Volume 3, Episode 01:
- It's been a while since we've seen Ruby as it's now time for the 40th annual Vytal Festival Tournament, but there are shadows beginning to stir under the light of this event.
We open to Ruby giving her mother's monument the run down of the past two seasons and after a few reveals and lampshading the naming choice of the writers, Ruby is off. It's the first day of the Vytal festival tournament and its team RWBY vs. team ABRN.
Tropes in this episode include:
- As You Know: Port and Oobleck telling the viewers, ostensibly in universe, but really to the show's viewers, how the tourney works.
- Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Emerald continues this act with Team RWBY, first pick-pocketing Ruby's wallet while pretending she's returning it to her, then engaging in small talk to get information out of them.
- Combo: Team RWBY uses a 4-woman finishing move that hurls Yang and her punch into Team ABRN using Weiss's instant terrain, Blake's ribbon, and Ruby's Recoil Boost.
- Curb-Stomp Battle: It's implied that Cinder's team did this to their first round opponents, with Disguised!Neo giving her unfortunate victim a literal face-stomp.
- False Friend: Emerald has become this to team RWBY, acting friendly with them to gain information.
- Weiss ignores a call from her father and later learns her credit cards have been suspended, foreshadowing problems in the Schnee family.
- When Team RWBY goes to one of the booths, a person is seen walking past it. Said person later turns out to be part of Team BRNZ.
- Nora's Color Failure during her hopeless rant is actually Ren trying to pacify her with his semblance.
- Geo Effects: The tournament arena randomizes its biome and terrain to be Hailfire Peaks.
- Hailfire Peaks: The randomized arena is set up to produce these. For the battle RWBY vs. ABRN the combo was the literal Hailfire.
- The Load: Nadir doesn't contribute much to the fight against Team RWBY and ends up getting frozen twice, making Reese then Arslan un-freeze him mid-battle.
- Mr. Exposition: Professor Port and Doctor Oobleck carry out this role as tournament commentators and announcers instead of teachers.
- Obfuscating Stupidity: Mercury acts like a socially-awkward dimwit by sniffing boots with a puzzled look on his face so Emerald has an excuse for her team to not further mingle with Team RWBY.
- Oh, Crap!: Team ABRN collectively has this reaction to their knockout blows - Reese after noticing Blake's trap, and the rest as Yang flies towards them.
- Psychotic Smirk: Disguised Neo gives a half-smug, half-sadistic grin before stomping her victim in the face.
- Randomly Generated Levels: The arena utilizes a modular system of various environments, selecting two at random for each half of the battleground.
- The Reveal:
- Ren and Nora are orphans with nowhere to return to should they be kicked out of Beacon.
- The Elegant Gothic Lolita from the trailers? She's the fourth member of Cinder's team and her eyes reveal she's Neo in disguise.
- Surrounded by Idiots: Implied by Arslan rolling her eyes after noticing Bolin and Nadir trapped in an ice ball. This is also after Reese got herself eliminated through carelessness.
- Tempting Fate: Pyrrha notes that it's good to be participating in some structured, non-lethal combat this season instead of murder. Later this season, she does commit Accidental Murder.