Is Beyblade actually a sport? A 20+ year competitive Beyblade player offers an answer that might surprise you. (Beyblade X in Japan Report)



Headlining Takara-Tomy’s press release when they announced Beyblade X was this statement. It set the tone for the series–and perhaps the franchise–moving forward.

In their words, “it’s not a game anymore”.

Players who have long perceived Beyblade through a competitive lens rejoiced.

But the recent launch of Hasbro’s version of Beyblade X was characterized by taglines such as “Beyblade goes next level“, “Prove it in battle”, and “begin your quest for Beymastery“. Gone is any mention of “sport”.

Takara-Tomy’s original statement as well as this disconnect invites many questions upon closer inspection. Of their press release, and also of both company’s actions to date in marketing the series.

Competitive play for Beyblade X has also begun around the world. We’ve even seen the results of the first ever high level Beyblade X G1 tournament, among many others. The Asia Championship is set to take place in December 2024. And Wizards Play Network stores are set to launch Beyblade X leagues around the world.

I’m coming into Beyblade X as competitive Beyblade player with over 20 years of experience. As a result, how this generation has been framed by Takara-Tomy is of particular interest to me. In many ways, it’s a dream come true. Many people similar to me feel the same, I’m sure.

On a personal level, I had the great fortune of my life leading me to a point where I was living in Japan throughout 2023. Because of this, I was able to experience the launch and first five months of Beyblade X first-hand.

Outside of the pandemic years, I’ve visited Japan almost yearly since 2015 in the lead up to this. Each time, I’ve engaged with the Beyblade community to improve myself as a player, to better understand the game, and to make new connections.

Read on to learn about the history of Beyblade, my past experiences as a player, how they influence my perspective, and if I think Beyblade is actually a sport.

Table of contents

What you will learn

In this article, I explore the veracity of the statement “BEYBLADE WILL BECOME SPORTS”. 

I do so through in two ways:

  1. Reviewing the facts presented by Takara-Tomy as well as international distributor Hasbro.
  2. My own experience as a competitive player living in Japan for the duration of 2023.

To frame the conversation, I start with a short definition of what “sport” is generally accepted to be. And I take a look at some of Beyblade’s history.

From there, I dive into my own history with the game. And I report on my experience at a combined nearly 30 Beyblade Burst and Beyblade X tournaments throughout 2023.

Through this reporting, I paint a picture of what it is like to live as a competitive Beyblade player. 

With that as the backdrop, I explain:

  1. My goals
  2. Why I play
  3. How I have come to define success
  4. A mental model which frames how I think about everything I do as a player.

Then, offer my personal answer to the question “Is Beyblade actually a sport?”. To do so, I elaborate upon the insight I’ve garnered through my experience.

You’ll find this article valuable if you are:

  1. A competitive Beyblade player
  2. Someone who is interested in the history of Beyblade
  3. Someone who doubts the legitimacy of Beyblade as a competitive game
  4. Someone who has ever struggled to grow, live seriously, find meaning, and become a better person.
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What is sport?

Sport pertains to any form of physical activity or game, often competitive and organized, that aims to use, maintain, or improve physical ability and skills while providing enjoyment to participants and, in some cases, entertainment to spectators. (Source: Wikipedia)

For the purpose of this article, I’ve used this Wikipedia definition of “sport” as it is likely one of the most widely viewed iterations among the general population.

How is Beyblade perceived now?

The answer to the question “Is Beyblade a sport?” is not straightforward.

That’s because Beyblade’s history isn’t straightforward. And because its perception by the general population isn’t equal globally.

Beyblade’s history

The origin of Beyblade has been well documented

Everyone has seen the spinning top games that existed throughout history before Beyblade.

Most people know that traditional Japanese tops called “beigoma” inspired Beyblade.

Die-hard fans know about Beyblade’s direct predecessors: SugeGoma and the Puyo Puyo Battle Tops of the 90s.

Takara-Tomy themselves have even directly published information on this topic on this (long since taken offline) page detailing a short summary of the history of Osamu Mashimo, the creator of Beyblade.

When considering the history of Beyblade and the greater context of all spinning top games, the answer to this question remains unclear. It has straddled the line between being viewed merely as a toy, game of chance, and a competitive game over and over again. It seems it depends on who you ask.

How Beyblade is perceived is divided worldwide

But before I can add another assertion to this debate, what’s important to consider is: 25 years since launching in 1999, how is Beyblade perceived now?

The best place to start with this is to look at the gap between how Beyblade is perceived in Japan and other Asian countries versus western countries. I cannot speak for all countries, but I can speak based on my experience in Japan, Canada, and the United States.

In places like Canada and the US, the perception of Beyblade can be described using any word which comes to mind that carries the nuance of it being a “toy” that is “all luck” and requires “no skill”.

Given the age of the series now, it’s not uncommon to hear someone exclaim “Oh, Beyblade! I loved that as a kid. People still play? I thought it was all luck?”.

And you’ll see a lot of satirical posts (like this one) on social media exclaiming some variation of “Beyblade was always that serious”. While it is indeed satire on some level, it’s rooted in the perception of Beyblade among a certain population.

This entire article is ultimately about perception. Both in society as well as internally. How something is perceived depends on who is asked and what their experience is.

Where this became clearest to me is in Japan. Things are completely different. This is based only on my experience traveling and living there (with beginner to intermediate level Japanese ability).

From the start, Takara provided a competitive, organized play structure for the game through the BBA (Beyblade Battle Association) and WBBA (World Beyblade Battling Association). They’ve continued to do so to this day with B4 (Beyblade Battle Base).

The same cannot be said for Hasbro in their markets outside Asia. At least in any truly meaningful, consistent way. It’s why fan-run groups like the World Beyblade Organization exist.

The level of skill, knowledge, commitment, and support from not only friends, but parents among high level Japanese players is high. Higher than almost everyone I’ve encountered in North America.

Beyblade is now in its mid-20s. With that, I get the sense that there is an inter-generational transference of knowledge happening.

Members of major Beyblade teams like WARI-BEY, Top Gun, or Vals consistently win high level events in Japan. Members of WARI-BEY have been the winner of the first G1 of every Beyblade generation, for instance. G1 tournaments are one of the highest level competitive Beyblade events Takara-Tomy hosts.

BEYBLADE X-TREME CUP Sendai G2 Winners – 2nd/3rd Place are Vals team members

This team culture just doesn’t really exist anywhere else in a meaningful way.

There are a few factors which have contributed to this outcome:

  1. Managing a competitive game in a smaller country like Japan versus one like the USA presents different challenges. 
  2. The way the game has been promoted and managed in non-Asian markets.
  3. Japan has the benefit of historical precedence. With this comes cultural acceptance, of hobbies like Beyblade being treated seriously. A good example is Mini 4WD.

Beyblade’s Brand Strategy

How stadium design influences the perception of Beyblade

In my review of the Beyblade Burst B-174 Limit Break DX Set, I spent time examining and pondering what Beyblade’s brand strategy was at the time.

They had just released the controversial Dash BeyStadium.

It has many elements which seem that they could have been part of what led to Beyblade X’s Xtreme Stadium. Not to mention the gimmicks attached to Hasbro’s later seasons of Beyblade Burst like SlingShock

There are a lot of reasons for them to have done this, which I detailed in that review.

These stadiums challenged what we had come to expect from Beyblade as a competitive game. They diverged from the standard set by stadiums like Bakuten Shoot Beyblade’s Tornado Attack, Metal Fight Beyblade’s Attack Stadium, or Beyblade Burst’s BeyStadium Standard Type.

Beyblade X’s Xtreme Stadium has done the same.

Simultaneously they have made even high level competitive players question whether Beyblade was a toy or something “more”.

The stadium plays a big role in determining the competitive viability of Beyblade. It’s critical for it to be done right. But what is “right” has changed a lot since Beyblade began. This indicates the versatility of the core concept.

What was Beyblade to Hasbro in the past?

It seems that for both Takara-Tomy and Hasbro as far as the “toy” versus “competitive game” status of the brand, they are never committed to one or the other.

They use the “toy” angle and “competitive” angle as they see fit at any given moment.

For what it’s worth, I believe both angles are required for the brand to survive.

One acts as the gateway to the other if managed effectively.

Poor competitive support

However, Hasbro’s notoriously poor competitive support for Beyblade is punctuated by conflicting statements they’ve made in the past.

The best example is from 2010. A Hasbro representative at the 2010 New York Toy Fair in this video said that Beyblade was “really a tournament sporting brand”.

To make a long story short, competitive support from Hasbro to date can be summed up in one phrase: “smoke and mirrors”.

It’s there, but it’s really not. They’ve tried to sell the fantasy of competitive play by helping to facilitate a world championship in each generation.

But competitive play doesn’t start from the top and move its way down. It starts from the grassroots level. Among regional communities.

Hasbro has made efforts to have events hosted on a regional level, but without consistency, a competitive ruleset, or trained judges, it feels empty.

“Beyblade is not a toy”

Let’s take things even further back to the beginning of Beyblade in the western market.

Steve Bono, a former senior product designer at Hasbro, participated in an interview on the Toy Armada podcast. He was heavily involved with the localization and development of Beyblade into western markets. He had this to say about how Hasbro positioned the brand in the early days:

Beyblade is not a toy. It’s a lifestyle. It’s a sport. It’s fashion. It’s expertise. It’s sort of pride in that you know something better than your parents do and you’re able to beat them because you’re more technically involved and you’re skilled. It had a real sporting element. We positioned it like a sport. That was intentional. Because we really thought it had that value to kids who saw it

Steve Bono, former senior product designer at Hasbro

In this interview Steve also talks about a few things, including:

  1. How the BBA (Beyblade Battle Association) was formed.
  2. His experience attending, judging, and inspecting parts at the larger scale events that Hasbro hosted during the first generation.

Everything he says about it indicates that he–and by extension, Hasbro–understood the value of a sanctioning body for organized play.

beyblade summer 2003 weird on wheels rip zone tournament sticker
YTV Weird on Wheels 2003 Beyblade Rip Zone Tournament Sticker

But there was a problem. Their efforts towards building and maintaining a organized play program were not serious, consistent, or widespread. They didn’t do enough to establish and grow of a competitive player base over a long period of time.

It’s those two ingredients which are what give life to any game and any sport at a competitive level.

He even mentioned how it was intended for Toys R Us stores to host competitions every weekend. He said it definitely happened to some degree. But there seemed to be some uncertainty in the discussion about how consistent or widespread that initiative actually was.

Steve also talked about some of the cultural and business context surrounding the launch of Beyblade in the early 2000s. Hasbro at the time didn’t have much experience with the development of toys with a battling element. This was also a time when brands like Pokemon were exploding globally. Brands which in a sense has a similar ‘battling’ element to Beyblade.

The formation of the BBA and their attempts to cultivate an organized play program were likely influenced to some degree by similar programs in place for games like Pokemon and Magic: The Gathering by Wizards of the Coast at the time. But despite acquiring Wizards of the Coast in 1999, they fell short for one reason or another.

However, if they had really wanted to, the template was out there. The demand was there too.

So the question this begs us to ask is: why?

A senior product designer claims that they viewed the brand and game as a sport. Yet they couldn’t produce something for Beyblade using the same model that WotC was using for their competitive games at the time.

Instead, they took half-measures. This made it seem like organized play was purely a marketing tactic and not a serious attempt to cultivate a more meaningful competitive structure for players.

I choose to believe their intentions were in the right place. But I can’t help but wonder what the answer to that question really is.

What is Beyblade to Takara-Tomy now?

“A Beyblade heading toward sports”

As far as Hasbro is concerned, they’ve thought of Beyblade as a sport since the very beginning.

25 years later it is Takara-Tomy who is taking steps towards making Beyblade a “tournament sporting brand” for real with Beyblade X.

The brand story Takara-Tomy crafted for Beyblade X is as follows:

“Beyblade heading towards sports.

Skateboarding became an Olympic sport.
Games have become a huge sports industry.
The definition of sports is changing.
There is always something universal that stimulates our instincts.


It is a Beyblade heading toward sports.
The more it disturbs your heartbeat, the sharper the gears.
The game continues until the moment of the shot.
The blood in your body is pumping toward victory.

Beyond 20 years of evolution.
How far can we go from here?
Let’s start the most distant and interesting future.

It’s not a game anymore.”

Source: Beyblade X Official Website (Partially Machine Translated)

To be fair, Beyblade has always been “heading toward sports”. That is, if Steve Bono’s claim is to be believed. But that was in Hasbro’s mind. It wasn’t necessarily the reality given their output.

In any case, there are some revealing thoughts here. At its core, Takara-Tomy is positing that what qualifies as a “sport” has been expanding throughout the world. And they are not wrong.

With this as the base for Beyblade X, Takara-Tomy has been moving forward with their promotion of the product.

I look at it as a two-pronged attack:

Aligning Beyblade with sports in society

First of all, they have been promoting Beyblade X in ways which will help to align its perception more closely to that of a “sport” than a “game”.

This starts with ‘sporty’ branding of the series. Beyond this, one way which they have been approaching this is to collaborate with sports teams and events throughout Japan. Like the Yokohama F.C., Dynaboars Sagamihara, Ventforet Kofu, sports festivals, and more.

But it’s not only collaborations with sports teams. They have also:

  1. Stepped up their content production with a higher focus on some lighter competitive-related content
  2. Increased the number of all-ages official tournaments
  3. Even have plans to host “Masters Class” tournaments.
  4. Implemented an official Beyblade X ranking system based on tournament performance.

Expanding the target audience of Beyblade

The other prong of this attack are collaborations seemingly designed to expand the target audience of Beyblade. We’ve seen this so far through collaborations with a karaoke company, and even in one case, a visit to an old-age retirement home.

Promoting Beyblade in environments like this unites people–of all ages–together to simply enjoy the game.

This is how you elevate and expand the perception of Beyblade in society.

Aging with the core audience

One might view this as being a result of Beyblade’s age. In large part, it might be.

The audience which grew up with Bakuten Shoot Beyblade (and even Metal Fight Beyblade) are now adults. With an aging audience it becomes possible to justify moving in the type of direction Takara-Tomy has for Beyblade X.

Rather than just being a fun, visceral toy that kids can instantly understand, it’s easier to assume that there could be a larger audience who also understand the deeper strategic elements the game possesses now.

Where we go from here remains to be seen, but Takara-Tomy has made it very clear where they want to go. 

What is Beyblade to Hasbro now?

A Beyblade heading towards … “next level”?

Hasbro revealed their version of Beyblade X on Beyblade Day 2024 (March 21st).

Their adaptation seems to be, relatively speaking, quite faithful to Takara-Tomy.

It’s a good sign for fans and competitive players around the world. Especially after they faced immense backlash for diverting Beyblade Burst’s direction, performance, and product quality away from the standard set by Takara-Tomy.

Interestingly however, their brand messaging appears to be different from Takara-Tomy’s.

Gone is any mention of Beyblade becoming a sport. Instead, it’s become:


Although on a surface level, Hasbro has taken the right steps forward with the Beyblade X product itself, words also matter. Brand and perception also matter.

What is “next level”?

It’s not clear yet in the same way that saying it will become a sport is.

Takara-Tomy used “Beyblade goes to the next stage” as a minor tagline alongside their sports-related ones. That made it clear where Beyblade was going. Hasbro has made it more ambiguous.

And it raises the question, was Steve Bono right? Is Beyblade a sport? Or has Hasbro changed their position?

Rather than aligning themselves with sports teams and events, there are rumours of them focusing on producing crossovers with other popular franchises. We’ve seen them do this in Beyblade Burst already with Transformers, and again in Beyblade X. To me, this comes across as an attempt to capitalize on the potential virality crossovers can produce and seeing Beyblade as a toy franchise rather than trying to build a sport.

There’s nothing necessarily wrong with collaborations like this. Even Takara-Tomy has done it before with brands like Hello Kitty. But for Hasbro, rather than a side project it seems to be a focus.

Despite this, there are even indications that they aren’t taking these collaborations seriously. We can see an example of this not only when observing that all of the Hasbro Beyblade X Transformers top designs are reskins of existing Beyblade X tops, but that in their promo video announcing them, they reused some footage from the Beyblade Burst era.

On the whole, Hasbro’s offering for Beyblade X is much better than what they did for Beyblade Burst. But seeing things like this makes me question their motives, direction, and care for the brand.

Complicating things further are a series of official Beyblade Burst tournaments announced just before Beyblade Day 2024.

Each of these events were hosted at local game stores. And each of them were “WPN Premium” members.

The WPN is the Wizards Play Network from Wizards of the Coast. They were using these events as a test for potential future organized play activity.

Wizards of the Coast is most well-known for their work on card games like Magic: The Gathering and Pokemon in the early 2000s. They produce and manage organized play for competitive games like this.

They plan to work in tandem with local game stores to organize:

regular leagues, pitting the four Beyblade factions against each other in thrilling competitions within your store. Mark your calendars for the inaugural league in September, followed by another showdown in November.

Wizards Play Network

The magnitude of this news cannot be overstated for fans of competitive Beyblade. The full details of their involvement and plans are not yet available. But the fact that they are even considering managing organized play is a great sign.

In retrospect, it is unbelievable that this didn’t happen sooner. Considering that Hasbro has owned the company since before Beyblade was even launched globally. And considering their supposed stance towards the product as a “sport” since the beginning.

All of this is to say, Hasbro’s messaging for Beyblade X feels unclear and inconsistent at best as of writing.

But for the first time in a very long time, some signs are pointing towards a more serious investment in marketing and managing Beyblade X as a truly competitive game.

And I’ll just throw this out there: If any employees of Hasbro, Takara-Tomy, or any other company associated with managing Beyblade are reading this, feel free to contact me. My inbox is open.

I, and the rest of the competitive community on the WBO would love to work with you to craft an even better organized play experience Beyblade worldwide.

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Who am I?

Now that I’ve set the stage as far as Beyblade’s history and perception is concerned, you might be wondering:

  1. Do you treat the game like a sport yourself?
  2. Have you actually improved in these 20 years?
  3. Does Beyblade have the depth to support or justify a sophisticated organized play program?

I’ve talked in detail about my history with the game in an interview series I conducted for the World Beyblade Organization’s 10th Anniversary in 2018. Reading that might help to answer some of those questions.

But that was then and this is now. Before I can answer these questions directly, I’d like to describe my experience to lend context and weight to the assertions I will make.

Moving to Japan and redefining “success”

In 2023, I moved to Japan.

Time was ticking. Beyblade Burst was on its last legs with its last major release B-206 Barricade Lucifer.Il.BMb-10 having been released in December of 2022. And Beyblade X was on the horizon.

I was at a point in my journey with Beyblade where I had begun to seriously question what my definition of “success” was.

When can I consider myself “successful”?

Is there an end to these means?

Why am I playing?

I’d been asking myself questions like this for years.

The reason is difficult to explain succinctly. And that’s because it’s a feeling that built itself over the span of the past 20 years.

You can read bits and pieces of the reasoning through many of the articles I’ve published, particularly back around 2019 and 2020.

The problem with defining success as perfection

The core of it comes down to the ranking system.

As of writing, I’m ranked number two on the worldwide rankings for Metal Fight Beyblade and number one for Beyblade Burst. I’ve been there for a long time.

I accomplished this through consistent effort over the past 15 years. But also due to the nature of the WBO’s ranking as unending. It’s effectively an “all-time” ranking.

Over a long period of time this has produced both positive and negative effects.

Climbing the ranking gave me something to strive for. Something like this is what players like myself had been seeking for years due to the void left by Hasbro for competitive players.

But it also put a ceiling on my growth. It defined ‘success’ using one metric: perfection.

And I pursued this for as long as I could.

It wasn’t because I cared what other people thought. Or that I wanted to be able to tell people “I’m ranked #1”. It was driven by my desire to:

  1. Take what I do seriously.
  2. Be ‘successful’ in what I was doing.
  3. More deeply understand it.

In the Beyblade community, climbing the ranking was the indicator of your overall success in the game.

At the time, it made sense. It was and continues to be an integral part of the WBO.

Some of the trophies I’ve earned at BEYBLADE NORTH, Toronto’s biggest yearly Beyblade event

But in my tournament report for Beyblade West, a large Beyblade tournament in Los Angeles in 2019, I talked about the ranking system as it stands now:

The ranking system as it stands now encourages perfection inherently because every loss means you will lose points. And as a highly ranked player, it means I will always lose more points than I can gain.

Blader Kei, 2019

And as everyone knows, perfection is unattainable.”

What I realized later on was that I actually wanted to “play to win in the here and now”.

I decided that for myself, aiming for perfection–despite the pressure to do so from the WBO ranking system–was unfair and not representative of what I actually desire: winning tournaments.

Blader Kei, 2020

A system which encourages perfection is not compatible with Beyblade.

Beyblade requires a combination of preparation, knowledge, skill, and luck. The luck element means that there are times when you will lose even when you’ve done the three other things as well as you possibly could to reduce the luck element.

To punish players based on individual match losses seemed wrong to me. Psychologically, a ranking system that gates growth behind decline is tough to grapple with as you climb the ladder.

There are positives to negative reinforcement in this way as it forces you to become better. But once you reach the top of a system like this which is never-ending, there’s nowhere to go.

A system like this also encourages the cultivation of personality, leading towards further pressure and unrealistic standards being placed on them.

It was thoughts like this which not only have fuelled community discussions about changing how the WBO operates their ranking system, but also which fuelled my desire to find a new purpose behind playing Beyblade.

The rules and frameworks we play within are sacred to me. They are what give the game shared meaning within a community of players.

The first problem though is that rules can be unclear and open to interpretation.

The second problem is that ranking systems promote a very narrow definition of what “success” means. Especially in its current state on the WBO.

Perfection is one measure of success, but there are many more. Like tournament wins, which is still externally oriented, but less unreasonable than perfection. 

So for a while, I approached tournaments in a way which effectively ignored what the ranking system was pushing me to do. I aimed to win tournaments, not win matches.

The best measures of success however might be those which are internally focused and less binary.

My Beyblade case as seen during the final months of Beyblade Burst

Learning something new every time I play

As of late, I’ve defined ‘success’ for me as learning something new every time I play.

Defining success as something other than perfection is a more healthy and realistic way of measuring yourself.

Nobody wants to lose. So it’s okay to strive for that. But it shouldn’t be the primary deciding factor as to whether you are successful or not. And any system which inflicts and publishes punishment for failing to achieve perfection on a granular match-by-match basis is unfair to all.

There is something to be said for taking perfection seriously though. Part of the reason I feel how I do now is because there is a part of myself that is tired of that metric.

I’ve been running for a long time.

I realized that I don’t need to prove to myself that I can be successful in that way anymore.

Growth mindset vs. fixed mindset

What this comes down to is the difference between a growth mindset and a fixed mindset.

To help frame this reference, I’d like to talk about psychologist Carol Dweck. She studies human motivation and argues that a growth mindset is pivotal for achieving success.

Central to Dweck’s theory is the idea that our fundamental beliefs about intelligence, personality, and character shape our approach to challenges and setbacks.

A fixed mindset leads individuals to view their qualities as innate and unchangeable. This drives them to repeatedly prove themselves and avoid situations where they might fail or appear deficient.

Conversely, a growth mindset sees qualities as malleable and sees challenges as opportunities for growth. This leads to a passion for learning and resilience in the face of obstacles.

Does the fixed mindset sound familiar? Sounds like a ranking system that punishes loss and never ends, requiring players to “repeatedly prove themselves and avoid situations where they might fail or appear deficient”.

As such, I’ve gradually shifted towards a growth mindset. This necessitated another look at what I define as “success”.

Now, I don’t follow an arbitrary success metric like “don’t lose” or “win the tournament”. Instead, I define success by my ability to make the best decisions possible within the restraints I’ve placed upon myself or which have been inflicted upon me. 

A good example of this was when I moved to Japan last year.

I started to play in Beyblade Burst tournaments, but could not bring a stadium with me to practice. As a result, to expect that I could achieve those goals would be even more unrealistic and counterproductive than it was before.

Instead, I decided to show up and do my best.

I took whatever learnings I could garner from the few matches I played and everything I watched, then showed up again next time. My goal the next time was to make good decisions and hopefully improve a little bit. I didn’t allow winning and losing to be the primary measure of whether I was successful or not.

Let’s take a look at how that worked out for me across five months:

Beyblade Burst 2023 Japan Tournament Results:

  1. Fujiya – 1/15/2023: 2 wins, 1 loss (6 Points)
  2. Minamotoya – 2/12/2023: 3 wins, 5 losses (11 Points)
  3. Fujiya – 2/19/2023: 2 wins, 1 loss (7 Points)
  4. Minamotoya – 3/12/2023: 2 wins, 1 loss (8 Points)
  5. Fujiya – 3/19/2023: 2 wins, 1 loss (6 Points)
  6. Fujiya – 4/16/2023: 2 wins, 1 loss (9 Points), 0-2 Finals (6 Points, 4th Place)
  7. Fujiya – 5/21/2023: 2 wins, 1 loss (6 Points)

These numbers alone do not tell the entire story. But from my point of view I was able to consistently make good decisions based on:

  1. The information I had
  2. The amount of practice I could do (none)
  3. The limited equipment I had available to me.

I was improving in some way every time I participated. Whether it was through:

  1. the final result,
  2. understanding a specific matchup,
  3. improving my launch technique,
  4. or formulating a better strategy for the tournament format.

I took all of these experiences and returned to Canada for a few weeks in April 2023 after the sixth tournament on the above list. At “SINK OR SPIN”, I went 11-0. You can watch the final match here.

When I look at it this way, this was a successful period for me. I just had to accept it would take time to improve certain things given my circumstances.

Everyone approaches this game differently. Everyone has different life circumstances which may affect how well they are able to play. The important thing is to stay within yourself and understand what it is you can do to be just a little bit better each time you play.

Seeking not to shoot the target, but make the target shot

I’d also like to touch on something else which had an impact on me during the first half of 2023 before the launch of Beyblade X: kyudo.

Kyudo is a traditional Japanese martial art that goes beyond mere archery. Unlike its Western counterpart, kyudo emphasizes harmony, precision, and mindfulness over speed and competition. 

Practiced with a towering bow and elongated arrows, practitioners of kyudo seek not to shoot the target, but to make the target shot. They aim to do so beautifully through mindful posture and technique. It is, in a sense, meditation in motion.

They aim for the target as a guiding principle, but their goal is internally focused rather than externally focused.

Whether you hit the target or miss the target is immaterial; what matters is whether you took the necessary steps to shoot the arrow beautifully.

You cannot hope to hit the target if all you think about is hitting the target. As such, achieving inner harmony and clarity of mind through rigorous training and introspection in order to produce intentional, precise action are emphasized.

I had been interested in kyudo for a long time, but finally got the chance to try it out during a visit to Kyoto.

I am by no means an expert in the art of kyudo.

In fact, I’m completely a beginner.

My lesson with someone who had been practicing and teaching others for decades opened my eyes to the value of the way of thinking it promotes.

Of course, I had already in the past read about things like meditation and mindfulness. However, my experience came at a time when I was thinking a lot about how I could define ‘success’ for myself in Beyblade.

As such, I drew a connection between the two.

It’s easy to see because in many ways, the actions required for kyudo and the actions required for Beyblade are the same. 

Both require practitioners to use a tool in which you attach a projectile of sorts. This is then aimed to be released into a specific area. For kyudo, towards the target. For Beyblade, into the stadium.

Making this connection inspired me to start thinking more seriously about not only why I am playing Beyblade, but also how I play it.

As a result, I started to think a lot more about how I am shooting. Because like kyudo, shooting is arguably the most integral part of the game for Beyblade.

Now, I don’t aim to shoot the Beyblade into the stadium to try and win. I don’t aim to “hit the target”, so to speak.

Doing so amplifies the possibility of making mistakes. And mental anguish. Because you are focusing on the external result: the battle.

The battle is dependent on complex movements of a top that are out of your direct control.

The actions of your opponent are also out of your control.

I aim to shoot the Beyblade beautifully.

Doing so places emphasis on what you can control. Your equipment. Your position. Stance. Posture. Power. 

Not only do inner satisfaction and clarity result from this, but external ‘results’ may often follow too.

Because to shoot a Beyblade beautifully is to shoot it correctly.

Supporting this view is the vital importance of launch technique in beigoma, the traditional Japanese top Beyblade is inspired by. It seems to require an even higher level of skill and precision than Beyblade does.

Some of this may have been lost with the introduction of Beyblade. The ease with which you can execute a reasonably “good” shot thanks to winder-based launchers shifted the importance from launch technique to launch power and top construction.

A result is merely a reflection of your current state

There is value in pursuing the result. Pursuing victory. It is necessary to have an external goal to balance that which you are striving for internally.

But the result is merely a reflection of your current state. Win or lose, it is just a moment in time. It does not represent your worth. Time will march on.

What does matter is how you met the challenge of that moment.

And how you decide to proceed from there.

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The First Five Months of Competitive Beyblade X in Japan

Beyblade X was launched on July 15th, 2023 in Japan.

I put my best foot forward in Beyblade Burst competitions throughout the first half of the year. But after the incredible eight year run of that series, I was ready to move on.

There was trepidation among top players in the competitive Beyblade community about the direction of Beyblade X due to the stadium’s design, but I was going into it with an open mind.

In this report, I will be covering the 20 tournaments I competed in throughout the first five months of Beyblade X between July 15th, 2023 and December 30th, 2023.

In it, I talk about:

  1. The development of the Beyblade X metagame
  2. The effectiveness of the competitive play structure offered by B4
  3. The veracity of Takara-Tomy’s claims that “Beyblade will become sports!”.

You’ll also gain an unprecedented look into the details of my:

  1. Thought process
  2. Precise match details
  3. Beyblade combinations

Most competitive players are never so forthcoming with this type of information in a public setting. And it’s for good reason.

Divulging this type of information can be seen as something that may put you at a disadvantage in competitive situations.

In my 3 Step Guide To Preparing For A Competitive Beyblade Tournament I’ve talked about how this type of information can be used to generate an advantage for you.

So why am I revealing it here?

There’s two reasons:

  1. I feel it is a useful tool to help answer the overall question we are trying to answer here (“Is Beyblade actually a sport?”). We can use my experience and think for ourselves about how it compares to the experience of people who play games which are already considered to be a “sport”.
  2. I feel that it is useful to new Beyblade players and as a document to help people skeptical of the depth of this game to change their perception. The competitive Beyblade community has come a long way over the past 25 years since the launch of the game. But as we’ve talked about, there are still people out there who don’t even view it as a competitive game. Nevermind a sport. If this article could play a small part in changing even just one person’s opinion or inspire a player to invest themselves more deeply in becoming a better blader, I’ll be happy.

These two things are more important to me than maintaining some sort of competitive advantage.

Besides, don’t forget the game and its players are always evolving!

July 2023

Beyblade X Launch Day

Cye Kinomiya and Me (Blader Kei)

What a privilege it was to be in Japan for the launch of a new generation of Beyblade.

In June 2023, I attended the Beyblade X Start Dash Event at CoroCoro Tamashii Festival in Tokyo Toy Show 2023. There, I had the chance to try out Beyblade X and obtain BX-02 Hells Scythe 4-60T.

The actual release date was on July 15th, however. I met up with an old friend from the WBO, Cye Kinomiya, who happened to be in Japan on a trip at this time.

Immediately after picking everything up at an independent toy store in Tokyo called Fujiya, we went over to a park to do some quick testing. At one point, a child and his mother ended up stopping to watch us from afar. We invited them over and asked if the boy wanted to try out Beyblade X. He played a few rounds with us.

It never ceases to amaze me how attractive Beyblade is in this way; not only for kids, but even adults. Whenever you play in a public space you are bound to attract interest. This is one of the reasons why I love the game. It brings people together.⁠

Bunbuku Toys in Tokyo – G3 Tournament (7/15/2023)

After testing for a while, we headed over to another independent toy store called Bunbuku Toys. They were hosting the first ever official Beyblade X G3 Open Tournament in Tokyo.⁠

Interestingly, almost all of the participants were adults. There were almost no kids. The “Regular” class event for elementary school students was canceled because of this. I don’t think this is representative of how many kids are actually playing Beyblade X now, but it did show how much of an older audience that Beyblade continues to be building.

As is common for G3 events, the tournament was held using the Single Elimination format.

I went in using Hells Scythe 4-60B, which we had quickly identified as the best stamina combo going into the event. I went up against Hells Scythe 4-80T. Here’s how it went:⁠

Round 1: Hells Scythe 4-60B (Kei) vs. Hells Scythe 4-80T
  1. Kei – Spin Finish
  2. Opponent – Burst Finish: I think he landed on top of me at the beginning of the battle. At the time I wasn’t sure if there was a rule about touching the stadium floor first so I didn’t try to question it.
  3. Opponent – Shoot Mistake (No Points Awarded)
  4. Opponent – Over Finish: At the very last second; this was painful!
  5. Final Result: 1-4 (Loss)

A lot of other successful players were using Hells Scythe on Ball as well as Dran Sword on Taper.⁠ In the final battle both players used HS B and DS T variants exclusively.

I could go on and on about all of the things we tested, saw, and hypothesized that day, but nevertheless, win or lose it was just exciting to be playing with the new series and see everyone trying to figure out what was good and what wasn’t.⁠

As I would come to understand in the next few months, there was a lot I didn’t understand about the game yet.

I made a ‘right’ choice in terms of my Beyblade selection, but did not yet have the benefit of experience to understand what I was doing and precisely why I was doing it in the new, radical design of the Xtreme Stadium.

Tournament Result:
  1. Matches: 0 Wins, 1 Loss
  2. Battles: 1 Win, 3 Losses
  3. Points: 1 Point Won, 4 Points Lost

Fujiya in Tokyo – G3 Tournament (7/16/2023)

Fujiya, as seen pre-opening on the morning of Beyblade X launch day (July 15, 2023)

After a quick exit the previous day, Cye Kinomiya and I were back at it the next day. We returned to Fujiya, the store we picked up our products from the day before.

After my first day I realized there was still much for me to learn. Despite believing that Hells Scythe on Ball was a strong option, I decided to take a completely different approach in this event. I wanted to focus on experimentation and building experience.

Dran Sword on Taper had a very strong showing the day before, so I decided to focus on this combination.

I went with Dran Sword 3-80 Taper for my first two matches. These three parts produced a nice mix of attack and stamina that nothing else could reproduce at this stage.

Unlike the previous day, this tournament was played with a modified Swiss format of sorts. A rarity in Japan, based on my experience.

The 3on3 deck I prepared on Beyblade X launch weekend.

Among the 20 or so players, everyone was guaranteed three matches. Whoever scored the most points overall after these three rounds would advance to the 3on3 match type finals.

Round 1: Dran Sword 3-80T (Kei) vs. Dran Sword 3-80T
  1. Opponent – Spin Finish
  2. Kei – Spin Finish: I knocked my opponent out, but they rebounded back in …
  3. Opponent – Xtreme Finish
  4. Final Score: 1-4 (Loss)

Round 2: Dran Sword 3-80T (Kei) vs. Knight Shield 3-??N
  1. Kei – Spin Finish
  2. Opponent – Over Finish
  3. Kei – Spin Finish
  4. Kei – Spin Finish
  5. Opponent – Over Finish
  6. Final Score: 3-4 (Loss)

Round 3: Dran Sword 3-80F (Kei) vs. Dran Sword 4-60F
  1. Kei – Spin Finish
  2. Opponent – Xtreme Finish
  3. Kei – Spin Finish: I knocked my opponent out, but they rebounded.
  4. Opponent – Over Finish
  5. Final Score: 1-4 (Loss)

It was another tough day.

What stood out to me was my lack of confidence in shooting.

I really didn’t know what I was doing or why I was doing it, and I think that reflected itself in how my Beyblades performed. I scored a lot of spin finishes, but astoundingly, not one knock-out or burst.

I won six rounds and lost six rounds, but scored just six points and gave up 12.

Everything was still unclear to me, but I was determined to find my way to understanding and consistency.

Tournament Result:
  1. Matches: 0 Wins, 3 Losses
  2. Battles: 6 Wins, 6 Losses
  3. Points: 6 Points Won, 12 Points Lost

Minamotoya in Hachioji – G3 Tournament (7/23/2023)

The following weekend I made the journey over to Hachioji to attend a tournament at a store called Minamotoya.

My notes from the day before the event do a good job of indicating where my mind and knowledge level was at:

  1. “HS definitely had more recoil than WA and KS
  2. DS on Taper can easily KO HS, but not WA or KS
  3. DS on Needle not worth it? … because Needle can become stationary away from opponent
  4. KS on F has some vicious smash. T isn’t fast enough to unlock this. Maybe a good anti attack for 3on3 too.
  5. KS might be the sweet spot for defense and stamina. Less Recoil and stamina than HS + More Stamina, Slightly more recoil than WA. Does good against DS.
  6. You can only really hope for random KOs reliably when playing DS and HS … if you think your opponent will play WA or KS and you need points, maybe you have to play HS or DS.
  7. HS vs WA Ball mirror is hopeless for WA. Inferior stamina and low recoil means it has low chance of winning in any way.”

This event employed the Single Elimination format and was the biggest Beyblade X tournament I had participated in to date with 43 players registered. 

Two key differences from the standard rules were in effect. The first was that Beyblades knocked-out through the opening in the stadium cover were considered to be a 2 point Over Finish. Secondly, players were permitted to use stickers on their Beyblades.

In the first round, I was matched up against Mu-D (ムーD), the player who would eventually go on to win the first ever Beyblade X G1 tournament in December 2023.

I decided to run things back with Dran Sword 3-80T despite the difficulties I faced at Fujiya a week before this.

Dran Sword just seemed so powerful. And I was still intoxicated by the idea of a 3 point Xtreme Finish.

I believed that my previous failure could have been the result of unlucky matchups and a lack of experience.

Round 1: Dran Sword 3-80T (Kei) vs. Hells Scythe 4-60B (Mu-D)
  1. Kei – Burst Finish: DS flat powerful launch.
  2. Mu-D – Burst Finish: DS flat powerful launch.
  3. Mu-D – Spin Finish: DS banked, mid-power launch. I wanted to play it safer this round. I launched in this way to still have a chance to win, but primarily in order to force a fourth round with less risk of allowing him to score two points and end the match.
  4. Mu-D – Spin Finish: DS banked, powerful launch.
  5. Final Score: 2-4 (Loss)

Another quick exit here. But against a strong opponent and given the context of the situation, I could accept it.

In retrospect, the knowledge I demonstrated in my above notes was enough to help me potentially win. In a vacuum, I understood what was ‘good’ and what was ‘bad’.

But what I was starting to realize was the importance of practicing with two players. Especially for Beyblade X it is critical given the nature of the stadium.

I had practiced with Cye Kinomiya on launch day a week prior, but beyond that I had been relegated to solo testing.

Nevertheless, recognizing this you can see that I started to place more emphasis on experimentation with my launch technique. So from this perspective, the result of this day was a success.

Blader Kei (Me) with Mu-D, Master and other players after the tournament

By this point however, I was also itching to experience the 3on3 match type in Beyblade X.

After the tournament, I was fortunate enough to play some practice matches with top players like Mu-D and the final Burst G1 champion, Master.

I played five matches against five different players in this group and went 4-1. The deck I used for most of these matches was (order varied):

  1. Hells Scythe 4-60 Ball
  2. Dran Sword 3-60 Needle
  3. Knight Shield 3-80 Taper

Although I had started to write it off previously, I noticed some players experimenting with DS on Needle after the event and decided to incorporate it into my deck for these practice matches.

As a result of my success with this deck, I started to recognize the risk associated with using Beyblades like Dran Sword on Taper or Flat. While they were competitive and usable, they were potentially not as consistent as more passive alternatives.

Beyblade X has tried seriously to incentivize attack types through the point values awarded to Over Finish (2), Burst Finish (2), and Xtreme Finish (3).

Because of this, I guess that I felt compelled to try and take advantage of this by running things like DS on T and F. In theory, they were the strongest.

In reality however, it became apparent that combos like Dran Sword on Needle also had the same ability to score multi-point win conditions without a risk of self-KO.

Tournament Result:
  1. Matches: 0 Wins, 1 Loss
  2. Battles: 1 Win, 3 Losses
  3. Points: 2 Points Won, 4 Points Lost

August 2023

Beyblade First Xperience: Vancouver – Fan-Organized Tournament (8/5/2023)

I returned back to Canada in August for a trip to Vancouver. The timing worked out and I was able to attend Vancouver’s first Beyblade X tournament, Beyblade First Xperience: Vancouver.

This tournament was the first in a series of events designed to promote the new Beyblade X series. They were supported by “Beyblade First Xperience” promotion by the World Beyblade Organization and their sponsor. This allowed event organizers to receive products to use and distribute at their events.

It was my first time playing in a tournament in Vancouver. The community in Vancouver had been dormant for a long time, but organizers like KIO and LoneBagelfafnir have been building it up again. Everyone greeted me quite warmly. I was happy to be there! It’s always so nice to have the chance to see other thriving communities first-hand.

I was feeling good about my 3on3 deck after the practice matches I was successful in at Minamotoya a few weeks before this, but 1on1 matches were still a bit scary to me. I was 0-5 in them to this point!

Going into this event I was riding purely on my experience up until the event at Minamotoya. I was unable to practice between that event and this one.

Here’s how I did:

Round 1: Hells Scythe 3-60 Ball (Kei) vs. Dran Sword 3-60 Flat (twizardburst)
  1. twizardburst – Over Finish
  2. Draw – Simultaneous Over Finish/Xtreme Finish.
  3. Kei – Spin Finish
  4. twizardburst – Burst Finish
  5. Final Result: 1-4
twizardburst vs. Blader Kei (Me)
Round 2: Wizard Arrow 4-60 Ball (Kei) vs. Wizard Arrow 4-60 Needle (kobi)
  1. Kei – Burst Finish
  2. Kei – Spin Finish
  3. Kei – Over Finish
  4. Final Result: 5-0

I decided to give Wizard Arrow a go here for a couple reasons:

  1. I’d used only Hells Scythe or Dran Sword to this point in 1on1 matches.
  2. I estimated I would be able to launch more strongly than my opponent. Meaning I thought I could overcome them even if they chose Hells Scythe and I was at a technical disadvantage in terms of stamina.
  3. Although I liked Knight Shield Blade as a balance option, I wasn’t yet quite sure where to categorize the Wizard Arrow Blade. I thought that it might be the best pure defense option available. Many people were using Dran Sword in the event, so it seemed like a worthy experiment.

However, in the end kobi chose what was one of the ‘easiest’ possible matchups for WA 4-60B and I was able to easily win this match.

The matchup was a little anticlimactic … but I was happy to take what I could get. It was my first tournament match win in Beyblade X!

Round 3: Wizard Arrow 4-60 Ball (Kei) vs. Dran Sword 4-80 Flat (ivanmania)
  1. Kei – Spin Finish
  2. ivanmania – Xtreme Finish
  3. Kei – Over Finish
  4. ivanmania – Xtreme Finish
  5. Final Result: 3-6

I got the matchup I wanted to see here: Wizard Arrow versus Dran Sword.

All in all, the result didn’t feel too lopsided despite the score. We each won two rounds.

I tested more with Wizard Arrow in the months after this, but ultimately concluded that it was the worst Blade among the initial four.

Like everything at that point, it’s usable, but the other options performed better in basically every way for me.

Round 4: Hells Scythe 3-60 Ball (Kei) vs. Dran Sword 3-60 Flat (Journeez)
  1. Journeez – Xtreme Finish
  2. Kei – Over Finish
  3. Journeez – Burst Finish
  4. Final Result: 2-5

Journeez was one of the only players also using Hells Scythe on the Ball Bit in this tournament.

Despite some of the losses I had suffered, my feeling about Beyblade X to this point was leaning towards the idea that combinations using less aggressive Bits like Ball or Needle would emerge as the most reliable options.

And I was confident in the strength of my Hells Scythe, so I chose to use it.

Unfortunately for me, Journeez switched to DS 3-60F. And I still felt like I hadn’t quite figured out the best way to counter attack types yet.

If my memory is correct, around this time I would typically try banking heavily into the far left side corner of the stadium away from the Over and Xtreme Zones.

Despite feeling at the time that this might be the safest tactic because right-spin Beyblades can’t ride the Xtreme Line there, in reality I eventually realized that simply existing outside the inner ridge is dangerous. Because Beyblades can still jump over the Xtreme Line on the right-side in to the left side and hit you.

Round 5: Kei vs. Dog Water
  1. Final Result: Bye (Opponent Dropped)

I ended the tournament with a 2-3 record including this Bye.

Exhibition Match: Kei vs. KIO

I was disappointed I didn’t get a chance to play with the organizer KIO, so we played a friendly 3on3 match after the tournament. 7 points to win.

I was able to win that by a score of 8-2 using the same deck that I had during the practice matches at Minamotoya. That was the highlight of the day for me, but it also illustrated once again that I still had a problem to solve moving forward in 1on1 matches.

Tournament Result:
  1. Matches: 1 Win, 3 Losses, 1 Bye
  2. Battles: 8 Wins, 6 Losses
  3. Points: 11 Points Won, 15 Points Lost

September 2023

Hobby Square Nishina in Morioka – G3 Tournament (9/16/2023)

Upon returning to Japan, I moved from Tokyo to Morioka in Iwate prefecture. Luckily, there was a store close by which was hosting G3 tournaments monthly.

The tournament on this day was scheduled to be a “Regular” class event (elementary school children only). But there wasn’t enough children on the day of the event, so the store decided to change it to an “Open” class event for all ages.

I had planned to attend just to watch, learn, and hopefully make a few connections with new players. But luckily for me I was able to play!

I hadn’t prepared at all, but that might have been a blessing in disguise. I operated on instinct and this is how it went:

Round 1: Hells Scythe 4-80B (Kei) vs. Knight Shield 4-??N
  1. Kei – Spin Finish
  2. Kei – Xtreme Finish
  3. Final Result: 4-0

Round 2 – Semi-Finals (3on3):
  1. Dran Sword 3-80N (Kei) vs. Hells Scythe 4-60B:
    • Kei – Xtreme Finish
  2. Hells Scythe 4-80HN vs. Knight Shield 3-??T
    • Kei – Over Finish
  3. Final Result: 5-0

Round 3 – Finals (3on3):
  1. Dran Sword 3-80N (Kei) vs. Dran Sword 3-60N (Oryou):
    • Oryou – Over Finish
  2. Knight Shield 3-60T vs. Hells Scythe 4-??B (Oryou)
    • Kei – Xtreme Finish
  3. Final Result: 0-5

After amassing a record of 1 match win and 8 match losses to start my Beyblade X career, I finally won a few more matches!

After I defeated my first two opponents in the blink of an eye, I was brought back down to reality in the final match.

There are some choices competitively I question in those first two matches, such as the usage of the 4-80 Ratchet. But I think those matches worked out for me because I was playing loose.

I wasn’t thinking so hard about trying to win or that I had been performing so poorly to date. I was just trying to shoot beautifully.

But in the final match I had a couple problems.

One was matchup and deck order-related. I shouldn’t have put Knight Shield as my second Beyblade, especially after seeing what happened to my opponent in the second round.

Hells Scythe was too powerful to relegate to the third spot at this point in time. But I overlooked that despite having been successful with it in the first two matches.

The second problem was that I was trying too hard to win. I had my eyes on the prize and not on just playing the game. My shot with Dran Sword was decent, but it was more power than strategy, precision, and beauty. So, I got knocked-out.

With KS against HS, I knew that to win that battle I would need to inflict an Over, Burst, or Xtreme Finish against it. Thinking that was all I could do and that I wanted to win to catch up with Oryou, I did a flat powerful launch into a non-contact self-Xtreme Finish.

I had the desire to “win”, but as Master, the champion of the final Burst G1 tournament told me: to be successful in Beyblade the most important thing is to avoid making mistakes.

Playing to “win” that battle given the circumstances put me at greater risk of losing the entire match. So, it was a mistake.

This taught me a valuable lesson regarding the importance of thinking with a calm mind about the entire context of the situation you are in at any given time.

KS T vs HS B is not a great matchup for KS, so given that I was down 0-2, the better move here would have been to launch conservatively to basically take the one point loss and force the third battle. Anything could happen from there.

The Taper Bit itself is also prone to self-Xtreme Finishing itself, something which I hadn’t fully grasped until that moment.

And in addition to all of this was the month plus of time I had taken off from playing. As a result of this, I should have assumed there was a lot I didn’t know and played a bit more conservatively.

After the tournament I was able to participate in a 3on3 battle for the right to purchase the final Random Booster Vol. 1 that they had in stock. I tested my theory about the deck order I had been running with and this is what happened:

  1. Dran Sword 3-80 Needle (Kei) vs. Knight Lance 3-??N
    • Opponent – Spin Finish
  2. Hells Scythe 4-80HN (Kei) vs. Hells Scythe 4-80B
    • Kei – Over Finish
  3. Knight Shield 3-60T (Kei) vs. Shark Edge 3-60F
    1. Kei – Over Finish
  4. Final Score: 4-1 (Win)

This helped to restore a little bit of my confidence.

In the end, I made progress and learned many valuable lessons. It was a good day!

Tournament Result:
  1. Result: 2nd Place
  2. Matches: 2 Wins, 1 Loss
  3. Battles: 4 Wins, 2 Losses
  4. Points: 9 Points Won, 5 Points Lost

Beyblade X-Treme Cup G2 – Sendai (9/24/2023):

Tournament Venue: Sendai International Center Exhibition Building

Starting in August, Takara-Tomy started hosting G2 level tournaments. G2 tournaments are one step above G3 and typically feature around 128 to 256 players.

Typically, you must apply to a lottery in order to secure a spot to participate due to the high volume of players vying for a spot.

I had applied to participate in the Tokyo G2 tournament in August as I had returned from Canada in time to attend. However, I unfortunately did not win a spot.

But, I did win a spot in the next G2 tournament in Sendai.

People from around Japan travel far distances to participate in G2 or higher level events. In Sendai the MCs surveyed the crowd and people indicated that they had come from across Japan.

When they asked if anyone came from overseas, I believe I was the only one to raise my hand! They asked where I was from. For G2 events it was quite rare for a foreigner to participate because there was a requirement that you were living in Japan. Fortunately, I was.

My previous experience attending a Beyblade Burst G3 tournament (equivalent to G2 in Beyblade X) didn’t leave a great taste in my mouth. A big part of that was because of the three-player matches they were doing in combination with a single elimination bracket.

Thankfully, at this tournament I only had to contend with the latter as there was no three-player stadium available (yet).

Single elimination is tough during G3 tournaments, but even more so on a bigger stage like G2 level tournament.

After the tournament I asked Blader Ken about why they use single elimination at high level tournaments in Japan. As opposed to Swiss or double elimination. The answer he gave me was basically that they run single elimination because of time constraints.

BEYBLADE X-TREME CUP Sendai G2 Schedule Board

I can understand this on one hand. Tournaments with hundreds of players are difficult to manage. Single elimination allows you to cut down the field very quickly. It’s convenient.

But is it the best format for Beyblade, competitively speaking? I’m not so sure.

I’ve hosted tournaments with over 160 participants in the past, such as BEYBLADE SHOGATSU 2019. I used double elimination, ensuring all players had two chances to advance further into the tournament. It wasn’t easy, but we finished it within one day.

And that was with 32 finalists, not 4 as Takara-Tomy was taking for G2 tournaments (which is another issue I don’t understand, but I digress).

I followed up Blader Ken’s response by referencing how card games like Yu-Gi-Oh! handle large-scale events: they play them across two days. And that’s with many rounds of Swiss on the first day. Not one-and-done single elimination.

BEYBLADE X-TREME CUP Sendai G2 – Final Stage Tournament Bracket

If organizers like myself are able to host large-scale events with more competitive tournament formats at the grassroots level, I don’t see any reason why a company like Takara-Tomy can’t do the same with the resources they must have at their disposal.

It seems like a choice to me rather than a restriction, which is a little worrying.

That being said, Blader Ken told me that two-day events were something they were considering. And a few months later, it became a reality for the G1 tournament. I was happy to see that. Although it was still run using single elimination from what I understand…

In any case, the reality was that this G2 tournament in Sendai was single elimination.

The pressure was absolutely real.

It was real because you had to win six consecutive matches just to make it to the top four players. And the quality of your opponents would only increase the further you proceeded.

I spent a lot of time preparing for this tournament. I studied my own experiences as well as any data I could scrape from existing reports or videos online to try and determine what the best strategy in this situation would be.

In particular, I noticed that the among the top two players in the first G2 tournaments in Osaka and Tokyo, they all:

  1. Used B/N/HN
  2. Used HS and DS
  3. All used KL except one KS
  4. Both first place players used HS 3-60

Among the top four players in those events:

  1. 66.7% of Ratchets are -60 height
  2. 4-80 only used twice (8.3%)
  3. 79.1% of Bits are N/HN/B
  4. 20.8% chance of T/F Bits
  5. In the Semi-Finals
    1. 5 players used DS first
    2. 2 players used HS first
  6. In the Finals
    1. 5 players used DS first
    2. 3 players used HS first
  7. Nobody put Dran Sword second

I even made a spreadsheet to track the data of the G2 tournament winners in order to produce these statistics.

Master Blader Horikawa, staff, and the top 3 players

Seeing information like this painted a pretty clear picture for me as to what the best play would be at this event.

The winners of these events had moved in the same philosophical direction that I had been at the end of July during the practice 3on3 matches I played at Minamotoya and in Vancouver.

Only, it was taken one step further with the lack of Taper in favour of the new High Needle Bit.

However, one problem that everyone had to contend with was the recency of the release of Random Booster Vol. 1, which included the Shark Edge Blade and Low Flat Bit.

And if that wasn’t enough, players were starting to receive their Cobalt Drakes just in time for the event. Not me, though …

In any case, the conclusion I came to at the time was that the best overall choice was to run Hells Scythe 3-60B.

The five Beyblades I prepared for the tournament

I would consider using other combos later on if I got there, but realistically, given the do-or-die nature of single elimination and the likely complete lack of information I would have about my opponents, HS 3-60B offered the best chance to win.

As such, I spent time constructing the best possible version of this combo that I could before the event. I tested a variety of different Hells Scythe Blades, 3-60 Ratchets, and Ball Bits in order to create the most balanced, longest spinning version of that Beyblade that I could.

I had also noticed in my testing that, contrary to my hypothesis, mint Hells Scythe Blades performed better than worn ones. From this point on, I decided I would only use mint Hells Scythe Blades in tournament matches.

It seemed that many other players felt the same way I did. Some players used Dran Sword or Shark Edge, but overall Hells Scythe was the most common Blade in use throughout the preliminary tournament.

Round 1: Bye

Luckily for me, I was credited with a win in the first round because my opponent did not show up.

Wristband indicating I had advanced to the second round
Round 2: Hells Scythe 3-60B (Kei) vs. Knight Shield 4-60N
  1. Kei – Xtreme Finish
  2. Replay – Knight Shield’s Bit came off, but the judge made the (later confirmed to be incorrect) ruling that the Ratchet also needed to detach for it to be considered a Burst Finish.
  3. Kei – Burst Finish: Knight Shield’s Bit detached once again, but after that my Beyblade hit the spinning combined Blade and Ratchet and detached them as well. It was at this point which the judge finally confirmed the Burst Finish.
  4. Final Result: 5-0 (Win)

I was thoroughly confused at what happened during this match.

As someone with somewhere between beginner and intermediate level Japanese ability, I understood that there may be some finer nuances of the rules B4 posted for Beyblade X that I might not understand.

However, it was my understanding that a Beyblade would be considered bursted when any of its parts become detached from each other. The Blade from the Ratchet. The Bit from the Ratchet. Or all three simultaneously.

I questioned the judge’s decision after the second battle. But they explained confidently that all three parts must separate for it to be considered a Burst Finish.

I took their word for it and didn’t push for a second opinion as I was entitled to.

But after the preliminary tournament before the finals began, there was a session where a few spectators were able to play against members of the Beyblade development team on the main stage.

Master Blader Horikawa was using Shark Edge 3-60B versus someone with HS 3-60B. The Bit of HS came off and the judge counted it as a Burst Finish.

I approached Blader Ken to get clarification on this ruling because despite winning that match, the accuracy of the call made seemed dubious to me especially after seeing the above match.

He explained that I was correct and that to be considered a Burst Finish, any part separating from the others will trigger that win condition. He apologized for the inaccurate call made by the judge in my match and was glad it didn’t ultimately affect my progress in the tournament.

I appreciated this, but it wasn’t a good look for Takara-Tomy. This was their third G2 event. And it’s the fourth generation of Beyblade. It is expected for judges to understand the basic rules of what triggers winning and losing like this one.

It called into question for me how Takara-Tomy manages the training of judges at their events. There was always someone the match judges could escalate issues to, so clearly there is some type of hierarchy going on here.

I would assume that people like Blader Ken and other development team members are at the top of this. But there seems to be a disconnect between this upper echelon and the people employed below them.

It made me wonder why they don’t consider something like the Pokémon Professor program that is in place for Pokémon organized play.

If they don’t want to spend the time to train judges internally, why not take advantage of very knowledgeable, passionate Beyblade community members?

And as we will see in subsequent rounds, the inconsistency or inaccuracy of some judges didn’t end here.

That being said, I want to be clear that I am not questioning the integrity of the judges they did employ. Although some judges displayed a lack of knowledge, everything else about how they handled themselves was first-rate. I appreciated how professional they were, how well they communicated, and how well they enforced the standard procedures for each match.

Round 3: Hells Scythe 3-60B (Kei) vs. Hells Scythe 3-60B
  1. Replay – Draw: In my view, I clearly won this round. I questioned the call, but despite escalating to another judge for a second opinion there wasn’t anything that could be done here. It was a little difficult to explain my view and understand the nuances of what “spinning” means and what they intend it to mean in the B4 rules in Japanese … In any case, I accepted it and we moved on.
  2. Kei – Spin Finish
  3. Opponent – Over Finish
  4. Kei – Burst Finish
  5. Kei – Spin Finish
  6. Final Result: 4-2 (Win)

Here, I felt like the work I put into my Hells Scythe 3-60B paid off. 

Despite the questionable first battle and the strength and poise of my opponent, I was able to pull off two spin finishes as part of this win. Being down 2-1 was scary, but I pulled through.

As a side note, there were a couple rounds in this match where the judge instructed me to change the height from which I was launching from.

Blader Ken apologized to all participants before the finals however, because someone else had complained about inconsistent rulings in this area. 

There is no rule beyond the requirement to launch 20cm from the centre for the stadium floor, so judges did not need to encourage movement of player’s positioning as long as they were within that. And I was whenever the judge told me to adjust the height of my launching position.

Round 4: Hells Scythe 3-60B (Kei) vs. Hells Scythe 3-60HN (LILINA)
  1. LILINA – Over Finish
  2. LILINA – Xtreme Finish
  3. Final Result: 0-5 (Loss)

This battle perfectly exemplifies what I mentioned earlier about the quality of competition increasing the further you progress.

Making it to Round 4 means you’ve made it to the top 32 players in the tournament. Or maybe less since some players didn’t show up for the event, as I saw in round 1.

LILINA had defeated Mu-D to secure a third place finish at the Beyblade X-Treme Cup Osaka in August. She also earned a fourth place finish at the first-ever “Regular Class” (elementary school kids only) BEYBLADE X-TREME CUP G1 in March 2024. She is a member of the Beyblade team “Vals”. Several members of this team achieved top four finishes at the first three G2 tournaments and several more at high level tournaments since then.

So, you could say that she is the real deal.

And like many children on Beyblade teams in Japan, she seemed to likely be supported by their parents or other adults on the team. I’m not sure if they have any family relation, but for instance, I noticed Takatomo from Vals (the champion of the Beyblade X-Treme Cup G2 Tokyo) watching her matches.

The choice of Hells Scythe did not surprise me, but what did was the High Needle Bit. What made it unique was how worn down it was. It was almost in the shape of a Ball Bit.

I had no experience playing against a High Needle that was this worn down. Even with the Beyblade Burst Cho-Z Musou Stadium, I think that wearing it down naturally this much would have taken a very, very long time.

I wasn’t sure about the rules for wear on Bits, so I asked the judge but they confirmed it was OK.

As a result, she instantly had a knowledge advantage over me.

I could only guess why she was using that over the Ball Bit. I assumed that it had more stamina.

Because of that, I believe that I overcompensated and launched too powerfully. It almost worked out for me as I was clearly going to win by outspin … but she scored a last second Over Finish to take the 2-0 lead.

At this point, I had learned a lot of information from that first battle.

I knew that my Beyblade had more stamina than hers. And I had observed she was shooting very defensively by banking into the right-hand corner.

Knowing this, launching powerfully again was not necessarily the worst idea … If she did the same launch style, I would initiate contact once again and go for the outspin. But similar to past issues I’ve described, I failed to fully consider the context of the situation being down 0-2.

I launched powerfully once again and basically self-Xtreme Finished myself, handing her the 0-5 win. She also changed her launch technique this time to launch closer to the center, which left me flying around the outside near the Xtreme Line.

This match really felt like a missed opportunity to me. I was fortunate enough to get a bye in the first round, and then to avoid aggressive opponents all the way to the fourth round.

I could envision myself winning this match, so it was a tough one.

But I didn’t because LILINA exposed gaps in my knowledge, shooting, and analytical ability in that moment.

Out of curiosity, I watched her round five match. She went up against a Shark Edge user and put up a strong fight. It became clear to me that her usage of High Needle was more so for its defensive ability than stamina, most likely. 

Despite being knocked out from the tournament, it was an extremely valuable experience to be able to play someone like that. And to have the privilege to play in such a high pressure match in such a high level event.

Not many people get to do that.

I also felt so thankful that many of my friends from Tokyo were cheering me on during this match. I had made it the farthest out of everyone in the group.

So, I walked away from this tournament with my head held high.

Progressing this far into this kind of event amplifies any mistakes you make. 

I learned powerful lessons about the importance of launch technique, routine, and understanding the exact playing environment you will be subject to because of this experience.

While I have reservations about the harsh nature of the single elimination tournament format, the great positive is that those who take the event seriously nevertheless will walk away with something valuable whether they win or lose.

Tournament Result:
  1. Result: Top 32
  2. Matches: 2 Wins, 1 Loss, 1 Bye
  3. Battles: 5 Wins, 3 Losses
  4. Points: 9 Points Won, 7 Points Lost

October 2023

Beyblade X Training Center in Tokyo (10/7/2023)

The Beyblade X Training Center was a limited-time event in Shibuya, Tokyo.

I attended on October 7th and was able to try out both the XR Stadium and playing a featured match on the big screen.

I was coming into this day a few weeks after a Top 32 finish at the Beyblade X-Treme Cup Sendai G2 tournament. The loss that eliminated me from that event was painful to say the least.

While the Beyblade X Training Center was obviously directed primarily at newcomers and served that purpose well, I came into it with the mindset of a competitive player.

Looking back on this day, I was still very early on in my journey with Beyblade X. I didn’t spend a ton of actual time ‘training’ here, and didn’t expect to given the time-limited nature of the experience.

Rather, inspiration is what I was seeking. Attending and being in this environment itself was inspiring. 

Seeing everyone in such a cool, unique space dedicated to Beyblade made me want to continue striving to be better. Especially after such a rough start competitively with Beyblade X up until the Sendai G2.

As players we often place an emphasis on competition. Rightfully so.

But experiences like this are arguably just as important.

They feed your passion. Beyblade itself is a game which feeds on interactions between players. Environments like this offer a chance to experience these things without the pressure of a competitive environment.

Hobby Square Nishina in Morioka – G3 Tournament (10/9/2023)

This tournament came two days after the release of BX-15 Leon Claw 5-60P and Viper Tail 5-80O.

The addition of the six new parts from these releases as well as obtaining the Cobalt Drake Blade and my experience at the Sendai G2 influenced my mindset heading into it.

The top two players of the Sendai G2 broke the B/N/HN supremacy established by the winners of the Osaka and Tokyo G2 before it. Both of them used Low Flat in their 3on3 decks and the winner used a hyper aggressive F/LF/T-based deck. Both also used the Shark Edge Blade.

With this result, it felt like the tide was turning towards an aggressive metagame. However, six new parts had been introduced since then so I needed to decide what, if any effect they might have moving forward prior to this event.

I found the Point Bit to work on a wide variety of Blades including Shark Edge, Dran Sword, and Viper Tail. But the most compelling combination to me in my testing was Cobalt Drake 4-60 Point, for its unique mixture of immense weight, attack power, stamina, and movement.

It felt like a very well-balanced option that I could use to go into any match with a chance to succeed.

So, that’s what I took with me into the first round of this event:

Round 1: Cobalt Drake 4-60P (Kei) vs. Cobalt Drake 3-60LF
  1. Opponent – Xtreme Finish: My opponent launched parallel to the stadium floor and I did as well. I was Xtreme Finished instantly from the centre. It may or may not have been due to mid-air contact; it happened so quickly.
  2. Kei – Spin Finish: I launched my Beyblade on an angle.
  3. Opponent – Over Finish: I launched my Beyblade on an angle again.
  4. Final Result: 1-5 (Loss)

This was a tough pill to swallow.

I had done my best to predict what would give me the best chance to win given the additional parts introduced into the metagame and my knowledge of the trend forming at the top of the competitive scene from the recent G2 tournament in Sendai.

But it illustrated to me that knowledge and thinking alone aren’t enough to make you a strong player.

I did spend a lot of time practicing to come to the conclusion that I did, but it was still my first tournament in a few weeks. And the amount of two-player testing I was able to do was minimal. 

Although I had at this point been playing for a few months, I had missed out on almost the entirety of August. At the top level, that is a long time when everyone is starting from zero at the launch of a new series.

I was still at a point where I had experienced zero success using aggressive Beyblades in Beyblade X. I was very much still trying to figure out what the best launch strategies were for the Xtreme Stadium. I was focused a lot inwardly on what I could be doing.

One of the things this battle reinforced for me was the importance of launch positioning.

Now more than ever due to the asymmetric design of the Xtreme Stadium, where you position yourself and the angle with which you launch have become paramount.

In this battle, I haphazardly launched parallel to the centre of the stadium floor without paying attention to my opponent’s positioning. Because of this, I made myself vulnerable to the early hit which knocked me out. This was the fault of my overly inward-facing focus.

The positive I take away from this tournament however is that despite the shock of my quick loss in the first round, I made a quick adjustment and was able to win one of the next two rounds.

I started to place more emphasis on acting with intention not only with regards to how I am acting, positioning, and shooting as a player but how my opponent is doing the same before the battle begins.

The best players in Beyblade understand that while the Beyblades may be launched after “3 .. 2 .. 1 .. Go Shoot!” is called, the battle itself begins before that.

Tournament Result:
  1. Matches: 0 Wins, 1 Loss
  2. Battles: 1 Wins, 2 Losses
  3. Points: 1 Points Won, 5 Points Lost

Michinoku CUP at Sunnyland Forte in Ogawara – S1 Tournament (10/15/2023)

SEASON’S WALK FORTE, the mall Sunnyland Forte is located within.

After a quick exit at Hobby Square Nishina the week before, I didn’t have time to dwell on that loss as the following weekend I was visiting Ogawara for my first-ever Beyblade X S1 tournament.

S1 tournaments are essentially fan-hosted, official tournaments.

Some organizers of S1 tournaments may elect to modify the rules to produce a different competitive environment than the official one in official B4 tournaments sponsored by Takara-Tomy.

At this tournament, there was one such rule change.

Normally, if a Beyblade exits vertically through the opening in the stadium cover, it is considered to be out of bounds. It does not count as an Over Finish and the battle will be replayed. In this tournament, such situations were deemed to be an Over Finish.

There is validity to playing each way. But personally speaking, my goals as a player are squarely focused on succeeding in the official tournament environment. So, I was disappointed to learn it would be ruled this way.

The tournament bracket itself was slightly strange too.

Many tournaments in Japan (unfortunately) use single elimination style tournament brackets. These are brutally difficult and arguably unfair for the first stage of any competitive Beyblade event, but the benefit of them is that they are easy to understand and fast.

However, the organizer for this tournament had printed the official preset bracket for 32 people provided by Takara-Tomy.

With about 20 participants, rather than arranging people on each side to produce a straight forward single elimination bracket, they ran a format I can best describe as pseudo-Double Elimination.

Players filled the numbered 1 to 20 spots. Then, if you lost you could move to fill one of the remaining numbered 21 to 32 spots.

This gave players a second chance if they had lost, which is great given the existing standard for most Japanese tournaments.

The problem however was that it wasn’t just a second chance and the opportunities for this were not distributed evenly. Some players got a third chance or even fourth chance to advance. Some got no second chance at all. All of this was determined by the order in which you played and how quickly these spots were filled.

The tournament despite this was well-organized, but it illustrated to me a lack of understanding of how to run a fair, competitive tournament bracket.

For one reason or another, in my experience in Japan up until this point there appears to be an aversion to or simply a lack of knowledge among hosts about a range of fundamental tournament organization best practices.

This includes:

  1. Running tournament formats which allow for players to play more than one match before being eliminated in situations where there doesn’t appear to be a severe time limitation.
  2. Adopting more sophisticated, automated methods of running tournament brackets. For example, using a platform such as Challonge over printing and writing a bracket by hand.

These are among the things I’ve grown to see as fundamental as an organizer myself over the past 15 years.

But doing things their way is not wrong either.

And in fact, I can see how growing as a player in an environment where single elimination is the standard could breed stronger players over time. 

However, I can also see it crushing the motivation of players who don’t have–or haven’t yet found–the innate determination to succeed.

The most important thing to me in any situation is that the tournament format in use is fair. And ideally make players–especially those who travel far distances–feel like they had an adequate chance to enjoy playing real tournament matches.

At this tournament, because of the strange practice employed where players could fill an empty spot in the bracket if they were lucky, I felt that the competitive integrity of the event was compromised.

In any case, thanks to my experience in Sendai in September, having now been in a position where advancing deeper into a G2 level tournament was within my grasp, my sights were set a lot higher than this S1 tournament. As such, I started to view S1 and G3 tournaments even more so as “training” than anything else.

So, playing meaningful matches against players doing their best was more important to me than the competitive structure it was framed by.

Now, let’s get into the details of the matches I played.

For all rounds in this tournament I launched on an angle into the left corner.

Round 1: Hells Scythe 5-60 Ball (Kei) vs. Hells Scythe 5-60 Ball
  1. Kei – Burst Finish
  2. Kei – Over Finish
  3. Final Result: 4-0 (Win)

A literal mirror match here. I think my experience in the Sendai G2 came in handy here.

I had gone through this type of match before. I had spent a lot of time crafting the best possible version of this combo from the copies of these parts that I owned.

In the lead up to this event I had started to spend more time studying the stadium, trajectory patterns, and thinking about how I should be launching in different situations.

You might be wondering why I went with Hells Scythe here despite declaring that Cobalt Drake on Point was one of the best options at this time.

Although I hadn’t lost faith internally in it, my experience at Hobby Square Nishina told me that at the very least, my launching ability wasn’t quite up to par yet.

In an environment where you might be knocked out of a tournament after one loss, it became difficult to make that same commitment to it while knowing that I had also been very successful with Hells Scythe on Ball already. I had planned instead to potentially use it in my 3on3 deck, should I make it to the finals.

I chose consistency over innovation.

After having played Beyblade for over 20 years now, I would say that consistency is almost always the better choice over innovation.

Sometimes you have to innovate and try something new. The best use for this is when playing against opponents who might have a preconceived notion about what you will use.

But most times, you should seek consistency if you want to be successful over time.

Round 2: Hells Scythe 5-60 Ball (Kei) vs. Viper Tail 3-80 Point
  1. Opponent – Xtreme Finish
  2. Kei – Spin Finish
  3. Opponent – Over Finish: This was out of bounds. Viper Tail knocked Hells Scythe out through the opening in the stadium cover. In this tournament, it was counted as an Over Finish.
  4. Final Result: 1-5 (Loss)

Although I never really preferred it for some reason, Viper Tail on Point actually was one of the best performers for me in my testing of the Point Bit. So, I knew that there was certainly some danger for me here.

But this is one of those matches where the final score looks a lot worse than it actually was if we had played using the official B4 rules.

Their Xtreme Finish came at the very last second of the first battle. I felt good about my launch, but this sort of thing can happen despite that so I was OK with it.

I launched in the same way in the second battle and won by Spin Finish.

And the final battle resulted in an Over Finish within the rules set for this tournament. But my goals are focused squarely on the official B4 rules, so the choices I make are based on winning in this environment.

As such, on a purely personal level I don’t choose to recognize this loss when evaluating my success as a player.

What this tournament ultimately represents to me was my continued effort to better understand the Xtreme Stadium and start to build consistency as a player.

Because what separates the winners from the losers in Beyblade is not will, knowledge, luck, experience, or strength as individual qualities. It’s consistency. Consistency is what is born from players able to combine each of those qualities into one.

Those who can win not everything, but can win most consistently are the ones who will become champions.

Tournament Result:
  1. Matches: 1 Win, 1 Loss*
  2. Battles: 3 Wins, 2 Losses
  3. Points: 5 Points Won, 5 Points Lost
  4. *Due to non-B4 rule counting out of bounds as an Over Finish

Beyblade X-Treme Cup G2 – Fukuoka (10/21/2023)

Tournament Venue: Hakata International Exhibition Hall & Conference Center

Just under a month after my fourth round, top 32 exit at the Beyblade X-Treme Cup G2 Sendai, I made the journey across Japan for the Fukuoka edition.

I agonized over what my strategy would be for this tournament.

The obvious answer was “Hells Scythe on Ball”. All of my success to this point was using this. And it had proven itself to date as the most commonly seen combination in Beyblade X.

But as I have discussed in previous reports in this article, there were also many forces pushing me towards believing that a more aggressive approach might be best.

In fact, the night before the tournament I met up with Master, the winner of the final Beyblade Burst G1 tournament and another player from Tokyo. He had the opportunity to play in an S1 tournament in Fukuoka the same day. He told me that there were a ton of attack types present using the Shark Edge Blade in combination with Low Flat, Orb, Needle, and so on. And that he would probably use attack at the G2 the following day.

By this time, I had already made my decision: start with Cobalt Drake 5-60 Point.

So, hearing what I did from Master only reinforced my belief in this combination. If he had said something different perhaps I may have been swayed, but who knows.

In the lead up to this event, I continued to waver between Hells Scythe on Ball and more aggressive combinations. And based on what I observed throughout the G2, it seems that many players did the same.

The five Beyblades I prepared for the tournament.

In reality, based on the matches I was able to observe and record, there was a split between these two schools of thought.

Hells Scythe on Ball users were plentiful, but so were users of Shark Edge, Dran Sword, and Viper Tail on a wide variety of Bits. The amount of parts in use was truly diverse.

While Hells Scythe, Shark Edge, and Dran Sword were likely the top three Blades in use, one other somewhat common choice was Knight Shield.

As far as round six, I observed several players using Knight Shield on Ball. This was a powerful combination that I wouldn’t fully realize the potential of until the following few months.

Knight Shield has several different molds out there which change the way it is oriented on parts. Knight Shield has an inherently imbalanced design and certain molds can counteract this. Finding one which balances well with other parts allows you to create a very stable, more reliable and consistent Beyblade.

While the Knight Shield Blade has less stamina than Hells Scythe, it makes up for it in higher defensive potential and a slight offensive upside which gives it the ability to knock out opposing Hells Scythe combos.

As such, in retrospect this was actually quite a good choice for the first few months of the Beyblade X metagame for those that noticed these mold differences and the potential a well-tuned one carried.

But hindsight is 20/20. And at the time Cobalt Drake on Point was the most balanced option available that would give you a chance to win in a double-blind single elimination situation against someone you had no information about.

It seemed that Master and several other people in the group with him attending from Tokyo felt the same way too. Because at least three of them were also using Cobalt Drake on Point just like I was.

Round 1: Bye

My opponent did not show up, so I was awarded a win by default for the first round.

Round 2: Cobalt Drake 5-60 Point (Kei) vs. Dran Sword 3-80 Ball
  1. Opponent – Over Finish: Upon reviewing the footage later on, I noticed that I accidentally touched the stadium during my launch. That is a “Shoot Mistake” and should have necessitated the round being replayed. But the judge didn’t catch it either. These sort of things can happen unfortunately. Certain infractions happen so quickly it can be difficult for the human eye to notice them in real time. Nevertheless, it’s always disappointing when you realize a rule was broken that should have invalidated a result.
  2. Opponent – Xtreme Finish
  3. Final Result: 0-5 (Loss)

In this match, I lost the game of rock, paper, scissors and ended up on the right side of the stadium. Like many players, I prefer the left side.

However, in preparation for this event I spent time practicing my launch technique a lot. Not only from the left side of the stadium, but the right side too. As a result, I felt prepared going into this match.

In both battles, I launched Cobalt Drake towards the Xtreme Zone and left-hand side Over Zone on an angle. Doing so produces a trajectory where Cobalt Drake will move to the far left corner. This is a ‘safe’ space, relatively speaking.

The reason I did this was because I wanted to first avoid early contact with Dran Sword 3-80 Ball and then swoop in from the back to knock them out.

In the first battle I was able to produce some of the contact I wanted, but ended up swapping places with Dran Sword and being pushed into the Over Zone.

Prior to the second battle I had a huge decision to make. Should I continue with the same launch strategy that just failed me, or try something different? I decided to believe in my strategy from the first battle and give it another shot.

This time I felt I executed my launch strategy even better than the first battle, but unfortunately for me Dran Sword was able to dodge all of my attacks and I self-Xtreme Finished myself. And with no contact made to my opponent.

There’s a part of me that wishes no-contact knock-outs would be counted as 1 point, similar to a rule often used in WBO tournaments. But I digress.

It was close to the worst possible way I could have lost.

It felt all the more crushing given the distance I had traveled and the immense effort and investment I had made into the game up until this point.

I started to question why I was putting myself through such harsh competitive conditions.

But that’s really the point of it all ultimately.

I felt this loss more deeply than some of the biggest losses I’ve experienced over the past 20 years I’ve participated in Beyblade tournaments.

It’s only through experience that we can grow. And it is through enduring harsh conditions that our experience can be heightened. We feel the weight of every decision and every outcome so much more acutely.

What I needed was not just love for the game or a desire to win, but the will to persevere.

Effort and strategy alone won’t result in victory, though. You need to make the right efforts and have the right strategy.

My opponent in this match exposed a gap in my knowledge. I hadn’t practiced against Dran Sword on Ball. Although I had a general understanding of the type of combination it was, I was scared because I didn’t fully understand how to counter it reliably.

As a result of this fear, my launch strategy became one that would produce a defensive posture in the early moments of the match.

The only consolation was seeing that my opponent made it all the way to Round 6. So, he seemed like a strong player.

I carried the pain of this loss with me as I left the venue and returned to my hotel.

I thought back to my kyudo experience earlier in the year. I felt that it was important to think not about the result of this–or any–tournament. But to think about the process.

In Beyblade though, the target is constantly changing. And events reward victory, not form or mindfulness.

I was certain though that despite my bad “result”, I was successful in other ways.

Although my launching strategy was wrong for the match I played, I felt that I executed it competently. The shots themselves and my shooting form were relatively good and the movement it produced matched my intention.

I wrote in my notes at the time that:

”Everyone wants to know what the “best Beyblades” are (I know because they are the most popular articles on BeyBase), but how many people ask themselves “how do I become the best Blader?”. Not as many. Beyblade X requires Blader skill more than other series”

If you’ve read this far, you’re probably one of the minority who asks themselves that second question.

Understanding the “best Beyblades” is easy. Anyone can tell you a reasonably good combination of parts if they spend a few seconds looking at tournament results.

But what makes the best Bladers are the people who dig deeper than that. 

Not only with the construction of their Beyblade from a part quality and balance tuning perspective, but also with:

  1. their understanding of the playing field (stadium) and how to take advantage of it,
  2. their understanding of their opponents,
  3. and control over their own mental state.

This includes the actions they take before, during, and after a match. Having a strong enough mental framework to understand how you should be thinking in these situations is vital. And so is a routine that will allow you to execute precise, intentional shooting techniques without doubting yourself.

This being my second G2, I also felt a lot less nervousness during the tournament. I was calm.

But it wasn’t just because it was my second G2, it was because I was starting to make more intentional choices about what I was doing and why I was doing it.

To be able to feel calm in such a high-pressure environment is a skill.

Rather than the pain I left the venue with, I left Fukuoka the next day on my long journey home with two things:

  1. A sense of satisfaction that from a mindfulness and form perspective, I was successful and had been gifted a valuable experience.
  2. A sense of resoluteness that I would not accept this result as a reflection of my potential moving forward. I would be better. I would win.
Tournament Result:
  1. Matches: 1 Win, 1 Loss
  2. Battles: 0 Wins, 2 Losses
  3. Points: 0 Points Won, 5 Points Lost

November 2023

BEYBLADE X-TREME BATTLE Iwate Vol. 1 in Morioka – Fan-Organized (11/19/2023)

Along with many others over the years, I’ve been working to build the Toronto Beyblade community since 2009.

It was very difficult for me to leave that behind throughout most of 2023 for my move to Japan. In Tokyo the community was (and always has been) quite sophisticated and tournaments were frequent, so I never felt there was a big enough need for me to try and contribute.

But when I moved to Iwate in September of 2023, I immediately began working to build a fan-community in the area I was living.

G3 tournaments were being hosted at Hobby Square Nishina, but it was just once per month and the single elimination style format made it difficult to get the level of real world experience in tournaments that you need to improve yourself as a player.

My goal was to eventually show the owner of Hobby Square Nishina that there was enough interest in Beyblade to justify them changing their policy against hosting S1 tournaments at their store.

I created the Iwate Beyblade Community (IBBC). I started with a logo, LINE group, and some business cards.

With the permission of the store owner, I announced this at one of their events and started to recruit members.

Eventually by November, I had recruited enough people to make hosting our first event a reality.

Tournament & Registration Posters

My next steps were as follows:

  1. I found a community centre in the area and booked a room.
  2. I created a Challonge community to manage the events and generate a leaderboard.
  3. I created certificates to present to the winners of the event.
  4. I created a Google doc to share the event information with everyone.
  5. I created posters with QR codes linking to the LINE Group and how to register for the event.
  6. I created a long document outlining a script for myself to follow in order to be able to host the tournament. This was particularly challenging given my existing Japanese speaking level!

And there were many other small details I worked on which contributed to hosting this event smoothly.

I was able to bring together 20 players for this first event!

The tournament was run using a five round Swiss style bracket.

Although I had met some of the players before, being the first event of our community in an atmosphere where we would all be able to play more competitive matches than we normally would was quite exciting.

Here’s how my matches went:

Round 1: Hells Scythe 3-80 Ball (Kei) vs. Dran Sword 3-60 Point (A00)
  1. Kei – Spin Finish
  2. A00 – Xtreme Finish
  3. Kei – Spin Finish
  4. A00 – Burst Finish
  5. Final Result: 2-5 (Loss)

After losing in Fukuoka with Cobalt Drake with Point, I continued my recent trend of swinging back-and-forth between selecting it and selecting Hells Scythe on Ball.

Part of the reason was because of my failure in Fukuoka, part of it was because of the success and relative safety of the Hells Scythe Blade and Ball Bit, and part of it was because this was my first match in a completely new community.

I didn’t know anything about my opponent. And I had no sense for what the metagame was like because it was so early on in the tournament. So to test the waters I went with what felt like the safest choice to me.

I wasn’t in the mood to take a risk yet.

A00 chose to use the Dran Sword Blade combined with the Point Bit. This combination is scary for its high attack power and stamina potential. Not the best matchup for Hells Scythe on Ball.

But I put up a good fight here. In retrospect hadn’t yet figured out the best tactics from a launch technique perspective to counter it.

Finally, considering that A00 went on to become the champion in our year-end community championship tournament (spoiler!), this wasn’t the worst loss.

Blader Kei vs. A00
Round 2: Dran Sword 3-60 Rush (Kei) vs. Dran Sword 3-80 Low Flat (Shimoda)
  1. Kei – Over Finish
  2. Kei – Spin Finish
  3. Shimoda – Spin Finish
  4. Kei – Over Finish
  5. Final Result: 5-1 (Win)

After my first round loss, I had noticed that the Beyblades participants were using were quite aggressive overall. What I didn’t see though were people using the Rush Bit.

The Rush Bit was released as part of the BX-20 Dran Dagger Deck Set just a few weeks before this tournament.

I had identified that the Rush Bit was a more reliable alternative to the Flat Bit and Low Flat Bit. It was less likely to self-KO and could ride the Xtreme Line more times and more consistently than the alternatives.

Although I recognized and admired the power of combinations using the Flat Bit, Low Flat Bit, Taper Bit, and Point Bit up until this point, the big downside of them all was their tendency to self-KO themselves. Especially the Taper Bit.

It had gotten to the point where I had very little confidence in using these types of Bits. They are strong to be sure, but I hadn’t yet built up the skill to feel like I could use them to produce consistent results.

In Beyblade, consistency and confidence are what is required in order to be successful over an extended period of time.

Any player and any Beyblade can win any battle in isolation. There’s so many potential variables which can produce this.

I’ve seen this happen again and again throughout each generation of Beyblade.

In these early days of Beyblade X, consistency felt hard to come by.

But the release of parts like the Rush Bit, Orb Bit, High Needle Bit, the Hells Chain Blade, as well as deeper knowledge and experience with the stadium and certain parts like the Knight Shield Blade, I slowly began to see a path which would allow me to produce more consistent results. And this helped to build my confidence.

I was able to win this battle with Dran Sword 3-60 Rush. It offered the consistency of the Rush Bit’s attacking style and relatively high stamina with the high smash attack and stamina of Dran Sword, giving it the edge against the all-out attacker Dran Sword 3-80 Low Flat.

Round 3: Dran Sword 3-60 Rush (Kei) vs. Shark Edge 5-60 Point (Haseo Misaki)
  1. Kei – Over Finish
  2. Kei – Spin Finish
  3. Kei – Burst Finish
  4. Final Result: 5-0 (Win)

My success with Dran Sword 3-60 Rush continued here, with a similar matchup to Round 2.

Round 4: Cobalt Drake 5-60 Point (Kei) vs. Dran Sword 3-60 Point (ayadora)
  1. ayadora – Xtreme Finish
  2. ayadora – Over Finish
  3. Final Result: 0-5 (Loss)

After two straight victories, my appetite for risk had returned. I also knew that there was a high chance of ayadora using Dran Sword 3-60 Point based on their previous battles.

I wasn’t sure about the Rush versus Point matchup when both players were using Dran Sword … so I decided to give Cobalt Drake Blade on the Point Bit another chance.

It went about as poorly as my brutal loss in the Fukuoka G2 did. And this was in spite of an altered launch technique in the first battle.

I got some solid hits, but ayadora’s Beyblade was able to rebound twice before getting the Xtreme Finish.

In the second battle, I decided to try the same launch strategy that I had during the Fukuoka G2. This is because I noticed that ayadora was launching on an angle towards the far side of the stadium.

The trajectory this produced allowed her to take a defensive posture which made it difficult to knock her Beyblade directly into an Over Zone or the Xtreme Zone.

I didn’t pay enough attention to my launch positioning here. If you watch the video, you’ll see that she was the first player to move her hands into position to get ready to launch before the first battle began.

Being on the left side, she positioned herself towards the far corner of the stadium away from the part of the Xtreme Line Beyblades typically ride and away from the Xtreme and Over Zones.

This placed subliminal pressure on me to take up the open space closer to the Xtreme and Over Zones. I wasn’t thinking and accepted this rather than asserting my right to space closer to the far wall.

This exposed a lack of mindfulness on my part about launch positioning as well as some deficiencies in my ability to understand how to play on the right side of the Xtreme Stadium.

In the second battle with my modified launch technique, the idea was that I could drift around her Beyblade and then come in from behind … but I got caught right at the beginning and was instantly knocked out.

Sometimes, you have to know when to quit … even when a Beyblade is good conceptually, sometimes it just doesn’t match well with you. From this point forward I eliminated Cobalt Drake on Point from my repertoire.

Round 5: Dran Sword 3-60 Rush (Kei) vs. Shark Edge 3-60 High Needle (yuki_2023)
  1. yuki_2023 – Over Finish
  2. Kei – Spin Finish
  3. Kei – Spin Finish
  4. Kei – Burst Finish
  5. Final Result: 4-2 (Win)

Heading into Round 5 with a record of 2 wins and 2 losses, I needed to win my final match in order to have a chance to advance into the top 8 and play in the finals.

So, I reverted to what I had success with up until this point: Dran Sword 3-60 Rush.

Despite suffering an Over Finish in the first battle, I remained calm and was able to take the next three rounds in a commanding fashion.

Shark Edge 3-60HN may work well against some passive combinations, but it was a bit of a sitting duck against Dran Sword 3-60R.

With this win, I finished the Swiss rounds with a record of 3 wins and 2 losses. All in all, I was satisfied with this result.

My first opponent turned out to be one of the best players in our community over time. My third opponent was the eventual champion in December (spoiler again!), and Dran Sword 3-60R was incredibly consistent with 3 wins and 0 losses. 

Quarter-Finals: Kei vs. ayadora
  1. Knight Shield 4-60 High Needle (Kei) vs. Hells Chain 5-60 Orb (ayadora)
    • ayadora – Over Finish
  2. Dran Sword 3-60 Rush (Kei) vs. Dran Sword 3-60 Point (ayadora)
    • Kei – Over Finish
  3. Hells Scythe 3-80B (Kei) vs. Hells Scythe 3-80B (ayadora)
    • Kei – Spin Finish
  4. Knight Shield 4-60 High Needle (Kei) vs. Hells Chain 5-60 Orb (ayadora)
    • ayadora – Over Finish
  5. Final Result: 3-4 (Loss)

Up until this point, I had only played one ‘real’ 3on3 match in a tournament environment. But before every tournament I had nevertheless been preparing for the possibility of playing it.

After my loss in the finals of the G3 tournament on September 16th at Hobby Square Nishina due to my Knight Shield 3-60 Taper self-Xtreme Finishing itself, I had been inching my strategy closer towards a more conservative one.

The introduction of the Rush Bit and the consistency it offered relative to Bits like Taper allowed me to maintain an offensive flair within the deck, however.

But overall, my choice of Rush over other Bits and the inclusion of both High Needle and Ball on my other Beyblades created what I viewed as a fairly safe, reliable deck.

Battle 1

In the first battle I ended up in a fairly poor matchup against Hells Chain 5-60O with Knight Shield 4-60HN. In my experience, Hells Chain tends to have stronger stamina potential than even a balance-tuned Knight Shield.

Knowing this, I launched very powerfully in an attempt to overcome this disadvantage and either win by Spin Finish or take advantage of some of Knight Shield’s offensive upside to inflict another win condition.

In retrospect however, I can see from watching the footage that while the power was there, the control was not. I was able to launch into the centre–which was good in this situation–but I did so with too much downward force.

This may have contributed to the reason why my Bit was dislodged by Hells Chain’s hit to my underside, thanks to some favourable positioning.

I was able to knock Hells Chain into the Over Zone, but the Burst Finish was inflicted on me first.

With a mixture of bad luck, unfortunate order selection, a disadvantageous matchup, along with an overly aggressive, slightly uncontrolled launch, I lost this first battle.

Battle 2

I had started with Knight Shield for the relative safety it provided–I didn’t want to lose more than one point–and the same could be said for Dran Sword 3-60 Rush, my second Beyblade.

It had performed excellently for me on this day and rarely inflicted win conditions on itself, so it was the perfect connector between the first and ensuring the third Beyblade of my deck would see play.

It ended up going against ayadora’s Dran Sword 3-60P, the combination I had feared going up against with Dran Sword 3-60R in the first stage.

The Point Bit can ride the Xtreme Line with speed, but it doesn’t do so quite as reliably as the Rush Bit. Point does have more stamina, however. As such, it doesn’t make much sense to try and outrun Rush on the Xtreme Line if you are a Point user in this situation.

ayadora chose to launch towards the far corner, a fairly safe space. However, I launched flat and into the centre. With no opposition in this area, I was able to take control of it and begin my circling within the inner ridge. Thankfully, I was able to strike ayadora’s Beyblade right from that far corner to the Over Zone before I wound up to do my first full run around the Xtreme Line.

Battle 3

This brought us to the third battle tied up at a score of 2-2.

It turned out to be a Hells Scythe 3-80 Ball mirror match.

Although I wasn’t able to launch perfectly, I was able to avoid most contact with the Xtreme Line and with her Beyblade in the early stages of the match.

I had spent time tuning this Beyblade before the tournament and up until this point Hells Scythe Ball matches were something I had been fairly successful in. Thankfully, that time and experience paid off and I was able to safely take the Spin Finish and a 3-2 lead into the fourth battle.

Battle 4

I debated a lot when deciding which Beyblade to place in my fourth and fifth spots during the deck shuffling phase.

I was really high on Dran Sword 3-60R, but did not like the potential Hells Chain matchup.

And the prospect of running into a Hells Scythe 3-80B versus Dran Sword 3-60P matchup wasn’t thrilling either, especially considering my first round loss against A00.

As a result of these thoughts and my leading position in terms of points, I decided to go with Knight Shield 4-60HN as my fourth Beyblade. It had the best overall chance to either win or avoid a two point loss in my mind.

There was also a part of me that wasn’t satisfied with the result I produced in the first battle of this match. There was a bit of hubris at play here.

Because of this and ayadora picking Hells Chain, I shot using a completely different technique this time.

I shot on a steep angle into the left side far corner in an effort to avoid the same early Burst Finish result as last time. I also shot with a little bit less power to try and ensure I wouldn’t give up any easy extra points even if it meant taking a Spin Finish loss.

Despite a decent early hit on Hells Chain, my shooting technique ended up keeping me close to the Xtreme Line. This ultimately enabled ayadora’s Beyblade to hit me into it. Which caused me to careen around the back of the stadium all the way around and into the Over Zone.

I think my mistake here was that I was playing not to lose instead of to not make a mistake.

The difference is that playing to not make a mistake increases the likelihood that you will still be playing in a way which will give you the best chance to win. But you will be doing so in a way which doesn’t expose you to unnecessary risk.

In this case, playing to not make a mistake would have been to launch flat and into the centre as I did in the first battle, but without any extra unnecessary downward force.

It was a tough loss.

Made especially tough because I had actually helped ayadora construct her deck. She was a new player and it effectively was an alternate version of the deck I was using.

I was happy to see her win, but of course it was a little tough for it to be at my expense!

This match and this tournament however were another important piece in my continued growth and progression as a Beyblade X player.

Despite the final result, I could feel that my identity as a player and understanding of the game, and of how I could most effectively play improved thanks to this tournament.

In addition to this, as the first event in the IBBC community it was an incredibly meaningful moment for me.

To date I’ve hosted over 100 tournaments. But this was the first time I ever hosted a tournament in Japan.

There isn’t anyone from outside Japan who has ever done this, to my knowledge.

I’ve invested myself in the Beyblade community in Japan a lot over the past eight years.

To think I finally was able to reach the point where I could host an event of my own (with the help of others like ayadora and our judges, of course!) would be unbelievable to me 10 years ago.

Although I was knocked-out in the quarter-finals, I was able to record each of the other matches in the finals as well.

Check them out below!

Semi Finals
Top 3 Players: Oryou (2nd), Sakukoro (1st), Ayadora (3rd)
Tournament Result:
  1. Result: 6th Place
  2. Matches: 3 Wins, 3 Losses
  3. Battles: 14 Wins, 8 Losses
  4. Points: 19 Points Won, 17 Points Lost

Hobby Square Nishina in Morioka – G3 Tournament (11/23/2023)

A few days after BEYBLADE X-TREME BATTLE Iwate Vol. 1, I attended my sixth G3 tournament at Hobby Square Nishina.

Across six G3 events, nine tournaments in Japan, and one in Canada to date I had just one second place finish to show for it, so my hunger for success was continuing to escalate.

Blader Kei playing an exhibition match after the tournament
Round 1: Bye

There were an uneven number of participants and I luckily landed in the spot on the bracket which produced a bye to the second round.

Round 2: Knight Shield 4-60 Point (Kei) vs. Dran Sword 3-80 Low Flat
  1. Opponent – Xtreme Finish: I launched on an angle.
  2. Kei – Spin Finish: I started launching parallel to the centre area of the stadium floor starting in this round.
  3. Opponent – Shoot Mistake: I scored an Over Finish here after no contact with Dran Sword. The judge called it a Shoot Mistake and we replayed the round. I believe this was the incorrect call, according to the B4 rules.
  4. Kei – Spin Finish
  5. Kei – Over Finish
  6. Final Result: 4-3 (Win)

Thanks to the first round bye, I was able to observe each of the matches in the first round of the tournament. Because of this, I was able to reasonably assume there was a high likelihood my opponent would use the same thing he did in the first round.

Sometimes you have to be “lucky to be good” rather than “good to be lucky”; that happened here with my placement in the tournament bracket.

Because of this, I decided to go with Knight Shield 4-60 Point. Picking this in a completely double-blind picking situation for a 1on1 match with no information on your opponent would be risky.

Knowing the likelihood of facing a pure attacker however made this a great choice. Knight Shield on Point is able to effectively dodge attacks and has more stamina than Dran Sword on Low Flat.

However, I made a mistake in the first round by launching on an angle. This allowed his Dran Sword to catch me near the Xtreme Line and knock me out.

I promptly switched to a launch parallel to the stadium floor and didn’t look back from there, coming from behind to win the match by a score of 4-3.

My loss in the first battle is another instance which contributed to my growing aversion to launching on an angle in the Xtreme Stadium in most situations.

Semi-Finals: 3on3
  1. Dran Sword 3-60 Rush (Kei) vs. Viper Tail ?-?? Ball
    • Kei – Over Finish
  2. Knight Shield 4-60 Point (Kei) vs. Hells Scythe 4-60 Flat
    • Kei – Spin Finish
  3. Shark Edge 5-60 Flat (Kei) vs. Shark Edge ?-?? Taper
    • Kei – Burst Finish
  4. Final Result: 5-0 (Win)

Up until this point, part of me was growing towards employing a deck construction consisting of more reliable parts.

But thanks to the success I had with Dran Sword 3-60R as well as Knight Shield 4-60P, I leaned into a more aggressively oriented deck at this tournament.

I had a lot of experience with the 1on1 match type to this point, but I was still an amateur when it came to experience playing 3on3 in Beyblade X tournament matches.

Each battle in this match turned out to be generally favourable for me, so I was able to advance into the finals without difficulty.

Finals: 3on3 – Kei vs. Fujisan
  1. Dran Sword 3-60R (Kei) vs. Dran Dagger ?-?? Taper
    • Kei – Over Finish
  2. Knight Shield 4-60 Point (Kei) vs. Hells Chain ?-?? Spike
    • Opponent – Spin Finish
  3. Shark Edge 5-60 Flat (Kei) vs. Hells Scythe 5-60 Orb
    • Opponent – Burst Finish
  4. Dran Sword 3-60 Rush (Kei) vs. Hells Scythe 5-60 Orb
    • Opponent – Spin Finish
  5. Final Result: 2-4 (Loss)

Compared to the semi-finals, my matchups weren’t quite as advantageous this time around.

Particularly the second battle, which made me feel the narrow number of use cases for Knight Shield 4-60 Point. Despite it’s strength against attack types, its weakness to stamina and defense types was apparent.

As I’ve spoken about, versatility is key for Beyblade. Specific counters have their place, but their use case scenarios are a lot more narrow than versatile combos.

Having watched Fujisan’s semi-final match, there was little reason for me to believe Knight Shield 4-60 Point would be a great choice for my deck in the final match.

This shortcoming highlighted to me once again the importance of evaluating the context of the situation. Some tournaments do not allow you to change decks or Beyblades between matches (a practice I don’t agree with), but this one did.

Because of this, I should have thought more critically about my deck construction and modified it to suit how I felt my opponent would play.

Finally, Fujisan’s usage of Hells Scythe 5-60 Orb caught my eye.

Despite having two battles against it in which I thought my chances of winning were high, he was able to come away with the win each time.

Up until this point, I felt scared to play with Hells Scythe on Bits like Ball or Orb against attack types.

But he used it with seemingly no fear and was able to win.

This again was a reminder to me of the power of reliability and stamina in Beyblade in the hands of a confident, knowledgeable player.

The marketing for Beyblade X has pushed the Xtreme Line gimmick and aggressive gameplay heavily since it launched. And rightfully so. It’s unique. It’s exciting. Players should experiment with it. The points system inherently encourages it too, so it’s tempting to give in to.

What can get lost inside of this however are the fundamentals of Beyblade, which historically have awarded safety, reliability, versatility, and consistency over aggression in most situations.

Both have a place in the game and some players may be more comfortable with one over the other, but it’s important to remember each. And to use them without fear.

Tournament Result:
  1. Result: 2nd Place
  2. Matches: 2 Win, 1 Loss
  3. Battles: 7 Wins, 4 Losses
  4. Points: 11 Points Won, 7 Points Lost

December 2023

Hobby Square Nishina in Morioka – G3 Tournament (12/2/2023)

My collection of Gold Needle Bits was growing …!
Round 1: Knight Shield 4-60 Orb (Kei) vs. Hells Chain 4-80 Orb (Seika)
  1. Kei – Spin Finish
  2. Kei – Spin Finish
  3. Kei – Burst Finish
  4. Final Result: 4-0 (Win)

Round 2: Hells Chain 5-60 Orb (Kei) vs. Hells Scythe 4-60 Point (Shuumaha)
  1. Opponent – Spin Finish
  2. Kei – Spin Finish
  3. Kei – Spin Finish
  4. Kei – Over Finish
  5. Final Result: 4-1 (Win)

Semi-Finals: 3on3
  • Knight Shield 4-60 Orb (Kei) vs. Viper Tail ?-?? Taper
    • Kei – Over Finish
  • Dran Sword 3-60 Rush (Kei) vs. Dran Sword 5-80 Orb
    • Kei – Over Finish
  • Final Result: 4-0 (Win)

I leaned into the Orb Bit in this tournament and it served me greatly.

But just reading the words above doesn’t tell the whole story. Because it wasn’t as simple as just choosing these Beyblades and shooting them into the stadium.

These two victories to me represented the culmination of every element of my game that I had been working to refine up until this point.

Tuning. Thinking. Knowledge. Selection. Routine. Positioning. Shooting. Adjusting.

Finals: 3on3 – Kei vs. Haseo Misaki
  1. Dran Sword 3-60 Rush vs. Dranzer S 3-80 Taper
    • Kei – Over Finish
  2. Hells Scythe 3-80 Ball vs. Dran Dagger 4-60 Rush
    • Opponent – Burst Finish
  3. Cobalt Drake 4-60 Point vs. Hells Chain 5-60 High Taper
    • Opponent – Spin Finish
  4. Dran Sword 3-60 Rush vs. Dranzer S 3-80 Taper
    • Opponent – Xtreme Finish
  5. Final Result: 2-6 (Loss)

In the final match I was matched up against Haseo Misaki, the future runner-up in the fan-organized BEYBLADE X-TREME CHAMPIONSHIP Iwate 2023 that I hosted later this month.

You probably can feel by now that I tend to try to make decisions based on reason rather than emotion.

But for some reason I can’t explain, I decided to put Cobalt Drake on Point into my deck in this match. This is a combination that, as I have explained, I had a fondness for but found zero success with so far in tournaments.

In spite of this move, I was still in a position to be able to win the match when we reached the fourth battle.

It was a truly great final battle. I knocked Dranzer S into the Over Zone and it spun inside there for what felt like an eternity.

I tend to not get ahead of myself mentally, but it spun there for so long that I was just about to start thinking that I had won the match.

But unbelievably, it not only rebounded out of the Over Zone but did so and then knocked my Dran Sword into the Xtreme Zone for the tournament win.

Dranzer S is known for its ability to rebound thanks to its light weight, but nevertheless, I had never seen such an unlikely turn of events from potentially losing by Over Finish to rebounding into an Xtreme Finish for the win.

It was a disappointing end to what had been a strong tournament for me. I made a lot of good choices in this tournament and was victim to some bad luck in this final match. 

This ended up being my final G3 tournament during my stay in Japan.

I walked away with three second place finishes, which I am proud of. And it leaves me with the drive to earn a first place finish when I return one day. I really wanted to earn one of the gold Knight Shield Blades …

What sticks out to me as the critical mistake at this tournament was my usage of Cobalt Drake in the final match.

I think that as players there are times when we find a particular combinations which we attach ourselves to. We want so badly for it to be ‘good’. Then, despite our better judgment we use it in a tournament. Over and over again.

The reason it’s happened to me from time to time is because we’re seeking to set ourselves apart from the competition. Sometimes it can be hard to get an edge when everyone is using the same Beyblades.

The reality is that 9 times out of 10, you’re not going to come up with something that is better than the ‘obvious’ choices.

From there, what separates the good players from the great are those who know how to handle all of the other parts of the game that I described earlier in this tournament report.

At the end of the day, Beyblade is less about the Beyblade and more about the players who wield them.

Tournament Result:
  1. Result: 2nd Place
  2. Matches: 3 Win, 1 Loss
  3. Battles: 9 Wins, 4 Losses
  4. Points: 14 Points Won, 7 Points Lost

BEYBLADE X-TREME BATTLE Iwate Vol. 2 in Morioka – Fan-Organized (12/3/2023)

Thanks to hosting the second Iwate Beyblade Community fan-organized event on December 3rd, I didn’t have much time to hang my head after being defeated in the finals of the G3 tournament at Hobby Square Nishina the day before.

With 14 players, this tournament was played using Block Round Robin with the 1on1 match type. Two groups of seven players. The top two players from each event advanced to a single elimination 3on3 final stage.

Here’s the breakdown for each of my matches in the first stage:

Round 1: Knight Shield 4-60 Ball (Kei) vs. Shark Edge 5-60 Taper (Seika)
  1. Kei – Over Finish
  2. Kei – Spin Finish
  3. Kei – Spin Finish
  4. Final Result: 4-0 (Win)

Round 2: Knight Shield 4-60 Ball (Kei) vs. Leon Claw 3-80 Rush (Fujisan)
  1. Fujisan – Over Finish
  2. Kei – Spin Finish
  3. Kei – Spin Finish
  4. Kei – Spin Finish
  5. Kei – Xtreme Finish
  6. Final Result: 6-2 (Win)

Round 3: Dran Sword 5-60 Rush (Kei) vs. Hells Chain ?-?? Orb (Oryou)
  1. Kei – Xtreme Finish
  2. Kei – Burst Finish
  3. Final Result: 5-0 (Win)

Round 4: Hells Scythe 3-60 Orb (Kei) vs. Cobalt Drake 4-80 Ball (Haseo Misaki)
  1. Kei – Over Finish
  2. Kei – Burst Finish
  3. Final Result: 4-0 (Win)

Round 5: Knight Shield 4-60 Orb (Kei) vs. Hells Scythe 4-60 Point (Shuumaha)
  1. Kei – Over Finish
  2. Kei – Spin Finish
  3. Kei – Spin Finish
  4. Final Result: 4-0 (Win)

Round 6: Hells Chain 5-60 Orb (Kei) vs. Cobalt Drake 4-80 Point (Amecha)
  1. Kei – Spin Finish
  2. Amecha – Spin Finish
  3. Kei – Spin Finish
  4. Kei – Over Finish
  5. Final Result: 4-1 (Win)

6 wins, 0 losses. 27 points scored, 3 points lost.

This was about as close to perfection as anyone could ever hope to achieve. 

Ignoring the mental mistake I made in the finals of the G3 tournament on December 2nd, this first stage was an extension of the success I had.

In an environment where Hells Scythe on Ball was not particularly popular among players, Hells Chain and Knight Shield on Orb or Ball became incredibly powerful for me if balance tuned and launched well.

I finally had internalized the advantages of Bits like Orb and Ball not only for their stamina, but how controllable they are. If you can circle the central area inside of the inner ridge of the Xtreme Stadium, you are in a fairly safe position.

For a long time I felt that the corners were the safest. But it seems to me that ultimately there really is nowhere to ‘hide’.

As such, I had to shift my mindset away from one of ‘hiding’ to one of ‘avoiding’. But the Xtreme Stadium places parameters on this if you want to be successful.

Avoiding implies movement, but what I had to internalize an understanding of was that moving away from the centre of the stadium was inherently dangerous. This is in spite of the risk/reward the rules attempt to offer with higher point values for Over and Xtreme Finishes.

So the ideal method in my mind was to use combinations which could move moderately in the centre of the stadium and have a lower chance of being forced to the Xtreme Line. The Xtreme Line either drains your stamina or leads you into a dangerous position near an Over Zone or the Xtreme Zone.

The beauty of this strategy was that not only was I reducing my risk, because my opponents weren’t playing in the same way, I was able to take advantage of the risk they were bearing.

I was able to take advantage of Hells Chain, Knight Shield, Orb, and Ball with these thoughts in mind.

Although Oryou used it against me, the Hells Chain Blade in particular felt a bit undervalued to me at this point in our community, so this contributed to my ability to take advantage of it.

With all of this said, the important thing to remember is that metagames do evolve and players do improve so I would not necessarily read this and consider it to be the ultimate truth of Beyblade X.

It will always depend on the individual context of your situation, both in your local community as well as your knowledge and development as a player.

Semi-Finals: 3on3 – Kei vs. Abehiro
  • Hells Chain 5-60 Orb (Kei) vs. Knight Shield 3-60 Rush (Abehiro)
    • Kei – Spin Finish
  • Shark Edge 3-60 Rush (Kei) vs. Dranzer S 3-80 Taper (Abehiro)
    • Abehiro – Spin Finish
  • Hells Scythe 4-60 Ball (Kei) vs. Cobalt Drake 4-60 Ball (Abehiro)
    • Kei – Spin Finish
  • Hells Chain 5-60 Orb (Kei) vs. Knight Shield 3-60 Rush
    • Abehiro – Spin Finish
  • Hells Scythe 4-60 Ball (Kei) vs. Cobalt Drake 4-60 Ball (Abehiro)
    • Kei – Spin Finish
  • Final Result: 4-2 (Win)

Hells Chain and Hells Scythe carried me to victory in this match. But the fights against Cobalt Drake 4-60 Ball were quite nerve-wracking!

Dranzer S on Taper was starting to go from a sleeper pick in our community to a legitimate anti-attack option. It was quite difficult to reliably counter with an attack type at this time!

Finals: 3on3 – Kei vs. Shuumaha
  1. Hells Chain 5-60 Spike (Kei) vs. Dran Dagger 5-60 High Taper (Shuumaha)
    • Kei – Over Finish
  2. Knight Shield 4-60 Orb (Kei) vs. Viper Tail 3-60 Taper (Shuumaha)
    • Kei – Spin Finish
  3. Hells Scythe 3-60 Ball (Kei) vs. Hells Chain 4-60 Rush (Shuumaha)
    • Kei – Spin Finish
  4. Final Result: 4-0 (Win)

I decided to try something for the first time in this match: a full stamina/defense deck.

I’ll just let the result speak for itself.

The Spike Bit left a bad impression on me initially, but once I was able to get it to balance well with Hells Chain I enjoyed the stability and calmness it had.

Although, with time I would come to feel that it was perhaps a bit too calm. Sitting perfectly still in the middle of the stadium looks nice, but leaves you as easy prey for opposing Beyblades.

In Beyblade X, I think defense as it stands requires you to be able to take some strong hits from opponents … but taking all hits increases risk further.

After almost five months, I finally won my first Beyblade X tournament!

To do so in such convincing fashion with a ‘perfect’ 8-0 record was even to me shocking.

Other Player Matches
Semi Finals
Finals – 3rd Place Match
Top 3 Players: Shuumaha (2nd), Kei (1st), Kazuki1126 (3rd)
Tournament Result:
  1. Result: 1st Place
  2. Matches: 8 Win, 0 Losses
  3. Battles: 23 Wins, 4 Losses
  4. Points: 33 Points Won, 5 Points Lost

BEYBLADE X-TREME BATTLE Iwate Vol. 3 in Morioka – Fan-Organized (12/16/2023)

This was my third time hosting a fan-organized Beyblade X tournament.

With 12 players, this tournament was played using Block Round Robin with the 1on1 match type. Two groups of six players. The top two players from each event advanced to a single elimination 3on3 final stage.

The Phoenix Wing Blade, 9-60 Ratchet, and Gear Flat Bit were banned for this event. It had only been given a limited release at the G1 in Tokyo at this point in time.

Here’s the breakdown for each of my matches in the first stage:

Round 1: Hells Chain 3-60 Orb (Kei) vs. Knight Shield 3-60 Rush (Amecha)
  1. Kei – Spin Finish
  2. Kei – Over Finish
  3. Kei – Spin Finish
  4. Final Result: 4-0 (Win)

Round 2: Knight Shield 4-60 Orb (Kei) vs. Phoenix Feather 5-60 Rush (A00)
  1. Kei – Spin Finish
  2. Kei – Spin Finish
  3. Opponent – Over Finish
  4. Kei – Spin Finish
  5. Kei – Spin Finish
  6. Final Result: 4-2 (Win)

Round 3: Phoenix Feather 5-60 Rush (Kei) vs. Shark Edge 3-60 Point (Act2)
  1. Kei – Over Finish
  2. Kei – Spin Finish
  3. Kei – Xtreme Finish
  4. Final Result: 6-0 (Win)

Round 4: Hells Scythe 3-60 Ball (Kei) vs. Hells Scythe 4-60 Ball (Marumitsu)
  1. Kei – Spin Finish
  2. Opponent – Spin Finish
  3. Opponent – Burst Finish
  4. Kei – Xtreme Finish
  5. Final Result: 4-3 (Win)

Round 5: Hells Chain 3-60 Orb (Kei) vs. Viper Tail 3-80 Taper (Shimoda)
  1. Kei – Spin Finish
  2. Kei – Spin Finish
  3. Kei – Spin Finish
  4. Kei – Spin Finish
  5. Final Result: 4-0 (Win)

Using essentially the same strategy as BEYBLADE X-TREME BATTLE Iwate Vol. 2 a few weeks prior, I was able to earn a 5-0 finish in the first stage.

This confirmed for me that my approach was the correct one and not just getting lucky in the previous event.

The only new usable part for this tournament was the Phoenix Feather Blade. With Phoenix Wing Blade having not entered the picture yet, it presented a small window where Phoenix Feather was actually a viable alternative when compared to the likes of the Dran Sword Blade.

Semi-Finals: 3on3 – Kei vs. Nuoo
  • Knight Shield 4-60 Orb (Kei) vs. Shark Edge 3-80 Low Flat (Nuoo)
    • Kei – Spin Finish
  • Phoenix Feather 5-60 Rush (Kei) vs. Phoenix Feather 3-60 Flat (Nuoo)
    • Kei – Spin Finish
  • Hells Scythe 3-60 Ball (Kei) vs. Hells Scythe 4-80 Ball (Nuoo)
    • Kei – Spin Finish
  • Knight Shield 4-60 Orb (Kei) vs. Phoenix Feather 3-60 Flat (Nuoo)
    • Nuoo – Over Finish
  • Phoenix Feather 5-60 Rush (Kei) vs. Shark Edge 3-80 Low Flat (Nuoo)
    • Kei – Spin Finish
  • Final Result: 4-2 (Win)

I was feeling good about Phoenix Feather in this event and also realized that its potential window of competitive usage might begin and end with this tournament. So, I decided to use it on Rush instead of another stamina/defense type in my deck this time.

I also knew that Nuoo had a propensity for attack types using Bits like Flat and Low Flat, which Phoenix Feather 5-60 Rush would have a decent matchup against.

Although I did suffer one Over Finish in the fourth round–it happens–this was a fairly straightforward win. Everything went according to plan.

Finals: 3on3 – Kei vs. A00
  1. Hells Chain 3-60 Spike (Kei) vs. Dranzer S 4-60 Rush (A00)
    • Kei – Spin Finish
  2. Knight Shield 4-60 Orb (Kei) vs. Viper Tail 5-60 Low Flat (A00)
    • A00 – Xtreme Finish
  3. Hells Scythe 5-60 Ball (Kei) vs. Shark Edge 3-60 Point (A00)
    • Kei – Spin Finish
  4. Hells Chain 3-60 Spike (Kei) vs. Shark Edge 3-60 Point
    • A00 – Over Finish
  5. Final Result: 2-5 (Loss)

Being one of the best players in the community, A00 was always difficult to play against. He tended to use a mixture of attack and stamina in his decks.

As a result of this, I decided to run the same deck that had handily won me the previous tournament. As they say, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

I figured that a mixture of stamina and defense would give me the best chance to win against someone who focused primarily on attack and stamina.

Battle 1

The first battle went as expected, with my Hells Chain 3-60S scoring a Spin Finish against Dranzer S 4-60R.

Battle 2

The second battle, unfortunately, was not as clear cut. The judge’s call, which ultimately stood, was an Xtreme Finish for Viper Tail.

However, when you review the footage in slow motion you can see that there is no clear cut moment where my Knight Shield fully entered the Xtreme Zone before Viper Tail fully entered the Over Zone.

My understanding is that a Beyblade has to be completely inside of the Xtreme or Over Zone (and then not return) to be considered knocked-out.

It would have been impossible for the judge to make this call with accuracy in real-time given how fast it happened.

However, they made a call anyways and did not question the possibility that it may have been a draw.

I also made the mistake of not questioning it.

It’s unfortunate that such an error would occur in the final match of a tournament, as it invalidates anything which comes after it in my mind. From a personal performance evaluation perspective.

To me, it means the game state is made inaccurate. Everything after it is irreversibly damaged.

Because from that point forward every decision I made was made either on an altered thought pattern stemming from an incorrect result or battles or matches are played that shouldn’t or wouldn’t have been played otherwise.

In reality, the ultimate result and decision of the judge is legitimate. But from a purely personal perspective I don’t allow judge or human error to influence how I view my performance as a player.

In the past, judge mistakes used to bother me a lot because my definition of success was based on the result. Due to the way the WBO ranking system implicitly encouraged this. 

But results are subject to human error, which we cannot control.

It felt like the results of my efforts were sometimes being controlled by a third-party. 

And that’s a sure fire way to let yourself become frustrated and start blaming others for your failure.

This is a good example of why I place less emphasis on results (“winning” or “losing”) and more emphasis on process, mindfulness, and perseverance now.

Whether I “succeed” or “fail” is based entirely on the actions I take and nobody else.

If I don’t want to be put into situations where judges are forced to make such split second decisions, I should play in a way which produces more clear cut results.

In any case, we must move on. A00 earned the Xtreme Finish. This was a pivotal point in the match as it put him up by a score of 3-1!

Battle 3

This put me in a precarious situation heading into the third battle. Hells Scythe 5-60 Ball versus his Shark Edge 3-60 Point.

Thankfully, despite being a difficult matchup, I had built up enough experience to this point to execute my launch effectively and win the battle.

I took the hits I needed to take and towards the end of the battle was able to circle the weakened Shark Edge and take the Spin Finish. His combo inflicted a surprisingly powerful final hit, but it wasn’t enough!

Now it was 3-2.

Battle 4

Now knowing his entire deck, I realized that it was filled completely with aggressive combinations.

Despite my success with Hells Scythe versus Shark Edge, it made choosing Hells Scythe less attractive.

Knight Shield and Hells Chain seemed to be better choices.

I decided to go with Hells Chain 3-60 Spike because I felt like I wanted to force him to make a play.

Although Knight Shield 4-60 Orb is relatively safe, my feeling was that the matchup against Shark Edge wasn’t the best.

My Hells Chain 3-60 Spike had strong stability and calmness, as was demonstrated in the first battle versus Dranzer S. So, I felt there was a very low chance of me inflicting a win condition on myself.

This meant A00 would need to take on the active role–thereby taking on some risk himself–to take me out.

He ended up going with Shark Edge as I expected, but unfortunately for me, he made the right play and was able to launch relatively close to the centre of the stadium and hit me into the Over Zone immediately.

After such a run of 14 matches going undefeated, the sudden finish was a painful one! But I was glad it was against a strong opponent.

Despite this, I was proud of myself.

It felt like my trajectory competitively was right where it needed to be at this point in time.

Takara-Tomy had announced the first-ever Beyblade X G1 tournament to be held in Tokyo on December 9th and 10th, 2023 a while back. It was to be the largest Beyblade X tournament in history to that point.

I had applied to the lottery in order to secure a spot to compete.

Part of the reason I was competing so frequently and fighting so hard to improve myself was because this tournament was approaching.

I’ve never had the opportunity to play in a G1 tournament. At this point in my playing career, it is my dream to play in and win one.

Being in Japan and having the opportunity to participate was enough for me to invest in preparing for it.

My efforts had finally started to pay off in the lead up to the tournament, but I unfortunately did not win a spot in the lottery …

I think that part of the problem is the Beyblade development team and their set event staff/MCs seem to be so deeply involved with major events in Japan that it sort of limits the scope and frequency with which they are able to do them.

I hope that in the future Takara-Tomy will be able to hold G2 and G1 tournaments with more frequency and in more places so that more players who dream of playing in them can do so.

Having a tournament circuit with increasing stages is the right concept and it gives players like myself something to strive for.

But it only means something if we are able to participate.

Other Player Matches
Semi Finals
Finals – 3rd Place Match
Top 3 Players: Kei (2nd), A00 (1st), Fujisan (3rd)
Tournament Result:
  1. Result: 2nd Place
  2. Matches: 6 Wins, 1 Loss*
  3. Battles: 22 Wins, 6 Losses
  4. Points: 28 Points Won, 12 Points Lost
  5. *Due to incorrect ruling in finals match battle 2

BEYBLADE X-TREME BATTLE Iwate Vol. 4 in Morioka – Fan-Organized (12/24/2023)

With 14 players, this tournament was played using Block Round Robin with the 1on1 match type. Two groups of seven players. The top two players from each event advanced to a single elimination 3on3 final stage.

Here are how my matches went:

Round 1: Knight Shield 4-60 Orb (Kei) vs. Hells Chain 4-60 Needle (Fujisan)
  1. Kei – Spin Finish
  2. Kei – Spin Finish
  3. Kei – Spin Finish
  4. Kei – Spin Finish
  5. Final Result: 4-0 (Win)

Round 2: Hells Chain 4-60 Orb (Kei) vs. Wizard Arrow 3-80 Spike (Shuumaha)
  1. Kei – Spin Finish
  2. Kei – Spin Finish
  3. Kei – Burst Finish
  4. Final Result: 4-0 (Win)

Round 3: Shark Edge 3-60 Taper (Kei) vs. Phoenix Feather 3-60 Needle (Abehiro)
  1. Abehiro – Burst Finish
  2. Abehiro – Over Finish: I knocked myself out.
  3. Final Result: 0-4 (Loss)

The first two rounds previous to this match felt a little bit like “business as usual”. I was using the same Beyblades that had led me to success recently.

The mark of a great Beyblade player however is understanding where and when to take risks. 

In this situation, having earned a strong 2 wins, 0 losses start to the tournament, I was in a position where I could afford to take a calculated risk.

However, taking a risk for the sake of taking a risk is just stupid.

There were two other reasons I decided to switch things up and try out Shark Edge 3-60 Taper:

  1. My opponent was Abehiro. I had faced him in the past and also noted the frequency with which he used Cobalt Drake on Ball in the months prior to this. I thought he would expect me to use stamina. And I thought Shark Edge into a semi-passive Cobalt Drake would be a decent matchup.
  2. I had been curious about the Taper Bit for a while. Despite having had a bad experience with it in the final match of a G3 tournament at Hobby Square Nishina in September, I still saw and heard about many other players being successful with it. I wanted to give it another chance.

Unfortunately for me, my lack of practice and skill showed immediately and Abehiro’s unexpected Phoenix Feather 4-60 Needle made quick work of my Shark Edge. And that was in spite of what should have been a theoretically even better matchup than the Cobalt Drake one I had anticipated. 

You win some, you lose some …

Ao-kun vs. Abehiro

I could have easily given myself a much better chance to win if I had stuck to my existing strategy. But it’s also important from time to time to experience loss. Losing in a tournament environment is the best way to ensure a lesson stays with you.

If you constantly keep grinding away using the same combination and face very little resistance, you’re not going to take away as many lessons. At a certain point, the wins start to feel a little bit less meaningful.

So, in the name of experimentation and trying to expand your view of the game, I would argue that it is good to experiment in this way even when it dramatically increases your chances of losing. It all depends on the context, though.

Round 4: Knight Shield 4-60 Orb (Kei) vs. Dran Sword 3-60 Rush (Shimoda)
  1. Final Result: 5-0 (Win)

Round 5: Hells Chain 3-60 Orb (Kei) vs. Hells Scythe 4-60 Rush (Beyta01)
  1. Final Result: 6-0 (Win)

With my loss in Round 3, I had to promptly put myself back on track to earn a spot in the finals. My go-to picks at this time–Knight Shield and Hells Chain–did just that.

Round 6: Dran Sword 3-60 Rush (Kei) vs. Hells Chain 3-60 Spike (Ao-kun)
  1. Ao-kun – Over Finish
  2. Ao-kun – Spin Finish
  3. Ao-kun – Spin Finish
  4. Final Result: 0-4 (Loss)

Having now amassed a record of 4 wins and 1 loss, I knew that I could afford another loss and still make it into the final stage.

Knowing this, I made the slightly riskier choice of going with Dran Sword 3-60 Rush.

That being said, the win rate I had earned with this combo to date was astronomical, so it didn’t feel particularly risky.

I could hear before the match however that A00 was helping Ao-kun (who was a child, but a surprisingly powerful one!) choose which Beyblade to use. I didn’t know what it was, but just knowing A00 tipped me off that he might be giving him something decent to use.

Given my situation, I didn’t try to counter-pick based on this information. But Hells Chain 3-60 Spike turned out to be a perfect counter to me in this match … Dran Sword just couldn’t get it done.

It had done well for me against mobile combinations with recoil, but Hells Chain 3-60 Spike was neither of those things.

I was glad to finally get the chance to play this matchup in a tournament match. It taught me more about the limitations of this type of combination.

Semi-Finals: 3on3 – Kei vs. Haseo Misaki
  1. Knight Shield 4-60 Spike (Kei) vs. Dranzer S 3-80 Taper (Haseo Misaki)
    • Haseo Misaki – Over Finish
  2. Hells Chain 3-60 Orb (Kei) vs. Cobalt Drake 3-60 Needle (Haseo Misaki)
    • Kei – Burst Finish
  3. Hells Scythe 5-60 Ball (Kei) vs. Hells Scythe 4-60 Orb (Haseo Misaki)
    • Haseo Misaki – Burst Finish
  4. Final Result: 2-4 (Loss)
Battle 1

Haseo Misaki executed an excellent launch in the first battle. He launched Dranzer S into the centre of the stadium in a way which allowed it to remain slightly passive initially. It inflicted a small hit on my Knight Shield from the centre that sent me on a path for the Xtreme Line. It then followed right behind and scored the Over Finish. 

Because he was able to hit my Knight Shield so quickly early on, my Beyblade wasn’t given the opportunity to do what it does best; move semi-aggressively in the centre to avoid opponent attacks.

For my part, in retrospect I can see that while my launch was well-controlled, the placement was poor. It’s hard to ever tell for sure how an opponent will launch their Beyblade, but you can see during the countdown that he was positioned in a way which would allow him to take the back-end of the centre area if he wanted to (and he did).

I should have contested this more by attempting to launch in the same area so that he couldn’t come in from behind and knock me into the Xtreme Line.

Battle 2

I did exactly that in the second battle with my Hells Chain 3-60 Orb versus his Cobalt Drake 3-60 Needle.

We ended up clashing at first on a trajectory that was fairly close to being parallel with the two stadium walls on each side. This then transitioned into a hit from Cobalt Drake that sent me into the small wall between one of the Over Zones and the Xtreme Zone.

Fortunately, I wasn’t knocked out and instead bounced off the wall and came back towards the centre. Cobalt Drake’s recoil sent it flying backwards after hitting Hells Chain, causing it to launch itself into the air slightly.

Hells Chain took advantage of this to attack the Ratchet, causing the Burst Finish.

There was some luck at play here, but using the Cobalt Drake Blade can produce situations like this due to the recoil it is known for.

Battle 3

The match was now even at 2-2 going into the third battle.

My Hells Scythe 5-60 Ball versus his Hells Scythe 4-60 Orb.

On paper, this might not seem like the most interesting matchup. But it was quite interesting to me.

Ball has the stamina advantage, but Orb has the slight defense advantage.

I was quite happy with my launch. I launched on a slight angle towards the back of the stadium, away from the Over Zones and Xtreme Zone.

The idea was to create a controlled, slight, slow ‘flower’ trajectory around the middle of the stadium.

Compared to Ball, the Orb Bit tends to move slightly less. As such, it is more likely to hang around the centre of the stadium.

Launching in the way I did would allow me to initiate contact with Orb. I was able to accomplish this and you can see I assisted in pushing his Beyblade into the Xtreme Line (thereby draining stamina) multiple times.

However, as can be seen in many Hells Scythe mirror matches, there is always an element of luck in terms of who will take the brunt of any recoil.

His Metal Coat Gold version of the Hells Scythe Blade was seemingly brand new as well. Mine was in fairly mint condition too. When brand new, the Hells Scythe Blade tends to experience more recoil, but also be better at inflicting it on opponents. So, it could have gone either way for both of us in this respect.

We both took a sizeable amount of damage from the big hit as you can see in the video. But unfortunately for me, I was bursted not by the hit but by hitting the small wall between the Over Zone and Xtreme Zone.

Haseo Misaki took the match 4-2 and advanced to the finals.

Although I lost, this is the type of 3on3 match where it just felt like two strong players going up against each other. Each side experienced some bad luck, good luck, and maybe made some minor misplays. So, it wasn’t too hard of a pill to swallow.

It was a good match!

3rd Place Match: 3on3 – Kei vs. A00
  1. Knight Shield 4-60 Ball (Kei) vs. Viper Tail 5-60 Low Flat (A00)
    • A00 – Xtreme Finish: Upon reviewing the footage, my shot should have been categorized as a Shoot Mistake and been replayed. I accidentally touched the stadium while launching.
  2. Phoenix Feather 5-60 Rush (Kei) vs. Hells Scythe 4-60 Ball (A00)
    • Kei – Over Finish
  3. Hells Chain 3-60 Orb (Kei) vs. Shark Edge 3-60 Point (A00)
    • Kei – Spin Finish
  4. Phoenix Feather 5-60 Rush (Kei) vs. Viper Tail 5-60 Low Flat (A00)
    • Kei – Over Finish
  5. Final Result: 5-3 (Win)

The bright side of losing it Haseo Misaki was that it gave me the opportunity for some revenge against A00 in this third place match!

He had defeated me in the finals of BEYBLADE X-TREME BATTLE Iwate Vol. 3.

In that match, I had went with essentially the same deck in use here except with Hells Scythe Ball instead of Phoenix Feather 5-60R. And Spike on Knight Shield instead of Ball.

This was the first time I ever went into a 3on3 match without Hells Scythe on Ball in my deck.

It’s very difficult to walk away from that combination. It’s was to me the clear ‘best’ combination in Beyblade X.

But that’s generally speaking.

In this specific situation, because I was confident he would be using a fairly aggressive deck I decided to go for a more defensive deck composition.

Phoenix Feather 5-60R gave me a more active, yet still reliable, way to deal with his Viper Tail and Shark Edge.

I made the mistake of banking too hard in the first battle with Knight Shield against his Viper Tail. This put me down into the dreaded 3-0 hole to start the match.

This same type of launch strategy caused my loss in a battle during the quarter-finals of BEYBLADE X-TREME BATTLE Iwate Vol.1. I feel like despite Knight Shield’s defensive ability, its recoil creates situations where if you launch anywhere near the Xtreme Line and it gets tapped … it can engage with it and cause situations like this.

The next round became a must-win. Despite some erratic movement from my Phoenix Feather 5-60R which I wasn’t too fond of, I was able to score the Over Finish to keep the match going.

In the third battle, my Hells Chain 3-60O was able to almost completely dodge all of Shark Edge 3-60P’s attacks for an easy Spin Finish.

That tied it up at 3-3!

Going in to the decisive fourth battle, my thought process was simple: Phoenix Feather 5-60R gave me the best chance against his entire deck. Both Knight Shield and especially Hells Chain don’t have the best matchup with Hells Scythe as well, so I wanted to avoid that.

Luckily for me, he chose for Viper Tail. He launched on an angle to produce a fairly conservative and defensive posture.

I launched parallel to the stadium floor to take advantage of what Rush does best: ride the Xtreme Line and move around the stadium perimeter. 

Viper Tail maintained its defensive posture and put up a fight, but Phoenix Feather was able to ultimately guide it into the Over Zone.

And with that, I completed the comeback victory! Final score 5-3.

Other Player Matches
Semi Finals
Finals – 1st Place Match
Top 3 Players: Haseo Misaki (2nd), Ao-kun (1st), Kei (3rd)
Tournament Result:
  1. Result: 3rd Place
  2. Matches: 5 Wins, 3 Loss
  3. Battles: 17~ Wins, 8 Losses
  4. Points: 27 Points Won, 15 Points Lost

BEYBLADE X-TREME CHAMPIONSHIP Iwate 2023 in Morioka – Fan-Organized (12/24/2023)

Played on Christmas Eve and just over one week before I was scheduled to return back to Canada, this event and Vol. 4 that happened directly before this were my final events with the Iwate Beyblade Community.

The participants of this event consisted of players who had earned a top 3 finish in at least one of the previous four IBBC tournaments. 8 of those players were able to make it for this event, allowing us to run a double elimination style tournament bracket.

All matches were played using the 3on3 match type.

It had been a long time since I attempted to organize a series of events which lead up to a culminating championship. And that was on an international scale with a series of North American championships for the WBO: BEYBLADE REVOLUTION in 2013, GRAND BATTLE TOURNAMENT 2 in 2014, and Team BeyBattle Revolution in 2015.

On a regional level, I hadn’t done anything like this since the BEYBLADE CRUSADE Recruitment Session events in the lead up to BEYBLADE CRUSADE 2 at Anime North 2012.

Perhaps part of the reason I didn’t return to this idea for a long time is because it was difficult to manage at the regional level with all tournaments going through the WBO ranking system. The WBO rankings are globally focused. In fact, for a long time I manually tracked tournament winner statistics for the Toronto community because of this.

On top of this, the WBO for a long time was opposed to “invite only” type events, for better or worse.

With the Challonge community I created specifically for the IBBC, I was able to more easily track the top players in this region and give everyone something to play for or measure themselves against.

This is one area that I think both the WBO and Takara-Tomy have been deficient in throughout their history. Most of the tournaments both of these organizations promote are effectively standalone events which don’t build or connect with one another in any way.

The WBO at least has had the global ranking to date, but at times it can feel difficult to feel like you are a part of it when you’re comparing yourself to players you’ll never meet. Or if you’re so far behind the top players.

Takara-Tomy offered a ranking of sorts during the Beyblade Burst era, but points earned from winning tournaments were mixed in with the points earned for scanning products if I recall correctly, making it a bit pointless. 

Instead, they’ve taken the approach to offering different levels of events based on size (G3, G2, G1, GP, Championship). But most of these–except for the upcoming Beyblade X Grand Prix and how it will determine Japan’s representative at the Asia Championship–aren’t truly connected. Your performance in a G3 tournament for instance has no effect or connection to any higher level tournaments.

And your performance in G3 tournaments over time within a specific region is also not tracked officially in any way, making it difficult to track your own progress and compare yourself to others in your area.

This championship and in fact my entire effort to build this community in Iwate could also be considered an experiment for a potential future with the WBO where the importance of regional communities and interconnected events are emphasized more.

I had a lot to do in preparation for my return to Canada. Because of this, I wasn’t able to practice and prepare to the same level I would have liked to for a “championship” type event.

Nevertheless, I still felt reasonably confident due to my recent success.

The event ended up being a little bit rushed due to the length of the first tournament and the length of my rental of the room we used. I didn’t even have time to write down all of the details I normally do for all of my matches, as you’ll see below.

Round 1 – Winner’s Bracket: 3on3 – Kei vs. Shuumaha
  1. Knight Shield 4-60 Spike (Kei) vs. Knight Shield ?-?? Rush (Shuumaha)
    • Shuumaha – Over Finish
  2. Hells Chain 3-60 Orb (Kei) vs. Knight Lance ?-?? Taper (Shuumaha)
    • Kei – Xtreme Finish
  3. Hells Scythe 5-60 Ball (Kei) vs. Hells Chain ?-?? Orb (Shuumaha)
    • Kei – Over Finish
  4. Final Result: 5-2 (Win)

Round 2 – Winner’s Bracket: 3on3 – Kei vs. Haseo Misaki
  1. Knight Shield 4-60 Orb (Kei) vs. Dranzer S 3-80 Taper (Haseo Misaki)
    • Kei – Spin Finish
  2. Phoenix Feather 5-60 Rush (Kei) vs. Shark Edge ?-?? ?
  3. Additional Battle Data Missing
  4. Final Result: 1-4 (Loss)

Despite a strong run leading up to this event, Haseo Misaki definitely had my number. I lost three straight 3on3 matches to him across my fan-organized events and a G3 tournament before leaving Japan. 

Unfortunately, I don’t have additional details for this match and it went by so quickly that I can’t recall precisely how I played.

Round 2 – Loser’s Bracket: 3on3 – Kei vs. Fujisan
  • Knight Shield 4-60 Orb (Kei) vs. Phoenix Feather 3-60 Taper (Fujisan)
  • Phoenix Feather 5-60 Rush (Kei) vs. Hells Chain 3-60 Spike (Fujisan)
  • Final Result: 5-0 (Win)

I missed recording the specific battle results for this match.

Round 3 – Loser’s Bracket Semi-Finals: 3on3 – Kei vs. Shuumaha
  • Knight Shield 4-60 Orb (Kei) vs. Knight Lance 3-60 Taper
    • Kei – Xtreme Finish
  • Phoenix Feather 5-60 Rush (Kei) vs. Viper Tail 5-80 Orb (Shuumaha)
    • Shuumaha – Spin Finish
  • Hells Scythe 3-60 Ball (Kei) vs. Hells Scythe 4-60 Ball (Shuumaha)
    • Kei – Spin Finish
  • Final Result: 4-1 (Win)
Battle 1

The first battle was a textbook example of two things:

  1. How Orb can counter attack types by circling the inner ridge of the Xtreme Stadium and dodging their attacks.
  2. Why I don’t particularly like the Taper Bit. Despite what seemed like a decent launch by Shuumaha, he ended up causing himself to self-Xtreme Finish. The risk of having this happen to yourself is just way too high to make it worth it use, in my opinion. For those of you who are skilled enough to avoid this, please tell me your secrets!
Battle 2

In the second battle, Viper Tail took hits from Phoenix Feather surprisingly well and earned the Spin Finish. I’m not sure what I could have done better here. It might just be a shortcoming of the Phoenix Feather Blade. It’s smash attack isn’t quite as powerful as the likes of Shark Edge and Dran Sword.

Battle 3

In the third battle, I was able to secure a win fairly easily using Hells Scythe 3-60 Ball. I launched on a slight angle in order to avoid contact with him in the centre of the stadium. This helped ensure that I maintained my spin power for as long as possible. With the work I put in to balance tuning it, it was able to hang on just a bit longer than his in the end.

Round 4 – Loser’s Bracket Finals: 3on3 – Kei vs. A00
  1. Hells Chain 3-60 Orb (Kei) vs. Viper Tail 5-60 Low Flat (A00)
    • A00 – Burst Finish
  2. Hells Scythe 3-60 Ball (Kei) vs. Shark Edge 3-60 Point (A00)
    • A00 – Over Finish: Ruled an Over Finish by the judge. However, after the match it was discovered the Point Bit on A00’s SE 3-60P broke.
  3. Final Result: 0-4 (Loss)

The winner of this battle moved on to the Winner’s Bracket finals, the championship match.

Battle 1

Although I lost, the first battle was great. My launch towards the back wall of the stadium and parallel to the stadium floor allowed me to move around the centre of the stadium and avoid some attacks throughout the match. 

And when I was hit towards the outside, I didn’t move particularly erratically and was able to avoid attacks in the middle of the stadium as his Viper Tail’s spin power lowered. I also was able to make a direct hit to his Ratchet and almost sent him into the Xtreme Zone.

I was clearly going to win by Spin Finish, but my luck ran out when Viper Tail was able to inflict a hit to my Ratchet, causing me to Burst Finish.

My personal view of Viper Tail has always been that it is a step below other options for attack, but A00’s Viper Tail 5-60 Low Flat had quite a good success rate against my Knight Shield and Hells Chain combos across a few tournaments.

That’s one of the cool things about Beyblade. There are universal truths to some degree, but thanks to player skill and part production variations, parts that might be “so-so” or “bad” to you might be “great” to someone else. 

The “Viper Tail” I played was not just “Viper Tail”. It was “A00’s Viper Tail”.

Battle 2

The second battle pitted my Hells Scythe 4-60 Ball versus his Shark Edge 3-60 Point.

In the third place match I played a gained him in BEYBLADE X-TREME BATTLE Iwate Vol. 4 just before this tournament, he had placed his Hells Scythe 4-60B in the second position of his deck.

Although I had defeated it with my Phoenix Feather 5-60R, it wasn’t a matchup I particularly liked. I looked at PF 5-60R more so as a balance type option than a pure attack type. I would rather use it against other attack types.

Going into this match, I made the decision to put my Hells Scythe 4-60B in the second position.

I was very confident in my HS 4-60B’s ability to win the mirror match. It seemed to me that it would be the best potential matchup for it compared to A00’s Viper Tail and Shark Edge.

Unfortunately for me, he also made a switch and put SE 3-60P in the second position. I would guess that his Hells Scythe was the third Beyblade.

At this time, I had typically been putting HS in the third position. I felt it was the best overall option to give you a chance to win in any situation. It also seemed to me that players might be incentivized to use their best attack types earlier in a match in order to finish it quicker, so putting HS last would help to avoid them in theory.

All of this is to say, it was not the best matchup for me.

But I had won basically the same battle during the finals of BEYBLADE X-TREME BATTLE Iwate Vol. 3. So, it didn’t seem like an insurmountable task to win this battle.

As usual, A00 launched skillfully into the centre of the stadium.

I continued with my technique of launching towards the back wall of the stadium parallel to the stadium floor.

I avoided Shark Edge at the beginning and circled around in a controlled manner towards the Xtreme Line. But I just grazed it, at worst.

As I slowly came back towards the centre Shark Edge also vacated the area and moved towards the Xtreme Line.

This was good for me, but Shark Edge sped up quickly enough to swing around the Xtreme Line directly into my Hells Scythe before it could avoid the hit.

Shark Edge came out of the Xtreme Line at top speed. Hells Scythe was sitting slightly lower vertically in comparison. Shark Edge’s point of impact seems to have been somewhere around its bottom half. 

It sent Hells Scythe flying towards and into the Over Zone.

Simultaneously, Shark Edge ramped up into the air and over the opening in the Stadium Cover.

Unbelievably, it bounced back down into the stadium!

The judge declared A00 the winner of the battle by Over Finish and the match by a score of 4-0.

Handling rule infractions as a player and organizer

However, if you watch closely on the video you’ll see that during the impact with Hells Scyhe, the Point Bit on A00’s Beyblade broke.

A red piece eventually lands in the bottom left corner of the stadium stand’s platform.

Regrettably, nobody noticed this when the match ended before the judge made his final call.

If it had, A00 would have been forced to replace the part and we would have replayed the battle.

A00 noticed that his Point Bit was broken immediately after he walked away from the stadium.

I was in a difficult position when this was discovered.

As a player, I felt the match ended prematurely.

As the event host, I had to evaluate the situation rationally.

After consulting with the judge and everyone else at the end, it was ultimately decided to uphold the result in spite of conclusive video evidence showing the incorrect call was made.

The problem was that I hadn’t published a rule for the tournament stating that video review may be considered by judges if needed.

I had intended to allow it in all IBBC events–that’s part of the reason why I have video for all of the finals matches starting in our first event–but I didn’t publish the rule.

Under B4 rules, from what I understand, the result is effectively considered final when the judge renders their final decision after giving the chance for players to voice any concerns.

However, there was also a second rule infraction that I noticed later on after the tournament.

And this one is in the rules.

As written in the B4 rule book:

Translation: “Touching the stadium and the Beyblades inside the stadium is prohibited until the judge allows you to do so”.

Original: “ジャッジが許可するまでスタジアムとスタジアム内のベイに触ることは禁止です”

A00 reflexively grabbed his Shark Edge immediately after the battle ended, meaning the judge had not granted permission. As a result, the judge also did not have a chance to inspect it.

Enforcement of this rule is something that I haven’t gone back and specifically checked the footage of other battles to confirm if it was being followed or not. I tried to always ensure it happened while I was judging. But some players reflexively grab their own Beyblades after a match with no ill-intention (as I believe to be the case here for A00). It’s possible I or others could have missed it before too.

The problem is that players and judges alike tend to take what they see initially at face value. What appears to be true is often taken to be the truth. And there is always an incentive to keep the tournament and match moving forward.

But it’s important as a judge and player to take a moment to ensure the decision rendered is the correct one.

In any case, discovering this only adds to the situation.

More than anything, I wish I would have had the chance to play A00 in a ‘clean’ match without any infractions on either side. Because we’ve both made them in all three of the 3on3 matches that we played across this event and others.

The best outcome of this however was a sharpening of my awareness as a tournament organizer about the importance of these types of small details.

In future events, I plan to clearly state the video review policy and ensure Beyblades are checked for breakages in some fashion during the finals. Especially in significant events for the community, like this one was.

Checking for breakages should ideally happen in all matches, but at a certain point you also need to think about the flow and speed of the event. Inspecting more carefully in the finals should be the minimum requirement when considering that.

I do my best to think of everything required to create a fair, competitive environment at my events.

But even after so many years, the true difficulty that is associated with ensuring this is high.

It takes serious thought and consideration to make it happen.

Just like players and judges, event organizers are human too.

So, I hope that all event organizers–both fan organizers and official license holders–can learn from my mistakes like this and continue doing their best to promote the creation of the best possible competitive tournament environment.

Post-match thoughts

As for my performance in this match itself, I also believe that there is plenty of blame to place on myself as well.

I grew a lot between July 15th, 2023 and this event on December 24th, 2023.

But this match was a reminder once again that to be successful you need to be mindful of not only your own actions and state of mind, but the actions and state of mind of your opponents.

You can never fully predict what someone will do. But their actions can often telegraph these things if you pay attention.

Especially for an opponent that I had played several times, I needed to do a better job of modifying not only my selections and ordering, but my launch technique to counter what he was doing. If I had, I might not have put myself in a position where we are talking about part breakages.

This is the never-ending struggle!

Unlike kyudo, which I have talked about and channeled in many ways throughout this article, Beyblade does have one key difference: it’s a game played with two people.

Beyblade as a conversation

For a long time I’ve viewed Beyblade as a conversation between two people.

Bey Brad, the founder of the World Beyblade Organization, once described how effectively, players use their Beyblades as an interface for the interaction between them.

When viewed in this way, Beyblade offers a great opportunity to players. Not only can you work to cultivate a sense of mindfulness, harmony, and intention through your own actions, you can also make a connection with someone else trying to do the same thing. You’re not alone.

A battle creates a relationship that expands beyond the confines of what exists within you and what you put into the world. It connects you with another human being.

You are both bound by the effect of your actions. You must watch and wait as your tops spin in the stadium. Here, you go beyond the internal satisfaction of shooting beautifully to coming to an understanding of how your ideas and actions intertwine with your opponent’s. There is a profound beauty to this expression.

And in this way, this might be what fascinates me the most about it.

I’ve talked about this before in my review of the B-174 Limit Break DX Set.

Like the bow and arrow are used by kyudo players to interface with the target. Beyblades are used to interface with the stadium and their opponent.

It’s a game in which success is predicated not only on understanding yourself, but in being able to understand your opponent.

Beyblade in the end is a “communication toy”, as once described by Takara-Tomy in a 2011 press release.

It was one of the great pleasures of my stay in Japan last year that I was able to contribute to enabling this type of “communication”.

I was able to build a brand new community in a place which was once completely foreign to me.

It reinforced to me the importance of building regional communities which give players a chance to build meaningful relationships and something to play for.

Thankfully, one of the community members who helped me out the most while I was there–Oryou–has taken over organizing events in Iwate for me in my absence.

Being able to end my time in Iwate with a 3rd place finish in the championship was satisfying, too!

Now, check out the exciting semi-final and championship final video below! It ended up being the same players against each other in both matches because of how the bracket worked out.

Other Player Matches
Winners’ Bracket Semi-Finals – A00 vs. Haseo Misaki

A00 is left on the video (stadium right side), and Haseo Misaki is on the right in the video (stadium left side).

Winner’s Bracket Finals (Championship Match) – A00 vs. Haseo Misaki

A00 is left on the video (stadium right side), and Haseo Misaki is on the right in the video (stadium left side).

Top 3 Players: Haseo Misaki (2nd), A00 (Champion), Kei (3rd)
Tournament Result:
  1. Result: 3rd Place
  2. Matches: 3 Wins, 2 Loss*
  3. Battles: 7 Wins, 6~ Losses
  4. Points: 15 Points Won, 11 Points Lost
  5. *1 loss due to an unintentional, but unnoticed broken part and player grabbing Beyblade rule violation in the 3rd place match clinching battle.

Bunbuku Toys in Tokyo – S1 Tournaments (12/30/2023)

Finally, we’ve reached the end of 2023.

My journey with Beyblade X in Japan came to an end for the time being right where it began: Bunbuku Toys in Tokyo.

My flight back to Canada was booked for January 1st, just two days after these final few tournaments.

There were three separate S1 tournaments held on this day. Each had around 40 participants, making them among the largest tournaments outside of the G2 tournaments that I had participated in so far.

Each tournament used a single elimination tournament bracket. Lose one match and you’re out.

Among the participants was Mu-D, who was weeks removed from his victory at the first ever Beyblade X G1 tournament.

I was eager to do well, but also tempered my expectations severely. 

I had picked up Phoenix Wing a few days prior on the release day, but had no stadium with me to practice. 

Despite having no ability to practice, I knew Phoenix Wing was strong. It had a strong showing during the G1 after its pre-release that weekend and was a hot topic among players online.

Let’s dive in to a report on my matches across all three tournaments:

S1 Tournament #1
Round 1: Hells Chain 3-60 Orb (Kei) vs. Phoenix Wing 9-60 High Needle
  1. Opponent – Over Finish
  2. Opponent – Over Finish
  3. Final Result: 0-4 (Loss)

My thought process here in choosing Hells Chain 3-60 Orb was:

  1. I had experience with it and understood it.
  2. I had recently been successful with it.
  3. I knew nothing about my opponent.
  4. In my experience thus far, it was a relatively safe combination.
  5. Hells Chain is more defensive than most available options, so it may have a chance against the seemingly offensive Phoenix Wing Blade.

Unfortunately for me, my lack of knowledge was the nail in the coffin for me here. Phoenix Wing was able to knock-out Hells chain with ease.

Beyblade is constantly evolving and the reality is that if you are not up to date on the latest trends or available equipment, there is a chance you’ll be left behind.

To be fair, Phoenix Wing turned out to be the single largest power creep to date at that time in Beyblade X. In general, the game had seen a more balanced progression up until that point.

In any case, I feel the approach here was correct given my personal circumstances.

I could have easily come into the event with Phoenix Wing, but I knew nothing about it. And in a lot of cases, using something you have no knowledge of or experience with is a recipe for failure.

Tournament Result:
  1. Matches: 0 Wins, 1 Loss
  2. Battles: 0 Wins, 2 Losses
  3. Points: 0 Points Won, 4 Points Lost
S1 Tournament #2
Round 1: Phoenix Wing 9-60 High Needle (Kei) vs. Phoenix Wing 9-60 Gear Ball
  1. Opponent – Over Finish
  2. Replay – Opponent landed on top of me before touching the stadium floor and we both bursted.
  3. Kei – Spin Finish
  4. Kei – Spin Finish
  5. Kei – Xtreme Finish
  6. Final Result: 5-2 (Win)

By the time my second chance came around in this second tournament, I had seen enough to understand what I needed to do.

Almost all matches were being played between Phoenix Wing combos. Combining it with the High Needle Bit seemed to be the most popular variant.

Despite having no experience with it, the power of Phoenix Wing was overwhelmingly apparent.

So, I had to adapt and just go for it with confidence.

It worked out, as you can see.

Round 2: Phoenix Wing 9-60 High Needle (Kei) vs. Phoenix Wing ?-?? Gear Flat
  1. Kei – Spin Finish
  2. Kei – Spin Finish
  3. Kei – Over Finish
  4. Final Result: 4-0 (Win)

For some reason, this guy was boasting that he was going to beat me … but I was able to employ evasive maneuvers and dodge a lot of his attacks.

Round 3: Phoenix Wing 9-60 High Needle (Kei) vs. Phoenix Wing ?-?? Point
  1. Opponent – Over Finish: If you watch the video carefully you’ll see a small piece of the Xtreme Line broke towards the end when my opponent’s Beyblade hit it. A breakage of a Beyblade or stadium does seem to be like it should require a replay. But I’m not sure of the official ruling.
  2. Kei – Spin Finish
  3. Opponent – Over Finish
  4. Final Result: 1-4 (Loss)

In this match, I was introduced to an alternate variant of Phoenix Wing which is arguably the best “aggressive” variant for this Blade as of writing: using the Point Bit.

The mix of stamina and attack made it difficult to deal with.

The outcome here is respectable given the circumstances, though.

I feel I was able to adjust my tactics appropriately in the second and third battles.

In the end, Master, the winner of the final Burst G1 tournament was the victor of this tournament!

Tournament Result:
  1. Result: Top 12
  2. Matches: 2 Wins, 1 Loss
  3. Battles: 7 Wins, 3 Losses
  4. Points: 10 Points Won, 6 Points Lost
S1 Tournament #3
Round 1: Phoenix Wing 9-60 High Needle (Kei) vs. Phoenix Wing 5-80 High Needle
  1. Kei – Burst Finish
  2. Kei – Spin Finish
  3. Opponent – Over Finish
  4. Kei – Xtreme Finish
  5. Final Result: 6-2 (Win)

Round 2: Bye

I believe the bracket was uneven and I luckily was in a position with no opponent to play against.

Round 3: Phoenix Wing 9-60 High Needle (Kei) vs. Phoenix Wing 9-60 Gear Ball
  1. Opponent – Spin Finish
  2. Kei – Spin Finish
  3. Kei – Spin Finish
  4. Kei – Spin Finish
  5. Kei – Spin Finish
  6. Final Result: 4-1 (Win)

Round 4: Phoenix Wing 9-60 High Needle (Kei) vs. Phoenix Wing 9-60 Ball
  1. Kei – Spin Finish
  2. Kei – Spin Finish
  3. Opponent – Over Finish
  4. Opponent – Over Finish
  5. Final Result: 2-4 (Loss)

“If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” was my strategy in this event.

Given my inexperience with Phoenix Wing, and the apparent popularity of the High Needle variant, I decided after the first S1 tournament to use the rest of my opportunities as an experiment to learn more about it through doing.

And I made it this far! If I had won this match, I would have been in the top 4.

The winner of this tournament used Hells Scythe Ball, Cobalt Drake High Needle, and Phoenix Wing Rush.

For me, Tokyo is the centre of the Beyblade universe. It’s home to some of the best players in the world throughout the history of Beyblade.

And the competition level is very high.

When I play with players in Tokyo, I feel like I’m always being challenged to improve.

Despite all of the “success” I’ve experienced throughout my past 20 years playing this game, Tokyo always makes me feel that I still have so much more to learn.

And I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Tournament Result:
  1. Result: Top 6
  2. Matches: 2 Wins, 1 Loss, 1 Bye
  3. Battles: 9 Wins, 4 Losses
  4. Points: 12 Points Won, 7 Points Lost

Did I improve my Beyblade skills?

12 months. Nearly 30 tournaments.

Did I improve at all? Was it worth it?

After all, if Beyblade really is a “sport” one requirement would be that it has to be something you can improve at with effort and strategy.

Any activity without this is just gambling, a game of chance.

In my experience most people who don’t know anything beyond the basics of Beyblade would assume it is the latter.

But if you’ve read through this article, you know what Beyblade is. Beyond just the basics.

And the answer to these questions is “Yes”.

But in what way did I improve?

I’ve broken down the way I think about improvement into six categories:

Improvement Categories

  1. Goals
  2. Action
  3. Connections
  4. Understanding
  5. Results
  6. Belief

In fact, this is actually a cycle. Each step leads into the next, ending with “Belief” giving birth to new “Goals”.

This is a mental model. I’ve built it throughout my two decades playing this game. But my time in Japan is what has helped spur me to refine and spell it out here.

It can be applied not only to Beyblade, but also to many other challenges we take on in life as well.

1. Goals

Choosing a destination

When embarking on any journey, you need to have a destination in mind.

The destination may change over time. But in each moment, you need something to point you in a particular direction.

When I first started playing Beyblade in 2003, my goal was to play in a tournament. Contained within that was a desire to compete and to connect with others.

After accomplishing this, my primary goal in 2008 eventually became to become the top ranked player on the World Beyblade Organization.

For the next 10 years or so, I didn’t question this. 

The reason is because it took so long to achieve.

After entering the top 5 in December of 2010 of the Metal Fight Beyblade ranking on the WBO, I eventually reached as high as the #2 ranked player as of writing.

I could never get over the hump and make it to #1.

But I finally achieved my goal by mid-2017 and became the #1 ranked player for Beyblade Burst on the WBO.

blader kei on the wbo worldwide beyblade rankings

Arriving at the destination

From that point forward, I entered into a position very few people get to experience.

They say it’s lonely at the top. And they are right.

I felt pressure internally to defend my position once I got there.

External pressure grew with time as well. Right or wrong, some people began to view me as the “best” Beyblade player who could not lose. When in reality, I had also failed more than anyone else in the history of the WBO to get to the position I was in.

Without thinking too deeply about it, I continued playing to the best of my ability to maintain the standard of performance I had set. This became my goal. If you look back at my tournament history starting from mid-2017 you can see the results of this effort.

But slowly over time, it felt to me like the meaning in pursuing this goal had eroded.

I asked myself: What was I trying to prove? What value was I gaining from this now? What was the end game?

This is what led me to the change in thinking I described in the “Who am I?” section earlier in this article.

And it is those thoughts which guided me for the past several years and throughout 2023.

Blader Kei presenting a winner certificate to Shuumaha at BEYBLADE X-TREME BATTLE Iwate Vol. 2

Celebrating achievement and setting a new destination

This is all to say that not only is setting a goal important, but evaluating the purpose and meaning behind that goal is too.

There are some things you can only feel or understand once you have achieved them yourself. 

And it is at moments of achievement that it becomes critical for us to celebrate and then re-evaluate what we are doing and where our journey should take us next.

The answer to that doesn’t have to be “I want to become #1 in the world”.

It has to be what will be most fulfilling to you as you are. Right now.

2. Action

Taking the first step forward

Naturally, after setting a goal you must start taking steps forward towards it.

“Action” can be many things. Planning. Researching. Training. Thinking.

In my case, my goal has evolved at its core into “I want to learn something new every time I play”.

It’s not quite as binary and ‘result’ focused as it was in the past.

I still want to achieve good ‘results’, but mentally I focus on the process first, result second now. Because you cannot sustainably achieve good results if you do not first cultivate the everyday habits, process, and attention to detail required to get there. First and foremost, you have to be invested in the moment to have a hope of achieving the ‘result’ you want.

You could say now that my goal is internally focused rather than externally focused.

I still have a result I’d like to achieve. But I start by asking myself “How can I be better? Even just a little bit. Right now, at this moment.”.

The first step towards this is playing.

This includes training and participating in tournaments.

In Beyblade, playing is of course the most fundamental action you can take.

You have to fight to either find or create opportunities to take steps forward.

Throughout 2023, my number one priority was to play in tournaments consistently.

And I achieved this having played in 26 tournaments.

Some hosted by others, some hosted by the community I helped to create myself.

And naturally, I also trained whenever I could between events.

3. Connections

Desire comes from within, but achievement is hollow if you have no one to share it with.

Desire comes from within. It spurs action. But achievement is hollow if you have no one to share it with.

There’s a lot you can accomplish by yourself. But Beyblade itself is fundamentally centred around the connection it creates between players.

In order to become successful and to fully enjoy it, connecting with other people is critical.

This was confirmed for me during the pandemic. And I’ve played many other games in the past too. The less I invested in connecting with others, the more likely I would eventually burn myself out. Each game ceased to feel meaningful or like a good use of time.

In my interview with the final Beyblade Burst G1 champion Master, he had this to say about the importance of his friends in Beyblade:

Basically, the correct answer for Beyblade differs from player to player. By sharing your thoughts on the day’s battles with your fellow Beyblade players, you will increase your knowledge. At the same time, new goals can be found.

Sometimes your friends have information that you don’t. The more friends you have, the more knowledge you gain. Make the most of the time you have to talk with your peers to improve your performance.


When I first started playing Beyblade as an elementary school student, all I wanted was to play in a tournament. After playing in my first tournament, I wanted to find other people who loved Beyblade as much as I did.

Joining the Beyblade community online

That’s what led me to the Beyblade community online.

And that’s what has ultimately led me to making connections and friendships with players across the globe through the WBO. Players who support and inspire me.

BeyBase itself is also an extension of this. It’s a conduit for the community. Both for me and readers like you.

When I first joined the Beyblade community, I looked up to a lot of people. I felt like “Do I belong here?”. Everyone felt so much more experienced and knowledgeable than I did. I felt like I had entered a new world.

Slowly, I worked my way into the community and this feeling decreased.

Connecting with the Japanese Beyblade community

It wasn’t until 2015 when I first visited Japan and connected with the Japanese Beyblade community that this feeling returned to me in a significant way.

And it wasn’t just because it was my first visit to Japan. It was because the players there–particularly WARI-BEY members–demonstrated to me more than anyone else I had ever met that they were on another level.

By this time I had already been quite successful in WBO tournaments, so one might think that I went in there with at least some level of confidence. But seeing how they play and approach the game was instantly humbling.

Because of this experience, I knew there was so much more I had to learn. And so much that they could offer me if I put in the effort to build a relationship with players there.

It’s something I’m still working on to this day, over eight years later.

To me, the reason the Japanese Beyblade community and in particular WARI-BEY has made such a big impact on me is because of the seriousness and earnestness with which they approach Beyblade.

It’s unlike anywhere else I’ve experienced in North America.

It might be a case of timing, ultimately.

My skill and experience had been built up entirely through play in North America up until that point.

And just at a point where I was getting close to finally achieving the goal I had set (to become ranked #1 on the WBO), I exposed myself directly to the community in Japan.

When I look back, this is clearly the point where the path I was on started to split.

Introducing others to Beyblade

In addition to engaging with people who are at a more advanced stage than you, it’s also important to make time to introduce others to the game.

A dedicated player doing so challenges the perception the general population has of Beyblade. And it’s because of this perception that we can offer something surprising and memorable to people new to the game. Even if they don’t become players themselves, they’ll carry that experience and the impression it made forward with them. This is how perception can change over time.

And as a player, it reminds you of the fundamentals. What seems obvious and natural to you isn’t always the same for someone completely new to Beyblade.

At my birthday party last year, I invited many friends of mine to play Beyblade. For most of them, it was their first time playing.

As a competitive player it’s easy to let yourself get caught up in thinking about things like launch strategies, the metagame, movement trajectory, balance tuning, combo building, and so on.

Despite it being most participants’ first time playing, everyone was able to nearly instantly grasp how to play. Seeing the smiles on their faces and hearing their laughter reminded me of the importance of the human element in this game.

For all of the variance of opinion among people around the globe about what Beyblade is or what it represents, the one fact that I’ve seen repeated over and over again is the ease with which anyone can play and understand it. If they give it a chance.

The Beyblade development team at Takara-Tomy has expressed in their Beyblade 25th anniversary video published on Beyblade Day 2024 that they wish for Beyblade X to be enjoyed by even more people moving forward. They want Beyblade to grow as a “sports brand” in this way.

One of the key components of any “sport” is that it can be played by as wide of an audience as possible.

As a result of this, connection becomes one of the key elements of any “sport”. And Beyblade is no different.

Connection is how we enjoy Beyblade. How we grow. And how we teach.

4. Understanding

Through everything we do up to this point, what we seek is understanding.

Setting a goal defines what actions we should take. And taking action leads us both towards connections and towards understanding.

Understanding breeds confidence.

When I arrived in Japan in January of 2023, my confidence was low.

In 2022, I participated in 15 tournaments:

Beyblade 2022 Tournament Results:

U: Unranked | R: Ranked
  1. U: A Zeal for 5G! – 11/6/2022: 1st (Burst)
  2. U: MOUNTAIN TOP – 10/30/2022: 1st (Burst)
  3. U: STOP THE WHEEL – 10/09/2022: 3rd (Metal Fight)
  4. R: As All Things Should Be – 9/25/2022: 2nd (Metal Fight)
  5. U: PROJECT BEYHEM 5.0 – 9/18/2022: 4th (Burst)
  6. U: License to Achilles – 8/22/2022: 3rd (Burst)
  7. R: Do you believe in Gravity? – 8/7/2022: 2nd (Metal Fight)
  8. U: BEYBLADE NORTH 2022 [Sunday] – 7/16/2022: 1st (Burst)
  9. R: BEYBLADE NORTH 2022 [Saturday] – 7/16/2022: NA (Burst)
  10. U: BEYBLADE NORTH 2022 [Friday] – 7/16/2022: 3rd (Burst)
  11. U: THE FOUNDATIONS OF BEY – 6/26/2022: 2nd (Burst)
  12. R: Beyblade BUrsts Onto the Scene – 5/29/2022: 4th (Burst)
  13. U: Curse Glides towards Judgement Day – 4/24/2022: 1st (Burst)
  14. U: FOREVER BEYS – 3/27/2022: 1st (Burst)
  15. R: BLUEZEE WAS RIGHT? – 3/27/2022: 8th, Tie (Burst)

Throughout 2022, I was a player without direction. That’s fine if you’re just playing for fun. But not if you’re trying to build towards something.

All I knew was that playing for a ranking wasn’t meaningful to me anymore. You can see that relatively speaking, I performed poorly in the ranked Burst Format events listed above (#9, 12, and 15).

I focused a lot on experimentation in unranked events instead. I played a lot of different series, tournament formats, and match types throughout the year.

Although I had found some success throughout the year, by the end of the year about the only thing I could say was “I think the 5G Match Type is the best way to play Beyblade Burst”.

Part of the issue might have been fatigue with that series and what it had become competitively in all match types other than 3on3 and 5G. 

Nevertheless, I wasn’t sure what I was building towards.

In retrospect, the answer was obvious: Japan. And Beyblade X.

Getting to Japan took a lot of effort. I wasn’t able to focus on a future in Canada in the months leading up to my departure.

I continued to play upon arriving in Japan. Throughout the first five months, I was able to refine this mental framework and acclimate myself to the playing environment in Japan again.

When the Beyblade Burst Thanksgiving Festival G1 tournament was announced for May 2023 and adults were permitted to enter, it inspired me.

Regrettably, I wasn’t able to win a spot in the lottery to participate. But it indicated Takara-Tomy’s stance moving forward.

This combined with the announcement of Beyblade X on Beyblade Day 2023 made the path forward clear for me.

Upon the launch of Beyblade X, I invested myself fully into it.

I took action. I made connections.

And as I’ve described in great detail throughout this article, it took several months of repeated failure to reach the point where I felt confident enough that I “understood” the series and how to succeed.

5. Results

Four top 3 player certificates from fan-organized events and three gold Needle Bits for 2nd place finishes at G3 tournaments

It’s through understanding that results are born.

I accumulated eight losses and just one win across four tournaments after starting Beyblade X on launch day in July 2023. And placed within the top 3 in only one of my first 10 tournaments.

After this, I placed within the top 3 of my next six tournaments.

When I returned from Japan, my skills transferred well into my first tournament back in Canada: BEYBLADE X-TREME BATTLE Toronto Vol. 1.

I won the tournament and posted an 8-1 record.

Similar results have continued throughout 2024, so far.

Beyblade 2024 Tournament Results:

R: Ranked
  1. R: BEYBLADE X-TREME BATTLE Toronto Vol. 1 – 2/24/2024: 1st (X)
  2. R: BEYBLADE X-TREME BATTLE Toronto Vol. 2 – 4/13/2024: 1st (X)
  3. R: BEYBLADE X-TREME BATTLE Toronto Vol. 2.5 – 4/14/2024: 3rd (X)
  4. R: BEYBLADE NORTH 2024 – Friday – 5/24/2024: 2nd (X Tag Team)
  5. R: BEYBLADE NORTH 2024 – Saturday – 5/25/2024: 1st (X)

But all of this is secondary to me.

The results described above–both the ‘good’ and ‘bad’–and how I responded to each situation represent the true accomplishment for me.

It is my response in every moment that I am proud of. The binary win and loss result as well as how I thought about and approached every detail of the game. Some that most people will never even think about. Like what movements you make when arriving at the stadium for a match or between battles.

It is details like these which are difficult to convey and to quantify. But which absolutely accumulate to maintain your “understanding”.

Or if I were to invoke an analogy to kyudo once again: to hitting the target with more consistency.

6. Belief

An achievement worth crying for

At the end of 2023, I attended the Japanese Beyblade team WARI-BEY’s year-end party.

Multiple champions from all levels of Beyblade, including the World Championship were present.

During this party, I spoke with a senior member of WARI-BEY.

I first met him many years ago on my first trip to Japan. After a few years I was made into an honourary member of the team.

At this party, he clarified that I could now consider myself a full member of the team.

The context here is important. I mentioned this earlier, but as a reminder: WARI-BEY’s members include the first G1 tournament champions of every generation of Beyblade. Bakuten Shoot Beyblade. Metal Fight Beyblade. Beyblade Burst, and now Beyblade X. Not to mention the 2012 World Champion.

This was a big deal to me.

He asked me about what my goal was as a Beyblade player.

I responded with a somewhat non-committal answer. Something about learning from everyone and wanting to participate in a G1 tournament one day.

He challenged this, effectively indicating that my sights should or must be higher than that.

Now speaking a bit more frankly, I explained that while I had been successful in North America to date, I was seeking to achieve the same in Japan now.

I explained that my real goal was to win a G1 tournament in Japan.

As someone who has watched over so many players and their success throughout the history of Beyblade, he explained that for him he wanted to do what he can to support people and their efforts to achieve their goals.

To the point that he would cry when they are able to finally fulfill them.

This was deeply moving and in a way, validating to me.

To not only hear that someone would care this much for the people on his team, but to also be surrounded by people in that moment who were all struggling to accomplish something immense.

I felt a responsibility to keep fighting. So that I could feel worthy of being among such an amazing group of people and be able to understand them.

Blader Kei and Ryo, the 2012 Beyblade World Champion

It is in moments like this that I regain the same sense of awe I felt when I first joined the Beyblade community.

It inspired me to keep believing in myself. To face my next goal seriously.

Connecting one moment to the next

When you’re able to “hit the target” you’ve been aiming for and achieve the results you’re looking for more frequently, this should breed belief.

Belief is what connects you from one moment to the next.

It is the ingredient which the best Beyblade players always carry with them into every tournament. Every match. Every battle.

Long time readers may remember that I’ve written in the past about my belief in the link between belief and success.

When you haven’t set a goal, taken action, connected with others, understood what you are doing and why, or achieved the results you seek, it’s difficult to believe in yourself.

If you don’t believe in yourself, it will show in how you conduct yourself at the stadium.

You’ll be overly nervous.

You’ll think unclearly.

You’ll make a poor pick.

You’ll commit a shooting mistake.

You’ll question your strategies.

You’ll crumble under pressure.

These feelings slowly disappeared for me throughout the year in Japan.

Because I was able to embrace each step of this mental model to cultivate the belief required to succeed.

Now, I begin this cycle anew.

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Is Beyblade actually a sport?

You’ll be hard-pressed to find many people in this world who have invested as much into Beyblade as a competitive activity than I have.

Yet, even I have struggled at times in the past, asking myself “Is it okay to take this seriously?”.

To most people around me, Beyblade was just a “toy”.

I saw things like eSports on the rise or even the existence of legitimate worldwide competitive play for card games like Pokemon, Yu-Gi-Oh!, and Magic: The Gathering. It made me wonder “Does Beyblade not deserve to be there too?”.

The answer until now has been a “No”, at least on a worldwide scale.

Is it really a sport if …

After spending a year in Japan–Beyblade’s birthplace and arguably the place where this game is supported on a competitive level the most–I’m left asking myself some questions.

Takara-Tomy has declared that “BEYBLADE WILL BECOME SPORTS!”.

They want it to be considered a “gear sport”.

But is it really a sport if:

  1. There is just one company designing legal equipment?
  2. Some judges at high level tournaments do not know fundamental rules?
  3. A video review or appeal procedures do not exist in high level tournaments?
  4. The frequency of high level tournaments perhaps limited due to having just one crew of core public-facing team members?
  5. Support for building and offering incentives to regional communities is limited?
  6. High level competition is not offered equally in all participating regions?
  7. Single elimination is the primary tournament format in high level competition?
  8. All high level competitions require a lottery to participate in rather than meeting demand?
  9. There is no true, formally recognized global governing body for organized play?

If the answer to all of these questions remains a “Yes”, the answer to whether Beyblade is a sport or not might be a “No”.

In the eyes of Takara-Tomy, this might be OK for now.

After all, they’ve said Beyblade will become sports. Not that it already is.

“Competitive and Organized”

However, the definition we pulled from Wikipedia earlier states that sports are “often competitive and organized”. That implies something can be a sport without one or both of those qualities.

With that phrase removed, the definition becomes:

Sport pertains to any form of physical activity or game that aims to use, maintain, or improve physical ability and skills while providing enjoyment to participants and, in some cases, entertainment to spectators.

Beyblade inherently hits all of these requirements easily.

It is the management decisions of the rights holders which have held it back from being able to confidently assert that it is “competitive and organized” on a consistent basis to this point.

But just as a sport is not entirely beholden to being “competitive and organized”, Beyblade is not entirely beholden to its rights holders.

Fan-run communities like the World Beyblade Organization and countless other independent, smaller regional communities have been created around the globe. Dozens, if not hundreds of fan-run tournaments are organized around the world every week.

Takara-Tomy seems to have finally recognized this with the introduction of S1 tournaments for Beyblade X. These are essentially officially recognized fan-run tournaments. And starting towards the end of Beyblade Burst and continued into Beyblade X, Takara-Tomy has begun offering official logo templates for fan-organized Beyblade events.

Despite the shortcomings that can be pointed out with Takara-Tomy’s current organized play structure and offering, they are clearly making efforts to improve. Not only in the department of recognizing and supporting fan-organized tournaments, but official events too. The introduction of the “Grand Prix” level of tournaments Beyblade X is one indication of this. The first Beyblade X Grand Prix tournament in the fall of October 2024 is slated to feature 2,000 participants.

Hasbro has just begun to reveal its cards with the introduction of apparently “1:1” reproductions of Takara-Tomy Beyblade X tops and the involvement of Wizards of the Coast in organized play to some degree. It’s a step in the right direction.

A journey of acceptance

For the past 25 years, Beyblade has been on a journey of acceptance.

It started as an evolution to the traditional Japanese spinning top Beigoma.

Since that point attempts have been made to have it be recognized as a “sport”.

For players, behind this effort is a desire to elevate the game.

To connect with others.

To perform at a high level.

To have something to dream of.

For players of any competition, of any sport, this is what produces meaning.

When Hasbro launched Beyblade internationally in the early 2000s, the phrase “High Performance Tops” adorned their packaging.

I’m someone who is motivated by high performance.

Pursuing it. Maintaining it.

But “high performance” doesn’t come from just the tops. It comes from the players too.

And so does the answer to the question “Is Beyblade a sport?”.

Throughout history Beyblade and other forms of spinning tops have been considered toys, games, gambling, educational, spiritual, ceremonial, or therapeutic tools, and yes: a sport.

In other words, it can actually be a sport. Or all of those things.

That is, if we want it to be.

This is the art of Beyblading.

Comment below. Do you think Beyblade is actually a sport?

The answer to this question is a personal one. The beauty of Beyblade is that you can make it into what you want. And in return, you will get out of it what you put into it.

This article represents my experience and my feeling. But I would love to hear how you feel too. What is Beyblade to you? What are your goals?

Enjoyed the article? Buy me a coffee to show your support.

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I’ve been playing Beyblade since 2002 and staff since 2009. Since then, I've won over 60 tournaments
 and hosted over 100 as an organizer in Canada, the US, and Japan. With BeyBase, I aim to help players deepen their understanding of competitive Beyblade and improve their tournament performance!

6 thoughts on “Is Beyblade actually a sport? A 20+ year competitive Beyblade player offers an answer that might surprise you. (Beyblade X in Japan Report)

  1. An unbelievable write up! It is like taking a small Beyblade tour of Japan!
    I would like to say the “team culture” of Beyblade seems quite common in Asia to me. Taiwan, for example, has taken the title at 3 Asian Championship during Burst, I believe that is the most out of any participating country. I also consider the Asian Championships as the de facto World Championships personally. It is my understanding that the Asian Championships are only open to elementary school age participants during Burst. It is also my understanding that in Taiwan, there is a whole team of players and family members supporting their national representatives. I believe many participating countries are the same way. You do also see Beyblade teams in Taiwan with members who continually do well at tournaments.

    1. Thank you! Offering a glimpse into what it’s like playing in Japan is one of my goals with this article and the others I’ve written in the past.

      That’s some great insight. I’ve focused much of my energy and time on Japan, so my knowledge about other communities in Asia is limited. I’m not surprised to hear the “team culture” exists in other countries within Asia too. I wonder what it would be like elsewhere if Beyblade was treated in the same way from an organized play standpoint. I’d also agree that the Asian Championship to date has been the de facto World Championship. Not only because the culture surrounding Beyblade, the quality of players, and the organized play framework is different. But because there’s too many variables introduced by needing to accommodate Hasbro players and the varying products available in the countries they serve. As such, it never feels like the competitive event that it should. And I’m not sure there was any way around that due to the vast differences in the product lines. People are literally playing a different game around the world.

      It will be interesting to see what happens with Beyblade X. We certainly have a better foundation than we seem to ever have had given the overall consistency between Hasbro and Takara-Tomy’s products. The stadium being smaller is a big change and will produce different results … but at least the Beyblades seem to be the ‘same’ so far.

  2. This was an awesome write up. I’m an elder blader at this point. But my two girls, 3 and 5, love the game even though they’re not quite able to do a full launch themselves yet. That said, I’m still of the opinion that beyblade, beigoma, is still just a game. It’s definitely a competitive game with a global audience, but not physically demanding enough to be a sport in my opinion. For this same reason I don’t consider e-sports sports or competitive card games (magic, yugioh, Pokémon) sport either. Though I whole heartedly welcome any kind of more serious approach to beyblade in an attempt to strengthen the “sport” image and appeal. I’ve been waiting for beyblade x to officially launch in the US before hopping on the new wagon. But I wager if the marketing is done right this could be one of the most successful generations following first gen plastics.

    1. Thanks for reading and for commenting, Jake! The question as to whether something is a sport or not certainly is subjective. I can understand your viewpoint.

      When compared to e-sports and card games, I do think that Beyblade requires more “physical activity” (to borrow the term from the definition I quoted in this article). So in that way, it is more of a “sport” than those things in my eyes. But the counter argument–particularly for e-sports–is I guess that they require “physical ability” in different ways (reaction time, etc).

      As time goes on, I think the debate will continue.

      It becomes even more complex when you start to view Beyblade through the lens of martial arts. Such as the connection I drew in this article between it and kyudo.

      I also wonder about the link between commercial support and marketing and how any ‘game’ or ‘sport’ is perceived. Do existing generally accepted “sports” reach that point because they were backed by corporations or large institutions and pushed in that direction over a very long period of time? This is how you influence the perception of large groups of people.

      Beyblade is now old enough to sustain not only a younger audience, but an older audience which grew up with it. The older audience can understand the depth it contains from a competitive standpoint. They can work to convey that to the younger generation and enable opportunities to compete. This has already been happening in places like Japan for a long time, but there is potential for it to happen on a wider scale now.

      And it’s why the positioning for Beyblade X from a marketing perspective is so critical to me. Takara-Tomy is pushing towards “gear sports”. This is the right direction. But Hasbro, so far, hasn’t mentioned “sport” at all in their marketing. There are good signs when it comes to the quality of their product and involvement with WPN, though. So it’s a mixed bag.

      I too believe this generation could be one of be most successful ever. But the chances of this would be boosted if all involved parties could align their messaging. I’m not sure yet if that will happen.

  3. I agree with your given criterion whether beyblade nowadays cannot be considered yet a “sport”. As long as the production of beyblades and its legal equipment and accessories is being monopolized by a lone company (Takara Tomy), it will have a long way to go as a sport. Basketball, as an example, have multiple brands and companies manufacturing required gears and equipment such as balls (wilson, spalding, molten, etc.), jerseys and basketball shoes (nike, adidas, underarmour, etc.). For e-sports (MLBB, Dota 2, AOV, CODM, etc.), there also multiple companies/providers involved in sponsoring gaming phones to be used, internet service, hand warmers, etc. If multiple companies are regulated and involved in beyblade products, the price of beyblade products and accessories would be lessen and become affordable. Therefore, more audience in any category could be reach as they can still “go shoot” or “let it rip”. I hope Takara Tomy would reconsider this as long as those regulated 3rd parties are being monitored for quality control. And also, maybe they could also implement to collect broken beyblade parts? Such as in GunPla, used runners are being collected for reuse/recycling purposes, worn or broken beyblade parts can be turned over also to official B4 stores, then they can be collected by Takara Tony and other 3rd parties for recycling or repurposed into new beyblade products. If there’s a little compensation, much better. That’s just my two cents.

    1. Hey Toto Bey, thanks for reading and for your comment!

      You’re totally right about the monopolization of legal equipment by Takara Tomy. It’s also interesting to read your commentary on e-sports equipment/services as well. I don’t know a lot about that myself.

      The cost reduction additional companies being involved may bring is a great point.

      As is what you said about broken Beyblade parts. I think it could be extended to excessively worn down Beyblade parts too. There is a point where for competitive players, parts become too worn down to be viable for use in tournaments anymore. At that point, they effectively become ‘junk’ even though they could still be used for ‘fun’. Yet, there’s no way to recycle them, so to speak. It would be amazing if there was. It might even encourage players to play more and ultimately buy more too.

      That being said, at this point it seems to me like Takara Tomy is very happy to stick with the Beyblade ‘formula’ they’ve developed over the past 25 years. Long time fans can see many different patterns in how they choose to release certain types of parts and develop each series now that we’ve been through a few complete cycles. And now their team has more experience and understanding of what is ‘good’ and what is ‘bad’ in Beyblade.

      So, I’m not sure how much will change with regards to their existing monopoly.

      Other companies and individuals have tried (and failed) to create alternative spinning top games. Including those which are not controlled strictly by a single for-profit company. In fact, there is probably communities out there still which battle completely custom spinning tops. One could certainly argue that these games are closer to being “sports” than Beyblade.

      However, I also think incredible value has been built into the Beyblade brand over the past 25 years. Something might be lost if the game became less regulated. Opening it up to other manufacturers would be very tricky. There is something about only Takara Tomy being responsible for the equipment that makes it more approachable to a wider audience. Even if there were regulations, if I had to keep track of releases by a range of third-parties to stay competitive, it would be difficult to keep up. It’s hard enough that Hasbro is also releasing exclusive tops.

      I pondered in one of my previous comments:

      “I also wonder about the link between commercial support and marketing and how any ‘game’ or ‘sport’ is perceived.”

      For all of the faults we could point out in Beyblade, Takara Tomy has without question been the clear winner up until now in terms of management and advocacy for the competitive organization of spinning top games. That means something. And so does how they have positioned Beyblade X.

      What a “sport” is will always be debated. The way I feel right now could probably most accurately be described as both equal parts hopeful and doubtful. For all of the reasons I talked about in this article.

      You could say I’m 50/50.

      In the past, I would say I was more doubtful than hopeful. Maybe 30/70 or 40/60. It’s a meaningful difference. But there’s still a long way to go.

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