Dungeon Fighter Online PvP Guide by GeistesblitZ
What is this guide about?
This guide is a guide for PvP for people who have a very basic understanding of the game, but want to know more about how to improve in PvP. The guide will include concepts and strategies that are used in PvP by pros, as well as a description of each class with their playstyles, strengths, and weaknesses. There may be mentions to skills that you may not know, in which case I recommend searching it up on the DFO wiki: http://wiki.dfo-world.com/. Knowing your opponents is very important for beating them.
Who are you and why should I trust your information (About me)?
I’m GeistesblitZ, I’ve played DFO for the entire duration that it’s existed in North America (minus a couple months here and there) and I’ve played through a majority of the classes in PvP, but my main is a rogue. I played almost entirely PvP (I didn’t even reach max level on any of my characters), and I was one of the better PvPers out there. In DFO, I’m considered by many to be the top rogue, and in my prime, I entered and won 4 tournaments in a row within a 3 month time span (getting over 120k of NX in prize money) after which I had to quit due to internet connection issues. In addition to this, I am a Physics and Computer Science major in university, so I have great analytical skills.
The slowing down of your attack for every enemy you hit with a melee attack. For example, if you use a basic x attack on slayer against 100 monsters, your slash would stop for a bit for each monster you hit and your x would take forever to finish.
Damage cap is 20% of a player’s health. See the Concepts section to see the significance of the damage cap
Hitstun is the name given to the flinching effect caused by many attacks while you hit a standing opponent with it. During hitstun, the player can’t move or use skills (with a few exceptions such as phase shift and revenger). Note that this is different from the stun status effect.
Stands for On The Ground (or Off The Ground), and it refers to when a character is lying down after being hit out of the air or launched in any way, right before they’re about to stand up.
A grab is any skill that prevents your enemy from moving or using skills in any way (without using a status effect). This includes using skills like revenger or phase shift, as well as being moved (launched, hit back, etc) by the attacks of a teammate. Most grabs also ignore super armor (they’re the only attacks that do), although there are exceptions such as a gunner’s BBQ.
Pressure is an EXTREMELY important concept to learn to become an effect pvper, arguably the most important. Pressure can be defined as using a set of moves or skills during the neutral game that limits your opponent’s options and puts them under stress. The purpose of this is to prevent your opponent from effectively counterattacking, while also making it more likely that they’ll make mistakes. Like any game (such as basketball), pro DFO players will rarely make mistakes unless you put them under pressure. Once you do, it limits the amount of time they have to think about things, and it forces them to make the right play repeatedly or else they’ll end up getting hit. Applying pressure can be achieved in many different ways. (Note that any class can use any type of pressure provided their class has the skills to do so.)
For example, zoners can limit the amount of space you have to move around in by using AoE and ranged skills. They can then start constricting this space by using more spells to trap you until eventually you’re stuck between a rock and a hard place and they can throw all their powerful spells at you. To beat them, you have to look for holes and gaps between their spells and find a way through to them.
Offensive classes, on the other hand, can pressure you simply by threatening to hit you. A good offensive player will not necessarily take risks and throw themselves at you, but will use safe attacks to apply pressure, while always staying close enough to hit you if you mess up. Simply by being close to you, they force you into making tough choices, because if you do nothing they will simply hit you but if you use an attack unsafely they will be able to counterattack. This forces you to use safe defensive attacks to keep them from rushing you while also not leaving yourself open after the attack. Often times, to beat this type of pressure you can bait the offensive player into attacking you and then countering their attack with super armor or a grab or dodge.
Defensive classes will use a mix of many different tactics to pressure you, along with poking and cooldown pressure. Whenever they can, they will throw out safe skills to pressure you into defending yourself, and while they’re near you, they can hit you from any mistake you make. If you decide to run, however, they apply pressure either by poking you with long range skills to whittle away at your health, or by simply doing nothing. “How does doing nothing apply pressure?” you may ask. Defensive classes such as soul benders (phantasmal slayer) and grapplers (unstoppable grab) often have VERY strong skills, but with high cooldowns. This means that by running away from them, you are giving them time to safely wait for their cooldowns, at which point they will try to come straight at you because with these skills they will have an advantage over almost any other class. Some defensive classes such as exorcist can also slowly advance toward you while staying safe in a way that you won’t be able to pass them easily without getting hit. Once you are backed in a corner, they will use a grab or super armor to get a guaranteed combo. Because defensive classes are by definition safe and defensive, there is no easy way to get through their pressure and get to them. You just have to look for openings where they’re vulnerable and think quickly about the different possibilities .
Neutral game is the name given to times in a game when neither player is applying significant pressure to each other. For example, if an offensive class is attempting to rush you, and he uses a skill with a long cast animation, or you manage to hit him away, it’s said that ‘the game is back to neutral’. Or if a zoning class is constricting your movement and you manage to escape from them and get to somewhere that they don’t have AoE’s, the game is back to neutral. Another example would be if a defensive class uses one of their strong high cooldown skills and misses you, the game would be essentially back to neutral because it’ll be a while before that skill is up again. The game is said to start at neutral position, however this can be argued to be untrue against aggressive classes, as some of them can close the starting gap between the two players in an instant, meaning you have to account for that while playing against them and start the game by running or by using a defensive skill.
Warping is a difficult concept for some people to understand because it is based entirely on how the game is programmed, and there are many misconceptions about warping. Warping is a game mechanic in which a skill is ‘hit confirmed’ without actually hitting. To explain this, I have to explain how melee attacks are programmed in DFO. In PvP, all melee attacks send out a hitbox to the enemy’s computer, and then the enemy’s computer checks if their character’s hitbox is within your attack’s hitbox. If it is, that obviously means they were hit by the attack, and sends a ‘hit confirmation’ back to your computer. This hit confirmation has several purposes, the most common of which being to apply hitstop.
However, some skills use this hit confirmation for extra effects. For example, when a female brawler gets sent a hit confirmation during her brick buster skill, it explodes. Now the thing is that hit confirmations don’t say which skill they are hit confirming. The hit confirmation just tells your computer that “this opponent has been hit”. However, since PvP is online, there will be a delay (let’s say you have 80 ping which means 0.08 seconds delay), so your attacks will take 0.08 seconds to be hit confirmed. This means that if you use 2 attacks within 0.08 seconds, the first attack will essentially hit confirm the second, rather than itself. This isn’t usually problem because in normal scenarios you won’t be able to land two different skills within such a short time span, but some attacks can be cancelled out of others allowing for this to happen.
This is an extremely significant thing in PvP because this means if you do something like canceling xxxx into brick buster, the brick buster will explode even if it doesn’t hit them. This might seem somewhat insignificant, because you would think that not many classes have skills that activate a second effect upon hit confirming, but actually, all grabs are skills that activate a secondary effect upon hit confirming. Yes, this means that if you hit a character with a basic attack and cancel it into a grab in less time than your ping, the grab will grab them GUARANTEED. Even if they are halfway across the map, it will “warp” (teleport) them into your grab. This means that any grab can be used in an otg by simply canceling it out of an otg basic attack (like the 2nd hit in a male fighter’s xxxx sequence). This also means that a slayer can go xx into wave wheel slasher, and since the second x has a large y axis range, that means your wave wheel slasher effectively has the same range. It does not necessarily have to be a basic attack combo either. For example, a monk can use sidewind’s first hit, and using dryout, cancel it into smasher, grabbing people from insane ranges (and since it’s a grab, it will even go through super armor)! Note that this only works with melee hits, so for example, a gunner’s xxx bullets can’t warp (although when a gunner raises their hand to start shooting, that is considered a melee hit).
Also note that since the time frame you have to use the grab after the hit is just your ping, so if your ping is high enough with someone (say you were lagging really hard and had 500 ping against somebody) you could even warp a draw sword into a wave wheel slasher. Other than increasing the range of grabs, or hitting otg with them, warping also allows you to use grabs even when lagging (because normally when you grab against someone with high ping, the hit confirm comes AFTER the grabbing animation ends on your screen, so DFO just ignores it and pretends the grab didn’t hit), and it also allows you to hit confirm twice per grab. What I mean by that is if your first attack misses then you won’t get a hit confirm, but then when you use your grab, if it’s already in range, the grab can still hit. Likewise, if your grab was going to miss, by hit confirming into it with an x attack, the grab will guaranteed hit as long as your x hits. Overall, learning to warp is very important and will significantly improve your gameplay (on some classes more than others).
Here is an example from a battlemage:
I personally find it useful to divide things into categories. As such, I have made 3 categories to divide the classes into. Keep in mind that these categories are not clear cut, and are more of a spectrum, with some classes falling into more than one category. I’ve put each class into the category that fits their prevalent/strongest playstyle.
Also, note that the categories do not mean a class will play like that all the time. For example, sometimes offensive classes will have more poke than their opponent and be able to play like a defensive class (as it’s generally better for the opponent to come to you than for you to go to the opponent), and zoning classes will have to play more defensively against fast offensive classes. Also, in some situations it may be good for classes to play differently, for example an offensive class against a female grappler with unstoppable grab would want to play defensively, or a defensive class would want to chase an opponent who is being pressured down and is running away.
Offensive PvPers are those that like to rush down their opponents, usually with a high risk high reward playstyle. They have little or no ranged attacks, but make up for it with high speed and close combat pressure. Against offensive classes, small missteps can cost a large chunk of your health, and more importantly, lead to situations where they have the positional advantage. Offensive classes want to stay just outside the enemy’s melee range, but close enough that if the enemy makes a mistake, they can rush over and punish hard. Due to their lack of range, they have a weaker matchup against defensive classes who excel when the enemy comes into their territory, but against zoning classes their insane speed and pressure often allows them to win without ever giving the zoner time to breath.
Defensive PvPers are kind of a mix between zoning and offensive. They generally prefer to fight enemies at melee range and/or within their setup (like witch’s lava potion, or soul bender’s rhasa), but are weaker at chasing opponents down. They usually have some kind of mechanic (whether it’s strong ranged poke, or very strong cube skills so the opponent can’t wait for your cooldowns to go down) to pressure the opponent into coming to them and fighting in their turf. Because of this, they tend to be stronger against offensive classes who have to go in to fight you anyway, but weaker against zoning classes who are perfectly fine never coming to you and hitting you from range.
Note: most classes that are not strong zoners and don’t have strong chase potential are going to be categorized as defensive because playing defensively is better than playing offensively (where possible).
Zoning PvPers have insane range and aoes compared to other classes. The term “zoning” comes from keeping your opponent in/out of areas of the map as you please, by using ranged skills to pressure them from far. Zoners would prefer to never fight at close range if they don’t have to (except during combos, after which they will quickly retreat again). They generally have tools to keep you away from them, but it is difficult for a zoner to escape once a fast class gets to them. As such, positioning and an awareness of your opponent are the most important things a zoning class can learn. Due to their inherently squishy nature and inability to deal with high pressure situations, they have trouble against aggressive classes. On the other hand, they do extremely well against defensive classes (who generally want the enemy to go to them) because as a zoner, you never have to.
Weapon Master, Berserker
Soul Bender, Asura
Nen Master, Grappler
Ranger, Spitfire, Launcher
Tier List (highly subjective):
Ordered strongest to weakest within each tier.
Also keep in mind that this tier list is created with only the highest levels of play in mind. As only a tiny fraction of people will get there, the tier list is mostly theoretical and not applicable in practice. For example, a tier list for much newer players would look very different, with Berserker and Exorcist much higher.
S to A tier are all extremely strong classes that are very nearly equal.
S Tier (1):
AAA Tier (3):
Necromancer, Soul Bender, Summoner
AA Tier (3):
- Ranger, F. Grappler, Asura
A Tier (5):
Rogue, Witch, Battle Mage, F. Striker, Elementalist
B Tier is just barely below S to A Tier and can still perform extremely well
B Tier (7):
Monk, Weapon Master, M. Mechanic, F. Brawler, Exorcist, M. Nen Master, Crusader
C to F Tier are weaker classes and you will rarely if ever see them winning tournaments.
C Tier (5):
- Ranger, F. Spitfire, M. Spitfire, Avenger, M. Launcher
D Tier (3):
- Striker, Berserker, F. Nen Master
F Tier (3):
- Grappler, F. Mechanic, F. Launcher
Tiers by Class
Soul Bender: AAA, Asura: AA, Weapon Master: B, Berserker: D
Grappler: AA, Striker: A, Brawler: B, Nen Master: D
Brawler: S, Nen Master: B, Striker:D, Grappler: F
Ranger: AA, Mechanic: B, Spitfire: C, Launcher: C
Spitfire: C, Ranger: C, Launcher: F, Mechanic: F
Summoner: AAA, Battlemage: A, Witch: A, Elementalist: A
Monk: B, Crusader: B, Exorcist: B, Avenger: C
Necromancer: AAA, Rogue: A
Rogue is very fast in terms of x-axis mobility, they can move across a map like nobody else. Their melee skills have much large hitboxes, however their ranged skills don’t do much damage. They are a squishy class, however, and can’t rush in recklessly with their small amounts of super armor. Because of this, their playstyle is cautiously aggressive. They will run around spamming safe long ranged skills trying to pressure the opponent (playing footsies) until they either hit the opponent with one of these, or the pressure forces the opponent to make an unsafe move. Once either of these happens, they capitalize on it by hitting the opponent during their vulnerable frames (between attacks for example) and starting a long combo to do a large chunk of the enemy’s health. Because the class is an aggressive class with little defences and low tankiness, they have transformation: molting (their version of mage’s phase shift) to escape when they accidentally think their opponent was vulnerable when they really weren’t. However, because it always puts you in the same place unlike phase shift, it’s less useful when you’re not creating pressure because the opponent will be able to set up (mostly mentally, and for some classes, by using summons and stuff) for when you do use it. Because of that, it is much more useful for when you make a mistake while playing aggressively, than when you play defensively. Their combos don’t do much dps, but they can last very long and usually end with some kind of skill that does a high amount of burst to go over the damage cap (either a hit end or a cube or both).
TL;DR: Rogue is an aggressive class, arguably the fastest in the game. They use their speed to close large gaps in an instant and thus are always applying pressure. If their opponent makes a mistake, they punish with long combos.
Matchups: Because of their playstyle, they are strong against some zoning classes, which they can just rush down, as well as being strong against slow classes which they can just run circles around (literally and figuratively), and they are decent against many of the more aggressive classes. They are weak to defensive classes.
Ranger is a jack of all trades class. They have some strong ranged poke skills, with gatling, headshot (with musket generally), land runners, and rising shot which actually lets you start a combo if it hits. Because of this, ranger automatically pressures the opponent into coming close. Against opponents that have better long-ranged pressure than the ranger, the ranger generally has a lot of trouble because they have to go to the enemy rather than the enemy coming to them. Once the enemy comes close, ranger uses their plethora of utility and defensive skills, as well as their mobility, to essentially beat the enemy at whatever they do. They are very counter-attack oriented, waiting until the enemy does something and trying to hit them out of it with jack spike, or simply dodge it and start a combo with something like windmill or grenade. Because they are so defence oriented, they also get a bunch of strong defensive skills for when they back themselves into a corner and can’t avoid or super armor the enemy’s attack. Revenger lets you stop the enemy combo in their tracks for any standing combo, rising windmill lets you hit the opponent out of their combo and often start your own against otg combos, and gun guard lets you protect yourself from projectiles when you back yourself into a corner and the opponent tries to start a combo safely. Finally, gunners have a passive that lets them summon land runners when they’re hit for a chance to interrupt the enemy’s combo even during aerial juggles. Their combos are generally very high dps as their xxx and moving shot allows them to just output a stream of high damage, often going far over the damage cap simply through the speed and damage of their hits.
TL;DR: Ranger plays defensive pressuring the opponent to make a move using their ranged poke, then counter attacking once they do using their high utility and mobility. If they do get caught, they have a bunch of strong defensive skills to save themselves.
Matchups: Because of their defensive playstyle, they excel against basically all aggressive and fast classes, and because they have high range and mobility, they also excel against slow classes. Against defensive classes they do decently, however against zoning classes they do poorly with their lack of aggressive moves.
Slayers are one of the slower classes, mobility-wise, but they have strong midrange skills to make up for it, with a few great aerial attacks in aerial chain slash and ashe fork. Their neutral wave sword has great range, covering about half of screen (x-axis wise) and knocking down for an otg combo, and more importantly it has an extremely short cooldown of 2 seconds! Guard gives slayers a very strong defensive skill to be able to get some time to breath when they’re being pressured, but it can also be used for baiting enemies into hitting them and then counter attacking. Overall, slayers tend to be strong at PvP.
(Officially called Blade Master but WM is prefered because BM is usually reserved for Battlemage)
WM is a highly offensive class, that attempts to just charge in and rush the enemy down. They have their super armored rush skill, charge crash, which allows them almost a free chance to ignore anything the enemy is doing and get a combo if it lands every couple seconds. They use their draw sword to maintain pressure when they can’t go to the enemy for any reason, and their raging dragon slash allows you to close incredible distances and start combos from anywhere if the opponent isn’t ready. With short sword, their basic attacks have very good range, which means that once you’re close to the enemy, you can try to hit them with relative safety and pressure the enemy down. Autoguard gives you a chance to avoid a combo if you ever mess up while playing aggressively, and flip side counter ensures that the opponent has to fight you head on where you generally have the upper hand. Their combos are usually simple, and don’t have very high damage compared to other aggressive/combo based classes, but their plethora of approach skills and combo starters makes up for this weakness. They also have very strong otg combo skills, which allows them to reach damage cap even off of just a stray hit that downs the enemy.
TL;DR: WM plays extremely aggressive and has very strong approaching skills, and amazing pressure. They generally win by getting a lot of combos and rushing the opponent down, rather than off of a few strong combos. Their otg potential lets them do full combos off of any hit.
Matchups: WM does not have too many bad matchups, although the extremely defensive classes are often harder. Generally, in fights with a WM, the player with the greater skill in applying pressure and starting combos will win. WM also does very well against zoning classes due to their amazing aggressiveness.
Soul bender is a very strong defensive zoning class. They have very strong aoe debuffs that make it very hard for opponents to approach you, but if they don’t your cooldowns tick down and you get access to one of the strongest buffs and arguably the strongest cube in the game, ghost step and phantasmal slayer. Ghost step allows you to be invincible for several seconds every time you start running. Yes, you can just stop running and restart running to refresh this. With this buff, you are only really vulnerable for a split second when you stop running, or if you miss an attack. In addition to that, phantasmal slayer (which can only be used during ghost step’s invincibility) is basically a full screen grab that leaves you invincible from start to finish (even if you don’t hit anything) and gives you a free otg combo if you hit them. These two skills mean the opponent is essentially forced to try to engage you in your debuff circles, giving you a large advantage, otherwise you can just wait for them to come back and practically be assured victory. However, the class is VERY squishy when caught without buffs, and can die in just 2 combos. Because of this consistent and methodical playstyle – and their level 45 buff, Kalla – soul bender is one of the best PvP classes in the game right now. Their combos are generally used as a stall tactic and thus don’t do much damage, unless their strong cube skills are up, in which case a Kalla otg can take out upwards of 1/3 of your health by itself. Their combos with saya and rhasa are also very strong and generally involve keeping the opponent on the ground long enough for the circles to do their thing.
TL;DR: SB is a defensive class that focuses on abusing their overpowered cube skills, and then stalling with strong debuff circles to wait for their cooldowns again. If you try to fight them inside their circles or when their cooldowns are up, they have a strong advantage.
Matchups: SB is a very strong class with few weakness, and although SB is categorized as a defensive class, they do not have a large weakness against many of the zoner classes because of their ghost step. They have more trouble against mobile classes with strong melee utility such as grapplers. However, the biggest weakness of SB is simply opponents that know the matchup well. Knowing when to go in, how the ghost step works, and when the phantasmal slayer is off cooldown are essential to defeating them.
Asura is a jack of all trades class with a lot of large aoe skills, super armor, and strong grabs. They have a very midrangey playstyle where they always want to be around half a screen away from their opponents. Their waves are very effective at this range, because it’s too far to be counterattacked, but it’s close enough to start a combo with, however the class does not move very fast to balance this. When enemies do come close, they have a very strong super armored skill, wave radiation, which blows away all nearby enemies allowing you to not only keep yourself safe but also start an otg combo. This extremely strong skill also provides them with some cooldown pressure, as once it’s up they can often just walk up to you and use it completely safely. In addition, they have strong ranged poke skills to maintain some ranged pressure as well. The class uses plate armor so they are rather tanky, while their own combos do a ton of damage. Their combos primarily consist of using simple hits in addition to the fast hitting ghost orb which will keep the enemy in place for a while. Once they reach damage cap, they use their ice wave sword to freeze you to unload more damage before their combo ends, often in an extremely strong grab or two. These combos allow them to do insane amounts of damage and sometimes even get an extra combo if they freeze you and throw out a ghost orb to keep you in place. Also, almost all their attacks can combo otg as well as in the air, which is great because most of their combo starters actually knock the opponent down rather than launching them into the air.
TL;DR: Asura is a tanky midrange class with potential so start combos off of nearly any hit. They have a lot of aoe’s and super armor so they are hard to rush down. Their combos are very strong, and as powerful otg as in the air.
Matchups: Asura has few poor matchups, having strong aoe’s and yet being decent in melee range, the only bad ones being zoners with lots of strong x range skills such as launchers because they outrange asuras and asuras have trouble catching them. On the other hand, they do not have many amazing ones either because their aoe’s are easy enough to avoid so they cannot do real zoning with them, and they don’t have enough defensive skills to abuse any matchups. This is why asura is a very strong pvp class, because whether you win or lose is almost always entirely decided by your skill vs the skill of your opponent.
Berserker is basically a ball of walking stats. They have insanely good damage, speed, tankiness, super armor, and range (although they’re melee so their range involves aoe’s around themselves). They literally have everything. The thing they give up for all of this however, is utility. They don’t have very many skills that are useful outside of combos, and of the ones they do have, most are predictable or short ranged. This makes it really difficult for them to catch anybody who is running away, however because of their lack of ranged/cooldown pressure, they can’t play defensively either. If the opponent has to fight you at close range though, you do have the advantage simply because of all the raw stats you possess. Their distinguishing feature is their modified basic attack string. Berserkers’ basic xxxx string is one of the best in the game, as it has insane range for a melee basic attack, which you can use warp into a grab if you ever hit with any of it, it has great damage, and it’s very fast. Their combos most of the time just involve a ton of super fast basic attacks with a filler skill in between each set, such as gore cross or upward slash. Because their basic attack hits so fast and so hard, they can actually use it to go a decent amount past the damage cap, and then end with a strong skill like bloodlust or blood sword.
TL;DR: Berserker is a melee ranged class that beats every class in terms of pretty much every stat, but pays for it with a lack of utility, and in turn, predictability. Their high stats mean their combos are fairly strong though, and while they have a hard time chasing down runners, they do very well at close range.
Matchups: Despite being an offensive class with low utility, berserker doesn’t do that badly against zoning classes, mostly because of their high attack speed and super armor. They also don’t do poorly well against most aggressive classes, and their high stats lets them do okay against defensive classes as well. However, this also means they don’t have many (if any) great matchups, and they perform slightly subpar against almost every class.Other Dungeon Fighter Online Articles
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