With the release of the Dragon Ball FighterZ open beta, players got their first chance to experience the game’s tutorial. While it serves its purpose in getting newbies acquainted with the game, it’s unfortunately somewhat incomplete. Some of the game’s most important mechanics aren’t addressed in the tutorial at all. Here are a few mechanics that are important to master for high-level play, but weren’t covered by the tutorial.
You can use any teammate’s super as long as you are in a combo
Certain characters, like Gohan, don’t have any air supers, and this presents a certain problem with team composition. It was difficult to end any air combo with a super. To compensate, players were pairing Gohan with characters like Android 16, who could hard tag in and use a move that brings the opponent back to the ground in order to be hit with a ground super.
As it turns out, you don’t have to deal with all this complexity, because you can combo into any of your teammate’s supers whenever you want. Characters like Gohan can just spike their opponent to the ground and then input quarter circle forward or back with a tag button to tag to their teammate (say, Goku) and immediately do a super that would hit the opponent in a knocked down state.
In addition, this reduces the need for DHCs. For those of you who don’t know what I’m talking about, in tag team fighters there exists a mechanic called the DHC or Delayed Hyper Combo that allows you to combo from one character’s super into another. This is largely considered one of the safest ways to tag. The DBFZ tutorial teaches you how to do this, just press a tag button in the middle of a super. However, DHC-ing costs two meters to execute. Using a tag super as described above only costs one! At high levels of play, we will likely see players fish for short combos or easy hit confirms in order to tag out safely and cheaply.
You can do advanced air combos with one button
DBFZ’s light auto combo does a quick three hit launch followed by a quick three hit air combo ending in a spike. This combo earns you a Dragon Ball and builds quite a bit of meter, but doesn’t do a lot of damage.
You may have noticed that experienced players do slightly longer combos. In fact, every character in the game can perform a simple double-jump air-series for decent damage. That series is a light attack, canceled into a medium attack, double-jump canceled into another light and medium attack, and then followed up with whatever specials or supers would naturally end the combo.
Believe it or not, you can do this longer series with just one button. First, mash the light attack button to launch the opponent into the air. Then, after your character uses a homing attack to pursue the opponent, press the light button twice. This will make your character perform the first light and medium attack of the series. Then jump cancel and start mashing the light button again. Your character will automatically do a second light and medium followed by a heavy spike if you continue to mash the button. You can then cancel into the tag super we mentioned above for some pretty heavy damage.
You can switch between auto-combos mid-combo
DBFZ has auto-combos attached to every button. The light auto combo earns you a Dragon Ball and does a quick air combo. The medium auto-combo does a bit more damage, hits with a low, and ends with a super. The heavy auto combo knocks the opponent back and chases them into the corner. All three of these auto combos have varying utility and should be used in different circumstances.
What DBFZ doesn’t tell you however, is that you can chain these combos together. Let’s say that you want to punish an opponent that just attacked you with an unsafe move. You probably don’t want to attack with your medium auto-combo, because it starts with a slow medium attack that can likely be blocked. Instead, you want to attack with your light auto-combo, since it starts with a quick jab. Unfortunately, this combo doesn’t do a lot of damage. Why not get the best of both worlds? Just switch to the medium auto-combo before the light auto-combo launches the opponent into the air. You’ll then end the combo with a super, as if you started with a medium in the first place.
Then, once you get the hang of switching from light to medium, it’s just a small step away from chaining into heavy attacks and making up manual combos of your own.
An auto-combo spike is a soft knockdown while a manual spike is a hard knockdown
This one is a little complicated. Using your light auto combo will knock the opponent into the air and then spike them down to the ground. You may notice that once they hit the floor they will immediately be able to get up and start fighting again. This is called a soft knockdown.
You can actually extend this into a hard knockdown if you spike your opponent manually. You do this by pressing the heavy attack button in the air. You can do this at any time. Instead of mashing your light auto attack to completion, press the heavy attack button right before it ends. You will do the same spike, but your opponent will hit the ground hard, cracking it and sliding across it. They will then be stunned, lying on the ground for a while. This gives you extra time to continue to hit them with an OTG (off the ground) attack, or lets you set up a follow-up mix-up.
You can auto-combo after a low-hit
Most fighting games require you to be standing in order to execute an auto-combo. This isn’t the case in DBFZ. You can actually continue your auto combo from any hit, high or low. This allows you to create whatever mix-up you want and still convert it into damage, even if you haven’t learned a manual combo. If you are new at the game, try jumping in with a medium and then executing a crouching medium for an easy high-low mix-up that can then confirm into an auto-combo.
You can hold a direction to avoid using a homing attack during a light auto-combo
Many newbies may be tripped up by the auto-combo tutorial if they find themselves holding forward naturally while attacking. This is because basic auto-combos have to be done without holding any directional input. If you hold forward, you will execute your light auto-combo without a homing attack after launching the enemy into the air. This allows you to pursue them however you like for an air-combo of choice.
You can hold a direction to avoid auto-comboing at all
While holding forward avoids automatic follow ups, holding backward avoids executing auto-combos at all. This allows you to throw rapid-fire jabs or medium attacks without transitioning into your combo. This is good for hit-confirming manual combos.
Many characters’ supers have different modes
The DBFZ tutorial gives you a very quick lesson on super moves. Use quarter circle forward and R1 (right bumper) for your level one super and quarter circle back and R1 for your level three. This works, but it’s not really the whole story.
R1 is really just a button macro for pressing the light attack and medium attack buttons at the same time. You don’t actually have to press it at all. You can just use quarter circle forward or quarter circle back and these two buttons.
You can also execute super moves by inputting quarter circle forward or back with the heavy attack and ki attack buttons (shortcutted to R2). For some characters, this executes the same super they would normally execute, but for others it executes a super in a different mode. For example, Goku’s Kamehameha super fires forward by pressing light and medium, but causes him to teleport before firing it upward with heavy and ki.
Many characters have supers that can execute in different modes like this. Goku can also aim his Kamehameha up and down. Krillin can fire multiple Destructo Disks by mashing buttons. Gohan can spend extra meter on his father-son Kamehameha to deal extra damage. Always be sure to look in your character’s move-list for details on how their super moves work.
Ki attacks are cancelable
The ki button usually throws a projectile, and most fighting game veterans might regard this as a special move. However, this is Dragon Ball Z we are talking about here. Throwing a fireball is as easy as punching. Hence, projectiles thrown by the ki button aren’t special moves at all. They are normals, and they follow the same cancel rules as normals. This means you can chain them after a heavy attack and cancel them into specials and supers. If you seem to be having problems with ending your combos, remember that ending with a ki barrage canceled into a super works just fine. Ki attacks also have heavy hit-stun, so consider canceling in to them if you can’t get the next step of your combo to hit. You can also cancel ki attacks on block to keep ranged pressure on your opponent.
Most characters have at least two basic ki attacks
This is really just the second half of the “ki attacks are normals” mechanic. This mean you have a standing ki attack, a crouching ki attack, a jumping ki attack, and even sometimes command ki attacks by holding forward. These different ki attacks range from anti-air blasts, to special types of movement, to traps, and more.
Utilize them all to maximize your effectiveness in combat.
Crouching heavy attacks are air invulnerable
Every character in DBFZ has a universal anti-air attack. Every character’s crouching heavy attack appears to be completely invulnerable to aerial attacks. This includes the homing attack, which many players have gotten into the habit of spamming. Connecting with this attack will launch your opponent into the air. You can either jump-cancel it or follow up with a homing attack of your own.
It’s also worth noting that attacking an aerial opponent like this will allow you to follow up with a heavily damaging combo since your combo started with a heavy attack and was most likely a counter-hit.
Vanishing attacks are universal cancels
The tutorial teaches you that vanishing (by pressing medium and heavy at the same time) is a way to spend a bar and attack the opponent from behind. However, it does not tell you that vanishing attacks cancel out of basically anything except super moves. This makes them useful as combo extenders, not just mix-up tools. If you find yourself unable to finish a combo, try vanishing after the final hit. You’ll cancel it and attack the opponent from behind, at which point you can follow-up with a homing attack or super attack. You can also vanish after an unsafe move to punish an opponent’s counter-attack.
Cinematic openings and finishers require specific stages as well as team compositions
Finally, many people are wondering why they can’t seem to trigger cinematic openings and finishers. The answer is actually quite simple; you have to recreate all the circumstances of the show. For example, to get Goku’s cinematic opening against Frieza, Goku has to be the first character on one team, Frieza has to be the first character on another, and it appears as if Krillin cannot be on either team. Additionally, the fight has to take place on Planet Namek. Similarly, to get Gohan’s cinematic finisher against Cell, they need to be fighting in the wasteland arena and Gohan needs to finish cell with a heavy attack. Oddly enough it does not seem to trigger if Gohan finishes him with the father-son Kamehameha. In addition, it does not seem to trigger of Goku is on Gohan’s team. All dramatic finishes appear to trigger when finishing the opponent with a heavy attack.
That’s all we have for you right now. Stay tuned for more tips and tricks when Dragon Ball FighterZ officially releases on January 26th.