I’ve been waiting for DNF Duel for 8 years.

Dungeon Fighter Online, the ridiculously successful MMORPG, has been a mainstay in my gaming since 2010. When Nexon announced the NA release, I absorbed as much as I could to learn everything about the game. One of the most exciting parts of the game to me was the PvP. Now, those that know me, know that I’m not exactly the most avid PvP person, but there was a certain magic in DFO PvP. It was a giant beat-em-up brawl with super fast paced neutral and the most freestyle combos you can think of. Combine that with the then 20 something sub-classes, and you had a recipe for a chef’s kiss experience.

When it worked.

It never worked.

Unfortunately, the P2P netcode was horrible for the PvP experience, and it only got worse as time went on. The PvE was great, and would last a very long time, but throughout the years, we longed for a proper DFO fighting game.

So when DNF Duel was announced in December 2020, my excitement was at an all time high. What classes will they include? Will it be a traditional fighter or tag fighter? At this point, I was well entrenched in fighting games, and I’m sure the learning experience will be just fine, but I wanted to dive deep and learn everything I can.

The classes I’m likely going to start with are Inquisitor, Troubleshooter, and Ghostblade.

Inquisitor seems to be more of the setplay style of character with Burning Wheel. She doesn’t have the biggest buttons in the game, nor does she have the scary mixups or fundamentally sound neutral, but she more than makes up for that in her reversal and her screen control. She can deny a ton of space and get her offense going with ease, and that’s exactly the type of archetype I want in a game like this. I worry a little bit about her health, as she’s tied for the lowest health in the game, but every character has a weakness.

Troubleshooter is just damn cool. From what I’ve seen, he seems to be a hybrid zoner/pressure character, with grenades and traps and all the tools needed to keep the opponent locked down from a range, or in the corner. He has a very powerful setplay option in his trap, and has incredibly high damage combos that will often lead to an install window (30% damage increase for 6 seconds). Combined with his high health and bigger than average buttons, this is the character I’m interested in playing the most.

Lastly, there’s Ghostblade. This character appears to be a neutral god, boasting comically large sword normals, an even larger ranged game, and his ghost function tying it all together in a very neat but seemingly simplistic playstyle. What you see is what you get with him. While he doesn’t appear to have any defensive options aside from game mechanics, you’ll be hard pressed to get in on him in the first place, as so much of his pressure can just be made safe and at a good distance. My main in DFO is looking to be very appealing for this game. The only turn off with Ghostblade for me is how one-dimensional his gameplan seems to be. It’s not always a bad thing, but I like being able to have a lot of different options with pressure specifically. I’ll obviously have to get my hands on him to really tell, but I feel that preliminarily, he might have some shortcomings when it comes to opening people up.

There are a lot of other characters that are super sick, but are slightly lower on my interest list. Vanguard looks to be yet another solid midrange character that is also very safe. Swiftmaster is the coolest Magneto I’ve seen in a long time. I don’t know who the hell Lost Warrior is, but my goodness does he look incredible.

I’m so incredibly excited for this game, and have no questions about its longevity. The game has been fully supported by ArcSystemWorks, so much as including it into the ArcRevoTour, with over 200 grand in total prizes. I’ll be competing in this game as much as I can, and will also be supporting it locally through tournaments and organizing. I am all in on this game, and I hope that I can replicate the success I had with Zero to Evo 2018. I’m very fortunate to be able to compete in NYC, where I know TOs like TSB, Bum, and Next Level will be hosting it, and there will be no shortage of stiff competition.

DNF Duel releases on June 28th, and with support backing it, I’m confident in it being my main game for years to come.

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