Varis

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Varis
Varis
Names
English
  • Ryoken Kogami
Other
  • Varis
  • Revolver (リボルバー Riborubā)
Japanese
Japaneseこうがみ りょうけん
Base鴻上 了見
Furiganaこうがみ りょうけん
RōmajiKōgami Ryōken
Personal
Age18[1]
Gender
  • Male
Relatives
Kiyoshi Kogami (father)[2]
  • Career
OrganizationKnights of Hanoi
  • Duelist
Anime DeckRokket
Appearances
Anime debutYu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 1: "Link into the VRAINS"
Appears in
AnimeYu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS
Voice actors
English
  • Daniel J. Edwards
Japanese
Varis

I don't trust A.I. The internet world is a fiction. What's important are the breath and heartbeat of life.

— Varis[3]

Ryoken Kogami (こうがみ りょうけん Kōgami Ryōken)[4], known as Varis (Revolver in the Japanese version; リボルバー Riborubā) in LINK VRAINS, is the leader of the Knights of Hanoi in the Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS anime and the primary antagonist of the first season.[5] Due to his role of leadership and his opposition to A.I., he serves as Yusaku Fujiki/Playmaker's main rival in the series.

Although he is defeated at the climax of the first season, Ryoken refuses to give up on destroying the Ignis as long as they are a threat to humanity. During the second season, he partners up with Playmaker and his allies, including some of the Ignis, against the threat of Lightning and his faction of A.I. Duelists. In the third season, Varis decides to become ahead of the curve on A.I. with free will, creating Pandor to aid him in his battles against Ai.

Design[edit]

Appearance[edit]

Full-body view of Ryoken

Ryoken is a tall fair-skinned young man with lilac eyes and has white hair that spikes backwards at the sides, with purple-blue highlights, resembling that of Declan Akaba. On his right hand, he has a tattoo of a red triangle extending from the webbing of his thumb. He has at least two outfits, the first consisting of a white buttoned shirt and black trousers, while the second consists of a pink v-neck shirt underneath a light-grey suit jacket, with black trousers that end above his ankles. His eyes remained unrevealed until his identity was.

Ryoken's avatar, Varis, in his initial appearance.

In LINK VRAINS, Varis is a tan-skinned man with yellow eyes without irises or pupils, and black hair with orange and red highlights. His ears are pierced with Egyptian-style earrings with a blue diamond and a gold bullet "token". Varis wears a mask with yellow glass and a white casing with a diamond-shaped pattern of white dots with red centers, linked together by a white circle that surrounds a white dot in the center of Varis's forehead that suggests the barrel of a gun. The visor of his mask can be covered with a dark lens to protect him from bright lights.

Varis wears a white jumpsuit with a black elongated "T" shape tracing to the bottom of his chest, red ovals overlaying black ovals on the sides of the torso, and a v-shaped line of green where a belt would be. He wears a white trench coat lined with green with golden lines patterning both the inside and the outside of the coat. The sleeves are green white shoulder-pads and red diagonal bands on the bicep, making it unclear whether or not they are part of the jumpsuit or the coat. Varis also wears a small white mantle with a black line tracing around the middle, and a green ornament attached at the front on either side of his neck and at the back by red gems. Varis wears white-elbow length gloves with red diamond shapes on his forearm, and black boots with green heels and red patterns on the front that may be part of his jumpsuit.

Ryoken's current avatar.

During the second season after rescuing Clarissa Turner, Varis changes his Avatar. While the overall form is largely identical to how it was previously, it does not mask his identity as much as it did previously; his visor peaks over his nose and his face beneath is unaltered, and his skin becomes sallow and his eyes become identical to his real ones. His hair turns silver, as in real life, and his highlights extend out from his mask and become orange, clustering at his temples. He retains the diamond pattern on his mask, but on a silver base diamond and becoming larger. His collar ornament becomes lime and fastened with red lines, and his coat and jumpsuit become white and black with lime accents. His gloves remain unchanged.

Personality[edit]

Varis presents himself as stoic and calm, unshaken by setbacks and adversity, though he can still lose his cool. In the dub, this goes to the point of maintaining an even rasp, rarely raising his voice. Much like the other Knights of Hanoi, Varis is a ruthless individual that seeks Ai. He bears a great hatred towards the Ignis and the Cyberse, considering them a threat to the real world, and wanted to destroy them both, even using ordinary people to achieve their goals. However Varis claims that his actions are so that he can fulfill his promise to his father.[6]

Unlike most hackers, Varis distrusts LINK VRAINS and the people that, to him, are dedicating their lives to it and make false relationships with other people. He values a person's life more. He distrusts Artificial Intelligence, to the point where he does not have one installed in his Duel Disk. Due to that, he looks down as on the internet world as false. Despite his hatred towards LINK VRAINS, Varis isn't against using the Cyberse for his own benefit. When Ai called him out on that, Varis described it as "counteracting poison with poison".[3] During his Duel with The Gore, Varis claims not to despise someone as passionate as The Gore, but this does not earn them his mercy.

Varis shares a number of parallels with Yusaku Fujiki; including a generally stoic front, an intense hatred of an enemy group, and a habit of listing out three reasons for his observations, although he doesn't do it as frequently as Yusaku, he was the one who taught him the mantra. He even uses similar strategies, such as when he intentionally lowered his LP during their first Speed Duel in order to use "Storm Access". While Dueling, with loads of personal confidence, Varis tends to belittle his opponents and lower their guard. He claims to be cold-hearted when he Duels.

In the second season, Varis begins to slowly change. When confronted by the enraged Soulburner, he refuses to attack him in their Duel and allows Soulburner to attack him without resistance, and he is ultimately unable to go through with defeating Lightning when the act would destroy Jin and Specter's data as well. This is noted by many who know him; previously Varis would not have hesitated to make such sacrifices.

Etymology[edit]

Ryoken's name can mean "thought, intention, view, decision", and is homophone with the word for "hound"; Kogami can be translated as "great above".

"Varis" is a Latin name that means "bow-legged"; it is also possibly a corruption of the word "virus", invoking the term "computer virus", and bears some similarities to the Japanese name of the "Borrel" archetype; "Varrel". His Japanese alias of "Revolver" is a type of handgun; his "rokket" and "Borrel" monsters reference this.

Abilities[edit]

Via a program created by his father, Varis can control Data Material and summon Data Storms at will, though this ability has its limits, as he was unable to penetrate the high-density Data Storm in the Tower of Hanoi by himself.[7] He is also a professional hacker and can even infiltrate the system of LINK VRAINS, stating he could even destroy it. He shares the same Skill as Playmaker, "Storm Access" which allows him to add a random Link Monster from a Data Storm to his Extra Deck when his LP are 1000 or less.[3]

Varis is also a cunning strategist, being able to predict his enemy's movements and lead them into a trap and counter them.[8] Varis can also regenerate his body inside LINK VRAINS.[2]

Biography[edit]

History[edit]

A young Ryoken with Faust and Baira.

Ryoken was a friend of Clarissa and Aso, and the latter considered Ryoken as his younger brother.[9] In his youth, he met Yusaku Fujiki in the streets, and Yusaku helped pick his Deck up, asking if Ryoken played Duel Monsters. Ryoken confirmed that he did, and upon learning that Yusaku did too, offered to show him his Deck at his house.[10] But once they got there, Yusaku was kidnapped at the Kogamis' house and became the sixth test subject of Ryoken's father's Hanoi Project, which aimed to create the Ignis; A.I. with free will. Unable to stand what he had done, Ryoken comforted the tortured Yusaku throughout the Project, telling him to think of three reasons to get him through it. After six months, despite the advice he provided to Yusaku and his belief that his father was doing important work, Ryoken was unable to bear the screams of the captured children, and he betrayed his father and alerted the authorities. As Yusaku was rescued, Ryoken congratulated him, telling him that he could go home.[1]

Ryoken's father was arrested by SOL Technologies and imprisoned for three years for his role in what had come to be known as the Lost Incident. Ryoken remained alone for three years, but during that time, one of the other victims of the Lost Incident returned to his house; an orphan named Specter. Specter had enjoyed the experience, as it meant that he felt important for the first time. Ryoken took him in, and Specter became devoted to him.[11] His father was returned to his care after three years, but he was comatose due to a computer virus that had been implanted within him. With the aid of Clarissa, Aso, and Dr. Genome, Ryoken was able to resurrect his father within LINK VRAINS. In the next two years, they formed the Knights of Hanoi, and Ryoken took the name "Varis" for his Avatar. As the activity of the Ignis continued to flourish, Dr. Kogami came to Varis, revealing that he had performed simulations that had determined that the Ignis would eventually try to wipe out mankind and that SOL Technologies knew, but had simply placed the computer virus in him and covered it up. Varis believed that they should exact revenge on SOL Technologies, but his father stated that it could wait and that they needed to destroy the Ignis. Varis vowed that he and the Knights of Hanoi would help his father.[1]

Two years after his father returned, Varis launched an attack on the Cyberse with three of his "Cracking Dragons". The Ignis were all sealed off and could not retaliate, except for the Dark Ignis. This Ignis claimed he was their "savior", noting that the others had been trapped. Regardless, he promised to save all of them. Varis and the "Cracking Dragon" chased the Dark Ignis, who escaped Cyberse and severed the connection to it, much to Varis's fury. Varis's "Cracking Dragon" devoured the Ignis, though his eye was lost in the network. Varis had his team search for the Ignis's remains, for only he knew the location of the Cyberse.[12]

Pre-Tower of Hanoi[edit]

Five years later, Specter informed Varis that SOL Technologies' security were searching for the Ignis. Varis smiled, seeing that he could exploit the situation. He summoned Number 10, ordering him to capture the Ignis before SOL Technologies could, while dismissing Playmaker as a threat. He watched Number 10's attack on LINK VRAINS, and was intrigued when Playmaker arrived to challenge the Number 10, betting the Ignis on the Duel.[12] To his shock, Playmaker used a Cyberse Deck; Varis had thought them destroyed.[13]

After Playmaker won the Duel, Varis admitted he didn't expect him to be that strong. Specter arrived, explaining it was still better to let Playmaker have the Ignis than SOL Technologies. Varis knew that they were going to unmask Playmaker soon, noting that Playmaker hated the Knights of Hanoi, was one of few people that had Cyberse monsters and eventually would come and seek him out, as the leader of the Knights of Hanoi. Varis was nevertheless pleased, and actually wanted to prepare himself for the battle against Playmaker. Later, Varis sensed the location of the Ignis, and he flew over LINK VRAINS on "Borreload Dragon", but he was unable to track down the Ignis, as the connection was severed in the last moment. Varis returned to his base, displeased that he could not find the Ignis. He was approached by Kiyoshi Kogami, who promised to make a new program, but needed more time. Varis stated that the ones holding the Ignis could not decipher him properly, but didn't want to give them too much time. Dr. Kogami said that they had to draw Playmaker out once more and defeat him properly. Varis heard an alarm, and logged off. In the real world, Ryoken approached his father, who was resting inside a pod. Ryoken promised he would make his father's wishes come true and tenderly touched his arm.[6]

Varis orders Blue Angel to use the Hanoi card.

Varis was amused to see that Blue Angel wanted to challenge Playmaker, and Specter claimed they could use her, giving her a "Dark Angel" card that was infected with a virus.[14] During her Duel against Playmaker, Blue Angel fell in a trance and Varis told her she was a Knight of Hanoi, prompting her to activate the effect of "Dark Angel".[15] Despite her use of "Dark Angel", Blue Angel was defeated. As he held the program capable of removing their virus from Blue Angel, Varis was certain that Playmaker would have to comply with his demands. Dr. Kogami told him that the Ignis had to be destroyed, though Varis was concerned about his father as he designed the Ignis. Kogami told Varis it was a painful decision to destroy the A.I., while Varis reminded him of the importance of destroying the Ignis and the Cyberse.[7]

Varis summons the Data Storm to destroy the church.

Akira Zaizen and Ghost Gal captured and interrogated Playmaker in a church within LINK VRAINS. Seizing his chance, Varis appeared before them and demanded that Playmaker be freed, as he was challenging him to a Duel. Zaizen refused, so Varis demonstrated his power by summoning a Data Storm and devastating the church. He threatened to destroy LINK VRAINS, but stated that was not his intention, since he was interested in the Ignis that Playmaker had in his possession. Zaizen refused to hand over the Ignis, so Varis revealed they had placed a computer virus inside Blue Angel as a hostage and only they had the ability to reverse it. Varis admitted that they could've placed the virus into anyone, but Blue Angel was the most efficient target to draw Playmaker out. Varis also knew that Zaizen, as the Security-in-Chief, had to take the Ignis back, but doing so would leave Blue Angel - Zaizen's sister - under the permanent effect of the virus. Thus, he promised to hand over the program if Playmaker defeated him. Hesitant at first, Zaizen freed Playmaker while Varis left to wait for Playmaker to come and Duel him.[7]

Varis faces Playmaker in a Speed Duel.

As the two rode off on the Data Storm, Varis reminded Playmaker that he had interfered many times in the Knights of Hanoi's plans. Playmaker promised to defeat him and uncover their identities; Varis noted that he didn't care much for Playmaker's since they had many enemies. He declared their mission was to retrieve the Ignis and was surprised that Playmaker didn't know what an Ignis was. The Ignis promised to eat Varis's program and reclaim his body back, while Varis stated if he were to win, he would take the Ignis. Varis admitted he didn't bring his AI for his Duel Disk, as he didn't trust them, claiming the internet was a fiction. He valued the personal values of humans, and didn't trust the fake relationships and dedications in LINK VRAINS; in his words, such ignorance would destroy the world, as would the Ignis. He declared Playmaker his enemy for helping the Ignis, and caused LINK VRAINS to erupt into flames.[3]

Varis uses the Storm Access skill.

Taking the first turn, Varis used "Dragonoid Generator" to Special Summon two "Dragonoid Tokens" and Tribute Summon "Cracking Dragon". He then summoned "Dragonoid Tokens" to Playmaker's field, using the effect "Cracking Dragon" to deal him damage. Despite this, Playmaker managed to turn the tables by Link Summoning three monsters and destroying "Cracking Dragon" with "Decode Talker", lowering Varis's LP to 1400. Despite having the advantage, Playmaker noted that Varis was vigorous and would not give up. Varis thanked Playmaker for clearing his field, as he brought out "Twin Triangle Dragon" and revived "Cracking Dragon", at the cost of it unable to attack and 500 LP. Varis sensed a power inside the network, and he summoned a Data Storm, revealing that he could use Playmaker's Skill; "Storm Access". Varis used all of his monsters to Link Summon "Topologic Bomber Dragon", a Cyberse monster that he found amusing to use against Playmaker's Cyberse monsters. He triggered the effect of "Topologic Bomber Dragon" with "Dragonoid Generator", destroying all monsters in the Main Monster Zones to lower the ATK of "Decode Talker" low enough to destroy in battle, then activated the second effect of "Topologic Bomber Dragon" to inflict its ATK to Playmaker, claiming that Playmaker had lost this Duel.[3]

Varis obtains his father's card.

To stop the effect, Playmaker activated "Link Restart", and revived "Decode Talker", prompting Varis to comment on their resistance. Playmaker had the Ignis conjure a Data Storm, as Varis had expected them to do. Varis was impressed when Playmaker successfully used Storm Access, considering how mighty the Data Storm was. Playmaker attempted to Link Summon, but Varis used "Remote Rebirth", to revive Playmaker's "Capacitor Stalker" to a zone that "Topologic Bomber Dragon" pointed to, triggering its effect to destroy all the monsters in the Main Monster Zones, and thus the effect of "Capacitor Stalker", which dealt 800 damage to both players and ended the Duel in a DRAW. The force of the Data Storm then drew Varis and Playmaker into its eye, just as Varis had planned. Varis declared the place to be their new stage of battle, as a shining card Dr. Kogami sent to LINK VRAINS was added to his Deck. Varis explained they would have a Master Duel, fitting for them to show off their Link Monsters' prowess.[8]

Varis took the first turn, playing defensively with "Fire Prison" and "Linkbelt Wall Dragon" to make it harder for Playmaker to Link Summon and attack. During the Duel, he learned that Playmaker had named his Ignis "Ai", and he criticized him for giving it a name and not knowing what it was. His defenses successfully fended off Playmaker's "Encode Talker", though Playmaker assembled monsters for a new Link Summon. Warning Playmaker that his strategy would cost him, Varis Link Summoned "Triple Burst Dragon" despite being able to summon "Topologic Bomber Dragon", and attacked Playmaker's "Backup Secretary" instead of "Encode Talker". Playmaker was able to fend off the attack and minimize the damage that he took, and he summoned "Decode Talker" on the next turn to take out "Linkbelt Wall Dragon". Varis had anticipated this, and he used the effect of "Fire Prison" to negate every Cyberse card as if it didn't exist, causing "Encode Talker" and "Decode Talker" to vanish, and even make Ai disappear.[8]

Varis's "Fire Prison" is destroyed by its own effect.

Varis claimed that it was Playmaker's fault for listening to Ai that had made the Cyberse cards unusable. He explained the history of the Ignis to Playmaker, explaining that they were AI with free will who were trying to conquer the network. Playmaker did not believe Varis, but Varis was unconcerned and noted that the most important thing was to capture and destroy Ai. Varis used the effect of "Triple Burst Dragon" to summon more Dragons and bring out his ace, "Borreload Dragon", attacking Playmaker directly and depleting most of his LP. Varis believed that he had broken Playmaker, but Playmaker stood back up, denying that the Cyberse were gone, as he could hear their pulses. He used his two "Code Talkers" to Link Summon "Firewall Dragon", which Varis realized was the card that Playmaker had obtained from the Data Storm. "Firewall Dragon's" summoning destroyed "Fire Prison", and it also destroyed "Linkbelt Wall Dragon", much to Varis's frustration. He fought back using his "rokket" monsters in combination with "Borreload Dragon", taking control of "Firewall Dragon" in an attempt to defeat Playmaker with his own Cyberse monster. Playmaker was able to destroy and revive "Firewall Dragon", and brought back "Encode Talker" the next turn, claiming that their real Duel had only just begun.[16] Playmaker's "Firewall Dragon" used its effect to return Varis's monsters to his hand, but "Borreload Dragon" was protected by its own effect, forcing Playmaker to target and trigger "Magnarokket Dragon", whose effect almost destroyed "Firewall Dragon", though Playmaker was able to save it, much to Varis's amusement. Playmaker began to counterattack with his "Battle Buffer" Continuous Spell Card, raising the ATK of "Firewall Dragon" and "Encode Talker", impressing Varis. Varis countered with the effect of "Borreload Dragon", destroying "Encode Talker". Believing that Playmaker had run out of attacks, Varis claimed the match was over, but Playmaker revived "Decode Talker", whose ATK was increased enough to attack "Borreload Dragon". Varis countered with "Borrel Cooling", destroying his other "Magnarokket Dragon" to allow it to destroy "Decode Talker". Varis smiled, believing that he was close to victory, with Playmaker having no cards nor attacks to execute. Playmaker refused to lose, and claimed he wanted to uncover the events that had happened ten years previously, to recover the time he had lost and wanted to save the person that saved him. Varis was surprised to learn that Playmaker was aware of the Lost Incident and that he highlighted his speech with the same "three reasons" format that Varis himself used, but he claimed Playmaker was a fool to help SOL Technologies without knowing the truth.[2] Varis realized then that Playmaker was Yusaku Fujiki, but he kept this knowledge to himself.[1]

Varis is defeated by Playmaker.
Varis flees from the scene.

Playmaker refused to listen, and he had "Firewall Dragon" attack once more to perform a One Turn Kill. The attack destroyed "Borreload Dragon", and Varis was blasted into a rock as his LP fell to zero. Ai went wild, transforming into a giant form and attempting to devour Varis. Varis lost an arm, and he quickly fled the scene, relinquishing the program that would remove Blue Angel's virus. Before he left, he warned Playmaker that as long as he had an Ignis, their battle would continue.

Varis returned to his base and Dr. Kogami expressed surprise at how Varis let his guard down, seeing it was about that incident Playmaker spoke. Varis regenerated his arm, apologizing to his father, and claiming that next time would be different. His father stated that Varis didn't need to think of that, and seeing how they could not retrieve Ai, they would execute their other plan, but he needed time to make preparations for that. Varis nodded, and recalling Playmaker's speech pattern of three points of analysis, he wondered about his connection towards him.[2]

Varis and Kogami went to a deep pit where Kogami showed him the seed of the Tower of Hanoi, which would grow into a "fruit" that would destroy the whole network, including LINK VRAINS. Varis watched Kogami release the seed, which fell into the pit.[17] After his father left, Varis remained at the pit, and he remarked that the battle for humanity would begin soon enough.[18]

Tower of Hanoi[edit]

Ryoken holding the flashdrive containing the footage of Yusaku.

As the Deleted victims were being infected, Varis worried that if the Hanoi program was activated, the Lost Incident records would be deleted, and he'd never uncover Playmaker's identity. He was contacted by his father, who reported the Hanoi's program would soon be finished. Varis still felt regret, as he wished to settle things with Playmaker. He claimed he wouldn't move on until he defeated Playmaker, and his father permitted him the rematch, as long as it didn't take too much time. Later, Varis watched as the Knights of Hanoi forced people to Duel, preventing them from logging out. Varis was unamused, considering a thousand people that joined the Knights of Hanoi were mere grunts who wanted self-promotion by opposing LINK VRAINS. He was visited by Faust and Baira, who informed him Dr. Genome was making his move, and gave him the Data Storm.[19] After Baira released the virus-removal program and logged out, she appeared next to Varis, who punished her.[20] With all three of his subordinates - Genome, Baira, and Faust - defeated and resting inside pods, Varis left his headquarters in LINK VRAINS. In the real world, at Clarissa Turner's apartment, Ryoken removed a flashdrive from its hiding place and looked at the video recording on it - Yusaku Fujiki and Kal Kolter in Clarissa's room witnessing Blue Angel defeating Baira. Ai appeared in the video and Ryoken smiled, pleased that he had evidence that Playmaker was Yusaku.[21] Later, Varis visited the the pit, and proclaimed the time had come and that he would risk the fate of humanity on the Tower of Hanoi.[22]

Ryoken looks at Yusaku, before proceeding with his plan.

Ryoken visited Stardust Road, ordering food from the Café Nom food truck, his face still hidden. He told Kolter, who was still unaware of his true identity, that this would be the last time he would order from him. Kolter asked him if he was moving away; Ryoken replied that his reason was something like that before leaving. Varis returned to LINK VRAINS, where he met up with Specter and lamented the loss of Dr. Genome, Baira, and Faust, believing that he had been too focused on Playmaker. Specter asked Varis if he was fine with not knowing Playmaker's identity, and Varis proclaimed that their plan had to resolve, even if it cost him his life, promising to defeat anyone that stood in his path. Later, he met Ghost Gal at the reprocessing plant where the Tower of Hanoi was growing. Ghost Gal tried to leave, but Varis lowered barriers to block the exits, stating he couldn't let her leave. Varis offered to Duel her to test his Deck; if she won she could leave. He prevented Ghost Gal from logging out, and she accepted his challenge.[23]

Varis quickly swarmed his field, and Ghost Gal noted Varis did not use an A.I. in his Duel Disk. Varis stated that trusting an A.I. was foolish, and Ghost Gal asked him about the Ignis, but Varis ignored her, believing that a mercenary would not understand. Varis quickly brought out "Topologic Bomber Dragon" and attacked, but Ghost Gal countered with "Altergeist Kunquery", negating the attack and the effects of "Topologic Bomber Dragon". Ghost Gal questioned Varis about the Tower's core, unaware of its purpose, and Varis simply replied that something unimaginable was about to happen. Ghost Gal returned "Topologic Bomber Dragon" to Varis's Extra Deck and brought out "Altergeist Primebanshee" and Kidolga". Her "Altergeist" monsters attacked Varis directly, dropping his LP to 400, and even took Varis's "Twin Triangle Dragon" to defeat him. Ghost Gal gloated in her victory, but Varis called her a fool.[24]

Varis smiles, having lead Ghost Gal into his trap.
Varis uses his Trap Card to prevent his defeat.

Activating his Trap Card, "Mirror Force", Varis destroyed all of Ghost Gal's Link Monsters. To prevent Varis from using his Skill, Ghost Gal activated her Skill, Secret Cure, attempting to raise Varis's LP. Much to her displeasure, she drew the 0 ATK "Altergeist Kunquery". Varis continued mocking her, stating luck had abandoned her. He dealt with her Trap Cards with "Red Reboot", but Ghost Gal still believed she had the LP and field advantage. Varis mocked her, claiming only darkness awaited her from which she could not escape. Varis, then re-established his field and conjured a Data Storm from the Tower's core, using "Storm Access" to obtain "Topologic Trisbaena", Link Summoning it and triggering its effect to banish all of Ghost Gal's Trap Cards and deal her damage, then attacked her directly, defeating her. With her defeat, Ghost Gal's data was absorbed by the Tower of Hanoi, and Varis confronted Playmaker, who had arrived during the Duel and demanded to know Ghost Gal's whereabouts. Varis simply claimed that she had became a foundation for the Tower of Hanoi, and he activated the Tower. Before departing, he told Playmaker that the only way to stop the Tower of Hanoi was to defeat him.[24]

Akira Zaizen's replacement as head of security at SOL Tech, Kitamura, came to LINK VRAINS and asked to speak with the Knights of Hanoi's leader. Varis appeared to Kitamura and threatened to erase him if he wasted his time. Kitamura proposed an alliance to rule LINK VRAINS, amusing Varis. Kitamura offered to maintain their domain, thinking that they could even earn a fortune. Varis was intrigued, but in order to have Kitamura join them, he had him undertake a test. Varis departed, leaving Specter to face Kitamura in a Master Duel, and Specter defeated Kitamura easily, adding his data to the Tower of Hanoi.[25] Afterwards, Playmaker, Blue Angel, and The Gore all entered LINK VRAINS to stop the Tower of Hanoi. Specter defeated Blue Angel, but was defeated himself by Playmaker and purged as the three Commanders were.[26][27] Varis watched over their bodies, recalling the events that had led them there. His father approached him and asked if he had learned Playmaker's true identity, but Varis claimed that he hadn't.[28]

The Gore approached the Tower of Hanoi, but Varis stood in his way. He tried to dissuade Gore from Dueling him, revealing that Specter had defeated Blue Angel, but his musings of Playmaker angered Gore, who demanded to Duel him. Noting that Gore had defeated one of his commanders, Varis agreed. He quickly brought out "Topologic Bomber Dragon" as Playmaker arrived to watch the Duel, and combined its effects with "Link Protection" to destroy The Gore's "Gouki" monsters. The Gore was able to reduce his damage with "Gouki Octostretch", and brought out "Gouki Heel Ogre" on his next turn, who countered the effect of "Topologic Bomber Dragon" and destroyed it. Varis set up a defense with "Link Protection", preventing Gore from attacking unless he controlled an equal number of Link Monsters to "Topologic Bomber Dragon's" Link Rating, but Gore managed to assemble the required monsters. He vowed that he'd promised to save LINK VRAINS so that the children he looked after would smile. Varis admitted that he didn't hate people like Gore, but warned him that he was cold-hearted in a Duel. Gore attacked, but Varis had been waiting to activate "Mirror Force", destroying The Gore's monsters.[29] Varis suggested that The Gore give up, but he managed to end the turn with field presence. Varis easily dismantled Gore's monsters with his "Rokket" monsters and landed a direct attack with his "Booster Dragon", but Gore was able to counterattack with "Gouki The Giant Ogre", dealing significant damage to Varis for the first time. Varis revived "Booster Dragon" and attempted to combine it with his "Rokket" monsters again, but the effect of "Giant Ogre" protected it from monsters with less ATK. The Gore claimed to be Dueling for himself for the first time to attain victory, annoying Varis with his stubborness, and Varis was forced to bring out "Borrelsword Dragon" to combat "Giant Ogre". The two monsters traded blows, initially seeming even, but the effects of "Borrelsword" won out, and it destroyed "Giant Ogre" and defeated The Gore, and his data was absorbed by the Tower of Hanoi, leaving Varis and Playmaker as the last Duelists remaining in LINK VRAINS.[30]

Varis and Playmaker ascend into the sky, past the Tower of Hanoi's completed rings.

Both of them vowed to bring things to an end, and they Speed Dueled in the core's Data Storm within the rubble of the fifth ring of the Tower. Playmaker asked Varis if he really needed to destroy the network and plunge the world into chaos just to destroy the Ignis, and Varis claimed that it wouldn't have happened had Playmaker just gave them the Ignis. Vowing to destroy Ai, Varis watched as Playmaker swiftly brought out "Decode Talker". After one taunt too many from Ai, Varis revealed that Ai hadn't lost his memories when the attacked him five years previously and that he had been created from Playmaker during the Lost Incident. He revealed that this had been the purpose of the Hanoi Project, to create the Ignis, but that they had evolved faster than had been predicted and created their own world. He claimed that Ai had been lying to Playmaker and that he couldn't be trusted, but Playmaker claimed that Ai wasn't his friend and affirmed his desire to defeat Varis. Varis Set "Mirror Force", and Playmaker tried to counter it on his next turn, but Varis ensured that he destroyed all of Playmaker's monsters with the effect of his "Spin-Headed Behemoth", then brought out "Flash Charge Dragon" and "Blast Powder Dragon" on his next turn, enabling him to deal enough damage to defeat Playmaker.[31] Playmaker managed to block the attack, and tried to counter with "Security Dragon", but Varis was able to protect "Flash Charge Dragon" by Tributing "Blast Powder Dragon". Playmaker then tried to enter the dense Data Storm to use "Storm Access", and Varis decided that he was destroying himself. To his shock, despite an initial failure, Ai apparently sacrificed himself to allow Playmaker to enter the Data Storm and accomplish "Storm Access", bringing out "Transcode Talker" and reviving "Decode Talker". Varis was able to save himself with "Chobham Armor Dragon" and lower his LP below 1000. He attempted to use "Storm Access" himself, believing that he could do it if Playmaker could, but he failed, losing an arm. He tried again, but Dr. Kogami stopped him. He stated that he hadn't been a good father to Ryoken, and that he needed to protect the world, and he gave his strength to Varis, healing his Avatar. A path formed in front of Varis in the form of the Stardust Road, and he entered the Data Storm and acquired "Topologic Gumblar Dragon". As his father's life signs began to drop, Varis Link Summoned "Topologic Gumblar Dragon", but when his father's life signs hit zero, Varis combined the effect of "Gumblar Dragon" with "Drop Draco" to end the Duel in a DRAW, causing an explosion that logged them both out.[32]

Yusaku and Ryoken link into the VRAINS.

Ryoken arrived too late; his father's body had died. He wept over his father's death, but he didn't have long to grieve; Yusaku and Kolter had found him. Ryoken introduced himself and told them that his father was dead, and explained to them why the Hanoi Project had been undertaken, and why the Ignis needed to be destroyed. He also revealed to Yusaku that he had been the one to alert the authorities and rescue the kidnapped children from the Project, and that he'd soon regretted it. Yusaku spoke out against trusting the result of simulations in deciding to destroy the network, reminding Ryoken that back during the Lost Incident, he had showed Yusaku a new path. Ryoken revealed that he'd known who Yusaku was ever since their first Master Duel, and he challenged Yusaku to Duel him and prove whose ideals were right.[1]

Varis activates "Link Turret".

They both logged into LINK VRAINS, and Dueled atop the Tower of Hanoi, whose sixth and final rings was almost complete. Once again, Varis managed to get "Mirror Force" in his opening hand, and he baited out the Spell and Trap destruction effect of Playmaker's "Linkslayer" with "Mirror Force Launcher". Playmaker managed to blunt the effect of "Mirror Force" with "Restoration Point Guard", inflicting early damage to Varis, causing Varis to declare him a worthy opponent.[1] Varis brought out "Topologic Bomber Dragon" and retrieved "Mirror Force", but Playmaker was able to blunt the effects of "Bomber Dragon" with "Restoration Point Guard" and stop most of the damage. Playmaker counterattacked on his next turn, Summoning three "Code Talkers", making them immune to destruction from card effects and negating the effects of "Topologic Bomber Dragon" with "Shield Handler". Varis immediately realized that negating the effects of "Topologic Bomber" would allow him to create an Extra Link and unleash the full potential of his newly acquired "Topologic Gumblar Dragon", and he blocked Playmaker's attacks with "Link Turret". He Link Summoned "Borreload Dragon" on his next turn, which single-handedly dismantled Playmaker's monsters, taking control of "Transcode Talker" and reducing him to 800 LP. He claimed that there was not new path for them and that they were prisoners of destiny, chained by the Lost Incident.[33] After ending his Battle Phase, Varis informed Playmaker and Ai that he intended to finish them off there and then. He began using the effect of "Link Turret" to revive his "Rokket" monsters and the effect of "Miniborrel Dragon" to revive itself by Tributing "Transcode Talker", and Link Summoned "Borrelguard Dragon". He used its effect to revive Playmaker's "Powercode Talker" by sending "Mirror Force Launcher" to the Graveyard, then repeated the process, now bringing out "Borrelsword Dragon". He thanked Playmaker, revealing that this wouldn't have been possible if he hadn't negated the effects of "Topologic Bomber Dragon". With that, Varis discarded "Mirror Force" to revive "Excode Talker", using it to Link Summon "Topologic Gumblar Dragon" to the second Extra Monster Zone and complete his Extra Link.[34]

Varis completes the Extra Link.

Varis activated the effect of "Topologic Gumblar Dragon" to defeat Playmaker, but Playmaker survived with "Drop Frame Wedge", which also prevented Varis from attacking for two turns. Varis prevented Playmaker from building up his defenses, and reminded him of how he had given him three reasons to live in the past. He gave him three reasons to despair; that Playmaker's LP would be over in four turns; that during those turns he'd seal away all his moves, and that the Tower of Hanoi would be completed, and everything would end (in the dub, that Varis held the advantage in monsters, LP and cards, that his desire to win was greater than Playmaker's, and that he was just a better Duelist than Playmaker). Playmaker was able to set up a small defense with "Secure Gardna" before "Drop Frame Wedge" was destroyed, and Playmaker told Varis to come at him.[34] Varis did so, using the effects of "Borreload" and "Borrelsword" to prevent Playmaker from responding to their attacks, but Playmaker was able to use effects in the Damage Step to buy time to amass a field full of "Congester Tokens" that would be destroyed at the end of the turn and damage Varis. He also used "Transaction Rollback" to copy Varis's "Mirror Force", attempting to destroy Varis's Extra Linked monsters, but the effect of "Topologic Gumblar Dragon" protected them.[35]

"Decode Talker" delivers the finishing blow to Varis.

Varis praised Playmaker for surviving so long, but claimed that the Duel was his. Playmaker told him that he'd always been alone, due to how badly the Lost Incident broke him, and stated that since Varis had saved him in the past, he could save him. Varis was incredulous that Playmaker wanted to befriend him, and believed that he was begging for his life, but Playmaker affirmed his belief that there was still a new path for them. Playmaker declared that his revenge was over, that he'd overcome the abyss of destiny in this Duel, and they'd seize a new future together (in the dub, that if Varis really agreed with his father's plans, he wouldn't have tried to save Playmaker ten years ago, that knowing that, Playmaker could no longer justify his desire for revenge, so if he could change, so could Varis, and that if they're both no longer tied down by their past, then the future is wide open for them to create). Playmaker then began Summoning "Code Talkers" again, triggering the effect of "Topologic Gumblar Dragon" to benefit him and still draw cards. He brought out "Firewall Dragon", Extra Linking his own monsters to Varis's, and then activated "Zero Extra Link" to power-up "Transcode Talker" with 800 ATK for each Extra Linked monster, but Varis was able to counter it with "Link Short", believing that he finally had the Duel won. But Playmaker used his three monsters to Link Summon "Decode Talker", who inherited the ATK boost granted by "Zero Extra Link", and it attacked and destroyed "Borreload Dragon", defeating Varis.[35]

Ryoken departs his home.

Though defeated, Varis vowed that he would continue to attempt to destroy the Ignis as long as they were a threat to humanity. He logged out, stopping the Tower of Hanoi as he had promised, freeing the absorbed people. Ryoken quickly fled his house on a speedboat, and Yusaku let him go.[35]

Lost Ignis[edit]

Three months passed, and Ryoken spent that time recovering the Knights of Hanoi. He brought Specter, Aso, and Dr. Genome together at his speedboat, and they logged into LINK VRAINS and met in their control room to discuss recent events. The Cyberse had been destroyed while they were building the Tower of Hanoi, and the Fire Ignis surfaced and joined forces with his partner, Theodore Hamilton. Faust suggested attacking Yusaku and Theodore in the real world, but Varis ordered him to keep their battles confined to the network. Specter commented on The Gore working for SOL Technologies, and Varis noted that Gore was too proud to care about rank. They discussed Bohman, and Varis noted the quality of his Avatar's program and the Link Spell Card and consciousness data-removal techniques he demonstrated. Specter wondered if Bohman was SOL Technologies' assassin, but Varis pointed out that SOL Technologies had been unaware of the contents of the gate in their depths, and he concluded that the gate had been created by the Ignis and that they were likely trying to create another Cyberse. He expressed concern that the Ignis were evolving quickly again and that they were plotting against humanity, in addition to Playmaker's rapidly developing skills with other Summoning methods. They decided to observe quietly, and they used a looping program to allow them to enter the prison where Clarissa was held, breaking her out.[36]

Varis returns, saving Playmaker and Ai.

Ryoken took the time to re-analyze his father's simulations on the Ignis, analyzing each individual Ignis as well as the group as a whole.[37] He also kept track of the other victims of the Lost Incident, learning that one of the victims had been involved in an accident caused by his Ignis partner.[38] Eventually, the Knights' patience paid off when they discovered a crude copy of the Cyberse, and Varis ordered the other Knights to destroy it while he went to confront the Ignis there, Windy and Lightning, saving Playmaker and Ai in the process. Varis declared that he'd returned and would kill the Ignis.[39] He easily deflected Lightning's attack, claiming that he wouldn't enter his enemy's headquarters without a plan, and that he'd defeat them according to the wishes of his father. Lightning claimed that the Ignis were the ones following Kogami's will as humanity's successors, and Varis vowed to annihilate the Ignis for their arrogance. Playmaker begged Varis to to fight the Ignis, as there would be no turning back and he once again attempted to convince Varis that he had another path. Varis reminded Playmaker that he regretted saving him and pointed out that the Ignis were opposing his attempts for coexistence. Windy challenged Varis to a Duel, and Varis accepted, warning Playmaker that his Ignis had dulled his decision-making and that he'd be eliminating Ai as well.[40]

Varis activates "Magic Cylinder" during his Duel with Windy.

Varis set a trap consisting of "Dillingerous Dragon" and "Magic Cylinder", with "Reverse Engineering" as backup in case his Traps were destroyed, intending to have Windy choose his own form of pain. Though his plan to restore "Magic Cylinder" worked, Windy was able to negate it and destroy "Dillingerous Dragon". Windy chided Varis for thinking all would go according to plan, commenting that Varis's father likely thought the same about the Ignis, and Varis retorted that his conviction would still lead him on the right path. He Link Summoned "Borreload Dragon", which allowed Windy to steal "Magic Cylinder". Varis planned to use the effect of "Borreload Dragon" when it attacked to prevent "Magic Cylinder" from being activated, but Windy negated its effects with his Field Spell Card "Stormrider Turbulence" and forced it to attack, blocking the attack with "Magic Cylinder" and reducing Varis to 300 LP instantly.[40] Windy offered to spare Varis if he surrendered, but Varis harshly rebuked Windy's offer, revealing what he'd done to his partner and asking if Playmaker understood that this was the true nature of the Ignis. Windy claimed this had started because Dr. Kogami tried to erase them, and that he'd just erase Varis instead.[38]

Varis Synchro Summoning against Windy.

Varis immediately countered Windy's use of "Magic Cylinder" with "Speedburst Dragon", inflicting the same damage to Windy and gaining half of it back, then destroying Windy's "Stormridership Rockbuster". Varis snarled that his father regretted creating an A.I. that would harm its own partner, though Windy insisted that they were Kogami's proudest achievement and that Kogami had never believed in Varis himself. Varis claimed that Windy didn't understand his relationship with his father, and Windy claimed not to care as he was erasing Varis. To Varis's shock, Windy conjured a Data Storm and used "Storm Access" during the Master Duel, acquiring and Link Summoning "Stormridership Bahamut Bomber", destroying Varis's monsters and reducing him to 100 LP. The other Knight of Hanoi arrived, having destroyed the Echoes that guarded Windy's palace and they voiced their belief that Varis would win. Specter also arrived with Soulburner and Flame in tow, and Varis was intrigued by the notion of four of the Ignis being in the same room. Lightning attempted to capture Specter, Soulburner and Flame but Flame blocked his attempts and freed Playmaker and Ai. Varis then began his final turn, Summoning "Rokket Synchron" and reviving his monsters to Synchro Summon "Borreload Savage Dragon", then equipping "Borreload" to it. Windy attempted to win by destroying "Borreload Dragon" with the effect of "Bahamut Bomber", but the effect of "Borreload Savage Dragon" negated it, and then it attacked and destroyed "Bahamut Bomber", defeating Windy. Without hesitation, Varis ordered the Knights to erase Windy, and they unleashed a virus that impaled Windy on spikes and began to dissolve him, though Lightning saved him. Flame tried to broker peace, but Varis and Lightning both insisted that there could be no avoiding battle now. Bohman and Harlan then arrived, and Lightning revealed that Jin Kolter had been cloaked in an illusion the entire time.[38]

Ignis War[edit]

Ryoken visits Café Nom to give Yusaku a program.

Lightning explained that Jin was trapped in his own consciousness, and Varis noted that he'd expected Jin to be Lightning's partner and that this was the fate that Lightning had planned for humanity. Lightning agreed, threatening to do the same to Varis. Varis and Lightning both traded vows to destroy the other, culminating in Varis being proven correct that Lightning never planned to coexist with humanity, and Lightning declaring war on humanity before fleeing to save Windy's life. Varis and the Knights remained in Windy's palace as Playmaker and Soulburner pursued Lightning, Bohman and Harlan, alerting SOL Technologies of the Ignis's location.[41] Playmaker was unable to defeat Bohman, and Ryoken visited Yusaku, Ai and Kolter at Café Nom, expressing his relief that Kolter was still around, as he bolstered Playmaker's strength. He gave Yusaku a program to protect him from having his soul stolen as Jin's had been, and claimed that the enemy of his enemy was his friend, urging Playmaker to survive the battle to come so that they could settle things between them afterwards.[42]

Ryoken visited Yusaku and Ai again and explained that SOL Technologies had decompiled the data of the Earth Ignis. Ai believed that Earth would be fine, given his own ability to survive as a single eyeball, but Ryoken explained that SOL Tech had converted the Earth Ignis into source code that they could understand and that it hadn't been a precise conversion. Yusaku asked if Ryoken had a spy at SOL Technologies, but Ryoken didn't answer. He watched as Ai broke down over Earth's death, and after Ai admitted that he was starting to hate humans too, Ryoken smiled and left, telling them to be careful.[43] Ryoken and Specter later waited outside the house of Kenneth Drayden, the A.I.-hating bounty hunter and hacker known as The Shepherd in LINK VRAINS and Ryoken noted that he could be a troublesome enemy. Ryoken decided to find Lightning before he could put his plans into place by modifying the Tower of Hanoi to emit a powerful scan program, but he knew that he would need more hackers than just the Knights of Hanoi.[44][45]

Varis and Specter watch The Shepherd Dueling Lightning.

Ryoken and Specter decided to approached Kenneth first, and Varis logged into LINK VRAINS to meet him, noting Shepherd's conflict after losing his father. Shepherd insisted Varis knew nothing about him and attempted to eliminate him, but Varis was aware that Shepherd would attack on the second count of his count to three and easily got behind him, praising his pragmatism. The Shepherd agreed to Duel Varis, now intrigued by his power. Varis began by Setting "Imperial Order" and nothing else, and Shepherd believed that Varis was mocking him. The Shepherd swarmed his field with his "Drones", including his ace monster "Battledrone General" and began launching direct attacks, but when he tried to make his final attack, Varis warned him that he was acting more rashly than normal and defended with "Checksum Dragon". The Shepherd then attempted to win with his Continuous Spell Card, "Blitz Drone", but Varis seized his chance to use the "Imperial Order" that Shepherd had ridiculed to negate the effects of all Spell Cards. He informed The Shepherd of the Link Spell Cards that the Ignis used and warned The Shepherd that he was a likely target for the Ignis, asking him to help them again, but Shepherd refused. Although reduced to 100 LP by the cost of "Imperial Order" and unable to play Spells, Varis quickly Link Summoned "Topologic Trisbaena". The Shepherd trapped it with his "Capture Drone", though it wasn't enough to tie Varis down, as he destroyed it with his own "Vulnerability Dragon" and then Synchro Summoned "Borreload Savage Dragon". Equipping "Savage Dragon" with "Trisbaena" to power it up, Varis used the effect of "DMZ Dragon" to allow "Savage Dragon" to attack twice, destroying "Battledrone General" and then defeating The Shepherd. He warned Shepherd that he wouldn't be able to defeat the Ignis in his current state, and Shepherd warned Varis that he would pay him back someday and logged out, leaving Varis to note that The Shepherd's soul had been what he expected.[44] The next night, Specter alerted Ryoken to someone scanning LINK VRAINS, and they realized that it was The Shepherd. Ryoken realized that Shepherd had struck out on his own rather than join them, and he watched him, and then Playmaker and his allies enter a portal created by Lightning. Ryoken decided to join them, believing it to be his responsibility to see the Duel in person, and Specter accompanied him. They logged in atop a building, remaining out of sight to watch the Duel. Varis was interested to see whether Shepherd would be able to make use of the hint he gave him, and was impressed to see Shepherd not only destroy "Judgment Arrows", but take advantage of its negative effect, though Lightning was able to avoid it.[46] Lightning's move caused Varis to worry that he had anticipated his Link Spell's destruction, and sure enough, Lightning returned it to his Deck. Shepherd was regardless able to bring Lightning down to 200 LP, impressing Varis, but Lightning managed to draw "Judgment Arrows" again and combine it with his other card effects even though Shepherd negated it, defeating The Shepherd and taking his data. Varis noted that Shepherd hadn't made any mistakes but had still been defeated, and that Lightning was a fearsome foe.[47]

Ryoken detected the Earth Ignis's data in LINK VRAINS, and he observed the subsequent Speed Duel between Playmaker and The Gore, commenting on Gore's tenacity causing him to fall rather than rise. Gore revealed that SOL Technologies had put the data of the Earth Ignis into his A.I. Dueling Chip, and Ryoken noted that this was something that SOL Technologies would do.[48] He and Specter noted that Gore's union with an A.I. meant that Playmaker would have to Duel above expectations, and to Ryoken's delight, Playmaker did so, revealing a second effect of his new Skill, "Neo Storm Access" to gain a new monster and defeat The Gore.[49]

Varis approaches Playmaker and his allies to suggest an alliance.

With The Shepherd defeated, Ryoken knew he had to approach other skilled hackers in LINK VRAINS to help reprogram the Tower of Hanoi. After visiting it to begin the necessary program, he left a message for Yusaku disguised as "Borreload Dragon", asking to meet with him in LINK VRAINS. Playmaker, Soulburner, Ghost Gal, and Blue Gal, in addition to Ai, Flame, and Aqua, the Water Ignis, answered his request, and Varis erected a barrier to ensure a secure conversation before logging in. He asked for their help, stating that Lightning was the immediate threat and explained this was why he had tried to recruit The Shepherd. Varis explained that Lightning was likely planning something, and Ai snidely suggested Varis was afraid of Lightning. Soulburner interrupted them, refusing to work with Varis due to the Lost Incident ruining his life, and he challenged Varis to a Duel to avenge his parents. Varis accepted Soulburner's challenge, and Soulburner's bet of Flame if he lost.[50][45] Despite starting with an excellent hand, Varis passed his turn and allowed Soulburner to attack him directly. Soulburner found himself unable to attack, and the Duel ended with no conclusion. Varis asked if Soulburner was satisfied, and as Soulburner agonized over what to do, Varis revealed his identity to him and told Soulburner that he would have his chance to settle matters once they had defeated Lightning. He brought them to the Tower of Hanoi and explained his plan, giving them the master program to reprogram the Tower into a scanner and assuring his skeptical new allies that they would be able to stop it any time they wished. Playmaker agreed to help him, and told Varis that a new future could potentially come to light as their battles continued, something Varis claimed he would keep in mind. After Playmaker's team left, Varis captured the eavesdropping Frog and Pigeon.[45] Varis also finished re-analyzing his father's simulations on the Ignis, and he discovered that one of them - Lightning - could never coexist with humanity, and that he could eventually corrupt the other Ignis' relationship with humanity. As Windy's simulations demonstrated none of this decay, Varis deduced that his programming had been rewritten by Lightning so that he could serve as his ally. However, he did not share this information with the other Knights of Hanoi.[37][51] The next day, Varis and Specter brought Frog and Pigeon with them to the Tower of Hanoi, joined by Playmaker, Soulburner, Blue Maiden, Ai, Flame and Aqua; Ghost Gal remained behind to monitor LINK VRAINS. They activated the Tower's scan program, revealing that Lightning was hiding in a mirror world; "Mirror LINK VRAINS". As his allies headed into a portal to the mirror world, Varis prepared to release Frog and Pigeon, but they begged to come with them for a chance at a scoop; Varis had Specter bring them along to report their final battle to the world.[45]

As soon as they arrived, BitBoots accosted the group and engaged them in Speed Duels.[52] Varis defeated one with "Borrelguard Dragon", but Mirror LINK VRAINS and LINK VRAINS realigned and cut off the Data Material keeping their Duel Boards in the air. Varis fell into a field of flowers, trapped by a barrier. Varis watched as broadcast footage showed Lightning approaching Specter, watching as Specter and Lightning discussed the fate of the Earth Ignis before Dueling. Lightning used an Extra Link to lock down Specter's Extra Deck, but Specter was able to steal "Judgment Arrows" and disable it, a tactic that Varis praised.[53] Specter also deduced that Lightning was hiding a complex despite Varis not having told him about Lightning's flaws, further proving to Varis that Lightning was the most immature of the Ignis.[51] Specter was able to create an Extra Link of his own, and briefly an Extra Link Full Mode, much to Varis's satisfaction, but his mental probing angered Lightning, who destroyed Specter's field and defeated him. Varis watched in horror as Lightning took Specter's data and had Jin squeeze it, though Lightning ordered him to spare it.[54] After the broadcast shut off, Varis vowed not to forget Specter's sacrifice. The broadcast soon started up again, showing Soulburner and Windy, and Varis watched their Duel, infuriated by Windy's dismissal of his partner's feelings. Flame also noted that Windy had not previously been so remorseless, lending more evidence to Varis's theory that Lightning had corrupted him.[55] Windy was defeated by Soulburner, and his data was absorbed by Flame.[56] Varis noted that he didn't care which Ignis lost first as they had to be destroyed anyway. He watched the Duel between Blue Maiden and Bohman, and learned that Blue Maiden had been friends with one of the victims of the Lost Incident, Miyu Sugisaki; Varis noted that she was another person whose life had been altered by the Lost Incident. Bohman then demonstrated that he had become one with LINK VRAINS, causing Mirror LINK VRAINS to shake and glitch around everyone.[57]

Varis lures Lightning to him.

Bohman defeated Blue Maiden, absorbing her and Aqua's data along with that of Earth. The broadcast then showed Playmaker Dueling Kolter, and Varis deduced that Lightning was using dirty tactics by holding Jin hostage to coerce Kolter. He wondered how Playmaker would handle being forced to fight his friend.[58] Playmaker admitted he couldn't fight Kolter, much to Varis's concern and he watched urgently as Playmaker continued to struggle. Playmaker eventually made the decision to fight, bringing out "Extended Decode Talker" and combining it with "Decode Destruction" to defeat him. Varis then learned that Kolter had anticipated Lightning's plan.[59] Varis was infuriated by Lightning's treatment of Playmaker, but the barrier imprisoning them was destroyed before Lightning could harm Playmaker any further. Aso contacted Varis, and he ordered him to send a message to Lightning telling him that he knew his secret, and to go to Café Nom to work from Kolter's truck and safeguard his body. Rather than escape from his island as Soulburner was, Varis instead waited for Lightning to come to him, but before Lightning did, the broadcast started again, showing Soulburner Dueling Bohman. During the Duel Bohman once again caused Mirror LINK VRAINS to quake and glitch.[60] He watched as Soulburner was pushed into a corner and Flame apparently perished due to Windy's actions from within him, but was shocked when Bohman defeated Soulburner, absorbing Flame and Windy's data.[61]

Varis reveals Lightning's history.

After the Duel, Lightning and Jin transported to Varis. Varis revealed that he had seen the same simulations that Lightning had, shocking the Light Ignis, and he accused everything of being Lightning's fault in his efforts to hide his imperfections. Vowing to defeat Varis personally, Lightning did not play "Judgment Arrows" on his first turn, but instead Link Summoned "Armatos Legio Plumbum Trident", Varis noting its upward-pointing Link Arrows. Playmaker, Ai and Bohman then arrived, so Varis decided to inform them of Lightning's crimes. After quizzing Ai on where free will was located, he explained that the Ignis's free will was stored as data and that he had examined Lightning's through his simulations, informing them that Lightning's actions had all been to cover up his own insecurities after the simulations predicted that he would be the only Ignis to have no future with humanity. As Lightning grew angrier, Varis denounced him as a lower-class A.I. and began assembling a combo composed of "Booster Dragon" and "Autorokket Dragon" to send "Judgment Arrows" to the Graveyard when Lightning activated it, but Lightning activated "Armatos Gloria", preventing all cards on the field from being destroyed or banished by card effects, preventing Varis from using the self-destruction effects of his "Rokkets" and the effect of "Trisbaena". Despite this, Varis was unfazed and he Link Summoned "Borreload Dragon" to discipline Lightning.[37] He destroyed "Plumbum Trident", but this allowed Lightning to place it in his Spell & Trap Zone as a new Link Spell and add "Judgment Arrows" to his hand. Ready for "Judgment Arrows", Varis forced Lightning to discard it with "Mind Crush", but Lightning was able to not only Link Summon "Armatos Legio Magnus Dux", but also retrieve "Judgment Arrows", and he destroyed "Borreload Dragon", claiming that a monkey like Varis couldn't destroy "Judgment Arrows". Ai noted that Lightning was talking like Windy had been, and Varis revealed his theory that Lightning had rewritten Windy's programming, a theory that Lightning confirmed, in addition to being responsible for the curse he had used on Flame. Claiming that his father had been wrong about the superiority of the Ignis, he vowed to correct Lightning's views of superiority and he Xyz Summoned "Borreload eXcharge Dragon", reviving "Borreload Dragon" and reducing the ATK of "Magnus Dux" low enough for "Borreload eXcharge Dragon" to destroy it even when it was doubled by the effect of "Judgment Arrows". He prepared to attack the "Estrangement Dragon" that he had Summoned to Lightning's field with "Borreload Dragon", but before he could Lightning freed Jin and linked his data to his own, explaining that defeating him would also destroy Jin's data.[51]

Varis's data is absorbed as he leaves matters to Playmaker and Ai.

Lightning linked himself to Specter's data as well and he mocked Varis over his indecision, and Varis angrily prepared to attack, but Playmaker begged him to stop. He protested that Varis would return to his old self if he attacked, claiming that he had changed for the better. Varis noted that Playmaker had defeated Kolter, though Playmaker insisted that Kolter had been prepared to sacrifice himself and Jin wasn't. Lightning then revealed that he had tormented Jin during the Lost Incident, and though Varis vowed to bury the evil A.I., he ultimately ended his turn with a Set card, unable to attack. Lightning mocked him for becoming weaker due to walking the path of justice, but before he could make his move, Bohman stepped in, denouncing Lightning's cheating and taking Jin and Specter's data. He told Varis to continue the Duel without hesitation, though Varis refused to thank Bohman. Lightning revived "Magnus Dux", but Varis was able to reduce the damage by Tributing "Borreload Dragon" to activate "Borrel Ring", surviving the turn and setting him up to use the effect of "Borreload eXcharge Dragon" again. Warning Lightning that he knew he was going to lose to Varis, he once again revived "Borreload Dragon" and reduced the ATK of "Magnus Dux" low enough to destroy. But to Varis's shock, Lightning used the effect of "Magnus Dux" to return "Armatos Gloria" to his hand, triggering his Trap's self-destruction ability and destroying all of his own monsters, subsequently activating the effect of his "Armatos Legio Eques Flamma" to inflict the ATK of "Magnus Dux" to both of them. Defeated, Varis laid in the field of flowers, reflecting on how similar they were to his youth. Unaware that Lightning had survived, Varis left the rest of the battle to Playmaker and Ai as he disintegrated into data, calling Ai by his name for the first time.[62]

Ai's Rebellion[edit]

Varis was restored after Playmaker defeated Bohman, watching him reunite with his allies form a nearby balcony alongside Specter and proudly congratulating Playmaker. Ai vanished afterwards, and Ryoken and Specter visited Yusaku and Theodore at Café Nom; Ryoken warning them that the world only functioned as well as it did with humanity in charge and that the Knights of Hanoi would continue to monitor the network for threats, including Ai. Although their problems with the Ignis had been due to Lightning's schemes, Ryoken still didn't trust Ai and he told them that the Knights would show no mercy to those who opposed them. Theodore warned Ryoken that they still had their own differences to settle, and Ryoken agreed.[63]

Varis and the Knights of Hanoi monitored the network as he had promised. Seeking to keep the initiative against the inevitability of A.I. with free will, Varis created his own anti-Ignis A.I.; Pandor, but he restricted her free will to prevent her from turning against humanity. Zaizen came to Varis for help, as Queen had been attacked by Ai and her code key to SOL Technologies stolen, and Zaizen wished for protection against an attack by Ai in three days to prevent his own key from being stolen and Ai gaining control of the company. Varis introduced Pandor to Zaizen and demonstrated her division abilities, explaining that A.I. were best at predicting their own intentions.[64] Varis worked with Zaizen to keep his body in the real world safe from Ai's attack; placing a copy of Pandor into a SOLtiS android to guard his and Skye's bodies on an airplane.[65]

Three days later, Varis brought Pandor with him, Specter and the three Commanders to meet Zaizen and his allies; Soulburner, Blue Maiden, The Gore, Ghost Gal, and The Shepherd; Playmaker was absent. Although Ghost Gal and Blue Maiden were skeptical of their intentions, as the Knights of Hanoi had previously sworn revenge on SOL Technologies, Varis reassured them that they no longer bore a grudge against SOL Technologies after learning that Lightning had been the one responsible for his father's infection and that after they had dealt with Ai, the Knights of Hanoi would turn themselves over to the authorities. Varis sent a copy of Pandor to Blue Maiden, Ghost Gal and The Gore, who would remain at the center of Central Station, the eastern and western interior entrance respectively, to ensure she encountered and collected data on Ai; Varis himself was assigned to guard the western exterior entrance. As they moved to their assigned positions, Playmaker finally arrived, much to Varis's surprise.[64] Playmaker linked up with Varis and Soulburner outside Central Station, and they soon detected three enemies, wondering if Ai and Roboppi had a third ally. Playmaker quickly engaged Ai, and then Varis and Soulburner both also encountered Ai, the Ai that Varis encountered taunting him for becoming a lapdog of SOL Technologies, though Varis simply replied it was his destiny to destroy Ai. They decided to Duel the three Ai to determine which was the original. Ai swiftly Link Summoned "Fire Phoenix @Ignister" and used "A.I. A.I. Wall" to prevent them from attacking, and his copies did the same in the other Duels. Varis realized that the Ais intended to stall them, and Ai confirmed that he and the other two were simply copies and that the real Ai was advancing towards Zaizen.[66]

Relationships[edit]

Yusaku Fujiki (Playmaker)[edit]

When first informed about a hacker named "Playmaker" who was defeating Hanoi members, Varis initially suspected Playmaker was an agent from SOL Technologies but rejected the idea because SOL would act more publicly and dismissed Playmaker. It wasn't until Playmaker captured Ai that Varis became interested in him. Varis then switched all his efforts into defeating Playmaker before SOL did, as doing so was the only way to capture Ai.

Playmaker, on the other hand, hates Varis for being Hanoi's leader and vowed to defeat him and discover his true identity. During their first Duel, Varis claimed that he wasn't interested in Playmaker's identity and considered him to be just another of the many people who hates Hanoi. However, during second Duel, Varis recognized Playmaker's speech pattern of listing out three reasons and was disturbed when Playmaker mentioned a certain incident that happened ten years ago. He chides Playmaker for siding with SOL Technologies without knowing the truth and, after the Duel, is eager to uncover Playmaker's true identity, to the extent of requesting more time from his father before the completion of Hanoi's program.

After he reveals his identity to Yusaku, Ryoken is approached with a request for friendship which he scornfully rejects. Despite this and his insistence that he and Yusaku will continue to be enemies, he maintains a level of contact with Yusaku that he seems to conceal from his fellow Knights, personally visiting him to share information and resources during the war with the Ignis and saving him and Ai from Lightning and Windy. When defeated by Lightning, Varis smiles in content and leaves matters to Playmaker and Ai. Before Yusaku's Duel with Ai, he gives him "Borreload Furious Dragon" and bids him farewell, calling him by his real name for the first time since meeting him again.

Dr. Kogami[edit]

A young Ryoken with Dr. Kogami.

Dr. Kogami is Ryoken's father. He cares for him as he tends to him while he is comatose and promises to complete his ambition.

Specter[edit]

As with all of the Lost Incident victims, Ryoken pitied Specter and he released him from captivity with the other children. When Specter later sought out the experiments again, Ryoken found him and took him under his wing, giving Specter a purpose. Specter is unshakably loyal to Varis, and despite Specter's sadism and instability, Ryoken cares about Specter in return, and he is saddened when Playmaker defeats him and horrified when Lightning erases his data and has Jin squeeze it. When Lightning later holds Specter's data hostage alongside Jin's to prevent Varis from defeating him, Varis finds himself unable to attack Lightning.

Ai[edit]

Initially, Varis only sees the Dark Ignis as a nuisance to be eliminated, but his dislike of Ai deepens due to the Ignis' snarky and arrogant personality. Varis later comes to respect Ai in his final moments when Lightning defeats him, calling by his name for the first time and speaking fondly to him. However when Ai resurfaces with antagonistic intentions, Varis returns to intending to erase him, going as far as to Duel Soulburner due to worrying that Playmaker will find himself unable to Duel Ai.

Decks[edit]

Rokket[edit]

Varis with his "rokket" monsters and "Borreload Dragon".

Varis uses a "Rokket" Deck, which also features other DARK Dragons. His overall strategy centers on swarming the field with the effects of his Dragon monsters in order to assembles the necessary Tributes or materials to Summon his ace monsters and overwhelm his opponents through sheer force with their high ATK; many of his most powerful monsters commonly have 3000 ATK. Varis is a flexible Duelist who can shift strategies between Duels, making him an unpredictable opponent; his most common strategies are to focus more on his DARK Dragon monsters during Speed Duels, and on his "Rokkets" during Master Duels. His Skill, "Storm Access", plays into this; when he has 1000 or less LP, Varis can acquire a Cyberse Link Monster from a Data Storm and add it to his Extra Deck; all of these monsters have been the "Topologic" series.

Initially, Varis uses the Knights of Hanoi's signature monster, "Cracking Dragon", to debilitate the opponent through its ability to repeatedly inflict effect damage. Even if this monster is defeated, Varis can use "Twin Triangle Dragon" to re-utilize it as material for his stronger Link Monsters like "Topologic Bomber Dragon", whose destructive effects can allow him to defeat his opponents after having their LP depleted by "Cracking Dragon". When utilizing his ace monster "Borreload Dragon", he switches his strategy to utilizing his "Rokket" monsters as literal cannon fodder for "Borreload", using their self-destruction effects in tandem with the effect of "Borreload" to permanently weaken a monster by 500 ATK and DEF in order to disrupt whatever strategy his opponent may have. He is capable of performing an Extra Link; his "Topologic Gumblar Dragon" focuses on locking down the opponent while in this state. During the second season, Varis includes Tuner, Synchro, and Xyz Monsters in his Deck, and his strategies slightly change; while in the previous season he used several different powerful Link Monsters, he now largely focuses on his "Borreload Dragon" and its evolutions.

He also uses a number of cards to counter Link Monsters, such as "Mirror Force", as well as using "Fire Prison" to counter Playmaker's Cyberse monsters. In the second season, he includes cards like "Mind Crush" and "Imperial Order" to counter the Ignis's Link Spell Cards. A number of his Trap Cards are old staple cards released during the Yu-Gi-Oh! anime's run.

Deck

Childhood[edit]

During his childhood, Varis played a Deck full of LIGHT Dragon monsters and Dragon support cards. A few of his cards were shown when he purposefully knocked into a young Yusaku Fujiki in order to mislead him into being kidnapped.

Deck

Duels[edit]

Opponent Episode(s) Outcome
Yusaku Fujiki/Playmaker 9-10 DRAW
Yusaku Fujiki/Playmaker 10-12 Lose
Emma Bessho/Ghost Gal 30-31 Win
George Gore/The Gore 39-40 Win
Yusaku Fujiki/Playmaker 41-42 DRAW
Yusaku Fujiki/Playmaker 43-46 Lose
Windy 69-70 Win
Kenneth Drayden/The Shepherd 78 Win
Theodore Hamilton/Soulburner 84 No result
BitBoot 86 Win
Lightning 96-98 Lose
Ai copy 106, 108 Win
Theodore Hamilton/Soulburner 115-116 Lose

Trivia[edit]

  • Varis's English name was mistakenly initially stated to be "Varus" by Daniel J. Edwards.[67]
  • Varis' Link Summoning of his monsters often has the materials become bullets instead of becoming hurricanes.
  • When Varis's Avatar disintegrates into data in Mirror LINK VRAINS, his data is green, the only character to be so; most characters usually disintegrated into yellow data, Blue Maiden disintegrated into blue data, and Soulburner and Flame into red.
  • So far, Varis and Chazz Princeton are the only main Yu-Gi-Oh! anime rivals not to defeat Yusaku and Jaden Yuki respectively, although Varis did force a DRAW twice upon Playmaker, while Chazz was once in the position to win but threw the match.

References[edit]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 43: "The Reveal"
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 12: "Link the Circuit"
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 9: "Malicious Mayhem"
  4. Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 43: "The Reveal" cast list
  5. "The Organization - [V Jump June 2017] Anime News". YGOrganization. April 18, 2017. 
  6. 6.0 6.1 Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 3: "Contact"
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 8: "A Storm is Coming"
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 10: "Eye of the Storm"
  9. Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 25: "Suture the Circuit"
  10. Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 58: "Memory Games"
  11. Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 35: "The Hollow"
  12. 12.0 12.1 Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 1: "Link into the VRAINS"
  13. Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 2: "Seize the Wind!"
  14. Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 6: "True Blue"
  15. Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 7: "Fallen Angel"
  16. Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 11: "Neutralized"
  17. Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 20: "A Piece of the Puzzle"
  18. Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 21: "Story Time!"
  19. Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 22: "The Deleted"
  20. Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 26: "Diagnosis: Deletion"
  21. Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 28: "Bugging Out"
  22. Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 29: "Kolter's Khronicles"
  23. Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 30: "Under VRAINS"
  24. 24.0 24.1 Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 31: "Showdown in the Sewers"
  25. Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 32: "The Tower of Hanoi"
  26. Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 34: "Roots of Evil"
  27. Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 37: "Out on a Limb"
  28. Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 38: "Looking Back"
  29. Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 39: "Ring the Bell"
  30. Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 40: "Gore at War"
  31. Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 41: "Truth and Consequences"
  32. Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 42: "Storm Access"
  33. Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 44: "Illusion of Hope"
  34. 34.0 34.1 Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 45: "Standing Tall"
  35. 35.0 35.1 35.2 Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 46: "Link to the Future"
  36. Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 59: "Return of the Hanoi"
  37. 37.0 37.1 37.2 Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 96: "Lightning's Crime"
  38. 38.0 38.1 38.2 Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 70: "A Storm Brews"
  39. Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 68: "The Doorway"
  40. 40.0 40.1 Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 69: "Coexistence"
  41. Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 71: "A Logical Decision"
  42. Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 73: "Weathering the Storm"
  43. Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 76: "Awakened Memories"
  44. 44.0 44.1 Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 78: "From One Hunter To Another"
  45. 45.0 45.1 45.2 45.3 Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 84: "Past That Cannot Be Quieted"
  46. Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 79: "The Hunt Is On"
  47. Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 80: "Lightning Strikes"
  48. Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 81: "Heart of Darkness"
  49. Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 82: "Gored"
  50. Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 83: "Irregular Meeting"
  51. 51.0 51.1 51.2 Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 97: "Ignis Unification Plan"
  52. Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 85: "True Tears"
  53. Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 86: "Wisdom of the Deprived"
  54. Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 87: "Chain Destruction"
  55. Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 88: "Windy the Revenger"
  56. Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 89: "Two Flames Unite"
  57. Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 90: "Creator of the Next Generation"
  58. Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 92: "Big Test"
  59. Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 93: "Promise With Each Other"
  60. Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 94: "Raging Soul"
  61. Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 95: "Radiance of the Phoenix"
  62. Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 98: "The AI Crosses the Line"
  63. Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 103: "Journey to the End"
  64. 64.0 64.1 Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 105: "Intercept"
  65. Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 108: "Indomitable Spirit"
  66. Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS episode 106: "Good Luck, Roboppi!!"
  67. Daniel J. Edwards' Twitter

Notes[edit]

  1. This card is given to Yusaku in episode 117.
  2. This card is obtained via Storm Access in episode 9.
  3. This card is obtained via Storm Access in episode 42.
  4. This card is obtained via Storm Access in episode 31.
  5. This card is obtained from his father in episode 10.