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We're Kick-Punch-Block, otherwise known as KPB!

Helping to expand the Fighting Game community locally in the heart of NYC, nationally, and eventually worldwide.

Parappa takes the Mic: Marvel is NOT Dead!

What’s up everyone? There's been a train of thought out for a few years now. In relative terms, it possesses traits of a counter-culture. Nonetheless, I’m here to set the record straight because I’m fed up & I need air time.

First off, my stance on this article might be a little misleading. I CANNOT stand Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3. It might come as a surprise since this a crew that currently has more Marvel players than any other game, but the fact remains as such. I can do a web series (still considering doing it someday) on what’s wrong with Marvel, how can it be better, what I personally dislike/think what should’ve been done, but for the sake of time, the game basically gave me a lot of reasons to hate it and not enough reasons to love it. Even with my personal opinion on it, it doesn’t deter from the fact that the game itself and the community behind it has much more than a heartbeat. Neither should your opinion either. You see, it doesn’t matter if you don’t care for/don’t watch the game, whether you have/had a local scene or not, the numbers are there and they're not lying. Every major worth its salt has entrees for Marvel right behind Street Fighter and, depending on which major it is, exceeds it. Only Melee can rival that type of attendance. Yeah, you know Super Smash Bros.? The game that’s been played for over 10 years, yet still maintains a rabid fanbase and competitive scene like the game just dropped yesterday. Yeah, UMVC3 often supersedes its views and tournament entrees. Honestly, 95% of the time I get into a “Marvel is dead” discussion, I’m getting trolled or talking to someone who has a vague picture about the competitive side of the game. Hold on now, what about that other 5%? Maybe you’re one of those people that just can’t get beyond the insanity that’s been known as MAHVEL because it’s that damn crazy. After all, no debate that holds staying power for this long is completely untrue, so let’s delve deeper and play devil’s advocate.

Presently, UMVC3 is almost 3 ½ years old (4 years counting from vanilla); the game obviously isn’t new anymore or as fresh as it once was... but is it dead? To answer that, you got to define death in what aspect. If it’s not the community, then what’s the state of the game itself? I won’t entertain the casual viewpoint because if you’re reading this you have at least an inkling of meta game Marvel, so is there something here that can shake it up? Well, I’m here to tell you that this is where we meet a dead end. The game is often watered down to ‘if you don’t kill in one combo (or setup into a kill), you’re playing the game wrong.’ The tier hierarchy & the peons are set and with no new life coming in the form of a patch, there will be no rectifying anything until we get Marvel 4 (should it ever get the green light). In this aspect, Marvel is dead, but what we are given still has a wealth of fresh concepts if we know where to look. If you take a quick trip to YouTube, it doesn’t take long to find UMVC3 tech, you can thank the lab rats for that. This is a 50 character roster that is picked into a 3-man team with different assists; that on general principle dictates that there are limitless possibilities for this game. You can’t tell me we’ve seen everything this game has to offer, with the amount of synergy options, there’s no way! Think of it like this: we’re still getting up-to-date media on Super Street Fighter II Turbo, a game that’s five times older with less than three times the roster… I mean, c’mon. It’s the very reason why there can’t be a consensus tier list on UMVC3: there are too many variables and everyone’s blinded by the giant shadow the hierarchy casts on the rest of the characters. So where’s this breath of fresh air in an otherwise white-washed game? It’s in probably the last movement UMVC3 will see: the rise of the mid-tiers.

Your Vergils of the world will always have something to say should you try to go outside the box and your Ace Attorneys’ don’t have a pot to piss in, but the area from B- to A tier in UMVC3 is a prime candidate for the most unexplored territory in all fighting games (a good part of it is no one can decide who falls into it). I’ll try my best to refrain from elaborating on why this set of characters belong here. Besides, YouTube is just a few clicks away. Now, feel free to place anyone above another except for a select few, it’s the beauty of middle tier. I’ll be breaking down more so archetypes than matchups and I’m sure if you sit and think about it, you’ll find it to be agreeable. You have the characters with the gimmicks/a set role on a team whatever it may be. That’ll be Trish, Super Skrull, Amaterasu and Dr. Strange. Another is the ones that need support to really shine, be it assists or X-factor in X-23 & Spider-Man (yes Spidey, he only looks ass-tier cuz his bad matchups are against top tiers) while Felicia, Storm, Frank West (Wack through Best) and Sentinel can fit in both groups. Then you got the embodiment of mid-tier, the jack of all trades a.k.a. ‘why use this character when *insert Zero here* can do it better?’ That right there… is the ugliness of mid-tier, but so be it. Taskmaster, Akuma, Ryu (hell, Ryu gets replaced by Akuma) & Deadpool. A lot of these characters are untouched in the synergy department and for a game as unforgiving as this, it takes a brave soul to give any of them the time of day. Do you disagree? Perhaps we have seen everything these characters have to offer. Personally, there’s not enough Deadpool mania to reach my level of satisfaction, but let me ask this: how can you be so sure? Your answer: trollolol Voigil! For real though, I’m not giving you those props just yet. Only the smart ones who have the foresight get that kind of credit, after all you’re forgetting Viewtful Joe, Rocket Raccoon & M.O.D.O.K. Worst of all, you slept on f**kin’ FIREBRAND!

Every game this asshole is in, he's a problem!

It’s not a shake down; these are the guys that will stir the pot. A shot in the arm, if you will. They were hidden in plain sight and soon, the time will come when they’ll be called upon to display exactly what they can do. Now how is Firebrand hidden since Apologyman burst on the scene about a year ago?  Outside of your local killers (mine being Marvisto) name me a few Firebrand mains; while you’re at it round up the Dormammu contenders besides Filipino Champ & Angelic. I’ll bet you it’s less than the Spencer, Wesker, Hawkeye or even the Dr. Strange players. Despite the lockdown that singlehandedly gives Firebrand a strong case for top tier, there is no wave of copycats coming out the woodwork yet. For Dorm... sorry I haven’t seen enough, dig a little deeper. You can put me on the record saying F.Champ isn’t the best Dormammu player; he’s the best player using him.

It’s understandable that these wonky, unpopular, higher learning curves, new-to-the-series characters get overlooked so easily, but don’t make the mistake of underestimating any of them because, should they have their way with you, it feels no different than getting shredded by Logan. V.Joe’s Voomerang pressure is a normalized Soul Fist bullet storm (and that’s a compliment), plus the mega monkey wrench known as the Slow super. RR has the tools for any playstyle and he can fight everyone. I’ll be reckless and say he has no bad matchups, his worst battles are an even split. As for the DOK… still got that YouTube tab open? The somewhat recent movement tech found for him has heralded the second coming of the Curleh Mustache. What’s ironic is all this untapped potential specializes in some form of zoning… well, it’s the name of the game, ask Morrigan. Ah yeah, Ms. Aensland... she was slept on, too, remember? Pepperidge Fa- I mean I remember that, but I digress.

"Remember when you couldn't X-Factor in the air and had to hold that like these Milanos? KPB|Parappa remembers."

For most of you thinking Marvel is dead & gone, it’s right where you left it: very much alive and definitely hype. It’s time to drop the argument once and for all; the cards are stacked as high as Jean Grey with level 3 X-Factor & 5 bars. Stop feeding into the debate; you’re getting suckered out of your time, energy and patience. I’ve noticed that these are the same people that hold Justin Wong in such high regard (as anyone should, of course). However; they forget the fact that our most accomplished American player in the FGC built his legend in Marvel. It doesn’t diminish the incredible skill J.Wong has in Street Fighter or any other game he chooses to play at all… but this is the man dubbed as "Mr. Marvel". On top of taking countless majors & locals, he has made EVO top 8 across Marvel 2 & 3 since 2002 with seven championships! Why is a player getting so much praise if his bread & butter is a ‘dead’ game? It’s not; moreover, I project it to live on for a long time. MVC2 had over a 10 year lifespan packed with FGC glory days right up to the drop of part 3. The game was met with a sendoff filled with nostalgia, a cross between a retirement party and a wake. Let’s ease up a bit, sit back, enjoy the game we love & love to hate. No one, including myself, can deny that it’s absolutely electric to watch. Why that is needs no explanation: IT’S MAHVEL BAYBEE!

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