It’s time to duel!
Those are the legendary words uttered by dedicated duelists who buy, sell, trade, collect and play the Yu-Gi-Oh! trading card game. Even now, more than 20 years after the first booster box was released in North America, Yu-Gi-Oh! remains one of the most popular trading card games in the world.
Created by legendary manga artist and game creator Kazuki Takahashi, who died unexpectedly this week, the recognizable TCG was born from the Shonen Jump Yu-Gi-Oh! manga and turned into a popular, monster-based card game in 1999.
There are plenty of ways to get involved in the Yu-Gi-Oh! TCG, which like many TCGs has experienced a renewed boom amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Here’s everything you need to know.
How does the Yu-Gi-Oh! TCG work?
The original Yu-Gi-Oh! TCG could be broken up into three different types of cards: monsters, spells and traps. Over the years, Konami, the publisher of the game, has introduced several different types of monster cards as the Yu-Gi-Oh! TCG gameplay evolved: fusion monsters, ritual monsters, XYZ monsters, synchro monsters, and link monsters.
Let’s put it this way: If you last played the Yu-Gi-Oh TCG in 2004, the game is almost unrecognizable today. Still, the game requires airtight strategy and clairvoyant deck-building — and of course luck.
Yu-Gi-Oh! products are typically released in booster boxes, but Konami also produces structure decks, special collections and more. The Yu-Gi-Oh Original Card Game (OCG) is printed in Japanese, Korean and Simplified Chinese. The TCG is an adapted version of the OCG; the two versions of the game are closely related with similar artwork but have different banlists. Like the Pokémon TCG, sets released in Asian countries typically serve as a precursor for North American and European releases.
What cards should I collect?
Yu-Gi-Oh! decks are typically built using archetypes. You could have a deck built around the legendary Blue-Eyes White Dragon or Dark Magician — or a more contemporary theme such as Ultra Athletes, Shadoll or Branded. New Yu-Gi-Oh OCG and TCG sets typically supplement certain archetypes with new and/or reprinted cards to support their viability in gameplay.
Most of these cards hold value with OCG and TCG players who are building decks based on these archetypes. Toon Chaos, one recent Yu-Gi-Oh! TCG set provided support for archetypes such as Toon, Black Luster Solider and Code Talkers. Most new booster box releases follow this pattern.
Konami also produces special reprint sets that reintroduce classic cards, sometimes with new forms of rarity. These sets are the ones collectors drool over.
The most recent example is the TCG’s Ghosts From The Past 2: The Second Haunting, which reprinted popular archetypes such as Zombie, D/D/D and Inzektor, among others, but also printed classic cards in a special “ghost” rarity. This foil makes the card’s artwork appear invisible when shown under light. The treatment was given to classic cards such as Dark Magician Girl and Red-Eyes Black Dragon, among others.
Other cards teeming with value are versatile OCG/TCG cards that have the ability to be used in a variety of decks and devastate opponents regardless. Examples are the effect monster Ash Blossom & Joyous spring, a powerful card that can be activated from the hand and used to derail your opponents’ strategy, and the effect-negating trap Infinite Impermanence.
What cards should I grade with TGA?
Whether it’s a reprinted classic or a powerful new card, all Yu-Gi-Oh! OCG/TCG cards look incredible in TGA’s custom Yu-Gi-Oh! label. You can also customize the color of the label to match the artwork or type of card in the slab.
Inspired by Takahashi’s timeless artwork, our custom Yu-Gi-Oh! labels feature hieroglyphics positioned behind the name and set of the card while a metal chain, not unlike the one Yugi wears to hold the Millennium Puzzle, transitions the label from the details to the card of the grade. Let’s see some Immaculate 10s!
As always, determining which cards to grade is entirely up to you. Did you nab a sweet pull from the latest booster box? Slab it. Just want to protect your favorite card from childhood? Slab that, too.
May the heart of the cards be with you all.