Dragon Ball FighterZ’s National Championships crowned its fifth and final champion on the 20th of December. Multi-game icon Burning Core | Kazunoko defeated the GOAT CYCLOPS | GO1 five games to four in the grand finals. The original Season 1 champion has now claimed two of DBFZ’s biggest first-party trophies. This playoffs also took place in-person, making it the first in-person DBFZ championship since the beginning of the pandemic.
His performance in the group stage landed him the third seed under GO1’s teammate Fenritti, meaning Kazunoko had to defeat both him and Panda Global’s BNBBN to even face GO1. Kaz defeated BNBBN 5-1 and Fenritti 5-3 before his nine-game set against the defensive god of Dragon Ball.
Kazunoko’s team of Ultra Instinct Goku, Gotenks, and Master Roshi was built to maximize any advantage. Gotenk’s Donuts assist or Roshi’s reversal can’t lock down the opponent in neutral, but they’re great at extending combos. Gotenk’s Level 1 Kamikaze Ghosts Super can guarantee mix-ups after a knockdown and Roshi’s tricky Masterful Leap can lead to unexpected 50/50s.
(Picture: Dragon BallZ)
GO1 and Kazunoko’s first-to-five in the preliminaries was a very close 4-5 set in favour of GO1, so tensions were very high. Both of the previous DBFZ Nationals grand finals sets went the full nine games, a tradition that the Japanese division continued.
Game one started off slow. Both players opted to start with UI Goku, leading to a pensive neutral where assists determined the tempo. After a few trades, Kazunoko first let loose with an incredibly optimal combo to take out UI Goku.
The pair traded games up to 2-2 when GO1 started taking the lead. While Kazunoko assists were built to maximize combos and maintain his advantage, GO1’s GT Goku Beam and Kid Buu C Assist are both great for getting in. GO1 landed the “No mix-up mix-up” to secure match point at 4-2
Two comebacks in games seven and eight put the match to its last possible game. Kazunoko is especially famous for his abare, a technique that involves poking an opponent out of their blockstring, mistiming his jab even slightly could have cost him the tournament.
The long set wore away on both players, but a dropped combo into a missed Dragon Rush tech from GO1 gave it to Kaz. He won game nine with all three characters still alive, ending it with Ultra Instinct Goku’s stylish Level 2 Super.
After the grand finals series, DBFZ producer Tomoko Hiroki announced the last two characters for Dragon Ball FighterZ Season 3. Super Baby 2 and SSJ4 Gogeta are fairly eclectic choices, and the community is greatly looking forward to their addition.