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  • Accidental Innuendo: In general, the censors are pretty good at catching these in card artworks. For a few examples:
  • Americans Hate Tingle: A minor case, but the Traptrix theme ended up receiving a lot of ire purely because their art was featured as candidates for Japanese sleeve artwork, with many Western fans decrying the fact that due to the theme featuring images of cute girls seemingly designed to pander to Lolicon otaku, it would be the top result. Ironically, the top result ended up being Shay/Kurosaki with his Raidraptors from ARC-V, who was the Western fans' top pick.
  • Author's Saving Throw:
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    • The Forbidden/Limited lists are supposed to be this. Whether or not Konami has succeeded depends both on the players' reactions to it, and how tournaments progress with the changes each one makes.
    • The advent of "Problem Solving Card Text", in the ZEXAL era, where Konami attempted to reword effects so that they were less ambiguous and easier to understand.
    • The rare emergency banlists, which have thus far only definitively occurred twice.
      • DAD Return was the first example, though unfortunately, it wasn't a complete nuking, and the remnants later resurfaced as Tele-DAD.
      • During the reign of PePe (Performage Pendulum), a deck so consistent and fast it could easily go plus 16 and still keep a healthy hand size, practically every local event was flooded with these decks, and with very good reason. The only real options during this era were "play PePe or lose" or "play Monarch and pray you don't brick". Not a day went by during this format that you didn't hear at least one person threatening to swear off the game. Konami thus nuked almost everything that made PePe so fast and consistent. While they weren't "officially" banned at the time, only for major Konami hosted events, many tournament players found this a very welcome decision. Even then, what remained from PePe was an still extremely playable Tier 1 deck.note 
      • Though not an emergency banlist, SPYRAL proved to be such a problem that the TCG quickly Brought It Down To Badass as soon as their deadline for not having a list expired.
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    • Early Fusion Summoning was slow and clunky due to depending almost entirely on Polymerization and specific Fusion Materials, and many of the old Fusion Monsters were hardly worth the effort, so Fusions were hit hard by Power Creep when Synchro Summoning was announced. Over time, Fusion Materials became more generic, helping the Fusion mechanic regain some traction in the face of the far more efficient Synchros and Xyzsnote ; this started in the 5D's era, but was most apparent by the ARC-V era due to the large number of Fusion Monsters introduced. Fusion-heavy themes also gained much more consistent methods of Fusion Summoning, whether through their own versions of Polymerization or monsters whose effects include fusing.
    • The legal release of "The Winged Dragon of Ra," explicitly stated to be the most powerful card in the game in the fiction, was heavily criticized for a very large Nerf that made it significantly below-average for a boss monster, let alone an in-story Physical God. Most infamously, the OCG card excluded several of the anime and manga incarnation's effects, including the effect that allowed it to gain ATK and DEF equal to the combined ATK and DEF of the monsters Tributed for its Tribute Summon. The two effects that were included on the OCG card, wound up contradicting each other. Ra's first effect, Point-to-Point Transfer, allowed the controller to pay LP until they had 100 left when Ra was Normal Summoned, with Ra gaining ATK and DEF equal to the amount paid. Ra's second effect let the controller pay 1000 LP to target and destroy an opponent's monster. The controller was thus forced to choose between either paying LP for the first effect to give Ra ATK and not having enough to use the second effect, or forgoing the first effect to have enough LP to use the second effect, but leaving Ra with 0 ATK. Ironically, Ra was also the only God Card that couldn't be Special Summoned, despite this being how it was frequently brought to the field. Naturally, considering Ra's iconic status in the fiction, and the negative reactions its OCG incarnation drew from fans, later support would be released for it that attempted to address its issues.
    • Dark Magician of Chaos, Chaos Emperor Dragon - Envoy of the End, Sangan, and other once-broken cards have received "power level" edits which has allowed them to come off the banlist, sometimes allowing them to go back up to Unlimited status. Other once-"Perma-Banned" cards, like Cyber-Stein, have been taken off the banlist due to how drastically the game has changed, resulting in once-broken effects becoming balanced.
    • While the Yu-Gi-Oh! ARC-V era was praised for focusing on all of the Summoning methods, Ritual Summoning received significantly less focus in the anime and gamenote . The second year of the Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS era introduced significantly more Ritual supportnote , and the first booster pack of this era also began to include other Extra Deck monsters again after three packs with solely Link Monstersnote .
    • The changes to both the OCG and TCG starting April 1, 2020 once again allow for Fusion, Synchro, and Xyz monsters to be freely summoned anywhere, without relying on a Link Monster's Link Arrows.note 
    • As the game began to accumulate older nostalgic players, Konami started to lighten up some of the more egregious censorship in the TCG, particularly with the "Lost Art" promo cards that provide uncensored versions of cards in English. In Rise of the Duelist, Edge Imp Scythe and Frightfur Cruel Whale did away with the bizarre Laser Blade censorship that plagued earlier Edge Imp and Frightfur cards.
    • While Yu-Gi-Oh! SEVENS has been a controversial series, its new Rush Duel format and associated card game (separate from the main TCG/OCG) has allowed the TCG/OCG to finally develop its own identity separate from the concurrent anime series- allowing for new cards and support for characters and themes that had less focus - which may well be one reason for the lightened TCG censorship. The anime (which is more kid-oriented) even paints traditional Duels as the more "boring" format that "adults" play.
  • Base-Breaking Character:
    • Several cards, usually boss monsters such as Judgment Dragon, Dark Armed Dragon,note  Grapha, Dragon Lord of Dark World,note  Shi En,note  etc. Either they're excellent for the theme, or overpowered.
    • Heavy Storm is in a similar vein, especially after its September 2013 TCG ban. It's either needed to punish mass-backrow, or it's a cheap OTK enabler.
    • Xyz Monsters, for being even easier to summon than Synchros, as well as Ranks replacing Levels (which can throw off several card effects) made quite a rift. Even well outside of the era it debuted, there's still a lot of contention over them due to a lot of Xyz monsters still remaining powerful, consistent, and splashable, and often very, very easy to spam, especially with the later-introduced Pendulum Summoning mechanic. Some people claim that it's good something averted the Power Creep trope in the franchise for once, while others feel it's stagnating the game and makes Duels boring to watch. Rank 4 spam in particular tends to get a lot of heat directed it's way. See Tier-Induced Scrappy for more on that.
    • Exodia is still very popular since the first episode, but since the recent Exodia decks tend to take ages for a single turn and not allow the opposition to play, the Forbidden One has moved to this category.
    • Cyber Dragon was very popular in the GX era, since it's easy to summon it, but veteran players tended to hate it for single-handedly making the old metagame obsolete. This softened over time due to Power Creep, with newer players being generally unfamiliar with how much of an impact it used to have, and the hate for anything Cyber Dragon as a whole being shifted to Cyber Dragon Infinity.
    • Elemental HERO Stratos is a fantastic searcher for HEROes. The common criticism is that it's too well supported and can lead to other cards being put on the banlist that otherwise wouldn't be.
    • Number 101: Silent Honor ARK is a very popular Xyz Monster since it can avoid destruction a few times and it can steal a Special Summoned Monster in Attack Position from the opponent. However, this is also the primary reason that the Rank 4 Toolbox (see Tier-Induced Scrappy) is so reviled. Many players, particularly veterans, feel it takes skill out of the game by providing such an easy out to threatening opposing monsters. It didn't help that Konami made Castel, the Skyblaster Musketeer, which has a very similar and more powerful version of its effect.
    • Shaddolls. When they debuted in the ARC-V era, it basically spelled the end of the prior meta with its punishment of Extra Deck Special Summons and ridiculous ability to punish your opponent for attacking them or destroying them with card effects (and, if your opponent couldn't be bothered doing the latter, you can just do it yourself), essentially being one big safety net for a bad player and a world-ending superweapon for a good one. On the other hand, they can blend in with different deck engines and create new hybrids, which is not exactly the case for many other decks to debut in this time. El-Shaddoll Construct is commonly seen as unfairly banned and so people constantly talk about it getting unbanned - almost at the same level that Stratos gets.
    • Qliphorts and Burning Abyss. The former for being very strong and consistent, but requiring much less strategy or actual thought to use; the latter coming off as a Creator's Pet deck for being consistently dominant in the TCG format and not getting hit, but have great art and a cool theme.
    • Nekroz used to be really popular for being a very strong deck that made Ritual Summoning (an Ensemble Dark Horse mechanic in itself) prominent. But the problem was that once they hit, they were a) extremely rare due to being in short print, thus costing way too much money, and b) immediately took over most tournaments, to Tier 1 if not 0 levels. Pretty much every non-Nekroz player dreaded seeing them, especially fans of other Ritual decks for landing a lot of their key cards on the Forbidden/Limited list, which they depended on to be just barely playable. That being said, the hate quickly softened once Djinn Releaser of Rituals was banned, as this locked the deck out of its worst combo, and more than a few people had been asking for some of its cards to be unbanned (especially Shurit, which only left the Forbidden list in early 2019), even looking back on the Nekroz era as one of surprising diversity.
    • While Yuya Sakaki’s Performapals and Pendulum Magicians can fall into Tier-Induced Scrappy, his Odd Eyes (and closely related Dimension Dragon) theme garners controversy primarily over aesthetics. While the anime does provide plenty of awesome moments with the monsters, their designs have been derided for looking overcomplicated as well as oddly mechanical despite not being Machines. Particular mention goes to Yuya’s ace Odd-Eyes Pendulum Dragon.
    • New Types often cause this, with many seeing them as redundant. The Psychic-Type largely escaped this, but the Wyrm-Type (basically Dragons) and Cyberse-Type (similar to Machines) are more contentious. Some are happy to have new Types, while others wish that some other Types would get the attention, particularly since the Cyberse are prominent in Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS in comparison to the downplayed Psychic and ignored Wyrm.
    • Was Castel, the Skyblaster Musketeer bad for the game? While other monsters have been debated over this topic before, never has it been more heated than with this card. Detractors point out that it's a generic Rank 4 that gives a powerful out to many, many older boss monsters and situations, and is suspected to be the main reason why most newer cards have "cannot be targeted by card effects" on them. People who believe he wasn't also point out how Power Creep is always a thing, and by no means was he as game changing as other cards back in the day such as Cyber Dragon and that, by itself, it can't really do much else once it gets its effect off.
    • Is Utopia the Lightning a needed boost to make the Utopia line worth playing, or is it too strong for its cost and should be restricted?
    • As a general rule, old themes that get new cards, especially if they were used by an anime character, will result in people falling into two camps: people who are absolutely overjoyed to see one of the old themes be brought back to something resembling relevance and those who see it as nostalgia pandering and takes away from possible new and interesting themes.
    • The "Fur Hires": either a clever spin on naming conventions that gives some distinctiveness to an otherwise unremarkable theme, or the single stupidest thing the localizing team has ever done.
  • Broken Base:
    • The very announcement of a Forbidden List for the game caused a huge uproar in the community. Some saw it as a much needed change to the game as several recently released cards forced players to play one type of deck to stand a chance at tournaments, while others became rabid at the thought that their expensive cards would now become utterly worthless. This is the sole reason why there is a Traditional and an Advanced Format in the English TCG.
    • When expensive, rare cards are re-released as inexpensive, common cards. Some will praise the decision for allowing powerful cards to be more accessible to a wider variety of players, others will grind their teeth and scream bloody murder as the cards they've shelled a lot of dough for suddenly become dime-store commons. For example, compare a Tournament Pack 2 Morphing Jar with this one.
    • Goat Control format. Either it was the most technical, skillful format of Yu-Gi-Oh! that all other formats can't hope to compare to, or it's a stalling, boring mess of a format that people only like because of Nostalgia Filter.
    • The September 2013 banlist caused a huge one in the Western dueling community. Not only did duelists raise an uproar over the Western list being drastically different than the one in Japan, but there was a clear divide - duelists either loved it for killing off a lot of the old staples and thus forcing duelists to play more strategically, or outright hated it for completely killing their decks.
    • The presence of Toon monsters in Duelists of Destiny/Dragons of Legend 2. Many players hate the fact that the majority of the GX portion of the cards consists of cards that support Toons note , feeling that it should've been filled with cards or a theme more fitting of the GX era (Such as Fossils or Cyber Angelsnote ) while others don't seem to mind as Toons haven't had any support cards for over a decade (Unlike Red-Eyes note , which just received a good amount of new support cards in Clash of Rebellions). While there is a third group who doesn't mind the Toon support, but believe that they shouldn't have made up the majority of the GX portion of the set.
      • The presence of cards that originate from the currently airing anime in the Dragons of Legends sets. Given that it was supposed to be releasing long requested anime cards from the older series, many players do not like the idea of cards from the current series appearing in what supposed to be a nostalgic set (ZEXAL cards in Dragons of Legend, ARC-V cards in Duelists of Destiny/Dragons of Legend 2), claiming that they could be added to any upcoming sets as they had already started adding more Anime-based cards than they used to. Others argue that it may be the only chance for certain cards to appear at all since they're cards from one-shot and filler characters.
    • While generally well-received by most players due to killing off the widely loathed Performages and Pals quickly, the Adjustment List also annoyed several people who resigned themselves to thinking that Performages and Pals would be the top deck and ended up spending a lot of money on the required cards.
    • With the reveal of Link Monsters, the game's fanbase was absolutely shattered with the new rulings that came with them. Specifically, the Pendulum Zones are now part of the back row, essentially taking up two slots if you want to Pendulum summon. However, the biggest point of contention is that you can only summon one Extra Monster at a time unless you manage to summon a Link Monster beforehand and even then, you can only summon them in designated zones the Link Monster converts from main monster zones. Either you love it for promoting a slower game state and bringing back the old "protect the castle" boss monsters that were rendered obsolete for ages now, or you despise it for single handedly screwing over a massive number of decks and how majorly the game has changed in one small swoop.
      • To put this into perspective, this is the first major change in the game field in an almost 20 year history bar the slight modification to the field during the Pendulum Era, one of the biggest rule changes, and one of the most drastic changes to pre-existing mechanics. This change heavily Nerfs several decks reliant on the Extra Deck, while promoting slower strategies and Main Deck monsters. Fortunately, Extra Deck monsters can still be brought back to the Main Monster Zones by a card effect if they're removed from the field by either being sent to the graveyard, banished, or switched to the opposite side.
    • Various changes made to OCG Structure Decks from Rise of the Dragon Lords onward for the Worldwide TCG have either been applauded for increasing their playability, or despised for replacing desired rare cards, depending on the scenario.
    • The change to the Legendary Duelists pack formats for Legend Duelist 3. In the first two packs, three characters from Yu-Gi-Oh! and Yu-Gi-Oh! GX received four new cards that supported their decks, while in Legend Duelist 3, this changed to one character from each of the first five series receiving five such cards. The contention comes from the characters getting support being Kaiba, Zane, Crow, Kite, and Sawatari in comparison to the more minor characters who would receive support in previous packs and who usually don't get any focus. However both parties agree that no-one will miss the random Duel Links meta cards added at the end of each pack.
  • Cargo Ship: Admit it, TCG/OCG players, you've gotten "attached" to a specific card or cards (?)... Especially if that card has served you well over the years or just plain eye candy.
  • Complacent Gaming Syndrome:
    • In most tournaments, you'll likely only see three, maybe four decks at most when it comes to the final brackets. Because of the Power Creep, what decks people main during tournaments fluctuates with each era, but none the less, you're unlikely to encounter any other decks besides this in any major tournament.
      • This trope gets taken Up to Eleven in certain formats with "Tier Zero" Decks - those that are so strong that little else can stand up to them, resulting in a ridiculous number of Mirror Matches observed in tournament finals. Well-known examples include Chaos (the deck that birthed the banlist), Tele-DAD of the early Synchro era, PePe (Perfomapals/Performages), Zoodiacs, which were an interesting example of this in that their engine could actually be injected into another deck to help make it competitive, and SPYRAL after they got SPYRAL Double Helix.
    • For decks that have stood the test of time, Lightsworns; or at least their engines. With the Light of Judgment structure deck available; its not hard to make a budget deck that one can have fun with the game while learning some of the ins and outs of the game as well. Go on any online Yu-Gi-Oh simulator and see how many matches you go without encountering a Lightsworn player, or someone using a Lightsworn hybrid deck with another deck theme that benefits from being sent to the graveyard.
  • Complete Monster: Master Guide 6: Lee is the main villain of the World Legacy story. Originally a scientist studying the World Key, an artifact of unimaginable power, she decided to use it to awaken the power at the planet's core, which would allow her to become a god. The act nearly destroyed the world, and wiped out most life on it. Though she was killed in the aftermath, she bound her soul to the created World Chalice. Much later, Lee came across 3 heroes, Ib, Ningirsu, and Auram, and their pet dragon, and convinced them to gather the World Legacy artifacts that were created as a part of the World Key's activation. At first seeming benevolent, she reveals her true colors in front of Ib, and takes control of her body. Though defeated when Ib regained control, Ib was forced to kill herself in the process. When Ningirsu tried to revive Ib, it was revealed that Lee survived in the robot Ningirsu created for Ib's soul. Lee then seemingly destroyed Ib's soul, all while attempting to become a god once again, not caring about the world being destroyed.
  • Crack Pairing:
    • In some pixiv fanart, Aleister the Invoker is paired up with Sky Striker Raye, as their themes have plenty of synergy.
    • And seeing as Invoked works well with Dogmatika, Aleister is paired up with Ecclesia. The irony is so thick with this, you could cut it with a knife. Pairing up someone associated with the occult with a maiden following a Catholic Church ersatz is pretty strange, indeed.
  • Crazy Awesome:
    • When it comes to design, the Jurrac Monsters are this to an insane degree. Case in point? They are dinosaurs. On fire!
    • In terms of mechanics, the D/Ds; both for their high-risk high return design and for being the first themee to have Fusion, Synchro, AND Xyz Monsters.
    • Superheavy Samurai, which can be played using solely monsters; in fact, the deck actually encourages it.
  • Creator's Pet:
    • Blackwings. It seems that Konami is a little too fond of giving this already fortified theme support, to the point where some people are getting fed up of seeing them, and their support only increased due to the ARC-V anime. It doesn't help that their most iconic user is typically seen as a Creator's Pet himself.
    • A few people saw Number 16: Shock Master in the OCG as this. Its lockdown effect and easy summoning conditions saw it quickly banned in the TCG, but it remained for quite a while in the OCG due to what was assumed it being a V-Jump promo, and thus a bit of blame was directed at Shueisha for keeping such a broken card in the game (until its January 2016 OCG banning).
    • Burning Abyss after they got Beatrice. Konami hyped up the deck to hell and back, made it one of the major selling points for Premium Gold (along with Kozmo), and didn't hit it in the April 2016 banlist despite it being meta for nearly 2 years and being one of the more potent decks. The fan-suspected reason for keeping the deck alive was so that Konami could make money on people trying to buy the deck through Premium Gold.
    • Many proclaimed Monarchs and Kozmos to be this. While the two decks are a touchy subject in the player base for various reasons, usually because of how they play,note  it became rather apparent that Konami wanted these decks to be the only meta-relevant ones for a good long while when the next few banlists were revealed after they hit the scenes. Not only was DracoPals, the only other deck that was meta-relevant, more or less killed off shortly afterward, but the very next banlist months afterwards, Monarchs and Kozmo were left mostly untouched while the banlist attacked decks that hadn't been meta-relevant for almost a yearnote  or going after rogue decks and a few generic cards that made rogue decks even remotely relevant.
      • While Monarchs eventually got nuked by the banlist after 2016 worlds, Kozmos are still this trope in many of eyes thanks to, at most, getting a slap on the wrist by the banlist. Their only major hit was Dark Destroyer to 1... While the banlist unlimited several other cards that made it a non-issue. Needless to say, Kozmo haters were unamused, though Power Creep would set it.
    • Xyz in general, especially Rank 4 Xyz. Their major built-in advantages over other summoning methods, intense splashability (and resulting Complacent Gaming Syndrome), massive card pool, ridiculous flexibility, and dirt-simple playstyle would all be enough to make them disliked in the fanbase, but it's made worse by the fact that Konami loves to print out newer and better Rank 4s and ways to make existing Rank 4s even more ridiculous, while other summoning methods and even non-Rank 4 Xyz tend to either have their cards restricted to themes or end up being much more limited than their Rank 4 counterparts. Most fans were happy to point out the absurdity of Yu-Gi-Oh! ARC-V portraying Xyz Dimension individuals as a scrappy underdog La Résistance against the terrifying soldiers of the Fusion Dimension, while at the same time in the real game, Xyz-based decks like PePe were ripping the meta a new one and Fusion-based decks were trying to scrape together something playable from what remained of Shaddolls (although when the plotline was first introduced, Shaddolls were the prominent deck over the previous Xyz meta).
    • Link Monsters. Not only are their Material requirements far simpler than anything beforehand, but the New Master Rules that introduced them also restricted Extra Deck summons (including face-up Pendulum monsters) to one space unless you have Link Monsters convert Main Monster Zones into Extra Monster Zones, provoking accusations of Character Select Forcing to utilize Extra Deck-heavy strategies.
    • Due to their prominence in Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS, the Cyberse-Type consistently received new members and support during the VRAINS era to the point of taking over the Starter and Structure Decks and making up a large portion of Link monsters.
    • Cyber Dragons became this in mid-2018; receiving Link support in main Booster Pack series Cybernetic Horizon, support from their appearance in the GX manga in Collector's Pack 2018, and support in Legend Duelist 3 based on the GX anime (after their user, Zane/Ryo had already received support for his Cyberdarks in a previous Legendary Duelists pack).
  • Dork Age: Granted, when the franchise entered this and if it's recovered from it are subjects of much debate in the fanbase. There are some key eras though...
    • Most 'tier zero' formats such as Dragon Rulers, Pepe, Zoodiacs and so forth are prime contenders, due to the Power Creep of those decks being so extreme that no other decks can compete with them, thus stagnating the meta something fierce.
    • Monarch VS Kozmo format is considered a contender for this trope due to it being the first two major decks to start up the 'keep the opponent from making as many plays as possible' style of decks and for going on far longer than most formats before Konami finally hit them with the ban hammer.
    • Early VRAINs was accused of this for going back to the 'push the new summoning mechanic at the expense of older summoning mechanics' style that the ARC-V era broke (it didn't help that the Summoning mechanic itself, and the new rules that it was tied to, were so heavily controversial). Thankfully, later sets would start giving more support to older summoning mechanics once again, though whether or not this pulled the era out of this trope has yet to be seen.
    • The notoriety of Firewall Dragon based loops and FTK caused the entirety of 2018 to be considered as this by the majority of the playerbase. This period lasts until the tail end of the year when its finally announced that Firewall Dragon is finally getting banned, to the delight of the playerbase. In TCG side, this ban is further backed by banning several degenerate engines such as Rhongomyniad, Rank-Up Azathot, and Topologic Gumblar Dragon.
  • Ensemble Dark Horse:
    • Early on in the game, Jinzo was extremely popular due to being one of Katsuya Jonouchi/Joey Wheeler's signature cards on the show, and that he provided a way to bypass some of the more powerful Trap Cards at the time. To this day, he's still fairly popular due to his practicality, as well as his pretty ghastly design.
    • Early on, the Gemini Elves were popular for being a strong level 4 Normal Monster and being sexy twins.
      • In general, level 4 Normal Monsters with 1900 ATK tend to be pretty popular in comparison to some others, such as Vorse Raider & Luster Dragon.
    • Tour Guide From the Underworld, for being a Cute Monster Girl, making Xyz summoning really easy, and possessing one of the most broken effects in the game when teamed with Sangan....until Konami ruled otherwise. For a while, her card was commanding $200, more than twice the price for a box of the expansion itself!]
    • The fanart for the Charmers is immense, especially in Japan. For example, take Pixiv. Red-Eyes, one of the most well-known themes in the game, has around 9 pages of artwork. The Charmers, on the other hand, have at least 60 pages. Being adorable on top of having an intriguing lore certainly helps, as did the trickles of new cards for their lore during the ARC-V era.
    • Skull Servant. Among the many, many weak and underpowered normal monsters, it was known as the weak and underpowered normal monster (probably because it came first in the set, it looks goofy, and even its flavor text acknowledges its weakness). Konami even acknowledged this by making an entire theme around it and having it be a running joke in card art cameos.
    • Noble Knights are a popular theme in the TCG for their mythology and unique play style based on Equip Spell cards. This led to them getting additional exclusives in the TCG release of Shadow Specters and an entire section of the site dedicated to showcasing the theme's cards, overshadowing the horror-themed cards that were meant to be the focus of the set.
    • Poki Draco, due to a Facebook page, as a prank and to prove a point on how foolish people buying singles can be, temporarily causing an inflation in its price by putting a bunch of them up for $15 on ebay.
    • Ultimate Conductor Tyranno. Despite not appearing in any of the anime/manga series and its only printing being in a Structure Deck, it's one of the most well-liked and popular boss monsters in the game for its massive 3500 ATK, its great effects, and being a giant electric Tyrannosaurus rex.
    • Any deck from the "good old days" of Yu-Gi-Oh! can be this, especially if they receive new support that makes them competitive. One deck in particular stands out - Gravekeepers. It was not only one of the first archetypes in the game, but is actually one of the few that invokes the ancient Egyptian mythology that the very game itself is rooted in. Not only that, but gameplay-wise, they received constant support from Konami during the Zexal era that kept them relevant, and were also widely regarded as the most powerful Anti-Meta deck, due to its star card, Necrovalley, putting a stop to most Graveyard strategies. Fans rejoiced when Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Links came out and made them into a top-tier deck, and even after it lost that status over time, it's still one of the most fondly regarded decks in that version of the game as well.
    • The Madolche theme proved extremely popular with Japanese fan artists for being both creative and adorable in terms of appearance.
    • The U.A. (Ultra Athlete) theme is rarely talked about by Konami, rarely receives any focus, and its cards are consistently of the lowest rarities possible. Despite this, the theme has caught the eye of many a player for its unorthodox yet effective strategies and its terrifyingly powerful support Spell Cards. The theme only got three cards a set and were silently discontinued, until they were finally given support in Phantom Rage, around five years later since their last support.
    • Performapal Friendonkey was usually seen as the best Performapal card. Partly due to its semi-useful ability, mostly because of its awkward facial expression, and its common rarity means that you'll be pulling a lot of them from packsnote .
    • While most of the Performapals aren't popular, Yuya's Pendulum Magicians and Odd-Eyes cards are due to being a well-designed Pendulum theme that can incorporate all the Extra Deck summoning methods. Once enough of them were revealed, they seized online playing sites by storm.
    • Again, while Performapals aren't too popular, Performapal Skullcrobat Joker is easily the most popular one, with many citing him as the only good Performapal note  thanks to his powerful searching effect for monsters not of the Performapal theme, such Odd-Eyes and the Pendulum Magicians, as soon as his Normal Summon, and even if he's destroyed by a Trap Card that doesn't negate the act of summoning in itself, the effect still goes off, as well as having good ATK and Pendulum Scale range that doesn't have too big of a draw back to it. note 
    • Toons, some of the star cards of Pegasus, had been largely ignored by Konami for close to a decade, and as such, many fans clamored for relevant support, as evidenced by a lot of fan-made cards that will turn up on a simple Google Search. They finally received support in 2015, and although some duelists were quick to dismiss them due to the Toons' ill-deserved reputation of being useless, their popularity soared as a feasible and fun deck to use once the usefulness of support such as "Toon Kingdom" and "Comic Hand" became apparent. Their reception of more support in 2020's Toon Chaos set was met with similar praise.
    • To the dismay of many a fan, the U.A. are not to receive any support in Clash of Rebellions and will most likely remain without a second Level 4 for the longest time. They were replaced, and normally this would be a source of great rage... were the replacements not Kaiju, who manage to avert Replacement Scrappy status entirely and were very positively received from the minute they were revealed (again, without a word from Konami). So long, Ultra Athletes. You will not be forgotten and your successors will certainly live up to your name and then some.
    • Chaos Dragons have long been a popular deck due to its theme being centered around a combination of good and evil dragons, spellcasters and fiends, as well as how well the deck has held up over the years due to the central mechanics (manipulate the grave, banishing LIGHT/DARK to special summon) being concepts that still receive support to this day, allowing a number of variants than can adapt to the meta fairly effectively.
    • Traptrix. When a poll for a new card sleeve was shown and they were one of the choices, they beat the others in popularity and became the leading choice, although see Americans Hate Tingle.
    • Shaddoll proved to be incredibly popular throughout the years, being able to build hybrids with about everything and receiving constant waves of (unfortunately mediocre) support many years after their initial release ended. It reached its end when Konami released a Link version of their boss monster (Construct), with many players on the western community expecting or asking for her return from the banlist, and deriding the new monster for being a pain in the ass for Shaddolls to use. Being able to easily mix with TRAINS, another Ensemble Dark Horse, just cemented their spot.
    • TRAINS. A series of monsters based on trains and railway infrastructure, the deck's insane concept (they are not monsters in the form of trains; they're sentient trains) along with being able to easily overwhelm the opponent through damage, pure beatdown and easily summoning Rank 10 monsters (one of the hardest ranks to make) made many players fall in love with them. Being the favorite deck of a certain famous yugituber helps a little too...
    • Pretty much any card to come out of Korea. The Entities are a Lovecraftian theme of Xyz, Synchro, and Fusion Summoning that captivate many with their horrifying/awesome artworks, the Paleozoic are a Trap Monster theme unlike any we've seen, and even the individual monsters are just so utterly fascinating that it's hard to avoid wanting to use them, such as with Dinosewing or World Carrotweight Champion.
    • The Zefra are widely liked for their multi-theme support and rich lore, despite initially not being as powerful as other competitive or Pendulum decks in most variants.
    • Witchcraft Master Verre has drawn in fans due to her smug expressions and interactions with other Witchcraft monsters in the art of their Spells.
    • While considered relatively outdated today, Kaiser Sea Horse has a minor following, mostly in part to being one of Kaiba's incredibly cool looking cards, with some practicality back then and in some slower formats as a relatively easy way to get out Blue-Eyes White Dragon or Sanga of the Thunder.
    • Ancient Gears have quite a few fans, from the designs of the rusty warriors and beasts to their fun playstyle, being that of a beatdown deck that can bring out high leveled and incredibly powerful boss monsters easily, while also preventing backrow from stopping them when they attack.
    • It's common for themes considered bad to have a specific card (usually a boss monster) that many people adore, such as Ally of Justice Catastor and Arcana Force XXI - The World. A big example would be the boss monster of the Venom theme, Vennominaga the Deity of Poisonous Snakes, partially because of her ridiculous power, as well as having a lovely design (which was editted for the TCG). It's not uncommon to see people make Reptile decks focusing on bringing her, and by extension, Vennominon the King of Poisonous Snakes, out onto the field, usually with help of other Reptile themes like Aliens and Worms.
    • The Six Samurai, despite not getting any attention in the anime, certainly have their share of fans for their cool aesthetic that flawlessly blends Cyberpunk with Feudal Japan, surprisingly well-developed lore, having a surprisingly powerful boss monster for its time in Great Shogun Shien, and just being badass samurai. They also got waves of support cards over the years, including monsters for all the Extra Deck summoning methods, letting them keep up with the ever-shifting meta and even making them extremely powerful at certain points. It was more common for people to get Strike of Neos and Storm of Ragnarok packs for the Six Samurai cards in them rather than the Neos and Nordic cards the sets were focused around.
    • The Borrel dragons are very popular even among those who've never watched Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS, for being very splashable robotic gun-dragons that have a variety of potent effects, from hijacking opposing monsters to attacking twice with a massive ATK boost to negating any monster effect that comes their way.
    • Arguably most surprising of all are the Sacred Beasts, GX's answer to the Egyptian & Wicked Gods. Between them all, they saw the most frequent experimentation for some time, and managed to come in second place in a poll, above fellow Ensemble Darkhorses the Charmers and only being beaten out at the last minute by also fellow Ensemble Darkhorses the Shaddolls by 1%. Granted, while some people voted for the sake of meme value, there were plenty who were generally curious to see how Konami would handle making a structure deck for rather dated boss monsters, and many believe the incredibly close vote still won them a structure deck in the distant future. To say the excitement many had once it was confirmed their structure deck would release on March 20, 2020 was immeasurable would be an understatement.
    • Of the so called "Duelist Alliance Triangle" of Burning Abyss, Qli, and Shadolls each can qualify as an Ensemble Dark Horse in its own rights, its Shadolls and Burning Abyss that is most fondly remembered by the playerbase. The combination of cool artworks, intuitive and synergistic playstyle, and versatility of their card engine quickly won over many fans, and the real life rivalry of the two themes are considered some of the most iconic moments in Yugioh competitive metagame. The popularity of these two themes is such, that Shadolls ended up winning the official poll for the most requested structure deck theme to be made, with the structure deck itself being announced soon after the confirmation of Shadoll's victory on the poll. As for Burning Abyss, the sheer combination of its adaptability, continuous stream of support, laxer restrictions towards them in the banlist, and very dedicated fanbase results in them being THE longest lasting competitive yugioh deck in history, topping all sorts of competitive events since their debut back in 2014, all the way towards midway through 2019 featuring all sorts of innovation in terms of deckbuilding, playstyle, and build options.
    • Danger!? Tsuchinoko? isn't well-liked because of its effect, which is a free Special Summon, but its utterly adorable artwork has made it a much memed critter in fanart.
    • Fantastical Dragon Phantazmay is well-loved, not only because it's a useful handtrap (especially during Master Rule 4), but also for its uncanny resemblance to Comic Book/Thanos, with its being released between Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame.
  • Epileptic Trees: The true identity of El Shaddoll Construct was this for a while, as it didn't fit the normal conditions for the other Shaddoll monsters.note  The Master Guide 5 eventually revealed that it was Gem-Knight Lapis.
  • Faux Symbolism: Some themes released in the Duel Terminal storyline started with DUEA include references to judaism, specifically Qliphort, Shaddoll and Infernoid.
  • Fetish Retardant: One of the more justified reasons for editing card art.
  • Foe Yay:
  • Franchise Original Sin: For all the complaints about later era Yu-Gi-Oh! becoming a 'keep the opponent from playing at all' game or that it's 'like playing solitaire while someone watches you', it can be hard to remember that lockdown/control decks have always been a part of the game. Even one of the most famous 'old school' formats, Goat format, was based around keeping the opponent from playing as much as possible. However, the speed of the game has drastically changed, making it far more noticeable when someone manages to lock you down turn one as opposed to several turns in. Earlier days of the game, there was at least a chance to either thwart your opponent before the setup or you had a way to set up counter-measures to stop the locks before it shut you down. Currently, it's completely possible off of one card to set up a wall of monsters with excellent defense and protection if you know the chain of events. A recurring joke of the game is "What's a turn 5?", mocking yet acknowledging how fast the game has truly gotten.
  • "Funny Aneurysm" Moment:
    • It's common knowledge that the Yu-Gi-Oh! Trading Card Game was inspired by Magic: The Gathering, to the point where some Magic players would refer to it as a ripoff. Now, when you consider some of the rule changes that has taken effect since Pendulums arrive, and the fact that there are now "Artifacts" in the game, and you have some Yu-Gi-Oh! players now decrying that it's becoming too much like Magic.
    • Anyone calling for Sangan's ban after the cards listed below and his Memetic Loser Woobie trip.
  • Game-Breaker: Has its own page, but in general, every card on the Forbidden/Limited List has been this at some point.
  • Genius Bonus: Here.
  • Germans Love David Hasselhoff: The "Fur Hire" theme has a much higher profile in the TCG compared to the OCG, where it was fairly unremarkable. This is thanks to how the translators handled the English translation of the theme's card names and support. See Woolseyism for more details.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
    • Remember the time when players did the Tour Guide From The Underworld + Sangan combo? That's what Burning Abyss players do now.
    • Back in 2010, Konami released the Duel Terminal theme Gem-Knight, which consists of sentient humanoid gem stones with super powers who became stronger by fusing with each other. Sounds familiar?
    • Frog the Jam (now Slime Toad), a weak level 2 Normal Monster, had a Memetic Loser status in the TCG due to "Blind Idiot" Translation forcing it to be specifically excluded from every effect involving the Frog archtype. Fast forward to 2016, and Frog the Jam actually became a key card of one Frog variant in the OCG due its status as a Normal Monster allowing the deck's new boss monster, Toadally Awesome, to be summoned easily via Rescue Rabbit.
    • Garlandolf, King of Destruction, a monster inspired by Ganondorf from The Legend of Zelda and often nicknamed that by the player base, is a weaker version of an earlier card named Demise, King of Armageddon.note  Incidentally, Skyward Sword would later reveal that Ganondorf's ancestral incarnation was a being named Demise.
    • The "Senet" cards and mechanic, cards that revolved around the placement of cards on the field, were widely reviled even by the creators. And then Links were introduced...
    • Ancient Fairy Dragon was widely viewed as one of the weakest Signer Dragons, but after Field Spells became far more prominent, it became the first one to be Forbidden.
  • Ho Yay: The Artworks of some Gouki cards can be classified as this. Even supported with them showing personality in the anime.
  • It's the Same, Now It Sucks!: While Cyberse as a new type do need their support and their prominence is to be expected given their focus in Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS, many players began to tire of the starter and non-R structure decks always supporting Cyberse monsters quite quickly.
  • Junk Rare: Generally Averted. Anything "Super Rare" and above is generally a sign that the card is good and competitive viable, such as Black Rose Dragon being anywhere from Super Rare to Ghost Rare (one of the hardest rarities to get in the 5Ds era.) and is quite the valued Synchro even with the Power Creep that came later because of its ability to nuke the field. However, despite this, some examples still do pop up...
    • Probably the earliest examples of Junk Rare were Celtic Guardian and Mystical Elf in Legend of Blue-Eyes. Both were Super Rare - the same rarity as powerful Spells like Raigeki, Dark Hole, and (the then powerful) Swords of Revealing Light - but they had lower stats than Commons like Uraby and Skull Red Bird and Rares like Giant Soldier of Stone and Aqua Madoor. On top of that, they were available in the Starter Decks a few later. (This was an odd bit of The Artifact; LOB was a combination of several sets, and Elf and Guardian had been released in some of the earliest sets, where they were strong enough to justify their rarity. They had been packed in with stronger cards from later sets, and then their rarities hadn't changed.)
      • How about all the fusions in the set? Fusionist and Flame Ghost had stat totals lower than one of their materials and they were printed as rare in LOB. At Least Mystical Elf was a good wall for its time.
    • Many of the nostalgia-based decks in the second third of the ARC-V era are decent at best, but have high rarities to cash-in on the then upcoming 20th anniversary nostalgia. Averted by ABC, and most famously by Blue-Eyes, which were not only Tier 1, but won the 2016 World Championship.
  • Memetic Badass:
    • SHAPESNATCH!
    • Trent, which is rumored to be immortal.
    • The anime viewers of ARC-V see the Raidraptor Xyz Monsters as these. This was inevitable with monsters like a Rank 4 falcon going from 100 ATK to 16,400 ATK in the next second, a Rank 6 falcon that carpet bombs a city, a Rank 8 falcon that fires a Wave-Motion Gun out of the atmosphere, and a Rank 10 behemoth that is unaffected by card effects. It doesn't hurt that their user is a Memetic Badass himself.
    • Ignister Prominence, the Blasting Dracoslayer, due to its VERY potent removal effect.
    • Any of the rare monsters that can be Summoned by Tributing the opponent's monsters as it's difficult to prevent, but the most prominent are a) Lava Golem, the first to be introduced (and it was memorably introduced in the anime by Yami Marik), b) The Winged Dragon of Ra- Sphere Mode because of its abilities to break any board no matter how ridiculously powerful it may appearnote , and also because IT'S SPHERICAL!!! and an in-story Physical God, and c) the Kaiju, which also use this mechanic to stage giant monster battles.
    • Stardust Dragon and PSY-Framelord Omega were already well-regarded, but when the New Master Rules dropped and revealed that Extra monsters revived from the graveyard would be summoned to the Main Monster Zones, quite a few people noticed that this gave them the ability to easily dodge the restrictions via their self-removal and revival effects.
    • Trishula was already a Game-Breaker, but what really turned it into this was Youtuber Kaminakat, who made a habit of summoning it in every deck, playing the "JOHN CENA!" sound every time.
    • Breaker the Magical Warrior is this thanks to its ability in destroying one card in S/T zone and its role in overkilling Weevil/Haga in the anime series.
    • Monster cards such as Cannon Soldier, Toon Cannon Soldier, and Catapult Turtle are this because they can deal Direct Damage by tributing "fodders". That's right, no matter how strong a monster is, these cards will turn them into fodder.
  • Memetic Loser:
    • Rainbow Dragon, thanks to being a boss monster that even in its own deck is vastly outshone by other options the deck has, note  and generally having lackluster effects for the amount of trouble needed to go through in order to summon him.
    • Sangan quickly became this thanks to a series of cards showing his trip to where banned cards go and his terrible luck along the way, along with shades of being The Woobie.
    • The playable version of the Winged Dragon of Ra was quickly hit by this sentiment, as it was released without many of the effects its anime incarnation had, and possessed two effects that actively contradicted each other, forcing players to choose between using one and forgoing the other. It did not help matters that it could not be Special Summoned and possessed no inherent protection from card effects. While attempts were made to increase the card's playability through releasing Ra's two other forms as separate cards and creating more support cards for Ra, many fans simply came to see the number of cards created solely to "fix" Ra as indicative of how badly designed the original playable card was to begin with. Ra was also unfavorably compared to the Sacred Beasts, another set of in-story Physical Gods who received new support at around the same time as Ra's second wave of support. To wit, each Sacred Beast recevied one card which managed to restore functionality lost from the anime and augment its playability, along with two monsters that could bring them out quickly by ignoring their Summoning conditions. Ra received six cards to try and accomplish all this, but fans still largely view the new support as missing the mark and a disproportionate amount of effort required simply to evoke Gameplay and Story Integration. It has gotten to the point where many fans would much rather Ra received an errata (which has only ever been used to Nerf the effects of Forbidden cards to remove them from the banlist) to improve its inherent effects, or a more playable retrained version. In the opinions of such fans, this approach would much more effectively fix the root cause of the issues plaging Ra, rather than Konami continuing to give the lackluster original playable card more support to try and encourage its use. See Author's Saving Throw for more details.
    • Goyo Guardian, thanks to the OCG-based errata that made it so you needed an EARTH Tuner to summon it. This after years of not being relevant at all in the TCG and the entire playerbase agreeing that it could go back to 3 (which it DID prior to the errata) and it would still do nothing. For a while, this combined with Memetic Badass regarding the OCG's apparent fear of unbanning it. Duel Links highlighted this again with how it's acquired in that game.
    • Stratos holds basically the same position as Goyo Guardian in reverse, for having been banned for years in the TCG despite being Limited for years in the OCG and having made little real headway there, and for being a key card in a popular deck type (as well as the only useful WIND-attribute in a deck heavily focused around varied attributes). Things got even louder when Stratos was dropped to Semi-Limited in the OCG, and continued to make no real headway, and when the TCG version of a HERO-focused Structure Deck swapped out Stratos for Avian, of all things, just to make the WIND fusions in the deck playable. Yugioh Puppet Show by Yugimation portrays Stratos as The Friend Nobody Likes among the banlist residents. He was finally Limited in September 2018, though A Hero Lives was re-Limited as well.
    • Little D because of... its unfortunate name.
    • The entire D/D theme became this upon the release of Links, as a Deck based around complicated strategies to string together many Extra Deck summons was seen as the most likely to suffer under the new ruleset, and it was taking center stage in the anime to advertise a bunch of cards that would likely become unusable in a matter of days. Variants of "I can't believe ARC-V ended with Yusaku shooting Reiji's deck ten times" were fairly common.
  • Memetic Mutation: Has its own part in here.
  • Misblamed:
    • The Performapals to a degree. While they certainly do have their contributions to the brokeness of the Performages and Pals strategy, it's actually the Performages and the Dracoslayers that cause the most potent combos, the former having already been responsible for the Clownblade engine, and indeed, when the deck was first hit in the OCG, it was the Performages that were banned. Their main strength is consistency and advantage rather than broken monsters.
    • Whenever a Pendulum deck becomes meta, many are quick to blame the mechanic itself for it being "broken"; however, more often than not, it's the non-Pendulum cards of the deck that causes it to become so powerful; a good example being the Performages above in the dreaded PePe deck, with most of the ones that gave it its power being non-Pendulum monsters. In fact, many point out it's usually Xyz Monsters, especially the R4NK toolbox that's usually the real problem, thanks to how easily it can abuse the Pendulum mechanic.
    • This applies to most of the extra deck summoning methods. While many people are quick to blame the newly introduced summoning mechanics for 'ruining the game' in truth, a lot of it boils down to Konami's business practices and pure raw Power Creep itself. Even if Synchro, Xyz, Pendulum, or Links weren't introduced, a number of people point out the game would still be in the state it is today, even pointing to how contact Fusion could have been in the exact same spot as the others were had they not been introduced by merely swiping out specific fusion material for generic ones.
  • Never Live It Down: Konami and by proxy, the game, has become a rather infamous flag for Power Creep in card games but no more so has it reached its peak than when several major card shops in Japan refused to allow one of the major new themes at the time in their tournaments because of how bad of an example of Power Creep they were. In general, Zoodiacs have become an example in many former duelists' eyes that Konami flat-out doesn't care for the game anymore outside of wringing every last dollar they can out of it. Zoodiacs vastly eclipsed any other deck at the time, to the point that the only way to be remotely competitive at the time was to run Zoodiac hybrids; so much so that when they were released in the OCG, all the meta-decks in tournaments at the time was nothing but Zoodiac and Zoodiac hybrids, and unlike the infamous PePe example above, which was a hybrid of three completely different themes, Zoodiacs were intentionally designed to be that powerful from the start. In general, Zoodiacs have become an example of how not to make a healthy theme in a cardgame, and an example of why Power Creep isn't always a good thing.
  • Nightmare Fuel:
  • Older Than They Think:
  • Pandering to the Base: Generation Duels seem to be this for the people who dislike the game past a certain format. Generation Duels nearly ban all cards past the era it's set in and has banned cards limited to what they were during the generation.
  • Periphery Demographic: Despite being a "children's card game", the majority of the playerbase consists of teens and adult males. Japan even made a video for them.
  • Rescued from the Scrappy Heap: Neo-Spacian Aqua Dolphin was long regarded as one of the more useless of the Neo-Spacians, but mid-2018 saw it gain significant use in tournament play as an answer to handtraps.
  • The Scrappy:
    • A lot of players dislike Elemental HER Oes because, being the theme of choice of Judai/Jaden Yuki, they pretty much took over the game for several booster packs, they dominate the fusion mechanic, and have more support and numbers than actual types. It didn't help that several of those cards received no changes when they were ported to real life, resulting sets being clogged with cards that were very situational, even in their intended Deck. This is in contrast to Yugi, who used monsters that were pretty much all over the place in terms of their theme, and Yusei, who does mostly rely on the Synchron and Warrior themes, but many of the cards involved are useful for other things besides supporting their own theme. They were somewhat Rescued from the Scrappy Heap as Elemental HERO cards from the manga debuted, giving the theme much better options for competitive play.
      • Special note should be made for the Neos-based fusions. Elemental Hero Neos was already impractical (a 2 tribute normal monster with 2500 ATK wasn't exactly worth hyping during the GX era); but there were ways to make him work (O-Oversoul gets him right out of the graveyard and E-Hero Prisma easily sent him to the graveyard) Neos himself has decent support. The same however, cannot be said for the Neo-Spacians (Ya know, the OTHER half of a Neos deck?). The spacian materials were either wholly worthless stat and effect-wisenote , the Spacian fusion monsters were useless and other Neos fusions were usually tedious to summon at all. Compounding this was that the relevant fusion monsters had two additional drawbacks: You can't summon them without using their built-in effects, and even once you summoned them you had to return the fusion monster to the Extra Deck at the end of your turn unless you had a specific Field Spell card out. Unfortunately, because of the return to the deck effect the Neos fusions were known for, playing Neo-Space just clued your opponent into a bullseye that crippled the deck if it's hit.
      • Adding to the above was the fact that these cards existed along-side the Cyber Dragon theme, the XYZ Dragon deck, and basically every straight-aggro deck in the game. The idea of a Neos-Fusion deck was dead in the water upon inception, and these days trying to run such a deck would probably hospitalize your opponent from making them laugh too hard.
    • For the old-school players, Yata-Garasu was this before its ban, for several reasons.
    • The Utopia monsters. They have several different "forms", unlike Utopia's predecessors, which only have a two or three (except Neos), several players tend to call hatedom due to Utopia's effect and the way how the creators are giving it more time to shine. To be fair, it IS the main protagonist's card, although a lot of the hate is because Yuma's anime incarnation is a Scrappy himself. It doesn't help that it has different forms between the anime and the manga. Konami's response to this problem? Make an anti-Utopia monster in the form of Number 98: Dystopia. Then they added The Lightning, a Super Mode that happened to be both absurdly splashable and more than a little overpowered. People got used to seeing it a lot.
    • El Shaddoll Wendigo is universally disliked for being rather useless in the deck.
    • In terms of expansion sets, Cyberdark Impact is almost universally hated, due to introducing several themes that were dead in the water from the get-go. The booster's themes included "Chain" cards that can only be used if enough card effects are chained togethernote , or the "Senet" series of cards that do things relying on the physical placement of cards in the card zones, and which Konami admitted was a terrible idea prior to the introduction of Link Monsters. It also attempted to renew the LV series but weighed down its two monsters with poor stats and restrictions that they were effectively unplayable. The Cyber Ogre "theme" consisted of just three cards and never took off the ground. Even the Cyberdark cards - the ones that the set is named for - are seen by many as too weak, even at the time of its launch. That said, the pack did serve as the debut of several cards that found their place one way or another.note 
      • Duelist Pack: Dimensional Guardians (a set meant to introduce OCG-only legacy support to the TCG) was universally met with derision from the playerbase not only because of its questionable rarity bumpsnote , but also because the pack was the last chance for Fluffals/Frightfurs to become meta in the TCG by bringing the coveted Frightfur Patchwork. Instead they only brought Frightfur Daredevil and Frightfur Reborn, earning the ire of multiple players and being met with boycott menaces.
    • The Performapals from the anime. They started out the era by being a Tier-Induced Scrappy on the low end of the scale, then immediately launched to the high end of the scale with several sets and support that came for them later on, reaching its peak with Breakers of Shadow, where it got enough support and good hybrid cards that with a well put together deck, it can effectively lock out the opponent from even playing the game, even if they go first, in addition to a lot of meta decks suspiciously getting their key cards banned around the same time to the point of making them useless. It got so bad that some players started to attempt to make decks that could specifically counter them out of cards from older themes in protest, and players of its sister deck, Odd-Eyes Magician, dreaded the eventual crossfire that would happen to their deck, either from the ensuing ban list banning key cards that work well with both or players maiming decks specifically to counter Pendulum summoning decks in themselves. On top of that, their designs can be quite off-putting and their themenote  can come off as rather rather random.
    • Zoodiac Ratpier, for being the single card that made the Zoodiac theme so infamous and for making it that for most decks to compete at the time they needed it with a hybrid Zoodiac engine in order to keep up with other decks using the Zoodiac engine.
    • In general, any theme that warrants a solitaire play style such as World Chalice, Infernity (though it's high-risk, high-reward style makes that one attractive) and X-Saber, if only because turns involving those decks take forever and the amount of searching involved makes them seem like a Rube Goldberg Device compared to faster decks.note 
    • Any cards that cause other cards to end up on the banlist rather than being banned themselvesnote . The Dragon Rulers are the most famous example of this, but Instant Fusion also became a well-known examplenote , as are Blaze Fenix, the Burning Bombardment Birdnote  and Crystron Halqifibraxnote .
  • Scrappy Mechanic
    • Missing the timing. Not only does understanding this ruling mean one has to pay very close attention to the Exact Words on card effects, but it also means a lot of potential combos are ruined and a strategy can fall apart with one misplayed card that violates the rule. A further annoyance with this conflict is that most newer cards have their wordings phrased so you can't miss the timing while older cards tend to have their effects worded so they can, contributing to the Can't Catch Up problem outdated themes have against the faster new themes.
    • The Special Summon rule when it comes to the graveyard and banished zone. When a monster cannot be normal summoned, then it must be special summoned by a card effect that is specified on the text. There are 4 outcomes to special summon only monsters: if there is no mention that it must be special summoned by a specific card effect (including its own), then it can be special summoned by any means including from the graveyard of banished zone before getting summoned to the field. The second is that it can be special summoned from the hand or deck by other means, but must first fulfill the condition on the card text (e.g. extra deck monsters with no effects). If it says it can be special summoned by its effect, then the same situation applies where it must be summoned by effects to be revived. Then there are the semi-nomi's that must first be special summoned by its effect to fulfill its condition before being revived and then nomi's which cannot be special summoned naturally by other means. When Soul of the Duelist was released, the card "Level Up" introcued the "ignore summoning condition" clause. This was not a an issue for nomi monsters because it summoned them from the deck. Fast forward to Eelemental Energy, and Level Modulation was printed, which was the first card to revive nomi's. Many players would think because it says "ignore summoning conditions" would apply, but Konami decides that this is only true if the monster was summoned properly. What makes this irritating to players is that Konami is contradicting what is printed on the text. If ignoring a condition means that it does not apply and the monster is in the graveyard, then it should be irrelevant if the monster was summoned or not because it could not be revived in the first place by natural means. Ignore summoning condition should mean exactly what is printed, but the creators do not think so.
    • The "Harpie rule"; Harpie Lady #1, #2, #3, and Cyber Harpie, all have their names treated as Harpie Lady. This also means for purposes of deck construction, thus you can only have three of any of them in the deck. The card makers thankfully realized this was stupid and started using the mentioned naming mechanics listed under Loophole Abuse in the main article.
    • Archfiend Cards are known as 'Daemon' in the OCG (Not the Type Demon), but since the TCG just couldn't print that, they changed their names with no consistency to such. A few years later Demons became an archetype, with cards that support them as such. In the end: All old Demon cards (such as Summoned Skull) became Archfiends, but couldn't have their names changed and while they are treated as such in official games there was nothing on the card that actually says they are Archfiends, so the only way to know that is to look it up on the Internet. Thankfully, reprints now have errata text that state plainly "this card is always treated as an Archfiend card."
    • While not technically a game mechanic, the large number of OCG exclusives is infuriating for many TCG players, since there's often no indication of when the TCG will get certain cards, while in comparison, any TCG exclusives can be reliably found in the OCG's Extra Packs. The D/Ds suffered greatly from this (detailed below), the Frightfurs had been affected by the holding back of ONE single support cardnote , while most of the introduced cards from the Kastle Siblings pack took over three years to be imported.note 
      • This ties into a rather cretinous, though not technically illegal business practice. It's common to have certain cards in the OCG be of one rarity for a while in Japan as a testing ground to see what kinds of combos or potential the card itself has. Then, when it's time to come to America, the rarity may very well change and as a result, the price jacks up abnormally largely. Cases in point: the Qliphorts (Common and Rare in the OCG, all-foil in the TCG), and Dragonic Diagram, a card that when revealed to have unbelievable combo potential with Dinosaur cards, became a secret rare in America worth close to $100.
    • The New Master Rules are generally regarded as the weakest of the Master Rules, thanks to the way Links were handled being a very blatant use of Character Select Forcing on Konami's part.note When Konami announced the April 1st 2020 Revision to the Master Rules, they were met with near unanimous praise.note 
  • "Seinfeld" Is Unfunny:
    • Looking back upon older themes and cards thanks to the game's ever progressing Power Creep, it can be rather hard to figure out why they were popular and even worth it to consider running. This is primarily thanks to the earliest days of the game being very slow paced in comparison to today's meta. As such, it may be rather off-putting to some to go back and play older themes and decks, as much of the game's earliest strategies consisted of "summon single high power monster, give it good equip card, then proceed to beat the enemy into the ground over several turns of play" in comparison to the rapid searching and mass summoning strategies of today's metagame.
    • A good example from the earliest days of the game would be Twin-Headed Thunder Dragon. Nowadays, it's glorified target practice that you'll likely get laughed at for playing. Back in the day, though, it was one of the only fusion monsters worth running, as its fusion material, Thunder Dragon, could easily search itself for its day, and Twin-Headed Thunder Dragon had a massive attack stat back then, being only outshone by Blue-Eyes and a few other weaker monsters with equips. It was common to see fusion decks that consisted of only this card. Nowadays, though, don't expect to ever see it played, as most people who do run fusion monsters usually use ones with more lax-fusion material requirements, have better ATK, and actually have effects of some kind to boot.
  • Self-Fanservice: Many Yu-Gi-Oh! fanartists tend to omit El Shaddoll Winda's puppet-like features on their fanart of her. She often looks a human wearing a skin-tight outfit.
  • Shipping:
    • Sangan x Tour Guide From The Underworld, back when detaching Xyz Materials was considered as sending cards from the field to the graveyard. The fanart speaks for it.
    • Before Tour Guide existed, Sangan x Witch of the Black Forest, due to both being general tutor cards that were banned together.
  • Spiritual Adaptation: The World Legacy themes to Xenoblade Chronicles.
  • Tastes Like Diabetes:
    • The Naturia, mostly because of their cutesy artstyle. The theme itself is quite good and is capable of locking down all of your opponents effects if played right.
    • The Madolche have a Strawberry Shortcake-like aesthetic to them.
    • The Melffy are a theme of pastel-colored animals with card arts that wouldn't be out of place of a children's storybook.
  • They Changed It, Now It Sucks!:
    • About a number of things. Some argue about changing the original, dark artwork from early packs to lighter, more anime-esque, to the game originally having few Effect Monsters and a ton of Normal Monsters with now-banned Spell Cards being the only salvation against them, to most decks having nothing but Effect Monsters.
    • Another variation is people who preferred the pre-5D's generations, before things like Synchros and Tuners were introduced.
    • Anytime a new summoning mechanic gets added to the game, you can bet people will be complaining about it as soon as it's revealed. Synchro, Xyz, Pendulum, Link... You could make a drinking game out of the number of times you see people complaining about the new monster type being "broken", even if there are a lot of easy outs to said cards. In fact, any mechanic Konami tries pushing will usually be met with this. Even during the GX era there were a lot of people complaining about the over-focus of Fusion monsters at the time, despite the mechanic being in the game since the start.
    • PSCT (Problem Solving Card Text). Though intended to make things simpler, it ends up making some cards being a cross between Captain Obvious and Colon Cancer if the player couldn't adapt. Here's an example for the card Mystical Space Typhoon:
    Old Text: Destroy 1 Spell or Trap Card on the field.
    New Text: Target 1 Spell/Trap Card on the field; destroy that target.
    • Other cards can wind up ambiguous and confusing as well. Here's a comparison with Magic Drain.
    Old Text: When your opponent activates a Spell Card: Negate the activation and destroy it. Your opponent can discard 1 Spell Card to negate this card's effect.
    New Text: When your opponent activates a Spell Card: They can discard 1 Spell Card to negate this card's effect, otherwise negate the activation of their Spell Card, and if you do, destroy it.
    • The rule changes that would take effect once the Pendulum Monsters arrived (the player who goes first doesn't enter their Draw Phase on that turn, and Field Spells no longer override and destroy each other) were initially met with scorn, but this was eventually Averted Trope, as the playerbase came to appreciate not needing to engage on field spell wars and first turn still reigning supreme in terms of being able to play uninterrupted.
    • Often the reaction to card effects changing from how they were used in the anime and manga. In some cases, such as the aforementioned Winged Dragon of Ra, this actually does make the card unplayable competitively. Other times, it's because the card ends up with a completely different effect (e.g. Dystopia the Despondent, which originally prevented Xyz summons).
    • Link Monsters and the New Master Rules in general. While all the previous mechanics got a fair share of backlash, most people became accustomed to them over time. Link Monsters got enough hate upon their introduction to eclipse Synchros, Xyzs, and Pendulums combined because of the new rules they brought along with them: Each player can only summon one Extra Deck Monster at the start and must summon a Link Monster in order to convert Main Monster Zones into viable Monster Zones to Summon other Extra Deck monsters to. Considering how Extra Deck-focused most decks were, many complained upon reading this rule, claiming it single-handedly killed off a majority of decks], while also causing decks that rely on Main Deck monsters to suddenly become overpowered overnight, thanks to being unaffected by the rule. In short, the New Master Rules were the biggest upset in the history of ''Yu-Gi-Oh!!!."
  • Tier-Induced Scrappy: Enough examples to have its own page.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Character: A lot of promising themes are killed off and forgotten before they amount to any significance, or even get enough members to be a real deck. Sometimes this is due to the theme belonging to a character — usually one-off villains — who only got a very small amount of dueling screentime, resulting in only their cards that they played in the show being printed.
    • In general a lot of themes are exclusive to the anime and manga, even if they could see real life play without needing to be changed much. To their credit, Konami began making efforts to avert this beginning with the climax of the ZEXAL era in their Collection Packs.
    • The Lightrays are a series of cards meant to parallel the Dark Counterpart series, as Light Counterparts of existing monsters with effects revolving around banishing and recycling Light monsters. It only got six members before it was forgotten and the concept later revisited with the Metaphys theme.
    • The Machine King goes through a lot of forms and is mentioned in the flavor text of other Machine cards to be some sort of, well, king of Machines. Despite this none of his four forms offer any support to the others and no real theme has yet to come of it.
    • Penguins had the makings of a decent theme relying on bouncing the opponent's monsters to the hand and/or swarming the field, but receive irregular support that has hindered the theme.
  • Underused Game Mechanic: Given that there are plenty of underdeveloped themes in the game (often due to being tied to a character with very little dueling screentime), expect to see some unique strategies be vastly undersupported or unfocused. This even extends to card subtypes like Spirit, Gemini, and Union, although Konami made an effort to avert this during the ARC-V and SEVENS eras and some of the older cards found use in Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Links and in Speed Duels.
  • Unfortunate Names:
    • Little D as noted above.
    • Infernoid Harmadik for having Groin Attack implications in English, even though it means third in Hungarian.
    • Junk Puppet. All of the Junk cards could qualify to a degree (something that The Abridged Series took full advantage of), but Junk Puppet takes the cake.
    • Bahrstos Fuhrer, the True Dracoruler. Cue people noting the inevitable censorship of the card (True King Bahrstros, the Fathomer in the TCG).
    • Outer Entity Azathot (Outer God Azathoth in Japanese).
    • The Dragma theme, renamed to Dogmatika in the TCG.
    • Not a theme of cards, but the set ID for Deck Build Pack: Ancient Guardians is DBAG.
  • Ugly Cute: There's a lot.
    • Pain Painter. There's something oddly endearing about a chubby little zombie with paintbrushes.
    • Sangan may well be the cutest three-eyed demon monster out there, especially with his continued Woobie status.
    • The entire Frightfur theme, that despite being composed of violent edgy Fiend-type monsters, is still based on plush toys.
  • Unexpected Character: Often done when older cards get new support or even entire themes based around them. But the most bizarre example comes in the form of Thunder Dragons becoming a proper theme. At least older examples had a character that used them in the Anime/Manga, or had some fanbase popularity. Thunder Dragon was used exactly twice by Kaiba in the anime, was the ace for Tristan in a spin-off, was overshadowed by Twin-Headed Thunder Dragon in Yu-Gi-Oh! Forbidden Memories, and had been out of the meta for around a decade.note 
  • Viewer Gender Confusion:
    • For some reason, Effect Veiler gets a bit of this despite her Tertiary Sexual Characteristics. The relative lack of certain... secondary characteristics may have something to do with it.
    • Dharc the Dark Charmer, especially for being the only guy among a group of girl spellcasters.
    • The Helios line.
    • Dian Keto TCG art is rather... unfortunate.
    • Tsukuyomi, despite being based on a male god, often gets mistaken as female for those unfamiliar with Shintoism because of his purple twintails and because they're accustomed to the moon being represented by goddesses in Greek and Roman mythology.
  • Vindicated by History: Cyberdark Impact has become a case of this. For a great amount of time, it was considered the worst set in the history of the game, until people began to reevaluate plenty of great cards that first came from it, such as Vanity's Fiend, ironically nowadays being seen as a set that was ahead of its time.
  • What Do You Mean, It Wasn't Made on Drugs?:
    • Some themes are so bizarre an idea you'll begin to wonder this. Gimmick Puppets are one of the biggest culprits.
    • Many cards from Korea are usually seen as this... Which more often than not, caused them to be well-loved.
  • Win Back the Crowd: While the card game never really lost a large portion of it to begin with per se, being crowned the most played and popular card game in the world, a lot of people ended up leaving from one era to the next due to it often ditching the summoning mechanic they had gotten used to in the era it was introduced for the latest new summoning mechanic just introduced in the next era. The ARC-V era addressed this complaint though in the fact that, not only does the respective anime give a good focus on all summoning types, the card game itself did a lot better with focusing on all the summoning mechanics instead of the latest one specifically. (a.k.a.: Pendulum Summoning, which, if anything, was more based around supporting previous summoning methods.) In fact, for the longest time, two of the most powerful and competitive decks in the game focused specifically on Fusion and Ritual summoning, respectively. It also introduced a lot of new support to older themes that haven't gotten any major additions in years, slowly starting to bring them onto the same level as current decks.note  While the VRAINS era focused on Link Monsters exclusively for a time, it brought all the other Summoning methods back in its fifth pack (and had included them in its first).
  • The Woobie:
    • Sangan. Mistake, Tour Bus to Forbidden Realms, Shared Ride, Wrongful Arrest, and Mistaken Accusation are actually telling a story, specifically of the banned monsters' realization that they've been Put on a Bus and aren't coming back. Shared Ride, the card with the angel from Graceful Charity attempting to console a crying Sangan, is what already put him into woobie territory, with the cards that came after it where he gets arrested and thrown in jail only hammering home the fact. It's easy to be mad at Konami for the major Kick the Dog moment. The fandom therefore rejoiced when an errata was revealed for Sangan that didn't kill his usefulness.
    • The Amorphages are ordinary animals that have been infected by the evil Vector Pendulum the Dracoverlord with bacteriophages (hence the name) that forcibly turn them into dragons. Judging by their artwork, the process appears to be quite painful.
    • D/Ds are a meta example in the TCG. The pack that contained their first support wasn't released in the TCG, thus leaving those cards to be imported through either imports in booster packs when they (finally) began to appear in the main pack lineups or their Structure Deck, which took them to Tier 1 status in the OCG...except the deck was delayed for six months, releasing a mere two weeks before the TCG release of Raging Tempest and the much-loathed (and powerful) Zoodiacs. Then the New Master Rules were revealed; the necessity to use Link Monsters to spam the board with D/D/D Extra Deck Monsters and the nerfs to Pendulum Summoning have effectively killed the deck's chances once they can compete again, despite D/D support being released with the first Link Monsters in Code of Duelist. Their Link Monster they received in one of the LINK VRAINS Packs and the Master Rules April 1st 2020 Revision may
  • Woolseyism:
    • "Des Frog" may have been a transliteration, but it set up the fusion between three of them to be called "D.3.S. Frog" in the English translation.
    • "Morphtronic Datatron" was originally a lighter in the Japanese game; the English art edited it into a USB flash drive, which fits the Morphtronic theme of electrical appliances and gadgets better (though it does create a Dub Induced Plothole in that the monster is a Pyro-type Fire-attribute).
    • As explained by Kevin Tewart, U.S. Head of Development for Konami, "Lightsworn" replaced "Lightlord" because "Lord" is a male title even though many of the cards were female or indeterminate ("Lightsworn" is also seen as more appropriate by many TCG players since their play style implies servitude rather than control). "Inverz" became "Steelswarm" among other things because words sound more mundane when you know their meaning.
    • When the Qliphoth/Qliphort theme was introduced to the TCG, they changed many of the theme restrictions from specifying Qliphoth to simply Qli. This allowed for more creative names for their support cards.
    • The Ritua, a WATER theme based around Ritual Summons with a name that was clearly a pun on the English word "Ritual". Keeping this name would have caused potential issues down the line (any card which specified "Ritual" would have inadvertently included the entire theme as well as its likely intended targets), so the TCG instead called them Gishki. Why is this a Woolseyism? Because Gishki is a pun on Gishiki, the Japanese word for Ritual, thus preserving the original pun.
    • The "Darklord" theme gets two of these in the form of Bowdlerizations:
      • Darklord Ixtab is named after a Mayan goddess of suicide. The TCG changes her name to "Darklord Ixchel", the name of a Mayan goddess of midwifery and medicine.
      • Darklord Lucifer was translated into Darklord Morningstar. As "morning star" is a direct translation of "Lucifer", this keeps the original allusion but removes the overt religious reference.
    • The "Fur Hire" theme, previously fan translated as "Skyfang Brigade", originally received a lot of flak from fans when its official English TCG name was revealed, due to said name being seen as an Punny Name on the part of the translators. However, after English proxies of its cards were revealed by Konami, the theme became a Memetic Mutation among the fanbase, in no small part to the fact that the English translators clearly had fun Painting the Medium with the card text. This is most evident where the theme's support cards word its support as supporting a "monster "Fur Hire"", rather than an ""archetype" monster" as is standard convention, highlighting the sort of characters those monsters are. Due to the creativity shown by the translators in how the theme was ultimately handled, large portions of the fanbase now look fondly upon the cards, crediting said translators with turning an otherwise unremarkable and obscure theme in the OCG into a source of humor and in-jokes, thus drastically increasing its profile in the TCG.
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