DNF Duel Tier List: Best Characters for Ranked at Launch

A DNF Duel character.

Finally entering full release, the DNF Duel tier list you're about to see below ranks each and every one of the 16 launch characters so you can make an informed decision on who to main. The list is far from perfect, though: the game just launched. We suggest checking back periodically, but the rankings available right now can certainly help influence your options.

At the end of the day, a DNF Duel tier list is only worth what you actually want. If you just want to casually enjoy the game, don't worry about it: just pick the character you like. If you're looking to stay competitive, though, do read on.

For more fighting game goodness, check out the best fighting games of 2021. And if you just so happen to be looking for other games to play, our best free MMORPGs and best free open world games lists are worth a look.

DNF Duel Tier List - Best Characters for Launch

Crusader, Troubleshooters, Ranger, Grappler
Berserker, Hitman, Ghostblade, Lost Warrior
Enchantress, Dragon Knight, Vanguard, Swift Master, Inquisitor
Striker, Kunoichi

Now that we've long passed the original open beta, the finalized DNF tier list has been put together. Initially starting with ten characters, we now have 16 to rank based on a mix of early impressions, final play sessions, and aggregated player viewpoints across the web.

As it stands, the top three characters are considered broken across the board. That still won't mean much if you don't have the experience necessary to pull off their complicated combos, but they're certainly going to focus heavily in the launch meta.

Two DNF Duel characters fighting.
click to enlarge

The characters we've listed almost always had either reliable options to stop and trap foes at midrange, or had an infinite combo ready if they land a hit - that's particularly true for the Grappler.

Meanwhile, the A-tier picks were mostly solid picks but required their players to understand strong pressure, mixup, and previous fighting game knowledge to effectively use them against the foe.

B-tier characters require heavy setup. While they're designed to have tools that overwhelm foes continuously because of how long they can stay on the screen, pulling them off requires a degree of skill that isn't always reflected in their damage output.

After that, we have C and F-tier characters. We don't really suggest playing these in competitive environments. If you like their look and playstyle, however, have fun.

DNF Duel Character Updates - Beta

For the curious, we've kept our original thoughts on the ten characters featured in the DNF Duel beta back in December 2021. Things have changed quite a bit for release, but it's always fun (and important) to keep a record of the past in a competitive game like DNF Duel.

December 2021

In the open beta, Neople and Arc System Works revealed ten characters prior to the tests and were all playable once the beta started. Here are the overall feel and playstyle we got for every character for this beta:

  • Berserker - The poster boy all-arounder with great damaging options to deal with any situation thrown at him at the price of his health. Oddly enough, his toolkit also allows him play effective zoning even without a fireball due to their far ranges.
  • Inquisitor - A slow but strong setup-heavy character reinforced by the system mechanics. While her axe attacks are hefty and hard-hitting, Inquisitor shines best with her flaming setup special moves which often trap foes in places due to its size, duration, and the inability to block the large flaming wheel in the air.
  • Grappler - A seemingly honest character that utilizes grappling moves to demolish his foes and armored attacks to help him close in on his foe. Has an infinite if the Magnumsault special move is landed consistently after each one.
  • Striker - The other honest character that utilizes close-range pressure and mixups to take down her foes. While she looks lacking in the weapons department compared to other fighters, her pressure-based playstyle is rewarded as she can still deal massive damage outside combos if she opens up her foes after a long blockstring.
  • Ranger - The resident zoner of the game that can play it safe with opening impatient foes with gunshots from a far or style it out with combos that send him close his foes. Most players enjoyed repeating the vertical air special move that shoots downwards as it could used to combo to itself.
  • Hitman - The king of neutral play due to his massive normals and special moves that fill up almost half of the screen when he uses them. Foes often have to respect his range to fight him effectively. Even with his massive normals that force opponents to stay back, he still needs to close the gap to mix his foes up as these options are mostly mids that cannot break any block unless the blockstring is too long.
  • Dragon Knight - The middle pick of the setup-heavy characters in the game. While she shows potential with her tandem attacks with her dragon, the lack of practice mode to try her tools out made it hard for players to make the best of her. However, her strong special moves and flight allowed her to be a great pick even for total beginners.
  • Vanguard - The midrange bully who thrives well on keeping foes on midrange where his attacks work best. However, he can struggle with fighting with foes that have better close-range options than him.
  • Kunoichi - The high potential setup-heavy character due to her fast movement and larger toolset. However, practice mode wasn't available in the open beta which hampered her players to know more about what she can do aside from straightforward use of her large, oppressive special moves second only to Inquisitor.
  • Crusader - The big body character who is almost often fun to watch due to his massive range, portable wall, and high damage. Showcases one of the "fun to watch, hell to fight" playstyles in the game where Crusader players are rewarded for repeatedly dropping the hammer on their foes while they're backed against his erected wall from one of his special moves. He can also use the wall special move to bounce foes toward him in fights.

And that's your lot. Click the blue DNF Duel link at the top of this page to go back to our hub on the game. If you want to discuss things with the community, the DNF Duel Discord is the place to be. For those without Discord, the DNF Duel Reddit page is a good option to find new friends as well.

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