SUPER DRAGON BALL HEROES BEGINNER'S GUIDE
Part 1: What is a Super Dragon Ball Heroes Card?
Due to a rising interest in the arcade game itself as well as an increasing likelihood that Super Dragon Ball Heroes World Mission for the Nintendo Switch gets an international localization, I figured that it would be a good time to create a comprehensive guide so that beginners and those who have never played Dragon Ball Heroes before can obtain a general understanding of the basics. The first thing I want to cover, before even diving into the mechanics of the game-play itself, is the structure of a Super Dragon Ball Heroes card and what you can learn from looking at the front and back of a card. Admittedly, there are subtle differences between traditional Dragon Ball Heroes cards from before the game was updated to Super Dragon Ball Heroes and cards that are being released today, but for the sake of this guide I want to focus on cards that have released post update since that is most likely the design the developers will be using moving forward. I'm not sure if this is the best place to post this or if I should have made my own thread for this but I think that most people who are interested in the game will see this and hopefully you guys, particularly newcomers to the game, will appreciate it.
If there is anything in particular that you guys want me to cover please let me know and I will do my best to address it in the next entry to the guide.
In order to best explain all of the characteristics that can be found on the front-side of a Super Dragon Ball Heroes card, I have highlighted various areas of the Super Saiyan 4 Vegito: Xeno card above and placed reference numbers in the bottom right corner of each yellow box that corresponds with the numbers on the right-hand side so that it is easy to tell what is what. I will go through all of these items individually but just so that you guys are aware, most of the important information pertaining to the usability of the card is located on the back, which I will get to later on in this post. Think of the front of each card as a summary of the information on the back.
1: Card Number
- Every card has its own unique number, which is how you are able to differentiate between any two cards that are of the same character. Card numbers can be very useful because you are able to tell what set a card is from simply by looking at it. Currently, the game is in the middle of the Universe Mission series, which is reflected in the card number of every single card that is released while this mission is going on. For example, there was a Vegito Blue card released during Universe Mission 4 that had the number UM4-068 (UM4 for Universe Mission 4). The game is able to differentiate that Vegito Blue card from the Vegito Blue card released in SDBH Mission 1 because the latter has the number SH1-SEC2 (SH1 for SDBH Mission 1).
2: Card Name
- Nothing special here. This area simply shows the name of the character. Note that the front of the card does not primarily ever have the name of the character's form written on it. For example, in the image above, the card is clearly depicting the SSJ4 form of Vegito: Xeno but the front of the card only has Vegito: Xeno (ベジット：ゼノ) printed on it. The forms of all cards can be found on the back.
3: Card Type
- On the bottom right corner you will find the typing of each card. There are 4 types in total: Hero (HR), Berserker(BS), Elite(EL), and Special(SP). I won't go into full details about each type here since I will cover that in a future entry when I get into game-play, but the most important thing to understand about typing is its impact on something called "coordinated attacks." A coordinated attack is where multiple characters on a team attack together and can perform deadly combo attacks and deal massive amounts of damage. Only units that are of the same typing can perform coordinated attacks together. For example, if you have an HR type card and a BS type card, they would not be able to perform a coordinated attack together, but two BS cards would be able to. This adds an extra layer onto team-building and forces you to think of what would make the most constructive teams based on your strategy going into battle. Lastly, the only type that has a restriction is the SP type because you are only allowed to have up to one SP type card per team.
4: Card Stats
- Every card has an HP, Power, and Guard stat that sort of determines their "base" power level going into a battle. The HP stat is an outlier here since the HP of all cards on a team gets pooled together to create a team-wide HP bar; in Super Dragon Ball Heroes there is no such thing as individual HP (IE individual cards cannot be defeated). While both Power and Guard stats are both important, the Power stat is what really sets good units apart from great units. Power is what determines how much damage a card inflicts with its attacks and can be amplified in many ways through various abilities. The Guard stat determines how much damage a card can mitigate, and can be very powerful on certain units.
5: Card Action Ability (CAA)
- There are many different CAAs in Super Dragon Ball Heroes and I could probably make a section just about these if I wanted to because there are so many. Obviously some are more powerful than others but they each have their uses depending on your team and the situations that you find yourself in during battle. Each card has a CAA, but not all CAAs have the same activation conditions, which dictates the style you must utilize in order to get the most out of each of your cards. Two examples of basic CAAs that make it easier to understand are Burst and Freeze. The Burst CAA activates whenever a card is about to launch their Super Attack and further powers up your attack. The Freeze CAA, on the other hand, activates when you are about to take damage from an enemy. It freezes the enemy and counter attacks, therefore saving you from taking damage for one turn. The reason why these effects are called Card Action Abilities, is because in order to activate them, you need to perform the actions denoted on the screen at specific times during battle with the card that has the ability.
6: Card Ability
- A card's ability is its heart and soul and generally determines how good a card is. The front of the card never explains what the ability is, it just has the name of the ability itself and describes the effect on the back. Forming teams that have synergistic abilities is essential to prevailing in battle and is the first step to becoming a great Dragon Ball Heroes player.
7: Super Attack
- This is the attack that the card will perform when your team has amassed enough Hero Energy and you are about to attack the enemy. It is much more powerful than a normal attack and is what generally determines which team wins and loses a fight.
8: Super Attack Cost
- I won't go into excruciating detail about the mechanics of Hero Energy in this post because it would simply take too long, but every team can have 1-10 Hero Energy at any one point, which is attainable through the Battle Power phase. The amount of Battle Power you accumulate every turn is determined by your Ki consumption so an easy way to think about it for now is that more Ki consumption --> higher Battle Power --> more Hero Energy. As you can see, this card requires 8 Hero Energy to launch his Super Attack, the Galaxy Spirit Sword (ギャラクシースピリッツソード). Obviously that is a lot of Hero Energy considering the maximum you can have at any one time is ten, which means that it will be relatively hard to launch a Super Attack with this card. Hero Energy is not lost when a Super Attack is launched.
9: Ultimate Unit Effect Necessary Characters
- Ultimate Unit Effects (UEE) are extremely powerful effects that can easily turn the tide of battle depending on how your team is constructed but not every card has a UEE. The actual details of the UEE are printed on the back of the card much like the card's ability. In order to activate a UEE, you must have the necessary characters denoted on the front and back of the card in addition to the necessary Hero Energy. If your team contains all of the characters that are listed and you have the Hero Energy required, the UEE will activate and give your team an added effect in battle. Each UEE is different and provides a powerful effect but the catch is that you must have the units necessary to activate the effect. Because of this, you have to consider if it is worth bringing possibly sub-optimal cards on your team in order to activate this effect.
The back of each card is where the meat is. The details of the card's CAA, ability, and the UEE are all found here along with some other minor details. Most of the information found here is already explained above so as to not repeat anything and make this post longer than it already is, I will simply say "see above" for information that is already covered.
1: Card Name
- See 2 above.
2: Name of Form
- As I mentioned earlier, the front of the card only denotes the name of the base character and not the form that they are in. On the back of the card however, their specific form is printed right underneath the name. In this case, you can see that this Vegito: Xeno card is in the Super Saiyan 4 form (超サイヤ人４).
3: Card Number
- See 1 above.
4: Card Rarity
- Super Dragon Ball Heroes has four main rarities and then one additional "pseudo" rarity. Each of these rarities is denoted by a certain amount of stars in the upper left corner. one star - common, two stars - rare, three stars - super rare, four stars - ultimate rare/SEC. Technically SEC is a subset of ultimate rare because they both have four stars, but SECs are generally the rarest and most powerful cards of each set. An easy way to tell an ordinary ultimate rare card and an SEC card apart is by looking at the card number. As you can see from the image above, this card has four stars but is actually an SEC because the card number is UM5-SEC.
5: Card Type
- See 3 above.
6: Card Stats
- See 4 above.
7: Super Attack
- See 7 above.
8: Super Attack Cost
- See 8 above.
9: Card Action Ability (CAA)
- As mentioned earlier there are many different types of CAAs in Super Dragon Ball Heroes and you can see the description of each card's CAA on the back of the card. Each CAA has a base effect that is shared among every card that has that CAA. But then on top of that, there are additional effects that are unique to certain cards that are added onto the base effects. For example, SSJ4 Vegito: Xeno has the Ultimate Burst CAA that greatly increases the damage of his Super Attack when launched, which is the base effect. He then has an added, unique effect, which adds an additional 2,000 damage to this attack and permanently increases the Charge Impact speed of the attacked enemy.
10: Ultimate Unit Effect
- This is the description of what the UEE actually does. In the case of SSJ4 Vegito: Xeno, he prevents the enemy team from increasing their Hero Energy through Battle Power for 1 round. This probably means nothing to you right now since I haven't explained the mechanics of the game, but this is a very powerful effect that can stall the game an extra round.
11: Ultimate Unit Effect Necessary Characters
- See 9 above.
12: Ultimate Unit Effect Cost
- Just like Super Attacks, UEEs cost Hero Energy as well. The upside to UEEs though, is that they are generally much less costly to activate than Super Attacks and activate at the beginning of the round rather than activating when you are attacking the enemy. Like Super Attacks, you do not lose Hero Energy for activating UEEs.
13: Card Ability
- See 6 above.
14: Card Ability Description
- Again, a card's ability is truly its heart and soul and is generally the main reason why you would decide to include a specific card on your team. Generally, if you acquire a new card, you would immediately flip to the back and look at the ability to decide whether or not the card is worth running.
That should cover everything a beginner would need to know about how Super Dragon Ball Heroes cards are structured and where certain abilities and effects are placed on the physical card itself. Again, this first post was not meant to allow a new player to immediately jump into the game and understand everything that is going on since I covered next to nothing about game-play. I strongly feel that becoming familiar with the cards themselves is the best first step to take in learning this game. If you managed to get this far, I hope that you are now able to take a look at a Super Dragon Ball Heroes card and have a general understanding of what some of the symbols and print means without having to understand any Japanese. I intend to make the next post about fundamental game-play and the essentials that you need to know before jumping into your first battle.
Lastly, please let me know if you have any questions about this post or if you feel that something was not explained clearly enough so that I can edit it and make it more coherent for the next person. Thanks for reading and let me know of any suggestions that you guys may have.