Every Yu-Gi-Oh Card Rarity Explained

Updated on March 17, 2020
Jeremy Gill profile image

Jeremy enjoys dueling in between working as a chemical analyst and campus building manager.

Magic vs. Yu-Gi-Oh: Card Rarity

A lifelong fan of trading card games, I appreciate both Yu-Gi-Oh and Magic: The Gathering, each bearing its own strengths and weaknesses. But where Magic keeps things simple with four basic card rarities (common, uncommon, rare, and mythic rare), Yu-Gi-Oh confuses the heck out of players with dozens of categories and styles, which also make determining a card's status difficult (in Magic, the set's symbol color denotes rarity).

So, what are the card rarities, and how do they differ? Here's a rundown of every rare card type in Yu-Gi-Oh!

Short Print Common
Short Print Common

1. Commons

True to their name, commons are the most abundant cards, identified by their card name's plain black text—if they're a monster. But common spells, traps, and xyz monsters instead have white text. Geez, I'm already confused and we're only at the first category.

Commons generally aren't as powerful as rares, but they do contain some worthwhile units and are good options for budget players. Some commons, dubbed Short Prints and Super Short Prints, share the same card format as regular commons, but are much harder to find in packs—why these weren't just made into rares is beyond me.

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RareSuper RareUltra RareUltimate RareGhost RareHolographic RarePlatinum RareStarlight/Alternate Rare
Rare
Rare
Super Rare
Super Rare
Ultra Rare
Ultra Rare
Ultimate Rare
Ultimate Rare
Ghost Rare
Ghost Rare
Holographic Rare
Holographic Rare
Platinum Rare
Platinum Rare
Starlight/Alternate Rare
Starlight/Alternate Rare
Name
Symbol
Appearance
Rare
R
Gray or Gray-outlined text, not foil
Super Rare
SR
Non-foil name, foil card
Ultra Rare
UR
Gold name, foil
Ultimate Rare
UtR
Gold and embossed name, foil
Ghost Rare
GR
Silver name, pale art
Holographic Rare
HGR
Silver name, pale art (Japanese version of Ghost Rare)
Platinum Rare
PIR
Platinum name, foil
Alternate/Starlight Rare
AltR
White name, special horizontally-lined foil
Rare categories in Yu-Gi-Oh

2. Rares

As listed above, rares come in many shapes and sizes. Standard rares can usually be distinguished by silver print or silver-outlined black text, and like commons, they're not holographic. As a rule, these tend to be better and more valuable than commons, and your odds of finding one in a booster are usually 1:1, or 50%.

But these aren't even all the rare card types, as we delve further down the rabbit hole with secret rares...

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Secret RarePrismatic Secret RareExtra Secret RarePlatinum Secret RareUltra Secret Rare20th Secret Rare10000 Secret Rare
Secret Rare
Secret Rare
Prismatic Secret Rare
Prismatic Secret Rare
Extra Secret Rare
Extra Secret Rare
Platinum Secret Rare
Platinum Secret Rare
Ultra Secret Rare
Ultra Secret Rare
20th Secret Rare
20th Secret Rare
10000 Secret Rare
10000 Secret Rare
Name
Symbol
Appearance
Secret Rare
ScR
Holographic rainbow card name
Prismatic Secret Rare
PScR
Foil uses horizontal and vertical pattern rather than diagonal
Extra Secret Rare
EScR
Applies Secret Rare pattern over whole card
Platinum Secret Rare
PIScR
Platinum card name, foil art
Ultra Secret Rare
UScR
Secret Rare name, Ultra Rare image
20th Secret Rare
20ScR
Holographic red card name
Secret Ultra Rare (misprint)
ScUR
Gold name, Secret foil image
10000 Secret Rare
10000ScR
Black name, Secret foil image
Secret Rare categories in Yu-Gi-Oh

3. Secret Rares

Standard secret rares are easy to spot thanks to their distinctive rainbow-colored card names, but as seen above, their various spin-offs change the name's font color and muddy the waters. Thanks, Konami.

In most boosters, the odds of obtaining a secret rare are 1:23, so they're pretty elusive. Thankfully, most cards are printed in multiple rarities, so even if you don't score a secret rare "Clear Wing Synchro Dragon", you might find an ultra or ghost version instead.

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Normal Parallel RareSuper Parallel RareUltra Parallel RareSecret Parallel RareExtra Secret Parallel RareStarfoil RareMosaic RareShatterfoil RareCollectors RareHolographic Parallel Rare
Normal Parallel Rare
Normal Parallel Rare
Super Parallel Rare
Super Parallel Rare
Ultra Parallel Rare
Ultra Parallel Rare
Secret Parallel Rare
Secret Parallel Rare
Extra Secret Parallel Rare
Extra Secret Parallel Rare
Starfoil Rare
Starfoil Rare
Mosaic Rare
Mosaic Rare
Shatterfoil Rare
Shatterfoil Rare
Collectors Rare
Collectors Rare
Holographic Parallel Rare
Holographic Parallel Rare
Name
Symbol
Appearance
Parallel Rare
PR
Generic term for completely-holographic card
Normal Parallel Rare
NPR
Common appearance but with Parallel Rare hazy foil coating
Super Parallel Rare
SPR
Super Rare with hazy coating
Ultra Parallel Rare
UPR
Ultra Rare with hazy coating
Secret Parallel Rare
ScPR
Secret Rare with hazy coating
Extra Secret Parallel Rare
EScPR
Extra Secret Rare with hazy coating
Starfoil Rare
SFR
Star pattern surface
Mosaic Rare
MSR
Square pattern surface
Shatterfoil Rare
SHR
Shattered glass-esque surface
Collectors Rare
CR
Rainbow reflective surface
Holographic Parallel Rare
HGPR
Holo Rare with hazy coating
Secret Rare categories in Yu-Gi-Oh

4. Parallel Rares

Parallel rares make the entire surface of a card (not just the name or artwork) holographic, leading to a "hazy" look. Cool idea, but sometimes misleading names—normal parallel rares are actually glossed-up versions of commons, leading fans to dub them "parallel commons".

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Kaiba Corporation CommonKaiba Corporation RareKaiba Corporation Ultra Rare
Kaiba Corporation Common
Kaiba Corporation Common
Kaiba Corporation Rare
Kaiba Corporation Rare
Kaiba Corporation Ultra Rare
Kaiba Corporation Ultra Rare
Name
Symbol
Appearance
Kaiba Corporation Common
KCC
Black name with KC logo and coating
Kaiba Corporation Rare
KCR
Silver name with KC coating
Kaiba Corporation Ultra Rare
KCUR
Gold name with KC coating
Kaiba Corporation categories in Yu-Gi-Oh

5. Kaiba Corporation Cards

Few cards apply this style, exclusive to members of the Yu-Gi-Oh! The Dark Side of Dimensions Duel Set. In other words, you won't see these in standard boosters, but they highlight some cool monsters from the film, like "Gandora-X the Dragon of Demolition" (a great board wiper who costs under a dollar) and "Blue-Eyes Alternative White Dragon".

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Gold RareGold Secret RareGhost/Gold RarePremium Gold Rare
Gold Rare
Gold Rare
Gold Secret Rare
Gold Secret Rare
Ghost/Gold Rare
Ghost/Gold Rare
Premium Gold Rare
Premium Gold Rare
Name
Symbol
Appearance
Gold Rare
GUR
Gold name with reflective sheen image
Gold Secret Rare
GScR
Gold Rare name with Secret Rare texture
Ghost/Gold Rare
GGR
Gold-outlined name with Ghost Rare image
Premium Gold Rare
PGR
Ultra Rare with thick golden frame
Gold Rare categories in Yu-Gi-Oh

6. Gold Rares

Gold rares bear a shiny golden font and holographic sheen. Again, it's a cool look, but when mixed with other rarities, it's easy to see how confusing the system gets—you're not just distinguishing between gold rares and secret rares, but also gold secret rares.

As if that weren't bad enough, the rarities aren't always consistent between the American TCG and Asian OCG; for instant, the OCG golds have always covered monster levels/rank stars with foil, but the TCG golds didn't until the Gold Series 3 special set.

That said, you won't find any in boosters (they're only sold in Gold box sets), which is kinda lame but does simplify determining card rarity from packs.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Millennium RareMillennium Super RareMillennium Ultra RareMillennium Secret RareMillennium Gold Rare
Millennium Rare
Millennium Rare
Millennium Super Rare
Millennium Super Rare
Millennium Ultra Rare
Millennium Ultra Rare
Millennium Secret Rare
Millennium Secret Rare
Millennium Gold Rare
Millennium Gold Rare
Name
Symbol
Appearance
Millennium Rare
MLR
Grainy foil over entire surface
Millennium Super Rare
MLSR
Super Rare with Millennium coating
Millennium Ultra Rare
MLUR
Ultra Rare with Millennium coating
Millennium Secret Rare
MLScR
Secret Rare with Millennium coating
Millennium Gold Rare
MLGR
Gold Rare with Millennium Coating
Millennium Rare categories in Yu-Gi-Oh

7. Millennium Rares

Millennium rares resemble parallels in that their foil covers a card's entire surface, but they apply a different style using grainy vertical particles designed to mimic stone tablets. You'll only see these in special "Millennium Packs", both a pro and a con depending on how you look at it.

Which card style do you prefer?

See results

Fixing Yu-Gi-Oh Card Rarity

As much as I love dueling, it's disheartening to see so many unnecessary card classifications. Without a clear hierarchy, it's hard to tell what a card is really worth by looking at it, and the excess adjectives seem like a scam the naive (buy our new Ultra Awesome Ultimate rares, kids!)

It'd be great if Konami picked a few categories, stuck with them, and made them easier to distinguish, maintaining consistent categories that minimize confusion. But wishful thinking aside, vote for your favorite card style and I'll see you at our next Yu-Gi-Oh countdown!

Questions & Answers

    © 2020 Jeremy Gill

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