Welcome to the world of Dragon Ball Z Trading Card Game!
In the Dragon Ball Z Trading Card Game, you’ll construct your own customized deck and battle it out with an opponent to determine the fate of the galaxy.
There are seven different card types to consider when building a deck.
Main Personality cards and Mastery cards will begin the game in play. From there, your Life Deck will consist of 60 different Physical Combat cards, Energy Combat cards, Event cards, Setup cards, Drill cards, Ally cards, and Dragon Balls. With these, you'll inflict damage on your opponent, collect Dragon Balls, and level up your Main Personality.
When your opponent's deck runs out of cards, you win the game! You can also win by collecting all seven Dragon Balls, or reaching 5 Anger on your highest Main Personality level.
Main Personality - your Main Personality (“MP”) represents your character on the battlefield.
A Main Personality set comprises four Levels, each one with its own Power Up Rating (“PUR”) and Power. Main Personalities also have 11 Power Stages.
You’ll keep track of your current Power Stage by moving up and down your Power Levels with a Scouter or using the back of a card. You can reach higher Levels of your Main Personality by raising your Anger, which you’ll learn about soon.
Main Personality cards that are blue are Heroes, while red denotes a Villain.
Mastery - your Mastery card represents your fighting style.
There are six Style types in the game: Black, Blue, Orange, Red, Namekian and Saiyan.
Black: The manipulation style. Black uses disruptive effects to control your opponent’s options, as well as deal damage from a variety of attack types.
Blue: The reversal style. Blue cards will often prevent damage or use your opponent’s own cards against them.
Orange: The controlling style. Orange seeks to establish dominance by accumulating cards in play while unleashing powerful energy attacks.
Red: The aggressive style. Red cards emphasize advancing your Main Personality and often reward you for being on higher Levels.
Namekian: The regenerative style. Namekian decks pay special attention to cards that have been discarded from the deck. This style can only be used by Nameks or those trained by Nameks (Piccolo, Gohan, Nail, Dende, etc).
Saiyan: The offensive style. Saiyan cards are focused on allout attacking and brute force. This style can only be used by Saiyans (Goku, Gohan, Vegeta, Nappa, Raditz, Trunks, etc).
Freestyle: Freestyle cards are any cards that don’t have Black, Blue, Orange, Red, Namekian, or Saiyan as the first word in the title.
Your Main Personality and Mastery begin the game in play and shape the entire theme of your deck.
Mixing and matching different Main Personalities with different Masteries can yield powerful results.
Physical Combat cards are strikes, holds, and other types of attacks and blocks that will be used to battle with your opponent.
Energy Combat cards are also used for attacking and blocking. Beams, blasts and other ranged moves are represented on these cards.
Event cards create powerful effects that can swing the entire game in your favor.
The following types of cards can be put into play only on your turn during the Planning Step, which will be explained in a bit.
Drills represent knowledge or training, and are constantly active once they are on the table.
Whenever your Main Personality advances or lowers a level, all of your Drills are discarded.
You may only have one of each Styled Drill in play at a time, but there is no limit on Freestyle Drills.
Setups are cards that you’ll put into play and save for later.
You won’t get to use any effects of a Setup until it is activated.
Ally cards represent other characters who can come to your aid. They have a PUR, Alignment, Power Stages, and a Power just like your Main Personality. Allies have special rules for what they can do during Combat.
Dragon Balls are a set of seven mystical objects that will grant the wish of anyone who can collect them all. When you play a Dragon Ball, you must immediately use its effects. Whenever you discard or destroy a Dragon Ball, place it on the bottom of your deck.
Anger is the mechanism you’ll use to level up. You begin the game with zero Anger, and you can keep track of it with things like dice or tokens.
Card effects will let you gain Anger throughout the game, but your opponent may play things that lower your Anger as well.
Whenever your Anger reaches five, advance your Main Personality to the next Level at ten Power Stages above zero.
Your Anger is then set back to zero, all of your Drills are discarded, and you may use the new Power of your Main Personality this turn.
Your deck must contain a Main Personality set (Levels 1-4, all of the same character), a Mastery, and exactly 60 other cards. You may include only one copy of any given Dragon Ball or Ally.
You cannot include any Allies that match your MP. You can play up to three copies of any other card. All of your Styled cards must match the Style of your Mastery. You may also include any Freestyle cards.
Some Freestyle cards are Named, meaning they have a character’s name in the title. Any Named cards you include must match the name of your MP. Any cards tied to an Alignment must match the Alignment of your MP (this includes Allies).
When you first start out, use a Starter Deck in order to get a grasp of how things work. From there, add cards from Booster Packs in order to design your own personalized creation!
Throughout the game, you’ll have cards in your hand and Life Deck, cards in play on the table, and cards that have been discarded or removed from the game.
Life Deck - your 60-card Life Deck represents your various skills and techniques, as well as how much vitality you have left. You’ll draw cards from it to perform attacks, and take damage by discarding cards from it to the Discard Pile.
Hand - your hand will be filled with cards that you have drawn during the course of gameplay. During Combat, you’ll play cards from your hand, use their effects, and then discard them.
In Play - some cards stay in play and remain on the table. Your Main Personality and Mastery will always be in play on the table, while other cards like Setups or Allies will come and go.
Discard Pile - cards that are discarded after being played or used are placed face up in the Discard Pile. Sometimes your opponent will Destroy cards that you have in play, which sends them to the Discard Pile. When you take damage, you’ll send cards from the top of your Life Deck to the Discard Pile. Cards in the Discard Pile must stay in order. Both players may inspect either Discard Pile at any time.
Banished Zone - When you Banish a card, it is removed from the game by placing it face up in the Banished Zone.
You might play cards that Banish themselves after use, or your opponent may use various effects that Banish your cards in play. If a Dragon Ball is discarded or destroyed and it matches a Dragon Ball already in play, it is Banished.
Cards in the Banished Zone must stay in order. Both players may inspect either Banished Zone at any time.
Once you and an opponent both have a deck, you’re ready to play! Begin the game with your Mastery in play, as well as your Main Personality set on Level 1 at five Power Stages above zero. After shuffling your deck and deciding who goes first, the initial turn begins.
Each turn consists of the following steps:
1. Draw Step
At the beginning of your turn, draw three cards from the top of your Life Deck.
2. Planning Step
At this time, you may play any Allies, Setups, Drills, or Dragon Balls by placing them face up on your side of the table. Then, your Main Personality and any Allies gain power stages equal to the amount listed for their Power Up Rating.
Note: Allies come into play at three Power Stages above zero. Drills generally have ∞ effects that are always active, but remember that Setups need to be activated during combat in order to use their abilities. Also recall that any time you play a Dragon Ball, you must immediately use all of its effects. You cannot play a Dragon Ball if it matches one that is already on the table.
3. Combat Step (Optional)
You may now decide to declare combat against your opponent.
You’ll find out the details of the Combat Step a bit later.
4. Discard Step
Both players have a maximum hand size of one card at the end of each turn. You and your opponent discard cards from your hand until you each have one or zero held cards.
5. Rejuvenation Step
If you did not declare combat this turn, you may Rejuvenate one card. Rejuvenating means taking the top card of your discard pile and placing it face down on the bottom of your Life Deck.
After you have finished these steps, your turn is over. Your opponent then takes the next turn and moves through the same steps. Continue alternating turns until the game ends.
There are three ways to win the game:
if your opponent’s Life Deck has no cards left in it, you win the game.
Most Powerful Personality Victory (“MPPV”)
if you reach five Anger while your Main Personality is on Level 4, you win the game.
Dragon Ball Victory
if you control a set of all seven Dragon Balls, you win the game.
The Combat Step is the heart of the game, and most of the excitement during a match occurs here.
When you declare combat, use any “when entering combat” effects you have (such as from your Mastery, Main Personality, Power, Drills, etc). Next, your opponent uses any “when entering combat” effects and then draws three cards.
The Combat Step involves alternating Actions between players. You make an Action such as playing an attack or using an effect, which your opponent may defend. Your opponent then makes an Action, which you may defend. Then you make the next Action, and so on, until both players pass.
The player who declared combat makes the first Action. Here are the types of Actions you can make:
Playing an attack card. Attacks will usually be Physical Combat or Energy Combat cards that you play from your hand, or the Power of your Main Personality. Whenever you play an attack, your opponent may attempt to defend with a defensive card that matches the attack type (physical/ energy) of the attack card.
Using a Power. The Powers of Main Personalities, Allies, Masteries, and some Drills, may only be used once per turn. To use the Power of an Event, play it from your hand and then discard it. To use the Power of a Setup in play, activate it and then discard it.
Passing. If you don’t want to play or use anything, you may pass. You must pass if you have no other remaining Actions to make. When both players pass consecutively, the Combat Step ends.
Cards have different icons that tell you when they can be used.
a card that performs an attack
a defensive card that can be used against attacks
a continuous effect that is constantly active while the card is in play
an effect that may be used immediately, whenever appropriate
How attack and defensive cards work
Whenever you play an attack, your opponent may defend it with use of one defensive card by playing it from his hand or using something in play (such as a Power or Setup). Cards used defensively do things like reduce the damage of an attack, or stop all damage completely. When a card Stops an attack, the attack does not hit and deals no damage. The effects of attack and defensive cards always take place immediately when they are played. Some cards have effects which work only after an unstopped attack deals damage.
There are two types of attacks - Energy Attacks and Physical Attacks.
Energy Attacks generally deal damage directly to the opponent’s Life Deck by discarding cards from it, while Physical Attacks usually lower your opponent’s Power Stages.
Most Energy Attacks cost Power Stages to perform. To pay for an Energy Attack, lower your Main Personality the required number of Power Stages. If you do not have enough stages to pay for an attack, you are unable to play it.
Many Energy Attacks deal damage in the form of Life Cards. To take Life Cards of damage, discard cards one at a time from the top of your Life Deck to your Discard Pile.
Physical Attacks usually have no cost to perform and do damage based on your Power Level. To calculate the damage of a Physical Attack, reference the Attack Table (“AT”).
Find your Power Level in one of the A-F Attacker rows and compare it to the Power Level of your opponent’s Main Personality in the A-F Defender columns.
For example, Vegeta performs a Physical Attack against Goku. Vegeta’s current Power Level is 90,000, placing him in the C bracket. Goku’s Power Level of 7,000 puts him in the B bracket, so the attack does two Power Stages of damage. Goku’s Scouter would be moved down two Power Stages.
Whenever you take Power Stages of damage at a Power Level of zero, the remaining stages are taken as Life Cards of damage from the top of your Life Deck. For example, Goku deals five Power Stages of damage to Vegeta. Vegeta is at two Power Stages above zero. He lowers his Scouter to zero, and then takes three Life Cards of damage by discarding the top three cards of his Life Deck.
Attacks may have some or all of their damage prevented or reduced. An attack can be stopped, which causes it to do no damage. Attacks that are not stopped deal damage and perform any “Hit” effects. After that, if your attack dealt enough damage, you may then use a critical damage effect.
Whenever your opponent discards five or more Life Cards of damage from an unstopped attack, you may choose to do one of the following:
- Capture a Dragon Ball. Gain control of a Dragon Ball your opponent has in play by turning it sideways and moving it to your side of the table. When you Capture a Dragon Ball, you may choose to immediately use its effects.
- Discard one of your opponent’s Allies in play.
- Lower your opponent’s Anger by one.
When taking damage
There are two things you should watch for when taking damage. Since Dragon Balls are placed at the bottom of your Life Deck when taking damage, they do not count and require a replacement discard. If you are taking damage and can only discard Dragon Balls, your opponent wins by Survival Victory.
Some cards have Endurance. Whenever a card with Endurance is revealed while taking damage, you may Banish it in order to prevent some or all of the remaining damage. For example, you are hit by an Energy Attack dealing six Life Cards of damage. You discard the first card from the top of your Life Deck to the discard pile, then the second, then the third - which has Endurance 2. You choose to Banish that card, preventing two cards of the remaining damage from this attack. You then finish taking damage for the attack by discarding one more card.
Allies during combat
Allies may have damage redirected to them. Whenever your Main Personality would lose Power Stages due to damage from an attack, you may have an Ally lose those stages instead.
Allies can also perform Actions whenever your Main Personality is no more than one Power Stage above zero.
When an Ally performs an Action, it acts just like your Main Personality. This means you can do things like use the Power of an Ally, use the Power Level of an Ally when referencing the Attack Table, pay the costs of an Energy Attack by lowering the stages of an Ally, and so on. Constant (∞) powers on Allies are in effect even when your Main Personality is more than one Power Stage above zero.
Now you know everything you need to play your first match of the Dragon Ball Z card game. However, this is just your first step on the path to becoming a true master! Stick to using a Starter Deck at first, and then expand on your strategies by adding new cards from Booster Packs. As you hone your skills and perfect your deck, you’ll discover countless interactions between all the different cards available to you. It’s a game of limitless possibilities! Crafting your deck, collecting new cards, playing new opponents with different strategies, discovering new combos...all this and more awaits you in the world of the DBZ card game.
Actions - things you do during combat such as using a Power, activating a Setup, or performing an attack
Alignment - blue Main Personalities are Heroes, red Main Personalities are Villains
Anger - keep track of your Anger as it is raised and lowered, and when you reach five Anger you advance a Level and reset your Anger to zero
Banish - when a card is Banished, it is removed from the game by placing it in the Banished Zone
Capture - gain control of a Dragon Ball your opponent has in play and optionally use its effects
Destroy - discards a card in play
Endurance - cards with Endurance can prevent damage when being discarded from an attack
Freestyle - a card without one of the Styles as the first word in its title (Black, Blue, Orange, Red, Namekian, or Saiyan)
Hit - effects that take place after dealing damage from an unstopped attack
Named Cards - cards that have a character’s name in the title, must match the name of your Main Personality to use them
Parenthesis Text - this text is not part of the card effect, these are rules for the card
Pass - you may pass instead of making an Action, and must pass if you have no Actions to make
Power - effects that can be used during Combat. Powers of Main Personalities, Masteries and Allies can only be used once per turn regardless of things such as advancing/lowering a Level or leaving/reentering player.
Power Level - the number rating of your current Power Stage
Power Stages - 10 different stages above zero that determine your Power Level for the Attack Table (AT). Gain and lose stages by moving your Scouter up and down
Power Up Rating (PUR) - the amount of stages your Main Personality or Ally gains during the Planning Step
Rejuvenate - place the top card from your discard pile at the bottom of your Life Deck
Scouter - a card for tracking your current Power Level and how many Power Stages above zero you are
Stopping attacks - effects that “stop” attacks keep them from hitting and block all damage from it
Styled - styled cards have Black, Blue, Orange, Red, Namekian, or Saiyan in the title
Thanks to all the Dragon Ball Z fans and players for making this game possible!
Lead Game Developer: Aik Tongtharadol
Game Developers and Playtesters: Joey DiCarlo,
Dominick DiCarlo, David Fashbinder, Nick Glaser,
Joel Glasser, Sean Poestkoke, Garrett Wilkinson,
George Wilkinson, Richie Williams
Graphic Design: Brandon Lesley, Lupe Partida
Rulebook Design: Philip Elliot
Rulebook Copy: Richie Williams
Dragon Ball Z ® Original Game Design and Developers:
James M. Ward, David Eckhard, Israel Quiroz
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