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Yu-Gi-Oh Card Review—Each Protagonist's Signature Monster

Updated on June 1, 2017
Jeremy Gill profile image

Jeremy often plays Yu-Gi-Oh and other card games in-between studying forensics and working part-time at his college.

Yu-Gi-Oh Monsters

Calling forth your best monsters to fight for you remains one of the biggest draws of Yu-Gi-Oh. We all fantasized about controlling our own Blue-Eyes in real life, and while technology hasn't advanced to that point yet, we can still watch our favorite creatures clash in the anime series.

Even if the anime monsters are just cards, they helped define characters and strategies. Heck, they even occasionally offer advice (I think Jaden from GX needs to lay off the mind-altering substances); today we'll take a trip through time by reviewing each protagonist's signature monster!

Yu-Gi-Oh Anime Quiz


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Dark Magician
Dark Magician

Dark Magician (Original Series)

Used by: Yugi Moto

As a Normal Monster, the iconic Dark Magician wields no effect, but possesses a mighty 2500 Attack and 2000 Defense, enough to overpower most cards at the time. Yugi Moto used him in tandem with other Spellcasters to overwhelm foes in the original anime.

Today, many monsters outclass Dark Magician, but you'll still occasionally find support cards that help keep him relevant in modern play. Plus, check out his amazingly strong Dark Magician of Chaos form. Yikes.

Elemental Hero Neos
Elemental Hero Neos

Elemental HERO Neos (GX)

Used by: Jaden Yuki

Jaden doesn't obtain Neos until a good way into the series, but it soon becomes his staple, combining with other monsters in his deck to transform into several powerful Fusion Monsters. On its own, however, its similar to Dark Magician, wielding 2500 Attack, 2000 Defense, and no effect.

Admittedly, the Elemental Hero series hasn't aged particularly well, but we always enjoyed seeing Jaden turn a duel around by summoning a new Neos form.

Alright, HERO, does my name sound cooler in all caps? JEREMY. Nah, it's just more annoying.

Stardust Dragon
Stardust Dragon

Stardust Dragon (5D's)

Used by: Yusei Fudo

Next we have the white-backgrounded Synchro Monster, Stardust Dragon. Stardust not only impresses with design, but it's a viable competitive option even today.

It pays homage to Neos with identical battle stats, but actually has an effect, and it's pretty darn impressive: Whenever your opponent activates an effect that destroys a card, Stardust can sacrifice itself to negate and destroy that effect. Even better, you get to re-summon him at the end of the turn!

Stardust can repeatedly save you from destructive effects, and has even mightier Synchro forms to be unleashed. Anime 5D's kicks off with Yusei's quest to retrieve his stolen Stardust card from Jack Atlas, and we cheered when he finally succeeded.

Number 39: Utopia
Number 39: Utopia

Number 39: Utopia (ZEXAL)

Used by: Yuma Tsukumo

Another card to continue the 2500 Attack and 2000 Defense tradition, Utopia also possesses a useful shielding effect. You can detach an XYZ material from him (he'll usually have two to begin with) to negate an attack on any of your monsters, saving himself or others from harm.

Yuma's often branded a boring protagonist of one of the lesser anime series, and I can't entirely argue. Still, I can't help but enjoy seeing him unlock the forms of this already fearsome monster. In an English sub, that is; heaven help the poor soul who watches the dub of ZEXAL

Odd-Eyes Pendulum Dragon
Odd-Eyes Pendulum Dragon

Odd-Eyes Pendulum Dragon (Arc-V)

Used by: Yuya Sakaki

Love or hate Pendulum cards, they revolutionized Duel Monsters. As a monster, Odd-Eyes has the class battle stats and an effect that doubles battle damage he dishes to monsters.

Placed in your Pendulum Zone, he reduces battle damage for your Pendulum Monsters to zero, and can destroy himself at the End Phase to nab a Pendulum card from your deck. In short, he's awesome, and it's pretty cool how both Odd-Eye's orbs and Yuya's hair match the red and green background of Pendulum cards.

Not all players know that Odd-Eyes comes in a non-Pendulum form, with a different effect.

Which Monster is your favorite?

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Your Vote

I hope you enjoyed examining some classic cards. It's great to see our more recent protagonists employ tournament-worthy monsters, and with the surprisingly positive reception to Arc-V, I'm optimistic about the future of anime dueling.

For now, feel free to vote for your favorite card, and I'll see you at our next countdown!

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