I was going to write a thing on zombies and the parts used/considered for them, but I started writing the defensive zombie part first, and it grew into post of its own. I guess that’s fitting, seeing as they are two hugely different types of customization.
Defensive Zombies, i.e. Zombies using Wolborg 2’s SG Bearing Ver 2, are actually some of the most versatile balance types in plastics. They also have the advantage, given a correct spin direction matchup, of beating almost every other balance type.
Furthermore, their defense against pure smash attack (probably the most powerful form of attack in plastics, and definitely the most exciting), is unparalleled (well, Seaborg 1’s base probably has better defense against smash but most smash attackers will destroy its stamina and OS it). The only attack-based answers to them generally rely on spin direction matchups in one way or another, and even then only the best of them provide any kind of consistency.
That’s not to say they don’t have their counters, though; the most common concern when using one is the threat of other, non-defensive, zombies, which will generally outspin you regardless of spin direction. As with all Zombies, Spiral Change Base combos are a threat, though opponents can be discouraged from using them if they think you’re going to use attack, and, if they don’t know to weak launch, you can shoot for a KO.
Wolborg 4-based combos are the other constant threat, especially if they catch on. They’re quite cheap to get the parts for, so may (should) end up becoming commonplace. Frankly, you should have one of your own before attending a tournament, not only to find a counter, but for actual use: they’re a solid answer to a lot of things. However, Wolborg 4 combos can be beaten by a few things. They’re very hard to counter with a left spin beyblade, only extremely powerful smash attackers and the upper echelon of stamina-focussed zombies (Tiger Defenser/Twin Horn, Burning Kerberous Base+SG) will beat them reliably in opposite spin.
In the same spin direction, though, there are many more exploitable weaknesses, pretty much anything with decent stamina, including certain compact customizations, is able to outspin a Wolborg 4 combo (the only counter W4 users have to this is winding up the EG and launching as aggressively as possible, which only works against defensively-weak opponents). I’d still expect a good Wolborg 4 based combo (I need to come up with a nickname for those. I can do that here) to beat a Defensive Zombie in the same spin direction though.
On Weak Launching, Defensive Zombies can use it, but generally, it is only a defense against smash attack, which they already counter naturally. It only serves to weaken their defense against Upper Attack, their main weakness, and as such is limited to very uncommon situations, generally only where one is not using an optimal setup and facing an extremely powerful Smash Attacker.
- Parts List
Tiger Defenser: Tiger Defenser is pretty much great for anything defense/stamina oriented, and these are no different. Probably my favourite choice in right spin, though that’s not really that great given defensive zombies are predominantly left-spin. Also the best choice on a budget.
War Lion+War Lion SAR: Often touted as being a better defense part than tiger defenser, and I guess it is, but the stamina is much, much worse, and it just leaves too much space, it’s too easy to land hits on given the right height, IMO, in right spin, anyway. In left spin, the AR itself is directly outclassed by Hasbro’s Twin Horn in every conceivable way. In right spin it’s better (Twin Horn (either brand) has recoil and supposedly breakage issues in right spin), but I prefer tiger defenser over it in every way in right spin. It’s also really fragile (both parts). So yeah, it’s not bad but not a personal favourite.
Twin Horn (Hasbro)+War Lion SAR: My personal favourite, for left spin, anyway. I guess the additional contact in right spin could be used to KO things like spiral change base if the opponent is using same spin or opposite spin and doesn’t weak launch, but left spin is the primary spin direction for defensive zombies anyway. In left spin, the only points of contact are very rounded off, it is decently balanced (not as good for stamina as tiger defenser, but this is a defensive zombie anyway), and the use of an SAR helps the defense significantly. It also looks awesome, especially with a red war lion SAR and matching red bit chip.
Twin Horn (Takara): Great for left spin, not so great for right spin. In left spin it’s outclassed by the Hasbro version for defensive zombies, but yeah, probably better than tiger defenser. In right spin, basically the same as Hasbro’s Twin Horn but with less defense. I’d stick to tiger defenser there.
Screw Zeus+War Lion SAR: I’ve heard it mentioned and it does work decently but War Lion+War Lion is probably better for the job, those two triangles on the AR cause recoil and it doesn’t do much for your stamina.
Upper Dragoon: A less common choice, I personally haven’t had much luck with it, but yeah. It helps cover the gaps in wide defense with plastic. I find it a bit too weak to upper attack, and also found it easier to KO with smash, though if the knobs on it wear down it would do a fair bit better I guess. Not a favourite of mine, but do try it for yourself.
Wide Defense is basically the only option. Wide Survivor is too light and everything else has too much recoil.
Customize Grip Base: Pretty much the only choice, again. It prevents the sides of the tip from self-KOing when hit, and protects from upper attack.
Defense Ring: Defense Ring is pretty much always the best SP for any given combo.
Cross Survivor/Survivor Ring: Not as good as defense ring, still good though.
Twin Guard: I want to try this but I don’t really think, from its shape, that it will be as good here as for other things.
Spin Gear Setups:
There are two setups that can be used, Wolborg 2’s shaft in its own casings, and wolborg 2’s shaft in Burning Kerberous’s Casings. The latter is shorter, more stable, and has better spin-stealing, however, the lower height means most wolborg 2 tips can scrape against the inside of the base, though in battle this only happens on very hard hits. This causes a loss in stamina, though I believe it has some theoretical benefits, as it allows the tip to anchor the rest of the beyblade after heavy hits, reducing movement. Absolutely no idea if that works in practice or not but I find it harder to KO, anyway. It also steals spin back more efficiently, so the stamina loss isn’t a huge deal.
That said, if you’re not comfortable with that, or your tip doesn’t spin free enough in the base naturally, stick to wolborg 2’s casings.
- Expanded/Second-Tier Options
Stuff that is interesting but not useful:
Technically you can use a free spinning EG and Dragoon GT’s CEW for a similar effect but it sucks.
A number of other SG/Base setups can fit the tip but Customize Grip Base is by far the best of them. Still, compatibility list doc is here: Plastics Compatibility List (Google Docs)
Other part choices and why they aren’t listed:
War Monkey: Not enough stamina, basically directly outclassed by war lion.
Smash Turtle: Too susceptible to upper, stamina isn’t that amazing either tbh.
Gyro AR: Overrated, and it’s not a defense AR, the flat faces of the gaps have a lot of recoil. Just included it on the off chance someone was like “wat about my overhyped solo spin ar”
Cross Horn: I just don’t know enough about it, I have a gold one but I can’t use it due to fragility. It should be pretty good in theory, albeit only in left spin, and it’s definitely better than Turtle Survivor though.
Turtle Survivor: Don’t even bother. It’s not even that great for normal zombies and is way too aggressive for this.
Wing Upper: Underrated, overall a decent choice, nice distribution, but it’s directly outclassed by tiger defenser.
MG WD has been used but it’s nowhere near as good as Wide Defense and far too easy to OS/KO, even with a protective AR like Upper Dragoon. Still, in a pinch it may be useful, but don’t expect to benefit from the versatility that makes Defensive Zombies so powerful.
By the way, if there is anything you specifically would like to have me write about, let me know in the comments section below. All feedback/comments/corrections are appreciated, I’m only one person and my knowledge is never going to be flawless :)