Change the Future: An Analysis of What We’ve Seen and What We Might Expect to See in Panini’s DBZ TCG PART 1 by Danny Rider

With The Movie Collection (set 3) firmly out and in players’ hands, a lot should be considered; how the game has progressed, the deepening card pool, what developments we can expect based on past precedence with the Score version, or what may already have been hinted at in the cards currently available. As players understanding what aspects will remain solid and what will begin to show flaws as the game expands is crucial to staying ahead of the curve. Given what we’ve seen in the first year of this game’s lifetime, I’d like to discuss my thoughts on a few points and ideas. While much of this is speculation, I don’t think much of what I am about to say will be stretching things too far.

Power Levels: The first time I saw God Goku’s ridiculous power levels I thought it was more on the comical side. With the recent addition of Golden Frieza to the insane power levels bracket, I no longer think of it as a joke, but as a smart move to present the thematic of the show while retaining incredible balance. The idea that both of these personalities start so low on the chart and only hit top brackets in their last several power stages is easy enough to identify. But the fact that both of these personalities deliver on multiple levels in terms of balance, play and power is the key to avoiding a problem that the Score version of the game suffered from in its late stages.

P05 Goku - Super Saiyan God (Comic-Con International 2014)

In the Score version, these personalities would have 10 stages of ridiculous power levels, 9 of which would probably be in the top bracket. They would also be a level 4 or 5 that wouldn’t be attainable half the time and may or may not contribute a power or constant combat power that benefits your deck build. The Score game’s progression, PAT revisions and the way main personalities levels were designed required it to be that way. The cards themselves would most likely also have been Ultra Rare (like true ultra, ultra rare…like 1 in 6 boxes if you are lucky), thinning out the possibility they would actually see play even more. What started out as a simple publicity grab in Comic Con 2014 may actually have turned out to be a brilliant strategic side-stepping of past mistakes.

The idea that both of these characters can have such high power levels on 1 and 2 personality cards without overwhelming all competition is testament to the balance in the stage progression. In addition, the format of these power levels is actually a great way to deliver these personalities to players while still retaining correct power level for thematic and fluff players. Yes, they top out at ridiculous millions above the power chart. But rather than wait 2 or 3 years before set rotation enters their era of story, you can play with them now, still gain their insane power levels and keep your friends. It is no mistake in what these two personalities represent. Does the fact that they are promos make them more attractive to collectors? Of course, but their success at remaining balanced and still delivering solid character / fighting form representation to the players should also open up the idea that in the future we can expect to see the like of SSGS Vegeta, Beerus or any other ungodly powerful personality in the game eith accessible, functional and balanced personality levels. This all leads me into my next topic…

The Physical Attack Table: Initially I expected the current PAT to see a revision with the next Full-Starter set, after all, it’s a tradition! But the more I look at the balance the game has right now in terms of physical levels, stages and the back and forth in a combat the more I become less certain that this will happen. The powerful personalities I discussed above are proof that their like can function within the scope of the full attack table, but still benefit from the high end without dwarfing the competition. It is entirely possible the brackets may be updated, but if personality stages continue to be designed the way they are now, then I don’t think a revision is necessary. The game can show that power stages can indeed be awesome and ridiculous, but a personality’s actual Power and deck construction are more important.

To add to this, progressive PAT revisions will lead to decks in their prime right now being all but forgotten if it means that they’ll eventually remain forever in Bracket A. While a player can build around this obstacle, without the inclusion of a Double Power Rule, or any incentive to reach higher levels, the chance to see the game have full range diversity is not very high (Note: I am not advocating the return of the Double Power Rule).+

The more I think about it, the more I want the PAT to remain the same. I think it is extremely beneficial for the game in the long run as it allows decks being run now to be just as fun and challenging to opponents in the future. And a competitive environment where just about anything can be played and stand a chance is definitely the best type of environment to have.

Personalities: So what might we be able to expect from additional personalities in the future? We are already seeing “Double Powers,” or personalities with multiple abilities or functions. There are still a few saiyans and namekians out there to add to the mix, and Androids and Majin shouldn’t be too far off. Something to wonder about this is if past “Android” and “Majin” type cards will see inclusion in the game or not.


In the Score version plenty of cards were aimed to benefit or work with the Android or Majin personalities without being personality or style specific, but as the design now requires styled cards and there is no heritage stamp designation except “Hero” or “Villain” will it become an awkward component to put into the game? Will the addition of a colorless card with a name like “Android Attack Drill” require CRD clarification that it is not considered a named card for Android 20? Or would it be possible for a simple rule book addition or booster pack insert to mention that cards with Android or Majin are considered named cards for all Android and Majin respectively? Will these new personalities require stamp designation to clarify their heritage or not? As simple as it is to include in the game, I think it will be a challenge for the developers to work answers into the design to the potential clarification questions or future card interactions that this new grouping would generate.

But what about the fusion personalities? Will they be their own MP set, building on the design for God Goku and Golden Frieza? While it would detract thematically, I could see the trade-off with an MP set of Gotenks not being able to obtain MPPV, but still have some awesome power levels or attacks like the classic level 2 HT from Buu saga. Or will Panini keep the fusion concept in the game and make it more functional? With how critical effects and ally deck restrictions work presently this would be a very flimsy model to thrust fusion into without proper support, development or changes. Not to mention, Sensei decks which were a required component for the fusion personalities do not currently exist.


Sensei Decks: I can’t mention fusion personalities without discussing this concept. While many arguments can be formed on both sides of whether or not Sensei decks should be brought into the game, I currently find myself on the fence in this argument. I think Sensei decks do bring a fun thematic concept to the game and deck construction, and I do think if they were returned there could be some definite improvements made in how they work, interact and impact the game. But for the same reasons I find myself moving to the center of the PAT argument, I don’t entirely feel the game is ready for (or even needs) Sensei decks.

125 Piccolo Sensei

Not every style has every answer integrated into it, and nor should it. The generalization that all styles gradually suffered in the Score version detracted from certain styles’ playability when lined up side by side. Having a 60 card limit in deck construction is tough, but I find it to be a brutally wonderful force of balance in deck construction. As more cards are added to the pool and more deck types emerge, more answers will form into players decks, and some solutions will be replaced or returned depending on the evolving meta…and that’s ok. Smart players will know the right limit of meta cards to include and what the unnecessary long-shot meta calls are. Will they always have the right answers? No, but this allows for surprises during tournament play, which keeps the game open and fun. If two years from now someone can bust out a Blue Ginyu deck and take a local or regional tournament when Saiyaman Gohan or Kid Buu is running top tier, they should be applauded not only for originality, but for also demonstrating a sharp choice in meta deck selection.

There could be exceptions to this. While many styles have presented great cards to move their own agenda forward while still being able to hinder the opposing player’s agenda, this might not always be the case. There might come a time when players need to run 15-20 cards in their deck specifically to counter those Saiyaman Gohan or Kid Buu decks to even stand a chance in play. If that future emerges, I could whole-heartedly agree to the return of Sensei decks. That wraps up the first of this two part article. In the next installment I will be looking to discuss mechanics and components that we might expect to see in future expansions of the Panini DBZ game. In addition I will take a studied look at what the various styles have hinted at already and pose some thoughts on what these hints might mean for the future of the fighting styles and deck construction.




3 Comments to "Change the Future: An Analysis of What We’ve Seen and What We Might Expect to See in Panini’s DBZ TCG PART 1 by Danny Rider"

  1. Stephen says:

    I think they need to un-nerf Namekian in Panini, with red being as potent as it is and black being able to handle it on its own and the current Orange Ginyu build; there is enough anti namekian builds out there to shut down Namekian without it being nerfed.

    • _Hyper_ says:

      Un-nerf Namekian style? No offence, but you have to be joking. I’ve done my best to defeat my opponent with Trunks Blue deck and I am always experiencing lots of unfair secondary effects (especially related to Dragon Balls, e.g. shuffling one of your Dragon Balls in order to place another one into play, using effects of a Dragon Ball that is already in play, playing a Dragon Ball from your hand, being incapable of capturing a Dragon Ball with a critical effect if the opponent controls only one of them, etc.) Panini has to add Guru Fades or any card which could prevent Dragon Balls from affecting the game (and reduce the Namekian style’s regeneration). :/ :/ :/

  2. _Hyper_ says:

    I also have some other reservations.

    1. Why is the limit only 65 cards (including Mastery Card and MP)? What happened to 85? Can it not be even e.g. 100? The balance is undeniably outstanding, but 65 cards is definitely not enough. I know it would considerably delay the outcome, but on the other hand increase the probability of success (Survival Victory – my favourite one.)

    2. Can Goku, Super Saiyan use his power once per combat? If so, then there is almost no way he can be beaten, when using Orange Style. This one should be treated as: ,,Once per game…” as in World Games Saga.

    3. There has to be more Rejuvenate (except for Namekian style).

    I guess that would be everything for now. And what are your opinions?

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