In the Dragon Ball universe, Piccolo has always been an impressive and resourceful warrior in his own right. No human fighter would stand a chance against him. However, he also exists in a universe where he’s outgunned by mythically strong fighters that could blow up a planet for the fun of it. Despite his best efforts to get stronger and smarter, he routinely comes up short against the best in the universe as he simply doesn’t have the raw power to keep up.
In the world of Dragon Ball FighterZ, where fighting game developers have to balance their rosters out as much as possible, Piccolo’s skills as a fighter come through with his tricky move set and devastating damage potential. However, one hole in his arsenal prevents him from being one of the best combatants in the game.
What Piccolo is sorely lacking is a means of causing a hard or sliding knockdown at mid-screen without burning meter. A fundamental aspect of the Dragon Ball FighterZ meta at this point is to put your opponent into a hard knockdown before smashing them with a super move or setting up for a wake-up mix-up. Both are great ways of either tacking on extra damage for the kill or to continue your offensive pressure from an advantageous position.
For many characters, such as Goku, all they need to do to cause this sliding state is to land a heavy attack in the air. From here, I finish the combo with a level 3 super, but I could have also used their grounded state to set up a mix-up.
Piccolo is not so fortunate in this regard. His jumping heavy kick sends the opponent flying to the side. The only moves he has that can cause a hard or sliding knockdown in the air is his medium or heavy demon slicer.
The problem with the medium version is that it whiffs mid-screen. Medium Demon Slicer as a hard knockdown only connects in the corner.
The problem with the heavy Demon Slicer is that it costs one bar of super. Sure, this game does give you a lot of meter during the course of battle, but combos that almost every other character in the game can do in one or two bars takes Piccolo two or three.
Relative to the rest of the cast, it’s an inefficient use of meter. Yes, the game gives out meter like candy on Halloween, but Piccolo’s extreme usage will usually leave you with an empty tank before you’re ready to close the deal. On top of that, it’s a real struggle for him to land meaningful damage or control the neutral at mid screen because he simply doesn’t have cost-effective tools to stay on top.
Despite his limitations at mid-screen, he becomes a monster in the corner. Once his opposition is pinned, he can create his own hard knockdowns using the medium Demon Slicer, opening the door for massive combos and deadly wake-up mix-ups.
(GIF SOURCE: Xuses GB)
The deadliest of his corner tricks involves using his Hell Zone Grenade super while they’re on the ground. As they wake up, they get showered in a series of explosions, allowing Piccolo to swoop in through the smoke and attack at an angle your opponent can’t see. Even after a balance patch made the sight lines a big better, you might as well flip a coin if you’re trying to stop it on reaction. If he lands the hit, he connects on his full combo into hard knockdown and starts the process again until you’re able to block or you die.
If he had the ability to end his airborne combos with hard knockdowns and no changes were made to his Hell Zone Grenade, he’d probably be close to – if not – top tier. In his current state though, he’s generally a slightly below average character with a ton of upside in the hands of a highly-skilled player that is willing to put in all of the extra work required to make him perform as well as some of the stronger characters in the game. Should you find ways around this Namekian’s glaring quirks though, he’ll surprise even the fiercest of foes.