A guide for beginners trying to explain the combo system in place for Marvel vs. Capcom 3. This is an entry for the UMvC3 giveaway, and also a part of a running series maintained by me for the UND Games Club at the University of North Dakota.
Most people find Marvel vs. Capcom 3 to be an appealing game to watch, but deem it way too confusing to replicate the ridiculous stuff you see happening on screen. This blog post will remedy that situation. Even though it does have it's intricacies, the combo system is actually fairly easy to figure out once you understand the basics of it.
The Magic Series and You: The basics of the combo system
Sure combos can have a lot of deviance in how they're performed, but this game actually alleviates a lot of the problems that come with conventional comboing and simplifies it in to a special series of button presses for the masses. Each character is capable of following this combo system. In this game there are three different attacks: Light, Medium and Heavy. Combos in this game follow the same exact order in button presses as they're listed in the preceding sentence to link in to each other. On the ground, you can expect to get in a Light hit, Medium hit and Heavy hit (if pressed in quick succession) before you launch your opponent in to the air. The notation will look like this:
L, M, H, S (Which stands for Light, Medium, Heavy, Special)
After you press the Special button, the opponent is launched in to the air. If you hold up or towards them and up, you'll follow them up in to the air. Air combat is a little different in the sense that it will allow you to get a maximum of 2 Light hits, 2 Medium hits, and 1 Heavy hit. The notation will then look like this:
j.L, j.L, j.M, j.M, j.H, j.S (The j. before each character denotes that it is done in the air. The aerial Special will send your opponent down to the ground for follow ups and such.)
All in all, your basic combo you will be capable of doing with any character will look like this:
L, M, H, S, j.L, j.L, j.M, j.M, j.H, j.S
Now to explain a few more intricacies about the system. Damage scaling and hitstun deterioration for each hit is much larger than it is in most fighting games. Due to that, you'll want to cut out as many extraneous hits as possible to get the most damage out of your combos. With this in mind, let it be known that Light attacks aren't really worth all that much damage wise. Most efficient combo makes actually cut out the Light attacks due to that fact. With this known, your basic combo should end up looking like this:
M, H, S, j.M, j.M, j.H, j.S
If you do this, you'll find that your damage output is quite similar, and you're cutting out 3 extra hits which allows for more deviance outside of this basic combo. With this in mind, it is now time to start talking about crouching ground attacks mixed in with the regular standing attacks. Some characters are capable of doing crouching versions of the attacks on the ground right after they successfully connect the first hit with their opponents. To give you a visual idea of this, I'll notate it for you.
L, c.L, M, c.M, H, c.H (I bet you've gotten this, but the c. prefix to the attack notation means it's done while crouching.)
It depends on the character, but you can actually do this with a decent amount of the cast. Sometimes you can only do it with the Light and Medium attacks a character possesses, or sometimes you can only do on Medium or Heavy hit out of the Light attack. I'm sure you can tell which characters can do which just by playing with them for a bit, so I won't bore you with a huge list denoting who is capable of doing what. Now to show you what you'll see out of most characters combo wise. You'll see my Magneto doing something similar to this if you pay attention to my combos and know what his moves look like:
c.L, c.M, c.H, S, j.M, j.M, j.H, j.S, Gravity Squeeze
The reason I do the crouching Light attack is to get an initial hit off. When I recognize that the hit has registered as an unblocked attack, that's when I go in to the rest of that combo. If I remember correctly, you're looking at about a solid 728,800 damage from this combo due to the scaling resistant damage level 3 hyper combos. Not too bad for a simple combo eh? You'll definitely take out Phoenix with this combo, and you can expect the likes of Zero, Magneto, Amaterasu and more to be nearly dead from something like this.
Getting Creative: Deviating From the Normal Magic Series
So now that you've gotten a basic understanding of combos, let's talk about spicing things up. For these examples, I'll be using a few different characters. I would like to state right now that if you're getting a little scared of combos right now and just want a more personal and visual walkthrough of any of this, please just ask me to show you some stuff at any of the next meetings. I'm more than happy to share my knowledge :) Anyway, let's carry on with this little laboratory session.
One big thing to understand about this game is that most Normal move you throw out can be cancelled by a special attack. One fun way to illustrate this is Zero's Hyper Zero Buster. If you get this shot charged up all the way to level 3 (The different levels are blue, green and orange) you can start doing some cool things in your combos with the hard knockdown you get from it. This is one of my standard Zero combos employing the use of cancelling a normal with a special move:
c.M, c.H, Shippuga (Forward H), S, j.M, j.M xx Level 3 Hyper Zero Buster, L Hienkyaku, S, j.M, j.M, j.H, j.S
Due to the hard knockdown the Level 3 shot gives my opponent, I can use my Light attack version of Hienkyaku (Which brings me to the ground fairly quickly) to allow me to relaunch my opponent and do a simple magic series combo in addition to the stuff I've already done. This alone does 367,800 damage, but also leads in to many different opportunities with things like off the ground follow ups and hyper combos that catch the opponent while they're on the ground. Speaking of off the ground opportunities, I believe that will be my next example.
Off the ground moves can continue combos from a finished magic series combo. You can get an OTG from a few different things. Assists, character specials and hyper combos are the things you can expect an OTG from. Lets talk about the character special OTGs first.
A lot of the MvC3 cast has a special move that can hit the opponent off the ground from a knocked down state. This explanation will use my girl She-Hulk as the model for OTG specials used in combos. If you use her Runner's Start then Chariot into the Torpedo, ( Down, Down, S - Forward - L for those that would like a more input related explanation) you can hit opponents off the ground from a knocked down state. To see the effectiveness of this, use this combo:
c.L, c.M, c.H, S, j.M, j.M, j.H, j.S, Runner's Start, Chariot, Torpedo, Emerald Cannon, Emerald Impulse, Emerald Disaster
Without the Torpedo, you're getting a rather lame 337,300 damage. With all of the above, you're looking at 587,300 damage. an extra 250,000 for one meter and a few more inputs? I'd take that any day personally. Many characters are capable of doing an OTG to continue a combo, it just takes a bit of knowing your character and the willing to figure stuff out to get something like that.
Now to talk about the assist OTGs. I will be using Magneto and She-Hulk with the Alpha Torpedo assist in this example. Remember how she needed to use Torpedo as a move to continue her combo? Her Torpedo assist can do the same thing for her team mates. This combo here is only a taste of what you can do with OTG assists.
c.L, c.M, c.H, S, j.M, j.M, j.H, j.S, She-Hulk Assist, S, j.M, j.M, j.H, j.S, Gravity Squeeze
Normally doing the original magic series combo and ending it with the Gravity Squeeze gives you 728,800 damage. Not bad, but it doesn't actually kill a lot of characters. This combo on the other hand does 857,300 damage. Remember the Zero, Magneto and Amaterasu you didn't kill before? They're dead now. That extension off the original magic series combo Magneto can pull off means the difference between needing to spend more time and resources finishing a character off and now only having to deal with your opponent's team minus one character.
Marvel vs. Capcom 3 has a really scary combo system, but once you break it down and learn some of the basics of it, it really isn't all that bad. If you want to learn more than what I've provided here, I'm more than happy to be a resource. Ultimately my goal here is to get those interested in games like these to understand them better and possibly end up going to tournaments in the cities and around here with them, but either way I just love teaching people how to do things in games. If you have any questions about what I've talked about here, please ask me in person, online, whatever. I'm more than willing to help and any kind of interest in a fighting game is something I'm more than happy to field :)
Keep it classy Gouki.com ;)
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