Bury the hatchets, it is time for a war between the two biggest trading card games in the entire world with Yu-Gi-Oh! and Magic: The Gathering, with the latter even coming a whole 3 years before the former.
For years, these two juggernauts have gone head-to-head as gamers have argued in heated discussions over which of their favorite games is superior with no answer coming out of these arguments… until now!
Yu-Gi-Oh! is usually seen as more childish in comparison to Magic because of a few simple rules that allow for people of all ages, but snooty Magic fans should be wary as this list will expose the seemingly “sophisticated” game for what it is; Outdated!
Any fan of Magic should definitely think twice before looking at some of these entries because they are going to be shown the truth about the most successful trading card game and how it shows clear, unrivaled superiority over its predecessor.
This will not be a one-sided affair, however, and this list will make sure to give a clear and concise set of logical reasons as to why Magic is just not as good as Yu-Gi-Oh! without ignoring some of the important merits that Magic has gathered.
For the sake of finding out which of these games is best, these are the pieces of evidence towards Yu-Gi-Oh!’s supremacy as it corrected the mistakes of the first trading card game to become the better trading card game.
20 How Artistic!
Ask a room full of Magic players what makes the card game better than Yu-Gi-Oh! and most will promptly speak of the highly detailed paintings that decorate their cards as a cosmetic advantage. Sure, they might have more detail than a lot of Yu-Gi-Oh! cards but it's the simplistic comic-book art style that actually places it above Magic. A lot of characters and settings in the world of Magic are fairly tired clichés of fantasy tropes that have been seen time and time again in all sorts of RPGs, while Yu-Gi-Oh! provides some of the most unique creatures to ever be put on cardboard. This might seem subjective to many, but there is a vibrant touch to the Yu-Gi-Oh! aesthetic that places it above its bland counterpart.
Most Magic players look towards the higher age-range as a sign of maturity in the game, but Yu-Gi-Oh!’s seemingly childish mechanics have made it a much simpler game to understand and enjoy for casual players. Magic seems to take hours and hours just to comprehend how to manage resources in the right way during competitive matches but Yu-Gi-Oh!, on the other hand, was designed to be picked up and played by people of all ages. This has made the game universally understandable for most players and thus attracts attention from all corners of the globe. Magic players will be quick to defend the game’s learning curve as part of the game’s appeal but there is only so much that can be appreciated from outside eyes.
18 Better Designed Cards
In Yu-Gi-Oh!, there are a plethora of rarities that change the cosmetic look of the card in variously impressive ways that Magic does not have (well they have rarities but there is no physical difference outside of a small logo). As for Yu-Gi-Oh!, there are Super Rare cards, which feature holographic pictures. Ultra Rares are the same but feature holographic text where the title of the card is. Secret Rare is the same as Ultra Rare, but with a gorgeous sparkling effect. Gold Rares are luxurious Ultra Rares with gold borders that make it seem like solid 24k gold. Ghost Rares are the most intricate, they feature a mind-bending holographic photo that makes it pop out like a 3-D optical illusion. Not to mention that there are all sorts of amazing combinations like Gold Ghost, Gold Secret, and many more rarities that give it a cosmetic advantage over Magic.
17 Life Lessons
Magic and Yu-Gi-Oh! share the same base mechanic of having to take out your opponents life points to win the game by traditional means. This might come off as a slight difference because of how it is purely a cosmetic decision, but Yu-Gi-Oh! features 8000 life points in a standard duel whilst Magic only features a measly 20. This is painfully ironic because Yu-Gi-Oh! requires more mathematical solving due to the high number, despite being marketed as a children’s card game. This ended up being one of the most favorite ways for some of the most stubborn kids to practice math, and that in itself becomes a valuable tool that should not go unnoticed. It is the little things that make the biggest difference in Yu-Gi-Oh! and there are a lot of people that have the game to thank for their quick addition, subtraction and division.
16 The Fandom Is Strong With This One
As mentioned, the animated series for Yu-Gi-Oh! is one of the biggest reasons that it holds superiority over Magic. However, it became even more popular when the power of the Yu-Gi-Oh! fandom manifested itself in the creative, hilarious, and crude, Yu-Gi-Oh!: The Abridged Series. The series features shortened episodes that loosely follow the same plot, but feature some hilarious voice acting and skits that truly show the creator’s talents. The show is one of the most successful series on YouTube and inspired a plethora of other abridged series like Dragon Ball Z and Pokémon. It also shows just how far the fans of Yu-Gi-Oh! will go just to pay tribute. Oh, and do not forget that there are also a few live-action series based on Yu-Gi-Oh! on YouTube as well.
15 So Many Rules!
While Yu-Gi-Oh! is obviously crafted to be simplistic in gaming mechanics to adhere to the younger audience, Magic is anything but simplistic. It has some of the most convoluted sets of rules and they are constantly being changed as the years go on. Just taking a glance at the rule chart could cause headaches, and the game is notorious for having some of the worst issues when it comes to rulings and judges in the competitive scene. Most Magic players will tout the complexity of the game as one of its merits but anyone looking from the outside will agree that it just comes off as harsh. With a learning curve this difficult, it only adds another reason as to why it is inferior to Yu-Gi-Oh!.
14 Iconic Monsters
Come on, let's be real for a second. Everyone knows that Dark Magician, Blue-Eyes White Dragon, and Exodia, are some of the most iconic anime/manga characters that have been immortalized in ink. They are household names and some of the best-designed creatures that have ever been made. On top of this, they added a sense of fantasy that was not straying too far away from reality, thus making it much more accessible to a casual fan. Characters like the Celtic Warrior, Summoned Skull and Dark Magician Girl are synonymous with the popular medium. As mentioned with the main protagonists, there is no equivalent in a universal mascot for Magic, leaving it to feel quite bare in the grand scheme of things as fans do not really have a character to get behind as a collective. We all love Kuriboh!
13 A Heart-Warming Story
Back in 2005, Yu-Gi-Oh! was enjoying massive mainstream success all throughout, and was one of the most popular children’s show in America at the time. So when a young fan by the name of Tyler Gressle was diagnosed with a rare form of liver cancer, the anime production company 4Kids Entertainment wanted to give him an opportunity at immortalizing himself in his favorite game. How did they do this, you ask? Well, they actually did a currently unprecedented move to create an entirely new card based on the young Tyler, who was given free range to design it. The card would end up being called “Tyler The Great Warrior” in honor of his brave spirit, and he currently still owns the card to this day (where he has fully recovered, thankfully). Magic did this as well, but they only treated a child to a tournament in his honor. While Tyler will have something that lasts forever.
12 Umm, The Most Popular Anime Series?
What does Yu-Gi-Oh! have that Magic: The Gathering will never obtain? An amazingly entertaining and successful television series that serializes some of the best parts of the game by showing the world just how deep the world of Yu-Gi-Oh! is. Not only has Magic failed to produce any sort of promotional media that could rival a show like Yu-Gi-Oh! but if they ever decided to try the television route, they would have a lot to catch up to. Yu-Gi-Oh! is arguably one of the most iconic anime/manga series of all-time and has gone on for two decades with no signs of stopping anytime soon. This is what makes Yu-Gi-Oh! such a juggernaut as the show did a fantastic job at introducing the world to the now-legendary set of characters in Yami Yugi, Joey Wheeler, Jaden Yuki, Seto Kaiba, and many, many more.
11 Those Fancy Disks
While there have been a number of creative ways that Magic players have played their game, none will ever get as cool as the Yu-Gi-Oh! exclusive Duel Disk. The Duel Disk is a device that attaches to the player's arm and holds their cards along with a small counter for their life points. This little device is the stuff of dreams for a lot of Yu-Gi-Oh! fans and the small number of replicas that were made as toys still fetch up to two hundred dollars on resale sites like eBay. Furthermore, in the show, these duel disks were unique to each character and brought a new sense of personalization that Magic will probably never try to achieve. There is nothing equivalent to the Duel Disk in Magic and it looks like those dedicated gamers are going to have to stick to their mundane tables!
10 Virtual Reality
While on the subject of gaming paraphernalia, none come as close to that savory science fiction that we gamers love as the breathtaking holograms that are present in the world of Yu-Gi-Oh! Featured prominently throughout the manga/anime series, these holograms are present wherever Duel Monsters are being played. This has led to some amazing digital representations of the most prolific cards that ever existed and ended up being one of the most influential aspects of the entire show. Seeing as we are approaching the middle of a virtual reality/augmented reality era, it is important to see how it was implemented in one of the most influential anime shows of all time. This makes Yu-Gi-Oh! look and feel much more futuristic as opposed to the dated style of Magic.
9 Roasted By The Masters
There is no shortage of insulting jokes when it comes to the head creators Matt Stone and Trey Parker of South Park infamy, and fans of Magic found that out the hard way. Appearing as a plot device in the 18th season of the Comedy Central show, the show did a fantastic job at portraying an unflinching look at the competitive world of Magic. It might be seen as an umbrella episode to target all card games, but there was no mention of another game outside of Magic. Sure, it might be considered somewhat of an honor to be immortalized in the iconic show, but we have a resounding feeling that Konami is a little relieved that they did not suffer the same satirical fate as their long-standing rival.
8 Heroes = Legends
As mentioned in the entry that covered the dominance of the Yu-Gi-Oh! anime, the characters that are showcased in the series are as colorful as they are intriguing to follow. Whether it is Jaden’s gripes with his classmates at Duel Academy, Yusei riding on motorcycles while dueling, or Yugi trying to capture the Duelist Kingdom Championship, there is no shortage of fantastic characters to get behind. Unfortunately for Magic fans, there are no main protagonists that could provide the iconography to rival Yu-Gi-Oh! and thus makes the game a lot less interesting to follow. One of the biggest points of discussion for Yu-Gi-Oh! fans are the state of their favorite characters and seeing as we will probably never get a Magic show, this will remain exclusive to the Japanese franchise.
7 All About Speed
While Magic is touted as having a deeper set of mechanics to go with the game, a big detractor is the length that these games can go on for. The average Magic game runs around 30 minutes to an hour, while the average Yu-Gi-Oh! game only lasts about half of that. Some duels can even end in less than 10 minutes, making it an exhilarating game to play over and over again as there are so many ways that the duels can go. Having to wait an hour just get a win over a friend seems like a reasonable way to waste time when there is a much faster and satisfying game in Yu-Gi-Oh!. Plus, this makes Yu-Gi-Oh! much more suitable for anyone who wants to get a quick game in on a tight schedule.
6 Practical Portability
The pieces of cardboard that provide the lifeline of the two trading card games are fairly similar in design and distribution, but there is one aspect of Magic that makes Yu-Gi-Oh! a little simpler to carry around; the size. Magic cards are significantly larger in size and while the difference is minuscule to the untrained eye, that extra bit of space ends up being quite cumbersome when carrying a plethora of cards. Sure, it is a small complaint in the grand scheme of things but there is no denying the convenience of carrying a deck of Yu-Gi-Oh! cards as opposed to Magic’s extra-large counterpart. Some fans might tout this as giving more literal weight to the game and providing more space for text but it just comes across as unnecessary in comparison to the clean design of Konami’s cards.
5 A Cooler Set Of Vocabulary
Unfortunately for a lot of geeky players out there, a stigma rides on the surface of stereotypes towards them that usually associates with the nerdy-fantasy style of gameplay that is common in games like Dungeons & Dragons and Magic: The Gathering. This goes along with the clichés that plague Magic and make it seem like an outdated game in comparison to the futuristic world of Yu-Gi-Oh!. In fact, Konami’s game takes things further by adding some of the coolest sounding vocabularies to tie in with the game and make it sound a lot more epic than it actually is. Who wants to “cast a spell” like a boring wizard at Hogwarts when they can summon huge monsters in attack mode and attack directly? That is the kind of difference that has made Yu-Gi-Oh! that much more iconic.
4 A Cultural Impact
Not only does Yu-Gi-Oh! have Magic beat in the animation department(as there is none for the latter) but it pioneered the genre and propelled the Japanese style of animation to unprecedented heights in the United States alongside Pokémon. That kind of cultural impact is literally immeasurable and it ushered in a new era for entertainment on the globe. Sure, Magic has more players but that might be because of its stature as the first trading card game of all-time, whereas Yu-Gi-Oh! is digested through the manga/anime by many. The iconic image of Yami Yugi’s spiky red and yellow hair perfectly represents the way that the creators intricately designed the characters to introduce the world to the new medium known as anime into the mainstream.
3 All That Cash
Magic is notorious for having a fierce, dog-eat-dog competitive scene and it is crucial that players stay up to date with the most recent cards and this goes without saying; it ain’t cheap! Yu-Gi-Oh! can get pricey as well, but when competitive deck averages are a few hundred dollars below Magic decks it is clearly the more affordable option. Outside of averages, however, it is absolutely possible to build a competitive Yu-Gi-Oh! deck for just under fifty dollars and take it to a tournament to relative success. It is all about the game, and how you play it. Most of the expensive cards in the Yu-Gi-Oh! scene are expensive for their form of rarity, as opposed to Magic cards that are only pricey because they are necessary to stay relevant in the competitive scene. This, combined with a friendlier age-gate, have made Yu-Gi-Oh! accessible to those with tight wallets!
2 So Many Friends
Speaking of the age-gate that goes with these two card games, Magic is specifically intended to be played by adults and thus there is usually more of a mature audience. This has resulted in a staggering feeling of superiority that usually comes with most Magic players. Usually, Magic players will be the first to write off Yu-Gi-Oh! as a mere child’s game but just because it is marketed towards children does not make it any less legitimate. In fact, competitive video game juggernauts Overwatch and the recent success of Pokemon Go have shown that the biggest fans of are usually adults. However, that superiority complex can also be seen as a healthy feeling of pride but it is just too common to find Magic players who take it too far and just shoot down other games.
1 It's Just Plain Cooler
Out of all these aspects, the only real clear distinction that arises is that Yu-Gi-Oh! is just better because it is just that much cooler than Magic. As mentioned, it is popular with children and adults, reaching demographics that Magic could never touch. The band of heroes from the show is iconic anime characters that have household names. It propelled an entire medium to unprecedented heights. The cards are dazzling to the eye and easy on the wallet. The show encouraged a generation to reach for new technological heights and is still one of the most popular series in the world well after two decades of rampant releases. To put it simply, Yu-Gi-Oh! is better than Magic and their fans should just accept it as fact already.