Legend of Blue-Eyes White Dragon was released 20 years ago today, but some of its cards still see play in the modern game. To celebrate this anniversary, this article will take a look at some of those very influential cards. You can check out what came before in Yu-Gi-Oh's history by checking out our dedicated article. Now get your decks out and get ready to play, because it's time to D-D-D-D-DDDD-DUEL!
One of the most well known cards in the game is Exodia the Forbidden One, Yu-Gi-Oh's first and, arguably, most successful alternate win-condition card in the game. Though it's popularity is no doubt in part due to the anime, it's instant win effect is still a very powerful one, and the card is still used to this day in decks that have a powerful draw engine that allows you to draw your entire deck in one or two turns.
Many other alternate win condition cards have come after Exodia, like Destiny Board, Vennominaga the Deity of Poisonous Snakes, or Number 88: Gimmick Puppet of Leo, though they have been far less successful. This is because those cards are a lot more susceptible to being removed from the game, while the Forbidden One is harder to stop, since he mostly stays in the deck or your hand.
There have also been some other versions of Exodia, like Exodia Necross, Exodius the Ultimate Forbidden Lord, Exodia, the Legendary Defender, and The Legendary Exodia Incarnate, all of which focus on instaly winning the game in some way, usually by utilizing the original 5 pieces, but none of them managed to surpass the first Exodia.
The Terrifying Tributable Trio
Three of the most popular cards in the set were Dark Magician, Red-Eyes Black Dragon, and Blue-Eyes White Dragon, the latter of which being what the set is named after. Those cards are in the top 4 most power monsters released in the set, with Blue-Eyes on top, and Dark Magician and Red-Eyes on 3rd and 4th. Between Blue-Eyes and Dark Magician there's Tri-Horned Dragon, who didn't have a cool anime boy playing it, so it doesn't get an archetype. The flavor text even calls it "An unworthy dragon".
Those cards (or at least archetypes related to them) are still used to this day, with their popularity and longevity being mostly thanks to the anime and manga, as those are the signature cards of Yugi Moto, Joey Wheel/Katsuya Jonouchi, and Seto Kaiba, respectively. All three of these characters played important roles in both the manga and, more important for audiences outside Japan, the anime. As such, these 3 monsters received a good amount of exposure, and remain fan favorite to this day.
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What does this do?
The simplest card in the entire, Pot of Greed is so insanely powerful, it's been banned since October 2005. And all the card does is allow you to draw two cards. The reason for why this card is so powerful is simple: consistency. Since this card allows you gain an extra card in your hand for no cost, it basically allows you to play the game with 37 cards instead of 40. That might not seem like a lot, but that kind of advantage is massive.
Since then, Konami has printed a number of other draw Pots, but they come at very high costs. Pot of Desires needs you to banish the top 10 cards of your deck beforehand, Pot of Extravagance asks you to banish 3 or 6 cards from your Extra Deck and locks you out of any other draws, and Pot of Acquisitiveness requires you to shuffle 3 banish monsters into your deck to draw just 1 card, while also only allowing you to activate one of them per turn.
There are 3 cards that have been severely hit by Pot of Greed being banned. Two of these, the Effect monsters Avatar of The Pot and Spirit of the Pot of Greed, can still be played, but their effects cannot be activated, as they rely on Pot of Greed being played. The Quick-Play Spell Jar Robber, on the other hand, is completely unplayable.
More Impactful Cards
While Pot of Greed is the most disruptive spell released in this set, there are others that are still very significant. Polymerization was the go-to spell used for Summoning Fusion Monsters (which were also part of this set). While it's been mostly power-crept by archetype specific cards, its still a good generic option to summon your Fusions.
Raigeki might just be one of the most powerful spell cards that can wipe out your opponent's board in any card game. Just like with Pot of Greed, the lack of a cost is what makes this card so powerful, with similar cards, like Lightning Storm, being more restrictive. Though Konami seems to think the game is at a point where that power level is acceptable, as it's been recently removed from the ban list.
Similar to Raigeki is Dark Hole, except the latter wipes out both sides of the field. It's fascinating to see a card released in the same set with what might be considered a universally superior version. Interestingly enough, Dark Hole might just be better than Raigeki in the modern game in some situations, since there are decks that actually want monsters in their graveyard, but those are niche uses.
While on the subject of monster destruction, Trap Hole in an interesting case. It's got a pretty simple effect of destroying a monster with 1000 or more ATK when your opponent summons it. What makes it interesting is that, while nowhere near as powerful as Pot of Greed, Trap Hole also has an array of cards derived from it, like Bottomless Trap Hole, Giant Trap Hole, Deep Dark Trap Hole, and many more.
One powerful spell that was heavily used in the anime by Yugi is Swords of Revealing Light. When this card came out, it basically made the opponent a sitting duck unless they had a way do deal with your back row, which may not have been the case in the early days of the game. These days, the chances of the spell surviving for a turn, let alone 3, are incredibly slim.
An absolutely baffling entry on this list is Skull Servant (A.K.A. Wight in the OCG), a level 1 Zombie with 300 ATK and 200 DEF. At first glance, this is a unassuming card, but it has an entire archetype built around it. It started in 2005, with King of the Skull Servants, and then gained a new support card every 2 or 3 years, with The Lady in Wight in 2008, Wightmare in 2011, Wightprince in 2014, Wightprincess in 2017, and Wightbaking in 2021. All the Wight cards have the effect that they're named Skull Servant while in the graveyard.
Last, but certainly not least, is Monster Reborn. This is by far the most well-known card that allows you to revive a monster. In fact, the card is the only one in the game that allows you to summon from either graveyard without heavy restriction. The card is powerful enough to be banned from 2004 to 2010, and it's still only limited to this day.
The Rest of the Pack
Sadly, the rest of Legend of Blue-Eyes White Dragon isn't that exciting. For the most part it's filled to the brim with Normal Monsters, Fusion Monsters with no effect and sometimes worse stats that the materials used for the Fusion, mediocre Equip and Field Spells that barely boost the ATK/DEF of Monsters of a certain Type, and Sparks. Of note are the number of Effect Monsters and Traps in the pack.
Barring Exodia, Reaper of the Cards, Hane-Hane, Man-Eater Bug, and Armed Ninja are the only 4 Effect Monsters in Legend of Blue-Eyes White Dragon, and they're all flip monsters. Reaper and Ninja destroy a Trap or Spell on the field respectively, Hane returns a monster to the hand, and Bug destroys a monster on the field.
Aside from Trap Hole, the only other two Traps in the set are Dragon Capture Jar and Two-Pronged Attack. The former is the only Continuous Trap in the set and changes the battle position of all Dragons to Defense and leaves them stuck like that, while the latter destroys one of your opponent's monster at the cost of two you control.
Notable is the absence of any Quick-Play Spells, Continuous Spells (no, Swords of Revealing Light isn't one), or Counter Traps. You will also find no Ritual Monsters or Spells in this set, as they didn't make their debut until Spell Ruler a few months later.
What are your favorite cards from Legend of Blue-Eyes White Dragon? Any card in particular you wished got an archetype centered around them? Let us know in the comments bellow.