Yu-Gi-Oh! Trading Card Game Essay 04:
The God Cards

Here's our next installment of essays about Yu-Gi-Oh! and the card game. This essay is going to diverge just a little from the "true" card game, and delve a little bit into the manga and anime. This has to deal with the three God cards, card of supreme power and dangerous abilities.

The history of the God cards are slightly complex. The true reason that they were created still remains a mytery (the true reason of their creation has not been explained). However, assembling all three of the God cards is key to unlocking the "forbidden memories" of the hero of the Yu-Gi-Oh! story, Yugi Mutou.

It is known that Pegasus discovered the remnants of the God cards during his travels in Egypt, and their secrets that were sealed within the tablets that the ancient Egyptains used to play their own version of Duel Monsters. He created the cards, but realizing their power, he had them buried in Egypt away. Though it is not delved in during the comic, there is an episode nearly devoted to the repercussions of exactly what happened when Pegasus created the current representations of the God cards.

The nature of the God cards is based upon the heart of its controller. It an evil heart should use them during a duel, they are capable of taking the opponent's soul. They are described as "the ultimate warriors."

Fate brings the major players of the Battle City tournament together, and the battle over the God cards. Supposedly, the one that controls all three of the God cards will be given unlimited power. Exactly what power is unknown. However, Yugi has come to the conclusion that if he is going to unlock his memories, he is going to have to have all three God cards, and the seven Millennium Items. The rest is unknown.

NOTE: The God cards are NOT allowed to be used in a deck during the "real" card game. This is mainly due to the fact that the card backs are slightly different hues than the normal cards. In addition, the effects of the God cards are not written on the cards -- it's just flavor text in the text box.

[VIDEO GAME USAGE NOTE: The God cards are currently usable only in the Japanese Duel Monsters 4: Battle of Great Duelists, on the Gameboy Color. They are NOT usable in Duel Monsters 5 or Duel Monsters 6 on the Japanese Gameboy Advance (they are simply collectible items in the game.) However, the official Konami Computer Entertainment Tokyo site states that the God cards WILL be usable in Duel Monsters 7 for the Gameboy Advance.
[The God cards are usable in Edo's Yu-Gi-Oh! PC Game.]

Standard Usage of God Cards

There are certain guidelines that all of the God cards abide by. Regardless of the God card, they all follow some of the same basic rules.

  • Even though they are level 10, the God cards require you to sacrifice THREE Monsters to Summon them normally.

  • Magic cards, Trap cards and other Effects that affect the God card last only until the end of the turn.
    [COMIC RULING: Raise Dead only revives a God card for one turn. At the end of the turn, it is placed back in the Cemetery.]
    [EDO'S EXTRAPOLATE RULING: We can assume that other revival cards also only revive the God card for one turn.]
    [COMIC RULING: "Damage" done to a God card also ends at the end of the current turn. This was demonstrated during the battle with Yugi and Kaiba, Yugi's Osiris used its Summon Lightning Impact on Obelisk, reducing its attack strength to 2000. At the end of the turn, it reverted back to 4000.]
    [EDO'S EXTRAPOLATE RULING: We can guess that those effects that don't destroy the God card only last until the end of the turn. Any "attachments" are then destroyed (such as Equipment cards).]
    [RULING INCONGRUITY: In the comic, it states that Magic effects only alter the God card until the end of the turn, and that Traps could not target them. However, Yugi's Hexagram Curse did in fact alter Osiris card until the end of the turn, even though it is a Trap card. This ruling is not consistent. However, this is slightly consistent with an animated series episode when Kaiba attacks with Obelisk, and one of his opponents activated a Mirror Force. Obelisk punched right through the Mirror Force without any ill effects.]
  • Using a copy of a God card is a no-no. If one should use a copy of a God card during a duel, bad things can happen. This was demonstrated during the battle that Rishid had with Jounouchi. Rishid had a copy of Ra in his deck (inserted into his deck by Malik), and used it. Unfortunately, Ra didn't like this too much, and exhibited its wrath on the players of that duel. The fake God card rose into the sky and showered the area with bolts of energy. Jounouchi was struck, but survived. Rishid was struck, and was left in bad shape.
  • [CARD GAME RULING: In the true card game, the God cards are of the God Main-Type and the Phantom Beast Sub-Type.]
    [COMIC RULING: The Sub-Type for Osiris in the comic is the Dragon. The Sub-Types for Obelisk and Ra are unknown.]
    [EDO'S EXTRAPOLATED RULING: We can probably guess that Obelisk is a Warrior (as its name suggests), and Ra is another Dragon.]

    The God of Obelisk
    (Japanese pronunciation: OBERISUKU No Kyo Shin Hei, literally meaning The Immense Divine Soldier of Obelisk)

    The God Of Obelisk, the representation of light and darkness, was the first God card to make its appearance. Not in a duel, but by the hand of a benefactor. One evening, Seto Kaiba was called to the Domino Museum by a woman named Isis Ishtahl, hinting at some rare cards.

    It was then that Isis explained the conflict of three thousand years ago to Seto, and that he is the reincarnation of an ancient priest. Isis also explained that a set of individuals, by the name of the Ghouls, were after items called the God cards. The cards were immensely powerful, and leaving them in the hands of the Ghouls would be a mistake.

    Isis wanted to prevent this from happening. The Ghouls had control of two of the God cards -- The Saint Dragon - God of Osiris, and Ra - The Sun of God Dragon -- but didn't have the third. That one was in possession of Isis, which she lent to Kaiba to assist in retrieving the other two.

    In the comic, Obelisk has the following statistics

    The God of Obelisk
    Level: 10
    Attack: 4000
    Defense: 4000
    The player shall sacrifice two bodies to God of Obelisk. The opponent shall be damaged. And the Monsters on the Field shall be destroyed.
    [Obelisk's attack was named God Hand Crusher in the comic.]

    But what the heck does that mean? The text was written by an individual who doesn't have too firm grasp on the English language. That is not a putdown for Mr. Takahashi, but it could have been explained more properly.

    What it means is this:

    Sacrifice two Monsters. Destroy all of your opponent's Monsters on the Field, and do 4000 damage to your opponent.
    [This ability was also named God Hand Crusher in the comic, as it "technically" was an attack.]
    [UNKNOWN RULING: It is unknown if Obelisk's ability as Obelisk's attack for the turn or not.]

    [NOTE: Obelisk was a special pack-in card during the first print run of Duel Monsters 4: Battle of Great Duelists in Japan, in the Kaiba Version.]

    Saint Dragon - God of Osiris
    (Japanese pronunciation: OSHIRISU No Tenkuu Ryu, literally meaning The Saint Dragon of Osiris)

    The Saint Dragon - God of Osiris, the representation of good and evil, was the second God card to make its appearance. It reared its head when Yugi had a duel with a mime that was being controlled by Malik. The duelist's entire deck was based upon that God card. Using a combination of Magic, Trap and Monster cards, Osiris was virtually invincible, and its attack and defense strengths increased exponentially with the cards that Malik drew. Yugi finally won the duel by running Malik out of cards. And with winning the duel, Yugi gained control of Osiris.

    In the comic, Osiris has the following statistics

    Saint Dragon - God of Osiris
    Level: 10
    Attack: X000
    Defense: X000
    Everytime the opponent summons creature into the field, the point of the player's card is cut by 2000 points. X stands for the number of the player's cards in hand.
    [Osiris' attack was named Thunder Force in the comic.]

    Unlike Obelisk, Osiris has two effects. The first needs to be stated a little better, and was fully explained by Malik during the duel with Yugi:

    Whenever your opponent Summons or Special Summons a Monster, this Monster does 2000 damage to that Monster.
    [This ability was named Summon Lightning Impact in the comic.]
    [RULING CLARIFICATION: If the Monster is in attack mode, its attack strength is reduced by 2000. If in defense mode, its defense strength is reduced by 2000, but if that Monster has a defense strength of 2000 or less, it is destroyed instead. THIS EFFECT *CANNOT* DO DAMAGE TO A PLAYER.]
    [RULING CLARIFICATION: The damage done (i.e. statistic reduction) to the Monster is permanent.]
    [UNKNOWN RULING: It is unknown if a Set Monster would have damage done to it. If it did, it would undoubtedly be turned face up.]
    [UNKNOWN RULING: It is unknown if a Monster with an attack strength of 2000 or less is simply reduced to 0 attack strength, or destroyed.

    Osiris' second effect is rather easy to understand, but if one wants it to be explained better

    This Monster's attack and defense strengths are each equal to 1000 times the number of cards in its controller's hand.
    [EXAMPLE: Malik had ten cards in his hand. Osiris' attack and defense strengths were each 10,000 (yes, ten-THOUSAND).]
    [RULING CLARIFICATION: You wouldn't be able to use cards like Black Forest Witch to search your deck and put Osiris into your hand and/or into play. Its attack and defense strengths are a variable, and this cannot be searched for. This is like the Option card for the Vic Viper.

    [NOTE: Osiris was a special pack-in card during the first print run of Duel Monsters 4: Battle of Great Duelists in Japan, in the Yugi Version.]

    The Sun of God Dragon
    (Japanese pronunciation: RA No Yoku Shin Ryu, literally meaning The Winged Divine Dragon of Ra)

    Ra - The Sun of God Dragon, the representation of heaven and earth, is arguably the deadliest of the God cards. Ra made a brief first appearance when Jounouchi and Rishid were facing off in the final rounds of the Battle City tournament. However, that card was a copy of a God card, and as explained above, that is a no-no.

    The current possessor of Ra is Malik Ishtahl, who's deck is in some ways based upon bringing the Ra card into play, either by summoning it normally, or using Raise Dead to bring it back into play. Either way, it wrecks havoc whenever it hits the Field.

    Ra was then used in the battle of Malik versus Mai, Malik versus Bakura, and Malik versus Jounouchi. It's powers were exhibited during all of these duels. However, it is unknown if this is the true extent of Ra's power, of that Malik is hiding something more sinister.

    In the comic, Ra has the following statistics

    The Sun of God Dragon
    Level: 10
    Attack: ????
    Defense: ????
    [Ra's attack was named God Breath Cannon in the comic.]

    (Yes, it is correct as written, including the question marks.)

    The question marks are there for at least one reason, as it is related to its special ability. Though it is stated that Ra has three abilities, technically, Ra has FIVE. Though they are not written on the card, they are explained during each of the various battles that it has appeared in.

    Ra's first "ability" (though it is not expressly stated as one of its special abilities in the comic) was explained by Rishid in his battle with Jounouchi.

    This Monster's attack and defense strengths are equal to the total respective attack and defense strengths of the Monsters sacrificed to summon it.
    [RULING CLARIFICATION: When you sacrifice the three Monsters to summon Ra, Ra's attack strength is equal to the total of those Monster's attack strengths, and Ra's defense strength is equal to the total of those Monster's defense strengths.]
    [RULING CLARIFICATION: If you revive Ra from your Cemetery, it will have attack and defense strengths of 0.]
    [UNKNOWN RULING: It is not know if Ra will have the same attack and defense strengths if one summons it out normally, is destroyed, and then revived.

    Ra's second ability (first "official" stated ability) was shown in Malik's battle with Mai. Mai successfully summoned Ra, but all that happened was that it appeared as a metal sphere, known as Ra's "Sphere Mode." When Mai looked down at the Ra card in her Duel Disk, its text had changed to Hieratic. Malik chanted Hieratic, which not only activated Ra, but gave control of it to him.

    Those who can read and speak Hieratic can gain control of Ra.
    [UNKNOWN RULING: It is unknown what happens to Ra if both player's can speak Hieratic.]

    Ra's next ability was not only demonstrated by Malik during his unofficial battle with Bakura, it was also reflected upon by Kaiba at the very same moment while studying exactly how to combat Ra in computer simulations.

    This Monster is a Quick Summon.
    [RULING CLARIFICATION: Ra can attack during the same turn that it is Special Summoned.]
    [RULING INCONGRUITY: In the comic, Monsters that are Special Summoned must wait until the next turn in order to attack. However, in the real card game, this effect is pointless, as Monsters that have been Special Summoned CAN attack during the same turn.]

    Ra has another ability that was also demonstrated in the battle with Bakura, and also reflected upon by Kaiba.

    Pay all but 1 of your Life Points. Increase Ra's attack and defense strengths each by the number of Life Points you paid in this way.
    [This ability was named 1 Turn Kill in the comic.]
    [RULING CLARIFICATION: This ability apparently requires the user to speak Hieratic.]
    [RULING CLARIFICATION: You reduce your Life Points to 1, and increase Ra's attack and defense strenths by how many points your Life Points were reduced.]
    [EXAMPLE: Malik revived Ra. It's attack and defense strengths were 0. Malik had 4000 Life Points, and used Ra's ability. He reduced his Life Points to 1. Ra's attack and defense strengths each became 3999 (4000 - 1).

    Ra's final ability was revealed by Malik during his battle with Jounouchi. He had used the ability to decimate Jounouchi's soul. Jounouchi survived for the moment, but the assault was too great, and fell prey to the Game of Darkness, just as Mai had.

    Pay 1000 Life Points. Destroy 1 of your opponent's Monsters on the Field.
    [This ability was named God Phoenix in the comic.]
    [RULING CLARIFICATION: This ability apparently requires the user to speak Hieratic.]

    [NOTE: Ra was a special pack-in card during the first print run of Duel Monsters 4: Battle of Great Duelists in Japan, in the Jounouchi Version.]

    So, it's now up to you, the readers of the essay. What are the God cards? The ultimate weapons? Insurance to win games?

    What was the purpose of creating the God cards? Also, just WHO created them? What powers would they unlock if they were brought together? What would happen if, by some twist of fate, that the God cards came under the control of someone during the game, and were fused?

    These are all questions that only time can answer. As the Yu-Gi-Oh! story continues, the mysteries become clearer and clearer.

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