Gladiator Beasts first came onto the competitive scene in 2008 when Paul Levitin won an SJC with them before Gyzarus and War Chariot, two of the decks most powerful cards, were released. Since their prime in the format of Summer 2008, Gladiator Beasts have proven to be one of the most resilient archetypes in the game, always being somewhat relevant in the meta and appearing at the top tables. Gladiator Beasts are always a popular deck at the beginning of every format because of their unmatchable tool boxing that makes them well equipped to handle a diverse meta. All of the decks monsters rely on surviving battle to "tag out" for a different Gladiator Beasts to gain its effect.
This is the beater of the deck at 1800 atk he's the best turn one summon in the deck and if he's tagged into he becomes a 2100 atk. Also a required fusion material for Heraklinos. Generally 2 of him are run, but more aggressive builds may run 3.
Probably the most important Gladiator Beast, not so much for his effect (although it's quite good) but because he is the key component in making Gyzarus, still one of the best and easiest to spam boss monsters in the game. Having him removed from play can really make your deck lose a lot of aggression so don't get too reckless with his effect.
Basically a staple at 2 this guy allows you to recycle one of the most feared cards in the deck in Gladiator Beast War Chariot as well as other themed cards like Gladiator Beast Respite or even Gladiator Beast monsters.
His effect is most commonly used to get Bestiari from your Graveyard and make Gyzarus as well as bring up a Laquari with him and another monster to go into Heraklinos which can be especially devastating after a Gyzarus play. With the release of Essedarii Darius is probably a staple at 2 in all builds of Gladiator Beasts.
He may not seem like much at first but being able to manipulate your opponent's graveyard can definitely win you some match-ups such as Frog Monarchs. Easily a staple at 1 because there will always be decks that rely on the Graveyard and Retiari is perfect for disrupting that strategy.
One of the weakest monsters stat wise he won't survive too many battles but is ideal for grabbing with Test Tiger when your opponent has a big monster on the field and has one of the most useful effects in the deck. Run is usually run because drawing him can be pretty bad with Test Tiger.
Probably the best effect of any Gladiator Beast especially when brought out with Test Tiger. He's an instant Heraklinos by using his effect to go into Laquari and Equeste to add back Chariot you can almost win right there. Secutor's issue is drawing him is awful especially without Tiger and going TigerSecutor into your opponent's Veiler can lose you the game. Still a card with too much upside and explosive abilities to not run in Test Tiger builds.
A defensive tank, you can stall out against some decks for a long time with this guy, an amazing turn one set especially when your opponent doesn't know what you're running. Then when your opponent knows you're using Hoplomus setting other GB's to set up for contact fusion plays is amazing because many players don't want to attack into Hoplomus and give you a free tag out.
A 1900 Gladiator Beast may not seem like much but he can be quite useful for running into monsters that can give the deck trouble such as Rai-Oh or Doomcaliber. Andal also got some second looks last format when Horn of the Phantom Beast came onto the scene. The potential of a 2700 beater who draws a card when he destroys a monster was definitely a theory worth testing. Andal will definitely make a come back in Gladiator Beast decks once Rescue Rabbit is released.
Test Tiger gives the deck so many options, letting you access any parts of your toolbox for the given situation. Tiger's most common use is Gyzarus spam with Elemental Hero Prisma and is also great to get Secutor or Murmillo if you need to destroy a monster. A great card that gives the deck so many options.
Summon Prisma, send Bestiari, Special Summon Test Tiger, Grab Darius, Special summon back Bestiari, make Gyzarus. That play has been the most common power play for years in Gladiator Beasts and is still as devastating as ever. With the release of A Hero Lives Prisma gets even better in the deck and will allow you to consistently go off into Gyzarus plays.
Even though we don't get this guy for a few months it's still worth discussing the plays he adds to the deck. Since he can only search normal monsters the deck would need to run 3 Gladiator Beast Andal's which is easily recyclable with Gladiator Beast's Respite. Rescue Rabbit can allow for turn one plays to Essedarii, Utopia and Steelswarm Roach. It's almost in essence a tour guide for Gladiator Beasts.
The card is fucking ridiculous, being able to destroy two cards then grab two different monsters (with Laquari in grave he's an instant Heraklinos) He's the reason you run Prisma, well-timed Gyzarus plays will flat out win you the game. Also has an abusable effect with Monster Reborn and Call of the Haunted which recently went to two.
A 3000 atk behemoth with the ability to negate Spell and Traps? What isn't too like? Going into Heraklinos backed with Gladiator Beast War Chariot can be a very difficult field to break especially after a Gyzarus play. The three monster investment isn't difficult at all especially with cards like Darius and Secutor.
The newest member of the Gladiator Beast family a 2500 vanilla would be considered terrible for many decks, but Essedarii is actually quite useful in Gladiator Beasts primarily because his fusion material consists of ANY 2 Gladiator Beasts. Tagging into Darius with any GB monster in grave gives you an instant 2500 atk that can tie with some of the decks biggest adversaries such as Stardust Dragon. Also very useful for making with cards like Murmillo and Secutor who you don't ever want in your hand and turning them into a 2500 beater.
Other monsters worth running:
Gladiator Beast Andal
Elemental Hero Stratos
Neo - Spacian Grand Mole
Blackwing - Gale The Whirlwind
Thunder King Rai-Oh
Your monster line-up will be largely composed of the Gladiator Beast toolbox so there isn't too much room for anything else as opening monster clumped hands in GB's can cost you games.
More tool boxing abilities. Probably best served for searching Hoplomus, Laquari or Bestiari.
Opinions are always mixed on this card, it's often great early game but drawing it late game can really screw you. Very easy to abuse with Equeste. Respite will see a lot of play when Rescue Rabbit is released to send Andal back to deck so the deck can max on Rabbit. Also it's worth mentioning that you can add Gladiator Beast cards back such as Chariot and another Respite.
Recently released in Generation Force, A Hero Lives gives the deck a ton of explosiveness by being able to quickly grab Prisma to the field and go into Gyzarus. With the cost of half your life point's you should be careful with this card and wait to use it until your opponent is low on resources to ensure your play is successful. Also it's noteworthy to mention that activating it only applies to not controlling any FACE-UP monsters so you can still use it with sets. Being able to go A Hero Lives into Stratos summon Prisma and XYZ for Roach or Utopia is just another option this card adds to the deck.
Other spells worth running:
Book of Moon
Mystical Space Typhoon
Pot of Duality
Reinforcement's of the Army
Probably the one card in the deck above any other that has kept it playable for the last few years. So many if not all decks now rely on effect monsters and War Chariot stops them dead in their tracks. Continuously adding this card back to your hand with Equeste creates a mini-loop that can be incredibly difficult to stop. One of the coolest things about the card is the ability to stop cards like Effect Veiler (an ability so few decks have) from disrupting your potential Gyzarus and Secutor plays. Some players prefer to run 2 instead of 3 because drawing multiples can be subpar since the card is easily grabbed back with Equeste. Of course the advantage to running 3 is seeing it more often.
This is a card that can easily be overlooked in Gladiator Beasts. Call going to 2 actually helps the deck a lot because the normal summon and surviving until the end of battle is SO important in this deck there is really no reason not to run two of something that allows you to put another monster on the field. Not to mention the card is just silly with Prisma plus being able to special summon Gyzarus from the grave during your opponent's end phase to dodge Veiler and their just set traps is insane.
Other traps worth running:
Bottomless Trap Hole
Horn of the Phantom Beast
Seven Tools of the Bandit
Compulsory Evacuation Device
Gladiator Beasts are a deck that have a lot of potential this format as they always do because of their tool boxing, ability to summon powerful fusions and of course War Chariot. With the addition of XYZ monsters the deck has the ability to go into Utopia, Roach, Leviathan Dragon and Leviair among others. Leviair has loads of potential because it gives the deck the ability to add back Bestiari if he's been removed from play, something the deck has never had the ability to do.
Last format the most popular variation of Gladiator Beasts was the control based "Tigerless" version. With Heavy Storm coming back it gives the Test Tiger Prisma variation Gladiator Beasts a boost because of the problems the deck had dealing with a ton of backrows. Last format if your opponent opened with 3+ backrows you were already fighting an uphill battle because the deck needs monsters on the board constantly which can be difficult for a deck when the deck is so dependent on its normal summon. Only having 1-2 backrows to deal with allows your battle phases to resolve in successful tag-outs and most importantly allow Gyzarus plays to go through.
With Rescue Rabbit coming in a few months the deck gets a huge boost in making big creatures. Perhaps one of the toughest issues the deck will have this format is finding a way to consistently and efficiently deal with turn one Tour Guide into Leviathan and Veiler as well as the plethora of boss monsters in decks such as agents. Gladiator Beasts have always been a great anti-meta deck especially with the ability to side deck into Dimensional Fissure against Graveyard reliant decks. With the right tech choices Gladiator Beasts could potentially be a force to be reckoned with this format.