Yu-Gi-Oh! Trading Card Game

OBJECTIVE OF YU-GI-OH!: Defeat opponent’s monsters and reduce their life points to 0.


MATERIALS: Each player uses their custom deck

TYPE OF GAME: Strategy 



Yu-Gi-Oh! is a trading card game based on the action anime from TV. The goal of the game is to use the various types of cards within the game to defeat your opponent’s monsters and reduce their life points or LP to zero. Like many trading card games, there is a basic deck that is customizable by buying additional “Booster Packs.” Understanding the rules is paramount if you wish to play the game properly, keep these rules easily accessible if you are a new player.


Things needed to Duel

  • Deck. A deck consists of 40 to 60 cards. You may have no more than three copies of one particular card in your deck, this includes the extra and side deck. A carefully curated deck of around 40 cards is optimum for being able to play your best cards.
  • Extra Deck. This deck is 0 to 15 cards and has Xyz Monsters, Fusion Monsters, and Synchro Monsters in them. These can be used in gameplay if you are able to fulfill their requirements.
  • Side Deck. Side decks are also made of 0 to 15 cards. This is a separate deck that can be used if you wish to change your deck in the middle of a Match. After duels, you may switch any card from the side deck and the extra deck in order to respond to your opponent. The amount of cards in the side deck must remain constant.
  • You may also need a coin or a dice. Some cards require these items for play.
  • Counters and Moster Tokens may also be required. Counters keep track of turns or power levels. These may be anything small, like a bead or a paperclip. Monster tokens represent the monsters that may be formed due to the effect of a card. The object may be anything, but must be able to be placed in two distinct ways- this indicates the battle position of the monster.

Possibly useful items during Duels

  • Calculator. LP (life points) can quickly change amidst a duel. Using a calculator is an effective way to track your LP throughout the game. Tracking LP on paper is okay, but requires more attention.
  •  Plastic Sleeves. These prevent your cards from bending or scratching.
  • Game mat. Game mats organize cards while dueling. Different zones are labeled where cards different types are cards should be placed. Each player should have their own mat which makes up “the field.”


  1. Monster Zone. This is where monsters are placed. You may have a maximum of five cards here. Monster cards can be placed in three different positions: face-up attack, face-up defense, and face-down defense. Cards are placed vertically to indicate attack and horizontally to indicate a defense position.
  2. Spell & Trap Zone. This area can house up to 5 cards. Cards are placed face-up for activation, or face-down.
  3. Graveyard. After a Monster is destroyed or a Spell & Trap card has been used, they are placed here face-up. Opponents may examine one another’s graveyard anytime during a duel. The order of these cards are not allowed to be changed.
  4. Deck. The deck is put face-down here. This is where players draw cards for their hand.
  5. Field. There are special spell cards called Field Spell Cards which are put here. Players can only have 1 Field Spell card on their side. Send old Field Spell Cards to the graveyard to replace them.
  6. Extra Deck. You may look through the cards in your extra deck while playing. This area was once called Fusion Deck, any effects to Fusion Deck now affect the Extra Deck.
  7. Pendulum. Pendulum Monster Cards activated as Spell Cards are put face-up here.


Card Parts

  • The card name is located across the top of each trading card. If a card is referenced on another card, that card’s name will appear in quotes.
  • Below the name of the card and to the right are red circles with stars that indicate level. The number of stars corresponds to the monster’s level. However, for Xyz monster stars represent the rank of the monster and can be found on the left.
  • Right beside the card name is the attribute. This is a colored symbol that is significant to the card’s effect. There are six attributes: Dark, Earth, Fire, Light, Water, and Wind.
  • At the top of the text box, below the photo on the card, the type of card is in bolded text. Monster cards have a variety of Types. You can also find additional information beside their type.
  • The card number is located below the picture and above the text box with the card description. This is a useful tool for collecting and organizing cards.
  • Below the gray line in the text box is the ATK (Attack Points) and DEF (Defense Points). High points in these areas are great for battle.
  •  In the light brown text box below the photo is the card description. The effects of the cards, special abilities and how to employ them are written here. Monster’s effects can’t be employed while they are face-down on the field. Yellow Normal Monster Cards have no effects.

Card Types

Monster Card

This type of card is used during battle to defeat an opponent. The battle between Monster cards is the basis of the duel.

There is a large variety of Monster Cards. Monsters may have high strength and defense points but others may have powerful special effects, the game is about more than brawn. Winning a duel is about strategically using these different cards.

  • Normal Monsters. No special abilities, high ATK and DFE.
  • Effect Monsters. Have three categories of special abilities: continuous, ignition, quick, and trigger.
    • Continous Effect is activated by placing the card face-up in the field. The effect resolves when the monster is either gone or face-down. If you are able to protect them while they are on the field, they are very useful in battle. If a Monster has <2000 ATK it cannot declare attacks.
    • Ignition Effect is activated via declaration during the Main Phase. Some have costs in order to activate them. These can be used in combination with other effects due to the ability to activate them when you wish.
    • Quick Effect can activate even on your opponent’s turn. Unlike most monster effects which have a Spell Speed of 1, these have a Spell Speed of 2. These were once called Multi-Trigger Effects.
    • Trigger Effect. The effects of these cards are activated at certain times described on the card.
    • Flip Effect activates when a card that is face-down is flipped over and vice versa. These are part of Trigger Effects. The word FLIP on the card initiates the effect.
  • Pendulum Monsters. These are a mix of Spells and Monsters. They may operate as one or the other. For example, placing one of these in the Pendulum Zone makes it act as a Spell Card. There is a scale (below the photo and to the right) that defines the number of monsters that can be summoned. Read the cards carefully to understand the monster effects and spell effects.
    • How to Pendulum Summon. Once, in the middle of the Main Phase, you may make a declaration of Pendulum Summoning. Check the scales on your cards and follow the directions in the description as they suit your needs (i.e. summoning monsters from your hand of the Extra Deck.)
    • You can summon these cards to field even from the graveyard.
  • Xyz Monsters. Xyz (ik-seez) Monsters are very powerful. You may summon these if you are in control of monsters at the same level. Their rank is indicated below the card name and to the left, with stars in black circles. These rest in the extra deck, not the main deck, awaiting the call to action.
    • Summoning XYZ Monsters. The materials needed to summon are located in the card description. It may read something like this: “Use 2 Level 4 Monsters.” Materials need to be face-up before they can be used. Once you have the necessary materials face-up, pick the monster from the Extra Deck you wish to summon. Stack the materials and put the monster on top. If the card demands you ‘detach’ a material, move it to the Graveyard.
  • Synchro Monsters. Like Xyz Monsters, these monsters rest in the Extra Deck. If you use the levels of the monsters you control, you can summon these monsters to the field instantly. A face-up Tuner monster and any amount of face-up monsters that are not tuners placed in the graveyard, whose sum of levels equal the Synchro monster’s, can be used to Synchro Summon.
    • How to Synchro Summon. In your Main Phase, you may announce a Synchro Summon if you have the required monsters. Send the required monsters to the Graveyard and place the Syncro Monster in Attack or face-up Defense position.
  • Fusion Monsters. These Monsters are in the Extra Deck. The Fusion Materials are used to summon Fusion Monster. Fusion Materials are specific monsters listed on the card. They possess both special abilities and high ATK.
    • How to Fusion Summon. Once you have the required Fusion materials, place the summoning card in the Spell & Trap Zone to activate it. After, put the Fusion Material in the Graveyard and grab your Fusion Monster. You may place it either in Attack or Defense Position. Put the summoning card in the Graveyard.
  • Ritual Monsters.  These are summoned with certain Ritual Spell Cards and a Tribute. These rest in the main deck. You must have the necessary cards in your hand or on the field to summon Ritual Monsters. These monsters are similar to Fusion Monsters with their high ATK and DEF, as well as their special abilities.
    • How to Ritual Summon. You need the Ritual Spell Card, matching Ritual Monster, and the Tribute (specified on the Ritual Spell Card). Place the Spell card in the Spell & Trap Zone. Tribute monsters head to the graveyard if activation is successful. After, play the Ritual Monster on the field in either Attack or Defense position. Place the spell card in the Graveyard.


The typical summoning of a Monster is done by playing it on the field, face-up, in Attack position. Monsters level 5 and 6 require a Tribute and follow the tribute summoning procedure. Level 7 & up need 2 tributes. Defense position is not considered summoning, use a flip summon to activate it by flipping the card over.

Spell & Trap Cards

The name of the spell card is typed across the top in white letters, beside it is the type of card. Below the name is the spell card’s icon, these represent properties of that card. Spell cards without these icons are called Normal Spell/Trap Cards. The six icons are Equip (cross), Field (compass), Quick play (lightning bolt), Ritual (fire), Continuous (infinity), Counter (arrow).

Spell Cards can only be activated during the Main Phase. They possess powerful effects that can destroy other cards and make monsters stronger.

  • Normal Spell Cards have one-time use effects. Announce that you are using them and place them face-up in the field. After the card resolves, put the card in the Graveyard.
  • Ritual Spell Cards are used in Ritual Summons. Use them like a Normal Spell Card.
  • Continuous Spell Cards remain in the field after activation. Their effect continues as long as the card is face-up and in the field.
  • Equip Spell Cards give extra effects to any single face-up monster, you or your opponent’s, depending on the description. They stay in the field after activation.
  • Field Spell Cards. These cards remain in the Field Zone. Each player is allotted 1 Field Spell Card. If you wish to use a new one, send the one in the field to the Graveyard. These cards affect both players.

Trap Cards are similar to Spell Cards in their effects help you advance in the game. However, Trap Cards can be activated on an opponent’s turn and typically harness the element of surprise.

  • Normal Trap Cards must be put on the field before activation. They cannot be activated in the same turn it is set out. These cards have one-time use effects, that once resolve, force the card to be sent to the Graveyard. Like Normal Spell Cards, once they are activated their effects cannot be hindered. However, your opponent can destroy it prior to activation.
  • Continuous Trap Cards are similar to Continuous Spell Cards. They remain in the field and their effects are continuous while they are face-up. Typically, the slowly destroy your opponent’s Life Points.
  • Counter Trap Cards typically activate in response to other cards activating. They are used in defense of other Trap cards and Spell cards.



One game is referred to as a Duel, it ends when a player with wins or it is a draw. There are 3 Matches in a Duel, win 2/3 to win the Duel.

Each player begins with 8000 LP. You win by reducing the LP to 0, if your opponent’s deck is exhausted and they need to draw, or if you are fortunate that a special effect declares you the winner. If both players happen to reach 0 LP simultaneously, the Duel is a draw.

Starting the Duel 

Follow these steps before starting to Duel. Have all the materials you may possibly need in hand.

  1. Greet your opponent and shuffle your deck. You can shuffle and/or cut your opponent’s deck.
  2. Place the decks, face-down, in their zones. Place the extra deck in its zone.
  3. Display your Side Decks and catalog the number of cards in each. They should have no more than 15 cards and the amount must remain constant.
  4. Either use rock-paper-scissors or flip a coin, whoever wins picks who goes first. In Duels that follow, the loser picks who goes first at the start. Draw 5 cards from the deck to fill your hand.

Taking Turns

  1. Draw Phase. This is the initial phase. Draw 1 card from the top of your deck. Trap cards and Quick-Play Spell cards may be activated before preceding to the next phase.
  2. Standby Phase. Pay for activation costs during this phase. You still have the opportunity to activate trap cards and Quick-Play cards.
  3. Main Phase 1. This phase is when you have the opportunity to play most cards you have. You may summon, change positions of monsters, activate cards, and set spells and traps. Changing positions includes Flip Summoning.
  4. Battle Phase. Use your monsters for battle. This phase has steps.
    1. Start. Announce you are entering the battle phase. You cannot start battle phase in your very first turn.
    2. Battle. Choose a monster to attack with and declare the attack. You may directly attack if they have no monsters and move to the damage step and repeats. Each face-up Attack position monster can attack once per turn, however, you are not required to attack with a monster in position.
    3. Damage. Calculate the damage as a result of the battle.
    4. End. Declare you have finished the Battle Phase.
  5. Main Phase 2. After the battle phase you can move to Main Phase 2. You have the same options for action as Main Phase 1. However, one-time actions done in Main Phase 1 cannot be repeated. Choose your actions in response to the battle.
  6. End Phase. You can end your turn by announcing so. Some cards may have directions for end phase that should be resolved if they are in the field. If your hand exceeds 6 cards, discard the excess to the Graveyard.

Battles & Chains

Damage Step 

  • Limitations. You are only allowed to activate Counter Trap cards or cards that directly affect a monster’s DEF and ATK. You can activate cards until beginning damage calculations.
  • Face-down. Flip a face-down defense monster you are attacking so that it is face-up. Now you can calculate damage from the DEF.
  • Activation. Flip effects activate when a monster is flipped face-up. Their effects are resolved once the damage is calculated.

Determining Damage

Calculate damage using ATK v. ATK (if you attack a monster in attack position) or ATK v. DEF (if you attack a monster in a defense position.


  • Win. If your ATK is greater than your opponent’s monster, that monster is destroyed and put in the Graveyard. The difference between the monster’s ATKs are subtracted from your opponent’s LP.
  • Tie. If ATKs are equal it is a tie. Both monsters get destroyed and there is no sustained damage.
  • Lose. If your ATK if less than your opponent’s monster, your monster is destroyed and put in the Graveyard. The difference between the monster’s ATKs are subtracted from your LP.


  • Win. If your ATK exceeds your opponent’s DEF, that monster is destroyed and put in the Graveyard. Neither player sustains damage.
  • Tie. If the ATK and DEF are equal neither monster is destroyed and neither player sustains damage.
  • Lose. If your ATK is less than the DEF neither are destroyed. The difference between your opponent’s DEF and your ATK is subtracted from your LP.

You may attack your opponent directly if they have no monsters. The full ATK of your monster is subtracted from their LP.


A chain order multiple effects from a single card or multiple active cards. Opponents can create their own chains in response. You can add more effects in response to their chain as well. Both can repeat this until each player is satisfied. Do not resolve cards in the chain without asking your opponent if they want to make one.

Spell Speed 

Each Spell card has a speed between 1 and 3. In response to a chain, you must use Spell Speed 2 or greater, you cannot use a Spell Speed that is lower.

  • Spell Speed 1:
    • Normal Spells, Equip Spells, Continuous Spells, Field Spells, Ritual Spells.
    • Ignition Effect, Trigger Effect, Flip Effect
  • Spell Speed 2:
    • Normal Traps, Continuous Traps
    • Quick Play Spells
    • Quick Effect
  • Spell Speed 3:
    • Counter Trap







Nakoa Davis

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