How I learnt how to play Yu-Gi-Oh

So, this is going to be a mix of video games and card games, with a touch of anime shenanigans. This week, we are going to dive into the weird and magical world of Yu-Gi-Oh, the trading card game that you can play virtually on several consoles.

So, if you have a Nintendo Switch, you probably already know how expensive the games can be. The Yu-Gi-Oh game is actually one of the cheapest. It is a fun little game that I got for my partner. It is similar to the older one, but it has link monsters!

Here is the way I learnt how to play, and I think it would be a good way to get a casual player or just a friend to understand the rules and such. Now, this is a long process. You can jump to any level depending on your skill level. However, my partner (who was teaching me how to play) realised that my skill level was 0. I have to be interested in a game before it gets complicated; otherwise, I give up easily. So, here is how it went down!

Here are the things that you need to know before you get into the whole playing thing. There are 3 types of cards – monsters, spells and traps – and they all have different variations, but we’ll get into that later. Monsters can be placed in attack position or defence position. Spells and traps get placed face down below the monsters. You can only normal summon one monster per turn. At the start of each turn, you draw a card.

Step 1: Duelist Kingdom Rules

Only 2000 Life Points
No tribute required for a normal summon
Can’t attack directly
Only one monster can attack per turn, unless the monsters have the same name
Can activate any spell cards as quick play cards
If you have 6 cards in your hand, you can choose not to draw if you want to attack, but if you draw, you can’t attack.
Any card can do anything if you can come up with a good enough explanation that people believe (like something shooting at a moon, or a monster that cannot hit a monster with wings)

Step 2: Battle City Rules

Tributes are now required. Monsters Level 4 or under don’t need tributes. Level 5-6 monsters need 1 tribute. Level 7-9 need 2 tributes. Level 10-12 need 3 tributes (but really there should only be 3 level 10s at this point, and those are the Egyptian Gods)
Can’t attack with fusion monsters the turn that they are fusion summoned
Life Points go up to 4000
Normal spell cards (only) can be activated as quick play spells
Monsters can attack directly
Multiple Monsters can attack each turn

Step 3: Watch the first anime

Do it. It’s a bit long, but do it. It will make everything so much more worth it. It’ll make the cards mean more to you. For example, I have three Blue-Eyes White Dragons in my purse that my partner gave me for my 18th because they were his first Blue-Eyes White Dragons, and his favourite character is Seto Kaiba. I also have a Red-Eyes Black Dragon in there because I got it from a pack and Joey Wheeler is my baby. I swear if someone ever steals my purse, they’ll think I’m crazy for only having trading cards in there.

But honestly, please. If you do this, let me know, too! I’m always down to talk about the anime with someone! It is on Netflix (the dub is, anyway) in case you were wondering! The show will mess with your emotions, and you will 100% be emotionally invested by battle city.

Step 4: General anime rules

Level 10 and higher now only need 2 tributes, unless they are the Egyptian Gods… then they need 3
Fusion monsters can attack the turn they are summoned
Only quick play spells can be treated as such
I should have said this before, but play the game as if you are in the anime. For example, card of sanctity just lets you both draw until you each have 6 cards in your hand. Anime rules make the game more enjoyable and easier. It is just sometimes a little hard to get your head wrapped around. If you have any questions about a particular card, drop them in the comments section!

Step 5: Introduce the ban list, with anime rules

There is a new ban list every so often, but the most important thing is Pot Of Greed is banned. It is pretty easy to find online. Just introduce the ban list into your game, and keep playing with the anime rules.
Keep playing with anime card effects

Step 6: Introduce the layout and new cards, with anime rules

Okay, so this is where the new cards come in. So, by now, you should know you have normal monsters, effect monsters and fusion monsters. But now, there are link monsters, XYZ monsters, pendulum monsters, synchro monsters. Pendulum monsters broke the game, but links made it better (I think… this all happened before I got with my partner). I use a link deck (Trickstars, if anyone is interested). It sounds super-duper complicated, but by now you should be playing pretty close to the actual rules of the game. However, here is a small rundown:

Link Monsters: Do not have defence, but ‘links’ instead, which is basically like their level. They have arrows on and can only be summoned into the extra monster zone from the extra deck, or a zone that another link monster is pointing to. They usually have awesome effects. Link monsters have specific materials to be summoned. For example ‘3+ effect monsters’. The link rating also tells you what the monsters need to add up to. Non-link monsters get treated as link one, but link monsters can be treated as link one or their link rating.

XYZ Monsters: They have a rank instead of a level. You put the monsters used to summon it under the card, so a lot of them have effects that are used by sending one of the monsters under them to the graveyard. XYZ monsters also tell you the material on the cards. The level of all the monsters involved needs to be the same as the rank of the monster you are trying to summon. You just stack all of the materials on top of each other and then place the XYZ monster on top of it from the extra deck. They can be summoned in any monster zone.

Pendulum Monsters: Probably the reason Link Monsters exist. Can be placed in the pendulum zones face up. When there are two pendulum monsters in these zones, you can perform a pendulum summon. When they are in the pendulum zone, they are treated as spell cards. That means if an effect would be used to negate a spell card, it can be used to negate the pendulum effect. If a face-up pendulum monster would leave the field, it gets placed face up in the extra deck instead. It can be summoned back via a pendulum summon to the extra monster zone or a zone that a link monster is pointing to.

Synchro Monsters: A new summoning mechanic. Not really super special or anything. Similar to fusion monsters. They will always have the materials needed to summon it on the card. Will typically be one tuner monster and one or more non-tuner monster. A tuner monster is a special type of monster that is most useful in a Synchro deck. The combined level of all the monsters being used for the Synchro summons needs to add up to equal the exact level of the Synchro monster.

This is here because the new layout is scary. However, it is used in further animes like Vrains. Here is an example of how to do this:

Keep to the anime rules for a little bit, especially if you are struggling. I also recommend watching more anime if you need help.

Step 7: Actual rules

  8000 Life Points
The player who goes first does not get to draw in their first turn
You can’t normal summon a monster in defence position, and you have to set it (face down)

Now, you’re ready to play the video games and participate in tournaments! Have fun!

So it is pretty simple but can take a while to get your head wrapped around it. Honestly, if my partner had not been playing for years before we met, I probably would have never got it! If you have any questions whatsoever, let me know! I’ll try to be as helpful as possible!

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