I’ll take one DBZ Panini with extra fanboy

Just when I thought I would grow up, this happens. There I sit, in the real world, when the phone rings. It’s Garrett. Now, I don’t think I’ve ever talked to this man on the phone once. This was a special occasion and my first thought was ‘Why?’. Big news. The biggest. Words leave his mouth but I barely comprehend. Something about some old game being rebooted…again? I can’t really form a response and the conversation ends faster than it started. I hang up and I am left with myself and a few months to prepare for the relaunch of the Dragon Ball Z CCG, ten years after Score Entertainment left us waiting at the bus stop.

Greetings Dragon Ballers, Didier here with an awestruck fanboy’s perspective. I’ve gone through all the 5 stages of acceptance, (from ‘why now??’ to ‘please, take my money’) and I’m ready to put it on paper. I’ve read over all of the released cards and thought about the biggest balance jumps from Vintage Z to Modern Z, New Z, Panini Z… whatever the hell we’re calling it. I feel many of the changes bridge gaps and give us a cleaner gaming experience. Let’s summon this dragon!

1) Set deck size of 60 cards

Decks in Score’s DBZ CCG bounced between 50 and 85 cards, a huge range in total size, but in the restored version everyone locks in at 60 cards. Many veteran Z players are quick to state ‘The better version of every deck is the smaller one’ and there is absolutely truth to this. Less total cards means you draw your big stuff faster. Cut the fat, if you will. Now everyone is stuck at 60 and I like it. Instead of wishing for that Trunks Sword Slice or Energy Lob to appear between the filler, take extra time in choosing the perfect combination of cards to be included in your deck. This hard cap sets a nice standard of damage to build around and games won’t last over an hour, but we’re also forcing Ball victory decks to play an additional 10 cards. Let’s face it, they were too fast anyway.

03 Gohan Lv. 1

2) Ramp up of self damage/rejuvenation

I’m seeing some experimentation with self damage such as in the new Gohan Resilient Child and Super Saiyan God Goku. With a 60 card deck limit, each card you discard really starts to wear down your character. Now these abilities have serious drawback and their use to be controlled – a great additional facet to the game. Mirroring this, Namekian seems to have taken the Rejuvenation theme much like in old Z. Just as game changing as a single discard can be, Rejuvenation seeks its claim to fame. This often overlooked Z archetype is sure to be powerful

3) Reduction of the PAT

So we have a set deck size now, how does the damage look? Most energy attacks are doing between 3-5 life cards and likewise physicals rest in a similar range. Not much change from the old Score version – slightly weaker when comparing the hard hitters towards the end of Kid Buu Saga. This had me worried at first. The reduced deck size threatened to make games super fast when your attacks could hit for 10-15 damage. Fear not! Where the GT expansion failed, Panini has learned and improved. They went in the opposite direction and rather than doubling the PAT, they reduced it by 33% and only have a total of six brackets rather than nine. Energy decks were always kept in check by stage management while physicals lead the damage charge. A 33% maximum damage reduction offsets the deck size cap. I hope this change isn’t a ‘first set only’ deal and this sticks.

05 Super Saiyan God Goku Lv. 1

4) Card Memory

SuperSaiyan God Goku sure did cause a big stink when he was first released, and with good reason. Imagine for a second the new Panini Red Mastery that allows for cards draws when both raising and lowering levels. Considering Goku Kaioken Enhanced guarantees a de-level back to L1, let’s entertain the idea of using the Super God power for a card draw, leveling up (drawing and discarding a card), using the Kaioken attack, de-level to L1 (drawing a card), and then using the God power a second time to draw…ANOTHER CARD! It’s a good thing new Z is adopting the idea of having personality power memory. Each character power in the new game will truly be one time use. The game will ‘remember’ what powers you’ve used and not let you activate them again. Another vote for modern Z! Instead of Super Saiyan God Goku being the unstoppable, OP monster he was assumed to be, the Card Memory rule establishes him instead as “simply” the strongest Saiyan personality: a maxed out PAT beast with card draw. Not to be overlooked, I commend Panini for starting the game with this powerhouse…as long as they understand this is the standard and it shouldn’t get better from here.


5) Critical Damage Effect

Please, point out the person who came up with this idea so I know where to send my thanks. I’ll be at Gen Con, I’d like to shake your hand, for this change is groundbreaking in a game over ten years old. It fills a gap that’s been open this entire time…and we didn’t even realize it. Capturing Dragon Balls has always been an afterthought. I know I’ve forgotten about counting my life cards in several games and lost from this oversight. A reworked Critical Damage Effect changes the requirement of five Life Cards of damage AND the opponent having a Dragon Ball in play to a global ability that helps in multiple situations against nearly every deck: Capture a dragon ball, discard an ally, or lower the opponent’s anger one. Instead of tossing and turning in your sleep on what form of anti anger to play, rest easy with this ability in your toolbox. If there’s one thing the Retro format did an excellent job of, it’s revealing is the OP nature of allies. Double Whammy, Z-Warriors Gather. The stage management and swarm potential of allies is off the scouters. Good thing we have an answer to that now.

129 Blue Terror

6) Tokui-Waza Removed

Don’t quote me on this, but there seems to be a severe lack of Tokui-waza in this game. Unlike Score’s game where declaring a fighting style was optional, reprints like Blue Terror aren’t showing up with the classic ‘If you declared a Tokui-waza.’ This text kept colorless decks in check by excluding cards from decks having access to every styled card in the game. Some call this an oversimplification, but to me it’s rather the streamlining of gameplay. Most often then not (here’s looking at you, Roshi), you declared a Tokui-waza since any other option was much less powerful. Non-Tokui-waza decks sat somewhere between a jumbled mess and overpowered onslaught, With the amount of energy wasted ensuring this deck type wasn’t over the top, I hope Panini requires a mastery card across the board.

03 Namek Ball 3

) Reduced Dragon Ball Scaling

This is not to say the Dragon Balls are less powerful, oh no. The impact of every Dragon Ball 3 rings in the ears of DBZ players around the world. The infamous “Draw 3 cards” has been reduced to a net of a single card draw. The Balls now seem to be more averaged in power. Dragon Ball 1 stands as Goku’s Capturing Drill, protecting your Balls from capture and additionally boosting your attacks whereas Dragon Ball 5 provides the same net draw as Ball 3 while giving anger and stages. No Ball is an auto addition to beatdown. No Ball provides raw card advantage, but instead replaces itself and adds additional effects. Dragon Balls still hold their mystical value of granting a wish. They can still win you the game and allow for some game changing plays, but drawing one first turn is no longer victory in itself.


Overall, I’m excitsed for the new game.My mind is open as is my wallet. The changes released so far give hope for this game’s longevity as its own format. I can only hope they follow along Snake Way and don’t fall into HFIL.


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32 Comments to "I’ll take one DBZ Panini with extra fanboy"

  1. Thomas says:

    what do you mean you can only use a personalitys power once? as in once a combat or once a game? where has this been confirmed? just interested

    • ^^^^^^^^^! So we only get to use a MPP once per game? That is the first thing about the new game that I don’t like. SMH.

    • Same question you mean once per combat right?

    • What he’s referring to is how the original game would essentially reset your power usage when you changed levels. Under the original rules, you could, say, use a level 1 power, then level up to level 2, then lose a level and go back to the level 1 card, at which point you could then use its power a second time in the same Combat due to the reset. The new game doesn’t allow this – once you’ve used a personality card’s power the number of times it allows, you cannot use it until the next round under any circumstances.

  2. OK, thanks for the clarification on that. I’m ok with that.

  3. wnderjif says:

    Just Saiyan, but that Gohan is basically how I designed Desperation mechanic to work.

  4. Shane says:

    Requiring a Mastery significantly decreases innovation for deck design and rogue builds. I don’t see that happening but I don’t really see myself playing this game if that is the case. Especially with only one set. I’m hoping they have set rotation designed already for future events though.

    • Curious. You feel Non Tokui-waza decks were a large contributor to the depth of the old game? Even way back in Trunks Saga, masteries would add a card draw or two to decks…and we all know how powerful one card can be. This meant that NTW decks had to have synergy and combos that would outweigh the given power of declaring a fighting style, often meaning they would either be OP or fall short. There was very little in-between.

      What experience with NTW do you have that its exclusion is a dealbreaker?

      • Shane says:

        Sorry, that other response was rushed. All I’m really trying to say is that this isn’t the old game. If this game is improved and more balanced than the other then allowing such innovation should make non-styled decks a large contributor to the depth of the game. The experience is the same as yours, but I think this game is going to be completely different from the old while maintaining the mechanics of a card game that is significantly different from anything else on the market right now. I think the biggest mistake anyone coming into this game if they want to be competitive is comparing it to the old game.

    • Jojo says:

      For the first set it may be a bit restrictive, but I feel it makes the card text much cleaner overall, eases the playtest burden, and opens up design possibilities in the future for something like a “Rainbow” mastery, which could have negative effects to balance it.

  5. Grimlock64 says:

    I’m honestly liking a few of these changes, though the lack of Tokui-waza kind of bothers me, but it hasn’t outright been said there isn’t TW, or if there is if it would give different benefits than the original game.

    My main curiosity is what do the card backs look like? I read these cards would be compatible with old cards. Would the card backs be the exact same, or if we were to mix cards would we require card sleeveS?

  6. Jojo says:

    I like most of the changes they’ve made to streamline out the cruft. The rule still left that I wish they had gotten rid of is drills being discarded when you level up. It really restricts what styles can do because you have this pull between Anger focused styles and Drill focused styles. So you get cards like the Saiyan drill that lowers anger requirement by 1 being essentially useless. I liked that they seem to be pushing leveling as a more integral part of the game, and it just seems jarring that drills will be left out of most styled decks because of this rule.

    Also the current Orange Mastery makes it so your drills don’t discard on level anyway, so I don’t even get what the point is if your making the only drill based style not even effected by the rule.

  7. epicstarwars says:

    This is just a theory of mine, but what if the boosters end up containing a second Mastery for each color? One set for Starters and another for boosters? Would really mix things up and not restrict each color to a certain play style.

  8. Shane says:

    I was still in middle school/high school when the original game released and lived in a small town so tournament play and access to a lot of cards weren’t something we had playing. You’re right, using a mastery adds that great benefit, but if you can use any styled cards with no mastery your card pool opens up to create more synergy and the loss of a mastery seems like a fair trade. Granted Dragonball decks were way too fast in the original game if you don’t have to use just one color it creates a chance for players to find cards from different colors to create and find combos and synergy. Most card games make money from players around the world. There are only a handful of top competitors and most money is made from casual players. Imagine how boring Magic would be if you could only make mono colored decks. Perhaps they just did away with Tokui-Waza and the extra power stage and state that if you use a mastery then you can only use those styled and non-styled cards. I’m hoping this is the case. I remember the old way and the old way was imbalanced with non-diverse playing fields. Imagine the possibilities if this game is better and more balanced and mixing styles with no masterys just added more to the playing field?

  9. Nousername says:

    The biggest question I’ve had about the remake so far is tournament format. If were just going to use the new cards how to do you have a healthy format with only 200 cards. If every card is legal than you immediately alienate all the new people that want to play the new release. I’m sure there is some way to make it work but I’m left wondering what that is.

    • The original cards from the Score game are not legal in organized play. Everyone will be starting with the same pool of cards to play competitively.

    • Shane Steinhauser says:

      I’m pretty sure the old cards are only legal if they get reprinted. And for casual play.

      • No one really knows the official structure of organized play (there is none to date), but one can assume it will be focused Panini (only Panini cards) with maaaaaaaybe some sort of expanded format with Z+Panini (following Panini’s rules)

  10. palmer27b says:

    What if the play format allowed for a mastery to be used as long was you had x amount of cards devoted to that fighting style Lets say for the purpose of an example the threshold was 20 styled cards. For instance, you have 20 saiyan cards, 20 red cards, and 20 colorless cards. You could use either the red mastery or the saiyan mastery. That would give players a whole lot more options. However, it would be difficult to police the amount of each color outside of a third party verifying the amount of each styled card. Just a thought.

    • Which is exactly why they probably won’t have any rules like that. I see them going with only being able to pack a mastery if you deck only contains that type of card and freestyle cards.

    • Who knows what could happen at this point. An idea was passed around that maybe, if it was only a mastery card that was required, eventually a Rainbow Mastery could be made with drawbacks instead of powers.

  11. Alhuin says:

    Does the 60-card cap still include your MP like in old Z? ‘Cause if so, that means you really only have 56 cards to work with for a deck, since, if I remember correctly, every deck will have to use levels 1-4 of a personality.

    Also, you mention specifics about the PAT; is it possible to provide a link to the table, or an image of the table? Information like “33% reduction” and “6 brackets” only does so much when you have nothing to go by.

    • Alhuin says:

      I found the PAT, so the second part of my previous comment can be ignored. However, I would like to add Mastery to the first part. Since it seems you must choose a Mastery with every deck, does the Mastery still count towards your deck size as well as the aforementioned personalities? So, a 55-card deck with 1 Mastery and 4 levels of MP?

    • Brewster says:

      The MP and Mastery do not count towards the 60. So really, after including them, you’d have 65 cards.

  12. vale says:

    any info on sensei cards? or are they going to be scrapped, and players simply carry a side deck around?

  13. Mortiscrum says:

    One thing GT got right: drawing a pick of 3 from the top 6. I can’t say enough how much this mechanic improves the game. Wish it was brought in to this iteration of the game.

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