Think back on the tournament runs of Dragon Ball FighterZ. Remember all the Bardock’s and Cell/Kid Buu duos? How about the fact that there were 55 Bardock level 3’s used during EVO top 8? This is a common case in fighting games called being a top tier character. Here in America there are very loud complaints over there being overuse of top tier characters and shells (a duo with ridiculous synergy placed behind your point character) which is a common thing in team and assist based fighting games like DBFZ here. This is one of the things that helped bring players like Hookganggod and Kazunoko to be fan favorites (although it’s commonly believed among most top players that Piccolo is now top tier and Yamcha assist is arguably best in the game). No matter how you slice it there will be characters that are picked to win making them very common on streams year round. However at the Dragon Ball FighterZ saga event tournament hosted by Thunderstruck in Mexico we saw many rare faces and team compositions not commonly seen here in the US.
An amazing thing about Dragon Ball FighterZ is the way so many players from different communities came together to play with their own styles and that varies even further when you pull out from just America and Japan to different regions as seen with the Puerto Rican based tournament First Attack and their infatuation with A.Gohan and Frieza. Here in Mexico there were tons of amazing players that I’m sure many have never heard of but they definitely didn’t disappoint in the skill and play department, but I’m sure the most widely enjoyed aspect was the uniqueness of their teams.
Right off the top in the fourth streamed match of the tournament we were greeted by Yahel a player some may remember from the Marvel vs Capcom scene as he’s mained both Ultimate Marvel 3 and Marvel Infinite who definitely had some favor towards Spider-Man showing he wasn’t foreign to the concept of playing under-looked and “awkward” characters. This is seen through his team Cell/Bluegeta/Gotenks. While Cell and Gotenks get plenty of screen-time here, Bluegeta is definitely a character that only a few specialists have been piloting competitively due to risk factor, lack of defensive options, lack of sliding knockdown enders, seemingly weak projectile and assist, and all around inferiority to his yellow haired counterpart. All these factors have generally ranked him really low on many tier lists even though he’s traded defensive strengths in for amazing offensive ability. Despite this Yahel has found ways to make him work amazingly on his team, assist and all. You can definitely see he took some lessons from the school of synergy at Mahvel University. He finished the tournament in 9th place.
Following Yahel we have one of the weirdest teams I’ve personally ever laid eyes on in this game and a team I thought would never work at high level. Khannibal, a Street Fighter V and King of Fighters player has brought his skills to DBFZ with his motley crew of Ginyu/Hit/SSJ Vegeta. Vegeta and his assist of course gets tons of shine globally and Ginyu has got the recognition although we still only see a select few specialists use and shine with him, but Hit on the other hand has been slept on ever since Sonicfox dropped him in the old DBFZ season. Khannibal took these 3 characters and made his own synergy with the glue being his great momentum control, amazing fundamentals, and character knowledge. In my opinion however even with how nice his Ginyu was, the legendary assassin Hit was my personal favorite. Khannibal finished 9th in the tournament.
The final player I wanted to highlight was one of the 2 Mexico natives that made it to top 8 and a player that became an instant viewer favorite. Gish is a player I heard absolutely nothing prior to seeing him put in work at this tournament with his team of Goku Blue/Piccolo/16. While this team seems very balanced to the average player it has many flaws. 3 very meter hungry characters, no neutral assists for 2 characters that are believed to very heavily rely on them, and weird to use assists. Gish takes these weaknesses and tosses them aside playing to each of his characters strengths and using his own tech with all 3 assists and characters to get big damage and nasty setups such as the damage seen in this combo clip here.
The great thing about this combo is that Blueku’s super DHC gives Piccolo the time to charge his Special Beam Cannon super to its full power. A mechanic that he can only use at high level when comboed into like Gish does in that clip. SSJ Goku can do a similar DHC to Piccolo as we’ve seen Apologyman do at times.
Another character exclusive trait we got to see from Gish is Goku Blue’s teleport specials. Alone these teleports are seen as somewhat useless as they can be 2H anti-air countered easily but the way Gish uses these teleports in tandem with his team’s assists for pressure was an amazing sight of tight oppression.
Gish definitely showcased the creativity that can be implemented in this game when it comes to team building that players like Sonicfox have been talking about. Bringing a “low tier” character all the way to a top 8 with a somewhat weird team. Throughout this tournament I definitely got a good look at what Mexico has to offer when it comes to DBFZ and I definitely wasn’t disappointed. There were many more great players with both common teams and uncommon teams at Thunderstruck and they were each a joy to watch. Hope we get to see a lot more of the players and their teams very soon!