DNF Duel: How To Use Training Mode To Get Better
- Gauge Settings
- Opponent Settings
- Displaying Crucial Information
- Recording Settings
DNF Duel has a metric ton of things you must pay attention to at any given moment in any match-up, making things incredibly difficult to handle, especially if you are a newcomer to the genre or sub-genre of anime fighting games. Fortunately for you, DNF Duel is packaged with a Training Mode with everything you need to improve your play.
Whether you're trying to figure out new combo routes, how to counter specific attacks, or when someone's turn actually ends, you can get your answer by heading to the lab and testing it yourself in the game's Training Mode. This system is also an excellent way to see how each character works without having to get bodied by them online, taking the pressure and frustration off you.
One of the first menus you will be presented with when navigating the additional settings you can adjust in Training Mode will be the Gauge Settings for both you and the Training Dummy. These settings are a crucial part of Training Mode, allowing you to place yourself or your opponent in various states to test what's possible in critical or specific scenarios. As most rounds in a match drag on, you will get exposed to several of these effects, making it essential to understand what they are and how to capitalize on them.
The Awakening mechanic is DNF Duel's "comeback" mechanic, granting you a Super Ability and a Passive Skill whenever you have thirty percent (or less) of your HP remaining. Every character will have their own unique Awakening Skill and Passive Awakening Skill, which can be quite complex to keep up with if you are a beginner to the game. Training Mode will give you the tools to see precisely how each character's Awakening Effects work, allowing you to change your playstyle to counter their newly applied buffs accordingly.
Additionally, not every Awakening Skill (AS) is created equally. Some can be executed from a safe distance, some can hit OTG (On/Off The Ground), and others have a laughably small hitbox, making it so you have to apply them in specific ways or risk whiffing your chance to turn the tides in your favor. Practicing how to weave your AS into combos or hit confirms is critical for success. Training Mode is the perfect way to do this as, with a simple flick of a switch, you can place yourself into a permanent Awakened state, allowing you to come up with several routes, attack chains, and confirms for your AS.
Next, we will focus on one of DNF Duel's most complex mechanics: White Damage/Health and Conversion. If you are familiar with Guilty Gear Strive and its Red Roman Cancel mechanic, this acts similarly but has a far greater risk/reward and needs to be executed in specific, strategical ways, or you will place yourself in an early grave.
In addition to placing yourself in an Awakened state, you can also give yourself White Damage (AKA: White Health), which helps test DNF Duel's "Conversion" system and push it to its limit. Conversion refers to converting your current White Health (which gradually restores overtime) plus an additional five percent of your overall health to cancel your current action and regain some of your MP.
Regarding Training Mode, we strongly urge you to give yourself White Damage and find ways to weave the Conversion mechanic into situations you constantly find yourself in during match-ups. The ability to suddenly cancel out of an attack, regain Mana, and launch into a much stronger move opens the door to nearly endless possibilities. You will quickly learn that you can extend combos in comically drawn-out ways or use it to mix up your opponent in critical moments and much more!
All A, B, and S moves can take advantage of the Conversion mechanic, while only a handful of Mana Skills (MS) can. Furthermore, Converting Awakening Skills (AS) is also not possible.
The last Guage Setting we would like to take a closer look at is Guard Damage, or more specifically, DNF Duel's Guard Crush mechanic. While rare, you can Crush your opponent's Guard if they are blocking too much and refuse to go on the offensive, allowing you to get an uncontested hit that can lead to a full combo.
So, why focus on this mechanic if it rarely happens? The reason is simple; some characters have many plus-on-block attacks, meaning they still have the advantage when their attack ends, allowing them to follow up with another attack to keep pressure on their opponent. This enables some characters to focus on placing their opponent into blockstrings, making them Guard through several phases of attacks looking for an opening or chance to breathe, allowing you to empty their Guard Guage.
If you play a character that has several plus-on-block actions or focuses their entire gameplay around placing their opponent under inescapable loads of pressure, we strongly recommend messing around with these settings. This will allow you to find a way to put your opponent in blockstrings or positions where you force them to make a decision or have their Guard Crushed.
On the flip side, you can also put your own Guard Gauge under heavy stress and simulate situations where you may be forced to make a split-second decision to avoid having your Guard Crushed. As mentioned already, some characters thrive on putting you under suffocating amounts of pressure or seemingly neverending blockstrings, so jumping into training mode will allow you to find clever and optimal ways of avoiding a potentially fatal situation.
For a more in-depth look at the Systems and Mechanics in DNF Duel, check out our guide breaking all of them down here!
Now it's time to move onto Opponent Settings, which allows you to manage what the Opponent/Training Dummy does in Training Mode. There are several options and sliders here for you to tinker around with, allowing you to hone in on a specific problem you may be struggling with in match-ups.
Changing the Opponent Status allows you to switch from a Training Dummy to a CPU-controlled enemy to even a player-controlled one. While you won't use this much, it's to be able to face a CPU without having to back out to the main menu to go to the offline modes. Additionally, controlling your opponent allows you to move and place them in spots where you might be trying for combo setups, reversals, and more.
The Stance option will allow you to make your opponent stand, crouch, or jump in place, allowing you to practice several scenarios or situations. We recommend using this feature often, as you can find several ways to open your opponent up based solely on their position, which will naturally broaden your playstyle and positively affect how you approach each situation. For example, if you place your opponent in an always crouched position, you can find ways to land overhead attacks to confirm into attack strings. Having them always jump will help test anti-air attacks into aerial combos and much more.
You can adjust three separate tabs regarding how your opponent Guards in Training Mode, which will help you prepare for situations where your opponent may be blocking to bait specific attacks out or stuff strong abilities. The first Guard-based setting is simply called Guard, which allows you to do the following:
- Guard Off: Prevents your opponent from Guarding, allowing you to land all of your attacks cleanly.
- This is used to practice combos or setups without having to worry about them getting blocked or stuffed.
- Guard All: The opponent blocks everything you through at them, so long as their stance allows them to.
- Setting their stance to "crouch" and having them Guard All will make them block all low and mid attacks, making this an excellent way to practice overheads. This also works the other way, having them block all mid and high attacks to practice low-hitting setups.
- Guard Only In The Beginning: This setting has your opponent block the first part of your attack string before stopping halfway through.
- This is often overlooked, but this setting is an excellent way to train yourself to react to opponents who constantly press buttons during blockstrings. You may have had several situations where you will be carrying out a series of attacks on a blocking opponent where one of your attacks landed, and you had no clue how to follow up on it. This allows you to prevent that!
- Guard Midway Through: On the other side of things, this setting has your opponent only start blocking midway through your attack string.
- Having your opponent guard midway through an attack string or an attack, in general, can help you determine what to do if you have openings in your routes that allow opponents to recover and block quickly.
- Random: This setting mixes everything mentioned above together and randomly chooses what your opponent does. This is an excellent way to teach yourself how to respond to all types of situations on the fly, as you have no clue how the Training Dummy will approach your incoming attacks.
- Shuffle: Your opponent will block high, mid, and low attacks, shuffling between standing and crouching Guards.
- Fixed: This sets your opponent into one type of Guard stance, which is determined by which "Stance" you have them set in.
- Random: Selects between Shuffle and Fixed at random, having you approach each situation without knowing how to handle it, making it an excellent way to practice responding to your opponent's playstyle on the fly.
- Never: Your opponent will never Guard Cancel.
- Always: Your opponent will always perform a Guard Cancel, allowing you to try and bait it out or find ways to close the gap after it happens. This essentially allows you to practice how to respond to being Guard Canceled, which is pretty significant!
- Random: Your opponent will either Guard Cancel or they won't. It's a 50/50 chance at this point. This is an excellent way to practice dealing with it when you have no clue if it will be used or not.
- Never: You can freely toss your opponent around like a ragdoll.
- Always: Your opponent will always perform a Grab Break, forcing you to find a follow-up with another option.
- Random: Your opponent has a 50/50 chance of performing a Throw Tech, making this an excellent way to discover how to handle the aftermath and go with the flow.
- Moderate: None of your attacks will be a Counter Hit unless you have your opponent programmed to attack (more on that below).
- Force Counter Hit: Every attack at the start of an attack string will be a Counter Hit, allowing you to find ways to extend into a combo from any action you successfully Counter Hit with.
- Random: You have a 50/50 chance of landing a Counter Hit, so you are forced to roll with the punches. This is an excellent way to train yourself to follow different combo pathing with and without landing a Counter Hit and build that muscle memory!
Guard Change is the second Guard setting available for your opponent, which basically allows you to choose which types of attacks they block. You can limit them to Guarding lows only, have them block every kind of attack, or leave it up to fate.
Guard Cancel is the last Guard-based setting you can tinker with for your opponent, which basically allows you to make them Guard Cancel. For those unaware, you can Guard Cancel by pressing Forward (6) + A + S when Guarding, which will consume 100 MP and launch your opponent away from you, allowing you to get out of a sticky situation.
Grab Break (AKA: Throw Tech) is a system in most fighting games that allows you, or your opponent, to escape a grab or throw by pressing the grab input the moment you're grabbed. This rewards players for reading the situation correctly, allowing them to avoid taking the enormous damage that's typically associated with getting thrown.
Adjusting your opponent's Counter settings will allow you to practice how to follow up on Counter Attacks and how to respond with the additional time you have to do so. For those unaware, landing a Counter Hit will provide extra frames of vulnerability to your opponent, allowing you to chain attacks to one another that otherwise wouldn't be possible, opening the door for monstrous combos and damage. However, Counter Hits can rarely happen, making it very difficult to get a feel for them and what to do when successfully landing one. This setting will allow you to practice different combo routes, attack strings, and much more following that rare moment.
Displaying Crucial Information
While a simple section of the Training Mode, the Info Display Settings can be pretty valuable for many people but can also be glossed over by most who want to get into the cool stuff. As it implies, these settings will allow you to display lots of information and see your inputs and information on how much damage or recovery frames an action has.
There's not much more here than that, but we recommend turning the Damage Data and Time Until Recovery on for at least yourself to see what you're working with in terms of damage output and how negative or plus your actions are when blocked and unblocked. You can also toggle the Main Display on for yourself if you want to see your input legend, which helps detect errors you may be experiencing with flubbed inputs!
Finally, we arrive at one of the more crucial Training Mode systems, the Record Settings! Action and Reversal Record Settings will allow you to perform and record actions as your opponent, then have them carry them out while you control your character. This will enable you to find ways around moves that may trip you up in matches, as you can recreate scenarios and pick them apart until you learn the proper way to respond to them.
Furthermore, to make things easier, you can go into your Control Settings and bind "Record" and "Play" to specific buttons to easily access this system without constantly digging through the menu. This is the bread and butter of the Training Mode, as you can switch to your opponent and record them doing literally any string of attack or move, record it, then play it back and find ways to stuff or counter it.
If a specific character's move always annihilates you, the Record system will be your best friend, as you can spend time detecting its weakness, learn how to punish it, and then bring that knowledge into future matches. While you have to carry the moves out yourself to Record them, the good news is that every action in DNF Duel has a "Simple" version, allowing you to pull them off even if you have never played that character before in your life.
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