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[Note: This is actually something I wrote a long time ago. It was on a forum I went to a lot at the time in response to a previous poster talking about how MvC2 teams were generally constructed (and making gross generalizations). I wrote this in response, which won’t hold up under a microscope but gives a general overview of teambuilding with a few specific examples. I’m reposting it here so I can find it more easliy in the future. Enjoy!]
I remember when MvC3 was announced, an old MvC2 pro, Fanatiq, did a writeup on the four main kinds of teams in MvC2: Rushdown, Zoning, DHC, and Trap. These four teams played very differently and because of that they had to be structured very differently. And because I don’t want to do any real work for the next 3 hours, I’m going to go over their general structures in detail.
Rushdown – Exactly what it says on the tin. These teams are about opening up the opponent and getting them into extremely damaging combos. Characters with high mobility, strong combos or infinites, and assists that can help start or extend combos are all strongly reccommended for these types of teams. Meter building is not an issue because landing combos will do more damage than just a simple DHC usually.
General team structure: Rushdown character/Rushdown character you can DHC into/Combo starting or extending assist.
Example: MSP (Magneto-A/Storm-A or B/Psylocke-A) – Magneto is
so pringles the embodiment of everything rushdown in MvC2. He has incredible mobility, great combos, unparalleled resets, big range on his fast snapback, and is a good meter builder and starter for DHCs. Magneto’s assist, though rarely used on this team, is also very good for punishing since it goes full screen very quickly and leaves Magneto at a very safe distance away. If Magneto’s resets and ROM infinite don’t kill characters or if Magneto is low on health then he can combo into Magnetic Tempest and DHC into Hailstorm to bring Storm in to do what she does best – build meter and punish opponent’s mistakes. After Storm puts in some work and Magnus has gotten some health back, she can punish with safe Hailstorms, DHC into Psylocke’s Butterfly super, and DHC again to get back to Magneto. Storm’s Typhoon assist is used because it handily goes through other projectiles and does decent damage, but Lightning Attack can also be used to set up unblockables. Psylocke’s Psyblade assist is phenomenal both as an anti-air and a combo starter because of its high amount of invincibility and because it leaves the opponent in the perfect position for Magneto to launch into a ROM infinite. Psylocke is also a decent character on her own, with good mobility, solid DHCs, and a soft corner trap.
Other Example: Team Combofiend (Magneto-A/Iron Man-B/Sentinel-Y) – A team that was originally used by Combofiend and is still used by Josh360, this team is a good example of a modern Iron Man team. I already talked about Magneto so I won’t say much about him other than that combos into Tempest with this team lead well into Iron Man’s Proton Cannon. Iron Man is like a slightly slower Magneto with only one very inflexible super. Tony Stark has similar mobility, mixups, combos, and resets as well as some fun stuff like guard breaks, but isn’t seen as much because Magneto is just a better character overall. One area where Iron Man excels more than Magneto is in his Repulsor Blast assist, which is a great combo extender for both Magneto and Sentinel. Speaking of Sentinel, Proton Cannon can combo well into Hyper Sentinel Force which Sentinel can then loop with the meter built up over time by Magneto and Iron Man. Sentinel can also do fly/unfly combos with both Magneto’s Disruptor assist and Iron Man’s Repulsor Blast assist. This allows Sentinel’s already high damage output to become even greater. Overall, this team is less an example of having one really strong assist and more of an example of having three characters that have assists that work well with each other.
Zoning – Another straightforward archetype. Zoning teams want to control space as much as they can and basically play the whole game like it’s Super Turbo with flying robots. Assists are extremely important to defensive teams, specifically assists that can control a lot of space. Characters with fast projectiles, projectiles that cover a lot of the screen both horizontally and vertically, and powerful beam supers are important to zoning teams.
General team structure: Zoning character/Projectile assist/Anti-air assist
Example: Team Scrub (Cable-B/Sentinel-Y/Captain Commando-B) – Just as Magneto is the quintessential rushdown character, Cable is the quintessential zoning character. Cable has a quick gunshot projectile, a slower beam projectile that covers more space, a grenade projectile that can put the opponent in lots of hitstun or blockstun, guard breaks, good enough mobility to not get locked down, a solid DP that is also a projectile, and, most famously, a full screen hyper that he can do up to 5 times in a row. Cable’s assist is a great anti-air and very good for Sentinel when he’s playing footsies in the air with other Sentinels or Storms. Sentinel himself is a great zoner in addition to having massively damaging combos. With drones, a nearly full-screen Rocket Punch, the ability to punish with Hyper Sentinel Force loops, and massive range on every move he has (except standing LK, but who uses that?), Sentinel can play the bait and punish game just as well as Cable, if not better. Sentinel’s drones assist works well with Cable as they stay on screen for a long time and can control the bottom half of the screen while Cable controls the top half with gunshots, grenades, and Viper Beams. Speaking of controlling the top half of the screen, Captain Commando’s Captain Corridor assist will make air footsies skew heavily in your favor. Both Cable and Sentinel benefit from having a Corridor cover a huge vertical column on their screen for them, but Sentinel benefits even more as Commando’s assist can extend his fly combos and potentially turn them into one-touch kills. However, on his own Commando can’t do much besides build meter to try and DHC back into one of the other characters.
Other Examples: Team Watts (Blackheart-B/Sentinel-Y/Captain Commando-B) and Watts 2.0 (Blackheart-B/Cable-B/Sentinel-Y) – In general, Blackheart is valued as a zoning character for his ability to spit gargoyles at his opponent which slowly drain their health. Blackheart also has a solid projectile game and can control air space very well with Inferno, although its comparatively slow speed makes it slightly less useful than Captain Corridor. He even has a soft trap with Sentinel’s Drones assist. Both of these teams offer different benefits, with the original Watts placing more emphasis on Sentinel’s abilities and fly combos and Watts 2.0 allowing the opportunity for Cable to enter the fray. The original has the advantage of being able to control the air better but the sequel has the advantage of allowing two characters to be able to take advantage of Sentinel’s drones assist.
DHC – One of the core mechanics of MvC2 is the ability to combo one character’s hyper combo into one of their partner’s hyper combos instantly. This process is known as the delayed hyper combo, or DHC. In MvC2, not all DHCs are created equal and there are specific teams built around the best DHCs in the game. In a DHC team, meter management is crucial, so the best DHC teams have a character who can build meter well. Ideally, this character starts the DHC, but this is not always the case. If the meter builder is one of the two characters who starts the DHC, the third character will likely be a character who can either benefit one of the two DHC characters with a strong assist, or a character who benefits from the assists of one or both of the existing characters.
General team structure: DHC starter/DHC ender/Character who can build meter or benefit the other two in some way
Example: Santhrax (Storm-A/Sentinel-Y/Captain Commando-B) – Remember that part in “Mahvel Baybee 2” where Yipes says “That’s 90%, welcome to USA *****“? He was talking about the Storm/Sentinel DHC that Santhrax and a laundry list of other teams are built around. Storms basic launcher combo ending in two Lightning Attacks and a Lightning Storm super put her in the perfect position to DHC into Sentinel’s Hyper Sentinel force, which then leads to loops, launches, mixups, and other really fun stuff. Storm is also one of the best characters in the game at running away and building meter as well as being a fast character who can punish well, making her a great lead in the combo. The third character in this specific team is Captain Commando, whose assist is used to help Sentinel and Storm control air space, but there are a ton of variants of the basic Storm/Sentinel combo – MSS uses Magneto to lead and Storm and Sentinel to follow up, Cody uses Cable as an anti-air assist and sometimes as a lead, Matrix uses Cyclops’ assist to put opponents in massive blockstun and punish other assists, one of Justin Wong’s early teams used Cammy as an anti-air, hell you could use Storm/Sentinel/Roll and do decently (although you’re really screwed if one of your good characters dies). Storm/Sentinel is one of if not the best DHCs in the game and because of that Santhrax and its many variations are some of the most common teams at tournament level play.
Other Example: Team Z (Juggernaut-Y/Tron-Y/Dr. Doom-B) – Bet you didn’t expect me to talk about this, did you? Team Z is a team that is generally pretty balanced in that it can employ solid offensive pressure with Juggernaut backed by assists, zone solidly with Doom, and trap opponent’s with Tron’s drill backed by Doom’s rocks. What makes this team notable, though, is its DHCs, or more notably, its DHCs into Juggernaut. Juggernaut’s Head Crush super doesn’t damage scale much, if at all, which makes a lot of this team’s combos with Tron and Doom one-touch kills or close to it. Juggernaut’s massive damaging ability, Tron’s extremely helpful assist and Lunch Rush super, and Doom’s rocks, powerful combos, and zoning skill all build upon the strength of the DHCs to make this an incredibly solid and fun low-tier team.
Trap – Do you like blocking? You better if your opponent is playing a trap team. Trap teams utilize blockstrings or fast projectiles to get the opponent to block a lot so that they can build meter, mix them up, or just chip them out. Like with DHCs, good traps are very specific and depend on the specific characters, which means that there isn’t any general rule for making them. However, having a character who can compensate for the other characters’ weaknesses, a character who can create pseudo-traps or slightly weaker versions of the main trap, or a character who can build or use meter depending on what your team needs, are generally very helpful. Some could argue that trap teams are subgenres of rushdown or zoning teams, and while I do see merit in that argument I feel that they are distinct enough that they deserve their own separate discussion.
General structure: Trap point character/Trap assist/Character who benefits the other two in some way
Example: Team Clockw0rk (Strider-B/Sentinel-Y/Dr. Doom-B) – This is a team that utilizes a trap to lock the opponent down and mix them up. Strider’s Ouroboros super creates a ton of projectiles on the screen with every button press the Strider player makes. Combined with Strider’s incredible mobility, having teleports and being able to fly across the screen and into our hearts, this allows for the opponent to constantly be in a guessing game over which way to block. If they guess wrong, they eat a damaging combo followed by a nasty reset or a second Ouroboros activation. Ouroboros combined with Dr. Doom’s rocks assist also provides a frame-perfect lockdown, meaning that Strider can chip his opponents to death if he so desires and has enough meter. This brings us to the first issue of the team, meter. Since Ouroboros is a super, Strider needs to eat a lot of meter in order for his traps to be most effective. This is not that much of a problem since whiffing normals builds meter in MvC2, but eventually Strider will run out of meter and be relatively defenseless until he gets it back, which is dangerous due to Strider’s low health. This is where Sentinel comes in. Sentinel is a very solid character for building meter and does not need any assists to be good (although he is much better with assists as I’ve said before) and he can do a lot of damage and buy a lot of time while building meter and recovering Strider’s health. Sentinel’s Drones assist can also be used as a soft trap with Ouroboros in case Doom dies for whatever reason. Ultimately though, Sentinel/Doom is not as threatening as most other combinations in the modern MvC2 metagame, which is why if Strider dies the team is usually in big trouble.
Other Example: Team Duc (Spiral-A or B/Cable-B/Sentinel-Y) or Banshee (Spiral-A or B/Sentinel-Y/Captain Commando-B) – Spiral teams are in many ways the opposite of Strider teams – Where Strider’s trap consumes meter, Spiral’s trap build’s meter; Where Strider teams are aggressive, Spiral teams are defensive; Where there’s really only one Strider team that works consistently (as far as I know), Spiral teams are a lot looser in their configurations. Spiral’s Dancing Sword move summons six swords around her that she can fling at her opponent to use as either a hit confirm, to chip them out in a trap, or to just control space. Her standing HP also puts the opponent in blockstun for a long time as she hits with all six of her arms, and Sentinel’s Drones assist (or Doom’s rocks) can keep the opponent blocking while Spiral reactivates Dancing Sword, creating a frame-perfect trap. Spiral’s Sword Ring followups to Dancing Sword can also be very effective zoning tools, especially her expanding Sword Ring, which is good for covering space in all directions. Like Strider, Spiral also has solid mobility, with a teleport (though the location you teleport to is fixed) and a quick drop, allowing her to evade heavy pressure (but only to an extent as MSP is still her kryptonite). The third character typically used on a Spiral team is usually one who can provide air cover or use the meter built from Spiral’s traps effectively. Cable fits both of these categories and benefits from Sentinel’s assist, which is why he is typically used on Spiral teams. However, recently (by recently I mean in the past 4 years or so) a Spiral player named Banshee has been playing Captain Commando over Cable to better control air space and allow Sentinel to use meter to perform damaging combos instead. This configuration has the advantage of making Sentinel stronger, which provides a slight advantage against Magneto teams. As mentioned before, Dr. Doom can also be used on Spiral teams, but the other two options are generally considered better.
So yeah, MvC2 is awesome.
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