Combos aren’t just cool tricks you can do in Dragon Ball FighterZ. They are a way of life. You must combo. It’s the only way to survive.
While Dragon Ball FighterZ has a very advanced auto combo system that will turn just about any button-mashing sequence into a spectacular combo, if we want to move ahead we should look at the buttons that we’re mashing. The auto combo will continue to serve you well as you play this game, but understanding how to perform manual combos will allow you to tweak, optimize and create new and stronger combos.
This will make itself apparent as you play, but in Dragon Ball FighterZ normal moves can chain into each other. That is, by pressing buttons immediately in sequence, we’re able to attack many times with no break in between moves. This is contrary to a franchise like Street Fighter, where chain combos are much more strict and we generally have to wait for one attack to finish before going for the next.
The basic chain sequence is light to medium to heavy attack, in that order. We usually can’t move backward in the order, from medium to light attack or heavy to medium.
Dragon Ball FighterZ has extremely easy auto combos that allow any player to keep up with veterans in terms of inflicting damage:
- Pressing the light attack button repeatedly will perform a full basic combo using normal attacks.
- Pressing the medium button repeatedly will perform a full basic combo using special and super attacks.
- Pressing the heavy button again after a heavy strike will automatically use the Super Dash and set you up for a manual combo.
Even if you don’t intend to use auto combos, you should pay attention to the first two strikes of the light combo chain. These are frequently useful moves in and of themselves, and you can use them in a normal combo chain by going to a medium attack after the first two strikes hit.
The auto combos handle all the movement for you, but when you’re doing combos manually, you have to do the jumping and dashing yourself.
Most moves in Dragon Ball FighterZ are jump cancelable, meaning you can immediately jump after using them. This is useful for a variety of reasons, but let’s stick to combo usage.
Above, you’ll see a basic jump cancel combo that doesn’t use anything fancy. Here’s what you’re looking at:
- After a low medium attack, we go to a standing medium attack, which is a jump cancelable move.
- If all this hits, we jump at the moment the standing medium attack lands.
- Then, almost immediately, we use an air medium attack.
- This move is jump cancelable too (we get one extra jump while in the air), so we double jump and use a chain of air medium attack into air heavy attack, which slams the opponent to the ground.
This is a basic building block in our combo theory.
The Smash effect
If you’ve done an auto combo, you’ve probably noticed the loud crashing sound and the zoom whenever you land a heavy attack, accompanied by “Smash!” on the side of the screen. We’ll call this the Smash effect, and depending on the hit, it’s one way that you can extend a combo.
For example, if the first Smash move you use in a combo is the midair launcher (down + heavy attack in the air for most characters), you’ll shoot your opponent into the sky and be able to follow them up there with a Super Dash.
Certain special moves also have the Smash property, allowing them to bounce opponents from walls.
However, we usually only get one Smash per combo. If we use the auto combo with heavy attack, our Smash gets used immediately and we lose that method of extending a combo. A manual combo, using jump cancel or otherwise, allows us to bypass this handicap and build bigger combos.
Vanish in combos
The Vanish move allows players to teleport behind their opponent and attack, but where it truly shines is as an extender for combos.
Used during a midair combo, a Vanish move will usually bounce the opponent off the opposite wall, allowing the attacker a brief window during which they can continue their combo. This will be more effective if you’re lower to the ground, as you’ll be able to run in and land a close-range attack. However, if you can’t get close after a wall bounce, it’s also a good idea to use a long-range attack like the Kamehameha to deal a little bit of finisher damage.
The sliding state
Straight from the series, you can slam an opponent into the floor and watch them grind, sliding, into the concrete floor. This looks like it’s just a cool animation, but it’s actually more than that. In this state, you can only hit your opponent with super moves. As such, this represents the very end of a combo: Finish it with a big hit!
Putting everything together
This Krillin combo starts with a basic jump cancel chain and extends with a Vanish. Krillin runs in toward the enemy after the wall bounce and repeats the same jump cancel combo again, but finishes with a heavy special move that slams the opponent to the floor in the sliding state. After this, it’s time for a super move, and Krillin dishes out five Destructo-Discs with the rest of his super meter.
By experimenting with your moves and these systems, you’ll be able to find significantly more powerful combos than the auto combos can offer. Just be prepared to spend some time in practice mode getting it all right.