What is the best way to play Beyblade? (WBBA 3on3 Battle Format vs. WBO Deck Format)

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Overview

  1. Introduction
  2. WBBA 3on3 Battle Format Rules
  3. Why WBBA 3on3 Battle Format?
  4. Deck Construction in WBO Deck Format
  5. Deck Construction in WBBA 3on3 Battle Format
  6. Evaluating Other Rule Differences
  7. WBBA 3on3 Test Event: NO SLEEP TILL BEYBLADE Tournament Report
  8. Tournament Winning Combinations
  9. Proposed WBO Organized Play Rule Additions & Changes

Introduction

On October 13th, 2019 I hosted “NO SLEEP TILL BEYBLADE” with at High Park in Toronto, Canada. This was an experimental World Beyblade Organization event played using a slightly modified version of the WBBA’s 3on3 Battle Format ruleset.

It’s made me wonder: is WBBA 3on3 Battle Format a better way to play Beyblade than WBO Deck Format?

Both have their strengths and weaknesses, but after playing in this event, I’ve found WBBA 3on3 Battle Format to be inherently quite engaging because every single round is different.

But before we dive in to the comparison, let’s start with the rules that were used for this event:


WBBA 3on3 Battle Format Rules

This tournament will be played using an experimental non-WBO ruleset for the matches played: WBBA’s 3on3 Battle Format. This format is used by TAKARA-TOMY for some of their events in Asia. The rules are as follows:

1. Matches are to 3 points

  • Outspin = 1 Point
  • Knock Out = 1 Point
  • Burst = 2 Points

2. Deck Construction: 3 Beyblades

Each player constructs a deck consisting of 3 Beyblades. No parts may be repeated throughout each combination. The same rules from WBO’s Deck Format for repeating parts will apply (see the WBO Burst Format rulebook).

3. Inspection & Deck Sequencing

After inspection, each combination will be placed into one of the three numbered slots in a deck box (pictured above).

We will have these available to borrow at the event, but please bring your own if you have one.

3. Perform Battles in Sequence

Players perform battles following the sequence of the Beyblades in their deck box until one player scores 3 total points. This means for example that the Beyblades in the #1 slot will play each other, followed by #2 vs #2, and #3 vs. #3.

4. Ties

  • If there is a tie at any point, the match will be replayed using the same two Beyblades until a winner is determined for that round.
  • If neither player has earned 3 Points after all three rounds have been played between all three Beyblades, players will re-order their entire deck in secret and then play a decisive fourth round to determine the match winner.

Note: All other existing WBO Burst Format rules unrelated to the match ruleset outlined above will apply for this event. Finals will also be played using the WBBA 3on3 Battle Format.

So, the major differences were that I applied all other existing WBO Burst Format rules unrelated to the ruleset for WBBA 3on3 Battles, which meant that things like spin direction switching weren’t permitted, or removing Frames, and so forth that are permitted under WBBA’s general rules.


Why WBBA 3on3 Battle Format?

The reason I decided to try this out is rooted in my experience observing and playing the format myself during a couple of my trips to Japan in 2017 and 2018. I talked about it and compared it to the WBO Deck Format in my report from 2017:

TAKARA-TOMY’s Deck Format vs. WBO Deck Format

One of the things I was disappointed by was not having a chance to play a match using TAKARA-TOMY’s Deck Format in any of the tournaments I participated in. Even though I still love our version of Deck Format, I found it to actually be quite engaging.

When you look at the WBO’s Deck Format critically you should realize that in crafting it, one of our goals was to allow for a battle where players had the opportunity to make choices about their opponents based on concrete information (hence losers being able to request a rematch, counter-pick the winner, winners being allowed to change, etc).

The first stage of our events with double-blind picking a single Beyblade creates an environment filled with uncertainty, so the idea was to inject some level of certainty into the final stage which would allow for the strong players who reach that stage to demonstrate and execute strategies based on their knowledge and skill more easily or at least in a way that challenges them differently than the first stage of our events.

After observing TT’s Deck Format I’ve come to feel that it lands itself somewhere in between the uncertainty of our first stage battles are like and the certainty of our Deck Format matches.

This is because there is much that is predetermined (your three Beyblades and their order), but also much which you have the ability to think about critically (like the whole construction of you and your opponent’s Deck or what order they will pick if the match makes it past the first three Beyblades, at which point you will have seen everything they have). This version of Deck Format also is longer than a regular match, but probably shorter than our version of Deck Format.

I certainly don’t love it enough to suggest replacing our Deck Format, but it might be interesting to look at implementing it as an option for WBO Club Format events.

After playing this event–the first time I’ve been able to play WBBA 3on3 Battle Format for a significant amount of time–I’m beginning to wonder if I do actually enjoy it more than WBO Deck Format.


Deck Construction in WBO Deck Format

One of the problems with WBO Deck Format that I have identified is that while it grants a high level of agency to players, the nature of the format tends to inherently guide deck construction at the highest level to combinations which can be widely applicable to as many situations as possible.

This is why you see these two standard deck archetypes among competitive players so frequently (at least here in Toronto):

WBO Deck Archetype 1

  • Attack Type
  • Left Spin High LAD Opposite Spin Stamina (Xt+ or Br)
  • Right Spin High LAD Opposite Spin Stamina (Xt+ or Br)

WBO Deck Archetype 2

  • Left or Right Spin Same-Spin Stamina (Hy, At, Om, etc)
  • Left Spin Stamina (Xt+ or Br)
  • Right Spin Stamina (Xt+ or Br).

Why pick something more specialized when in reality it could prevent you from being able to respond adequately to more than one specific threat?

When you’re the “loser” of a specific round in WBO Deck Format and have to choose your next Beyblade first, you usually want it to be something which can have a chance against more than one combination in your opponent’s deck.

Of course, it is still viable to pick more specialized combos–especially if you are a skilled attack type user who can overcome any deficiencies brought about by using a specialized combo–but in boosting the strength of your deck in one specific way, you also open yourself up in other ways inevitably.

If your deck is Attack Type + Right-Spin Defense + Left-Spin Stamina (Xt+), you leave yourself vulnerable to left-spin Stamina combos on Drivers like Atomic with no 100% counter for it.

There’s a lot of factors to consider here, but to me, this is how WBO Deck Format inherently can drive people towards using more generally applicable 100% counter stamina type combos (ex. Combos with the best Life After Death and decent defensive capabilities) that also have a chance against other things as opposed to those which would only be a 100% counter to something more specific and not have much else they would do well against.


Deck Construction in WBBA 3on3 Battle Format

In WBBA 3on3 Battle Format however, while you still want to construct a well-balanced and versatile deck overall, the pressure to pick combinations which can respond to anything is minimized.

This is because each combo is only used for one (or maybe two) rounds throughout the entire battle. No single combo needs to necessarily have a response for everything.

If you pick something which is very specialized, you still have a 33% chance of coming up against the type of combo it is designed to beat (assuming your opponent constructs a reasonably balanced deck as well).

If your other two combos are more generally strong, then this can be a fine ‘risk’ to take in your deck building as it can either give you the edge ultimately, or just be one round loss of three that can easily be made up for by your other combinations.

And if the specialized combo you pick doesn’t end up having much of a purpose after the first three rounds, it is always an option to place it as the third Beylade in your deck (so that it cannot be used again) when re-ordering for Round 4/5.


Evaluating Other Rule Differences

2 Point KO (WBO Deck Format) vs. 1 Point KO (WBBA 3on3)

In WBO Deck Format, KOs are worth two points.

In WBBA 3on3 Battle Format, they’re worth one. In this event, we played with the one point KO rule.

The Frequency of Bursting vs. Knockouts Has Slowly Changed

Over time we’ve seen a slow decrease of bursting frequency in competitive play and an increase in knockout frequency.

I don’t have data to back this up, but anyone who’s been playing Burst for a few years knows that the release of Xtreme’ in 2018 and then Layer Bases like Judgment in 2019 boosted the viability of attack significantly while also literally lowering burst frequency through mechanical means (stronger springs in Dash Drivers, Cho-Z Valkyrie/Spriggan/Achilles burst stoppers, the rubber stopper on Judgment, etc).

We’ve finally reached the point for TAKARA-TOMY where–in the famous words of Hasbro–you could say “Bursting is rare”.

As a result, this implicitly places a greater value on burst finishes rather than knockouts because they are rarer. We’ve finally reached the point for TAKARA-TOMY where–in the famous words of Hasbro–you could say “Bursting is rare”.

Points Awarded Should Match Difficulty Obtaining Each Win Condition

The number of points awarded for a round win should be reflective of the difficulty in obtaining that win condition. I would argue that while there is difficulty involved in achieving a KO, it has been vastly reduced over the past year or so due to the above changes.

When Beyblade Burst was first released, I think we all felt it was strange for knockouts to be worth just one point when they were harder to achieve than burst finishes. But the roles have been switched now.

As a result, my opinion is that WBBA 3on3 Battle Format’s point system (1pt KO, 1pt OS, 2pt BF) is more suitable for the game now than it was when Beyblade Burst was first introduced.

Point Values in WBO Deck Format for Other Systems Already Exist

And given that we already have differing point values in WBO Deck Format for other Beyblade systems (MFB/HMS/PLA) to suit their characteristics, it would seem to me that it may be worthwhile to reduce KOs to 1 Point in WBO Deck Format for Burst.

In my mind, having the option for a two-point play felt important for WBO Deck Format and obviously reducing KOs to one point reduces the opportunity for that to happen.

Are 1 Point KOs Beneficial for Attack Users in Beyblade Burst?

However, my feeling is that reducing KOs to one point may actually be beneficial to skilled attack type users because while they earn less for their KOs, they are granted more leeway by not having to worry about losing two points against their stamina-wielding opponent thanks to a poor launch or recoil.

One of the great things about WBO Deck Format is that as an attack type user, you are afforded the chance to fail a few times and still win the match.

It’s happened to me on multiple occasions that only on my second or third tries using my attack combination was I able to get into a rhythm and emerge victorious.

If you use your attack type early enough you’re afforded time to perfect your launch and adapt to your opponent’s launch technique.

Once you’ve entered that rhythm, I think that it wouldn’t matter that your KOs are worth only one point because as the attack type user you should be able to win consistently if you have your technique down.

This is already evident in formats like the WBO’s Metal Fight Limited Format where I’ve seen that the one point KO ruling doesn’t have an effect on the usage of attack types.

“Back Wall” Knockout Ruling

The KO ruling update introduced into WBO Burst Format back in September 2017 rule updates has risen to the top of my mind as of late as well.

It has also recently been a topic of discussion among members in the community as well.

The ruling essentially is that a Beyblade is considered knocked out as soon as it hits the back wall of the Burst BeyStadium Standard Type cover. Even if it comes back into the stadium, the round is already over.

When introduced, it felt like having the amount of KOs reduced thanks to a safety measure–the stadium cover–wasn’t fair.

It was introduced at a time when Beyblade Burst attack types were struggling.

The potency of attack types has increased dramatically since then, so it seems to me like it might not be needed anymore. When introduced, it felt like having the amount of KOs reduced thanks to a safety measure–the stadium cover–wasn’t fair.

We played without it during this tournament as would normally be done during an official WBBA event and while there were a few instances where it was to the benefit of the stamina or defence type, in general it did not seem to negatively impact the viability of attack types or players willingness to use them whatsoever.

Rotation Switching

Another significant ruling difference between the WBO and WBBA is the stance towards Layers/Layer Bases with a spin direction mode change feature (Legend Spriggan, Spriggan Requiem, Cho-Z Spriggan, Lord).

Rotation Switching in WBO Organized Play

Under WBO rules, mode changes of any kind for parts which required disassembly were not permitted until October 2017 when we added a rule which allowed them to be performed once per match.

This was fine for all of two to three months … and then Spriggan Requiem was released. Unlike the decidedly offensive Legend Spriggan, Spriggan Requiem was a top-tier stamina Layer. Pretty quickly players realized that a Layer which could spin steal excellently and also switch spin directions was powerful.

In fact, Spriggan Requiem on Destroy pretty much dominated the entirety of BEYBLADE SHOGATSU 2018.

Consequently, spin direction switching was banned for Spriggan Requiem shortly afterwards in February 2018. This restriction was also applied to Cho-Z Spriggan and the Lord Layer Base upon release.

Rotation Switching in the WBBA

In WBBA events however, mode switching of any kind has always been legal.

This has been baffling to me and other WBO players I’ve spoken with over the years.

But as I think about it … while as a feature spin direction changing in a first stage regular battle between two Beyblades may still be game-breaking in my opinion, in both WBO Deck Format and WBBA 3on3 Battle Format it really isn’t.

In WBBA 3on3 Battle Format, you only have to deal with it for one round (although I am not clear on whether the mode can be changed twice if the battle extends past round three) and in WBO Deck Format it can be restricted to once per match and the impact wouldn’t be game-breaking by any means.

However, I think that for WBO events I am leaning closer towards wanting to keep the rules simple. That means allowing spin direction switching for everything or not allowing it at all (which would mean removing the ability for lS to switch).

And we recently made the decision to go with the latter and ban mode switching on Legend Spriggan/Spryzen for WBO events.

Removal of Core Disk Frames

This is probably one of the lesser known rulings permitted in WBBA events: the removal of Core Disk Frames as if it were a mode change.

It isn’t something I knew about until my trip to Japan in 2017 when I saw it happen multiple times when players ran into a same-spin stamina matchup while they had a Frame like Turn on their combination meant to improve Life After Death in opposite spin matchups.

We didn’t permit this for NO SLEEP TILL BEYBLADE, but I can’t think of any reason competitively speaking why it shouldn’t be allowed in WBO events. It just feels a bit strange to essentially be allowed to change your combination after seeing your opponent’s Beyblade.


Tournament Report

The tournament itself was incredibly fun!

In terms of the tournament organization, the only thing which was a bit challenging was access to enough Deck Boxes to make these types of events run smoothly, but there’s always ways around it if you don’t have enough of them.

For instance, we used one of those small Beyblade cases from the Lawson lotteries for some of the battles. They hold up to six Beyblades and we had the judges take and distribute the combos from those.

It was unranked, so there was a mix of players who were maybe taking more risks than they would normally with those who were too tired to try anything really too far outside the box (looking at you OldSchool and Justin TC haha … although OldSchool did use the Bullet combo seen below). But regardless, there was a healthy balance all types of combos throughout the event and the battles were competitive.

I find that WBBA 3on3 Battle Format is inherently engaging to play and watch because every single round is different.

WBO Deck Format matches sometimes devolve into the same battle over and over because of the way in which it is designed (we literally have the option to force rematches haha), but this is impossible in WBBA 3on3 Battle Format. The concept of and reasoning for allowing rematches in WBO Deck Format is sound and I still fully support it, but WBBA 3on3 Battle Format is engaging in its own way that avoids repetition for the most part.

Overall, I felt really inspired by the possibilities of this format after the event ended! It reminded me that it is important to continually keep our minds open to new methods of play and to always be thinking critically about why things are the way they are.

I find that WBBA 3on3 Battle Format is inherently engaging to play and watch because every single round is different.

The WBO Deck Format was conceived in a vastly different metagame than the one we are currently in. As a result, it is important for us to take a step back and evaluate both the good and bad of it more critically. Playing WBBA 3on3 Battle Format has helped me to gain perspective that might not have been possible otherwise.

Check out the final battle:


Tournament Winning Combinations

1st: OldSchool™

  • Judgment Diabolos Blitz Xtreme Dash
  • Lord Pegasus 0 Cross Xtend Plus
  • Perfect Phoenix Ratchet Bullet

2nd: Justin TC

  • Judgment Joker Blitz Xtreme Dash Zan
  • Lord Spriggan 0 Cross Xtend Plus
  • Balkesh B3 00 Wall Bearing
  • Zwei Longinus Sting Quick Dash

3rd: Kei

  • Judgment Diabolos Blitz Xtreme Dash
  • Judgment Diabolos Blitz Destroy Dash
  • Zwei Diabolos 10 Expand Xtreme Dash
  • Lord Fafnir 0 Cross Xtend Plus
  • Flare Ashura Around Orbit Metal Gen
  • Flare Ashura Vanguard Bearing Gen
  • Union Achilles Sting Quick Dash Retsu

4th: Tahoor


Proposed WBO Organized Play Rule Additions & Changes

Considering my experience with this event, with the community in Japan, and other ideas I’ve had recently, there are several rule additions changes I’d like for us to consider for the WBO:

  • Implement WBBA 3on3 Battle Format for Unranked Events
  • Reduce Knockouts to 1 Point in Burst/Burst Classic Deck Format Battles
  • Remove “Back Wall” Knockout Ruling

What do you think? Comment below!

I will be discussing these with the WBO Contributors, but also wonder, what do you guys think? Do you think these changes seem reasonable? What do you think of WBBA 3on3 Battle Format vs WBO Deck Format?

I've been playing Beyblade since 2002 and have been worldbeyblade.org staff–the largest Beyblade website in the world with over 100,000 members–since 2009. I have won over 60 tournaments and have hosted over 100 as an organizer over the past decade. I enjoy writing about Beyblade as a competitive hobby and with this blog aim to help players gain a deeper understanding of the game and improve their performance in tournaments!

6 thoughts on “What is the best way to play Beyblade? (WBBA 3on3 Battle Format vs. WBO Deck Format)

  1. Excellent write up! I do believe WBBA has announced major changes to their tournament format. I think it is called “5G”? And I believe it is something like the following:

    5 combo
    3 points to win
    3 point Burst
    2 point KO
    1 point OS

    1. Oh, really? I haven’t heard about that. I’ll have to look into it! 3 Point Burst, huh? Now that’s interesting.

      There’s so many ways that Beyblade can be played, so it’s nice to hear that even Takara Tomy is changing things up a bit this far into the series.

        1. Only one dual spin Beyblade sounds like a good call. I’ll check out your post soon! Maybe I’ll play this sometime over the next couple months when I go to Japan …

  2. Reduce Knockouts to 1 Point in Burst/Burst Classic Deck Format Battles
    Remove “Back Wall” Knockout Ruling

    I feel like if these are considered to be added, it would be best to implement one or the other, as both together feels like a hard slap in the face to KO attackers.

    Also, I’m having a blast reading your articles so far, first the IDr review and now this. Keep it up, Kei!

    1. I can see why you might feel that’s the case. However, to me reducing KOs to one point actually isn’t a “slap in the face to KO attackers”, but a blessing in disguise because users no longer need to worry about self-KOing as much. A good attack type user typically can perform consistently the more chances they have to use it in a match. So, once you get into a rhythm, maybe the fact that the points you score are “only” one per KO isn’t a big deal.

      And the “Back Wall” knockout ruling change is admittedly intertwined with judging concerns (it’s hard to discern sometimes), but I also think that especially with Layer Bases like Judgment, the rule can hurt you as much as it can help you … so in the end, it’s probably simpler to get rid of it now that KOs are so much more common.

      Thank you! I’m glad you’re enjoying them!

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