In Constructing Gladiator Beasts, Part I, I talked about why I chose to drop Test Tiger from my Gladiator Beast Deck. In Constructing Gladiator Beasts, Part II, I discussed the rest of my Deck-building decisions, and included my current tournament Decklist, which I've spent the entire format perfecting.
Now, instead of looking back and talking about how I arrived at my current Decklist, I'm going to look ahead, and discuss what the future might hold for Gladiator Beasts. Generation Force helps out Gladiator Beast Decks a lot more than most Duelists realize, and in this article, I'll be discussing how the Gladiator Beast strategy might change with the release of Generation Force.
Test Tiger's Triumphant Return?
In my earlier article, I talked about why I don't currently like Gladiator Beast Decks focused around spamming Gladiator Beast Gyzarus, and instead prefer control-oriented builds without Test Tiger. Although everything I said in Constructing Gladiator Beasts, Part I remains true, and Test Tiger builds are still vulnerable to Reborn Tengu and popular Trap Cards like Solemn Warning, Generation Force introduces a new factor for Gladiator Beast Duelists to consider when constructing their Decks. Gladiator Beast Gyzarus is about to become easier to Summon than ever before!
Generation Force contains an Ultra Rare Spell Card called A Hero Lives. You can activate A Hero Lives while you control no monsters, and it lets you pay half of your Life Points to Special Summon an Elemental Hero from your Deck. By grabbing Elemental Hero Prisma, you're just a Test Tiger or Gladiator Beast away from Summoning Gladiator Beast Gyzarus.
Even though Gladiator Beast Gyzarus doesn't have the strength that it once did, it's still hard to ignore the ease with which you can Summon it. Plus, it still blows up 2 cards when it's successfully Summoned, and it easily creates a string of other wild Gladiator Beast plays, including tag-ins that lead to the Summon of Gladiator Beast Heraklinos.
Take a look at the following Decklist. This Decklist is included only to demonstrate how easily Gladiator Beast Decks will be able to Summon Gladiator Beast Gyzarus after the release of Generation Force. Unlike the Decklist in my previous article, this one has not been rigorously tested, and the contents of the Deck are likely to change significantly in the upcoming weeks and months.
Main Deck Sideboard
3 Elemental Hero Prisma
1 Gladiator Beast Bestiari
2 Gladiator Beast Darius
2 Gladiator Beast Equeste
3 Gladiator Beast Laquari
1 Gladiator Beast Murmillo
1 Gladiator Beast Retiari
1 Gladiator Beast Secutor
1 Neo-Spacian Grand Mole
3 Test Tiger
3 A her lves
1 Book of Moon
1 Dark Hole
1 Monster Reborn
2 Mystical Space Typhoon
2 Dimensional Prison
3 Gladiator Beast War Chariot
1 Mirror Force
1 Solemn Judgment
2 Solemn Warning
1 Torrential Tribute
3 Trap Stun
In the Decklist listed above, you can Summon Gladiator Beast Gyzarus in a single turn, even while you have no cards on your field or in your Graveyard, with any of the following combinations of cards:
1. Prisma + Test Tiger (as long as you don't have Gladiator Beast Bestiari in your hand)
2. A Hero Lives + Test Tiger
3. A Hero Lives + Any Gladiator Beast (or Elemental Hero Prisma)
4. Prisma + Monster Reborn (as long as you don't have Gladiator Beast Bestiari in your hand)
5. A Hero Lives + Monster Reborn
All of these combinations let you Summon Gladiator Beast Gyzarus while having no cards on your field or in your Graveyard. If you have Gladiator Beast Bestiari in your Graveyard from earlier in the Duel, all it takes is a Gladiator Beast and a Test Tiger, or a Gladiator Beast and a tag-out, to Special Summon Bestiari with Gladiator Beast Darius and fuse to create Gladiator Beast Gyzarus.
Now, take a look at how easy it is to open up with one of the five combinations listed above in your first 6 cards, using the preceding Decklist.
The probability of opening up with at least 1 copy of A Hero Lives plus at least 1 Gladiator Beast or an Elemental Hero Prisma is about 36.1% in the Deck listed above. Don't forget – the probability of starting with at least 1 copy of a card that you run 3 of is just over 39.4%, and you're running 3 copies of A Hero Lives. With 11 Gladiator Beasts and 3 Prismas in your Deck along with them, it's not uncommon to draw 1 of those monsters in the same hand as A Hero Lives.
Now take a look at the probability of drawing at least 1 copy of Elemental Hero Prisma or A Hero Lives in your opening hand of 6 cards, plus at least 1 copy of Test Tiger, but not drawing Gladiator Beast Bestiari in that same hand. [Note that if you open up with Gladiator Beast Bestiari, Prisma won't be able to change its name to Bestiari, so Test Tiger won't be able to open up a first turn Gyzarus play. If you draw A Hero Lives, Test Tiger, and Bestiari, you can still Summon Gyzarus by making the play that was included in the 36.1% measured in the previous paragraph.]
The probability of drawing at least 1 copy of Prisma or A Hero Lives, plus a Test Tiger, without drawing Gladiator Beast Bestiari, is approximately 20.9%. This percentage also includes the hands with A Hero Lives, Test Tiger, and a Prisma or Gladiator Beast in it, which can Summon Gladiator Beast Gyzarus on the first turn in more than 1 way; but those hands were already counted in the 36.1% that measured the probability of opening up with A Hero Lives and a Gladiator Beast or Prisma; so we'll need to subtract them in order to avoid double-counting it. The probability of opening up with A Hero Lives, Test Tiger, and any Gladiator Beast or Prisma, but not Bestiari, is about 10.6%.
High Mid Low
aNext, take a look at the probability of using Monster Reborn to get Gladiator Beast Gyzarus on your field on your first turn. The probability of drawing Elemental Hero Prisma and Monster Reborn without drawing Gladiator Beast Bestiari, but not drawing Test Tiger or A Hero Lives to have another way of Summoning Gyzarus, is about 2.2%. The probability of drawing A Hero Lives and Monster Reborn, but not drawing Prisma, Test Tiger, or any other Gladiator Beast in the same hand so that you have another way of making Gyzarus, is about 0.4%.
There are a few other hands that should be subtracted from the probabilities measured above since they don't allow for a first turn Gyzarus and were included in the calculations, but we can safely ignore these hands since they have negligible probability. For example, a hand consisting of 3 copies of A Hero Lives and 3 copies of Elemental Hero Prisma, and a hand consisting of all the copies of Darius that you run, a Test Tiger, and a Prisma, are counted in the calculation above since they fit the “A Hero Lives + Gladiator Beast or Prisma” formula and “Prisma + Test Tiger” formula, but they don't necessarily enable a first turn Gyzarus play. Nevertheless, the probability of these hands is insignificant.
The Combinatorics are a bit messy, but just to recap:
- The probability of opening up with A Hero Lives and any Gladiator Beast is about 36%
- The probability of opening up with Elemental Hero Prisma or A Hero Lives, plus Test Tiger, but not Bestiari, is about 21%.
- The probability of opening up with A Hero Lives, Test Tiger, and any Gladiator Beast or Prisma, but not Bestiari, is about 11%.
- The probability of starting with Monster Reborn and Prisma, and having no other way to Summon Gyzarus on your first turn, is about 2%.
- The probability of starting with A Hero Lives and Monster Reborn, and having no other way to Summon Gyzarus on your first turn, is about 0.4%.
That means there's about a 36.1% + 20.9% - 10.6% + 2.2% + 0.4% = 49% chance of being able to Summon Gladiator Beast Gyzarus as soon as you draw your first 6 cards!
This means that, on the average, you'll be able to Summon Gyzarus on your first turn in alternating Duels that you play, as long as your opponent doesn't interrupt your moves. Even if Gyzarus's power isn't as great as it once was, that's a level of consistency that's tough to ignore! Plus, you can usually follow-up a Gyzarus play with a couple of tag-ins that let you fuse for Gladiator Beast Heraklinos on the same turn. It's easy to do once you successfully Summon Gladiator Beast Gyzarus, and if you draw Gladiator Beast War Chariot to support it, you can lock down your opponent in an instant.
It's very likely that A Hero Lives will take Gladiator Beasts in a completely new direction after the release of Generation Force, but even if it doesn't, the new Xyz Monsters definitely will!
Whether or not you're sold on running Test Tiger in Gladiator Beast Decks after Generation Force is released, there's 1 new card that I can guarantee will be played in every competitive Gladiator Beast Deck, and that card is Steelswarm Roach. Steelswarm Roach is a Rank 4 Xyz Monster that can negate the Special Summon of a Level 5 or higher monster by detaching an Xyz Material from itself.
Gladiator Beast Decks rarely run Tuner Monsters, and when they do, they usually only run Blackwing – Gale the Whirlwind. That leaves plenty of space in the Extra Deck for the new Xyz Monsters, since a variety of Synchro Monsters isn't a necessity in a Gladiator Beast Extra Deck.
Xyz Summons help out Gladiator Beasts a lot more than most Duelists realize. The new Xyz Monsters can be created as a simple product of Gladiator Beast monsters. Rank 4 monsters are Summoned by combining any 2 Level 4 monsters. Gladiator Beast Darius is a Level 4 monster, and when it's tagged in, you can Special Summon another Gladiator Beast from your Graveyard. If you choose to Special Summon a Level 4 Gladiator Beast from your Graveyard with Darius's effect, you can mix that monster with Darius to Xyz Summon any Rank 4 monster. As long as you have any Level 4 Gladiator Beast in your Graveyard, you can tag-in Gladiator Beast Darius to make a Rank 4 monster. It's like tagging in an Xyz Monster!
Since any Gladiator Beast Deck can tag in Darius to Special Summon Level 4 Gladiator Beasts from the Graveyard, the Rank 4 Xyz Monsters are compatible with any Gladiator build. They'll even work in Prisma Gladiator Decks like the one discussed earlier in this article, since Prisma works to send Level 4 Gladiator Beasts from the Deck to the Graveyard, and Darius's effect can Special Summon them back to the field.
Until Generation Force is officially released, Number 39: Utopia is the only Rank 4 monster that you can use Darius to Special Summon; but that doesn't make the ability to perform Xyz Summons any less incredible! Tagging out any Gladiator Beast to make a 2500 ATK monster that can Negate Attacks is great. Before the advent of Xyz Monsters, Duelists were able to tag in Darius and use its effect to Special Summon a Gladiator Beast from the Graveyard, then fuse that Gladiator Beast with Darius to Special Summon Gladiator Beast Essedarii. Essedarii has the same number of Attack Points as Utopia, but doesn't have Utopia's effect. Number 39: Utopia also has 2000 DEF, which surpasses Gladiator Beast Essedarii's 1400 DEF. When you don't have a Gladiator Beast War Chariot face-down, Utopia is clearly the superior monster to Summon to the field.
Plus, there are other advantages to Summoning a Rank 4 Xyz Monster with Darius instead of Summoning Essedarii. When you combine Gladiator Beast Darius with a Level 4 monster like Gladiator Beast Laquari in order to Summon a Rank 4 Xyz Monster, Darius and Laquari won't return to the Deck the same way that they would for a Contact Fusion. Instead, they'll eventually return to the Graveyard. Once there, you can recover them with Gladiator Beast Equeste, or revive them with another copy of Gladiator Beast Darius to perform another Xyz Summon.
Of course, that doesn't make Gladiator Beast Essedarii obsolete. Even though there will be several times that you need to make the choice between Summoning a Rank 4 Xyz Monster or Summoning Essedarii to the field and you'll choose to Special Summon a Rank 4 monster instead of your Level 5 Gladiator Beast, Essedarii is still an awesome card because of its synergy with Gladiator Beast War Chariot. Essedarii also has the ability to recover Gladiator Beasts from your Graveyard and return them to your Deck when used in conjunction with Darius. Plus, you can't use Gladiator Beast Murmillo or Gladiator Beast Retiari in a Rank 4 Xyz Summon, since they're Level 3 monsters. This frequently leaves the Summon of Gladiator Beast Essedarii as your best possible play when you control 2 Gladiator Beasts.
After the release of Generation Force, Steelswarm Roach will be joining Number 39: Utopia in the Gladiator Beast arsenal. Tagging in Darius to make a 2500 ATK monster that can Negate Attacks is great, but sometimes, tagging in Darius to make a 1900 ATK monster that negates Special Summons is even better. This is especially true when you're ahead in a Duel and want to maintain control. The added option of Steelswarm Roach for Xyz Summons will help any Gladiator Beast Deck.
Generation Force has a lot of new cards for a lot of different Decks. Even though there aren't any new Gladiator Beasts in it, there are cards that support competitive Gladiator Beast Decks and will help Gladiator Beasts rise to the top of the competitive scene.