behind it forcing her to take action.  I don’t know if that’s the best thing for the game.  I’d leave durability alone and change other things.

Astral vision:  OK here’s something that needs a change.  I’d change the meter build to zero meter built outside of soul drain and meter assists.  This would preserve her playstyle but balance it out.  What turned Morrigan’s best team into the best team in the game is the fact that she can be a point character and not run out of meter.  By changing astral vision you’ll have to either battery for her (which lets the other side prepare meter for her which makes her fairer) or play more conservatively with meter as a point character.


Again, one change doesn’t seem like enough to nerf a character who is so dominant but it would keep her strong and fun to play while giving weaker characters a chance against her.  Nerfing TAC and missiles is a big hit to her already.  Taking too much away would be overkill.



Has Zero ever been balanced?  Capcom can’t seem to figure it out.  That character is broken in the Megaman series, he was broken in TvC, vanilla and Ultimate as well.  Actually he was broken in SvC: Chaos and that wasn’t even Capcom’s fault.  That’s a pretty amazing track record.

Zero’s a tough call.  The solutions I’ve seen don’t actually fix the character.  I’ve heard that he should lose soft knockdown on lightning or that they should take specials cancelled into busters away.   While that would certainly fix the problem they would result in an overnerf.    I’ve heard that he should have lightning loop taken away.  While that would certainly weaken him it wouldn’t really fix the problem.  Team ZMC can break 1.1 million off a clean hit without using lightning loop.


Zero’s damage output should go down but taking lightning loop away is too drastic a step.  I propose lowering his minimum damage multiplier.  The reason Zero can do so much damage before lightning loop and why lightning loop can do up to 500k per meter spent by itself is because the damage on busters and lightnings don’t scale enough.  That’s where the damage comes from later in combos also.  If you lower that damage you make him fairer and actually up his execution requirement since more reps of lightning loop would be necessary to kill a character.

Also lowering his damage would solve his meter problem also.  Currently Zero can go into the sougenmu trap with no repercussions.  Even a Zero/Vergil team can waste as much meter as Zero wants to.  It’s not like he’s going to run out.  Any hit he lands will lead to a combo that builds enough meter to kill with a lightning loop.  So who cares?  Be reckless.  Lowering his damage will change that and will make the Zero player think about whether or not to zone or TOD.  Zero will need to hold more meter to TOD high life characters and it will be harder if not impossible for him to kill your whole team off the first hit.

I feel like this is the fairest way to balance him while still keeping him fun to play and dangerous both in close and at a distance.  Other than that, his cr.M could use a look.  Why that move has an active hit box behind his body I’ll never know.  But he should keep the st.H and players have learned to deal with his pizza cutters.


Frank West

I don’t hear a lot of complaints about Frank but I feel like he’s one of the most powerful characters in the game.  Level 4/5 Frank with jam session assist could possibly be the single best pairing in the game.  People tend not to complain about high level Frank because there’s the assumption that if you get a high level Frank you earned it.  I disagree.  Getting a high level Frank is as easy as landing 1 hit with approved Frank escorts (Nova, Skrull, occasionally Doom, Vergil or Spencer can do it) or landing 1 hit into a successful TAC with a handful of other characters.

I say that you have to look at risk/reward when you evaluate Frank.  People generally accept Dark Phoenix because you give up a lot to get her, generally forgoing early TODs (unless you TAC infinite but I promise I’m going to stop beating this into the ground) in order to save meter to get her.  What do you give up to get high level Frank?  Nova can get Frank to level 5 with a DHC and 2 meters.  Yes the opponent lives but is that enough of a price to have a character as strong as Dark Phoenix (possibly stronger since you can save your x-factor).  I say no.


Either high level Frank has to be nerfed across the board (less invincibility on survival techniques, lower durability on object throw, paddlesaws nerfed into the ground with smaller hit bubbles and no ability to instant overhead average sized characters) or it has to be harder to get to high level Frank.  The first option is probably not going to happen so we’re going to have to go for the second one.

The numbers I’m looking at are 15 for level 2, 40 for level 3, 100 for level 4 and 200 for level 5.  This completely kills the TAC into Frank strategy and makes Frank on point have to rely on team supers and team construction to get into serious levels.  Skrull and Nova could still get him there but as long as those characters aren’t too good then the character is still close enough to fair.

It may seem too drastic and unnecessary but the risk reward has to be cleaned up a little.  Making high level Frank weaker would ruin the gimmick so the better solution is to keep him dangerous and have the player truly earn him.



Even though Wesker is no longer a relevant character there isn’t all that much that’s wrong with him.  His real problem is that he’s a point character that doesn’t play well with others.  If he was better with missiles he’d be easier to make teams with but he really doesn’t get much out of missiles.  Same with jam session.  He does well with vajra and beams of all kinds but missiles are too important to team construction as of now.

Wesker also struggles with keepaway but that’s part of his character design.  He had a lot of the same weaknesses to keepaway in vanilla but they were disguised by Tron, Haggar and Akuma assists and the fact that people didn’t really know how to play during vanilla.  Vanilla Wesker lost to MODOK just like Ultimate Wesker does, but there were only a handful of MODOKs out there so nobody knew the match.  Vanilla Wesker lost to Magneto/missiles just like Ultimate Wesker does.  But again, that wasn’t a popular pairing so it wasn’t exposed.  Same with Trish.  Same with Dormammu/missiles.  Same with Doom/Sentinel.  If anything vajra gives him more of a chance than he had before.

The biggest problem with Wesker is that he’s a “dumb” character.  His moves are too safe.  Blocked S is -1, phantom dance is a “just do it” super in a lot of matches that crosses up randomly and is too hard to punish.  As Wesker fell out of favor most people’s response was relief.  Not just because he was overplayed but because he just wasn’t that interesting a character.  Having a character based around command grabs, counters and strong ground pokes isn’t a bad thing but this character should require more thought to play.


Wesker doesn’t fit into Ultimate but he isn’t a bad character.  Any patch would nerf missiles so his problems with team construction would be improved by default and he’d improve against keepaway also.  Nerfing TAC would buff Wesker by default also by making his specialty more valuable.  Buffing this kind of character is dangerous because if the game changes around him and becomes less centered on keepaway he’ll improve without any real changes.

His counter set could use slight buffs.  I’d return rhino charge to the way it was in vanilla.  There’s really no reason for the super to be this bad in ultimate.  The super has virtually no use outside of gimmick DHCs.  Tiger uppercut is also relatively worthless.  The risk/reward on tiger uppercut is lousy.  It’s hard to connect with and since the followup requires a jump straight up you don’t get much out of it (MMH xx phantom dance is all you get unless your back was to the corner).  You could improve the move by having Wesker launch the character at an angle allowing for a better followup like off a standard launch.

Projectile counter could be improved also.  The move has a knack for always stopping just in front of the opponent.  Increasing the range wouldn’t make him drastically better against zoning; it wouldn’t help him much against Dormammu, Trish, point Doom, MODOK, etc.  It would at least give him some hope; there are too many situations where all Wesker can do is block and hope they make a mistake to let him in.

Phantom dance needs changes.  The super is too hard to block as is.  It’s not really random like dimension slash and doesn’t have true unblockable areas but it’s pretty frustrating.  Sometimes if I jump back and notice the other side jump at me, I’ll throw out a “random” super right before their feet touch the ground.  Because of the distance the opponent may have to switch their block 3 times, 4 if they’re unlucky (first pass is a height based left-right, touching the ground puts them out of blockstun, there’s another midscreen possible crossup and then sometimes ANOTHER possible midscreen crossup if they push wrong).  That’s really stupid.  The fix to this is increasing the blockstun on each individual pass he makes.  The super would still be able to cross up if you set up a crossup (again, it’s not random) but falling out of blockstun and then getting randomly crossed up wouldn’t happen.  Also the super would be much more negative on block giving more characters a chance to punish a missed super.  This kind of super being safe is pretty unfair.  Starting the round with a random super to get the glasses off knowing that you’re not going to take any serious damage for it and knowing that you might get lucky and get the hit really shouldn’t happen.

Finally blocked S at -1 is not really acceptable.  Lowering it to -4 wouldn’t make him dramatically unsafe but it would force Wesker to use more thought in the ground game.  Overall Wesker needs to be rewarded for doing intelligent things and smart footsies and punished for doing random or autopilot things.  Whether he becomes a top 10 character or not isn’t that important, he needs to be more fun to play and play against.


Iron Man

Iron Man isn’t a terrible character in Ultimate but he needs a lot of work.  It’s now July 2013 and Iron Man players are STILL using Krispy Kreme.  Not because it’s the best combo he has (it’s not) but because it’s one of the few combos he has that’s reliable enough to be used in real matches.

Proton cannon is an absolutely terrible super.  The only reason people haven’t made a bigger deal about this is because Iron Man is a rare character but the damage is pathetic and proton cannon is occasionally unsafe ON HIT.  That’s unacceptable for any game but especially Marvel.  Yes it has some unique properties like having the cannon itself become active early but that’s not an acceptable tradeoff.

Iron Man’s whole gameplan is being air Vega.  Poking with high priority normals (all of which lead to staircase into a full combo even from SJ height) and passive zoning to convince the opponent to make a spacing mistake.  I get that.  Really I do.  That’s why his airdash is the way it is.  The problem is that the character as presently constructed simply doesn’t work.  Iron Man in Ultimate is just a less effective version of Magneto and Doom because aside from repulsor spread his Iron Man specific tools just aren’t any good.  Other characters fit his identity better than he does.


The start for fixing Iron Man’s problems is fixing his launching problem.  Making the launcher easier to connect with would open up better combos and would open up his damage potential.  You can do this different ways, either by making the S itself have a larger hitbubble or you could make cr.M draw them in/not push them out as far.  As long as S stays  –a million on block either is acceptable really.


I’d like to overhaul smart bombs as a move completely.  It’s not acceptable that Magneto’s magnetic blast is so much better than smart bombs.  Not being able to aim them makes the move worthless as a zoning tool.  I’d make the move aimable like in older Marvel games letting Iron Man zone more efficiently from the air.  Also since this move doubles as his OTG, I’d give it a slightly higher minimum hitstun similar to how Wesker’s samurai edge has an extended minimum.  This will give him more freedom to extend combos further using assists.  This is a backdoor way to extend his damage.  Further, by changing smart bombs and letting him extend damage that way, proton cannon wouldn’t need a damage upgrade.  The only change to proton cannon that would be necessary in this scenario would be to extend minimum hitstun and make it safer.

A lot of people want his airdash changed and while I agree his airdash is terrible I don’t think it’s a priority when it comes to possible fixes.  I chose to increase his damage off hit confirms and increase his zoning ability instead of making him a better rushdown character.  I think Iron Man’s playstyle is unique, fun and interesting and should be preserved.  Making him more into Magneto-but-worse will make him more popular and easier to play but at the cost of making the game less interesting and diverse.  I’d rather make Iron Man into a better Iron Man even if another method of buffing him would make him a stronger character overall if that makes sense.



Dark Phoenix is too weak.  She needs to be returned to vanilla status.  No wait.  BETA status.  Her feathers travel at the same speed except THEY NEVER GO AWAY!

Kidding, kidding.  Sort of.  By the way, you should all thank Seth that that version of Dark Phoenix never came to be.  Between that and “every character on your team has their own individual version of x-factor to use” there were a lot of really bad ideas in early Marvel.  Some people would put Phoenix in general in that category.  Those people need Jesus.

Before Ultimate came out I was skeptical of Capcom’s ability to balance Phoenix.  The whole gimmick depends on her being completely out of control as an anchor character so that it’s worth it to forgo early damage and kill opportunities to get her.  If she’s not strong enough to overpower other characters, there’s no point in playing for her.

It becomes a difficult balancing act.  How can you make her strong enough to be worth it but not so strong that she wouldn’t break the game?  I didn’t think it could be done but Capcom did a great job with her in this game.  Yes Vergil has replaced her and made her obsolete in current Marvel but still this is as close to balanced as a character like this can get.  But with Vergil being nerfed the threat of the Phoenix is looming again.


I’d fix her down+H in Dark Phoenix mode.  The move doesn’t work as intended.  It doesn’t provide a ground bounce and the feathers generally mess up what you’re trying to do.  I’d just take the feather effect off that move altogether.

Her fireballs in Dark Phoenix mode are a little too good now also.  I’d have the H fireballs explode sooner.  She already has full screen traps and pushing Dark Phoenix out should earn you a benefit.  H fireballs give her a serious advantage at full screen.  Characters like Wesker or Spencer basically can’t even fight back even after they push her away as long as she has 1 meter.

Getting rid of meter scam TAC and nerfing Vergil Is a huge buff for Phoenix as is.  Fixing Ultimate buffs her enough so she can’t expect any kind of character specific buffs.  Even though as a Phoenix player I hate dealing with the existing anti-Phoenix tech, I feel like it’s good for the game.  This kind of thing is keeping her balanced so it has to stay in.



These are going to start getting shorter because I like these characters about where they are.  Magneto is a well-designed character.  If more characters were like Magneto with a variety of options in all situations the game would be better in the long run.  The only thing I’d change about him is his mash A.  Stand A being anti-air is pretty stupid.  Mashing it out 4, 5, 6 times is even stupider.  Without TAC it won’t be as profitable but still, losing that will force him to use other hit confirms that don’t insult our collective intelligence.



I think Strider is close to perfect as is.  I like that since his damage is low it makes it harder for him to kill off 3 characters even with level 3 x-factor.  I like that he needs to do difficult combo extensions in level 3 x-factor to save meter.  He’s close to the perfect blend of anchor and support.  The only change I’d make is making him do slightly more damage outside of x-factor and have a slightly lower damage increase in x-factor to balance it out.  Strider being a low damage character is a good thing but having him struggle mightily to break 600k for 1 meter?  That’s a little too far.



Just like with Strider I think he’s close to perfect.  This character should not be doing 900k for 1 meter with as many options as he has.  With how good jam session is, he’s more of a support character in this game so unless Dante players are willing to give that up, he has to be a little weaker as a point character to balance it out.  Making his LMH chain actually work the way it did in vanilla is something he should have anyways.  But we can’t give him back vanilla hammer or make his cr.L 5 frames or any of the other suggestions that are going around.  The criticism of Dante is that he’s too fair.  I see nothing wrong with that.



All that really needs to be changed about Viper is already handled by changing the incoming setups.  She’s a fair and fun character in neutral, the only problem with her is that she doesn’t let you play on incoming.  As long as that’s fixed there’s nothing wrong with her.  EX seismo is ridiculous but since it costs a meter you kind of have to let her keep it.  If anything I’d buff at least one of her air to air normals giving her a real button in that situation.



Spencer right now is about where Wesker was a year ago.  In theory he shouldn’t be considered a top character but people keep getting whacked by overheads so he gets the job done.  But that won’t last forever.  The truth though is that he doesn’t have the same tools that the top tier characters have and he’s starting to slip.  Due to how he deals with Vergil he won’t disappear like Wesker did but he’s going to go downhill fast.

So realizing this, it would be irresponsible to nerf him or to take tools away.  I wouldn’t mind taking his 80k away or turning it into say…60k but I wouldn’t argue too vehemently for even that.  Really, he’s fine the way he is, even if I don’t like the character.



Even though Storm is fresh off 2 top 10 placings at Evo she could still use a couple of buffs.  Losing TAC infinite is going to be a serious blow to the character.  To make up for that I’d like to see her typhoons sped up.  Vertical typhoon is all but useless outside of being used in specific combos.  I’d like that to be buffed so it could see a little more use.

Also I’d get her back the ability to call assists while in float state.  What made that too strong in vanilla was the fact that she was probably calling Tron, Haggar or Akuma and then setting up a high low.  The assists have been changed so I’d like her to have that back.



Even though Sentinel is the whack-bot he can’t be overbuffed because he has excellent assets as a support character.  He has 2 separate strong assists and hard drive is great at getting him out of trouble.  In fact I’ve been waiting for the point/Sentinel/Vergil order to get more play as kind of an alternative to point/Doom/Vergil order.  Sentinel would guarantee you a chance to play Vergil and that’s useful, especially against Zero/Dante and the like.

Having said that, Sentinel only having 900k for health is pathetic.  He needs his health buffed to at least 1 million, maybe as high as 1.05 million.  I’d make his flight a little faster also.



Nerfing other strong anchors would make him better by default.  The most obvious change is that he can’t die for using his power-up super.  That was a bad idea to begin with and I’m not sure how it made it this far.  Even if they want to have him explode as homage to Ghosts n Goblins at least make him explode safely and not be OTG-able.



Chris is really close to good as is; I suspect most people who think he’s weak just haven’t played a good one.  He bought Zero’s normals (the cr.B at least) on eBay and nobody noticed.  His only real problem is that he can be outzoned by zoners who use the upper corners of the screen.  In theory he deals with zoning by chucking grenades and making you land on a sea of fire but against zoners who didn’t plan on spending any time on the ground it just doesn’t matter.

I’d give him an air gunshot that goes horizontally.  Air shotgun doesn’t really do anything as is, why not at least let him aim it straight out.  It doesn’t need to go full screen, just be something that scares the other side outside of air grab range.  But giving him a command grab or improving his grenades is a terrible idea.  He’s a power zoner with a useful assist who can kill you off an air throw.  Read that again.  Making that character much better would not be a good idea.


Cyclops and Ruby Heart

Their problem is that they’re not in the game.  Why I can’t I play Wesker/Cyclops-beam assist/Phoenix?  I mean really, that’s all I want.  And why isn’t Ruby in this game to begin with?  She was designed for this.  Her moves all fit in this game.  Here check out this combo.  1000 ghosts, Low LMH (whip) xx sublimation.  Jump H xx schwarzaile to the ground, launch, MMHS, land.  Sublimation xx hyper schwarzaile (aim up like the end of MODOK super), land, launch into tour de magie (which is now a level 3).  Dude that would totally work.  I’m hype for Ruby now.


And now that I’ve just made up a combo for a character that doesn’t exist we’re going to stop.  If that’s not a cry for help I don’t know what is.  Check this space in the next week or two for team tier list 2013.  Thanks for reading!