Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom 3/Game Mechanics/X-Factor
Perform an X-Factor by pressing all four Attack Buttons at the same time. Your characters will begin to glow red afterwards until X-Factor runs out. Unlike the previous version of Marvel vs. Capcom 3, in Ultimate X-Factor can not only be activated while on the ground but while in the air as well.
There's Only One X-Factor
You are only allowed one X-Factor per game. You can see this next to the portraits of your characters. If you have an X-Factor available to you, there will be a glowing "X" symbol next to your lifebar. Once you've used X-Factor, all that will remain the a metal placeholder and the glowing "X" symbol will no longer be there.
While X-Factor is active, you'll see that your Point Character's life bar is no surrounded by a red border. A dark border begins draining slowly down your life bar. This is the timer of how long your X-Factor will last. As soon as it finishes draining, X-Factor ends.
The Levels of X-Factor
X-Factor comes in three Levels and the Level that is activated is dependent on how many of your characters are still active. If you have three characters active, you will only activate a Level 1 X-Factor when you perform it. If you have two active characters (one has been K.O.'ed), you will get a Level 2 X-Factor. And if you are down to your last active character, activating X-Factor will give you a Level 3 X-Factor.
The difference in the Levels affect two things. First, the damage boost and speed boost you gain are amplified at higher levels. While Chun Li on Level 1 X-Factor may seem quick, Level 3 X-Factor Chun Li is verging on insanity. And while Thor on X-Factor Level 1 can put a lot of hurt on you, a Level 3 X-Factor Thor can almost K.O. an average character in just 4 hits.
The other difference is the length which the X-Factor power up lasts. Level 1 X-Factor lasts a decent amount of time but a Level 3 X-Factor lasts a very long time. So if you are down to your last character, you can take out an entire opposing team using one X-Factor thanks to the crazy damage and speed boosts and because of how long it lasts.
One thing must be kept in mind: the Level of X-Factor you get does not change when a character is defeated. Let's say you have two characters left and one of them is on the verge of K.O. If you activate your X-Factor to try to save that character and your opponent still manages to defeat him/her, when your last character jumps in they are still in Level 2 X-Factor. So sometimes it might be more beneficial just letting your 2nd character get K.O.'ed and saving the X-Factor for a Level 3 X-Factor with your final character, as it will give you better benefits and last much longer.
Healing and Bypassing Chip
As mentioned in the Red Health section, X-Factor allows your Point Character to regenerate Red Health. As long as you do not block any attacks or get hit again, your Red Health will continue to rise. If you ever block an attack, the regeneration will stop and then begin again once you are no longer in Block Stun. Also, you Assist Characters will regain their health at a much more rapid pace than normal.
The other added extra benefit of X-Factor Healing is that you will also no longer take any Chip Damage. So if your opponent is trying to chip you to death, you can activate X-Factor and avoid all Chip Damage.
For those of you with a Guilty Gear background, this is the same as a Roman Cancel. For those with a Tatsunoko Vs. Capcom background, this is really similar to a Baroque Cancel. What this basically allows you to do is to cancel any move you are currently in and return to a neutral state where you are able to perform anything you want again. This can be used in many, many different ways, but there are really two main uses of X-Factor Cancel.
The first obvious use of this is to cancel moves you are currently doing to remove any delay the move has to extend your combo. For example, Sentinel can throw the opponent into the corner and OTG the enemy with a Jab Rocket Punch and cancel that into the Plasma Storm Hyper Combo. Before the Plasma Storm ends, however, Sentinel can cancel the recovery of it with an X-Factor activation and then perform yet another Plasma Storm!! So not only do you get to extend the combo, you get to do it with higher damage than normal thanks to the X-Factor damage boost!! There are tons of ways to extend your combos thanks to X-Factor Cancels that the possibilities really are limitless. Figure out the best combos using X-Factor Cancels possible to deal the most damage you can for maximum comeback potential.
The second use for X-Factor Cancels can just be to save yourself. If you perform a move that has a ton of delay and your opponent blocks it and you are the last character on your team, you will be better off canceling your move with an X-Factor so that you cannot be punished and lose a ton of life. This will save yourself and then give you all the benefits of X-Factor to work on your comeback.
Yes, that is right: during Block Stun, you can activate X-Factor so long as you are on the ground and end all Block Stun you are currently in. This makes X-Factor activation VERY potent and allows you to counter all sorts of things. For example, with Thor, you can block you opponent's rushdown Chain Combo and, mid blocking, activate X-Factor and catch them with your Mighty Hurricane Command Throw which allows you to follow up with a combo that will have the damage boost from X-Factor! Other characters like Iron Man can block an entire Hyper Combo, perform an X-Factor Counter in the middle of blocking, and go straight into his Level 3 Iron Avenger Hyper Combo which has a ton of invincibility to beat out the Hyper Combo he was previously blocking. This makes attacking at any point in time very dangerous, so you'll have to be aware if your opponent likes to use X-Factor Counters to punish your attacks. Fortunately, thanks to the limitation of X-Factor, this can only be done once per game.
One of the best uses of this is also to save yourself at the last second from Chip Damage. If Storm, for example, activates Hail Storm and you start blocking it and know you will die from Chip Damage, you can activate X-Factor in the middle of blocking Hail Storm and stop taking Chip Damage. Then, you can try and tag your character out and regain health as an Assist. It's basically a last ditch effort to save your character from death.
Character-Specific X-Factor Bonuses
When you activate X-Factor, you get two distinct power ups: your characters will do extra damage on all hits and your characters will also get a speed boost. For the damage, not only does your character get an extra percentage boost in damage on all hits, but the Damage Reduction minimum is raised. Normally, Damage Reduction can drop a move's damage down to a minimum of 10% of its original damage. So at the tail end of a combo, a move that does 10,000 damage will do, at worst, 1,000 damage. However, in X-Factor, the minimum damage a move can do can be raised as high as 60%! Thus, Hyper Combos, for example, that do a ton of hits will do a lot more damage at the end than they normally would because all the latter hits will be doing 60% of their base damage instead of 10%. This is a huge boost! One thing to note about the damage boost, however, is that the amount of boost the character gains is actually character specific. Harder hitting characters usually gain a larger boost since they can only land a few hits and characters that can land many hits in a single combo get lower boosts.
For the speed power up, your character will be much, much quicker in just about every action... so much to the point that some of your combos that you normally do can really get messed up! The timing will change on just about everything you do. Also, some combos that aren't even normally possible will become possible thanks to the speed boost. Wesker, for example, on X-Factor can juggle multiple shots of Toward + C in a row because the moves come out faster and recover faster. Combine that with the damage boost and these combos can outright K.O. entire opponents almost instantly! Also, as with the damage boost, different characters gain different levels of speed boost. For example, Chun Li on X-Factor gains a lot more speed than Hulk on X-Factor.
Assist Characters, when used as Cross-Over Assists, also gain all the power and speed benefits they normally receive as well. So Assist actions will actually be slightly faster as well.