Each attack in the game has an attribute. Attributes are broken up into two broad categories: physical and projectile. These attributes interact with each other to trigger certain effects like invulnerability and guard point.
Physical attribute in this game are broken up into 2 groups: head and body. As a rule of thumb, standing and crouching attacks are body, while jumping/airborne attacks are head, but that is not always the case. Note that attack attribute is completely independent of how the attack must be blocked.
- Strike attacks are the most common in the game, with each having a clash level. Attacks of the same clash level will clash with each one other. Strikes of different clash levels won't clash, but in situations where they would trade, the strike with higher clash level will gain full invulnerability for as long as their hitboxes and hurtboxes overlap, effectively winning the exchange.
- Clash level is often identical to the attack's attack level. Unique clash level will be noted in characters' full frame data.
- Throw and Hit Grab
- Throws are attacks that can not be blocked but have some restrictions such as not being able to hit crouching or airborne opponents, while hit grabs are strikes with a special attack animation that plays out on hit.
- Throws and hit grabs share a unique "clash level": they cannot clash, and will always win against strikes on trades. If two throws/hit grabs trade, the character that landed the last attack (blocked or hit) will win the exchange.
- Throws can not hit assist characters and on hit cause both the attacker and defender to become temporarily invulnerable to other attacks while the attack animations play out.
Each projectile has a durability level. When two projectiles of equal durability clash, each projectile will lose one hit (so a 5 hit projectile will become a 4 hit projectile, and a 1 hit projectile will disappear). Higher level projectiles will reduce one hit of lower level projectiles without losing any hits.
Projectiles will have their hitboxes disable for the frame that they clash, even if they have different durability levels.
In DBFZ, projectiles of same durability will often extend their own active frames on clash to ensure that they'll cancel each other out. Such as Goku (Super Saiyan)'s Super Kamehameha (10 hits) will always cancel out with Vegeta (Super Saiyan)'s Big Bang Attack (1 hit).
Projectiles cannot clash with strikes or throws.
The frame data will list the durability level alongside its attribute. For example, a projectile with durability level 2 will show P2.
- Ki Blast
- Ki Blast is an extra property of some projectiles with a few unique traits:
- Certain moves will have guard point specifically against Ki Blasts, notably Super Dash
- Ki Blast's blockstun is cancelable into Reflect or Super Dash, but not their blockstop
- If a Ki Blast connects exactly 1f after the opponent escapes from another blockstun, its blockstun won't be cancelable.
- Assist Characters
- Z Assists and various attacks like Android 18's Support Attack also have their own physical and projectile attributes, however certain moves with guard point will treat these attacks as projectiles, disregarding their actual attributes.
- Some attacks are invulnerable or automatically guard against certain attributes. For example, all 2H have head attribute invulnerability, so it functions very well as an anti-air since most jumping attacks, air specials, etc. are considered head attribute.
- Attacks with attribute invulnerability are usually only invulnerable for a certain number of frames, meaning you can hit them before or after the attribute invulnerability window. This is especially important with regard to anti-air attacks: anti-airs often have a bit of startup before they gain their head attribute invulnerability frames, so a jump attack that's already active will counter hit an opponent for attempting to anti-air too late.
- Guard Point and Armor
- Guard point (also known as autoguard) allows attacks to automatically guard against other attacks, while armor allows you to take the hit while still carrying through the attack. As a rule of thumb, guard point and armor are weaker than invulnerability because an attack that hits guard point/armor is considered "blocked" and the attacker retains all "cancel on block" options.
- Most of the time, these attacks only have guard point/armor against certain types of attacks. For example, Android 16's 5H only has armor against mid and high strikes, but not lows.
Attack level determine a standardized amount of hitstun, blockstun, pushback, etc. an attack will have. As a general rule, attacks with the same Attack Level share the same sound effects and graphical effects.
There are numerous exceptions that override these default values and even have extra properties like knocking the enemy into the air, wallbounce, groundbounce, etc. These will be noted in the frame data.
|Lvl 0||Lvl 1||Lvl 2||Lvl 3||Lvl 4|
|Hitstun (Ground Hit)||14||16||18||20||22|
|Untechable (Air Hit)||14||16||18||20||22|
- Air blocking adds 2F of blockstun
- Landing while in blockstun adds an extra 4F of blockstun
A counter hit typically occurs when you hit an opponent who is in the startup of their attack. On hit, the announcer will say "Counter" along with a HUD message, the attacker will gain 50% more Ki on that attack only, and there is no additional benefit to counter hits compared to normal hits.
All attacks are in counter hit state during their startup and active frames only, but there are some exceptions with counter hit state during their recoveries.
Hitting Two Opponents With the Same Attack
An attack can hit multiple targets assuming they are within range. For example one attack can hit both the opponent and an assist.
Normally, when an attack touches the opponent, the remaining active frames can not hit them again. However, if there is a second hittable character, then the remaining active frames can still hit them!
This leads to strange situations like harder conversions during a Happy Birthday combo (a combo that hits more than one opponent at the same time), an attack can hit the main character, then a moment later, the second character who is slightly behind gets hit by the remaining active frames. This is further compounded by the fact that hitstop only applies to the attacker and the target, thus allowing the attack to hit the unaffected character with the active frames plus the hitstop frames!
This also applies to projectiles like Goku's Kamehameha and Piccolo's Homing Energy Blast, but the later case is more difficult to take advantage of since the projectile will shatter the instant it touches an opponent.
If two opponents are in range of your attack, they are hit on the same frame.
A lot of moves will change their properties depending if they whiff, are blocked, or hit. These changes can only be triggered by the your point character, upon hitting the opponent's point character, and must either start or be done inside a combo:
- Enabling or disabling specific followups
- Ex: All j.L on air-to-air hit will enable j.LL. Majin Buu's Dive Bomb will only trigger its ground splash part of the move if the dive part whiffs.
- Automatic followups
- Automatically perform extra attacks, these attacks are still cancelable.
- Ex: Cell's Perfect Attack, if the opponent is hit by the second hit, he will do a third hit.
- Cinematic sequences
- Either automatically do extra attacks, or completely change the effect of the move does the instance it lands.
- During a cinematic, both players become invulnerable to all other attacks, and the animation cannot be canceled until after it's finished.
- Ex: Frieza's 5LLL, on a cinematic hit will do 1000 damage companioned by an explosion attack, but upon hitting Z Assist it will only do 400 damage and merely knock them away.
All three of these properties aren't mutually exclusive, going back to Cell's Perfect Attack, the M version on block or hit will automatically do the second hit, if that hit lands he will do the third hit, and finally if that one lands it can be a cinematic one.
Cinematic version of attacks typically triggers immediately on hit and have higher damage or stronger properties, with some cinematics having stricter trigger conditions like only triggering on air-to-air, having to be canceled into from another move, etc.
During a combo, the game will keep track of which types of cinematic you've used and either enable or disable other cinematics from triggering. This is colloquially known as the "Smash!" system and is the meat of DBFZ combo structure.
There are two main types of cinematic attacks, usually distinguished by their common effects:
- Type U: Knocks the opponent up into the air or sideways into a wall bounce.
- Type D: Sends the opponent down into a sliding knockdown.
On top of different types, each Smash! attack can also be described as having limited number of times they can trigger per combo:
- 1. Only triggers if no Smash! of the same type has been used.
- 2. Triggers even if the same type has been used, but only once.
- 3. Always triggers.
While most attacks only have one Smash! property, there are attacks that have more than one Smash! and will use the corresponding one depending on the conditions.
- Smash! Subset
While type U and D don't interfere with one another, type U+ and D+ do. After hitting the opponent with a type U+ Smash! that's the first U Smash! of the combo, any following D+ attack will trigger their Smash! so as long as you don't re-enter neutral stance on the ground. Meaning:
- If you're grounded, you must cancel the U+ Smash! move's recovery frames with another action, such as Super Dash.
- If you're airborne, you mustn't land. Though using special moves that teleport you back to the ground are still OK, so as long as their recovery frames are canceled into something else.
- Smash! Consumption
Using a type U Smash! move will prevent further U1 Smash!, and vice versa with type D Smash!. There are also multi-type Smash!, for example: a Smash! attack type UD1 on hit will prevent further usage of both type U1 and D1, however, it can only be triggered if neither type has been used in the combo.
Despite this, there are attacks that block Smash! usage despite not having a Smash! version. The most common instances of this are attacks that "consume" U1 Smash!, D1 Smash!, and the U2 Smash! of Vanish. This specific consumption of Smash! is denoted by UDV, and is put next to the Smash! type the move actually belongs to.
- Bounce Effects
- There are various types of bounce effects: ground bounce, wall bounce, and corner bounce.
- Ground bounce is a hit state where you get hit to the ground and then rebound off it, floating up into the air. The amount bounced varies by move and can also vary based on starting height.
- Wall bounce occurs after you're blown back into and then rebound off of the edge of the visible part of the battlefield. Full wallbounce rebounds the player back out to approximately the same place they started when they were hit.
- Wall splat is similar to wall bounce, with the exception that instead of bouncing all of the way back out, they drop in place after hitting the wall, usually meaning followups are only possible if you were already in the corner.
- Corner bounce/corner splat is when you're blown back into and then rebound only off of the corner of the field.
- While ground bounce, corner bounce and corner splat can affect Z Assists, wall bounce and wall splat cannot, even if they're put against the corner.
- In most cases, a move's untechable time indicates the total amount of time the opponent can stay in the air. This means the higher you are from the ground or the further away from the wall/corner, the less time you have for any followup combos, as more of the untechable time is wasted on the opponent traveling to these surfaces and bouncing back.
- There are three types of knockdowns:
- Soft knockdown: The opponent is able to perform a ground recovery as soon as they touch the ground. This is the default knockdown state for all attacks, though usually when a move is stated to "cause a soft knockdown", it means it has long enough untechable time to force the opponent back on the ground.
- Sliding knockdown: After touching the ground, the opponent will suffer a second untechable time where they're only vulnerable to Off The Ground attacks. Afterward, they will be able to perfrom ground recovery, but cannot combine delayed recovery with any other recovery options like they can with a soft knockdown.
- Hard knockdown: Completely disables any recovery options after landing and is forced to stand up. This type of knockdown only comes from Meteor Attacks.
- Crumple is a type of hit state where the character is stunned and slowly falls to the ground. Immediately after being put into crumple, the character is considered standing. After falling forward to the ground, they cannot delay the recovery and are forced to ground recovery immediately.
Frame advantage is the concept of who is free to act first after an interaction.
This is most commonly brought up after blocking an attack; who can act first - the attacker or defender? Frame advantage has the answer! A negative value means the defender can act first, and a positive value means the attacker can act first. The value shows exactly how many frames one character can move before the other.
- Ex: Frame Advantage -5 means the defender is free to move 5 frames before the attacker.
- Ex: Frame Advantage +2 means the attacker can move 2 frames before the defender.
Each character's full frame data page shows both the frame advantage when an attack is blocked. Air attacks don't have frame advantage listed since that value is heavily influenced by when the attacker lands after an attack.
Frame advantage assumes that the attack connects as soon as possible against a standing/crouching opponent, and that the attacker does not cancel the attack into anything else.
For more information on using frame data see here.
When an attack hits an object, both objects freeze in place briefly to give the attack the feeling of more impact. This effect is known as hitstop and can vary in duration, like SS Goku's 5L compared to his Dragon Flash Fist (236X). Hitstop helps with combo consistency because you can buffer commands like special cancels during hitstop and it will be executed immediately after hitstop ends.
Hitstop applies to anything that can attack or get hit - including projectiles and assists. We will refer to all of these as "objects" for the sake of brevity.
Objects experiencing hitstop are frozen in place, but other objects on the stage are unaffected. For example, when Goku's projectile hits the opponent, Goku does not experience hitstop, only the projectile and the opponent do. From Goku's perspective, the hitstop the opponent experiences can be thought of as additional blockstun/hitstun!
- Uneven Hitstop
When an attack hits an objects, both usually experience the same amount of hitstop, but this is not always true. Some attacks deal different amounts of hitstop on hit vs block, and on the attacker vs defender.
- Armor and Parry Stances
Attacks with armor and parry-type attacks are attacks that guard the opponent's attack before retaliating with their own. When these attacks guard the opponent's attack, they can also change how much hitstop each object experiences! This is why some counter type attacks can beat safe jumps; they force the attacker into enough uneven hitstop that the defender can attack before the attacker can reach the ground and guard!
Jiren's H Shock Tornado (214H) is an example of this.
As mentioned above, projectiles are considered separate objects from the character that summoned them, so when they hit other objects, the character doesn't experience hitstop. The projectile itself does experience hitstop - which explains why multihit projectiles don't do their hits one frame after the other, they need to wait for hitstop to end before they can hit the opponent again!
- Miscellaneous Hitstop Notes
- Amount of Hitstop
- The amount of hitstop an attack deals depends on its attack level, but certain attacks can override these default values.
- Getting Hit While in Hitstop
- Hitstop does not confer any invincibility - your state carries over from what you were doing before. If you were invincible/hitstun/blockstun before hitstop, then you will still be in that state during hitstop. If you are hit while in hitstop, then the previous hitstop ends and the new hitstop begins.
- Hitting Assist Characters
- You and the assist will experience severely reduced hitstop.
- Projectiles where the Attacker Also Experiences Hitstop
- While very rare, some projectiles (like Gogeta's 5S) don't behave like normal projectiles and also put the attacker into hitstop