Most people look back at Yu-Gi-Oh with fond memories, opening packs was one of the greatest things ever at the time and the TV shows were just as awesome. Although everyone has pretty much grown out of it (if you haven’t then you’re awesome), we still remember all of the old characters. Here’s our Top 10 Best Yu-Gi-Oh Duellists!
Bear in mind this article was created by someone who has never watched past Yu-Gi-Oh GX so if you have favourites characters from the newer series then I’m sorry 🙁
10. Yami Bakura
Deck: Undead Stall
Main card: Destiny Board
A main antagonist throughout the series, Yami Bakura is a fragment of Zorc Necrophades who was implanted in the Millenium Ring and then took over the body of Ryu Bakura. Yami Bakura is an exceptional duellist who uses undead-like creatures in conjunction with strategies to stall for Destiny Board or make his opponent run out of cards in their decks. He never really duelled that often so it’s difficult to put him in this list at all, but he used his powers to just summon real monsters and destroy the opponents he deemed too weak to spend the time duelling with. He did duel against some very tough opponents and although he lost, he gave them a real challenge.
9. Jesse Anderson
Deck: Crystal Beasts
Main card: Rainbow Dragon
Only introduced in the later series of Yu-Gi-Oh GX, Jesse is a new student who quickly bonds with most of the other characters. He uses the Crystal Beasts which are a unique deck in the anime world, he won them from a tournament which proves his ability. We see him duel some good duellists but against the other main characters he tends to lose which is why he isn’t a bit further down the list.
8. Joey Wheeler
Main card: Red-Eyes Black Dragon
Joey uses powerful warriors such as Geafried the Iron Knight, Panther Warrior and Flame Swordsman to defeat his enemies. As he gets better as a duellist, though, he starts to get better cards. He gets the Red-Eyes Black Dragon from Rex Raptor and Jinzo from Espa Roba, this is where he starts to become a force. He then obtains and uses various chance cards like Time Wizard and Graceful Dice, although the dice rolls don’t always go in his favour. He reaches the semi finals of duellist kingdom and the semi finals of the much more difficult Battle City.
7. Yami Marik Ishtar
Deck: Torture and pain theme
Main card: The Winged Dragon of Ra
Marik’s “Yami” side is different from Bakura’s. Yami Marik was created by normal Marik’s pain and hatred that he had built up over his difficult life. Normal Marik is the one that does most of the duelling and he’s a fine duellist but Yami Marik is far superior. He defeats Joey Wheeler (albeit unfairly) and reaches the Battle City finals, he also defeated Mai Valentine and was a wielder of an Egyptian God Card. He was the main antagonist of the latter stages of the original Yu-Gi-Oh seasons.
6. Zane Truesdale
Main card: Cyber Dragon
During the start of the Yu-Gi-Oh GX series, Zane is the top duellist of Duel Academy and rightly so. His talent is far beyond those of regular duellists and the cards he wields are powerful themselves. He uses his Cyber Dragons to storm the field and then combine to make extremely powerful monsters. However, is is eventually defeated and falls into a state of depression, he then develops and anger and hatred towards most others and starts taking part in illegal underground duels. From there he uses his pain and anger to destroy his opponents, he seeks out the Cyberdark cards after defeating his old master and starts to work his way up to being the best.
Deck: Destiny Heroes
Main card: Destiny Hero Plasma
When he arrived at Duel Acadamy thanks to Sartorius, he immediately makes a name for himself. He challenges and defeats Zane (hence why Zane was knocked off 1st place) and from there he has his reputation. During a tournament that required duellists to win “medals” from their opponents, he was known to give medals away for free as they were weighing his pockets down. Pegasus described Aster as one of the best duellists he’d ever seen and it’s no surprise why, he was the best duellist in the world at one point.
4. Jaden Yuki
Main card: Elemental Hero Neos
The main protagonist of the Yu-Gi-Oh GX series and one the most likeable/dislikeable duellists depending on who you ask. One of the few duellists who treats duelling as pure fun, he plays great mind games with his enemies by being really happy and even laughing in life threatening situations. In terms of duelling, he’s in the lowest rank of duellists in Duel Academy, the Slifer rank. This doesn’t stop him from beating pretty much everyone though, he takes on multiple Obelisk Blue’s (the highest ranks) and even manages to beat teachers. He only loses twice during his Duel Academy days, first to Aster (who he repays by beating him later on) and then Zane at the start of GX. He manages to beat Jesse and even duels the greatest duellist who ever lived and didn’t get stomped (it’s not confirmed who actually won).
3. Seto Kaiba
Main card: Blue-Eyes White Dragon
Once the best duellist in the world, Seto Kaiba was and always will be known as a great duellist. Using his Blue-Eyes White Dragons alongside various other powerful monsters, he beats enemies very quickly. He faces Joey Wheeler multiple times, in which he wins each time. He’s the owner of Kaiba Corp, the creator of duel disks and the holographic technology and is partly responsible for the massive duelling boom in the anime.
2. Yami Yugi/The Pharaoh
Deck: Egyptian gods based
Main card: The Egyptian Gods
One of the main protagonists of the original Yu-Gi-Oh series, Yami Yugi (real name Atem) was a Pharaoh living in the Millennium Puzzle who takes control of the host body to use in duels. He was the one who locked away the shadow games thousands of years ago and prevented the world from being destroyed. His knowledge of duelling is unparalleled by all (besides one) and he wins pretty much every tournament he enters, no matter the opponent. He uses his duelling abilities to save his friends, family and even the world from destruction. He’s also one of the very few who can wield all 3 god cards and he’s beat an incredible amount of tough opponents such as Mai Valentine, Joey Wheeler, Seto Kaiba (many times), Marik Ishtar, Yami Marik, Yami Bakura, Weevil Underwood, Bandit Keith, Maximillion Pegasus and has only fairly lost a single duel.
1. Yugi Moto
Main card: Dark Magician
The most main of the main characters from the original series, Yugi Moto rarely duelled on his own, he instead allowed Yami Yugi to face his opponents. During the end of the series though, after the world has been saved twenty times over and it’s finally time for Atem to leave, they have one last duel. The duel ends with Yugi Moto the winner (I lied when I said Yami only lost once), meaning he took all of the advice from Yami, built his own deck and somehow managed to beat someone who everyone thought was the best duellist to ever live. Yugi Moto went on to be known as the King of Games and took the mantle of being the best duellist in the world.
Honourable mentions to Yusei Fudo, Jack Atlas, Alexis Rhodes and Adrian Gecko