This is how you master the fighting game

Especially in Asia, the MMO brawler Dungeon Fighter Online is extremely popular. The title is now 17 years old. Now he gets a fighting game offshoot. DNF Duel was developed by 8ing. Veterans of the genre best known for giving their characters many powerful tools that can lead to sometimes absurd matches. In the past they have developed Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 and Bloody Roar 2, among others.

Arc System Works are also involved. Probably the reason why DNF Duel looks as spectacular as other games from ASW. The title doesn’t come close to the graphic level of Guilty Gear Strive, but it also aims for a much stronger anime style with strong colors.

Dungeon Fighter Online is a big hit in Asia

© Nexom

So that you can get started right away and are well prepared for the mechanics of DNF Duel, we are giving you a crash course that you can use to prepare for the first matches.

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All information at a glance


The controls of DNF Duel

DNF Duel uses controls similar to other anime fighters, but has a few interesting quirks. Each character has two basic attacks: weak and strong. These serve the same purpose as equivalent buttons in other games like Melty Blood: Type Lumina, Dragon Ball FighterZ, and BlazBlue.

The third action button is the skill. Depending on the character, this triggers different attacks that are almost reminiscent of special moves from other titles. All in all, every fighter has at least five different versions of this button: with a neutral stick position, forward, down, backward and jumped. This can best be compared to the function of the special moves from Super Smash Bros.

The Berserker move list shows the different moves

© Arc System Works

DNF Duel’s specials are called MP moves. These also have their own button and can be triggered easily with this and an additional direction input. For each of the MP moves (apart from those with a neutral stick position) there is also the option of entering them with classic fighting game moves (such as a quarter circle).


Understand the MP bar

One of the big differences from other fighting games is that DNF Duel doesn’t use a super meter. Instead, each character has an MP bar. This starts with a full value of 100 at the beginning of a round. If you take damage, the maximum value of the bar increases up to a maximum of 200.

MP moves cost a certain amount of MP. It’s possible to use an attack that requires more MP than you have left. After that you enter the exhaustion mode. It takes a while for your MP to regenerate in this one.

MP moves are particularly powerful

© Arc System Works

LIf you are not under Exhaustion, MP will begin to replenish shortly after performing an MP move. If you not only enter the attack via a simple input (button+direction), but execute a classic fighting game motion, the regeneration starts even earlier. However, the speed of regeneration is not affected.

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Use Guard Cancel to avoid blocks

However, MP can also be used for another mechanic: the Guard Cancel. This allows you to break out of a block with a counter attack. A Guard Cancel costs you 100 MP and is performed by pressing Forward, Strong Attack and Skill button while blocking.

Get away from me! Guard cancels create space

© Arc System Works

Many characters in DNF Duel have the ability to block stun you with long lasting special moves and force their mixup on you. Therefore, it is important to know when to use Guard Cancels to evade this offensive. However, you should make sure that you really hit your opponent with the counterattack. If he lured out your Guard Cancel and successfully blocked the attack, you could easily be punished.


Awakening – the chance for a comeback!

There is a kink in your health bar at about 30%. When you reach this area, your character goes into Awakening mode. Each fighter has a passive skill that activates as soon as this mode is activated. Swift Master, for example, increases his movement speed, Berseker heals life through the damage he deals.

In Awakening, Inquisitor regenerates MP faster

© Arc System Works

In addition, you get access to your awakening attack. This is comparable to the super move from other fighting games. You have a designated button for activation. You trigger the attack simply by pressing this button. It costs you no MP, but is only available once per turn and uses up your individual Awakening buff.

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Expand combos with conversion

If you are hit by normal attacks, throws or skills, half of the damage dealt is dealt in the form of White Life and marked accordingly in your life bar. Blocked MP moves also result in White Life.

White Life regenerates after a while if you don’t get any more hits. However, you can also use it as a resource to lengthen your combos or boost your offense. If you have any amount of White Life, you can press the strong attack and the skill button at the same time to convert it into MP. Depending on how much White Life you had in your life bar, you get more MP back.

Both characters have a portion of White Life that regenerates

© Arc System Works

However, that’s not all. You can also use this technique, called conversion, to cancel attacks. In this way, DNF Duel gives you the freedom to design combos and block strings much more freely and at the same time opens up an exciting risk-reward system. Because if you use up your White Life for a conversion, it can of course no longer be regenerated.

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