I've been a fan of Yu-Gi-Oh! ever since I was a little kid, waking up early every weekend to watch the 4Kids-dubbed anime. I started collecting the cards around the same time, and I've amassed well over 1,000 over the years. Though it's been quite some time since I've indulged in a real duel (I dropped after Yu-Gi-Oh! GX aired), I'll come back to it from time to time over video games. Previously this meant loading up Yu-Gi-Oh! Legacy of the Duelist on my Xbox, but now it means playing Yu-Gi-Oh! Master Duel on my Android phone.
Even though you've likely heard of Yu-Gi-Oh!, you may not know exactly how the game works. The short of it is that it's a card game featuring monster, spell, and trap cards, each with their own unique powers and effects. Each player starts out with a specific amount of life points — this can vary, but is usually 4,000 or 8,000 — and the first person to reach zero life points loses. A monster with 2,000 Attack Points (ATK) battling a monster with 1,800 Attack Points would result in the latter being destroyed and the person who summoned it losing 200 life points, for instance. If the card was in defense mode, it would simply result in the card being destroyed with no loss of life points.
It's evolved over the years and become increasingly complex, but the basics are still the same. This made me eager to try out Master Duel to see what's changed and how easy it is to pick up. I tend to gravitate towards the classic decks and dueling styles, but Master Duel offers a lot for Yu-Gi-Oh! fans of all ages, whether that means they were there since the beginning or just got into it.
Playing through the tutorial in Master Duel didn't do much for me, but once I was allowed to really see what the game had to offer, I realized how out of my depth I was. The first real opponent I dueled summoned multiple Pendulum monsters in a single turn, and I had no idea what they were or why they were summoned on the field's spell/trap slots. It was rightfully intimidating.
I can firmly say it isn't the easiest to pick up if you haven't played in ages and don't know all of the new card types or rules, but it's nonetheless fun to play through and challenge others. Anyone itching for a duel will find plenty to love, from its vast selection of cards and tournaments to keep your skills sharp.
Its story mode is nothing special, taking players through generic duels and forgettable scenarios, so if players want a real challenge I'd recommend hitting up its competitive multiplayer. That said, its solo mode is the best way to familiarize yourself with Yu-Gi-Oh!'s newest mechanics with little risk. The Warriors of the Six Elemental Lords section allows you to learn the effects of the aforementioned Elemental Lords and how to take advantage of the Elementsaber ability. Likewise, Duel Strategy goes over much of the basics not covered in the opening tutorial.
One of my biggest issues, at least with the mobile version of Master Duel, is that the text and numbers can be so small that they're sometimes hard to read unless you select a specific card to open up its description. It's definitely not the ideal way to view your cards.
In addition to challenging other players in ranked matches, Master Duel lets you customize and build your own decks. There's a shop for purchasing card packs and structure decks that can be bought with in-game gems earned through dueling or bought outright through microtransactions. A nice little feature that Konami included is when you go to buy a pack, it displays the odds of getting a super rare or ultra rare card. In the first pack I unlocked for 100 gems, I got two super rare cards. What Master Duel does to make opening packs even more fun is that sometimes you can unlock secret packs right afterward, keeping the chain going.
I've only spent a couple of hours with Master Duel, but it's clearly the same Yu-Gi-Oh! that people fell in love with, granting access to decades of nostalgia while teaching the older generation some new tricks. While I'd much rather use physical cards, Master Duel makes Yu-Gi-Oh! accessible to everyone.
Because it's not exactly a graphically-intensive game, it doesn't require a lot from your phone, whether you're playing on one of the best Android Phones or something else. As long as you're device runs Android 6.0 or newer, you're good to go.
Yu-Gi-Oh! Master Duel
The popular trading card game is back again with Yu-Gi-Oh! Master Duel. Challenge other players and collect over 10,000 different cards as you ascend through ranked matches or solo play.
- Free at Google Play (opens in new tab)
Jennifer Locke has been playing video games nearly her entire life. You can find her posting pictures of her dog and obsessing over PlayStation and Xbox, Star Wars, and other geeky things.
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