Based on the cards which appeared on the Duel Masters anime, which in turn were based on the Magic: The Gathering cards that appeared on the manga, the Duel Masters TCG proved popular enough on its own to compete with Yu-Gi-Oh! and Magic: The Gathering as one of the most played trading card games.
Gameplay-wise, it is quite similar to its Spiritual Ancestor Magic: The Gathering, having 5 Civilizations (Fire, Water, Light, Darkness and Nature) with cards that should be played by paying "Mana" from your "Mana Zone". Decks must have a minimum of 40 cards, and a maximum of 4 copies of an individual card.
One big difference from Magic is that it does away with Mana-supplying Lands by allowing players to put any card into the Mana Zone for Mana. This gives the game more flexibility against "dead draws" than almost any other card game, at the price of forcing players to make decisions on which card should be used for Mana, and which ones to keep.
Another variation is the absence of Life, which is replaced with 5 Shields, and players themselves. Players can only be damaged after all Shields are broken, and landing any amount of damage on a player will result in a One-Hit Kill. Victory can be obtained via 2 ways: destroy all your opponent's Shields and ultimately, do damage to them, or when the opponent runs out of cards in their deck to draw from.
It spawned a few games for the GBA and for the PS2.
While the game was canceled in 2005 in America (and worldwide), it still keeps on running in Japan.
Not to be confused with the American remake, Kaijudo TCG.
Not to be confused with Duel Monsters
This game includes tropes of:
- Angels, Devils and Squid: You can build a Deck like this if you mix Light and Darkness Civilizations and use some of the more Eldritch Abomination-type Phoenixes.
- Apocalypse How: As said in Quark, the Original God's flavor text, Original Heart attempted to bring about a Class 5 or 6.
- Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: Valkyer, Starstorm Elemental's flavor text."I fear no enemy. I fear no battle. I fear no sacrifice. I'm a little afraid of clowns, though."
- Awesome, but Impractical: Romanoff Kaiser NEX, the Super Enlightened requires you to evolve from a creature that evolves from a creature that evolves from a creature. Sarutahiko, the Great Hero makes things much easier, though.
- Badass Creed:
- Big Creepy-Crawlies: Giant Insects.
- Bread, Eggs, Milk, Squick: The flavor text of Tulk, the Oracle.Light Bringers are forged in the crucible of dawn out of a cosmic mixture of the hope embodied by a brand-new day, the final kiss of a waning moon, the sigh of a cloud, the caress of a breeze, and a nuclear warhead unstable enough to blow a continent clear off the planet.
- Call a Hit Point a "Smeerp": On in this case, call an equipment card a Cross Gear.
- Canon Foreigner: Tatsurion, created for the North American reboot/Expy Kaijudo, has its own DM card in Japan.
- Cowboy: Jolly the Johnny is undoubtedly one.
- Cultural Translation: Later expansions start using flavor text based on the Gag Dub of the anime.
- Dracolich: Zombie Dragons.
- Eldritch Abomination:
- Enemy Mine: The storyline in the Dark Emperor pack has Light, Water, Fire, and Nature civilizations ally against the Darkness civilization.
- Evolutionary Levels: Ken, Crimson Lord and its four evolutions.
- Expy: The five civilizations are Expies of the colors of Magic: The Gathering.
- Frickin' Laser Beams: Hanusa, Radiance Elemental. The Light Civilization in general prefers laser beams.
- Gag Dub: While the Japanese flavor texts of cards have a relatively serious tone, those of the English cards ignore translation and go for something sillier.
- Guest Fighter:
- Bass makes an appearance as a promotional card, as does MegaMan.EXE himself.
- Optimus Prime. True to his Transformers nature, he has a double-sided card for vehicle and robot modes.
- From Puzzle & Dragons: Red Dragon Caller, Sonia and Awoken Zeus Olympios.
- From Magic: The Gathering: Jace and Nicol Bolas
- Historical-Domain Character: Hanzou, Menacing Phantom and Shadow Sword "Yagyuu" Dragon.
- Humans Are Warriors
- Instant-Win Condition:
- Monster Clown: Jester Brain depicts one.
- More Dakka: Almost every creature in the Fire Civilization.
- Magic Knight: Knight creatures and their "Magic Shot" spells.
- Nonstandard Game Over: Bombazar, Dragon of Destiny, Suva, Emperor of the Gods, and Gabriella, Holy Princess.
- Our Angels Are Different: Angel Commands.
- Our Dragons Are Different: Mmhmm.
- Rock Monster: The Rock Beast family of cards.
- Samurai: Samurai, obviously.
- Significant Anagram: The names of many, many cards in the TCG are anagrams of their Japanese names.
- The Phoenix: Well...kind of. Most of them are pretty far from traditional Phoenixes, crossing into Eldritch Abomination territory in quite a few cases.
- Title Drop: Eternal Phoenix was released in the set...Eternal Phoenix.
- Yin-Yang Bomb: Any Light and Darkness creature, naturally. Also, the Mystic Light creatures.