What is Yu-Gi-Oh! Trading Card Game?

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Yu-Gi-Oh! Trading Card Game

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 his popular manga franchise, Yu-Gi-Oh!, and its various anime adaptations and spinoff series.

The game was launched by Konami in 1998. 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.[2] As of March 31, 2011, Konami Digital Entertainment Co., Ltd. Japan has sold over 25 billion cards globally since 1999.[3] The game continues to gain popularity as it is played around the world, mostly in Japan, North America, Europe and Australia, and has been expanded with new rules and additions as the franchise grows.

From March 2002[4] 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.[5] 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.[6] 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.[7][8][9] Konami is 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.


The game is a trading card game in which 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 (2,000 to 4,000 in the manga and anime) "Life Points", with the main aim of the game to use attacks and spells to reduce the opponent's Life Points. The game ends upon reaching one of the following conditions:[10]

  • 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 effects which trigger an automatic win or loss when its conditions are met.
  • A player can surrender at any time.


Cards are laid out in the following manner:

  • Deck: The player's deck which consists of forty to sixty cards.
  • Extra Deck: The player's deck which may contain up to fifteen cards consisting of Fusion, Synchro, Xyz, and Link Monster cards. Pendulum Monster cards are placed face up here when they would be destroyed and sent to the Graveyard.
  • Graveyard: A zone where cards are sent when they are discarded, such as used spell cards or monsters that are tributed or destroyed in battle.
  • Main Monster Card Zone: 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 anytime. Since then, each of these zones can not be used to summon Fusion, Synchro, Xyz, Pendulum, or Link Monsters from the extra deck unless it is "linked" to a Link Monster. In Link format, Pendulum Monsters may still be summoned to any Main Monster Card Zone from a player's hand.
  • Spell and Trap Card Zone: A field of three spaces where Spell and Trap cards (not including Pendulum Monsters treated as Spells) are placed. Before the inclusion of Link Monsters, there were five in total.
  • Field Spell Zone: A zone where Field Spell cards are placed.
  • Pendulum Zones: Two zones where Pendulum Monsters are placed when treated as spell cards. After the inclusion of Link Monsters, these zones became treated as zones where other Spell and Trap cards can be placed too.
  • Extra Monster Card Zone: Introduced with Link Monsters, this is a zone where any kind of monster can be summoned if empty.

Cards that are banished by card effects are removed from play and sent to a banish pile outside of the game area.


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. If there are no cards in the Deck during this phase, the player loses.[11]
  • Standby Phase: No specific action occurs, but it exists for card effects that activate or resolve during this specific phase and maintenance costs.[11]
  • Main Phase 1: The turn player may 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.[11]
  • Battle Phase: The turn player may choose to attack the opposing player using any monsters on their field in Attack position. If the player chooses not to attack, they can skip straight to the End Phase.[11]
  • 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.[11]
  • End Phase: If the player has more than six cards in their hand, they must discard cards until they have six. This phase also exists for card effects that activate or resolve during this specific phase and maintenance costs. Once this phase is resolved, the player ends their turn.[11]

The player who begins the game cannot conduct the Draw and Battle Phases during their first turn.[11]

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