Tabletop Game / Beyblade
was first introduced as manga, unlike other such Merchandise-Driven
properties like Yu-Gi-Oh!
, it was conceived as a marketing device for the actual toys from the beginning. Launched shortly after the manga series by Takara Tomy, the original Beyblade Basic System was at the time a relatively novel idea. What set it apart from other fighting top games like Spin Fighters was customization. Each Beyblade was made of several pieces that could be swapped out for other pieces, allowing players to try different strategies where old top games were little more than "whoever spins their top faster will probably win".
The initial line was an outstanding success in Japan. The anime series that followed after the manga and toys lasted 3 seasons, and was the main selling point from that point on. Each season introduced new aspects and parts to the game, but by the time it was over had seriously run its course. Toys in this series are retroactively referred to as plastic generation
, though even the original Basic System used metal weight disks. Later systems included more metal parts (the basis for the second version of the toyline) and replaced or merged any number of parts with new ones, to the point where two tops could be made entirely out of mutually incompatible parts besides their Bit Chips, even requiring their own launchers. The Heavy Metal System, in particular, was a completely distinct design. Takara Tomy decided to call a hiatus while they reworked the concept.
The series was relaunched in 2009 after a 5 year hiatus under the name Metal Fight Beyblade
, known in English as Beyblade: Metal Fusion
. The game pieces were redesigned from the ground up, moving from the frankly schizophrenic style of the old series to a more standardized one, stargin with 4 parts and updating to 5 for each top. The first four waves released had single-piece, all metal wheels which were used in the first chapter of the manga. After that, the wheels were redesigned to use a plastic ring to hold on to the launcher, which was the version of the game released worldwide. The 4D update merged the tip and spin track while introducing multi-piece wheels, though unlike the original series the wheels could not normally swap parts. While similar merging and splitting to the orignal series occurred, all parts were still mostly compatible and required a standard face bolt to hold them together. They also only used one type of launcher across the whole series so that any special parts bought for previous toys would no be obsolete.
Immediately after Metal Fusion
's run, a new line was introduced called Shogun Steel
in Japan). The parts used in the Shogun Steel line were largely the same, other than another new wheel system and some changes to the stadiums. The plastic ring + metal wheel was reworked in a way that allowed a second metal wheel to replace the plastic one. Otherwise, the same cores, tips, 4D Bottoms, and launchers were still compatible. The Japanese name comes from the redesigned stadiums, which could rock back and forth allowing for unpredictable and exciting gameplay. This also resulted in changes to how tips were classified. Many Defense tips became Attack while Stamina became Defense. Another unique aspect was that the wheels could be attached with either the metal OR the plastic side up, which could affect how a game played out.
Shortly after Shogun Steel
, Japan moved into the next series, titled Beyblade: Burst
. While it initially launched in Japan in July 2015, it took over a year to show up in the US, leaving a nearly 2 year drought. It goes back to square one with the new parts and launchers, designed to address issues with both its predecessors. Like the Metal Saga Beys, these tops use a simple system; in this case, 3-pieces with a top ring, a weight, and the main core/tip. The main gimmick is that the tops are spring-loaded and can knock each other apart, resulting in parts flying everywhere. It was later upgraded to Beyblade: God Burst
in Japan and Beyblade Burst Evolution
in the US. The new God Layer or Evolution system is largely still compatible, but expands the Layer piece into two or three parts, the Disk into two parts, and uses more complicated tips similar to the Shogun Steel
A secondary tie-in line, called Beyblade Micro
, has ~1 inch wide tops based on their larger brethren which consist of two parts, an Energy Layer and a Tip. The Tips are specialized like the larger ones but are smaller and more simple. The Energy Layers for the Micro
tops can also be attached to the normal Burst
Performance Tips to make a narrow but comically tall top. The American release of Micro
was sporadic, with most retailers only having them available regionally for a long time.
The game's mechanics are simple. Two players each launch a top into a bowl-shaped battle arena, and the last one left standing is the winner. Winning can either be from knocking your opponent out of the ring or making their top stop spinning. Each win gets you a point, and the first to seven points wins. Each player can have up to three tops available to them. A Burst Finish, where a Burst Beyblade flies apart when it loses, nets the winner two point.
There are 4 basic types of tops: Attack, Defense, Stamina, and Balance. Counter-intuitively, Balance means having bits of the other three types all put together, rather than having a top that's good at balancing on its tip.
- Attack: Fast and made for hitting. Strong against Stamina, weak against Defense
- Defense: Heavy and hard to move. Strong against Attack, outlasted by Stamina.
- Stamina: Light, with focus on spin time. Good against Defense, but usually knocked out by Attack.
- Balance: Hard to predict, and varies greatly based on actual parts used.
Tropes specific to the tabletop game are:
- All There in the Manual: The names of the Hasbro Burst Forge Discs and Performance Tips are not mentioned on the packaging or in the instructions, which just uses their part numbers. However, they are given their proper names in the app/mobile game, viewable while editing a Beyblade.
- The Artifact: The Hasbro Burst String Launcher still includes the clips to attach multiple launchers together. However, there's no opening for the winder to pass through, so any attached launchers will be basically pointless. And since two String Launchers can't be attached side-by-side, it's not really easy to double launch using two String Launchers. The clip at the end of the grip can be used for a belt clip attachment, though.
- Awesome, but Impractical:
- Making the heaviest possible build results in the technically best possible Attack or Defense Bey possible, depending on what tip is used. However, it will most likely launch much slower than a lighter build and not last as long if your opponent doesn't ring out. This is most extreme with Metal Saga Beyblades, since they have a much higher maximum weight than others.
- Making the lightest build will result in a Stamina Bey that will launch easily and spin fast, as well as being able to stay away from the low center of the stadium. The downside is that it has no defensive or offensive capability due to its low mass, making it only occasionally effective against one build - the heaviest. Again, this is primarily a Metal Saga issue, since the original and Burst have a narrower range of weights to work with.
- 4D Bottoms, as a general rule, are this. As fun of a concept as Cosmic Pegasus's Final:Drive may seem, you're better off with a Flat or rubber tip, rather than one that switches modes during play. And Diablo Nemesis doesn't really benefit from being stuck with one Spin Track with a 3 position tip when the individual tips are also available. Even though the tips can be switched between rounds in a match (otherwise against the rules), a single tip is still preferable.
- Hasbro Burst launchers can clip end-to-end to launch two Beys at once for solo play or 4-way matches between two players. However, the added weight of a second top more often than not causes a slow start up, either making one top dangle from one clip and spinning off center, or one will lose most of its spin power before even hitting the stadium floor, assuming it doesn't just land in a ring-out pocket. This is on top of the fact that dangling Beys are common enough on single launchers.
- Boring, but Practical: The most effective tips are the more simple ones (Sharp, Wide, Ball, Flat, etc.) compared to the more gimmicky ones (Quake, Right/Left Flat). Single-mode parts are also more reliable that those that can be flipped or rotated to change their battle properties.
- Bribing Your Way to Victory:
- In every series to date, a tier list has been available from day-one and updated frequently. A large part of the metagame is buying specific parts (or the set they're released in) second-hand, mainly from eBay where they can go for as much as $100 US for rare or high-demand tops and launchers.
- Better launchers, grips, and other accessories are often what determines a match. The person with the string launcher is pretty much guaranteed to win, if both players don't have one. The short-run Rev Up launcher (Only released in the US and Hong Kong during the Metal Saga) is one of the most expensive items on eBay due to it being both incredibly rare as well as the absolute best launcher for Metal Saga and Shogun Steel Beys.
- In the plastic era the customized 10bBistool was practically invincible, especially in tournament play. Winning basically boiled down to if you had the money to get one, again second-hand because they did not stay on the shelf for long.
- Crippling Overspecialization: Several packaged Beyblades are built specifically for one purpose, rather then being designed to be playable. Some are specifically designed to go against another specific Beyblade. However, they are usually released this way to introduce new parts into the game rather than to be use as-is.
- Defeat Equals Explosion: Not quite explosion, but the concept behind Beyblade: Burst is that defeat makes your Bey fly apart. Beyond that, was fairly common in the original series when an improperly assembled Bey got hit hard.
- Death-or-Glory Attack: The Final:Drive included with Cosmic Pegasus F:D has a tip which retracts as the Beyblade looses spin. Once it fully retracts, it becomes a wide rubber flat tip meant to give one last Desperation Attack before spinning out.
- Difficult, but Awesome: Balance types. Getting juuuust the right parts is really tricky, but can have awesome results. Also, ringing out a heavy Defense build.
- Early Installment Weirdness:
- The first series of tops were much different than anything after them, and had the greatest variety of part types. Some were only barely compatible with previous sets, to the point that Basic series parts became unusable. The Blade Base was also held in by clips that slid into the sides, which was not repeated with any following series.
- The first four waves of starter sets of Metal Fight Beyblade had used a single Metal Wheel rather than the Energy Ring/Fusion Wheel combo that came after them. They got replaced to add more variety to the game and also to address launchers having their prongs broken off.
- Eastern Zodiac: The original series and Shogun Steel both have Beys based on the Four Symbols.
- Elemental Powers: Shogun Steel get Crystal/Element wheels that show through the metal wheel as an "Element orb". The concept carries over into Burst, though downplayed to the primary color of the Energy Layer and the tip type.
- Excalibur: Excalius and Excalius X2. Both are themed after swords and actually have more full-layer pieces than others in their class - Excalius has two exposed layers while X2 has 3. Sieg Excalibur, the Evolution upgrade, continues the motif.
- A dragon themed Beyblade that spins left and has a jerkass Blader in the anime - are you talking about L-Drago, Ronin Dragoon, or Luinor L2?
- Inferno Ifrit/Ifritor I2 is based directly on Samurai Ifrit's facebolt insignia from Shogun Steel.
- The main four from the original series (Dragoon S, Dranzer S, Draciel S, and Driger S) all have energy layers based on their attack rings, with similar tips when possible.
- Fashionable Asymmetry:
- The Shogun Steel wheels were never fully symmetrical. This was specifically so that none of them would be "overbalanced" to the point that they couldn't be knocked over. The hole and peg in each wheel guaranteed that no perfectly symmetrical designs could be made.
- The Valtryek Energy Layer and its upgrade V2 both have a left-facing Vakkyrie with three spikes on the edge of the wheel. Most other Burst Energy Layers have minor details that are different on one side than the other.
- Doomscisor and Doomscisor D2 both feature left-facing grim reapers with the blade of his scythe forming the edge of their energy layers. His Evolution version has him facing forward finally, but still uses the scythe for half the outer ring.
- Fragile Speedster: Attack builds can move very quickly, but a heavy Defense type can stop it or ring it out just as quickly. Especially light ones, which improve their speed and power, have much higher knock-back as a result and tend to send themselves flying after hitting a heavy opponent.
- Fusion Dance: One of the gimmicks of Shogun Steel: two metal wheels can be placed together to form a Synchrome Beyblade.
- Gratuitous English: Most of the tops have English names in Japan. Burst in particular has all of the Dual Layer and God Layer pieces include a common English word.
- Gratuitous Japanese: Occasionally happens with the English names, like Bakushin Susano-o.
- Cerberus is a common motif. Kerbecs in Metal Fusion and Kerbeus in Burst. In fact, the first one was released as the Hades Kerbecs build just to drive the theme home.
- The Wolf series of parts is based on the constellation Lupus. In the anime it's owned by one of the main antagonists and treated as The Dreaded. Not so much with the real toys, where it's bottom tier.
- Kraken and Leviathan: Both are present in Shogun Steel.
- Lightning Bruiser: The Twisted Fusion Wheel combined with a low Spin Track, and a variation of the Flat Tip creates a frightfully fast and heavy Balance type Bey with little recoil capable of Smash Attacks. However, it does run out of steam rather quickly.
- A Load of Bull:
- Bull 125SF and Dark Bull H145D. Both have parts that are meant to resemble horns (the wheel for the former and the spin track for the latter). They're themed after the constellation Taurus.
- Minoboros and its Dual Layer M2 upgrade in Burst are meant to resemble a Minotaur.
- Metagame: Boy howdy. Most types of wheels aren't even considered in the Metal Fusion tournaments, being severly outclassed. A tier list of all parts can be found here. There's even a whole website dedicated to the meta, the World Beyblade Organization. It's better in Burst where most parts are usable in at least one combination.
- Mid-Season Upgrade:
- Around the middle of each season, the anime gets an upgrade for the characters in the form of new parts, launchers, and other accessories. This is also the time that new equipment shows up on the toy shelf.
- Starting with Metal Fury and continuing up through Shogun Steel, the characters have had their Beyblade evolve (either directly or through acquiring new parts) around the mid-point of the season, with corresponding toys at the same time. Burst bucked the trend by having the basic version as a Single Pack and the Dual Layer version for the first four available from the beginning, as well as having the odd distinction of not necessarily being an actual upgrade; some basic Burst Beyblade are actually better than their Dual Layer counterparts.
- Mighty Glacier: Defense Beyblades. They're heavy and ponderous, but designed to last against strong attacks. Their mass lets them turn an Attack Bey's momentum against it, as well as helping them stay near the bottom of the stadium. If something manages to move them from their spot (either the opposing Bey or a high-mobility tip), the return trip packs a solid punch.
- Mutual Kill:
- Double Ring-outs.
- Double Burst Finishes in Burst.
- Also possible but stupendously rare are double spin-outs, where both Beyblades stop spinning at the same time. This almost never happens because the fight ends when one of them stops spinning; rolling around on its edge is still considered active. So if, for example, two are at the point of edge rolling and bump into each other just right that they stop moving at the same time, it's considered a tie.
- Nerf: Occasionally done when localizing new Beyblades outside of Japan.
- Very common in Metal Fusion. Both of the top tier L-Drago wheels got a significant weight reduction when Hasbro licensed them.
- Burst takes the cake. The Japanese version has small grooves cut into the bottom of the Layers to accommodate the tabs on the Drivers. This made it a bit harder to Burst the Beyblade, while also adding some strategy to the game. The Hasbro version omits them entirely, using a nearly identical sloped surface on all Layers instead. This was primarily due to play wear greatly effecting performance. Despite this, some like Dark Deathscyther/Doomscizor D2 having nearly identical performance.
- In general, the shooters (AKA launchers) are weakened somewhat in the American release:
- Hasbro never introduced the updated Metal Saga Light Launcher 2. It also skipped the String Launcher L in America, mostly because left spinners have an advantage over right-spinners already.
- Burst's American launchers are based on the Japanese Entry Launcher, but are technically superior to it due to having more teeth in the ripcord. However, before the series was even localized TakaraTomy had moved on to the Light Launcher and Long Winder, which addresses issues with the Entry Launcher; namely, that the lack of a ratchet makes the tops prone to slipping off while setting them up to launch which results in "misfires". As a result, the Hasbro releases of the toys are prone to the same issues as the Entry Launcher despite technically launching as fast as the Light Launcher. The release of the String Launcher outside of Japan seems to have finally put them on equal footing.
- New Season, New Name: Metal Fury became Metal Fusion then Metal Masters. The original became V-Force and later G-Revolution. Burst became God Burst/Burst Evolution
- Ninja: An Element Wheel available in Shogun Steel is called this.
- Not Quite Dead: Zombie builds. They keep spinning even when knocked over, which counts as still being in the game.
- Not the Intended Use: Happens quite a bit with modders. Some have designed custom parts that let you omit Spin Tracks or allowing right spin tops to spin left. Launching them edge-wise to see how far they'll roll was popular enough to create a spinoff series.
- Orochi: A Warrior Wheel in Shogun Steel.
- Our Dragons Are Different: They spin left! They're also usually a cross between Eastern and Western style dragons.
- Dragoon in the original series could spin in either direction depending on the specific set. It looks mostly like an Eastern dragon but with huge claws and a stockier, more Western body.
- Metal Fusion has two motifs. L-Drago's series all have three heads detailed into them and has more variations than any other beast. Omega Dragonis is the odd one out in that it is a right spinner and is themed on a Western dragon.
- Ronin Dragoon in Shogun Steel at first appears to be a new version of L-Drago (including its counterclockwise spin), but has wings and Fashionable Asymmetry.
- The Wyvern/Wyvang Wheel in Shogun Steel and Wyvron Layers in Burst are both based on the two-legged dragon variety, and both are right-spinning.
- Luinor L2 and its upgrade Nightmare Longinus appears to be an Eastern Dragon, with a lion-like mane and long body. It also has bat-like wings and a horned crest on its forehead. It's also one of the few Dual Layers that didn't have a single-layer Energy Layer equivalent. Plus, the dragon-head designs are made of metal, the first and only of its kind in Burst.
- Drain Fafnir is specifically designed to spin-steal, and the first to do so specifically for Burst. It's also three Nordic-inspired serpents in a striking orange and blue design.
- Our Vampires Are Different: Beyblades with the spin-steal ability, like L-Drago Absorb and Drain Fafnir. Beyblades that spin the opposite direction as their opponents tend to equalize spin, gaining speed when contacting a faster Beyblade. This means during the initial few clashes, a slower left-spinner will drain a right-spinner's stamina while speeding up and gaining balance. Those with soft rubber parts are better at it. A few rare right spinners can as well, but only against left spinners; otherwise, they actually lose stamina very quickly.
- Our Zombies Are Different: Zombies are builds that have the "Life After Death" feature, which means that they're really good at spinning even when on their side. Since a Beyblade is only considered to have lost when it stops moving, they're still technically in the game despite being on their sides. They tend to have relatively smooth, round outer edges and Defense or Stamina parts.
- Palette Swap:
- For Metal Saga, Hasbro released most of their tops in a standard release and a Legends version. For the Spark FX version, they were recolored compared to the Japanese version of the same parts. The Legends version would be the show accurate version and more faithful to the TakaraTomy release.
- Both sides of the pond love to make limited edition all-gold versions. Probably because they sell really well.
- For Burst, almost every Hasbro Beyblade came in a single pack and a double pack, with different colored Layers and Tips between the two. The QR codes on them even unlock different colored versions in the app.
- Pegasus: The Pegasus series Metal Fusion and Shogun Steel.
- Power Creep: Every series has an escalating series of upgrades introduced as a Mid-Season Upgrade or as So Last Season. Several former top tier parts are now barely used except in really esoteric builds. Fortunately tends to reset with each new iteration of the franchise.
- Metal Saga was particularly prone to this. Libra was so common in the initial Metal metagame that Takara banned it from tournament play, but by the time Twisted Tempo came out was so outclassed that it was useless. Even then, while Metal Saga and Shogun Steel parts are technically compatible, the former are at a disadvantage even in a regular Beystadium.
- A lesser example was with the Evolution upgrade for Burst. Since Disks and Tips are interchangeable with Basic and Dual Layer Beyblades, there are still some uses for earlier parts.note However, the (re)introduction of Spin-Stealing with Drain Fafnir means earlier Layer pieces won't stand up to it.
- The Power of the Sun:
- The Sol Fusion Wheel and Blaze Energy Ring are themed after the Sun, with the shape particularly inspired by prominences.
- Burst's Amaterios Aero Assault is based on the sun goddess Amaterasu-omikami, with the Forge Disc being shaped very similarly to Blaze.
- Rage Helm:
- VariAres, Gravity Destroyer/Perseus, and Fusion Hades/Fusefire Darkhelm have this as their Face Bolt motif.
- Gigant Gaia/Gaianon G2 has two of these on its Energy Layer.
- Samurai: Another Element Wheel.
- Serial Escalation: Each new version in Metal Saga adds more weight to the tops. Shogun Steel even allow twice the amount of metal per top, making some of the heaviest builds possible.
- Shoddy Knockoff Product: Rapidity. Made by a company called Hongyi, they contain toxic chemicals that can leak acrid gas when heated. Like if left in a car on a hot day, which no child has ever done. They break faster too.
- Simple, yet Awesome:
- The Slide Shot, where a Beyblade is launched while moving the launcher in a specific direction above the stadium. When done right, it causes Beyblades Attack type tips to move in a flower pattern, while Defense or Stamina tips will circle the outer stadium or Tornado Ridge more easily before spiraling into the center. Learning to do it isn't difficult, to the point that more players than not use it frequently.
- The Metal Sharp and Metal Defense tips in Metal Fusion are some of the best available, and only notably different because of material.
- Free-spinning tips like Eternal Sharp, Bearing:Drive, and Gyro give a tremendous advantage even though they're not much more complicated than standard tips. Hold, on the other hand, is Awesome, but Impractical due to its unusual contact surfaces.
- So Last Season:
- For the original series, each new season was marked with a new build system being introduced. First the Spin Gear System was upgraded to the Engine Gear system, then replaced by the Hard Metal System.
- In Metal Saga, the only real case was with Fury's introduction of the 4D system. If one considers Shogun Steel to be part of it, then it can be seen as a case since the anime is in-continuity.
- The upgrade to Evolution parts for Burst doesn't quite preclude the need for earlier parts, but any viable Beyblade needs at least one new piece to hold up.
- BeyWheelz, which rolled the tops along their edges instead of their tips. Based on the special ability of the Running Core of the original series and a popular case of Not the Intended Use for the special spin tracks included in the Destroyer Dome Beystadium. Like Metal Fusion, the wheels are made up of several parts bolted together.
- BeyWarriors, which used action figures with gyroscopic tops built into their bases. Like the other series, they could swap parts to create customized fighters but doing so had little effect on gameplay.
- Tactical Rock-Paper-Scissors: Attack < Defense < Stamina < Attack, in general. Balance types are harder to place.
- The Striker (Ray, Blitz, etc.) series in Metal Fusion. It represents the constellation Monoceros.
- The Unicrest series in Burst.
- Updated Re-release: The Dragoon, Dranzer, Draciel, and Driger Attack Rings from the original series were adapted into Burst Energy Layers.
- Western Zodiac: Most of the Metal Fusion tops are based on Western constellations.
- World Tree: The Yegdrion Layers are based on Yggdrasil.