It’s no secret that DNF Duel has a roster filled to the brim with overpowered, near-broken characters that are a blast to play and face. There’s seemingly a character for everyone in this game, with every one of them offering devastating combos, flashy moves and actions, and much more.
Let’s look at Vanguard as an example. A character with tremendous range thanks to his spear, making him have one of the best pokes in the game, allowing him to confirm into several of his more brutal Skills and Mana Skills. While he does have his shortcomings, which we will get into, Vanguard is an all-around solid character, which is on par for the course of this cast.
Despite his long reach and ability to apply unrelenting amounts of pressure on his opponents, Vanguard is still considered an All-Rounder fighter, meaning he won’t thrive in any one situation but is capable of handling himself in most of them. While he is competent from just about most distances, he does lack considerably in the defensive department. Not only that, his normal attacks are decent at best, making him rely heavily on attacks that have long recovery windows, such as his Skills or Mana Skills, opening him up significantly if he whiffs or misreads his opponent.
However, despite his apparent shortcomings, Vanguard is still a dominant force on the battlefield. His ability to chain his long-ranged pokes into devastating combos is unmatched and allows him to apply pressure by just tossing out attacks to bait or confirm his next move. Furthermore, Vanguard can shred his opponent’s Guard Gauge, enabling him to follow up with a brutal and high-damaging combo. No matter the scenario, there’s almost always something up his sleeve that allows him to maintain his pressure and control spacing in his favor.
As per the course of our other DNF Duel character guides, we would like to take a brief moment to direct you to the table below. This contains all the crucial terminologies, commands, and notations found in the game and will help you drastically if you are a newcomer to DNF Duel or the genre as a whole. We strongly recommend checking it out as we will be using them a lot when we cover each Skill and Mana Skill and what they’re capable of doing!
DNF Duel Notations
|Command Name||Command Display|
Jump refers to any of the three ‘up’ commands.
|Hold OK||Input can be held for additional effects.|
|Air OK||Input can be performed in mid-air, allowing you to execute the action while airborne.|
|OTG||Refers to Off/On The Ground, signifying that the action can continue the combo even after your opponent hits the ground.|
Vanguard Special Moves
As stated in our overview of Vanguard, he relies heavily on his Special Moves (Skills) and MP Special Moves (Mana Skills) to apply his ranged pressure, deal lots of damage, and maintain the spacing he needs to command his devastating offense. While he does have some decent normals that can help set him up for confirming into combos, his bread and butter are his Skills and Mana Skills.
Starting off, we will go over every Skill of Vanguard’s and highlight what each of them does, what they can potentially combo into, and how to use them efficiently. Remember, Skills are powerful attacks that lead you into the even more potent Mana Skills. It’s crucial to know what each of his Skills are capable of, as they will allow you to implement them into your game plan to deal an unrelenting amount of damage and keep pressure on your opponent.
Side Slash is Vanguard’s 5S and has him perform a far-reaching slash that can combo or cancel into a wide variety of his other actions. This Skill is primarily used to begin combos but can also be used to counter and punish your opponent. Furthermore, Side Slash will cancel into Cleave: Upper, Cleave: Cut, and Cleave: Slash.
Lastly, thanks to Vanguard’s unique combo system, he can chain together any of his Skills, so long as they weren’t already used in the current attack chain. So, any time you land a Special Move (Skill), keep in mind that you can chain into all of his other Skills until you have none left, which is where your Mana Skills come into play. Here’s an example combo: 5S > 6S > 2S > 4S. You can start with any of these Skills and mix and match them as you see fit. Just remember not to try and use the same Skill twice in a combo, or it won’t work.
Cleave: Upper has Vanguard aggressively thrust his spear high into the sky, making for a decent anti-air if timed correctly, but an even more devastating combo starter. If Vanguard hits a grounded opponent with Cleave: Upper, they will be launched, allowing him to follow up with several other actions, with his Doom Glaive Mana Skill being one of the best options. This action is his 2S. Since this is a Skill of Vanguard’s, he can use his unique combo structure to cancel into any of his other Skills. For more information on that, please refer to the Side Slash Skill above!
Vanguard’s 6S is his Cleave: Cut ability, which has him lunge forward with a vicious slash from his spear. Due to this attack having Vanguard move forward when attacking this is often used to cover ground on your opponent while executing a safe attack in the process. Like the others, Vanguard can cancel Cleave: Cut into any of his other Skills as long as they weren’t used in the current attack chain.
Cleave: Slash is Vanguard’s unique 4S action that has him perform a heavy slash out in front of him that draws enemies towards him on contact. This Skill’s ability to pull his opponent towards him allows him to maintain pressure, close distance between himself and his opponent, and much more. Furthermore, like his other Skill, Cleave: Slash can cancel into any of his other Skill if they weren’t previously used during the current combo.
Impact Strike is Vanguard’s j.S, which has him plunge towards the ground with his spear pointed out in front as if he were a Dragoon from Final Fantasy 14. This action will hit OTG, making it one of the best ways to extend combos. Due to this being a Skill, he can cancel it into any of his others if they weren’t used in the current attack string.
Vanguard MP Special Moves
Continuing with Vanguard’s devastating offense, it’s time to get into his MP Special Moves (Mana Skills), where he takes things up several notches. Vanguard possesses the basic five Mana Skills you’d expect, but he also has access to four additional Mana Skills that extend off his Brandish Mana Skill action.
These nine Mana Skills give him more tools to play around with compared to other characters, and it allows him to stay true to his playstyle, control space, and smartly check his opponent’s actions and follow up with a punishing strike. Like most characters, Vanguard’s Mana Skills will be used to extend combos, end combos, and chain into his ultra-powerful Awakening Skill.
Brandish is Vanguard’s 5MS action and costs 30 MP to cast. This move has Vanguard perform a swift slash before hopping backward while performing another slash, placing him into his Brandish stance, which allows him to follow up with unique Mana Skills.
Inferno Charge is performed by inputting 5MS during Brandish and will cost you an additional 10 MP to use. This has Vanguard charge forward with a devastating shoulder check. While this move does make Vanguard immune to projectiles, it’s not worth using for that aspect alone. Excellent for setting up or maintaining pressure.
Crescent Slash is another follow-up to Brandish and is executed by inputting 2MS during it. This action costs 20MP and has Vanguard perform a devastating overhead slam with his spear, placing his opponent in a hard knockdown state on hit, allowing him to follow up with Impact Strike, Earthshatter, Doom Glaive, or Demonic Inferno to extend the combo.
Dread Bore is the 6MS extension to Brandish and requires 30MP to use. This has Vanguard thrust his spear forward with tremendous force, placing his opponent in a hard knockdown state on impact. Excellent for ending combos and can lead to OTG attacks such as Impact Strike, Earthshatter, Doom Glaive, or Demonic Inferno, thanks to its hard knockdown capabilities.
Behead is the final extension of Brandish and is performed by inputting 4MS during it. This costs 20MP to execute, grants Vanguard Super Armor, and has him perform a devastating slash to his opponent. If landed as a counter hit, Behead will cause his opponent to crumple, allowing for several follow-up options. Behead is also an excellent way to shred your opponent’s Guard Gauge, especially whenever Vanguard is in his Awakened State.
Lunge Strike is Vanguard’s invincible reversal that costs 70MP to execute. This action has Vanguard thrust his spear into the air at an angle with terrifying force. Lunge Strike is an excellent anti-air option but can be tricky to use on grounded opponents. As a result, we recommend only using it as an anti-air or on overzealous opponents. Furthermore, Lunge Strike will place your opponent in a hard knockdown state on contact, allowing you to follow up with Impact Strike, Earthshatter, Doom Glaive, or Demonic Inferno.
Some of Vanguard’s Mana Skills can be performed using motion inputs instead of simple inputs, which offer a slight benefit. Lunge Strike is one of these moves and can be executed with the following commands: 2MS or 623MS (⭢⭣⭨MS). Doing the full motion input will allow you to regenerate Mana instantly after using the action, whereas using the simple input will have a slight delay in Mana regeneration.
Earthshatter has Vanguard slam his spear into the ground before swiftly performing a rising slash with it. This action costs 40MP and is remarkably fast for its range. Due to this, Earthshatter is an excellent way to poke and confirm into other attacks. Furthermore, Earthshatter will hit OTG, allowing you to extend combos.
Some of Vanguard’s Mana Skills can be performed using motion inputs instead of simple inputs, which offer a slight benefit. Earthshatter is one of these moves and can be executed with the following commands: 6MS or 236MS (⭢⭣⭨MS). Doing the full motion input will allow you to regenerate Mana instantly after using the action, whereas using the simple input will have a slight delay in Mana regeneration.
Devastate requires 50MP to use and has Vanguard twirl his spear around with tremendous speed and power. Due to this attack’s ability to hit multiple times, it’s excellent for shredding your opponent’s Guard Guage and keeping them trapped in a blockstring. Furthermore, if you land Devastate in the corner, you can cancel it into Crescent Slash for serious combo potential.
Some of Vanguard’s Mana Skills can be performed using motion inputs instead of simple inputs, which offer a slight benefit. Devastate is one of these moves and can be executed with the following commands: 4MS or 214MS (⭢⭣⭨MS). Doing the full motion input will allow you to regenerate Mana instantly after using the action, whereas using the simple input will have a slight delay in Mana regeneration.
Doom Glaive is Vanguard’s j.MS action that requires 50MP to use. This has Vanguard perform a slash while in mid-air before following it up with a devastating plunging slam. This action will hit OTG, making it an excellent way to extend combos. Furthermore, if your opponent isn’t knocked down, Doom Glaive will place them into a hard knockdown state on contact, allowing you to follow up with Impact Strike, Earthshatter, Doom Glaive, or Demonic Inferno.
Vanguard Awakening Skill And Effect
Much like every other fighter in DNF Duel, Vanguard has an Awakening Skill and an Awakening Effect that become active whenever his health reaches 30 percent or below, serving as a second breath to get him back into the game. His Awakening Skill is what you may know as a ‘Super’ or ‘Ultimate’ in other titles. Essentially a devastating attack that deals tons of damage alongside an epic cutscene. The Awakening Effect is a more passive buff that can drastically improve elements of your character’s playstyle.
Demonic Inferno is Vanguard’s Awakening Skill, having him slam his spear into the ground causing a small area of effect. If the slam or AoE hits his opponent, Vanguard will launch into his flashy cinematic and deal tons of damage in the process. However, due to this action’s small AoE, you must execute it during a combo. In Vanguard’s case, it’s typically woven into his Earthshatter Mana Skill.
Demonic Lance Mastery is Vanguard’s Awakening Effect, enabling him to deal fifty percent more Guard Damage to opponents who are blocking. This allows him to break his opponent’s Guard Gauge more quickly, which can lead to devastating combos or even his Awakening Skill to close the round out.