Marvel vs. Capcom Infinite: The best (and most broken) ways to use each Infinity Stone

E3 2017 is upon us, and with it comes a ton of info on Marvel vs. Capcom Infinite. We correctly predicted that the Capcom booth would basically be the MVCI booth, but we had no idea just how much info would come out of it. The demo had 21 characters available for play, each with completely new move-sets. Character details alone would fill pages and pages of articles, not even accounting for basic system details and general game feel, so we’ll take this one step at a time.

Today we are going to talk about the game’s Infinity Stone system, how it works, and how pro gamers have already figured out how to exploit the different stones. 

Stone Activation

Your Infinity Stone is activated by pressing, appropriately enough, the Infinity Stone button. This activation is basically considered a special move. It cancels out of any normal, however nothing can cancel out of it. You can, however, tag your partner in while using an Infinity Stone.

The Reality Stone

The latest Stone to be revealed also appears to be the least powerful. That’s not to say it’s bad; it just has limited applications.

Using the Reality Stone launches a medium sized, ball-shaped, slow-moving projectile to track the opponent. The activation animation has a lot of cooldown, however, so it’s not spammable. It also doesn’t track the opponent forever. After about a second it disappears and you cannot have two on the screen at once.

The Reality Stone is basically useless for any team that has a projectile character. Most projectiles in the game are better than the Reality Stone’s homing ball, simply because they recover faster. Of course, this slow recovery can be completely negated by tagging in your partner, which is definitely the cheapest way to use the Stone.

Tagging in after activating the Stone allows you to move immediately, which is a huge threat. The ball doesn’t go away if the opponent hits you, so you basically get instant pressure. Tag in and come at the opponent hard and they will have no choice but to sit on block.

If you do use a projectile character, the Reality Stone might set up some interesting screen spam situations. The Reality Stone’s ball of energy doesn’t count toward your normal projectile limit. For example, Ryu can have a hadoken and the Reality Stone projectile on the screen at once. Committed spammers will find they can fire a projectile, fire the Stone, tag, and fire another projectile, let the Stone hit, fire the Stone again, fire another projectile, tag, and so on. This is the preferred method of filling the screen with projectiles, considering Morrigan’s fly/unfly shenanigans have been removed from the game.

The Reality Stone’s infinity storm causes projectiles to come at your opponent from off screen while you attack from a limited time. Once again, this is far more useful with an aggressive character than a defensive character, since they can help you mix-up the opponent and add damage to your combos.

Unfortunately, this too seems to be the least powerful infinity storm that we have seen so far. While these projectiles deal a decent amount of damage, they don’t compare to the damage potential of the Power or Time Stone, nor do they have the mix-up potential of the Space Stone. Of course, being the most recently made Stone means that it has a lot of potential to be changed as we head toward the official release.

The Power Stone

Using the Power Stone causes your character to swipe his hand outward, creating an arc of purple energy in front of him. This arc basically acts as a quick, close range, high damage attack that causes a wall-bounce on hit. Unlike most other Stones, the power Stone is basically safe on block, though easily punished on whiff.

Also unlike other Stones, you don’t want to tag while using the Power Stone. Instead, you want to use it as a combo extender. MVCI is another fighting game that utilizes special hit-states, wall bounces being one of them. If your character doesn’t have access to a wall bounce (as is the case with much of the cast) then the Power Stone is a good fit for them.

Here’s how you use it to extend a combo. Most basic combos in MVCI involve a constant cycle of launching the character and knocking them back down, however, the amount of times you can re-launch a character is governed by the moves you can use. Every character can hit the opponent on the ground, launch them, hit them into the air, knock them down, and then pick them up with an OTG to launch them again. However, you only get one OTG per combo, so after this you need to get creative. The standard extension after your second launch loop is to tag and allow your tagged-in character to continue the combo before they hit the ground for a third loop.

The Power Stone allows you to add a fourth loop to your combos. Your point character launches, knocks down, and OTG relaunches as per normal, but then they use the Power Stone to cancel out of their knockdown attack in the second loop. This causes the wall bounce, allowing your character to hit the ground first, dash in, and start hitting the opponent before they hit the ground. This allows for a third launch and a third knockdown, which you then tag out of to create your fourth loop.

The Power Stone has a second use as a “get off me” tool. If you don’t dash in to continue the combo, a wall bounce will leave your opponent knocked down on the other side of the screen. If your team composition is based around projectile spam and keep away, you might want to consider using it to push particularly aggressive teams back.

The Power Stone’s infinity storm greatly increases your damage output and slightly increases hit-stun on all your moves. This makes comboing a little easier, but doesn’t necessarily open up new combo paths. In general, you will use it to buff combo damage and close out the match. Since you can start the infinity storm mid-combo, its best used to close out a character kill. Even if the opponent breaks the combo by using a 2-meter defensive tag, the Power Stone’s damage buff will likely be enough to carry your combo through to the kill before you can get interrupted.

The Space Stone

Using the Space Stone creates a vacuum effect that sucks the opponent toward you. It only has an effect on the opponent’s horizontal velocity. Their vertical velocity remains unchanged, meaning they can jump while the vacuum effect is active and possibly even cross you up.

The basic use for this Stone is to keep people in when they want to be out, making it something of an anti-keep-away Stone. This makes it slightly less useful against more aggressive teams. However, there is one cheap way to use the Stone that works against just about any team.

The trick here is to super jump before using the Space Stone over and over again. Not only is the Stone’s activation animation shorter than pretty much any other Stone, it also stalls your vertical velocity while you use it. This allows you to hover in mid-air around super jump height, pulling the opponent directly underneath you. This allows you to drop down on either side of them for an easy 50/50 mix-up.

At close range, the Space Stone allows you to use an interesting option select. Press forward, heavy punch, and the Space Stone button at the same time. This creates a pseudo-random mix-up, depending on how far away the opponent is. If they are at close to mid-range, the Space Stone will drag the opponent into throw range and your forward+heavy punch command will penetrate their block. At mid to long range, the opponent will be dragged in but not close enough to throw, causing you to instead throw out a heavy attack. It’s hard to judge which range will produce which attack, making your opponent guess whether or not they should be blocking or throw teching.

Both of these in-battle uses of the Space Stone aren’t quite as powerful as the other Stones in the game. However, the Space Stone’s infinity storm is one of the best. Activating it puts the opponent in the “shame box” – a small walled off portion of the screen that prevents them from moving horizontally. With their movement cut off, they have no choice but to sit there and eat every single mix-up you throw at them. This is also one of the longest-lasting infinity stoms, so go ahead and enjoy your instant pressure.

The Time Stone

If there was ever a candidate for cheapest Stone in the game, it’s the Time Stone. Using this Stone allows you to perform an invincible teleport dash forward. That doesn’t sound super broken, but trust me, it is.

First of all, this Stone gives an air-dash to any character that doesn’t otherwise have one, increasing your ability options. For characters that do have an air-dash, this gives them a second air-dash. Think about this for a second. This means Zero with his air-dash, command dash, lightning dash, and the Time Stone can dash in the air four times! Who needs gravity!?

And remember, you can tag in the middle of the Stone’s teleport. Teleport to the other side of the opponent and then call your partner for an easy mix-up. Tag early and your partner will come in on one side, tag late and they will come in on the other.

The teleport moves faster and farther than a normal dash. Throw a fireball and then teleport in front of it for an aggressive advance that is hard to block. You can also use it multiple times in mid-air. Teleporting repeatedly at super jump height is a great way to stall out matches.

If it wasn’t clear by now, the Time Stone is one of the most flexible Stones in the game. However, its infinity storm completely breaks it. Activating the Time Stone infinity storm gives you a massive speed boost. Outside of combos, this isn’t particularly useful. It allows you to mix-up the opponent, but not nearly as well as the Space or Reality Stones.

Inside combos, however, this Stone becomes deadly, since it usually speeds up characters to the point that their heavy punch combos into itself over and over and over again. This is quite simply the best combo in the game. It easily out-damages the Power Stone’s damage buff and the Reality Stone’s projectiles. It turns one hit into death or near death from basically anywhere on the screen. It also builds a ludicrous amount of meter, letting you finish the combo with your most damaging super. It’s absolutely nuts and borderline overpowered. I foresee many pros picking the Time Stone as their Stone of choice for tournament play.

Other Stones?

We have two Stones left to see: the Soul Stone and the Mind Stone. What effects could they produce?

Well, Capcom said they wanted these Stones to take the place of assists in previous VS. games. Thus far, we have seen assists for combo extension, mix-up, projectile coverage, and area control. There are really only three other reasons for assists in VS. games: lockdown, recovery, and invulnerable defense.

Lockdown assists last a long time and hold the opponent in place. Doom’s rocks or Chun-Li’s lightning legs are good examples of lockdown assists. So the Soul or Mind Stone could have a similar effect by allowing you to use some weak multi-hitting attack that lets you safely tag in your partner and go for a mix-up.

Recovery assists allow you to restore life or meter, though pros only ever chose meter-building assists. It’s entirely possible that the Mind Stone will allow you to build meter, as the Mind Stone from Marvel Super Heroes allowed you to do the same.

Finally, invincible defense assists interrupt the opponent’s approach. Usually these were dragon punch-style assists. That being said, Capcom removed this style of assist from UMVC3 in a patch, so it’s entirely possible they won’t include it as a Stone function in MVCI.

What do you think about the Stones revealed thus far? What do you think the Mind and Soul Stones will do? Let us know in the comments.

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