Many new players/beginners wanna start with Dragon Ball Fighter Z. What are the universal mechanics and what kind of fighting game is DBFZ? What is safe and unsafe to do in DBFZ? How can I punish stuff like zoning or the homing super rush with R2? As a Blazblue, MvC, Persona 4 Arena and Guilty Gear player I think a guide with tips and tricks from me for DBFZ is a good idea.
Universal mechanics in DBFZ:
4 Button Fighter
DBFZ is a 4 button fighter at heart. It has this layout on PS 4: square is light attack, triangle is medium attack, circle is heavy attack and x is the special move.
L 1 and L 2 are the assist buttons and if you hold one of them down you change your character in your team. R1 is Dragon Rush which is like a throw in other fighting games and R2 is a homing dash to pursue your opponent. When you push triangle and circle together your character teleports/vanishes and crosses the opponent up with a knockdown attack. If you push R1 + R2 or all 4 attack buttons at the same time you activate Sparking Blast which makes your attacks hit for more damage and it makes your character faster (Buff in dmg and movement speed as comeback potential).
DBFZ relies heavily on assists as a hyper versus fighting/team game. Hyper fighters usually are assist focused like UMVC 3 or tag based like MvC:I. Skullgirls had both ways to play the game. What is the purpose of assists? Well, as I explained in my fighting game blog series: Moves can be unsafe to do. If they get blocked you will get punished for it or have to face pressure from your opponent because you lost your turn. Assists can make unsafe moves safe. For example: If I use Goku's assist which is a Kamehameha (beam attack) I can use medium or heavy attacks to pressure the opponent. Goku's assist makes it safe so that I don't lose my turn. My attacks are made safe by the assist.
Dragon Rush and Super Rush
Dragon Rush functions as a throw like in every other fighting game. Super Rush is a pursuit to further pressure the opponent. DBFZ is a very aggressive fighting game. But Super Rush is unsafe on block. It can be punished by a down + heavy attack before it hits (Antiair) or after it's blocked by a down + light attack or down + medium attack (with fast characters).
Zoning can be done with special moves or the special button (x). If you wanna keep your opponent at a certain distance you can zone with projectiles.
Teleport attacks and Super rush beat zoning in DBFZ. They are both clean answers to a heavy projectile based playstyle.
Pushblock is mostly specific for Hyper fighting games. In Marvel vs Capcom you can pushblock your opponent while pressing both punch buttons while you are blocking. In DBFZ you have to push back + x when the opponent attacks. It pushes the opponent away from you and sets the game back to neutral. It also reflects projectiles. Pushblocking is a defensive mechanic and you have to be careful because some attacks like Kamehameha can't be pushblocked at all.
Teleport attacks can be used to punish zoning. If your opponent sits in his corner and throws projectiles all day long and you can't get in with a jump + super rush you spend a bar and use the teleport to open him up.
There are several levels of bars in DBFZ. You can have 7 total bars of meter. Supers can be lvl 1,2,3. A lvl 3 super does the most damage. Most supers are used as combo enders for extra damage.
That's it! I hope this gives you a better idea how to start as a beginner in DBFZ. Special thanks to the MvC:I, Street Fighter and DBFZ subreddits and their community members who helped me to test stuff in the beta. I hope this Beginner's Guide can help you out. Fight on!