Many the fan of the card game had their squee moment when Yusei used cards that were old as dirt but never yet seen on the anime to defeat nosehair-flicking cheattastic Takasu (Armstrong in the dub). I was kind of jumping in my chair when he used Exiled Force.
This troper wants to know how the very first episode escapes mention. Not only does Yusei show that the "card games on motorbikes" idea mocked by The Abridged Series is workable (and, in fact, quite awesome!), but when he performs the anime's first Synchro Summon... Junk Warrior's entrance just commands you to cheer.
Beating Bolt Tanner using Yanagi's deck without having to attack once.
And before the duel sweeping him to the floor effortlessly when he was mocking Yanagi and his deck.
In episode 25, demanding to know whats going on once and for all, Yusei decides to confront Godwin. However, his way is blocked by two guards. Now if this were Yugi or Jaden in this situation, they'd challenge the guards to a duel in order to get past. However, since this is the older and significantly more well built (read as: Badass) Yusei, he just goes Street Fighter on them instead. Sure the 4kids dub added a few flashes in it to attempt to censor the scene, but it was done so badly, it was kept mainly intact even there. Unintentional CMoA for them, too. :)
This Troper couldn't have been the only one who re-watched the scene right after they saw it just so they could shout "SHORYUKEN!"
Yusei pointing out Godwin's hypocrisy then proceeding to summon Savior Star Dragon. The clincher is that he then proceeds not only to take out both Wiraqocha Rasca and the rest of Godwin's Life Points, but then drive Savior Star, powered by the Crimson Dragon, into the King of the Underworld and blasts off its face. Made even more awesome in the flashback in episode 79 which adds Yusei Battle to it.
Even the card draw to start the turn was badass. On top of Yusei's cry of "Ore no...TAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAN!!!", the moment he pulls it, the screen switches to the Speed Counter stats, and show his hitting the maximum of 12. The climax of this battle is put figuratively and literally into overdrive.
Yusei: Earthbound Gods can't be attacked, so I can attack you instead!
It should be noted that the Earthbound Gods do NOT work this way in the real card game; if the only monster your opponent controls is Uru, you simply can't attack at all (unless your monster can attack directly anyways.) Then again, that interpretation would make an even more one-sided duel than it does in real life, given that the Gods are a lot harder to destroy in the anime...
This deserves some explanation... Legendary Fisherman, a card that Mako used against Joey way back in YGO Duel Monsters and that was subsequently released in Real Life was initially ruled so that you could attack your opponent directly if they controlled Umi and their only face-up monster was Legendary Fisherman. When the Jibakushin came out, the effect was re-queried and determined that it did, in fact, prevent direct attacks (Legendary Fisherman's ruling was also revised accordingly).
Episode 102: The first time Yusei performs a Fusion Summon, fusing his two most famous monsters (Stardust Dragon and Junk Warrior) to form Dragon Knight Draco-Equiste. Not only is it a complete mindblow to everyone in the series and a lot of fans, since nobody ever expected him to do that, but the use of both versions of Yusei Battle (the first when bringing Junk Warrior out, and the 2nd when performing the fusion) is just the cherry on top.
During the same duel, Yusei has zero cards in his deck and Jean could just end his turn to win the duel. However, Yusei animates Jean to attack his monster in defense position just by looking at him. Then Yusei disgard his Stronghold Guardian to increase the DEF of his monster and wins the duel thanks to the battle damage. That's right. Yusei wins a duel because his monster has more DEF than the opponent's monster ATK.
In episode 70, Luna is being held hostage inside a house by a ghost who has been making people disappear, and Leo goes to duel this ghost to save his sister. Yusei barely appears at all in the episode, but after hearing about Luna disappearing, he goes to find her. When he arrives in front of the house where Leo and the ghost are dueling, Leo says he will hold the ghost off while Yusei saves his sister. How does Yusei accomplish this? He drives right through the middle of the duel and breaks down the front door with his duel runner.
Episode 110, Yusei successfully pulls off Accel Synchro and summons Shooting Star Dragon (to the Crowning Music of Awesome "Clear Mind" by Masaaki Endoh). He then reveals its effect: he reveals the top five cards of his deck, and Shooting Star Dragon can attack once for each Tuner monster he reveals. Cue the other four members of the main Five-Man Band around the city looking at their glowing Signer marks and cheering Yusei on. Yusei draws, revealing Tuner monsters one by one as the five Signer marks light up in sequence on his back with overlaid shots of his friends. As he draws the fifth Tuner, the lines of the mark's body draw out a circle, and the camera pulls back to reveal the full mark of the Crimson Dragon lit up. Placido has just enough time to go "Oh Crap! This Cannot Be!!" before Yusei orders Shooting Star Dragon to attack five times, destroying the Machine Emperor piece by piece and giving Placido a serious case of Critical Existence Failure as his motorcycle blows up underneath him. And while all this is going on, the background music starts out low and quiet and grows faster and louder with every draw.
Episode 122 is an even bigger one, where Yusei uses Shooting Star Dragon to beat Sleeping Giant Zushin , a monster said to rival the 3 Egyptian god cards. All with Clear Mind playing in the background a second time.
Yusei's victory over Harald of Team Ragnarok. As insurance if Yusei pulls out a comeback, Harald uses a card called "Gjallarhorn", which after three turns destroys all his monsters and inflicts their ATK as damage, a total of 10,000 in this case. On the third turn though, seeing Yusei pull out Shooting Star Dragon from nothing in one turn, he starts worrying Yusei has a Set card that can stop "Gjallarhorn". To make sure of his victory Harald uses "Odin's Eye" to see what Yusei's face-down cards are, but Yusei counters with "Trick Mirror", negating Odin's Eye and keeping his other face-down concealed. Terrified Yusei really does have something to stop "Gjallarhorn" that he was stopping him from seeing, Harald goes for the attack to end the duel quicker. Turns out Yusei really was bluffing — his face-down card is "Zero Force", which saps the ATK of Harald's monsters to 0. The turn ends, Harald's monsters self-destruct by his own card effect, and thanks to Zero Force their combined ATK that Yusei takes as damage is a whopping 0. On his next turn Yusei's Shooting Star Dragon returns to the field and he attacks for the win. The move is also a Base Breaker though, due to arguments over if Harald falling for Yusei's bluff is a case of Wrong Genre Savvy or someone throwing him an Idiot Ball.
Savior Star and Shooting Star batallions to wipe out multiple cards. The CGI is amazing. Oh. My. GOD.
Episode 148: Having received his friends Signer Dragons, Yusei begins the duel against Zone by summoning Black Feather and Red Demon's right after summoning five monsters in his first turn; with Crow and Jack delivering the Synchro Speech with him. Aki does the same when he pulls out Black Rose. Then he damages Zone and the resulting mood leads to pretty much everyone left in the area chanting his name with the first glimmer of hope that the Ark Cradle may not obliterate them and their city.
Episode 149: During Z-One's turn, Yusei draws five cards that allow him to Synchro Summon Ancient Fairy Dragon.
Episode 150: Just the whole damn thing. Having summoned all of his friends dragons one after another as the above begins and almost falling to his death. Then his father comes back from the dead briefly just to bitchslap Yusei back to his senses. Then Yusei pulls out his biggest CMOA by using Life Stream to summon the other four Signer Dragons that aren't Stardust and ride through the atmosphere, whilst everyone watching calls his name and pours their hearts into what they're watching. He passes through and into freaking space, combines the powers of his friends Birthmarks and turns GOLD. With the five dragons on his field, he quintuple Synchro Summons Shooting Quaser Dragon and heads back to face down ZONE.
Following from the above, the Episode 151 carries on the Hot-Blooded awesomeness; Yusei fights on wiith Shooting Quasar Dragon, using each of his friends' dragons whenever it's helpful - they chip in when it comes to their turn - to take on Zone's Time Machine God force. Through Clustering Wishes, he then pours the powers of each dragon into Stardust to whack it up to a massive 23,000 and proceeds to smash Zone's Gods one by one. After having a montage of everyone whose meeting with him and his friends has affected them in some way, streams of light pour in from across the globe and light up Neo-Domino as Yusei calls out his final attack with Stardust in the most Hot-Blooded scream he has and obliterates the rest of Zone's lifepoints.
Episode 1&154: Yusei ending the first and last duels of the series with the same monster: Junk Warrior.
Episode 46: Two kids are about to be killed by the Earthbound God. Yusei and Aki are trapped by the flames of the duel. JACK ATLAS comes out of the top of a freaking building with his motorcycle, shouting "You earthbound gods aren't so great!" and then proceeding to save the kids. JACK ATLAS, you are so awesome your name must be typed in all caps.
Episode 76 just might have cemented his status as a Memetic Badass. He saved a guy's life to punch him and proceeded to beat about 20 or 30 people up. The fact that he beat them without any sign of effort means that he previously let them beat him up so he could place a tracking device on one of them JUST SO HE COULD FOLLOW THEM TO THEIR BASE AND FIGHT THE ENTIRE GANG. Not only that, but he dueled against their leader to the death even though he demonstrated he didn't have to beat him in a duel. He did it all for fun. This leads us to a little bit of Wild Mass Guessing, as to whether JACK ATLAS is actually Batman. Batman is awesome. Therefore, JACK ATLAS is Batman on CRAZY! OF COURSE, it's all clear now!
Episode 84 gave him a rematch against his Evil Twin. His doppelganger manages to summon THREE RED DEMONS DRAGONS in one turn. JACK ATLAS one ups him by summoning Savior Demons Dragon and giving it 7000 ATK Points.
After getting destroyed by Andore, JACK ATLAS, injured and bleeding after taking a brutal fall off his bike, claws with every last ounce of strength in his body to get the Wheel of Fortune to the finish line so he can baton pass to Aki.Stay amazing, Mr. Atlus.
His duel vs Nicolas is made of win. First of all, he wins in a single turn. Second of all, he endures the pain of the darkness card, and rides a motorcycle out of an explosion while saving his opponent and shouting I, JACK ATLAS, will not lose to the power of darkness. Then just to finish off, he gives off this speech to Nicolas:
Nicolas: Why did you save me?
JACK ATLAS: Isn't it obvious? YOU DON'T EVEN DESERVE TO DIE. Someone like you who doesn't trust his cards and uses the power of darkness, DOESN'T DESERVE TO DUEL.
Episode 113. JACK ATLAS shows the Crimson Devil's familiar that he is capable of other strategies than just brute force and when the Crimson Devil shows itself, he awakens his 'Burning Soul' and seals the Crimson Devil's power to create Scar-Red Nova Dragon. He stole the power of an Earthbound God.
The most powerful of them, to boot. Remember, according to its description in 112, the Crimson Devil fought, and nearly defeated, the Crimson Dragon by itself, effectively making it more powerful than all of the other Earthbound Gods combined.
JACK ATLAS beating both Lucciano and Placido in the WRGP. The machine emperors kept trying to absorb Scar Red Nova Dragon but it just keeps using its remove from play effect to evade the synchro stealing effect.
Apparently he's awesome enough to be made a Signer, which I suppose is both a testament and a slap to his (former) Bad Ass Normal credentials.
His duel with Bolger, whom he just found out is actually the one who murdered his father-figure years ago, is so awesome, it earns him his Signer Dragon.
Fighting through the pain of his injured shoulder to utterly pwn Herrman and his Hidden Knight Hook.
Turning the duel around against Brave/Broder of Team Ragnarok from what was being constantly out-gambited by his opponent at every turn to forcing a tie with several clever combinations despite having 50 life points left while the other was at slightly over 3000.
Using Rose Tentacles on Yusei. This troper immediately fell in love with Aki after that.
Saving Yusei twice in Episodes 71/72, first by using her powers to break him out of the trailer, and then by summoning the real Stardust Dragon to stop them from being crushed to death at the end of the duel with Sherry.
Episode 73: A psycho on, for lack of a better description, a giant spiked bulldozer, crashes a party and barrels toward Aki. Yusei panics. Without the slightest trace of flinching, Aki uses her powers to summon Black Rose Dragon and send the guy through a window.
Summoning Stardust Dragon to turn the tide of battle against Team Unicorn. Complete with summon speech. Cue collective "Holy Shit" moment by the main cast.
Episode 109: Aki saved that girl Haruka and showed that she doesn't need psychic powers to be a hero.
Rua, of all people, gets one in the Dark Signer arc as he goes up against one of the Dark Signers with full knowledge of what could happen — Crow was mostly ignorant of the dangers — despite not being a Signer himself while its Ruka who deals the finishing blow it was Rua's setup and deck that pulled it off.
He also gets another moment in ep. 78 against Luciano and his Machine Emperor Skiel Infinity. After Ruka had unknowingly walked right into his plan and practically given him Ancient Fairy Dragon, Leo makes what effectively amounts to the card game equivalent of a Heroic Sacrifice just to get it back for her. Sure, they lose and he just about makes an actual Heroic Sacrifice, but boy does he royally piss Luciano off in the process!
Rua: I'll never let you have Ancient Fairy Dragon! I'm not a Signer, but Ruka, who has a Signer birthmark, is my pride and joy! And I'll protect Ancient Fairy Dragon, who is a symbol of that!
Not enough, you say? This duel lasted six episodes (technically five and the first act of the sixth, but still).
In episode 138, Ruka jumping from Aki's motercycle to Yusei's while they were moving at high speed.
The climax of the Dark Signer Arc in Episode 64. Other than one small bit of it, it was a brilliant end to a brilliant season.
This troper is SERIOUSLY surprised that no one has listed the scene from the 5D's OVA episode, "Evolving Duel! Stardust Vs Red Demons". Both Jack and Yusei have powered up their dragons to their /Buster Modes (/Assault Mode). Several attacks have been made, and both Jack and Yusei have used cards to power up their monsters, leaving the two dragons with equal attack points. What follows this is quite possibly one of the most EPIC clashes in the entire series, as Stardust and Red Demons attack each other, violently clashing as the battle leads them INTO SPACE. And when it's all said and done, the two monsters fall back into the stadium with an earth-shaking explosion to top it all off. But don't just take my word for it, watch it yourself!
The part in the duel where Yusei plays the "Jump Guard" card, then literally jumps his bike into the sky, twice.
Episode 86. Kiryu. Harmonica. Awesomeness ensues. He proceeds to have a few more in every episode in the arc afterwards.
Episode 90. Who knew a minor character's last moments could be so awesome?
This troper was pretty much stunned when Lotten delivered said One-Hit Kill, even though I anticipated it from Lotten getting a ten-card starting hand. And then I pretty much cheered when Kiryu got back up and delivered a line which to this day just says 'AWESOME' to me, to the point I forgot that Crashtown was a filler arc, I honestly didn't care it wasn't part of the overarching plot. Said line:
Kiryu: I told you, I'm a God of Death. Gods of Death don't die.
Okay. Yusei and Kiryu are thrown into a tight spot during their duel with Lotten. Guess who shows up? Crow. And how's he known? By throwing one of his cards down, blocking the attack. Before the duo can even celebrate, JACK ATLAS shows up, bringing the police force with him. Finally, the Enforcers all stand together as one. Tell me that's not awesome.
The opening of Episode 93 serves to show that Sherry is a girl you do not want to mess with. Not because she'll beat you in a duel but because she'll knock all your Mooks unconscious and throw you off a balcony.
Nearly all of Episode 99, including Jack pushing his busted up D-Wheel back into the pit area with every last bit of strength he has, and Aki summoning Stardust Dragon, summoning speech and all.
Andore: The reason we don't care that you managed to destroy Speed Spell-The End Of Storm, is because Breo doesn't need it. Stardust Dragon is no threat to his deck.
Yusei: Oh Crap, Breo's using a Deck Destruction Deck!
Also, when Breo resists the temptation to attack with his Voltic Bicorn, like the heroes expect him to do, and instead destroys it himself, activating its powerful effect.
The baddies do it, too. After JACK baits the leader of Team Catastrophe into suiciding himself with one move (see JACK's entry above), Placido pulls Catastrophe (now down to one guy with all the Team's trump cards destroyed) from the tournament and initiates plan B. Cue the second-most horrifying three words ever spoken in the series: Battle Royale Mode, and a flood of Mecha-Mooks tearing apart the stadium and knocking every single competitor out of the tournament.
The beginning of Episode 107 with Bruno regaining his memory and transforming into Dark Glassin time to save Yusei from the Diablo. Then with Placido leaping off a building and onto his speeding bike in order to face Yusei personally.
Episode 111. Bommer's little bro Max pwns JACK ATLAS!
Of course, it gets revealed later that the one fighting JACK ATLAS wasn't his brother but the Crimson Devil, whom JACK ATLAS promptly destroys two episodes later.
This troper would like to give the crew who hammered out the concept of Riding Duels a CMoA for making "card games on motorbikes" not only work, but be absolutely sweet.
Team Taiyou managing to summon Zushin, a feat which (thanks to Zushin's horrible summoning condition) had never been done before, ever, despite every man and his mother owning one (Rua notes that he has several).
Team Ragnarok creating Rainbow Bridge Bifrost to allow Yusei and co. to reach the Ark Cradle. Accompanied by a brand new BGM crowned with awesome.
Antinomy performing a Delta Accel Synchro, causing the nearby star to explode in a supernova.
The MC's actions in episode 148, namely staying behind to provide commentary on the duel between Yusei and Z-one, so everyone who's watching can run while still knowing what's going on. Note that this is putting himself at risk of dying from the incoming Arc Cradle.
How has the final Duel between Yusei and Jack for the show's finale gone unmentioned? The WHOLE THING was one non-stop CMoA given the sheer nostalgia fuel of seeing some of their oldest cards revived, coupled with the reappearance of many characters, including Yusei's four friends from the first season who got Put on a Bus, and even a trip back into the factory where the very first Duel of 5D's took place. And it even had Yusei avoiding his usual 'Stardust/Savior Star/Shooting Star/Shooting Quasar spam' victory to beat Jack via Junk Warrior. Y'know, the Synchro he won the very first Duel of 5D's with?! It also serves as a Call Back to the very first opening, where Junk Warrior and Red Demon's went head-on. This time, though, Junk Warrior got to pwn Red Demon's via The Power of Friendship in its effect.