High Level Gameplay Example
†Note: This footage came from the Dragon Ball FighterZ National Championship US West Week 4 (Source: YouTube), being played on Version 1.25. Many adjustments have since been made to the game, but they wouldn't affect the high level decision making being showcased here.
†Note 2: Play "Entrance of the Gladiators" alongside the clip to enhance the experience.
UI Goku is a character with powerful screen control, solid meter gain, extremely strong assist-regen okizeme off most knockdowns and access to easy Special Tag > j.DR synergy, which makes it easy for him to develop his teammates and get them their win conditions. However, a lot of his neutral tools are committal, his mixup is lacking solo, and his Lv3 oki is downright bad. With all this in mind, UI Goku's best position is that of a Point. However, he can also work great as a Mid, because meter enables many of his strongest options that can help turn the tides or press an already secured advantage harder, and his assists can prove to be very useful to the Point you play with him, between a defensive assist, a neutral assist and even an air-tracking DP assist, all the while your Anchor still provides an assist for UI himself to abuse.
Putting UI Goku on Point allows him to cover a lot of the weaknesses mentioned above through assists. With assists available, he can make neutral easier to navigate, opening up opponents becomes less troubling, and you get access to better DHCs than his own. UI's strengths are very well-defined, so being able to cover his weaknesses and taking advantage of everything he can bring to his teammates is extremely beneficial. However, the one downside to this is that he has less access to his really strong metered options such as 214H (held or unheld) and 214[X]~H, his frame 1 counter super, his Lv2, his grounded and aerial 236H moves... which can sometimes feel limiting, especially if you end up in a situation without assists.
Usually, you want to put UI Goku on Mid if you want to play him with a character that's already a designated Point (i.e. Blueku, Bardock, Baby2) because compared to him, such Points do not necessarily have their strongest options locked behind meter, and they may provide him with more than he could for them as a Point (for instance, they may build more meter, skip neutral more easily, make better use of UI's assists than he would make use of theirs, etc). Luckily, UI Goku is flexible enough not to really care if he's not the Point. With more access to his metered options and the guarantee of still having at least one assist in the back to help him out, he suddenly switches to an entirely different gameplan here, where instead of providing things for his team, he uses the resources given to him to absolutely terrify his opponents with crazy neutral skips, even more mindgames, much better damage and an almost impenetrable defense.
This is UI Goku's worst position if played in the traditional "comeback character" sense. In this game, it's extremely important to rotate your team around a lot for reasons like health management or having a good building>spending>building cycle for resources, and this is especially important if you want to put UI here... because his assists are not outstanding enough to warrant keeping him in the back as a support over others who would fill this role. Meter gives him just enough options to get by solo, but assists are even more valuable to him, and in most reasonable team comps, you'd do yourself a favor by putting him in a different slot.
UI Goku is probably the least picky character in the game when it comes to what assists he wants, as he can make basically anything work. Whether it's ki blast assists for flip mix (which has built-in options to kill reflect or SD attempts), fast strike assists and projectile assists to help him navigate neutral more safely, or blockstun assists for tricky mixups and easier combos, the only limit is your imagination and you are heavily encouraged to experiment with your own teams and see what feels best for you.
However, a popular opinion is that his favorite assists are defensive ones, such as 17 A or Adult Gohan A, since they help make his committal options safer both in neutral and in pressure... but he also enjoys beam assists like SS Goku A a lot since they're extremely consistent for his neutral and combos, and even serve as good smokescreens for flip mix.
One notable exception to the rule here would be Kid Buu A. Despite not being his favorite type of assist, it completely deletes his "no mix" weakness unlike other blockstun assists, making it a very appealing choice.
UI Goku's main thing is mindgames - the constant threat of him stealing his turn back and laughing in your face, or making you pay severely for disrespecting him. As a character, he expands upon universal options like 6M, DR and crossups, bringing new options to the table that serve to overload his opponents. Through normals with good frame data and special properties, 6S mindgames, the flip series as a whole, strong DR Crushes, unique ways to vibe check people and a player that understands how to adapt their pressure to their opponent's habits, UI Goku becomes a terrifying monster that gets hard to contest and even harder to defend against the longer you fight him.
As a starting point, UI Goku's safe gapless blockstring would be: 2L > 5LL > 2M > 5M(2) > 5H > 236L. Technically, "safe gapless" ends at 5M since 236L leaves a 1f gap, but it's safe from basically anything opponents may try (for more info check the 236X section on the main page), so stick with it for now.
2L is -4 on block, so it's the button you'll be using the most for the "up close and personal" kind of pressure that may encourage opponents to do something they'll regret. You can do 2LL and create ambiguous strings like "2L [stop] 2L(dl)L" to make them guess where you'll reset and where you'll frametrap. It's also nice for making it harder for your opponents to reflect (since you can't reflect while crouch blocking) and it makes for a good reset point.
5L is the behemoth of a button we all know and love for its enormous size and pushback. Use this for the "social distancing" kind of pressure, when you want your opponent to feel like they should not contest you - a feeling which you can then take advantage of. You can also threaten a DR or a spaced (meaty, plus on block) 6M after this button, so take advantage of the extra options it gives you.
By delaying 5LL and 5M a smidge, you get your strongest frametraps, both being safe on block to boot. 5M notably lets you do a simple high/low between doing 5M(1) 6M or just letting both hits rock, which can catch low to mid level players off-guard.
2M is your go-to after 5L if you want to keep the social distancing while threatening with a low, and it automatically frametraps after 2L. Not the best stagger point otherwise, though, since it's -7.
5H and 236L are optional moves you can tack on to the end of your string while remaining safe if you've failed to open up your opponent.
In the corner, you can try adding in a 5S, as it will trade with 6f jabs if the opponent mashes and actually link back into 5L for a full combo. Midscreen it has crazy pushback while being -5, so it can be good for ending blockstrings, but it doesn't give you anything on trade there. Keep in mind it loses to even f4 reversals, though reflecting it will keep UI in the opponent's face.
The -2 Game
UI Goku is famous for being an "Your turn is my turn" kind of character. When he's -2, he can try superjumping away or backdashing to escape like any other character, but the special thing about him is he can also do 214H to beat mashing attempts... and unlike other f4 reversals, even if the opponent baits it, it's extremely hard to actually punish since it recovers airborne and UI is free to do whatever after it, including another j.214H if he's feeling mean, or even calling an assist after it and straight up starting his own pressure. This makes him a nightmare to really take your turn against in those situations... and he is -2 not only when he blocks an opponent's Vanish, but also after any version of 236X, so he can "end" his blockstring then turn around and punish you for assuming it was ever your turn.
Another way UI can steal turns is through abusing the options he has after the first hit of 6S. To set this up you have to either do 5L > 2M > 6S which autotimes it, or 2M > delay 6S at any point in your blockstring (it will still true string). A summary of it goes like this:
- 6S(1) 5H leaves a 1f gap, so it frametraps anything but it's weak to reflect and reversals (though because of the tiny gap, it's easy to mistime them).
- 6S(1) 236L makes the lariat whiff in the opponent's face, but it recovers extremely fast, so it works as an effective pressure reset against those who aren't ready, baits reflect, and even regens assists.
- 6S(1) 236M will stuff opponents catching on and trying to react to the startup of 236X, and it also phases through reversal attempts, but loses to jumping.
- 6S(1) 236H will also catch mashing and beat reversals, and if opponents try to jump after 6S, this will drag them back to the ground and leave you +4.
- 6S(1) 214L makes you +3 on block or even +9 if they tried to jump. The pushback of 6S can potentially also make this stuff their mash.
- 6S(1) 214M is a command grab. The pushback of 6S makes this and 214L have pretty much identical startup animations. Note that both this and 214L lose to a reactionary 2H, though.
On top of all this, 6S has an absolutely massive cancel window, so you can delay your frametrap after it for even more mindgames... and if you wait until the opponent blocks a ki blast of 6S, you will be +6. This is barely abusable even in the corner, though, due to the extreme pushback. The idea is to cycle between these options alongside universal ones, to keep opponents on their toes and constantly second-guessing themselves.
As it has been mentioned, 214L is the plus on block move, while 214M is the grab. It was also mentioned that both lose to 2H, but actually, UI Goku has ways to combat this. For one, using 214M point blank rather than after spacing himself out will actually win against 2H attempts. This makes the grab easier to distinguish from other moves since UI will cross over you, though. Wait, but 214L is still a free 2H, so now what?
Enter... held flips. 214[L] keeps UI from flipping over the opponent, while 214[M] does let him cross over them even when they're cornered. The strongest bait against people prone to 2Hing is 214[L]~H. If they block it, you can do the exact same stuff as after any other 214H. If they get hit... well, combo time. Once opponents get scared enough to just hold the punch or try to reflect it, that's when you can throw in the grab. You can also use a similar strategy with 214[M]~H or 214[M]~L against people trying to react and jump away from your point blank grab, with the former potentially frametrapping their jump and the latter being +9 on air block. If they attempt to respect you, you can also use 214[X]~S as a crossup option. The layers go on and on.
214[H], meanwhile, does away with all the layered mindgames and essentially creates solo mixups for UI Goku, albeit expensive. 214[H]~L makes the punch start up faster and gives it a much more ambiguous animation... while 214[H]~S serves as the other side of this coin, as a lightning fast crossup option. Both of these are also extremely strong DR Crushes with different tradeoffs: 214[H]~L is a ToD starter and plus on block, but loses to opponents who tech DR using 2H and needs extra resources like Vanish, assists or Sparking to combo from. On the other hand, 214[H]~S beats 2H and is solo-confirmable for free, but it scales much worse.
Midscreen oki is not the best for any character, really, as many setups tend to lose to in-place tech, but UI Goku has some decent options against uptech and backtech.
- Smash j.H / j.DR -> You can stick with the classic dash-up IAD j.H.
- j.236M -> 5L (whiff) IAD j.M regenerates assists. You do the same setup in the corner off this knockdown.
- j.214L -> Same as Smash j.H
Thankfully, UI Goku easily takes you to the corner off any touch, and when he's there he has access to very strong oki. All of the following safejumps catch uptech and backtech while also regenerating assists.
- Smash j.H / j.DR -> 2M (whiff) IAD j.H
- j.236M -> 5L (whiff) IAD j.M (this particular setup loses to uptech > jump)
- j.214L -> 66 5L (whiff) IAD j.H (for an easier version that doesn't require the microdash, you can just whiff 2M instead, but it won't regen assists anymore)
Tips and Tricks
- Don't be afraid to back off when you're unsure what course of action to take in pressure; neutral is not a bad place for UI to be.
- Use 236H to catch landings from far away, it's a great jumpscare move.
- Use j.236X as a defensive wall if you notice your opponent getting a bit desperate to approach you. It will stuff practically anything.
- Take advantage of held flips' projectile and assist invuln. You will find opponents get very surprised when you flip through their assist calls on reaction.
- If you want to flip in neutral, use the L version as it travels quickest.
- Delay tech into held H flip is an incredibly scummy wakeup option that mixes your opponent on their own oki, be sure to abuse it once in a while.
- 214[X]~S is -3 on reflect and -5 on block, don't be afraid to use it.
Fighting UI Goku
- It may seem scary to chuck Ki Blasts at him, but considering all he can do is walk forwards or commit to flipping (which is punishable via Superdash in most cases), it's not as horrible a risk as it may seem. Most people who play this game dash around anyway so his walk being invulnerable doesn't really mean much.
- Don't get too careless either, though, as if he 6Hes a special move of yours, let's just say it won't feel great. A lot of UI players sometimes fish for counters too much, so don't let them get what they want.
- UI's flips are scary, but don't let him get away with predictable play. Keep calm and 2H his plus punch until the other player shows you they will adapt to this. If not, keep doing it.
- Jumping on reaction is a very strong option against UI flips if you can do it. It will beat every option except 214L, which does leave him +9, but at least you didn't get hit. Be patient.
- Any time that UI Goku is -2, he can threaten with 214H. Mashing loses, but jumping beats 214H while also being unpunishable by his 5L. Simply jumping away will make that move whiff if he tries it, and that could net you a punish, so it really is the best option to simply retreat sometimes. Don't be afraid to disengage.
- Stay outside of his range. A lot of people get bonked by autocombo mashers because they essentially run into it. If the UI player starts flailing, either babysit them until they feel like actually playing, or do your best to whiff punish them. Don't get too petty about it though, it doesn't have to be an M starter to drive the point home.
- All of UI Goku's zoning and counter-zoning options are committal. If you can bait one, there's often a wide window to punish.
- The window that UI Goku can cancel his 22S and Unrestrained Will moves into Supers is actually quite small. Often all you need is to wait just a hair before you stick out a button to punish one that's blocked.
- If you block Unrestrained Will, the "Vanish vs f1 counter rps" is entirely fake as you can combat it by simply waiting and reacting to the Vanish, if it ever comes. If he does the f1 counter instead (or just nothing), you won't have a Vanish to react to, but you will have plenty of time to punish.
- 2S is an incredibly strong neutral tool, but there are some things to keep in mind should you keep blocking it. Firstly, blocking 2S means your movement is predictable, as its 21 frame startup makes it impossible to do on reaction. Secondly, it's usually better to take the hit as 2S cannot be hit-confirmed without Sparking. Lastly, it has roughly ten years of recovery on whiff and the UI player knows this, so look out for panic Vanishes if you see him miss it, or simply whiff punish it if you're in range.
Low Profiling Unrestrained Will
Specific smaller characters have the privilege of being able to low-profile UI's "DR tech" by properly timing a whiffed 2L/2M, leading to them having the ability to get a full unscaled punish on him. The list includes:
2L: Gotenks, Kid Buu, SSJ Vegeta, SSB Vegeta
2M: Frieza (automatically counterhits), Teen Gohan, Android 17, Krillin, Vegeta, SSJ Vegeta, SSB Vegeta