Panini America Offers a Must-Read Transition Guide for DBZ TCG Players New and Old

Editor’s Note: The following transition guide was written by Richie Williams, an external playtester for Panini America’s 2014 Dragon Ball Z Trading Card Game and the author of the game’s official rulebook.

When Panini America’s Dragon Ball Z Trading Card Game hits stores on October 17, many of you will be experiencing it for the first time. I hope your fresh perspectives bring some new innovations and excitement to the environment. Others of you, however, are coming in as former players of the DBZ CCG. What’s new? What’s the same? This article will detail the changes to the game and get you ready to go on day one.

Rules Changes

First and foremost, keep in mind that the overwhelming majority of the rules play the same way they did before. If you’ve ever shuffled up a Life Deck and set your Scouter at five stages above zero, you’ll be able to jump into a match in no time. Some refinements however, were made to make things smoother, more balanced, and more enjoyable overall!

Main Personality Sets — All MPs now have 4 levels. There are no personalities without a level 4, and there are no level 5s.

Mastery Cards — You must include a Mastery in your deck. There is no more declaration of a Touki-Waza, nor can you play a colorless deck.

Deck Construction — All decks must contain exactly 60 cards, but your MP and Mastery no longer count towards your deck size.

New Icons — Icons have been added to clarify when a card can be used. Attacks have a sword icon, blocks have a shield, “use when needed” effects have an exclamation point, and constant effects have an infinity symbol.

Named Cards — You can now only play named cards that match the name of your MP. Remember cards like Krillin’s Quick Kicks and Cell’s Style? Think of named cards as shorthand for cards like that. Ultimately, this change was made in order to give personalities a more modular and distinct feel. Also note that named cards are no longer limit four per deck and some popular named cards from the old game have been retooled to be more accessible, such as Frieza is Ready.


Non-Combat Cards– Non-Combats are no longer a card type. Drills are their own card type instead of being a subset of Non-Combats, and traditionally activated Non-Combats are now called Setups.

Combat CardsCombat cards are now called Event cards in order to further differentiate them from Physical Combat and Energy Combat cards.

AlliesAllies have been mercifully revamped. Most importantly, Allies are now their own card type. Not only does this prevent MP Powers from being bogged down by their potential use as an Ally, but it also has led to the creation of uniquely assistive effects. For example, fans of City in Turmoil may be happy to see a similar effect return in the form of an Ally Power.

Constant Powers on Allies such as Nappa are always in effect now, even if your MP is more than one stage above zero. Allies can still use attacks or blocks when you are one or less stage above zero, and they can still have damage redirected to them. An Ally, however, is never in control of combat unless it is making an action. Due to this, you can no longer calculate base damage against the power level of an Ally. You can also put Allies into play regardless of the name of your opponent’s MP or Allies.


Dragon Ball VictoryOnce you have all seven Dragon Balls, you win immediately. You no longer need to wait if you capture the final Dragon Ball.

Most Powerful Personality VictoryThis is now achieved by reaching five anger while on level 4. This has proven to be a lot more fun, as your devastating powers on level 4 can actually be utilized.

New KeywordsCards that are removed from the game are considered Banished. For example, a card may be Banished after use, or Blue Betrayal will allow you to Banish a Setup. Similarly, Destroying a card means to discard it, such as the removal effect on Namek Dragon Ball 4. Cards with “if successful” effects now say HIT:______. Whenever you perform an attack that is not stopped, use all of the HIT effects on it. Rejuvenation has been keyworded as well, indicating that cards will be placed on the bottom of your Life Deck. For example, you can Rejuvenate 1 if you pass the turn without declaring combat.

Turn OrderThe PUR Step and Non-Combat Step have been combined into the Planning Step.

Powers — The Power of each MP, Ally, and Mastery may be used only once per turn. This is regardless of your MP leveling up and then popping back down, an Ally being Destroyed and re-entering play the same turn, etc.

Removed MechanicsThere is no more double power rule. With proper design of the new MPs, it was deemed unnecessary. There are also no more Final Physical Attacks. The PAT is now known as the “Attack Table” or “AT” and for balance purposes, it now ends at F. Things like the “active player” and “attacker attacks”/”defender defends” phases have been eliminated. Combat is now simply played out by an alternation of Actions (which are things like using a Power, playing an attack or block, etc).

Critical DamageIn the old game, being able to deal 5 Life Cards of damage was an important threshold since it allowed you to capture a Dragon Ball. In order to make decks more flexible and have multiple angles of interaction, you now have additional tools when you deal Critical Damage. Any time your opponent discards 5 Life Cards of damage from one of your unstopped attacks, you may 1) Capture a Dragon Ball, 2) Destroy an opponent’s Ally, or 3) Lower your opponent’s Anger by one. This change has opened up a multitude of design options, which has led to a more diverse and interesting metagame. Please look forward to the significance of Critical Damage!

Reprinted Cards

While many of the cards in the set are completely new or slight twists on an old favorite, there are also some iconic reprints. Cards with their titles written in gold text are exact reprints, and you may use the old version of the card in a tournament legal deck!


(Editor’s Note: The previous image, Saiyan Surprise, is mistakenly highlighted as a direct reprint – it is not.)

Physical Changes

Levels 1-4 of MP sets that come in starter decks are all HTs, as well as the Mastery. HTs can also now come in parallel foil, giving them even more visual flair. Ultra-Rares drop at a rate of 1:72 packs, which is a much higher distribution than before. Common and Uncommon foils now have a pattern like Rares – no more flat foils!


As you can see, fans of the original DBZ should feel comfortably familiar with the new version of the game. The changes that were implemented serve only to streamline the experience, as well as make things much clearer for new players. From a balance standpoint, the new tweaks have vastly increased the number of meaningful choices made during gameplay, while also allowing a much broader spectrum of deck ideas to be competitively viable.

Now that you’re up to speed, it’s time to start gearing up for the official launch of the new DBZ TCG. Only eight short days remain! Next time, we’ll explore the implications of some of the new rules, as well as delve deeply into the strategy of DBZ.

15 thoughts on “Panini America Offers a Must-Read Transition Guide for DBZ TCG Players New and Old

  1. Foolish question, but there is no more “Limited” (1st Edition) or Unlimited cards, right? It’s just all one card type? I hated how there were limited and unlimited editions in the old game. Waste of ink. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  2. “Powers — The Power of each MP, Ally, and Mastery may be used only once per turn. This is regardless of your MP leveling up and then popping back down, an Ally being Destroyed and re-entering play the same turn, etc.”

    This is referring to a specific card power on a specific character card, not your whole MP stack, right? For example, if I use my level 1 power, gain 5 anger and level, I can still use my level 2 power in that same combat, right? The only change is that I can’t use my level 1 power again that combat if I were to be lowered a personality level, if I’m reading that correctly.


    • That’s correct, it’s referring to that particular power. You would not be able to use your Level 1 again that turn.


    • We haven’t made a final decision on if we’ll run any “expanded”-type formats, but if this is something players in your area would enjoy we will certainly send tournament support for those events.


      • So if the decisions has not been made yet then what was the point of saying that the Panini DBZ card game was compatible with the Score DBZ game in the first place?


        • It is compatible, you can play the new cards with the old cards if you (or your store) want to. As mentioned, some of the old cards are also directly usable in the new version.


  3. What about Battlegrounds and Sensei decks? Can we play colorless if we use the Freestyle Mastery? Are any older Personality cards allowed to be used as Allies?


  4. I commend everyone who invested in this new set! It’s a great game with great mechanics. Great work!! I have always been a speedballer – tech player, and am kind of saddened that there aren’t enough cards out yet that suite that style of playing (and probably won’t be any from what I am guessing). So far I find the new game pretty limiting (you can’t mix named cards, can’t mix styles, etc..)… So it’s pretty much all aggro-tech, but I am also seeing it that way because I have yet to really get to know every card and combo in depth, so I am looking forward to that in high hopes. :).


Comments are closed.