All non-Fusion “Gladiator Beast” monsters, with a few exceptions, share the ability to return to the Deck during the end of the Battle Phase of the turn in which they battled and Special Summon another monster of their archetype from the Deck; when a “Gladiator Beast” monster is Special Summoned this way, it gains different effects that can range from backrow and monster removal (Gladiator Beast Bestiari and Gladiator Beast Murmillo respectively) to Special Summoning from the Graveyard (Gladiator Beast Darius).
Gladiator Beast decks usually rely heavily on their backrow to protect their monsters and allow them to continuously “tag out” and activate their effects, slowly depleting the opponent's resources, they had a poor matchup against Fur Hire and Amazoness, but, now these two are pretty much gone, it might be time for them to make a comeback.
Gladiator Beast Hoplomus has one thing going for him and that’s his high DEF. The best way to use this card would be to Set it and then wait for your opponent to attack it; Hoplomus is hopefully going to survive the attack and you will be able to Special Summon another “Gladiator Beast” monster from your Deck.
What we need to think about is what decks we are going to face while using this card: Blue-Eyes White Dragon, Dragon Spirit of White and Cosmo Brain will force you to activate something like a Mirror Wall to prevent Hoplomus from being destroyed by battle and, in that case, it would have been better to just Normal Summon a Dimacari or a Laquari; any Level 5 or higher “Vampire” monster, Gozuki and Samurai Skull will be able to get over your face-down monster if Vampire Kingdom is activate on the field, so, once again, you will have to use something to protect it; a Masked HERO player may attack recklessly into your face-down with a Destiny HERO - Decider, Destiny HERO - Drilldark or Destiny HERO - Celestial rather than going directly into Masked HERO Anki, but, fearing it might be a Kinetic Soldier, they may prefer to attack you directly.
Overall, Gladiator Beast Hoplomus is not a bad card and it’s always nice to have a couple different options, especially when the vast majority of the cards that have been added to the archetype are incredibly underwhelming. This rhinoceros may not have the ability to destroy face-up monsters or Spell/Trap Cards, but its high DEF alone can gain you a couple turns and chip away at your opponent’s Life Points
Gladiator Beast Laquari is here primarily for its ATK, it forces Masked HEROes to bring out one of their Extra Deck monsters to get over it and, with the help of Mirror Wall, it can destroy by battle common high ATK monsters such as Blue-Eyes White Dragon, Masked HERO Anki and even Silent Magician LV8.
When Gladiator Beast Laquari is Special Summoned by the effect of another “Gladiator Beast” monster, its original ATK becomes 2100, allowing it to end a duel with just two direct attacks.
When it’s Special Summoned by the effect of another “Gladiator Beast” monster, Gladiator Beast Dimacari gains the ability to attack twice during each Battle Phase, meaning it’s able to deal up to 3200 damage per turn. With its 1600 ATK, Gladiator Beast Dimacari ties with cards like Destiny HERO - Decider and Destiny HERO - Drilldark, forcing them to crash into it or to use Mask Change or Polymerization.
When Gladiator Beast Bestiari is Special Summoned by the effect of another “Gladiator Beast” monster, it destroys a Spell/Trap Card on the field. Gladiator Beast Bestiari is used for backrow removal, it doesn’t have the best ATK, but, with the help of a Mirror Wall, it can still tie with a Blue-Eyes White Dragon.
When Gladiator Beast Murmillo is Special Summoned by the effect of another “Gladiator Beast” monster, it destroys a face-up monster on the field. Gladiator Beast Murmillo is the main way this Deck has to deal with problematic monsters, it’s a great card despite its poor stats, but keep in mind that, just like for Gladiator Beast Bestiari, its effect is mandatory, so, if your opponent has no face-up monsters on the field when you Special Summon it, you will have to destroy one of your own.
When it’s Special Summoned by the effect of another “Gladiator Beast” monster, Gladiator Beast Equeste allows you to add a “Gladiator Beast” card from your Graveyard to the hand; this effect was notably worse when Amazoness Onslaught was still around, but, seeing how easy it is for your monsters to end in the Graveyard right now, it's actually very useful.
Gladiator Beast Darius is great for swarming the field with Gladiator Beasts. When he is special summoned from the graveyard you can revive a Gladiator Beast monster but with it's effect negated. Since there is no main phase 2 in Duel Links you would usually have to wait till your next turn to fill your field and fusion summon your monster.
Another use for Darius is recovery, revive a monster you want to return to the deck. And then when Darius leaves the field, even with his own effect, the revived monster is also returned to the deck so that you can special summon it later.
Now that swarming is not as much of an issue as it was a couple weeks ago, Mirror Wall has been re-evaluated; this Trap Card can be activated during the Damage Step, when cards like Mask Change can't anymore, and it allows your monsters to deal with Blue-Eyes, even when the opponent has only one monster in the field, which is something Wall of Disruption isn't able to do.
You can only activate this Trap Card during the Battle Phase, but its effect can prevent your monsters from being destroyed by battle and card effect; you can activate this card after your opponent has already declared an attack to be able to tag out your “Gladiator Beast” monsters.
Impenetrable Attack can also be used to prevent you from taking battle damage during the Battle Phase in which you activate it.
Because the Gladiator Beast monsters need to survive battle before being able to activate their effects, it’s important to run strong cards spells and traps.
Enemy Controller - A staple card in a lot of decks ever since the beginning of Duel Links because of its sheer power and versatility. Recently gained even more popularity because it helps you beat Cyber Angels which is the most popular deck right now.
Floodgate Trap Hole - This card is amazing overall in this meta, but has great use in a Gladiator Beast deck. It defends your weaker monsters. Once their monster is in defense you can attack it (your monsters won’t be destroyed by battle), but watch out for your life points when doing this , unless you use the skill Holy Guard.
Changes multiple opponent's monsters to defense making your opponent unable to attack during their battle phase.
This trap helps you even the playing field for your weaker monsters. It’s also devastating for people that swarm the field and don’t play around it.
You are not going to be able to Special Summon monsters from your Extra Deck that often, but I would still advise keeping them there as an option; you don't have to use Polymerization in order to summon any of these monsters and the monsters used as material are shuffled inside the Deck instead of ending up in the Graveyard.
Gladiator Beast Essedarii is a 2500 ATK monster with no effect at all, you need to shuffle back into the Deck two “Gladiator Beast” monsters that are on the field in order to Special Summon it, you can use it to prevent yourself from decking out or just to get over a high ATK monster your opponent controls.
Gladiator Beast Nerokius requires you to shuffle back into the Deck three “Gladiator Beast” monsters, it can't be destroyed by battle and, just like U.A. Mighty Slugger, when it attacks, the opponent can't activate cards or effect until the end of the Damage Step.
If Nekrokius attacked, you can decide to shuffle it back into the Extra Deck during the end of the Battle Phase to Special Summon two “Gladiator Beast” monsters. Nekrokius is hard to bring out, but it's a great card that can pretty much ignore the opponent's backrow and attack freely.
Heraklinos, similarly to Wiz, Sage Fur Hire, can negate the activation of Spell/Trap Cards, but its effect is not limited to a “once per turn” use and it allows you to discard any card in order to activate it.
You can build your Gladiator Beast deck to have lots of Trap cards that protect your monsters during battle. In that case a good skill to use is Endless Trap Hell. When you have enough Trap cards in the graveyard you can use this skill to add one of them to your hand and another one to your deck. The Trap cards are chosen at random but is great for gaining advantage.
By having at least 6 Monster Cards, 6 Spell Cards and 6 Trap Cards, Balance can guarantee you a starting hand featuring at least a card of each type, it essentially gives you at least a monster and a Spell and a Trap Card to protect it.
This skill prevents you from taking any battle damage during your turn. This allows you to attack freely into your opponent’s monsters (either in defense position or in combination with Impenetrable Attack/Half Shut when attacking an attack position monster).
Another skill option for control variants. Use Sealed Tombs to prevent your opponent from accessing the graveyard. Gladiator Beast decks really don't mind not accessing their own graveyards because they don't do much revival except for Gladiator Beast Darius.
Vampire decks usually rely on the “once per turn” removal provided by Vampire Kingdom in order to get rid of the opponent's backrow, which is definitely not going be enough in this case; Vampires are also the only opponent against which Wall of Disruption is mostly a superior choice compared to Mirror Wall.
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