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Everything you need to know about Dragon Ball FighterZ Season 3.5 Patch

Dragon Ball FighterZ’ mid-season patch ups the ante and allows for more character representation. Find out what’s changed right here.
By Ilyas Mohamed
12 min readPublished on
Unlike Season 2’s entire year with no patch, at the start of Dragon Ball FighterZ’ season 3, Arc System Works announced that they would begin introducing mid-season patches as they saw fit. In Season 3, they wanted to make sure characters like GT Goku, with his spirit bomb mix, weren’t allowed to run rampant all over the meta once again. As simple as it sounds, this gave way to dominating assists like “Bardock B” and beam assists for multiple characters. It was a new era, with no snap mix and a focus on fundamental understanding of the games system mechanics.
2020 has been an interesting year. As soon as Season 3 came out, many were staying home thanks to a lack of major tournaments. Some would argue that a patch should not have been released since characters weren’t given the chance to show off their capabilities at a higher level. Others were frustrated by playing online and called for changes to stronger characters like Z-Broly and UI Goku, out of fear of the meta they would bring -- the scars left behind by GT Goku still had not healed.
So, how did ArcSys handle the situation? With the new patch having dropped just recently, we’ve put together a list of 3 things you need to know before hopping into Season 3.5 of Dragon Ball FighterZ.

The patch contained mostly buffs

In a game like DBFZ, it almost felt crucial to have at least one top-tier on your team. The top-tiers added too much to be ignored -- solid lockdown, mix up potential, great neutral, and so on. With the addition of new assists, there were some fresh team compositions out there, but not to the degree Arc System Works desired. In this patch, characters have seen buffs to their tool kits and assists. For extra measure, some characters got great quality of life changes as well. As always, there are some big winners -- but this time around there are no losers either. The focus of this patch was to bring up characters and assists that were underused.
Teams without a top tier are always fighting an uphill battle in Dragon Ball FighterZ. Top tiers gave you what you needed, when you needed it. GT Goku was a solid character who had great mix and oki, but the main reason he was on so many teams was due to his beam assist. Beams are notoriously strong in DBFZ, as they cover high traffic portions of the screen. Horizontal beams allowed you to run in and gain the advantage on the floor, effectively baiting out super dashes and having enough hitstun that you could convert full screen.
GT Goku came in with a one of a kind diagonal upwards beam that locked down any jumpers -- it also had enough hitstun to convert at your leisure, and enough blockstun for them to come back down and eat some mix. When you called GT Goku's beam -- it was your turn. With all that power at a push of a button, why would you pick any other beam? Characters with subpar beams like Tien were affected by this. Everything he did, other characters did better.
The combo system in Dragon Ball FighterZ didn't really allow for much character specific spice. Tien didn't really have anything going for him other than absurd damage at the cost of your own life, so players opted out to pick characters such as SSJ Goku who had better frame data and neutral. Characters that were seen as "good" just… weren't good enough. Season 3.5 has given those characters uniqueness that will draw more players to them.
Changes like these make more characters viable and give them different gameplans/approaches in every match. Piccolo, another character who was defined by the Season 2 snap meta, was changed to fit Season 3. With Hellzone Grenade not being the biggest mix anymore due to constant system changes, Piccolo was changed to be more of a solid solo character with follow-ups to a lot of his stray moves such as orbs and antenna. The biggest thing Season 3.5 creates is fluidity in game plan. A pure anchor like Tien can now outdo you in neutral and be a solid point. Point characters like Piccolo, that needed assists, can now be played as anchor.
For patches in general, a lot of people say "buff, don't nerf". The reasoning behind this is simple: Strong characters are usually very fun to play. They have a lot of options, great tools, can win scrambles, and make the user feel powerful. If nerfs are issued across the board, lower tier characters can become viable -- but the game itself might become a bit stale. If characters are buffed, then those lesser used characters now have extra options that they might have been lacking before.
Nerfing is a lot harder to maintain as well, as some characters' toolkits allow them to not be hit as hard just from a design perspective. Kid Buu has been hot since the game released and is still widely regarded as top tier. UI Goku got away with murder this patch, but if they changed one thing about him -- he would still have the same jab that travels across the screen. Nerfs can be extremely detrimental to a character's complete gameplan -- like the SSJ Vegeta assist changes or the infamous Goku 2M nerf. Also, if you're now playing a character that you love but can take on Kid Buu/UI/Z Broly? The community is definitely going to be hyped.
Will the top tiers who didn't get nerfed be a problem? Not really. They had great tools that all did things for them in their own way. Someone who loves great buttons rather than mix would have picked Bardock over Kid Buu. With more characters going up the ladder, we will definitely see more diversity in teams at Majors along with the emergence of different styles of play.

The big winners. Character loyalty pays off!

Character Loyalists, rejoice! Are you sick of getting absolutely mixed, having low reward on hit, and just generally a lower amount of options? Is your character never getting picked because their stock is at an all time low? We’re totally sorry you had to deal with Videl that long, but now the pigtails versus short hair debate is back.
Characters that were regarded as lower tier have gotten some significant changes so expect to see a lot of the new patch winners in some teams, and a lot more variety altogether! These improved characters include every android from 16 to the Ultimate Lifeform Cell himself, Jiren, Videl, Gogeta, Tien and Blue Vegeta. These characters now have a fighting chance at evening out the playing field between fighters.
The obvious winners of this patch are Videl, 17, 16, Jiren, Gogeta and Gotenks. What they lacked were general mechanics that allowed them to play the game at a higher level -- from Videls missing reflect (and terrible recovery) and poor damage, 17's weird rekkas that couldn’t mix, 16 being nerfed from the best to the worst because of his sheer pressure, and Jiren’s design as a counter character that couldn’t counter successfully.
These characters have now been fixed in ways that make sense for each and every one of them. Videl has way more damage and better combo routes, along with her Z Reflect recovery being reduced so that she can move right after she dodges. This allows her to dodge and whiff punish effectively and more consistently. Android 17 now has rekkas mid-air, which makes him a constant threat in neutral and gives him more variety in mix-ups. Gogeta had all his moves buffed, with better frame data to his normals and extended reach. Gotenks now has insane solo routes, with higher damage.
Android 16 was once the greatest of them all. He had a hard knockdown off of his Light grab, which allowed for a 4 way mix after every knockdown. Armor that ran through buttons and an assist with blockstun that allowed for free 50/50's made him an optimal starter. He had damage from everywhere and anywhere. It didn't last long though, and the developers took everything away from him. First it was the knockdowns which, honestly, he had coming. Then his armor lost to a single ki blast, effectively destroying his approach. The loyalists still stayed with him, since he had a great assist, but when that was taken away, we completely lost one of the most entertaining characters in FighterZ. Season 3.5 has brought our boy back - giving him better oki, great combo extensions (ability to super dash after a gliding powerbomb), a killer new assist (that allows him to shoot 4 arms) and an OTG from his Hell Heat for even more damage. The birds are chirping… Android 16 is back.
Jiren was one of the characters that had great hype surrounding him after his duel with UI Goku in the Dragon Ball Super anime was still fresh. What we ended up getting was a far cry from the strongest fighter in the universe. Jiren, unfortunately, was a character flawed from the design phase. He had no mix, no heavy (it was replaced by a 29 frame command grab) and his counters could be vanished on reaction. He was a character with gameplay worse than his backstory.
Season 3.5 has brought him back, claiming he was simply "meditating" for the past season. Better frame data for his normals lets his counters reversal anything from command grabs to assists, and now ki blasts bounce off him while he throws his 5S. His counters also cannot be vanished. Making the character more viable and a better fit to his personality is always welcome.
What ArcSystem Works has done this patch in terms of buffing all characters makes sense. There haven't been many tournaments to really say how effective characters are at a higher level, so to nerf characters that haven't been properly represented would not have been logical. Season 3.5 has created another buzz for FighterZ, with the general public falling in love with the game all over again. Thankfully, it seems they haven't created a new GT Goku - but only time will tell.

Quality of life changes

It wouldn’t be a (good) patch unless our lives were made easier. Season 3.5 comes with system changes, allowing you to become the complete fighter you were meant to be. There is no compromise this season, so you can get out there and build the team of your dreams. Cooler is now doing a command grabs on the floor. If you felt the Final Flash was a bit annoying to land, so they made it so it never drops. There’s a lot to explore.
Training mode has counter-attack conditions that can be set, so you can learn how to avoid that one option that bothers you the most. Imagine, you always get hit by Cell’s perfect attack on that one knockdown you do… how can you still run your oki and keep it safe? You can answer that now.
C-Type Assists have faster start up, so they don’t get hit after you’ve waited for them to come back up. This doesn’t apply to opponents in hitstun so, don’t worry, you won’t have to lab any new combos. There was a lot of excitement for C Assists when they were first announced, but that fizzled throughout the season. The biggest issue with C assists were that when you called them, they lingered on the screen for just a bit longer than normal and could get mashed out on. Added to the fact that they came back a bit longer than normal assists, it was quite frustrating to deal with. Simply put, C Assists were lackluster.
In a game where assists are so crucial, having them be there (and slowing down your ability to raw tag, a great defensive mechanic in the game) just wasn’t worth it. C Assists having a faster startup allows strings to be tighter, and for your neutral tool to not get destroyed. Because most of them track, they are great for lockdown full screen and for your character to have a lockdown choice without picking Bardock B. Play your favourite character, have a full screen lockdown and it can’t be mashed out on? Sign us up.
Season 3.5 doesn’t bring any ground-breaking System Changes, but they are good to have nonetheless. Dragon Ball FighterZ already has a very intuitive training mode, so any additions are a definite plus. A big issue with C-Assist’s was the cooldown time, and that they lingered on screen -- while the cooldown time is the same, your assist won’t get hit for just standing there waiting.
Evening out the playing field is usually the best thing that can happen in a patch. Character representation is a huge deal, especially in a game like Dragon Ball FighterZ which is full of beloved characters that many players are attached to for one reason or another. Making more of them playable at a high level was the right call. New characters and new team balances will hopefully bring out a new shift in meta and, hopefully, become a greater spectator sport.
The mid-season patch allows for a lot of new routes, new tools and most of all new game plans. A lot are already proclaiming it is the most exciting iteration yet. Newer players will now not be turned off from picking up their favorite characters Jiren/Vegeta Blue/Videl. It’s still early, but 3.5 feels like a step in the right direction. Time to hit the lab!