Best Yu-gi-oh Series

Christina Perez
• Thursday, 31 December, 2020
• 12 min read

I turn 21 this Summer, and I was 6 when Yugo came to the US, so I grew up with this franchise, I've seen every series, so I know what I'm talking about while I make this list. A semi-spinoff of the popular Yu-Gi-Oh anime series, focusing on a boy named Jaden and his misadventures as a student at an esteemed Duel Monsters academy.

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(Source: www.yugioh.com)


Before people say anything like “I wasn't around to experience it, therefore have no right to judge it” or “You're just a kid who doesn't know what he's talking about and missed out on a deal with GO” no, just no. Now fast-forward 10 years later and without my nostalgia goggle it doesn't hold up very well.

HALF of the first season is nothing but one shot episodes that don't even matter to the overall story and even when they establish the plot it still delves away from it and does something completely different. Hell in the MAIN PROTAGONIST Judai-Kun is a one dimensional character for 3/4 of the series and when he finally does get developed he becomes an *beep* (he has his moments but overall an *beep* not to mention he hogs 70-80% of the screen time).

Thanks to the Leo Corporation, headed by Meiji Arab, new advancements to Solid Vision, the holographic system that gives life to the Duel Monsters card game, give physical mass to monsters... See full summary ». So far the latest Yugo series is shaping up to be an amazing one.

I didn't know this series existed until about 6 months ago, and it was at EP. Since this is still an ongoing series (100 Episodes on the date I made this list: April 7th, 2016) and we still have another year at the least since Yugo series generally end around this time of the year I'll guess by April next year Arc-V will be over, or it'll be close to wrapping up.

But since I'm not spoiling anything I'll just say: It has amazing writing, a VERY interesting lead character, the best female lead we've had since 5Ds, a cool rival, and the fact that EVERY Extra Deck mechanic (Fusion, Synchro, XYZ, & Pendulum) Play an important part in the story helps as well. Not to mention if you enjoyed past series you'll be delighted to know that this is essentially serving as a 20th anniversary series to the franchise by having older characters make a return.

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(Source: www.gamespot.com)

So far Jack & Crow from 5Ds have reappeared and had big roles in the series, Alexis Rhodes & Aster Phoenix from GO are scheduled to appear, and Kieth Ten from Zeal is scheduled to appear. 8/10 (I could bump it up in the future depending on how the rest of this series goes).

The first 73 episodes of Zeal are what really turn fans away from this series. The last half of Zeal however is SOON good, it's honestly one of my favorite Yugo Story Arcs.

Yuma however does have some good development going from a terrible duelist into an amazing one. Overall Zeal is better than what most people credit for and if you haven't seen don't listen to the negative things others say about it.

You should watch it for yourself to judge it (or at least the last half of the series or “Zeal II”). A young boy named Yuri Auto defeats the world Champion, Set Kaaba, in a duel with the help of the mysterious Millennium puzzle, the support of the friends and the heart of the cards.

“HOW could you put the holy, almighty Duel Monsters at the SECOND best series when it should be Numbed ONE?!?!?” Yes, the original is my 2nd favorite Yugo series but that doesn't mean it's terrible.

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(Source: www.wattpad.com)

Even now after 15+ years IMO the original Yugo series is still one of the best series to date with an excellent story, the OG Protagonist Yuri, along with Kaaba and Joey oh the memories but even my nostalgia with this series won't save it from the flaws it has. As far as the anime goes Yuri will always be the best duelist but in a real game Yuma, Yuma, & Yuma would thoroughly hand Yuri his ass on a silver platter.

AOI/Blue Angel is the most interesting female lead since Akita, Emma is waif material and a fairly interesting character, Revolver is a BOSS rival character. There lies a strong divide between the rich and the poor, and... See full summary ».

Yugo 5Ds has the best set of main characters WHO ALL have a purpose to the story, they all have a personality, and they're all developed. People hate him for his constant friendship speeches but given the fact that the Yugo franchise is about bonds/friendships and the backstory of EVERY main character and the meaning of Yuma's name they're right on the money and Yuma has every right to give a friendship speech.

Jack Atlas is a nice throwback to Kaiba, but he has more development as a character, Crow is a diet version of Joey if you will but more likeable. 5Ds has a truly excellent story, amazing duels, and GREAT characters (Hell Yuma and Akita are HEAVILY implied to be in love and get together at the end of the series and that's something we NEVER or hardly ever see in this franchise, even Yuma's VA believes they get together, or they will).

For this piece I’m going to focus on Yu-Gi-Oh !’s North American video game releases(excluding iOS/Android). These games tend to have altered, if not completely different, rules compared to the physical TCG.

(Source: www.vodkaster.com)

Players automatically have a choice between three starter decks all with a wide variety of cards. GO game ever released, you are a rookie duelist that has just enrolled in the Duel Academy.

The standard game flow constantly has you battling, earning Duelist Points (DP), spending DP for cards, upgrading your deck, then beating even stronger opponents with your improved deck. You initially choose between two storylines that focus on either Yuri Motor or Set Kaaba (or, much later, Joey Wheeler) who are all trapped in a virtual reality game.

The False bound Kingdom received a lot of flak from critics, mostly for the difficulty and how much it differed from the franchise’s other titles. GO Tag Force 2 includes much of the same dueling mechanics and game flow as previous titles, though it adds the hype-y Destiny Draw system.

Spirit Caller has you play as a student at the Duel Academy who’s buddy-buddy with GO poster boy Jaden Yuri and his roommate Cyrus Trues dale. Although it has cutscenes with dialogue, the story mode and game world are very straightforward since you usually just duel your way through the overarching plot.

INAMI also tweaked the UI(though beginners may have some trouble adjusting) and improved animations compared to Yu-Gi-Oh ! Overall, Spirit Caller was a step forward in the right direction for the handheld DS games.

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(Source: hikari-yugi.blogspot.com)

With this Wii release you play a fast and furious Turbo Duelist, racing from the bottom all the way to the Fortune Cup. But on top of going fast, you play cards to defend yourself and obstruct your opponents.

Once you’ve gotten the hang of it though, Wheelie Breakers is a fantastically fun and strategic game. The big draw (pun intended) here is the nostalgia trip of playing through a true GO classic.

For this title, INAMI tosses story off to the side for pure unadulterated dueling. Just remember this uses the older rules so there is no such thing as synchro summon or any kind of ban list.

Released April 13, 2000PlatformPlayStation 2, Game Boy Colorway we have a 2004 release for the PlayStation 2 that is fun if you played it, but forgettable if you never bought it. Capsule Monster Coliseum’s gameplay diverges from traditional card battles.

The game’s AI can make for a steep learning curve for beginners, but seasoned card battlers will find a challenge without too much frustration. Seems like INAMI heard the gripes about GO Tag Force 2 since this third game provides a welcomed improvement to the series.

baseball box topps hobby series pack cards card plus sports silver boxes games
(Source: www.dacardworld.com)

Released February 23, 2006PlatformGame Boy Advance At this point it shouldn’t surprise you if all the World Championship games make it on this list. Ultimate Masters is a Game Boy Advance release boasting over 2000 cards.

That number may not sound like much by today’s standards, but it was well over double its predecessor’s card count. These options widen the gameplay, though the title mainly focuses on standard dueling.

There’s no story or campaign mode here and progression feels like a gauntlet against an assortment of themed decks. You play as a silent & mysterious duelist that tag-teams with several characters from the 5D’s anime, each one with their own storylines.

Completing these storylines earns you their signature cards, so you’re incentivized to partner with as many characters as possible. Tag Force 4 features over 4000 cards, and you should be relieved to know that the game lets you store up to 200 deck recipes.

Graphics-wise, the game has a mostly 2D world that lets you move from one area to another and interact with characters on the map. INAMI also polished the dueling UI a bit and added battle animations, including some nifty cinematic for the more iconic monster cards.

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(Source: www.toonzone.net)

Released March 18, 2002PlatformGame Boy Clothes list wouldn’t be complete without a blast to the past. Dark Duel Stories is the franchise’s first and only North American release for the Game Boy Color.

Since it came out in the franchise’s early days(2002) the dueling rules followed the anime more than the actual TCG. Released March 20, 2007PlatformNintendo DST he World Championship Tournament games quickly became fan favorites, and INAMI made the very smart move to continue them on the Nintendo DS.

Along with a slight change to the series name, World Championship 2007 features over 1600 cards and more strategies than any game before it. Worth mentioning this title also introduces Jaden Yuri as the franchise’s new poster boy, though there’s no story mode.

Compared to its predecessors, World Championship 2007 boasts a better AI for challenging duels(though more experienced players may argue the contrary). Overall INAMI hit the ground running with this release, and they set themselves up for some big shoes to fill with its sequels.

Instead of dueling with decks, you play Duke Devlin’s dice game from the first anime. Your goal in each battle is to chip away at your opponent’s Heart Points using your summoned monsters.

gi magazine yu oh cards promotional yugioh official wikia
(Source: yugioh.wikia.com)

You play through several tournaments, challenging one opponent after another (including some of the anime’s main cast). The big improvement here came with the UI and general play controls since INAMI made sure to integrate the DS’s touch screen.

It became easier (and quicker) to quickly tap decisions while still using buttons to input commands. Plus Nightmare Troubadour upped the graphics with the new console, using the top screen to show the game board, card animations, and even monster battles.

In the free-roam story mode you are a duelist in Domino City, battling to become the best. Like World Champion Tournament 2004 you face off against characters from the first anime series such as Tea, Mai, Tristan, and even Yuri’s Grandpa.

7 Trials to Glory distinctly features duel restrictions that help spice up standard card battles. You earn DP by winning duels and use them to obtain new cards or register for tournaments.

Other improvements include an updated UI and more deck management, though it has a surprisingly limited card pool of only 1000 considering the time of its release. The game gives a nod to the War of the Roses in the setting and naming, though that’s the extent of historical similarities.

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(Source: www.cbr.com)

Some of the franchise’s most beloved characters adopt alternate egos: for example, Yuri becomes Henry Tudor, the leader of the House of York. You play the unnamed Rose Duelist after being summoned to the past by Yuri’s grandpa as a Scottish druid (yeah, just a touch more fantasy here than usual).

It has the “Perfect Rule” system that emphasizes Deck Leaders, which work like avatars of the cards you play on the field. Deck Leaders are monster cards that you rank up through play.

It’s a fun game that mixes more terrain strategy with traditional card play, all the while sporting an alternate history backdrop. The game also features a friendship system where you build up relationships with certain characters, and the one most fond of you will act as your partner in Tag Duels.

Don’t expect a stellar AI(which isn’t surprising with the franchise) but there’s enough difficulty to challenge you. Plus as the opponents get tougher and with over 1500 cards to collect, you’ll want to keep improving your deck.

Stardust Accelerator continues the series on the Nintendo DS, this time featuring the cast of Yu-Gi-Oh ! It also sprinkles in puzzle-solving with Duel Puzzles, though the bulk of the gameplay still takes place over card battles.

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(Source: www.cdjapan.co.jp)

Speaking of which, the AI is serviceable for a challenging experience, and you’ll have to recoup from losses by tweaking your deck. Fashion, you duel your way to New Domino City where you battle through tournaments to beat the game.

Stardust Accelerator leaps over its predecessors showing just how much the World Championship series has evolved. This game keeps what was good about its Tag Force predecessors, such as DP, the Destiny Draw system, Deck storage, and multiple character storylines.

The game features additional characters from the 5D’s anime and, more importantly, over 4700 cards for you to collect. With this massive selection and an improved AI the duels stay fun and complex, sometimes really coming down to the luck of the draw.

Much like its predecessors, Over the Nexus keeps what worked well with the series and adds just a bit more to make it better. It features a whopping 4,000+ cards, Wi-Fi play, Duel Runner battles, and deck building tools for new and old players alike.

5D’s anime, so you battle through Crash Town and eventually New Domino City. Released February 23, 2010PlatformNintendo Somehow an improvement over Stardust Accelerator and arguably the best of the World Championship series for being the most well-rounded game.

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(Source: www.ipetitions.com)

For those with more competitive tastes, Reverse of Arcadia also has Wi-Fi play letting you face off and rank against duelists from all over the world. The solo mode AI can be a mixed bag but has remarkably improved from previous titles.

You’ll need a good bit of strategy and the luck of the draw to best these computerized foes. Yet if AI doesn’t do it for you, the online play is an exciting opportunity to pit your deck against other players and see who the true King of Games really is.

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1 archiveofourown.org - https://archiveofourown.org/works/14598843/chapters/33784866
2 archiveofourown.org - https://archiveofourown.org/works/10692801/chapters/25003380