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Metaplot / Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Terminal
aka: Yu Gi Oh Hidden Arsenal

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A story of a planet's defiance against fate, told across three generations of war.

The Duel Terminal storyline, also known as the Hidden Arsenal storyline, is a large metaplot present within the Yu-Gi-Oh! card game. The metaplot encompasses cards from many different card series and ties them together into a single coherent storyline. The first of the cards connected to the storyline are first released for a Yu-Gi-Oh! arcade game known as Duel Terminal, and subsequent cards are released in the Duel Terminal or Hidden Arsenal card packs.

The Master Guide series of official books provides the most authoritative information on the exact happenings and details of the storyline, telling the entire story across Master Guide 3-5 and the Duel Terminal Master Guide special. Translated versions of these books' contents can be found on Yugipedia (3, DT special, 4, and 5).note 


Originally in OCG, in Act 1 and 2 of the storyline, the cards involved in the Duel Terminal storyline are physically first released on the Duel Terminal machines, which dispense physical OCG cards after plays. Many of these cards were later re-released in more conventional packs; in TCG most of these cards were first released in the Hidden Arsenal series of card packs, hence the Hidden Arsenal name.

The Duel Terminal machines were operated from 2008-2013. The storyline continues after 2013, and newer card releases are now integrated into OCG/TCG Core Set booster packs. Series 8 Booster Packs contained a number of cards that served as a transition between Act 2 and 3 of the storyline. Cards within Act 3 of the storyline are officially released in the Series 9 Booster Packs, starting from Duelist Alliance released in 2014. Aside from a brief detour where a number of Act 3-related cards are first released in Booster SP: Tribe Force (and its TCG counterpart, The Secret Forces), all of the Act 3 storyline cards are released in Series 9 Booster Packs, concluding the storyline alongside Series 9 in Maximum Crisis released in 2017.


The story is set on an unnamed planet populated by a diverse array of races and cultures. There are three major acts to the story:

  • Act 1: The Worms invade the DT world and the DT world unites for the first time to fight off the Worm invasion.
  • Act 2: Set many years after the end of Act 1, the Gishki clan led by Gishki Noellia invades the Gusto clan and releases the ancient race of hungry predators known as Steelswarm, leading to a second alliance between all the races of the DT world to fight back against the Steelswarm. The situation soon escalates as more ancient evils and divine beings are attracted by the war and joins the war.
  • Act 3: Again set many years after Act 2, the divine-scale damages to the world caused by the war between the DT world and the Goddess Sophia at the end of Act 2 led to the rise of her opposing God Tierra, who began to scheme for its own revival. The DT world finds itself plunged into a third great war with Tierra's forces.

Though the storyline had fully concluded in the Series 9 booster packs (during the ARC-V era), additional card supports released following Series 9 for individual storyline archetypes provides additional lore background for these archetypes and fills in some of the blanks in the storyline.

For other Yu-Gi-Oh! metaplots, see here.

The Metaplot contains examples of:

  • Adorable Evil Minion: Some Fabled look ludicrously cute.
  • After the End: Several times, near everyone and everything has been wiped out, but there have always been a few survivors left over. Best exemplified in the artwork of "After The Storm", which shows the aftermath of Trishula's defeat.
  • Anyone Can Die: See Kill 'Em All. Even, and especially the 11th-Hour Superpower heroes often suffer from this.
  • Apocalypse How: Threatened on Levels from Types 2-4.
  • Attack Its Weak Point: Hinted at with the Steelswarm, which mainly have 0 DEF and an organ in their chest that stands out quite a bit.
  • Attack of the 50-Foot Whatever: Most of the enemies in the plot come off as very, very large threats, such as Worm Zero and El Shaddoll Construct. Then you have the Qliphorts, which are an entire pantheon of this trope.
  • The Atoner: Gem-Knight Master Diamond after his resurrection.
  • Back from the Dead:
    • Steelswarm Hercules is resurrected as Evigishki Zielgigas, and many prior warriors are resurrected in the form of Evilswarm and Shaddoll monsters.
    • In a rare positive example, Emilia is resurrected by Noellia (who was in fact the one who killed her in the first place) when she finally shakes off the Evilswarm corruption.
    • The Constellar brothers Pollux and Castor are revived after their harsh battle.
    • Crystal is revived as Diamond, properly this time.
    • At the end of the third War, Winda, Gusto Falco, and Ariel are all revived.
  • Badass Family: All the Nekroz but one are one big family, headed by Avance and Emilia.
  • Barrier Warrior: With a name like the Ice Barrier, what would you expect? Their magic is shown to include these.
  • Big Bad: Several of them:
  • Big Good:
    • Vylon, before their corruption.
    • Sophia was intended to be Summoned to help the tribes defeating the Evilswarms, but...
    • The Tellarknights, specifically, Constellar Stellarknight Diamond.
    • Constellar Sombre and Evilswarm Kerkeiyon fought against Sophia in the second war, making them the Big Good opposite her Big Bad
  • Bilingual Bonus: The TCG names of the Infernoids are numbers, each related to their level.
  • Boring Yet Practical: Invoked by Gem-Knight Pearl, who is simply very strong rather than possessing any special powers. As a result, Vylon Disigma is unable to absorb him and gets punched out.
  • Broke Your Arm Punching Out Cthulhu: Frequently, stopping the latest Big Bad causes mass amounts of death and destruction, then causes the appearance of the next one.
  • Brought Down to Badass: In-between getting absorbed by the Shadolls and becoming a Zefra, Kerykeiyon loses the power of the three Ice Barrier dragons, dragging his stats down to what they were as Rasalhague.
  • The Cameo: The DT Master Guide special establishes that Wynn the Wind Charmer, released far before Duel Terminal itself, is actually a member of the Gusto main house and Winda's sister. However, she and her Charmer archetype play no role in the story (explained as Wynn being an independent girl who left Gusto to explore the outside world), meaning that their storylines and their related archetypes (which, among other things, is also connected to the Gagagigo storyline) are not a part of the Duel Terminal setting.
  • Came Back Wrong: Both the lswarm virus and the Shaddoll Roots cause this.
  • The Chosen Many: Hinted with the Zefra, as "Zefra Strike" shows two of each tribe members being induced by The Oracle of Zefra.
  • Colour-Coded for Your Convenience: Frequently.
    • The Infernoids, for example, all have differently coloured tubes somewhere on their bodies.
    • The Qliporths, which seem to be a mirror of the Infernoid's scheme (or vice-versa).
    • The Zefras are these, to mirror the Infernoids.
  • Continuity Nod: The art of Jurrac Impact shows the same city Worm Zero appeared over, if looking the worse for wear.
  • The Corruption: The Iswarm virus from season two and the Shaddolls from season three.
  • Crapsack World: And how! War and violence are a constant, and the heroes barely ever seem to survive. And should the last enemy be taken down, there's always something just waiting in the wings, or inadvertently created by the good guys.
  • Dark Is Not Evil:
    • The Ally of Justice mecha technologies are all dark, while they assist the tribes fighting the Worms and later the Fableds.
    • Steelswarm Roach, the White Sheep of the Steelswarm faction, also counts as he becomes one of the heroes
    • Prior to its corruption, Taotie, Shadow of the Yang Zing.
  • Dark Is Evil:
    • The Steelswarms, Evilswarms, and Shaddolls.
    • Jiaotu and Yazi of the Yang Zings.
    • Darktellarknight Batlamyus, a mirror image of Tellarknight Ptolemaeus.
  • Death Is a Slap on the Wrist: Zig-zagged.
    • While it's possible to revive a dead person as per the card game, it's usually depicted as dangerous and costly, as seen in Avance's attempt to revive Emilia or Noellia's Summon of Zielgigas. It's usually only the "divine" beings that are able to revive someone with relative ease, such as the Constellars.
    • One of the parts where this trope is boldly averted is on the case of Laval in which all of them are sacrificed by Noellia. And they are never seen again.note 
  • Devour the Dragon: Tierra creates Darktellarknight Batlaymus, then eats her to become Tierra, Source of Destruction.
  • Doing In the Wizard: Possibly. The Qli lore and the Master Guide 5 classify the Naturia Sacred Tree as a supercomputer, run by two executive (Sophia and Tierra), two control systems (Zefra and Qliphort), and having a access system, and becoming buggy. At the same time, divine power and consciousness are involved.
  • Eldritch Abomination:
    • Worm Zero, the last Worm, which looks like a small moon, and warps space and time just by existing.
    • The Qliphorts, apparently created by or for Sophia, are strange shell-like creatures. What their goals is isn't clear, but Sophia is involved in some way. (It turns out they are the heralds for Tierra...)
  • Enemy Mine: All over the place. In both the first two wars, the tribes were at war with one another before the bigger threats showed up. Averted for the third war, though, until the Yang Zing get briefly corrupted.
  • Everything's Better with Dinosaurs: The Jurrac are all based on Dinosaurs, but brightly coloured and with added fire-powers. Then they all die trying to take out the Fabled.
  • Evil Costume Switch: Noellia switches out her Ice Barrier garments for increasingly evil-looking outfits, before swapping back when the corruption is removed.
  • Evil Counterpart: Sophia was already a Jerkass God, but it's implied that Infernoid Tierra is this to her.
  • Evil Evolves: Part of what made fighting the Worms so difficult - they adapted and got stronger, until they reached Worm Zero.
  • Fighting from the Inside: Evilswarm Kerykeion is absorbed by Cairngorgon, transforming it into the Shaddoll Core. Kerykeion subsequently does a lot of this until being freed.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • Qliphort Scout's text mentions Infernoid Tierra.
    • TSEROF is also kind of an Arc Word echoic toward the end of season 2, which foreshadowed the importance of the Naturia Sacred Tree later into the plot.
  • From Nobody to Nightmare: Gem-Knight Crystal was hardly a nobody, but the corruption of his core and possible virus assimilation leading to another Big Bad? Definitely qualifies.
  • Fusion Dance: Happens a lot.
    • The Gem-Knights, Shaddolls, and Ritual Beasts main shtick.
    • Worm Zero and a few Naturia.
    • In a more roundabout manner, the Gishki's rituals can go like this.
    • The Vylon also do this with members from the other tribes.
    • Some of the Synchro Monsters and Xyz monsters tend to be like this.
    • Then there's all the Constellars fusing into Constellar Ptolmey M7.
    • And also Lazuli fusing with the Constellars to become Sombre, and Rasalhague combining with the power of the infected Ice Barrier Dragons to become Kerykeion.
    • Infernoid Tierra, a fusion of all of the Infernoids (save Devyaty).
    • El Shaddoll Construct merges with Apoqliphort Towers to become El Shaddoll Shekhinaga, and is then merged with Infernoid Devyaty and Nekroz of Trishula to become El Shaddoll Anoyatyllis.
    • Finally, Tierra absorbs the energy of the Qliphorts from Batlamyus and fuses with the remnants of Towers and Skybase to create Tierra, Source of Destruction
  • Gameplay and Story Integration: One way to know if something is effective in the storyline is if it works well against the monsters in the real game. Ally of Justice Decisive Armour and Vylon Omega, both Big Good monsters, work very well against the Worms and the Steelswarm respectively (that said, it ended up being a Double KO both times). The Allies of Justice in a nutshell were actually designed around this. The Effect Monster absorbing-Vylon Disigma is defeated by the non-effect Gem-Knight Pearl. Constellar Stellarknight Diamond takes this Up to Eleven by being so effective that it completely shuts down the opposing deck in real life.
  • Hope Spot:
    • The Gusto manage to summon Sophia, Goddess of Rebirth, who will surely end the conflict! ... except Sophia's an Omnicidal Maniac, who decides the best course of action is to kill everyone and start over. She's then destroyed by Sombre and Rasalhague, apparently putting an end to war... Except then the Shaddolls rise from the shadows and release the Qliphorts.
    • El Shaddoll Anoyatylis has finally been defeated...wait, where's Devyaty's head gone?
  • "I Know You Are in There Somewhere" Fight:
    • Pollux and Castor pits in during the second season, which ended in a draw. This kind of fight happened frequently during the second season, due to the premise of their main enemy.
    • Pilica and Wen are having this when the Zefra chose them, purifying Wen in the process.
  • Kill 'Em All: Quite a few tribes go extinct over the storylines, most famously in Trishula's rampage. The ones that don't are the Naturia, the Ice Barrier (which survive in the Gishki, who survive in the Nekroz), the Gem-Knights (if their subsequent support is anything to go by), and the Mist Valley (which survive in the Gusto, who survive in the Ritual Beasts).
  • Kill the God: Sophia, courtesy of Sombres and Kerykeion.
  • Large and in Charge:
    • Worm Zero towers over a city.
    • El Shaddoll Construct, the Shaddoll's puppet-master, is suggested to be pretty damned big indeed. Then she merged with Apoqliphort Towers, and becomes this.
  • Light Is Not Good:
    • Worms, Fableds, and the corrupted Vylons.
    • Tierra, Source of Destruction is the antithesis of Sophia, the previous Big Bad. Doesn't mean she is any less evil...
  • Light Is Good: Vylons, Constellars, and Tellarknights.
  • Making a Splash: There are three WATER-attribute tribes, but only the Gishki are actually associated with water.
  • The Man Behind the Man: The Constellars created the Vylon a long time ago.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!:
    • Noellia objected to freeing Trishula, and left with her friend Natalia to find another way. They found and released the Steelswarm, killing Natalia and corrupting Noellia in the process.
    • However, it was merging with the Vylon that activated the Steelswarm corruption in her, at which point things got steadily worse.
  • Noble Bird of Prey: Spiritual Beast Cannahawk, and its improved form, Ritual Beast Ulti-Cannahawk.
  • Off with His Head!: Happens to Ally of Justice Catastor at the hands of Thunder Valley Mist Lord, which should (according to the rules of the game) be impossible, though "Mind Pollutant" shows Fabled Raven taking control of Mist Lord, suggesting there's something more to this scenario.
  • Oh, Crap!: "Jurrac Impact" shows some Jurrac witnessing Jurrac Meteor's descent, and freaking out.
  • Our Dragons Are Different: The Dragunity dragons, Exa's different Nekroz forms (Exa being implied to be connected to the Dragunity), the Wyrm-Type Yang Zing and Constellar Stellarknight Diamond, and the fusion of the Wyrm-Type Yang Zings and the Rock-Type Zefracore; Zefraath, a Rock-Type draconian monster.
  • Patchwork Kids:
    • Shurit is the son of Emilia and Avance. He has both of his parents' hair and eye colors.
    • Pirika is the daughter of Kamui and Reeze. She has Kamui's green hair and Reeze's orange tint. She ties her like Reeze.
  • Playing with Fire: The Flamvell, Jurracs, Neo Flamvell, Lavals and the Infernoids.
  • Protagonist Journey to Villain: Gem-Knight Crystal's tragic fate. The burden of the world and stress on his fusion core leads to his breakdown and eventual fall in the battle against Sophia. His fusion core malfunctioned, absorbed all the color of the Gem-Knight core, giving birth to the Shaddoll and turning him into Cairngorgon. After that, it only gets worse as he finally turns into a complete Shaddoll puppeteer, much like Construct...Thankfully, he gets some chance at redemption, as he returns as Master Diamond to become Constellar Stellarknight Diamond, eventually becomes a Zefra, and takes a further level in badass when he becomes Zefraath.
  • Redemption Equals Death: Noellia manages to shake off the Evilswarm's corruption, and fights against them, destroying her own creation, but she doesn't last long after that.
  • Sealed Evil in a Can:
    • The Steelswarm. And the Qliphorts and Infernoids.
    • Trishula, Dragon of The Ice Barrier. The three Generals of the Ice Barrier let her out, only to learn a little too late that this was a bad move.
  • Sealed Evil in a Six Pack: Infernoid Tierra is the fused form of the ten Nomi Infernoid demons that were each sealed in a Qliphort which were sealed in a large structure under the Naturia Sacred Tree. Which is protected by a 3000+ ATK monster.
  • Shout-Out: The Vylon, and Disigma in particular, take an awful lot from the plot of Mega Man X.
  • Shrouded in Myth: Dragon Ravine, home of the Dragunity Tribe.
  • Sole Survivor: Laval Phlogis was the only Laval to survive what happened to them.
  • Sugar Bowl: Naturia Forest, at least until the Qliphort show up and start making a mess.
  • Taking You with Me:
    • Ally of Justice Decisive Armour and Worm Zero. Both of them later Come Back Wrong.
    • The Jurrac do this, but it doesn't quite kill the Fabled. Despite taking out a massive chunk of them, it still wasn't enough to prevent the release of Trishula.
    • Implied for Tierra, Source of Destruction and Zefraath's battle depicted in Zefra War. Against all odds, Crystal and Lapis, the two Gem-Knights at the core of each being, survived.
  • Temporarily a Villain: The Yang Zings are briefly corrupted, although they are purified by the Oracle of Zefra shortly after.
  • Time Skip: Every season begins several years after the previous one.
  • Took a Level in Badass:
    • Several characters, some of whom already started as badasses.
    • Naturia Leodrake becomes Leo, Protector Beast of the Sacred Tree. Later on he fuses with Ritual Beast Ulti-Apelio and becomes Ritual Beast Ulti-Gaiapelio.
    • Everyone chosen by the Zefra.
      • Probably the most notable example is Stellarknight Zefraxciton. Originally just a sealed demon known as Steelswarm Sentinel, he came in contact with Advance Zone and became Steelswarm Roach. He then obtained the planet's power and became Evilswarm Exciton Knight, who needs no real introduction. And then he became one of the chosen ones and became Zefraxciton. Not bad for a former nameless Mook.
  • Tragic Villain: Noellia just wanted to save the world. She gets her best friend killed, unleashes a new enemy, gets corrupted and twisted, murders her own daughter, and re-releases the dragons of the Ice Barrier, making them greater threats than ever, before the Constellar free her.
  • We Used to Be Friends: The Gishki and the Gusto were made up of survivors of Trishula's revival and rampage, but Noellia's corruption turned the Gishki turned them against one another.
  • World Tree: The Naturia Sacred Tree, and the sephirot structure beneath it. The Qliphort try to access it for their own reason.
  • Yin-Yang Bomb: The appearance of Zefracore and its fused form of Zefraath suggests this; being a former Shaddoll purified by the Zefra.

Alternative Title(s): Yu Gi Oh Hidden Arsenal


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