As 25th anniversary celebrations for the Yu-Gi-Oh! TCG get underway, so too comes an excuse to reach into the depths of nostalgic long-term players and lapsed fans alike. That said, there’s certainly worse ways to capitalise on card game booms and nostalgia than the Legendary Collection, a brand new release including promo versions of iconic cards from the earliest days of the trading card game, alongside a tantalising opportunity to open 2023 reprints of the very first booster packs released back in 2002 when these duel monsters first burst onto the scene.
Best Legendary Collection cards in Yu-Gi-Oh!
- Egyptian God cards
- Blue-Eyes White Dragon (LOB Edition)
- Staple originals (Heavy Storm, Solemn Judgment, Skill Drain in Dark Crisis, etc.)
- D.D. Warrior Lady (plus the rest of Dark Crisis)
Is there a reason to actually buy this set beyond the novelty of being able to recreate a childhood visit to Toys R Us and open a few booster packs with cards that have since long lost relevancy in the modern metagame as a result of inevitable power creep? We’d say so. Nostalgia is arguably a good enough reason on its own, but not all these Legendary Collection cards have been tossed aside for Link monsters, only to live on in power in the vestiges of the mind. With some iconic and milestone cards being reprinted, some for the first time in years, and classic deck staples, there’s plenty here worth checking out.
The set contains six packs in all, encapsulating many of the best-remembered packs from Yu-Gi-Oh!’s early days: Legend of Blue Eyes White Dragon, Metal Raiders, Spell Ruler, Pharaoh’s Servant, Dark Crisis and Invasion of Chaos. These are the Legendary Collection cards we think are most worth seeking out if you decide to make the purchase.
1. Egyptian God cards
Ra, Ra, Fight the Power
Why not start with one selection of cards you’re guaranteed to get with every purchase? Admittedly, these Egyptian God cards won’t help you out too much in the heat of the duel: these aren’t even the game-legal versions of the monsters and are merely reprints of the symbolic originals most closely linked to the cards seen in the original anime. But for anyone who grew up with Yu-Gi-Oh! in those early days, the dream was to grab a set of these legendary cards to sit pride of place in your schoolyard collection.
The Legendary Collection includes seven promo cards in all, comprising six Ultra Rare variants of these three Egyptian God Cards, alongside our protagonist’s key monsters: Blue-Eyes White Dragon, Dark Magician and Red-Eyes Black Dragon. Included alongside it is a seventh card consisting of one of these cards in a special Quarter Century Secret Rare form featuring a 25th Anniversary watermark.
Sure, Red-Eyes and Dark Magician have received two decades of support that, while not making them competitive in the modern metagame, at least offers fans of these cards a fighting chance in a match. Still, of the included promos, the opportunity for many to finally own the cards of their dreams (particularly for lapsed fans who may not have played since these early days) makes the lure of the Egyptian Gods alone a prize worth the price of admission. They’re on the cover of the box for a reason!
2. Blue-Eyes White Dragon (LOB Edition)
Seto your sights on this!
While every player will get their hands on at least one copy of Blue-Eyes White Dragon in every Legendary Collection set, it’s doubtful this will reduce the desire to grab a lucky draw of this most difficult-to-pull boss monster that defined the early days of the game.
When the Legend of Blue Eyes White Dragon booster pack was first released, rarities were much stricter than they are today. While it’s generally understood by fans buying a box of the latest booster packs today that they’ll receive a certain ratio of holographic and Secret Rare cards for their purchase, this was far from the case in 2002. No ratios were guaranteed - not even for Secret Rares - and, with a higher-than-today 104 cards per set, there was similarly no guarantee what cards any player could pull from a single pack.
This made Blue-Eyes White Dragon somewhat of an enigma. Not only was this the card everyone from competitive elites entering the very first tournaments to the kids on the schoolyard wanted, it was near-impossible to find. To pull a Blue-Eyes made you the envy of all, for more reasons than that original artwork for the monster being cool and striking in that secret rare holographic form.
Sure, everyone will get a Blue-Eyes who buys this Legendary Collection, but we doubt anyone would feel any less satisfied if they somehow pulled this from their single roll of the booster pack roulette.
It's a trap? No problem!
Sticking with monsters whose iconic status makes them much sought-after irrespective of their competitive value in the current meta-game today, Jinzo’s near-legendary status upon its release makes it an undeniably sought-after card from these reprinted sets. First released as part of Dark Beginning 1 mere weeks before being included as a Secret Rare inside Pharaoh’s Servant, to face Jinzo in a duel was to face a titan.
What made Jinzo powerful in its day was its simple yet punishing effect: trap cards cannot be activated, and all active trap cards are negated. At a time without explosive monster effects, overcoming Jinzo meant surviving long enough to bring out a monster with a high enough attack, since more common methods of overcoming high-attack monsters such as counter traps like Mirror Force were simply not an option. Never mind the fact that Jinzo could be summoned with just a single tribute, at a time when pretty much the only other 2500-attack single-tribute monster was Summoned Skull.
While the card no longer sees as much play due to the shift away from trap monsters and the release of Denko Sekka in 2014’s The New Challengers that offered a similar effect in a Level 4 monster, this is a card that still sees rare appearances in side decks and remains an iconic defining card of Yu-Gi-Oh! due to the brutally oppressive reality that trap card negation such as that offered by Jinzo inflicted on an opponent. A chance to own an original-set secret rare is one tantalising possibility for any player jumping on the newest Legendary Collection.
4. Staple originals (Heavy Storm, Solemn Judgment, Skill Drain in Dark Crisis, etc.)
Tried and tested
There’s more to the Legendary Collection than mere nostalgia. Many of the staple spell and trap cards still used in many of the top decks today were first made available in the game’s earliest sets and stood the test of time as some of the most powerful spell and trap cards still in use today. Even as some of these cards drift in and out of relevancy depending on the state of the format, holding a copy of any of these cards will always serve you well in the future. If they’re from the original booster pack? Well, that’s just bragging rights, and there’s nothing wrong with that.
This includes the likes of Solemn Judgment and Heavy Storm, first sold in Metal Raiders. Or how about Raigeki from Legend of Blue Eyes? One of the most powerful of these long-lasting staples that could find a home even in the decks of today would be the regular side-deck and tech card Skill Drain, whose powerful effect can negate all face-up monster effects on the field for the cost of just 1000 life points. At the time of the card’s original release, effect monsters were a present fixture, but their negation wouldn’t cost you the game provided you had a powerful beatdown Normal monster like Summoned Skull to win the day. Nowadays, when nearly every deck relies on monster effects in some form? It’s brutally effective.
Iconic cards that were once staples but have since been banned (or not seen the light of day in many, many years) such as Pot of Greed, alongside powerful cards that have struggled to find a home in modern play, such as Change of Heart, also find a home here in these packs. Their legacy alone makes them exciting possibilities to pull from any of the packs included in the Legendary Collection.
5. D.D. Warrior Lady (plus the rest of Dark Crisis)
Manic Interdimensional Dream Girl
D.D. Warrior Lady kickstarted the different dimension archetype in Dark Crisis, becoming one of the rare monsters at the time to utilise and take advantage of the banished zone in a competitive manner.
At the time of Warrior Lady’s release, to banish a card meant to remove it from the duel with little recourse to bring it back. One of the most effective early uses for this card was to simply attack a high-value monster your opponent had brought out, and use the effect to banish it from play, effectively removing it from the rest of the duel. As cards like Return from the Different Dimension later made their way into the game in the following years, what started as a loosely-connected archetype of cards that banished themselves and other monsters evolved into a brutal assault and hard-to-overcome board capable of inflicting maximum damage. Yet even before this game-changing combination became a reality, Warrior Lady was one of the most sought-after cards in Dark Crisis by mere virtue of its ability to take out threats for very little cost.
Whereas most packs reprinted for this Legendary Collection will be available individually later this year according to Yu-Gi-Oh! publisher Konami, this doesn’t include Dark Crisis, which will remain exclusive to the Legendary Collection. This means the set’s most sought-after cards - including Skill Drain, D.D. Warrior Lady, Tsukuyomi, Vampire Lord and more - will only be made available to the lucky few who pull these cards as part of their Legendary Collection haul.
The appeal of this set, as this list may suggest, is not to build up your deck in time for the Yu-Gi-Oh! Regional Championships taking place in the following months. There are a few key staple cards reprinted by virtue of their existence in the game since the early days, but they’re far from the draw here.
Whether you look to pull that once-unstoppable Jinzo or the tricky D.D. Warrior Lady, grab your own Blue-Eyes White Dragon or save the day with Kuriboh (a card which, looking back on Yu-Gi-Oh! history, could perhaps call itself the first ever hand trap to exist in the TCG), the appeal of the Yu-Gi-Oh! Legendary Collection is to appeal to nostalgia and celebrate a historic milestone in the history of this illustrious game.
To open these packs and relive your childhood is the draw of this set. To pull those sought-after legendary icons? Well, you just have to believe in the heart of the cards.