Northern California Regional 2013 by far has been my favorite tournaments of the 2012/2013 circuit leading up to EVO 2013. The Marvel really stood out from the rest of the games with countless tense and exciting matches. I don’t remember the last time I tired out from being overhype while watching a stream. For those who didn’t catch the action, a quick look at the bracket at top 16 give you a sense of how wild Marvel was:
In losers was the likes of coL.FChamp, EG.PRBalrog, EG.JWong, Noel Brown, and AGE ChrisG. Ranmasama and Neo were the two sleepers who worked their way to top 3.
What stood out for me were the large number of Chris Redfields and unique “low tier teams and characters during pools. There was LLND who ran thru people with his team of Chris, Hsien Ko and Ammy and then there was KaneBlueRiver, whom I thought was going to win the tournament with his savage team of Hulk, Sentinel and Haggar. Upon seeing the number of Chris’, I knew Chris G was going to be knocked into losers by one which leads me to the AGE ChrisG vs SenorTaxi.
Probably the biggest highlight of the night was AGE ChrisG being sent to losers by SenorTaxi, a regular at “The Runback” weekly tournaments held in Super Arcade, Walnut CA streamed by Levelup. In terms of team composition SenorTaxi had the better team. Chris outzones Morrigan completely with his high durability projectile attacks and space control with grenades; with Dante covering the vertical space and negating doom missiles the matchup was completely in SenorTaxis’ favor until Astral vision was activated. As I mentioned, SenorTaxi had the better team, not characters. What’s interesting is despite his characters being med to low tier, they manage to fight the higher tiered characters of Morrigan, Dr.Doom and Vergil quite well.
Here I’d like to get into the dynamic of UMvC3 characters. In Marvel 2 near its’ end became a 8 character game with teams being composed only of top tier characters simply because characters below the tiers couldn’t compete at all with those on top. In UMvC3, this problem was fixed by the system’s high damage output, x-factor and unique character traits. Each character has their own special tools which when used and paired correctly can be extremely effective. Morrigans’ Astral vision with Hidden missiles is an example of this. It seems the lower tiered characters lack some or all of the following: damage, ease of use, movement, move, but from what I noticed they have more effective traits which justify and rounds them out as a character.
Chris Redfield has high health, high damage and high durability projectiles. When combined with great zoning and keep away options, Chris is tough to crack, however his character is rounded out by his lack of vertical space control, and limited movement. What did SenorTaxi do to fix this? He picked Jam Session to fill the last piece of his game.
Being an Iron Man player, I know his movement and hit confirms aren’t good but his damage is extremely high and has the best beam assist in the game. What’s extremely deadly a THC proton cannon. It creates a 1 frame frametrap and locks the opponent in place for large amount of time. Most players I play aren’t ready for it or don’t know about it at all and struggle to quickly find an answer.
Then there’s Hsien Ko’s gold armor hyper which LLND put to great use. Having a nearly fullscreen, invincible assist benefits any character but the state also also Hsien Ko to fight Vergil, Hulk, Frank West and many other characters. In fact gold state Hsien Ko is terrifying.
One last example I’d like to mention is KaneBlueRivers’ team. As mentioned on stream his team of Hulk, Sentinel and Haggar on paper shouldn’t work. The lack of mobility, expansion assist, susceptibility to zoning and lack of mixups means he shouldn’t able to catch or hit runaway players yet what was not mentioned enough was the high health of the team and damage. Hulk with an OTG assist can kill most of the cast and a DHC will kill any character in one hit. Kane only needs 3 hits to win a match whereas his opponents needs to waste a lot of resources and maybe go for resets to kill one of his. Knowing this Kane can take more risks without fear of losing a character and of course the armored moves help his gameplan.
I’m pointing out something that has been said many times before which I think needs to be stressed more is Marvel 3 is the importance is placed on team composition much more than single characters. Vergil is being regarded as the best character in the game and I’m seeing many players pick him up just for that fact alone. Just having Vergil on a team won’t increase your likelihood of winning if you don’t know how to play him. Vergil without X-factor or meter doesn’t function well as an anchor. Playing a team you like and know well is more likely to help you improve and win as you will know tech others don’t which in Marvel can make or break a match. I know what I’m saying is probably causing most of you to go “duh it’s common sense” but being competitive player myself, I know it’s easy to get discouraged when it seems picking a top tier is the easier way to go. In the end, it’s not the characters, it’s how you play them.
When it comes to the fighting game community, there are a few games and franchises that have remained the staple for competitive tournaments. At the recent April Duels II event by Canada Cup Gaming, for example, we saw King of Fighters XIII, Street Fighter X Tekken, Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3, and Super Street Fighter IV: Arcade Edition v2012. In the eyes of many competitive fighting game fans, the Super Smash Bros series has been viewed as more of a casual game than one fit for tournaments.
Of course, those among the Smash community beg to differ. And they begged to differ so hard that Super Smash Bros. Melee on the GameCube has found itself among the games selected for EVO 2013 this summer in Las Vegas. On the surface, Smash may look frantic, but how hard could it be with just two attack buttons and a block button? You don’t even need to do QCF for specials and there is no “super” meter to concern yourself with. However, SSBM actually has a lot more depth than the average Street Fighter player may recognize and that’s why this great video from MetalMusicMan was put together to illustrate this point.
Do you know about wavedashing? Do you know the difference between tilting and smashing? What about shield pokes, ledge guarding and SHFFL-ing?
You’ve already seen the results from April Duels II last weekend in Vancouver, but what about some exclusive interviews with organizers, sponsors, players and fans?
MEGATechNews lined up some exclusive interviews and put them together in a special video for our viewing pleasure. Included in the video are interviews with Canada Cup’s Troy Kirkland and Lapchi Duong; Canadian Joysticks’ Jackson Dang; professional players Justin Wong, Xian, Tokido and Chi Rithy; and Vancouver FGC pillar Meowjin.
The pro players also chime in about what they want to see in the AE2013 (AE2014?) update from Capcom.