Home > 2011 North American WCQ > Succesful Decks in today’s event: Gladiator Beasts

Succesful Decks in today’s event: Gladiator Beasts

July 16th, 2011

Gladiator Beasts are unique in today’s field because they offer a cunning Duelist several advantages that other strategies just can’t match.  Almost any Gladiator Beast can be sent back to the Deck to “tag out” for another Gladiator when it makes a successful attack.  Since all the Gladiator Beasts have different – and useful – abilities, a Gladiator Duelist can get to their most important monsters really easily.  They can get to the monsters they need, almost whenever they need them, provided they can attack and tag out.  That allows the Gladiator Duelist to run very few monsters, but still play a wide range of different monsters in a single Duel: even if they draw fewer monsters than other Decks over the course of any given game.

With the ability to run so few monsters, the Gladiator Duelist has plenty of room to play tech monsters like Thunder King Rai-Oh, and they can skew their Deck to run lots of Spells and Traps to control the opponent’s moves.  The most successful Gladiator Beast Decks in today’s field don’t run Test Tiger anymore: instead, they play Thunder King to fend off threats like T.G. Hyper Librarian, and Neo-Spacian Grand Mole or Blackwing – Gale the Whirlwind to take on Legendary Six Samurai – Shi En.  Here’s a prime example of this kind of Deck, as played to a perfect record through Round 5 by Justin Katz:


Gladiator Beasts – 40 Cards

Monsters: 13

1 Gladiator Beast Retiari

1 Gladiator Beast Bestiari

1 Gladiator Beast Murmillo

1 Gorz the Emissary of Darkness

2 Thunder King Rai-Oh

2 Gladiator Beast Equeste

2 Gladiator Beast Darius

3 Gladiator Beast Laquari

Spells: 12

1 Pot of Duality

1 Monster Reborn

1 Gladiator Proving Ground

1 Dark Hole

1 Book of Moon

2 Enemy Controller

2 Mystical Space Typhoon

3 Forbidden Lance

Traps: 15

1 Trap Stun

1 Solemn Judgment

1 Bottomless Trap Hole

1 Compulsory Evacuation Device

1 Mirror Force

1 Torrential Tribute

1 Call of the Haunted

2 Dimensional Prison

2 Gladiator Beast War Chariot

2 Solemn Warning

2 Safe Zone

Katz plays just 10 Gladiator Beasts, running 2 Thunder King Rai-Oh plus Gorz the Emissary of Darkness to round out his monster lineup.  Trap cards like Bottomless Trap Hole, Solemn Warning, and Dimensional Prison help him keep his opponent’s monsters under control, as well as the Gladiator hallmark, Gladiator Beast War Chariot.  Chariot is a boon against so many of the top strategies right now, shutting down powerful monster effects like those of Librarian, Shi En, Elemental Hero Stratos, Tour Guide from the Underworld, and Reborn Tengu.  By destroying or banishing his opponent’s monsters, Katz doesn’t just defend himself: he also clears the way for his own Gladiator Beast’s attacks, which in turn means he can roll more and more effects together to generate momentum.

The Gladiator Duelist uses a few key plays to make big moves and capitalize on that momentum.  Key to the modern Gladiator Beast strategy is Graveyard presence.  The Gladiator Decks of old would play Elemental Hero Prisma to load the Graveyard with Gladiator Beast Bestiari, then tag out a Gladiator Beast (or Prisma, thanks to Test Tiger) to bring Bestiari back with Gladiator Beast Darius.  From there, such a Duelist would Summon Gladiator Beast Gyzarus by sending Bestiari and Darius back to the Deck.  Now, Elemental Hero Prisma is out of the picture, but the Graveyard is still tremendously important.  The Bestiari + Darius play is still very possible, but now, having any Gladiator Beast in the Graveyard can let you unleash a giant-sized Fusion Monster: Gladiator Beast Essedarii.  Now it doesn’t matter what’s in the Graveyard. As long as it’s a Gladiator, Darius will bring it back, and then Darius and its new pal will tag out for a 2500 ATK powerhouse.  In a format where simple beatsticks with 1800 ATK or more are relatively rare, Gladiator Beast Laquari alone can dominate.  But the 2500 ATK of Essedarii?  That’ll frequently mean game over.  As a result, a Duelist like Katz can be extra-aggressive, knowing that a destroyed Murmillo or Equeste can be traded up on the following turn for an Essedarii.  That pacing has made a big difference in today’s field, as has the ability to easily return a Gladiator back to the Deck to regain access to its effects.

Also clutch is the reuse of Gladiator Beast War Chariot with Gladiator Beast Equeste.  This one’s not a new trick, but it is devastating: activate War Chariot; blow away a big important monster while stopping its effect; and then use that empty field to make an attack and a tag out.  Tag in Equeste; use its effect to get back War Chariot; and then set Chariot to do it all over again.  This is the classic Gladiator Beast loop strategy, but now it’s bolstered by the tough-to-beat Essedarii.  In a field where Decks like Samurai and Tengu Synchro live and die by their monster effects, it’s incredibly tough to beat.  And faced with a matchup where monster effects are less vulnerable (like Gravekeepers), Duelists like Katz can just side out War Chariot altogether.

Because Gladiator Beast Decks are short on key monsters and big on room, there’s a lot of space for individual tech.  We’re seeing a lot of variety today, and Katz is no exception: he’s using his spare card slots for Forbidden Lances and Safe Zones, keeping his Gladiator Beasts safe.  It’s a good call in an environment where Bottomless Trap Hole has suddenly become more popular, ensuring that the Gladiator Deck’s best moves are made with all the precision the strategy demands.  Safe Zone is particularly good, because it can be played in so many different ways.

There are a number of undefeated and X-1 Gladiator Beast Decks right now in the tournament, so it’s a good deck to be aware of.