Welcome to this lesson of the Turtle Hermit School! This lesson is focused on team building.
Team building is something I'm asked about a lot and it's incredibly subjective. In this lesson, I'll be attempting to give some guidance and correct some misconceptions that new players may have.
Before we look at the common thoughts on team structure I first want to dismiss a few traps that new players fall into.
Building around the tier list - A lot of new players build teams based on the current tier list. There are a lot of problems with this approach, most obvious is the fact that balance changes will occur that will drastically change the tier list. Picking a character for their current strength can be a short sighted approach.
Thinking about your team's 'perception' - This is a trap I see so many people fall into, they worry about playing characters they enjoy using because of what people will think about their team. The only person that has any say in who's on your team is you. If you enjoy playing three high-tier characters then go for it. They may change in the future but if you enjoy their style then that most likely won't affect you.
Ignoring your own playstyle - Everyone plays this game in different ways, a team that works well for someone else may not work for you. It's very important to keep your preferred style and strengths/weaknesses in mind when trying to build a team.
Overthinking it - A lot of players will lose sight of why they are actually playing this game because they want to make their team strong and viable. If you are playing this game because it has characters you love then you should pick those characters regardless of strength or synergy. If you are gunning for high level play, then it makes sense for you to think hard about the structure of your team.
Common team structures
Now that we have the mindset covered, let's look at how a lot of teams are structured. I'm a firm believer that absolutely any team can work if you are happy to experiment but there are 2 main structures that the majority of teams adhere to.
Point, Mid & Anchor
The most common and in my eyes the most enjoyable structure from a team-building perspective is the point, mid and anchor structure. Each of these refers to a slot in your team, point characters are 1st, mid characters are 2nd and anchor characters are 3rd. But what do these terms actually mean?
Point - Point characters are generally very good without spending meter, make good use of assists and have strong neutral tools. Assist use can refer to advanced block pressure or high damage combos without using meter. Their assists tend to be on the weaker side but that isn't always the case.
Mid - Mid characters tend to be a lot stronger when they have some meter, make decent use of assists and have a good assist of their own. Their job is to come in after some meter has been built, let the point character recover some life and get good damage.
Anchor - Anchor characters can vary quite a lot, but typically they have a great assist the other characters can use all game, don't need much help from assists to get their damage and make great use of meter and Sparking Blast for punishing combos.
The idea is to lose your characters in roughly this order so your anchor is left with lot's of meter and sparking to work with. I'll be providing some insight into which characters fall into which category at a later date but all characters can work in any position and most will fit two categories well.
The three point structure is a lot more flexible. It simply involves picking three characters (typically point characters) that do well with assists, that you enjoy playing and you can find some form of synergy with. This team tends to emphasize keeping as many members alive as you can so you can make the best use of their assists. As a result, sparking blast is a lot less important and is usually used to save a character from a bad position. This style also tends to be more resilient if you lose a character as you'll still have two point characters to work with.
How do you start?
Getting started as a new player can be tricky, for starters I'd recommend sticking to the point, mid and anchor structure as it will help give you a sense of how a game plays out and how to use your team effectively.
I would recommend playing everyone in the cast that interests you and find a character you love and want to build a team around. This will also let you test out everyone's assists which will help you build teams later.
Remember that team building is very flexible and there are no wrong answers. Here are some examples of that process.
All for one
Imagine I've played around with the cast and I love the way Cell plays, he's fast, he's versatile and he can hit like a truck. I'm very comfortable with my neutral game so I don't want any help there but I really want to focus on my block pressure. By choosing an assist with a long duration like Yamcha's that's also easy to time because of it's speed, my block pressure will get stronger. I could also pick a character like 18 to give me some unique dragon rush options. When deciding the order for this team, it's a no brainer. I built this team for Cell so I want him on point to take advantage of these assists and I also want 18's block pressure to benefit from Yamcha/Cell assists.
One for all
Let's say my favorite characters from the show are Piccolo, Tien and SSGSS Vegeta and I'd love nothing more to play them. Can they work in a team? Absolutely, it's unlikely that a team built this way will have lots of fancy combo extensions and insane mixups but you'd be surprised by the synergy you can find. Looking at the above team, I would put Tien as the point character for his meterless damage and solid buttons, Piccolo in the middle to utilise vanish and hellzone grenade and SSGSS Vegeta as the anchor to take advantage of his strong solo options and lvl 5 super. Though to show how flexible this process is, many players would prefer to use the order of SSGSS Vegeta, Piccolo and then Tien.
Need some feedback or guidance?
We welcome discussion of all kinds on the Turtle Hermit School discord, if you are struggling to build a team that feels good for you, join our beginner friendly community and ask for a hand. We also have a Patreon if you'd like to offer your support!