- Disambiguation: for the 1993 anime see Battle Spirits Ryuuko no Ken.
|Players||2 or 4|
|Setup time||Approx 2 min|
|Playing time||Approx 20 min|
|Skill(s) required||Card playing
Basic Reading Ability
Battle Spirits is a two-player collectible card game (CCG) jointly developed by Bandai and Sunrise, Inc. and a franchise which also includes several anime series, manga serializations, and other merchandise like toys and video games.
The game was released in Japan in September 2008 where it quickly became one of the top selling trading card games of the year. Due to this popularity, it was released in the United States by Bandai of America on August 14, 2009. However, due to a lack of publicity, only five sets were released.
How to Play
The game is set up by placing five core on each player's life and four on each player's reserve. Each player draws four cards from their deck. The steps in a turn are as follows:
- Start Step: Signals the start of your turn.
- Core Step: Take one core and add it to your reserve. This step is skipped in the first turn.
- Draw Step: Draw one card from your deck.
- Refresh Step: Refresh all cards and take back cores in your trash (if any).
- Main Step: Summoning and leveling up spirits/braves/ultimates, using magic, placing burst cards (only one), deploying nexuses, and braving takes place during this step. No summoning, braving or moving core is allowed in other steps (except when stated by effects).
- Attack Step: This step is skipped in the first turn. Attacking takes place solely on this step. The steps are as follows:
- Decide which spirit attacks. Only a card in refreshed position can attack or block, and is exhausted as soon as an attack or block is declared.
- Flash timing: Magic or Swift Summon can be done at this time. The defender has the right to use magic first.
- The opponent decides whether to block or take a life. If taking a life, the second Flash timing and the BP check are skipped.
- Flash timing: Magic or Swift Summon can be done at this time. Again, the defender can use magic first.
- Check BP. The card with higher BP wins, and the lower BP is destroyed. If the same amount, both are destroyed.
- Turn End. Signals the end of your turn.
Repeat until game ends. The game is won by reducing either the opponent's life or deck to 0. The game is won immediately when the life is at 0, but a deck must have 0 cards during the Start Step for the game to end.
- Core: Counters that are used to play cards and serve as life. When life is decreased, the core from the life goes to the reserve.
- Type: The type of card, whether a spirit, magic, nexus, brave, or ultimate.
- Color: The color of card, whether red, white, green, purple, yellow, or blue.
- Core Cost: The number of core that must be sent to the trash to play a card. Located on the top-left corner of the card.
- Core Reduction: For every card with a corresponding symbol on the field (up to a point), the core cost of playing a card is reduced by 1. Located directly to the right of the core cost.
- Battle Points: Abbreviated as BP, the attack/block power of a spirit, brave, or ultimate.
- Level Cost: The number of cores needed to raise a card to a certain level.
- Family: The classification of spirit, brave, and ultimate cards. Sometimes called attribute or characteristic. Located to the right of the card's name.
- Symbol: The gem at the bottom-right of the card. Used to determine card color, core reduction, and damage the card can deal to the life. Most cards range from 0 to 2 symbols.
- Spirit: Spirits are summoned mainly to attack the opponent and reduce their life but are also used to protect your own life. They must have at least 1 core on them to stay on the field, and are leveled up by adding more core to them.
- Magic: Players use Magic to change the game field environment by causing a variety of different effects from providing BP boosts to drawing more cards. They can drastically change the pace of the game. Called "Spells" in the English release.
- Nexus: Nexuses are location cards that change the field. Their effects are similar to magic, but are continuous.
- Brave: A fourth type of card introduced about two years into the Japanese game's life. They are treated as Spirits, but can be 'Braved' onto Spirits, combining effects and attributes.
- Ultimate: A powerful type of card whose level starts at 3 and can go up to 5. These cards have high BP for their cost. Unlike braves, Ultimates are unaffected by effects targeting spirits, and must have a condition fulfilled to summon them.
The card rarity in Battle Spirits is as follows:
- Common: Cards that do not have good effects and some that even do not have effects. Mainly low cost spirits.
- Uncommon: Spirits which are better than common cards but still weak, medium cost.
- Rare: In the US version, they are all foiled cards except for starter rares. Costs range from 4-7.
- Master Rare: Foiled cards, much like rares. Costs range from 5-7.
- X Rare: Special foil with an X in the effect box background. They typically feature much more powerful effects than other tiers of rarity, normally high costs. Costs range from 6 to 12.
- Mythic X Rare: Full Print Card with a BS in the effect box background. The sole Mythic X-Rare card is The AbsoluteDragonDeity Amaterasu-Dragon, with only three known copies in the world.
The Battle Spirits world is set with six colors; Red (Ruby), Green (Emerald), Purple (Amethyst), White (Diamond), Blue (Sapphire), and Yellow (Topaz). Each color stems from a different variety of precious gem.
- Red: Red cards are mainly aggressive and have many effects that are activated when the player is attacking. Red cards also have many destructive effects that change the game situation drastically. One of the typical cards is “Flame Tempest”. It destroys all spirits with 3000BP or less. Red spirits are mostly based on fire and reptiles.
- White: White cards are mainly defensive and many have effects that activate when they block. Even when you have less spirits than your opponent does, white spirits will protect your Life with their strong defensive power. One of the typical cards is “Pure Elixir”. It refreshes all of your exhausted spirits. White spirits are mostly based on ice and robots.
- Green: Green cards have comparatively cheap costs and high BP for their costs. They are good at generating cores in which they can give a player an early resource advantage in the game. An example is "Potion Berry". It enables you to add a core to your reserve. Green spirits are mostly based on nature and insects.
- Purple: Purple cards are good at causing pain to your opponent outside of the battle. Purple is notorious for effects that play with the core layout of their opponent, like removing core from opposing Spirits in an attempt to deplete them. They also have many cards which enable you to draw more. One of the typical cards is “The Shackles of Doom”. It prohibits spirits with only one core on them from attacking or blocking. Purple spirits are mostly based on death and demons.
- Blue: Blue cards mainly have the power to demolish your opponent's deck, focusing on victory by deck out. They also have a high affinity with nexuses, which boost their effects. One card is "Magic Hammer", which allows you to move the top 5 cards of the opponent's deck to their trash. Blue spirits are mostly based on the superhuman.
- Yellow: Yellow cards are weak compared to other colors when looking at cost and BP, but have amazing effects that give you a powerful advantage when it comes to magic. Yellow is great at working with other colors to boost the power of their magic. Cards such as "Shining Magic" move magic cards from the trash to the hand, allowing for the repeating of combos. Yellow spirits are mostly based on the divine.
In addition, Ultimate cards have Gold symbols.
There are keywords that help identify a spirit's effect.
- Awaken: Spirits with Awaken have the effect texts listed as follows: (Flash Step): You may move any number of cores from spirits you control to this spirit. This effect is in red.
- Ultra-Awaken: A variation of Awaken where the spirit is refreshed each time cores are placed on it.
- True-Awaken: A variation of Awaken specific to Ultimates where the ultimate gains 3000 BP for every core placed on it.
- Swift: Spirits with Swift have the effect texts listed as follows: (Flash Step): This spirit may be summoned from your hand during the Flash Step. In that case, the cost of this spirit and cores to be put on this spirit must be paid or moved from your Reserve. This effect is in green.
- Violent Swift: A variation of Swift where the Core Cost is paid from the trash if there are 5 or more in it.
- Curse: Spirits with Curse have the effect texts listed as follows: (When Attacks): If this spirit is blocked, destroy the spirit that blocked this spirit at End of Battle Step. This effect is in purple.
- Immunity: X: Spirits with Immunity: X have the effect texts listed as follows: (Permanent): This spirit is unaffected by the effects of Spirit, Nexus, and Spell cards your opponent controls with the listed color(s) X. This effect is in white.
- Invincibility: X: A variation of Immunity where the spirit is also unaffected by opposing Brave effects.
- Ultra-Immunity: X: A variation of Immunity where the spirit is also unaffected by opposing Ultimate effects.
- Brilliance: Spirits with Brilliance have the effect texts as follows: (When Attacks): During this battle, each time you play a spell card, at End of Battle Step, move that spell card from your Trash to your hand. This effect is in yellow.
- Evil Light: A variation of Brilliance where the spell's effect can be activated twice in the battle.
- Crush: Spirits with Crush have the effect texts listed as follows: (When Attacks): Move cards from the top of your opponent’s Deck to their Trash equal to this spirit’s LV. This effect is in blue.
- Great Demolish: A variation of Crush where 5 cards are moved to the trash for every level that the spirit has.
- Tribute: Spirits with Tribute have the effect texts as follows: (Spirit with cost X or more) -> (location) [To Summon] As an additional cost to summon this spirit card, you must select a spirit you control that has cost X or more and move all cores from that spirit to the specified area. This effect is not limited to any color.
- Clash: Spirits with Clash have the effect texts as follows: (When Attacks): Your opponent's spirits must block if possible. This effect is in red.
- True-Clash: A variation of Clash where opposing spirits or ultimates must block if possible.
- Windstorm: X: Spirits with Windstorm have the effect texts as follows: (When Attacks): Each time this spirit is blocked, your opponent exhausts the specified number of unexhausted spirits they control. This effect is in green.
- Assault: X: Spirits with Assault have the following effect: Assault: X (When Attacks): During this turn for the number of times stated above, you can exhaust one Nexus in order to refresh this Spirit. This effect is in blue.
- Holy Life: Spirits with Holy Life have the effect texts as follows: (When Attacks): If this spirits deals damage to the opponent's life, move one core from the void to your life. This effect is in yellow.
- Divine Holy Life: A variation of Holy Life where one core is moved to the life when the spirit attacks, and it is refreshed if your life is three or less.
- Ice Wall: X: Spirits with Ice Wall have the effect texts listed as follows: (Opponent's Turn): If an opponent plays a spell of X color, by exhausting this spirit, negate that effect. This effect is in white.
- Immortality: X: Spirits with Immortality have the effect texts listed as follows: If this spirit is in your trash, you can summon it to the field when one of your spirits with cost X is destroyed. This effect is in purple.
- Burst: Spirits, ultimates, or magic which act as trap cards that activate when certain conditions are met, like "When the opponent takes your life" or "When the opponent uses Summon effects". After activating the burst effect, you can summon the burst spirit at no cost, or you can activate the main or flash effect of the burst magic by paying the cost. This effect is not limited to any color.
- Destructive Curse: Spirits with Destructive Curse have the effect texts listed as follows: (When Destroyed): By sending one of your opponent's life to your opponent's trash, this spirit remains on the field, refreshed. This effect is in purple.
- Charge: Charge is a special ability which premiered in SD10. Rather than being restricted to a particular color, like most other special abilities, it is restricted to light spirits. Instead of being a standalone effect, Charge enhances other effects. The effect of charge is different for each color.
- Red: Increase the BP limit of your destruction effects by 1000.
- Purple: Increase the number of cores moved due to your removal effects by 1
- Green: Increase the number of opposing cards exhausted due to your effects by 1
- White: Increase the number of spirits refreshed by your effects by 1
- Yellow: Increase your BP- effects by -1000.
- Blue: Increase the cards moved from your opponent's deck to their trash due to your effects by 1.
- Rush: Rush is a special ability which premiered in SD11. Rather than being restricted to a particular color, like most other special abilities, it is restricted to dark spirits. Rush encourages mixing colors, as it requires keeping a different color symbol on your field to activate, designated on the card. Similarly to a nexus, for as long as you have the conditions fulfilled, the rush effect remains active. The actual effect of rush varies from spirit to spirit.
- Bunshin: X: Spirits with Bunshin have the effect texts listed as follows: Place up to X cards from the top of your deck face down on your field and by adding 1 or more cores from your reserve onto them, during the game, those cards become "Cost 0, Family: Bunshin, <1>LV1 BP3000, Green" Bunshin spirits. Bunshin spirits cannot be braved and are discarded if sent back to the hand or deck. This effect is in green.
- Draw Blade: Spirits with Draw Blade have the effect texts listed as follows: You can summon 1 Brave card from your hand in the family "Exalted Sword" that can Brave Fuse with this Spirit, without paying the cost. This effect is not limited to any color.
- Ultimate Trigger: An effect specific to Ultimates which premiered in SD19. When the Ultimate Trigger activates, the opponent moves one card from their deck to the trash. If the core cost of the card is lower than the Ultimate, this is referred to as a Hit and a special effect activates. If the core cost of the card is equal to or higher than the Ultimate, this is referred to as a Guard and the special effect does not activate.
- Critical Hit: If the card sent to the trash fulfills a certain condition, another effect may activate.
- Double Ultimate Trigger: Two cards are sent to the trash instead of one. If both cards hit, another effect may activate.
- Spirit Soul: X: Spirit Soul is a special ability which premiered in BS24. When summoning an Ultimate, a spirit with Spirit Soul gains an extra symbol of X color, which can be used for cost reduction.
- Spirit Soul: Infinite: A variation of Spirit Soul where two symbols of the same color as the Ultimate being summoned are added.
- Summon Bolt: X: Spirits with Summon Bolt have the effect texts listed as follows: (When Battles): At the end of the battle, by destroying this Spirit, summon 1 cost X Spirit card in the same family as this Spirit from your hand without paying its cost.
- On Stage: Spirits with On Stage have the effect texts listed as follows: (Your Attack Step): Instead of attacking with this Spirit, by returning this Spirit to the bottom of your deck, a Spirit card from your hand with name of "X" and in family "Stage Style" can be summoned without paying its cost, and draw 1 card from your deck.
- Trigger Counter: An effect of braves or spells that activates when the opponent's Ultimate Trigger hits. The effect can only be activated when the card is in the hand, and cannot be used when on the field. Braves with Trigger Counter are summoned immediately before their effect takes place.
- Poison Blade: X: Spirits with Poison Blade have the effect texts listed as follows: (When Battles): Place X cards from the top of your opponent's deck underneath an opposing Spirit or Ultimate. The cards placed under the Spirit or Ultimate are discarded when it leaves the field.
English Set Releases
A player must have at least 40 cards in their deck, with no upper limit. Up to three cards of the same name are allowed in a deck. Players can purchase booster packs to increase the number of cards they have. Expansions are sets of cards that build upon the foundation laid out by the base set, the original set of cards released.
- BS-01 Call of the Core (released 08/14/09): The base set that introduced the original four colors Red, Purple, Green and White.
- BS-02 Rise of the Angels (released 11/13/09): This set introduces the new color Yellow as well help additional support for the original four colors.
- BS-03 Scars of Battle (released 02/05/10): This set introduced the next new color Blue, completing the six colors of Battle Spirits so far.
- BS-04 Ascension of Dragons (released 05/07/10): This set focuses on dragons and the new two gem spirits that if they were to do damage they would take two life instead of one. Unlike the previous three US sets, it contained not only cards from Japanese series 4, but around half of series 5 as well.
- BS-05 Dawn of the Ancients: (released 09/10/2010): This set introduced two new effect keywords: Rage and Windstorm. This set contain the rest of set 5 and half of the Japanese set 6.
There are currently a total of 27 expansions available in Japan as well as numerous decks, special sets and promotional cards.
There are 250 episodes in the first five completed series. The currently airing season is "Saikyou Ginga Ultimate Zero". Each anime also has a manga serialization.
- Battle Spirits: Shounen Toppa Bashin (2008-2009)
- Battle Spirits: Shounen Gekiha Dan (2009-2010)
- Battle Spirits: Brave (2010-2011)
- Battle Spirits: Heroes (2011-2012)
- Battle Spirits: Sword Eyes (2012-2013)
- Battle Spirits: Saikyou Ginga Ultimate Zero (2013-present)
There have been three video games released to date. None of them have been released outside of Japan.
- Battle Spirits: Champion of Pyroxene (2009) was made for the Sony PSP.
- Battle Spirits: Digital Starter (2010) was made for the Nintendo DS.
- Battle Spirits: Heroes Soul (2010) was made for the Sony PSP.
- "Bandai Brings ‘Battle Spirits TCG’ to U.S.". 2009-03-09.