You just cracked open Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite, grabbed your shiny new fightstick and headed excitedly online with Ryu and Captain America. There's just one problem: You're still not quite sure what you're doing, and before long, you're getting swept up by 50-hit combos and screen-filling super moves. Now what?
To assist you on your journey from button masher to Marvel maestro, we called on the help of competitors/content creators Jonathan "Tyrant" Parkes and Max "Maximilian" Christensen, as well as Capcom's own Peter "Combofiend" Rosas, to break down Infinite's many intricacies. From character selection to advanced offense and defense, here are eight essential Marvel vs. Capcom Infinite tips straight from the pros themselves.
Play the offline modes first
"Unless you're a seasoned veteran, playing online immediately after loading the game is a recipe for disaster," said Rosas, an associate producer at Capcom who cut his teeth in the competitive scene. "Play the story mode and/or the mission mode first to learn the basics."
Infinite's Story mode lets you sample the entire roster and get a grasp of the Infinity Stones over the course of about two and a half hours. If you want to go deeper, Mission mode features general and character-specific tutorials that you can repeat as often as you want.
Master the switch system
Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite's single most important mechanic is the new switch system, which lets you bring your partner into the battle at any moment, allowing for huge combos and devastatingly tricky mix-ups. Knowing when and how to switch is key to racking up big damage, conserving health and keeping your opponents guessing.
"Be sure to maximize team synergy by switching between the characters in combos, after special attacks and in any other instance that comes to mind," said Rosas. "If you’re performing a combo and switch into your partner, let them run into the opponent before pressing a button as this will allow you to continue the combo much easier."
"Even if your opponent blocks your move and it looks like you can get punished for it… just tag and continue to pile on the pressure," said Parkes.
"Tag and keep tagging," said Christiansen.
Try some basic combos
You can chain together most characters' basic attacks by pressing Light Punch (LP), Light Kick (LK), Heavy Punch (HP) and Heavy Kick (HK) in sequence, with down+Heavy Punch serving as a universal launcher that knocks your opponent up for an air combo.
An easy starter combo is to press LP, LK, HK and down+HP, and then follow up in the air with LP, LK, HP and HK. That final kick will send your opponent crashing down, allowing for even more follow-up opportunities.
"If you tag after hitting Hard Kick, your partner will come in and you can repeat it all again," said Parkes.
While Infinite has an auto-combo system that lets you do a basic string by repeatedly pressing LP, you can do much more damage by creating your own chains.
"The auto-combo system helps, but is extremely limited for what's possible in MvCI," said Christensen.
Experiment with characters
While Infinite's 30 characters are all fairly easy to play on a basic level, some make for better beginner characters than others.
"Hulk is a good pick for those looking for big damage. Although he’s on the slower side, Hulk only needs a few hits to knock the opponent out," said Rosas.
"Strider is another good selection," Rosas continued. "He is extremely quick and has long range on his attacks, allowing him to easily mount offense against the opponent. Be careful though, as Strider takes a lot of damage when he is hit."
"Good beginner characters, I would say, are definitely Iron Man, Mega Man X and Nemesis," said Parkes. "They will teach you movement [save for Nemesis] as well as nice easy combos and how to use projectiles. [They] also deal great damage."
Find the right Infinity Stone for you
The game's six Infinity Stones give your team game-changing abilities such as increased damage (Power) or better movement options (Time), so be sure to experiment with different ones. You can use your Stone's Infinity Surge ability as often as you like, and once your Infinity meter reaches at least 50 percent, can unleash a powerful Infinity Storm to change the tide of battle.
"The Reality and Soul stones are the easiest for beginners to pick up," said Parkes. "Using the Reality stone surge is great for keeping the pressure on your opponent with a homing projectile, and the Soul storm is amazing as it brings back a defeated character."
"Reality stone will be very popular in the first month, but I recommend using Power stone," said Christiansen. "Its active ability is a huge wall-bounce attack from ground or air. [It's an] amazing anti-air and combo extender."
Don't forget about counter switch
"Always remember the Counter Switch," said Parkes. "It costs 2 meters, but if you find yourself constantly getting rushed down, you can hold tag during an opponent's offense to bring your partner in, which will force the opposing character to think twice about continuing their combo."
"It's also one of the most fun and crazy aspects of the game," said Christiansen.
Be patient and don't worry about losing
"Don't be afraid to lose," said Rosas. "When learning something new, there are always growing pains. The pain of losing may sting, but by continuously playing, those number of losses will decrease over time."
"Try and remember to have fun most of all, since that's why we play video games!" said Parkes.
Watch and learn
Studying up on Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite gameplay is just as crucial as putting hours into training mode yourself. Parkes and Christiansen already have tutorials and tons of high-level match footage on their YouTube Channels (UM Tyrant and Maximilian Dood, respectively), and Capcom just launched its own series of character breakdown videos. You can also check out the bevy of MvCI streams happening at any given moment on Twitch.
Keep watching and learning, and before you know it, you'll be the one dishing out those nasty 50-hit combos.
Image Credit: Capcom
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Mike Andronico is Senior Writer at CNNUnderscored. He was formerly Managing Editor at Tom's Guide, where he wrote extensively on gaming, as well as running the show on the news front. When not at work, you can usually catch him playing Street Fighter, devouring Twitch streams and trying to convince people that Hawkeye is the best Avenger.