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How Many Yu-Gi-Oh! Cards Are There?

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Yu-Gi-Oh! is a gigantic global franchise that has spawned one of the world’s most popular card games. The series started its life as a manga in Weekly Shōnen Jump in 1996. While the series was about many different games at first, one dubbed Magic and Wizards in its original appearance quickly became popular. It then took over the franchise, turning it into the card game-focused show we know today. 

This game was turned into a real-world trading card game released in Japan in 1999 and America in 2002. This game quickly became popular and remains popular today, turning Yu-Gi-Oh! into one of the highest-grossing media franchises in the world. 

This question is a complex one, as it depends on how you define a card. Many Yu-Gi-Oh! cards get reprinted across various sets, and these reprints often feature slightly different art and some rule changes. Some also change the card’s name slightly to better fit Konami’s modern translation standards. So the answer will totally depend on how different you think a card needs to be to classify as a new card. 

It should also be noted that certain cards are totally changed between regions, with many cards having religious imagery removed from them when they’re released in America. So some cards have similar mechanics but different names and art depending on where you buy the pack.  

However, we do have some figures to work with. According to reports, Konami estimates that they have sold about 35 billion cards worldwide. And the Yu-Gi-Oh! wiki lists 10,950 cards for the TCG (the American game) and 12,667 for the OCG (the Japanese game). While there is some debate about which cards should be considered a card in their own right, this is likely the closest estimate we can get without an official figure from Konami. 

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Thankfully, this question is a lot less confusing and features less semantic discussion as building a Yu-Gi-Oh! deck is actually pretty simple if a little overwhelming at first glance. 

The core of a Yu-Gi-Oh! deck is the Main Deck, and this contains 40 to 60 cards. These are your main monsters, spells, and traps that you’ll be using for the bulk of the game. 

Amusingly, the game didn’t have the upper limit of 60 cards at first. This was only implemented after several events where players brought large decks that required lots of shuffling, meaning that their turns took an extremely long time to play out. The most viral example of this was at a German tournament where a player brought a deck that contained 2,222 cards. 

Alongside the Main Deck, you’ll also have an Extra Deck which can contain up to 15 cards. This deck holds monsters that are not summoned regularly, so if a card has Fusion, Synchro, Xyz, or Link in its card text, then this monster goes into your Extra Deck rather than your Main Deck. Of course, if you want to use a monster from your Extra Deck in battle, you’ll have to follow specific rules to do so, and these rules vary depending on the monster’s type. 

Finally, if you’re competing in tournaments that use a Best of 3 format, you may also bring a Side Deck containing a maximum of 15 cards. The cards in the Side Deck cannot be played directly during a game. After each game, you may swap cards from your Side Deck to your Main or Extra decks, provided the number of cards in each remains the same. 

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