February 16, 2011

Marvel vs Capcom 3 Beginner's Guide

MvC3 can be complicated to newbies, here's a quick run down of the basics

It's finally here! Capcom's excellent sequel to the legendary MvC2 has arrived, and it's time to get down to business. After you're done mashing buttons and watching your favorite characters make loud noises and bright colors, you might want to consider taking the game a bit more seriously so you can actually win a match or two.

That's where this guide comes in; here we'll take a quick look at the basics of MvC3 so you can quickly make the transition from hopeless scrub to slightly less hopeless scrub.

Normal Moves

Note: This is a general overlay of most characters moves, some characters’ individual moves may deviate from these descriptions, particularly in regards to the S attack.

Light (L): Normally a fast, low damage attack with short range

Medium (M): Slightly slower but does more damage, increased range over L

Heavy (H): Longest reach, most damage and stun, also the slowest attack.

Special (S): Varies from character to character, but is usually a slow, large radius attack like H.

More importantly, most characters’ standing or crouching S attack will launch the opponent into the air, allowing the player to perform air combos on them. This attack is sometimes called a Universal Launcher.


Unlike Street Fighter, MvC3 is based almost entirely around combos, especially combos that involve more than just your active character. The basic idea behind a combo is that the player is stringing together a set of moves that are timed in a way as to be unblockable once the first hit has occurred. This is possible because every successful attack cause Stun, an animation where the opponent reels or winces after being hit. Any attacks chained together within this window, including assist attacks, are considered combos.

Basic combos in MvC3 are not difficult, L L M H S works with virtually all characters in the game, while more complicated combos involve juggling opponents in the air, multiple assist attacks, Hyper Combos and even multiple character changes.

Assists And Active Characters

Another big change between traditional fighting games and MvC3 is assist attacks. Only one of your characters may be “active” at a time, but your 2 other characters may perform assist attacks to help. During character selection the player must chose one of 3 assist type attacks for each of their characters. Figuring out which assist attacks work best for your team is an incredibly important part of MvC3, and even mediocre characters can be extremely useful if their assist attack is good enough.

Assist attacks are useful because they create special opportunities to extend combos or patch up holes in a character’s offense or defense. For example, a slow, heavy-hitter like Hagar might benefit from a projectile based assist, as he has few long range options. After an assist attack is used it must be given a few seconds to recharge before it can be used again. It’s important not to spam assists wantonly though, as assist characters can be hit and damaged while they’re on the screen.

Aerial Exchange

COMMAND: When performing an aerial combo, press FORWARD OR BACKWARD and S

Using the S attack and no direction on an airborne opponent will slam them into the ground, while pressing left or right plus S will cause you to perform an Aerial Exchange. This quickly tags in one of your other characters midair, and allows them to continue and extend your air combo. It is an extremely useful, and almost totally safe way to change characters. It also builds an extremely large amount of Hyper Meter, making it even better.

Hyper Meter Basics

Your Hyper Meter is the meter at the bottom of the screen. You gain Hyper Meter by connecting attacks on your opponent and by being hit by attacks. You may have up to 5 levels of Hyper Meter. Hyper Meter is used primarily for executing Hyper Combo attacks, but it can also be used to quickly switch out a character while blocking via a move called a Crossover Counter.

Crossover Counter

COMMAND: Press forward and an assist button while blocking to perform a Crossover Counter. (Consumes one bar of Hyper Meter)

The Crossover Counter is an alternate way to tag in a teammate. While not as safe as an Aerial Exchange, a Crossover Counter is slightly faster than simply holding down the assist button. As soon as it's performed your blocking character will jump out and your new character will switch in with their assist attack. Crossover Counters can still be unsafe as the characters switching in are not invulnerable and can be hit as usual. Characters switching in can immediately Hyper Combo though, so this move should be limited to characters whose assist moves or Hyper Combos have invulnerability properties.

Snapback Attack

COMMAND: Quarter circle forward (fireball motion) and an assist button

The Snapback Attack forcibly switches the opponent’s current character out with one of his reserve characters depending on which assist button you use. This is useful as it allows the player to draw out a character with low health and prevent them from regaining health (the red bar) while they’re tagged out. It also allows the player to pick a more favorable match up depending on their character’s strengths and weaknesses.

Advancing Guard

COMMAND: Press two attack buttons while blocking an attack

Advancing Guard, also known as a "push block", is a variation of blocking that, if performed correctly, pushes the attacking player away from the defender. The advantage of this is that by pushing the attacker back, it makes it more difficult for them to put pressure on the opponent as they have to make up for lost space. Important for projectile characters or characters with poor close quarters options like Dormammu.

X-Factor Abilities

COMMAND: To activate the X-Factor , simultaneously press L M H and S.

The X-Factor is an interesting ability that can be used for a number of strategies. When activated, the X-Factor ability increases the speed and strength of your character while simultaneously regenerating their red health bar back to regular yellow health. The speed/damage bonus that the X-Factor ability grants is based on the number of remaining characters you have:

All 3 characters = X-Factor lasts 10 seconds

2 Characters = X-Factor lasts 15 seconds

1 Character = X-Factor lasts 20 seconds and provides the biggest damage/speed boost

Even more interesting, X-Factor can also be activated during a move or hyper combo to automatically cancel the move, allowing for special combos or setups that usually wouldn’t be possible. Also note that while X-Factor is active, the character is immune to chip damage from special moves, though blocking them will temporarily prevent the character’s health from regenerating.

Credits: Games Radar

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