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Duel!

Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Links is a mobile game in the popular Yu-Gi-Oh! franchise, specifically the Yu-Gi-Oh! manga and anime. Set in the world of Duel Links, the VR world featured in Yu-Gi-Oh! The Dark Side of Dimensions, you start as either Yami Yugi or Seto Kaiba and try to become King of the Duel World, dueling opponents from the obscure to the noteworthy.

Leveling up your character, Stage, and fulfilling certain requirements will unlock more duelists, as well as character-specific skills to give you an edge on the playing field. After unlocking other characters, you can play as them, duel characters you've unlocked, duel players online in real-time, save your best matches, buy cards, and other activities. The game released on November 17, 2016 in Japan and in January 2017 worldwide.

The game uses an updated version of the Speed Duel rules for the Yu-Gi-Oh! card game, originally introduced in the Duel Terminal arcade stations and also present in the Japan-only Nintendo 3DS game Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Monsters Saikyo Card Battle before Duel Links. The success of Duel Links has introduced official Speed Duel formats to the OCG and TCG, with new rules based on Duel Links such as the inclusion of playable characters with Skill Cards. A modified variant of Yu-Gi-Oh! Rush Duel was added to the game in 2023 to coincide with the release of a SEVENS World.

While originally the game focused on just the original series, the world of Yu-Gi-Oh! GX was added on September 27, 2017, a Yu-Gi-Oh! 5Ds world on September 24, 2018, a DSOD-based world on September 26, 2019, a Yu-Gi-Oh! ZEXAL world on September 29, 2020, a Yu-Gi-Oh! ARC-V world on September 28, 2021, a Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS world on September 28, 2022 and a Yu-Gi-Oh! SEVENS world on September 28, 2023. This makes this game a Massive Multiplayer Crossover, similar to Yu-Gi-Oh! ARC-V Tag Force Special, and Yu-Gi-Oh! Legacy of the Duelist. The game came to PC on Steam on November 17, 2017.

    List of playable Legendary Duelists 
The following characters are sorted by their world and listed in debut order:

DM World

  • Yami Yugi
  • Seto Kaiba
  • Joey Wheeler (Katsuya Jonouchi)
  • Mai Valentine (Mai Kujaku)
  • Téa Gardner (Anzu Masaki)
  • Weevil Underwood (Insector Haga)
  • Rex Raptor (Dinosaur Ryuzaki)
  • Mako Tsunami (Ryota Kajiki)
  • Bandit Keith
  • Ishizu Ishtar
  • Odion (Rishid)
  • Maximillion Pegasus (Pegasus J. Crawford)
  • Yami Bakura
  • Paradox Brothers (Meikyuu Brothers)
  • Yami Marik
  • Yugi Muto
  • Mokuba Kaiba
  • Bonz (Ghost Kotsuzuka)
  • Arkana (Pandora)
  • Espa Roba (Esper Roba)
  • Tristan Taylor (Hiroto Honda)
  • Lumis and Umbra (Masks of Light and Darkness)
  • Duke Devlin (Ryuji Otogi)
  • Solomon Muto (Sugoroku Muto)

GX World

  • Jaden Yuki (Judai Yuki)
  • Aster Phoenix (Edo Phoenix)
  • Chazz Princeton (Jun Manjoume)
  • Alexis Rhodes (Asuka Tenjoin)
  • Bastion Misawa (Daichi Misawa)
  • Dr. Vellian Crowler (Cronos de Medici)
  • Jesse Anderson (Johan Andersen)
  • Syrus Truesdale (Sho Marufuji)
  • Zane Truesdale (Hell Kaiser Ryo)
  • Yubel
  • Tyranno Hassleberry (Tyranno Kenzan)
  • Sartorius Kumar (Takuma Saiou)
  • Jaden/Yubel (Judai Yuki/Yubel)
  • Blair Flannigan (Rei Saotome)
  • Axel Brodie (Austin O'Brien)
  • Supreme King Jaden (Supreme King Judai)
  • Jim Crocodile Cook

5D's World

  • Yusei Fudo
  • Crow Hogan
  • Akiza Izinski (Aki Izayoi)
  • Leo (Lua)
  • Luna (Luka)
  • Trudge (Tetsu Ushio)
  • Jack Atlas
  • Dark Signer Kalin Kessler (Dark Signer Kyosuke Kiryu)
  • Dark Signer Carly Carmine (Dark Signer Carly Nagisa)
  • Dark Signer Rex Goodwin
  • Carly Carmine (Carly Nagisa)
  • Kalin Kessler (Kyosuke Kiryu)
  • Antinomy
  • Primo (Placido)
  • Aporia
  • Paradox
  • Z-one

DSOD World

  • Seto Kaiba
  • Mokuba Kaiba
  • Scud (Kudaragi)
  • Sera
  • Joey Wheeler (Katsuya Jonouchi)
  • Yugi Muto
  • Téa Gardner (Anzu Masaki)
  • Aigami
  • Bakura (Ryo Bakura)

ZEXAL World

  • Yuma/Astral (Yuma Tsukumo/Astral) (also with ZEXAL)
  • Bronk Stone (Tetsuo Takeda)
  • Tori Meadows (Kotori Mizuki)
  • Reginald Kastle (Ryoga Kamishiro)
  • Kite Tenjo (Kaito Tenjo)
  • Quattro (IV)
  • Trey (III)
  • Anna Kaboom (Anna Kozuki)
  • Rio Kastle (Rio Kamishiro)
  • Girag (also with Barian Battlemorph)
  • Quinton (V)
  • Alito (also with Barian Battlemorph)

ARC-V World

  • Yuya Sakaki
  • Zuzu Boyle (Yuzu Hiiragi)
  • Gong Strong (Noboru Gongenzaka)
  • Sylvio Sawatari (Shingo Sawatari)
  • Declan Akaba (Reiji Akaba)
  • Yuto
  • Sora Perse (Sora Shiun'in)
  • Shay Obsidian (Shun Kurosaki)
  • Yugo
  • Celina (Serena)

VRAINS World

  • Soulburner
  • The Gore (GO Onizuka)
  • Playmaker and Ai
  • Blue Angel
  • Varis (Revolver)

SEVENS World

  • Yuga Ohdo
  • Lucidien Kallister (Tatsuhisa Kamijo)
  • Gavin Sogetsu (Gakuto Sogetsu)
  • Romin Kassidy (Romin Kirishima)

    List of cards with summoning animations 
The following cards are sorted in alphabetical order, with the English TCG names being used in consideration. The corresponding duelists in order to trigger the summon animations are written in parenthesis. Most of the cards below are considered as "Signature Monsters". Cards written in bold are "main" Signature Monsters, and duelists written in bold are the card's main user.

Speed Duel

  • Abyss Actor - Superstar (Sylvio Sawatari)
  • Ancient Fairy Dragon (Luna)
  • Ancient Gear Golem (Dr. Vellian Crowler)
  • Arcana Force EX - The Light Ruler (Sartorius Kumar)
  • Armed Dragon LV7 (Chazz Princeton)
  • Barrel Dragon (Bandit Keith)
  • Black Luster Soldier (Yami Yugi)
  • Black Rose Dragon (Akiza Izinski)
  • Black-Winged Dragon (Crow Hogan)
  • Bloom Diva the Melodious Choir (Zuzu Boyle)
  • Blue-Eyes Alternate White Dragon (Seto Kaiba (DSOD))
  • Blue-Eyes Ultimate Dragon (Seto Kaiba (DM), Seto Kaiba (DSOD), Mokuba Kaiba (DSOD))
  • Blue-Eyes White Dragon (4th OCG/TCG artwork, default) (Seto Kaiba (DM), Solomon Muto, Mokuba Kaiba (DM), Seto Kaiba (DSOD), Mokuba Kaiba (DSOD))
    • Blue-Eyes White Dragon (1st OCG/2nd TCG artwork) (Seto Kaiba (DM), Solomon Muto, Mokuba Kaiba (DM), Seto Kaiba (DSOD), Mokuba Kaiba (DSOD))
    • Blue-Eyes White Dragon (3rd OCG/TCG artwork) (Seto Kaiba (DM), Solomon Muto, Mokuba Kaiba (DM), Seto Kaiba (DSOD), Mokuba Kaiba (DSOD))
    • Blue-Eyes White Dragon (8th OCG/7th TCG artwork) (Seto Kaiba (DM), Solomon Mutonote , Mokuba Kaiba (DM), Seto Kaiba (DSOD), Mokuba Kaiba (DSOD))
  • Borreload Dragon (Varis)
  • Clear Wing Synchro Dragon (Yuya Sakaki, Yugo)
  • Cyber Blader (Alexis Rhodes)
  • Cyber End Dragon (Zane Truesdale)
  • D/D/D Doom King Armageddon (Declan Akaba)
  • Dark Magician (4th OCG/3rd TCG artwork, default) (Yami Yugi, Yugi Muto (DM), Yugi Muto DSOD))
    • Dark Magician (1st OCG/2nd TCG artwork) (Yami Yugi, Yugi Muto (DM), Yugi Muto DSOD))
    • Dark Magician (3rd OCG/5th TCG artwork) (Arkana)
    • Dark Magician (7th OCG/6th TCG artwork) (Yami Yugi, Yugi Muto (DM), Yugi Muto DSOD))
    • Dark Magician (9th OCG/TCG artwork) (Yami Yugi, Yugi Muto (DM), Yugi Muto DSOD))
  • Dark Magician Girl (1st OCG/TCG artwork, default) (Yami Yugi, Téa Gardner (DM), Yugi Muto (DSOD), Téa Gardner (DSOD))
    • Dark Magician Girl (3rd OCG/TCG artwork) (Yami Yugi, Téa Gardner (DM), Yugi Muto (DSOD), Téa Gardner (DSOD))
    • Dark Magician Girl (5th OCG/4th TCG artwork) (Yami Yugi, Téa Gardner (DM), Yugi Muto (DSOD), Téa Gardner (DSOD))
  • Dark Necrofear (Yami Bakura)
  • Dark Rebellion Xyz Dragon (Yuya Sakaki, Yuto)
  • Decode Talker (Playmaker and Ai)
  • Destiny HERO - Plasma (Aster Phoenix)
  • Earthbound Immortal Aslla piscu (Dark Signer Carly Carmine)
  • Earthbound Immortal Ccapac Apu (Dark Signer Kalin Kessler)
  • Earthbound Immortal Wiraqocha Rasca (Dark Signer Rex Goodwin)
  • Elemental HERO Divine Neos (Jaden/Yubel)
  • Elemental HERO Flame Wingman (Jaden Yuki, Jaden/Yubel)
  • Elemental HERO Neos (1st OCG/TCG artwork, default) (Jaden Yuki, Jaden/Yubel)
    • Elemental HERO Neos (2nd OCG/TCG artwork) (Jaden Yuki, Jaden/Yubel)
  • Embodiment of Apophis (Odion)
  • Evil HERO Malicious Fiend (Supreme King Jaden)
  • Fairy Cheer Girl (Tori Meadows)
  • Firewall Dragon (Playmaker and Ai)
  • Fossil Warrior Skull King (Jim Crocodile Cook)
  • Frightfur Bear (Sora Perse)
  • Galaxy-Eyes Photon Dragon (Kite Tenjo)
  • Gandora the Dragon of Destruction (Yugi Muto (DM), Yugi Muto (DSOD))
  • Gate Guardian (Paradox Brothers)
  • Gouki The Great Ogre (The Gore)
  • Goyo Guardian (Trudge)
  • Hamon, Lord of Striking Thunder (Yubel)
  • Harpie Lady Sisters (Mai Valentine)
  • Ice Beast Zerofyne (Rio Kastle)
  • Indiora Doom Volt the Cubic Emperor (Aigami)
  • Infernity Doom Dragon (Kalin Kessler)
  • Insect Queen (Weevil Underwood)
  • Jinzo (Joey Wheeler (DM), Espa Roba, Joey Wheeler (DSOD))
  • Junk Warrior (Yusei Fudo)
  • Lava Golem (Yami Marik)
  • The Legendary Fisherman (Mako Tsunami)
  • Life Stream Dragon (Leo)
  • Lunalight Leo Dancer (Celina)
  • Malefic Truth Dragon (Paradox)
  • Masked Beast Des Gardius (Lumis and Umbra)
  • Meklord Astro Mekanikle (Aporia)
  • Meklord Emperor Wisel (Primo)
  • Number 6: Chronomaly Atlandis (Trey)
  • Number 9: Dyson Sphere (Quinto)
  • Number 15: Gimmick Pupper Giant Grinder (Quattro)
  • Number 32: Shark Drake (Reginald Kastle)
  • Number 39: Utopia (1st OCG/TCG artwork, default) (Yuma/Astral, ZEXAL)
    • Number 39: Utopia (2nd OCG/TCG artwork) (Yuma/Astral, ZEXAL)
  • Number 105: Battlin' Boxer Star Cestus (Alitonote )
  • Number 106: Giant Hand (Girag)
  • Number C39: Utopia Ray (Yuma/Astral, ZEXAL)
  • Obelisk the Tormentor (1st OCG/TCG artwork, default) (Yami Yugi, Seto Kaiba (DM), Seto Kaiba (DSOD))
    • Obelisk the Tormentor (3rd OCG/TCG artwork) (Seto Kaiba (DSOD))
  • Odd-Eyes Pendulum Dragon (1st OCG/TCG artwork, default) (Yuya Sakaki)
    • Odd-Eyes Pendulum Dragon (3rd OCG/TCG artwork) (Yuya Sakaki)
  • Odd-Eyes Raging Dragon (Yuya Sakaki, Yuto)
  • Ojama King (Chazz Princeton)
  • Orgoth the Relentless (Duke Devlin)
  • Power Tool Dragon (Leo)
  • Pumpking the King of Ghosts (Bonz)
  • Raidraptor - Rise Falcon (Shay Obsidian)
  • Rainbow Dragon (Jesse Anderson)
  • Raviel, Lord of Phantasms (Yubel)
  • Red Dragon Archfiend (Jack Atlas)
  • Red-Eyes Black Dragon (4th OCG/3rd TCG artwork, default) (Joey Wheeler (DM), Rex Raptor, Joey Wheeler (DSOD))
    • Red-Eyes Black Dragon (1st OCG/TCG artwork) (Joey Wheeler (DM), Rex Raptornote , Joey Wheeler (DSOD))
  • Relinquished (Maximillion Pegasus)
  • Salamangreat Heatleo (Soulburner)note 
  • Sephylon, the Ultimate Timelord (Z-one)
  • Shooting Star Dragon (Yusei Fudo)
  • Silent Magician LV8 (Yugi Muto (DM), Yugi Muto (DSOD))
  • Slifer the Sky Dragon (Yami Yugi)
  • Stardust Dragon (1st OCG/TCG artwork, default) (Yusei Fudo)
    • Stardust Dragon (2nd OCG/TCG artwork) (Yusei Fudo)
  • Super Vehicroid Jumbo Drill (Syrus Truesdale)
  • Superdreadnought Rail Cannon Gustav Max (Anna Kaboom)
  • Superheavy Samurai Big Benkei (Gong Strong)
  • T.G. Halberd Cannon (Antinomy)
  • Tin Archduke (Bronk Stone)
  • Trickstar Holly Angel (Blue Angel)
  • Ultimate Leo Utopia Ray (Yuma/Astral, ZEXAL)
  • Ultimate Tyranno (Tyranno Hassleberry)
  • Uria, Lord of Searing Flames (Yubel)
  • Vampire Lord (Seto Kaiba (DM))
  • Volcanic Doomfire (Axel Brodie)
  • Water Dragon (Bastion Misawa)
  • The Winged Dragon of Ra (1st OCG/TCG artwork, default) (Yami Yugi, Yami Marik)
    • The Winged Dragon of Ra (3rd OCG/TCG artwork) (Yami Yugi, Yami Marik)
  • Yubel (Yubel, Jaden/Yubel)

Rush Duel

  • Yamiruler the Dark Delayer (Gavin Sogetsu)
  • Multistrike Dragon Dragias (Lucidien Kallister)
  • Prima Guitarna the Shining Superstar (Romin Kassidy)
  • Sevens Road Magician (Yuga Ohdo)


This game contains examples of:

  • Adaptation Distillation: Due to the mobile phone format, the Speed Duel format is used, where many elements of the regular TCG are simplified. Your minimum deck size and starting Life Points are half that of the TCG, you have one less card in your starting hand, you have 3 slots on the game mat for Monsters and Spells/Traps instead of 5, and summoning methods beyond Fusion were excluded at the game's launch.
  • Adaptational Badass: Important characters that don't usually duel are treated as this. For example, Téa Gardner/Anzu Mazaki, Tristan Taylor/Hiroto Honda, and Tori Meadows/Kotori Mizuki, characters infamous amongst the Yu-Gi-Oh! fandom for being glorified cheerleaders, can duel just as well as the protagonists, even having the potential to become Lethal Joke Characters.
    Mai Valentine: My oh my, Téa. You're not the pushover that you pretend to be.
  • Adaptational Jerkass: Alexis Rhodes tends to give her opponents some very condescending remarks during duels, all the while also belittling them during and after the duel when she wins, whereas in Yu-Gi-Oh! GX she is a lot more respectful towards her opponents and does get impressed whenever they pull of a great move.
  • Adaptation Expansion: Because certain playable characters either didn't Duel a lot or had only a few cards in their Decks shown, they'll instead have voice lines for cards that they didn't actually use but are still thematically in line with the cards they used in the anime/manga. The ZEXAL world in particular has a number of these:
    • Tori is shown using a Fairy deck, so she gets voice lines for The Agent archetypenote .
    • Bronk gets voice lines for Geargias and Wind-Ups, as his cards shown have a clockwork toy aesthetic.
    • Quinton used a space machine deck built around Number 9: Dyson Sphere, so most of his voice lines are for the Kozmo and B.E.S. archetypes.
  • Allegedly Free Game: In the early days it was possible to build a competitive deck without spending any real money, as cards were generally balanced and easy to get, and characters received powerful cards upon leveling up. Nowadays the Power Creep means competitive cards become increasingly difficult to find and what's good can change quickly, and level-up reward cards tend to be less powerful than before. Even worse if you need a card from sets released during early era of the game as a majority of the cards from those sets are long outdated.
    • ARC-V world and VRAINS world characters however, have better level-up reward cards, something that started ever since ARC-V characters received their lv35 update, likely as an answer to the complaints, which slightly help the need for good cards for character decks.
  • Animation Bump: Signature Monsters, such as Yami Yugi's Dark Magician, get awesome special summoning animations. Except for Ojama King, which is more hilarious than awesome.
  • Anticlimax Boss: Invoked in the "Attack of the Tristans!" April Fools' event. Duel World glitched badly and clones of Tristan Taylor appeared everywhere, but when you clicked on him, his defeat animation played - implying that he is such a terrible Duelist that you didn't even have to try to defeat him.
  • Anti-Frustration Features:
    • There's an auto-Duel option for standard opponents, which can be turned off mid-fight, an automatic Deck creator, which automatically uses your strongest cards, and a way to favorite cards so you can easily find them.
    • After the first Tag Duel tournament was criticized for difficulty and artificial stupidity, the second tournament added the ability to control your partner and select your opponent's difficulty level.
    • Dream tickets are given to players at extremely rare occurrences but of course make it easier for players to get a rare card of their choice, especially a card considered staple for most decks.
    • The current dueling field of Duel Links is based on a modified version of the current Master Rule system, meaning the Pendulum Zones are located in the left and right most part of the Spell and Trap Card Zone, meaning if you were to set a full scale, you would only have space for one Spell or Trap. To help with this, several ARC-V characters have skills which modifies the field to act like Master Rule 3, which adds the two Pendulum Zones away from the Spell and Trap Zones with the only catch being that you have to fulfill that skill's requirements.
      • "Swing into Action: Pendulum Summon!" has been made easier to use over time, mainly by removing the skill's requirement for having a certain amount of Pendulum Monsters to acquire your Pendulum Zones, thus any basic Pendulum deck can be used with little restrictions. In addition, upon the arrival of VRAINS World, you can now move a Pendulum Monster below the Extra Monster Zone you summoned it to (assuming it's available) in order to Summon a new Extra Deck monster to that spot.
  • Anti-Rage Quitting: While losing a Duel still earns you rewards (though less than if you won), surrendering a Duel doesn't get you anything and still counts as a loss in PvP.
  • Armor-Piercing Question: At the end of Varis' event, he says this to Playmaker in regards to him forgiving Ai:
    Varis: If [the other Ignis are revived], how willing are you to forgive Lightning and Windy?
  • Artificial Brilliance: While the AI appears to use automatic placement when determining which zones to play cards to, it does take column and zone-based effects into account. For instance, if you put Trickstar Bella Madonna into an Extra Monster Zone, in which case she will point to one of the opponent's Main Monster Zones, the AI will always put a monster in that zone in order to disable her effects, and conversely, summoning Metalrokket Dragon or Shelrokket Dragon will cause the AI to avoid its column like the plague.
  • Artificial Stupidity: The auto-dueling feature can make very dumb moves at times, as can the AI.
    • Yugi's Level 40 deck revolves around spell counters, which he usually uses to power up his attacking monsters even when you've used Mask of Accursed to stop them from attacking. In some cases he'll use Wonder Wand to destroy the monster even if it's powered up, just to draw 2 cards.
    • Mai's Level 40 deck revolves around Amazonesses, including Amazoness Chain Master. If it's destroyed and she has enough LP, she will use it to steal a card from you even if it's worthless.
    • Para and Dox's Level 40 deck revolves around Kazejin and Suijin. Since their effects only work once per duel and the AI has no way to track this, they'll tribute a Kazejin and Suijin to summon another Suijin, even if you have a weaker monster than both of them.
    • After the 1.7 update, Yami Bakura gained the habit of playing Malice Doll of Demise in Attack Position even when your monsters are stronger.
    • Syrus Truesdale's Level 30 and 40 decks has Inverse Universe, a card that swaps ATK and DEF, which for whatever reason, he may activate even if it does not change the situation at all (the attacking monster still destroy his monster anyway, despite the change in stats). He also sometimes sets a monster in defense mode and then automatically destroys it with Shield Crush.
    • Black Dragon Ninja has an ability to banish any opposing monster for the price of a Ninja monster and Ninjitsu Art from your hand or field. However, this comes with a drawback; if Black Dragon Ninja leaves the field, it will Special Summon all those banished monsters back to the field. If there are no other Ninjas, the AI will sacrifice Black Dragon Ninja itself, ignoring the fact that doing so would cancel its own effect out.
    • The Auto-Duel AI hit a big snag around the release of Blades of Spirits as it's gotten way weaker/dumber. Such maladies with the AI include occasionally giving purely beneficial equip cards to your opponent's monsters, just plain not using cards, summoning monsters like Sphere Kuriboh (weak monster works better as a hand trap than being summoned) or Labyrinth Wall (zero attack) in attack position, and using cards like Enemy Controller on things when there's no need to or it puts you in a worse situation. Considering the opposing AI never does this, it's clear that the Auto-Duel AI is intentionally designed to be worse.
    • Tag Duel partner AI seems fine enough, but only when using their own cards. If you have specific strategies involving said card, chances are, the AI partner will misuse the card.
    • Against a Karakuri deck, they'll constantly attack you even if you have a facedown card that can turn the tides in your favor because of the effect of those monsters shifting them to defense mode. They'll walk right into all of your spells and traps easily. Granted, Karakuri monsters have effects that force them to attack if able so the AI isn't entirely to blame here, although they clearly don't take this effect into account and will happily leave weak Karakuri monsters in Attack Position, forcing them to then crash those monsters into whatever the player has.
    • NPCs in general seem to have an issue with cards that mill their own deck - they will use the card's effect just to reduce damage once or destroy 1 monster, regardless of the risk in accidentally milling important cards. They will also continuously spam the milling effect if possible, even if they end up doing nothing else on the same turn due to still being unable to break your board. This can result in them needlessly cutting their deck until they have only 4 or even 2 cards left, making it easy for them to Deck Out if you just stall for a bit more. Similarly, they will also keep spamming draw effect when possible, stopping only if their deck has less than 5 cards left, making it easier to Deck Out them. DSOD Bakura was particularly bad about this, as his level 40 deck has Morphing Jar, and he has no qualms about Setting it while he has less than 5 cards in his deck.
      • Similarly, the AI will continuously use the effect of Heart of the Underdog to keep drawing until they hit a spell/trap, but if they don't, they will keep drawing until they have 3 cards left in their deck.
    • Auto-Duel AI will also not use Skill even when the criteria fits, even when doing so could help them turn the duel around.
    • Sometimes, NPCs or Auto-Duel AI will summon spam 3 monsters on the field, activate the monster's effect to boost its ATK...and then immediately use them as material to summon an ace card that ends up having less ATK than the total ATK of its materials.
    • Another particularly common form of stupidity is the use of Mystic Box, as seen with one of the Level 33 Standard Duelist decks. They'll use Stray Lambs to make a pair of 0/0 Tokens, then if the tokens survive a turn, they'll change one to Attack Position and use Mystic Box to give it to you while popping a monster, setting up a direct shot at your LP when they attack into the defenseless token that's now on your field. A perfectly sensible move... until they use a second Mystic Box to destroy the token they just gave you and give you their other token for no reason. And sometimes they're not even smart enough to give you the token they changed to Attack Position.
    • With the inclusion of Link Monsters. Don't be surprised if for whatever reason, the AI decides to Link Summon a monster with a high Link Rating into one with a lower one when there isn't a good reason for them to use said monster as material. Extra points if said Link-2+ monster is used as a single material; Blue Angel is particularly bad about this, often throwing away most of her Extra Deck this way for no reason.
    • Mirror Force Launcher and Magical Cylinders have effects to search and Set Mirror Force and Magic Cylinder respectively, basically telegraphing to your opponent that you now have a deadly battle Trap staring them in the face and will put them in a world of hurt if they choose to attack you. The AI completely forgets about the Trap you just set and will happily attack into it, immediately losing all of their monsters or a chunk of their LP as a result.
  • Asshole Victim: At the beginning of Celina's event, she lands in DM World and ends up in a Duel against Weevil, who does his usual trick of slipping Parasite Paracide into her deck. Upon drawing the card, Celina gets (understandably) furious and annihilates him, and later admits to Yuya that she feels a bit bad about curb-stomping a guy that happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time with the wrong Deck. Of course, it's Weevil, so no sympathy is spared.
  • Attack! Attack! Attack!:
    • Low level NPC opponents will summon a monster in attack position, and use that to attack a face down defender even if the attack power is below 500. While this works against bluffs or otherwise forces the player to show what they're up to, the attack causes the defending creature to inflict counter damage.
    • Level 10 opponents will continually Summon monsters in attack position even if they know theirs are weaker than yours. This still applies even if their monster has 0 ATK. In addition to that, they will Summon their Flip monsters in face-up attack position, even though those monsters generally have weak ATK stat and are only used for their effect, which requires them to be Set, not Summoned.
  • Awesome, but Impractical:
    • Decks that rely too heavily on Tributes, Fusions, or Rituals frequently end up unable to summon any monsters at all.
    • Yugi's skill Grandpa's Cards adds the five pieces of Exodia into your deck. However, the Exodia cards are added on top of the cards you already built. For example, if you have a 20 card deck, it increased to 25, thus deck construction must consider that factor. In addition, because you start with a four card hand if you go first, it becomes a lot more difficult to get the five cards while maintaining a defense, and searching for the cards is also difficult.
    • In general, with only 20 card decks, 4 card opening hands, and no Side Deck option due to no Match (best of 3) system, every card needs to be useful at almost all times, which makes more situational cards this. Cards designed to counter other cards, such as Gamushara and Magic Deflector, mean one less card to protect your monsters, and having such cards sit dead on the field can be fatal due to the lack of resources. Even Spell/Trap removal cards like Nobleman of Extermination, which would normally be a no-brainer staple in the OCG or TCG, can fall into this trope because they mean one less defensive card.
    • The Winged Dragon of Ra proved to be this. On top of its effect of reducing your HP to 100 being mediocre and making you weak to effect damage decks, getting it out is even more of a pain because of the three monster slots and unlike in the anime, it isn't immune to spell and trap cards, making it easy to play around despite its power. Yami Marik even claimed he would enjoy seeing you try to use it and fail.
    • All of the Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D's characters have an ability that allows the player to add a free Synchro Monster (the character's Signature Monster) to their Extra Deck along with 2 free Tuners, even if your Extra Deck was at it's maximum already. Officer Tetsu Trudge's ability on the other hand, "Let's Go Goyo!", doesn't add his Synchro Monster, but instead replaces your entire Extra Deck with a single copy of Goyo Guardian, so you cannot summon any other Synchro Monsters, nor can you Fusion Summon at all. Subverted later as this skill was altered to work the same way as the others.
    • Jesse's Crystal Beasts can be used to Special Summon the powerful 4000 ATK Rainbow Dragon onto the field. To do so, seven different beasts must be on the field or in the Graveyard, which is supposed to be achieved with the Beasts' gimmick (they can be moved to empty Spell/Trap Zones as Continuous Spells) and card/monster effects that move Beasts between the Deck, field, and Graveyard. This is much harder to do in Duel Links' Speed Duel format, which restricts the number of total zones from ten to six, leaving the player with much less wiggle room to move Beasts around, and forces them to choose between having a free zone for Spell/Traps or moving a Crystal Beast there.
    • Elements Unite, one of the Paradox Brothers' skills, starts the duel with Kazejin, Suijin and Sanga of the Thunder on the field, and Gate Guardian in the hand, enabling you to immediately summon a very high ATK monster. The catch? Gate Guardian will be the only card in your starting hand, meaning you will be without protection for some time. The three other monsters can only be used as tribute fodder for Gate Guardian, and you can't do anything else with them. Worst of all, you start the duel with only 500 life points, so if your opponent has a way of dealing with Gate Guardian, or can inflict burn damage, you will almost certainly lose.
    • Fatal Five, one of Zane's skills. If Zane attacks five times in one turn with a single monster, such as by using Chimeratech Overdragon's effect for instance, you automatically win the duel. Good luck finding an opponent who will survive five attacks from a single monster without their life points being reduced to 0 from the attacks.
    • Favorite Duel is a skill for both versions of Jaden that let you discard an Elemental HERO or Neo-Spacian to send another one from your deck to the Graveyard and then get a free Miracle Fusion from outside your deck, and this can be done a whopping three times per duel. This would be downright incredible for making plays... if it didn't completely prevent you from Special Summoning anything other than Elemental HERO Flame Wingman, Elemental HERO Shining Flare Wingman, and Elemental HERO Neos and his fusions, severely restricting the things you can do with it.
  • Badass Boast: Joey, the first boss, invites you to duel him with one of these. He immediately lampshades it and wonders to himself if you're afraid.
    Joey: Step right up so I can knock ya down!
  • Bag of Spilling: Characters will often lack any of the cards they used to Duel you when you unlock them as characters.
    • Lampshaded in the intro cutscene for the 5D's world. Jack tells Yusei that he won't duel Yusei yet, because Yusei doesn't have his full-strength Deck. Yusei looks at his Deck and reacts with shock.
    • Yuma managed to lose all of the Numbers (except for Utopia) again, which makes Bronk very exasperated.
  • Bait-and-Switch: Several events in ZEXAL world uses this to get the characters to take action. It's implied that the Duel Links version of ZEXAL takes place after at least Duel Carnival arc, thus a lot of characters had undergone significant character development. Shark's event sees him pretend to be taken over by a Numbers card to make sure that Yuma is taking his job of retrieving Numbers cards seriously, Kite pretends to use his powers to forcefully take a duelist's Number only to allow Astral to take it instead, Quattro appears to revert to his old self but instead simply duels this way to challenge others since Duel Links invites strong duelists (and also because his fans feel they are not being babysit if Quattro duels this way), and Anna appears to have gone more crazy than she already was going after Yuma, after picking up Number 27: Dreadnought Dreadnoid although it turned out to not be the real thing due to it not possessing her.
  • Balance Buff:
    • Joey's Reinforcement, Ishizu's Prescience, and Odion's Endless Trap Hell Skills were all buffed in a May 23 update.
    • In an August 3 update, Ishizu's Fairy's Smile Skill was altered to give 1000 Life Points instead of 500.
    • Bastion's "attribute boosting field" skills were all made easier to bring out in a February 2018 update.
    • In an early 2021 patch, Aigami's Cubic Seeds and Jesse's Transcendent Crystals skills had their restrictions made less harsh.
    • Yusei's Mark of the Dragon - Head was eventually buffed to add Shooting Star Dragon and Formula Synchron to his Extra Deck in addition to Stardust Dragon. Similarly, DSOD Kaiba's Ultimate Dragons skill was improved, adding a Blue-Eyes Twin Burst Dragon along with the two Ultimate Dragons, and gaining an additional functionality to add Polymerization to your hand if you have two Blue-Eyes in hand.
    • Swing Into Action: Pendulum Summon! (used by most ARC-V characters) originally required 12 Pendulum monsters in your Main Deck to add Pendulum Zones to your field. This restriction was removed in March 2022 and it now simply adds the Zones without strings attached. When the VRAINS world launched, the skill was buffed again to let players move Pendulum Monsters out of the Extra Monster Zone to make Pendulums easier to play with the rule updates.
  • Big Brother Mentor: Quinton's raid event story has him become a mentor for numerous ZEXAL characters to prepare them for the war against the Barians, having already been a mentor for his younger brothers and Kite in the past. Quinton lectures Yuma not to just wait and let them appear while he's doing nothing to prepare for, especially since his friends have been already attacked, with the extra incentive that he could become as good as Kite under Quinton's training (with Yuma telling Quinto that he will surpass Kite instead). Shark is mainly interested because Kite was under Quinton's mentorship. He's apologizing to Rio for what Quattro did to her, with the two of them bonding for having troublesome brothers, and he wants to teach her new techniques as a form of an apology. Ironically, Quinton has no memories of Shark and Rio being Barians. After having already heard of the report that Tori and Anna were brainwashed by the Barians, he offers Tori to teach her, so that she can defend herself in the future, and he offers Anna to teach her because the two of them use high-Level Machine decks and it would help her getting noticed by Yuma easier. Like Tori, he's teaching Bronk, so that Bronk can be more helpful to Yuma. Quinton continues to act as a mentor for his brothers, with Quattro claiming he has already surpassed him, and Trey has to learn to keep calm and focused. Kite being his star pupil tells him that Quinton's teaching and his behavior in dueling are in stark contrast with each other, which could confuse his new students. It is later shown that Quinton is pretty merciless when dueling Bronk, Tori and Yuma, with Yuma and Trey being concerned about Bronk's and Tori's well-being, with Quinton even saying that if they were to fall, they better fall now, but if they overcome the ordeal, they will be true duelists.
  • "Blind Idiot" Translation: The DSOD world has Kaiba plan to become the Pharaoh after defeating Atem, while the Japanese word used can mean 'King', 'ruler,' etc. and doesn't necessarily mean 'Pharaoh.' The official Transcend Game translation used 'King,' as Kaiba wanted to become King of Duel Links/King of Games.
  • Boring, but Practical:
    • Normal Monster beatdown decks are relatively simplistic in deck construction and strategy, but they are low-cost, consistent, and that simplicity works best with auto-duel.
    • Fusion decks also work well in auto-duel, especially with cards that can act as Fusion Substitutes.
    • In competitive play, any of the top-tier decks used to get through the ranked duels will serve you well. Even if you don't win all the time, you just need the cumulative victories to get the more powerful cards.
    • Gladiator Beast Decks. Three Bestiari, Murmillo and Laquari with your choice of filler and standard protection. 100% Boring and 100% Predictable, yet almost 100% reliable barring really unique tech choices.
    • Sylvan decks. Three Komushroomo, Marshalleaf, Guardioak, two Hermitree, Rose Lover, World Carrotweight Champion, and a few techs of your choice. Once you see them, you know what they're going to do. Boring? Yes. Practical? Yes.
    • Fur Hire is similar to Sylvan in that it's really predictable what will happen the moment you see a low level monster Fur Hire being summoned. And just like Sylvan, as boring as it is, it's also so powerful Konami ended up having to limit a few of its cards until the metagame advanced far enough to render them less powerful.
    • Aroma is another fairly simple beatdown deck, but unlike almost any other deck, every single one of its key cards can easily be obtained from the Card Trader. Combine that with a built-in draw engine and great board control, and you've got a reliable archetype to build a farming deck around (especially with Ra due to their ability to stockpile LP), or you can play them on their own and still do decently well on the ladder.
    • A Legendary Ocean deck is an extremely simple beatdown Auto-Duel deck to use as all you need is a set of the tititular Field Spell Card, Warrior of Atlantis who searches the field spell, a strong Level 5 water monster as it can be summoned as a level 4 with the field spell out, and a plethora of strong water monsters and supporting spells and traps. Made even easier if you get a hold of Number 17: Leviathan Dragon, which considering you just turned your Level 4 monsters into Level 3 monsters, makes it easier to summon and it still gets the buffs from the card.
    • War Rocks are another in the line of cheap, straightforward, and effective beatdown decks. Because most of their cards are rares and commons (aside from Meteoragon being an Ultra Rare and Mountain being Super Rare), a functional War Rock deck shouldn't take too many packs to build, and it'll serve well enough in both PvP and PvE. As a side benefit, the linear nature of the deck also makes it comparatively Auto-Duel-friendly.
    • On the Skill side, there's Swing Into Action: Pendulum Summon! after its Balance Buff. All it does is add Pendulum Zones to your field with no requirements, whereas most other skills that add Pendulum Zones come with other benefits but are also locked into certain archetypes. This makes it a godsend for Pendulum decks like Metalfoes that aren't specifically designated by other skills.
    • LP Boost α, a Skill whose only effect is to let you start with an extra 1000 LP. Easily one of the least flashy and most widespread Skills in the game, but the extra LP is enough of a buffer to thwart 4000-damage OTKs and give you a chance to mount a comeback, and its lack of requirements means it's usable by any deck that doesn't need a dedicated Skill.
    • Using Dream Tickets (which give you any UR or SR of your choice depending on the ticket, including cards from Boxes and Structure Decks) on staple Spell and Trap cards like Floodgate Trap Hole, Book of Moon, or Mystical Space Typhoon. Not as exciting as unlocking a character's ace card or grabbing a key piece of one specific deck, but you're securing a card that'll be useful in many decks and for a decent amount of time to come, getting you a lot more mileage out of the ticket in the long run.
    • Most of the Rush Duel Skills, as they are tuned to handle a much lower power level. A good chunk of these are conditional stat increases, which are quite good in a format where the best form of monster removal is beating over your opponent's board with a bigger monster. There's also Hammer Crush Deal, which essentially makes Hammer Crush (a Mystical Space Typhoon with a discard cost) effectively free by setting Hammer Crush then immediately drawing a card.
  • Boss in Mook Clothing: After you level up enough, even standard duelists become quite difficult to duel against, especially ones that run Graveyard-based decks.
  • Bowdlerise:
    • Bandit Keith wearing a cross was edited out of his character design, despite other games retaining it.
    • The Battle City Finals event changed the manga scenario where Ishizu wanted to stay on the island when it exploded if Marik wasn't rescued by having Kaiba ask her if she was okay with Yugi doing her work for her, to which she says any route is acceptable so long as the end goal's achieved.
    • Averted with the Rush Duel cards, which retain their Japanese artwork since Rush Duel does not have an English printing. This includes stuff that is normally censored by the TCG, such as Monster Reborn being an ankh instead of an amulet.
  • Bribing Your Way to Victory: You can purchase gems, gate keys, and packs with real-world money to accelerate their acquisition process. Pre-made structure decks, as well as enemy NPCs that gives higher exp than normal, can also be bought this way.
    • Structure decks are particularly bad about this, as certain cards (often the most powerful ones) can only be obtained from those decks and you can only buy one copy of each deck with gems. Trying to build Ancient Gears? Hope you have some cash to spare for two copies of Ancient Gear Awakening, because otherwise you're stuck with one copy each of Geartown, Reactor Dragon, and Wyvern.
  • Broad Strokes: Like most Yu-Gi-Oh! video games, Duel Links mixes the manga and anime in terms of character designs, personalities, cards, and events.
    • Most of the characters have lines for monsters they only used in the anime or only in the manga, such as Tyrant Dragon for Rex/Ryuzaki and Fire Sorcerer for Téa, or Toy Magician for Yugi Muto. A bug in Mokuba's event ended up with him talking about using Noah's card, Shinato.
    • Bakura makes references to the Monster World manga arc when talking to Joey/Jounochi and Mokuba's level 30 deck, Poison Hamburger references the manga events of Death-T. Mokuba also mentions being a champion at Capsule Monsters when he beats you.
    • The Set Sail for the Kingdom event is mostly manga-based, but includes dubbed anime lines wholesale where appropriate, Keith's punishment is ambiguous enough that it can be seen as the hand-gun from the manga or the trap door in the anime, and whether Yugi and Joey dueled like in the anime or didn't duel like in the manga is never brought up.
    • The Battle City events include panels and dialogue from the manga as well as anime scenarios, including Arkana/Pandora's Dark Energy Disc threat from the dub and Yugi having seen Marik's mind-control powers when he was brainwashing Keith.
    • The Bakura event for the Dark Side of Dimensions world added a new summoning line for Yami Bakura when playing Tragoedia, the antagonist of the Yu-Gi-Oh! GX manga who like Yami Bakura was also a survivor of the Kul Elna massacre.
  • Butt-Monkey:
    • Joey. Whenever the developers need to show a Duelist getting humiliated or defeated, they will most often use him as an example, and one mission asks you to defeat him three times. Téa is also seen as a weak duelist, but she doesn't get it nearly as bad as he does. Even his losing sprite is very comical. By contrast, his DSOD version has more serious losing sprite.
    • Whenever Roland/Isono appears, he tends to get yelled at, whether by Seto or by Mokuba.
    • Daichi/Bastion Misawa nearly got left out of the Japanese release trailer for GX, only showing up at the end after everyone else was introduced together, and his fortune doesn't improve in the game proper. He's the only Legendary Duelist that doesn't have his own battle theme (instead using the Standard Duelist theme), and even Logan and Zachary, his Standard Duelist fanboys, forget his name. Even his unlock mission doesn't help him; it asks you to win 50 duels while having 3 or less cards in your deck, arguably a tedious enough requirement to deter people from trying to unlock him. Even the game itself mocks him, as within the download screen questions, one asks "What best describes this character?" for Bastion... with the correct answer being "Who...?"
    • Bonz/Ghost gets it pretty bad too, from almost everyone being afraid of how he looks to others like Keith and Bakura who either humiliate him or flatly terrify him, Bonz gets the short end of the stick.
    • Yuma gets the short end of the stick a lot in events, often being the cause of certain misunderstandings and then getting chewed out by the other characters.
  • Call-Back:
    • Having Téa win against Joey has her say the same lines she used when beating him in the second anime episode.
    • Pegasus's Toon World event revolves around collecting Star Chips like in Duelist Kingdom, and a later event retold parts of Duelist Kingdom. If you approach him as Bandit Keith in the Toon World event, he mentions dropping Keith in the ocean like in the anime.
    • Yami Bakura's event revolves around you collecting 10-sided dice, a reference to the Monster World game from the manga/Toei anime.
    • If Mokuba summons Mystical Elf in attack mode he'll reference Princess Adena from the Legendary Heroes arc of the anime. Adena was a princess who looked near-identical to Mokuba but was Mystical Elf in disguise.
    • In Jesse's first event, Jesse says he can't stay and fight as the developers of the game haven't programmed Rainbow Dragon into the game, so he feels he can't fight with an incomplete deck. This ties into Jesse's first appearance against Jaden revealing that he doesn't have the dragon yet because Pegasus still needed to make the card for Jesse.
    • Dr. Crowler's battle theme is a remix of Season 4's final battle between him and Jaden before he summoned the Ultimate Ancient Gear Golem.
    • If a GX character battles normal Zane, they're going to comment on how much different he was in season 2 compared to season one... except Crowler who will comment on Zane's heart failure problems, the issue he had in season 3. If you defeat Zane in battle, his defeat animation is him clutching his chest near his heart. In addition, if Zane is defeated by Jaden, Zane will compliment that Jaden will be the best at the school... despite his grades, referencing Zane's graduation duel. If defeated by Aster, Zane will remember that he missed out on having any of the fun of dueling, the same epiphany he had against his duel with Yubel-possessed Jesse in season 3. If Syrus defeats him, Zane will be legitimately proud of his brother for surpassing him, a nod to season 4 and the climax of Syrus's character arc from GX.
    • The Tag Duel tournament borrows several cues from the Tag Force series of games. The starry background on the arena floor is reminiscent of the dueling background seen in the first three Tag Force games.
    • Jaden and Jessie's dueling theme is a remix of the tag force 1 through 3 dueling theme.
    • In the Tag Duel Master Class, Pegasus teams up with Mickey, but keeps calling him Sam. In the English dub of the original season, Sam was the name of the kid Pegasus called forth to defeat Bandit Keith.
    • During the Duel event to awaken the Rainbow Dragon, Zane will also show up as a roaming duelist to provide a ton of points. In the anime, Jesse dueled Zane to obtain a ton of dueling energy to send the dragon over the dimensional barrier to Jesse.
    • The Cyberdark Impact event introduces Genex (GX) medals needed to duel Zane, which were the medals in season 2's tournament. Also, Cyberdark Impact was the name of the pack the Cyberdark monsters joined the TCG in, and the name of the special fusion card used to special summon Cyberdark fusion monsters.
    • An August 2018 event has a Monster World themed event with Yami Bakura as Game Master, just like in the manga.
    • Yubel's duel arena in her event is reminiscent of the final arena her and Jaden dueled in during the Season 3 climax. For added bonus, the starry underground at the center of the arena can be a Tag Force reference and the other dimension his friends were sent to beforehand.
    • Should Zane challenge Sartorius in the field, Sartorius predicts Zane's self-destruction, which is what he's technically doing in the anime in season 2 and throughout season 3.
    • The final and semi-final match teams for the GX cup were the same teams in the tag duel finals of Season 4: Hassleberry and Blair for the semifinals and Alexis/Jaden(Yubel) for the finals.
    • The background for the Duel against Determined Antinomy will be in space, the same as Yusei's final duel with him in 5D's.
    • Axel has voice lines for Maiden of the Aqua, the Duel Monster Spirit he helped in season 3 of the GX anime.
    • Quinton's event has him putting Tori and Bronk through Training from Hell so they can fight Barians. When dueling Alito during his event as Tori or Bronk, they'll mention Quinton's training.
  • Calling the Old Man Out: If Syrus defeats Zane, he'll tear into his brother about how far Zane sank just for victory and that Syrus will respect an opponent if Zane won't.
  • Cast from Hit Points: Joey's Last Gamble requires you to give up all but 100 of your LP to use, while Yuma and Astral's ZEXAL - Ultimate Unite requires you to pay half your LP to use its first effect (which, in a regular duel, conveniently also drops them to the threshold for activating ZEXAL Morph). The Paradox Brothers' Three-Star Demotion formerly also required a hefty LP payment, before being reworked to instead require you to be at low LP.
  • Character Select Forcing: While the game lets any character use any deck, character Skills often encourage certain decks to be played by certain characters, usually the decks they played in the anime/manga. Alternatively, Skills may force the player to use specific decks to even gain a benefit from the Skill, which are in turn tailored to suit that deck's strategy. Cubics are a particularly notable case, as the deck's key card Vijam the Cubic Seed can only be used through one of Aigami's Skills, which itself requires the player to only use Cubic monsters and up to a certain number of non-Cubic Spells and Traps. Aigami later got 1 copy of Vijam the Cubic Seed added to his level-up rewards, but the sheer amount of level grinding required means the Skill is required for a long time anyway.
    • A particularly notable and amusing instance came with the Trickstar and Salamangreat archetypes, which were used by Blue Angel and Soulburner respectively in the VRAINS anime, and in Duel Links they have Skills meant specifically for those archetypes. In practice, Trickstar players ran them with Playmaker instead thanks to his Three Effects! Skillnote , while Salamangreats saw more play with about a dozen other characters since The Ties that Bindnote  proved to be more beneficial than anything Soulburner had access to at the time. Konami's answer was to give Blue Angel and Soulburner Skills that were effectively better versions of the ones that people used them with, so players would have incentive to play the decks with their original users.
  • Chewing the Scenery: The Japanese voice of DM Kaiba goes over the top with his lines, even more so than in the anime. This is toned down with DSOD Kaiba, but he still goes Large Ham.
  • Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: Ryou Bakura is mentioned but doesn't appear, though a DSOD version of him does in story events. Tristan Taylor was also subjected to this until he appeared for an April Fool's Day event. Both Tristan and DSOD Bakura later became Legendary Duelists.
  • Company Cross References:
    • The Gradius monster makes several shout-outs to the video game Gradius in its dialogue, and the card sleeves won in its debut event are screenshots from the original game.
    • The August 2020 D.D. Castle event is a Whole-Plot Reference to the Castlevania games, with Vampire Hunter ascending the castle with a whip to defeat a Dracula analogue.
  • Composite Character:
    • Yami Marik is a combination of himself and regular Marik, having Yami Marik's bloodthirst and appearance and Marik's mind controlling ability and army of Ghouls and Rare Hunters, who had disbanded by the time Yami Marik appeared in Battle City.
    • In terms of personality and voice lines, Yuma is a combination of his first season and last season selves, as he occasionally argues with Astral like in his first meeting with him, but treats Astral like a friend like in the later episodes.
    • Many of the Duel Monsters characters are more closer to their manga counterparts and share their backstories, but they have voice lines of their anime counterparts. Duke Devlin is the most blatant example, as his backstory is all derived from the manga, which is very different of his anime backstory, but he has voice lines for his anime cards regardless.
    • Several characters use cards that are exclusive to their respective anime appearances and manga appearances. As such, characters like Jack Atlas, who has two different anime versions and one manga version, is essentially a combined version of all his different versions, as he has voice lines for cards that he used exclusively in each respective version, such as the original Red Dragon Archfiend (5D's anime), the retrained Scarlight Red Dragon Archfiend (ARC-V anime), and the Duel Dragon counterpart Hot Red Dragon Archfiend (5D's manga). The characters from ARC-V world all recognize the legacy characters they met in the anime, despite said characters residing in different worlds and not recognizing them.
  • Compressed Adaptation: Yami Marik's event is a loose retelling of Battle City, shortening the number of Rare Hunter fights and letting you face him early on.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • Téa suffers the same problems she did in the anime's virtual world and the manga's Egypt arc, being registered as a duelist by accident and not knowing what her cards are.
    • Yami Bakura's event mentions several manga events like Bakura reclaiming the Millennium Ring from Yugi and the Monster World arc, but also mentions anime events like Pegasus and Keith being alive.
    • Mokuba's Level 30 Deck is a reference to the Russian Roulette Dinner he played with Yugi and Joey before Death-T in the manga, while his Level 40 deck includes both Luster Dragons, Alexandrite Dragon, and Kaibaman from the anime.
    • Most of Bandit Keith's skills are based on his tendency to cheat during his Duels in the anime and manga. His Bandit skill is an adaptation of his unreleased card of the same name (named Pillager in the dub), though it steals a card from the opponent's field rather than their hand.
  • Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: Gameplay-wise, Anzu/Téa. Despite being mostly a non-duelist in the original canon, she has potent abilities in Holy Guard, which prevents her from taking battle damage during her turn, Life Cost 0, which allows her to use cards without paying their Life Point costs if she has less than 1000 LP and Duel, Standby!, which allows both players to start with an extra card in their opening hand. Life Cost 0, in combination with Cyber-Stein, means she can easily pulverize her opponents with Blue-Eyes Ultimate Dragons, and Duel, Standby! makes any decks becomes more potent, as the fast pace of this game means getting a card early can be the difference between winning and losing. Also, due to the free duel nature of the game, you can use Téa to battle and defeat practically anyone she would never be able to defeat in any other media, such as Kaiba, Yami Marik, and Bandit Keith.
  • Dark Horse Victory:
    • The Feb. 2018 KC Cup had a diverse array of decks considered meta viable. Popular decks that were expected to reach the top include recent decks in Hazy Flame, which could swarm the field with untargetable beaters, and Gladiator Beasts, which had a variety of tag out effects to control the field. There were also established older OTK decks in Red-Eyes and Cyber Angels which brought to the Cup an already formidable reputation. Out of this field, which deck became number one? To many Duelists' surprise, it was Magnet Warriors, a deck that was previously dismissed as mere casual fanservice for Yugi fans, and that never placed high on anyone's tier lists, if it placed at all.
    • Happened again during Nov. 2018 KC Cup. The popular decks were Blue-Eyes White Dragon, Masked HERO, and Vampires, which all could swarm the field with powerful monsters and end the game quickly. The winning deck, however, was simply a mismash of 24note  good cards, and did not have any Special Summon monsters despite Normal Summoning only once per turn being seen as too slow for the current pace of the game. It triumphed with a slow-and-steady strategy of backrow removal, powerful defensive Traps, and monsters that could remove any opposing threats they battled with, using previously dismissed cards in Breaker the Magical Warrior, Dust Tornado, D.D. Assailant, and Wind-Up Juggler. The deck was so effective that it became the new top-tier deck overnight, especially after it got an upgrade in Armades, Keeper of Boundaries, which could freely attack without opponents being able to respond with effects.
    • The KC 2020 tournament. While Shiranui was expected to top, the third place deck was Megalith; a series thought to be filler at best, ended up doing very well in the tournament to the shock of many players.
  • Dark Is Not Evil: The Card Trader looks incredibly shady, but he's a perfectly harmless, helpful NPC.
  • A Day in the Limelight: You can invoke this by playing as a minor duelist like Weevil, Rex, or Mako. Konami themselves did this by giving Rex Raptor his own event, which includes a section in which he monologues about Dinosaur cards upon reaching certain point milestones.
  • Death of a Thousand Cuts:
    • Yami Marik's Shadow Game skill drains LP based on how many cards are in the graveyard. While it usually isn't much on its own, it can add up over time and Cherry Tap you (or him) to death. Subverted when the skill was debuffed to only deal a max of 400 damage and not trigger when the opponent or user has only 1000 life points left.
    • Mind-Controlled Joey can spawn Sparks and Hinotama cards from outside his deck every turn, leading to death via burn damage if you're careless.
  • Defeating the Undefeatable: Yami Yugi and Kaiba can lose to anyone in the game, leaving them incredulous that their opponent won. (Well, Kaiba certainly will be, at least. Yami Yugi takes his losses in a more dignified way.)
    Kaiba: I lost to Joey Wheeler? JOEY WHEELER?!? This is a nightmare...
  • Developer's Foresight: Arkana's version of the Dark Magician is in the game as well as the other artworks for it. When Yami Yugi plays Arkana's Dark Magician, he doesn't trigger the special summoning animation, and the same is true for Arkana playing versions of the Dark Magician other than his.
    • When applying the summoning animations, depending on who is summoning and what type of card is being summoned, the summoning animations will change. By default, anyone using these summons will use the earliest version of that summoning animation.
      • When using a Dark Signer and tuning their Dark Synchro Monster, it will change to the Dark Tuning animation (though properly using the normal levels as Dark Tuning worked differently in the anime).
      • When Yusei and Antinomy uses Accel Synchro, the Accel Synchro animation from the anime plays, an additional touch for Yusei involves the mark of the Crimson Dragon. A similar thing happens when Jack uses Double Tuning for Red Nova Dragon, the rings are engulfed in flames like in the anime.
      • When Yusei summons Shooting Quasar Dragon, it not only changes the summoning animation to the style used for Limit Over Accel Synchro, complete with all the marks of the Crimson Dragon, Yusei's cut in shows him in solid gold showing that he has achieved Over Top Clear Mind.
      • Regardless of animation and user, when a Number card is summoned, their number is formed after the normal overlay animation. Chaos Numbers additionally have the unique texture used for their Numbers in the anime, and a unique animation is played for summoning Chaos Numbers or CXyz monsters via Rank-Up-Magic.
      • When he's Pendulum Summoning, Yuya's Pendulum Summon animation features the swinging pendulum, the others do not.
      • Any ARC-V duelist performing Synchro Summoning will have the tuning animation changed to the version from ARC-V.
      • Using any VRAINS duelist will change the summoning animation to the one used in VRAINS. Additionally, Soulburner has a unique animation for Reincarnation Link Summons, and the Link Materials in the Link Summon animation change colors depending on which character you're using.
  • Difficult, but Awesome:
    • Gem-Knights have to juggle fusion engines and a 20 card limit with protection. You can go pure beatdown, but if you wish to bring out the best of them, you're going to have to stick to one of the fusions and run an engine off of that to get the most of them. This still hurts them in overall play because they lose out on the extra fusions and backup plans needed if the current strategy with them doesn't work.
    • Lavals have monsters that either work with a ton of them in your graveyard or a ton of them banished. Figuring out a good mixture of your monsters is key to building a Laval deck; but when done right, Lavals can blow up entire fields and synchro summon very well.
  • Dinosaurs Are Dragons: Lampshaded in Rex's Dino Mayhem event, where he gets confused about what differentiates Dinosaur Cards from Dragon cards if they're both allowed to have wings.
  • The Dividual: Para and Dox duel as a one Duelist with a single deck. Same goes for Lumis and Umbra. Jaden/Yubel, Yuma/Astral, and Playmaker/Ai also count as the second character in each duo is a Duelist in their own right, though it's always the primary character that actually plays all their cards.
  • Double Unlock:
    • You unlock some duelists as opponents by reaching certain stages, while you must meet other requirements in the next stage and beyond to unlock them as playable characters. Other duelists require specific conditions to unlock at the Gate, and become playable when you fulfill their unlocking conditions.
    • Playmats and card sleeves can be unlocked after fulfilling specific missions, such as raising a character's Duelist Lv. to 5 and 12 to unlock their character-themed sleeves and playmat, respectively. Using a character in 100 Duels unlocks their Signature Monster's card sleeve, and summoning said Signature Monster 100 times unlocks the monster's playmat. Extra Deck Monsters and monsters with Special Summoning conditions have to be summoned 100 times with their preferred methods properly to fulfill the mission's condition. It is possible to unlock the playmats even if you don't own the Signature Monsters, as long as you're using the unlocked characters' skills to include them in your (Extra) Deck, and it is also not necessary to use their corresponding duelists. Several Signature Monster-themed card sleeves from the DM World have to be unlocked by completing certain DM World's Stage Missions.
  • Dumpster Dive: You can poke on the trash bins in each world's Deck Editor area, for some pretty funny cameos and the occasional Pot of Greed to provide you with gems. Yes, the game rewards you for sticking your nose in trash cans.
  • Everyone Can See It: A Running Gag in the ARC-V World events is that newly arrived characters will ask Yuto about his feelings for Lulu, since they are all aware that the two of them are dating. Yuto would then try to dodge the conversation.
  • Evil Versus Evil: Primoís unlock event has him targeting the Dark Signers, resulting in this trope.
  • Exact Words: In his Level 50 event, Yami Bakura says his deck isnít the same as his Destiny Board deck, but his Destiny Board of Doom skill still activates.
  • Face Death with Dignity: Or rather defeat. On occasion, an AI opponent will just summon a monster in attack mode that has no way of winning with no spell/trap protection, essentially inviting you to deal the finishing blow.
  • Fake Difficulty:
    • Many Level 40/50/60 Legendary Duelists have powerful cards that the player has limited or no access to, making farming them a pain without a specific tailored deck. In events they also have AI-exclusive skills.
      • Mai Valentine has Amazoness Village, a Field Spell that replaces fallen Amazonesses once per turn and can easily overwhelm the player with them. She is somewhat doable if you run Spell/Trap removal; but the problem there is, as mentioned above, deck space to fit in spell/trap removal and protection in a 20 card deck.
      • Yami Bakura's event had him start with the Destiny Board of Doom skill that makes him automatically win in 5 turns, compounded with his rare cards, and since he always goes first you technically have to beat him or remove Dark Necrofear from the Graveyard in four turns. This was later mitigated slightly by him not using the skill for Levels 10-30, not always going first when it is active, and nerfing his Level 40 deck.
      • In the Set Sail for the Kingdom event, Level 40 Kaiba had the Blue-Eyes Advent Skill, which let him summon a Blue-Eyes before turn 1, and Level 40 Pegasus had the Unholy Advent Skill, which let him summon a Relinquished to the field after taking damage. The Tag Duel tournament gave Joey, Mai, and the Yugis similar skills which let them summon or replenish powerful monsters for no cost at all, on top of well-synergized decks.
      • Aster at level 30 has Destiny Hero cards, but is curved to be a fair fight. Aster at Level 40 runs three Destiny Draws and has Destiny End Dragoon, a monstrous fusion that can simply destroy a monster on the field and (if face up) burn you for the LP equal to the ATK of that monster. If you can't negate that fusion when it happens, you're as good as sunk. The reason why he's not consistently difficult is because the deck, just as it can be deadly, can also easily brick on him.
      • Level 40 Zane has his Cyber Dragons, which when combined via Power Bond can potentially Summon a monster with over 6000 ATK. Combined with Cyber Twin Dragon's ability to attack twice per battle or Cyber End's piercing ability, the ability to Special Summon Cyber Dragon from the hand, the Luminous Spark card, and spells to recycle his dragons, he can easily OTK you. He also packs Lightray Daedalus for Dark Paladin users, if you thought Dark Paladin's spell negation would help you.
    • Yami Yugi in the tag duels has an efficient spellcaster deck focused around getting out Dark Magician and blowing away enemies. Joey still seems to think cards like Baby Dragon are excellent attack power monsters that don't need protection and backup. Joey ends up being more of a hindrance in the tag duel tournament than the opponents, making the tournament challenging for all the wrong reasons. And then there is Kaiba, who comes up with strategies that would make Sun Tzu weep with misery such as "ram my 1200 ATK D.D. Warrior into my opponent's 2500 Dark Magician to get rid of it, other two monsters on the field be damned." with very poor protection (Enemy Controller can only do so much). The Master tournament also kicks you back to start when you lose as opposed to the other two tournaments, meaning you can lose if Kaiba decides to be like...well, like Kaiba.
    • Zane's Cyberdark Impact event introduces Underground Duels and Electrodes, where if you're hit three times you lose the duel regardless of remaining LP. His deck is loaded with monsters that can hit for 2400 without tributes, all of which can either go around your monsters, pierce them, or deal 300 LP damage as well as various negation and piercing tactics to drop either your LP or your electrode count to 0, and the Electrodes' effects don't apply to him.
    • The Vagabond frequently runs decks that have placed high within the duelist ranking board, a number of which are OTK decks that get around common defense cards. By itself this would be merely difficult, but these duels also impose restrictions on the player as well. If the restriction is particularly limiting, such as not being able to special summon or starting with one card, beating him boils down to luck. A patch made the Vagabond no longer apply restrictions, heavily dialing back the luck-based aspect of his Duels, although you're still at the mercy of the RNG as to whether he brings a top-tier deck that completely ruins you or a mid/low-tier deck that you can defeat with no real problems.
    • Subverted by the Dimensional Disaster events. While Aigami can summon high level monsters without tribute, has hundreds of thousands of Life Points, and after 10 turns ends the duel in a draw (though the damage you dealt remains after each duel), you can perform the same "Dimension Summons", and in the "EX" Dimension Duels, you gain access to a skill that allows you to boost your monsters' ATK by 5 times, in addition to the ATK multipliers on Dark Magician, Blue-Eyes, and Egyptian God Cards (3 on Dark Magician/Blue-Eyes, and 5 on Egyptian Gods).
  • Fanservice: Noticeably ramped up in the GX World as the female Duel Academy students have more revealing outfits and defeat poses compared to their Domino High counterparts in the original world. Asuka/Alexis's summoning and victory pose also draws attention to her large breasts. While not as focused as Alexis, Anna from ZEXAL world also has her pose visibly showing how her breasts are notably large for someone implied to be the same age as Tori.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • Yami Bakura's event mentioned that Yami Marik would eventually appear in Duel Links, which he did. Arkana's appearance was also build-up for Marik's appearance, as he worked for him as one of the Rare Hunters and occasionally mentioned him in his dialogue. If you defeated him seven times, Marik got fed up and mind-controlled him.
    • Yami Marik's first event hinted that he'd use the Winged Dragon of Ra when returning for another event, which he did. His second event ended with Marik finally freeing himself, foreshadowing his appearance later on.
    • A shadowed Yubel was seen in a preview after the one-year anniversary event, and appeared in a mid-September event.
    • Officer Trudge's entrance into Duel Links hinted at an investigation of the Dark Signers arriving in Duel Links, to be featured later on.
  • Friendship Moment: Bella's lost card in Bonz's party event turned out to be Shining Friendship, and Bonz returning it to her helped everyone convince him to keep dueling.
  • Graceful Loser: Zane proudly accepts his defeat against Jaden and Syrus and even admiting they've suprassed him, but if he defeats them he delivers a trash talk to hem.
  • Gameplay and Story Integration: Considering that VRAINS also uses the Speed Duel format, expect several cases where Skills from the anime are replicated in Duel Links.
    • Storm Access gives Playmaker and Varis a random Code Talker or Topologic Link Monster respectively when they reach 1000 Life Points or less. In addition, Storm Access automatically adds Decode Talker and Firewall Dragon to Playmaker's extra deck at the start of the duel as Storm Access is also Playmaker's starting skill.
    • Soulburner's Burning Draw still allows Soulburner to drop down to 100 Life Points, drawing a card for each 1000 points sacrificed, however Duel Links only enables it on Turn 5 onward, his Life Points must be at most 2300, and at least 10 cards in his Main Deck must be Salamangreats.
    • The Gore's Fighting Spirit of the Avenger is Duel Link's version of his Pain and Gain skill from the anime. The big difference is that it also works on his Dinowrestler monsters. He also retains Dinowrestle Revolution, though he has to send a Dinowrestler monster back to the deck to spawn World Dino Wrestling. As of right now, The Gore does not have Anti-Skill.
    • Blue Angel still has Trickstar Trick which works like in the Anime. However she also gets Trickstar Gig, which was used in her Blue Gal avatar. As of right now, she doesn't have Shape of the Sea, her Blue Maiden skill.
  • Gameplay and Story Segregation:
    • Espa Roba can supposedly see your hand, but it has no bearing on his play style.
    • In the Battle City Chronicles, since Yugi Muto isn't one of the default characters, you get more points for beating the second mind-controlled Joey with Yami Yugi even though Yugi takes over for that portion of the fight.
  • Guide Dang It!:
    • Rare Skills are hidden for each character, including exclusive hidden Skills such as Mai's Harpie's Hunting Ground or Weevil's Moth to the Flame. Before September 2018 introduced a Skill list, the only way to know if they existed was to win one from Legendary Duelists, as Standard Duelists don't drop them.
    • Several Legendary Duelists' unlock requirements are hidden, people wouldn't have discovered them had it not for dataminers, and the requirements are usually extremely obtuse. Bastion Misawa requires you to win 50 total duels with 3 or less cards left in your deck, Luna requires you to win 100 duels as Leo, Crow Hogan requires you to get 5000 points or above on the Sector Security NPC, and Scud has you banish 300 cards. Downplayed with Sylvio Sawatari, who is hidden like the others but is unlocked by amassing 500,000 total Duel Assessment points in the ARC-V world (which is easily achievable by just winning duels normally).
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Yami Marik at level 40 has The Winged Dragon of Ra: Sphere Mode, which he will use if you ever have three monsters out on your side of the field by tributing all of them, putting Sphere Mode Ra on your side of the field with the intention of special summoning The Winged Dragon of Ra on his next turn. If, however, you happen to have a Ra of your own in your deck, you can use Sphere Mode Ra to special summon it, with a whopping 4,000 ATK to boot, and turning Marik's entire power play on its head.
  • Hypercompetent Sidekick: Yugi in the Kuriboh Cup of June 2018's Tag Duel tournament is a lethally effective partner, rocking the Silent Swordsman cards, all three Magnet Warriors (including Valkyrion the Magna Warrior), and even powerful cards like Monster Reborn and Swords of Revealing Light. He could easily solo many of the opponents you're up against, even at level 40. This has more or less become a trend for Tag Duel tournaments, where characters you partner with will usually have strong decks and borderline overpowered exclusive skills, and can often pull off OTKs easily if left to their own devices.
  • In the Name of the Moon: In the Japanese version, after a Barian completes their Barialphose/Barian Battlemorph, they say their individual post-transformation speech from the scene in the anime where all Seven Barian Emperors transform. This is completely Lost in Translation, but some of their deck names contain parts of the original speech.
  • Inconsistent Coloring:
    • Continuing the trend of the Bakuras' eye colors constantly changing, Yami Bakura has blood-red eyes here when they were different colors in other mediums. Ishizu's eyes are also magenta when they were blue in the manga and anime. DM Téa's eyes are brown, whereas they were blue in the anime, and DSOD Téa does indeed have blue eyes.
    • Yubel's design was changed so the male half is grey instead of skin-colored, looking more like armor.
  • Inconsistent Dub: The English version has some examples, both relating to the use of the Dub Name Changes in Yu-Gi-Oh! 5Ds.
    • Events based on the latter half of 5Dís have varied on what they refer to Illiasterís grand design as; the Primo unlock event initially had the characters call it the Ark Cradle as it was in the original Japanese version, while subsequent events like the WRGP and Aporia event instead call it the Divine Temple, which was an English Dub Name Change. The Paradox unlock event goes back to calling it the Ark Cradle, which the Z-one event continues.
    • Shooting Star Dragonís attack is usually named Falling Star Slam when Yusei's in-game voice lines announce it as it is in the English dub. However, sometimes events that retell the story from the anime will have Yusei call out its original Japanese attack name, Stardust Mirage.
  • Insult to Rocks: If Joey faces Keith, his intro quote that he'd call Keith a dirty rat, but he doesn't want to insult the rats.
  • Irony: For a long time, the Speed Duels that Duel Links has were longer (turn count wise, anyway) than the physical card game.
  • Jack of All Trades: After the release of Burning Nova box, Gem-Knights got unbelievably versatile. You can continue to focus on a particular fusion, Gemini support, normal beatdown with Alexandrite and Crystal, use the Boss fusions repeatedly, Banish-Fusion style with Fusion Gate, or hybrid them into other decks like a thunder variant or a pyro variant.
  • Joke Character: Any character can use any deck, so there are no intentionally bad characters in that sense. However, Tristan, Bastion and Scud qualify in different ways:
    • Tristan is the most traditional joke character, with weak skills, drops and rewards. His dialogue emphasises his status as a beginner duelist.
      Tristan: Am I confident in my dueling? Not at all!
    • Although Bastion is a more competent duelist than Tristan, his Butt-Monkey status is still carried over to Duel Links. He uses the Standard Duelist theme instead of getting his own theme or sharing with other Legendary Duelists, and his unlock condition is one of the most difficult and tedious in the game, as if to deter you from unlocking him. Combine this with his skills and rewards spreading themselves too thinly across multiple archetypes and play styles, and he isn't really worth the effort of unlocking unless you specifically want every character.
    • Scud combines Tristan's joke factor with Bastion's difficult unlock conditions. In addition, he is a very minor character who never duels in his movie and has absolutely no cards associated with him, so he doesn't have much material for special dialogue (for reference, the closest thing he has to an ace card is Humpty Grumpty, a weak common monster that most players probably haven't even heard of). Even Tristan had a few cards associated with him in the anime, despite him hardly ever dueling.
  • Kick the Dog:
    • Even taking his manga self into account, what Mokuba says after beating Joey is really cruel.
      Mokuba: Hahahaha! Poor poor Joey! Born a loser, always a loser!
    • In his Ra event, Yami Marik mocks Odion over not being an Ishtar and says he can become a tombkeeper in his next life.
    • Chazz's Serious Chazz event has him mocking the Ojamas and taking them out of his deck in his quest for the top, making them sad.
  • Large Ham: Background character Zachary from the GX world shouts every other line, win or lose.
  • Last Chance Hit Point: The Skill Grit allows you to survive with 1 LP for the rest of the turn even if you would take a fatal hit(s). This occurs randomly, with the Skill having a higher chance of activating if a player's LP are full at the start of a turn (later changed to be guaranteed, but only activates if the player started the turn with 4000 or more LP and only once per Duel).
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall:
    • In his Dino Mayhem event, Rex laments that more people attribute Red-Eyes Black Dragon to Joey then him, forgetting that Rex originally owned the card. He also discusses the Dinosaurs Are Dragons issue when he notices that Two-Headed King Rex has wings, and notes that Two-Mouth Darkruler resembles a Dragon more than a Dinosaur (originally it was misprinted as a Dragon before being changed back).
    • The Superb Téa event had Joey complain about Téa's overuse of Spell cards instead of monsters, a complaint echoed by many players who suffered through Téa Burn decks. The use of Joey in the scene is also meant to be a funny nod to the one time Joey dueled Téa in the manga and anime, and lost after Téa used a Spell card on him.
    • Tori was criticized for sometimes doing nothing but say Yuma's name in ZEXAL episodes while not Dueling much at all. Duel Links has her defeat everyone around her in a snap...while yelling Yuma's name, which the characters note is strange, and it's revealed she upped her dueling game while being furious at Yuma for ditching her in the tutorial.
    • After years of fans begging for Ryou Bakura as a playable character, when he was finally included as his DSOD self, Joey complained that he was late.
  • Lethal Joke Item:
    • Massivemorph is a Trap card that doubles an opposing monster's ATK and DEF, but prevents them from attacking directly. The latter clause can prevent a powerful opposing monster from attacking for game if you have no monsters on the field. The other, more important reason is that Amazoness Swords Woman can redirect any Battle Damage to the opponent (and has 1500 ATK). In a format with only 4000 LP, and many decks running boss monsters with over 2000 ATK at its time of release, it only takes a bit of prior burn damage for her to finish an opponent off instantly. Massivemorph became so overused and was the subject of so many complaints about the card dragging duels out longer than they should be that it was later added to the Limited list.
    • Give and Take gives your opponent a monster from your Graveyard, and in return, increases one of your monsters' Level by that of the monster summoned to your opponent's field. While a terrible trade on paper, people started using it to give the opponent Ra's Disciple, a monster that prevents its controller from Special Summoning and cannot be Tributed except to summon an Egyptian God (which barely anyone actually plays, and even then it requires two more Tributes), shutting down a lot of the opponent's strategies. Even if they wanted to get rid of the Disciple by ramming it into a stronger monster, they'd still lose a whole turn doing that because Main Phase 2 does not exist in this game. Give and Take was put on Limited 1 as a result.
  • Let's Get Dangerous!: Occasionally duelists will decide to go all-out and having a Super Mode action pose and adjective added to their name. They usually have tougher decks than normal as well as story segments.
  • Lighter and Softer: Most of the storyline events are Slice of Life hi-jinks featuring the Yu-Gi-Oh! characters. Though this is not out of the ordinary in the GX and ZEXAL universes, they are a lot lighter in tone compared to the Duel Monsters manga and anime, showing what the characters are like when not Dueling with the fate of the world at stake.
  • Literal Split Personality: The plot of the ARC-V World is around this trope. The three additional personalities within Yuya and Yuzu/Zuzu mysteriously separate themselves one by one from the main personalities, with few added side effects like temporary memory loss (Yuto) or shared memories (Yugo). Yuto and Yugo are considered real and they both remember that they were fused with Yuya, while Yuya himself doesn't seem to suffer from negative side effects from the split. This also has started to happen with Bracelet Girls, starting with Celina leaving Zuzu's body. Although Zuzu notes that she can sense that a bit of Celina is still in her.
  • Limit Break: At the start of Yuma and Astral's turn, if Yuma and Astral have a ZEXAL skill equipped and they hit a Life Point threshold, they will transform into ZEXAL. Doing so unlocks an extra skill that can only be used with ZEXAL.
  • Meme Acknowledgement: The name of one of Tristan's skills, "Super Strength", is a reference to Yu-Gi-Oh! The Abridged Series.
  • Me's a Crowd: The April Fool's event featured multiple copies of Tristan appearing, who were all so weak the player defeated them just by interacting with them.
  • Metal Slime: The Vagabond appears infrequently and duels you using Ranked decks fielded by actual players. As such, he can be relatively difficult to defeat for the huge EXP bonus he gives, but losing to him still gives you a good amount.
  • Mirror Match: Online duels allow players to use the same character, leading to matches like Seto Kaiba versus himself. This can also happen in single-player on occasion when characters spawn outside the Gate to duel, or in events.
  • Money for Nothing: Gold is notoriously worthless, since it's only useful for trading with the Card Trader. Given the Trader's limited stock, the necessity of an additional resource in the form of stones, and the fact that many cards up for trade are worthless, it's not uncommon for players to go weeks or months without spending any gold.
  • Money Spider:
    • The Treasure Room in board game events is full of Millennium Coins and costs only one die to roll, giving you many chances at the card lottery.
    • Tour Guide from the Underworld appears as a possible opponent in Wave Duel events, and when she appears, the coin payout for that Duel is greatly increased. She also starts with only a copy of her card (which has a mere 1000 ATK) on the field, which is much weaker than the starting monster of most Legendary Duelists, and almost always passes her first turn. That being said, you'd better beat her in the free turn she gives you, since she also runs a full-power Burning Abyss deck and will stomp you into the ground if given the chance.
  • Massive Multiplayer Crossover: Similar to Yu-Gi-Oh! ARC-V Tag Force Special, and Yu-Gi-Oh! Legacy of the Duelist, it features characters from multiple Yu-Gi-Oh! series, adding one World for every anniversary.
  • Multi-Slot Character: There are quite a number of characters who have multiple versions of themselves with different animations, voicelines, decks, Skills, and rewards.
    • Yugi, Kaiba, Jonouchi/Joey, Mokuba, and Anzu/Téa all have variations based on their Duel Monsters appearances as well as their Dark Side of Dimensions appearance.
    • Judai/Jaden has his normal self and his Supreme King self as separate characters. Judai and Yubel are also playable both as separate characters and as their fused self from Season 4.
    • Carly and Kalin have their normal selves and their Dark Signer counterparts be playable. Their Dark Signer versions appeared first before their normal versions became playable.
    • As of this writing, Yuma and Astral are currently slotted as one unit, and unlike other characters, they have access to their first Fusion Dance form via skill, which can only appear once certain conditions during the duel are met. Their lack of voice lines for cards that they receive upon their separation in the anime and manga heavily implies that the two of them will eventually appear as separate units in the game.
      • Similarly, Playmaker and Ai are currently still together as one unit, but they are likely going to appear as separate units as well, since Ai has his own set of cards and a human form in the anime.
    • ARC-V World averts this with their Legacy characters. The Legacy characters that appeared in the anime were alternate selves from different continuities, but in Duel Links, the original versions of said Legacy characters have received voice lines for their alternate versions and therefore function as one combined unit of the multiple iterations of their characters without the need of adding other versions of them in ARC-V World. The characters from ARC-V acknowledge that original versions of the Legacy characters they know are different people.
  • Mundane Utility: The Egyptian God cards are more often used for farming than in serious duels, since they give you a huge point bonus just for being played and can all easily hit for over 3000 damage. Slifer can also hit 5000+ damage easily by hoarding cards, while Ra drops you down to 100 for an easy LP on the Brink bonus, and if played with Marik's exclusive skill, it can easily reach 5-digit ATK. Ditto for Armityle the Chaos Phantasm; even when the Sacred Beasts had their dedicated support released in a box and Yubel was given a skill to enable them, Armityle itself is largely only useful for farming due to the guaranteed 10,000 ATK since the other Sacred Beasts are more potent for ending games when used separately.
  • My Friends... and Zoidberg: When it comes to the Dragon Boys and the Bracelet Girls, everyone is eager to have them separate and meet again... except Yuri. When it comes to Yuri separating from Yuya, the discussion boils down to "don't know, don't care, he'll show up eventually".
  • Mythology Gag:
    • Yugi uses Toy Magician, which he only used in Yu-Gi-Oh! R. He lampshades the general unfamiliarity of the monster in dialogue.
    • Mokuba's Level 30 deck's inclusion of Battle Steer, Bio Plant and Griggle may be a reference to the monster requirements for Hamburger Recipe in Yu-Gi-Oh! Forbidden Memories, as well as the plant-themed decks he uses in other video games.
    • Tristan's dueling quotes for Shovel Crusher, Thunder Kid, and Thunder Dragon are a reference to when they were on his team in Yu-Gi-Oh!: Capsule Monsters, a 4Kids-produced spinoff to the main anime.
    • Yami Bakura also used a Dark Master Zorc deck, complete with brainwashed dice, in the Duel Terminal arcade machines.
    • The lower guitar line in the Tag Duel matches is similar to the one in Seto Kaiba's theme in Forbidden Memories.
    • Karate Man's dialogue references several of the card's abilities and weaknesses.
    • Carly's Fortune Fairies (not the Fortune Ladies) get an introduction such as the monster's lucky number or other text. All of that references the original vanilla texts of the Fortune Fairy monsters from the anime and Tag Force series before they were given effects in the TCG/OCG.
    • May's D.D. Castle event has the titular castle look exactly like The Supreme King's castle from Yu-Gi-Oh! GX. In addition, on the second tier and higher, you can fight a lot of his cronies such as Skilled Dark/White Magician, Chaos Sorcerer, and Skull Knight. You also fought Sky Scout on the lower floors as well.
    • Tori's voiced lines for monsters are for the Agent series of monsters. Tori did use them and Master Hyperion in the DS game Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Carnival; the only ZEXAL based Yu-Gi-Oh! video game. Both of these serve as a reference to her Seiyuu, Mikako Komatsu playing an Agent Deck in the actual card game.
    • Ryou Bakura's "Yugi, you truly are the best duelist!" line is recycled verbatim from Yu-Gi-Oh! Capsule Monster Coliseum, a game where he was also an opponent.
    • Kalin Kessler has voice lines for using Trishula, Dragon of the Ice Barrier despite using Infernities and most of his other lines being for Infernity cards. While this may seem like an oddball, Trishula was notoriously abused by Infernity decks in the real-life card game during the 5D's era.
  • Named by the Adaptation: Standard Duelists were given names in the English version, while in the Japanese version they were given descriptors, such as "Boy that enjoys dueling."
  • Near Victory Fanfare:
    • Jaden has a unique theme that plays if they're first to drop an opponent's life points to 1000 or below or summon an ace monster. It's more triumphant than the other 1000 LP themes, and it's also surprisingly long for a tune you're often only going to hear for a few seconds.
    • The DSOD characters have a special fanfare whenever they summoned their ace card and they are about to win.
    • The 5D's characters do this trope one better. Not only does every character have a fanfare (with Yusei getting a unique one), but they play any time they summon their ace or gain the upper hand. Also, while they are still often examples of Long Song, Short Scene, the regular 5D's version plays its climactic notes immediately so that it has more impact.
    • The ZEXAL characters do the same thing as the 5D's characters, Yuma and Astral also having a unique version.
    • The ARC-V cast, while they have a similar thing with the 5D's and ZEXAL characters, although Yuya does not have a unique version, they now have a unique one upon summoning that duelist's ace monster.
    • The same goes for the VRAINS characters, Playmaker and Ai have their own victory theme while the other have a different one.
    • SEVENS goes one step further, now EVERY character has a unique victory theme.
  • Nerf: Anything not detailed in the Game Breaker page will be explained here:
    • Yami Bakura's event used to have every duel start with Destiny Board of Doom, even Level 10, but this has been relegated to Level 40 and up, and he no longer rigs the coin flips to go first. His Level 40 deck was also nerfed a bit.
    • Some event decks were nerfed due to player's complaints. For example, Epic Yami Yugi was a lot harder to farm at first, and then he was nerfed to become less unfair.
    • The Vagabond formerly set various restrictions on the player when Dueling him, such as starting the player with a smaller hand, restricting the size of their field, or even preventing the player from Special Summoning or using monster effects (the latter two in particular tended to make Duels against him nearly unwinnable). The challenges were later reworked to be less severe, with many challenges benefitting the player only or both the player and the Vagabond, before the system was removed entirely.
  • Never My Fault: Keith blames Kaiba for rigging the rules against him when you defeat him for the first time.
  • Never Say "Die":
    • References to the Shadow Realm are common with Bakura, Marik, and Arkana, as are threats like "Do you want to be gone from this existence?Ē
    • Pegasus says he no longer exists in his world, which is basically avoiding the fact that he is saying that he is already dead.
  • Non Sequitur:
    • One of Aster Phoenix's quotes can be this. While Dueling he can proudly proclaim that "My Destiny Heroes are far superior to the Elemental Heroes!" even if neither player is using Elemental Heroes, or Destiny Heroes. It's especially funny if he himself is using Elemental Heroes (Which his Level 10 AI deck does.)
    • Arkana's taunt button quotes frequently mention Dark Magician and Dark Magician Girl, also leading to this when neither monster is present.
    • Jaden might have the king of all examples in the game with the taunt "The egg-wich is mine!" It's a reference to an early episode of GX that has absolutely nothing to do with anything in the game (so far).
  • Not Brainwashed: A running gag in the ZEXAL world is duelists appearing to be possessed by Number Cards when in reality they're just annoyed with Yuma to the point of having auras like when possessed.
  • Not Cheating Unless You Get Caught: The infamous November 2020 KC Cup had been revealed to have players using cheating software that allowed the user of the software to look at the opponent's hand, prevent the opponent from activating cards, etc; that was only found out when a couple of said cheaters chose to become pariahs to reveal to Konami and fellow players how they've been getting by the game. This was apparently so rampant that Konami had to take time to rewatch duels upon duels before announcing proper winners. However, this isn't the only mod to do so, with others that allowed players to enact forced disconnects, for example.
  • Not Completely Useless: Most Common and Rare cards found in booster packs are seldom useful, but several cards fall into this category. A few examples:
    • Possessed Dark Soul could steal any Level 3 or lower monster your opponent controlled. Because Level 4 is the most common level and lower-level monsters were generally too weak to be worth stealing, the card barely saw any play in the TCG and was also ignored when it first came out in Duel Links. However, it experienced a sudden surge in popularity near the end of the KC Cup because Relinquished, arguably the most powerful and popular monster at the time, was Level 1, and other meta decks had key Monsters that were Level 3.
    • Inaba White Rabbit is a weak 700 ATK monster which can attack your opponent directly and returns to the hand at the end of the turn it is summoned. While Noah used this card effectively in the anime most players saw it as a gimmick. However, it became a major pest in burn decks built around Weevil's Parasite Infestation skill because it can continually chip away at an opponent's Life Points over time, compounded with other burn cards and stalling cards. In addition, its drawback of returning to the hand became beneficial in this deck since that meant very few cards could kill it outright, and many players would be reluctant to waste their Spells/Traps on such a weak card. It also found usage due to Yami Marik's Right Back At You skill, which increases a monster's ATK by half of the Battle Damage received last turn by the last monster to inflict damage and further hastens the opponent's defeat.
    • Healing cards in general are primarily considered a waste of space for providing no direct field or card advantage. However, certain Skills rely on losing 2000 LP or more to activate powerful effects. Thus, cards like Supremacy Berry (heals 2000 LP) and Aegis of Gaia (heals 3000 LP) effectively allow a player to re-use their Skill whereas without them, they would only be able to activate the Skill once at most.
    • Several R or N cards for specific archetypes, could actually be their strongest cards. Perhaps one of the most famous example of this, is the R rarity Amazoness Onslaught.
    • Power of the Guardians is an N rarity Equip Spell card. It's also arguably the most useful Equip Spell card in the game, as the ability to prevent destruction by battle and effects is far more important in the Duel Links format.
    • Speaking of Guardians, the archetype is infamous for having arguably the worst, most unplayable monsters in the game. Miraculously, Guardian Grarl actually managed to see ladder use in the early days of Duel Links. This was because a 2500 ATK beater that could Special Summon itself with no other cards in hand was very rare in the early metagame where Special Summons were actually special again and monsters rarely reached that level of power, offering extra speed and power to the already dominant Dinosaur deck. It was still held back in consistency by requiring Gravity Axe - Grarl on the field, but even that went from being one of the worst Guardian equip cards to usable in Duel Links since preventing the opponent from switching battle positions was a fairly powerful effect in a position-reliant meta. It eventually became outclassed in its role by cards like Flash Assailant and Swift Gaia the Fierce Knight, but for a brief, shining moment of time, it finally broke the streak of Guardians being useless.
    • Similarly, Berserk Dragon,note  which is listed on the main game's Awesome but Impractical page, did see ladder use with Sacred Phoenix of Nephthys due to how easy it was to get out at the time and send to the Graveyard,note  providing a powerful 3500 ATK beatstick to close games quickly. It's not the most consistent option, but at least it was something ladder viable for fans of the card.
  • Not So Above It All: If you lose to Kaiba using Pegasus, he'll brag about how his victory was like a good comic book, despite how much he hates Pegasus's Toons. He also goes Large Ham when summoning Kaibaman.
    Kaiba: It's like looking in the mirror! Here comes Kaibaman!
  • "Not So Different" Remark: If Kaiba loses to Joey, the former will remark on how it feels to be the worst duelist in the world like the latter.
  • Not the Intended Use:
    • Blaze Accelerator is a Continuous Spell card that destroys an opponent's monster if fed a Pyro monster with 500 or less ATK, and is meant to work with Volcanic Shell, which replaces itself in your hand once per turn. Many Volcanic builds in Duel Links ignore Blaze Accelerator's effect entirely, instead using the Spell Card itself as fodder for powerful destruction cards that require you to sacrifice one of your own cards first, such as Parallel Twister, Eliminating the League, or Divine Wrath. This works because Volcanic Rocket can recycle it from the Graveyard as well as search it from the Deck.
    • A few Skills are like this due to the lack of restriction put into them, allowing them to be used in ways Konami didn't intend. The most famous example is the skill Cyber Style. Originally meant to ease players into Fusion Summoning Cyber End Dragon, the monsters provided by the skill ended up being abused as free tribute fodder instead, and had to be nerfed multiple times. Eventually, the final nerf Konami did, restricted the monsters from the skill to be usable for summoning Cyber End Dragon only, you can't even use them for attacks, since now they'll hit the field with 0 ATK, and most significantly, the monsters summoned were changed from Proto-Cyber Dragons given for free to regular Cyber Dragons from your hand or deck, meaning you need to get three Cyber Dragons (which, by the way, is a box UR) to use the skill efficiently. Other examples include the skills that allow you to consistently draw certain types of cards (or in Yami Yugi's case, any case in your deck with Destiny Draw) after losing a certain amount of LP. This was intended as a Comeback Mechanic, but ended up abused to make certain decks ridiculously consistent. Destiny Draw was used with LP gain cards to repeatedly abuse the skill in stall or burn decks (fixed by making it once per duel), and Sorcery Conduit was used with Cosmic Cyclone to instantly lose 1000 LP for a guaranteed draw of the notorious Aleister, the Invoker (fixed by increasing the LP requirement to 1500 LP). Nowadays, skills with particularly extravagant effects tend to have fairly strict deckbuilding conditions or drawbacks attached to force them to be used in a certain way.
    • The release of Mekk-Knights saw a surge in play for characters like Pegasus, Alexis, and Dr. Crowler for having Skills that place cards on the field for free with no restrictions at the start of the Duel. Because Mekk-Knights have the ability to Special Summon themselves from the hand into columns with 2+ cards in them, Mekk-Knight players would use the Skills to set up a column for summoning Mekk-Knight monsters, completely ignoring what the cards placed by those Skills actually were. Similarly, Tea's Surprise Present skill (intended to give your opponent a detrimental Set card and see if they're dumb enough to use it) also became used for setting up Mekk-Knight summons by giving your opponent Assault Mode Activate (a Trap that's easily searchable, but impossible for most decks to activate; the Skill was nerfed to only be usable from turn 3 onward because of this).
  • Obviously Evil: Bandit Keith's intro has him planning to steal Duel Links' data and sell it to the highest bidder.
  • Only Known by Their Nickname: Because VRAINS World actually takes place in Link VRAINS, the duelists are using their avatars. Because of this the characters will be referred to by their avatar names even if other characters will call them by their real name.
  • Pet the Dog:
    • After telling Mokuba to get his own cards if he wants to duel, Seto gives him access to a powerful dragon-themed deck and even lets him use his Blue-Eyes.
    • Of all characters, Yami Marik has several moments where he's kind to Arkana, complimenting his skills during his Ra event and offering to make him second-in-command if you duel him as Arkana. If you win, he praises his skills and hopes he continues to serve him faithfully.
    • In his special conversation with Yubel, Dr. Crowler outright tells her that while he may not like Jaden, he will defend him from her.
  • Phony Psychic: Zig-zagged with Espa Roba. He enters the game vowing not to cheat... then realizes he can see people's hands somehow, causing him to think he really is psychic and gloat about it.
  • Power Creep: Inevitable, but almost every time new cards are released, older cards fall by the wayside.
    • Axe Raider was an Ultra Rare card in the first box and one of the strongest low level normal monsters at the game release with 1700 ATK, which was only matched by the Rare Random Drop Super Rare card Battle Ox. And then the 1750 ATK Jerry Beans Man was released... as an SR. Followed by the 1800 ATK Dunames Dark Witch (a UR in her own box), then the 1850 ATK Blazing Inpachi (also UR in its own box). All of the above were supplanted one by one, as 1900 ATK vanillas as simple Rare cards became commonplace (Alien Shocktrooper, Luster Dragon...) and monsters with 1800 ATK and effects on top of that became Normal rarity cards. Also, 2000 ATK vanillas such as Megalosmasher X and Gene-Warped Warwolf are SR, but as time goes, Mystery Shell Dragon is released as an R, and then Leotron is released as a N. Now there's absolutely no reason to search for Axe Raider aside from completion.
    • Dunames Dark Witch in particular, is an extreme example of this. In the year 2017 she's a UR rarity cover card in her own box, but her retrained form that comes with an effect, Power Angel Valkyria, is a mere N rarity card in a year 2019 box.
  • Pragmatic Adaptation:
    • Used in Set Sail for the Kingdom because of the RPG mechanics in Duelist Kingdom. For instance, in the cutscene after the duel with Mako, Yami Yugi switches his Giant Soldier Of Stone to Attack Mode, allowing him to activate Attack the Moon! and destroy Mako's Umi and then finish off Mako by attack directly with Curse of Dragon.
    • Rather than porting Rush Duel as is into the game, the decision was made to modify a few elements to hasten duels in order to maintain the "speed" aspect of the mobile game. This includes trimming the required Deck size to 30-40 cards and reducing starting LP to 6000 (which is still reasonably high enough for burn damage to not get nerfed).
  • Pre-Mortem One-Liner: Each character has lines that go off when they would deplete an opponent's Life Points with a monster's attack, with Yami Bakura's "You're teetering on the edge of the Shadow Realm" and Yami Marik's "Scatter into ashes!" being notable as actual death threats. Subverted with one of DSOD Kaiba's lines. "With this, you lose!" sounds like it would be an example, but it goes off whenever he initiates a direct attack, regardless of whether it would be lethal.
  • Previous Player-Character Cameo: The Vagabond is the protagonist of the Tag Force series of games, and is implied to be the hero in other Yu-Gi-Oh! games.
  • Puzzle Boss: Level 60 Sera starts with an 8800 ATK Duza on the field, so the player has to somehow remove it from the field before turning attention to her other cards.
  • Readings Are Off the Scale: Normal Duelists go up to level 40 while Event Duelists can go up to Level 60, but Raid Duelists can go as high as 2000.
    • Played straight in the Dimensional Disaster events. The Cubic Monsters have levels from 100-1000 in increments of 100. Corrupted Aigami goes even further beyond by having a level from 2000 to 2300.
  • Recap Episode: Duelist Chronicles/Duelist Road events allow the player to experience a portion of the anime by playing a board game (the specifics differ between the two) and playing Duels relevant to that portion.
  • Rule of Three: Playmaker has a number of taunt lines piecing together one of his trademark "three reasons" lists. Varis, who taught him the habit, has one as well.
    Playmaker: There are three reasons why I must win this Duel. One: I can sense your strong desire to win this Duel. Two: You want both of us to enjoy this Duel. Three: Therefore, it'd be an honor to win a Duel like this!
    Varis: Allow me to give you three reasons why you will not survive! One: I hold the advantage in LP, monsters, and cards. Two: My desire to win is greater than yours. And three: I'm just a better Duelist than you.
  • Running Gag:
    • Since Kaiba made the game in-universe, characters tend to blame him when things go wrong for them.
    • Sometimes, whenever a new character appears, the protagonist of their series gets blamed for not telling them about Duel Links.
    • Other characters noticing Mokuba's (DSOD) new suit and haircut.
    • Yuma attacking with his 0 attack monsters and Astral protesting in vain.
      Astral: Wait, Yuma! Ganbara Knight's Attack Points are-
      Yuma: You worry too much! Go Ganbara Knight!
    • People appearing to be possessed by Numbers when they're actually just pissed at Yuma.
    • In his debut event, there is a gag of Girag performing a Sherlock Scan on anyone he meets for the first time, only for the others to notice and start questioning him. He then starts lying that he's definitely not suspicious or that he's a fan. The latter completely backfires when he says it to Quatro.
    • ARC-V characters first showing up in the wrong world and immediately starting figh- sorry, duels.
    • Everyone in ARC-V referencing or interrogating Yuto on his relationship status with Lulu, and him trying to deny it.
    • Continuing from the show, Yugo confusing all of Rin's counterparts with Rin. Rin is not in the game.
  • Russian Reversal: Mokuba's dialogue when attacking with Hungry Burger is like this.
    Mokuba: Isn't it weird when food eats YOU instead of the other way around?
  • School Uniforms are the New Black: Not counting the Yugis and some of the GX and ARC-V characters, as they all almost never wear different outfits, the DM World versions of Joey, Téa and Tristan notably wear their school uniforms despite having a wide variety of outfits to choose from. Meanwhile (Yami) Bakura, Duke and Kaiba wear their iconic outfits instead of school uniforms.
  • Science Marches On: In-universe, Rex's Dino Mayhem event has him note that latest studies show that dinosaurs used to have feathers, so he can look past wings on Dinosaur-type cards.
  • Sharing a Body:
    • Since the Yugis share a body, even if you duel one as the other, you don't get pre-duel or post-duel dialogue. However, this element changed once DSOD world was added, which brings with it the implication that DM world is simply a virtual recreation made by Kaiba. Likewise, you don't get the pre- and post-duel dialogue for dueling Yubel as Jaden/Yubel or vice versa.
    • The plot of ARC-V World is trying to invert this trope, as each of the boys inside Yuya are getting separated from his body one by one. This has also started to happen with the girls inside Zuzu. Shared memories are brought up within the "Full Speed Ahead! The Turbo Duelist Yugo!" event, where the characters discuss about having shared memories with their counterparts while being fused with them. Zuzu notes that even after Celina's separation, Zuzu senses that there's still a bit of Celina inside her.
  • Ship Tease:
    • Pegasus's event teases Téa/Yugi and Téa/Yami Yugi by having him refer to her as Yugi's girlfriend.
    • Joey/Rex is teased in the Duelist Challenges event, as they bond over finally having something in common, dueling by instinct and not book smarts. What really adds to it is that the sprites used for the interaction are the blushing sprites.
    • Joey/Mai, almost to Official Couple levels. Several of their normal duel dialogues are flirtatious, and the Set Sail for the Kingdom event seemed to go out of its way to include all of their Ship Tease from the manga and anime and add in a Luminescent Blush or two as well.
    • Weevil seems interested in Rex as more than a rival, making a suggestive comment at him when winning against him and shoving Joey aside during the Duelist Challenges event to talk to Rex just as the two become friendly.
    • Yami Bakura and Marik/Yami Marik were famous for having conversations full of innuendo, particularly in the anime, but Duel Links took it even further when they complimented each other's toughness and Bakura talked about them being connected by fate. In the second event, when they talk about the Winged Dragon of Ra it's even more suggestive. Their partnership in the Tag Tournament also has them enjoying causing pain together.
      Yami Marik: I brought [Ra] because I want you to experience ultimate pain. I hope you enjoy the suffering as much as I enjoy delivering it.
      Yami Bakura: ...Your Egyptian God is mighty. But Duelists here already know what it can do.
      Yami Marik: Who cares if they do? All cards are powerless against my Egyptian God!
      Yami Bakura: Ooooh. Then I better be careful not to get hit! Hahahahahaha!
    • Yusei/Akiza got teased right out the gate with their first conversation. Akiza had Anger Born of Worry at Yusei just disappearing without saying something, with Yusei apologizing for it. After their first duel Akiza asks if she can stay in Duel Links, with Yusei saying she doesn't need his permission for that and Akiza thanking Yusei with a blush. Akiza also has a line when she summons Stardust Dragon and says she feels at ease with Yusei's strength helping her.
    • Jack/Carly gets quite a bit of this, with the Dark Signer Carly event recreating many of their major moments from 5D's. Once Carly actually arrives, however, Jack harshly dismisses her and tells her to leave, though it's implied he is simply doing this to protect her from the dangerous events happening in Duel Links, which Crow later confirms. During Primo's unlock event, when he threatens to use Carly as bait to draw in Yusei after she mentions being friends with him, she tries to backtrack by saying she isn't special enough to hook Yusei, but concedes he would probably draw in Jack.
    • Yuya/Zuzu also right out of the gate, in fact the first thing Yuya does upon reaching Duel Links is figure out where Zuzu is. Once they find her, he duels her to get her out of her perceived slump and starts arguing with Yuya about the fact that he assumed she was sad. Gong then insists that they stop bickering like an old married couple, something Zuzu immediately objects to. Sora's unlock event threw more fuel on the fire with Sora outright asking how their date is coming along, prompting a deep blush from Zuzu.
      • To add onto that fire, Yuto/Lulu tends to get teased a lot by other characters, and Lulu's not even here yet. Same goes for Yugo/Rin but that's because Yugo will not stop talking about her and continues his running gag of thinking her counterparts are Rin.
    • Playmaker/Blue Angel is teased a bit during Blue Angel's debut event. Playmaker proves more than willing to go along with her little stage show after she went through the effort of making it in order to locate him, and one exchange in the English translation has Ai sarcastically remark that the two are perfect for each-other.
  • Shout-Out: The D.D. Castle Siege event has the Tour Guide reference the Mario series when she finds out Vampire Hunter went to the wrong castle.
  • Signature Mon: The game classifies Signature Monsters by giving them summoning animations if they're summoned by the corresponding duelist. Some other iconic monsters also get summoning animations, such as the Three Egyptian Gods or the Sacred Beasts or Black Luster Soldier. Raid events tend to give Signature Monsters (which means any monster with a summon animation) a huge damage bonus, as long as they're played by their respective duelists. The vast majority of Legendary Duelists have access to skills that allow them to summon their Signature Monsters or their evolutions with easier. It's possible for multiple duelists to share the same Signature Monsters, but not every character has a Signature Monsternote . Those are Ishizu, Tristan, Blair, Carly, Scud and Bakura (DSOD). However, in Blair's and Carly's cases, Maiden in Love and Fortune Fairy Hikari count as their Signature Monsters, respectively, when it comes to unlocking a monster-themed playmat and card sleeves, and while Solomon Muto's assigned Signature Monster is Blue-Eyes White Dragon, his associated sleeves and playmat depict The Legendary Exodia Incarnate.
  • Simple, yet Awesome: Yami Yugi is one of the first Duelists you can unlock (possibly even the first), but he's still one of the most popular due to his Destiny Draw skill. It's not quite as extravagant or deck-defining as some other skills, but being able to draw any card you want once per Duel after losing a chunk of LP is a great Comeback Mechanic for basically any deck in the game.
  • Slasher Smile:
    • The Vagabond does this as part of his idle animation on the Duelist Chronicles maps.
    • Yubel, Primo, and Aporia do this as part of their portrait expressions.
  • SNK Boss:
    • Level 50 Yami Marik starts with Ra in Sphere Mode and can summon the Battle Mode on his first turn for a One-Turn Kill, and his other cards include Michizure, Mask of the Accursed, Dark Jeroid, and Viser Des to destroy or weaken your monsters/LP. The only saving grace is that you can fight him indefinitely until you win.
    • The Vagabond, in older versions, would have certain challenges in play that can significantly handicap the player, ranging from preventing the player from Special Summoning to only being able to use a single Monster Zone to starting the Duel with cards already in play. While harsher restrictions also gave more experience, they could just as easily make the Duel borderline unwinnable depending on his deck. Later downplayed by making the challenges less punishing and adding ones that are symmetrical, and eventually the system was removed entirely.
  • Something We Forgot:
    • If Arkana's unlocking speech is any indication, which starts with him glassy-eyed and silent, Marik forgot about him completely and never released him from mind control/the Shadow Realm until after the tournament was over and/or the Items were scattered.
    • Yusei and his team completely forgot about Paradox until he showed up and started wreaking havoc.
    • According to a conversation with Bronk, both he and Tori were this to Yuma. Yuma forgot the former in the real world and forgot Tori in the tutorial area when he first showed up.
  • So What Do We Do Now?: Lumis and Umbra's backstory. In their unlocking cutscene, they get a message from Marik that relieves them of duty, allowing them to do whatever they please... except the two of them have no idea what to do next, so they decide to just stick to what they know best: joining Duel Links to mug people for their rare cards.
  • Spared by the Adaptation:
    • While he was killed in the manga and banished in the anime, never returning in either continuity, Bonz seems to have survived his ordeal and is back in the world of Duel Links.
    • Subtly done with Arkana. In the manga, Marik stirred up his worst memories so that he would be Driven to Suicide upon waking up, and in the anime he broke down mentally after realizing Marik lied about reuniting him with his lost love Catherine. In Duel Links Arkana feels a non-specific sadness in his heart and decides to cover up his depression and join Duel Links.
    • Any character that was killed/sent to the stars/sent to the Shadow Realm has a chance to be here and several have actually become playable, like Scud and Bonz, giving a possible implication they've been brought back to life.
    • Antinomy survives his Heroic Sacrifice from the 5D's anime. Justified in that his brain scans were uploaded into Duel Links, and he acknowledges that his existence depends on them not being deleted.
    • Pegasus's fate in this game is confirmed to be his manga incarnation's, meaning Yami Bakura ended up killing him when he ripped Pegasus's Millennium Eye out, instead of him surviving as in the anime. Due to Duel Links being primarily a world of memories that connects different timelines and universes, however, he is able to exist again in some form.
  • Stealth Sequel: The various story arcs added over the years, when put together, reveal that the events of this game are a sequel to both the manga and anime continuities of the original series, as well as the various spin-offs that came afterward with references to the anime continuity. The VRAINS story arc in particular is explicitly confirmed to directly take place after the end of the series, elaborating on the very last scene shown there.
  • Story Arc: It's implied that the different Yu-Gi-Oh! series represented in Duel Links takes place some time after a certain arc in their reality. In addition, each series has an ongoing story usually seeing old rivals and villains come back and re-enacting their plans in the world of Duel Links.
    • Duel Monsters: The Duel Monster world is based on the Battle City arc of the manga, though it's implied to take place before Yugi and Atem's final duel due to his presence. Kaiba had created Duel Links to be an hub for strong duelists which has ramifications with the future series that would inevitably inhabit the system. It's also a test for his AI systems as he has virtual copies of various villains throughout the series, mainly Yami Marik and Yami Bakura. However something odd happens, after the Paradox event, Yugi mentions that they never met Yusei and Jaden before as the Yugis here are based on the manga and they are receiving memories from their anime selves. Also impling that those copies of various characters that can't exist might be more real than previously assumed. Solomon Muto's arrival serves as a sort of prelude to the Ceremonial Duel arc, as well as one to Dark Side of Dimensions through his interactions with the rest of the cast.
    • Dark Side of Dimensions: This is where Duel Links is implied to take place in for the Duel Monsters cast. Duel Links was primarily used to help Kaiba bring back Atem. And just like in the movie, the Plana is attempting to stop him and destroy Duel Links.
    • GX: The GX world is based in Duel Academy, but this world is a little wonky with their timeline as it appears to take place in real time with the story as Jaden would soon become Jaden/Yubel as the game went on. As it is right now, it appears GX world is now set in a time somewhere within Season 4 of the anime, either around the beginning when everyone are around and not whispered by Trueman yet, or after the final Duel against Darkness but before graduation day. The only thing that does not fit is Zane who is still active in his "Hell Kaiser" persona, but other than that, everything points to Season 4. There is also a subplot taking place in the D.D. Castle Wave Duel events. At first this just seems like a castle just forming throughout all of the worlds to challenge the duelists of Duel Links, but later we find out the true cause of the D.D. Castles—the return of Supreme King Jaden.
    • 5D's: The 5D's world takes place after the construction of the Daedalus Bridge, the background of the hub world, and after the WRGP, but seems to occur before the cast went their separate ways at the end of the series. 5D's is where this kind of storytelling would begin. It starts with the Trudge event where he is sent to Duel Links to investigate it, only to find evidence heralding the return of the Dark Signers with Kalin, Carly, and Goodwin appearing in their Dark Signer forms for their respective Raid Duel events. Soon Kalin and Carly would be introduced in their normal forms though their Dark Signer forms would still be around to duel them. Afterwards, Antinomy would show up even though he was believed to be dead—his memories would somehow be reinstated in Duel Links, but not without Iliaster showing up, first with Primo's Raid Duel event, then with Aporia's, and next with Paradox re-enacting his plan from Bonds Beyond Time which, of course, involve the GX and DM era characters, and finally Z-one's.
    • ZEXAL: The ZEXAL world is implied to take place after the Barian war, considering what Trey and Quattro had said at the end of Rioís event. Like the series, the plot is based around retrieving the Numbers Cards, which Yuma and Astral somehow lost. While they are hunting the Numbers Cards, something else is happening in the background as Trey mentions Kaibacorp, a name that has never been dropped in the series, as well as the existence of copies of Numbers Cards floating around, the possibility of multiple dimensions, and the returning threat of the Barians. Curiously, the characters apart from Trey and Quattro do not appear to remember the Barian War as Girag's appearance during his event has everybody treating him like a stranger.
    • ARC-V: The ARC-V world takes place in the Standard Dimension and is heavily implied to take place post season. This is due to the cast preparing for the return of Z-ARC whom they had defeated. The big sign at the time of this at the time of writing is that the four pieces of Z-ARC are splitting starting with Yuto. However, there is more to this than just Z-ARC as Duel Links might be crossing over the different Yu-Gi-Oh! series rather than simply the ARC-V dimensions as the ARC-V cast recognizes Alexis, Aster, Jack, Crow, and Kite, but not the other way around. However, with the implications of the Bonds Beyond Time event, that might not be the case if any event in ARC-V would involve them. As stated above these characters would receive memories of their ARC-V version.
    • VRAINS: The VRAINS world takes place after the end of the series. It, surprisingly, starts out with Soulburner discovering Duel Links, making his way through the stages until he comes across The Gore. Both of them eventually run into Playmaker, who's such a strong duelist already that he's already gotten ahead of them. Playmaker explains that he encountered Duel Links after journeying further into Link VRAINS and upon entering it, was surprised to find out that he had a "New" incarnation of Ai in his Duel Disk again. This "new" Ai remembers everything that the original one did, including the events of Season 3 where he gained a human form and became the main antagonist, ultimately losing in a climactic duel with Playmaker and dying as a result. Playmaker now intends to investigate exactly what Duel Links is. He also surmises that Varis will soon discover this world and, seeing that the Ignis have potential to resurrect, will likely try to recreate the Tower of Hanoi to try an exterminate them. Following Blue Angel's arrival, it is revealed to the others what Playmaker had suspected, SOL Tech didn't make Duel Links and they are trying to find out who did in the real world. Varis' event then revealed that, similarly to the Pharaoh and many of the other villains, Ai is nothing more than a reconstruction made based on memories.
    • SEVENS: SEVENS World takes place before its finale, evidenced by Yuga still being around and not in the time period of Yu-Gi-Oh! GO RUSH!!, which he got sent to during the finale. Due to SEVENS being less story heavy as its previous seasons, it starts out rather mundane, though Yuga finds it interesting that Duel Links has Rush Duels installed from the get go.
  • Suddenly Voiced: After almost 6 years of not speaking at all, in the 2022 Wave Scramble event, the Tour Guide from the Underworld was given voiced lines.
  • Superboss: Event duelists can be found at Level 50 or above after fulfilling certain requirements, with tendencies to use very strong traps and monsters and sometimes exclusive skills.
  • Super Mode:
    • Yuma and Astral can combine into ZEXAL when they drop to 2000 LP while using a ZEXAL skill. Doing so unlocks a new functionality for their skill (often their only functionality).
    • Later, the Barians have been given their Barian Battlemorphs one by one, a skill that requires their Over-One Hundred Number on the field to be activated, which allows them to transform into their Barian forms. However, unlike with ZEXAL who has summoning animations for all of Yuma & Astral's Signature Monsters, the Barian forms lack summoning animations for any monster so far.
  • Super Move Portrait Attack: When a character uses their iconic or ace cards (as assigned by the game), a cut-in will be displayed, either of the character's eyes or of them in their Victory Pose. Also often accompanied by a one-liner specific to that character using that card. Cut-ins are also shown when characters use their skills.
  • A Taste of Power: Starting from the release of 5D's World, Ace Monsters will no longer be included in a duelist's starting deck and must either be pulled from a box, acquired through leveling up, or gained through an event or ticket. That being said, upon unlocking new characters, their starting skill now adds that character's Ace Monster to their deck. Depending on said Ace Monster, additional cards may be added to your deck to help summon their Ace Monster; for example, Yusei's Mark of the Dragon - Head will add 2 Junk Synchrons to the Main Deck while adding Stardust Dragon, Shooting Star Dragon, and Formula Synchron to the Extra Deck. Some of these skills may also come with additional effects to make it easier to summon. Yuma and Astral's Warrior of Hope: Number 39 adds Number 39: Utopia to the Extra Deck and will send him back from the graveyard if you have 2000 or less Life Points.
    • Please note that these kinds of skills are usually not meant to be competitively viable as the skill is specifically designed to summon the Ace Monster. This is especially true with Synchro versions of the skill since they will add 2 of that charcter's signature Tuner Monster, potentially bloating your deck. Once you actually have the card(s) in possession, other skills can be used to better synergize with that monster's intended strategy.
    • During a Character Event, they will typically have that character's deck at full power to be used against Event Characters. These are obviously designed to get a feel for the cards they typically use as well as give the player an idea of what cards they need for the deck.
    • The premise behind Loaner Deck Duels, it allows you to get a feel for how a prominant archtype from the most recent box handles.
  • Taunt Button: Clicking your character's head mid-duel will bring up a list of unique quotes to taunt your opponent with.
    Joey: You're like the 21st person I've ever met who's makin' me break a sweat.
    Odion: Just when I think you couldn't play any worse, you prove me wrong.
    Kaiba: That's nothing special. I have 36 copies of that card!
  • Teeth-Clenched Teamwork: A common sight in Tag Duel Tournament is teams which are anywhere from unfriendly to outright antagonistic with each other.
    Bandit Keith: You wouldn't know a strategy if it walked up to you and said "Hey, I'm a strategy"!
    Joey: You're one to talk! You know how many good moves you made? Negative six!
  • Temporary Online Content: Several events stopped happening once the respective characters were moved to the Gate. Downplayed as while the events stopped occurring, the card rewards are usually obtainable by just dueling the associated characters, although any cosmetics associated with the events are most likely no longer available.
  • This Looks Like a Job for Aquaman: Several otherwise useless cards find use in high score decks or in completing missions.
    • Mooyan Curry, which heals a pitiful 200 LP for either player. However, it is useful to make your opponent's Life Points higher than yours, before you make a comeback and win on your next turn, which is required for the Comeback Victory bonus.
    • Gravekeeper's Vassal, whose unique ability to inflict his Battle Damage as Effect Damage makes him valued for completing missions that require you to inflict a high amount of Effect Damage. When used in conjunction with Union Attack, they make another example of this trope since Vassal is the only monster in the game that can bypass Union Attack's "No Battle Damage" restriction, so along with two monsters over 2300 attack, Vassal can net you half of the maximum drop prizes by himself by inflicting over 9999 ATK of Effect Damage, which gives both a 3000 Point bonus for the high damage and 1000 Points if you only dealt Effect Damage.
    • Piranha Army sees a lot of use in high-score farm decks due to the battle damage it inflicts being doubled if it attacks directly, meaning it only needs to gain 4200 ATK to deal the maximum possible damage, something achievable by bringing out a powerful Fusion Monster and using Gift of the Martyr to send it to the Graveyard while also giving its ATK to Piranha Army.
    • In what perhaps is the most amusing "farming deck" example, the effect version of The Winged Dragon of Ra is viewed as complete trash in the real life card game, but it, of all things, becomes the ace of farming decks in Duel Links, with decks such as Cloudian and Aromage easily building up field presence and LP for Ra to deal the final blow. This would normally be impossible in real life due to human logic and constantly updating meta, but against in-game NPCs, there is practically no issue at all. Bonus points for Marik also getting a skill that restores Ra's ability to gain the ATK/DEF of its Tributes, letting him easily bring it out with over 10000 ATK for huge bonus points.
    • Mystical Beast of Serket is Awesome, but Impractical in regular Duels, but only requires one Tribute to bring out and can unleash a Blue-Eyes Ultimate Dragon or Master of Oz, both with over 4000 ATK and ready to be sacrificed to give Vassal or Piranha Army terrifying power.
    • Card of Sanctity, which requires you to banish your entire field and hand (and you need at least 1 card in your hand) just to draw two cards, is considered one of the worst cards ever printed due to its hefty drawback. However, in Duel Links, it finds use in Burn Decks focused on depleting your opponent's Life Points as fast as possible, since such decks usually have no field presence and it allows a player to trade a card to get to their LP damage cards faster. It also works by the OCG rulings, meaning you only need one card in hand or field to activate itnote .
    • The Unhappy Girl enables several different farming strategies due to its effect locking down monsters it battles with and being unable to be destroyed by battle when in Attack Position. Combined with constant LP regeneration or Téa's Holy Guard skill that prevents any battle damage on her turn, this allows the player to stall while they burn through their Deck or get the cards they need for a combo.
    • Montage Dragon is another card that's Awesome, but Impractical normally (while it can easily hit five-digit ATK, it's also a huge removal target for everything under the sun and requires a massive discard cost), but an all-star for farming decks in tandem with Yubel. Because Yubel's forms are all high-level monsters that often don't care about being in the Graveyard, thus making them ideal Montage Dragon fodder, and Terror Incarnate can be used to stall Duels until you get your combo pieces ready, you can easily drop a huge Montage Dragon and then give it to the opponent so you can attack it with Ultimate Nightmare for massive effect damage.
    • Megamorphnote  and Imprudent Intrusionnote  both see little to no play in regular Duels since they require the opponent to be at a higher Life Point total than you to be meaningful (Imprudent Intrusion in particular is never seen because it requires your opponent to have significantly more LP to not be a brick). This makes them both excellent cards for Raid Duels, where the boss has tens or even hundreds of thousands of Life Points, allowing you to slap Megamorph onto a key monster and then attack for massive damage and use Imprudent Intrusion to either destroy any problematic monster or revive any one of yours. Both of these cards are, ironically yet fittingly enough, dropped by Paradox, who made his playable debut as a Raid Boss.
  • Throw the Dog a Bone: Tristan was initially unmentioned to the point where Duel Chronicles: Set Sail for the Kingdom cut out his scenes entirely. The 2018 April Fool's event revealed that Tristan wasn't allowed to access Duel Links because he wasn't a Legendary Duelist, not even to cheer on his friends. However, since then he earned the right to be a Legendary Duelist.
  • Timed Mission:
    • Yami Bakura's event, starting at level 40, has him start with Destiny Board active and Dark Necrofear in his Graveyard to sustain it. If he goes first, you must defeat him or get rid of Dark Necrofear within four turns.
    • In the Dark Signer events against Rex Goodwin and Carly Carmine, both come with a hefty amount of LP and the 'Destiny Decided' skill, which will automatically end the duel on their 5th Draw Phase (giving the player five turns to take them down before the Duel ends as the event character always goes first). The player is encouraged to put together a deck that will hit hard and fast. They can be rematched, and the damage carries over between duels, but the rematches cost resources. This has since become a recurring event template referred to as "Raid Duels", intending to emulate the concept of a "raid boss" in many MMORPG games (given that other players can help you with their own "Assist Duels").
  • Title Scream: Starting up the game will have a randomly-selected character say "Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Links!" Some characters have slightly different lines, though.
  • Token Evil Teammate: In addition to heroes and main characters, various antagonists also show up as playable characters:
    • The original world includes Pegasus, Weevil, Rex, Bandit Keith, the Paradox Brothers, Lumis and Umbra, Arkana, Yami Bakura, and Yami Marik.
    • GX introduces Sartorius, Yubel, Zane (in his "Hell Kaiser" persona), and the Supreme King.
    • 5D's has Dark Signers Kalin, Carly, and Rex Goodwin as well as the Emperors of Iliaster.
    • ZEXAL has Girag.
    • VRAINS includes Varis as a playable character and a Knight of Hanoi as an NPC.
  • Took a Level in Kindness: Rex Raptor in the Dino Rampage event becomes less antagonistic and is simply portrayed as an excitable dinosaur fanboy. He even decides he'll let Joey have Red-Eyes as his signature card (and even before then, he bonded with Joey over being unable to solve the Duel Challenges). Notably, since the game primarily follows manga canon, it seems to ignore his Adaptational Villainy in the Doma arc, in which he was vengeful for losing Red-Eyes to Joey.
  • Tournament Arc:
    • February 2017 had the KC Cup event, which had Ranked Duelists participating for prizes.
    • June 2017 added the World Championship Qualifiers, colloquially known by the playerbase as "the second KC Cup tournament".
  • Training from Hell: Quinton's raid event "A Cosmic Class Number - Dyson Sphere" is about Quinton becoming a mentor for various ZEXAL characters. Yuma and especially Bronk and Tori are subjected to a very harsh training that could end up harmful for the latter two. Quinton even accepts the consequence of Bronk and Tori getting potentially crippled now rather than letting them crippled or worse in the upcoming battle against the Barians, but he also tells them if they can survive his training, they will become true duelists.
  • Translator Buddy: Tour Guide from the Underworld can speak to Duel Spirits and translates Gladiator Beast Andal's growls.
  • Trash Talk: The game's fully-voiced, and characters who are antagonistic to one another will deal this out in spades.
  • Truer to the Text: While downplayed to an extent, the English translation of Duel Links takes a lot more elements from the Japanese version that were left out or altered in the English dubs of the shows. Examples include Yubel's characterization being much more faithful to the original, as it restores their sympathetic backstory, sadomasochistic tendencies, and original design and characters having some summon chants and lines closer to their Japanese ones.
  • Unexpected Gameplay Change: The Duelist Chronicles events are board games where you roll dice to move across spaces and duel, collect coins for lottery prizes, and travel across themed maps. Monster World is similar, using tiled maps and dice battles as well as pre-made decks.
  • Uniqueness Decay: Cards of which only one to very copies existed in the canon stories are now accessible to every player in Duel Links. This is discussed between Solomon Muto and Seto Kaiba during the "Grandpa Arrives! Solomon Muto" event, as there were originally only four copies of Blue-Eyes White Dragon, which later became only three after Kaiba tore Solomon's copy apart. In Duel Links, Solomon has now access to Blue-Eyes White Dragon again and so does every other player. Solomon thinks it's because of Kaiba's kindness, but Kaiba says that the reason why he made Blue-Eyes widely accessible is to prove that he's the supreme user of Blue-Eyes and the only one who mastered it. This is true, as Kaiba has the best skills for Blue-Eyes decks, whereas almost every other Legendary Duelist has no skills for Blue-Eyes specifically, and Solomon's skill "My Treasure, 'Blue-Eyes White Dragon'!" locks him out of an Extra Deck and it is only usable if he has only a single copy of Blue-Eyes in his deck. Logically, Legendary Duelists have access to skills that make it much easier to play certain decks that are heavily associated with them, and (most) other characters can't replicate said skills.
  • Unknown Rival: Standard Duelists Andrew and Zachary act like typical shonen rivals, but are background characters and completely unknown to the main cast.
  • Unsportsmanlike Gloating: Bandit Keith and Seto Kaiba will really gloat if they win a match, especially against Joey.
    Keith: I win! I wish you could see the loser look on your loser face, loser!
    Kaiba: You're a third-rate duelist with a fourth-rate deck!
    • Special mention goes to Ai, who busts out the gloating before the opponent's LP even hit zero:
      Ai: Oooh, is this one of those free wins?
  • Unusable Enemy Equipment: NPC Duelists have access to cards that are completely unavailable to players, though they'll always fit well in the character in question's Deck. This also applies to your partner in Tag Duel Tournament, which can lead to them becoming a Hypercompetent Sidekick. However, as the game went on, some exclusive cards (such as Mai's Amazoness Village) became available for players.
  • Video Game Cruelty Potential: Generally, any duelist that engages in the above-mentioned Trash Talk can satisfy this.
    • Kaiba is the primary source of this potential, since nearly all of his lines (aside from in situations of desperation or defeat) are either denigrating insults towards the opponent's skills, bragging about his superiority, or both. It's particularly nasty against certain Duelists who did nothing to deserve such humiliation, most of all Bella, a little girl with self-confidence issues, or Yugi Muto, who becomes depressed and questions himself if he loses. This even extends to his victory quotes against Mokuba, his own brother.
    • Yami Marik's entry into the game introduces even more cruelty potential, particularly if he wins against Mai or Joey.
    • Bonz dueling Yami Bakura again is an exercise in this trope, especially if Bakura wins. Bonz is terrified the whole time and begs him for mercy when he loses.
    • Playing as Supreme King Jaden against pretty much any of the GX cast brings up some bad memories for them, considering what Jaden ended up doing in that form. One of the cruelest is Jaden himself, who ends up completely speechless if the Supreme King defeats him.
    • Z-one has some of the most harsh and brutal win qutoes in the game, and he can say these to everyone.
    Z-one: "You learned a harsh truth today: that miracles. Don't. Exist.
    Z-one: "You now know as I do, that there is no such thing as hope."
  • Video Game Delegation Penalty:
    • The game gives a single-click to auto-build a deck. However, some of it's decisions are suboptimal, picking a weaker creature rather than a stronger one (within the same summoning level), and thus requires the player to review the deck to ensure that there's no oddities. Note that there may be reasons to include weaker creatures in a deck, but those tend to be special cases rather than general ones.
    • There is an Auto-Duel function to have the game play a duel for you, but the auto-duel AI is both highly limited and also coded to not use skills. Don't be surprised to see it blunder games that you could've easily won if you played them yourself. As a result, using Auto-Duel pretty much requires you to build something particularly brainless to give the AI as little room for error as possible.
  • The Voiceless:
    • The Vagabond generally communicates in ellipses, his only lines being "Excellent dueling" and a generic friend invite message. He is also one of a few characters with no voice-acted dialogue.
    • Several non-playable, event-only Legendary Duelists, such as Vetrix, Dr. Faker, and Corrupted Aigami, have written dialogue but no voice acting.
  • Wham Episode: The September-October 2017 update schedule introduced several new gameplay modes and DM characters, but most importantly, a Yu-Gi-Oh! GX world with new characters, story, and missions. Similarly, September 24, 2018 introduced a Yu-Gi-Oh! 5Ds world. Since then however, people realize ZEXAL and other future seasons must be coming too.
  • Wham Line:
    • Up until Ishizu you could assume most of the characters are just logging in as themselves, but her introduction throws the whole game into question.
      Ishizu: I did not think I would ever stand on the battlefield again. This is most unexpected, Kaiba. And why do I have this Millennium Necklace? I gave it to Yugi during Battle City... Can it be that this world has recreated my abilities that I had during Battle City? If this world is a recreation... Does that mean Marik is here as well? Kaiba, must I relive the horrors I faced back then?
    • If you used either Ishizu or Odion to battle in the Yami Bakura event it triggered explicit confirmation that Yami Marik had returned. However, as possible consolation, the fact that Yami Bakura is an AI makes it possible this Yami Marik is also secretly just an AI.
    • Syrus's introduction to the game confirms the Tour Guide is an AI, not a Duel Spirit like many thought.
    • Yami Bakura's Monster World event ended with the revelation that his real goal with the games was to trick players into playtesting for the Ultimate Shadow RPG, a key component of the final manga and anime arc.
    • Dueling Yubel as Syrus reveals that from his perspective, Jaden's duel with her at the end of Season 3 already happened. Yubel is completely confused by what he's saying, implying she's just an AI version of the real Yubel, like Yami Bakura.
    • The end of Trudge's event reveals that the disturbance he was investigating was the apparent appearance of the Dark Signers.
    • When Sartorius was confirmed for Duel Links, his lines were all datamined, revealing names for additional Arcana Force monsters such as Hierophant, Tower, and the Sun, which currently don't exist in the OCG or TCG, or even the anime. This led to speculation of additional Arcana Force support to complete the tarot-themed archetype.
    • In a "blink (or rather, tap too fast) and you miss it" moment, a short, unrepeatable dialogue from Yusei at the start of Dark Signer Kalin Kessler's event has Yusei confused why Kalin becomes a Dark Signer AGAIN. The end of Dark Signer Rex Goodwin's event revealed that the Dark Signers are indeed not the real one, and notably, not an AI either, and merely "echoes of the past", as Goodwin puts it.
    • The end of Antinomy's unlock event has two: Antinomy (as Bruno) survives his Heroic Sacrifice from the anime (as his brain scans were uploaded into Duel Links), and directly confirming that Aporia and Z-ONE will eventually appear in Duel Links as well.
    • The end of the D.D. Castle: Assault event.
    Axel Brodie: I'm getting closer to my target. I'm coming for you, Jaden. Or should I say... The Supreme King! (Cut to shadowy portrait of Jaden wearing the Supreme King's armor)
    • The end of the D.D. Castle Wave event revealed that this particular Supreme King is a different entity altogether than Jaden, as Jaden/Yubel is involved in the event as himself, NOT as Supreme King. Whether it's an AI or "echoes of the past", remains to be seen.
    • Trey's event gives a pretty massive one for the franchise as a whole, confirming the long-standing theory that the events of ZEXAL take place in an alternate reality to the events of the first three series.
    Trey: And have you ever heard of this company called "Kaibacorp?"
    • During the first ARC-V event, Declan states that Duel Links isn't connecting their own multi-dimensional worlds (Fusion, Synchro, Xyz and Pendulum), but rather the different Yu-Gi-Oh! universes (Duel Monsters and Dark Side of Dimensions by proxy, GX, 5D's, ZEXAL, and ARC-V).
    • Rio's unlock event foreshadows the appearance of yet another possible threat. Furthermore, a remark made by one of the brainwashed Duelists near the end of the event ("You're just like your brother - annoying and scary.") sounds a lot like something Vector might say...
    Oliver: I serve... I serve Barian World!
    • Paradox's Raid Duel event drops a big one through his interaction with Pegasus. Not only does Pegasus confirm that he is another character similar to Yami Bakura, Yami Marik, and several others from the various worlds who know that they are not supposed to exist within the current time frame, but he also confirms the long-held theory that both the manga and anime timelines of DM are canon branches of a multiverse. This opens up all-new possibilities for Duel Links, and also raises many more questions.
    Pegasus: I want to make one thing clear. Even if I'm gone, Duel Monsters will continue to exist.
    Paradox: What?
    Pegasus: If it's not me, someone else will create Duel Monsters.
    Paradox: What nonsense are you spewing? How do you know that?
    Pegasus: I know because I know. Because "I" am not from your past.
    Paradox: What do you mean?
    Pegasus: History has split into various paths.
    Paradox: Various paths...Parallel worlds...Are you speaking of a multiverse?
    Pegasus: In the history of my world...I already no longer exist.
    Paradox: Wha-!?
    Pegasus: That's right. I'm gone. But Duel Monsters is still thriving. And evolving.
    Paradox: But...you do exist! You're standing right there!
    Pegasus: Because this world unites different threads. Different worlds. Different histories. Even tragic ones...Like with Cecelia...
    Paradox: This is impossible...
    Pegasus: How can you erase me from existence when I no longer exist?
    • The end of Paradox's Raid Duel event drops another big bombshell that adds a lot more context as to why certain duelists have lines with specific cards that they never used in certain continuities: Duel Links is giving them memories from those alternate realities. Furthermore, several of the characters are slowly coming to realize that they may not be who they believe themselves to be, as Yami Yugi has begun to feel as though "something" is giving orders from behind the scenes and manipulating people into doing its bidding, guiding them towards an unknown goal, and neither Yami Yugi nor Yugi Mutou believes it is Seto Kaiba's doing (even though he is the creator of Duel Links).
    • Girag's unlock event comes with a few shocking surprises. First, Ray "Vector" Shadows is back. Second, no one seems to remember anything about what happened during the events of ZEXAL II. Or at the very least they have vague recollections, such as Yuma recognizing Ray but not as Vector. Astral seems oddly indifferent towards Ray and doesn't recognize Girag at all other than noting he seems "sinister". Even Shark and Rio, who are Barian Emperors themselves, don't appear to have their memories and thus don't recognize Girag either. Alito's event follows suit, with events playing out almost exactly as they did in ZEXAL II.
    • Sure enough, Varis arrives in Duel Links with a bang as he's fully aware of everything that's gone on since the VRAINS world launch, including the fact that Ai is alive and that SOL is investigating Duel Links. However, he's aware of something the others haven't been clued in on yet - that the world is fueled by people's memories and can peer into their minds to shape the world as it sees fit. And, of course, he's not happy with Ai still being alive, determined once again to kill him and erase the potential threat of the Ignis once and for all. After being talked and dueled down by Playmaker, Soulburner, The Gore, and Blue Angel, Varis relents, but departs with a warning that if Ai was revived by this strange new world, the other Ignis will surely appear, including the hostile Lightning and Windy, questioning if Playmaker will be ready when that time comes.
    • After Z-one's event plays out, he and all the other Iliaster Emperors seemingly vanish. However it's then revealed that somewhere else in Duel Links, all four of them are still alive. Z-one, Aporia, Antinomy, and Paradox all opt to use their newfound chance at life to watch the future Team 5D's creates, with Antinomy choosing to return to them as Bruno to help guide them. In the event something cataclysmic comes to pass, they all agree to appear again and try to intervene. In the end, Team 5D's truly succeeded in showing them the error of their methods, and restored their hope.
  • What Are Records?: Mimi namedrops the PTA, VC Rs, and video tapes, completely confusing Gavin Sogetsu.
  • You Can See Me?: Astral is surprised that he's visible to people in Duel Links, as evidenced by their Tag Duel Tournament Dialogue.
  • Your Princess Is in Another Castle!: The Different Dimension towers appear to end at floors 30 and 40, but while the D.D. Guide congratulates you it says that you have yet to reach the true top of the tower.

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