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Editor's Note

Back with another edition of Here Comes a New Challenger. Haven't got a lot of time with Marvel lately due to exams coming up. But once break kicks in, I'll be trying all sorts of combos and tech. Still rocking Nova/Doom/Amaterasu but feeling the urge to play Wright/Dante/Vergil. Loving the plinking combos by uglywun. Check it out on Youtube, it's pretty sick. Anyway, onto the article

Basics and Tricks

Neutral Game

Neutral game is where both players are fishing for a clean hit confirm into a nice combo or waiting for a mistake to punish on. It is quite similar to zoning. This is by far one of the most important aspects of the game since even with the most damaging combos possible, a poor neutral game will not allow you to perform the combo. It is also one of the factors that makes a character good or bad,

The aim of neutral game is to, in the words of Seth Killian, "throw as much crap as possible on the screen". What this means is that, you have to throw out anything that threatens your opponent and makes them block, whether it be projectiles or long ranged normals. In slower games such as Tekken or Street Fighter, neutral game is fairly easy to see. However in Marvel, the fast pace makes it very hard to detect the neutral game. In this article I will explain some examples of neutral game.

The key to a strong neutral game is patience. Patience allows you to keep that neutral game going and possibly forcing your opponent to crack and attempt a "YOLO" move. From this, we can take advantage of that and go for a nice ToD. An example would be Morrigan's Soul Fist Astral Vision combo. The opponent may block or evade all the Soul Fists. If they get too angsty they might do a "YOLO" move to try and stop Morrigan, only to realise a Soul Fist is coming behind the opponent and hits him. This allows Morrigan to go for a nice combo. On the other hand, if the Morrigan player starts getting a little spam happy, he runs the risk of being predictable. By knowing this pattern, the opponent can look for a chance to punish that little frame where Morrigan is vulnerable and combo her to death. The Morrigan player is not patient and decides to try and end the match at little quicker than usual.

Another aspect is to a strong neutral game is risk management. As stated above, a good neutral game is to "throw as much crap as possible on the screen". However, this does NOT mean spamming projectile moves. Projectile moves may be strong if your opponent is far away but when upclose, it is very unsafe which could lead to your doom. Risk management generally involves what move to perform and when to do it. An example would be Doctor Doom's Photon Shot. When done on the ground, it is fairly slow and leaves him vulnerable for a bit if his opponent dodges it or blocks it. On the other hand, a Photon Shot done in the air allows Doom to perform Flight to shoot more Photon Shots or allow him to fall and block any move coming in. Thus, an aerial Photon Shot is more safer than a grounded one and should be used more often. 

A strong Neutral Game is also determined by the range of the move, how much of the screen does it fill up. Again, lets go back to Doctor Doom and his Photon Shots. A grounded Photon Shot will cover his left and right area but does not cover above him, leaving him vulnerable to aerial attacks. An aerial Photon Shot will cover a wide range below Doom, especially when done in the corner. The Photon Shots will span out, nearly covering the whole screen. However, behind and above Doom is where the opponent can hit him. Whilst the grounded Photon Shot covers more range, keep in mind that it is not very safe. An aerial Photon Shot at least covers a huge area of the field as well as keeping Doctor Doom safe from any attempts to punish him. 

In Marvel vs Capcom, assist play a big role in the game as well as strengthening ones neutral game as well. The idea of throwing "as much crap as possible on the screen" is made much easier thanks to assists. Let's look at Doctor Doom again, remember his grounded Photon Shot makes him very vulnerable to aerial attacks, what if we used an anti-air assist to counter these attempts to attack Doom. An example would be Dante's Jam Session. Using the grounded Photon Shot can keep Dante safe from those who try to stop him whilst the Jam Session keeps Doom safe from aerial attacks. Not to mention if the opponent blocks it, it is very hard for them to try and continue punishing Doom, they would have to back off and resume the neutral game. 

There is much more to neutral game but that's where I'll stop for now. If you have any questions, please comment below and I'll answer it. Remember, for a strong neutral game, you need three things:

  • Patience
  • Risk Management
  • Range

Combined with proper assists, your neutral game will be stronger and allow you to get hit confirm into your swag combo.

To put in in a TLDR, Neutral Game must be something like this

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6IhEnSpNLQU#t=8m39s

Character Spotlight

Iron-fist-1

Iron Fist

From the city of K'un-L'un, the newest addition of the Iron Fist has come to fight in the world of Marvel vs Capcom. Iron Fist is a very strong ground based character with a very fast dash speed as well as a fast long reaching normal. Boasting a nice 900k combo by himself, Iron Fist is a very scary opponent if performed correctly. However, in the air, Iron Fist lacks any power there which makes him one of the worst characters in a very aerial based game.

Normals

Iron Fist has great ground normals. His st.M reaches a good distance with fast speed. It is very good for fishing out hit confirms. St. H covers a longer range but is slower, still fairly good for sniping mistakes. Cr. L/M? is a very decent anti-air. His st. S actually hits low but should not be used in blockstrings as it is unsafe and does not hit airborne opponents. His j.H is very strong for cross ups or for option selects but makes it very hard for Iron Fist to confirm for a nice combo. Quick Kick, f.H, has a nice hitbox and a decent anti-air. It is also jump cancellable meaning it makes a nice hitconfirm. It is also special cancellable, thereby making it safe with his chi power ups.

Specials

Iron Fist boasts a variety of special moves, all for combo extension unfortunately. His Dragon Touch crumples, allowing him for some raw tag combos or a nice combo extension. Cresent Heel is his only source of OTG. It causes a ground bounce and can only be used once per combo unless an assist keeps the opponent from bouncing. Despite its speed, it is capable of OTGing off of various hard knockdown states. Iron Fist's chi power ups last for 5 seconds. Despite Iron Fist being able to cancel special moves, he cannot cancel his chi power ups. L raises his attack power, M raises his defense power and H raises his meter gain. L is generally used for combos that's not off a throw. M is used in neutral game to increase survivability. It is also used when Iron Fist is an assist, which allows him to survive off more hits (130% damage rather than the standard 150%). As he has 1,000,000 health, he would need a combo that deals 770,000 damage to completely kill him. H is generally used after throws since throws will scale your damage completely, it is better to gain as much meter as possible and just go for a reset. 

EDIT: The Chi Power-Up has frames of super armor. When done correctly, you can bait an attack and then use the Iron Rage to go for a full combo.

Hypers

Iron Fist has some decent Hyper Combos. Firstly, his Iron Rage can be likened to Spencer's Bionic Arm. It has invincibility frames and can be converted into a combo. It also allows Iron Fist to extend his combos into Volcanic Roar. Volcanic Roar is a decent combo ender. It makes the opponent recover while in air, meaning that you get a chance to go for a reset after the Roar. Its upward trajectory makes it harder for DHCs. Luckily, Iron Fist does not require DHCs for a strong combo. Dragon's Prey is his Level 3 if he needs to finish off an opponent completely such as Hulk or Haggar.

Assists

Iron Fist does not have any good assists other than his Rising Fang. It covers a good distance and causes a wall bounce, making it easy to link into a combo. 

Teammates

Iron Fist needs assist to cover his weaknesses. His air game is very poor, so anti-air assists will work wonderfully. Hiryu's Vajra can keep the air covered whilst Iron Fist can control the ground with his st. M. Dante's Jam Session also works well as it does not force Iron Fist to use his ground bounce for a combo. Alternatively, you can opt for horizontal assists that improve his ground game. Doctor Strange's Bolts of Balthakk can help Iron Fist out since it covers the ground very long. Additionally, after a crumple, you can raw tag Doctor Strange to perform his Flame of Faltine loops. 

Gameplan

Iron Fist has no strong mixup nor cross up game. Neither does he have a strong neutral game. However, he has a strong pressure game. That is, once he is in your face, he will be there for a while. Waiting for an opportunity to strike with his st. M for a clean combo should be one of your aims in the game. If they block, try to pressure them with some for of mixup there. 

Whilst Iron Fist boasts some very powerful combos, he does not have a lot of tools to aid him with getting that hit. If you want some traditional fighting in this game, choose Iron Fist and plunge your fists to victory.

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