Understanding hit-states in Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite
So you want to step up your Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite combo game, but for some reason can’t seem to deal more than around 3000-4000 damage? You likely aren’t making the best use of hit-states.
What are Hit-States?
Hit-states are the special properties a character can have after being hit by an opponent. Controlling what hit-state your opponent is in can be key to producing high damaging combos. Below are listed most of the known hit-states in MVCI.
Hit-stun: Hit stun is the “normal” hit-state that characters enter after being hit by most attacks. When in hit-stun, you will flinch momentarily, allowing your opponent to perform a follow-up attack. Hit-stun has an invisible gauge which decreases with each subsequent attack and will eventually allow you to escape the opponent’s combo. This is done to avoid infinite combos. If the hit-stun ends in the air, your character will “flip out” in a small invincible animation before you regain control. As soon as hit-stun ends you are able to control your character as normal, allowing you to block or counter the opponent’s attack.
Hard Knockdown: During a hard knockdown your character will fall to the ground and lay there for a moment before getting up. In this state you can be hit with an On The Ground (OTG) attack. OTG attacks can be performed per combo. After the initial Hard Knockdown in a combo, subsequent hard knockdowns will become soft knockdowns. Some moves specifically trigger a hard knockdown, forcing a character to be in a vulnerable state until they touch the ground. However, simply touching the ground while in aerial hit-stun will also be considered a knockdown.
Soft Knockdown: During a soft knockdown your character will fall to the ground but as soon as they touch it they will perform an invincible roll and get up.
Ground Bounce: For a ground bounce your character will slam onto the ground and bounce into the air, at which time they are still considered airborne. You can perform one Ground Bounce per combo..
Wall Bounce: Like the above, with a wall bounce your character will slam into the wall and bounce off it, falling to the ground. You can only perform one wall bounce per combo.
Crumple: With the crumple hit state, your character falls to their knees and then sags to the ground. You are vulnerable the entire time and if you hit the ground the character will be considered in a hard knockdown state. One crumple can be triggered per combo.
Stagger/Dizzy: During a dizzy your character will wobble on their feet, making them vulnerable for a follow-up combo. You can trigger one dizzy per combo and further dizzies will put your opponent into an invincible spin-out state. Most notably, the mind stone is the main way to cause dizzy in MVCI.
Cinematic States: Cinematic states are caused by hit-grabs and command throw. During moves like this your player will always finish the throw’s animation. By tagging before the cinematic state begins, you can hit your opponent as soon as its animation ends.
Miscellaneous Hit-States (Freeze, Shock, Etc): These special hit-states vary from character to character but, in general, they cause a certain amount of forced hit-stun which eventually wears off and returns control to your character at usual. Most of these states can only be triggered on the ground and only from a neutral state (i.e. they have to be the first move in a combo.)
Combination Hit-States: Some moves can cause more than one hit-state at once. For example, the Hulk’s standing heavy punch causes both a wall bounce and a ground bounce. However, unless the bounce actually occurs it is not considered used up. Therefore, if you continue the combo after the Hulk’s standing heavy punch knocks an opponent off a wall but before they hit the ground you will only have used up your wall bounce.
Conditional Hit-States: Some hit-states are dependent on where your opponents are or what moves you have already performed in a combo. For example, every character’s aerial heavy kick is a ground bounce if it is used after a launcher, and after at least one other hit in the air. Otherwise it is a soft knockdown. Similarly, every character’s tag attack is a wall bounce if it is used near the wall after an aerial heavy kick that acts as a soft knockdown. Otherwise it simply causes normal hit-stun.
Why Are Hit-States Important?
When crafting a combo in MVCI, you have to remember that the system is specifically designed to keep your combos short using Hit-States. If all you do is launch and knock down the opponent, you’ll find that it is difficult to continue your combos past two or three repetitions because of the Hit-Stun gauge. This guarantees your combos will do low damage and will likely cause your opponent to flip out at a time when they can counter attack you.
The trick to extending combos with hit-states is to understand that special hit-states ignore hit-stun decay. It doesn’t matter how late you are in your combo, ground bouncing an opponent will always cause them to remain in stun until they hit the ground, bounce, and then hit it again. By saving these special hit-states for opportune times in the combo, you can set up your opponent to get hit by follow-ups they normally wouldn’t be hit by.
An Example from Kane Blueriver
Let’s look at Marvel champion Kane Blueriver’s early Thanos combo concept.
His combo starts with a fairly simple string of moves into a launcher. After the launcher he combos a heavy punch into Thanos’s Palm Breaker. Palm Breaker causes a wall bounce which makes Zero hit the wall and start to fall down. Remember, Zero is now locked into this animation until he hits the ground. This allows Kane all the time he needs to dash cancel the Palm Breaker, fall along with Zero until both of them are almost on the ground, and then follow up with another Palm Breaker. This positions Thanos and Zero at about the same height, which is important for the next step of the combo.
Palm Breaker now no longer causes a wall bounce on any subsequent use, Zero will eventually flip out. However, since it’s still early in the combo, hit-stun decay is still low. This allows the “Palm Breaker Loop” to work. Instead of adding in a bunch of tiny hits in between Palm Breakers, Kane combos Palm Breakers into themselves, limiting the amount of hits per combo and thus limiting hit-stun decay. Thanos is also out of his super-jump state. This limits the height of his subsequent jumps, allowing him to continue to fall in time with Zero. This is what allows each Palm Breaker in the Palm Breaker loop to hit.
When Zero is about to flip out, Kane performs a short string into launcher, followed up with a single heavy punch and one of Thanos’s supers, Sovereign Decree. Kane did not include any other attacks besides the Heavy Punch as doing so would have caused enough decay to let Zero flip out before the super hit. At this point, almost any attack will allow Zero to escape the combo. However, Sovereign Decree causes a hard knockdown. This ensures that Zero will be locked down in the knockdown animation until he gets off the ground, ignoring hit-stun decay. In this state, Zero can be hit by an OTG.
This is exactly what Kane does but, once again, any normal attack will cause Zero to flip out and end the combo. So Kane uses Thanos’s heavy Titan Charge which causes a ground bounce. This locks Zero in the bounce animation, preventing him from flipping out, and ensuring that the follow-up level three hyper combo hits.
You’ll find that most professional level combos in the game are crafted in the same way. A hit-state is used early in order to set up the positioning for the rest of the combo while the rest of your hit-states are used later in the combo in order to maximize damage.
Unfortunately there is no master list of hit-states in MVCI and until the community can spend more time screwing around and picking apart each individual move, we are only going to discover these hit-states by trial and error. However, if you want to start crafting some damaging combos, I suggest you hit up training mode, find a couple moves that trigger special hit-states, and start using them to squeeze in just a little bit of extra damage.