For many Yu-Gi-Oh! enthusiasts, the initial spark for the trading card game originated in the late 1990s and early 2000s when the original anime first aired. At that time, fan-favorite characters Yugi, Seto Kaibi, and Joey were introduced, and their prized Yu-Gi-Oh! Monster Decks along with them. Yugi’s Dark Magician, Kaibi’s Blue-Eyes White Dragon, and Joey’s Red-Eyes Black Dragon were all the rage, instilling their presence in so many childhood memories.
Since then, the official Yu-Gi-Oh! trading card game has evolved so much; however, the iconic card sets from the early days live on, having influenced Yu-Gi-Oh! immensely towards the game it is today. This guide will showcase the best and most nostalgic classic Yu-Gi-Oh! card sets from the early days of the game, highlighting the prestige, power, and overall value from the original classics.
8. Starter Deck: Pegasus
The main antagonist from the original anime, Pegasus proved to be a thorn in the sides of the dualists aiming to defeat him. His deck features Relinquished, along with an army of toon characters, including Toon Blue-Eyes White Dragon. Pegasus was feared by many, and his Starter Deck captures his power nicely.
7. Metal Raiders
Metal Raiders is the second set ever released for Yu-Gi-Oh! — and it was a good one. For many, this was a set that introduced loads of new players into the game. Notable cards include Catapult Turtle, Kazejin, Solemn Judgement, Mirror Force, and even a fusion for Red-Eyes Black Dragon — Black Skull Dragon.
6. Starter Deck: Joey
Joey Wheeler, Yugi’s close friend and ally, also inspired an iconic Starter Deck — Starter Deck: Joey. Joey’s most cherished monster of his deck being Red-Eyes Black Dragon, which built off of the hype of Blue-Eyes. Other notable mentions for this set include Penguin Soldier and Scapegoat.
5. Spell Ruler
The Spell Ruler set, previously known as Magic Ruler depending on the region purchased, introduced many of the best spell cards the game has seen. Card types include Ritual Spell Cards, Ritual Monsters, and Quick-Play Spell Cards. Most notably, this set features Monsters and Spell Cards like Relinquished, Toon World, Mystical Space Typhoon, and The Forceful Sentry.
4. Starter Deck: Kaibi
One dragon to rule them all — Blue-Eyes White Dragon, Kaibi’s most prized monster, is the starter deck’s main feature. Kaibi is also Yugi’s arch-rival, as the two of them have had numerous bouts with one another throughout the Anime’s lifespan. Other notable cards from this Deck include Lord of D. and The Flute of Summoning Dragons.
3. Magician’s Force
Released in 2003, Magician’s Force features a monster that Yugi originally used to take on Kaibi and his Blue-Eyes White Dragon — Dark Paladin. Additionally, this set includes Dark Magical Girl, Breaker the Magical Warrior, and XYZ-Dragon Cannon, to name a few. The Magician’s Force set is a fan favorite among many.
2. Starter Deck: Yugi
It doesn’t get any more classic than a card set based on the main character Yugi, and the fact that this Starter Deck was the first Yu-Gi-Oh! starter card set ever released (alongside the Seto-Kaibi Deck). Released in 2002, this set includes Yugi’s most iconic lineup, including Dark Magician, Gaia The Fierce Knight, and Summoned Skull, to name a few.
1. Legend of Blue-Eyes White Dragon
The first set ever released, and the set that started it all. Cards included Dark Magician, Gaia the Dragon Champion, Blue-Eyes (of course), and even the legendary Exodus, with its incredibly rare body parts scattered across the few lucky people fortunate enough to pull them from the packs.