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Teambuilding Archetypes in MvC2

[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.


Impressions – MLP: Fighting is Magic, Feb. 2012 Build

MLP:Fighting is Magic livestream archive – 1 hr 40 min total

So I wrote up a long post on the game as I was watching the archive of the livestream (I couldn’t watch the stream live because I completely forgot it was happening) and I figured I’d put it here so I wouldn’t have to search for it anywhere else. So, here it is.


Pinkie – They only showed off two special moves which I guess means that the finger is a normal move? I kind of expect her to have more moves than that. I mean who does she think she is, Guile? Actually she apparently thinks she’s Saki from AH3 with her reverse charge moves. As for the special moves themselves, they’re useful I suppose. The ground bounce Cartwheel Kick seems pretty good and the rest seem alright. The knockdown Cartwheel Kick can lead into her next special move, Be Right Back, a reverse charge move that’s basically designed to mixup your opponent by teleporting. BRB is less effective as a teleport though since the game screen will move over to tell you where she’s coming from. This probably needs to be fixed so that Pinkie can have some mixups that are actually ambiguous and not ones that the opponent can block on reaction. Pinkie could certainly be a very interesting oki character, but her damage needs to be toned down because right now she’s pretty easy mode, doing 30% combos for little effort. Her super seems a bit like a super-charged version of Ibuki’s Kasumi Suzaku and it does ridiculous damage.

What needs to change – Damage, obviously. As is, she’s doing way too much damage for little effort. Almost every match I saw with Pinkie against someone like Rarity or Twilight had the unicorn zoning her out only for Pinkie to get some quick, easy damage in with only a few combos to either catch up or get ahead. That’s pretty ridiculous and obviously needs to get fixed. But aside from that, I think she could actually use some buffs. She’s obviously the least complete of all the characters, and it shows through the fact that she only has two specials. She has no way to deal with attacks from the air, so maybe something like a Flash Kick would help her in this regard. And if you do give her a Flash Kick effect, you might as well give her an up charge move, probably more like a Moonsault kick or some other kind of air combo ender, maybe even a slide like Belial Edge. Also, as I said before, it’s really easy to telegraph where BRB is going because of the way the screen changes. Please fix this, as it makes her mixups easy to read. Like Sesame Street easy.

What needs to stay the same – Pretty much everything else. I really like how Pinkie is a sort of amalgam of lots of other charge based rushdown characters and if BRB is fixed to be more ambiguous then it’ll be great for ambiguous Claw-esque mixups.


Rarity – Rarity reminds me of Shang Tsung more than anyone else. She can definitely create a fireball forest and use her delayed fireballs to pressure or mix up her zoning. Her light fireball seems a bit slow though even though it’s supposed to be the fast one. Calling gems from behind the opponent is useful if cornered though. Her Seismo Gems seem kind of situationally useful, but it looks like they may be her fastest zoning tool. Most importantly are her anti-air gems though. If the pegasi in this game do have flight mode, there will be some players who try to run away with them, and Rarity now has tools to deal with that. However, the fact that they don’t hit grounded opponents at all makes them much less useful outside of anti-airing and ending combos. Her air normals also look really nice and her air combos are fun to watch. She doesn’t seem to have a lot of air-to-ground attack vectors though. I’m loving her super, it’s like an upwards Hail Storm, which is pretty much what I expected, but she can also do it off a throw, which is great. I’m wondering if she can follow up after it with her upwards gems.

What needs to change – Rarity has so many special moves that I’m kind of concerned about overlapping commands. This isn’t too much of a problem for people who actually know how to play fighting games, but most bronies don’t. The other major problem I have is that her purple gem projectile is way too slow. Even the non-delayed version takes a long time to come out, and as I’ll talk about below, this makes Twilight, the well rounded character, better at zoning than Rarity, who is supposed to be a dedicated zoner. I think both of these problems could be solved by consolidating the forwards and backwards purple gems into one move – for example, one version shoots a gem in front of the opponent, one version shoots a gem from behind the opponent, and the other one is a fake or shoots gems from both directions or something (or maybe the EX version shoots gems from both directions…hmm, wouldn’t that be fun?) – having the startup be about the same as Twilight’s projectile, and have the delays done by holding down the button after inputting the command, like with Sakura’s Hadoken or Megaman’s buster. This would also free up a command in her movelist to give an easier input for her AA gems. This is a relatively minor issue though since she can still zone with Seismo and AA gem forest. A bigger concern is her relative inability to escape pressure. Give her an Alpha Counter like Applejack at least.

What needs to stay the same – Her zoning patterns. I play zoners in pretty much every 2D fighting game I play, and I can pretty much say that Rarity’s zoning covers all the angles I’d want it to, which is perfect. I also like how big her hitboxes are on her air moves. These two things combined really remind me of one of my favorite zoners, Nu-13, but unlike Nu, Rarity doesn’t have EZ-Modo combos that do 2K for 0 effort.


Applejack – If Rarity is Shang Tsung, then Applejack is an amalgamation of other Mortal Kombat characters. Her everything about her Applebuck reminds me of Johnny Cage’s Shadow Kick, aside from the wallbounce on the hard version which Cage obviously doesn’t have. Ground Stomps are a bit like Sheeva only with less range but more usefulness. I have to admit, I genuinely laughed when Applejack said “GET OVER HERE!” when she used her lasso. Applejack’s lasso also gives her EX moves, Alpha Counters, and a special 2 bar teleport to get her out of trouble or help her pressure game, which places an importance on it that could be very interesting. And, as the developers pointed out, lassos can also be used as tech traps. She also has followups after super, which really opens up a lot of potential for her combos.

What needs to change – I do think that Applejack needs to be nerfed, but I’m not sure what the best way to go about it is. I think the root of her balance issues comes from her lasso though. The best nerf I can think to give her without completely fucking up her gameplan is to give it more recovery frames on whiff. Obviously this won’t be enough though, as her lasso is currently the best (and also one of the only, now that I think about it) anti-air in the game. Beyond that or reducing the range of a lasso (which would actually really screw her over) or reducing her damage slightly (which might not be so bad), I can’t really think of anything to make her more balanced.

What needs to stay the same – Just about everything else. Applejack is a solid rushdown character, probably the best rushdown you could do without an air dash, and she’s also the closest thing this game has to a grappler thus far. She uses wallbounces and groundbounces very well, can do followups off lassos and supers, and has good tools for pressuring her opponent. The developers running the stream said that the has an invincible command dash that uses 2 pieces of magic and goes through projectiles. I think that this should be her only easy way out of projectiles since it’s a pretty powerful affect against some characters.


Twilight Sparkle – The way Rarity is now, Twilight’s projectiles are much better, which might make Twilight a better zoner overall. Her hard fireball is also a diagonal upwards one to use as an anti-air, like Morrigan or Gouken, so pretty much anything Rarity can do Twilight can do better. Of course, Twilight is obviously much more of a complete character, so who knows. Also, an upwards attack vector was really the one thing she needed to be a complete character. I mean how else would she control space in the air? Launcher? The failed teleport makes it pretty obvious which game they were most influenced by when designing it. Why is heavy the failed teleport though? Wouldn’t it make more sense as light? I suppose it doesn’t really matter though. Oh, and I guess the failed teleport is supposed to be her DP, so she’s now a complete shoto. But is it invincible? Her EX trap is interesting if it eats projectiles. I wonder if this makes it like just a normal projectile or if it’s more like Hakumen’s Black Hole? Also, apparently all her pages take up her magic meter now, which kind of limits her. Her throw game is solid though, with throw into fireball and throw into super both being very good options.

What needs to change – If her fake teleport isn’t invincible, make it so. So many characters in the game need air defense (and they’ll need it even more if the pegasi have air dashes or flight as many have speculated) and Twilight is one of them. I’m also unsure exactly how her EX trap negates projectiles, as I said before, but it would be pretty cool if it was like Hakumen’s Black Hole. She and Rarity (and Pinkie’s Super I guess) are the only characters to have projectiles so far though, so I doubt that’ll even have that much relevance. There’s also the danger of teleport mixups, which I’m assuming is why the developers talked about CPU Twilight as if she were an SNK Boss.

What needs to stay the same – Unlike Applejack and Pinkie, who are a bit overpowered, and Rarity, who is a bit underpowered (compared to the rest of the cast at least), Twilight kind of feels like she’s at just the right balance in the current build. She has a lot of options and chances to mix up the opponent, but she doesn’t do so much damage that she needs to be nerfed. I think they got exactly what they were going for with Twilight – a balanced, shoto-esque character with options for rushing down and zoning (although she’s clearly better at zoning but w/e).


General – Meter building has been lowered and I guess that’s a good thing. In a SF style game, you don’t want people supering all the time or the game will be overly focused on who has the best super. This was arguably one of the major faults of 3rd Strike. However, supers appear to build meter, which they should probably fix because no other game is like that (and for good reason). But, pieces of magic (idk what else to call them) don’t carry over in between rounds, which is pretty interesting. I’m glad to hear that they lowered the framerate for the first video because frankly the game looked incredibly choppy. It’s good that they have techs in the game, but I’m not completely sure it’ll prevent infinites all by itself. One thing that I guess I’ll just have to get used to in this game is the lack of a super flash. Sometimes the combo counter glitches so that only the first digit of the combo displays, which is pretty weird and they should fix it just as a presentational issue. And OH SHIT THERE IS AIR BLOCKING. Wow, I never saw that in any previous video. Maybe there is hope for a Rainbow Air Dash, especially since they confirmed that pegasi will have air mobility options.

What needs to change – For the most part it’s not about “What needs to change” but more like “What I want to see” – Fluttershy and Rainbow Dash in combat, Pinkie’s remaining special moves, and all the missing level 3 supers. The game right now is fine for the most part, but there are still a few things I’d like to see. The combo counter is glitchy as hell. Don’t fix it until the final build though, I always get a good laugh out of it being derpy. In general, I think that more characters need upward attack vectors, as I said time and time again. Right now Applejack is the only one who has one and she seems to be pretty dominant in part because of it. Ways to escape pressure are also not very visible in this build. Alpha Counters should be universal if they’re not already, but if there are still ponies whose pressure games are way too good then bursts may need to be implemented. Also, PUT SPIKE IN THIS GAME HE’S THE BEST CHARACTER IN THE ENTIRE SHOW AND HE’S A TOTAL FIGHTING MACHINE, JUST LOOK AT HIM!

What needs to stay the same – The absence of any sort of bullshit comeback mechanic and the presence of adorable ponies. And in general, the sheer attention to detail on the backgrounds and the ponies’ sprites is just phenomenal. Most fan games tend to be half-assed, but Mane6Dev are really going all out with Fighting is Magic. I’m really looking forward to the next time the game is shown. Maybe I’ll actually get to watch the stream as it airs for once.


Final Thoughts – I can’t believe this game doesn’t support DDR pads as controllers. What a load of shit. Oh well, at least there aren’t any major potential balance issues in the game.

The Problem With Game Reviews Part 1: The Problem

Yeah, I know the schedule said I was supposed to post this yesterday but the fact is that I just haven’t gotten around to it because I’m a lazy sack of shit and I’m fat and ugly and biased towards American Street Fighter players etc. but I am writing it right now so it’ll be up later today. Until then, enjoy this image that shows the general gist of one of the points I’m planning to discuss.