As early into its lifespan as it may be, MultiVersus is already a pretty complicated game. There’s armour and debuffs and stuns and all these other intricate mechanics to wrap your head around. Combine that with how starkly different it is to most other platform fighters in its genre (namely Super Smash Bros) and it’s easy to see how new players might struggle to feel like they’re improving at all.
But fear not, dear reader! Stick by us in this guide and we’ll have you scrapping The Iron Giant (figuratively) and unmasking the Batman (through violence) faster than Superman can run (very fast). Cast all those mind-boggling move effects aside and let’s talk about how you can improve in MultiVersus at the most fundamental level and see yourself rise on those rankings in no time. This is how you can git gud at MultiVersus.
Some Important Observations
For the sake of those of you who have at least some experience in this genre, there are a couple of platform fighters that MultiVersus can be compared to even if they’re hardly exact imitations — Rivals of Aether and Brawlhalla, for example. Much like these games, and much unlike the Super Smash Bros series, MultiVersus has no dedicated grab button, no shielding and a heavy emphasis on speed and movement, you can even wall jump endlessly on the sides of stages to aid your recovery in place of Up Specials that are almost exclusively designed to do that for you in Smash.
With this in mind, you need to come into MultiVersus expecting a far faster, more frantic experience that – especially in the game’s signature 2v2 mode – simply will often be hard to keep track of. Concepts like spacing and conditioning that may be more prevalent in Smash and traditional 2D fighting games are going to be far less important than your movement and your combo game. Perhaps the best way you can curb some of the inevitable confusion you may feel when first jumping in is simply having a good grasp of the capabilities of a lot of the characters because trust us – there is some crazy stuff going on there.
Make Use of Training Mode
MultiVersus’ tutorials are slick, well-presented and pretty in-depth. But they’re only gonna teach you what’s what in the game, not how to apply it. That’s where you’re gonna have to figure a lot of things out for yourself. Thankfully, the game has a pretty helpful training mode too — a.k.a. “The Lab”. It might be tempting to just hop into games right away and mash on every opponent in sight, but due to the sheer speed of the game, it’s gonna be hard to really learn what’s going on and eventually you’ll hit a wall where everyone is outclassing you and you’re left unsure of what to do.
By simply selecting a character in The Lab, pressing the start button and clicking on “Move List”, you’ll have a ton of information about every character revealed to you. This Move List explains everything the character can do, gives a good idea of the applications of each move and even explains every character’s “Passive Abilities” – some characters have multiple! Just having a look at these for each character will help make a ton of sense of what’s going on in your matches, but maybe you wanna take it a step further and mess around with them in gameplay? Traditional fighter or platform fighter, this rule remains the same: knowing your opponent’s moves and what they’re capable of will make you a better player. You’ll be able to envision “threat bubbles” at all times (i.e. the ranges at which character is and is not a threat to you) and develop counterplay to particularly powerful moves. If you can resist the urge to jump right into games and spend some time in training just learning what each character does, you’re already giving yourself a huge edge.
Training mode has another incredibly important application for beginners trying to improve, but we’ll talk about that in just a bit. First:
The Importance of Aerials
It’s an almost universal truth in platform fighters: by-and-large, aerial attacks are the most important part of a character’s kit. This is also true in MultiVersus where aerial combat and movement is such a crucial part of moment-to-moment gameplay. Specials are where you pull out your crazy tricks, and grounded attacks are quite unique in this game as we’ll discuss in a moment, but the hitboxes of your aerials are largely what you’ll be using to play “Neutral” (i.e. the game state in which neither player or team has a distinct positional advantage).
You’ll spend a lot of your time in MultiVersus using aerials to keep opponents out or threaten them. Get a good feel for your aerials in The Lab, understand their purpose and applications and notice how almost no high-level player in MultiVersus is ever staying grounded for too long. This is because they want access to their aerial attacks – which are typically more powerful than grounded attacks as often as possible and because by virtue of the game giving every character 2 aerial dodges (which can go in any cardinal direction), you technically have more options in the air in this game than you do on the ground. (You can dodge further upwards or down into the ground from the air, but can’t dodge upwards into the air from the ground, this will require a jump, which can make you vulnerable).
Get used to short hopping, air dashing and spacing hitboxes, and you’ll find your opponents in MultiVersus are suddenly way less able to get in on you than before. Of course, Aerials are great and all – but they’re a lot better when you learn to use them in tandem with…
How to Use Grounded Attacks and Combos
Grounded attacks and combos. Okay, here’s where things get a bit spicy. I come from a background of fighting games with grabs in them. With no grabs in MultiVersus, grounded options first felt really quite weak across the board. They’re generally committal, unsafe options that require you stay relatively immobile. However I’ve since come to realize their true application, and the very different way that MultiVersus treats them.
A lot of your grounded moves in MultiVersus are intended as combo starters, particularly your multi-hit attacks. Let’s take Harley Quinn for example, see her Grounded Side Attack in the move list – Clown Combo? Well, if you simply finish this Clown Combo as instructed in the move list, you’ll perform a pretty underwhelming 3-hit combo that does 10 damage. Why would anyone ever use that?
Well, dear reader, this has potential. We can optimize it. Instead of pushing the attack button for the 3rd time to finish the combo, try doing 2 hits of this combo and then jumping and doing a Down Air. 13 damage. And guess what? This is a true combo, much like the full Clown Combo itself. How do we know? Thanks to our trusty old lab again. Back at the start menu in The Lab, tick the setting that reads “Show Hitstun Combo” and set your CPU opponent’s behavior to “Dodge During Hitstun.” This’ll make it so that the game tells you on-screen whether your combo was “true” (i.e. inescapable) and so that the CPU will dodge away from your attacks whenever possible.
Of course, no one can dodge out of a true combo, so keep practicing the first 2 hits of Harley’s Clown Combo into an instant Down Air until the CPU is unable to dodge away and the game tells you it’s a combo in the upper right-hand corner and that you just did a “Hitstun Combo” (true combo) of “x4”. 13 damage! Nice! And this can go much further, this Down Air has far more combo potential than the 3rd hit of Clown Combo, which knocks your opponent away. So you can now true combo an Up Air or Grounded Up Attack out of this Down Air for an even bigger combo of up to 19% damage. These are all pretty tight inputs and might be hard for newcomers to get used to, but that’s what The Lab and indeed this guide is for, and the training room’s numbers don’t lie.
A lot of MultiVersus’ grounded moves, especially the multi-hit ones work like this. Bugs’ Grounded Side Attack (Why I Oughta!) usually ends with an underwhelming punch as its final move, instead the player can cancel that punch and use his Grounded Up Attack (Rabbit Kick), this true combos into Bug’s Down Air (Downward Mallet Swing) which itself, combos even further into Bugs’ Up Air (Swing Batta Batta!) for a true 22% combo that the CPU will not be able to dodge out of provided you do the inputs right. This is a significant, objective improvement over the 14% dealt by Why I Oughta! If you just use the move as normal and don’t experiment with cancelling it part way through. Superman’s Grounded Side Attack (Kryptonian Combo) isn’t even actually a true combo itself! When you try it on a CPU set to Dodge During Hitstun, they dodge out before the final hit! What is true however is the first hit of the Kryptonian Combo into his Grounded Up Attack (Overhead Swing) which pops your opponent up at the perfect height and angle for some true aerial follow-ups.
Of course not every character has combos like this, but a lot of them do, so experiment! Play around with your character’s grounded moves, see which ones you can cancel out of midway through for a better combo route and start dunking on some people online. It stands to reason that a lot of these combos work much better at the 0-30% or so range as your opponents will take less knockback, but some combos have incredibly generous windows, and are almost always viable. Being able to optimize every opening you get with properly practiced and input combos is perhaps the single biggest factor that will set you apart from the rest of the pack in MultiVersus. It’s the latest craze, all the top players are doing it. Get on board.
Some Final Tips
If you’re playing the game’s 2v2 mode and your teammate is playing a “Mage” class character, try not to double up on Mages, otherwise you’ll both be serving the same role. Try and choose a character who can better support the Mage’s class archetype like maybe a better up-close fighter like a Bruiser or Assassin. Team composition matters.
Play to your strengths with the game’s perk system!
If you are playing one of the more aggressive Bruiser or Assassin characters, you’re probably looking at the red, offensively oriented perks rather than the defensive blue perks. Because why would you use perks to make a character designed to score kills easily play defensive? That’s (hopefully) your teammate’s job! Min-maxing is key in almost every game at a high level, pick perks that further accentuate your strengths, don’t try and patch up weaknesses that are part of the character’s design and should be covered by your teammate.
Be cognizant of what perks your teammate is picking! Sometimes, a compromise is necessary. Perks “stack,” meaning when both teammates use the same perk, their ability is enhanced. One perk even gives both team members a permanent 3rd jump if they both equip it, which can be huge!
Finally, watch the best!
There are tons of good players tearing it up in MultiVersus right now, and many of them on stream too! And with EVO and many other big tournaments now in our rear view, there’s no shortage of footage of the best players — Mirrorman, Synume and VoiD, just to name a few.
Good luck, and happy climbing!