DNF Duel has arrived.

I can’t believe I actually get to say that.

This game has very quickly become my favorite fighting game of all time. I have done so much research and studying in the short amount of time the game has been released. I may or may not have forgotten to actually sleep once in a while. I’ve played about half the cast so far, and wanted to share my experiences with them for those who may be looking for which character to play!


The pressure monster. Berserker comes off as pretty basic at first, but he shines heavily when it comes to getting your opponent in the corner, and keeping them there. He has a unique buff called Frenzy, which changes the properties of many of his moves, along with adding 10% damage to all of them. On top of this, he gains a big movement speed and jump height buff. Finally, he gets another special move called Bloody Twister, which is a near full screen hit grab that does a truckload of damage. The drawback to this buff is that it drains your health in the form of white life slowly.

Now, I call this a drawback, but really it’s an additional layer of pressure to your offense. There’s a little mechanic called conversion, and it requires white life to use. Now if you’re always losing white life, that means that while you’re in Frenzy, you almost always have access to conversion! His main weakness is that he’s fairly average outside of Frenzy, and effectively requires it to get going. Berserker is the character you play when you just want to swing for the fences and never stop swinging.


If you want to be tanky as all hell, Crusader is for you. He has the highest health in the game at 1200, the highest Guard Gauge in the game, and his awakening also gives him another 10% bonus defense on top of it all. He has a very unique install which gives him super armor on everything, rendering non-multi hit moves ineffective. On top of all of this, his buttons are absolutely enormous, and are incredibly effective at keeping the opponent away. If you want to switch gears, you can quite literally summon a wall to keep your opponent close and pressure them.

Despite boasting all of these perks, he is horrendously slow, having pretty bad frame data across the board, and has very few options without MP. He can also be pretty prone to dodge rolling if he autopilots his pressure, so look for opportunities to punish him when he’s being linear.

Players to follow: Fame96

Dragon Knight

One of the two summoners. Dragon Knight is a hyper aggressive, speedy character that takes advantage of her dragon, Astra, to completely throw frame data out the window and maintain her turn through pressure, mixups, and sometimes even cheating neutral. She is also the only character in the game with an unconditional command air dash. If you’re looking for a uniquely offensive powerhouse and like characters like Chaos from Under Night, then Dragon Knight is for you

Players to follow: Yohosie


The second summoner character. She utilizes her teddy bear in tandem with her offense, not that dissimilar to Zato from Guilty Gear. She has decent fireballs, a pretty good set of long range normals, and has the unique ability to steal mp from her opponents. She is small in stature, meaning she may get away with some normals or combos straight up not working on her. Lastly, she’s able to take full control of her puppet at any time, allowing for incredibly oppressive offense.

Players to follow: Yohosie, Maigo


Big buttons: the character. Ghostblade offers a ridiculously big arsenal of near-full screen buttons to safely and reliably win neutral. His ghost mechanic functions as an extension of himself, making the world your oyster when it comes to confirms, pressure, and mixups. His buttons are so good, that they quite literally autopilot into themselves. You don’t really need to time much on a ground hit, since his BnB gives a crumple effect. He is a monster on offense, and an even bigger threat when mastering him. Unfortunately, he is one of three characters without a true reversal, which forces you to be on point on defense.

Players to follow: TSB | Mannyblaze


He is the, well, grappler of the cast. Everything you’d expect from this archetype is here, and then some. Boasting an ungodly amount of plus frames through charged moves, a plethora of command grabs and anti air grabs at your disposal, and comically large buttons for a non-sword character, you know exactly what you’re getting into when you’re playing him. One of the biggest selling points of Grappler is how easily he can explode your life bar with easy to execute combos. Although his overall movement speed and jump speed is slow, if you’re patient in neutral, you will be rewarded in kind.

Players to follow: ShaudL, IFCYipes


The comeback king, the master of robbery. The Dark Phoenix, if you will. Hitman is a RPS monster, working your guard gauge until you’re forced into an action. He’s one of the only characters that has a natural instant overhead.

He also has, in my opinion, the best awakening in the game; all of his specials gain a unique extension, allowing for a frightening amount of damage, and loopable into itself, on ground hit, the extension causes a crumple, and on air hit, you can quite literally spam it for as long as you have MP. It also goes nearly full screen. His awakening skill is also nearly full screen, meaning you can convert into it. His damage skyrockets in this mode, and is why he’s dubbed the comeback king. Even outside of his passive, he utilizes the conversion mechanic well, being able to instant overhead into a combo. Having very large sword normals also makes his neutral strong.

Players to follow: IFCYipes


One of the most oppressive setplay characters in the game. Inquisitor’s whole goal is to get you in the corner, and work your guard gauge to death. She has relatively average normals, is among the lowest health in the game, and has relatively unimpressive frame data. What she lacks in these departments, she makes up for in the infamous flame wheel. She is extremely good at locking you down and punking you out when you try to make a move.

She has a mechanic similar to Testament in Strive; her 4S throws holy water on you, and you gain a debuff that makes the next fire move ground bounce on hit. This enables extremely strong combo routes and damage, and gives her free reign over how she wants to structure her overall offense. One thing that is often gone unsaid is how good she is at disengaging. Both her 4S and 5MS have a backstep animation, so she can very safely weave in and out of situations in neutral. She is one of the characters I’m looking to main in this game. She’s straightforward, her gameplan is simple, but it’s very very effective. Expect to see a lot of her in the future.

Players to follow: TempestNYC

This is only half the cast covered here. The game is only a couple of days old at the time of this writing, but the rest of the cast will be talked about in my next piece! There’s so much to explore with DNF Duel, and I’ll be doing as much of it as I can with all of the characters!

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