"Gladiator Beast Hoplomus", "Gladiator Beast Bestiari", and "Gladiator Beast Dimacari" depicted in the artwork for "Defensive Tactics".
"Gladiator Beast", known as "Gladial Beast" (
The archetype resemble futuristic versions of the ancient Roman Colosseum slave-warriors.
The archetype's name comes from "Gladiator", a man trained to fight with weapons against other men or wild animals in an arena.
Each monster is primarily named after types of gladiators that fought in the Roman Colosseum, while others are named after famous fighters from the Roman Empire.
|Gladiator Beast||Named after||Based on||Effect upon tagging out|
|Alexander||Alexander the Great||Flying lion||Unaffected by Spell effects.|
|Augustus||Augustus||Dragon||Special Summon 1 "Gladiator Beast" monster from your hand in Defense Position, but it is returned to the Deck at the End Phase.|
|Bestiari||Bestiarii||Bestiary||Destroy 1 Spell/Trap Card on the field|
|Darius||Darius the Great||Horse||Special Summon 1 "Gladiator Beast" monster from your Graveyard.|
|Dimacari||Dimachaerus||Cape buffalo||Attack twice during the Battle Phase.|
|Equeste||Equites||Winged Centaur||Add 1 "Gladiator Beast" card from your Graveyard to your hand.|
|Gaiodiaz||Gordias||Tyrannosaurus||Special Summon 2 "Gladiator Beast" monsters from your Deck, except "Gladiator Beast Spartacus".|
|Gyzarus||Gaius Julius Caesar||Unknown bird||Special Summon 2 "Gladiator Beast" monsters from your Deck, except "Gladiator Beast Bestiari".|
|Hoplomus||Hoplomachus||Rhino||DEF becomes 2400.|
|Lanista||Lanista||Eagle||Gains the name of 1 "Gladiator Beast" monster banished from your Graveyard.|
|Laquari||Laquerius||Tiger||ATK becomes 2100.|
|Murmillo||Murmillo||Carp||Destroy 1 face-up monster on the field.|
|Nerokius||Nero||Bat||Special Summon 2 "Gladiator Beast" monsters from your Deck.|
|Octavius||Gaius Octavius||Bald Eagle||Destroy 1 face-down Spell/Trap Card on the field.|
|Retiari||Retiarius||Crocodile||Banish 1 card from your opponent's Graveyard.|
|Samnite||Samnite||Smilodon||When it destroys an opponent's monster by battle, add 1 "Gladiator Beast" card from your Deck to your hand.|
|Secutor||Secutor||Lizard||Special Summon 2 "Gladiator Beast" monsters from your Deck after an attack involving it.|
|Spartacus||Spartacus||Dinosaur||Add 1 "Gladiator Beast" Equip Spell Card from your Deck to your hand.|
|Tygerius||Tiberius||White tiger||Discard 1 "Gladiator Beast" card to add 1 "Gladiator Beast" monster from your Deck to your hand|
|Torax||Thraex||Blowfish||Tag it out to draw 1 card.|
With a few exceptions, all non-Fusion "Gladiator Beasts" have an effect to return to the Deck during the end of a Battle Phase when it battled, and then to Special Summon another "Gladiator Beast" monster to replace it (this is also known as 'tagging out'). The newly Special Summoned "Gladiator Beast" monsters usually gain another effect when Special Summoned in this way.
"Gladiator Beasts" also have five Fusion Monsters, three of which require a specific "Gladiator Beast" monster and either one or two other "Gladiator Beast" monsters as Fusion Material. However, "Polymerization" is not required to Fusion Summon these monsters. Instead, the correct "Gladiator Beast" Fusion Material Monsters are returned to the Main Deck to Special Summon the appropriate "Gladiator Beast" Fusion Monster. This process is otherwise known as Contact Fusion. Several of the "Gladiator Beast" Fusion Monsters are also able to 'tag out' to Special Summon 2 or more "Gladiator Beast" monsters from the Deck.
Nearly every card in the archetype is capable of being returned to the hand, field, or Deck from the Graveyard by utilizing the effects of "Gladiator Beast" monsters or their support cards. The "Gladiator Beast" Deck includes a mix of destruction, aggro, and toolbox cards and tactics. It is this versatility which landed this Deck as one of the top Decks in the Shonen Jump Circuit.
The September 2010 Forbidden List caused "Gladiators Beasts" to become more popular, especially with the banning of "Heavy Storm" and Limiting of "Royal Oppression", both of which were a threat to their strategy.
The April 2015 Forbidden List made the previously Limited "Gladiator Beast Bestiari" Unlimited, making the entire deck not as susceptible to having a "Bottomless Trap Hole" or other card that banishes monsters used on "Bestiari", which would render "Gladiator Beast Gyzarus" inaccessible for the remainder of the Duel.
Tigerless Gladiator Beasts
After the March 2011 Forbidden List, many people created an alternate version of the "Gladiator Beast" Deck that did not revolve around "Elemental HERO Prisma" or "Test Tiger". It introduced multiple copies of "Gladiator Proving Ground" and "Gladiator Beast's Respite" to increase the speed and stability of the Deck, while "Gladiator Beast Equeste" allowed the recycling of these cards.
Prisma Gladiator Beasts
Also known "Prisma Glads", this Deck introduces "Elemental HERO Prisma" into the standard "Gladiator Beast" build. The effect of "Prisma" treats it as "Gladiator Beast Bestiari", allowing it to be used in the Summoning of "Gladiator Beast Gyzarus". After destroying two cards and attacking, you can return "Gyzarus" to the Extra Deck to Summon "Gladiator Beast Darius", allowing you to resurrect "Bestiari" from the Graveyard. You can then Summon "Gyzarus" once more, destroying more cards in the process, and putting "Bestiari" back in the Deck to be used again.
Another useful strategy in this Deck involves Special Summoning "Test Tiger" and Tributing it to send an "Prisma" that is being treated as "Gladiator Beast Bestiari" back to the Deck to Special Summon "Gladiator Beast Darius". "Darius" can then use its effect to Special Summon the "Bestiari" in the Graveyard, allowing you quick access to "Gyzarus". If you have another "Gladiator Beast" monster in your Graveyard, this can be followed up by tagging out with "Gyzarus" to Special Summon "Darius" and "Gladiator Beast Laquari", with the former resurrecting a third "Gladiator Beast". These 3 materials allow you to Summon "Gladiator Beast Heraklinos" efficiently.
Rescue Gladiator Beasts
Previous incarnations of this Deck used "Rescue Cat" to Summon monsters such as "Gladiator Beast Samnite" and "Test Tiger" to make big plays. With the banning of "Rescue Cat", however, the Deck became unusable. With the release of "Rescue Rabbit", the new version of the Deck uses "Gladiator Beast Andal" to allow for the quick Summon of "Gladiator Beast Essedarii" or "Gladiator Beast Heraklinos".
Weaknesses and counter-strategies
- Prevention of Special Summoning - As "Gladiator Beast" Decks focus heavily on Special Summoning, they become crippled by cards that prevent it. "Solemn Warning", "Archlord Kristya" and "Fossil Dyna Pachycephalo" are all common Main Deck and Side Deck cards that prevent Special Summoning, or neutralize it. In the case of "Kristya", the Deck finds it hard to get over a monster with 2800 ATK without Contact Fusion, as long as it is protected from the high Trap Card count with cards like "Forbidden Lance". Other options include "Vanity's Fiend", "Vanity's Ruler", "Deck Lockdown" and "Corridor of Agony".
- Counter-destruction - Often, it is the "Gladiator Beasts" with the effect to destroy cards that are the most troublesome, but there are several cards that can be used to combat this. "Starlight Road" is a common card that is particularly effective against "Gladiator Beast Gyzarus". Other options include "Divine Wrath", "Destruction Jammer", and "Stardust Dragon".
- Monster effects - As "Gladiator Beasts" must battle to gain their effects, monster effects that trigger during battle are highly effective. Note, however, that "Gladiator Beasts" have access to "Gladiator Beast War Chariot", so be prepared with something like "Dark Bribe" or "Seven Tools of the Bandit" to negate it. Here are some good monster card effects:
- Monsters that destroy the monsters that attacked them - "Snowman Eater", "Ryko, Lightsworn Hunter"
- Monsters that return the cards that attacked them - "Penguin Soldier", "Legendary Jujitsu Master", "Neo-Spacian Grand Mole"
- Monsters that banish the cards that attacked them - "D.D. Warrior", "D.D. Warrior Lady"
- Destroy on Summoning - Cards such as "Torrential Tribute", "Bottomless Trap Hole" and especially "Mirror of Oaths", that destroy the monsters when Special Summoned are great against "Gladiator Beasts".
- Effect canceling - Cards such as "Skill Drain", "Chivalry" or "Effect Veiler" can prevent your monsters from tagging out or negate the effects of the ones that are Summoned, leaving them defenseless against high ATK monsters.
- Attack negation/prevention - You can only 'tag out' a "Gladiator Beast" when it "attacks or is attacked", therefore, any Spell, Trap, or Monster Effect that lets you negate a monster attack would prevent the opponent from tagging out their "Gladiator Beasts".