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Yu-Gi-Oh! Master Duel is a free-to-play Card Battle Game in the Yu-Gi-Oh! series developed by Konami and released for PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, Nintendo Switch, and PC via Steam on January 19, 2022, with iOS and Android versions released on January 26, 2022. Cross-save is done through a Konami ID while cross-play is available for all platforms.

Similar to previous Yu-Gi-Oh! video games, the game serves as an official simulator for the "Master Duel" Yu-Gi-Oh! format, which is the main gameplay format used by the Yu-Gi-Oh! Official Card Game and Trading Card Game. Unlike the other games, which typically take place in the world of the anime series and feature duels with anime characters, Master Duel focuses more on the card game and aims to target fans of the OCG and TCG. Players can collect over 10,000 unique cards, create decks, and then duel each other online in ranked and casual formats, or battle against the AI in Solo Mode and learn about the stories behind the cards.

For storylines featured in Solo Mode, see the metaplots page for the franchise, as well as the Duel Terminal and World Legacy pages.


Yu-Gi-Oh! Master Duel contains examples of:

  • Adaptational Badass:
    • The game's ranked ladder abides by a "best of 1" format, rather than a "best of 3" commonly used in the physical game. This allows certain decks to shine in Master Duel that would otherwise get stuffed by a format that allows sidedecking, such as "Eldlich" and "Numeron".
    • The release order of new cards is somewhat different compared to real life, so archetypes that were Overshadowed by Awesome can find their time in the limelight here (should they get an early debut) before stronger archetypes would push them out.
  • Adapted Out: Similar to previous video games, although Master Duel is extremely similar to the OCG/TCG, a tiny pool of cards are excluded from appearing in the game. This includes cards with special effects such as "Convulsion of Nature" (a Spell Card that makes both players play with their decks turned upside-down), cards with artworks drawn by Kazuki Takahashi such as "Magi Magi Magician Gal" and "Blue-Eyes Alternative Ultimate Dragon", the card "Pole Position" (infamous for being a rulings nightmare), and "Elemental HERO Air Neos" (for unexplained reasons).
  • Adaptational Wimp:
    • The fact that there's no sidedecking makes some cards that are otherwise side deck staples significantly worse. This includes cards like "Red Reboot", a card infamous for essentially locking Trap-based decks out of playing the game and also doubles as a handtrap by paying half of your LP. In physical formats it is extremely powerful since it can always be run in the side deck where you won't have to run it until you need it, but in Master Duel it becomes much brickier when you don't know what you're playing against until your opponent actually starts playing cards.
    • Due to differing banlist decisions as a result of the game's unique environment, some cards that were banned in the physical card game wind up falling out of relevance on their own terms without being banned due to the banning of other cards. For example, "Predaplant Verte Anaconda" and "Spright Elf", both individually powerful Link-2 Link Monsters that were banned in the OCG and TCG, stayed legal and were deemed acceptable for the game after the best cards that could abuse them, "Destiny HERO - Celestial" and "Tearlaments Merrli" respectively, were banned in their place.
  • All There in the Manual: The goal of Solo Mode is to avert this, adapting and translating card lore previously released in Japan-only guidebooks to an interactive format so players don't have to go online and look for translations to read about the cards.
  • Anti-Frustration Features:
    • To help mitigate the issues inherent in having a card pool of over 10,000 cards in a gacha game, multiple layers of helpful mechanics are in place to assist players in building the decks they want.
      • The game features an extremely generous card crafting system. Cards from Gem-paid booster packs that you don't want can be dismantled into Craft Points, at a rate of 10 points per basic card, 15 per Glossy Finish card, and 30 per Royal Finish card. Craft Points can also be earned as mission rewards and Duel Pass rewards. 30 Craft Points of a given rarity can be used to generate any single card of that rarity that isn't a Structure Deck-exclusive card or certain Forbidden cards. Combined with the fairly generous UR acquisition rate, it's possible to craft everything you want for a deck within hours of starting the game if you know what you're looking for.
      • Acquiring a SR or UR card from a specific archetype will unlock its associated Secret Pack for 24 hours. Secret Packs are archetype-themed booster packs where half the cards dispensed are guaranteed to be restricted to a specific card pool. This is essentially the best way to target one specific archetype of cards and get most of the cards you're looking for since the Master Pack has far too large of a card pool to be efficient. Unlocking Secret Packs by crafting cards can also be done infinitely as long as you have the SR/UR Craft Points for it, and the first time you unlock an archetype's Secret Pack via crafting, you get one free pack.
      • If a card gets added to the Forbidden/Limited List, players can dismantle any extra copies of that card for an additional 20 Craft Points per copy within a month after the banlist update. For example, if a card goes from being Unlimited to Limited (meaning only 1 copy per deck), you can dismantle up to 2 copies of that card for an additional +20 Craft Points per copy in addition to the standard dismantle value of that card's rarity. Cards that become Forbidden are also removed from the associated packs to spare players the disappointment of getting an unusable card.
      • There are eight Bundles available for purchase, which can be bought once per account for 750 Gems each and not only give 10 Master Packs at a 25% discount, but also give one free copy of an UR card that is a powerful staple card: "Ash Blossom and Joyous Spring", "Solemn Judgment", "Lightning Storm", "Infinite Impermanence", "Forbidden Droplet", "Nibiru, the Primal Being", "Triple Tactics Talent", and "Effect Veiler".
      • Unlike Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Links, Structure Decks can be purchased multiple times without real money, up to thrice per account. Structure Decks also contain cards that aren't available in the generic card pool as well as plenty of archetype-specific URs and SRs that would be otherwise difficult to obtain.
      • To encourage players to buy newly added or updated Secret Packs, the pack(s) become temporarily available in the shop without needing to unlock them like other Secret Packs.
    • The Gold Duel Pass refunds the Gem cost paid to enable it as part of its reward track, essentially making it free if you play enough.
    • During the first Ranked Duels season (January 2022), you could win enough times in a row in a tier and you would automatically skip to Rank 5 of the next tier. This was helpful for veteran players who already knew what they were doing and wanted to duel players who were more on their skill level, although it was possible to skip tiers due to sheer luck. This feature was removed after February 2022.
    • Both Ranked and Duelist Cup have "checkpoints" where you cannot demote regardless of how many losses you take, giving you some breathing room so you don't have to completely worry about losing streaks. In Ranked, these thresholds exist at Platinum V, Diamond V, Master V, and Master I, while in Duelist Cup, the thresholds exist at D Lv. 15, D Lv. 17, and D Lv. 20. In addition, in Duelist Cup, you cannot demote at all until reaching D Lv. 15, guaranteeing that you will still receive the bulk of the rewards as long as you play enough.
    • Festivals give the player three options for Loaner Decks if they want to play the event without dedicating materials to building a deck they don't already have. Loaners generally pick from popular or recently added archetypes to demonstrate their effectiveness.
    • "Infinite Impermanence" has a lingering effect if activated while Set on the field that negates all Spells and Traps activated in the same column as it for the rest of the turn. The May 2022 update added an animation to "Infinite Impermanence", which shows the column being negated if the card is activated while set on the field, and the July 2023 update would later update this animation to permanently light up the affected column until the end of the turn in which "Infinite Impermanence" was activated.
    • The May 2022 update added an additional tutorial Solo Gate covering aspects of the game rules that are typically glossed over in standard tutorial routines and have been a regular problem for newer players, such as Battle Phase sub-phases, the Damage Step, alternate win conditions, "Nomi" monsters note , Pendulum Summoning from the Extra Deck, and Linked/Co-Linked monsters.
    • The November 8th, 2022 update included a massive quality-of-life update for the game's UI. This includes highlighting relevant effects that are being activated (useful amidst a long paragraph of text on cards), adding the ability to open a "Related Cards" tab in the middle of a match to show relevant cards, highlighting which effect is resolving during Chain resolution, and highlighting which optional effects can be activated when a card can do so.
    • Any Mission that states that it must be completed in Ranked Duel can also be done in an Event Duel, allowing you to knock out two birds with one stone without being forced to choose between the two modes or play both.
    • The Festival rewards system operates off a Medal system where you always get something regardless of whether you win or lose. Because the events lack a ladder format, there is minimal penalty to surrendering, so players are free to scoop if they get a matchup they don't like without worrying about being penalized.
    • The May 8th, 2023 update included a quality-of-life UI update that now marks cards that have used their effects on that turn in their infobox, making it easier to keep track of effects during hectic matches. Some cards also have checkmarks added to their effect descriptions if that specific effect has been activated that turn. The same update allows players to expend Legacy Pack tickets in multiples of ten (up to 100 at once), to the benefit of those who have been accumulating them and want to clear their stockpile.
    • The July 14th, 2023 update added an infobox to the UI that displays the total ATK of all Attack Position monsters on each side of the field when a monster is Summoned or when the Info button is held down, cutting down time needed to calculate how much damage a player has on their field before going to Battle Phase.
    • The World Championship Series 2024 qualification circuit increased the number of available opportunities for players to win invitations to the Finals, compared to the previous year where there was exactly one weekend available to win an invite. In addition to the World Championship Qualifiers event like the previous year, anyone who tops a Duelist Cup Stage 2 wins an invite as a Team Leader; additionally, participating in any Duelist Cup Stage 2 or World Championship Qualifiers rewards Season Points for your account, and if a team of 3 players has the highest combined total of Season Points, that team wins an invite. Also, any team that wins a World Championship Finals automatically qualifies for the next World Championship Finals.
    • Among other changes, the November 6th, 2023 update added an incredibly extensive customization menu for the activation toggle button that allows players to tweak it to their liking rather than only having ON, OFF, and AUTO settings. It also changed the animation for when multiple cards are sent to the Graveyard or banished such that each individual card is fanned out horizontally five cards at a time, making it easier to distinguish at a glance what exactly got sent without having to immediately check the log.
  • Anti Poop-Socking: You can earn Gems from post-Ranked Duel rewards, though they appear somewhat infrequently and come in small increments; you're more likely to see Legacy Pack tickets or random Normal monsters as a post-Duel reward. You can only earn a maximum of 100 Gems per day this way. This cap also serves as an anti-bot measure, preventing autoclickers from hitting ranked 24/7 and filling the ladder with uninteractive FTK decks, time-stalling bots and other scummy tactics.
  • Anti-Trolling Features: Master Duel limits the number of chain links and infinite loops you can achieve, in order to prevent a player from holding their opponent hostage through the usage of such combos. The max number of chain links you can achieve is sixteen (at this point, the chain will self-terminate), while infinite loops without an actual effect on gamestate and achievable without the player's input (hence, not counting down the timer) will either self-terminate at ten loops, or lead to a loss by "connection failed".
  • Anti-Rage Quitting:
    • If you surrender a duel, you don't get any rewards. That in itself is usually never an issue, as the loser of a duel usually never gets the 1000 points needed to get any post-duel rewards. However, you also don't get any progress on the Duel Pass, the daily missions, or points for an event's reward ladder if you surrender.
    • Disconnecting during the coin flip screen will automatically count as a loss.
  • Arbitrary Mission Restriction: The Event Duels, which focus on specific cards (such as "Xyz Festival"), have special banlists separate from the main one to encourage playing along with the theme of the event. Zigzagged, however, in the sense that it doesn't stop you from creating and using a deck completely unrelated to the theme of the event in case the banlist doesn't restrict it, like the use of True Dracos and/or Monarchs (neither of which uses the Extra Deck in any way or form) during Extra Deck-themed Festivals.
    • Xyz Festival, Synchro Festival, Fusion Festival, and Link Regulation only allow the respective card type in the Extra Deck. Later events include combination themes like the Synchro x Xyz Festival, which allows both Synchro and Xyz Monsters.
    • N/R Festival bans all Super Rare and Ultra Rare cards.
    • Limit 1 Festival only allows 1 copy of every card in your deck to be played, not unlike the popular fan-created "Highlander format".
    • Extra Zero Festival prevents any cards from being in the Extra Deck at all (Main Deck Pendulum Monsters are still legal, however).
    • Anti-Spell Festival bans all Spell Cards (Pendulum Monsters are still legal).
    • Duel Trial features a variety of rulesets based on the specific event.
      • Rental Competition only allows players to use the provided Loaner Decks; custom Decks are banned.
      • Double Decks requires the player to enter two decks, one for going first and one for going second. You will automatically use the appropriate deck for the duel on turn order declaration.
      • Build-a-Deck allows players to build a custom deck with the caveat that a certain quantity of the deck will be pre-filled by a selection of Loaner Cards that cannot be removed.
      • Trading Card Game Regulations uses a modified version of the Yu-Gi-Oh! Trading Card Game banlist in place of the standard Master Duel banlist, with the exception of banned Master Duel cards that cannot be crafted.
    • Extreme Trials are an extension of the above Duel Trials that places more harsh restrictions on play, forcing players to get creative.
      • Extreme Trial 1 reduces the turn timer to a mere 30 seconds.
      • Extreme Trial 2 reduces the starting Life Points to 2024.
    • Some events are based on a specific theme rather than focusing on one specific type of card, such as Theme Chronicle, which is themed on Solo Mode, and Legacy Chronicle, which is based on the six Yu-Gi-Oh! anime series. In these cases the banlist will attempt to hit enough non-thematic archetypes and generic staples to bring down the power level to an appropriate standard for the format.
    • "Attribute 4" permits only FIRE/WATER/EARTH/WIND monsters to be used. (Spells and Traps that can Summon themselves as LIGHT/DARK monsters or effects that Summon LIGHT/DARK Tokens are still permitted.)
    • The Yu-Gi-Oh! World Championship Finals real world event has unique rules compared to normal in-game events. For starters, it must be played as a Team Duel, with qualifying players bringing two chosen duelists along with them to the venue to participate. Furthermore, each player can bring two decks (one deck per player minimum) to the event, making up to six decks to a team, and each player has the choice of using either of their two decks at the start of each duel. Each team also shares a single card pool, with up to three copies of a single card allowed across all six decks (or 2/1 in the event of Semi-Limited/Limited cards). To alleviate some deckbuilding concerns, each team can designate up to three Shared Cards of their choice, which are allowed at 3 copies in every deck (or 2/1 in the event of Semi-Limited/Limited cards).
    • Monster Type Festival restricts the players to a select few Types to build their Deck around.
    • Ritual Festival bans most Extra Deck cards except for specific and generic Ritual archetype support, as well as "Maxx 'C'" and various cards from non-Ritual archetypes that do not require the Extra Deck.
    • Versus Events split players into one of two teams, with each team having a team-specific banlist and matchmaking prioritizing opponents on the opposing team.
    • Averted in the Duelist Cup and World Championship Series Qualifier events, which are no-frills competitive events that use the same lists as standard Ranked Duel but with their own ladders, similar to the Kaiba Cup in Duel Links.
  • Artificial Stupidity: The AI in solo content is particularly bad in this regard. While it performs decently in most cases in solo content, it seems to not take in account unique mechanics of certain cards, particularly quick effects.
    • The "Karakuri" AI has "True King of All Calamities" in its Extra Deck, but even if it opens the cards for a simple Synchro climb into it ("Ninishi" + "Gama Oil" for example), it will instead be content to leave 2 "Karakuri" in play if it's their first turn.
    • The AI will prioritize removing the highest attack monster on your field whenever possible, even with a bigger threat of lower attack on the board. Monsters like "Heavymetalfoes Electrumite" and "Zoodiac Drident", that have extremely potent effects, but are on the squishier side, can end up surviving a barrage of enemy attacks and/or disruption and enable you to easily mount a comeback.
    • Retained from previous games, the AI will fumble the activation of traps in the Battle Phase if you use monsters that prevent the activation of effects when they attack, such as the "Ancient Gear" monsters. The "Gladiator Beast" AI is particularly bad with this. Most of its decks have traps that don't neccesarily have to be activated in response to an attack - just be in the Battle Phase -, but will happily let you pile on damage until it's too late.
    • The "Gem-Knight" AI will sometimes target its own cards for the effect of "Gem-Knight Prismaura" when there's a valid target on your own field. It will also waste cards summoning "Phantom Quartz" even if it has already used the effects of another copy on the same turn, reducing its damage output and sometimes saving you from a possible OTK.
    • The "Orcust" AI will repeatedly summon "Orcustrion" and "Longirsu, the Orcust Orchestrator" despite not having enough banished Machine monsters to fuel their effects, consistently fumble the activation timing of effects enabled thanks to "Orcustrated Babel", and then use their high attack, high rated Link monsters to summon "Barricadeborg Blocker" to no benefit. The "Cyberdark/Orcust" AI will also use the effect of "Cyberdark Chimera" to add "Power Bond" to its hand without gathering enough targets in graveyard to play the card the same turn, which means it will sit uselessly on their hand for the rest of the duel.
    • The AI will often move from Battle Phase, to Main Phase 2, to End Phase without doing anything during Main Phase 2. This wouldn't really be an example, except that it will often do so despite having cards in-hand that would give it an advantage on the next turn if played. This can be seen when playing cards that allow the player to see the opponent's hand.
  • Ascended Extra: Solo gates give focus to mostly forgotten and powercrept archetypes that would otherwise never see the light of day in Ranked duels, familiarizing players with their mechanics and lore in an attempt to make them into fans of said archetypes, and get them to spend gems on their secret packs.
  • Ascended Meme: The Proficiency Test will ask you for details about various cards, several of which include extremely popular and widely known cards such as "Maxx 'C'", "Ash Blossom & Joyous Spring", and "Nibiru the Primal Being". One of the possible cards is "Morinphen", an allusion to its status as a Joke Character in the Japanese OCG playerbase for having a very awkward properties and statline that make it virtually unplayable.
  • Attract Mode: Starting from the 1st Anniversary update, leaving the game idle on the title screen for a while will cause the game to show cutscenes from Solo Mode.
  • Audible Sharpness: A monster being summoned or switched to Attack Position will be signified by a crossing swords symbol accompanied by a distinct "shing!" sound effect. Inversely, a monster being summoned in or switched to face-up Defense Position will be accompanied by a shield symbol and a "kathunk!" sound effect.
  • Bad Luck Mitigation Mechanic:
    • If you bulk buy 10 packs and didn't get a single UR, you'll be guaranteed at least one the next time you purchase a bundle of 10 of the same pack.
    • Cards you don't want can be recycled into Craft Points equivalent to that card's rarity, 30 of which can be exchanged for any single card of your choice from that Craft Point rarity. This means that even if you do not pull well, you can eventually cobble together the resources needed to complete a deck if you pull enough cards.
  • Beehive Barrier: A blue shield of this type appears whenever a monster attack fails to either destroy the opposing monster or, if it was a direct attack, inflict damage to the opponent.
  • Better to Die than Be Killed: The "concede" button works like this, working as either an option to save time for the duelists involved, or denying the opponent a chance to go for the killing blow. You won't get any rewards or progress from the duel, however.
  • "Blind Idiot" Translation:
    • The game tutorials and Solo Mode deck descriptions are written in a strange syntax that, while still coherent, doesn't sound natural.
    • Things got egregious in the final SP Gate duel that initially translated "Dark Magician" into "Dark spellian".note 
    • If you try to purchase a Legacy Pack without any tickets:
      "You need Legacy Pack ticket more 1 to make this purchase."
  • Bowdlerize: In true Konami fashion, the Master Duel/Duel Links artwork of Power Pro Lady Sisters is censored in non-Japanese versions by removing Aoi's cleavage line and giving Hijiri a black undershirt.
  • Bribing Your Way to Victory: Notoriously averted, particularly for a gacha game made by Konami. The only advantage a rich player gets over other players is achieving a bigger collection in less time. Loaner decks in events, the crafting/dismantling mechanic, generous gem rewards and the pack mechanics all work together so that any player with enough time and knowledge can climb to Master I and stand at the top.
  • Cap:
    • You can only hold up to 10,000 Free Gems at once. Any extra you earn will go to your Mailbox instead, which will expire 30 days after acquisition if you do not claim them. This essentially means that if you have overflow Gems, you will be forced to spend some to make room for excess. Conversely, the maximum hold limit on Paid Gems is much higher, up to 99,999.
    • There is a very high upper limit to numbers, to the tune of 99,999,999. Numbers that go past that are listed as "99,999,999+" and start to result in strange interactions that would not happen in a physical format due to rulings, although realistically the odds of seeing this in regular play are close to zero.
  • Classic Cheat Code: The May 2022 update added a staff roll. During the staff roll, you can find a button that summons an interactive Enemy Controller widget. Punching in the Konami Code on the Enemy Controller changes the main menu theme and the credits font to Retraux, as a Shout-Out to Gradius. If you input Left > Right > A > B insteadnote , it summons your Mate to the credits screen.
  • Co-Op Multiplayer: The non-competitive Tag Duel mode allows you and up to two other players to team up and challenge three other players to a duel, with each player in the team being randomly paired off with an opposing team player to play a 1v1 duel. The team with the most wins at the conclusion of the Tag Duel wins the match.
  • Color-Coded for Your Convenience:
    • When a monster is summoned, the effect that appears when the card hits the field is colored according to the type of summon. White dust is a Normal Summon, a yellow aura is a Special Summon, and a red shockwave is a Tribute Summon. A successful Pendulum Summon is instead marked by iridescent arcs emanating from the card.
    • Accordingly, when a monster is used as material for the summon of an Extra Deck monster, the bolt of light they turn into is colored based on what they were sent for: purple when used as Fusion Material, green when used as Synchro Material, gold when used as Xyz Material, and red when used as Link Material.
    • Cards that are banished have a unique purple color light trail. The banishment also glows purple when hovered over and when there are cards in it.
  • Color-Coded Item Tiers:
    • Normals are gray, Rares are blue, Super Rares are orange, and Ultra Rares are purple.
    • Packs glow according to their quality. No glow signifies a regular pack, gold glow has a high chance of containing at least a Super Rare, and rainbow glow is guaranteed to contain an Ultra Rare.
  • Cosmetic Award:
    • The last reward of most Event Duels is a title with that event's name on it, which only serves to proclaim to others that you hit the max amount of tokens/Duelist Level. Festivals also stop giving Gems past 11,000 Tokens and only exclusively give out Legacy Pack Tickets afterwards, making grinding through the second half optional.
    • Stage 2 of Duelist Cup is also comprised entirely of prizes of minimal value like Legacy Pack Tickets and titles so players don't feel pressured to play it for more Gems. This was later averted as of mid-2023, when Duelist Cup Stage 2 was included in the World Championship Qualifier qualification circuit and thus grinding it out has the potential to get you a ticket to the Finals.
  • Cyberspace:
    • The Cyber Universe Duel Field, based on "Cynet Universe", is stated to be set in such a world.
      A Field where abstract things such as data and energy take form and appear. It is a beehive-like network — an ever-expanding space where things like data ore and data storms continually come into existence.
    • The MD-AI System (first revealed at the THE LEGEND OF DUELIST real-world event) has exclusive cosmetics that play heavily into digital theming much like the Cyber Universe field, befitting of an artificial intelligence trained to play Yu-Gi-Oh!.
  • Damn You, Muscle Memory!: Banlist notwithstanding, there is exactly one major rules difference in Master Duel (which uses OCG rulings) compared to the TCG. Namely, SEGOC (Simultaneous Effects Go On Chain) works differently in this game than in the TCG, where mandatory effects that activate in the hand always go at the end of the priority player's Chain after mandatory effects that activate anywhere else, whereas in the TCG you can order mandatory effects however you want even if they activate in the hand. This has an effect on strategies that involve Chain blocking, which can trip up some TCG players who want to Chain block mandatory hand effects.
  • Dramatic Shattering:
    • Duel fields will go through increasing levels of damage the lower your life points are - this not only includes attacks by the opponent's monsters, but also card activations that require LP payments and mainteinance costs. When your LP hits zero, the duel field will break out entirely with massive cracks through, or disintegrate entirely, revealing a purple void below, in the case of the Duelist Cup duel field.
    • When a monster is destroyed by battle, its card will briefly be shown becoming heavily cracked immediately after being attacked before it explodes spectacularly and is sent to its proper destination (Graveyard, banishment, Extra Deck, etc.).
  • Dub-Induced Plot Hole: The localization strangely has an issue where it adds a reference where none should exist; the description of the "Branded Fusion" wallpaper refers to Albaz and Aluber's power as "Dragon Alchemy", a term previously used in Dracoslayer lore. However, the Japanese text only says "the power of dragons" and not specifically "Dragon Alchemy", which uses different kanji (as seen on the flavor text of "Master Pendulum, the Dracoslayer").
  • Easy Level Trick: In the solo campaign, the duels against the "Mekk-Knight" archetype can be easier to win by doing nothing and passing if you go first. Due to the way the archetype functions (effects based on number of cards in a column), the AI won't be able to do much on its turn and will often just set a card, allowing you to act with impunity on your next turn. This is especially helpful if you're running a loaner with the same archetype.
  • Elemental Punch: When a monster declares an attack, the game shows the card ramming its target (an opponent's monster or the opponent themselves) while coated in an elemental aura of the monster's Attribute.
  • Energy Weapon: The effect animation of "Dark Ruler No More" has the hand of "Dark King of the Abyss" using the captive spirit of "Revived King Ha Des" to fire a spirit beam at the opponent's field to negate their monsters' effects.
  • Everything's Better with Rainbows: Royal Rare cards gain an iridescent, crystalline layer atop the card.
  • Finishing Move: Certain iconic monsters will cast their Secret Art upon declaring a game-winning Final Blow with them.
    • Dark Magician and Dark Magician Girl will use Dark Magic Attack on their target, smiting them with a black bolt of lightning to end the game.
    • Blue-Eyes White Dragon will charge up its signature Burst Stream of Destruction, obliterating its target with a ray of light.
    • Red-Eyes Black Dragon will fire its Inferno Fire Blast, spitting an orb of black fire that explodes upon impact and decimates the opponent.
    • Slifer the Sky Dragon will shoot its Thunderforce Attack, annihilating the opponent with an explosive beam of electricity.
    • Obelisk the Tormentor will use Fist of Fate, rearing up before smashing the opponent with an almighty punch.
    • The Winged Dragon of Ra will use its Blaze Cannon, decimating its foe with an explosive energy ball infused with the power of the sun.
  • Flawless Victory: You get a 1000 point bonus (equivalent to one post-Duel prize) if you win a Ranked Duel without taking damage.
  • Gameplay and Story Integration: During the World Legacy solo campaign, you start off with Auram, Ningirsu and Ib in the Main Deck and their Link forms in the Extra Deck. Once Ib is captured by the Mekk-Knights in the story, she disappears from both your Main and Extra Deck, leaving you with just "Auram" and "Ningirsu". When Iblee emerges and steals the power of World Chalice from the party, your deck is left with no Extra Deck monsters, but in exchange you gain "Mekk-Knight Avram" and "Mekk-Knight Blue Sky" to reflect the heroes and the Mekk-Knights banding together against Iblee and the Knightmare monsters.
  • Guide Dang It!:
    • The tutorial does a good job at explaining the summon mechanics, the different phases and how chain links work. However, the game is still very complex, and the finer details of certain mechanics (especially those pertaining to specific archetypes or interactions) are usually up to the player to figure out. An update to the Duel Strategies gates added more in-depth explanations for deeper mechanics, but there are still aspects the player will have to figure out on their own.
    • One of the few big pitfalls of the early game progression in Master Duel is that Gem economy revolves around players being able to competently fight against other players to accomplish missions. The best way to do this is with "meta" decks, but for completely new players who have never touched Yu-Gi-Oh! before, figuring out what's good and what isn't is an extremely daunting task without outside help, especially in a game with over 12,000 cards and no form of set rotation. It's very easy for an uninformed beginner to completely squander their early Gems on bad decks and then struggle to understand how they should be approaching Gem economy.
  • Heroic Second Wind: Post duel assessment reward points increase if the player is on a losing position before staging a comeback. The "LP on the Brink" (1000 points), "Cards on the Brink" (500 points) and "Comeback Victory" (1800 points) rewards are the most notable.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: The default setting for chain link prompt is Auto, which causes the game to prompt any valid card effect activation when possible. This also occurs if it's possible for you to chain your own cards together. The problem lies in negates, such as Ash Blossom, which the game gives you the option to use on yourself despite rarely ever being a valid combo route. It's completely possible to fumble a play because you were Button Mashing through chain prompts too fast and accidentally killed your own combo because you Ash'd or Solemn'd your own effect.
  • I Know You Know I Know: Interface prompts and the prominence of cards in the meta can lead to mindgames of this kind regarding the activation of handtraps and quick effects. It's not uncommon to see players attempt to "bait" their opponent in wasting their handtrap activations and quick effects, so that their most important effects can actually go through, with the opponent in turn knowing this and holding off their handtraps until they can actually hit them at a better chokepoint note .
  • Instant-Win Condition:
    • The game recompenses a successful alternate win condition victory with a large post-assessment point reward, "Special Victories", for 3000 points.
    • There's also the titles "Tactician" (win 30 PVP duels by Special Victory), "Destroyer" (win by decking out your opponent 20 times) and "Demon" (win on your first turn without attacking - most well known as a "First Turn Kill", FTK - 5 times).
    • The infamous "Exodia, the Forbidden One" gives you its own title, "Sealed One" for winning 10 times in PVP with "Exodia"'s win condition.
  • Interface Spoiler: If the player can activate a card in response to an action you perform, they're given a prompt and the game field will switch to reflect the fact that they have the option to respond. While there's no way to know precisely what effect they might activate, the current game state will say a lot about what they have in store. If there's nothing obvious that can be activated on their Field, Graveyard, or Extra Deck, there's a very high possibility that they're carrying a handtrap that can be used to stop your combo. This can be disabled by turning chain prompts off (instead of the default "auto" setting).
  • Loophole Abuse:
    • The way Daily Missions work is that each player gets three missions out of a pool of nine possible Dailies each day. If you did not complete your Dailies for a day, the previous day's Dailies roll over and you get another 3 Dailies the next time you log in. You can hold up to all nine of these missions at once, and you cannot get the same mission twice. Thus, players took advantage of this system to consistently get 130 Gems each day by holding onto every Daily except "Play in Ranked Duel", "Win in Ranked Duel", and "Play a Spell Card in Ranked" without turning them in so that every daily rollover will only give them those three Daily Missions, then clear those three and turn them in for maximum Gem gain. To offset this behavior, the update in April 2022 made for much simpler daily quests — most of which can be progressed whether you win or lose — and made them all worth the same 40 gems so that the daily grind is not as tedious.
    • To encourage people to play in the Xyz event, the game lets you play with (mediocre) loaners if you can't afford a competent Xyz Deck and still provides small rewards even if you lose so that you don't have to go the extra mile for victory. Surrendering will, as always, deny you any reward progression to prevent people from farming the event without making a conscious effort to play. Initially, rewards were set at 100 medals for winning and 50 for losing if you used your own deck, and 50 for winning and 25 for losing with a Loaner. With such a meager divide between the rewards, players quickly realized that losing quickly could earn more rewards than winning slowly, and to that end built cheap suicide Decks designed to lose on purpose as fast as possible. Realizing the obvious exploit, Konami changed the rewards to 500 (own deck)/250 (Loaner) for winning to discourage this practice and reduce the limited-time grind, and subsequent events would ban self-damaging cards to deter this practice.
    • Console versions of the game have a Cross-Play option that allows you to turn on or off the ability to match with other players from other consoles or only the same one you're playing on; the intended use of this option is that turning it off may produce less connection issues and better stability over cross-platform matches. However, this option is still available in Duelist Cup, despite the fact that Duelist Cup is intended to be a worldwide ranking event. This wound up being exploited by the top-ranking player (who played on Xbox) in Stage 2 of the August 2022 Duelist Cup by turning his Cross-Play feature off, thereby drastically reducing the number of possible opponents and filtering out many of the more competent players who mainly play on PC or PlayStation, netting him easy wins against players with a fraction of his score. Subsequent Duelist Cups rectified this by forcing console players to have the Cross-Play option toggled on as a requisite for playing in Stage 2.
  • Mascot Mook: "Ten Thousand Dragon", a monster printed to commemorate the 10,000th Yu-Gi-Oh! card, serves as the face of Master Duel on the game's cover art for console and PC versions. On the mobile apps, Blue-Eyes White Dragon is portrayed on the game's icon.
  • Microtransactions: As with any free-to-play gacha game, you can buy Gems with real money. Gems can be exchanged at the shop for booster packs, bundles, and various cosmetics to spice up your duel experience.
  • Mirror Match: When played with loaner decks, most of the Solo Mode duels are against different deck builds of the same archetype.
  • My Rules Are Not Your Rules: Solo Mode Loaner and AI Decks are not bound by the banlist. This leads to one AI opponent using the banned "Knightmare Mermaid" and "Knightmare Goblin" on you; on the other hand, there's also a Solo Mode Loaner that gives you the banned "Ib, the World Chalice Justicar," and some Solo Loaners (having been drafted in the game's earlier stages) let you use the banned "Crystron Halqifibrax."
  • Mythology Gag:
    • The summon animations for unique summon mechanics are all based on how the summons were depicted in their respective anime.
      • Fusion Summons show the cards swirling together into a portal a la Polymerization in the original anime and in GX.
      • Synchro Summons show the cards becoming green tuning rings and combining, akin to a simplified version of the 5D's Synchro Summon animation.
      • Xyz Summons show the cards transforming into bolts of light that dive into the Overlay Network as they do in ZEXAL.
      • Pendulum Summoning shows Yuya's pendant drawing an arc of light around the Pendulum Zones just like in ARC-V. The bottom of the screen also glows rainbow like what happens to the Duel Disks in ARC-V when a Pendulum Summon is performed.
      • Link Summons show the cards transforming into the Link Arrows on the monster being summoned as they do in VRAINS.
      • The Ritual Summon animation is not based on a specific depiction of the mechanic but features flames appearing around a summoning circle similar to how various Ritual Summons are depicted in both ARC-V and VRAINS.
    • Clicking on the Sangan Mate in a duel may cue an animation where it pulls out "trinoculars" and looks at the player, referencing the card "Tour Guide From the Underworld".
    • Clicking on Geargiano has it turn to face the player and play rock-paper-scissors, mirroring the theme of the three Geargiano monsters as well as the "Transmission Gear" card. Furthermore, when resolving "Transmission Gear", Geargiano's hands appear to represent both players' Rock-Paper-Scissors match.
    • Loaner Decks for the Xyz, Synchro, and Fusion festivals are themed after corresponding characters in ARC-V. Xyz had Phantom Knights, Raidraptors, and Galaxy-Eyes Cipher for Yuto, Shun, and Kaito respectively. Fusion had Destiny HERO, Frightfur, and Predaplants to correspond to Ed, Sora, and Yuri. Synchro had Speedroids to correspond to Yugo, and the other two loaners break the trend by being based on Yusei's and Sherry's decks.
    • The SP Deck Challenge Gate in Solo Mode is inspired by iconic duels featured in the first Yu-Gi-Oh! anime and manga series, and features most of the archetypes and cards used in said duels (while also plugging in some modern support to make the decks more usable). Likewise, SP Deck Challenge 2 is based on duels featured in Yu-Gi-Oh! GX, including and up to the climatic final duel between Yugi and Jaden.
    • In the Duel Strategy 2 Solo Gate, one of the duels pits a "Blackwing" deck against a "Synchron" deck, both wielded by Yu-Gi-Oh! 5Ds characters. Also doubles as an Ascended Meme, since the duel teaches the player about the Damage Step by putting "Blackwing - Kalut the Moon Shadow" in your hand.
    • Likewise, the tutorial duel about Pendulum Summoning from the Extra Deck pits an "Odd-Eyes" and "Magician" hybrid deck against an "Abyss Actor" deck, the main archetypes used by Yuya Sakaki and Sylvio Sawatari respectively from Yu-Gi-Oh! ARC-V.
    • The "Fluffal" Loaner Deck for the Fusion Festival event is named "The Heart of a Sky with Perse Clouds", alluding to the name of the user of the "Fluffal" archetype, Sora Perse, from Yu-Gi-Oh! ARC-V ("sora" meaning "sky" in Japanese).
    • The animation for winning with "Destiny Board" depicts "Dark Necrofear" controlling the Destiny Board, much like how the instant win was depicted in many earlier Yu-Gi-Oh! video games.
    • Declaring a lethal attack with either "Dark Magician" or "Dark Magician Girl" cues a unique Final Blow animation where their cards will levitate and smite the opponent with their Signature Move, Dark Magic Attack.
    • The default player icon clearly resembles the Player Character of the Yu-Gi-Oh! Tag Force Series.
    • The "President's Briefcase" deck box is patterned after Seto Kaiba's famous steel briefcase used to contain his card collection.
  • Nerf:
    • Master Duel is unique in the sense that since it is a constantly-updating simulator for the OCG/TCG with new cards added every month, Konami is able to preemptively hit cards before they come out due to preexisting knowledge of how they will affect the meta. Main culprits so far include "Fusion Destiny", "Water Enchantress of the Temple", "Rite of Aramesir", "Spright Starter", "Keldo the Sacred Protector", "Kelbek the Ancient Vanguard", and "Agido the Ancient Sentinel", all meta-defining cards that were Semi-Limited to 2 copies in Master Duel prior to their release to cut back their consistency while still allowing them to be mostly playable (in order to actually sell the new cards). Similarly, "Toadally Awesome" was banned in the February 2023 list despite no relevant decks at the time using it since it has the capacity to be abused by "Spright", which earned it and relevant cards bans in paper formats.
    • Unlike paper formats, where banlists can only be pushed once every few months (except in exceedingly rare cases) since they directly affect the secondhand value of cards and decks, Master Duel has no such issue since cards have no secondhand value and banned/limited cards can be refunded in the form of Craft Points. This allows the game to push banlists with much higher regularity, letting Konami experiment with more frequent and less impactful lists every month rather than thrice a year.
  • Never Say "Die": Played with. While references to death or killing are replaced with euphemisms in the Solo Mode's lore most of the time (with the "Gladiator Beast" lore as an exception), "demon" and "devil" are used freely to describe certain monsters' dispositions, such as "Demise, King of Armageddon" and "Megalith Hagith".
  • No Plot? No Problem!: A number of Solo Mode Gates have little to no actual story behind them, instead serving mainly to explain how each of the archetype's individual cards fit into their personal lore.
  • Obvious Rule Patch:
    • Event banlists generally try to hit cards that would be too powerful even during the event, especially if it involves archetypes and playstyles that aren't heavily impacted by the Arbitrary Mission Restriction. For example, "Xyz Festival" banned cards like "Exodia the Forbidden One" to neuter stall decks such as "Number 59: Crooked Cook" decks and hit non-Extra Deck archetypes such as "Eldlich", "Drytron" and "Monarch", and the "N/R Rarity Festival" event hit archetypes such as "Majespecter" and "True Draco" whose cards are already mostly composed of Normal and Rare cards and would otherwise be able to play at virtually full power. Cards that are commonly used purely for self-damage would also be banned to discourage "suicide decks" from farming the events.
    • Konami's response to Loophole Abuse for the first Event, "Xyz Festival", was to simply quintuple the reward for winning while cutting the loss reward in half, heavily incentivizing playing the event as intended rather than rapidly losing intentionally, while still allowing those who don't have resources for an Xyz Deck to still "play" with their suicide deck, albeit at far lower returns.
    • Originally, the Gem rewards from Daily Limited Missions was not equal across the board, leading to Loophole Abuse to maximize the amount of Gems you get per day. This was patched out by making every Daily Mission worth 40 Gems and making the Dailies easier, ultimately decreasing Gem intake by a negligible amount in exchange for a vastly easier Gem maintenance loop.
    • While you are penalized with a loss for disconnection during a match, there's nothing stopping you from disconnecting during the coin flip screen, which simply throws an error message without having to play the duel. This was commonly exploited by players whose decks don't function well going second to avoid matches where they lose the coin flip. Konami patched this out on the April 26th, 2022 maintenance by making it so disconnecting during the coin flip screen automatically counts as a loss.
  • Ominous Latin Chanting: The music for the "Ritual" duel board (commonly associated with the "Monarch" archetype due to the Solo Gate it appears in) has a haunting chorus backing a One-Woman Wail.
  • One-Hit Kill: The largest point reward in post-Duel assessments belongs to "Over 9,999" damage, which gives you 3000 points for dealing 10,000 or more damage in a single attack. A secret mission will also give you the title "Strong Arm" for achieving this twenty times in ranked duels.
  • Out of Focus: Unlike most of the other Yu-Gi-Oh! games, anime elements are virtually nonexistent. Characters are alluded to in certain descriptions, and almost all of the major ace monsters have animations, but otherwise no anime characters appear.
  • Palette Swap: A functional one rather than a literal one, as Alternate Arts were added to the game with the 1st Anniversary update, starting with "Dark Magician", "Knightmare Unicorn" and "Eldlich the Golden Lord". Alt. Arts cannot be crafted, unlike most cards, and can only be acquired by pulling them from a Pack during a promotional event, purchasing certain Bundles, or obtaining them from special Login Bonuses. Alt. Arts, in addition to displaying a different art on the card itself, come with their own animations distinct from their normal variants.
  • Play Every Day: You get 20 Gems the first time you log in each day (50 on the tenth and twentieth day each month), and you can also claim an additional 5 Gems for watching Duel LIVE once per day. Up to 3 Daily Missions worth 40 Gems each are added to your docket every day until you hit the cap of 9 Daily Missions.
  • Power Equals Rarity: Played with. The UR rarity contains the vast majority of boss monsters and otherwise powerful cards such as common handtraps and staple cards, but also contains a variety of old and outdated cards that were once considered good before Power Creep hit and only appear to have the UR label due to its high nostalgia value, and also has the occasional Junk Rare like End of the Line.
  • Rare Random Drop: Whenever you pull or craft a card, it can come in one of three Finishes, which are basically this game's version of foils. There's Basic Finish, which uses the standard black borders, Glossy Finish, which has reflective silver borders and a holographic glow across the artwork, and Royal Finish, which has rainbow reflective borders with a prismatic foil effect across the entire card. The chances to get Glossy and Royal cards are quite low; Royal in particular, as it only spawns on SR and UR cards and has a 1% drop rate. While Glossy and Royal Finishes are no different from Basic ones in terms of gameplay, they can be dismantled for more crafting materials — a Royal Finish can be traded in for any one card of your choice of the matching rarity.
  • Reduced to Dust: In the event that you deck out, a unique animation will play where all the cards in your hand, field and Extra Deck disintegrate into nothing.
  • Revenue-Enhancing Devices: You can buy several kinds of cosmetics with Gems, which, of course, can be bought with money. These include Mates, which are pets that stand by your side of the field, new field designs, Duel Parts to customize your Graveyard, Banishment, and Extra Deck, profile icons, and home screen artwork.
  • Rewards Pass: There is a Duel Pass that you can level up by playing multiplayer duels. In addition to the standard "free" tier, there is a Duel Pass (Gold) that you can purchase for 700 Gems, which not only refunds the 700 Gems via pass rewards but also grants extra bonuses such as Mates, icons, artwork, and more Craft Points.
  • Rocket-Tag Gameplay: Enforced during Extreme Duel 2, which took place at the turn of 2024. To celebrate the coming year, players start at 2024 LP, as opposed to the usual 8000. Burn effects are much more potent in this setup, as a hand full of burn spells can destroy the opponent in one go. Whoever goes first usually wins unless blocked by Highly Specific Counterplay.
  • Shout-Out: The "Evol"/"Myutant" Secret Pack, which shares a common theme of "evolution", is titled "Life Finds a Way".
  • Shows Damage: The closer your Life Points approach 0, the more damaged and cracked your Duel Field will become.
  • Socialization Bonus:
    • The Team mechanic added alongside the Season Points system encourages players to join together with friends and/or skilled duelists to climb to the top of Duelist Cup to earn Season Points for their account for a shot at winning a trip to the World Championship Finals. In addition to locking in your Team before the Finals, a Team that participates in a Duelist Cup or World Championship Qualifier event together wins bonus Season Points for their Team based on their aggregate participation and final standings.
    • The 2nd Anniversary update added a Rookie and Returning Followers Campaign, which allows active players to exchange codes with new or returning players and get rewards. The primary rewards are a Tenyi Swordsoul kit, which includes the Sword of Souls Structure Deck as well as sets of Swordsoul and Tenyi monsters useful to building a Tenyi Swordsoul deck, as well as Gems, Legacy Pack Tickets, and a Flawless Perfection of the Tenyi wallpaper.
  • Sound of No Damage: The Beehive Barrier mentioned above is accompanied by a glass-like clink sound effect.
  • Starter Equipment: Following the tutorial, you can select one of three starter decks, each with a specific theme:
    • Power of the Dragon, which contains Kaiba's ace "Blue-Eyes White Dragon" and many Dragon-type monsters and support.
    • Synchro of Unity, a Yusei-themed deck based heavily on the "Junk" archetype and supports Warrior-type monsters.
    • Link Generation, a Yusaku/Playmaker-themed deck with lots of Cyberse-type monsters and Links.
  • Super Move Portrait Attack: Summoning certain monsters (usually archetype boss monsters or other famous cards), plays a Live2D animation of the monster.
  • Tactical Rock–Paper–Scissors: The three Loaner Decks of the Tryout Duels 3 event are uniquely positioned to play off each others' strengths and weaknesses, with Exodia being able to easily disrupt the Vennominaga's deck plays, but losing to the overwhelming advantage and timed win condition of Destiny Board, while Destiny Board cannot do much to prevent a Vennominaga player from accumulating advantage and pushing for game.
  • A Taste of Power: Loaner Decks in Solo Gates serve to demonstrate the mechanics and playstyle of an archetype and show off the hybrids you can build with it. Some of these hybrids are also strong enough to be competitive, encouraging players to invest in the archetype. A lot of the early Solo Gates also give you the ability to play around with the archetype at full power as a loaner deck, before saddling you with an incredibly watered-down starter deck to get you to purchase the associated Secret Pack.
  • Temporary Online Content:
    • Selection Packs, which have a small card pool but also feature newly-added cards, vanish from the store once their run time is up. The newly-added cards do get retroactively added to the evergreen Master Pack (but not any relevant Secret Packs, unless advertised otherwise), but the Master Pack pool is so diverse that it's highly impractical to get any of the new cards by opening that Pack.
    • As it stands, any Event-locked cosmetics such as Mates, Sleeves and Art, as well as Duel Pass cosmetics, cannot be obtained if you missed them.
    • Time-limited mates regularly release depending on a relevant date. So far, Ghostrick Lantern (Halloween), Toadally Awesome (New Year) and Number 41: Bagooska The Terribly Tired Tapir (April Fools) have been released this way.
    • Alternate Artwork cards can only be obtained from the Master Pack or their associated Secret Pack for a limited time.
  • Timed Mission:
    • Players have a limited amount of time on their turn to conduct their plays during a PVP match. If the clock runs to 0, the player immediately loses the game. By default, this is 300 seconds (5 minutes), which replenishes by 30 seconds at the start of each opponent's turn and by 60 seconds at the start of the player's turn. In a Duel Room, this timer can be extended or shortened by preset amounts, up to a maximum of 999 seconds that replenishes every turn.
    • Exaggerated by Extreme Trial 1, an event where both players are allotted only 30 seconds for every turn.
    • If your account is repeatedly flagged for slow play, a hidden turn limit will take effect which will automatically cause you to lose the game if you take too many turns to complete a duel.
  • Transformation Sequence: Deluxe Mates have the unique distinction of changing forms during a Duel, with the Mate transforming via a flash of light when their transformation condition is met. For most Deluxe Mates, such as Laundry Dragonmaid/Dragonmaid Nudyarl and Gaia the Fierce Knight/Gaia the Dragon Champion, the condition to transform is to simply enter and exit the Battle Phase, but Tri-Brigade Shuraig the Ominous Omen will only transform into Tri-Brigade Arms Bucephalus II if the user gets under 3000 LP.
  • Tournament Play: Konami's intent is for Master Duel to become an official presence at Yu-Gi-Oh! tournaments, with official events being held through the game. In addition to regular Duelist Cup events where players can compete in a no-holds-barred slugfest event, Master Duel is one of three main formats besides the card game and Duel Links to be represented at the annual Yu-Gi-Oh! World Championship, where players can compete in the in-game WCS Qualifier event for a chance to compete on the main stage in Japan.
  • Translation Nod: For April Fools 2023, time-limited cosmetics featuring Number 41: Bagooska The Terribly Tired Tapir were released. Notably, they used the TCG artwork of the card, even for OCG territories, in keeping with the April Fools joke.
  • Variable Mix: The duel theme shifts to a more energetic version when a player brings out their ace monster (any card with an animated cut-in). If a player's LP gets low enough, it switches to a more triumphant and epic theme.
  • Violation of Common Sense: Intentionally deranking was a fairly common practice in Ranked. Since players found out that you get no bonus rewards at the end of a Season, some began getting into Platinum then demoting into Gold so that they would start in Silver V for Season 3 and get even more Rank-Up Gems that way. Then Konami put in a rank floor in Platinum V at the start of Season 3 to discourage this behavior, with varying results.

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