As far as trading card games go, Yu-Gi-Oh has been on the back burner while Pokémon and Magic: The Gathering flourish. Although the trading card game may not be as popular in this day and age, the anime has certainly kept its head above water with multiple spinoffs, movies, and YouTube series. Most millennials have many fond memories of picking up Yu-Gi-Oh booster packs and hoping to pull a Dark Magician card or finishing Exodia. It was up there with being as addicting and maybe even more-so than Pokémon was. However, you'll have to dig pretty deep to find someone that still has a full Yu-Gi-Oh collection. As much as it has become unpopular, there are still many things people don't know about Yu-Gi-Oh as a whole. Information spanning across the tournaments, movies, video games, and even fan art. A lot of the information showcased in this article may very well be common knowledge, but you'd be surprised with how much isn't popularly circulated throughout the community.
I've done my best to not only share the uncommon knowledge about Yu-Gi-Oh but I've gone ahead and thrown some little tidbits here and there that people may already know, but is good to know as a community involved in the trading card game genre. So, before your eyes, here are 15 things you probably didn't know about Yu-Gi-Oh. All of this is based on information relating to the trading card game, the anime TV show, and even the manga, so there's plentiful knowledge for everybody.
15 Biggest Trading Card Game Tournament
Yu-Gi-Oh has gone down in the Guinness Book of World Records believe it or not. During the 100th Yu-Gi-Oh Championship Series event, it held the most players ever at a trading card event coming in at 4,364 contestants. Along with being the biggest tournament in trading card game history, many players were bringing in their own strategies with decks they built through means of booster packs and trading with other Yu-Gi-Oh players. In the end of it all, someone by the name of Michael Balan ended up winning the "100th YCS Champion" title by defeating his opponent with a Dark World deck. His prizes included but were not limited to championship series Yu-Gi-Oh cards and a spot in the World Championship Qualifier. Even with the Pokémon Trading Card Game and Magic: The Gathering card game being as big as they are, it's impressive to hear that a Yu-Gi-Oh styled tournament became the biggest.
14 Konami/Trading Card Game
Originating from the manga series and anime series of the same name, the Yu-Gi-Oh Trading Card Game was developed and published by Konami. The trading card game is based off of Duel Monsters which is used through the anime and manga series. There are various types of gameplay strategies, ways to acquire cards much like the Pokémon Trading Card Game and tournaments / championships throughout the world. Along with the trading card game being in it's own vein, the Yu-Gi-Oh video games also used the trading cards you can buy on your own and became available to use through the use of codes imprinted on the trading cards. This method was used for people who wanted to use their real life decks that they took time to make in the video games, as opposed to using pre-made decks. This however didn't extend to every card in the trading card game, though it did extend to most of the necessities.
13 TV Adaptations & Manga Series
Along with Yu-Gi-Oh being an incredibly extensive trading card game, it was originally available through a manga series, and a large one at that. While the television series lasted for about four years creating 224 episodes, the manga series was spread across 38 separate volumes and existed from 1996 to 2004. Although many times throughout the anime, you see connections to the manga, the manga series of Yu-Gi-Oh was far more expansive and offered much more than the anime series shows. The main plot in the manga series follows Yugi Mutou as he solves the millennium puzzle and awakens a part inside of him that allows for gambling and play of various styles of games. Each manga series has an English variant as well as the original Japanese version of which the entire series is based off of. In basic terms, if you're more interesting in seeing a much more developed story line, the manga series is the place to start, then of course the anime series is the next best thing.
12 Different Names
Believe it or not, Yu-Gi-Oh isn't the name it's always known by in popular media. Due to the case of spin offs and other books, the series has seen different names but are comparatively the same thing. For the anime, the show was originally known as Yu-Gi-Oh but as the series progressed, it saw different names such as Duel Monsters (2000) which is the second adaptation of the show, and Capsule Monsters which is a spin-off from the original series. In the form of books, Yu-Gi-Oh was seen shown as Duel Art, for art related books, and The Gospel of Truth which worked as a character guidebook for information regarding the manga related Yu-Gi-Oh characters. Alongside all of this, the trading card game was also seen as a different name in the form of Magic & Wizards. In its current state, both the trading card game and the TV show are popularly referred to as Yu-Gi-Oh.
11 Sennen Items
Throughout the TV show, you'll come to notice specific items of which specific characters have access to - Sennen Items (otherwise known as Millennium Items). It becomes a recurring theme throughout the anime, where certain characters will showcase the powers of certain items. However, the origin and powers of these items is much more interesting. The Millennium Eye seen with Pegasus in the anime has the power to see into people's minds. It was originally owned by Priest Akunadin. Probably one of the more famous items seen throughout the anime is The Millennium Puzzle, owned by Yugi Mutou. The Millennium Puzzle allows Yugi to mature throughout the anime, however the power it refers to is known as Mind Crush. There are many other items you'll come to discover throughout the show such as The Millennium Rod, The Millennium Ring, and The Millennium Key (also known as The Millennium Ankh). Each holds their own power for the individual that owns them.
10 Dark World Monsters - Name Origins
Among the incredible things Yu-Gi-Oh has to offer, you'll find a number of other things that have meanings behind them that may not seem obvious at first glance. Specifically, I'd like to touch on Dark World Monsters that show up from time to time in the Yu-Gi-Oh universe. Collectively, there are 15 separate monsters but are all related by their names. For example, the monsters Beiige, Broww, Goldd and Latinum are all named after their respective colors which are beige, brown, gold, and platinum. Some other monsters are related in the same way but with a twist, such as Lucent being named after Translucent and Reign-Beaux after Rainbow. The origins of these cards stems back to their initial Japanese names then further translated to fit into the English trading card game. As clever as you think the Pokémon and Magic: The Gathering trading card games are, Yu-Gi-Oh still has some tricks up its sleeve as well.
9 Dark World Monsters - Military Positions
Continuing on from the previous origins of the names, the Dark World Monsters are also given specific military positions to set them apart from the rest of the monsters seen throughout the Yu-Gi-Oh universe. The positions stretch across Vanguard, to Hunter, to King and so on and so forth. You'll come to find that this is further evident throughout the trading card game where with each monster, they'll have their military position displayed after their name and which part of the dark world they represent. For example, with Cobal its card will read "Cobal, Excavator of Dark World" and the same is said for Beiige with its name being shown as "Beigge, Vanguard of Dark World." This is consistent through each monsters respective cards. Many players will use these dark world monsters to further strengthen their deck, so its best to go prepared if you're sure that your opponent has created a tough Dark World deck.
We never want to believe it, but big names like Yu-Gi-Oh, Pokémon and the like always seem to birth spin offs that are sub par at best. Yu-Gi-Oh has not been a victim to too many spin offs, but they exist, and from what I can gather, they're at least worth watching if you're curious about other stories in the Yu-Gi-Oh universe. One of which is titled Yu-Gi-Oh! GX which follows Jaden Yuki attending the duel academy a few years after the events that took place during the Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Monsters universe. Not entirely surprising since we've seen the birth of many spin offs take that route. While not necessarily a popular move, it's a move nonetheless. Most companies attempt to squeeze out as much money as they can with their popular franchise, and while I don't think that's what happened in this case, the spin-offs still exist, and are there for your viewing pleasure if you see fit.
7 Trading Card Game - Monster Categories
Much like the categorized Dark World Monsters shown throughout the Yu-Gi-Oh trading card game, you'll also find that every single other monster is categorized within its own station, while simultaneously having its own hybrid of energy cards. Much like Pokémon are categorized by type and evolution, the monsters are categorized by normal, effect, fusion, ritual, synchro, xyz, pendulum, and token. However, they can't complete a successful deck without the extras thrown in, such as spell cards which have their own specific categories laid out as normal, quick play, and continuous, etc. Alongside both the monster cards and spell cards, you've also got trap cards categorized as normal, continuous, and counter. Every single category displayed throughout the Yu-Gi-Oh franchise helps deck builders make the best deck they can and build strategies to defeat the opponent much like you'll see with Pokémon and Magic: The Gathering. Be sure to brush up your knowledge of these categories before going into the trading card game blind.
6 Two Trading Card Game Formats
Within the Yu-Gi-Oh trading card game community, you have a specific list of formats you can follow if you feel you are ready to play professionally or casually. Most trading card games follow a certain rule book in order to keep away from cheating or working the system in your favor. If you're interested in playing in Yu-Gi-Oh tournaments, there are 3 separate formats to go by: Advanced format which is following the normal rules of play while banning cards that are far too powerful to play. Traditional format is a much more relaxed state of play that isn't used in official tournaments for the fact that they don't put a ban on powerful cards. And of course, Sealed Format which allows you to open random booster packs and build your own deck with the cards you pull. On top of all of that, there is the traditional casual play where two players will agree to a set of rules and fight against one another.
5 Copyright and Censorship
The trading card game design has never been a stranger to censorship. Within the Pokémon trading card game, multiple cards have been banned from being recreated due to certain cards bringing up lawsuits for the way they look. Much is the same with Yu-Gi-Oh. Unsurprisingly, since the Yu-Gi-Oh card game is sold to various places outside of Japan, many cards have had to be reworked, renamed, and redesigned to fit the needs of other countries. Certain monsters wielding weapons in their art have had to be reworked in order to turn attention away from the potential threat of gun violence due to seeing a monster on a card wielding one. Names have had to change in order to no longer be referenced to religious figures such as demon being renamed to archfiend. Copyright infringement is also a big issue which leads certain carts to be renamed entirely just to avoid being caught by copyright laws.
4 Capsule Monster Chess
Right alongside the trading card game, the Yu-Gi-Oh franchise (specifically the manga series, and some of the anime) saw more than the trading card game coming to fruition. Capsule Monster Chess is a Yu-Gi-Oh based board game that appeared in the first anime series, but for only a few episodes. The rules followed what the rules of chess followed, but slightly altered by choosing a winner based on whether or not they could destroy all the other opponents monsters. Unlike the trading card game however, Capsule Monster Chess never gained much popularity though it did spawn Yu-Gi-Oh Monster Capsule: Breed and Battle which is based off of the aforementioned. Unfortunately, due to the lack of popularity, and it being a simulation game, this one never really caught on. Fortunately, the game is still available somewhere if you feel the urge to play this game, or if you're looking to expand upon your video game collection.
3 Video Games
We've seen it happen so many times with these types of franchises where a trading card game is turned into a video game, or the initial idea spawns multiple video games across multiple genres and platforms. Pokémon has done this will insurmountable success, and while Yu-Gi-Oh has always somewhat been on the back burner, it still deserves credit where credit is due. Contrary to popular belief, the Yu-Gi-Oh video game franchise has been astonishingly above water ever since they debuted Yu-Gi-Oh! Monster Capsule: Breed & Battle back in 1998. Once this game came about, it spawned many more such as Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Monsters in 1998, Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Monsters II: Dark Duel Stories in 1999. The most recent games we've seen in regards to Yu-Gi-Oh are Yu-Gi-Oh! Legacy of the Duelist and Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Monsters: Ultimate Card Battle being released on their respective consoles. While these particular set of games may not be getting as much air time or as much popularity as Pokémon games are, they're still coming out in plenty, and as much as people think they aren't successful they continue to flourish.
2 Abridged Series
Much to my own surprise and probably yours, the now famous Abridged Series made its debut back in 2006 based on Yu-Gi-Oh. If you're unfamiliar with what the Abridge Series is, it's a genre of video spoofing where the creators take the original episodes of certain TV shows, and create unconventional plot lines and out of sorts dialogue. Since its debut, the Abridged Series has been the spawning point for not only the Yu-Gi-Oh Abridged Series, but as well as Dragon Ball and Naruto Abridged. While the Abridged Series kept to its initial purpose of spoofing various anime, it's also been the creation of a specific genre that others can follow and "abridge" their own versions of TV shows and movies respectively. The Yu-Gi-Oh Abridged Series has a run of 70 episodes, and was also the genius behind Yu-Gi-Oh: The Abridged Movie, Yu-Gi-Oh: The Other Abridged Movie and Bonds Beyond Time Abridged Movie.
1 Fan Designs
Within the Yu-Gi-Oh trading card game, it was not only home to the original monsters that were created by Konami, but it was also home to multiple fan made designs. Unlike most if not all other trading card games out there, Konami not only allowed for the creation of fan made Yu-Gi-Oh cards, but they were also published and made into legitimate Yu-Gi-Oh trading cards to be featured in the respective trading card game. 16 fan made cards made it into the TCG, with 15 of them making their ways into booster packs, and one being a Make-A-Wish promotional card by the name of Tyler The Great Warrior. This type of thing is a great incentive for people to tap into their creative minds, because Konami has been known to always make fan made cards into legitimate monster cards in the trading card game. The popularity of other trading card games would skyrocket if this type of thing existed across all the platforms.