The Top Ten Duels in Yu-Gi-Oh!

The Top Ten Duels in Yu-Gi-Oh!

The Top Ten Duels in Yu-Gi-Oh!

Being stuck at home gave me the chance to watch lots and lots of Netflix. A little over a year ago, I revisited the old anime show called Yu-Gi-Oh! which was a big part of my childhood. I collected as many of the cards I could and built up my deck, but there was some disappointment to it. I don’t really remember using them to duel anyone. As much as I really wanted to, I couldn’t find anyone that wanted to duel me. That was very disappointing, so I just stuck with the show and told myself that I would be a great duelist like the characters. Then time went on and I sold my cards, and after revisiting the show, I realized how much I regretted that decision.

Despite that, I really enjoyed watching the dueling. It was like a game of chess, but with giant monsters in hologram form. Dueling monsters is a game of strategy, wits, and will, and I have many favorites. Since I rewatched some of my favorite episodes recently, I’ve decided to narrow down my top ten favorite duels from the show. I picked the ones that were the most nail-biting, suspenseful, and strategically thought out duels that stood out to me the most.

As the best of the best duelist would say, “Let’s duel!”

10. Yami Yugi vs. Kaiba (First Duel)

The first duel to kick off the list is the first duel of the series. When we first meet Kaiba, he is the first antagonist Yugi ever duels. Their duel is personnel, considering Kaiba put Yugi’s grandpa in the hospital and ripped his Blue Eyes White Dragon. This was a great duel to kick off the series, and Kaiba unleashed his three Blue Eyes White Dragons against Yugi, putting him a corner. Yugi, however, emerged victorious when he summoned the might duel monster called Exodia The Forbidden One. His monster obliterated all three of Kaiba’s dragons, humiliating Kaiba and severely traumatizing him. This duel created a rivalry that lasted throughout the entire series and made an antihero out of Kaiba. Their duels wouldn’t end there, however, which we’ll find out soon.

9. Yami Yugi and Kaiba vs. Lumis and Umbra

The rivalry between Yugi and Kaiba was ongoing for the series, but watching them duel together was fun to watch. In order to save Yugi’s friends and Kaiba’s brother, they choose to tag-team in a duel with two Rare Hunters named Lumis and Umbra. The stakes of this duel were very high, since Yugi and Kaiba would be banished to the Shadow Realm forever if they lost. However, they both surprisingly worked well together, using their skill and strategic minds to defeat the two Rare Hunters. What made it even more fun to watch was watching Kaiba’s willingness to sacrifice his own monsters to save Yugi from losing the duel. That proved Kaiba deep down had much respect for Yugi and considered him a friend.

8. Yami Yugi vs. Weevil Underwood (Second Duel)

The pesky Weevil Underwood instantly became the most hated character when he tossed Yugi’s Exodia cards over a ship. When he defeated Weevil the first time in Duelist Kingdom, it was beyond satisfying. Weevil, of course, wouldn’t stop there and was willing to forfeit his soul in order to duel Yugi again. While under the influence of the seal of orichalcos, Weevil’s already treacherous nature amplified to very despicable levels. The biggest stand-out moment of this duel is when he ripped a useless bug card of his and told Yami Yugi it was a card containing the soul of the regular Yugi. It was all a cruel prank just to taunt Yami Yugi, but Weevil would get his much-deserved recompense when Yami Yugi unleashed his rage on him. Out of all the duels in the series, this one had the most dramatic end.

7. Yami Yugi vs. Rafael

If Yami Yugi lost a duel, that meant something. The most significant example of this was when he was defeated by Rafael, the top henchman of Dartz. The duel was seemingly going in Yami Yugi’s favor until Rafael tempted him with the seal of orichalcos card, which twisted his mind and made him give into his darker instincts. Before his soul could be taken, the normal Yugi stepped in and saved him. The consequences of this duel were beyond severe, since the normal Yugi lost his soul and left Yami Yugi rife with guilt. It began a new road of redemption for Yami Yugi and made him wonder what kind of man he truly was.

6. Yugi vs. Yami Bakura

Yami Bakura was a very frustrating presence throughout the series. Whenever he dueled Yami Yugi, he did it while using his friend, Bakura, as an unwilling vessel. When Yami Bakura emerged the final time, he dueled Yugi when he was separated from Yami Ygui, believing it would give him the advantage. He was dead wrong, however, and Yugi outwitted him successfully. In the end, Yugi finally freed Bakura of the dark spirit controlling him and permanently defeated a recurring foe that plagued them.

5. Yami Yugi and Joey vs. The Big Five

It was always fun to see Yami Yugi and Joey tag-team, so when they went up against Kaiba’s former subordinates, called The Big Five, it was very awesome. The treacherous Big Five spent their time individually dueling each of Yugi’s friends. They lost, and they all took control of Tristan’s body to duel Yami Yugi and Joey at once. This is by far the most creative duel of the series, since The Big Five constantly swapped their minds through one body, each of them bringing their own dueling monsters to the field. It was a tough duel for them and even Joey unexpectedly turned things around and saved Yami Yugi’s life. This duel showed how much their teamwork skills improved and emphasized how their trust can overcome any foe.

4. Joey vs. Bandit Keith

Bandit Keith was a villain that should’ve been around a lot longer. His first and only real duel was with Joey Wheeler in Duelist Kingdom. This duel was the most imperative for Joey, since Keith was the only thing between him and the money for his sister’s operation. It was the best time to root for the underdog, since Keith was the cocky intercontinental champion. However, Keith was also secretly a cheater as well, nearly getting Joey disqualified by stealing his entry card, and hiding power-boosting cards in his wrist band. Watching Joey hold his own against Keith showed how much he grew as a duelist and his victory over Keith was one of the most satisfying in the series.

3. Kaiba vs. Pegasus

It was rare when we rooted for Kaiba, but his duel against Maximillion Pegasus had us rallying behind him. This duel was more than personal for Kaiba, since Pegasus stole the soul of his brother, Mokuba, and offered to release him if he defeated him in a duel. Unfortunately, it was an uphill battle for Kaiba, given Pegasus had his millennium eye to help him read Kaiba’s mind. This was more than a challenge for Kaiba, but he gave it a valiant effort. What made this duel stand out was Pegasus’ utilization of his toon monsters. These creepy, cartoony things were more powerful than they looked, and gave Kaiba a run for his money. The duel ended with Kaiba’s defeat, losing his soul and the one chance to save his brother. This was one of most dramatic duels where the hero actually lost. And those toon monsters. Yikes.

2. Yami Yugi vs. Kaiba (Last Duel)

As I said earlier, Kaiba wouldn’t rest until he defeated Yugi. The only reason he organized his battle city tournament was to set up the rematch he wanted so badly. In the end, he got what he wanted, but it was all for nothing. He lost the duel, but it was the most nail-biting, intense duel of the series. Both duelist came so close to defeating the other, only to save themselves the very last second. They both had rare Egyptian god cards in their decks and used them to the fullest. In the end, Yami Yugi faced the ultimate three-headed Blue Eyes White Dragon with his Dark Magician and Joey’s Red-Eyes Black Dragon. While he was victorious, he ultimately wanted to change Kaiba’s ways in hopes of building a friendship with him.

1. Yugi vs. Atem

The final duel goes to the very last duel of the series. Yugi faced Yami Yugi, who recently discovered he was once a great Egyptian Pharaoh known as Atem. In order to free his own spirit, Atem implored Yugi to duel him. Yugi reluctantly did so, knowing that if he won, his friendship with Atem would be over. The duel was long and honestly quite sad. Yugi proved to be the better duelist and he and his friends said their tearful goodbyes to Atem. Out of every duel in the series,  this one had the tension, but it excelled in making us cry. A dramatic final duel between friends was a great way to end the series.

Man, do I miss this show. I have hopes that it will return someday and perhaps Yugi and Atem will again cross paths. If it does return, I’ll be looking forward to more amazing duels.

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