Yu-Gi-Oh! players have noticed that promotional card art for the trading card game’s upcoming Phantom Nightmare bears a striking resemblance to FromSoftware’s Dark Souls video game series. Molten dragons, pelt-covered knights and a certain blindfolded maiden are only the start of the references.
The popular TCG loves to pack its card designs with allusions to pop culture - Super Sentai, Star Wars, Godzilla, Skyrim and publisher Konami’s other properties such as Metal Gear and Castlevania all have their own slightly altered homages. Now, it seems as though Lordran and the lands of the Eternal Flame will enjoy a little cardboard conversion.
Fans first noticed the cheeky nods in the card art images shown during Konami’s reveal of Phantom Nightmare, the TCG’s next expansion slated to release on February 3rd. Some of the designs, such as Vados, the Eruption Dragon of Extinction, are reminiscent of several hulking, colossal dragons from Dark Souls’ three entries and predecessor Demon’s Souls such as Darkeater Midir or the Dragon God - FromSoftware really loves their dragons.
A beefy lord draped in fur and sporting a bushy beard bears a more specific comparison to Elden Ring’s Godfrey, while the red-haired knight bearing massive pauldrons evokes the Fume Knight, Radahn and a half dozen other characters who straddled the line between chivalry and time-worn decay. Many fans have pointed to the glowing woman with an ornate eye covering as an obvious Fire Keeper from Dark Souls 3. It could be any number of women characters with covered eyes, to be honest. Again, FromSoftware has a recurring style.
You could chalk all this up to ‘guy who has only seen The Boss Baby’ syndrome if it weren’t for Konami’s own advertising for Phantom Nightmare wasn’t full of references to destroying the cycle of life and death and souls burned to ash and forced to relive the conflict for so long that they have lost their original names and identities. That’s some straight-up Dark Souls storytelling. The new ‘Ashened’ archetype is just gilding the lily by this point.
These new creatures will apparently bear the Pyro typing, which is both apt for Dark Souls’ thematic ties to flames and rebirth but also increases the value of the Bonfire card reprinted in the recent Maze of Millenia set. Some fans bemoaned even more reason to seek out the high-demand and thus high-priced card, while others laughed at yet another layer of Dark Souls connection - bonfires serve as crucial rest and respawn points in the video games, tiny bubbles of calm in the relentless toil against life and death.
Phantom Nightmare will land on February 3rd, bringing with it 100 new cards and strategies centred around returning character Yubel, Majespecter Pendulum Monsters and a twist on Ritual Summoning.