That’s a selection rate of over 63%, which is pretty wild to think about in a game that now has over 40 characters and over 130 players tabulated. While we don’t have the numbers on hand to see how they’d compare, it’s easy to imagine the latest DLC at least matches if not exceeds the rates that we saw when Bardock, GT Goku, and Ultra Instinct Goku were dominating the DBFZ meta in their respective seasons. Lab Coat 21’s usage is also poingant when the 2 fighters who were previously topping the fusion meta in Super Saiyan Blue Gogeta and Vegito are being picked by the best players less than her combined with 32 and 40 placements respectively.
The debut of Lab Coat Android 21 caused a significant change in Dragon Ball FighterZ’s meta, and while the erroneous DLC character will be fixed in the future, her influence on the game’s meta and players cannot be overstated. Uba, a DBFZ player, recently calculated the character choice rates for 17 recent DBFZ tournaments, and Lab Coat 21 came in first… by a long shot. Lab Coat 21 was chosen 85 times out of the 17 top 8s, including Texas Showdown 2022 and Bum’s Birthday Bash.
Seeing top tier contenders appear very frequently is much more common in team-based fighting games like DBFZ, Marvel vs. Capcom and The King of Fighters because it’s obviously much easier to slot one onto an existing team. It’s one thing to have a character in control of the meta, but it can quickly turn into a different beast when another is doing that while changing how the game is approached on a pretty fundamental level.
Things start to spread out quite a bit below the top 5, and the most populous middle of the road came in the 8–9 category featuring many staples like Kid Buu, Teen Gohan and Adroid 18. Meanwhile, fighters that used to be quite popular in the past like Yamcha, GT Goku, Android 16 and Master Roshi failed to make much of an impact at those events at all. Interestingly, there was only 1 character on the expansive roster that didn’t appear in a top 8 at all, and it’s pretty surprisingly, considering he used to be arguably the very best in FighterZ.
When you have top players and viewers in agreement that they don’t like the direction things are going, that’s an easy way to make the community less healthy and lose interest even more quickly. It’s hard to blame the players themselves either because once you introduce something like a simple 21% damage debuff into the game, finding success suddenly becomes a lot more difficult just for not including the character on your team. Dragon Ball FighterZ opened the floodgates and expanded options for basically all characters with the last big balance patch, but the ones actually being picked are still pretty darn top heavy. Perhaps, it’s somewhat inevitable for a game like DBFZ, but it’s fine to want to see things even out just a little more.