|Other language names|
|Anime debut||Yu-Gi-Oh! episode 50: "The Mystery Duelist, Part 1"|
The Rare Hunters, known as Ghouls in the Japanese version and Jackals in some video games, is an underground sect of rogue Duelists, card thieves, bootleggers, cheaters, and con artists in the Yu-Gi-Oh! manga and anime, and Yu-Gi-Oh! GX anime series. They acted as the main antagonists of the Battle City arc of Yu-Gi-Oh!. In the manga and Japanese anime, the Ghouls are the main group, and the Rare Hunters is the combat section of the Ghouls.
The Rare Hunters were formed by Marik Ishtar to collect the Egyptian God Cards and other cards of value. It is not specified exactly when they are formed, but it was some time after Marik murdered his father and left with Odion the following day. The Rare Hunters are known to be Marik's underlings and assist him in his goals with Odion Ishtar being the second in command.
They are known to have stolen two of the three Egyptian Gods, but failed to steal Obelisk the Tormentor thanks to the intervention of Ishizu Ishtar. Also, they designed counterfeit copies of rare cards, including The Winged Dragon of Ra and the five pieces of Exodia.
The first Rare Hunter to appear (although not addressed as one) was Bandit Keith, who stole the Millennium Puzzle from Yugi Muto. Yugi won the Puzzle back, but not before meeting Marik through his mind control of Keith, who warned Yugi he will return. In this Duel the methods of the Rare Hunters was also set: nearly all of the Rare Hunters cheat in their duels.
When Seto Kaiba organized the Battle City Tournament (which he did to lure out the Rare Hunters who had the other two Egyptian God Cards), Marik ordered his minions to go to the tournament and defeat the Duelists there, hoping to seize many rare cards that the world's best duelists would surely have. The Rare Hunters hacked into Battle City's computer system and registered themselves in the tournament. However, upon discovering his sister Ishizu Ishtar gave the final God card to Kaiba, Marik traveled to Battle City himself to take the card back. Yugi was also in the tournament, giving Marik the perfect opportunity to take both the Millennium Puzzle and the final God card.
As he traveled to Domino, Marik had several other Rare Hunters attempt to defeat Yugi, but they failed and ended up having their minds banished to the Shadow Realm as punishment for their failure to defeat Yugi. Marik was desperate enough to duel Yugi himself by controlling Strings using his God card, "Slifer the Sky Dragon". When Yugi prevailed again and acquired "Slifer", Marik attempted to have two Rare Hunters named Lumis and Umbra defeat him and Kaiba in a Tag-Team Duel. This failed as well. As Kaiba and Yugi had enough Locator Cards to enter the finals, Marik decided there was nothing else to do but face the two himself, and he and Odion entered the finals.
After this, the fate of the Rare Hunters was not known, although the video game Yu-Gi-Oh! Reshef of Destruction, which is an alternate-universe game set in the aftermath of Battle City, portrays them as still seeking the God cards with Bandit Keith as their new leader. Since Marik and Odion returned their loyalty to the Pharaoh during the tournament after Yami Marik took over his body, they are assumed to have left the Rare Hunters after the finale, thus leaving the group without a leader or second-in-command. This can be evidenced since after taking back control of his body from Yami Marik, he surrendered his Duel with the Pharaoh to willingly give him the last Egyptian God and rarest Duel Monsters card (Ra), along with Odion only following Marik's "wrong" orders at the time since he was the only person who could protect Marik from his darker half emerging and possessing him. So it is unknown if the rest of the Rare Hunters either broke up or chose a different leader.
While Pegasus is explaining to Jaden how God cards can be dangerous during episode 85, a flashback features some Rare Hunters who have been punished by The Winged Dragon of Ra from episode 88 of the original series.
The Rare Hunters are shown as a part of Chazz's darkness in his heart, after he lost to Trueman and being sent to the World of Darkness. During his illusions of failing in his career as a pro and quitting it, Chazz suddenly finds himself on the street, and is challenged to an Ante Duel by a gang of Rare Hunters.
|Marik Ishtar||Leader. Uses "The Winged Dragon of Ra" as his main card, but his actual Deck is unknown as Yami Marik took over and changed his Deck before it was shown.|
|Yami Marik||Dissociative and malicious persona of Marik Ishtar that possessed his body. Plays an immortality-theme Deck focused on torture and weakening the enemy, with "The Winged Dragon of Ra" as his main card.|
|Odion||Second in command. Plays a Trap and Egyptian-themed Deck.|
|Bandit Keith||(Anime only, brainwashed): Plays a Machine-themed Deck, with several other rare card upgrades since Duelist Kingdom from Marik.|
|Seeker||Plays an Exodia-themed Deck, relying on defense and extra drawing to declare an automatic victory.|
|Arkana||(Deceived by Marik): Plays a "Dark Magician"-themed deck, with many magic and occult based cards to assist his main card.|
|Strings||(Brainwashed): Plays a Slime-themed Deck, with "Slifer the Sky Dragon" as his main card.|
|Lumis||Plays a Mask-themed lockdown Deck along with Umbra, while relying on teamwork to support each other in a Tag-Team Duel.|
|Umbra||Plays a Mask-themed lockdown Deck along with Lumis, while relying on teamwork to support each other in a Tag-Team Duel.|
|Rare Hunter 2||He Dueled Yugi and Kaiba and lost.|
|Rare Hunter 3||He Dueled Yugi and Kaiba and lost.|
|Unknown Rare Hunter||Plays mostly cards with high ATK in order to maintain field control until he is able to Summon his false copy of "The Winged Dragon of Ra".|
|Merchant||An agent of the Rare Hunters, he gives information about Battle City participants and their rare cards.|
|Arkana's servant||Yugi's guide to the location of the Duel with Arkana.|
|Rare Hunter 4||He beat Namu and Joey before capturing them and Téa. He captured Mokuba and recaptured Téa after she tried to escape with him. He later went to capture Tristan and Serenity Wheeler, but failed. Tristan later beat him up and made him reveal that Yugi was at Domino Pier. He is voiced by Nick Turturro.|
|Rare Hunter 5||He beat Namu and Joey. He captured Mokuba and recaptured Téa. He later threatened to drop a crate on her if Kaiba stopped the Duel between Yugi and Joey, however Kaiba threw a card to his hand and then kicked him, leaving him unconscious. He is voiced by Steve Little.|
|Rare Hunter 6||He beat Namu and Joey. He captured Mokuba and recaptured Téa. He led the group to recapture Mokuba, but failed. He later went to capture Tristan and Serenity but failed.|
|Rare Hunter 7||He was sent to capture Tristan and Serenity, but failed. Tristan later beat him up.|
Rare Hunters can appear at nighttime to challenge the player to Shadow Games after a certain point in the game.
Ghouls appear as opponents in Yu-Gi-Oh! BAM.
Ghoul in Yu-Gi-Oh! BAM
Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Links
- In the manga, before the Tournament Finals, each Rare Hunter lost to Yugi in a different way (excluding Mask of Light and Mask of Darkness): the first Rare Hunter surrendered, Pandora lost all of his Life Points, Marik controlling Doll lost through a Deck out, and Marik controlling Jonouchi lost by default (as Marik was technically was Dueling, and he couldn't control Jonouchi anymore).
- In some mythology, ghouls were said to kill wounded soldiers and loot their corpses. The Ghouls organization named themselves after these creatures because they steal from defeated Duelists.
- In the dub, the Rare Hunters are not counterfeiters and are never explicitly stated to be thieves (although the latter is heavily implied). It is only stated that they acquire cards through ante rules. The only counterfeit card shown in the ghouls' possession is the counterfeit "The Winged Dragon of Ra".