MA-04 Death Gargoyle MS
Initial Release: Mid-Winter 2004, Booster MA-04 (Orange)
Additional Releases: Hasbro's "Dark Effigy MS" Starter (Orange), Random Booster ACT 2 (Red), Random Booster ACT 3 (Purple, Light Blue), , SH-03/04 Chinese Exclusive Romance of Three Kingdoms "Zhuge Liang/Zhou Yu" (Light Blue, Orange)
Bit Protector - "Small Type"
Should be noted that BP Size Type on initial release is not consistent for every cycle of production or re-release. Being reproduced the following year could mean a different BP Size Type for a given Beyblade.
Circle Upper, ~20.5g.
Shares the same Metal Frame with Samurai Changer MS' Samurai Upper.
Small note, Circle Upper has been classically considered 20g, though to be precise Mold 1's hover in the mid 19g range while Mold 2's hover in the upper 20g range. See the HMS Weight Comparison Doc for a more thorough look at potential Circle Upper weights.
The Mack Daddy of HMS. This AR has its fingers in every pie, there isn't a combo it won't dramatically improve, regardless of win condition. First inductee to "The Big Three" of Attack ARs.
Circular design with weight distributed around the perimeter, making it a great choice as a Stamina AR.
Design is conservative enough to be used for Defense, though it mostly serves to block and counter Attack types than just wall them out of winning.
Incredibly violent on many aggressive RCs, to the point it makes non-rubber RCs a viable option to consider. It is so consistent than anything from Metal Weight Grip Core to Metal Flat will find KOs using Circle Upper.
An iconic AR that works far too well at everything. Easily the best AR beside Samurai Upper, if not slightly edging it out as it is preferred on Defense and Stamina setups.
Best Possible Combo:
AR: Circle Upper (Mold 2, Either Spin, Same-Spin preferred)
WD: CWD God Ring
RC: Bearing Core 2 (Aggressive)
Game Plan: For the sake of variety, I've opted to not use a GFCUV based combo for Circle Upper, though there is a more than fair argument to be made that such a combo is superior. With a Bearing Core 2 that is worn enough to consistently flower pattern via Slide/Catapult or Banking, this combo is a jack of all trades that also decided it could master each trade just because. It can KO all types, it doesn't discriminate, while also having enough survivability to knock around dedicated Stamina types until they wipe out - and come out on top. With a bit of experience piloting this type of combo, there is very little it can't do.
Metal Change Core, ~3g.
As far as stock combos go, Metal Change Core perfectly compliments the versatility and power of Circle Upper, making it feared out of the box.
This RC has the capability of being aggressive, docile, or both in the span of a few seconds, making it unpredictable in battle.
Similar to Driger S' Metal Change Base, MCC is excels in being aggressive yet reserved enough to not wipe out after a couple of big hits. If you aren't perfectly confident in your ability to use rubber-based tips, this is a good part to start practicing your launching. You simply cannot mess up or self-KO in the same way you can with faster RCs.
On top of being a decent Attack-based RC, MCC can also find a place in Compact-like HMS Combos, one of which is definitely worth trying out, even if it isn't your preferred style of Beyblade.
Best Possible Combo:
AR: Metal Ape (Either Spin)
WD: CWD God Ring
RC: Metal Change Core
Game Plan: Another obvious choice I decided to look away from, using Circle Upper with MCC. While it is definitely a viable and fun combo, Circle Upper makes just about any RC seem viable. The combo above treats MCC as its own part worthy of being built around, for that reason, I've picked it above anything else. This is a Compact-style combo that relies on a consistent foundation to work decently well against just about anything. In most, if not all matchups, it is recommended to flower pattern to try and score a KO, since Metal Ape is deceptively aggressive at times, and MCC isn't a slouch either. It may be possible to Tornado Stall an opponent's Stamina combo, but it probably isn't necessary to draw out the battle if you can simply knock it out. The same is true for Defense types. As for Attack types, keep your fingers crossed you get saved by the wall and the opponent's Beyblade doesn't. They have you beat when it comes to grip.