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Someone Actually Managed To Run Out The Clock In A Dragon Ball FighterZ Match

The Dragon Ball FighterZ finals bracket at South East Asia Major (SEAM) 2019 in Singapore this past weekend featured a very rare sight: a time out victory.

After a day of tough competition, dark horse Filipino competitor Mico “Xanxus” Crawford-Perez and Japanese powerhouse Kei “BNBBN” Komada found themselves among the Dragon Ball FighterZ finalists who had survived the 51 other players in the early portions of the SEAM 2019 brackets. BNBBN was the clear favorite, but Xanxus’ competent use of a unique team featuring Super Saiyan Blue Vegito, Super Saiyan Blue Vegeta, and Super Saiyan Vegeta had helped him edge out strong players like Naoki “Matoi” Yasuda and Nicholas “Seo” Choo in pools. Both players entered their losers finals match with the threat of elimination looming overhead.

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Xanxus opened strong, making smart use of Super Saiyan Blue Vegito’s annoying mixup tools and assists to put some serious damage on Kid Buu, a major part of BNBNN’s team. This forced BNBBN into early usage of Sparking—a mode that empowers and heals characters—to save Kid Buu, giving Xanxus an advantage later in the match. That said, BNBBN isn’t considered one of the best Dragon Ball FighterZ players in the world for nothing, and he soon began to make a comeback against the Filipino upstart.

With just 24 seconds left on the in-game clock, both competitors had been reduced to one character apiece: Super Saiyan Vegeta for Xanxus and Kid Buu for BNBBN. As has been the case since the game’s release, Super Saiyan Vegeta is an incredible assist character, but he otherwise falters when put into one-on-one situations, whereas Kid Buu excels in just about every stage of a match. Again, it seemed BNBBN would put this one away, but that’s when Xanxus employed a unique strategy in Dragon Ball FighterZ competition: running out the clock. By making smart use of his movement tools to keep away from BNBBN and going for lengthy combos, Xanxus was able to whittle away at the clock. As the seconds ticked down, BNBBN fought valiantly, but in the end, it was a losing effort. Xanxus took the round, grinning as the rarely seen “TIME’S UP” graphic appeared on the screen.

It’s certainly not as prevalent a tactic in fighting games as it is in, say, American football, where many games end with one team running out the clock while preserving a point lead, but every now and then, a fighting game match presents a similar situation. After all, the player with the most health left when the timer runs down in a fighting game will take the win, and thus folks who find themselves with a life lead in the final seconds of a game tend to have the advantage. This strategy isn’t always looked upon in the most favorable light, mostly in the Super Smash Bros. community, but it’s a viable tactic that makes great use of in-game systems to win at any cost.

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Time outs are particularly rare in Dragon Ball FighterZ due to a variety of factors. First, the in-game clock is absolutely massive at 300 in-game seconds, which tick away at about the same rate as real-world seconds. That’s already five full minutes with which competitors are allowed to play. And unlike in other fighting games, time stops whenever characters perform supers which, if you’ve ever watched a DBFZ match, you’d know those get used all the time. Sure, the damage dealt per second doesn’t tend to be as high as one would expect from a three-on-three Vs. style game, but it’s enough to get the job done most of the time. I can’t remember the last time I saw a time out in serious DBFZ match, and the SEAM 2019 commentators were just as shocked by Xanxus managing to win with one.

It might seem anti-climactic, but in the fighting game community, a win is a win. This ethos permeates every level of competition. The in-game clock is there for a reason, and when it gets low, it’s well within a player’s rights to use that to their advantage if they have the life lead. Xanxus did not manage to beat BNBBN in the full set, but for one round, he took an incredible Dragon Ball FighterZ player to the limit and walked away the winner—even if only temporarily. And that’s something he can hang his hat on.

Source: Kotaku.com

GO1 Breaks Down In Tears After Defeating SonicFox, Winning Dragon Ball FighterZ At Evo 2019

Dragon Ball FighterZ is in a very different place than it was in 2018, especially when it comes to the Evolution Championship Series. The shine has worn off the game a bit due to various factors, and attendance dropped considerably compared to 2018, relegating the once-beloved game to a Saturday finals placement rather than a spot in the arena on Sunday. But all of that outside noise fell away as soon as the Evo 2019 finalists took their place on stage.

Much of the fighting game community was looking forward to seeing a rematch in the high-profile Dragon Ball FighterZ rivalry between Evo 2018 champion Dominique “SonicFox” McLean and Japanese legend Goichi “GO1” Kishida. Spectators got their wish when both players qualified for the finals without any losses, setting up an eventual winners finals match after SonicFox finished playing with his food in an impressive effort against Japan’s Hirohiro.

Despite the depth of any single Dragon Ball FighterZ bracket, all eyes are, perhaps negligently, glued to what SonicFox and GO1 get up to. It makes sense; in addition to being two of the best players in the world, they’re also polar opposites, with SonicFox focused on smothering offense and GO1 seemingly capable of defending against just about any mixup an opponent throws at him. The crowd at Evo 2019 would be treated to a few more chapters of their story over the course of the finals bracket.

That doesn’t mean the rest of the bracket wasn’t full of killers. Dragon Ball FighterZ World Tour champion Ryota “Kazunoko” Inoue made it to the finals in the losers bracket, but was immediately eliminated by Shoji “Fenritti” Sho. Meanwhile, Joan “Shanks” Namay of Spain carried the entirety of Europe on his shoulders, managing to defeat both Christopher “NYChrisG” Gonzalez and Hirohiro en route to a semi-finals berth. That said, it would be Fenritti that advanced to a losers finals match, but he too fell to SonicFox despite at one point going up 2-1 against the previous champion.

If last year’s Dragon Ball FighterZ championship was like a glorious anime finale, Evo 2019’s grand finals was the rerun you can’t help but watch again. There’s just something special about a SonicFox vs. GO1 match, and they didn’t disappoint when it came to their final match of the tournament. There was no apparent favorite; the crowd roared just as loud for both players, only interested in seeing the best Dragon Ball FighterZ competitors in the world do what they do best.

In the end, there could only be one champion, and today, GO1 was the better player. With all his championships, Evo is essentially SonicFox’s turf, but GO1 managed to come back from an 0-2 deficit, winning three straight games to finally defeat his eternal rival. The story of Dragon Ball FighterZ revolves around these kinds of matches, and no matter the future of the game, GO1 and SonicFox can hold their heads high knowing they authored some of the most exciting moments.

Source: Kotaku.com

Dragon Ball FighterZ’s Kid Goku Is A Muscular Hamster

Dragon Ball FighterZ already has about a thousand full-sized Gokus, but the latest character to join the cast is the more diminutive version seen in the controversial (and now non-canon) Dragon Ball GT. Being shrunk by a magical wish doesn’t make Kid Goku any less formidable in this game, and he brings some neat tools to the table that help him stand out from the ever-growing Dragon Ball FighterZ roster.

Kid Goku is all about mobility. Sure, Dragon Ball FighterZ is a fast-paced game that combines the most frantic elements of Marvel vs. Capcom with airdashing fighters like Guilty Gear and BlazBlue, but Kid Goku feels significantly more mobile, even among his fellow superdashing and teleporting combatants. A lot of this has to do with two moves: his crouching special, which pole vaults Kid Goku towards the opponent with his iconic Power Pole:

…and his Reverse Kamehameha, which he uses to propel himself through the air like a jet engine. Kid Goku can activate it three times in a row to change direction and even cancel it into a powerful airborne Kamehameha, giving him some truly remarkable movement options. These moves, combined with his short stature, are sure to make Kid Goku a difficult character to pin down in competition.

Players will also be able to get a lot of mileage out of his Super Ultra Spirit Bomb. While it’s obviously useful in combos, the way this slow, enormous projectile travels across the screen should make it a useful tool in locking down an erratic opponent or even to set up circumstances where enemies have to guess which way to block as they wake up from a knockdown.

Kid Goku gets stronger as the match continues thanks to a unique power-up that he gains once his teammates have been defeated. This translates to additional damage on his supers as well as an extended animation on his Dragon Fist Explosion that shows Kid Goku transforming into Super Saiyan 4 and dishing out some extra pain.

It’s only been a short time since Kid Goku’s release, but one thing that’s already become clear is that he’s a monster damage-wise, despite his small size. That’s demonstrated here by UK competitor and tournament organizer Edwin “TalesOfMrE” Chuah.

Lab monster Alioune Camara of France has also been experimenting with Kid Goku, and he’s found some cool uses for the slow-moving Spirit Bomb super.

In addition to that, Alioune has shown that Kid Goku can also be a formidable back-up character when it comes to extending combos and squeezing out just a bit more damage.

One of the world’s best Dragon Ball FighterZ players, Evo 2018 runner-up Goichi “GO1” Kishida, is also hard at work testing strategies and combos with Kid Goku. The video below shows how the new fighter can use his airborne staff attack to set up some hard-to-block situations for use against a downed opponent.

While there haven’t been any major tournaments since Kid Goku’s release earlier this week, fighting game players’ practice streams have shown him to be a versatile addition to numerous Dragon Ball FighterZ teams. Only time will tell if Kid Goku can stand up against characters that have been explored and developed over the last year or so, but with the tools we’ve seen so far and his slight frame giving him some extra protection, it’s entirely possible that this tiny ball of death will go far in high-level competition.

Ian Walker loves fighting games and loves writing about them even more. You can find him on Twitter at @iantothemax.

Source: Kotaku.com

9-Year-Old Dragon Ball FighterZ Player Faces His Own Dad In Tournament


Screenshot: Bandai Namco Entertainment

Most fighting game tournaments do very little to curate tournament matchups. Sure, the biggest events will do some seeding to ensure that big names and regional rivals don’t play against each other right out of the gate, but for the most part, competitors need to be ready for whoever is thrown at them. Tsuyoshi, a 9-year-old Dragon Ball FighterZ player, crashed head first into this unique challenge when he had to face his own father in a recent tournament.

Tsuyoshi is a regular at the weekly Dragon Ball FighterZ tournaments hosted by the Fighting Tuesday event series in Tokyo, Japan. His skill has grown steadily with every competition, and he’s become quite formidable despite his young age. Tsuyoshi won his very first match back in December 2018, and has faced his fair share of high-level players, including two matches against Evo finalist Naoki “moke” Nakayama in as many months. And although he isn’t always successful, Tsuyoshi has continued to show up to Fighting Tuesday week after week, receiving encouragement from his father no matter how his matches turn out.

This week’s Fighting Tuesday was a little different. In order to help newcomers get more tournament experience, the organizers limited competition to beginner and intermediate players. Tsuyoshi obviously made the cut, but so did a surprise challenger: his father, who goes by the name Wasa. While he usually sticks to supporting his son, Wasa is also a competitor himself, so he entered the same Dragon Ball FighterZ bracket with his eye on the prize. It was always possible the father and son would end up playing each other in tournament at some point, but the luck of the draw made them opponents in the very first round.

What followed was a pretty standard Dragon Ball FighterZ match, with both Tsuyoshi and Wasa showing off what they had learned in their training sessions and tournament matches. The skill level wasn’t exactly Evo-level, of course, but the added tension of watching a young kid take on his own dad in competition made it just as exciting. The commentators, Andrew “jiyuna” Fidelis and the always hype Majin Obama, were quick to make jokes about the situation, highlighting the rare sight with moments of endearing levity. Tsuyoshi ended up with a 2-1 victory over Wasa, and the father-son pair shared a brief, heart-warming moment before walking off-camera.

Like Dominique “SonicFox” McLean (who also started competing at a young age) before him , Tsuyoshi now represents the next generation of fighting game competition. Fidelis, who has watched Tsuyoshi compete at Fighting Tuesday since last year, has also compared Tsuyoshi’s ability to have fun, no matter the outcome of his matches, to the qualities that have made SonicFox such an amazing player across multiple fighting games. There’s no telling whether or not Tsuyoshi will stick with Dragon Ball FighterZ—kids can be notoriously fickle, after all—but his presence in the fighting game community proves that there is space for everyone to learn, grow, and perhaps even surpass older peers… including your own Dad. Damn.

Ian Walker loves fighting games and loves writing about them even more. You can find him on Twitter at @iantothemax.

Source: Kotaku.com

Dragon Ball FighterZ Player Overwhelmed After Winning Tournament He Lost Last Year

The fighting game community has expanded over the last decade, to the point where its competitive calendar provides a constant stream of tournaments to attend and watch online. While this can be overwhelming at times, it also lets players gauge their growth on a weekly, monthly, or yearly basis. A Dragon Ball FighterZ competitor came face to face with his own improvement after becoming champion at last weekend’s South Louisiana Major (SLAM), an event he just barely lost the year before.

Glyn-Mikl “Doza” Mendoza is a fantastic fighting game player, with notable wins in BlazBlue and Guilty Gear. Like many of his fellow competitors, his focus shifted to Dragon Ball FighterZ when the game released last January. He had his best showing in the game a few months later at SLAM 2018, placing second behind Jose “ScrawtV” Ballestero, one of America’s best Melty Blood and Under Night In-Birth players. Doza was obviously shaken up after losing to ScrawtV a year ago by the thinnest of margins: both players were down to one remaining character in the last game of the grand finals, and Doza was unable to seal the deal.

Since then, both players have had sporadic placings in Dragon Ball FighterZ competition. With SLAM 2019 on the horizon, they were both odds-on favorites of the 33 registered competitors to make the grand finals at the regional event last weekend in Kenner, Louisiana. They first met in winners finals, where Doza handily sent ScrawtV to losers, and again in the championship match. As a local Louisiana player, Doza had the entire crowd behind him in grand finals, forcing Atlanta native ScrawtV to deal with the added psychological pressure. Still, ScrawtV managed to reset the bracket, thanks in part to his use of the overpowering Adult Gohan.

The grand finals reset was much of the same, and ScrawtV looked poised to take Dragon Ball FighterZ at SLAM for a second year after going up 2-1. With the audience cheering him on, Doza tied the match at two games apiece. In the deciding game, Doza isolated ScrawtV’s Adult Gohan, crippling his team’s ability to output massive damage at a moment’s notice. With one final combo, Doza became SLAM 2019 champion. The gathered spectators rushed the stage to hug and congratulate the local player. Like last year, he remained in his chair, overwhelmed this time with joy instead of grief.

“This win meant a lot to me,” Doza wrote on Twitter afterwards. “Last year, when I lost Dragon Ball FighterZ at SLAM, was the first time my emotions took control in fighting games due to anger and frustration. This year they take control for different reasons. I won SLAM 2019 for Dragon Ball FighterZ! Thank you all for believing in me.”

South Louisiana Major isn’t the biggest fighting game tournament around, but Doza’s win was just as meaningful as if he had won the Evolution Championship Series. Losing in his home state last year dealt an obvious blow to his confidence. But in becoming SLAM 2019’s Dragon Ball FighterZ champion, Doza now has a tangible example of his growth as a fighting game player, a notch on his belt that he can carry to the next competition.

Ian Walker loves fighting games and loves writing about them even more. You can find him on Twitter at @iantothemax.

Source: Kotaku.com

First-Time Tournament Attendee Beats Dragon Ball FighterZ World Champ

Over 800 fighting game players competed in San Jose, California last weekend at NorCal Regionals, an annual event first established in 2003. One of these competitors was the recent winner of the Dragon Ball FighterZ world championships. Another was a totally unknown player attending his very first tournament. These two competitors couldn’t have been more different, and their eventual meeting served as the perfect example of what sets the fighting game community apart.

Ryota “Kazunoko” Inoue has long been considered one of the greatest fighting game players of all time thanks to his ability to pick up almost any game and excel. Over the last decade, Kazunoko has found success in everything from Street Fighter to Guilty Gear, but his champion-level skill in Dragon Ball FighterZ might be his most impressive feat to date due to the game’s sheer depth of talent. Everyone and their mom seems to have started competing in the anime-inspired three-on-three fighter, including community legend Goichi “GO1” Kishida and genre wunderkind Dominique “SonicFox” McLean. That makes Kazunoko’s accomplishments that much more extraordinary.

Since winning the world championship this past January, Kazunoko has been the man to beat when it comes to Dragon Ball FighterZ competition. He entered NorCal Regionals fresh off a runner-up finish to GO1 at the Atlanta-based Final Round in March, on track to continue his streak of strong first- and second-place performances that stretches back to August of last year. Looking at his early bracket, it was hard to imagine him having a difficult time qualifying out of pools. Sure, players like Gabriel “Jibrill” Lam and Kyle “KyleP” Palsson bring a measure of finesse to the table thanks to their time as high-level Marvel vs. Capcom players in Seattle, but the smart money was on Kazunoko quickly moving onto later stages of the tournament without much trouble. As he entered winners finals of his pool, Kazunoko had just one obstacle to deal with in order to qualify for top 16: Bryan “bryanhakai” Trinh.

To say Trinh was Kazunoko’s polar opposite would be an understatement. Playing Dragon Ball FighterZ as his very first fighting game and attending his very first tournament in NorCal Regionals, the 20-year-old competitor was like a baby fish who’d been dropped into the world’s largest ocean. Even with almost 2000 hours of play time online, Trinh’s training paled in comparison to the Japanese powerhouse’s decades of veteran experience. As such, Trinh’s expectations were low before he even reached the qualifying match against Kazunoko.

“Going into NorCal Regionals, I was the lowest seed in my pool, projected to get double eliminated round one,” Trinh told Kotaku via email. “My first match was against the second highest seed in my pool besides Kazunoko, who was projected to play him in winners finals pool and end up making it out in the losers side. I have always been a big fan of Kazunoko, and when I saw that he was in my pool, I was very scared while being excited to have the chance to face the world champion. Before my match with Kazunoko, I honestly did not have any high expectations and thought I’d get bodied hard to be honest. I just wanted to have fun playing him on stream.”

As the two players sat down to play their broadcasted match, commentators Chris “Hellpockets” Fields and Sami “Samifish” Nash called attention to the disparity, referring to Trinh as a “secret killer” in comparison to Kazunoko’s obvious status as a Dragon Ball FighterZ god. But the fighting game community (and also, human beings in general) loves an underdog. After Trinh’s surprisingly close loss to Kazunoko in the first game, the commentators adjusted accordingly, factoring in their newfound esteem for Trinh’s clear skills.

At the beginning of the second game, Trinh caught two of Kazunoko’s characters in one combo (otherwise known as a “happy birthday”), giving him an almost immediate advantage. Unlike the initial match, Trinh managed to stave off Kazunoko’s comeback and tie the game count at one apiece, letting out a sigh of relief when the stream switched to the player camera. In the third and final game, Trinh would again take an early lead, only to see the health and character differential negated by Kazunoko’s ability to play in the clutch. But with one final air-to-air attack, the newcomer would seal his win against the world champion with a 2-1 finish, eliciting celebration from the gathered audience members who, one by one, approached the stage to congratulate him. In the end, Trinh ended his NorCal Regionals run in seventh place.

“I somehow managed to take the early lead every game and didn’t allow Kazunoko to open up with superdash and assist,” Trinh explained to Kotaku. “I dropped a lot of my combos and missed my touch-of-deaths due to the unfamiliarity with PlayStation 4, and I was very nervous throughout the match, which lead to some bad decisions. I was very scared of Kazunoko and his comeback potential after he made the one-on-three comeback with Yamcha in the first game. I treated the match like I’d treat any match I’ve played online and just kept up my general gameplan and playstyle.”

Going from an online background to an offline tournament can be difficult. After years of poor netcode, many fighting game players believe that getting a majority of your practice online can breed bad habits in otherwise smart players. Trinh agrees with this and noted that netplay is “notorious for scrubby play and mashing.” But the other side of the coin is that he can immediately find matches with a wide array of players, training against teams that might not be popular in high-level play and executing his strategies in a low-stress environment. As for what he thought of his first tournament experience, Trinh is excited to attend additional events and get more involved with the in-person competitive scene in the future. He even plans to begin training with fellow NorCal competitor Vineeth “Apologyman” Meka, an incredible Dragon Ball FighterZ player in his own right.

The fighting game community is different from most traditional esports in that scenarios like Trinh’s play out all the time. Unlike games like League of Legends and Overwatch, which are team-based games with stratified leagues that don’t have open pools for “anyone” to enter, fighting game competition tends to be all about giving everyone a chance to compete on an even playing field. To paraphrase community veteran James Chen, any player can enter any grassroots tournament and potentially get matched up against the fighting game equivalent of Michael Jordan or Kobe Bryant. This in turn gives us stories like the one that played out at NorCal Regionals, where someone with zero past showings like Trinh can attend an event and send the reigning world champion to the losers bracket. As history has shown, it’s futile to deem anyone “the best in the world” with our limited scope of the competitive landscape, and it’s also exciting to think that someone out there, practicing online and unknown, is just one small tournament entry fee away from greatness.

“Everyone has a chance to win if you give yourself the opportunity to compete,” Trinh concluded. “Everyone should try to get themselves out there, because they never really know their potential unless they try it out themselves. No matter how I perform from now on, I will always remember NorCal Regionals and be proud I took off a set off the Dragon Ball FighterZ champ and made it to top 8 in my first tournament.”

Ian Walker loves fighting games and loves writing about them even more. You can find him on Twitter at @iantothemax.

Source: Kotaku.com

Competitors See Potential in Dragon Ball FighterZ’s New Characters

Screenshot: Bandai Namco Entertainment

Late last month, Dragon Ball FighterZ received its first new characters since September 2018: fan favorites Videl and Jiren (CORRECTION 10:09 am ET: This story originally misstated the release date of the previous DLC). Since the two newcomers joined the playable roster, the fighting game community has inundated social media with initial impressions, and while it’s still early, the players who spoke with Kotaku say they see a good deal of potential in these fighters.

If you don’t happen to be a Dragon Ball fanatic, here’s what you need to know: Videl and Jiren couldn’t be any more different from one another in the source material. The former is the daughter of phony martial arts expert Hercule (known as Mr. Satan in the original Japanese) and the eventual wife of series protagonist Gohan. The latter is the enormously powerful endgame antagonist of Dragon Ball Super. While Videl, who is a regular human being, shows impressive fighting potential in a series full of extraterrestrial threats, Jiren is one of the strongest characters in the Dragon Ball universe. It took the combined efforts of Goku, Vegeta, Frieza, and Android 17 to defeat him. These power levels as represented in the source material mean relatively little when it comes to a fighting game like Dragon Ball FighterZ, since the game seeks to balance the cast rather than accurately portray how strong they are in the anime and manga series.

Several competitors immediately took to these new characters and began to choose one or the other in Dragon Ball FighterZ tournaments. One such player was Christopher “True_Tech” Jones, who took a days-old team built around Videl to Winter Showdown in Westminster, Colorado last weekend and managed to make the finals. As one of the best players in the region, it wasn’t surprising to see him do well, but his decision to use a character that had only just been added to the game was a gutsy one.

“I went in thinking I’ll play Videl and Gohan, who I also just picked up recently, all winners bracket,” Jones told Kotaku via direct message. “I’ll be seeded well, which should get me an easier first round opponent, and if I lose, I’ll play my old team or a variation with Videl.”

When it came down to it, though, Jones didn’t want to switch it up. “I promptly lost first round to a player I was unfamiliar with,” he said. “One of my issues is that I’m stubborn. I didn’t want to give up after one set, so I stuck it out with the new team. In fact, I had a really close match that would have been knocked me outside of Top 8 with only Videl left, and I managed to clutch it out. This let me know that if I could do it three days in, give me a month!”

Jones said that he knew he would use Videl from the first time she was revealed due to her “fast, tricky” style, which hews close to characters he’s used in other fighting games. Once he finally got his hands on her, Jones found that she felt “super complete” in that she has a multitude of traits that players look for in Dragon Ball FighterZ characters, such as strong mixup tools and a complementary super. Unlike other cast members, however, Videl doesn’t have access to the game’s Z Reflect—a defensive technique that blocks attacks, reduces recovery time, and pushes the opponent away. Instead, she makes use of a unique dodge that allows her to get out of harms away and counter-attack.

“[Dodging] can be useful for some things,” Jones explained. “If Videl dodges a really active move, she might get a punish that a reflect wouldn’t get. [Gotenks’s EX Great Special Rolling Kick] comes to mind for this. Normally, you just reflect all the hits and get nothing for it, but because she totally dodges the move, she has a chance to punish it. But she also loses out. If someone were to vanish into the corner and you reflect it, that would be a free combo for anyone else in the game, but Videl just moves out the way [without getting] advantage. This makes you have to plan a bit more than with other characters.”

Jones also, without prompting, told Kotaku that Videl’s alternate costume with pigtails is superior to her short-hair default, but that’s a discussion for another day.

Due to her status as a regular human in the anime and manga series, Videl doesn’t come equipped with the energy blasts most characters have in Dragon Ball FighterZ. Instead, the button that would normally be used to shoot these projectiles calls out Great Saiyaman, the superhero alter-ego of her friend and future spouse Gohan. These attacks function as pseudo-assists, with Great Saiyaman performing a variety of moves depending on which direction is held on the joystick and greatly improving Videl’s already potent offensive pressure.

Vineeth “ApologyMan” Meka, a prominent Dragon Ball FighterZ competitor with strange cereal-eating habits, largely agrees with Jones’s assessment of Videl and told Kotaku that he believes she is the stronger of the two newly-released characters thanks to Great Saiyaman’s support. “She brings a lot to the table with having probably the strongest mix ups in the game and how potent her Great Saiyaman attacks are in neutral,” Meka said via email. “What makes Great Saiyaman so powerful is [he is] guaranteed to come out even if she gets hit somewhat early in the startup of the moves. The only weakness I’d say is that she doesn’t have a beam move, but this isn’t a huge deal breaker in my opinion with how strong the Great Saiyaman attacks are.”

Still, Jiren is no slouch. Meka said that he can see the grey alien being a “major problem” due to his high damage. Jiren’s moveset includes a special counter that sees him immediately grab any character unfortunate enough to launch a projectile at him while it’s active. This is especially potent against characters like Captain Ginyu and Piccolo, whose fireballs remain on screen for a long time. But without a quick, low-hitting light attack, Jiren suffers in a game that relies heavily on the ability to put opponents in mixup situations.

Alioune Camara, a French fighting game competitor who provides detailed Dragon Ball FighterZ strategies via Twitter, has spent more time with Jiren but feels both characters have potential and the “necessary toolsets” to succeed in serious play. “Videl specializes more in close quarter with assist,” Camara explained to Kotaku via direct message. “She has the ability to stay on top of her opponent and deal serious damage, and her defense is correct with an [uppercut] and a dodge. Jiren is looking like a very strong neutral oriented character, with a set of very strong defensive tools and counters, ways to control the screen with strong projectiles, and a pseudo-command grab that he can vanish from.”

Much like in the source material, Videl and Jiren have a ton of differences in Dragon Ball FighterZ. Videl, with her Great Saiyaman assists and dodge, is capable of both pressuring opponents into making a mistake and countering errant attacks that other characters can’t. Jiren, on the other hand, excels in the neutral game, controlling the battlefield and easily killing off characters once he’s managed to ensnare them with his counters. Where they land on high-level teams really depends on what individual players are looking for out of a new character. Everyone who spoke with Kotaku was clear that it’s still early days for these fighters, but for his part, Meka doesn’t believe Videl and Jiren will be going away any time soon.

“With the changes to the game’s overall system in season two, I expect to see both of these characters faring very well in high-level competition,” Meka concluded.

Ian Walker loves fighting games and loves writing about them even more. You can find him on Twitter at @iantothemax.

Source: Kotaku.com

The Dragon Ball FighterZ World Tour Champion Is Who We Thought He Was

Photo: Carlo Cruz, Red Bull Content Pool

Last weekend’s Dragon Ball FighterZ World Tour finale in Los Angeles, California, was punctuated with surprises and excitement in just about every match. But while the talent on display was some of the densest the young game has seen over its year of competition, the circuit’s most dominant player was able to walk away with a championship that seemed like it belonged to him before the tournament even started.

Ryota “Kazunoko” Inoue is unquestionably one of the greatest fighting game players of all time. He’s excelled in just about every game he’s picked up over the last decade, finding success in everything from Guilty Gear and BlazBlue to Street Fighter and Marvel vs. Capcom, and his time with Dragon Ball FighterZ has been no different. While most attention has naturally been focused on the enduring rivalry between Dominique “SonicFox” McLean and Goichi “GO1” Kishida, Kazunoko has been tallying up a series of wins leading up to the World Tour finals that put every other competitor’s record to shame.

Starting with his early qualification at Community Effort Orlando and ending with a three-tournament streak that opened up a multitude of additional last-chance qualifiers at the main event, Kazunoko has been the most impressive Dragon Ball FighterZ player of the last year based on results alone. Coming into last weekend’s World Tour finals, his victory felt all but assured, even with fellow qualifiers like SonicFox, GO1, and Eduardo “HookGangGod” Deno in attendance. But before these titans could be set loose, the championship bracket would need to be filled by on-site qualifiers, and it’s there that Kazunoko’s most fierce competition would earn his chance at the crown.

Shoji “Fenritti” Sho’s history in the fighting game community is not as long as Kazunoko’s. He first gained global recognition as a brilliant BlazBlue competitor, qualifying with teammates for two Japanese championships in 2012. Since then, he has become one of the best BlazBlue players in the world. Since Dragon Ball FighterZ’s release in January 2018, Fenritti tried his hand and found success at both local and major competitions. Last November, he narrowly missed out on securing a spot in the World Tour finals with a loss to Kazunoko at Japan Round, but Fenritti did earn a trip to Los Angeles with that performance, which meant he had one last shot at making the championships through the last-chance qualifiers.

Over the course of one day, Fenritti participated in four excruciating, single-elimination brackets. He fell short in the first three with losses to Ryo “Dogura” Nozaki and BNBBN, both of whom went on to qualify for the finals themselves. Finally, in the last of the last-chance qualifiers, Fenritti secured the win he needed to make the main event. His opponent in this grand finals match, Naoki “Moke” Nakayama, was another favorite in the Dragon Ball FighterZ scene, but when push came to shove, Fenritti won and qualified, leaving Moke on the outside looking in with almost 200 other competitors. Fenritti’s opening opponent? Kazunoko, the player who had kept him out of the World Tour finals in the first place.

Unfortunately for the challenger, Kazunoko quickly squashed any redemption arc Fenritti may have thought to establish for himself. The first match of the Dragon Ball FighterZ World Tour finals saw Kazunoko absolutely demolish Fenritti with a quick 3-0 victory. From there, Kazunoko notched a second win against Dogura before facing stiff competition from GO1 in the winners finals.

Piccolo, the latest addition to GO1’s repertoire, played a big part against Kazunoko. In undermining Kazunoko’s strongest fighters by way of snapping them out—a technique that forcefully removes the opponent’s current character and slots in one of their backups—GO1 was routinely able to set up of Piccolo’s Hellzone Grenade, a massive super attack that locks down the opponent and allows mixup opportunities. But Kazunoko’s team, which is made up of some of the strongest characters in the game, is nothing to scoff at. Gotenks, who is equipped with a super that provides similar benefits to Hellzone Grenade, serves as Kazunoko’s point character, backed up by Adult Gohan, a strong character who gets even more powerful over the course of the match, and Yamcha, one of the game’s best assists. GO1 managed to go up 2-1 at one point, but Kazunoko’s understanding of the game was just too much, even with GO1’s incredible defense. Kazunoko forced a decisive final game in their best-of-five matchup, in which he wiped the floor with GO1, who ended up being unable to eliminate even one of Kazunoko’s characters.

Elsewhere in the tournament, Fenritti was proving his own strength in the losers bracket. While he avoided having to play Evo 2018 champion SonicFox, who suffered a surprising and uncharacteristic elimination at fifth-place, Fenritti did come up against the one other American in the finals, HookGangGod. He would defeat his only non-Japanese opponent with a clean sweep, going on to eliminate Cyclops Osaka teammates Dogura and GO1 before earning a rematch against Kazunoko in grand finals.

Fenritti had played an immense of Dragon Ball FighterZ up to this point. The young challenger had fought his way through 30 matches over two days compared to Kazunoko’s three in the World Tour finals, a monumental feat even for the most battle-hardened competitors. After defeating GO1 in the losers finals, Fenritti was given a lengthy break, during which the commentary team marveled at his endurance. More than just about any other game, Dragon Ball FighterZ takes a lot out of its players. Apart from how long the matches can take even in the most constricted tournament format, the amount of pressure competitors are able to apply to opponents makes every match a stressful experience, filled with the need to recognize attack barrages and figure out how to best defend against them. When Fenritti finally sat down to face off against Kazunoko (and then between every game thereafter), he closed his eyes, took a small breath, then focused on the task at hand.

What followed was an absolute rollercoaster. Fenritti took the fight to Kazunoko immediately, throwing him off balance with his team of Perfect Cell, Bardock, and Super Saiyan Vegeta. Pretty much every team composition in Dragon Ball FighterZ includes some sort of shenanigans to open up the opponent’s defenses, but Fenritti’s feels the most straightforward in its singular strategy to mess opponents the heck up. Perfect Cell and Bardock are both so powerful that they can force the other player to second-guess their every move lest they get smacked in the mouth, while Super Saiyan Vegeta functions as a strong, lockdown assist who has been popular since the game’s release, despite receiving various nerfs. This combination of power and function helped Fenritti ride to a 3-1 victory against Kazunoko in the first grand finals match, forcing the bracket to be reset.

This trend didn’t last, however. Whether it was fatigue from 48 hours of competition or simply because Kazunoko is just too damn good, Fenritti couldn’t maintain his momentum. He often found himself falling behind Adult Gohan, whose Potential Unleashed super makes him stronger every time it hits the opponent. Fenritti’s fighters also couldn’t quite keep up with Gotenks’ ability to confuse opponents with complex mixups, even without Yamcha’s potent assist. In the final game, Kazunoko steamrolled over Fenritti en route to his championship, ending the match with an impactful 3-1 win and proving once and for all that he is the strongest Dragon Ball FighterZ player in the world.

The Dragon Ball FighterZ World Tour finals showed that even a tournament where one player is heavily favored can be impactful and exciting. Although everyone in the bracket had the potential to walk away as the tour’s inaugural champion, the event was definitely Kazunoko’s to lose. Despite being barely a year old, Dragon Ball FighterZ has already carved out a spot for itself in the hearts and minds of the fighting game community, and competition is better for having someone at the top—whether that’s Kazunoko, SonicFox, GO1, or any of the other fantastic players who compete at a high level—to aspire towards and challenge. The next step for Kazunoko is holding onto his throne, but as Dragon Ball FighterZ’s short history has already shown, that’s easier said than done.

Ian Walker loves fighting games and writing about them. You can find him on Twitter at @iantothemax.

Source: Kotaku.com

Favorites And Dark Horses To Watch At This Weekend’s Dragon Ball FighterZ World Tour Finals

Screenshot: Bandai Namco Entertainment

This weekend, the official Dragon Ball FighterZ World Tour will culminate at a grand finals event in Los Angeles, California. It’s sure to be an explosive finale, but the fireworks are actually starting on Saturday, as hundreds of players compete in a handful of last-chance qualifiers.

The Dragon Ball FighterZ World Tour was organized in such a way that players were able to win more than one qualifying tournament while en route to the finals. Winning a qualifier also meant winning one of seven Dragon Balls, just like the foundational conceit of many adventures in the original manga and anime series. That’s why players were allowed to win more than one of these events: to open up the possibility of one player winning all seven, at which point the finals would turn into a one-on-one between the sole Dragon Ball holder and a qualified challenger. Reality fell somewhat short of that potential climax. Japanese powerhouse Ryota “Kazunoko” Inoue won just four events, leaving Dominique “SonicFox” McLean, Goichi “GO1” Kishida, and Eduardo “HookGangGod” Deno each taking one Dragon Ball apiece. As such, the finals will be preceded by four additional qualifiers the day before.

The setup of these last-chance qualifiers means that competition will be greatly truncated. Hopeful competitors will take part in four separate brackets, each of which will be single-elimination. This is much different than the usual double-elimination format used in most competitions, in which players get a second chance after taking a loss. But losing one qualifier will not disqualify someone from the others, meaning everyone has four shots at making the Dragon Ball FighterZ World Tour finals.

As of today, over 250 players from across the world have signed up to participate. With only four finalists selected, a bunch of amazing Dragon Ball FighterZ players have been left on the outside looking in, and many will be in attendance trying to earn one of those remaining four spots. Chief among these challengers is Shoji “Fenritti” Sho, the highest-ranked player that has yet to make the World Tour finals. Fenritti made a name for himself in competition with the BlazBlue series, and now, he has taken to Dragon Ball FighterZ quickly. He barely missed out on qualifying at the Japan Saga event last November, where he lost a dramatic grand finals match against Kazunoko. While many other players have been experimenting with their team composition, Fenritti has remained true to his squad of Perfect Cell, Bardock, and Super Saiyan Vegeta, which gives him three dynamic characters that he can use to mix up his opponents.

Fenritti isn’t the only Japanese player looking to make waves after losing a qualifying event. Ryo “Dogura” Nozaki, Naoki “Moke” Nakayama, and Tachikawa Toru, each of whom fell short of earning their own Dragon Balls at VSFighting, South East Asia Major, and CouchWarriors CrossUp respectively, will all be in attendance to compete for a shot at the finals. Each of these players has been consistent over the course of the game’s lifespan, and they’ll likely be in the running throughout many of the qualifying brackets.

It’s even harder to guess who will make the cut when you take into account domestic talent. Reynald Tacsuan, Steve “Supernoon” Carbajal, Keenan “Kizzie Kay” Kizzie, Eddie “brkrdave” Sayles, and Jonathan “Cloud805” Morales are frequent Southern California champions that have also found success abroad. Vineeth “ApologyMan” Meka and Derek “Nakkiel” Bruscas—both of whom also transitioned from BlazBlue to find success in Dragon Ball FighterZ early on—have all but cemented their status as the best in their respective Northern California and Pacific Northwest regions. And when SonicFox isn’t around, east coast competitors like Jon “dekillsage” Coello, Steve “Lord Knight” Barthelemy, and Aaron “NicoMaki” Perez take regular wins at the Brooklyn-based Next Level Battle Circuit tournament series.

The number of talented Dragon Ball FighterZ players in attendance combined with the unforgiving one-and-done format will mean that even the most informed predictions are bound to fall short. Any one of the players listed above could make it into the World Tour finals, not to mention dark horse candidates like Takashi “ACQUA” Akiyami, Dawn “Yohosie” Hosie, Alioune Camara, Glyn “Doza” Mendoza, and many, many more. Dragon Ball FighterZ competition may be in flux outside of the official World Tour events due to overzealous rights holders shutting down grassroots tournaments, but the players who qualify for the World Tour finals are sure to make the community forget about these outside issues, at least for a couple of days.

The Dragon Ball FighterZ World Tour qualifiers are scheduled to begin Saturday, January 26, at 12 PM PST, with the finals set for Sunday, January 27, at 11 AM PST. Both competitions will be live on Twitch.

Ian Walker loves fighting games and writing about them. You can find him on Twitter at @iantothemax.

Source: Kotaku.com