Yu-Gi-Oh! is celebrating 25 years as one of the most popular and successful trading card games, a commendable longevity shared with Pokémon and Magic: The Gathering. Both the TCG and its anime series have provided dozens of iconic creatures, but none short of ol’ Blue-Eyes herself could embody Yu-Gi-Oh!’s roots like the three Egyptian God cards.
That history might be why developer and publisher Konami believes fans will shell out just shy of $400 (or £314) for a set of three cards in stainless steel. The collectible set includes three cards with names that might initially confuse English-speaking players - The God of Obelisk, Saint Dragon - The God of Osiris and The Sun of God Dragon. Their more common names are Obelisk the Tormentor, Slifer the Sky Dragon and The Winged Dragon of Ra, respectively.
Konami’s listing is quick to remind prospective buyers that this is the first instance that the Yu-Gi-Oh! TCG has released stainless steel cards, and all three come in a protective acrylic display with a 25th anniversary commemorative stamp near the bottom. In case it isn’t clear, these cards are not legal and meant for a shelf instead of a deck.
Both Obelisk and Slifer, er… Saint Dragon bear an English translation of the original card’s Japanese rules text and different artwork than you might remember from the anime, where Yami Yugi and Seto Kaiba wielded them in their decks to devastating results. Ra’s rules text is a version or bastardisation of hieroglyphics (this author isn’t sure which), fitting Yu-Gi-Oh!’s fundamental fascination with the ancient Egyptian pantheon and cultural signifiers - even when they didn’t shoot for accuracy.
The stainless steel Egyptian God cards are available to preorder in the US, Europe and Latin America and are expected to ship in “early 2024”. Eligible buyers are also entered into a sweepstakes where they can win an Ultra Rare Normal Monster version of Black Luster Soldier, which Konami calls “one of the rarest cards to exist in the Yu-Gi-Oh! TCG.” The publisher will print 2,000 of these for the sweepstakes and winners won’t be notified until the anniversary collectible begins shipping.
Want to duel with the Egyptian Gods but don’t have an easy $399 to throw around? Yu-Gi-Oh! Master Duel, the official digital app for the TCG, is currently running a 25th anniversary festival with login bonuses, free premium currency, and a special booster pack containing alternate art versions of Obelisk, Ra and Slifer.