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How to fix Lab Coat Android 21 in Dragon Ball FighterZ

Call in the mechanic for some major repairs

Posted by Dakota 'DarkHorse' Hills • April 12, 2022 at 7:56 p.m. PDT • Comments: 10

Although Lab Coat Android 21 has only been available in Dragon Ball FighterZ about a month and a half at this point, she's already providing enough issues that many among the playerbase are wanting or open to banning her from competitive play.

So how do we fix the newest DLC's biggest issues while not completely gutting her unique toolkit?

As we broke down on the question of whether or not to ban the character, the biggest problem with Android 21 is her Photon Pulse Super move.

The command grab's damage nerfing capabilities on the opponent (while buffing her own special damage) has started to warp the competitive meta into one that revolves around who can land the Super first or at the best moment.

This move will be what we primarily focus on in regards to nerfs meant to fix Lab Coat 21 essentially breaking the game, but there's some other tools we believe need adjusting to normalize her power level a bit more too.

Fixing that Damn Grab

Landing Photon Pulse during a match is ridiculously easy to do from either combos, as a tick throw or even a reversal, and it very much can change the course of the rest of the round.

What's more is that it only costs 1 bar of meter to use, so it's pretty much free and available to bust out at any time too.

So how do we fix Lab Coat 21's most unique gimmick without completely removing it from the game?

The first thing we believe should be done to rectify the Super would be to make it cost at least 2 bars of meter, so that it's not always online and takes up more resources to gain the benefit.

A core issue with the grab is though that her damage buff and the damage nerf on the opponent stays permanently through the rest of the match, but hey, at least it doesn't stack.

There's 2 possible ways we see going about this. One being a bit more kind to the opponent (much of the time), and the other giving the Android still a decent reward for the hit.

The former option involves the damage change to only apply until the character hit by the Super is tagged out.

This would make for a more dynamic game of keeping the nerfed character in until they land a combo to Z-Change into, burn meter to DHC or hard tag out and risk being countered.

Against the last fighter on a team, however, that still might be too strong.

If Bandai Namco and Arc System Works really want to keep pushing her 21-themed gimmicks though, we also suggest that the Super could alter damage for 21 seconds in total, no matter whether the character is currently the main combatant or not.

That would achieve much of the same effect as our first suggestion by making the opponent want to work to get their guy out and try sitting on them until their damage is back to normal.

We believe either of those potential adjustments would create more dynamic and interesting matches as well as fix the fundamental problem of the damage change being permanent.

While it's not a direct hit to the Super itself, we also think it would probably be good to reduce the damage on Lab Coat 21's specials overall by around 5–10% since she doesn't really have an issue draining life bars without the buff right now — and she'd still be rewarded for hitting the grab.

What Else Should Get Hit?

Even without the Photon Pulse Super, Lab Coat Android 21 is still quite a beast of a character with strong tools all around that could also be toned down a bit to make her slightly more honest.

Standing attacks that hit low are among the best in the game for opening up the opponent, and she has some pretty great ones.

Android 21's 5L has pretty good range for a low-hitting kick with only 6 frames of startup.

We suggest bumping that startup up to around 8 frames while maybe reducing her 5LL from 9 frames down to 7.

To pair with her strong lows, she also has better than average overheads as well to make her mixup game all the more deadly.

The one to hit among them though we feel is her Delectable Strike 6H, considering it crushes 2H attempts and causes a ground bounce on hit, so making 2H attacks beat it might be enough of a nerf (and if not, we could also potentially bump the startup from 27 to like 29 frames).

The Vertical Savory Slicer is another powerful tool at Android 21's disposal with its fairly quick startup, its ability to travel nearly full-screen and doing that all while being damn hard to punish on block.

We think the best way to adjust this move would be to reduce the hitbox of the slash behind her while also making it more punishable on block unless it's perfectly spaced. Even then the special may also need another frame or 2 of startup to make it properly balanced.

The last move we'll be covering is the now infamous Mignardise Heel that allows her to OTG stomp her opponents and extend combos easily without the need for an assist.

As for the best way to tackle that conundrum, changing the move from not being affected by hitstun decay at all to do so at least at a 50% rate (but maybe higher), so she doesn't always get a free extension on the ground no matter what.

We don't know at the moment if Bamco and ArcSys are planning to continue Dragon Ball FighterZ anymore at this point, but if more players begin dropping the game because of Lab Coat 21, they may be forced to if there's plans to hold another year of a competitive circuit.

Those are all the changes we believe would make the new Android 21 a more fun and properly balanced character, but even nerfing just the Photon Pulse may be enough to make most players content.

Let us know in the comments if you think these changes go too far, don't go far enough, or any other changes you'd like to see made to Lab Coat 21 in a potential future update.

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