If you haven’t been following the scene, you may not have appreciated the gravity of Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3‘s final showing at Evolution.
UMVC3 was on the wane at Evolution
After Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite was announced at the end of last year, UMVC3‘s days were numbered. It had to compete for inclusion in this year’s tournament in the Player’s Choice contest, beating out Pokken Tournament at the last second. (Justin Wong took credit, with a donation that pushed UMVC3 over the top.)But, UMVC3 isn’t quite dead. There are still a few stops left on Michael “IFC Yipes” Mendoza’s “Curleh Circuit” tour. The real swan song for UMVC3 is the East Coast Throwdown tournament in September. But this was still its last Evolution.
Controversy erupted Saturday
The venue suffered consistent issues with its power supply. Players reported problems with headsets shorting out, controllers disconnecting, and sound cutting out. This caused delays. Still, the quarter-finals saw some spectacular upsets. Justin Wong and Ryan “FilipinoChamp” Ramirez, were eliminated early. And Ramirez suffered a blowout loss on stream from Vineeth “Apologyman” Meka. Readman, scored a genuine Evo Moment with a comeback against Gabriel “Jibrill” Lam.
There were two favorites this year
Christopher “ChrisG” Gonzalez has been a UMVC3 gatekeeper for years. With Morrigan’s Astral Vision super and Doctor Doom’s Hidden Missiles, Gonzalez can fill the screen with fireballs. It’s a difficult team to use. And he has earned a reputation as a player that “stream warriors” love to hate.
Romero has been building momentum
Romero plays a strange team, Chun-Li/Morrigan/Phoenix. This defies many of the accepted tenets of competitive UMVC3. Chun-Li does very little damage. So she’s not worth using. Morrigan’s known for her “bullet hell” fireball barrages. And Phoenix is an ace in the hole, less a character than a comeback mechanic.
But all bets were off
Phoenix is dangerous in her own right. Chun-Li has the speed and aerial mobility to chase down almost any other character. And Morrigan has an astonishing number of tools that have nothing to do with her fireballs. With Morrigan’s Dark Harmonizer assist and judicious use of infinite combos, Romero could freely spend meter to ensure a kill. Yet, most Phoenix teams would get to five bars immediately and stay there. Romero’s team was constructed to kick over the accepted tournament metagame of UMVC3. He’s had some high-profile wins, including a victory over Gonzalez himself in the grand finals of last month’s CEO. Both Romero and Gonzalez were undefeated until they faced each other in winners’ finals. Then Romero blew Gonzalez away, 3-0. Gonzalez got sent to losers. There he manhandled PC Marvel God to get his runback.
The Grand Finals
Romero took the first 2 rounds, answering Gonzalez’s Morrigan neutral with his own. Gonzalez rallied and took the next two. He countered Romero’s Dark Phoenix with his “Dark Vergil”: Vergil in anchor position, with Devil Trigger and level-3 X-Factor.
It looked like Gonzalez would reset the bracket, but a careless mistake cost him his Vergil. That left him relying on Doctor Doom against Romero’s Dark Phoenix. This almost never ends well for Doom. Gonzalez had to settle for second place. And Romero became the latest and last Evolution champion. UMVC3’s tournament life ends as it began, with Dark Phoenix stomping her opponents to dust.
Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 has had a long and bizarre run as a tournament favorite. With the recent Steam release, and fan “EX Edition” patch, it’s likely to move on to a second life as a side-tournament darling. Now, the question is whether or not September’s Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite can even hope to fill its shoes.