Right, weekly column…my bad. I’d explain, but that’d take up too much time and be a somber note on an informational piece. To that end, to make up for not having an article last week (which is on TMNT: Tournament Fighters, to spoil the surprise), I thought I’d leave a gem of wisdom and strategy compiled with my future article to be updated on the weekend (you’d be amazed how difficult it is to review 3 versions of the same game, but I might have to remind you that TMNT: TF is 3 DIFFERENT GAMES WITH DIFFERENT CHARACTERS AND CONTROLS! WHO DOES THAT?!? KONAMI!) To that end, allow me to break down what I call the Mean of Marvel.
Mean isn’t the attitude to take to beat people in Marvel (though it does help), but more like a smaller term for average. For the purposes of this article, the mean will be referred to as ∑M, or Sigma Marvel (no, reader, I didn’t put that there just because I wanted to use the Sigma symbol in a misguided attempt to force people to remember the bad guy from MMX and why he should be in UMVC3, and [expletive deleted] you for thinking that!). The ∑M is the average stamina ranking your combos should reach to feasibly OHKO a member of the opponent’s team. Though it might seem easy to just remember a certain character’s life total, not every character has a way to reach the damage total necessary to defeat every character, and some characters have a myriad of ways of which to reach that damage total. The reason why the ∑M is important is because its data you can think up about your future opponent while watching them play, and you can adjust your combos in your head while watching them. Knowing the ∑M can be crucial in deciding to either use Frank West’s Shopping Cart or Akuma’s Cockblock Copter (YES I AM GOING TO MAKE THAT INTO A THING!) to start your mix-ups, because each assist has a different form of scaling and hit-stun that (come on, you knew he was going to come up) Wolverine would need to take advantage of, with differing totals of BnB damage totals. Sure, it might be easier to just aim for Thor’s health for every combo, but then you become predictable because that combo might require specific timing and inputs and set-ups that can be predicted and punished.
Getting the ∑M is as easy as just adding the total life totals of the characters on their team and dividing by 3. That is a target number to follow to either OHKO or use as a benchmark to exceed in order to OHKO. To make it harder for a player to use this data, try to switch out to characters with higher health totals to offset the target data. Combofiend experienced this somewhat recently prior to ECT4, where he switched his team from Nova/Hawkeye/Spencer back to his vanilla team of She-Hulk/Taskmaster/Spencer. If you look at it from a ∑M standpoint, the benchmark to OHKO a team member of his original UMVC3 team was 900,000 (a little more to kill Spencer, but with X-Factor it’s neglible), but the ∑M of his MVC3 team is a staggering 1,100,000, which forces a bit of a push to OHKO She-Hulk, and that’s his leading lady so you don’t imagine an X-Factor pop that early to offset the needed push. Knowing the ∑M of your own team also allows you to figure what assists to use to counter their best attempts to OHKO your team. If their combo starts in the air, you might want to take the hit to your ∑M to use Vajra assist, or if you want to bolster your chances of surviving past a few hits, use Doom’s Hidden Missile to interrupt a combo as it starts, and his high health boosts your ∑M. Here is an example of how I use ∑M: I run Captain America and Taskmaster, but I usually change my anchors based on ∑M. If I am facing someone whose point character has more than 900,000 health, I tend to use Dr. Doom as my anchor, so I have the opportunity to use Hidden Missiles to extend my Hyper Charging Star combos, and I know how much meter positivity I need to sacrifice to make them have less characters then me. With less ∑M, I apply less skill to my combos and more damage dealing (read: I do less clowning around with the Shield Slashes, since using Captain America’s Anti-Air Kick can be misread into a double jump and then I drop combos like hotcakes and I look silly on stream, ipso facto telemundo, I don’t want to look ridiculous). Using ∑M also validates whether I need to do one Legion Arrow OTG or two before I DHC into either Cap or Doom. If I see a higher ∑M, I might opt to put Doom in on second and use Dr. Strange as my beam assist, since then I can chain at least 8 Charging Stars in a combo for 1,100,000 damage with decent meter usage.
As you can gather, ∑M is a section of Yomi (not the Field Spell, the pre-match predictive state of mind that breaks down matches like moves in chess) in my personal opinion, in that it gives you an unrivaled advantage as averse to just winging it with your main squad. You address a problem with mathematics and adjust your team for the maximum amount of damage with less predictable methods of gaining it. It’s the pre-match thought process that separates pros from rookies, and maybe adapting a mathematical approach like ∑M could serve to benefit you in the long run. Or you can keep sticking to that 1,300,000 damage combo you saw in a combo video and decided it was completely practical and totally cannot be predicted or countered and whine when you drop your BnB in front of people who clearly would have been awestruck by your mad l337 skills. Even Marlin Pie knows when to turn off the style when it comes down to brass tacks and cereal business, and he’s been accused of playing with his food so much, before I met the guy, I thought people were talking about a little kid with a messy bib. That’s it for today. You can move on to the next stage now. CHAAA!!