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Black Magician (Dark Magician)
Yugi's ace monster, it's design inspired an entire archetype that continues to receive support to this day. It, or some variation of it, features prominently in pretty much every major duel the kid has, usually appearing at the last turn to deal the final blow. Is the monster form of Mahado, a magician from Atem's court who gave his life to become the Black Magician and fight Bakura with new strength.
- Arch Enemy: Of the Blue-Eyes White Dragon.
- Bash Brothers: It and Joey's Flame Swordsman play this role throughout Duelist Kingdom, and reprise it during the Virtual Nightmare arc.
- Black Magic: "Dark Magician, Dark Magic attack!"
- Dark Is Not Evil
- Devoted to You: as Mahado, he is very much loyal to Atem. In fact, the very reason Mahado willingly became the "Dark Magician" in the past is so he can be his eternal servant.
- Finishing Move: Ends a lot of duels for Yugi.
- Fusion Dance: With Flame Swordsman (Dark Flare Knight), Buster Blader (Dark Paladin), and Time Wizard (Dark Sage).
- Long-Haired Pretty Boy: Exact hair color differs depending on the card art, including white.
- Magic Knight: Some of his "evolved" forms, Dark Paladin, Dark Flare Knight and Dark Magician Knight, are Exactly What They Say On The Card.
- Magic Staff
- Stage Magician: Many of his support cards are based on traditional magician props like Thousands Knives, Mystic Box, and Magical Hats.
- Sword and Sorcerer: Often the "Sorcery" half, with Jonouchi/Joey's Flame Swordsman providing the "Sword".
Blue-Eyes White Dragon
Kaiba's favourite monster and the strongest Normal monster in the game, he owns the only three in the world. Due to it's attack strength of 3000 it's considered one of the strongest cards in the world. Is the Ka of Kisara, a White-Haired Pretty Girl Kaiba fell in love with in his past life in Ancient Egypt. She sacrificed herself to unleash the Blue-Eyes in her soul and save his life, which is one reason why Kaiba is so devoted to it.
- Arch Enemy: Of the Dark Magician.
- Light Is Not Good: Motiff wise. In actuality, it's a bit more complicated...
- Badass Normal: It has no special effects, making it a 3000 attack point beat stick.
- Bigger Stick
- Breath Weapon: Usually of the Shock and Awe or Holy Hand Grenade variety, depending on which variation you're asking about.
- Cargo Ship: (in-universe) Highlight the spoiler above and see.
- In Love with Your Carnage: Kaiba is mainly in love with its supreme attack power, and how its rarity and that he is the only one with a full playset reflects upon his status as an elite in everything he does.
- The Dragon: To Kaiba, literally and figuratively, when it comes to him playing DM.
- Destructive Saviour: See Light Is Good below as for why you shouldn't get near it.
- Dragon Rider: Paladin of White Dragon and Dragon Master Knight.
- Expy: Highly influenced by Bahamut (the angry personality) who incidentally enough has a breath weapon that's a beam of light that disintegrates people.
- Finishing Move: It's usually the Blue-Eyes who clinches the match for Kaiba.
- Fountain of Expies: Ancient Gear Golem, Cyber Dragon, White Night Dragon, Red Dragon Archfiend, and especially Galaxy Eyes Photon Dragon.
- And for Blue-Eyes Ultimate Dragon, we have Cyber End Dragon, Ultimate Ancient Gear Golem, and Neo Galaxy Eyes Photon Dragon. (Though the latter differs in that it is a triple level 8 material Xyz monster.)
- Four Is Death: At the start of the series, there are only four copies of it. We say at the start because Kaiba wins and rips up the fourth so it can never be used against him.
- Fusion Dance: Blue-Eyes+Blue-Eyes+Blue-Eyes=Blue-Eyes Ultimate Dragon. Blue-Eyes Ultimate Dragon+Black Luster Soldier=Dragon Master Knight.
- Instant Awesome, Just Add Dragons
- Light'Em Up
- Light Is Good: Benevolent, but highly aggressive and destructive.
- Meaningful Name: Well, it's actually a more silver-blue color than white, but you get the idea.
- Midnight Blue Eyes: As an Expy of another platinum dragon who's eyes change color when angry, comes as not surprise.
- Our Dragons Are Different: Or in this case, just plain badass.
- Power Equals Rarity: Only four copies were printed, given the card's supreme power amongst monsters with no adverse effects or summoning conditions, in order to keep the card from being too widely used and dominating the game. Given that Kaiba acquired 3 of the 4 copies for his own deck as part of his beatdown strategy, while his opponents have no other easily summonable cards to rival it out of the box, yeah, that worked well.
- Rule of Three: After Kaiba was done with Grandpa Moto, there were only three Blue-Eyes left in the world. Guess who owns them all.
- Toon: Blue-Eyes Toon Dragon.
One of Jounouchi/Joey's signature cards and his unabashed favourite, Flame Swordsman has a history of getting his owner out of jams. A versatile card that's easy to support, and can combine with various others for interesting effects, it's exceptionally useful to him during the Duelist Kingdom and Virtual Nightmare Arcs. During the DOMA Arc, Joey adds its twin, Blue Flame Swordsman to his arsenal.
- Awesome but Impractical: After Duelist Kingdom ends and the new rules take effect, Flame Swordsman is Put on a Bus due to being a five-star monster with low stats and no effect, and only reappears in a major role in Season 3 as Joey's Deck Master. He sure does look awesome though. Came close to being Awesome but Practical in Duelist Kingdom, where powerful monsters were rare, 5-Stars could be summoned immediately, it had a bonus against dinosaurs, and was easily augmented by magic cards. How the mighty have fallen.
- Badass: Just look at him! Also, for a card that's technically pretty weak, he's gotten Joey out of some very complicated messes.
- Badass Abnormal: Becomes much more useful when comboed with Salamandra, fused with Yugi's Dark Magician, or utilised as a Deck Master under Virtual World rules.
- Bash Brothers: With the Dark Magician. The way they look when they're played together, one could be forgiven for thinking they're as close as Yugi and Joey. You could make a case for Flame Swordsman and Blue Flame Swordsman as well.
- Cool Helmet
- Exactly What It Says on the Tin: He's a swordsman with a Flaming Sword. Blue Flame Swordsman is the same guy, coloured blue.
- Fusion Dance: Is a fusion card in the regular game (between Fire Manipulator and Masaki-The Legendary Swordsman), and can himself fuse with Dark Magician to create Dark Flare Knight, a Magic Knight with only 2200 attack, but a variety of interesting effects.
- Heroes Prefer Swords
- Magic Knight: Is one himself, and can become a stronger one by fusing with Dark Magician.
- Palette Swap: Blue Flame Swordsman, who summons a regular Flame Swordsman to the field when it's destroyed.
- Playing with Fire: This should surprise no one. One of the creatures used to make him is actually called "Fire Manipulator."
- Power Glows: Turns bright gold while under the influence of the Burning Soul Sword Magic Card.
- Power-Up: Salamandra can actually be played on any FIRE monster, but you'd never know that from how Joey uses it. Same goes for Burning Soul Sword.
- Status Buff: His Deck Master ability allows him to decrease his own ATK in order to increase the ATK of another Warrior-type monster by the same amount.
- Sword and Sorcerer: Often plays the "Sword" to Yugi's Dark Magician's "Sorcerer".
- Technicolour Fire: Flame Swordsman's flames are the same orange colour as his outfit. Blue Flame Swordsman's are, unsurprisingly, Blue.
Red-Eyes Black Dragon
One of Jounouchi's best monsters, but not really his trademark or favorite like Kaiba or Yugi. As it's name implies, it's a weaker, darker counterpart to the Blue-Eyes.
- Badass Abnormal: Unlike Yugi and Kaiba, the base Red-Eyes usually isn't enough to net Jounouchi a win, he needs to power it up for that. See Magikarp Power below.
- Black Dragon: just as the name says
- Breath Weapon: Prefers dark-aligned Fireballs to contrast Blue-Eyes' lightning/light attacks.
- Casting a Shadow: Red-Eyes Darkness Dragon
- Dark Is Not Evil: It's a damned creepy card (in fact it ain't hard to mistake him for a Zombie) but its used by one of the heroes throughout. The Red-Eyes Darkness Dragon, Red-Eyes Black Metal Dragon, and especially Black Skull Dragon are even scarier.
- Dark Counterpart: To Blue-Eyes naturally.
- Dragon Rider: Knight of Dark Dragons.
- Fusion Dance: Can perform one with Summoned Skull (Black Skull Dragon) or Meteor Dragon (Meteor Black Dragon). Both are very powerful (3200/2500 and 3500/3000 to be precise) or Aura Armour to fuse with Joey himself.
- Instant Awesome, Just Add Dragons
- Magikarp Power: As the Japanese-only first movie said it, the Blue-Eyes has more raw power (compare 3000 attack to Red Eyes with 2400), but Red-Eyes has many, many evolved forms that give it higher versatility.
- Meaningful Name
- Mechanical Monster: Red-Eyes Black Metal Dragon, a huge mechanical dragon that attacks with a fusion blast.
- Our Dragons Are Different: That is one creepy looking monster.
- Power Equals Rarity: Played with. In-show it's said to be ultra-rare, and it is certainly treated like an incredibly powerful card, despite its average stats. However, its abilitiy to combine with other cards makes it much more useful than it would be otherwise, hence the rarity.
- Red Eyes, Take Warning: Duh.
- The Rival: Is often treated as Blue-Eyes' rival by the fandom. Given the fact that the hologram roars in triumph when Yugi uses it to take down one of Kaiba's Blue-Eyes this may well be justified.
Harpy Lady Sisters
Mai Valentine/Kujaku's signature card. They're typically summoned as the individual Harpy Ladies, powered up, and then split into the Harpy Lady Sisters. They can be upgraded to Cyber Harpie Lady Sisters, and can themselves power up Harpy's Pet Dragon.
- Action Girl
- Amazon Brigade: The Harpy Lady Sisters become this after Mai uses "Elegant Egotist".
- Badass Abnormal: By themselves, Harpy Ladies are nothing to write home about. After the use of Cyber Armour and Rose Whip, and being split into three by Elegant Egotist though, they become a force to be reckoned with. And that's if they don't call in Harpies' Pet Dragon.
- Breast Plate: Cyber Armor
- Combination Attack: They have a few of them. Their default is "Triangle Ecstasy Spark" (which later got its own card), but there's also the Phoenix and Sparrow Formation spells.
- Cute Monster Girls
- The Dragon: Harpies' Pet Dragon is literally this to the sisters. And the more of them there are on the field, the stronger it gets.
- Harping on About Harpies
- Ms. Fanservice: Much like their owner.
- Whip It Good: Rose Whip
- Winged Humanoid
Black Magician Girl (Dark Magician Girl)
A female counterpart to the Dark Magician, she's not as powerful but is just as key a part of Yugi's deck. Is the monster form of Mana, a childhood friend of Atem and Mahado's Cute Witch apprentice. She gains 300 ATK points for every Dark Magician in the Graveyard.
- Adaptation Dye Job: In the anime adaptation of the Egypt arc, Mana's hair went from blond in the manga, to brunette.
- Ascended Extra: Became a prominent character in Season Four, appearing in spirit form long before the Dark Magician. Also became the subject of a Running Gag in GX, where Sho has a crush on her.
- Black Magic
- Blush Sticker: Arguably, her charm isn't complete without these, permanently under her eyes.
- Cargo Ship: Tons of it with Yami Yugi.
- Considering that she is the monster form of Mana, who is a childhood friend and may or may not have a thing for Yami Yugi's past self - Atem, It Makes Sense in Context.
- Cute Witch bordering on Hot Witch, depending on how blatant the Fan Service is.
- Dangerously-Short Skirt: Famous for it.
- Dark Is Not Evil: A real stretch on the "Black/Dark" moniker, her outfit is bright blue and pink, and definitely seems like the kind of girl you'd take home to mom.
- Dark-Skinned Blond: Mana, her human form, was this in the manga.
- Distaff Counterpart: The name should be a clue.
- Dragon Rider: Dark Magician Girl the Dragon Knight.
- Fan Service Pack: She actually wasn't that attractive, though by no means ugly, when she first appeared in Season 2, and there was obviously no prior indication she even exist. As the series progressed her body got more shapely, her face became prettier, and in-universe she became known as a famous sex symbol.
- Fountain of Expies: Magician's Valkyria, Gagaga Girl, Magi Magi Magician Gal, and Card Ejector.
- Genki Girl: Her human form Mana; the card's hologram sometimes shows indications of this, especially if Dark Magician is also on the field.
- Green Eyes: Sometimes has Blue Eyes instead.
- Hair of Gold
- Impossibly Low Neckline
- Magic Staff
- Ms. Fanservice: Every Yu-Gi-Oh anime has one or more female cast members that fit this trope, but none of them are as famous as her. Rule 34 hit hard.
- Panty Shot: Averted in the original Japanese anime--in a scene where her skirt flies up, her bare rear is showcased. 4Kids, in one of their more understandable instances of censorship, drew her some pink panties (or hot pants) for the dub.
- She's Got Legs
- Ship Tease: In the past as Mana with Atem. Her introduction in the Anime has her jumping out of a vase and glomping him happily, saying she missed him even though Mahado says it has only been one day since she last saw him.
- Toon: Toon Dark Magician Girl.
Magician Of Black Chaos
The third member of Yugi's Dark Magician trio, he first appears in the latter's duel with Pegasus, where he serves as Yugi's trump card. The card game later included a "retrained" Effect Monster version (that has since been banned from tournament play), who appeared in a display version of Yugi's deck in GX.
- Badass: Enough that he frightens Pegasus. That should say something right there.
- Black Magic
- Dark Is Not Evil: Probably the best example in Yugi's deck. Unlike the other members of the Dark Magician trio, he's truly evil looking, has a definitely nasty-vibe, is called Magician of Black Chaos, and serves as one of The Hero's trump cards.
- Entropy and Chaos Magic
- Evil Sorcerer: Unlike Dark Magician and Dark Magician Girl he definitely gives off this vibe.
- Good Eyes, Evil Eyes: Evil Eyes. Cold and narrow.
- Magic Staff
- Names to Run Away From Really Fast: His name essentially says "I am Chaotic Evil. Run away!"
- Oh Crap: When Yugi summons it, Pegasus' reaction is "Not him! Not now!"
- The Stoic: Okay, they're cards, but while Dark Magician and Dark Magician Girl's facial expressions regularly change, Magician of Black Chaos remains stone-faced; only his eyes ever shift.
- Summon Magic: Requires the Black Chaos Ritual to appear.
Petit Moth/Larva Moth/Great Moth/Perfectly Ultimate Great Moth
Insector Haga/Weevil Underwood's best card, it appears in almost every duel he plays. The strongest insect monster in the game, it's final form of Perfectly Ultimate Great Moth is fortunately very difficult to summon.
- Awesome but Impractical: It has 3500/3000, making it stronger than anything that isn't Gate Guardian or Ultimate Blue Eyes. It also requires you to equip Petit Moth with Cocoon of Evolution and wait six turns to summon it. Needless to say, Haga/Weevil would be hard-pressed to pull this off if not for his lockdown strategy.
- Big Creepy-Crawlies: Holy goddamn how! Its larger than almost any monster except Exodia and the God Cards.
- Finishing Move: Subverted. Weevil always thinks it will be, but it never is.
- Giant Flyer
- Kaiju: Its pretty obviously inspired by Mothra.
- Magikarp Power: Petit Moth has 300/200. Lame. After two turns with Cocoon of Evolution attached it becomes Larva Moth, with 500/400. Also lame. On your fourth turn, however, it becomes Great Moth, a solid 8 star with 2600/2500. And on it's sixth turn? Holy crap.
- Metamorphosis: Cocoon of Evolution, anyone.
- Power Equals Rarity
- Pretty Butterflies: Weevil certainly thinks so. Everyone who's ever had to face the damn thing would disagree.
- Stone Wall: Cocoon of Evolution, which has 0/2000, giving it whopping defence points for a 3 star. Becomes the card equivalent of a Lightning Bruiser post-evolution.
- Wind from Beneath My Wings: Great Moth attacks this way, by blowing wind and poison dust at the target. Perfectly Ultimate Great Moth, on the other hand, throws itself bodily at the enemy.
Pegasus' best card, this 1 Star Ritual Monster has (0/0), but a very nasty effect. Capable of taking over other monsters, and using them as weapons, Relinquished turns Pegasus' duel agains Yugi in the industrialist's favour, following the destruction of his Toon World. It can be made even more powerful by fusing it with Thousand Eyes Idol to produce the Thousand Eyes Restrict.
- The Assimilator: It and Thousand Eyes Restrict both assimilate other monsters into themselves, claiming their attack and defence points for their own.
- Belly Mouth: Relinquished has a gaping hole in its stomach, covered by a flap of skin. Monsters are sucked into the hole, and then emerge on its wings, trapped. Thousand Eyes Restrict adds fangs and yet another set of eyes just above the hole, making it clear that this is a mouth.
- Body Horror: Its entire look is pretty horrific.
- Dark Is Evil
- Eldritch Abomination: Arguably. Its appearance is certainly designed to evoke this, if nothing else. Just look at that thing. What is it?
- Evil Sorcerer: They may look like Fiends, but both Relinquished and Thousand Eyes Restrict are listed as Spellcasters.
- Exactly What It Says on the Tin: Thousand Eyes Restrict has a thousand eyes and restricts your monsters' movements.
- Extra Eyes: Thousand Eyes Restrict
- Eye Beams: Attacks with blasts from its eye.
- Eyes Do Not Belong There: Thousand Eyes Restrict's body is covered in eyes.
- Faceless Eye: Relinquished has no face--just a Millennium Eye at the end of a bobbing neck. The same goes for Thousand Eyes Restrict, and their close relative, Dark Eyes Illusionist.
- Fusion Dance: Fusing Relinquished with Thousand Eyes Idol creates Thousand Eyes Restrict.
- Human Shield: If you attack Relinquished while it's controlling one of your monsters, the other monster takes the attack, you the damage, and Relinquished gets away scott free.
- Knight of Cerebus: Relinquished's summoning coincides with Pegasus turning his duel against Yugi and Yami into a Shadowgame. This ain't a coincidence.
- Names to Run Away From Really Fast: Thousand Eyes Restrict
- One-Winged Angel: Thousand Eyes Restrict to Relinquished. Not only is it more powerful--it's even uglier to look at.
- Power Equals Rarity: Like Toon World and Dark Eyes Illusionist, Relinquished and Thousand Eyes Restrict were deemed too powerful to release to the public. That doesn't stop Pegasus from using them.
- Power Floats: Since it has no legs, this is more or less a necessity.
- Squishy Wizard: No attack. No defence. One hell of an unpleasant effect. Not only can Relinquished absorb another monster and its ATK and DEF stats, but when its attacked, the controlled monster (and the controlled monster's player's Life Points) takes the damage. When it's fused with Thousand Eyes Idol, it gets even worse--not only can Thousand Eyes Restrict take over the opponent's monsters, but it also stops them from attacking or changing the positions of their monsters once they're summoned.
- Summon Magic: Relinquished can only be summoned via Black Illusion Ritual.
- Weak but Skilled: The Duel Monsters equivalent. See Squishy Wizard for how.
- Winged Humanoid: For a certain definition of "humanoid".
Exodia, The Forbidden One
An ancient gigas bound away, it was said to have power rivalling that of the Egyptian Gods. In-game, the player who contains the five pieces of Exodia in their hand at one time can declare an instant victory, regardless of any other factors. Has a few "alternate" forms - Exodia Necross which draws power from having the pieces in the Graveyard, Exodius The Ultimate Forbidden Lord, which wins the game by dumping the pieces into the Graveyard via battle, and Exxod, Master of the Guard.
- Chained by Fashion
- Dangerous Forbidden Technique
- Full Set Bonus / Set Bonus: Individually? Worthless. Together? Instant win.
- Godzilla Threshold: Is summoned to fight Zorc, but as Exodia takes its power from a human it can only fight as long as the summoner and is defeated.
- Nonstandard Game Over: So much so that for a while it was the only monster named in the official rules, its effect was that unique.
- Power Equals Rarity
- Sealed Evil in a Can
- The Undead: Not Exodia itself, but Exodia Necross, which can only be summoned if all of the pieces are in the Graveyard, is definitely an example of this. Not in monster type though, as it is a Spellcaster, just like the monster's component body parts.
- Who Needs Their Whole Body??: To an extent. While the pieces of Exodia have pathetic stats and the idea is to combine all five, they are still individual monster cards and can be used as such, say for battling--just don't expect them to find much they can kill. That said, their low stats make them easy to tutor via Sangan, and because the limbs are all classified as Normal Monsters, they can be retrieved from the grave via Dark Factory of Mass Production and Backup Soldier.
Egyptian God Cards
Consisting of The God of Obelisk (Obelisk The Tormentor), The Sky Dragon of Osiris (Slifer The Sky Dragon), and The Sun Dragon Ra (Winged Dragon of Ra). Together they're nearly unstoppable, and apart are still incredibly powerful. Collecting them is the main plot of Seasons 2 and 3.
- Awesome but Impractical: The God cards require three tributes to normal summon. If special summoned from the graveyard, they return to the grave at turn's end, and cannot attack with the exception of Ra.
- Bolt of Divine Retribution: Don't try to use a God Card unless you're qualified to use them via Ancient Egyptian heritage, and definitely don't try to use a counterfeit version of a God Card. They don't take kindly to it.
- Breath Weapon: Ra's attack "Blaze Cannon" and Osiris' attack "Thunder Force."
- Brought Down to Normal: They've been released as real-life cards with their effects nerfed to balance them out.
- The Brute/The Big Guy: While Ra and Osiris have various special abilities and gimmicks to their Attack and Defense scores that require strategy to make work, Obelisk's effect is to automatically inflict 4000 damage for two tributes (in the anime, this is a One Hit KO), and his Attack and Defense are set at 4000. Essentially, he's just a giant beatstick.
- Colour-Coded for Your Convenience: Ra is yellow, Osiris is red, Obelisk is blue.
- Contractual Boss Immunity: Depending on which episodes you watch, the God Cards are either completely immune to card effects, or card effects only work on them for a single turn. Either way, once they hit the field the only way to get rid of them is to defeat them in a straight-up battle. Of course, the player using them has no such protection, and they lack the immunity in the hand or graveyard, which is why Yugi and Kaiba's duel consists of them first keeping the other's God Card from being summoned, and then weakening them through loopholes in their immunity.
- Defeating the Undefeatable: Ra
- Dub Name Change: Cards and characters get their names changed left and right, but Osiris/Slifer is a rather odd case. Obviously Osiris is named for the Egyptian deity, but who or what is Slifer named for you ask? Roger Slifer, executive producers for 4Kids. Who's great idea was that anyway?
- Establishing Character Moment: Obelisk is the weakest of the God cards (technically speaking). When it first appears it destroys the Blue-Eyes Ultimate Dragon in a single punch and delivers a One Hit KO to the Duel Robot Kaiba is facing, the power overloading and causing it to explode.
- Face Framed in Shadow: While its card was seen regularly, before Marik summoned it against Mai Ra was always shown shadowed or only seen from a distance to obscure the details of its appearance.
- Green Lantern Ring: Ra has a new ability revealed every time it's played during Seasons 2 and 3.
- New Powers as the Plot Demands: And every such ability lets Marik win the duel when otherwise Ra would be useless.
- Large and In Charge
- Megaton Punch: Obelisk's attack, "God Hand Crusher"/"Fist of Fate"/"Fist of Fury".
- Ominous Latin Chanting: Accompanies their summonings in the dub.
- Our Dragons Are Different: Ra is a mechanical griffon who becomes a phoenix.
- The Phoenix: Ra's alternate form.
- Power Gives You Wings: Justified for Osiris and Ra, after all they are Dragons.
- Power Glows
- Purposefully Overpowered: Specifically designed to be the strongest cards in the game.
- Wreathed in Flames: Ra's Phoenix form.
Seal of Orichalcos
The card Season 4 centers around, it originates from Atlantis, where the Orichalcos was a mineral that lead the society to great technology achievements, but eventually they became too corrupt and destroyed themselves.
- Bilingual Bonus: The text around the seal is Enochian. It spells out "Oreichalcos".
- Defictionalization: The card actually exists! There are only 15 in the entire world, used in a single special tournament by Upper Deck employees where players could duel them. And yes, the real card is just as overpowered as it was in the show, which is why it has never been released to the public.
- Truth in Television: Remember Pegasus, the guy who had those overpowered Toon cards that were never released into circulation due to being too strong?
- Green Rocks
- Instant Runes
- Purposefully Overpowered
- Red Eyes, Take Warning: Anyone who uses the Orichalcos gains a red tint to their eyes. Except Dartz, who is so corrupted one of his eyes is Orichalcos green.