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Wednesday
Nov162011

TEAM BUILDING IN UMVC3

TEAM BUILDING IN UMVC3 by Karst

If you are like me, your most treasured aspect of Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 is the team-building one. Between character selection, character order, and assist choices, it is pretty rare to fight two players using the exact same team, even in the (current) competitive setting. Building a proper team in Ultimate Marvel 3 is a complex endeavor; here I attempt to add some methodology behind the concept.

When building a solid team, you should consider all of the following concepts:

  • Assist Synergy

  • Opponent Variety

  • Team Order

  • DHC (Delayed Hyper Combo) Synergy

  • THC (Team Hyper Combo) Synergy

  • TAC (Team Aerial Combo) Opportunities

 Have feedback or additional input? Email us: tips@iplaywinner.com

Wednesday
Nov162011

ASSIST SYNERGY

First, a history lesson: Seth Killian once argued that assists are an evolved form of the classic 2D fireball, and it changed the way I look at assists forever. To better illustrate this principle, let’s contrast fireballs with beams: fireballs and beams are entirely different entities, though superficially similar: both deal damage from afar, and your character is not directly involved with the damage dealing (the projectile is). However, the beam is meant to deal immediate damage or creating immediate space. Fireballs are different - they move slowly, and their purpose is not necessarily to deal damage directly, but to create an object independent of your character that your opponent must deal with. Fireballs can be used to protect approaches, and they can be used to create obstacles against your opponent's approach. 

Any assist, even one such as Haggar's Double Lariat, is like a fireball with no startup or recovery time relative to your point character. You might see the Mayor of Earth spinning on your screen when you call him out, but it's really just a pretty graphic that clouds what he actually is: a fireball that sits in one spot for a moment before disappearing. When Marvel 1 utilized assists, they were closer to the classic fireball than they are now in Marvel 3. In Marvel 1, a character appears on the screen and provides an effect, completely independent of your character, and then disappears. While assists were all limited in their number of uses, the most daunting consequence of a bad assist call in Marvel 1 was simply having 1 less assist to call.

In Marvel 2, Capcom decided that Marvel 1 assists were simply a little too powerful, simply because there was no consequence to their poor usage outside of lost utility; you could be reckless without significant penalties. In Marvel 2, your teammates became your assists; suddenly you had to be much more careful with your assist calls, because while the Marvel 1’s numeric limitation on uses was removed, any damage your teammate took while being called as an assist was real damage - the assist itself could be attacked and hurt. 

In Marvel 3, assists have been toned down further. Not only do most assists have no invulnerability at all, but assists take an additional 50% of normal damage when called, and they do not benefit from damage scaling if they are hit outside of the point character. Like with Marvel 2, assists can still be juggled infinitely in a variety of forms that a point character cannot. Why mention all of this? Capcom has done a reasonably good job of balancing assists this time around; this game has no equivalent of Captain Commando's Captain Corridor. Instead, the power of an assist tends to correlate to how vulnerable that assist is. Sentinel Force is doubtlessly a very powerful asset for any team; nothing fills the screen up quite like it, but the assist comes out slowly, and any damage Sentinel takes causes all of the drones to expire immediately. It is a high-risk, high-reward assist. Capcom seems to have been more generous toward defensive assists like Haggar's Double Lariat, at the expense of the characters those assists belong to being weaker on point than most characters. Understanding the balance behind the assists in this game, and the nature of the assist, is essential to choosing the proper assists for your team.

I wish I could list assists by a "type", but assists are far too various in this game to do that. Only a handful of assists really fit into one neat concept. Most of them change depending on what character the assist is helping out. For example, if I made a list of assists that allow a character to relaunch, Ryu's Hadoken would not typically be placed on that list. If you play Wesker, though, you can use a combination of Samurai Edge and Ryu's Hadoken assist to relaunch. There's just too much to consider for categorizing assists. 

What I have done is provide some considerations for what assists can do; from there, it's up to you to decide which assists provide the benefits your characters need. Ideally, you choose assists that fit several of your character's needs, or that fit one need extremely well:

  • Approaching: These assists help you close the distance between you and your opponent while retaining your safety. For example, if you call Taskmaster's Aim Master L while advancing upon your opponent with Viewtiful Joe, your opponent is put in a position where he cannot easily attack Joe without getting hit by the Aim Master L. So, your opponent either has to figure out an attack method that negates your approach, or opt to defend. Your goal is, of course, to limit your opponent's options to "defend" as much as possible.

  • Lockdown: Speaking of defense, isn't it great when you can force your opponent into a situation where he simply has to sit and block your series of attacks because your offense is just so fantastically unstoppable? Lockdown assists, like Amaterasu's Cold Stars, are great for forcing your opponent to sit in a blocking position for a long time without any recourse. Lockdown assists in this game are particularly strong because while a character is blocking an assist, the ability to pushblock is effectively removed from their table of options. Use the lockdown period to advance a strong offense against your opponent, or go for a tick throw.

  • Combo Extension: Every character in this game can do good damage, but everyone can do more when backed up by an assist that allows a combo extension. On the most basic level, these are assists that hit a grounded opponent and allow you to relaunch for another air series, adding considerably more meter gain and damage. The more you understand your character, the better you will understand combo extension opportunities, however. Every character has a solid list of assist options for extending combos, and some assists, like She-Hulk's Torpedo, can extend combos for the game's entire cast.

  • Combo Creation: Every character has a unique feature in this game. For most characters, these unique features allow for unique assist combinations to create combos that would work for no other character. Dr. Doom can OTG relaunch by himself without any outside assistance, and he can even perform multiple OTG relaunches by his lonesome. Captain America’s Charging Star assist isn't just a great way to cover space, but it also causes a hard knockdown, a state which allows for Dr. Doom to OTG relaunch his opponent. Dr. Doom is one of a handful of characters that are able to guarantee a follow-up from Captain America’s Charging Star.

  • Space Creation: Some assists can be simply laid down, and now your opponent has this massive wall to climb before you can be approaches. Assists like Dante's Jam Session, Sentinel's Sentinel Force, and Haggar's Double Lariat all perform this role, but in very different ways. The goal of these assists is to force your opponent to play a defensive role for a moment, which allows you to take an offensive role.

  • Crossover Counters: When blocking, if you push forward and call an assist, that assist will appear on the screen and perform its assist, but you will now be in control of that assist, as it has become your new point character. If you use Dr. Doom's Plasma Beam as a crossover counter, it's not significantly different from calling him as an assist. If you call Viewtiful Joe's Groovy Uppercut as a crossover counter, though, this actually leads into a full combo; you might even build your meter back while dealing significant damage to your opponent! Some assists gain invincibility when used as a crossover counter - assists you might think are terrible for one of your characters could be a closet game-winner. 

  • Resets: Similar to combo creation, some assists are superb at creating situations that allow a reset for your character. For example, when using Wesker, use Samurai Edge to OTG your opponent after a combo, call Dormammu's Dark Hole, and Phantom Move L. Your opponent has to block Dark Hole as he recovers from Samurai Edge, and Wesker's teleport makes this very difficult to do reliably. If your opponent succeeds, you are still in a good position to pull off a command throw on your opponent as he recovers from blockstun.

There is so much more to assists than the above, but it's much too deep for just one person to explore and report on. Some assists fit a character so perfectly that you wonder how you might survive without them. Super-Skrull backed by Sentinel's Sentinel Force, Wolverine backed by Akuma's Tatsumaki Zankukyaku, Wesker backed by Iron Man's Unibeam or Dr. Doom's Plasma Beam - these are combinations that are seen every day in the competitive scene, and it's because these assists don't just provide a basic function, they completely alter what the point character is capable of. Super-Skrull gains access to tick throw set-ups via Elastic Slam that are impossible to defend against reliably, Wolverine gains a safe, meterless Berserker Slash combo and an extension off of his OTG, and Wesker gains instant combo-ability off of his teleports. These benefits go beyond categories. Explore all facets of your team, and you may be surprised at what you can do.

A good team has a set of characters in which each benefits from their partners’ assists. While you can build a team entirely around a powerful point character, neglecting synergy between your team in differing orders makes you a prime target for a snapback; how will your team fare when its order is reversed?   

Wednesday
Nov162011

OPPONENT VARIETY

Every team needs two things: a plan, and a way to make that plan happen. Your opponent also has a plan, and while skill is a determinant in every fighting game, matchups can play just as large of a role. In a game like MvC3, team matchups and strategies are just as important as character ones. Here are some basic team concepts to think about. If you can face any of these with the confidence you can win, then your team is off to a good start. This is a very simplified view if how teams function, but outside of considering specific team matchups, I feel this accurately represents the general scope of what a team has to be able to deal with. 

  • Keepaway: Can your team get through a constant barrage of projectiles flying through the air backed by an assist doing the same? Dealing with a screen filled with projectiles is not easy for any team. How you handle this situation depends on what your own plan is, and how your characters can handle the setup. Your team should be able to do at least one of the following: contest the opponent in a game of firepower, get through the wall of projectiles consistently, or place your opponent in a position where he does not feel safe with his strategy, thus forcing him to take a different approach.

  • Rushdown: Can your team handle Wolverine backed by Akuma's Tatsumaki Zanykyaku constantly ripping toward your character? For any team, regardless of your skill level, you will have to play defense sometimes. But, the less you have to play defense, the better. Are you able to turn a defensive situation into an offensive one with your team, or once you are on the defensive, do you find yourself just stuck there? 

  • Defense: If your opponent decides to turtle behind a nigh-invincible assist like Haggar's Double Lariat, do you have a method to either penetrate or punish such assists, or even render them ineffective altogether?

  • Specialists: In a sense, this relates to all three of the above conceptions, but it also deserves its own category. Some teams are entirely designed around one character. Once that character is dead, the rest of the team is rather mediocre in comparison, and your fight is much easier. Sometimes, that character is the point character; can you kill any point character in one combo if you need to, even if that includes using X-Factor? Sometimes you only get one chance. If your opponent has Phoenix sitting in the back, and you snap her in, do you have a plan to down her before she can tag out? If not, can your team handle Dark Phoenix? If your opponent team has nothing going for it other than two characters getting supported by Sentinel Force, do you have a method to cripple that team?

Dealing with the variety of opposing strategies is not as simple as having a character balance. It simply does you no good to pick a "rushdown character", a "keepaway character", and an "assist character"; this is not how a successful team is built, though many teams may have these three components.

Wednesday
Nov162011

TEAM ORDER

Maybe your plan is just to play your best with all three characters, take your opportunities as they come, and wish for the best. If you have more experience, then you might consider possibilities such as front-loading your team: you plan to win it all with the first character consistently. This might seem silly, but this was precisely how Strider Hiryu was used in MvC2, and with success. Front-loading a team is not a bad idea, and experienced players frequently structure their teams betting they can win without getting down to that last character. Others, most notably Phoenix players, structure their teams specifically for their last character to pull through and win their matches. Many players use their point character specifically to set the game up for their second ("real") character to come in and clean house. These are all valid perspectives and tactics. 

Understanding the proper order for your team, and the roles for its members, is essential to making that team function. This begins with a fundamental understanding of what it means for each team member to be in the place he or she is in. At the most basic level, your point (first) character will benefit from the assists of both of his or her teammates, and your third character will frequently be played without the aid of any assists at all. To make things easier, I have made a list of the attributes you should look for in each category of placement based on what you can expect from the benefits and shortcomings of their placement.

In general, a character fulfilling more of these categories is better in the role than a character that meets fewer criteria. However, not all criteria are worth equal weight of consideration: certain team setups can change the feasibility of a character's placement due to synergy between specific characters, and you may find having a character in an "improper" place a risk worth taking due to the benefits gained to your team as a whole. So, take the list as a way to help you think about team order, and not a categorical declaration of proper character placement.

Ideal First (Point) Characters…

  • Function nearly independently from meter; you start with 1 bar of meter in this game; you have to earn the rest. Placing a character that requires substantial meter to make his or her presence felt on the battlefield is playing that character at a disadvantage. A character that performs best not by burning meter, but instead by creating mix-ups and resets after a successful combo, makes your team much more stable than relying on meter you might not have. Wesker’ Phantom Dance is generally agreed to be underwhelming, and it's generally best to go for a reset or mix-up after downing your opponent rather than spend a bar of meter on mediocre damage and letting your opponent recover safely afterward. 

  • Gain much from assists; every character benefits from assists, but some benefit more than others. Your point character is the only character on your team that is guaranteed to be backed by two assists every battle you go into, and you should take advantage of that. A character like She-Hulk has some matchup difficulties, and she certainly is not the sort of character who can get through a well-formed keepaway team through her virtues alone. Up close though, she has a wide variety of high priority attack and throw options, she deals big damage, and has high health. Backed by assists that mitigate her shortcomings, She-Hulk becomes a very strong character. Remember, treat your assists like free attacks independent of your character; which characters do you play that could benefit the most from a new feature?

  • Build high meter; some characters love meter more than others, but every character loves meter. Some characters build a substantially larger amount of meter in a combo than the rest of the cast. From nearly any normal hit, Dante can go on to perform a massive combo that builds multiple bars of meter. This means that Dante can end many of his combos into his level 3 hyper for massive damage. Alternatively, you can use this meter for a strong DHC synergy, or, if you happen to lose Dante, you know your second character is coming in with a nice stock of meter to put the rest of the match in your favor.

  • Succeed the more they succeed; level 3 hypers are always a nice asset, but some characters can make better use of them than others. If you are doing well in your match, your point character should be able to turn your advantage into further advantage. For example, Zero is a pretty safe character with a lot of mobility, but he’s also fragile. If you get him to three bars of meter, you gain access to Genmu Zero, which pretty much beats out anything your opponent will try against you. When Zero reaches three bars of meter, you just “upgraded” Zero’s threat level through that potential. Other hypers, such as Strider Hiryu’s Ouroboros, function in a similar manner.

Ideal Second Characters…

  • Function well with meter; a Ryu without meter is not nearly as threatening as a Ryu with several bars of meter backing him up. He has a beam hyper with very fast startup and safe recovery, making him an excellent punisher. As a bonus, Ryu can completely annihilate assist calls through a Shinkuu Hadoken X-Factor canceled into another Shinkuu Hadoken. This takes meter though. As a starting character, Ryu will have to work toward acquiring this meter for his usage. In second place, another character has already done the work for him, and now you get to enjoy the rewards.

  • Perform significantly better when backed by an assist; your team ideally has three characters that all make use of each other's' assists, but it is foolish to construct the team assuming that each character will have access to the entire team when he or she is placed on point. It is a pretty safe bet that your character will have access to your third character's assist, unless your third character is so essential to your team that opponents will consistently want to snap him or her in.

  • Can pile on the hurt via DHC; Hulk has the highest damage level 1 hyper in the game, Gamma Crush. Hulk is not known for his mix-up game though; it's difficult for him to open up an opponent and get that damage in. Instead of trying to overcome Hulk's weaknesses, play a character good at starting combos on point, and then DHC into Hulk's Gamma Crush for huge damage.

  • Can pile on the hurt via TAC; similar to the virtues of DHCing into a strong hyper, some characters have really amazing combos they can perform off of a TAC. Generally, these are characters with some combination of a flight mode and 8-way air dash. Since TACs ignore hitstun decay until your character touches the ground, you can perform a massive flight combo with Sentinel after tagging him in via this method. Depending on the direction you TAC in and who you started the combo with, you can potentially build a full 5 bars of meter just through one combo if your team is designed for it!

Ideal Third (Anchor) Characters…

  • Possess few bad matchups; your third character must frequently fight alone, without the assistance of other characters. If your third has trouble dealing with a large portion of the cast, you will end up losing many matches specifically due to this shortcoming. While Haggar is a solid character, his lack of ranged and safe approach options means you will frequently be fighting an uphill battle against well-played keepaway teams. Meanwhile, Akuma has a variety of approach methods, he can punish almost anything in the game with Messtatsu Gouhadou, and his other two hypers both have invincibility frames. No character can safely call Akuma an easy win simply because of these two attributes.

  • Make incredible use of level 3 X-Factor; at every level of play, sometimes you simply will be stomped. Your first two characters will be slaughtered utterly, and your only recourse is the almighty power of the level 3 X-Factor. Ideally, your third character should possess such power that your opponent is afraid to do much of anything against him for fear of retribution. Dark Phoenix is a terrifying sight to behold, but level 3 X-Factored Dark Phoenix? Against a skilled player, your only recourse is to hope your opponent makes an error. On the other hand, a level 3 X-Factored Tron Bonne is basically the same Tron Bonne, but now packing a harder punch - one of these is far more difficult to handle for the massive duration of level 3 X-Factor.

  • Have a great assist; not all assists are created equal. Dr. Doom, for example, has three awesome assists; it's just great to have your team backed by Dr. Doom's…anything! Regardless of your team's synergy with Dr. Doom in every other aspect, it's tempting to slap him into the third slot on any team just to be backed by the endless hails of Hidden Missiles, etc. On the other hand, none of Spider-man's assists are particularly interesting at all, and it's difficult to justify placing him in your second spot. Your second character will frequently be backed solely by your third character's assist - do you want him to be backed by Web Toss?

  • Consider assists a luxury, not a necessity; Dante can create his own mix-ups with Devil Trigger, Air Trick guarantees he is always half a second from getting in, he possesses excellent range on his normals, and he has a solid tool for every situation. If Dante is your last character left, he can perform as a one-man team if you use all of his tools properly. A character like Zero, however, finds that all of his mix-ups are much easier to block, and many of his options simply aren't there without the backup of a solid assist.

  • Makes excellent use of excess meter; Meter gained is always proportional to unscaled damage dealt, so if you lose a character, it's not uncommon for you to have a healthy stock of meter. If you lose two characters, it's not uncommon at all to find yourself with a full five bars of meter stocked up. A character like Haggar has no real use for a full five bars of meter in an endgame; none of his hypers are good at harassing an opponent - they don't have special use outside of finishing combos. On the other hand, Sentinel can combo for as long as he has meter to spend hypers on.

  • Can perform full combos off of air throws; This one is especially important when your anchor is in X-Factor. Chicken blocking (jumping constantly while blocking) is a popular and simple way to burn down an opponent’s X-Factor timer. Your only source of damage in some cases will be air throws! It’s a big deal to kill a character from an air throw instead of just getting a hundred thousand damage or so. A character who can only perform an OTG hyper off of an air throw, like Trish, is still worth considering, but you’ll need to give special consideration to the meter necessary to keep your air throws a threat to opponents.

Wednesday
Nov162011

DHC (DELAYED HYPER COMBO) SYNERGY

At the most basic level, a team ought to strive to make use of the basic concept of the DHC in some form. At a glance, the most obvious application of this 

  • DHC Timing: Sometimes, it may seem as though two hypers will not DHC properly. Be sure to experiment with the full range of times you can DHC from a hyper during its duration. For example, if you want to find DHC synergy with Dormammu's Chaotic Flame, you may have different experiences depending on whether you DHC before the hyper has completed (before 30 hits), DHC immediately as the 30th hit connects, or DHC after your opponent has begun his fall to the ground, well after the flames have finished hitting. For a smooth DHC into Tron Bonne's Lunch Rush, the timing will even differ based on your screen positioning! For another example, cutting Taskmaster's air series short and ending with Legion Arrow MH while you and your opponent are both still airborne allows you to DHC into hypers that do not hit OTG, such as Spencer’s Bionic Maneuvers. You may be surprised with what can connect when you tinker with the timing. Tinkering with your positioning can have a similarly desirable result. 

  • DHCing Contra Hitstun Decay: Never forget that there is a difference between nakedly DHCing between two hyper combos, and DHCing between two hyper combos after you have performed a combo. To use the above Chaotic Flame to Lunch Rush as an example, this DHC works fine when Chaotic Flame is thrown out in the nude, but if you try to DHC from Chaotic Flame to Lunch Rush after Dormammu has performed his basic combo series, hitstun degradation will sometimes cause your opponent to recover just above the Lunch Rush bullet, causing the DHC to whiff. Be sure to check that your DHCs are practical and versatile. 

  • Tri-DHCs: If you end Taskmaster's post-launch air series in a corner and perform Legion Arrow MH , both Dormammu's Stalking Flare and Chaotic Flame will whiff, since the opponent is still considered to be grounded by the game. However, Hyper Mystic Ray hits OTG, and it also picks your opponent up off the ground. With proper timing, I can Legion Arrow MH, DHC into Stalking Flare, and then DHC into Hyper Mystic Ray, and all three hypers will fully connect. If you are having trouble making all three of your hypers connect in the team order you have chosen, consider exploring the non-obvious options you have. If your second character has a self-buff hyper, it might even be worthwhile to DHC through them to obtain the buff and continue the hyper combo. For example, if your team is Thor/Hsien-ko/Amaterasu, consider DHCing from Mighty Tornado to Rimoukon to Okami Shuffle if Hsien-ko's other hypers would whiff. In this way, you are not wasting hyper meter, and you now have access to hyper armored Hsien-ko assists.

  • Bolstered DHCs: Viewtiful Joe's Desperado is a pretty mediocre hyper outside of combos. The blast travels slowly and is easily avoided, and it even loses to many other projectile-based hypers in the game. However, if you DHC from Desperado to Ryu's Shinkuu Hadoken at full-screen, suddenly you have the full-screen punishing power of Shinkuu Hadoken being bunched together with the damage contained within Desperado. Certain combinations such as this allow you to add another level of powerful synergy to your team; try punishing an assist call with Desperado, DHCed to Hyper Sentinel Force, DHCed to Shinkuu Hadoken - your opponent will never forget it. This can work in the other direction, too; hypers which persist post-DHC, such as Storm's Ice Storm, can allow for an otherwise slow hyper combo to connect. 

  • DHC to Utility Hypers: Hypers such as Dormammu's Stalking Flare and Trish's Round Harvest are excellent when DHCed into a self-buffing hyper, such as Dante's Devil Trigger. Suddenly, your incoming character is protected by a massive projectile, and they are entirely free to act on his or her own; mix it up with a teleport! Finally, some characters can gain other unique benefits from certain DHCs. For example, when DHCing from aerial Fatal Claw to Stalking Flare, Dormammu has more than enough time to charge three Dark Spells - quite a deal! Nemesis’ Biohazard Rush is great for punishing your opponent’s carelessness, but without X-Factor it doesn’t lead to much. If you back Nemesis with Firebrand, you can DHC into Luminous Body, and get a full combo off of your punish! You may be surprised at the unique opportunities your hypers offer one another. 

  • TAC DHCs: If your first and second character have awkward DHC synergy, consider whether using Team Aerial Combos might help you out. If you TAC with your point character to your second character, DHCing from that second character will bring your initial character back on point. This can be an effective way to mitigate some tension in team order. This tool can be especially beneficial when you are using characters with awkward DHC hypers, such as Dr. Doom - DHCing from Air Photon Array is much easier for many teams than DHCing to it.

Wednesday
Nov162011

THC (TEAM HYPER COMBO) SYNERGY

For most players, the Team Hyper Combo is an afterthought, if a thought at all. They are not entirely wrong in doing so, as the game offers little flexibility on which hyper each of your characters use, few teams can actually make adequate use of a THC, and it is frequently better to simply DHC, conserve your meter, or unleash a level 3 hyper combo instead, if you have one available.

However, some characters can make unique usage of the Team Hyper Combo. Here I list only a few examples, and I encourage you to search for more - I am sure there are plenty! 

  • Wesker: When using Samurai Edge to OTG at the end of a combo, you may have noticed that he cannot cancel into Phantom Dance or Lost in Mightmares. However, Wesker can cancel Samurai Edge into THCs, and he is also very close to his opponent in this situation, giving him a large variety of teams that can be constructed that can make proper use this unique feature

  • Dante: Dante's Million Dollars is the longest lasting hyper in the game. A good portion of the roster recovers from their THC hyper with enough time to combo off of Million Dollars. So, for example, if you use Dante and Frank West on the same team with Frank on point, you can THC and Frank will finish his Shopping Cart Rush with enough time for you to take a picture, leveling him up very quickly. 

  • Trish: Trish is entirely free to act during Round Harvest. If you combine Trish with other characters’ hypers that keep the opponent pinned down during Round Harvest, she can advance independently from it and try to get a hit in; success will result in your opponent eating the entire team's hypers. If you are feeling particularly risky, you can even expend X-Factor at the start to boost your entire team's damage through the roof, and then try to sneak that hit in.

Wednesday
Nov162011

TAC (TEAM AERIAL COMBO) OPPORTUNITIES

What sorts of things can your team do with a TAC? Not all teams necessarily have great TAC options, and they aren't remotely at the peak of important things to consider, but they are there. Some characters, particularly those with flight modes, can deal serious damage off of a TAC. 

Some background on TACs to help your exploration:

  • Spinning Knockdown: When you TAC, your incoming character automatically performs one attack against your opponent, and this attack puts your opponent into a state called a Spinning Knockdown. In this condition, your opponent will not recover until he is either attacked or touches the ground. Characters in this state fall significantly slower than those spiked by a ground bounce or aerial combo finisher. As a result, some characters can pull off maneuvers that are otherwise not normally possible. For example, Dormammu can use this time to enter flight mode, and combo j.H, Dark Hole, j.H, Dark Hole, j.S. Such a combo is not possible outside of this situation. 

  • Hitstun Deterioration: There is a second reason Dormammu's combo works in the above example. After successfully performing a TAC, the next incoming character's attacks are completely unaffected by hitstun until you touch the ground. So, normally, Dormammu would not be able to perform the above combo on point under any situation - your opponent would recover too soon. The only thing that limits post-TAC combos is a character's limited airtime. Characters like M.O.D.O.K. can abuse this aspect of TACs to loop combos during their long flight time; M.O.D.O.K. in particular can gain several Levels of Understanding through Analyze Cube loops after a TAC!

  • Meter-building: Upward TACs give you no immediate meter, but provide a 50% damage boost; since meter generated directly correlates to unscaled damage done to your opponent, you will essentially gain 50% more meter from the post-TAC combo than if you had performed the combo normally. Left and right TACs cause your opponent to lose a bar of meter, but provide you with no damage boost. Downward TACs provide a full bar of meter, but no damage boost. An upward TAC from Magneto to Sentinel can build you almost 5 bars of meter alone.

  • Direction-specific Combos: Some characters, like Sentinel, have specific combos that only function off of an upward TAC. Others, like Dr. Doom, have combos that will not function off of an upward TAC. If your character has flight options, you may be surprised at what you can do off a direction-specific TAC, but not in any other.