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Yu-Gi-Oh! Card Back
Upper Deck Company
|Players||• 1 vs. 1 |
• 2 vs. 2
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 Asia, 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 the manga franchise, Yu-Gi-Oh!, and its various anime adaptations and spinoff series.
The trading card game was launched by Konami in 1999 in Japan and March 2002 in North America. 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 sold 25.2 billion cards globally since 1999.
In the trading card game, players draw cards from their respective decks and take turns playing cards onto "the field." Each player uses a deck containing forty to sixty cards, and an optional "Extra Deck" of up to fifteen cards. There is also an optional fifteen card side deck, which allows players to swap cards from their main deck and/or extra deck between games. Players are restricted to three of each card per deck and must follow the Forbidden/Limited card list, which restricts selected cards by Konami to be limited to two, one, or zero. Each player starts with 8,000 "Life Points", with the main aim of the game to use monster attacks and spells to reduce the opponent's Life Points. The game ends upon reaching one of the following conditions:
- A player loses if their Life Points reaches zero. If both players reach zero Life Points at the same time, the game ends in a draw.
- A player loses if they are required to draw a card, but has no more cards to draw in the Main Deck.
- Certain cards have special conditions which trigger an automatic win or loss when its conditions are met (e.g. having all five cards of Exodia the Forbidden One in the hand or all five letters of the Destiny Board on the field).
- A player can forfeit at any time.
Gameplay revolves around three types of cards; Monster, Spell, and Trap. Monster cards are summoned by each player to attack the opposing player's monsters or life points or defend against their attacks. With some exceptions, each monster typically possesses ATK and DEF points, which are used to determine the results of battles, Levels, with more powerful monsters requiring tributes or special summoning techniques to summon, and Types and Attributes, which determine how they are affected by other cards. Normal and Effect monsters are stored in the Main Deck and are either Normal Summoned once per turn, Tribute Summoned by tributing existing monsters on the field, or Special Summoned by certain card effects. Ritual Monsters are stored in the Deck and summoned using a corresponding Ritual Spell card. Four other types of monster, Fusion, Synchro, Xyz, and Link, are stored in the Extra Deck and each require unique methods to be Special Summoned to the field. Fusion Monsters require a fusion effect to merge monsters, and, with some exceptions, require a Fusion Spell card, the most commonly used being Polymerization. Synchro Monsters are summoned by combining the levels of a Tuner-type monster with other non-Tuner monsters. Xyz Monsters, which possess Ranks instead of levels, are summoned by stacking monsters with the same level, which can then be used as Xyz material to be used for certain effects. Link Monsters, which possess a Link rating instead of a Level and do not possess DEF points, are summoned using multiple monsters and possess Link Markers that affect spaces on the field that they point to. Monsters marked with a green gradient are Pendulum monsters which can be placed in Pendulum Zones and used for Special Summoning multiple monsters at once. Token monsters, represented by either official cards or makeshift counters, are summoned through effects for defense or tributing purposes and cannot exist outside the field.
Spell cards are magical spells with a variety of effects, such as raising ATK points or reviving destroyed monsters. They come in six varieties; Normal, Quick Play, Continuous, Equip, Ritual, and Field. Trap cards are placed on the field face-down in advance and activated in response to certain criteria, such as an opponent's attack. These come in three varieties; Normal, Continuous, and Counter. An additional card type, Skill, is used exclusively in the Speed Duel gameplay format.
Cards are laid out in the following manner:
- Main Deck: The player's Main Deck is placed here face-down, and can consist of 40 to 60 cards. Normal, Effect, Ritual, and Pendulum Monsters can be stored here. Spell and Trap cards are also stored here.
- Extra Deck: The player's Extra Deck is placed here face-down, if they have one, and may contain up to 15 cards consisting of Fusion, Synchro, Xyz, and Link Monster cards. Pendulum Monsters are placed face-up here when they would otherwise be sent from the field to the Graveyard.
- Graveyard (GY): A Zone where cards are sent when they are discarded or destroyed, such as used Spell/Trap Cards or monsters that are Tributed or destroyed in battle.
- Main Monster Zones: A field of five spaces where Monster cards are placed when successfully Summoned. Prior to the addition of Link Monsters, any kind of monster could be placed there at any time. After Link Monsters were introduced, monsters from the Extra Deck could only be Special Summoned from the Extra Deck to the Extra Monster Zone, or a Main Monster Zone a Link Monster points to, up until the rule change for April 2020 onward, where only Link Monsters and Pendulum Monsters from the Extra Deck follow this restriction.
- Extra Monster Zones: Introduced with Link Monsters, this is a Zone where monsters from the Extra Deck can be Summoned. An Extra Monster Zone is not a part of either player's field until they Summon a monster to the Extra Monster Zone.
- Spell/Trap Zones: Five spaces in which either Spell or Trap cards can be placed.
- Field Zone: A Zone where Field Spell cards are placed.
- Pendulum Zones: The leftmost and rightmost spaces in the Spell/Trap Zones where Pendulum Monsters may be placed instead of Spell or Trap Cards, in order to activate Pendulum Effects and perform Pendulum Summons. Originally separate Zones, these were integrated into the Spell/Trap Zones at the same time as the introduction of Link Monsters.
- Banished Zone: Cards that are "banished" by card effects are placed outside of the game in a pile.
Each player's turn contains six phases that take place in the following order:
- Draw Phase: The turn player draws one card from their Deck.
- Standby Phase: No specific action occurs, but it exists for card effects and maintenance costs that activate or resolve during this specific phase.
- Main Phase 1: The turn player may Normal Summon or Set a monster, activate cards and effects that they control, change the battle position of a monster (provided it wasn't summoned this turn), and Set Spells or Traps face-down.
- Battle Phase: The turn player may choose to attack their opponent using any monsters on their field in Attack Position. If the player chooses not to attack, they can skip straight to the End Phase.
- Main Phase 2: The player may do all the same actions that are available during Main Phase 1, though they cannot repeat certain actions already taken in Main Phase 1 (such as Normal Summoning) or change the battle position of a monster that has already been summoned, attacked, or had their battle position changed during the same turn.
- End Phase: This phase also exists for card effects and maintenance costs that activate or resolve during this specific phase. Once this phase is resolved, the player ends their turn.
The player who begins the game cannot conduct the Draw Phase or the Battle Phase during their first turn.
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 powerful 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
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 one hundred 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 one hundred and thirty 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 number of cards (around 200 to 250), and they contain twelve cards along with one tip card rather than the normal five or nine. Since the release of Tactical Evolution, all booster packs that have a Holographic/Ghost Rare card, will also contain a rare. 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.
Currently the following Booster Packs have been released (as of October 25, 2019):
- Legend of Blue-Eyes White Dragon
- Metal Raiders
- Spell Ruler (originally named Magic Ruler, but renamed to avoid similarities with Magic the Gathering)
- Pharaoh's Servant
- Labyrinth of Nightmare
- Legacy of Darkness
- Pharaonic Guardian
- Magician's Force
- Dark Crisis
- Invasion of Chaos
- Ancient Sanctuary
- Soul of the Duelist
- Rise of Destiny
- Flaming Eternity
- The Lost Millennium
- Cybernetic Revolution
- Elemental Energy
- Shadow of Infinity
- Enemy of Justice
- Power of the Duelist
- Cyberdark Impact
- Strike of Neos
- Force of the Breaker
- Tactical Evolution
- Gladiator's Assault
- Phantom Darkness
- Light of Destruction
- The Duelist Genesis
- Crossroads of Chaos
- Crimson Crisis
- Raging Battle
- Ancient Prophecy
- Stardust Overdrive
- Absolute Powerforce
- The Shining Darkness
- Duelist Revolution
- Starstrike Blast
- Storm of Ragnarok
- Extreme Victory
- Generation Force
- Photon Shockwave
- Order of Chaos
- Galactic Overlord
- Return of the Duelist
- Abyss Rising
- Cosmo Blazer
- Lord of the Tachyon Galaxy
- Judgment of the Light
- Shadow Specters
- Legacy of the Valiant
- Primal Origin
- Duelist Alliance
- The New Challengers
- Secrets of Eternity
- Crossed Souls
- Clash of Rebellions
- Dimension of Chaos
- Breakers of Shadow
- Shining Victories
- The Dark Illusion
- Invasion: Vengeance
- Raging Tempest
- Maximum Crisis
- Code of the Duelist
- Circuit Break
- Extreme Force
- Flames of Destruction
- Cybernetic Horizon
- Soul Fusion
- Savage Strike
- Dark Neostorm
- Rising Rampage
- Chaos Impact
Duelist packs are similar to booster packs, albeit are focused around the types of cards used by characters in the various anime series. Cards in each pack are reduced from nine to five.
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.
Comparison to other media
In its original incarnation in Kazuki Takahashi's Yu-Gi-Oh! manga series, Duel Monsters, originally known as Magic & Wizards, 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, while Dark Synchro Monsters featured in the anime were released as standard Synchro Monsters in the real-life game. Yu-Gi-Oh! Arc-V features Action Cards, spell and trap cards that are picked up in the series' unique Action Duels, which are not possible to perform in the real life game. In the film Yu-Gi-Oh!: The Dark Side of Dimensions, an exclusive form of summoning known as Dimension Summoning is featured. This method allows players to freely summon a monster by deciding how many ATK or DEF points it has, but they receive damage equal to that amount when the monster is destroyed. The Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS anime series features Speed Duels which use a smaller number of Monster and Spell & Trap Zones and remove Main Phase 2 for faster duels. In the anime, characters can activate unique Skills depending on the situation (for example, the protagonist Yusaku can draw a random monster when his life points are below 1000) once per duel. A similar ruleset is featured in the Duel Terminal arcade machine series and the Duel Links mobile game.
With the exception of the films Pyramid of Light and The Dark Side of Dimensions, which base the card's appearance on the English version of the real-life card game, all Western releases of the Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Monsters anime and its subsequent spin-off series, 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 U.S. Federal Communications Commission regulations in concerning program-length commercials, 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-Upper Deck lawsuit
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 inauthentic 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 is now 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.
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