Shuffling (Japanese: シャッフル Shaffuru) is the act of randomizing a pile of cards in the Yu-Gi-Oh! Trading Card Game and Yu-Gi-Oh! Official Card Game. At the start of a Duel, both player's Decks must be shuffled before drawing their opening hands. The Deck must also be shuffled whenever a player searches it.
Some card effects can also shuffle other cards, such as shuffling a player's face-down monsters. However, players are not permitted to shuffle cards on the field unless directed to do so by a card effect.
Whenever a player is required to shuffle their Deck, they must first shuffle their Deck themselves, then present their Deck to the opponent so that they can (if they wish) shuffle the Deck. The player can then cut their own Deck, but if they do they must then present their Deck to their opponent who can cut their Deck again. No further reordering of the Deck is permitted after this point.
The Deck must be shuffled thoroughly, in view of the opponent. Players may not look at cards in the Deck while shuffling it. Players may not arrange cards in the Deck prior to or while shuffling.
There is no prescribed method for shuffling the Deck, as long as the method used in an accepted shuffling method (e.g. riffle, pile, Hindu, etc.). (Note that despite being entirely deterministic, pile shuffling is officially listed as an accepted shuffling method, and even recommended for beginners by the "Shuffling" Tip Card.)
When to shuffle
Players are required by rule to shuffle their Main Deck at the following moments:
- At the start of a Duel
- Whenever they search their Deck
- Whenever directed to do so by a card effect (e.g. "Card Shuffle")
Shuffle into the Deck
Many cards have an effect that shuffles a card into the Deck in the TCG. In the OCG, these effects often only specify that the card is returned to the Deck without mentioning shuffling, as the requirement to shuffle is implicit if the card is not explicitly returned to either the top or bottom of the Deck.
Only players whose Main Deck the cards were returned to need to shuffle their Decks. If no cards that left the field by such an effect were returned to a player's Deck (i.e. they were only returned to the other player's Deck, either player's Extra Deck, or were Token Monsters), then that player does not need to shuffle their Deck. If an Extra Deck monster is returned to the Extra Deck by one of these effects, the Extra Deck does not need to be shuffled.
Shuffling piles other than the Deck
Usually, players only shuffle their Main Deck. However, some cards allow the player to shuffle other piles of cards.
Some cards allow shuffling face-down cards on the field, such as "Magical Hats" and "Shifting Shadows". Players are not permitted to shuffle cards on the field unless directed to do so by a card effect.
In the Yu-Gi-Oh! manga, at the start of a Duel, each player shuffles their Deck, then allows their opponent to cut it.
In the Yu-Gi-Oh! anime and manga, when Yami Yugi and Arkana Dueled, Arkana used the "shotgun shuffle" method in preparation for the Duel, which Yugi noted as a highly discouraged style as it would bend and damage the player's cards. Seeing how Arkana had no qualms about damaging his own cards, this made Yugi realize that Arkana used the stripper technique, where Arkana trimmed the edges of his "Dark Magician" cards, so when Yugi cut Arkana's Deck he would inadvertently cut it at the point so that the "Dark Magician" would be on top of a small stack, ensuring that one of them would be at the top of the entire Deck.
Later, when Gansley used the effect of "Ashingray", he too used the shotgun shuffle, though at the time it was a virtual data deck, so no real cards would be damaged. Yami Marik also used this method during his Duel with Mai Valentine, but is later shown shuffling Yami Yugi's Deck normally.
Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D's onward
In Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D's, Duel Disks and Wrist Dealers automatically shuffle the Decks contained within them, in addition to being capable of ejecting specific card from the Deck; these features were maintained for all subsequent series.
In Yu-Gi-Oh! ARC-V, removing the Deck from the Duel Disk actually cancels the current Duel.
InYu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS, shuffling is no longer animated but instead, the Deck glows and the the word "shuffling" appears on the side where the blade is projected from, though this is only seen in older models of Duel Disks which contain physical cards outside of LINK VRAINS.
In Yu-Gi-Oh! SEVENS, the Deck is shuffled inside the Duel Disk by being deposited further into the body, after which it resurfaces.
- Yu-Gi-Oh! Trading Card Game Official Rulebook (PDF) (Version 10 ed.). Konami. p. 33.
- Yu-Gi-Oh! Trading Card Game Official Rulebook (PDF) (Version 10 ed.). Konami. p. 55.
- "Official KDE-E Yu-Gi-Oh! TRADING CARD GAME Tournament Policy Europe, Middle East, Africa and Oceania" (PDF). Konami Digital Entertainment, B.V. (KDE-E). November 23, 2020. pp. 29–30.