Notable highlight: Had two ranked matches against a Master Lord Zero/Ammy/Phoenix team that was boasting over 1700 wins. (I'm floating around 250 wins at this point, and the game has only been out for two months, so this should give some perspective on the dedication of this Phoenix player.)
In the first match, I came out of the gate strong with Tasky and the Gustaff Fire assist, putting a hurting on his Zero and Ammy. Ended up coming down to Hulk and Dark Phoenix battling it out, and I was edged out by the sheer madness of her black chaos.
Got the rematch a few minutes later, and it started similarly, with me coming out of the gate strong nearly wiping his first two characters. That's when he wisened up and snapped in my Hulk, caught me in a mixup, and sent Dr. Banner packing. Tasky, Zero, and Ammy got knocked out subsequently, and we were down to his Phoenix and my Tron. I got a few hits in, nearly triggering the transformation, and then backed off as I would have only had to play about 20 seconds of keepaway for the W. Not liking the prospect of getting beaten on a time over, his Phoenix used X-Factor and burned one meter to activate her healing shield, in an attempt to recover enough health to put the pressure back on my Tron. His Phoenix then tried to build back her fifth meter with some teleport and rushdown, however TRON WAS NOT HAVING THAT SHIT. Once I got a solid block in against his low series, I saw the opportunity and snatched it. I X-Factor cancelled out of my guard stun and activated Tron's Level 3 grab hyper Shakedown Mixer, which snagged his Jean and did more then enough damage to put her down for the count. Shakedown gave her the fifth meter back, but since the move is considered one hit (or something), the Dark Phoenix transformation didn't activate. Tron plopped back in Gustaff and had some post-K.O. chuckles: "Aahaahaa!"
I've seen a disproportionate number of people in the higher ranking echelons running Phoenix. This is actually quite fortuitous, as the more experience I can get against good Phoenix teams, the better. I am not confident in my ability to hit a proper snapback combo and then finish off Marvel Girl before she can hard tag back out. I usually prefer to focus on clobbering the first two foes, and then hopefully having enough left in the tank to confront Dark Phoenix. It is essential that I save my X-Factor, though, because Hulk (or Tron, in the above example) will need it.
Using X-Factor to cancel guard stun and then immediately activating a hyper is an underutilized tool in this game, at least, I think, in online competition. Often times if I end up one-on-one with my Hulk versus Sentinel, I will allow myself to be put into block stun in the corner, and wait for a big slow normal like frying pan so I can X-Factor cancel into Gamma Crush. Yesterday I also punished a Chun Li with my Taskmaster by X-Factor cancelling guard stun from Hyakuretsukyaku (Lightning Legs) into his Secret Move counter. A savvy player could save their Chun in this instance by X-Factor cancelling out of Legs, and then using anything that would beat the counter, but this requires quick reaction, and the willingness to use X-Factor to save Chun. Not quite as attractive as burning it to kill a character.
I am seriously considering dragging my team up to Xanadu in Baltimore to see how I measure up. I had said I wanted to tighten up a few things, specifically my Hulk OTG (sans Hyper), at which I have admittedly gotten better. My Tron and Tasky combos could use some tightening up as well, but I've been pretty scrappy lately, and I think I may be better off than I think. Guess I won't know till I go.
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http://www.justin.tv/offcast/b/283672426 ClakeyD vs Viscant at 1hr47min - Clakey hits She Hulk XFC->Hyper Throw vs Phoenix; (misses w/ Tron)