marvel-vs-capcom-infinite-reality-stone

Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite Patch 1.04 breakdown & competitive analysis

Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite is getting a huge balance update on December 5, mere days before the game's Battle for the Stones Invitational tournament. Capcom recently outlined all the changes in a Capcom-Unity post, but they are, for lack of a better term, written in fighting game-ese. The patch notes talk about exact frame data and reference jargon and mechanics that even experienced MVCI players might not know about. All casual players and e-sports fans want to know is “how does this affect my character” and “how will this affect my favorite pro?”

Luckily we are here to break it all down for you. Here’s how the game will change in plain English.

Reality Stone Infinity Surge

  • Increased start-up from 8F to 20F
  • Decreased active frames from 120F to 90F
  • Increased projectile speed
  • Projectile now disappears if player is hit
  • Lengthened time needed for the projectile to start homing
  • Gradually reduced hit stun on block from startup – max. of 12F to min. of 6F
    • Made it easier to reflect with Advancing Guard immediately after start-up

Translation: The reality stone is changing from a low-speed defensive projectile to a high speed offensive projectile. It starts up slower, doesn’t track the opponent as well, causes less blockstun, and disappears if the user is hit, so it can’t be used to set-up mix-ups or keep its user safe anymore.

Don’t expect it to see any professional play. It’s gone from being the “default infinity stone” to a situational stone which gives melee characters a projectile. Unfortunately, this means several pros who based their team off of the reality stone’s area control capabilities will have to change it up for the Battle for the Stones. My guess is many of them will change to the soul stone.

Crumple

  • Can roll forward/backwards after crumpling
    • Crumple – A unique form of knockdown that affects a character upon landing on the ground after being hit in the air by certain moves (i.e. Hadoken)

Translation: This is a weird one. Usually “crumple” refers to a hit-state when characters slowly fall to their knees before hitting the ground. However, Capcom is usuing crumple to mean a state which causes you to immediately stand up after being hit in the air while low to the ground. Since this immediately put you into a neutral state, “crumples” were used to force opponents into reset mix-ups. However, now you can roll after crumple, making the same mix-ups impossible.

In general, this makes the game less offensive and causes both players to spend more time in neutral. It also means you will have less of a chance of getting caught in a corner and killed without landing a single hit.

Space Infinity Storm

  • Decreased duration when activated at 50% from 10 sec. to 8 sec.
  • Decreased duration when activated at 100% from 20 sec. to 16 sec.

Translation: The Space Stone has become the stone of choice for many high-level players because its “shame box” is so powerful. This change just makes the box go away more quickly. It’s not nearly a drastic enough change to make anyone stop using it, so don’t expect pros like SonicFox and his Jedah/Rocket Raccoon team to be phased.

Hit-Stun Decay

  • Fixed bug causing the minimum value to become 16 when damage scaling, etc. causes the anti-recovery value to be reduced to 0.
    • Fixes issue where combos become easier after damage scaling is maxed out.

Translation: The Hit-Stun Decay glitch is gone. No more one-hit kills.

Projectiles

  • When piercing-projectile specials are cancelled out, their hitboxes now remain, but opponents are not affected by hit stun.
    • Exceptions
      • Arthur (wearing Golden Armor): Short Sword, Spear, Torch, Boomerang, Axe
      • Chris: Magnum Shot, Magnum
      • Thor: Mjolnir

Translation: “Piercing projectiles” i.e. the stronger projectiles in the game, will now blow through any number of weaker projectiles, however by doing so they will not hit the opponent. The exceptions are projectiles that will pass through any number of weaker projectiles and still hit the opponent. This makes all three of these characters much more powerful.

Advancing Guard

  • Changed Advancing Guard so that if a player is in block animation continuously for 300F from the first blocked hit, using advancing guard on a projectile will push the opponent away.

Translation: Push blocking a projectile does not currently push back the opponent in MVCI. This has led some characters to develop projectile-based lockdown strategies that allow them to keep the pressure on near infinitely. After this change, push blocking will push the opponent back provided you have been stuck in a block for at least five seconds. This makes certain characters like Dormammu, Jedah, and anyone else who likes to litter the screen with long lasting garbage, less offensively capable.

Off the Ground (OTG) Relaunch Attacks

  • Changed so that OTG relaunch attacks (attacks that ignore opponent’s knocked down state and damage them as if they are standing) are limited to twice within a single combo (excluding Hyper Combos)
    • Affected moves:
      • Dante: Volcano, Drive
      • Thanos: Titan Charge HP
      • Jedah: Turbine dell’Ira LK/HK
      • Captain America: Trick Shield LK
      • Strider Hiryu: Formation B: Shoot
      • Frank: How to Use HP (includes air version)
      • Zero: Hyouretsuzan
      • Nova: Nova Punch
      • Spencer: Bionic Bomber LK/HK
      • Dormammu: Purification LP/LK/HP/HK
      • Arthur: Torch

Translation: In MVCI players are limited to one OTG attack per character, however certain moves broke that rule and always OTGed the opponent. This is how Strider was able to perform his Gram/Satellite loops. While this property remains, these moves can now only be used twice in a combo before the opponent flips out. This will severely weaken any team that relied on these moves for zoning or combo purposes, most notably any team that uses Strider, Dormammu, or Dante.

Input Buffer

  • Made input buffer for normal moves possible during post mid-air recovery.

Translation: This makes it easier to counter-attack the opponent in the air while simultaneously punishes mid-air mashing.

Gravity

  • Changed minimum value of gravity for air block (whiff) to match that of falling from a normal jump.

Translation: Characters will now fall at the same speed whether they are blocking or not blocking, so long as they are not touched. This prevents a small exploit which allowed opponents to control your fall speed by whiffing moves.

Wall Jumps

  • Changed so that jump count is not reset after Wall Jump
    • Affected characters:
      • Chun-Li
      • Strider Hiryu

Translation: Wall Jumps no longer give you extra jumps in the air. This nerfs Strider and Chun-Li’s ability to run away and stall matches.

Shadows

  • Fixed a bug that caused the shadow’s hitbox to remain for the duration of the hitstun if the character takes damage with long hitstun while using a shadow attack. Also fixed bug that caused the shadow to put out an incorrect hitbox when hit by an opponent’s throw or attack throw while shadow is activated.
    • Affected characters:
      • Gamora
      • Zero

Translation: A few bugs prevented shadow installs from working the way they should. Neither pros nor casual players should notice this change in most circumstances, but it will prevent bizarre scenarios such as accidentally killing your own teammate.

Wall Clings

  • Fixed a bug that caused certain characters to go off-screen when performing Wall Cling while captured by the Space Stone and the opponent retreats to the opposite wall.
    • Affected characters:
      • Firebrand
      • Black Panther

Translation: Interactions between wall clinging characters and the space stone would sometimes break the game. Now they won’t. Won’t affect pro or casual play in any way.

Music

  • Fixed a bug that caused background music to stop when too many special effects overlap.

Translation: Wouldn’t want anything to prevent you from hearing those generic Marvel movie remixes.

Online Matchmaking

  • Fixed a bug that caused matches to end in a draw regardless of actual result when Fight Request is ON in Training Mode, and a shortcut is used to Restart during the frames before the "Here Comes a New Challenger" message appears.
  • Made it easier for players ranked 5th and above to match with other players.

Translation: There aren’t enough high-level players playing the game right now, so they will be matched with a larger variety of players including low-level players when searching for online matches.

Grab Projectiles

  • When an opponent has been hit by three special “grab” projectiles in a single combo, they will automatically be affected by a spiral hit stun, causing them to be invincible and sent into the air.
    • Affected characters:
      • Spider-Man: Web Ball (LP/HP/air version)
      • Frank West – Hammer Throw (LK/HK)
    • Fixed a bug that allowed such combos to be continued by hitting the opponent with attack throws (ex: Jedah’s Sangue Sacrificale)

Translation: They thought they removed the Spider-Man Infinite last patch. Turned out they didn’t quite patch it away. Now they have.

Ultron

  • JHP: Reduced hit box size and increased hurt box size
  • Encephalo Ray: Removed invincibility

Translation: Ultron’s dominant jumping hard punch has been nerfed, making it easier to poke him out of the air and harder for him to perform mix-ups. He also has no invincible supers aside from his level 3 now, making it difficult for him to safely tag. It will somewhat reduce his effectiveness, but likely not enough to make any pro switch to another character as his drones and general combo structure remain the same.

Gamora

  • JHP: Second hit is now HIGH
  • JHK: Third hit is now HIGH
  • Ground Shoot & Slash (LK/HK): Fixed bug causing it to have throw invincibility during certain times.
  • Slash Rush: Invincibility ends 1F before attack start-up

Translation: Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite uses Tekken terminology for its moves. That means that a move that hits “high” is actually a move that can be blocked standing or crouching while a move that hits “mid” can only be blocked standing. It’s stupid  and I hate it. Regardless, this means that Gamora’s jumping attacks are now easier to block making them worse mix-up tools. Her slash rush is also less invincible than it once was, making it a bad reversal. Once again this will nerf her but not enough to cause anyone to switch as her jumping guns, her best tool, remain unaffected.

Thanos

  • Titan Shield LK:
    • Hit window decreased from 6F to 3F
    • Increased move recovery by 5F
  • Final Judgment: Removed projectile damage box so that this attack is not cancelled out by certain projectiles like beams.

Translation: Thanos’s Titan Shield projectile is less safe than it once was, making it a bad full-screen move but still a good block-string ender. Also his beam super can no longer be canceled out by other projectiles. His gameplay generally remains the same and his playstyle will be largely unaffected by this nerf.

Captain Marvel

  • Binary Ignition: Fixed a bug that caused health to decrease during grab sequence and damage animation.

Translation: Captain Marvel’s health drains during her Binary Ignition install. Health drain and regen is supposed to stop during cinematic animations, but for some reason it didn’t when Captain Marvel was in Binary mode. Now it does.

Dante

  • Decreased health from 10,000 to 9,000
  • When transitioning into these moves, Dante will no longer turn to face the opponent:
    • Million Stabs
    • Million Stabs (Quick)
    • Drive
    • Volcano (During Million Stab)
    • Prop Shredder
    • Revolver
    • Million Carats
    • Crazy Dance
    • Twister
    • Jam Session
    • Bee Hive
  • 5LP: Increased hurt box size
  • Raise Flag (6LP)
    • Increased hurt box size
    • Decreased active frames from 4F to 3F
  • 5HP:
    • Increased start-up from 12F to 13F
    • Decreased active frames from 3F to 2F
  • 2HP:
    • Increased hurt box size
    • Decreased active frames from 4F to 3F
  • Jump LP:
    • Increased hurt box size
    • Reverse Edge (J6LP): Increased hurt box size
  • Jump HK:
    • Initial damage scaling decreased from 100% to 90%
    • Increased attack start-up from 14F to 15F
    • Reduced horizontal reach
    • Changed hitboxes so that they gradually increase in size, rather than instantly appearing at full size
  • Normal throw (both forward/back): Knockdown duration decreased from 30F to 20F
  • Air throw (both forward/back): Lowered floating on ground bounce
  • Million Stabs:
    • Damage decreased from 1560 to 800
    • Meter gain first hit decreased from 200 to 100 (except for last hit)
  • Drive: Decreased damage from 1410 to 900
  • Rain Storm (J2HK): Can only be activated in the air once
  • Prop Shredder: Decreased damage from 1120 to 850
  • Revolver:
    • Damage (5 hits) decreased from 1590 to 960
    • Meter gain per hit decreased from 300 to 200 (excluding last hit)
  • Jet Storm:
    • Slowed down rush speed
    • Decreased damage from 1560 to 1150
    • Reduced hit box size
    • Increased hurt box size
  • Crazy Dance:
    • Decreased damage from 1925 to 1176
    • Increased hurt box size
    • Scaling on hit stun decay 100% to 98%
  • Twister: Reduced width of hit box
  • Tempest:
    • Reduced width of hit box
    • Increased recovery by 9F
    • Meter gain first hit decreased from 200 to 100
  • Bee Hive:
    • Decreased damage from 2290 to 1239
    • Meter gain first hit decreased from 200 to 100
  • Hammer:
    • Decreased damage from 900 to 700
    • Reduced hit box size
    • Increased hurt box size
    • Added 9F of landing recovery
  • Volcano: Decreased damage from 1000 to 800
  • Killer Bee: Decreased damage from 1100 to 900
  • Million Dollars: Delayed start of attack after black screen by 10F
  • Devil Trigger: Fixed a bug that caused health recovery during grab sequence and damage animation.

Translation: Dante wasn’t just hit with the nerf bat, he was bludgeoned with it in a dark alleyway until he could barely move anymore. There’s no way I can go over each and every one of Dante’s changes, so here’s a quick overview. His damage is reduced across the board. His health has been reduced to fall in line with Zero’s. His hurt boxes have been increased, making him easier to hit, and his hit-boxes have decreased, making it harder to hit the opponent. His moves have gotten slower, increasing both startup and recovery. His meter gain has been reduced from some of his most important moves. He no longer auto-corrects when transitioning into his special moves. His throws are harder to combo off of. He can’t stall with rain-storm anymore. Finally, his health no longer regens in Devil Trigger during cinematics.

Simply put, Dante is not going to be the character he used to be and I sincerely doubt we will see much of him in the professional scene post nerf. This is a HUGE problem for the upcoming Battle for the Stones, though, because many pros like Richard Ngyuen and Cloud 805 have teams entirely built around Dante.

Captain America

  • Unyielding Justice: Allowed Active Switch after attack finishes.

Translation: You can tag after his level 3 and hit the opponent. It’s a small fix that makes him slightly better but still not tournament viable.

Strider Hiryu

  • Gram (LP/HP/air LP/air HP): Changed knockdown time from 60F to 20F
  • Vajra (LP/LK/HP/HK): Changed command input priority to lowest setting
  • Leaping Kick: Increased unrecoverable hit stun value from 16 to 24

Translation: Strider’s Gram loops are gone and it’s harder to combo after a Gram hit in general. His Vajra remains the same however it can no longer be used as an option select. These two changes alone make Strider much worse as a character. They were his main two strengths after-all. Once again this is going to present a problem because many pros build their teams around Strider’s capabilities. Some will switch off, but not nearly as many as will switch off Dante. It’s enough to put any Strider user at a disadvantage in the upcoming tournament.

Chun-Li

  • Tenshokyaku (LK/HK/air version): From 1F onwards, has mid-air hit box

Translation: A small change to the aerial properties of Chun-Li’s rising kicks. Won’t affect her gameplay in any major way.

Firebrand

  • Tornado (LP/HP): Disappears if Firebrand takes damage

Translation: It appears as if Capcom is making all projectiles go away when their user is hit. Firebrand isn’t high-tier or overpowered but this brings him in line with other characters.

Chris Redfield

  • Gun Fire LP (includes air version): Increased damage from 960 to 1140
  • Gun Fire HP (includes air version): Increased damage from 952 to 1072
  • Magnum Shot (includes air version), Magnum (used in Combination Punch):
    • Increased damage from 1200 to 1500
    • Projectile does not disappear even if cancelled out
    • Gains 3 bullets when auto-reloading after emptying ammo
  • Grenade Toss LK: Increased damage from 700 to 1000
  • Grenade Toss HK:
    • Increased explosion damage from 300 to 700
    • Increased flames damage first hit from 100 to 150
  • Shotgun (used after Combination Punch): Increased damage from 500 to 600
  • Grenade Launcher: Increased damage from 3200 to 3250

Translation: Chris’s projectiles all gained more damage and due to universal projectile changes, they now pierce other projectiles. This will make him a decent zoner and lockdown character and might actually make him competitively viable.

Frank West

  • Tools of Survival Lv3 (LP/includes air version): Decreased meter gain (8 hits) from 1600 to 1150
  • Giant Swing (HK): Decreased meter gain first hit (excluding last hit) from 500 to 200
  • JLP (Lv1-3), JHP (Lv3): Fixed a bug that caused Frank to stay suspended when mashing one of these moves after cancelling into one of them from a move that causes Frank to be suspended in air.
  • Giant Swing (LK/HK): Fixed a bug that caused the zombie’s action not to be cancelled when hit by Thor’s Mighty Punish while performing Giant Swing.

Translation: Frank West received a few nerfs to meter gain and a few bug fixes but that’s about it. He will still largely play the same. It’s an odd set of changes, however, since Frank wasn’t exactly a commonly used character to begin with. If anything, it will prevent him from running away until he can hit you with his level 3 for an instant level-up.

Doctor Strange

  • Flames of the Faltine: Fixed a bug that caused all Flames to disappear when there are 2 or more on screen, and one is cancelled out.
  • Eye of Agamotto: Increased unrecoverable hit stun value from 16 to 24.

Translation: Small bug-fix and buff here. His Eye of Agamotto can better be used as a lockdown tool. Otherwise, he remains the same.

Zero

  • Youdantotsu (6LP): Reduced hit stun
  • Hadangeki (HP): Decreased meter gain on first hit from 800 to 400
  • Ryuenjin (LP/HP): Decreased active invincibility from 4F to 2F
  • Raijinshou: Decreased invincibility from 9F after black screen to 1F

Translation: While Zero hasn’t received many changes, they are huge. The reduced hit-stun on his Youdantotsu makes it harder to combo on the ground. The decreased meter gain on Hadangeki makes it harder to keep him in his shadow install. His Ryuenjin uppercut has lost nearly all of its invincibility as has his Raijinshou super uppercut.

These were all major parts of Zero’s toolset. Part of what made him so good was the ability to throw out an invincible uppercut and tag out to make it safe. He is still a very aggressive and very good character, but his paper thin health and reduced defensive tools may make him a liability. Once again several pros run Zero, including Cloud805 who runs the infamous Zero May Cry team of Zero/Dante. He, as well as other pros, will have a lot of labbing to do in the short four day period between this patch and Battle for the Stones.

Nova

  • Super Nova: Changed unrecoverable hit stun value from 16 to 255 on all hits except the last.

Translation: Opponents will no longer flip out in the middle of his Super Nova hyper combo. They will get locked in for all hits.

Ghost Rider

  • Neutral HP: Changed knockback direction
  • Hellfire (HK, Charged): Changed unrecoverable hit stun value from 16 to 30 on first 3 hits.
  • Spirit of Vengeance:
    • Increased unrecoverable hit stun value from 16 to 50 during rushdown
    • Increased unrecoverable hit stun value from 16 to 255 on 1st hit with additional input of LP+HP
    • Increased unrecoverable hit stun value from 16 to 60 on 1st hit with additional input of LK+HK

Translation: Ghost Rider got buffed across the board. His HP will pull you forward instead of hitting you backward now and it can be used in the Power Stone Infinity Storm without the opponent hitting the ground. It is also less likely for opponents to fall out of combos that end in his Hellfire fire-breath or his Spirit of Vengeance bike super. This makes these moves slightly safer on hit making him slightly more viable.

Hawkeye

  • Shock Value (6LK):
    • Increased hit stop on projectile throw from 0F to 6F

Translation: Hit-stop makes the game pause for a second if a move hits the opponent. This makes it easier for people to combo after Shock Value hits.

Spencer

  • Hand Bomb (LK): Revised an issue caused during situations such as being reflected by Advancing Guard where the bomb would not be affected by gravity and fly off the screen.

Translation: Just small bug fix. Both pros and casuals shouldn’t notice any difference.

Dormammu

  • 5HP: Changed so that the attack will activate when other projectiles hit
  • 2HP: Decreased active frames from 20F to 10F
  • Liberation (D2, C1): Decreased meter gain from 100 to 30
  • Liberation (C3/Thorns):
    • Unrecoverable hit stun value decreased from 40 to 24
    • Duration decreased from 180F to 101F
    • Disappears when Dormammu takes damage
    • Meter gain first hit decreased from 300 to 100
  • Stalking Flare:
    • Hit window decreased from 4F to 2F
    • Increased unrecoverable hit stun value from 16 to 24
  • Dark Dimension: Removed hit box that was around Dormammu’s back

Translation: Dormammu is another top tier character that got hit hard by the nerf bat. His standing hard punch, which put a flame carpet on the ground, used to cancel out entire beam hypers. It no longer does that now, disappearing if it gets hit by even a single projectile. His launcher is now half as good as it used to be, with a hit-box that stays out half as long. This makes it less safe to just throw out. On the upside, it’s less likely that opponents will drop out of the middle of his Stalking Flare.

But by far the biggest change is to his Liberation thorn spell. It lasts almost half as long, gains less meter, disappears when Dormammu gets hit, and causes less hit-stun making the opponent more likely to flip out after long combos. This was by far his best move and was in the running for most unfair move in the game. Now it’s going to be much, much, more fair.

This is going to devastate pros at Battle for the Stones. Thorns was specifically the move you used Dormammu for. Nerfing it has changed his entire gameplan. Fillipino Champ and Richard Ngyuen are just two that come to mind, and they use Ultron Dante respectively, two characters that also got hit with the nerf bat.

Sigma

  • Overload Laser (6HP): Fixed bug causing invisible hit box to remain when cancelling the move on startup.

Translation: A bug that allowed you to make moves safe and invincible when canceling from his laser was fixed. It was a neat trick but was rarely used. Generally his gameplan will remain the same.

Monster Hunter

  • Draw Slash (H): Removed OTG property
  • Dodge: Fixed bug that caused Monster Hunter to dodge in the opposite direction of what was input after certain situations like hitting an opponent who is in the air with Draw Slash at close range, etc.

Translation: Her hyper armored draw slash can no longer OTG, which reduces its ability to randomly confirm into combos but still makes it super good. She won’t really play differently at all.

Final Thoughts

These new changes will affect nearly every pro in the upcoming Battle for the Stones tournament. Many use Reality Stone, Space Stone, Dante, Dormamu, Ultron, Zero, and Strider. In fact, if you look at the main teams of every entrant in the tournament, there is not a single team that hasn’t been nerfed in some way. That’s right; every single player is going to have to re-learn their main teams before the biggest MVCI tournament of the year!

While I think these patch notes will do quite a bit to increase the longevity of the game, it was likely a bad idea to release the patch right before a major tournament. Unless they decide to play on an old version of the game (and I’m not sure that’s even possible) this move is going to anger the entire professional community. The patch drops on December 5 and the Battle for the Stones finals starts on December 9, giving players only four short days to re-learn everything they know about the game.

At this point, I think it’s too early to pick a tournament favorite, because everyone is going to be playing like it’s day one again.