DBFZ Beginner Guide: Controls, Moves, Tips, and more

DBFZ Beginner Guide: Controls, Moves, Tips, and more

21 min

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Don’t miss the basic info that could make your starting experience in this game even more exciting (and potentially bring you more victories)

Dragon Ball FighterZ is a super friendly game for beginners (or should we say Super-Saiyan friendly?). You don’t need any prior experience with the fighting genre. And it’s totally unnecessary to be an expert in the vast and multidimensional universe of Dragon Ball. In theory, you could just grab a controller and start enjoying the matches. In practice, though, some advice might be pretty helpful.

Here we collected various stuff that should make the starting steps of any newcomer to Dragon Ball FighterZ much easier/funnier/more successful. Information in this guide is a great basis for your quick progress in the game. Even those who have already played quite a few matches may find something interesting in this article (perhaps, to try and get a better DBFZ rank).

Understanding the Universe

The first thing to discuss is whether you need to know something about the Dragon Ball anime to enjoy the game.

Nope, that’s not an obligatory factor. Still, the level of fun might grow significantly if you know those characters and their background.

The game is a standalone experience. It doesn't refer too much to the previous events and gives all the necessary explanations for the story mode inside those missions. In the fights beyond the plot, you just have a bunch of cool characters with awesome abilities. That’s quite a solid ground for a fighting game!

Here are some facts to clarify this universe for beginners:

  • Goku is the main guy here. He is fun, strong, and (almost) everyone loves him. Goku can take some more powerful forms, from being a kid to becoming a superior warrior. The whole anime can be considered as Goku’s path of becoming stronger to fight more dangerous villains. Yep, he absolutely enjoys the process.
  • There are quite a few Goku’s friends. Such guys as Tien, Yamcha, and Krillin train hard to follow the progress of the main protagonist. They do not really succeed in the anime, but the game solves this issue, keeping the balance by making everyone in the roster a decent fighter.
  • There are some awful villains, such as Frieza, Cell, and Janemba, with their supporters (Captain Ginyu, Nappa). They are so evil in the anime that using them in the game becomes especially fun.
  • Saiyans are a race of exceptionally strong warriors. Vegeta is one of them. Gohan, Trunks, and Goten are partly Saiyans. They all can fuse and form new characters. Goku is also a Saiyan, and his birth name is Kakarot.
  • Dragon Balls are magical spheres. If you get all seven together, you can summon a giant dragon who fulfills one desire (like reviving someone). The Balls are present in the game as an interesting mechanic.

The anime is very long, but it’s worthy of your attention. Just start with the original series or with Dragon Ball Z to boost your involvement in the characters. But again, such a step is totally optional.

3vs3 Team Matches

One thing that makes Dragon Ball FighterZ very different from so many other fighting games is its team mechanics. You choose three fighters to participate in a match. You can switch between them at any moment (with short delays after using this technique). And you can activate powerful attacks from other team members (Assists) to deal even bigger damage, to prolong your combo, or… for other stuff you came up with for your fighting strategy.

3vs3 matches open so many opportunities in fights! And also, having three characters instead of one requires additional effort from players — to form your team and master their abilities.

To change your active character, press and hold L1/L2 for PS, L/ZL for Switch, and LB/LT for Xbox.

  • Press forward with changing your character to make the process faster.
  • Press L1/L/LB while landing Dragon Rush to force your opponent to change character.

Splashy. Chaotic. Awesome!

When someone outside of the fighting games community watches a DBFZ match, it’s entirely possible they will understand nothing. Those characters fly all over the screen, shoot countless energy beams, replace each other…

The game action looks so chaotic, so it’s hard to understand what’s going on. That’s not a problem when you actually start playing Dragon Ball FighterZ, so don’t get scared. The game has a gradual introduction to those splashy fights and very simplified mechanics for beginners.

  • Auto Combos — you press one button, and your character performs a series of powerful attacks.
  • Super Dash — your character rushes towards the opponent to start attacking.

The game doesn’t have too complicated input schemes; the quarter circle is one of the most difficult tricks you have to learn at the start. Only some rare techniques have trickier inputs, such as a half-circle or Z-like movement by the left stick.

Steps for Beginners to Learn DBFZ Mechanics

When you just start playing, the lobby might seem a bit confusing. This is just an illusion! Everything is very straightforward here.

There are sections for different modes. You go there and talk to a guy nearby. They activate menus to choose your activity.

The most tempting thing to do is to jump into multiplayer matches right away. You can do this with some prior experience with fighting games (and especially with Arc System Works games). Still, it’s better for beginners to take these steps and put some time and effort into understanding the basics:

  1. Play the Story Mode. It starts with simple tutorials integrated into an interesting plot. The mode introduces a unique story, made especially for the game (with one absolutely unique character, Android 21).
  2. Visit the FighterZ Dojo to take training courses. It’s not necessary to complete the story for this. Just do it whenever you feel like (somewhere in the middle of the first Arc is a good moment). You’ll find lots of great tutorials here, from simple to pretty advanced.
  3. Explore Arcade Battles. They are simple at the beginning but soon become very challenging. Here, you’ll find first glimpses of real DBFZ fights.
  4. Play casual multiplayer matches. Fighting games open their true layers of excitement in fights against other players. Don’t postpone this step too much. But don’t start with Ranked Matches, where things are rather serious.

Select your Team

One thing many beginners tend to overthink is selecting their fighting characters. In Dragon Ball FighterZ, this task becomes even more difficult — you need to find three warriors for your ultimate team.

Just hold your horses for a while. This decision requires time and practice. Someone you like very much in story fights might not be that great after you gain some experience. Also, the game has 43 (and potentially more) characters. Take your time to mess with each of them (or at least with those you consider interesting in some way).

Don’t analyze move lists with combo and mix-up potentials. Just play different characters in different modes and try to feel them… But no, try to feel yourself! Whose style do you enjoy the most? Who is easier for you to win matches? The choice is all yours.

Does DBFZ tier lists matter? 

We have a great article on the topic that gives a full answer. In short words, tier lists matter for high levels of skills. And quite often, the personal preferences of a player are much more important than the general abilities of a character. It’s better to focus on the question of who you enjoy playing.

We have a Dragon Ball FighterZ tier list on DashFight. It’s a useful thing for understanding matchups. But it’s not advisable to form your team on this basis.

What are the best DBFZ characters for beginners?

Most fighters in the roster are easy to use, so don’t bother with this question too much. Take your time to find the best characters, especially for you, while having fun in different modes — it’s better to follow this path.

Still, some characters in the game are all-rounders. They are good at many aspects, so playing them is a great way to learn all sorts of mechanics. You can take for these purposes:

  • Goku — Super Saiyan, SSGSS, basic
  • Vegeta — the same forms as Goku

Kefla, Super Saiyan Blue Vegito, and Super Saiyan Blue Gogeta are also a good choice for beginners, they are very easy to play.

Use them to defeat various characters. Add the best (in your opinion) opponents to your current active roster. Experiment with them in any way imaginable — you will eventually settle with your own perfect team.

Controls in Dragon Ball FighterZ

Here is a very practical section. You can find this info in the game, but sometimes you might need to remember stuff quickly, and our guide is here to help.

There are four attack buttons for each character:

  • Light Attack (L).  The first three pressings of this button activate a series of quick unique attacks. Continue pressing L, and your character makes a Super Dash and performs L, M, H jumping attacks. Light auto combos are a simple and effective tool.
  • Medium Attack (M). These are primarily long-reaching hits with relatively quick startups. Medium auto combos usually activate crouching M and then a Super attack (which requires one bar of Ki).
  • Heavy Attacks (H). The action depends on the character, but it’s always a stronger attack that requires time to perform/recover. If you keep pressing, your character performs a Super Dash with the following H jumping attacks.
  • Special Attack (S). It’s usually Ki blasts, energy projectiles. Keep pressing to perform a shooting series.

For most characters, these attacks can be linked into each other like this: L>M>H>S. It’s the simplest DBFZ combo. For more complicated (and more effective) strings, check out this Dragon Ball FighterZ Combos Guide.

Movements in Dragon Ball FighterZ are totally straightforward — use left stick or D-Pad (WASD for a keyboard, if you like such a weird thing as playing a fighting game with a keyboard). Characters jump with pressing Up. They can perform Dashes (66), Backdashes (44), and the same movements in the air.

The “code symbols” for direction movements in DBFZ are numbers 1-9.

Unique Mechanics

All Dragon Ball FighterZ characters have Special and Super Moves. In most cases, the inputs are the following:

  • Special Moves: 236 L/M/H and 214 L/M/H (a quarter circle forward/backward with one of the attack buttons).
  • Super Moves: 236 L+M or H+S and 214 L+M or H+S (a quarter circle forward/backward with two attack buttons). L+M and H+S can be replaced with R1 and R2, respectively, for PS, RB/RT for Xbox, and R/ZR for Switch.

DBFZ move lists are very different for different characters, even if they have the same input pattern. It’s not enough to read about what Special and Super Moves a character has; you need to feel them in action and practice enough to know what to activate within just a split second.

Still, getting information might also be very helpful! DashFight has move lists of all Dragon Ball FighterZ characters described on their pages. For example, you can take a look at the abilities of Frieza, Piccolo, and Android 16.

Ki Energy in DBFZ

Dragon Ball FighterZ characters can accumulate special energy, named Ki, and then use it for various techniques. For example, Super Moves consume 1 or 3 Ki gauges (they are often called Level 1 Super or Level 3 Super). Some Special Moves consume 1 or a half of ki gauge. Especially devastating attacks might require even all 7 gauges (x100 Big Bang Kamehameha of Gogeta SS4).

Usually, your character gets Ki while being attacked. Ki Charge is a way to accumulate a lot of this energy (press L+S), but that is a risky method, you should feel an appropriate moment to start charging.

Managing Ki is an essential thing to learn for succeeding in the game.

Blocks in DBFZ

Fights of this game are super fast, and it’s so tempting to choose a strictly offensive style for your matches. The relatively low difficulty of the story mode and the starting Arcade matches only make the situation worse — you can win and literally never try to block attacks. This habit is a bad one, so avoid it.

It’s much better to practice attack blocking from the very beginning of your experience (yes, even when you feel that just rushing forward and landing auto combos would bring you an easy victory).

Like in most other fighting games, in DBFZ, you block by pressing backward (standing block) or backward and down (crouching block).

  • Guard (or standing guard) protects from high and overhead attacks. It’s useless against low attacks.
  • Crouching guard is effective against high and low attacks. It can’t protect from overhead attacks.

This concept is common for 2D fighting games, and just with little practice, you will get it. That doesn’t make the process of activating a proper guard easier, though. To be able to choose the best moments for each block type during an endless flow of quick attacks, start practicing blocks early.

The game has a unique defensive technique. Don’t ignore it as well!

  • Z Reflect - press S while in the guard to reflect an attack of your opponent. It’s an effective tool for escaping pressure.

Z Assists

As a 3vs3 team fighting game, Dragon Ball FighterZ allows players to activate special support from inactive team members — by pressing L1/L2 for PS, L/ZL for Switch, and LN/LT for Xbox. This support is called Z Assist, and each character has three types of attacks/moves to choose from.

It’s better to experiment with different Z Assists to select one for your character. The process should be part of you forming your perfect team. 

Some assists are pretty straightforward (Kamehameha of Goku), but others work only in specific situations. 

Collecting Dragon Balls

Heroes of the Dragon Ball anime can collect seven magical Dragon Balls to summon Shenron, a mighty dragon who can grant one wish. Dragon Ball FighterZ has this mechanic as well.

If you land a combo in a fighting match, you get a Dragon Ball. Collect seven, fill your 7 gauges of Ki, perform the L auto-combo, and you’ll meet the dragon, who will offer you four options (you’ll have only 5 seconds to make the decision):

  • Restore My Health — your current character gets their full health restored.
  • Bring Back My Ally — one random dead team member returns to the fight, having 50% of health.
  • Give Me the Ultimate Power — you’ll get the Sparkling Blast to boost the abilities of your team.
  • Make Me Immortal — blue health will be restored; the active fighter has special healing power.

There are two ways to collect seven Dragon Balls:

  • You can perform Light Attack auto-combo (just keep pressing L) to get a random Ball.
  • To receive a Dragon Ball of a specific number, you should land a specific number of hits in your combo:

Combo Hits to Collect Dragon Balls

Dragon Ball Hits in a Combo
1-Star Ball 10-19
2-Star Ball 20-29
3-Star Ball 30-39
1-Star Ball 40-49
5-Star Ball 50-59
6-Star Ball 60-69
7-Star Ball 70 or more

Seven Dragon Balls work for both players in the match, so make sure you are the first one to get the max of Ki energy and land yet another Light auto-combo.

Summoning Shenron can drastically change the course of any match, but focusing on this technique might be a mistake for beginners. The game has many other significant aspects with higher priority. It would be better to choose your characters first, learn how to play them, start practicing combos, and only then return to the dragon’s magic.

Here are a few other things unique to Dragon Ball FighterZ:

  • Super Dash (H+S or R1 for PS, R for Switch, and RB for Xbox). Your character jumps a bit and rushes towards the opponent. This mechanic makes even huge and heavy characters super fast.
  • Dragon Rush (L+M or R2 for PS, ZR for Switch, and RT for Xbox). Your character rushes forward to perform a series of hits and launch the opponent into the air. This attack can be easily followed by the L auto combo. It’s a great technique to break someone’s guarding defense, as Dragon Rush cannot be blocked. Still, it will not work if the opponent presses a button when you activate Dragon Rush.
  • Vanish (M+H). The character appears behind their opponent. It’s a very good way to pass through the defense and start landing your attacks.
  • Sparkling Blast (L+M+H+S). Each character can boost their power, start recovering their blue health and increase the rate of accumulating Ki energy. Use Sparkling Blast for this and for new possibilities in fights: canceling any normal into a jump and performing combos after Vanish by holding down the input buttons. Sparkling Blast works for a limited time, and the more characters your team has, the shorter the effect will be. 

Dangerous Trap

Among many other games of this genre, Dragon Ball FighterZ is one of the most friendly to beginners. In general, it’s a great achievement of the developers — especially considering how this easy-to-access approach is combined with impressively deep fighting mechanics that make the game one of the best esports titles.

Still, the process of transition between low to high skills has a gap. It’s hidden and somewhat resembles a trap. Beware of it!

Using simplified mechanics eventually slows down your progress!

  • Auto combos are so good during your starting period in the game, but they limit the effectiveness of your attacks to a bit higher levels. Only three first L hits are unique, and everything else can be performed manually. Learn how to do that to be more precise and flexible in your basic combos and then expand them to more complicated chains of attacks. Professional players need to find one opening to deliver many following attacks and deal impressive damage with only one combo — using auto-combos does not lead to this skill.
  • Super Dash seems to be great to start your attack. Alas, it can be punished with 2H that launches the character and can start a combo. It’s totally not an issue if you play against beginners because you need precise timing to punish Super Dash. But don’t get stuck to this habit; it’s very risky in fights against experienced opponents.

It would be a clever idea to be in the constant search for perfection. Do your best at each moment of time, and try to bring “your best” to new heights.

The Best Advice for DBFZ (and any other fighting game)

Every successful professional was a beginner in the past. They enjoyed the game, and this enjoyment motivated them to practice and improve their skills. That enjoyment took them to many victories. Losses happen on the way, but if the simple fun of playing is still there, it will give the power to return to fights as a better player.

Yep, (arguably) the best piece of advice is just to enjoy the game. Setting high goals is good and everything, but having fun on the road means you will be able to actually reach those goals.

DashFight is a great place for fighting games players of all levels! We have guides for beginners (such as this one on How to Unlock all characters in DBFZ) and for those who have even significant experience in the game (such as this video guide on Janemba, created by the pro esports player Nitro).

To not miss other interesting guides and articles, follow DashFight on Facebook and Twitter!

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