Let’s just keep it real. Blocking is boring. Evo Moment #37 isn’t hype because Daigo blocked all of Chun’s super. It’s because he parried it while on the brink of death! Flashy defensive options are awesome and usually offer up a significant reward when performed correctly. Luckily, Z Reflect is a mechanic in Dragon Ball FighterZ that fits both of these criteria! It looks cool, and you’ll be able to guard your opponent’s attack by pushing them back and recovering faster than you’d be able to recover if you were blocking. This only works against attacks however and can be thrown or Dragon Rushed. Z Reflect is done by performing 4S, and provides a substantial amount of defensive utility if used properly.
First, Z Reflect will deflect normal Ki Blasts. There isn’t really a tight window to execute this since the window for Z Reflect is very wide, so you can practically spam Z Reflect to continuously reflect projectiles. More importantly, you can cancel block stun from normal Ki Blasts into Z Reflect, meaning if you have blocked a Ki Blast, you can Z Reflect the following Ki Blasts even though you are blocking (Keep in mind that Super Dash is also capable of doing this). Use this to your advantage to recover faster from Ki Blasts by Reflecting as opposed to blocking.
Second, you’ll be able to open up new punish opportunities that weren’t previously possible. The general rule is that if you block a raw Super Attack, your best and most consistent punish for it is Vanish, however if you Z Reflect a raw super, your opponent can be in for a world of hurt. You will recover a lot faster and be able to perform a Super of your own or a special move depending on the spacing after you recover. The best part about doing this is that it’s easy to execute. For multi-hit supers, you only need to Z Reflect the first hit. The rest of the hits will reflect automatically. Try finding a punish option for every raw super option in the game to deny your opponents easy and relatively safe Ultimate Z Change options!
Finally, the most common use for Z Reflect is to stop pressure. If you’re not in blockstun from an attack, you can use Z Reflect to push your opponent back and sometimes even follow up with a punish! This is a really strong strategy for countering delayed strings with gaps, but you’ll need to be very cautious of how this option is performed. With high reward comes high risk, as this is essentially a hard read option. If you are wrong and the Z Reflect whiffs, you will be wide open for a counter-hit state punish for quite some time. The first two options of Z Reflect don’t require a lot of decision making and are more reactionary, however this last option listed for Z Reflect is the most practical on a case by case basis, while also being the hardest to implement. A strong defensive game centered around smart Z Reflects can create a lot of trouble for your opponent. The problem lies in the risk they carry for being wrong. Although this tool is strong, it’s probably best to use it sparingly, or at least see if your opponent is capable of baiting it out and punishing it. Remember, this is a flashier defensive option. Blocking will always be there for you.