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The Game
In Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Monsters, two players face off in an all-out battle, engaging in a Match consisting of three duels. It will take skill, practice, strategy and luck to emerge victorious from the match, as there are many factors players can manipulate to vanquish their foe. The main battles are waged between incredible monsters split into an amazing 20 types, each with their own unique skills and fighting styles. In addition, players can use Spell, set traps, change the battlefield itself, and even fuse two monsters together to form a monster of immense power!
Object of Game
The object of the Yu-Gi-Oh! TRADING CARD GAME is to win a Match against your opponent.

A single Match consists of 3 Duels. Each card battle against an opponent in which a win, loss, or draw is determined is referred to as a Duel.

     A WIN

    The player who:
  • Is the first to win 2 Duels in a Match OR
  • Has 1 win and 2 draws, is declared the WINNER.

    A DRAW

    If the Duel results are:
  • 1 win, 1 loss and 1 draw OR
  • 3 draws, the match is considered a DRAW.

Winning a Duel
The outcome of a Duel is decided according to the following Official Rules:
  • Each player begins a Duel with 8000 Life Points.

  • Life Points decrease as a result of damage calculation after battle (see Damage Step).

    You win a Duel if you reduce your opponent’s Life Points to 0. If your opponent reduces your Life Points to 0, YOU lose!

  • If you and your opponent both reach 0 Life Points at the same time, the Duel is declared a DRAW.

  • If either player’s Deck runs out of cards during a Duel, the first player unable to draw a card is declared the LOSER. Bearing this in mind, a good duelist should make every card count.

  • If at any time during the Duel you hold the following cards in your hand, you instantly win the Duel:

      • Right Leg of the Forbidden One
      • Left Leg of the Forbidden One
      • Right Arm of the Forbidden One
      • Left Arm of the Forbidden One
      • Exodia the Forbidden One

Getting Started
Preparing Your Deck

The Starter Deck contains all the cards you'll need to challenge an opponent to a Duel. Following you'll find basic rules for preparing your Deck:
  • The Deck used for dueling should contain a minimum of 40 cards. Aside from this minimum limit, your Deck can contain as many cards as you like.

  • In addition to your dueling Deck, you can also have 15 additional cards in a separate pile known as the Side Deck. The Side Deck allows you to modify your Deck to better suit your strategy during a Match.

  • Between Duels, you can exchange any card from your Side Deck with any card in your Deck - as long as you end up with the same number of cards that your Deck began the Match with.

  • The Side Deck you create must contain exactly 15 cards at the beginning of a Match. In other words, if you don't have enough cards to create a 15 card Side Deck, you cannot use one at all. NOTE: This Starter Deck contains 50 cards, so you will need 5 more cards to create a Side Deck.

  • In any Match, the Deck and Side Deck combined cannot contain more than 3 copies of the same card. Also, be aware of Forbidden and Limited Cards.


In accordance with the Official Rules, a Duel is conducted in the following manner:
  • Before you start a Duel, greet your opponent with a friendly handshake.

  • Both players shuffle their respective Decks and hand them to their opponent to shuffle (this is called Cutting the Deck). The Decks are then returned to their owners and placed face-down in their respective Deck Zones on the Game Mat, p.6.

  • When using Fusion Monster Card(s), place the card(s) face-down on the Fusion Deck Zone of the Game Mat. A Fusion Deck is a card or a group of cards consisting only of Fusion Monsters formed by fusing 2 or more monsters during a Duel (Fusion Monsters). NOTE: The cards of the Fusion Deck are NOT counted in the 40 cards minimum limit of the Deck.

  • Show your opponent that your Side Deck contains exactly 15 cards (the cards may be counted face-down). When your Side Deck cards are exchanged with those in your Deck, count the cards of your Side Deck with your opponent once again to verify that the Deck still contains the same number of cards.

  • For the first Duel in a Match, decide who starts first with a coin toss. For subsequent Duels in the Match, the loser of the previous Duel decides who starts first.

  • Finally, each player draws 5 cards from the top of their respective Decks. Once both players have 5 cards in their hand, the Duel begins, following the rules in Phases of Gameplay. Before you learn how a Yu-Gi-Oh! turn proceeds, it is important to fully understand the Game Mat and game cards. Understanding how each type of card works will help you plan strategies to ensure that you will emerge from the Match victorious!

Manners in Dueling

Remember the following codes of conduct when facing an opponent:

  • Always declare each move in a loud, clear voice before you execute any play.
  • Your opponent is entitled to know the contents of your Graveyard and the number of cards in your hand. If asked, you are obligated to answer truthfully.
  • Never touch an opponent's cards without asking permission.

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    The Game Mat
    Every card you play or discard will be placed on the Game Mat. The example above shows where to place Yu-Gi-Oh! Decks and the cards that are brought into play during a Match.

    A. Field Card Zone:
    Field Spell cards are played here. Only 1 Field Spell Card can be in play at any one time (Field Spell Cards).

    B. Monster Card Zone:
    Monster Cards can be played (face-up) or Set (face-down) to the 5 spaces of the Monster Card Zone following the rules in Main Phase 1.

    Important! The Monster Card Zone has a 5-CARD LIMIT. Once all 5 spaces in the Monster Card Zone are occupied, no further Monster Cards can be played or set until there is an open Monster Card space in the Monster Card Zone.

    C. Fusion Deck Zone:
    If you are playing with Fusion Monster Cards, put your Fusion Deck face-down in this space (Fusion Monsters).

    D. Graveyard:
    When cards are destroyed, they are discarded face-up to this space. The contents of the Graveyard are public knowledge, and your opponent can look through it at any time. Be sure to get your opponent's permission before going through their Graveyard.

    E. Spell & Trap Card Zone:
    Spell and Trap Cards can be played (face-up) or Set (face-down) to the 5 spaces of the Spell & Trap Card Zone following the rules in Main Phase 1.

    Important! The Spell & Trap Card Zone has a 5-CARD LIMIT. Once all 5 spaces in the Spell & Trap Card Zone are occupied, no further Spell (except Field Spell Cards) OR Trap Cards can be played or Set until there is an open Spell & Trap Card space in the Spell & Trap Card Zone. This 5-CARD LIMIT includes any of your own Equip Spell Cards used to equip your opponent's Monster Card.

    F. Deck Zone:
    Place your Deck face-down in this space. Your Side Deck is not placed on the Game Mat. You can also play Yu-Gi-Oh! without a Game Mat. Just be sure to place the cards and Decks in the indicated positions.

    A word on game text

    Activate - Whenever you use the effects of a Spell Card, Trap Card, and Effect Monster card, you "activate" the card's effect. When you activate a card's effect, it is immediate.

    Set - The act of placing a card face-down on the field is referred to as "Set". A Set card's effect is not activated immediately. Also, a Set Monster Card is not considered to be summoned until it is turned face-up. A Set monster must be placed HORIZONTALLY, in face-down Defense Position (monsters summoned normally are placed VERTICALLY, in face-up Attack Position). Set Spell and Trap Cards are placed vertically on the field.

    The Field - Throughout these rules, and on the card text itself, the Monster Card Zone, Spell & Trap Card Zone and Field Card Zone together will be referred to as the field.

    Destroyed - A card that is sent to the Graveyard is destroyed.

    Removed from Play - A card that is removed from play is NOT sent to the Graveyard. Instead, it is set aside and is not allowed to re-enter the current Duel.

    Gameplay Rules
    Fusion Monster Cards

    During your turn, if you have the Spell Card "Polymerization" and the Fusion-Material Monsters required to form a Fusion Monster, either on the field or in your hand, you can perform a Fusion as a Special Summon by activating "Polymerization"(Special Summon).

    When Fusion is performed, select the appropriate Fusion Monster Card from your Fusion Deck and place it face-up on an open Monster Card Zone space in either Attack or Defense Position. The 2 (or more) Fusion-Material Monster Cards that have been fused, as well as the "Polymerization" Spell Card used to perform the Fusion, are destroyed.

    When a Fusion Monster is destroyed, it is sent to the Graveyard. If a Fusion Monster Card is returned to your hand, place it back in the Fusion Deck instead. NOTE: Since a "Fusion" is considered a Special Summon, the card will be immune to cards such as a "Trap Hole". Also, since it is a Special Summon you can conduct a Normal Summon or Set another monster in the same turn.

    The Fusion-Material Monsters for "Darkfire Dragon" ("Firegrass" and "Petit Dragon") are on the field and in your hand, AND you have "Polymerization" in your hand. Declare that you are performing a Fusion and place "Polymerization" on the Spell & Trap Zone.

    Select "Darkfire Dragon" from your Fusion Monster Deck and place it in an open Monster Card Zone. Remember that a monster summoned to the field in this manner is considered a Special Summon, and allows the player to conduct a Normal Summon or a Set in the same turn.

    The cards used - "Firegrass", "Petit Dragon", and "Polymerization" - are all placed in the Graveyard when the Fusion is complete.
    Ritual Monster Cards

    During your turn, if you have a Ritual Monster Card in your hand, and the specific Ritual Spell Card mentioned on the Ritual Monster Card (either on the field or in your hand), as well as the Monster Cards required as a Tribute, you can perform a Ritual summon by activating the Ritual Spell Card. Follow the instructions printed on the Ritual Spell Card.

    The Ritual Monster Card is then placed face-up on an open Monster Zone space on the field in either Attack or Defense Position. The Tribute monsters and the Ritual Spell Card used to perform the Ritual Summon are destroyed.

    When a Ritual Monster is destroyed it is sent to the Graveyard. If a Ritual Monster Card is returned to your hand, you cannot place it on the field again without performing another Ritual Summon. A monster summoned to the field in this manner is considered a Special Summon, and allows the player to conduct a Normal Summon or a Set in the same turn.

    Effect Monster Cards

    The broad range of Effect Monster Cards are divided into the following types:

    • FLIP - The monster's effect is activated when the card is flipped from face-down to face-up. The effect is also activated if the card is flipped face-up as a result of a Spell or Trap card, or another monster's attack.

    • CONTINUOUS EFFECT - As long as this Monster Card is face-up on the field, its effect remains active. When the monster is turned face-down, its effect is no longer active.

    • COST EFFECT - Costs vary from card to card so be sure to read the instructions printed on each card.

    • TRIGGER EFFECT - These cards are activated when you inflict Direct Damage to an opponent's Life Points (Direct Damage), or when you have fulfilled a specific requirement indicated on the card itself.

    • MULTI-TRIGGER EFFECT - These are special Effect Monster Cards that you can activate even if it is your opponent's turn.

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