This article is part of our Dragon Ball FighterZ series.
With the release of the latest Dragon Ball FighterZ balance patch, we knew that the meta would finally be shaken after months of painful stagnation in the competitive scene. I don't think we knew just how diverse things would end up, though. At TWFighter Major this past weekend, some of the best players in Asia battled it and gave a taste of things to come and boy was it nice.
Kazunoko takes down Goichi, again
Before I get into talking about what's easily the most diverse meta since the game released back in January, I'd be remiss if I didn't talk about the tournament itself for a second here. Specifically, I'd be remiss if I didn't sit here and wax poetic about Ryota "Kazunoko" Inoue.
TWFighter was the second time in the last two months that Kazunoko has defeated Goichi "GO1" Kashida in the grand finals of a tournament. First it was the reset grand finals at CEO and then it was a whooping in Taiwan. Damn. Perhaps the most impressive thing about his run at TWFighter specifically was that he did it with a new team. He's held onto both Adult Gohan and Yamcha, his signature character, but dropped Kid Buu in favor of Gotenks. He didn't drop a beat one bit, knocking down his opposition one by one in quick succession.
Kazunoko opened the day with a 2-0 over Acqua in which he seemingly never even broke a sweat. He then moved onto the winners' final where he faced off against Goichi for the first time in this tournament. From the very first game of the set, Kazunoko set a hell of a tone that was felt from then on.
Whereas Goichi is normally rock solid and damn-near impossible to get through in those 1-vs-1 situations, Kazunoko shrugged off Goichi's defense and defeated him 3-1 to advance into the grand finals.
Once into the grand finals, it was more of the same as Kazunoko again waded through more close matches and defeated Goichi 3-1. I'll go deeper into just what has happened with Goichi of late in a separate piece, but for now, Kazunoko is looking like one of the strongest players in the world.
Give me all the characters
This meta is incredible, you guys. Just look at the character breakdowns in the Top 8.
- Goichi - Ginyu, Super Saiyan Vegeta, Bardock, Adult Gohan
- Korean Wrestling Man - Super Saiyan Vegeta, Android 18, Android 16
- Kazunoko - Gotenks, Yamcha, Adult Gohan
- Acqua - Ginyu, Tien, Android 16
- Inuchiyo - Teen Gohan, Adult Gohan, Super Saiyan Goku
- Fenritti - Base Vegeta, Android 16, Super Saiyan Vegeta
- Kindevu - Bardock, Kid Buu, Cell
- Dogura - Android 16, Super Saiyan Goku, Broly
It's not just that we're seeing a large variety of characters, but it's that we're seeing characters that used to merely exist on the fringe of the competitive scene. In the Top 8, there were two Ginyus, an Android 18, and a Broly. In all, there was a total of 14 characters played between the eight players. There were some duplicates, sure, but the only characters that were played by more than two players was Super Saiyan Vegeta (3) and Android 16 (3). But even then, that's nowhere near the ridiculous levels of usage we were seeing with Cell and Kid Buu. In fact, there was only one player that used the former kings of DBFZ. You know what happened to Yosuke "Kindevu" Ito? He was immediately eliminated by Ryo "Dogura" Nozaki in the first losers' round.
So yeah, things are very diverse. With so many options, we've seen just about everyone switch up their team by at least one character, too. Dogura, Kazunoko, Fenritti, and Goichi were all in the Top 9 (poor Dogura, on the outside looking in) at EVO and are now rocking new teams just two weeks after the event. And this is coming just over a week after the patch dropped. As players start to really dig into the tech of all these characters, we could see new teams crop up in the coming weeks.
Now more than ever, the DBFZ scene is looking fresh and diverse as we head into the final half of the year. The next Saga of the DBFZ World Tour, Ultimate Fighting Arena in France, is just 10 days away and who knows what things will look like by then.