The Duel Masters Trading Card Game is a two-player and 2 vs. 2 team collectible card game (CCG) jointly developed by Wizards of the Coast, Shogakukan, and Mitsui & Co., Ltd.. The card game is part of the Duel Masters franchise.
It was released in Japan in May of 2002, where it quickly became the number one selling trading card game for over a year. Due to this popularity, it was released in the United States on March 5, 2004, where it has also done well. The game shares several similarities with Magic: The Gathering, the world's first collectible card game which was first published by Wizards in 1993. In fact, Duelmaster was originally intended as an alternative tradename for Magic: The Gathering and that the earlier game play was abandoned in the Duel Masters manga plot to promote this latest experience.
As in Magic: The Gathering, Duel Masters players summon creatures and cast spells using mana. Key differences include the fact that all creatures and spells can act as mana producers, creatures cannot block attacking creatures without having the "blocker" ability, and that creatures only have one "power" statistic. Furthermore, duelists have shields in the form of cards that go to their hand when "broken" as opposed to Magic's "life points". Due to its popularity , it has successfully launched four video games (three in GBA and the other in PS2), titled DuelMasters Kaijudo Showdown, DuelMasters Sempai Legends, DuelMasters Shadow of the Code for the GBA and DuelMasters PS2.
In Duel Masters, two players play the role of duelists, using the 'art' of "kaijudo" (a marketing term created for the North American version which supposedly describes the "art of battling with giant monsters") to bring their creatures to life to do battle. Each player has 5 shields that protect them from damage; once these are gone, all it takes is one successful attack to win the duel. Also, if a player runs out of cards to draw from their deck, or library, when required, then that player loses. Players battle each other by playing mana, and then using that mana to summon creatures or cast spells, described below:
- Creatures: Creatures are summoned to attack the opposing player's creatures and shields, and then the opponent themselves, for the win. There are many types of creatures, with different powers and abilities.
- Spells: When cast, spells do something for the player, then go to the graveyard. Spells can do a variety of things, like give the player more shields, power up their creatures, etc.
In addition to the two card types, there are also different keyword abilities that the cards can have that alter what they can and cannot do:
- Blocker: Allows a creature to stop an attack from an opposing creature. For example, if a creature attacks one of your shields, you can use a creature with the Blocker ability to stop the attack. Sometimes this is specific to a given trait, e.g. a "fire blocker" can only block fire creatures.
- Charger: Allows a spell to be put it into your mana zone instead of your graveyard after it has been cast.
- Double/Triple Breaker and soon to be Quadruple Breakers: Allows a creature to break two/three/four shields instead of the normal one.
- Crew Breaker: Allows a creature to break more than one shield if you have 1 or more creatures in the battlezone that have the same race as the Crew Breaker.
- Power Attacker: Makes a creature more powerful when they attack. For example, a creature that has power 3000 and Power Attacker +2000 will deliver an attack of 5000.
- Shield Trigger: When a shield is broken, this allows you to play the card without paying it's price.
- Stealth: Allows a creature to be unblockable when it attacks an opponent with a specific civilization card in their mana zone. For example, a creature with "water stealth" cannot be blocked by an opponent who has water cards in their mana zone. Synonymous with Landwalk in Magic: The Gathering.
- Slayer: Allows a creature to destroy another creature in battle, regardless of the other creature's power. For example, a 1000 power creature with slayer can battle and destroy a 5500 power creature. Sometimes this is specific to a given trait, e.g. a "nature slayer" can only use its slayer ability against nature creatures.
- Speed Attacker: Allows a creature to attack on the turn that it was summoned. Synonymous with Haste in Magic: The Gathering.
- Silent Skill: An effect that triggers when you refuse to untap the tapped Creature with Silent Skill during the Untap Step.
- Tap Ability: Instead of using that creature to attack, you can tap the creature. When it is tapped, its ability triggers and you can use it.
- Turbo Rush: An effect that triggers when any of your other creatures break a shield this turn
Along with keywords, there are cards that have special mechanics. There are five mechanics in the game so far:
- Evolution: A creature mechanic that allows you to "evolve" a creature into a more powerful creature. This is done by placing the "evolved" creature on top of the original. Both the original and "evolved" creature must be of the same type (human, guardian, etc.)
- Survivor: A creature mechanic that allows your survivor creatures to share abilities with other survivor creatures.
- Wave Striker: A creature mechanic that allows Wave Striker effects to take place if there are three or more Wave Strikers in the battle zone.
- Vortex Evolutions: A mixture of one or two different races that can evolve into a single race, for example:Wise Starnoid,Avatar of Hope:Put on a light bringer and cyber lord and evolve into a Starnoid.Another example,but this time two different creatures like Fire Birds or Dragon Zombies.Death phoenix,Avatar of Darkness:Put one of your Fire Birds and Dragon Zombies and evolve.These cretures are extremely powerful with great power and very much mana cost.There are many vortex evolutions, like Phoenix, Naga, Starnoid,and pegasus.
Set Releases (In Order)Edit
A player must have at least 40 cards in their deck. Players can purchase booster packs to increase the number of cards they have. Expansions are sets of cards that build upon the foundation laid out by the base set, the original set of cards released. At the time of this writing, boosters are available for the following expansions:
- DM-01 Base Set: The original set of 120 cards.
- DM-02 Evo-Crushinators of Doom: This set introduces the Evolution mechanic.
- DM-03 Rampage of the Super Warriors: This set focuses on decks that use only one civilization.
- DM-04 Shadowclash of Blinding Light: This set focuses on cards with abilities affecting other civilizations, eg: a creature that increases the mana cost of another civilization to hinder your opponent. Mainly focuses on Dark/Light support and hate.
- DM-05 Survivors of the Megapocalypse: This set introduces the Survivor mechanic. It also contains "Billion-degree Dragon", the card with the highest base power (15000). It also introduces "Triple-breakers".
- DM-06 Stomp-a-Trons of Invincible Wrath: This set introduces creatures with "Tap" abilities. These are abilities that activate when the creature is tapped. It is also the second set to have 120 cards, including reprints of cards introduced in the Base Set. This set contains the highly sought after "Bolmeteus Steel Dragon", which is valued highly. It also contains support for Survivors such as Evolutions, Q-Tronic Gargantua, which breaks more shields for survivors in the 'zone, and Q-Tronic Hypermind, that lets you draw a card for each survivor you have. There are also more, better survivors such as Grave Worm Q, and the first "vanilla" survivor, Promephius Q
- DM-07 Thundercharge of Ultra-Destruction: This set introduces creatures with "Stealth" abilities, allowing them to be unblockable as long as an opponent has a specific civilization card in their mana zone. It also introduces spells with the "Charger" ability, allowing you to put it into your mana zone instead of your graveyard after it is cast. Finally, it introduces creatures that gain extra abilities when you have no shields left in your shield zone.
- DM-08 Epic Dragons of Hyper Chaos: This set focuses on Dragons, and introduces three new Dragon races: Earth Dragons, Volcano Dragons, and Zombie Dragons. It also introduces the Turbo Rush creature ability and the first creatures that gains extra abilities if other creatures aren't blocked.
- DM-09 Fatal Brood of Infinite Ruin: This set adds cards that allow you to power up creatures of a race of your choosing. As well as creatures with a base power of "0+" (A creature with power 0 or less is destroyed).
- DM-10 Shockwaves of the Shattered Rainbow: This set introduces the dual-civilization and Silent Skill (creatures than you can keep tapped to use their abilities) mechanics. This is also the third set to have 120 cards, including reprints of cards from previous sets. This set also features the first card to be put on Wizards of the Coast's watch list, Bombazar, Dragon of Destiny, meaning that it may eventually be banned from constructed play following tournament results.
- DM-11 Blastosplosion of Gigantic Rage: This set introduces the Wave Striker ability. Creatures with Wave Striker can only use their abilities if there are two other creatures with Wave Striker in the battle zone. This set also introduces dual-civilization spells.
- DM-12 Thrash of the Hybrid Megacreatures: This set brings a new race type, Vortex Evolutions, which include races like Phoenix, Naga, Starnoid and Pegasus. You need two creatures to evolve these strong vortex creatures, the two cards must be of a specific race. Clone Spells let you use the cards effect additional for each copy of that spell in any players graveyard. The set offers new rainbow card evolutions and adds new creatures to the Wave Striker theme.
- DM-13 Eternal Phoenix: PROBABLY NO ENGLISH VERSION TO BE RELEASED. WOTC has not given clear and truly official information to the public yet, but their steps to end the game outside Asia are proof enough. Also distribution of DM products in USA and Europe will stop at the beginning of 2008. New sets are produced only for Japanese/Asian market. Dm-25 was released in September 2007 and is a huge success, introducing 3 colored rainbow creatures to the game.
The Five CivilizationsEdit
Duel Master cards represent 5 different civilizations. It is possible to build a viable deck with one, two or even three civilizations; four and five civilization decks are rarely seen. If used properly, the civilizations can complement each other nicely. Each civilization has their unique strengths and weaknesses. The five civilizations are:
- Water : The Water Civilization is composed of sunken, technologically advanced cities.
- Races: Cyber Clusters, Cyber Lords, Cyber Moons, Cyber Viruses, Earth Eaters, Fish, Gel Fish, Leviathans, Liquid People, Merfolk, and Sea Hackers.
- Traits: Water focuses on hand advantage (drawing cards), bounce (sending creatures back to the hand) and unblockables. Also features blockers, although not as good as most Light blockers. The disadvantage of water creatures is that the cost needed to summon usually are high. Used correctly, water may be the best choice for a single civilization deck.
- Nature : The Nature Civilization is a savage world of never-ending forests.
- Races: Balloon Mushrooms, Beast Folk, Colony Beetles, Earth Dragons, Giant Insects, Giants, Horned Beasts, Mystery Totems, Snow Faeries, Tree Folk, and Wild Veggies.
- Traits: Nature focuses on mana manipulation eg: increasing your own mana and destroying the opponents mana, power attackers, creature searching and rushing weenies (cheap and weak creatures used to overrun enemy). Nature possesses no blockers. Nature features lots of powerful creatures and are of high-medium cost of mana.
- Light : The Light Civilization is located high among the clouds in celestial structures.
- Races: Angel Commands, Berserkers, Gladiators, Guardians, Initiates, Light Bringers, Mecha del Sols, Mecha Thunders, Rainbow Phantoms, Soltroopers, and Starlight Trees.
- Traits: Light possesses the best blockers and focuses on shield generation, spell tutoring (searching from deck or recovering from graveyard or mana zone) and tapping and untapping creatures. Light is the civilization that has the least side-effects. Their evolutions are usually of average mana cost and has many high-power blockers in it that possess many useful effects such as double breakers or untapping it after it blocks or at the end of the turn. Exclusive to Light are creatures that can not be the target of a single card effect, like a blocker that can not be destroyed by spells like Tornado Flame.
- Darkness : The Darkness Civilization is located underground, with an evil and poisoned landscape.
- Races: Brain Jackers, Chimeras, Dark Lords, Death Puppets, Demmon Commands, Devil Masks, Ghosts, Hedrians, Living Dead, Pandora's Box, Parasite Worms, and Zombie Dragons.
- Traits: Darkness focuses on hand destruction, creature destruction and slayers. Darkness has many powerful creatures, including blockers, but the cards usually possess negative side-effects. Together with Light and Fire, Darkness is one of the three most powerful civilization.
- Fire : The Fire Civilization is located in a volcanic and battle-torn land ruled by those with the most power.
- Races: Armored Dragons, Armored Wyverns, Armorloids, Dragonoids, Dune Geckos, Fire Birds, Humans, Machine Eaters, Melt Warriors, Rock Beasts, Volcano Dragons, and Xenoparts.
- Traits: Fire focuses on rushing, speed attacking (allows creatures to attack the same turn that they are summoned), mana destruction and creature destruction with power limits (for example: destroy a creature with 3000 power or less). Along with Nature, Fire possesses no blockers. Fire possess many powerful creatures and double breakers , thus making them one of the most unusual civilization.
There are two races that do not fit under any one of the five civilizations. These are the Survivors and Spirit Quartz. Survivors can be of any civilization, while Spirit Quartz are always multi-colored creatures. Spirit Quartz, so far, must have fire and/or darkness as one of their civilizations and can't have light as one of their civilizations. This is because dual-civilization creatures must have two allied civilizations in their civilizations.
Duel Masters Online PlayEdit
Wizards of the Coast made no program to play Duel Masters online. However some programs were designed by fans to play Duel Masters.
Some fans made a Duel Masters program based on apprentice. However it was not a big success and few people use the program.
Another program developed by XeroCreative was Duel Masters Zone. However it is not developed anymore and features only the first 9 sets.
The most popular program to play Duel Masters Online is "Duel Masters Civilizations" (DMC). It was developed by DuelZone (see external links) and is still supported. It features cards up to the latest English set and is expected to be upgraded to feature more.
DuelZone is currently working on yet another Online Dueling program which is yet to be released in future. The name of the program is to be CardWire and many duelists expect it to be a very competent program. Playing Online via that program would require no application download (except for a Java platfrom) since people would be dueling on a web page. The program would probably support resuming disconnected games. The program will also be featuring future sets (the Japanese ones) and would have a system to track all the people who want to duel and would therefore make it easy to find duels.
This game is now discontinued outside of Japan, due to declining popularity. The only tournament areas are hosted by Duelist-1.
- Wizards of the Coast Duel Masters site : Official English Duel Masters site
- Takara-Tomy : Official Japanese Duel Masters site
- Duel Masters' Comet : a site with some newer Japanese sets translations
- DuelZone : A community site where people can duel online, also provides an online card searcher.
- Duelist-1 : A new unofficial tournament league outside of wizards of the coast. Japanese cards are legal here.
- CCGDb.com : A search engine for the Duel Masters TCG. (Japanese-only releases after DM-12 added via translation files from Duel Masters' Comet.)
- etcg forum biggest German language dm community for Switzerland, Germany and Austria. includes all information about the Japanese sets like translations, q&a and many more