The Dragon Ball FighterZ National Championships are in the playoff phase, and a number of trends have emerged across regions. Ultra Instinct Goku and Z-Broly have dominated globally, but a few regions have selected their own mascots. Spain’s Grand Finals featured low-tier heroes Jiren and Beerus while US West’s Reynald brought Krillin to the highest level of play.
In Japan, the most prominent trend at Dragon Ball FighterZ Nationals is getting hit by universal overheads. While their offence is still top-notch, the defensive abilities of Japanese players have been notably poor in the National Championships. This has led to a very aggressive metagame revolving around unexpected mixups and lots of defensive poking.
Japanese fighting gamers are infamous for eliminating as much risk as possible from their gameplan, but the sheer quantity of scrambles and “What just happened?” moments has some viewers scratching their heads.
The reason for these crazy moments isn’t some giant metagame shift or a gentleman’s agreement to go hog wild; it actually stems from input delay native to the Playstation 4 version of FighterZ. The Steam version of Dragon Ball FighterZ is not available in Japan, forcing the Nationals to be played over the Playstation Network.
France, Spain, and both United States divisions are playing on the PC version of Dragon Ball. Japan is the only region using Playstation, which has an additional lag between player inputs and in-game actions. Consequently, Japanese players are reacting slower and forced to guess more than their western rivals.
(Picture: Bandai Namco)
The exact amount of additional lag is difficult to measure, but respected fighting game figures have labelled it anywhere from two to five extra frames compared to the PC version. For context, that means an additional 1/30th to 1/12th of a second. It’s not much, but tight defensive options like fuzzy Dragon Rush techs and wakeup Vanish can become more difficult or even rendered unusable by the delay.
The vast majority of Dragon Ball’s mixup options are reactable, but the delay makes it more difficult for players to respond when on the back foot. Even if a player correctly switches to a standing block for an overhead attack, the PS4 lag can lead to them getting hit anyway. Playstation 4 is the tournament standard for DBFZ thanks to its accessibility, but online play is severely hampered by the extra moment before inputs.
DBFZ World Tour Finals 2019-20 champion GO1 leads the pack heading into the playoffs with a perfect 7:0 record. His archrival Fenritti is close behind, losing only to GO1 himself.
The 20th December finals will also feature a new character announcement. Only two slots remain in Season 3.