- What is the “correct” way to play Beyblade?
- Playing Casually Versus Competitively
- How Different Beyblade Stadiums Affect Our Perception of Being “Knocked-Out”
- The 2 Key Questions We Should Consider
- Defining “Play Area” and Re-Defining “Knocked-Out”
- How does this change Beyblade?
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This article originally began as a new response to a thread on worldbeyblade.org titled “Consideration for rules update – Knockouts” by member Mr. Palazzo.
The debate about the WBO’s existing ruling on knock-outs has been ongoing for sometime, and I previously mentioned it in my “What is the best way to play Beyblade?” article late last year.
In writing this response, it evolved into a larger conversation about:
- Whether there is “right” or “wrong” ways to play Beyblade.
- Why the WBO uses its own ruleset which differs in some ways from the WBBA.
- What it means to play competitively versus playing for fun.
- Defining what the “play area” actually is in Beyblade.
- Proposing a redefinition what “knocked-out” means in Beyblade.
My ultimate goal however was to advance this discussion further and try to take concrete action towards clarifying precisely what I feel the World Beyblade Organization’s rules should look like from now on with regards to the definition of the “play area” and “knocked-out”.
I welcome any feedback here on BeyBase or on the WBO!
What is the “correct” way to play Beyblade?
#NeverForget.. That this game is being played incorrectly in WBO tournaments. I know it seems odd since there aren’t going to be gatherings for a while, but why return to them with the flawed rules in a meta that’s starting to lean really into attack? Attack was already doing well but the escalation is only rising. – Mr. Palazzo
I’m still very much on Mr. Palazzo’s side when it comes to wanting to remove the ability for a “wall bounce” to qualify as a KO.
However, I have to disagree with the stance towards it he’s outlined here and in some other posts.
The game is not being “played incorrectly”, with “flawed rules”, or in a “fundamentally wrong way”. It’s being played the way we want it to be played.
Does that make it objectively right? Absolutely not.
The Constant Evolution of the Game, Rules, and Our Experience
The game is constantly evolving, as I alluded to here with regards to how the KO ruling in debate came to be.
As is evident by our constant updates to the rules, this evolution is something we are always monitoring and making changes to accommodate for based on new releases, player feedback, organizer feedback, and our continued accumulation of experience with the game on a competitive level.
To state as a matter of fact that the way things are is “incorrect” is untrue and unfair to the reality that there are innumerable ways to play Beyblade. Each influenced by the context within which they exist.
People play a certain way with their friends, the WBO plays another way, the WBBA another, and another group of friends somewhere else probably plays differently too.
There is nothing “incorrect” about any of these methods. In fact, it’s part of what makes Beyblade great! People can play however they’d like.
What the WBO’s Framework Enables
That being said, the WBO imposes a specific framework in order to:
- Make it possible to fairly compare players that are geographically scattered.
- Make it possible to evaluate your personal performance over time.
- Make it possible to evaluate the strength of combinations with a greater level of accuracy due to the controlled and consistent ruleset they play within.
- Make it possible to talk with other players in the global community on a mutually understood and consistent playing field.
Players who participate in WBO events value and accept this because it helps to make the game more meaningful on each of these levels.
I appreciate Mr. Palazzo’s passion for this subject and am glad he brought this back up, but I do believe that we need to be careful with how we frame our argument here.
The wall bounce KO ruling is fine to take issue with and debate–in fact, I invite such debate because it pushes us all to be better–but to suggest that it is inherently incorrect on some fundamental level is simply untrue.
While I disagree with others who don’t feel we should adjust this specific ruling, it is a complex issue and I can understand and respect why they may feel that way.
Playing Casually Versus Competitively
You know what feels straight up stupid for a game about nothing except spinning tops? Having to say a match is over while two tops are still aggressively spinning on the arena, then having to spend 1-3 minutes looking at a camera to see who was got out. Tournaments already go on for a while, to artificially inflate the time further with the need to review replay after replay is insane. I prefer an honest game, not a game that’s over in 3 seconds followed by a 2 minute review of footage because both beys went flying in different directions. Ludicrous how often this happens.
It actually comes off feeling as if people don’t like watching tops spin, instead being only hyper focused on the idea of scoring points, to the extent of actively hurting the state of game play. – Mr. Palazzo
I completely understand and empathize with much of what Mr. Palazzo is saying here.
But to play devils’ advocate: the values he’s expressed here reflect a specific view of how someone can interpret what makes the game meaningful to them.
What Rouzuke said holds truth:
Not really sure if I did understand your sentiments, but that would only be applicable if you’re playing casual. It’s not that people don’t want to see tops spin, but if that is what is already expected to happen (spinning tops), then people in a competitive environment, namely “tournaments”, will more or less focus on the outcome/points instead of the whole process of tops battling each other.
That’s what I think, not trying to be rude or what. – Rouzuke
Gameplay as a Means to an End
The gameplay in effect becomes a means to an end (winning a match/tournament) and less about playing or observing purely for “fun”. If you are doing the latter, of course watching the Beyblades in the stadium for a longer period of time would be more “fun” in that traditional sense of the word.
Competitive players find the game “fun”, but they also find being competitive “fun”. And being competitive means testing, optimization, research, and strict adherence of the shared framework of rules they are playing in with their opponent(s).
Getting Things Right is What Matters
The length of the match or lengths required to come to an accurate result do not matter; getting things right is what matters. Accepting nothing less than an accurate result from our judges is the most honest part of the game.
The act of playing in a competitive event means you accept to be bound by whatever tenets it is guided by at that point in time. As such, your goal becomes to achieve the fundamental end goal of the game (winning) within what that framework allows.
Players can’t ultimately feel “cheated” out of anything when the rules are applied as written or reasonably interpreted where the rules allow for judge discretion.
Length of Matches & Difficulty of Judging Does Matter Too
Does this mean that concerns such as length of matches and difficulty of judging shouldn’t be considered? Definitely not. They matter a lot because they impact the accuracy of those results, the logistics of planning an event, and the enjoyment of spectators.
That’s why this is a discussion worth having. And similar to many WBO members, it’s exactly this part of it that I’ve been trying to build awareness for among the community.
From a purely competitive standpoint, however, none of these things matter. And that’s why I can understand from that perspective, there could be opposition to changing this rule.
How Different Beyblade Stadiums Affect Our Perception of Being “Knocked-Out”
Competitive players hold a view of the game which includes a deep understanding of how the game should work on a fundamental level. When the game deviates from that understanding, issues begin to arise for them.
In the case of Beyblade, I think it is fair to say that a fundamental part of the game is the ability for them to be knocked-out of the stadium and for it to count as a win for the player who knocked-out their opponent.
However, this fundamental part can also be modified depending on the stadium it is played in. There are stadiums with:
- Pockets (ex. Big BeyStadium)
- No pockets (ex. Super Vortex Stadium)
- Open exits (ex. MFB Attack Type Stadium)
- Exits with a cover (ex. Burst BeyStadium Standard Type)
- Flat areas outside exits or pockets (ex. MFB Balance Type Stadium, Burst Standard Type Stadium Cover)
Each of these has the potential to alter our understanding of this fundamental component of Beyblade.
I’m of the opinion that our understanding should adapt to whatever the environment we’re playing in is. In this case, the Burst BeyStadium Standard Type.
Evaluating TAKARA-TOMY’s Intention
That being said, I’d like to back track a bit to the point I was making earlier about the innumerable number of ways Beyblade can be played.
Mr. Palazzo alluded to earlier how the “current rules of intended play are backwards”.
If we think about intention, I would agree that as things currently stand with TAKARA-TOMY and the WBBA, our rules do diverge from theirs on this issue.
But, TAKARA-TOMY is also not incapable of adjusting their intentions to suit their needs in a particular moment or context.
For example, during the 2012 World Championships, the pockets in Hasbro’s Striker Stadium that was used for the preliminary rounds were treated as knock-out areas. Typically, Beyblades entering and remaining in the pockets were treated as in-play until they stopped spinning.
This type of change is one which fundamentally changed how the game could be played in those stadiums.
I think this illustrates that we shouldn’t always be beholden to what TAKARA-TOMY is doing.
We should absolutely look at and respect them, but ultimately we are a separate entity existing under entirely different circumstances with different values, so we should make the decisions which are optimized to ourselves first and foremost.
The 2 Key Questions We Should Consider
The same thing applies to our current ruling for wall bounces in the Burst Standard Type stadium.
Is it wrong? Is it right? The argument can be made either way. It depends on two things:
- What do we value from a competitive perspective?
- What do we value from an event organizing perspective?
1. What do we value from a competitive perspective?
It’s fair to say that from this perspective we value a balanced representation across all types of Beyblades (Attack, Defense, Stamina, and everything in between) in the metagame. The game is better when no single type is dominant.
As such, when considering a change to our knock-out rules, we have to ask ourselves: will the proposed change upset our goal of maintaining this balance?
In some ways it does, but in others it doesn’t.
If you add the ability for Beyblades to remain in-play after having exited the “play area” (regardless of the stadium) and returning under certain conditions, this inherently reduces the viability of attack types. You’re creating a method to re-enter the play area after it has been knocked-out, which is typically the primary win condition for an attack type.
However, allowing a Beyblade to re-enter the play area in this manner does introduce the possibility of it scoring a separation/Burst instead, which is more valuable points-wise in some formats.
That said, allowing for this does also benefit attack types in the sense that they can remain in-play even if they self-KO and bounce back in, for instance. This is currently allowed in our rules when a Beyblade self-KOs prior to contact with the opponent, but allowing it under any circumstances would boost this benefit further.
With this in mind it becomes clear that the value of being knocked-out depends entirely on the context. If you’re knocking out your opponent, it’s valuable. If you’re knocking out yourself, it’s negative.
2. What do we value from an event organizing perspective?
From this perspective, the piece which we value that is relevant to this discussion is quite simple. Like I said before: getting things right is what matters.
Intertwined with this is: what level of difficulty do we find acceptable when it comes to what we expect of judges at our events?
I would say we want the difficulty to be as low as possible without compromising the competitive integrity of the game.
To me, any ruling which can necessitate the need for video review quite frequently is not a good one. While things like close opposite spin stamina match-ups may be something unavoidable in the game, split-second moments resulting in a Beyblade being knocked into a pocket and bouncing back in counting as a KO are something we should avoid for the sake of making the game easier to judge and easier to understand for everyone.
Competitive players will always want the game to be highly competitive, but my feeling is that while changing the way we rule knock-outs like this does have a detrimental effect in some respects on attack types, we also need to consider the fact that it is us who gets to define what we want the game to be in the first place.
We get to define exactly what the competition should be.
And I agree with what Shindog said a while ago:
The rules should allow the best game to be played, but being officiated properly is part of that. – Shindog
There’s innumerable ways to play Beyblade and making this change might disappoint some, but considering all factors associated with both the game and who we are as a community, it’s probably for the best to change it now.
I believe most people agree with me too, if the support garnered in terms of likes from WBO Organizers on posts like this one that I made is any indication.
Defining “Play Area” and Re-Defining “Knocked-Out”
In order to move this discussion forward, I have carefully composed a brand new definition for what the “play area” is and an updated definition for “knocked-out”.
The updated “knocked-out” definition takes this new play area definition into consideration and assumes that we are removing the ruling which considers a Beyblade KOed immediately after it exits the play area.
I’d also like to note that these rules were written to be universal. If approved, they would be used in all rulebooks. I feel that regardless of the format being played, our stance on what the “play area” and “knocked-out” are should be consistent.
Stadiums may differ in their construction, but our fundamental philosophy behind these two key pieces of the game should be consistent.
Existing “Knocked-Out” Definitions
For reference, here is the existing definitions of “knocked-out”:
Knocked-Out Existing Definition – BST/BSC
A Beyblade is knocked-out when it exits the play area. Beyblades stuck on an element of a stadium are still considered in-play.
Beyblades that bounce back into the stadium after exiting the play area are still considered knocked-out. However, if a Beyblade exits the play area and bounces back in before touching the opposing Beyblade in any fashion, the round will continue.
Knocked-Out Existing Definition – MFB/MFL
A Beyblade is knocked-out when it exits the play area. Beyblades stuck on an element of a stadium are still considered in-play.
Beyblades that bounce back into the stadium after exiting the play area are still considered knocked-out. However specifically, if in the Burst BeyStadium Standard type a Beyblade exits the play area and bounces back in before touching the opposing Beyblade in any fashion, the round will continue.
Knocked-Out Existing Definition – PLA/HMS/ZRG
A Beyblade is knocked-out when it exits the play area and cannot return. Beyblades stuck on an element of a stadium are still considered in-play.
Universal Rules 8 – In and Out of Play Clarifications
And for some historical context, here is the relevant rulings regarding “knocked-out” from our discontinued “Universal Rulebook” Release 8.
This is one of the rulebooks from just before the implementation of our Google Docs-based rulebooks in late 2016 that currently exist:
When is a Beyblade considered knocked-out?
A Beyblade is considered out of play once it exits the play area, not when it touches the floor/ground outside of the BeyStadium. The moment a Beyblade exits the play area it is considered out of play.
A Beyblade exits the play area, but is still sitting on the edge of the BeyStadium.
Some BeyStadiums have design features outside of the playing area that Beyblades can become trapped in. If a Beyblade is knocked past the edge where it can feasibly return to the playing area of the BeyStadium, it is considered out of play and the round ends. However, if it continues to spin in an area where it can still re-enter the playing area, it is in-play. It must therefore immediately bounce back into the stadium, otherwise it is deemed out of play.
New Proposed Definitions of “Play Area” and “Knocked-Out”
Considering all of this, here are my new proposed definitions:
Play Area Definition
The play area is divided into two distinct areas:
Primary Play Area
The Primary Play Area is the space in the central area of a BeyStadium before the point at which any exits, pockets, walls, or stadium cover openings begin (if they exist).
Extended Play Area
The play area can be extended under specific circumstances:
Some BeyStadiums have design features–such as pockets–outside of the centralized primary play area that Beyblades can become trapped in or on permanently or temporarily.
These areas may only be considered as part of the play area if the Beyblade is spinning in or on them and can feasibly return to the Primary Play Area quickly.
A Beyblade is knocked-out when after being launched:
- It does not enter play area and cannot enter OR
- It exits the play area while spinning and cannot return OR
- It stops spinning outside the Primary Play Area.
A Beyblade “cannot enter” or “cannot return” and is therefore considered knocked-out when:
It reaches a spot outside the Extended Play Area where it cannot feasibly return to the central Primary Play Area quickly and continue spinning.
However, if it continues to spin in the Extended Play Area where it can still feasibly re-enter the Primary Play Area quickly, it remains in-play.
I invite everyone to please scrutinize this as carefully as possible.
Keep in mind that the goal is to craft definitions which are comprehensive enough to cover any format and any stadium that Beyblade can be played in while also being as concise as possible.
How does this change Beyblade?
While the above definition is comprehensive, it was done in a broad way. So, you may be wondering: what would this proposal actually mean for the game?
Sample Situations Based on New Definitions
Based on these definitions, I’ll spell out a few specific situations which are permitted by them:
Sample 1: Burst BeyStadium Standard Type
If a Beyblade enters the pocket, gets stuck in it without touching the floor outside the stadium (as is possible with large Layers like Imperial), and stops spinning, it will be considered knocked-out. This is because it has stopped spinning outside the primary play area and cannot feasibly return to it while spinning anymore.
Sample 2: Burst BeyStadium Standard Type
If a Beyblade enters the pocket while spinning, the match will continue until its stops spinning or another win condition is achieved (whether that be it self-bursting, the opponent self-KOing, the opponent stopping spinning first, etc). This is because while it is spinning in the pocket, it can still feasibly return to the central primary play area.
Sample 3: Burst BeyStadium Standard Type
If a Beyblade is launched, hits the top of the stadium cover and then falls off outside of it, it will be considered knocked-out because it feasibly “cannot return” to the central primary play area.
Sample 4: Burst BeyStadium Standard Type
If a Beyblade is launched, catches the rim of the stadium cover, and spins around it, the round continues. The round will then continue further if it falls into the primary play area or it will end and be considered “knocked-out” if it shoots itself to an area outside of the stadium cover entirely.
The stadium cover qualifies as part of the “extended play area”, but only in circumstances where there is still a chance for the Beyblade to feasibly enter/return to the primary play area.
Sample 5: BB-14 Balance Type Stadium (MFB)
If a Beyblade is spinning on the flat area outside the primary play area, it would be considered in-play because it can still feasibly re-enter the play area.
Sample 6: Any Stadium With Pockets (ex. Hasbro’s Beyblade Burst Triangle Beystadium)
If a Beyblade enters it and continues to spin, the judge will need to make the determination as to whether the Beyblade can feasibly return to the primary play area or not. If the Beyblade is bouncing around erratically in the pocket and seems like it might jump out, then it would still be considered in-play.
If it is spinning calmly in the pocket, it would be considered “knocked-out” based on the second point in the knocked-out definition: “It exits the play area while spinning and cannot return”.
Sample 7: BB-94 Tornado BeyStadium (MFB)
Beyblades can be launched from the yellow ramps outside of the primary play area. Because any Beyblade spinning here can feasibly enter or return to the primary play area, they are still considered to be in-play. If they are not spinning on the yellow ramps however, it would be considered a knock-out.
My proposed definitions effectively allow for the opportunity to extend the play area under specific circumstances in order to allow battles to continue when it seems possible that the Beyblade(s) which have exited the primary play area in the centre of the stadium can return to it while spinning.
For judges, it will be easier to make the call of “knock-out” this way. Knock-outs effectively become something which need to be final. Battles will not end until a Beyblade has no hope to continue spinning in the primary play area (whether that be due to being knocked-out or bursting).
In this sense, this change would make each win condition (outspin, knock-out, burst/separation) require finality, creating a more consistent theme competitively. If you want to win, you need to do something your opponent cannot possibly return from.
How would this change affect WBO Burst Format Deck Matches?
The one specific concern I would like to address is how this change would affect Deck Format in WBO Burst Format, where the Burst BeyStadium Standard Type is used and we recently updated KOs to be worth 1pt instead of 2pts.
There are some who feel that we can’t have both 1pt KOs and the removal of the ruling which considers Beyblades bouncing back into the stadium to already be considered KOed.
I’m not sure how exactly to convince those who feel this way otherwise. The fact of the matter is that yes, changing the rule to what I’ve proposed will change the game. It’s a conscious choice that will have an effect on attack types.
As I’ve said in the past, “the removal of this rule doesn’t negatively impact attack types as much as you might think it would given the state they are in right now with Layers like Judgment and Zwei available”.
The argument could be made to trying out this change in some test WBO events and I am open to that if it’s what the majority wants, but based on my experience at NO SLEEP TILL BEYBLADE where we played using WBBA’s 3on3 Battle Format (and 1pt KOs with no bounce back ruling), attack was still great.
My recent experience in Japan also has reinforced this opinion as well. Attack was just as successful for me and others there as it was at the experimental NO SLEEP TILL BEYBLADE event.
There may be some changes to how competitive players approach the game as a result of this change, but I do not believe this is inherently a bad thing. The important thing is that this change doesn’t significantly upset the balanced representation we would ideally like to see throughout the game of each main type of combination.
The overall power of attack types has shifted dramatically since September 2017 when our knock-out definition was last updated, so I am confident that now is the right time to be making this change.
In the end, as with any rule change, we are also capable of changing down the road if it proves to have been or to become detrimental.
What do you think? Comment below!
I’d love hear what you guys think of my proposed new definition for “play area” and “knocked-out” for World Beyblade Organization tournaments. Please scrutinize it carefully! I’d love if we can come to an agreement on a universal set of descriptions for these concepts that can be applied to any Beyblade format in existence.
Comment below and let me know!
If you enjoyed reading this article, please also feel free to share it with any of your friends who are into playing Beyblade competitively or judging matches at tournaments.
Read Part 2: Where should the “play area” of a Beyblade stadium begin and end?
Check out the follow up to this article featuring the feedback I received from the community: Where should the “play area” of a Beyblade stadium begin and end? (Extended Play Area vs. Penalty Area).