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Materials (ざい Sozai) are cards used to Special Summon Fusion Monsters, Synchro Monsters, Xyz Monsters, and Link Monsters from the Extra Deck. Each type of monster has a corresponding type of material: Fusion Materials, Synchro Materials, Xyz Materials, and Link Materials, respectively.

Most Fusion, Synchro, Xyz, and Link Monsters have their required materials listed in their card text on a designated line above any card effect, cost or condition. However, some Fusion Monsters, such as "Masked HERO" Fusion Monsters (which are Summoned in a special way that does not use materials) and "Elemental HERO Divine Neos" (which has complex materials), do not list their materials in this way. Similarly, the Synchro Monsters "Ultimaya Tzolkin" and "Phantasmal Lord Ultimitl Bishbaalkin" do not list Synchro Materials as they cannot be Synchro Summoned. Strangely, "Number C88: Gimmick Puppet Disaster Leo" does list appropriate materials despite the fact it cannot be Xyz Summoned other than by the effect of a "Rank-Up-Magic" card.

While materials are usually only used in Fusion, Synchro, Xyz, and Link Summons; not all of these Summons always require materials, and materials can be used in Special Summons other than these. For example, "Instant Fusion" can perform a Special Summon that is treated as a Fusion Summon without using materials. Conversely, Contact Fusion and the monsters in the "Hex-Sealed Fusion" series both Special Summon Fusion Monsters using Fusion Materials, despite not being Fusion Summons.

Fusion, Synchro, and Link Materials are sent to the GY after being used (by default). Xyz Materials are instead placed under the Xyz Monster until detached (or that monster is no longer on the field). Cards such as "Overlay Regen" can be used to retroactively attach materials to an Xyz Monster.