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An archetype[1][2][3], called a series (シリーズ shirīzu)[4] in Japanese, is a semi-official term that denotes a group of cards who share a name component, thereby allowing them to interact with card effects that specify cards with that name component.

An example of an archetype is "Wind-Up"; being an archetype, there are cards with the "Wind-Up" string in their names (e.g. "Wind-Up Soldier"), and there are cards with card effects that specifically affect cards with the "Wind-Up" string in their names (e.g. "Zenmailfunction").

Typically (but not always), cards within an archetype all share a design theme across their artworks, card properties, and effects. Because archetype membership is based on card names, some cards are accidentally or incidentally included in an archetype that they are not thematically related to; for example, "Cipher Soldier" predates the "Cipher" archetype by nearly 16 years and has no synergy with the other members of the archetype.

Groups of cards that are thematically related (e.g. share name strings, designs, properties, and/or effects), but for which no card effect supports them as an archetype, are referred to as series.


Official usage[edit]

The term "archetype" is not officially used in the rules of Yu-Gi-Oh! Trading Card Game. However, it, along with its Japanese translation, "series", has been used in official marketing for Yu-Gi-Oh! products in the TCG and OCG. In this context, "archetype" is generally understood to be a group of cards who share a single aesthetic and gameplay theme, and can function as a single strategy; it functionally encompasses the definition of both "archetype" and "series" in common usage.

Other terms, such as "strategy", "theme", "series" are used interchangeably with "archetype" in official marketing contexts.

Common usage[edit]

In common usage, an "archetype" is specifically defined as a group of cards that share a name string specified in a card effect, thereby allowing them to interact with that card effect. Alternatively, if a card has an archetype condition specifying that it is considered a card of a certain name (e.g. "Contrast HERO Chaos" is treated as an "Elemental HERO" card), it can also be affected by those card effects that interact with such name strings.


In general usage, the classifications of card names and their interactions with effects that specify name strings (i.e. the "archetype membership") follow the Japanese OCG names of the cards. Cards with the same words in their non-Japanese names are not necessarily part of the same archetype (e.g. "Celtic Guardian" is generally not considered a "Guardian" card).

In the TCG, archetype conditions are sometimes added due to the card's name in that language lacking the archetype name (e.g. "Chimera the Flying Mythical Beast" and "Axe of Despair").

Japanese OCG naming[edit]

In the Japanese OCG, such name string-specifying effects takes into account the Ruby text of the specified card name. A card specifying a name string without a ruby text can interact with cards that either have the name string as their base text, or as their ruby text.

  • A card specifies an interaction with a ""Red-Eyes" card" (Japanese: 「レッドアイズ」カード).
    • It can interact with "Red-Eyes Toon Dragon" (Japanese: 「レッドアイズ・トゥーン・ドラゴン」)
    • It can also interact with "Red-Eyes B. Dragon" (Japanese: 「真紅眼の黒竜レッドアイズ・ブラックドラゴン」), even though it doesn't contain 「レッドアイズ」 in its base text.

If the name string specified by an effect in Japanese contains both a base text and a ruby text, a card's name must exactly match both for it to be affected.

  • A card specifies an interaction with a ""Neo-Spacian" card" (Japanese: 「ネオスペーシアン」カード)
    • It cannot interact with "NEX" (Japanese: 「NEXネオスペーシアンエクステント」), because in the name of "NEX",「ネオスペーシアン」 (Neo-Spacian) is not superscripted only above 「N」.

In Korean, due to the poorly made typesetters, an archetype name that contains ruby text is formatted uniquely in the card text using parentheses as follows: base text(ruby text) (no space intervening).

In the anime and manga[edit]

The concept of archetypes is often used in the manga and anime series to define a character's personality, look, state of mind or style of play. Most major players did not use archetypes early on due to a lack of archetypes, but as the game developed, Kaiba and Yugi's Decks grew around an archetype, and Decks based on archetypes such as Mai Valentine's and Maximillion Pegasus's Decks appeared. Starting with the Yu-Gi-Oh! GX anime, virtually all main characters and most minor characters utilize Decks based around archetypes.


  1. Prior to the Simplified Effect Text revision in the TCG, and Starter Deck 2014 in the OCG, such effects are written as "contains "[common name string]" in its card name" (Japanese: ○○と名のついた XX to na no tsuita) in card texts.

See also[edit]