After a year of Magic: The Gathering monopolizing the card-game portion of X-Box Live (unless you count Uno too), Microsoft and Konami are finally bringing Yu-Gi-Oh! to the Arcade with Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D's: Decade Duels. Here's what to expect for the mere sum of 800 points according to the 'back of the game's case'.
The game does have a How To Play section accessed through the main menu and a tutorial when you start the single-player mode but I thought I'd try explaining some of the card-game's basics myself here. First off, let me outline how a player's turn goes when they have one during a duel, each part known as a Phase.
Draw Phase: Draw one card from your pre-duel shuffled deck
Standby Phase: A phase usually only active if a card's effect is stated to kick in then.
Main Phase 1: Where you can bring cards into play onto your card-field and set up your actions for the next phase.
Battle Phase: Time to attack! This is where you use your in-play monsters to destroy your opponent's and knock down their Life Point total some if not completely.
Main Phase 2: What could be said as your recovery time from the Battle Phase and giving you a chance to set up defenses and counters for the next turn. Whatever you've done in the first Main Phase can usually be done here.
End Phase: This signifies the end of your turn. Some card's effects can happen here like the Standby Phase. You also have to discard any extra cards in your hand if you hold more then six at this time.
Next, let me outline the typical win conditions for a duel.
1: Drain your opponent's Life Points (or LP for short) to zero. A typical duel has both duelists starting out at 8000 LP.
2: Your opponent has run out of cards to draw at the start of their turn.
3: An automatic-win effect attached to one or more cards. Anyone who's bothered seeing the first episode of the original series has seen this in action.
Now that we got that out of the way, time for the important part of dueling: the cards!
Typically making up half of a deck's content, Monsters are the duelist's literal front-line soldiers in a duel. The two cards above show off the two basic classes of Monsters: Normal (regular monsters) and Effect (monsters which have a special ability or more). You're allowed to normally summon one monster during your turn in one of the five Monster-card spots on the field. Duelists can summon them face up as you can see above in what's called Attack Position or set them face-down and sideways in what's called Defense Position as shown below. It can also be in Defense Position right-side up, usually after it's attacked while it's face-down or if the owner changes the Position of a Monster from Attack to Defense.
Attack and Defense Positions are what bring those points by ATK and DEF on the card into play, the Position dictating which of the two numbers is active at the time. During the Battle Phase, when two Monsters collide, the active points will decide which of the two stays.
1) ATK > ATK = second Monster destroyed and it's owner takes LP-damage based on the point difference.
2) ATK = ATK = both Monsters are destroyed but no LP-damage for either Monster's owner.
3) ATK > DEF = second Monster destroyed but no LP-damage for the owner unless an effect says otherwise.
4) ATK < DEF = both Monsters survive but the attacking Monster's owner takes LP-damage based on the point difference.
5) ATK = DEF = both Monsters survive but no LP-damage for either Monster's owner.
The symbol on the right-hand corner is the Monster's Attribute: Earth, Fire, Dark, Light, Water, and Wind. The term in the brackets identifies the Monster's Type, of which there's twenty-two. Types and Attributes are used as targets for card effects and some duelists also use them to help focus what their deck is built around.
As for the 'dragonballs' you see on the two Monster Cards above, those are a Monster's Star Level. They matter when it comes to summoning them normally. A Monster with one to four stars can be dropped on the field with no problem. Those with five or six however need to be Tribute Summoned (which counts as a normal summoning), basically giving up a Monster you have on the field already to bring the 5-6er out. Seven stars and up require two Monsters instead of one. Yep, it does sound a bit slow. That's why we have Special Summons! Unlike the one-Normal-Summon-per-turn rule, a player's able to Special Summon as many Monsters as they're able to. Special Summons basically depend on a card's effect, allowing you to bring out one or more Monster out from your hand, deck or discard pile (AKA the Graveyard). In fact, besides being able to Special Summon regular Normal and Effect Monsters, there's three groups of Monsters (both Normal and Effect) who's cards are in different colors then the regular yellow and brown thanks to being Special-Summon-only Monsters. In order of appearance in the card game's history...
Fusion (Purple) - Monsters summoned from tributing (typically) two (usually) specific Monsters in your hand and/or on the field with the aid of a Fusion-effect Spell Card. The original FeSC is Polymerization, but more FeSCs popped up as the game grew to offer duelists a better chance to use Fusion Monsters (since Polymerization came out WAY back in the first set). Fusion Monster cards rest in their own separate pile on the field (AKA the Extra Deck) until summoned.
Ritual (Blue) - Monsters summoned by sacrificing one or more Monsters in your hand and/or on the field via the aid of a Ritual Spell Card. With Ritual Summoning, it's not certain Monsters being the requirement but rather the Star Level as the tribute(s) must be equal or more to the Ritual Monster's. Each Ritual Monster has their own specific RSC to summon them though there are special substitute RSCs that can be used depending on the Ritual Monster's Attribute.
Synchro (White) - Monsters summoned by two or more Monsters tributed on the field, one of which must be a special type of Monster called a Tuner. Similar to Ritual Monsters, the Star Level for the tributed monsters are taken into account but they must exactly equal the Star Level of the Synchro Monster, no more and no less.
Before Effect Monsters began to outnumber Normal Monsters in the sets, Spell Cards (formally Magic Cards) were one of the two card-groups used to keep duels from being straightforward slugging matches between Monsters. While full of wonderful and earth-shattering effects, duelists tend to keep the Spell count to about one-forth of a deck's card-count, depending mostly on how crucial they are to the deck's overall strategy. They (for the most part) can only be used during the two Main Phases and can be optionally set face-down on the back row (five available slots just like the Monsters' row). Much like Monsters, Spells tend to fall under certain categories with each having a symbol on the card to identify which Spell Card belongs to which.
Normal (no symbol on the card) - The Plain-Janes of Spells.
Continuous (infinity sign) - Spell Cards which stay on the field (within the back row) and who's effects keep going until a condition stated on the card or it's destroyed by another effect.
Equip (plus sign) - Spell Cards which stay on the field and who's effects are bonded to a monster on the field. Typically destroyed when the monster is and sometimes visa-versa.
Quick-Play (lightning bolt) - Spell Cards which can be used at anytime but must be set face-down on the duelist's turn before you can use them during the opponent's.
Field (compass) - Spell Cards that work much like Continuous Spells but have their own special spot on the field. They tend to focus on specific Types, Attributes or sets of cards. Only one Field Spell Card can be active at a time and the duelist can destroy his opponent's by laying down one of his own.
Ritual (fire) - Special Spell Cards required for summoning Ritual Monsters.
The Yang to Spells' Yin, Trap Cards make up the other one-fourth of a deck (meaning a ratio of 20/10/10 if one makes a straight 40-card deck). Traps are set face-down on the back row with the intent of being used during the opponent's turn to upset his or her's own plans. Because how game-upsetting they can be, they can only be played after the turn they're set. Much like Spells, Traps also have catagories they can be split into (though not as many).
Normal (no symbol) - The Plain-Janes of Trap Cards.
Continuous (infinity sign) - Just like Continuous Spell Cards, these stick around on the field as long as their effect(s) keep going or until they're destroyed by another effect.
Counter (curved arrow) - Trap Cards used mainly to negate a card's effect and/or destroy said card.
Knowing the cards is great but knowing which way to put them together in a deck is also important. Using a random assortment of Monsters, Spells and Traps won't get duelists very far. Focusing the deck on a win-strategy will produce much better results. This can be done by using cards that relate to a specific Type or Attribute. The game helps in this regard via the use of Archetypes which are groups of Monster cards which relate to each other under a common theme, typically indentified via their name or picture. These Archetypes tend to be supported via Spells and Traps that target cards within the Archetype much like those that target Types and Attributes. No matter which way you focus your deck, they can boil down to a few basic deck-types (with some Archetypes having a mix of traits from two of the first three deck-types below).
Beatdown - The deck uses Monsters with high ATK to quickly drain the opponent's LP.
Burn - The deck uses multiple effects to drain the opponent's LP, such as Monsters that drain extra LP upon applying damage in a battle or Spells and Traps that drain a constant amount of LP during a certain phase each turn.
Mill - The deck uses multiple effects to force the opponent to discard cards from their deck to leave them unable to draw a card at the start of their turn and thus lose.
One Turn Kill - The deck uses a specific combo of cards to win the duel in one turn by draining the opponent's max LP in one shot or using an instant-win effect. Doing so in the first turn is called a First Turn Kill.
A few last things to keep in mind when creating a deck:
A) They can only be 40 to 60 cards in the proper deck.
B) The Extra Deck's limit is 15 cards.
C) There's also a Side Deck which is used to swap cards with the proper deck during Matches (best two out of three Duels). It also has a 15 card limit.
D) You can only use three copies max of a single card in a deck. The exceptions are cards placed on the Forbidden/Limited/Semi-Limited List (updated every March and September) which means 0/1/2 copies of the card can be used in the deck depending on which part of the list the card's on.
The game is based on the current Yu-Gi-Oh! series, Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D's. Set decades (no pun intended) after the events of the original series, 5D's takes place in Neo Domino City (New Domino City in the dub).
The Neo/New in Domino City is due to a catastrophic accident that occurred seventeen years before the series due to research of a new type of energy called Momentum (Ener-D). Later called the Zero Reverse event, the explosion caused the site of the prototype Momentum reactor and a great portion of the surrounding area to be flooded-n-quaked into an island apart from the mainland. The new island would eventually be called Satellite while the city was rebuilt on the nearby mainland's new shoreline.
Neo Domino would end up prospering once safe creation of Momentum was established, allowing leaps ahead in technology that would make the city a near utopia. Satellite on the other hand would remain mostly in ruins, with the only major construction on the island done for factories and recycling centers for Neo Domino's trash. By the time of the series' start, Satellite's population are seen pretty much as third-class citizens and criminals in the eyes of Neo Domino's.
To keep the minds of both populations off of those pesky social problems, an expansion to the worldwide pastime of Duel Monsters (the card game's name within the various series) is created in the form of the Riding Duel (Turbo Duel). This takes the holographic technology already used for dueling and installs it onto Momentum-fueled motorcycles called D-Wheels (Duel Runners). Yep, card games on motorcycles. They do still have regular duels though when using D-Wheels isn't possible. In fact, a mix of Riding and regular duels is what makes up the Fortune Cup tournament, which the first 26 episodes culminate in and what Decade Duels's setting is based on.
Characters certain to be dueling NPCs in Decade Duels's single-player mode:
The main protagonist of 5D's, Yusei's noted for being more cool-headed and serious (though not to the 'this is SERIOUS BUISNESS!' point) as well as being a genius when it comes to Duel Monsters and machines. Growing up as an orphan in Satellite, Yusei's only driven to go to Neo Domino when a former friend named Jack Atlas stole not just the first D-Wheel Yusei made (out of the Neo Domino junk dumped on the island) but Yusei's ace monster, Stardust Dragon. The first episode of 5D's picks up two years later, after Yusei built a new, better D-Wheel to sneak into Neo Domino and confront Jack.
Yusei's deck initially starts out focused around a group of Warrior-type Monsters known as the Warriors, primarily robotic Synchro Monsters which require a specific group of Tuners tied to them known as the Synchrons (for example Junk Warror and Junk Synchron). The Warriors line-up also includes regular Lv1-5 Monsters (like Turret Warrior and Speed Warrior) for Synchro Summoning material as well as other Synchro Monsters that requite Junk Synchron; Junk Archer, Junk Destroyer and the yet-released Junk Berserker. Yusei also uses Stardust Dragon (and Tuners and other related support) once he regains it, a Synchro Monster that follows Yusei's more defensive style of play by temporarily leaving the field during a turn in order to destroy any opponent's card that destroys another as well as canceling it's effect.
Yusei's primary rival at the beginning of 5D's and friend. At least until he stole Yusei's first D-Wheel and Stardust Dragon. In the two years between that event and the series' start, Jack's become Neo Domino's Duel King (AKA the top dueling champion) and has no problem defending the title over and over to his challengers as well as flaunting it to them and the fans. A little hot-headed and plenty arrogant, he has no problem accepting Yusei's challenge to regain Stardust Dragon, unaware of the chaos it'll bring to both them and the city.
Jack's deck follows a Beatdown strategy with some Burn cards for extra pain as it's meant to overwhelm opponents and deny them any space to react and counter. Also, while Yusei's deck follows a 'team effort' with the use of his Warriors, Jack tends to mainly rely on his ace Synchro Monster, Red Dragon Archfiend (Red Demon's Dragon in Japan), to dole out the battle-based pain while using a specific group of Tuners known as Resonators to help summon it. Sporting a healthy 3000 ATK, RDA can instantly destroy all Defense Position Monsters on the opponent's side of the field by destroying just one in battle. However, any monsters on RDA's side of the field that fail to attack also are destroyed at the end of the owner's turn.
Lua And Luca (Leo And Luna)
Twins living in a penthouse at one of Neo Domino's richer neighborhoods, they run across Yusei one night and help him out of a predicament. With their parents away most of the time and their education being of the home-schooled sort, Lua and Luca are both glad for the company Yusei provides and end up befriending him. While both have decks, only Lua's eager (to the point of overconfidence) for dueling while his sister Luca avoids playing due to her ending up exhausted for some unknown reason.
Lua and Luca's decks are the sort that can be attributed to the interests of kids their age. Lua's centered around an Archetype called Morphtronics (Deformers), normally weak Machine-type monsters which bring two separate effects with only one being active depending on the Monster being in Attack or Defense Position. Luca's on the other hand uses cards (of the Fairy, Beast and Plant-type) based on folklore creatures and enchantments with effects that tend to both protect her Monsters and raise her LP. Depending how closely Decade Duels will stick to the Fortune Cup storyline, the twins may or may not have their ace Synchro Monsters with them; Lua's Power Tool Dragon and Luca's Ancient Fairy Dragon. Both Synchro Monsters have the ability to manipulate a certain type of Spell Card to their own ends with PTD working with Equip Spell Cards and AFD working with Field Spell Cards.
Aki Izayoi (Akiza Izinski)
Arguably the main female protagonist of 5D's, Aki is what you'd get if the X-Men's Jean Grey decided to play card games. A senator's daughter, Aki discovered at a young age that she had the uncontrollable telekinetic ability to cause the attacks and effects of Duel Monsters to become dangerously real. Branded a monster by her father and classmates, Aki grew up into an understandably angry teen to the point of roaming Neo Domino's streets under the disguised alias of the Black Rose Witch simply to hurt others during duels. Because of this, she ends up becoming an urban legend among duelists by the time Yusei and her cross paths.
Aki's deck, as her alias hints, is based around Plant-type Monsters. Along with the Field Spell Card known as Black Garden, her cards tend to require the presence and sometimes sacrifice of other Plant-type Monsters on the field to use their effects. A primary goal of her deck is to summon her ace Synchro Monster, Black Rose Dragon. Similar to some of her Plant cards' effect-activation requirement, BRD can remove a Plant-type Monster in the Graveyard from the duel to force an opponent's monster into Attack Position and have 0 ATK. It also has the devastating ability to destroy all cards on the field the moment it's Synchro Summoned if the owner so wishes.
- A good database of every card released so far as well as gameplay information (like the
)and deck strategies.
- An active message board with sub-forums dedicated to single-card and archetype/deck guides.
Drop a post with your XBL Gamertag and I'll add it to the list! I'll be getting myself up to Gold by the end of the month (hopefully) so I'll be able to join you.