Now that the holidays are here, I'm feeling a lot better. I have more time to myself and time to study since I don't have to wake up at stupid early hours(5:AM due to various reasons) and slog my way to some lecture. Miss playing SF4 a bit now, maybe I'll start playing it again.
Anyway, I'll talk about my feelings about X-23 in Ultimate. I had a lot of high hopes for X-23 and I hoped that she would be on the rise in terms of usage. But now I've come to the realisation that it's just not going to happen.
I really think X-23's a underrated char. She's capable of high damage for 1 bar. She's fast. She's got strong mix-ups. But in the end, she'll never be relevant and she'll never be a common pick for several reasons.
1) I believe her main issue is that she lacks the braindead neutral that most of the top tiers have, on top of their myriad of tools, which allow them to zone, rush and convert easily. X-23's a pure groundbased offensive char prone to keep-away and zoning, with low health and is extremely assist-dependent. And while X-23 can actually convert hits well, she has issues as SJ-height(though thanks to Merkly's vids, a way to convert hits at SJ-height's been discovered.) I also think top tiers like Zero make her life difficult.
2) Effort. I'd say X-23's an advanced-intermediate char. While not as hard as others, you still have to put in a lot of work to do what others can do. Thing is, they can do it more easily and better than her. You could put in the work to have a great point X-23. Or...you could put in the work to have a great point Zero, who does everything far better than she can, on top of just straight up having far better tools. More reward for the same amount of work(in Zero's case, I'd argue it's less due to him being far better than X-23.)
And of course, she naturally gets compared to Wolverine. Wolverine's the safer/stable choice due to his much higher health and the fact that he pretty much plays himself, amongst having a better instant overhead, can convert off his throws more easily for more damage(?), convert more easily in general, and a more flexible Hyper pool(plus an install super?).
Despite all that, I think X-23 actually has more scope for potential than Wolverine does due to her several offensive options. I'm tempted to say Wolverine and X-23 are to Marvel, what Rufus and Cammy are to SF4(pre-AE would probably be a better comparison, but there we go.) X-23's overall damage might be higher than Wolverines? It doesn't matter, nobody's gonna pick X-23 over Wolverine anyway, aside from very, very few.
3) X-23 players aren't doing all she can do. It makes me cringe when I see X-23 players stick her on anchor and do the bare minimum, and worse, get away with it. Then people become misinformed and call her a great anchor. X-23 players also do the absolute bare minimum with the char. The cast's slowing beginning to evolve, but X-23's still stuck in week 1.
Nobody's doing optimised combos, only one person's come close to it, only one person now's using Mirage Feint Cancelling, so many of her tools aren't getting used and the rest have dropped her for top tiers. People are in a crisis in terms of her team optimisation, as well as team position. I hardly see any X-23 players in the SRK boards anymore, which is telling.
Christ, CHUN-LI'S leaps and bounds over X-23, in terms of people showing off her potential(Lud/Brian Kasugano and others.) It's embarassing.
Can't really talk much smack myself though. I'm not exactly the X-23 Master, plus I don't travel. I know there are probably far better X-23 players than the ones I've been seeing in tournaments, but they don't have vids/get exposure/travel.
And well and surely, if I explained this to people, I'd get called a theory-fighter who doesn't travel. Which is actually true lol, but I don't believe X-23's potential is theory. And I really wish I could go to tournaments/travel. I really do. The UMVC3's session's/tournament's only a train-ride away. But I can't, I literally can't go because of various reasons that take absolute priority. This isn't some excuse, it's genuine, and it's my duty.
On the plus-side, I feel like everyday, I'm improving with X-23. I'm beginning to explore more of her options, and I'm extremely close to mastering a combo that was deemed impractical(just gotta get it 100% on the 2P side now lol.) But on the down-side, it's all for naught. My offline comp's busy/gone, the general period for offline play's once every 3-7 months. And right now, I can't even pinpoint the last time I played offline. I don't have the equipment to record videos for critcism, or have access to healthy online competition(online's extremely laggy in UMVC3), which has all but killed my progress in UMVC3.
All I can do is simply practise and hope that one day, I can master X-23, or someone else can show what she's truly capable of. But I'm not holding my breath, because as long as people have the mentality of not being willing to optimise and focus totally on doing what works/what's easy to get a win and not mastery over their chars, some chars will never show their true potential.
Damn, this is a long read. TLDR version: X-23 won't get used 'cause she's not braindead and a pure offensive char.