Yu-Gi-Oh! Trading Card Game
Yu-Gi-Oh! TCG logo
(1999 - present)
Upper Deck Company
(2002 - 2008)
(2008 - present)
|Players||• 1 vs. 1
• 2 vs. 2
• 3 vs. 3
• unofficial free-for-all 3 or 4 players
|Age range||13 and up (Japan), 6 and up (International)|
|Setup time||approx. 2–3 minutes|
|Playing time||approx. 5–60 minutes per game (depending on variables), hours per match|
|Skill(s) required||Card playing
The Yu-Gi-Oh! Trading Card Game, known as the Yu-Gi-Oh! Official Card Game (遊☆戯☆王オフィシャルカードゲーム Yū-Gi-Ō Ofisharu Kādo Gēmu?) in Japan, is a Japanese collectible card game developed and published by Konami. It is based on the fictional game of Duel Monsters created by manga artist Kazuki Takahashi, which is the main plot device during the majority of his popular manga franchise, Yu-Gi-Oh!, and its various anime adaptations and spinoff series.
The game was first launched by Konami in 1999. It was named the top selling trading card game in the world by Guinness World Records on July 7, 2009, having sold over 22 billion cards worldwide. As of March 31, 2011, Konami Digital Entertainment Co., Ltd. Japan has sold 25,175,567,833 cards globally since 1999. The game continues to gain popularity as it is played around the world, mostly in Japan, North America, Europe and Australia, and has been expanded with new rules and additions as the franchise grows.
From March 2002 to December 2008, Konami's trading cards were distributed in territories outside of Asia by The Upper Deck Company. In December 2008, Konami filed a lawsuit against Upper Deck alleging that it had distributed unauthentic Yu-Gi-Oh! TCG cards made without Konami's authorization. Upper Deck also sued Konami alleging breach of contract and slander. A few months later, a federal court in Los Angeles issued an injunction preventing Upper Deck from acting as the authorized distributor and requiring it to remove the Yu-Gi-Oh! TCG from Upper Deck's website. In December 2009, the court decided that Upper Deck was liable for counterfeiting Yu-Gi-Oh! TCG cards, and it dismissed Upper Deck's countersuit against Konami. Konami currently serves as the manufacturer and distributor of the Yu-Gi-Oh! TCG; it runs Regional and National tournaments and continues to release new Yu-Gi-Oh! TCG card products.
- 1 Gameplay
- 2 Types of cards
- 3 Formats
- 4 Product information
- 5 Using physical cards in Yu-Gi-Oh! video games
- 6 Censorship
- 7 Comparison to manga/anime
- 8 References
- 9 External links
The game is a battle-based trading card game in which players draw cards from their respective decks and take turns playing cards onto "the field". Each player uses a custom-made deck containing 40 to 60 cards, as well as an optional "Extra Deck" of up to 15 cards that are used in certain situations. There is also a 15 card side deck, which allows players to modify their deck between games. Players are restricted to three copies of any one card per deck and side deck (with some restricted to just one or two per deck). Each player starts with 2000, 4000 or 8000 "Life Points" (as agreed by the players or set by the tournament rules), and the usual win condition is the reduction of the opponent's Life Points to zero. This is typically achieved by using one's "monster" cards to attack the opponent's monster cards and/or inflict damage to his or her life points. The other two card types are "spells" and "traps", which have a nearly endless variety of functions. For example, these cards' effects may eliminate an opponent's card, counter the effects of an opponent's card, or retrieve a specific card from one's own deck, to name just a few. Most monster cards also have extra abilities of their own.
Cards are laid out in the following manner:
- Deck: The player's deck consisting of 40-60 cards.
- Extra Deck: A side-deck containg up to 15 cards consisting of Fusion, Synchro, and/or Xyz Monster cards, as well as destroyed Pendulum Monster cards.
- Graveyard: A zone in which cards are placed when they are discarded, such as used spell cards or monsters that are destroyed in battle.
- Monster Card Zone: A field of five spaces where Monster cards are placed when successfully summoned.
- Spell/Trap Card Zone: A field of five spaces where Spell and/or Trap cards are placed.
- Field Spell Zone: A designated zone where Field Spell cards are placed.
- Banished Zone: An unmarked zone outside of the play field in which cards that are designated as 'Banished' by card effects are placed.
- Pendulum Zones: Introduced in the Yu-Gi-Oh! Arc-V era. Two zones in which Pendulum Monsters can be placed for the purpose of Pendulum Summoning.
Each player's turn contains six phases, taking place in the following order:
- During the Draw Phase, the turn player draws one card from his/her deck.
- The Standby Phase exists mostly for card effects that activate or resolve during this specific phase.
- During Main Phase 1, the turn player may summon a monster, activate cards and effects that they control, change the battle position of a monster, and set cards face-down.
- During the Battle Phase, the turn player may attack the opponent's monsters, or Life Points if the opponent controls no monsters, once with each monster they control that is in Attack Position, while the opponent may attempt to defend with their own monsters, Spells, or Traps. If the turn player controls no monsters, or chooses to not attack during the turn, they may skip this phase.
- During Main Phase 2, a player may do all the same actions that are available during Main Phase 1, except "normal summon" a monster during this phase if they already did so during Main Phase 1.
- The End Phase, which occurs when the player declares the end of their turn, is much like the standby phase and mostly used for card effects that activate/resolve during this specific phase.
There are two main win conditions: the opponent's Life Points become 0, or the opponent not being able to draw a card from their deck. There are also some cards that result in an instant victory or loss if the conditions are fulfilled, such as Exodia the Forbidden One, Final Countdown, and Destiny Board. A draw occurs if both players' Life Points reach 0 simultaneously; are forced to draw without having any cards left in their respective decks; or if both players achieve a win condition simultaneously.
Types of cards
|This section relies largely or entirely upon a single source. (November 2013)|
Attacking with monster cards is the main means by which a player reduces the opponent's Life Points to zero. These cards are also used defensively, since the opponent's monsters cannot attack your Life Points directly as long as you have monsters in play. Furthermore, most monsters cards have their own effects (just like Spell and Trap cards), and can be manipulated by other cards. Before discussing their many functions and varieties, we will outline the common components of all monster cards.
- ATK and DEF points: These are short for 'attack' and 'defense', and determine the result of a battle between two monster cards (see more about attacking below). When a monster is involved in a battle while in Attack Position (whether attacking or being attacked), only its ATK points are applied and its DEF points are ignored. The reverse is also true: when a monster is attacked while in Defense Position, only its DEF points are applied and its ATK points are ignored. Monsters summoned in Defense position are placed face down unless otherwise stated (for example, monsters that are special summoned from the Extra Deck in Defense position are summoned face up), and remain face down until it is targeted by an opponent's monster or changed into Attack position. This is known as flip summoning, which can activate effects in certain monsters. During the Main Phases of each turn, players can choose to change the battle position of their monsters that were not summoned that turn, unless that monster has already changed its battle position that turn or has already declared an attack.
- Level/Rank: This is indicated by the number of Level Stars shown under the monster card's name. Monsters with higher levels typically possess higher ATK or DEF points, or possess more powerful effects. With a normal summon, players can summon one Level 4 or lower monster card to the field or perform a Tribute Summon. A Tribute Summon is necessary to summon monsters that are Level 5 or higher, for which the player must send monsters already on the field to the Graveyard; Level 5 and Level 6 monsters require one tribute, Level 7 and higher monsters require two tributes. Some monsters may require a different amount of tributes than their level would suggest due to card effects. Levels are also important in other ways, such as summoning Ritual or Synchro Monsters. Xyz Monsters do not possess Levels but instead hold Ranks, indicated by black and yellow stars on the left of the card, relevant to the levels of the monsters required to summon it. As such, Xyz Monsters are unaffected by effects which target monsters with levels and cannot be used for Ritual or Synchro summoning.
- Scales: Pendulum Monsters have scales, which are values that are used during Pendulum Summoning. When performing a Pendulum Summon, monsters whose Levels are between the scales of the two Pendulum Monsters can be Special Summoned.
- Attribute: A monster card will have either a light, dark, earth, wind, fire, water, and divine attribute. This is indicated by an icon at the upper-right corner of the card. A monster card's attribute has no inherent significance (that is, a water-attribute monster has no advantage over a fire-attribute one), but is relevant in the context of other cards' effects (e.g. the Spell card Umiiruka adds 500 ATK points and subtracts 400 to their DEF points to all water-attribute monsters).
- Type: Unlike the mere seven possible attributes, there are 24 different types which may apply to a monster card (Dragon, Spellcaster, Zombie, Warrior, Beast-Warrior, Beast, Winged Beast, Fiend, Fairy, Insect, Dinosaur, Reptile, Fish, Sea Serpent, Machine, Thunder, Aqua, Pyro, Rock, Plant, Psychic, Divine-Beast, Creator God and Wyrm). All monster cards have one type, indicated in text form just above the card text. Like attributes, a monster card's type has no inherent significance and becomes relevant in the context of other cards' effects. Additionally, cards may have a secondary type, typically one of the following: Toon, Spirit, Union, Gemini, and Tuner.
- Description/Effect: Each Monster card features a box of text at the bottom of the card. Monsters that do not possess any effects of their own, such as Normal monsters, will feature a description of the monster written in italics. For monsters that do possess effects, the text box will describe their effects, including any specific summoning conditions it may require (for example: a Fusion monster may list the required material monsters needed to summon it). Pendulum Monsters have an additional description box listing their Pendulum Effect, which applies whilst they are in Pendulum Zones.
There are several categories of monster cards, which are color-coded and vary in the methods by which they are summoned. Generally, the monsters with more difficult summoning methods will have higher ATK points and better card effects. Normal, Effect, and Pendulum monsters can be Normal Summoned, Tribute Summoned or Special Summoned by card effects. All other types of cards need to be Special Summoned by fulfilling the summoning requirements detailed below. Fusion, Synchro and Xyz Monsters are stored in an Extra Deck separate from the Main Deck (where destroyed Pendulum Monsters are also placed). These cards may be resummoned from the graveyard provided they have been successfully summoned beforehand, though if they are returned to the Extra Deck, the player will need to refulfill the summoning requirements to summon them again.
There are several types of monsters, which differ mainly in the methods by which they are summoned:
- 1. Normal (通常 Tsūjō?) (yellow)
- A standard monster that can be Normal or Tribute Summoned from the hand once per turn, as well as Special Summoned under certain conditions. Normal monsters typically do not have effects of their own, instead bearing a description of the monster in its card description.
- 2. Effect (効果 Kōka?) (orange)
- Similar to Normal monsters in the manner that they can be summoned, Effect monsters have a special effect listed in its card description which can be used under its given conditions. Several of the other monster types listed below may also possess effects.
- 3. Fusion (融合 Yūgō?) (purple)
- A monster that is summoned from the Extra Deck by using a card with a Fusion effect, such as 'Polymerization', and sending monster cards depicted in the Fusion monster's description from the hand or field to the graveyard.
- Example: Using the 'Polymerization' spell card and sending 'Elemental Hero: Burstinatrix' and 'Elemental Hero: Avian' from the field and/or hand to the graveyard allows the player to special summon 'Elemental Hero: Flame Wing Man.' (Fusion Monster)
- 4. Ritual (儀式 Gishiki?) (blue)
- A monster that is summoned from the deck or hand by using a Ritual Spell Card and tributing monster cards from the hand and/or field according to the card's instructions, whose summed levels must not be less than that of the Ritual Monster you wish to summon.
- Example: Using the 'Black Luster Ritual' spell card and tributing monsters from the field and/or hand whose total levels equal Level 8 or more allows player to special summon 'Black Luster Soldier' (Level 8 Ritual Monster).
- 5. Synchro (シンクロ Shinkuro?) (white)
- Introduced with the Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D's anime series. A monster that is summoned from the Extra Deck by sending a 'Tuner' type monster and one or more non-Tuner monsters from the field to the graveyard, whose total levels equal the level of the Synchro Monster you wish to summon. With some exceptions, this usually does not require specific monsters.
- Example: Sending 'Junk Synchron' (Level 3 Tuner Monster) and 'Speed Warrior' (Level 2) to the graveyard allows player to special summon 'Junk Warrior' (Level 5 Synchro Monster).
- 6. Xyz (エクシーズ Ekushīzu?, pronounced 'ek-seez') (black)
- Introduced with the Yu-Gi-Oh! Zexal anime series. Xyz Monsters are summoned from the Extra Deck by 'overlaying' two or more monsters (the number is in the card's effect text) with the same level relevant to the Rank of the Xyz Monster the player wishes to summon. Material monsters are not sent to the graveyard but instead become 'Xyz Material', which are placed underneath the Xyz Monster in the Monster Zone. Xyz Material can be sent to the graveyard in order to activate an Xyz Monster's effects. Unlike other monsters, Xyz monsters have "ranks" instead of levels and thus they are unaffected by cards involving a monster's level and cannot be used for Ritual or Synchro Summoning, the exception to this rule being if they are artificially assigned a level via a card's effect.
- Example: Overlaying two Level 4 monsters allows player to special summon the 'No. 39 Utopia' (Rank 4).
- 7. Pendulum (Ｐペンデュラム Pendyuramu?) (orange/yellow and green)
- Introduced with the Yu-Gi-Oh! Arc-V anime series. Pendulum Monsters are stored in the Main Deck, but are sent to the Extra Deck when they would be sent to the Graveyard. Along with monster effects that can used on the field, these monsters also possess Pendulum Effects that can be used whilst placed in Pendulum Zones, during which they are treated as spell cards. Pendulum Monsters possess indicators known as 'Scales', which are used to perform a Pendulum Summon. Once during a player's turn, if there are Pendulum Monsters with different Scales in both Pendulum Zones, the player may summon multiple monsters from their hand, as well as any Pendulum Monsters currently face-up in the Extra Deck, provided their levels are in between the Scales of the two monsters in the Pendulum Zones.
- Example: If the player has 'Stargazer Magician' (Scale 1) and 'Timegazer Magician' (Scale 8) in their Pendulum Zones, they can Pendulum Summon multiple monsters from their hand and/or Pendulum monsters from the Extra Deck with levels ranging from 2 to 7.
- 8. Token (grey)
- Commonly a low-powered monster that can only be summoned through a card effect, typically used for defense or tribute purposes. Tokens may be used for Ritual or Synchro Summoning, but cannot be used for Xyz Summoning (tokens can only exist on the field, and "Xyz Material" is not considered on the field).
As mentioned briefly in several above sections, attacking is a critical role of monster cards. It is the primary means by which a player reduces the opponent's Life Points. The following describes standard battles under normal conditions, in which spells, traps, and monster effects are not taken into consideration.
During the Battle Phase of each turn, the player may choose to attack their opponent once with each monster in Attack Position (face-up in a vertical orientation), targeting one of the opponent's monsters or, if the opponent has no defending monsters, attacking them directly. When an attack is declared, the ATK points of the attacking monster is compared with the ATK or DEF points of the defending monster, depending on which position it is in. If both the attacking and defending monsters are in Attack Position, then the monster with the lowest ATK points is destroyed and sent to the Graveyard, with its owner losing Life Points based on the difference between the two monsters' ATK points. For example, if a monster with 1400 ATK destroys a monster with 1000 ATK, the owner of the losing monster will lose 400 Life Points. If both monsters have the same amount of ATK Points, both monsters are destroyed and neither player takes damage.
When an attacking monster targets a monster in Defense Position (horizontal orientation), then the attacking monster's ATK points will be compared with the defending monster's DEF points. If the attacking monster has more ATK points than the defending monster's DEF points, the defending monster is destroyed, but it's owner will not receive any damage to their Life Points. On the other hand, if the player attacks a defending monster whose DEF points are greater than their attacking monster's ATK points, then neither monster is destroyed and the attacking player will take damage based on the difference between the two values. For example, if a monster with 1000 ATK attacks a defending monster with 1400 DEF, the attacking player will lose 400 Life Points. If a monster in face-down Defense Position is targeted for an attack, it is automatically flipped into face-up Defense Position. If said monster possesses a Flip Effect, it will activate after the battle. The card will then remain face-up until it is either destroyed or tributed, or allowed to be flipped face-down again by a card effect.
Direct Attacks occur when a player attacks an opponent who has no monsters on their side of the field. If the attack is successful, the defending player will receive damage to their Life Points equal to the ATK points of the attacking monster.
These are cards that can be played either from the hand, or set on the field for later use. They can either power up your monsters attack/defense, destroy other cards, increase life points, draw cards, increase a monster's level etc. It is important to have a good balance of these in your deck. Spells cards were known as "Magic cards" in all OCG releases and early TCG releases, and there are six different types of them.
- 1. Normal
- A standard card which can be activated during a player's Main phases and is sent to the graveyard after activation. They may not be used during an opponent's turn.
- 2. Quick Play (appears as a lightning bolt)
- A card that can be used outside of the main phase during a player's turn, or can be set on the field to use during an opponent's turn, similar to a trap card. Like trap cards, they cannot be activated on the same turn they are set on the field.
- 3. Continuous (appears as an infinity sign)
- A card with a continuous fact that remains on field until it is destroyed or certain conditions are fulfilled.
- 4. Equip (appears as a plus)
- A spell which is equipped to one of either player's monsters, altering its stats or providing an effect. If a monster equipped with an Equip Spell is removed from the field or flipped face down, the spell card is sent to the graveyard.
- 5. Field (appears as a compass)
- A card that is placed in the Field Spell Zone, causing effects that affect both players. Only one Field Spell can be active at a time, that is, if a player plays a Field Spell whilst the opponent already has one in play, the opponent's Field Spell is sent to the graveyard.
- 6. Ritual (appears as a flame)
- A card that is used for summoning Ritual Monsters, describing the conditions needed to summon them.
- 7. Pendulum
- Whilst normally treated as monster cards, Pendulum Monsters become treated as spell cards whilst they are placed in the Pendulum Zones. Pendulum Monsters gain their Pendulum Effect while in a Pendulum Zone. If the card is removed from the Pendulum Zone, it returns to being treated as a monster card.
Cards that are activated in response to certain situations, most often when an opponent activates an effect or attacks. They are set face down on the field and cannot be activated on the turn they were placed down unless there is a card effect that says it could be activated the turn the trap card is set. Some are used to destroy an attacking monster, negate battle damage, or possibly redirect damage back to the opponent, though, these effects may differ. There are three types of trap cards:
- 1. Normal traps
- They cannot be activated during either player's turn if it was set that turn. Certain normal traps turn into equip cards but are still considered normal trap cards.
- 2. Continuous trap cards (appears with an infinity sign)
- Their effect stays in play until its destruction circumstances are fulfilled.
- 3. Counter trap cards (appears with a curved arrow)
- No cards except other Counter traps can be played after a Counter trap has been activated.
Card effects all have certain speeds. This determines when they can be played and which effect can be "chained" to another.
When a card effect (be it Spell, Trap or Monster) is activated, the other players have the chance to 'chain' onto this by activating their own card effects. You can only 'chain' if the 'spell speed' of the card effect you are chaining with is equal to or greater than the effect you are chaining onto. Once no one who is playing wants to chain onto the most recently activated effect, the effects are resolved, in reverse order.
Player one: Attacks 'Elemental Hero Sparkman' with 'Blue Eyes White Dragon'
Player two: Activates the Trap Card 'Sakuretsu Armor'
Player one: Chains with the Counter trap card 'Dark Bribe'
Player two: Chains with the Counter trap card 'Seven Tools of the Bandit', by paying the cost of 1,000 Life Points.
Neither player wishes to respond.
First, 'Seven Tools of the Bandit' resolves. Player two negates 'Dark Bribe'.
'Dark Bribe' has been negated.
'Sakuretsu Armor' resolves, destroying 'Blue Eyes White Dragon'.
Finally, 'Blue Eyes White Dragon' can no longer attack, because it has been destroyed.
- Spell Speed 1 cards can ordinarily only be played during the turn of the player who controls the card. Comprises Spell cards (excluding Quick Play) and Monster Effects (excluding Quick Effect Monster cards)
- Spell Speed 2 cards can be played in any turn, and can be activated in response to either Spell Speed 1 or 2. Comprises Quick Play spells and Normal/Continuous traps and Quick Effect Monster Cards.
- Spell Speed 3 cards are only Counter trap cards. They can be activated in response to either Spell Speed 1, 2, or 3.
Tournaments are often hosted either by players or by card shops. In addition, Konami, Upper Deck (now no longer part of Yu-Gi-Oh's Organized Play), and Shonen Jump have all organized numerous tournament systems in their respective areas. These tournaments attract hundreds of players to compete for prizes such as rare promotional cards.
There are two styles of tournament play called "Formats;" each format has its own rules and some restrictions on what cards are allowed to be used during events.
- Advanced Format
The Advanced Format is used in all sanctioned tournaments (with the exception of certain Pegasus League formats). This format follows all the normal rules of the game, but also places a complete ban on certain cards that are deemed too advantageous for tournament play. These cards are on a special list called the Forbidden, or Banned List. There are also certain cards that are Limited or Semi-Limited to only being allowed 1 or 2 of those cards in a deck and side deck combined, respectively. This list is updated every three months (January 1, April 1) and is followed in all tournaments that use this format.
- Traditional Format
Traditional format is sometimes used in Pegasus League play and is never used in Official Tournaments and reflects the state of the game without banned cards. Cards that are banned in Advanced are limited to one copy per deck in this format.
Rating Systems The game formerly incorporated worldwide rankings, but since Konami canceled organized play, the ratings were obsolete. Konami has developed a new rating system called "COSSY," (Konami Card Game Official Tournament Support System.)
- Sealed Format
With the introduction of the Battle Pack: Epic Dawn, Konami has announced the introduction of drafting tournaments. This continued with a second set for sealed play: Battle Pack: War Of The Giants in 2013
Casual players typically agree to follow an unofficial variant of the rules, such as multiple player duel (where three or more duelists play every-man-for-themselves) and use of the Egyptian God Cards (promotional cards from the anime/manga adaptation, which are illegal in official tournaments. These have recently been reprinted into legal versions, however the original promotional cards remain illegal.) For these unofficial variants of the game, the rules, such as what cards are legal or not, are agreed upon ahead of time. However, very recently, official Tag (team) Duel rules have been introduced into the main game, advertised in the form of Tag Force 2 and Championship 2008.
- Booster Packs
See also: Yu-Gi-Oh! Trading Card Game sets
- As in all other Trading Card Games, booster packs are the primary avenue of card distribution. In Konami's distribution areas, five or nine random cards are found in each booster pack depending on the set and each set contains around 100 different cards. However, in Upper Deck's areas, early booster packs contained a random assortment of nine cards (rarity and value varies), with the whole set ranging around 130 cards. To catch up with the Japanese meta game, two or more original sets were combined into one. Now, more recent Upper Deck sets have simply duplicated the original set. Some booster sets are reprinted/reissued (e.g. Dark Beginnings Volume 1 and 2). This type of set usually contains a larger amount of cards (around 200 to 250), and they contain twelve cards along with one tip card rather than the normal five or nine. Recently, since the Release of Tactical Evolution, all booster packs that have a Holographic/Ghost Rare card, will also contain a rare, meaning if you receive a Holofoil card in a pack you will still receive 1 Rare card and 7 Common cards. Current sets have 100 different cards per set. There are also special booster packs that are given to those who attend a tournament. These sets change each time there is a different tournament and have fewer cards than a typical booster pack. There are eight Tournament Packs, eight Champion Packs, and 10 Turbo Packs.
- Duelist Packs
- Duelist packs are similar to booster packs, albeit are focused around the types of cards used by characters in the various anime series.
- Promotional cards
- Some cards in the TCG have been released by other means, such as inclusion in video games, movies, and Shonen Jump Magazine issues. These cards often are exclusive and have a special type of rarity or are never-before-seen to the public. Occasionally, cards like Elemental Hero Stratos and Chimeratech Fortress Dragon have been re-released as revisions.
Using physical cards in Yu-Gi-Oh! video games
Nearly every card has a unique 8 digit code printed on it. When that code is entered into one of the Yu-Gi-Oh! video games that accept it, a digital copy of that card is added to the player's virtual cards. Thus, players can port their real-world decks into the games.
Some cards do not have this code. For example, all but two copies of Japanese Blue Eyes Ultimate Dragon cards say "Replica" where the code should be (They are considered replicas of the other two that were given as prizes in a tournament in Tokyo).
Some cards do not have anything at all. For example, the Shadow Ghoul monster card from the English Metal Raiders and Dark Beginning 2 booster sets has no code number, as opposed to being a replica card. Some other examples of cards that do not have any codes at all are Labyrinth Wall (and its sister card, "Wall Shadow,") Gate Guardian and its "pieces," Sanga of the Thunder, Kazejin, and Suijin.
There are also Duel Terminal cards. (Prefixed by DT in cards.) These are used in a Duel Terminal machine, which are at various locations around the country. In these machines, you can lay down a Duel Terminal card, and the machine will scan it in so you can play with it.
As the card game is localized in various markets outside of Japan, many cards receive alterations and changes to names, descriptions, and/or artwork from their original Japanese counterparts, largely pertaining to references to religion, violence, sex, alcohol, and death, in order to avoid controversy in those markets and make the game more suitable for younger children. Examples include "Demon" type monsters being renamed as "Archfiends", certain weapons such as guns being remodelled into more fantasy-styled weapons like blasters, with references changed accordingly, and cards containing religious symbols, such as "Monster Reborn", which contains a cross in the original Japanese version, being given completely different artwork. Other cards may receive alternate names from their Japanese counterparts, including characters originally given English names in the original release and even including renaming cards with original Japanese names from the English language to names from the Japanese language, for various other reasons, such as to avoid infringement with copyrighted characters in those markets.
Comparison to manga/anime
In its original incarnation in Kazuki Takahashi's Yu-Gi-Oh! manga series, Duel Monsters, originally known as Wizards & Monsters, had a rather basic structure, not featuring many of the restricting rules introduced later on and often featuring peculiar exceptions to the rulings in the interest of providing a more engrossing story. Beginning with the Battle City arc of the manga and Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Monsters anime series, more structured rules such as tribute requirements were introduced to the story, with the series falling more in line with the rules of the real life card-game by the time its spin-off series began. From the Duel Monsters anime onwards, characters use cards which resemble their real life counterparts, though some monsters or effects differ between that of the real life trading card game and the manga and anime's Duel Monsters, with some cards created exclusively for those mediums. Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D's featured an anime-original card type known as Dark Synchro, which involved using 'Dark Tuners' to summon Dark Synchro Monsters with negative levels. Dark Synchro cards were featured in the PlayStation Portable video game, Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D's Tag Force 4, whilst Dark Synchro Monsters featured in the anime were released as standard Synchro Monsters in the real-life game.
With the exception of Yu-Gi-Oh! the Movie: Pyramid of Light, which bases the card's appearance on the English version of the real-life version of the game, all Western releases of the Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Monsters anime and its subsequent spin-offs, produced by 4Kids Entertainment and later 4K Media Inc., edit the appearance of cards to differentiate them from their real-life counterparts in accordance with FCC regulations and advertising laws in North America as well as to make the show more marketable across non-English speaking countries. These cards are edited to only display their background, illustration, level/rank, and ATK/DEF points.
- Konami Digital Entertainment Co., Ltd. (August 7, 2009). "Yu-Gi-Oh! Card Sales Set New World Record". Konami.jp. Retrieved 2014-03-05.
- "Best-selling trading card game". Guinnessworldrecords.com. 2011-03-31. Retrieved 2014-03-05.
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- Yu-Gi-Oh! Trading Card Game Beginner's Guide. Konami. p. 3.
- Yu-Gi-Oh! Trading Card Game Official Rulebook Version 8.0. Konami Digital Entertainment.
- "Official YuGiOH U.S. Site – "Yugioh Forbidden/Limited Cards: Advanced Format – Limited and Forbidden Lists"". Yugioh-card.com. Retrieved February 22, 2012.
- "Official YuGiOH: Traditional Format – Limited Lists". Yugioh-card.com. Retrieved February 22, 2012.
- "YGO TCG News: Konami Unleashes Champion Pack 8 on Duelists Everywhere". Shriektcg.twoday.net. Retrieved February 22, 2012.
- Official Konami Trading Card Game website (Konami)
- Yu-Gi-Oh! Online worldwide portal
- Yu-Gi-OH! Decklist-Archive
- Official Yu-Gi-Oh! Card Database
- Guinness World Records best selling trading card game as of 31 March 2011