• Dragon Ball Z Trading Card Game

    Dragon Ball Z Trading Card Game by Panini America. News, Articles, Videos, and more!

    The King Has Arrived!

    King Kai makes his debut! 

    On the surface, King Kai may look like a "gimmick" personality however, he can generate actions with the best of them and his set also gives player's more control over the game. 
    King Kai- Mentor offers a lot of versatility. At the end of any planning step, King Kai's level 1 can fetch either Bubbles or Gregory ally and put it into play. Whichever ally you decide to grab, will change depending on where you have established your game plan: Maybe you played a copy of King Kai's Joyride during your planning step and you decide to utilize Bubbles to lock your opponent out of choices, or do you grab Gregory for action economy and generation? Finally, King Kai - Mentor has a great ability to filter cards - note that it's one of the rare abilities to draw a card FIRST then decide what you want to pitch!
    King Kai - Joyful offers a very rare ability in the game: Powering a personality in play to it's highest power stage. This is crucial against decks trying to deal stage damage and even helps aliviate costs towards playing key attacks like Blue Ki Build Up or King Kai's Tactics. On level 2, your Gregory and Bubbles will always be able to generate actions and all attacks performed by them will do +3 life cards o damage! You also get a bit of rejuvenation!
    King Kai - On the Move ramps the stack even further. Your Bubbles and Gregory allies can continue to make actions, and you gain the ability to search them out of your deck again! He also has a very sizable physical attack that deals 6 life cards that has the potential to always gain value! If Bubbles and Gregory are in play, the attack will always do 3 life cards at minimum!

    King Kai -  North Kai shows the true power of his MP stack! To start with, his ally related powers are now geared towards ALL allies, whether it's protecting them from removal, generating advantages from Bubble's or Gregory's parenthetical effects OR allowing allies without constant effects to perform printed actions! Like his level 3, he also has a physical attack for straight life cards, however this one has a HUGE hit effect - Your allies will do +5 life cards of damage! 

    The Celestial Tournament set is fast approaching for it's March release! Make sure you check out FanZ's offical blog ( https://fanztcg.wordpress.com later this week for more previews!

    Announcing TCGTopTier.com

    Soon, this site will be added to a new website dedicated to multiple trading card games, including the Star Wars Destiny Collectible Card and Dice Game. Don't worry - we'll have all the same content we had before but an expanded user base. This will ensure your favorite site is around for years to come!
    During the transition time, there may be some site downtime. The outage is expected most of the day today until Wednesday, 2/8/2017.

    The Ever Evolving - A Look at Black Conflict Gohan

    Justin gives you a look at one of his favorite decks for the current meta - Black Conflict Gohan.

    Hello!!!! I've been pretty quiet since worlds happened, and I thought I would show you guys a deck that I have been working on for the past couple of weeks: Black Conflict Gohan! It sounds pretty trashy you say??? Well take a look at the list first before you tell me it's trash...
    Black Conflict Gohan
    Gohan, to the Rescue
    Gohan, Unlocked
    Gohan, Unassuming
    Gohan, Undeniable
    Allies: (7)
    1x Chi-Chi
    1x Piccolo
    1x Icarus
    1x Ox King
    1x Baba
    1x Bulma
    1x Yajirobe
    Drills: (2)
    2x Black Smoothness Drill
    Setups: (3)
    3x Black Memories
    Dragon Balls: (1)
    1x Earth Dragon Ball 7
    Events: (10)
    3x Confrontation
    2x Heroic Energy Sphere
    3x Black Strength Display
    2x Black Barrier Destruction
    Defense: (11)
    2x Black Swipe
    2x Black Speedy Dodge
    1x Black Evasion
    1x Black Halt
    2x Black Delay
    2x Black Easy Block
    1x Time is a Warrior's Tool
    Physical Combats: (8)
    3x Black Flashback
    3x Black Defensive Burst
    2x Sobering Hammer
    Energy Combats: (18)
    3x Assisted Kamehameha
    3x Overpowering Attack
    3x Black Swirl
    3x Black Energy Web
    2x Black Empowered Sword Slash
    2x Black Destructive Beam
    2x Blinding Energy Move
    I initially got the idea for the deck from my brother Jarrett. We were talking about how much we both have loved Gohan's play style for the last few weeks. Seriously, if you haven't yet, try him out. He is insane. He's great in any color you decide to put him in (which happens to be all of them). He can be controlling or aggro. Anger or Ball. Seriously he is fantastic.
    A few hours later, he sent me an image of a Black Gohan deck he was working on that was DRASTICALLY different from this (maybe he'll share it sometime in the future). I liked some of the ideas and decided that I would take a crack at building one myself.
    I was going through different ideas, when I came across an interesting outlet to discard cards for Gohan's Level 2 power, as well as the Conflict Mastery: Black Memories and Black Strength Display.
    The idea of the deck is to setup a control board specific to your match up and control the hell out of your opponent's hand, while slowly building the game to head in your favor.
    The idea would be to try and limit the actions your opponent can make during combat. 3 Black Memories and 3 Black Strength Test allow you to use Gohan's 2 Power to become a +1 card advantage by forcing hand disruption. Black Empowered Sword Slash forces disruption as well. The idea would be to create a hand lock deck which players haven't played against since the days of the dreaded Black Devious Mastery.
    Black Barrier Destruction and Black Destructive Beam into Ox King give the deck tons of rejuvenation. Black Memories is especially powerful here, because it's parenthetical effect is when it is discarded, so it is re-usable. Also Memories is insane against the Restored Gohan decks at creating a huge hand advantage by using the card's actual effect: Use it while you have no setups or drills, then grab their Namekian Assistance Drill, follow up with your own Black Smoothness Drill for a +2 hand advantage. The deck may be weak to anger, but by keeping their hand size in check as well as taking advantage of smaller critical damage threshold it is manageable.
    As for the attack package, Black Swirl, Baba and Black Flashback create huge openings to allow attacks to punch through, meanwhile Assisted Kamehameha just gets to eat away at the life deck because of it's unstoppable/unpreventable effect. This deck packs 3 of each Defensive Burst and Energy Web in hopes of locking out combats in your favor. Earth Dragon Ball 7 and Blinding Energy Move help round out keeping total control of the game. Baba is an all-star here, because perfect knowledge is PRETTY good in this type of deck.
    Ox King is a HUGE factor at being successful with this deck. Knowing when to bring him in and when to bounce him out is a serious business. Targeting him with your own Black Destructive Blasts protects him from removal and his bouncing allows you to put more cards back in the deck. Making sure he is in play against Goku's higher levels also ensures you will get maximum damage from your attacks.
    Do I feel this deck is absolutely perfect? Of course not. However, I can see with eventual tweaking and more games under it's belt it can be a decent choice to bring to an ARG winter championship or your locals. The deck is a lot of fun though, and seeing your opponent squirm when you have larger hands than them (while controlling your own draws) is incredibly delightful. It will definitely catch them off-guard. Let me know what you think in the comments.
    Justin McBride

    Vacaville World's Dig Event Report - The Rise of Tag Vegeta

    You have heard me say it for two years straight . . . . You have seen the numerous posts #MakeVegetaGreatAgain . . . . you have witnessed the many failures on behalf of the developers to give me the throne I am do . . . that is my birthright!


    Rather than have the Prince we deserved, we got the laughing stock of the universe. Every attempt to make Vegeta great had failed miserably.


    Not anymore . . . even in a Meta where every other MP stack is seriously more overpowered for any style, for any combination of victories, there comes a silver lining. The Prince has returned to claim his crown!!

    I was really looking forward to this event. It would be the first legit event I could play a competitive version of Vegeta. I had tried every version of Vegeta before this until I was nauseous. So I was finally excited to play him at a competitive level.
    I had been testing a lot of vegeta decks before I landed on the one I actually took. I owe most of my testing to my boys at Paper Heroes (my local shop) and Adam Richins. I had tried Resolute, Ruthless, Ascension, Conflict (which I really liked), and decided the best fit for me and my play style was Tag Vegeta! Adam helped me fine toon this thing to near perfection. His endless hours of sacrificially giving up his Friday’s to play Z with me via FaceTime was a huge help. Not to mention he and his wife were great hosts letting me crash at their place (which is right by the beach Say WWWAAAATTTT)!!
    Back to the Tag Vegeta build. I really liked this build because it can be super aggressive and can be versatile. Against the anger match up I can always 1st turn drop Gohan and slow anger decks and allow my beat down style to hold them at bay via crits. Against Drawku I drop briefs and I can always keep pace with hand size. The build offers a lot of what I like in a deck which is mainly a lot of fire power (and even by my standards this one was super high).
    I had purposefully planned to face a lot of either roshi or goku and had purposefully teched against those builds with my blue and free style package to de-level people or slow anger gain. However, these would be virtually unnecessary.
    I have considered a few changes after this big event to incorporate natural anger gain since Level 2 and 3 are where it is at. Nothing can beat that unpreventable damage lv 2 and being able to throw attacks twice at lv3. Even unblockable lv 4 can still be prevented, and with the high high endurance counts in most decks these days lv 2 is incredible. So enraged blast, blue attacks that gain instant 2 anger are all going to be strongly considered and tested in the future.
    I do not have any AK so there were none of those in the deck. I only run the Unleashed UR, so this deck is relatively inexpensive. Also, it’d be very easy to remove Unleashed, quick blast, and even Crushing Beam and throw in cards that gain 2 anger for easy leveling.
    As always Vacaville was excellent. Not only hosting a top tier venue but the knowledgeable players they draw always makes for a great event. Russ and the crew always do an orderly, timely, and clean event. They always over preform in terms of their prizes (which makes the 5+ hour drive less burdensome), but also in their ability to stage, and host an event. Russ and all the local players have a solid understanding of the game and the rules. You never have problems that I’ve had at other events where people don’t know the rules (Which I have experienced even at a regional . . . . . unfortunately . . . . . someone from Panini owes me a Wold’s Dig for that Vegas nonsense #RedArialAssault #EnergizedStrike #Bogus, #BlueMasteryDoesntCountAsStyled . . . . . #YouKnowWhoYouAre . . . . hopefully no one takes that salt seriously).
    Anyway, that’s never the case here, always up on rulings and the player base and judges are all so good there is never an issue. I hope they get another regional, this shop supports the game more than any other on the west coast for sure.
    Game 1 – Mark Kretschmer
    Tag Vegeta vs blue resolute Vegeta.
    This was a very close game. I had gotten to level 2 off of natural anger earlier in the game but was delivered when he unleashed to level 4. I sat at level 1 for most of the game. When it was late game I drew a blinding energy move while he had visiting the past in play and he got out a blue shifting maneuver, so I immediately dropped the blinding energy move to end combat.
    I kept track of which cards he was discarding throughout the remainder of the game. I noticed one combat he put a neck beam at the bottom of his deck so I knew he had one card with endurance sitting at the bottom. I also knew he still had the shifting maneuver in his hand. I waited until I got a destruction blast and entered.
    I only had 4 life left so I did not have a lot of other options. My first attack was Vegeta’s destruction blast for 7 he tried shifting maneuver, which could not block it (he didn’t have another block in his hand either way). The destruction blast hit for 7 life cards clean no endurance until a neck beam on the very last card.
    Mark’s Resolute Vegeta was great it ran AK and all the power card’s you’d expect in a Resolute Vegeta build. He got to level 4 super-fast against me which erased the early lead I built with the unblockable damage. He ended up being placed 7th overall after Swiss was over and made top cut.
    Game 2 – Louie (Kurk Kaestner)
    Namekian Restored Gohan
    Louie ran a solid dragon ball ally build. In this game I got out to an early lead but against a dragon ball deck, life total hardly matters. Toward what seemed to be the end of the game he had 5 Namek Dragonballs in play and he placed ‘time’ on top of his deck. I knew that I couldn’t just enter mindlessly because the odds of him getting one of the 2 balls he needed were extremely high with the low life deck he had remaining.
    So I waited until I had an attack that ‘time’ couldn’t stop. I accumulated 2 Final flashes. The first Final Flash I threw leveled me to lv 2 which made it unpreventable. Since all he had was ‘time’ in his hand he couldn’t block it and I had to steal DB 1. I kept the second one in my hand because I knew he had time and would have to attack me to get ball 1 back. His next combat he entered on me and confrontationed. He took my final flash, however, I drew a Vegeta’s Destruction. So, knowing he had time still in his hand I threw Destruction for the game winning 7 life cards.
    Louie would end up making top cut as the 8th seed.
    Game 3 - Adrian Bowden
    Namekian Restored Gohan
    Adrain played a similar deck to Louie so I already knew my strategy had to be super aggressive. I entered first turn, opted not to use Briefs so that I could level with an unleashed. I also had a blinding energy move in my hand do I ended combat after his first attack hit for a few life cards. The second combat I drew another unleashed so I entered, jumped to lv 4 and ended combat.
    From here on out I just went full agro, entering every combat because even if I spent everything in my hand Briefs allowed me to never have a hand disadvantage. By getting to level 4 super early which made all my attacks unstoppable the game ended rather quickly. This was likely one of the most lopsided wins I had on the day. Adrain played well, but my draws were very favorable and jumping to level 4 as fast as I did made it very one sided.
    Adrain finished 13th overall after Swiss
    Game 4 – Drew Cunningham
    Draw Goku Ruthless
    I have played Drew a large number of times in organized play. We have traveled to a few regionals together so we have seen each other a lot. However, every time we play we are both running something different it seems. This was the game I expected to see at the Meta and what my deck was more teched to face. However, the game didn’t go close to how I expected it.
    It was certainly one of those unending ‘enter combat’ games, but it took longer than either of us likely expected. I do not believe I ever made it off level 1 in this game. Early in the game he had me stage locked this enabled me to utilize both Tien and repeated Chaozu attacks (since I could Blue Assault or Overpowering Attack to get him back).
    Near the end of the game when he was near death he entered on me and used Red Tandom Blast. I had been holding ‘blinding energy’ in my hand in case of an event like this. This combat really made the game super close because I had hardly anything in my hand and no blocks and no stages or allies except Gohan.
    The game was looking to be near over. I only had 13 life cards left. He then plays a unleashed to jump a level which I thought would end the game because he would just draw another card and keep hitting. However, when he leveled I used ‘blue rebuke’ and drew a ‘blue headknock.’ On my action I threw ‘blue headknock for the win.’ I do not know if he could have dealt 12 life cards to kill me with what he would have gotten with his Goku power (and with the endurance in my deck it didn’t seem likely). This was a super close game and I felt on edge the whole time. It was one of those games where you never really feel like you are in control and it was over before I knew it and I was able to defeat my arch rival KAKAROT. . . . I mean my solid buddy Drew.
    Drew ended up with a solid day finishing 6th in Swiss and making Top Cut
    Game 5 - Marc Johnson
    Namekian Restored Cell Mill deck
    This deck was certainly the dark horse of the event. At this point I was the only undefeated played left and I had to face a Namekian Cell. I honestly thought this game would be a waste of my time before it even began. I figured if I had beaten numerous Namekian decks already and Drawku how could Cell possibly give the Prince of all Saiyans a challenge. However, this game would prove to be an insane battle.
    Early game I got arm arm breakered. While I was able to command an early lead (and seemingly convincing one), I focused my level 1 discard removal on his ‘unleashed’s’ I was able to remove them with little issue but I still was not able to shake my arm breaker due to all his endurance. While I let him get out his allies I didn’t see much of a problem since he wasn’t able to utilize them either. However, there came a point where I drew an unleashed and I had to hold it.
    At this point I just kept passing waiting until I could draw either a ‘Sinister Choke’ or a ‘Galick Gun’ so my damage would be unpreventable. However that wouldn’t come until he had established a solid board. He then enters on me and hits me with 2 ‘Namekian Chest Explosian’ with Nappa, multiple Cell Jr’s and Captain Ginyu in play. Both Chest Explosion hit for 15 life cards since I was stage locked and had no allies.
    However, my endurance kept me alive and in the match. Even after taking 2 – attacks at 15 life each the game was still nearly even. However, I couldn’t shake my arm breaker. By the time I decided to ditch my unleashed (seemingly useless with all my attacked cards in my discard pile) it was too late. He was able to level up to level 3 and milled me to death.
    The game was super close either way and Vegeta learned a hard lesson that day . . . . never underestimate the vermin known as Cell.
    Why this deck is not in talks as being Top Tier Meta is astonishing to me. I personally only want to play Vegeta so naturally while I have an option where he can compete with top tier decks it is impossible to think about playing anyone else. But I expect to see this deck a lot more often and next time I will use my discard hate to banish his allies. Even if he can get them back on level 3, just letting them sit in play was a big mistake on my part.
    Marc ended Swiss at 3rd place and made top cut as well.
    Entering Top Cut I was excited to be the first seed. However, as my track record has proven it seems at big events that doesn’t always mean I will go deep into the top cut rounds. After the finalists were announced (oddly enough with all my friends there it seemed like no one clapped for me, needless to say the fans were a bit salty to see Prince Vegeta sitting lofty above his enemies), I noticed that 4 of the 5 guys I faced made top cut. This was exciting to me because it meant that I faced some steep competition.
    For those who are not familiar with the crowd at Vacaville they have some of the best DBZ players in the game (and that isn’t even arguable). Just at this one 20+ player event there were over a dozen regional winners from the past 2 seasons and at least 2 guys who have attended World’s. Not to mention the notorious Kings of Captain Ginyu . . . the Bartholomew brothers (They both didn't run Ginyu this time). And the wild stallion himself . . . . Adam Richins. So while there was not a quantity of players there, there were certainly a lot of quality players there.
    At Top Cut I was paired with #8 seed Louie. I had played Louie back in round 2 and I felt rather comfortable with the match since I did so well the first game. However, this game would prove to be much different.
    I kept my aggressive strategy in place against what I knew was a heavy ally/dragon ball deck. I had an early lead and the game was going a lot like the previous game. However, while I was still on level 1 he got out my kryptonite . . . Ox King. This made all my attacks so weak I could never crit him away nor steal a dragon ball.
    At about midpoint in the game, Louie has about half his deck left and 4 dragon balls out, while I still had plenty of life left I made two huge misplays. I entered with three attacks in my hand, ‘blinding’ ‘quick blast,’ and Galick Gun.
    I threw quick blast, which he blocked. I then threw Galick gun . . . my problem here was I forgot that Piccolo was in play, so of course He blocked it. He then threw a ‘Max Will’ which I blocked with ‘Narrow Escape.’ I was able to stack Galick Gun and Overpowering Attack back on my life deck. You would think all was ok, because I could just pass and I’d get those two attacks back and be fine. But . . . . No . . . . bloodlust had taken over my mind. When I knew he couldn’t block anymore of my attacks I for some dumb reason threw blinding energy move and blew up my Galick Gun and OP . . . I have no clue what came over me in this entire combat. All I could see was red . . . all I could smell was blood . . . and I was winning.
    But alas . . . . He started accumulating balls. I had him with a super low life deck so I figured I’d still be able to pull the win out. I kept entering hoping to hit him enough to pull out a win.
    My next hand I had 3 cards, 2 Sinister Chokes, and a Quick blast. I thought for sure I could ensure my victory. So when I entered I threw my first choke, killing OX King. I could have taken a ball, but with less then 12 life remaining in his deck I thought for sure id hit him with my second choke, quick blast, and lv 1 power to steal a ball. However, he drew . . . ball 7 and confrontation. He confrontationed away my choke and blocked my quick blast and on his turn dropped ball 7.
    The moral of the story kids is never underestimate your enemies, even if they are the most generic hodgepodge collection of genes on the planet or the son of galaxy gutter scum KAKAROT. . . .
    At the end of the event the top 2 were Marc and Louie. The only two to beat me all day. Marc (Namekian Cell) ended up winning the event taking home my world’s dig and my dignity
    . . . .but the one thing he can never take away from me is MY PRIDE!!!

    Dragon Ball Z (Panini 2016) CRD v4.6

    The CRD has been updated.

    Unleashed gains “(Banish after use.)” Orange Checkup Drill’s parenthetical text is treated as if it reads “(When this Drill enters play during combat, if it is the first time a card titled “Orange Checkup Drill” has entered play this combat you may search your Life Deck for a Styled “shield icon” card and place it into your hand.)”
    You can check out more information here.

    Voice Cast Revealed for the Official US English Dub of 'Dragon Ball Super'

    LOS ANGELES, CA – November 30, 2016. As Toei Animation Inc. and Funimation® Entertainment ready for the highly-anticipated, dub launch of “Dragon Ball Super”, the acclaimed original English cast is back to embark on the newest adventure in the Dragon Ball saga. Long-time Dragon Ball franchise voice actors reprising their previous roles for Funimation’s English dub production include Seán Schemmel (Goku), Christopher R. Sabat (Vegeta), Jason Douglas (Beerus), Ian Sinclair (Whis) and Sonny Strait (Krillin) – all of whom starred in last year’s hit movie “Dragon Ball Z: Resurrection ‘F’,”which became the 9th highest grossing anime film of all time in U.S.
    Reuniting the franchise’s iconic characters, “Dragon Ball Super” follows the aftermath of Goku’s fierce battle with Majin Buu, as he attempts to maintain Earth’s fragile peace. Overseen by Dragon Ball’s original creator, Akira Toriyama, Dragon Ball Super draws on its thirty-year history to create a bold, new universe that is welcoming to fans and endearing to new viewers.
    “We are excited to welcome back our many friends and talented newcomers in making ‘Dragon Ball Super’ as special as it can be for fans across the U.S.” said Masayuki Endo, President of Toei Animation Inc. “Funimation has been a fantastic partner in shaping the series for English audiences.”
    “We’re thrilled to reunite the original voice cast for our U.S. English dub production of ‘Dragon Ball Super’ with Toei,” said Gen Fukunaga, CEO and founder of Funimation. “Dragon Ball fans – new and old - can look forward to the same great dub experience with ‘Dragon Ball Super’ that they have been enjoying for the past 18 years.”

    GOKU Seán Schemmel
    VEGETA Christopher R. Sabat
    BEERUS Jason Douglas
    WHIS Ian Sinclair
    KRILLIN Sonny Strait
    GOHAN Kyle Hebert
    BULMA Monica Rial
    PICCOLO Christopher R. Sabat
    TRUNKS Alexis Tipton
    NARRATOR Doc Morgan
    GOTEN Kara Edwards
    CHI-CHI Cynthia Cranz
    A18 Meredith McCoy
    MR. SATAN Chris Rager
    BUU Josh Martin
    KING KAI Seán Schemmel
    SHENRON Christopher R. Sabat
    VIDEL Kara Edwards
    YAMCHA Christopher R. Sabat
    TIEN John Burgmeier
    SHOU Chris Cason
    ROSHI Mike McFarland
    PUAR Brina Palencia
    PILAF Chuck Huber
    OX-KING Kyle Hebert
    OOLONG Brad Jackson
    MARRON Tia Ballard
    KIBITO KAI Kent Williams
    ELDER KAI Kent Williams
    DENDE Justin Cook
    CHIAOTZU Brina Palencia
    MAI Colleen Clinkenbeard
    Subtitled episodes of “Dragon Ball Super” are currently available on FunimationNow as well as Crunchyroll and Daisuki.net along with new simulcast episodes streaming on Saturdays at 8:30 pm ET.
    About Toei Animation Inc.
    Based in Los Angeles, Toei Animation Inc. manages the film distribution of Toei’s top properties, including Dragon Ball all series, Sailor Moon, One Piece, Saint Seiya, and many others to North America, Latin America, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand. Toei Animation Los Angeles office further handles all categories of consumer product licensing based on its film and television brands within these territories. For more information, please visit toei-animation-usa.com.
    About Funimation Entertainment
    Funimation is the go-to destination for extraordinary anime. By combining its integrated in-house studios along with its technology and distribution partnerships, Funimation leads the industry with its omnichannel approach to offering anime to fans—from streaming and home entertainment, to theatrical distribution and broadcast television. The company’s next generation streaming service, FunimationNow, provides subscribers with instant access to their favorite sub and dub shows in ad-free HD on the widest array of devices and platforms—from smartphones and tablets to TVs and gaming consoles. For more information about Funimation, visit funimation.com.

    Fixing the Meta-Game

    In this article I will address growing concerns about the games current balance. I will include my thoughts on how things could be changed to lead us into a healthier competitive environment. However, the more changes you add to the game the more complicated it becomes for new players. Killing a tier 1 deck is never a good idea if instead you could bring it down a notch. For example, Banning Unleashed would kill Blue/Red Goku. Granted, there would still be Blue and Red Goku lists that may find some success in tournaments, but the deck as we know it would be entirely dead. That type of mentality is not good for the game.

    Why Change Anything?
    I'm usually a player that prefers to adapt around tier 1 strategies and I enjoy watching players find unique answers to rising problems that become more and more apparent the longer we delve into a new set's meta-game. However, there does come a time in which things need to be changed to improve the games overall balance. I do think that the tier 1 decks (Orange Roshi, Blue/Red Goku) are too far ahead of every other deck in the game and despite my best efforts the game feels pretty stale. I have been able to build decks that have slightly advantageous match ups against either Orange Roshi or Blue/Red Goku, but I have yet to be able to build a deck that has a decent match up against both. I find myself sacrificing too many match ups just to give myself a fighting chance. This will never lead to a successful tournament winning strategy.
    Identifying the Problem:
    Orange Roshi is an MPPV deck that has insane anger gain on levels 1 and 2. It has the ability to loop defensive options at will and the ability to blow up Wall Breakers with very little effort. The deck plays in an unfair way by creating actions that are on par with Ginyu all while furthering its goal of MPPV. The drills it has access to represent a toolbox on par with the best toolbox in Panini DBZ history. MPPV isn't a problem in this meta-game. Red Vegeta, Orange Trunks, and Saiyan Gohan are all excellent at MPPV and on paper they all look faster than Roshi. However, Roshi's synergy with the Orange Retribution Mastery along with the latest in Orange Drills creates a completely one dimensional hyper efficient MPPV machine.
    Blue/Red Goku can win the game on turn 1 if you draw Unleashed and your opponent can't interact with you. It gets to level 4 Goku by turn 4 90% of its games. Once on level 4 it can find any answer it needs to any problem it may face. Blue and Red provide an excellent source of anti anger to keep MPPV decks at bay as well. Unleashed isn't the problem though and neither is Goku level 4. Remember Broly level 4 is absolutely nuts and Saiyan Empowered Broly (while being tier 1) was never a problem in the previous meta-game. Goku, both Red and Blue, doesn't even have access to the Saiyan Empowered Mastery for quick leveling assistance. Kaio-Ken and Unleashed are really all you need.
    Orange Investigation Drill gains "Villains Only."
    Suddenly Orange Roshi's ability to get rid of Wall Breaker goes out the window. However, the deck doesn't die. Three Focused Assaults could easily come in to keep the deck highly competitive. Also, anti-anger effects like Blue Head Knock will finally be effective against Orange Roshi. Finally, cards that are supposed to be good against MPPV will be good again.
    Goku, Determined - "POWER: Draw the styled card closest to the bottom of your discard pile..."
    Goku, Courageous - "Physical Attack. AT +2 life cards of damage. Draw the styled card closest to the top or bottom of your discard pile."
    This change would leave every non-Goku Unleashed deck untouched. Furthermore, it would allow Goku to still play the way that he wants to, just at a slower pace. It prevents the first turn draw Unleashed or Kaio-Ken and win the game. It allows for your opponent to have more time to find an answer to the problem cards that Goku has. 6 problem cards can be hard to deal with when it only takes 1 to get to level 4. Now it will truly take 3 cards for Goku to obtain his goal. I think this is how Goku should have been designed to begin with and these changes fit in perfectly with his level 4's ability to only interact with styled cards. This also takes away Goku level 3's broken interaction with Time is a Warrior's Tool. Unleashed wouldn't have to be errata'd and Goku can still be played how he is currently being played, but in a more fair way.
    In conclusion, I'm just asking for three small changes and this entire meta-game would open up. I really hope that we see something soon. Even though it's the off season we need a balanced game and I hope that Panini's listening.

    Grading a DBZ Player - Yourself!

    What makes a great DBZ player???? Justin goes over ten questions to ask yourself!

    Recently on Retro, I was in a topic discussing the current state of the game. Well, at some point I decided that I would actually "grade" my group of locals. It came off as kind of harsh, but it is what it is. I wasn't trying to be mean, on the contrary I like them all (and consider most to be friends) enough to be honest with them about how I feel they rate as players in the game. I even did a little bit of retrospective and realized that even I fall short sometimes in what I truly believe makes a great DBZ player.
    I have seen players in this game (and many other games) exhibit these qualities.Tim Batow and Phil McGrath come to mind. I have even seen a player grow exponetially within a year to become a world champion and see the difference a year of focus can do to one's play (Sundeep came ALONG way from the days last year when he came out to Vegas and got his booty kicked by our crew, man you are one of the game's best. Seriously, congrats on your championship title!)
    Ask yourself the following questions and be honest with yourself!
    Do You:
    1. Have the ability to make plays to gain an advantage over your opponent.
    Every move, every action, every thought, must be to: gain an advantage, remove a disadvantage, or at the least, maintain your position. Every attack or block you make, every planning card you play, every combat you enter or get declared on: - you should be looking for a way to gain an advantage over your opponent. Just because you CAN do something, doesn't mean it's the right way of doing something. Focus and examine your game. One thing I ALWAYS tell new players who want to be competitive : Understand your win and losses. Write them down if you have to. If at all possible, play on camera and learn your mistakes.
    2. KNOW Your deck???
    An IMMEDIATE sign of a new or weak player is whether they know the cards contained in their 65 card deck. Do they know their own MP/Mastery? The events, allies, setups, drills, defense and attacks in their deck? Their Endurance? Do you even know how many copies of a card are currently included in your deck. Study your deck. Are there complex timings and interactions that you should be aware of? Even if you didn't playtest the deck the night before and you JUST built it, you should memorize it down to EVERY SINGLE CARD. (Really you should have playtested a general idea of the deck, taking something you are entirely uncomfortable with is a recipe for disaster). Even if you NETDECKED, know your deck! In some games, it will come down to specific outs and you should know your outs. If you happen to luck into a win, it's not skill but luck. Don't be lucky, as my friend Matthew Coombs likes to say "Git Gud" about you deck.
    3. Play Thoughtful or Just Through the Motions
    Yes, we have 40 minute rounds. But for the love of god, slow down! This is a game of thought, draws and concentration. Believe it or not, most players lose a game based on if they took too much time or too little time to make a decision. Should you really be entering this combat? What cards stop you from winning? Are you thinking about what they could be holding based on the discard step? If you rush a play, you're are going to miss something. If you overthink - you are going to miss something. If you know the cards, and interactions inside-out, you won't worry about going to time and you will give yourself an edge to think about combat sequencing, possible deck inclusions and outs.
    4. Have Confidence in your Abilities?
    It is better to be confidently wrong than hesitantly right. This also means, trust your instincts and don't second guess yourself. Confidence is a hard trait to gain, it comes with knowlege and experience. Don't let a last round defeat bolster your entire tournament! Don't let a player you've lost to countless times discourage you from playing to win it! Make ths game count. As my friend Rich Bondi says "Play this game like it is the most important game of your life!"
    5. Know and Undertstand the Game
    Understand the rules and know how the mechanics of the game move and act. You don't need to memorize the rules such that you can quote rules sections, but you should read the CRD, familarize yourself with card interactions and even the DBZ TCG Wiki. There is simply no excuse for misplays due to mistakes in how the rules work. When it comes to competitive play, card interactions and ability timings are all the more important.
    Check out all of the information here: https://paniniamericadbz.wordpress.com/tournament-documents/
    and the Wiki:
    6. Play the Game to Win???
    The greatest players of any game or sport play to win. They can be some of the nicest people you will ever meet, but when the game is on, it is ON. They will be going for the kill shot and attempt to Kamehameha your ass until every part of you is slowly disinigrated. Don't be nice. Win the game. You can't allow takebacks when the game and your title is on the line, and expect the same from your opponent. Winning isn't everythng, but if you are participating in a major tournament, your goal should be to WIN!
    7. Network with Other Players and the Community?
    Find a group to play with, to talk with, theorycraft with and playtest with. Find multiple playgroups. Talk to the community. Talk to World Champions and Regional Winners. Talk to this year's Super Elite. Just communicate! This is a major part of awakening your potential in this game. Don't have a local playgroup? Playtest and get games in on OCTGN. Not only does networking make you become a better player and see choices or understand thoughts from other players, you even get a chance to build new friendships! I owe a lot of my success this year in part because I opened up to other players and different ideas. Even your local, instead of treating it as a competition, treat it as an opportunity to truly learn from each other. The internet should be a place to flourish as players, not to demean or demoralize.
    8. Play as much DBZ as POSSIBLE?
    You can never play enough. Practice, practice, practice. If you're not practicing every day, somewhere someone is, and when they meet you, they will beat you. That is a true fact for anything you wish to accomplish, whether it's sales, networking, education or marketing. That is a major point for Z too. You can't be casual and make it to Worlds and score that invite.
    At the same time, the game shouldn't interfere with life. Don't do it during classes, work or instead of being social with friends. However, you can't expect to win tournaments regularly without making it a priority on some level.
    9.Take Breaks from DBZ ?
    And as a counter to the previous point, you also need to take breaks. This is a TCG based on a 30 year old anime from Japan. Burnout is killer and unfortunately it will hit when you are going through the most stress, either leading up to a major event or during one. So be sure to take nights and just go out with friends and watch movies, dance, be social, fuck your girl (or guy) etc. - let your brain escape the game for a while.
    The brain is a muscle. And the more you work it the stronger it gets. But like any muscle, it can be overworked and it will begin to become counter productive to work it, this is when the times of rest become extremely important. Let it rest. Let your subconscious take over for a while and let your conscious rest. Have you ever over-thought out a deck for a tournament? Have you gotten tired of the current meta? Then it's tme to take a break.
    10. Continuously Learn?
    We're blessed to have this game during the age of the Internet. With Retro, DBZ Top Tier and other sites, knowlege of the game is just a few clicks away. The moment you stop thinking you can learn, or begin to believe that you are too good, you'll come crashing down. Read strategy articles, look at decklists, consider different options. Be open minded! Also, be humble about your progression as a player. Go into every game with the thought that every player is better than you. Stay focused and LEARN.
    I really hope that this article ignites your excitment for the game. If it does, let me know. I would love to hear about it!